Twilight: All The Things I Like

Content Note: Oppressive Parenting, Dangerous Relationships, Continued References to Bella's Near-Rape

Twilight Recap: Edward and Bella have concluded their dinner conversation and are heading back to Bella's house. 

Twilight, Chapter 9: Theory

Alright, folks, today we're just polishing off Chapter 9. And since I've been feeling like I've been coming off as really negative lately, what with Narnia and Game of Thrones and The Avengers and everything else, and since I really do feel like a fluffy bunny person on the inside (most days) and since there's nothing too egregious left in this chapter but we need to finish it up anyway, this is going to be one of those Nice Twilight days.

Sorry.

*deep breath* Nice thoughts.

   "Will I see you tomorrow?" I demanded.
   "Yes -- I have a paper due, too." He smiled. "I'll save you a seat at lunch."
   It was silly, after everything we'd been through tonight, how that little promise sent flutters through my stomach, and made me unable to speak.

I really don't like how cavalierly this chapter has treated Bella's near-rape as though it wasn't a genuinely traumatic experience as opposed to a narrative ploy. (See also my feelings on the in-text treatment of Bella's near-death experience with the Van Incident.) And I really don't like how Bella has been so la-de-da-whatever about Edward's essential nature as if facts were something to be assiduously avoided because they might get in the way of True Love.

But I do like that there's a ring of realism here: the night has been full of shocks and terrors, but the moment that really gets Bella's heart pounding is the moment where she hears she'll see Edward again tomorrow and that they'll continue to be friends-or-more. That rings true to me, if only because it has a feel of grappling with the future near-term rather than trying to unpack the horrible past or the (potentially) problematic far-future. For now, Bella is concentrating on tomorrow and tomorrow she will eat lunch with Edward. It's the little things in life here being savored.

And, heck, I'll also cop to liking this because it's dealing with Edward and Bella's relationship in a moment of normalcy: Will we eat lunch tomorrow? is less dramatic and more healthy than Will you be turning me into an immortal vampire soon? which is, I think, what most of their conversations will be soon enough. So it's nice to see an injection of normal teen high school-ish-ness in the romance here.

   I considered that for a moment, then nodded. I pulled his jacket off, taking one last whiff. 
   "You can keep it -- you don't have a jacket for tomorrow," he reminded me.
   I handed it back to him. "I don't want to have to explain to Charlie."

I don't like that once again Edward's generosity is framed in terms of Bella's needs, when it would have been just as simple -- and far more honest and straight-forward -- to say something nice like Keep it; you look good in it or something else complimentary as opposed to trying to hinge this all on some kind of logical reason for why Bella needs Edward to give her dinner, jackets, rides to Seattle, etc.

But I do like that Bella is showing some thinking ahead and proactivity: she knows that Charlie will snoop, and she doesn't try to lie to Edward about it. She isn't ready to tell Charlie about him, and so she won't take the jacket. And -- surprisingly for the Twilight-universe -- that's that. Edward doesn't force her to accept the jacket anyway or argue her into it or dazzle her with his vampire glamor. He doesn't insist on going in right then and there to meet Charlie and to narc out Bella for being nearly-raped and without her can of pepper spray handy. In short, Bella makes a decision -- a decision based on controlling her sexuality outside the supervision of her overbearing father -- and that decision is respected without drama.

   "Bella?" he asked in a different tone -- serious, but hesitant. [...] "Will you promise me something?"
   "Yes," I said, and instantly regretted my unconditional agreement. What if he asked me to stay away from him? I couldn't keep that promise.
   "Don't go into the woods alone." [...]
   "I'm not always the most dangerous thing out there. Let's leave it at that."

I actually don't know what this is all about. Either Edward is warning Bella about non-Cullen vampires which Alice usually senses in plenty of time and which the Cullens (if I remember correctly) usually manage to persuade not to hunt on their territory in order to keep suspicion off themselves, or Edward is warning Bella about the Quileute werewolves which wouldn't even exist if the Cullens hadn't come back to here of all places (pet peeve: the white Cullens placing their desire to live in Forks above the comfort and safety of the dark local natives, and no one ever pointing this out in-text) and who don't (if I understand correctly) hunt humans in the first place. Maybe there's something else dangerous in the Forks forest we don't know about? Please let it be a Lich King. 

But we were talking about things I liked today. I like that Edward's question had a hint of an implied 'please' in it, which is the closest to good manners as we've seen from him in awhile. I like that Bella instinctively said "yes" (I do this all the time) and then reflected that such a verbal reflex doesn't bind her to something exorbitant just because she wasn't super special wary with her agreement. I like that Edward doesn't take advantage of the situation and try to manipulate her agreement into something exorbitant.

I don't like that he doesn't explain what the actual danger is so that Bella can be fore-warned and fore-prepared (Knowing is half the battle!), but maybe Edward is bound to secrecy by an ancient oath and actually takes that promise seriously.

   I reached for the key mechanically, unlocked the door, and stepped inside.
   Charlie called from the living room. "Bella?"
   "Yeah, Dad, it's me." I walked in to see him. He was watching a baseball game.
   "You're home early."
   "Am I?" I was surprised.
   "It's not even eight yet," he told me. "Did you girls have fun?"
   "Yeah -- it was lots of fun." My head was spinning as I tried to remember all the way back to the girls' night out I had planned. "They both found dresses."
   "Are you all right?"
   "I'm just tired. I did a lot of walking."
   "Well, maybe you should go lie down." He sounded concerned. I wondered what my face looked like.

I don't like that Charlie is presented in the series as ping-ponging between a truly uninterested parent who is almost hostile to the idea of spending time with his teenage daughter as opposed to "traditionally manly" pursuits such as sports and fishing, but then oscillates over into being incredibly overprotective of his daughter's sex-and-dating life because That's What Dads Do. There's something like five harmful stereotypes in all that mess and I hate them all.

But I do like this scene because it shows Charlie as actually paying attention to Bella (he notes that she looks dazed and tired) and he demonstrates concern for her that has nothing to do with Boys, Virginity, and Hymens. She's surprised him by coming home earlier than he expected, and then answers his questions in a dazed manner, and he asks her if maybe she shouldn't go lie down. I like this, and I wish more of the Bella/Charlie interactions were this fluid and squick-free.

   "I'm just going to call Jessica first."
   "Weren't you just with her?" he asked, surprised.
   "Yes -- but I left my jacket in her car. I want to make sure she brings it tomorrow."
   "Well, give her a chance to get home first."

I like this scene because it actually made me smile. Bella is trying not to be caught in her web of silent lies about how she got home and with whom and Charlie is assuming that his impulsive daughter hasn't thought about how long it takes to get from the Swan house to the... does Jessica have a last name, people? Here, Stanley.

   The phone rang suddenly, startling me. I yanked it off the hook.
   "Hello?" I asked breathlessly.
   "Bella?"
   "Hey, Jess, I was just going to call you."
   "You made it home?" Her voice was relieved . . . and surprised.
   "Yes. I left my jacket in your car -- could you bring it to me tomorrow?"
   "Sure. But tell me what happened!" she demanded.
   "Um, tomorrow -- in Trig, okay?"
   She caught on quickly. "Oh, is your dad there?"
   "Yes, that's right."
   "Okay, I'll talk to you tomorrow, then. Bye!" I could hear the impatience in her voice.

I like this scene for probably-unintended reasons. Jessica is "surprised" that Bella is home (Why? Did she think Edward would seduce her away for reasons of passion or for reasons of vampiric hunger, or does this just reflect that the Cullen-fast-driving made up for the time Bella took eating dinner?) and yet she called the house anyway. What was Jessica, who is clearly happy to be Bella's comrade-in-arms in the field of Keeping Secrets From Dads, going to say if Charlie picked up the phone and Bella wasn't home yet?

I have a few theories, all of which flesh out an actual character for Jessica. One, she was going to tell Charlie the truth, that Bella would be coming home with Edward. This would be the responsible thing to do if Jessica and Angela talked about it on the way home and decided that leaving Bella with Edward was a dangerous thing to do, and that someone in a position of authority needed to be aware of Bella's whereabouts and primed for action if she didn't come home in time. Two, she was going to cover for Bella with some kind of story about being delayed and maybe Bella might even need to stay overnight at the Stanley's so if Bella didn't come home, Charlie wasn't to be worried. This would be the True Blue Buddies thing to do if Jessica really didn't see Edward as dangerous and she had cottoned on to Bella's deep crush.

Note that neither of these things are things I automatically recommend: in the first case, if Charlie is abusive, the revelation of Edward could bring harm to Bella; in the second case, if Edward is dangerous, the hiding of Bella's whereabouts could bring harm to Bella. But they are proactive things and I like to imagine Jessica planning one or more of them and being an actor in the story instead of just a reactor. Plus, I like her catching on quickly to why Bella is being so coy over the phone. Jessica seems like the kind of high school friend that I would have appreciated; far more so than Bella clearly does.

   I walked up the stairs slowly, a heavy stupor clouding my mind. I went through the motions of getting ready for bed without paying any attention to what I was doing. It wasn't until I was in the shower -- the water too hot, burning my skin -- that I realized I was freezing. I shuddered violently for several minutes before the steaming spray could finally relax my rigid muscles. Then I stood in the shower, too tired to move, until the hot water began to run out.
   I stumbled out, wrapping myself securely in a towel, trying to hold the heat from the water in so the aching shivers wouldn't return. I dressed for bed swiftly and climbed under my quilt, curling into a ball, hugging myself to keep warm. A few small shudders trembled through me.

I don't really like that 99.9% of this physical emotion is probably supposed to be Edward-directed, when I would still like some acknowledgement that the whole "nearly gang raped" thing would be traumatic. (I also don't really like that it still hasn't occurred to anyone to tell the Chief of Police downstairs about the rapists in Port Angeles, but knowing how Charlie responds to Bella's sexual assault later in the series, I guess I can hardly blame her for not wanting to open that can of worms.)

But! I do like that we're at least being treated to a semi-realistic portrayal of shock and acknowledgement of same. And even if this is entirely Edward-related, it makes some sense that finding out the guy you've imprinted on (or whatever we want to call it) is not the guy you grew up dreaming about, but is instead a member of the ranks of the undead, who may or may not be plotting to murder you and/or your family, and a relationship with him may mean re-evaluating a lot of life goals and things previously taken for granted. These all seem like things worthy of a moment of serious shock.

   About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him -- and I didn't know how potent that part might be -- that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

And I like this because it fits so nicely on the back of the book dust jacket. I mean, seriously, if you don't mind spoiling the readers for the vampire reveal, then this is such an eloquent-if-melodramatic summation of the entire book. I wish all book pitches that I read (and write) are as accurate and punchy as this.

26 comments:

Rainicorn said...

Now that we've reached The Quote, I feel compelled to recommend Xlormp, a very funny chapter-by-chapter Twilight parody.

"There were three thoughts I was thinking, that I was absolutely positive were accurate thoughts: One, Xlormp was a space alien. Two, there was part of him, and probably it was all of him, that wanted to blow up my planet. And three, I was really, really hungry for quesadillas."

JonathanPelikan said...

Aaargh. I agree that last bit's just about perfect for a book jacket, especially since 'Edward is a Vampire' is such a non-reveal, even someone who's never heard of Twilight or just got it translated into their language and ported over knows, uh, Vampires. Yep. Kind of the whole deal. Yep. Vampire. Even so, though, man, I've rarely seen an excerpt show SMeyer's tin frakking ear so well; that sentence hurts my soul in a way any number of trollfics never can.

chris the cynic said...

Snarky Twilight version, not yet on stealing commas though it was written three months ago probably because it's sort of tentative:

Of three things I was certain. First, Edward was a jackass. Second, I was in a story that demanded -- and I wasn't sure how much force it could place behind that demand -- that I love him. Third, there must be some way out of here. Fourth, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

chris the cynic said...

Have a temptation be silly, bold italics from the original text:

"Don't go into the woods along."

I stared a him in blank confusion, "Why?"

He frowned, his eyes were tight as he starred passed me out the window.

"I'm not always the most dangerous thing out there.
"

A noise made me turn my head and I saw figures emerge from the woods, talking loudly, still too far away to make out shapes or faces but voices I could manage, in fragments. Lauren was amoung them because I heard her say, "And that's why I don't invite relatives to lasertag."

Some more discussion I couldn't hear and then Jessica, "I thought the little one was kind of cute."

Someone said something inaudible but it must have been a request for clarification because she said, "They one with the tentacles on his," and she dropped out of hearing.

"Is that why you went easy on him?" Angela asked.

"I just thought it was unfair to claim the highground just because we have claws and he didn't"

Lauren said, "You never give me the same consideration."

Jessica, "They lost anyway."

Angela, "And were sore losers."

Lauren: Which is why I don't invite family to lasertag.

Angela: How am I supposed to get this gunk out of my fur?"

Lauren: It'll rinse. Failing that use dawn.

Jessica: I don't foresee any problems once I'm with a shower.

Angela: Easy for you two say, you have scales. It's all in my fur.

Lauren: We should probably let featherboy know made the right choice to not come.

Jessica: Hey! Car.

The figures seemed to change, one shrank, another evidenced hair where before I had seen none, the last seemed to resemble an sea creature somewhat less, not the the resemblance had every seemed all that strong in the first place, and all of the shapes became more human. Soon I was able to recognize them as Angela, Jessica, and Lauren.

And they all seemed to be covered in a disgusting fibrous slime. "Hi Bella," Jessica said when the reached us leaving a glop of ick on the window, as she put her hand to it. "Glad you made it back safely, but you missed out on all the fun."

Lauren added, "And the use of an unnecessary defensive mechanism by sore losers," shaking some of slime off her arms, but mot stubbornly remained.

Angela said, "We'd love to stay and chat, but we all need to shower."

And with that they walked away, the only evidence remaining the slime trails leading out of the woods, and a slimy handprint on the window.

After a long silence Edward said, "Let's leave it at that."

Caretaker of Cats said...

Random observation: Has anyone noticed that the "locals attack Bella" scene is pretty much identical to the scene where rednecks corner Chi Chi in "To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar"? Right down to Bobby Ray/Edward pulling up in the pickup/Volvo to the rescue?

Beroli said...

I actually don't know what this is all about. Either Edward is warning Bella about non-Cullen vampires which Alice usually senses in plenty of time and which the Cullens (if I remember correctly) usually manage to persuade not to hunt on their territory in order to keep suspicion off themselves, or Edward is warning Bella about the Quileute werewolves which wouldn't even exist if the Cullens hadn't come back to here of all places (pet peeve: the white Cullens placing their desire to live in Forks above the comfort and safety of the dark local natives, and no one ever pointing this out in-text) and who don't (if I understand correctly) hunt humans in the first place.
He means other vampires. The Quileute werewolves aren't activated yet. When they are, Jacob will, actually, blame it on the Cullens when talking to Bella (I forget exactly what he says, but something along the lines of "this happened because of all the leeches hanging around"), although the timing makes me suspect the Cullens carefully avoid all contact with potential-werewolves, and the Quileute wolves are activated by Victoria and her fledging vampires. (This may also be explicit. Not sure, these books are sometimes hard to follow--"You mean there was something I needed to remember in the middle of those pages and pages of nothing?")

bekabot said...

"Maybe there's something else dangerous in the Forks forest we don't know about?"

My theory: Edward is a telepath and he knows about Mr. Banner. He also knows how distraught Mr. Banner can get when the failing papers and the Wite-Bord-Wipe and the 11th-grade stupidity and the fact that he hasn't been able to find enough time to spend a few hours antiquing in Port Angeles in weeks all pile up on him at once. So, Edward passes a discreet warning on to Bella, but omits the specifics, because he feels that, as a fellow para-human, he owes a debt of silence to Mr. Banner. (Edward was a child of the Progressive Age when Ideals were King, and he still thinks highly of Morals and Ethics.)

Bella simply wouldn't understand, at least not yet.

chris the cynic said...

Edward isn't aware that vampires cause the Quileute to fursplode. He blames it on Bella, as you would expect. Bella has to explain to him that the fact that pattern is always first vampires then werewolves is a result of a causal link between the two.

I can't find the quote because google book search is being annoying. [big pause] Actually, In addition to that I was looking in the wrong book.

Here's the quote:"We thought the line had died out with Ephraim," Edward muttered; it sounded like he was talking to himself now. "That the genetic quirk which allowed the transmutation had been lost. . . ." He broke off and stared at me accusingly. "Your bad luck seems to get more potent every day. Do you realize that your insatiable pull for all things deadly was strong enough to recover a pack of mutant canines from extinction? If we could bottle your luck, we'd have a weapon of mass destruction on our hands."

I ignored the ribbing, my attention caught by his assumption - was he serious? "But I didn't bring them back. Don't you know?"

"Know what?"

"My bad luck had nothing to do with it. The werewolves came back because the vampires did."

Edward stared at me, his body motionless with surprise.

"Jacob told me that your family being here set things in motion. I thought you would already know. . . ."

His eyes narrowed. "Is that what they think?"

"Edward, look at the facts. Seventy years ago, you came here, and the werewolves showed up. You come back now, and the werewolves show up again. Do you think that's a coincidence?"

He blinked and his glare relaxed. "Carlisle will be interested in that theory."

"Theory," I scoffed.

Ana Mardoll said...

OH MY GOD.

When you said "blames Bella", I thought you meant that he thought Jacob had imprinted on her and the imprinting caused the fursplosion. But, no, you mean "blames Bella" in his irrational worldview that she's a psychic wrecking ball just to irritate him.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

chris the cynic said...

Honestly the image in my mind is this:

TV: Astronomers say the meteor fragments will miss the earth but hit the atmosphere, incinerating themselves and bringing the global average temperature to one thousand degrees centigrade in a matter of seconds. Despite the best efforts of an international coalition the earth is... is... *uncontrollable sobbing*

Edward (in a rage): BELLAAAAA!

(Meanwhile Bella is probably saving the world, because someone has to.)

-

It is seriously disturbing as a way of thinking, not to mention a horrible thing to say to someone.

bekabot said...

"TV: Astronomers say the meteor fragments will miss the earth but hit the atmosphere, incinerating themselves and bringing the global average temperature to one thousand degrees centigrade in a matter of seconds. Despite the best efforts of an international coalition the earth is... is... *uncontrollable sobbing*

Edward (in a rage): BELLAAAAA!"


Edward, de-escalating from fury to deviousness: "Bella, you got a lotta 'splaining to do..."

Silver Adept said...

*soda snort* That's freaking hilarious, "defensive reaction" and all. Although, that doesn't necessarily prove Edward correct about who is the most dangerous thing in the forest - it just forces Bella to move her definition of the mean.

As for the post itself, this does seem rather devoid of problematic elements. Actual parenting, girl friends that catch on quickly, and no Edward anywhere. Makes for a very nice narrative.

TheDarkArtist said...

Your aside about hoping that the other supernatural horror in Forks was a Lich King struck a chord with me, being a huge World of Warcraft nerd and all. When I was watching the movies (I've only seen them with the Rifftrax, I swear!) all I could think was: it would be so much better if Arthas just kicked the damn door in and sucked Edward's soul out, because I really can't stand Edward.

But, then I was thinking that if Edward doesn't have a soul to steal and isn't affected by diseases, he could give the Lich King a pretty good run for his money. In any case, I'd rather watch that movie than Breakin' Dawn 2: Vampiric Boogaloo.

Amaryllis said...

So this is what's called "Actually Not That Bad"?

I'm not sure why the combination of vampires and "normal teen-high-school" annoys me so much more than, say, the combination of magic and normal(ish) school stuff in HP. But it does. Maybe because at least Harry and friends are the age they seem, while I can't see any reason for a century-old vampire to be sitting through English IV again. Edward shouldn'tbe worried about having a paper due-- not that he's worried, I'm sure he could write it in his sleep, having written versions of it many times before. Is keeping up with current pop culture really worth it? Isn't that what the Internet is for?

I can't get a handle on Charlie at all. I suppose it's not having the actual book, but I still have no idea what he's like as a person. I do feel sorry for him in his cluelessness here, though: you never know what your teenagers are getting up to when they're out of your sight.

"Don't go into the woods alone."
If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise...


(Well, it was the first thing to come to my mind.)

chris the cynic said...

while I can't see any reason for a century-old vampire to be sitting through English IV again.

I'm providing a case study for an upcoming work on the American Educational System which will include basic information such as lesson plans and grades but also in depth information including but not limited to what every single individual, student or teacher, was thinking on a moment by moment basis as the lesson plans were implemented.

It is hoped that these pychic studies will, eventually, be used to revolutionize the teaching process and pay dividends in the ability to maintain student attention.

-

Option two:
vampire: If you could be anywhere on earth doing anything you wanted to do, where would be and what would you be doing?
human: Not going to a small town high school.
vampire: Which is exactly why the vampire hunters will never look for us here.

-

Option three:

The five of us made a bet with Carlise and Esme, we lost badly.

-

Option 4

People expect teenagers to act freakishly strange. I haven't had to brush up on the modern world in half a century and nobody's noticed anything odd.

-

Option 5

Somehwere, deep within this building, an artifiact is hidden that coud-
What? destroy the world-
You're seriously messing up my ominous speech vibe with all the interruptions.
What is it?
It was smuggled into the country in 1945 under cover of darkness on-
But what does it DO?
Fine, it's believe allow vampires to have children. My sister has desperately wanted a baby of her own for so very long.

-

Option 6

It's about time you learn that witches are real too. A while back a member of my family really pissed off a witch, Bob was his name, and he inflicted upon us a terrible curse. We are damned to repeat high school until the least appealing amoung us gains a mate.

-

Option 7
One of our number was severely injured, and memories take so long to regenerate. We think he's operating on instinct and fragments of his human life. Which means that we think he's probably taken a job as a highchool teacher in a place with little sunshine.

And I think we're right, we're so close I can almost taste it, but his powers included the ability to change his appearance so it's not completely clear.

-

Option 8

I've been told that one of the worlds leading expert on gamma radiation is a teacher at this school, but be becomes suspicious when approached by adults, as student he'd seen for years before taking his class might gain his trust.

-

Option 9

Young blood is the tastiest blood, but two young and it isn't ripe yet. This is the Goldilocks' zone.

-

Option 10

We like our new recruits to be of a certain age. Four years to judge them as peers followed by them, by and large, being expected to leave time right at the ideal age... it's not a high school, it;s a recruitment center. The paperwork is annoying, but the results speak for themselves.

Amaryllis said...

Ah, Chris. That's the difference between your mind and mine.

* salutes *

On the whole, I think your Option 10 is my favorite, although Option 6 makes a certain amount of terrible sense.

Thomas Keyton said...

...

I think this is the first time in my life I've been able to think "just when you thought it couldn't get any worse". So, uh, thanks?

Cupcakedoll said...

I quite like Option 7. Option 8 is fun too-- perhaps it's "the gamma radiation in sunshine" that makes vampires sparkle and they're hoping Banner could create a special sunblock that they could wear since ordinary sunscreen only blocks UVA and UVB.

cjmr said...

"If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise
If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise..."

*spits drink across room*

bekabot said...

Option 7: The Bannerpire is of a separate lineage from the Cullenpires, so that he turns green, not sparkly. However, unlike the Cullenpires, who are sparkly all the time, the Bannerpire only turns green when his bloodlust is upon him. Which is good luck for the Bannerpire so far as Masquerade issues go (also, as I've pointed out elsewhere, green is a great color for camouflage in the Olympic Peninsula; I bet that if the Cullenpires had been able to enlist the Bannerpire against Victoria and her newborns, that war would have been a lot shorter than it was).

Option 8 (see: Cupcakedoll): Wonderful idea. Potentially very profitable too: think how rich most vampires are and how badly they want not to be seen when sparkling. Never mind about the Cullens, think what the Volturi would pay for a potion like that. Think what the Volturi would be able to pay for a potion like that. Maybe the whole reason Banner is hiding out is that he wants time to himself so as to massage the kinks out of his super-special-vampire-gamma-ray-sunblock (he's tried to develop ideas of his own prior to their being fully ripe before, and the results were not what he expected; this time he's gonna get it right on the first try). His vampblock recipe is fundamentally very simple, so he doesn't need access to an elaborate lab, but he does need access to his own thoughts, because he can foresee a bunch of bugs that might intrude. So what he does is: he takes a job that doesn't engage more than a quarter of his brain at best, thus leaving the other three-quarters of his brain free for him to play in.

(He's just worked the whole thing out and initiated a successful test run* when all the local, Olympic-Peninsula vampires move to New Hampshire. Not daunted, Banner quits his job at Forks High and buys a plane ticket to Italy, because that he knows that the best thing for a smart merchant to be is neutral in a fight: that way he can bid both sides up against each other.)

*Of course Banner needs test subjects for this, and the way he gets them is that he steals a couple of newborns from Victoria at the time her war against the Cullens is going on. Nobody misses them in the confusion, and after the dust has settled, figuratively and literally, they appreciate the wisdom of not outing themselves. Once Banner has verified that his goop works and no longer needs the newborns, he sics the Quileute werewolves on them (the Quileute werewolves are sick of being monsters at this point and want to get back to their normal mortal lives, and they know that the only reason they turn into werewolves is that there are vampires around, so...and since Jacob, who might have raised objections, has gone East to be with Ness, leaving Sam Uley as the default Alpha, so...well, the short version is that it doesn't take long).

BrokenBell said...

The phone rang suddenly, startling me. I yanked it off the hook.
"Hello?" I asked breathlessly.
"Bella?"
"Hey, Jess, I was just going to call you."
"You made it home?" Her voice was relieved . . . and surprised.

...

What was Jessica, who is clearly happy to be Bella's comrade-in-arms in the field of Keeping Secrets From Dads, going to say if Charlie picked up the phone and Bella wasn't home yet?

Y'know, I'm wondering if Jessica had, in fact, intended to be calling Charlie. Or at least, that she was fully expecting to check in with the Swans just to be on the safe side, find that Edward lied about taking Bella straight home, and make sure Swan Sr. knew that Bella was last seen in another town with a strange boy. Hasn't Jessica been kinda cynical about Eddie, before? Word of Bella asserts that it's just petty spite because he rejected her, but even then, she'd be completely right in her suspicions, both in terms of the Cullen family's weird behaviour, and the fact that he does indeed strongly desire to kill and eat Bella. That it was Bella who picked up the phone means that she's home safe, alleviating Jessica's immediate fears, and altering the state of the game from "If Bella needs help, her cop father is best suited for doing so" to "Everything's basically fine, if a little weird, and what Papa Swan doesn't know can't get Bella grounded". It seems like a believably teenage set of priorities, and would be a surprisingly subtle way of showing that Jessica is a fairly responsible young woman who tries to take care of her friends. I'm not sure if this was an intended characterisation of Jessica, but since this is one of the precious sections that isn't overtly disgusting, I don't want to be too pessimistic.

Beroli said...

It's pretty remarkable how easy it is to view Jessica extremely positively even though the narrative never, ever does so.

(In New Moon, Bella, right in front of Jessica, approaches a group of strange men specifically because they remind her of the group that nearly raped her in this book, despite Jessica's protests, putting Jessica in the position of "go after Bella and risk getting raped and/or killed along with her, or go back to Charlie and explain what happened to his daughter." After Bella discovers, to her disappointment, that that group of strange men isn't dangerous, Jessica avoids her for the rest of the book and most of Eclipse.

Bella/Narrative-voice occasionally pauses to snark about Jessica's strangely and quite irrationally holding a grudge against her for something, she can't really be bothered to remember what.)

depizan said...

*stares in horror*

WHAT!?

Is that part of Bella's weird thing where she only hears Edward when she's in danger?

I am so very glad I never read past Twilight. There is so much wrong there that I don't even know where to begin.

Scylla Kat said...

Chris, you're so dam' awesome.

chris the cynic said...

Thank you.

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