Chapter 16 –Paris
That’s when Bella resurfaces. She talks about how rocks are rhythmically pounding her on the back and she’s spewing water like a fire hydrant. Then somebody tells her to breathe, and she says this: “I felt a cruel stab of pain when I recognized the voice—because it wasn’t Edward’s.”
Oh, and this SO TOTALLY NOT A SUICIDE ATTEMPT gets even better. Not only does she give up in order to be with Imaginary!Wardo, she is disappointed and depressed when she finally realizes that she is no longer with Imaginary!Wardo and thus still alive. Allow me to reiterate my ending statements on this particular part of the story.
So, Bella keeps talking about the rock hitting her in the back some more, and we all know it’s Jacob pounding on her, but Bella’s slow and we’re used to this (as we are used to Meyer’s horrible, horrible writing—rocks)?. Bella then wonders if she’s dying for a second time, and says that she “[doesn’t] like it—this [isn’t] as good as the last time”.
Don’t make me say it for a third time, Meyer. You’ve already pissed me off enough, okay?
Bella realizes that there’s somebody else there, along with the fact that she’s not in the water anymore. Somebody random asks how long Bella’s been out, and Jacob replies that he doesn’t know. Bella finally realizes the other person with Jacob is Sam, and he tells Jacob to get her to the hospital. Jacob asks if he thinks it’s safe to move her, considering they don’t know if she hurt anything when she fell.
Oh, that’s even better, Meyer—you actually KNEW that water had such a thing as surface tension! And yet you still say that the only problem Bella encounters with her cliff diving was the current!
Bella finally opens her eyes, and Jacob gets all up in her face asking if she is hurt. Bella replies that it’s just her throat. I need to quote the prosecution from Disney’s Ichabod and Mr. Toad at this point.
DO YOU EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THAT????!!!!!
Jacob then—surprise surprise—picks her up and starts carrying her away. Jacob tells Sam to get to the hospital—which amused me, because didn’t Sam just tell Jacob to get Bella to the hospital? Sam leaves, and then we see this:
The water licked and writhed up the sand after us as Jacob carried me away, like it was angry that I'd escaped. As I stared wearily, a spark of color caught my unfocused eyes—a small flash of fire was dancing on the black water, far out in the bay. The image made no sense, and I wondered how conscious I really was.
Ahem. If I may.
“Ari, I’m so sorry for all of this.” He said, staring into her dark eyes, which were full of misery now.
“I know. Maybe someday we can be friends again. But for now, I don’t think so. I’m sorry.” she whispered, running off towards the school. She thought she saw a flash of crimson in the forest, but she was too upset to try and see what it was.
She had to get to Neville.
She gently laid a hand on Ariana’s shoulder and knelt down on the floor by the bed, putting herself at eye level with Ariana. “Ariana, I have to ask you something. It’s very important.” Kitty said, more serious than Ariana had ever heard her be. “Did you see anything unusual out in the forest? Anything at all?”
“I thought I saw a flash of red as I was running after him, but I’m not sure.” she replied, after thinking back a moment.
“That bitch!” Kitty cried suddenly, getting to her feet.
“Do you remember what form Maria took when we used those Animagus Potions in Transfiguration?” Kitty asked her.
“Yeah, a fox.” She answered, not sure what that had to do with anything.
“The flash of red you saw in the forest was Maria. She’s an Animagus.”
All from “Ariana and the Prophesy of Gaea”.
Need I say more? I don’t think so. Can’t wait to see what Meyer says the flash of fire actually is—although I don’t know why, because I totally already know.
Oh, by the way. Bella almost drowned here. And Airhead almost (although the author will tell you she actually did) drowned in “Ariana’s Devotion” because of her own stupidity. Well, as painful as it is, I have to say—it’s better than Rose or Holly similarities.
So, Bella asks how Jacob found her, and he starts getting mad when he thinks about it—rightfully so. She says it was stupid, and instead of disagreeing with her, as I’m sure Bella had hoped, Jacob whole-heartedly agrees. He says he can’t do his job properly if he’s gonna be worried about her trying to get herself killed. Bella says that she won’t do that anymore, and notes that she sounds “like a chain-smoker”. I’m sure that Sands would be highly offended by that. Bella asks if the werewolves found Victoria, and Jacob says no. He says she had gone into the water, and he’d come back to find Bella, as she spends all her time on the beach—prompting me to ask why Victoria didn’t try that sooner. Oh, that’s right—contrivance. Bella then asks if everybody else is home, because Sam had been with him, and Bella asks what Sam had meant by hospital. Jacob tells her that Harry Clearwater had a heart attack. Bella asks if he’ll be okay, and Jacob says that it isn’t looking too good. Bella then feels bad about her cliff diving, because “nobody needed to be worrying about [her] right now”. Right—the whole town would just drop everything and abandon Harry, who’s lived there all his life, the instant they heard you’d been hurt or—
Oh, wait. They kind of did that already in Twilight.
Bella asks what she can do, and Jacob orders her to stay at his house. He gives her some of his own clothes so she can get out of her wet ones, but when he moves to leave, Bella asks him to stay with her, as she’s too tired to move. Jacob says he will, sits down, and has a narcoleptic fit and falls asleep in an instant. Bella spares a brief moment of thinking about somebody else for a change when she has—oh, HELL NO.
A SYMBOLIC DREAM.
And this one’s the BEST ONE YET.
For the first time in a very long time, my dream was just a normal dream. Just a blurred wandering through old memories—blinding bright visions of the Phoenix sun, my mother's face, a ramshackle tree house, a faded quilt, a wall of mirrors, a flame on the black water… I forgot each of them as soon as the picture changed. The last picture was the only one that stuck in my head. It was meaningless—just a set on a stage. A balcony at night, a painted moon hanging in the sky. I watched the girl in her nightdress lean on the railing and talk to herself.
Meaningless… but when I slowly struggled back to consciousness, Juliet was on my mind.
DON’T YOU GIVE ME THAT “MEANINGLESS” BULLSHIT, YOU COCKSUCKER.
Sorry. That pissed me off.
Bella thing proceeds to think of Juliet, and about the play in general and all of the characters. Bella wonders what Juliet would’ve done if Romeo had left her. Bella says that she knows exactly how Juliet feels. Oh, so you admit to being a stupid, rash, reckless little twit who arguably confused love with infatuation and lust? Bella then says that Juliet would not have gone back to normal, and that she would’ve done nothing but pine and pine and pine away for Romeo. Doesn’t make it any less pathetic, my dear. Bella then brings up Paris—and I think we all know who she’s talking about. Sorry—I gotta put in the whole quote. This isn’t something that can be summed up—it’s that INCREDIBLY STUPID (and arrogant—I’ll explain at the end). It’s a big quote, so I’ll be inserting little comments here and there, including a big one at the end.
I wondered if she would have married Paris in the end, just to please her parents, to keep the peace. No, probably not, I decided. But then, the story didn't say much about Paris. He was just a stick figure—a placeholder, a threat, a deadline to force her hand.
What about the part where Romeo, you know, murdered Paris? That ever gonna come up?
What if there were more to Paris?
What if Paris had been Juliet's friend? Her very best friend? What if he was the only one she could confide in about the whole devastating thing with Romeo? The one person who really understood her and made her feel halfway human again? What if he was patient and kind? What if he took care of her? What if Juliet knew she couldn't survive without him? What if he really loved her, and wanted her to be happy?
I…really feel the need to quote Bill Engvall here. “What if Barbie had a hand grenade?” In other words—WHAT’S YOUR POINT?
Oooo, look at all of the “what if”s up there! I’ve got an idea, too! What if, in Hamlet, he was actually Australian, as opposed to Danish?! Oh, and here’s another one—what if the king, at the very end, peeled off all his skin and revealed himself to be a dinosaur from Mars?! And it gets even better—what if, while Hamlet zoomed around in a rocket ship (that he bought from Acme™—oh, but what if he’d bought it from…somebody else?! A “what if” within my “what if”!) after Claudius climbed up the Eiffel Tower like King Kong (get it, eh? King Kong, King Claud?), Ophelia suddenly burst onto the scene and revealed that she didn’t REALLY drown—she was just resting! And then she takes of the wig and reveals herself to be none other than Charlton Heston! Man, just think of how Hamlet would’ve gone if all that would’ve happened. If anything, I think more high school students would actually enjoy reading the Bard.
And… what if she loved Paris? Not like Romeo. Nothing like that, of course. But enough that she wanted him to be happy, too?
Jacob's slow, deep breathing was the only sound in the room—like a lullaby hummed to a child, like the whisper of a rocking chair, like the ticking of an old clock when you had nowhere you needed to go…It was the sound of comfort. If Romeo was really gone, never coming back, would it have mattered whether or not Juliet had taken Paris up on his offer? Maybe she should have tried to settle into the leftover scraps of life that were left behind. Maybe that would have been as close to happiness as she could get.
Meyer? Yes, yes, it’s me in the back again. I’m sorry I keep bothering you, but I feel this needs to be said.
Apocalypse Now. Great movie—and everybody knows what it is loosely based on—Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. However, it is not a direct interpretation, not by a long shot. Settings are different, character names are changed, monologues are added in, some speeches are taken out. But through it all, threads of Heart of Darkness are there, along with subtle allusions to the original text and a couple of direct quotes. In other words, it uses Heart of Darkness as a skeleton. It is the base for the story. However, Apocalypse Now is its own story, and has its own messages, and has its own characters, and has its own speeches and quotes.
Now, I’m no fool—I know what you were trying for. You were trying for this equation—
You were attempting to base this little love triangle on the Romeo/Juliet/Paris one in Shakespeare’s play. Ordinarily, I’d have no problems with this—loosely basing something on one of Shakespeare’s plays is a time-honored tradition, because he was damned good at what he did. There are lots of modern interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays, and there are a lot of movies that simply borrow a little of this and a little of that from the Bard. So long as you throw your own original twist on the story, it’s generally an acceptable form of art, not to mention the sincerest form of flattery.
You’re not doing that, Meyer. You’re not basing this on Romeo and Juliet. This has absolutely nothing in common with Romeo and Juliet. This doesn’t resemble that story in the slightest. This is simply you, Meyer, waving the story in our faces to make you look somehow more intelligent, because CHECK IT OUT, you know about Romeo and Juliet! Yeah, well, so do most 14-year-old high school students, because it’s required reading. And I’m not even talking about the Honors and AP courses. EVERYBODY knows about Romeo and Juliet in some fashion, because it’s probably Shakespeare’s most well-traveled and famous play. You are nothing special for knowing about Romeo and Juliet. And you’re even less than nothing special if you use Shakespeare’s play like most badfic authors use canon—little of this, little of that, ignore the parts we don’t like, change everything around to suit their purposes, and BAM, they’ve got what they think is a fanfic of the original source!
Unless, of course—and correct me if you feel I’m reading too much into this—Meyer is seriously comparing this story to one of Shakespeare’s plays. If that is the case, little missy, I believe Shakespeare just might come back from the dead to Shake-Spear you.
And, of course, rounding out this entire discussion, I ask Meyer this: Okay, so Wardo has left her, and she can never hope to love anybody like that ever again, blah-de-blah-blah. What, exactly, is stopping her from…just staying single? If it’s a love that all-encompassing, wouldn’t it be more dramatic and a total show of devotion to Her Man to remain unwed and celibate for the rest of her life? Because you’re saying here that she can never love anybody like she loves Wardo, not in a million years, and yet, after less than a year of being without Wardo, she’s talking about being willing to settle?
Then there’s that whole “marry Jacob simply to make him happy”. Never mind that she wouldn’t be happy—but Jacob would be, so that makes considering the matter good. Hint, Meyer—a pity-fuck is not necessarily a good thing, and when it extends all the way to marriage? It’s downright BAD.
*suspicious* Is this more Mormon stuff? That the only reason she’s going to settle at all is because, as a woman, she is nothing without a man and must have one to be able to be acknowledged somehow in the world, so you marry the first guy who’s willing, love and devotion and finding your match be damned?
Well, I’ve rambled on about that enough. Why don’t we get back to recapping?
Bella starts thinking about reality for a change, and that all the stuff she’s been doing has been pretty foolish, from jumping off of the cliff to “the whole irresponsible Evel Knievel bit”. Did you seriously just compare what you were doing on a motorcycle to what Knievel does? *points and laughs—like, a LOT* Then we get this bit of insightfulness:
Harry's heart attack had pushed everything suddenly into perspective for me. Perspective that I didn't want to see, because—if I admitted to the truth of it—it would mean that I would have to change my ways. Could I live like that?
Maybe. It wouldn't be easy; in fact, it would be downright miserable to give up my hallucinations and try to be a grown-up. But maybe I should do it. And maybe I could. If I had Jacob.
I couldn't make that decision right now. It hurt too much. I'd think about something else.
Really ain’t much I can add to that. It speaks for itself, don’t you think? And nice homage to Scarlet O’Hara, Meyer. /sarcasm
Bella tries to think happy thoughts, and somehow that means she starts thinking about not just Wardo’s face she’d seen while drowning, but also of…you know…the actual drowning part, and all the painful parts. That…makes her happy? *files that away for Breaking Dawn* Anyway, it also leads her to thinking about the fire on the waves, and the only conclusion about it she can come to is that it’s obviously not fire (yeah—we know) before Billy arrives home. He comes in, and it’s obvious that Harry Clearwater has bitten it. Jacob, Billy, and Sam have a weird communing moment that I don’t get (probably because it’s badly written), and Bella stands to the side, ineffectual as always, pretending to be sorry about what’s happened. Yeah, I’d buy your crocodile tears, if I hadn’t already read what happens next. She asks where Charlie is, and Billy tells her he’s helping Sue, Harry’s wife, arrange the funeral. Sam leaves, saying he has to get back to the hospital. File this away, folks—this implies that Sam is very close to the Clearwaters. We do indeed need to keep that in mind.
Billy goes to be depressed in his room, and Bella fondles Jacob to make him feel better. It works, because soon he’s forgotten all about Harry and goes back to asking how Bella is. She says not to worry about her—and she can say that, because while it makes her look selfless, she’s pretty much guaranteed that everybody will worry about her no matter what—and then says that she probably needs to be home when Charlie gets back from the hospital. Bella lies on the sofa like a slug (it’s her only defense—no, seriously, it’s her only defense) while Jacob fetches her truck for her, and Jacob all but carries her to her truck. Same old, same old. They drive quietly home until Bella asks how he’s gonna get home after he drops her off, and he says he will be hunting rather than going home, as Victoria’s still running around doing her thing. And, as a whole page has passed since Harry’s death was announced, Bella deems that the appropriate amount of mourning and thinking of other people and quickly moves the focus back to herself—specifically, about whether or not she should jump Jacob’s bones. Bella then comes to the understanding that she doesn’t really want Jacob as her brother. And get a load of this, folks:
I realized now that all I really wanted was a claim on him. It didn't feel brotherly when he held me like this. It just felt nice—warm and comforting and familiar. Safe. Jacob was a safe harbor. I could stake a claim. I had that much within my power.
I'd have to tell him everything, I knew that. It was the only way to be fair. I'd have to explain it right, so that he'd know I wasn't settling, that he was much too good for me. He already knew I was broken, that part wouldn't surprise him, but he'd need to know the extent of it. I'd even have to admit that I was crazy—explain about the voices I heard. He'd need to know everything before he made a decision.
But, even as I recognized that necessity, I knew he would take me in spite of it all. He wouldn't even pause to think it through.
Impressive, isn’t it? First she says that she wants to get together with Jacob, but not because she loves him in any capacity—she wants to shack up with him so she can own him. Then she says it’s not settling—yeah, honey, it’s settling. You aren’t getting the best, and you’re going to forever mourn the best, so you’re just going to take the second-rate furry here. And then she says that he’ll take her without question even after she explains to him that the only reason she was hanging out with him—the only reason she was doing all of the things she did—was to get back in touch with Wardo somehow. That he’ll be fine with all that and there will be no feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger, resentment—anything. He’ll just go, “Okay! So, sex, then?” and probably continue to help her hear Imaginary!Wardo all the live long day (and that’s when she’ll call out the wrong name at an inopportune moment).
Bella then starts justifying herself and says that it wouldn’t be very wrong if she went along with Jacob, despite the fact that she doesn’t like him that way. Bella? It would be extremely wrong. And this book proves exactly why that is so in just a few pages. Then they arrive at her house, and Jacob hugs her, and proves that he also thought a page of mourning was enough and has gone back to trying to get into Bella’s panties. He says that he’s glad she’s okay and that he doesn’t care that she doesn’t love him back. Which, if you think about it, is really creepy. “Oh, I don’t care that you don’t love me. I’m gonna hug you and touch you and hold your hand anyway, though.”
But we have no time to contemplate that, because Bella then says probably one of the worst things she’s ever said.
Wouldn't Edward, indifferent as he might be, want me to be as happy as possible under the circumstances? Wouldn't enough friendly emotion linger for him to want that much for me? I thought he would. He wouldn't begrudge me this: giving just a small bit of love he didn't want to my friend Jacob. After all, it wasn't the same love at all.
Know what jumped into my head the minute I read that quote? Audrey, from Little Shop of Horrors, saying how she’s afraid of thinking it’s good that Orin Scrivello has disappeared, because he might be angry about that.
Bella apparently thinks that if she hooks up with Jacob, Wardo might get mad that she’s daring to feel anything for Jacob—EVEN THOUGH SHE THINKS HE DOESN’T LOVE HER ANYMORE. It doesn’t matter that she thinks he doesn't want her anymore—apparently, dating her once gives him complete control and ownership over her, and she’s not allowed to feel affection for anybody else. EVER. And this isn’t Wardo thinking this (although you know he does, for sure), it’s Bella.
Lemme ask you this, Bella—what’s Wardo gonna do, huh? What if you had decided that you loved Jacob and you’d wanted to move on? What if he found out? Why the second thoughts? Where does his opinion of you going out with somebody else even enter into this?
More specifically—where does your opinion of this conundrum enter into this? Okay, so I understand that shacking up with Jacob would make him the happiest little booger alive, but that doing so will apparently make Wardo come down and rain the wrath of the sparkly vampire down on both of you, even though you don’t think he wants you anymore. But, um…you don’t want Jacob that way, except to own him, and it’s really not that hard to keep him the way you have him now. After all, you aren’t dating him, and he’s still panting after you and pawing pathetically at you. You own him in every sense of the word. So…where do you even enter into the picture?
It’s one thing for a man to think of a woman as property. It’s quite another for a woman to think of herself as property. That’s venturing into Yanomamo territory, where some of the Yanomamo women were very concerned for a female anthropologist who came to study them—after all, she had no scars or bruises, so obviously, her husband didn’t love her.
Jacob continues to molest Bella, and she continues to like it, even going so far as to think about molesting him back, and then—probably unintentionally, considering Meyer is about as sexy as day-old peas—it’s implied that if Bella kisses Jacob’s shoulder, they’d have sex in her truck. That’s when Imaginary!Wardo shows up again and tells her to be happy.
Jacob then goes to leave, but then goes completely out of his tree and tries to high-tail it out there (after exclaiming “Holy crap!”, making it more than obvious that this was definitely a “Holy shit!” moment, but Meyer is too Mormon to let even the unwashed
Bella demands Jacob stop the truck, and says that it’s not Victoria and that she wants to go back, because it’s the Cullens. Jacob just about shits a hairy brick right there in the car, prompting Bella to try and calm him down—or not. She leaves him to calm himself down while she stares out the window of her truck and pants like a dog at the thought of one of the Cullens being here. Jacob is rather incredulous about Bella wanting to go back, and she gives a truly airheaded performance by failing in all ways to comprehend why Jacob is so furious about this. He gets the bitter, angsty face that we’d seen back before Bella knew he was a werewolf, and when Bella demands again that Jacob take her back, Jacob tells her basically to fuck off and go back herself if she’s so desperate to get to them, and that he can’t go in there, because vampires are his enemy and he doesn’t know who’s in there. While I cheer Jacob on, Bella whines that it’s not like that and that it’s not a war, and Jacob delivers an awesome parting shot as he leaps out of the car and goes *poof*: “"Bye, Bella," he called back over his shoulder. "I really hope you don't die."”
Ah. So nice that Jacob gives me one last bit of awesome before he transforms into the BFD.
So, Jacob exits, stage right, and Bella spares one second of thought feeling badly about what she’d just done to Jacob before forgetting all about him and high-tailing it to the house—and no, that’s not an exaggeration. Meyer herself describes it that way. Then Bella finally wonders if it maybe is a trick, but goes into the house anyway, because she’s an idiot. The house is completely dark—and then we get this bit of stupidity.
I took a step inside and fumbled for the light switch. It was so black—like the black water… Where was that switch?
Just like the black water, with the orange flame flickering impossibly on top of it. Flame that couldn't be a fire, but what then… ? My fingers traced the wall, still searching, still shaking—
You’re kidding me, right? The fact that your house is dark just happens to remind you of the time you nearly drowned and what you saw then, even though you are apparently completely overcome with anticipation of seeing a vampire you know? Yeah—that’s not contrived or anything. And the purpose of said contrivance is seen immediately when Bella remembers that Jacob said Victoria had gone into the ocean to avoid the werewolves, and ta-da, that was the fire she’d seen, it had been Victoria’s hair! She’d been in the harbor, out there in the water, watching them, and Bella would’ve been killed had Sam and Jacob not saved her ass (for the thousandth time).
Typically, Meyer, when people jump into water, their hair gets, you know—WET. And it doesn’t wave anymore. It stays flat and plastered to one’s head. I don’t know what Bizarro universe you come from where that doesn’t happen, but in this one, unless the individual in question is walking on top of the water a la Jesus, their hair does not flutter like fire in the high winds.
And before anybody tries to tell me that she may have been standing on a rock—it was raining cats and dogs, if you all will recall. She’d STILL be wet.
So, upon remembering that, Bella gives pause, even in this situation, where she’s that close to going back to being a total vampire groupie, and then somebody else in the house turns on the light.
And on that “suspenseful” note, the chapter ends, and, as LJ has a word limit on posts, I am forced to leave you all…erm…“hanging”. Until next time,
Or, at least, until Chapter 17 – Visitor.
Stinger: “And I flung myself off the cliff.”
( Chapter 17 - Visitor )