Chapter Fifteen: Pressure
Better Title: Bella (hearts) Dying
Spring Break arrives in Forks, and I'm shocked that Bella even cares, as I assumed she dropped out of school altogether since she hasn't mentioned class or her non-monster friends for about 200 pages. How's Angela? Is she still going out with Ben? Has E-rock gotten his girlfriend pregnant? Did Tyler start dealing crystal meth as a way to make extra money but then got sucked into the world of drugs, and now is running from both the law and his own inner demons? We don't know. Instead, Bella tells us what it feels like to be sad.
With Victoria on the loose, Bella spends most of the week at La Push, hanging out in Billy's house or walking along the beach. Jacob tries to spend time with her, but his werewolfing schedule is rather hectic, so Bella is alone most of the time. When the two are together, Jacob holds Bella's hands, and she hopes Jacob realizes she's still not romantically interested in him. I can't see how Jacob could misread that. I hold hands with all my friends, and even strangers at the mall who share similar walking strides with me. Hand holding is as benign as waving hello or licking the back of a thigh.
At work, Marshmallow Mike is a little upset that Jacob is always hanging around Bella, but Bella assures Mike that Jacob is just her best friend. (Suck on that, Angela!) Mike sees how Jacob reacts to Bella, and tells her that Jacob wants to be more than friends. Bella sighs, saying life is complicated. And Mike whispers under his breath, "And girls are cruel." Chances that Mike will end up being a misogynistic serial killer have just risen from a 60% chance to an 86% chance. Women of Forks, consider this a warning.
At night, Sam and Emily have desert with Charlie and Billy, and Charlie is trying hard to accept Sam, even though Bella accused him of being evil a few days ago. Jacob and Bella then sneak away and hang out in Jacob's car. Sitting in parked cars is also something I do with friends, and strangers. So this is in no way romantic.
By the way, Jacob is shirtless again. This is not a joke. Perhaps the inability to wear shirts is the reason there are no female werewolves. (Or if they do exist, they live in the naughty section of town.)
Sitting in the parked car, Bella asks about the wolf powers. Jacob says that their body temperature is higher than normal and that he could walk around in a blizzard shirtless and not mind the cold. She then asks about the werewolves' healing powers, and Jacob is anxious to show her by cutting himself with a knife, but Bella stops him before he does it. Jacob says this power is "pretty cool." Chalk up another point for werewolves because they actually enjoy their powers, unlike the never-satisfied vampires who gripe about immortality and super strength as if having those powers is like having pimples.
Jacob says Quil will soon become a werewolf, and that a werewolf's first transformation has nothing to do with age, but emotions. He says that the feelings build up inside of you, until one day you snap and transform. So, it has nothing to do with flexing your calf muscles in a painful manner. My doctor was right.
He goes on to say that being a werewolf is pretty nifty and not horrible at all. The hardest part for him is that he could lose control and hurt someone. Sam lost control for a blink of an eye and nearly killed Emily, and Sam has never been able to forgive himself.
Jake says he's good at werewolfing. He can transform faster than the others, and everything about being a werewolf comes naturally to him. He blames this on his ancestors. He has werewolf relatives on both his father's and mother's side of the family, so it's understandable that he's a natural. I'm not so lucky. One side of my family was farmers, and the other side was textile workers. Maybe this means I have a hidden talent for sewing milk.
Bella asks what's the best part about being a werewolf. Jacob smiles and says the best part is the speed. They can outrun super fast vampires, and since Jacob loves fast cars and motorcycles, it's easy to understand why he digs this power. However, I think the best thing about being a werewolf would be having your belly scratched. Have you ever seen a dog get his belly scratched? It's epic!
Jacob then takes a turn asking questions. He wants to know more about James and Victoria and why the Cullens killed James. Bella explains that James was a tracker and wanted to kill Bella for sport, and nearly succeeded. She then shows Jacob the scar on her hand. Jacob acts weird and doesn't understand how Bella remained human after a vampire bite. But Bella says Edward sucked the vampire venom out, so she's still human.
The thought of Vampire Bella makes Jacob angry, and he starts to shake. He's about to turn into a werewolf unless Bella can calm him down. She should make Jacob playful, by waving a ball in front of his face and yelling in a high-pitched baby-talk voice, "Jakey want the ball? You want the ball? Who wants the ball? You want the ball? Ball? Go get the ball," and then pretending to throw the ball while secretly hiding it behind her back, making an anxious Jacob eagerly chase after nothing and spastically look around for the ball. Dogs are great.
Jacob tries to remain calm and asks Bella to talk about something, anything, to get his mind under control. This same thing happened in the last book with Eddie, when Edward got so ticked off at the bad Port Angeles dudes that he made Bella prattle on about boring high school stuff or else he would…I don't know…weep with rage? But now, there is real danger because if Jacob transforms, the entire car will burst apart and Bella will be smashed to death.
So, to get his mind off of vampires, Jacob asks Bella to talk about the Cullen vampire powers. Huh? The guy is getting angry just thinking about vampires, and the only way to calm him down is to talk about how powerful vampires are? This does not make sense. If a bull is charging at you, you don't try to calm it by bending over and wiggling your butt.
And yet this vampire talk seems to work. As Bella explains Jasper's emotional powers and Alice's confusing ability to predict the future, Jacob begins to relax. But thinking about Alice makes Bella remember the premonition Alice had in which Bella became a vampire. And she gets upset that this prediction didn't come true. (Alice isn't a prophet. She's a liar. I'm sure of it.)
All the talk about vampires makes Bella feel sad, and she once again clutches her chest. Jacob asks what the deal is with Bella's constant self-hugging, and Bella admits that thinking about vampires makes her gloomy inside. He strokes her hair to try and comfort her. (Another clear sign that they're just friends, right?) Jacob apologizes for bringing up Cullen business and jokingly says that between his anger issues and Bella's sadness, the two are quite messed up.
The next day, Bella is trying to stay busy at Billy's house by studying for an upcoming test, but she doesn't like being alone, and Billy isn't much of a conversationalist. (I'm sure this is all Billy's fault and has nothing to do with Bella's gloomy, grumpy mood. I love talking to grumps. They're so fun and add a lot to the conversation.)
She hangs out at Emily's house to change things up, and likes it there, but when Sam comes home, Bella can't stand all the love and affection he and Emily share. So she goes strolling along the beach. During her walk, she tells us that she's getting closer and closer to Jacob but isn't sure what to do about it. Dear Bella, here's what you do: Kiss him all over. All this thinking about love and danger tires Bella out and she curls up on the beach.
Jacob finds her and feels bad that Bella has been spending her entire Spring Break alone and miserable. He says that tomorrow he'll take a day off from hunting and have fun with Bella. A while back, he promised to take her cliff diving, and tomorrow is the perfect time to make good on that promise.
Bella loves the idea because it means she will hang out with Jacob and she will get to hear angry Dream Edward warn her about the dangers of cliff diving. It's a win-win situation. But the next morning, when Jacob fails to meet her, she goes looking for him and Billy says he's not home.
The wolves have picked up Victoria's trail and may have her cornered near the mountains, so Jacob had to run off and help eat her. The news scares Bella. She still is convinced that Victoria is a super vampire, capable of destroying entire planets. She says she has a memory of Victoria being "wild, catlike, lethal," but that memory must have come from something not seen in the book. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only time Bella ever saw Victoria was once, during the baseball game. And that's it. Where is Bella's perception of Victoria being a super monster coming from?
It would be like me saying that Jennifer Hudson was capable of lifting an aircraft carrier, just because once I saw her walking on the street carrying a large purse and she didn't look very tired.
The news that the hunt is in full swing worries Bella, and she tries to relax by watching TV and walking on the beach. But nothing works. Finally, she decides to try cliff diving by herself, sure that this will spark a visit from Dream Eddie, and she hopes that Dream Edward will take her mind off Victoria. There are two cliffs to dive from, a low cliff that normal people leap from, and a high cliff that is only used by werewolves.
Bella thinks she knows the way to the low cliff, but gets lost and ends up at the tall cliff instead. A huge thunderstorm is approaching, and Bella doesn't have time to hike back down to the other cliff. Plus, part of her wants to jump from the high cliff because that would mean more danger and more Dream Edward.
As she steps to the ledge, Dream Edward speaks to her, trying to convince her to step away. Bella answers him in her mind, and they have a short, stupid conversation. Dream Edward screams no, and Bella jumps from the cliff. She loves this feeling quite a bit, and splashes into the cold water below thinking that this wasn't so scary after all.
But the real danger isn't in jumping off, but in coming back up from the ocean after the plunge. The storm has made the water very choppy and Bella can't get her bearings to reach the surface. She holds her breath as the underwater current smashes her around. Dream Edward tells her to keep swimming. (Great advice, Eddie.) And Bella tries, but still can't get above water.
She's about to die, and instead of seeing her life flash before her eyes, she sees Real Edward and loves it. She loves this feeling and thinks dying is awesome. For a few paragraphs Bella explains how glorious suicide feels. I don't think this is the right message to send out to young women. Maybe in the next book, Stephenie Meyer will explain the joys of drunk driving and how unprotected sex leads to true love. Bella becomes filled with happiness at the thought of ending it all, as water rushes down her throat. She says goodbye to Dream Edward, and the chapter ends.
Prediction: Thanks to Dream Edward's words of wisdom, Bella doesn't die. Later, Bella gets trapped in a house fire and Dream Edward advises her, "Leave the house." Then, during an earthquake, Dream Edward tells Bella, "Don't get hit with debris." And finally, when Bella is slowly dying from a terminal illness, Dream Edward shouts at her, "Get better."
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