So, Bella and Alice hopped a quick flight to Italy and managed to stop Wardo from publicly sparkling. But the Volturi—i.e., the Catholics—were still highly unamused (and evil), and so we ended the last section with them taking our intrepid heroes down into the sewers to met with Aro.
Paul Count: 0. Wasn’t all that enraging. Just…stupid.
Chapter 21 – Verdict
So, we’re now apparently out of the sewers and into an office complex. Wardo glares at everything because he can, but he still goes along quietly. They hop a ride in an elevator going up, the Catholic vampires pull back their hoods so Bella can talk about how beautiful they are, all while cowering back from them.
Then we go into what appears to be a reception area or some kind of waiting room filled with pleasant furniture and nice flowers. Bella remarks that “the flowers’ smell reminded [her] of a funeral home”. Because they’re evil, you know—when Bella or the Cullens smell like flowers, it is Perfect and Good. But enough about flowers—check out the chick behind the desk! It’s a human, and “she would have been very pretty in any other company—but not here”. Naturally. Because, after all, you’re only beautiful if you’re a vampire. Need I remind you, Bella, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that you are constantly revealing yourself to be the most shallow bitch that ever walked the earth? Anyway—Bella wonders why this human chick—Gianna—is so perfectly comfortable with and polite to all of these vampires. Pot, meet Kettle.
We go into another reception area (dammit, Stephenie Meyer is the Roger Corman of writers—can’t get enough of these walking scenes). A guy who looks like Jane’s twin arrives, and…oh my. They kiss and touch and greet each other…pretty much in a fashion similar to how Sam greeted Emily way back when. Dude—are you—are you implying incest? Or are you just such a crappy writer that you can’t write any sort of affection unless it’s romantic? Well, I officially think that the two twins Jane and Alec are doing it, incest and all.
Alec, after kissing and groping his own sister, congratulates Jane on bringing them all back, and then apparently every Catholic’s mind switches to the same thing—eating Bella. Wardo shits a brick, and Felix McYesWeGetItHe’sEvil beckons Wardo—or, as Meyer puts it, “his hand was raised, palm up; he curled his fingers twice, inviting Edward forward”. You are not Herman Melville, Meyer; you are not being paid by the word. Write like a normal human being. Alice attempts to diffuse the situation by having another mental conversation with Wardo, who calms down. Now it’s time to go meet Aro. Alec and Jane are holding hands (deny it, folks—deny the incestuous overtones), and as they go down another freakin’ hall, Bella wonders “would there ever be an end?” No, Bella, I really think there won’t. You have your Suethor creator to blame for that.
The doors Bella thought she’d be going through are ignored—the gold-plated doors.
Ariana had never seen such a large house. It reminded her of a castle out of a fairy tale. Like the kind Sleeping Beauty would have lived in. The room she was led to had beautiful lavender walls, with a four posted bed gilded in gold, with a lavender bed spread. All the furniture was plated in gold, making Ariana feel even more like a princess.
Airhead, Year 2.
*mildly* Care to comment, Meyer?
We instead go to a plain door and now we’re—CHRIST, BACK IN THE SEWERS. No, wait—it’s just an antechamber. We’re apparently in a castle turret, and it has a drain in the middle of the room. Given that Meyer made a big deal out of it and had Bella wonder very loudly what it was, I’m willing to bet it has some kind of sinister purpose—it’d be much more satisfying, though, if we could just flush Bella down it. As we observe the people in this room, two of the women pose in a patch of sunlight so they can sparkle—you know, to remind us of that particular (and stupid) Meyerpire trait. We take another break in our writing to talk about how gorgeous all of the vampires are, despite being evil, and then we FINALLY get to meet HIM. It is the one, the only, the Pope!
Actually, it’s just Aro.
He’s incredibly graceful, and everybody apparently is his bodyguard. Ah, so Aro has a posse. And what does Aro look like?
I couldn't decide if his face was beautiful or not. I suppose the features were perfect. But he was as different from the vampires beside him as they were from me. His skin was translucently white, like onionskin, and it looked just as delicate—it stood in shocking contrast to the long black hair that framed his face. I felt a strange, horrifying urge to touch his cheek, to see if it was softer than Edward's or Alice's, or if it was powdery, like chalk. His eyes were red, the same as the others around him, but the color was clouded, milky; I wondered if his vision was affected by the haze.
“Onionskin”? Seriously? Or is this an elaborate joke? Good ol’ Aro has layers! I prefer to call him a parfait. Probably one made of fruit—with a generous helping of nuts.
He skips forward and gives Jane a big kiss, full on the mouth. Careful, old man, Alec will get jealous. Jane is subservient and calls His Holiness “Master”, Aro is indulgent, and then he turns and Meyer really ramps up the Dumbledore ripoff. Bella is rather stunned by his totally amused attitude towards things (I’d be more stunned by the fact that all of these vampires are apparently sleeping with each other, brothers and sisters and all). Aro tells Felix McManservant to go get the other two heads, and then Aro goes from Dumbledore to Brad Wesley in a heartbeat, scolding Wardo for trying to get them to murder him and he’s being smug about it all as he does so. He wants to know what happened, and asks Alice about it. She says it was a mistake, and Aro says he just loves her talent, and keeps throwing exclamation marks around. Then he makes it clear that he loves Wardo’s talent, too. Meyer is reminding us that Aro likes to collect, him being the Evil Holy Brad Gazzara Pope, and all.
Aro babbles about convenience, and basically, this whole scene is for Meyer to jerk off her own characters by having Aro, Holy Pope Gazzara of all the vampires with his ability to touch you and know every single thought you’ve ever had in your life, talk about how much more awesome Alice and Wardo are than himself or any other vampires.
Fortunately, this bit of masturbating is cut short when Caius and Marcus show up. Aro calls this situation “wonderful”, while Marcus looks bored and Caius looks grumpy. Aro wants to know what’s up, and Marcus pokes Aro’s hand and gives him the story before wandering off. Aro continues to throw around words like “interesting” and “amazing”, because he apparently thinks everything is just the greatest thing ever. So, what does he think is so interesting and amazing?
"Marcus sees relationships. He's surprised by the intensity of ours."
So…basically, the three supposedly most powerful vampires in the world break down thusly:
1) Aro. Ability: Physical contact allows him to know every thought you’ve ever had in your life, no matter your age.
2) Marcus. Ability: *stifles snort* Seeing relationships.
3) Caius. Ability: None whatsoever.
THESE are the vampires that took charge? THESE are the vampires that subdued all of these people into their guard and ensure their unwavering loyalty? There are tons more powerful vampires as their underlings—why hasn’t one of them taken charge yet? These three are absolutely nothing special, and the way Meyer has described them implies that they are fragile by vampire standards.
Oh, and Meyer? It’s more than obvious that you dreamed up Marcus’s power strictly so you could talk about how awesome your romantic couple is. Well, bite me.
Anyway—Wardo’s line prompts Aro to again spout some nonsense about how awesome Wardo is, asking how he manages not to snarf Bella right there. This dialogue is extremely boring. Wardo speaks in a dry, deadpan monotone, and Aro puts an exclamation point at the end of all of his sentences. Anyway, to sum up, Aro says that Bella’s blood is the baconiest blood ever—I mean, like ever. No other vampire has ever experienced bacon blood that strong. Nobody else has ever experienced something that bad. Because, you know, our two little heroes are unique and speshul, and Meyer is always looking for more ways to make them unique and speshul. Then Aro brings up Carlisle, and says that BITCH YOU DID NOT YOU DID NOT JUST DO THAT I WILL CUT YOU DID YOU SERIOUSLY JUST HAVE ARO SAY THAT WARDO HAS BETTER SELF-CONTROL THAN FUCKING CARLISLE I DON’T REMEMBER HIM EVER GOING OUT AND EATING A BUNCH OF PEOPLE STRICTLY BECAUSE HE COULD AND THEN SHOWING ABSOLUTELY NO REMORSE WHATSOEVER FOR IT OH MY GOD HATE YOU HATE YOU HATE YOU WITH THE FURY OF TEN THOUSAND TERRIBLE BURNING SUNS GO FALL IN A WELL AND DIE YOU MISERABLE SHIT-SUCKING BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry. Among all her royally crappy characters, Carlisle is actually pretty awesome, and seeing that asshole Wardo held up as better than him really pisses me off. Well, back to the story.
No, not back to the story. This is revolting. Ben GazzAro just goes on and on and on about how awesome Wardo is and calls Bella a “siren” and I CAN’T. STAND. THIS. DIALOGUE. It is DRAGGING. END!!! DO SOMETHING!!!
Finally. Aro asks to touch Bella and see if she’s immune to him as well. We all know where this is going. Long story short, it naturally doesn’t work. Wardo sits there and is incredibly smug, and how I wish I had a sledgehammer and a chisel right now. Aro ponders for a moment, then decides to test out Jane on Bella. Because he’s evil. Wardo shits another brick, and Jane, er, persuades him to calm down by revealing her ability and why everybody is apparently so afraid of her. She’s named Jane because it rhymes with pain. Apparently it’s not much pain, because while it dropped Wardo to the ground in an instant, all he’s doing is cringing.
Ahem. Airhead? If I may.
“Crucio.” Voldemort sneered at her as she cringed in pain. The shackles were the only thing that kept her from collapsing. She wanted to scream, but she was determined not to. She didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.
Airhead, Year 6.
Jane essentially Crucios people she looks at. We see her do this again later, and the vampire in question writhes and screams in absolute agony. Wardo? Cringes and stays absolutely silent.
Eh. I’m not surprised. Anyway, my other beef with this particular ability is the fact that it is the most feared. How shallow can you get? We later learn that there’s another vampire who has the ability to deaden all senses and basically render you helpless, and another who can manipulate you into basically being brainwashed and turn you into a devoted slave. But brainwashing is brushed aside and hardly mentioned, because OH, the PAIN, that is SO much more frightening. Meyer is so incredibly shallow.
Anyway—Wardo’s in pain, and Bella talks about her pain at watching his pain, and I’m concentrating on my pain at having to read this. So we’re all in pain. Aro finally calls Jane off, and she turns on Bella.
If you guess that absolutely nothing would happen, Jane gets all angry, and Aro is wryly amused, have a cookie.
Actually, I need to transcribe Aro’s precise reaction.
Aro started to laugh. "Ha, ha, ha," he chuckled. "This is wonderful!"
Did you actually just write “Ha, ha, ha”, Meyer? Directly after you say he laughed—and then again stating that he laughed? So, you basically told me that he laughed three times in one sentence. That’s…that’s just bad writing, is what that is.
Aro tells Jane to calm down, because she’s flipping out, and Aro says that Bella “confounds us all”. I’ll say she does—just when I think she can’t get any lower, she goes and promptly does just that. Wait—you meant that as a compliment. Aro goes “ha, ha, ha” again, and am I the only one who kind of imagines him doing that like the Joker does in The Dark Knight during his entrance into the mob meeting? Or better yet, as the Chicken Man of Krankor. So—oh, dammit, Aro AGAIN talks about how great Wardo is for “[enduring] in silence”. But now Wardo’s all disgusted at Aro’s evilness and making it quite clear, so Aro decides to finally, finally, FINALLY get to the goddamned point of this whole meeting—what is going to be done with these three.
First, he invites Wardo and Alice to join his little club; they decline. Bribe them with comic books, Aro. Then he asks Bella to join. Wardo promptly shits another brick—you need to get some medicine for that, boy—and Caius is outraged. Aro explains.
"Caius, surely you see the potential," Aro chided him affectionately. "I haven't seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec. Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?"
Considering I know what her power is, it’s actually not all that great, in terms of strategic or offensive advantage. At the most, it merely evens the playing field among the vampire’s gifts.
Meanwhile, Wardo has shit enough bricks to start his own masonry company. Bella, upon seeing his brick-shitting, declines the offer. We…don’t really hear her decline because she doesn’t want to, only because Wardo doesn’t like it. Are we surprised? No, we aren’t. But Wardo isn’t done—he gets all up in Aro’s face and delivers some lines.
Edward hissed. "Join or die, is that it? I suspected as much when we were brought to this room. So much for your laws."
The tone of his voice surprised me. He sounded irate, but there was something deliberate about his delivery—as if he'd chosen his words with great care.
Yes, chosen his words with great care—as in, chose words that would most likely sound like he was alluding to religions that kill anybody who does not agree to convert to their ways. *drums fingers irritably*
Aro acts all surprised and says that that is absolute nonsense, but Caius immediately says that “the law claims them”, because Bella is a human and knows about the vampires and because he’s evil. Wardo tries to be all superior, saying that the Catholics have little Renfields of their own, but Caius points out that they are there to serve, and are eventually going to be vamp chow. He also points out that Wardo plans on leaving her human, so now she’s a liability and needs to die, and he looks right pleased about it. *scratches head* Hmm—I’m getting the impression that Caius is evil. Anyone else?
Fortunately, GazzAro interrupts and says that everybody can go home happy if Wardo promises to give Bella immortality. Wardo, naturally, balks, and looks like he’s about to make some more bricks. Bella’s reaction?
"Mean it," I whispered. "Please."
Was it really such a loathsome idea? Would he rather die than change me? I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach.
You know, Wardo has made it quite clear that he considers vampirism pretty much damning the soul to the blackest hell, or being outside of God’s grace. So, yes—if your love is really as true and pure as you say, I think he’d rather die than do that to you. Oh, wait—he DOESN’T love you anymore. My mistake.
Not to mention that, once again, Bella will use any possible situation in order to whine about getting what she wants—and I do mean any situation. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Breaking Dawn.
Fortunately, Alice steps forward and offers the high-five to Aro, who “took her hand with an eager, acquisitive glint in his eyes”. Gee, you think Aro’s evil? So, they have a moment, and then Aro once again let’s out a hearty “ha, ha, ha”. Well, not that hearty—no exclamation points, and all, just like the others. So, Alice determines that they have no fear of Bella not being changed because, after all, she’s Seen it.
Wasn’t a major point of this book and one of the things Alice went on about a lot here is the fact that her visions are not infallible? Wait—never mind, they’re only fallible when it’s convenient. *sneers at Meyer*
Aro bounces around like an idiot just as pleased as punch. The others are fairly disappointed that they won’t get to enjoy some Bella Beggin’ Strips. Because they’re evil. Caius whines briefly, and Aro goes off, implying that they’ll eventually join the Catholics, blah blah blah, it’s very tedious.
What does Bella think of all this?
Aro seemed convinced. Did he not realize how subjective Alice's visions were? That she could make up her mind to transform me today, and then change it tomorrow? A million tiny decisions, her decisions and so many others', too—Edward's—could alter her path, and with that, the future.
And would it really matter that Alice was willing, would it make any difference if I did become a vampire, when the idea was so repulsive to Edward? If death was, to him, a better alternative than having me around forever, an immortal annoyance? Terrified as I was, I felt myself sinking down into depression, drowning in it…
Only one line of that I buy—the fact that someone would rather die than have Bella around for all of eternity. That I can relate to.
The rest of it? Just more emphasis on how incredibly STUPID Bella is. Also, more discussion on Alice foreseeing Bella as a vampire later. It’ll be a while, but don’t worry—will definitely bring it up.
And so, Aro says, “Bye, then! Change her at your leisure!” Felix McGroan groans, and Aro tells him to have patience. Wardo gets antsy and says they’d better leave ASAP, with Aro agreeing, saying that “accidents do happen”, then takes Felix’s cloak and gives it to Wardo to wear, saying, “It suits you”. Our intrepid trio tries to get out, but they apparently don’t do it fast enough—because then a large crowd of humans comes into the chamber, “maybe forty or more”. Some seem like tourists. Others, not so much.
Others looked confused, as if the story that had led them to this room was not making sense anymore. I noticed one small, dark woman in particular. Around her neck was a rosary, and she gripped the cross tightly in one hand. She walked more slowly than the others, touching someone now and then and asking a question in an unfamiliar language. No one seemed to understand her, and her voice grew more panicked.
I think we all know where this is leading. BTW, the Catholics are evil.
Bella knows what’s coming and starts bawling, and when they exit, they see one last vampire named Heidi, who’s dressed like a whore. We learn why—apparently, she’d been “fishing” and was the one to collect all of those people.
Including the woman with the rosary? That’s…that’s interesting.
Not to mention… *squints* Boy, the sun sure is high in the sky. And nary a cloud to be seen! *patiently* Care to explain, Meyer, how Heidi went fishing without publicly sparkling?
So, they manage to get out, but not “before the screaming started”. In case you didn’t notice, the Catholics are evil. But not Wardo—not when he was eating people. That was reasonable.
Um…I thought Volterra was the safest city in the world. And yet countless people seem to disappear constantly upon entering it? Is this never investigated? Do people never trace their loved ones’ steps back to Volterra? Why am I asking these questions when I know that this was simply put in so Meyer could show how evil the Catholics were, and that she wasn’t thinking one bit about the logistics of it?
Right—so, I’d best get some of my main problems with all of this out in the open now. Remember in the last section, where I mentioned a lot of stuff and said I’d save it for later? As a reminder, they were:
1) The Catholics’ (more specifically, Aro’s) love of power
2) Aro’s tendency to collect those with talents
3) The Catholics enforce vampiric law
To begin, I offer up this particular quote from the author herself, Stephenie Meyer, regarding Aro. Anything in bold is my own emphasis.
“Once upon a time, a fairly young vampire (he had only been a vampire for a decade and a half) named Aro changed his young sister Didyme, who had just reached adulthood, into a vampire in order to add her to his growing coven. Aro always wanted power, and because he himself had a potent mind-reading gift, he hoped his biological sister would also be gifted in a way that would help him rise in the vampire world. It turned out that Didyme did have a gift; she carried with her an aura of happiness that affected everyone who came near her. Though it wasn’t exactly what he had hoped for, Aro pondered the best ways he could use this gift. Meanwhile, Aro’s most trusted partner, Marcus, fell in love with Didyme. This was not unusual; given the way she made people feel, lots of people fell in love with Didyme. The difference was that this time, Didyme fell in love herself. The two of them were tremendously happy. So happy, in fact that, after a while, they no longer cared that much about Aro’s plans for domination. After a few centuries, Didyme and Marcus discussed going their own way. Of course, Aro was well aware of their intentions. He was not happy about it, but he pretended to give his blessing. Then he waited for an opportunity to act, and when he knew he would never be found out, he murdered his sister. After all, Marcus’s gift was much more useful to him than hers had been. This is not to say that Aro did not truly love his sister; it’s just that a key part of his personality is the ability to destroy even what he loves in order to further his ambitions. Marcus never found out that Aro was responsible for Didyme’s death. He became an empty man. Aro used Chelsea’s gift to keep Marcus loyal to the Volturi, though not even Chelsea’s gift could make Marcus show any enthusiasm for it.”
First off—not gonna dissect the story itself at the moment. Maybe later—because that is so crappy and stupid that it deserves it. Didyme sounds even more like Airhead than Bella is—seriously, anyone she meets immediately falls in love with her and those that don’t just become the happiest people alive? Bleh. Anyway—moving forward. The reason I quoted this was to provide some more info on Aro.
Aro loves power. Aro wants power. Aro wants to rule the vampire world. Aro does this by collecting powerfully-gifted vampires and wiping out the covens they were in so as to prevent retaliation.
Okay—loving and wanting power I can understand. That’s often the root of a good villain—one who becomes blinded by his desire for power—and it would make sense that he would gather an army in order to seize the authority he wants, to take over from the existing leaders and put himself up in this position of power. Except that, during this whole thing, all I could think of was…what power?
Seriously—to have power implies that you are in a position of wealth or control or authority or safety that is otherwise unattainable to the common people. Except…that’s not the case. Meyer claims these are the heads of the vampire world, but what does that entail, exactly? The other vampires don’t pay them tribute, there aren’t any real laws to be enforced, they control no resources specific to the vampire world, and as vampires here are essentially immortal and invincible, there is no need to band together for safety. If you look at it, the isolationist Cullens are and have pretty much everything that the Volturi are/do, with the noted exception that they don’t eat people.
So, I say again—what power? They don’t lead, they don’t rule, they don’t make policy, they don’t use their position for financial or material gain, they don’t impose their will—they don’t do anything but live in a hole and have their meals brought to them, and if someone exposes them, they step on them.
That isn’t power. Their one duty seems to be maintaining secrecy, which seems to me should be construed as a responsibility—in which case, despite the fact that they’re obviously not very good at it, the Volturi could come across as rather selfless for taking up this mantle. But no, Meyer wants us to believe that they are evil and lust for power. But there is no power to be had in this vampire world, not as she’s described it.
Oh, but Aro collects people with powerful gifts! So…that’s power? If you’re the biggest thug on the playground? And what does he do with all these powerful people that he’s collected?
…he sends them out to pick up his lunch.
If there was a more elaborate governmental network of vampires with laws and policy and taxes and whatnot, or a large financial empire based from those in charge, or if the Volturi believed that there was a threat to their immortality or race and were motivated to barricade themselves somewhere out of fear and work to preserve their race, I might buy it. But there isn’t. They don’t do anything. We have no evidence that they watch other vampires, that they monitor their kind very carefully for possible exposure, that they provide protection for other vampires as a means of preserving the species. As we’ll find out later, really Aro’s sole ambition is to collect lots and lots of powerful vampires…and for no reason that we ever ascertain.
We never find out the Volturi’s motivation for doing anything. It’s not greed, or fear, or ambition. They’ve gained nothing by taking over that they couldn’t have managed by other means, like the Cullens. In fact, given that vampires are nomads who police themselves, it sounds to me like there never was anything for them to take over—it looks like they just declared themselves the leaders and that was that. And why? It’s simply because they “love power”. And frankly, that’s exactly the kind of half-assed explanation for the mustache-twirling villain that I’ve come to expect from this series. Flat, stupid characters with no personalities and no motivations—doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad, it’s what Meyer does. In the case of her heroes, we get a whiny self-insert with no ambitions or considerations for others and a controlling asshole with no personality, and for our villains we get a mix of Snidely Whiplash and Dark Helmet, idiots who are literally evil for the sake of being Evil, “because Good is dumb.”
Chapter 22 – Flight
So, off they go into the reception room, with a dire warning not to leave in the middle of the day. Bella’s still going on about how gorgeous Wardo is, even after having witnessed the beginnings of a slaughter so terrible the Catholics had to have a drain installed in the floor for the mess. Witnessing this sort of thing has apparently deadened all of Bella’s senses, as it takes Alice pointing out that she’s “going to pieces” for her to realize that she’s shaking way hard and wonders “if this was how Jacob felt just before exploding into a werewolf”. And on the same subject of Bella’s deadened senses, she apparently doesn’t know that that “strange, ripping counterpart to the otherwise cheery background music” is her sobbing. Is she ever aware of when she is crying?
Anyway—Alice apparently knows that she’s not in my favor and attempts to get there:
"I think she's having hysterics. Maybe you should slap her," Alice suggested. Edward threw a frantic glance at her.
Ah, thank you. Normally, I’d call you insensitive, considering what’s going on in the room across the hall, but I really don’t care. I’m all for slapping Bella.
She finally realizes that she’s the one sobbing and that that is what is shaking her. Wardo continues to comfort her, and say everything is just peachy now. And— *blinks* Wow. Check this out, folks.
I knew it was stupid to react like this. Who knew how much time I had to look at his face? He was saved, and I was saved, and he could leave me as soon as we were free. To have my eyes so filled with tears that I could not see his features clearly was wasteful—insanity.
But, behind my eyes where the tears could not wash the image away, I could still see the panicked face of the tiny woman with the rosary.
She…doesn’t want to cry over the fact that the Catholics just brutally murdered over forty people and apparently all but bathe in their blood, taking into consideration the drain in the middle of the floor. Because she doesn’t want to not see Wardo’s face. Because seeing Wardo’s face is the number one thing on her list.
Yeah. I felt this one coming.
Bella starts babbling about how horrible the Catholics are for eating all those people, and I admit it now, I snorted out loud when I read it. Dude—she hasn’t given two shits about people being eaten by vampires this entire book. When the hikers started disappearing, she didn’t give any pause whatsoever about it. When one of Charlie’s best friends died, she barely showed any remorse. She didn’t even bat an eyelash when she learned that Wardo has killed lots of people. But now she’s deciding to talk about how horrible it is? Pfft. This is nothing more than Meyer trying to emphasize how rotten and terrible and heartless and all of those words the Catholics are. ‘Cause they’re evil.
So, Bella continues to weep and sob and be generally hypocritical (again—it’s perfectly “reasonable”, your quote, Meyer/Bella, for Wardo to have desires to kill people and have a moment where he did, in fact, give in to that desire—and not by accident at all, by choice—but any other vampire who does this? ZOMGSOEBIL!!!!!1111!!~!) when Gianna shows up to be polite and see if they want anything. Bella calls Wardo “a hostile vampire”. Um…meaning that Gianna should be afraid of Wardo? If he’s no danger to humans, why should she be afraid of him? Oh, that’s right—he’s only a danger to “bad” humans—and I guess she didn’t make his list. Anyway, Wardo is total bitchface to her, but she just smiles and drifts off. Bella, once Gianna is out of hearing range, demands to know if she is aware of the Great Nomming that’s going on. Wardo says “she knows everything”, and that includes the fact that the Catholics are probably going to kill her once she outlives her usefulness. However, Wardo helpfully supplies that “she’s hoping they’ll decide to keep her”, meaning that “she wants to be one of them”. Bella is absolutely horrified.
Yeah. I laughed, too. The idea of Bella being horrified by somebody wanting to be a vampire and willing to go to all sorts of extremes to get it was absolutely hysterical.
Anyway, she starts sobbing again, and is still thinking that it’s ridiculous to be crying because crying means she can’t see Wardo’s face—shedding tears over the dead is just plain nonsensical! Oh, and it gets even better, folks.
"What's wrong?" he asked, still anxious, rubbing my back with gentle pats.
I wrapped my arms around his neck—what was the worst he could do? Just push me away—and hugged myself closer to him. "Is it really sick for me to be happy right now?" I asked. My voice broke twice.
He didn't push me away. He pulled me tight against his ice-hard chest, so tight it was hard to breathe, even with my lungs securely intact. "I know exactly what you mean," he whispered. "But we have lots of reasons to be happy. For one, we're alive."
"Yes," I agreed. "That's a good one."
"And together," he breathed. His breath was so sweet it made my head swim. I just nodded, sure that he did not place the same weight on that consideration as I did.
Um, first off—how do you rub someone’s back with a pat?
Secondly—yes. It is very sick for you to be happy.
Thirdly—I see Wardo still hasn’t shown any signs of being reformed. “Yeah, too bad about all those people—but, hey, we’re alive! Who cares about them? Let’s be happy!”
Fourthly—Bella, just Darwin yourself already. You are the stupidest person ever committed to paper. You do not deserve to be in this gene pool.
Alice says that they’re probably going to survive this, informing them that at least she’s going to be seeing Jasper soon. Bella: “Lucky Alice. She could trust in her future.”
*rubs forehead* Bella…either her ability is as reliable as everybody thinks it is or it isn’t. You can’t just pick and choose what is definite about her visions and what isn’t.
Stephenie Meyer, master of convenience and contrivance. Somebody should give her some kind of award—only at the ceremony, they should conveniently forget it at home so she has to go back empty-handed.
So, now Bella’s staring at Wardo, but that’s okay—Wardo’s staring, too. We have a couple of paragraphs of, “Boo-hoo, he doesn’t love me, I’ll just pretend he does,” and then Bella mentions that Wardo looks pretty hungry. He says he’s fine. And…oh, then we get another paragraph about how Wardo doesn’t love her anymore, and that he’s obviously only acting this way for her benefit (if that isn’t irony, I don’t know what is). Gad—how many more of those are we going to have to endure? Please don’t answer that.
Alice goes back to something mentioned in the previous chapter—sorry, I forgot to mention it. Aro said something about Bella being “la tua cantante” in relation to her smelling like the baconiest bacon that ever did bacon to Wardo. Here’s what that means.
"What was all that talk about singers?" Alice asked at one point.
"La tua cantante," Edward said. His voice made the words into music.
"Yes, that," Alice said, and I concentrated for a moment. I'd wondered about that, too, at the time.
I felt Edward shrug around me. "They have a name for someone who smells the way Bella does to me. They call her my singer—because her blood sings for me."
Bleh. Sounds way too much like Meyer continuing to romanticize vampires. Because she does that. Seriously—have you guys noticed? The vampires smell sweet and wonderful. Their skin is hard like diamonds. They shimmer in the sunlight. Their voices are melodic. They have no fangs. She uses every way possible to avoid one single word: DEAD. Because the concept of being in love and having sex with a corpse is just too squicky for Meyer, here.
So, Wardo is planting feather-light kisses all over Bella, and you’ll be so pleased to know that Bella’s tachycardia is back. Whoop-de-damn-doo-doo. Bella remarks that she “was in heaven—right smack in the middle of hell”. Deep. After a while, Alec shows up, completely spotless (um, maybe I was wrong about the drain? I still don’t see the point of dragging in so many people), and says they can go, and to go rather quickly. Wardo is being pissy still (would you stop antagonizing these people? Do you really want them to change their minds?), but Alec is serene. Gianna tells them the way out and bids them farewell, ignoring Alice’s Mary Sue Death Glare.
They exit, and the celebration in Volterra is apparently still going on, this time amongst the adults. They are all wearing the same black cloaks that the Catholics wear (I…don’t pretend to understand this), and have the plastic fangs as well. Wardo comments that they are “ridiculous”.
*coughs* Meyer? Considering that your vampires are pretty much the only vampires without fangs of some sort, I don’t think it’s real good of you to go around calling other vampire mythos “ridiculous”.
So, we find out Alice has gone to fetch Bella’s bags, and something about a toothbrush pleases Bella. Bella asks if she’s stealing a car, too, and Wardo is rather smug about that. *wryly* You know, considering these vampires are rather self-righteous about how they’re so much better and morally superior to every other vampire in the world because they eat animals and don’t take lives, they sure aren’t adverse to breaking pretty much every other law. I know it’s necessary sometimes, in order for them to blend in, but…dude, these people steal cars effortlessly—they’ve clearly had a lot of practice.
Oh, and something I just now thought of—the Cullens tend to steal the most expensive and fastest and flashiest cars. Apparently, none of the people who bought these incredibly costly cars thought that they would need car alarms. Not a huge plot hole—but, considering these books look like sieves, they’ve got so many, I’m not inclined to be charitable.
Alice arrives in her stolen car, and Bella is just so shocked that Wardo would sit in the back with her. Couldn’t be that he loves her, or anything. Then Alice actually apologizes for how shoddy the car stole is, and remarks that she wants one of the Porsches she stole earlier today. Wardo says he’ll get her one as a present, then says that Bella should sleep because “it’s over”, and Bella wangsts over that, because Wardo doesn’t love her. She implies that she doesn’t want to sleep because she’s just going to stay awake as long as possible so she can stare at Wardo’s face.
So, they make it to the airport in their contraband (why do these people always get away with stealing cars? Given that they steal the most expensive ones around, wouldn’t, you know, the cops be on the lookout? If they stole common cars, I’d buy it. But they steal rare ones. PLOT HOLE), and…um…I never heard anything about them arranging a new flight. Apparently, this is one of those convenient “walk-in” airports. *reads ahead*
The plane trip to Rome was so short that there wasn't really a chance for the fatigue to drag me under. I knew the flight from Rome to Atlanta would be another matter entirely, so I asked the flight attendant if she could bring me a Coke.
"Bella," Edward said disapprovingly. He knew my low tolerance for caffeine.
He controls who she sees. He controls where she goes. He controls whether or not she goes to college. He controls their intimacy. He controls every aspect of their relationship—and now he’s controlling what she drinks.
GOD, I HATE THAT BASTARD. AND I HATE HER MORE FOR JUST ROLLING OVER AND TAKING IT.
She thinks up an excuse to give him so she can have her Coke (because heaven forbid she just tell him, “I will drink what I please, bitch”), and Bella holds back on any and all questions because she’s trying to buy time to spend with Wardo, because, you know, he’s gonna leave as soon as he can, because he doesn’t love her. He holds her in his arms and it’s all quite revoltingly sugary sweet, but Bella continually interrupts the moment by remarking that Wardo doesn’t love her. Because he doesn’t.
They arrive home, and Alice and Jasper do this weird greeting to one another where they just stand in front of each other and stare. Esme is all lovey-dovey with everyone, and everybody is gushing over how much they owe Bella because, after all, it’s not like any part of this sequence of events is her fault. Bella kind of takes it in stride, mostly because she’s about to fall asleep standing up. They go to the car, and it turns out Rosalie and Emmett are there. Wardo’s all nasty and bitch regarding Rosalie, and Bella insists that “it’s not her fault”.
I agree on some levels—it’s not her fault Wardo was a complete and utter idiot and didn’t thoroughly check and confirm that Bella was alive. But…dude, she knew Wardo would probably run off and kill himself if Bella died. She did it on purpose. So…yeah, part of it is her fault.
Then Rosalie apologizes to Bella, and you can tell that she’s well on her way to becoming the Reformed Scary Sue. Bleh. I liked it better when she was just a vain Scary Sue.
They drive home, and it’s skipped in a much better fashion than what Meyer usually does—Bella just slept through it. So, they arrive and the first thing Bella hears is Charlie, and boy is he pissed. He yells at Wardo, and Bella mumbles at him not to do that. Wardo is patronizingly patient at Charlie (I HATE WARDO), and Bella cliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings to Wardo. She tries to shift all of the blame to herself, because she can’t stand it when anybody is mad in any capacity at her Twu Wuv, but Charlie says that he’ll be plenty angry at them both. Despite the fact that Charlie has made it quite clear that he doesn’t want Wardo anywhere near his house or his daughter, Wardo insists on taking Bella upstairs to sleep.
Wardo’s smug superiority is going to drive me to heights of Paul previously unimagined on this plane of existence.
Anyway, Bella panics at the thought of Wardo leaving (because he doesn’t love her, remember?), but he says he’ll be around, and she finally passes out from exhaustion.
See you all in Chapter 23 – The Truth”. Hopefully, we can end this in the next section.
Stinger: “Aro started to laugh. "Ha, ha, ha," he chuckled.”
( Chapter 23 - The Truth )