Maybe I should have run the other way.
You’re in a cave with a dead end dumbass. There is no ‘other way.’
But no one was holding me back now, and though his voice was cold and angry, Jared was calling to me. Melanie was even more eager than I was as I stepped carefully around the corner and into the blue light; I hesitated there.
I HOPE HE STABS YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE.
Oh right I was so busy being angry at this chapter that I forgot to open this review. Yeah, this chapter sucks. Back to the rage!
“At ease,” Jared said to Ian. “I just want to talk to it. I promised the kid, and I’ll stand by that promise.”
‘At ease’? Did I miss mention of Jared having been in the military? He was alone for several years in his early 20’s and before that he was with his dad and brothers alone in the desert for a few more years. Why would he use terms like ‘at ease?’ A normal person in this situation would say ‘calm down’ or ‘relax’. But Meyer wants you to think of Jared as a commander, completely in control, well trained, tactical, a leader. He’s not.
Ian didn’t move.
“I’m not lying, Ian. And I’m not going to kill it. Jeb is right. No matter how messed up this stupid situation is, Jamie has as much say as I do, and he’s been totally suckered, so I doubt he’ll be giving me the go-ahead anytime soon.”
I would just like to keep pointing out that everyone seems to think Jared and Jamie are on equal footing and I stand by earlier assessments that, as immature as Jamie is written, they’re not. Jamie is Melanie’s flesh and blood, her ward, and has spent his entire life with her. He’s essentially her son and for Jared, or anyone else, to think that he has as much say as Jamie because they’ve been in love for the last couple of years kind of pisses me off a little.
In matters of pulling the plug on a loved one on life support when there is no living will, the husband/wife of the patient generally gets spoken to first, but any children of the age of majority (given the circumstances in the real world Jamie would already be considered an adult for the purposes of survival, so for the sake of this discussion he doesn’t have to be 16-18, just at least a teenager, which he is) would have right of refusal and their word would supersede that of the spouse assuming there are no extenuating circumstances. Especially weak would be the claim of a common-law spouse. And I will mention again that they have to be ‘conjugal’ to be considered common-law in today’s society, so just being in love doesn’t cut it.
So have Jared and Melanie consummated their relationship? Did they ever discuss what should be done to them if they come back in this state? Are they even IN a relationship or did they just love each other and never act on it because he’s too old for her? Did he introduce himself as Melanie’s boyfriend when he got taken in or just Jamie’s impromptu guardian? These are relevant questions!
“No one’s been suckered,” Ian growled.
Just a reminder that he said she wasn’t a liar, then a few pages later she knowingly and willingly lied. So, yes, you are being suckered.
Jared waved his hand, dismissing the disagreement over terminology. “It’s not in any danger from me, is my point.” For the first time he looked at me, evaluating the way I hugged the far wall, watching my hands tremble. “I won’t hurt you again,” he said to me.
This is actually the most realistic exchange we’ve seen from him in quite some time. Colour me impressed. And skeptical. I still expect to think he’s a dick by the end of the chapter.
Ian says she doesn’t have to talk to him, that it’s not a chore she has to do. This confuses Jared, I assume since he didn’t know she’d been doing chores? Except when he arrived she was making bread…
“No,” I whispered. “I’ll talk to him.” I took another short step. Jared turned his hand palm up and curled his fingers twice, encouraging me forward.
Oh for fucks sake. She’s already walking towards you dickface, you don’t have to do that.
Anyway, she sends Ian off to sleep and he refuses at first but eventually caves. Though before he leaves he tells Jared that anything he does to Wanderer, Ian will do double to him in return. It’s not a terrible or unrealistic scene for a change so I’m just waiting for the ball to drop and Jared to start talking like a 50’s gangster or something.
It was silent for a moment as we both watched the empty space where he had disappeared. I looked at Jared’s face first, while he still stared after Ian. When he turned to meet my gaze, I dropped my eyes.
“Wow. He’s not kidding, is he?” Jared said.
‘Wow’? Bit delayed to be saying ‘wow’… Also that’s a fairly friendly phrasing considering how much he hates her. And the fact that he kind of just found out that another guy has a crush on the walking corpse of his girlfriend… From his perspective that is what’s happening.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” he asked me, patting the mat beside him.
Meyer does realize that if she has her characters act like this out of nowhere in a chapter titled ‘betrayed’ we’re kind of going to figure out that it’s a trick or something right?
I deliberated for a moment, then went to sit against the same wall but close to the hole, putting the length of the mat between us. Melanie didn’t like this; she wanted to be near him, for me to smell his scent and feel the warmth of his body beside me.
I assure you Wanderer, no matter how close you think you two have gotten, Melanie sure as hell does not want you smelling her boyfriend. The fact that she can only do that through you makes you smelling him a necessary evil that she’s already admitted in earlier chapters bothers her.
I heard him move. He scooted down the mat until he sat right beside me–the way Melanie had hoped for. Too close–it was hard to think straight, hard to breathe right–but I couldn’t bring myself to scoot away. Oddly, for this was what she’d wanted in the first place, Melanie was suddenly irritated.
What? I asked, startled by the intensity of her emotion.
I don’t like him next to you. It doesn’t feel right. I don’t like the way you want him there. For the first time since we’d abandoned civilization together, I felt waves of hostility emanating from her. I was shocked. That was hardly fair.
FAIR?! You’re going to talk to MELANIE about FAIR?! You CONDESCENDING BITCH! YOU HAVE HER TRAPPED. YOU STOP HER FROM DOING ANYTHING SHE WANTS TO (the fact that everything she wants to do is stupid is irrelevant to this discussion) AND SHE IS FORCED TO EXPERIENCE *HER OWN LIFE* THROUGH YOU! WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE TO JUDGE ANY HOSTILITY SHE HAS TOWARDS YOU AS UNFAIR?!
On a calmer note, the dumbass is familiar with the concept of jealousy. She should not be this surprised. Even if I do have to concede that she does have a point that it is kind of unfair. I just really hate how she treats Melanie, so seeing her calling out Melanie for treating her unfairly after all the times she’s been a bitch to Melanie for entirely unfair reasons, it comes off as hypocritical and it very much bothers me.
Jared asks if Melanie is still alive in there and Melanie goes NUTS. She apparently starts fighting tooth and nail but of course Wanderer is the voice of reason here and points out that it’s a set up.
She refuses to talk, starts bawling and they slip into a flash back as Melanie compares dickhead Jared to the man she ABANDONED to seek out her cousin she didn’t need to go alone to seek out. I just wanted to remind you of that because I fucking hate every single person in this book and hope the story ends with the entire planet catching fire and everyone dying slowly and painfully.
In the flashback, they’re sitting around someone’s house while they’re at work and they watch TV because they know they’re safe for a few hours until they get home. A baseball game is on and the players are having a disagreement about whether or not one should get a penalty. The one who would receive the penalty is asking to receive it, the other is saying that he doesn’t want to take an unfair advantage, so they best have the refs review the tapes. It is mind numbingly dull. Jared and Jamie agree.
I go to Jared. He pulls me onto his lap and tucks my head under his chin.
This feels infantile. I picture a dad holding his daughter who didn’t want to go to bed to let her fall asleep on his chest as he watches TV, not two adults in romantic love with each other. I don’t like it. But I suppose that’s because I prefer women who don’t want to be treated like children who need protection, so maybe that’s just me. To each his own I guess.
I know that if Jamie and I survived alone for twenty years we would never find this feeling on our own. The feeling of safety. More than safety, even–happiness. Safe and happy, two things I thought I’d never feel again.
I’d really like to know why. From what I’ve seen there is nothing especially different about what Jared is doing to what you were doing. He’s just going in during the day when they go to work instead of at night when they’ve gone to the movies. You never would have figured that out without him? I know Meyer wants you to think that Jared is somehow this amazing provider and he’s better at everything than everyone but she has provided not the tiniest bit of evidence to support that fact. As far as I can see he is not doing anything that anyone else couldn’t have easily figured to do. Apparently he’s just the only person of average intelligence that managed to survive and everyone else is so dumb they need help tying their fucking shoelaces.
We return to the present, switching back to the past tense, because that still makes complete sense.
He still makes me feel safe, Melanie realized, feeling the warmth where his arm was just half an inch from mine. Though he doesn’t even know I’m here.
HE’S TRIED TO KILL YOU MULTIPLE TIMES YOU DUMB BITCH!
God I hate these characters!
I wondered if Melanie and I would have loved Jared if he’d always been who he was now, rather than the smiling Jared in our memories, the one who had come to Melanie with his hands full of hope and miracles.
I think my brain is trying to escape my head…
Of course. Mel was certain. I would love Jared in any form. Even like this, he belongs with me.
Bull. Shit. If he had come to you as angry and dickish as he is now when you were young and scared you would never have even trusted him enough to let him drive you anywhere. Nor would he have trusted you enough to take you anywhere! And even if he had, he wouldn’t have been as nice to you or Jamie. Hell, if he’d been alone that long and had gotten hard and cynical, your first meeting probably would have gone a lot differently. He very well may have just killed you right on the spot.
Apparently Jared’s been talking this whole time and they zoned out not listening to them. He’s telling them why he’s there, saying it’s unfair for her to let Jamie believe that Melanie is still in there. But he concedes that Jeb does have a point, wondering why she’s there at all since after this long it’s clearly not to lead seekers to them to infest them.
He basically says it doesn’t matter though, that there’s no point in killing her anymore anyway as long as she’s not hurting anyone. But he reminds her that Jamie being so attached, especially with believing that Melanie is still in there, that it’ll only cause him pain when she dies. Wanderer makes note of the fact that he said when, not if. Don’t title your chapter Betrayed if you want things like this to seem shocking.
His words came in a sudden gush. “The part that keeps bugging me is what if they’re right? How the hell would I know? I hate the way their logic makes sense to me. There’s got to be another explanation.”
This part frustrates me. Not because it’s bad or poorly written, but because I have had almost this exact conversation with myself more times than I can count. This is exactly how I think when something that defies my sense of logic seems to be the majority opinion and I can’t refute it it just feels wrong. I fight with myself just like this. And I don’t want to be able to compare myself to Jared because I hate him. And having any of Meyer’s characters act like real people bugs me because I know in a page or two they’re just going to go back to being cardboard cut outs!
Jared moved, shifting away from the wall so that his body was turned toward me. I watched the movement from the corner of my eye.
“Why are you here?” he whispered.
I peeked up at his face. It was gentle, kind, almost the way Melanie remembered it. I felt my control slipping; my lips trembled. Keeping my arms locked took all my strength. I wanted to touch his face. I wanted it. Melanie did not like this.
Gee. I wonder why. I can’t possibly imagine why Melanie wouldn’t like you wanting to kiss her boyfriend.
If you won’t let me talk, then at least keep your hands to yourself, she hissed.
I’m trying. I’m sorry. I was sorry. This was hurting her. We were both hurting, different hurts.
‘Different hurts.’ Different. Hurts. THAT IS A LINE IN A PUBLISHED FUCKING BOOK. A *best. seller*.
Oh fuck he KISSES HER! HOW IS THIS CHAPTER WORSE THAN THE ONE BEFORE?!
The body revolted. I was no longer in control of it–it was in control of me. It was not Melanie–the body was stronger than either of us now.
Oh go fuck yourself.
Melanie takes over after Wanderer gets too handsy, kissing back and putting her hands in his hair, and punches Jared in the face. Though if I were her I’d have punched both of them, even if one of them was also me. Wanderer is horrified that Melanie used HER body for violence (I’ve ranted about Wanderer’s claim on this body way too many times, I’m not going over it again) and Jared is dumbfounded.
Wanderer evaluates that he had been testing her and had been anticipating a specific result that he didn’t get. How she gets this from him I’m not sure as she just describes him as looking shocked. She’s extrapolating information that a first person narration cannot know for the benefit of the audience again, but that’s what third person narration is for goddammit.
Wanderer runs back to the hole. Jared chases her, but she kicks him away and ‘despair’ chokes her. A touch melodramatic don’t you think? She’s horrified at the violence Melanie committed, even though she said it wasn’t enough to really hurt him. And while trying to run away she intentionally kicks at Jared to try and get him off her, so she did it too.
Apparently she’s also sobbing because she hates that the kiss was only a test. She wanted him to want to kiss her. Which we already knew because she kissed back and fondled his hair. But it still bugs me. And then she gets mad at Melanie because her grief over what’s happened is making it too hard to focus on her own.
No one’s betrayed you, stupid, I railed at her. I wanted her pain to stop. It was too much, the extra burden of her agony. Mine was enough.
I have never hated a character more than I do Wanderer. Ever. In all the literature I have ever read, in every movie or television show I have ever watched, not the most vile of villains or most vapid of dipshits, has there been a character I have despised more than Wanderer.
Jared stands at the mouth of the hole and talks to Melanie. Apparently her punching him was enough to convince him of the truth. Fantastic. I hate this book.
That’s how the chapter ends and we have to wait till next time to find out what he does with this information as though I actually give a shit.
Honestly if I think about it too much I don’t really hate this chapter as much as I hated the last one. At least Jared’s side of the conversation seemed fairly realistic. If I could just cut Wanderer out of the scene and replace her with a brick instead it would have actually been tolerable. But every time she thinks or talks or acts I am filled with the most violent of rages! And she does it SO MUCH this chapter that I can’t help but hate it even more than the last chapter despite what I just said!
Till next time. Check out The Llama’s take on this chapter.