Chapter Eighteen: The Funeral
Better Title: Well Ain't That a Coincidence?
As much as I didn't enjoy the last chapter, this is the worst chapter of the book so far, thanks to a series of silly coincidences and lack of Werewolf Jacob. And judging by what happens at the end of this chapter, it's only going to get worse. (Unless Emmett shows up…with a sword, grenades, and another sword made out of fire.)
With Alice hiding out back, Bella runs to the door and finds Jacob standing in her yard. Behind him, sitting in Jacob's car, are Embry and Jared. From the looks of them, Bella knows that Jake didn't stop by for a quick platonic hug, or to make platonic lasagna. This is all about business.
Jacob asks if he can talk to Bella. Bella says sure, and Jacob shoots his friends a look over his shoulder before going inside to talk. Jared and Embry stare down Bella, and she gives them a mean stare back. Good job, Belly. It's always a smart move to be sassy toward two werewolves. Werewolves love sass about as much as they love vampires and (probably) olives.
Inside the house, Jacob notices the remnants of the slumber party and asks where Alice went. Bella says she was off running errands. He says he doesn't like being here but needs to ask a few questions: How long is Alice staying, and are all of the Cullens coming back? (He must already know the answer to my bread bowl question from the last blog.)
Bella tells him that Alice is staying here as long as she damn well pleases, but the rest of the Cullens probably aren't coming back. Jacob reminds Bella that with Alice around, the werewolves cannot protect her because Bella's house is in Cullen territory, and the wolves can't break the treaty. So if she's smart, Bella will ditch Alice and go back to La Push where it's safe. (Who wouldn't want to go back to La Push? It's filled with motorcycles and werewolves and cliffs and outdoor spaghetti and muffins! In other words, it's heaven but with muffins.)
Bella is annoyed that Jacob assumes the Cullens are monsters. She only sees vampires as being super and handsome, not evil at all. She's like a die-hard ferret owner who keeps telling people, "Ferrets make great pets. They don't bite." Of course, when you go to pet a ferret's eyeball…well, let's just say the owner's no-bite rule doesn't always apply.
Bella tries to make peace and wants to be friends with both the vamps and werewolves. But she would be a horrible U.N. official, because when trying to settle disputes between warring nations, she will always side with whoever is sparkly and smells good (such as the Dutch).
Bella gets upset at the entire situation and cries. Jacob speaks up. His tone changes from a business manner to a more friendly voice, and he says he's sorry for breaking his "don't hurt Bella" promise again. This is why I only make promises that I know I can keep. Such as: I promise to never bite a pony. I promise to only drink liquid. I promise to be a famous rapper one day. Make realistic promises and you'll live life guilt-free.
Jake says he understands how Bella feels about the Cullens and should have known that she would choose them over him. Bella offers a pitiful, "Sorry." He hugs her and sniffs her hair. The vampire stench on Bella makes him say, "Eww." Werewolves think vampires smell too sweet and icy. (Remind me that if/when werewolves come over for dinner, DON'T serve Slurpees as appetizers.)
Jacob says that he can't be near Bella when Alice is around. Bella loves Alice (his words, I swear!), and he wouldn't want to snap into a werewolf and maul someone Bella loved, saying, "You probably wouldn't like it too much if I killed your friend." And I high-five the book again.
I'm starting to suspect that all of Jacob's dialogue was written by a different writer. (J.J. Abrams? Joss Whedon?) When any other character talks, it's always too forced and unnatural, like the characters from the play I wrote in first grade, "Farm Time," which included this bit of back-and-forth:
FARMER: Milk comes from cows.
FARMER'S WIFE: Corn comes from fields.
FARMER: We use tractors.
FARMER'S WIFE: Farming is hard work.
FARMER: This is about my soul, isn't it? I don't care! You can have my soul. I don't want it without you—it's yours already!
FARMER'S WIFE: Chickens lay eggs.
Bella and Jacob's conversation leads to a long section of sexual tension, including face touching, long stares, and whispers. Finally, Jacob goes in for a kiss, but just before all is right in the universe, the phone rings and the mood is broken. Jacob answers Bella's phone, listens to the other end, and angrily says, "He's not here. He's at a funeral," and hangs up. (Remember, Charlie is at Harry's funeral. This is important.) Jacob tells Bella that it was Carlisle calling.
Bella asks why Jacob didn't give her the phone, but Jacob says Carlisle just asked for Charlie, and when Jacob told him were Charlie was, Carlisle hung up. Before Bella can yell at Jacob, Alice appears at the bottom of the stairs. She doesn't look good. Bella freaks out and asks what's wrong, but all Alice can say is, "Edward." This makes Bella nearly pass out. Clearly something awful has (or will) happened to Edward.
Bella demands to know what happened to Edward. But Alice is busy calling Carlisle. He's not home, but Alice talks to her sister Rosalie and gets some information.
Grab a seat (you'll want to be sitting down for this) and I'll sum up what happened as best I can without laughing:
As we know, a few days ago, Alice saw a vision of Bella jumping form the cliff. So, she thought Bella committed suicide and flew to Forks to help Charlie cope. Before leaving, she told Rosalie about her vision (I think). Later, when Edward called the Cullens to check in, the mean-spirited Rosalie told him that Alice saw a vision of Bella's suicide. (Still with me? Wait, it gets better.)
Then, to confirm the story, Edward (claiming to be Carlisle for some reason) called Bella's house to find out of it was true. Jacob answered the phone and told him that Charlie isn't home because he's at the funeral. Edward assumed this meant Bella's funeral. So now Edward is mad as hell because he thinks Bella is dead and he wants to kill himself by meeting with the Volturi.
(OK, you can stand up again.)
We know that vampire suicide is no easy business, and the only way a vamp can kill himself is by meeting with the ancient, European Volturi vampires. Um…but that's not really true.
Edward could save on an airfare and hotel fees, come back to Forks, and try to pet Sam Uley on the eyeball. Then Ed would die. And it would be grand! So this "Only the Volturi may kill me" thing is just another example of the author trying to push the story in a certain direction.
When Bella realizes what has happened, she screams. I screamed too, because this situation is too convoluted and the plot relies too much on people being at the exact right place, at the exact right time in order for this conflict to be created. None of this would have happened if:
Edward didn't pretend to be Carlisle.
Bella answered the phone.
Alice answered the phone.
Conner answered the phone.
Jacob didn't answer the phone.
Harry Clearwater didn't die.
Charlie wasn't friends with Harry Clearwater.
The book was about Emmett and robots.
Alice's powers were not limited to only seeing events that will propel the story forward.
The Cullens were not a pack of pansies that ran away from any and all problems. (Emmett obviously excluded.)
Edward wasn't an idiot.
Alice turned Bella into a vampire in the last book.
Anyone acted sensibly.
Sorry, but this situation is too hard to swallow. Alice says they can't call Edward to tell him that this was all a misunderstanding because he threw out his cell phone. Argh! (No, I'm not mad at this silly chain of events. I'm mad because he should recycle his old phone. Earth Day is every day.) Eddie is a man on a mission to get torn apart by the Volturi, and nothing can stop him. Nothing! Well, of course there is one way to stop him, but it's a long shot. (And I'll bet my left pinky that it works).
Alice sees the future where Edward confronts the Volturi and asks to die. But Alice says there's a chance that the Volturi will deny his suicide request because the Volturi are good friends with Carlisle. So, if the Volturi say no, Edward will have to enrage them somehow to make them attack. And if Edward chooses to do this is some elaborate way, Alice might be able to get to Italy in time to stop him.
A word or two on storytelling: If most of the narrative is about two people falling in and out of love, while being hunted by a mysterious villain, stay with that story. Don't suddenly change the entire plot in the last hundred pages so that it's now a race against the clock to stop some new villain from killing a different dude in a completely different country.
The unexpected change in plot makes it seem like Stephenie Meyer got bored with the story and wanted to write about something else. Or she's mean, and loves teasing me with the possibility of a Wolf Jacob v. Victoria smackdown, only to change the entire story at the last minute.
I wouldn't want to be Meyer's kids. She probably promises them trips to the toy store, and then, as they approach the toy store, she turns the car around and heads to the furniture store instead.
Bella is freaking out harder than she ever freaked out before. She pushes Jacob out of the way and demands to go with Alice to Italy. (Between sassing Jake, arguing with him, and shoving him, I don't think there's a court in this country that would convict Jacob if he decided to "phase" and eat Bella.)
But Alice says it's dangerous. These super vampires won't be happy to learn that Bella knows vampire secrets, so they might kill all the Cullens and eat Bella as a snack. What a shame that would be. (Psst. Hey, Bella. You should totally go to Italy. Seriously. You'll love it there. They have they best ice cream. And when you meet a Volturi vampire, pet them on the eyeballs, because that's the proper way to greet an ancient vampire.)
Surprise. Surprise. Bella doesn't care about the danger. Alice agrees to let Bella tag along and makes airline reservations for the next available flight. (I’m sure Forks has hourly flights to Volturi-land…if you don't mind a layover in Pittsburg.)
As Bella packs, the suddenly second-fiddle Jacob says he will watch over Charlie to make sure Victoria doesn't eat him. At least Jacob is sticking with this book's plot. Alice reminds Bella to bring a passport because Alice doesn't have time to forge one. (Another vampire power?)
Bella grabs a few clothes and her toothbrush and heads out the door to find Jacob and Alice standing far apart in the yard, staring each other down like in an old Western. Jake says Alice is foolish for taking Bella to these "leeches." Alice calls Jacob a dog. They bicker about where Bella will be safest. Things have the potential to be amazing and action-packed, but of course, nothing happens.
As Bella is about to leave, Jacob grabs her arm and begs her to stay. She's determined to find Edward and says she must go. He says, "Don't die," and then Bella runs to Alice's car. When she turns back, she sees part of Jacob's sneaker falling to the ground. He turned into a werewolf. (But we didn't get to see it because this chapter is horrible).
Prediction: The plot continues to shift gears. The next chapter focuses on Edward's fight with the Volturi. But there is no epic battle. Instead, just as the fight is about to begin, the chapter ends. In the following chapter, the story focuses on Esme, who has just won the lottery, but lost the winning ticket in a wacky factory filled with conveyor belts and garbage chutes. Hilarity ensues. The rest of the book deals with E-rock and Marshmallow Mike's attempt to teach inner-city kids how to play ice hockey. Werewolves are never mentioned again.
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