This chapter is not less rage inducing than the last one. So let’s just get this over with shall we?
Perfect, I grumbled to myself. Just perfect.
Ian was coming to join me for lunch, a big smile glued into place on his face. Trying to cheer me up… again.
That’s the first two paragraphs of this chapter. She’s pissed at Ian because Ian still won’t leave her alone. We don’t know yet at this point how long it’s been since the end of that chapter, but we do know that Ian is still being a clingy douchebag and it’s actively pissing her off.
“Hey, Wanda,” Ian greeted me, hopping up onto the counter beside me. He had a bowl of tomato soup in one hand, still steaming. Mine was beside me, cooled and half full. I was toying with a piece of roll, ripping it into tiny pieces.
I didn’t answer him.
“Oh, come on.” He put his hand on my knee. Mel’s angry reaction was lethargic. She was too used to this kind of thing to really work up a good fit anymore. “They’ll be back today. Before sunset, without a doubt.”
He touches them in an intimate manner SO OFTEN that Melanie can’t even get worked up about it anymore. She is just resigned to the fact that it’s happening. That’s depressing, horrible, manipulative, abusive, etc. Honestly even I’m kind of burnt out on getting worked up over this.
“You said that three days ago, and two days ago, and again yesterday,” I reminded him.
“I have a good feeling about today. Don’t sulk–it’s so human,” he teased.
“I’m not sulking.” I wasn’t. I was so worried I could barely think straight. It didn’t leave me energy to do anything else.
Except that every single thing she’s said and done so far in this chapter implies sulking is exactly what she’s doing.
to be angry or upset about something and to refuse to discuss it with other people
to be moodily silent
So yes, Wanderer, you are sulking like a child.
Apparently Jamie and Jared went out on a raid and Wanderer is sulking because she’s worried that they aren’t back yet. It was supposed to be a short raid, so she figured they’d be back by now. She continues to be pissy towards Ian, which makes her come off as childish, but at the same time, I can totally understand why she would be pissy to Ian of all people, so I give her a pass on this one.
Ian turns towards his food when he realizes she’s not going to talk to him without biting his head off and she talks about how considerate he is. Except that he’s not at all considerate, and she even basically says that when she adds at the end of that paragraph how since Jared and Jamie have been gone he’s been pushy and she’s getting pissed. So he’s a dick. But whatever. She goes on at length about how it’s been a month since she moved in with Jared and Jamie and they’ve been gone a week now. Jared and Wanderer were still awkward around each other when they left, but she had been getting used to it, so now without them there things felt weird again.
Ian speaks up again, because apparently he can’t leave her alone for five minutes. He asks if she’s tired and she says she’s still not sleeping well without the noise of other people. He offers to sleep with her. Not jokingly. Wanderer cringes and of course Ian assumes immediately that it was because of Melanie, not him. The fact that he was right is less important than the fact that he has never once at any point we’ve been privy to checked to make sure it wasn’t Wanderer herself. Wanderer even says he just always knows it was Melanie, not her. And no, Wanderer, he doesn’t. He’s presuming because he wants to believe that the only thing stopping him from getting in your pants is her, not that you might actually not like him.
He then tricks Wanderer into going off with him somewhere. No, seriously, Wanderer even says he looks like he had been hoping she would respond to his leading questions the way she does.
He took my hand as he led me out of the kitchen. Again, this was so common that Melanie barely protested.
Just want to reiterate, Ian is a creep.
“Ian, I’m not in the mood.”
“You said you had plenty of energy.”
“To work. Not to play soccer.”
“But Lily and Wes will be really disappointed. I promised them a game of two-on-two. They worked so hard this morning to free up the afternoon…”
“Don’t try to make me feel guilty,” I said as we rounded the last curve. I could see the blue light of several lamps, shadows flitting in front of them.
“Isn’t it working?” he teased.
A MASSIVE creep.
I sighed. “Fine. Fine. Be that way.”
Ian hugged me with what Melanie thought was unnecessary enthusiasm. “You’re my very favorite person in the known universe.”
“Thanks,” I muttered dryly.
This reminds me of when my old roommate used to bug the shit out of me to drive him somewhere since I was the only one of us to have a car (or a license). He’d wear me down till I was so annoyed with him I’d cave so he’d finally leave me alone, then he’d get this obnoxious overly happy grin on his face, declare me his best friend in the world and I’d just glare at him while I went to get my keys. That’s not a positive comparison.
Holy crap this chapter is boring. The next whole PAGE is just her stretching and them taunting and asking about the rules and Melanie talking about how she misses running. There is so much nothing going on this may very well be my shortest review yet if this doesn’t pick up. There is just nothing at all worth talking about.
Apparently Wanderer is a master at soccer. I find this hard to believe. Even if Melanie was amazing at it, her body has been healing from severe injuries and prior to that she had gotten out of shape. She shouldn’t be physically capable of kicking the asses of two people that play for fun on a semi regular basis. Sorry, that’s just not the way it works unless Wes and Lily (you may recall Wes has appeared in previous reviews as ‘the guy who I don’t know who he is but his name keeps appearing’. Lily I think has been mentioned before? Maybe?) are really REALLY bad at it.
“No one ever said she couldn’t play.”
“No one ever said she was a pro, either.”
I liked that–it made me smile.
You know, last chapter she went on at length about how she didn’t want to be liked because of Melanie’s looks, and she wanted people to separate her and Melanie more than they do. But here she’s getting complimented for MELANIE’S skill, and MELANIE’S knowledge of the sport. She never played soccer before. She never learned the strategies or worked her body. That was ALL Melanie. But apparently that only matters when it comes to appearance. You can take credit for other people’s talent all you want. Honestly though I think it’s for the same reason she brought up the appearance thing in the last chapter. She wants people to think good things of HER. Wes and Lily don’t know Melanie. They don’t know that knowledge came from her. They were complimenting WANDERER. Ian was showing physical interest in her, and that indicated he only cared about Melanie’s body, not Wanderer’s mind, and she wants everyone to love HER and think good things of HER. So as long as no one tells them that was Melanie, she can take credit for it all she wants and have people love her.
Lily and Wes start flirting and making out. Apparently this is some shocking revelation to Ian and Wanderer. Since I already mentioned earlier that I had no clue who they were other than I remember reading Wes’ name before, I kind of just assumed they were probably dating anyway, so I do not find this shocking. Since the only way I could care less about those characters would be if they were Ian and Wanderer.
Wes goes off to try and get Kyle to help them win, and Lily tells Wanderer it was because Wes treated her well that made her like him. I don’t remember Wes doing anything one way or another to Wanderer, so I can’t back that information up. I don’t know why I’m supposed to care… Meyer, just saying characters names as Wanderer walks past them does not give us tangible, memorable information about them and sure as shit doesn’t make us care about them. Do not try and make it sound like we’re supposed to already have some kind of emotional connection to these characters who are in no way central to the plot. They haven’t even been maguffins at any point. They have served zero plot relevance. ZERO! I don’t care!
I spent more time writing that last paragraph than I have actually thinking about Wes and Lily in the entire book prior.
Anyway, eventually while they’re waiting Ian asks if Wanderer will play one on one with him. Melanie is excited because she seems to genuinely love this sport and it’s kind of nice to see her actually get to do something fun for HER for a change. But that gets completely and utterly ruined almost immediately because Ian and Wanderer are both incredibly horrible people.
Ian starts playing badly, so to try and convince him to play at his fullest instead of intentionally letting her win, Wanderer comes up with a plan. And I want to make it very clear that Melanie objects to this plan, so it’s 100% Wanderer being a manipulative bitch using Ian’s crush on her to get what she wants. She tells him that he can share her room until Jared and Jamie come back if he beats her. And then Ian reinforces that he’s also a manipulative bitch by showing that he was clearly losing on purpose in the hopes that she would do just that, and then he kicks her ass.
“Tired?” he asked, the innocence in his tone a bit overdone. Being funny. He stretched. “I think I’m ready for bed myself.” He leered in a melodramatic way.
“Aw, Mel, you know I’m joking. Be nice.”
Note here that she in no way indicates to the reader that her wince was due to Melanie in any way shape or form. Her wince was genuinely her own. She does not want to share a bedroom with this perverted creep. His reaction is to just assume it was all Melanie, as usual. Everything bad that happens seems to get blamed on Melanie in this book. Melanie certainly isn’t the best character in the world, I’ve called her horrible a fair number of times, but she really seems to just be a punching bag more than an actual character, and despite that sometimes she’s a terrible person, I kind of feel bad for her.
Lily eyed us, mystified.
“Jared’s Melanie objects to me,” Ian told her, winking.
Again, not allowing for the possibility that the reaction was Wanderer, and Wanderer not defending Melanie at all. But also; ‘Jared’s Melanie’. Not ‘Wanderer’s host Melanie’, not ‘the body Wanderer is stealing so she can live, depriving Melanie of her own life’, she’s described solely by her relation to a character that has spent less time in the caves than she has considering 90% of this book he’s been out on various raids.
“You know,” he said, “it’s really unfair for Melanie to make you suffer when she’s angry at me.”
“Since when are humans fair?”
…Seriously? GO FUCK YOURSELVES! MELANIE is the one that’s being unfair?! And, AGAIN I WILL FUCKING REMIND YOU, MELANIE IS NOT THE REASON WANDERER WINCED! SHE IS LETTING MELANIE TAKE THE BLAME FOR SOMETHING SHE DIDN’T DO BECAUSE WANDERER WANTS IAN’S AFFECTION, EVEN AT THE COST OF HER PHYSICAL COMFORT BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO FEEL LOVED, AND ALL THE CHARACTERS THAT LOVE HER PLATONICALLY AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH BECAUSE THEY LOVE MELANIE TOO. THAT IS HOW HORRIBLE THIS CHARACTER IS.
AND SERIOUSLY IAN, YOU SUCK FOR THAT JUST AS FUCKING HARD! IT’S MELANIE’S FUCKING BODY AND SHE CAN’T CONTROL HER REACTIONS TO YOUR PERVERTED HORRIBLENESS! YOU’RE THE ONE CONTINUOUSLY DOING THINGS THAT YOU *KNOW* WILL MAKE MELANIE REACT THAT WAY AND CAUSING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SHRAPNEL TO HIT WANDERER. *YOU* ARE THE ONE DOING THIS TO HER, NOT MELANIE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!
*Ahem* sorry about that. I lost my composure for a moment.
“Besides, she’d be glad to make you suffer, if I’d let her.”
‘Haha, the owner of the body I’m trying to fuck hates me so much she causes emotional and mental strain on the woman I love by imagining ways to hurt me!’ Fucking hilarious.
“That’s nice about Wes and Lily, don’t you think?” he said.
“Yes. They both seem very happy. I like that.”
“I like it, too. Wes finally got the girl. Gives me hope.” He winked at me. “Do you think Melanie would make you very uncomfortable if I were to kiss you right now?”
I’m not sure I will ever find the words to adequately express how much I hate Ian.
Note he didn’t ask whether Wanderer would be okay with him kissing her.
Wes comes charging down the hall to declare that Jared and Jamie are back. Ian gets depressed and mumbles about how he doesn’t get to sleep with her now because he’s a selfish shithead.
She finds Jamie and everyone is acting all suspicious. They assure her everyone is fine, but it’s made ludicrously obvious that there’s something up. My level of fucks I give is just non-existent. There is nothing this book could do at this point that would make me actually feel tense about the fates of any of these characters. They could kill Jamie off and I’d be like ‘well, there’s one less annoying character, so we have to spend even more time with the other annoying characters. Dammit.’ I didn’t realize it was possible for a book to inspire so much bitter rage in me while also BORING ME TO GODDAMN TEARS! Ugh people. Ugh.
Apparently Jamie managed to accidentally stab himself in the leg. Because that’s a realistic injury right? People usually hold knives with the blade facing down? Pretty sure if you’re holding a knife properly and you trip and fall it’s much more likely to stab you in the upper body/head area. But that wouldn’t allow him to have a seemingly minor injury that you wouldn’t worry over and a sympathetic limp. Stabbing himself in the chest or face would be too significant a wound to allow for the scene to focus on the fact that they’re hiding something, the focus would be on Jamie, and Meyer doesn’t want that.
Wanderer asks why he walked all the way to the…foyer? Whatever their big central gathering place is that’s rather vaguely possibly by the garden, instead of staying in the hospital. He and Trudy (the female Wes as far as I’m concerned. I recall seeing her name before, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you what she did that got her mentioned) get all sketchy and even the dumbest person on the planet would know they’re trying to hide something. To bring my point home, Wanderer realizes they’re hiding something.
But not until after Ian comes over and laughs about Jamie’s gaping leg wound. Because I needed more reasons to hate that character apparently.
Melanie guides her through the process of lying to figure out what’s going on since everyone is being really goddamn terrible at hiding that there’s something going on. Seriously, they’re stuttering and making bullshit excuses that they pause part way through saying to choose their words. It’s so painfully, unbelievably obvious. It’s kind of irritating. Couldn’t just have Melanie tell her she thinks they’re lying, Meyer has to make it super goddamn obvious. Anyway, they take Jamie back to his room, Ian of course follows because of fucking course he does, but she gets him to get them food instead of sticking around. He hesitates, clearly indicating he’s in on whatever they’re hiding from her and he’s trying to prevent her from finding out about it. This will be relevant later, but not today. Try and remember it in case I don’t.
Wanderer lies to Jamie saying she needs to tell Ian something and runs off. She heads down to the hospital area since that seemed to be what they were trying to keep her from going to, but had they just been casual and said ‘Jamie was sent to go lay down because he didn’t want to sleep on those uncomfy cots, and he decided to try and find you instead of going straight to bed’, Wanderer never would have even thought to go to the hospital area because she hates it. I thought of that excuse as I typed this. They had the entire walk from when the boys arrived, taking Jamie to see Doc, and then walking back to the common area, which as far as I can tell is a significant walk. And they could not come up with a lie they could tell without hesitating on how to word it. Totally believable.
She describes the people she passes in the halls like she does EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN TIME SHE GOES FOR A WALK because apparently we’re supposed to know who these people are and give a shit about them or their reaction to her. I will just point you to what I said earlier about Wes and Lily for how I feel about that.
The chapter ends with Wanderer and Melanie walking down the tunnel being mortified thinking someone’s dying again. There’s an actual low level of tension here in the writing that I can detect, but I do not feel any personally. Mostly because as I mentioned earlier, they could kill the kid and I wouldn’t care. Jared could be in the hospital dying and I wouldn’t care. Ian could be dying and I would shout for joy. There is nothing this book can do at this point to make me care.
I didn’t talk much about the part of the chapter where something plot driving actually happens. That’s because it was nothing but people going ‘ummm… obvious lie? Yeah! Obvious lie!’ over and over again. There was nothing to discuss.
Next time there will be more to discuss! With probably more capslock fun on my part!
Till then! Check out The Llama’s review of this chapter!