Chapter 17: The Game
Edward takes Bella home to get ready for the ball game, but also so she can introduce him to Charlie. Edward doesn’t seem nearly as nervous about meeting her parent(s) as she was for his, but maybe that’s because Charlie is a normal human being who won’t be posed artfully by a grand piano on a raised platform when they get to his half-glass, zero bedroom house in the middle of the forest. In fact, when they get back to Bella’s normal human house, he isn’t even home; instead Jacob and Billy Black are waiting on the front porch. Edward mumbles “something unintelligible in a low, harsh voice” (pg. 348). I’m guessing it was somewhere along the lines of “cockfucking mothersuckers.”
Edward informs Bella that Billy’s come to warn Charlie about the Cullens being vampires and all that, so he’s going to make himself scarce. That sentence had a lot of proper nouns in it; we’ve hit that number-of-character critical mass where describing minor plot points can occasionally be difficult. (Just be grateful I’m not blogging The Wire—“Herc steals Marlo’s number from Levy’s office and brings it to Carver over in the Western who turns it over to Freamon, but Marlo is only communicating with Spiros through coded pictures”—and so on.) “Be careful though,” Edward says. “The child has no idea.” Bella objects to the use of the word child; she and Jacob are nearly the same age. “Oh I know,” he says with a grin (pg. 349).
Honk if you’re a registered sex offender-Edward’s bumper sticker
When Bella gets to the porch she asks if they’ve been waiting long.
“Not long,” Billy said in a subdued tone. His black eyes were piercing. “I just wanted to bring this up.” He indicated a brown paper bag resting in his lap.
“Thanks,” I said, though I had no idea what it could be.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s head? No, probably not. It turns out to be a batch of some guy’s fish fry. Billy sends Jacob off on a bullshit errand to get alone with Bella, and when she walks into the kitchen and he follows, she mentions his “wet wheels squeaking against the linoleum” (pg. 351). He’s handicapped, we know! You don’t have to rub it in, S. Meyer!
Bella and Billy get down to discussing the matter at hand. There’s a lot of business about whose business it is that Bella is seeing Edward. Bella thinks it’s her business. Billy concedes that it probably is, but thinks it also might be Charlie’s business. Bella counters that it would still be her business to decide whether or not it is Charlie’s business. Then Calvin Coolidge adds that the business of America is business, and Ludacris tells everyone to stay the fuck up out his business.
Wouldn’t this scene be better if they were saying “beeswax” the whole time? Imagine a Diablo Cody re-write:
His eyes narrowed. “Maybe’s it’s none of my beeswax, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea.”
“Totes,” I agreed. “It is none of your beeswax.”
“But it may be Charlie’s beeswax. You are living all up in his hive, home-skillet.”
“Though it would be my beeswax again, whether or not I think it’s Charlie’s beeswax, right?”
“Totes McGotes,” he finally surrendered. “I Guess Jeans that’s your beeswax too.”
So Move On, dot org! am I right? Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be better, but at least if Diablo gave this book a once-over there would be proper punctuation and paragraph breaks.
"Honest-to-blog, there are not enough pronoun antecedents for me to
understand what is happening in this book!"-Juno, calling S. Meyer
on the hamburger phone (deleted scene)
understand what is happening in this book!"-Juno, calling S. Meyer
on the hamburger phone (deleted scene)
This is an oddly witty scene—my edits aside—which is weird at first because it seems like it should be tense. But we get all kind of exchanges like this one:
“Just think about what you’re doing, Bella,” he urged.
“Okay,” I answered quickly.
He frowned. “What I meant to say was, don’t do what you’re doing.” (pg. 353)
And having read a few chapters ahead of this, I actually think S. Meyer is being pretty clever here. The jokiness of the scene has a way of neutralizing the threat of Billy Black, because something much more threatening is about to come into play.
“Well, Bella, tell Charlie—” Billy paused before continuing—“that we stopped by, I mean.” (pg. 354)
More like Billy Bla-ZING, huh? They leave. Bella tries on clothes. Then Jessica calls—Bella remarks that it felt like months since the dance (which was YESTERDAY!?)—and Jessica is all excited because Mike kissed her. Bella (and I) could give a fuck. Charlie shows up and they have a pretty funny exchange in which she comes clean about her romantic life. For one thing, he literally drops his fork when she tells him.
“He’s too old for you,” he ranted.
“We’re both juniors,” I corrected, though he was more right than he dreamed [GROSS].
“Wait…” he paused [again with the redundant ellipsis!]. “Which one is Edwin?” (pg. 357)
Turns out Charlie is thinking of Emmett, and when Bella corrects him he is reassured:
“Oh, well, that’s”—he struggled—“better, I guess. I don’t like the look of that big one. I’m sure he’s a nice boy and all, but he looks too…mature for you.” (pg. 357)
“His dick seems too big for you,” is what Charlie is trying to say. Edward shows up and they have a fairly stereotypical father/boyfriend introductory conversation. They are both very charming, and Bella acts like a sullen bitch while they joke around but she’s only pretending, I think. This chapter is adorable.
We find out Edward took a different car today; he’s got Emmett’s ride, which is apparently a big Jeep replete with off-roading harnesses. I’m sick of these emblematic vehicles the Cullen family is so into. Rosalie drives the sexy, tempestuous BMW, Alice drives around in the back of a truck for Monster Energy drink, and Jasper drives Kurt Cobain’s station wagon. We get it. The Cullen family puts a lot of faith in brand identity. There’s another paragraph break fuckup here, by the way, when Charlie sees the Jeep:
Charlie let out a low whistle.
“Wear your seatbelts,” he choked out.
Who choked that out, S. Meyer? Edward? He’s the only other masculine pronoun in this scene, but that doesn’t make any sense!
So they drive through the woods, and eventually they reach a point where they have to travel on foot. Bella gets worried about feeling sick if Edward takes her super-sprinting through the woods again, so he reassures her by pining her up against the side of the Jeep and making her think he’s going to fuck her fucking brains out right there in the middle of the fucking woods. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically what he says. It’s a big-time seduction scene, and it would be totally hot if Edward didn’t mostly kiss her in places like “the hallow at the base of [her] throat” (362). But anyway, now that he’s gotten Bella all horny he takes her to visit his family. Well played, Edward.
There’s a weird moment where he drops her on the ground by accident and she gets all huffy and Edward starts talking again about she’s going to be the death of him, or he’s going to be the death of her, or they’re going to kill each other or something. I could give a fuck about Edward’s misgivings at this point. We’re really still exploring this theme?
The whole Cullen clan is in the field, waiting. Rosalie is still all angry and aloof, but Emmett’s friendly. Carlisle is marking bases, but Bella notes they seem too far apart. Like she would know!? Alice comes “running, or dancing” toward them—but we get a variation in metaphors finally, because when she runs out toward the mound Bella describes her as “like a gazelle” (pg. 367).
Esme doesn’t play, she just referees, so Bella stands aside with her and they gossip. Have you ever met anyone with whom, you know, you make a little small-talk, and then all of the sudden out of nowhere he or she is oversharing with you about the great tragedies of his or her life, and he or she is giving intimate details and all of that, and you’re just like what the fuck conversation did I walk into? Ever met any of those people? Esme is one of those people. “Well, I do think of them as my children,” Esme says about Edward, Alice, et al. “I never could get over my mothering instincts – did Edward tell you I had lost a child?” (pg. 368). Mind you this is like the fifth or sixth sentence in this conversation, which is their second conversation ever. “It broke my heart – that’s why I jumped off the cliff, you know,” she says. How do you go on from there, conversation-wise? Sure is stormy out here, huh Esme? “Yeah, just like that day I jumped off the cliff.”
You probably already know/guessed what the deal is with vampire baseball. It’s like normal baseball (admittedly with only like three people on a team) except everyone has super-human enhanced strength and they hit the ball harder than any human should be able to. So it’s just like regular baseball, now that I think of it.
Apparently just watching vampire baseball makes you a sports genius too, because Bella starts telling us shit like “Rosalie managed to flit around the bases after tagging up on one of Emmett’s long flies” (pg. 370). Right, because Bella has always been a fan of organized sports. She’s intramural captain of the baseball team, right? At one point, Carlisle hits a sonic-boom home-run, and Alice starts slapping “dainty high fives” to her teammates. “It was almost as if she was dancing with her hands,” Bella says (but not really).
But then Alice stops and gets everyone’s attention; she sees something wicked this way coming. The other vampires who were on their way to town are closer than Alice predicted, and they’ve heard the game and adjusted their trajectory. Alice says there are three of them. “Three!” Emmett scoffs. “Let them come!” (pg. 372). For the next few chapters, Emmett’s whole job is basically to issue threats of physical violence toward bad guys. It’s kind of endearing, but I find myself wishing he was a little more quip-y.
That’s what I’m talking about. That is how tough guys are supposed to talk.
They decide to keep playing and act nonchalant; Edward tells Bella to put her hair down. Good thinking, Edward. Since Bella’s hair is made of steel, that will definitely protect her neck from the vampires. Does she have a collar she can pop for a little extra protection? I’m just trying to think like Edward.
“That won’t help,” Alice said softly. “I could smell her across the field.”
That’s got to help a girl’s self esteem, huh? The Cullens go back to the game, but obviously all the fun is sucked out of it now. It’s actually kind of a depressing thought: everybody was looking forward to the game and now it’s ruined. Here I was bitching about having too many characters all ready, and now we’ve got three more. New people always fuck everything up.