Chapter Thirty-Four: Declared
Better Title: Baby's Worst Christmas
It's a Twilight Christmas! As expected, Bella picked out the perfect gift for her child's first Christmas. No, it's not a stuffed animal. It's not a toy kitchen, or doll house. Optimus won't be getting a tricycle, a trampoline, or even a box of crayons. She won't find any toys under the tree. None. Not even one lone Polly Pocket shoe, the kind that are so tiny because they are made of only 18 atoms. A baby, even one who magically matured to the age of 3, wouldn't want silly toys. The world's wisest mother knew this and bought Optimus one gift. A locket.
A locket isn't the worst present in the world. It has meaning. It's sentimental. Optimus is so grown-up that she may even appreciate it. But come on! Come, the hell, on! Buy this kid some Play-Doh! Get her one of those sexed-up Bratz dolls. Give her a princess wand, or Hungry-Hungry Hippos, or some freaking wooden blocks! At the rate your child is going, she'll be 34 years old by Labor Day. She has only weeks to be a child. Let her have toys, you rich, precious, awful, awful, precious, awful, precious idiots!
To be fair, Optimus does receive two other Christmas presents. From dad, she gets an MP3 player filled with Edward's favorite songs, because all toddlers love to rock out to the slamming tunes of 18th-century chamber music. And from Jacob she gets a hand-woven bracelet, which Bella says is the Native American equivalent of a promise ring. How romantic! Now all the other toddlers at daycare are going to be so jealous.
OPTIMUS: Check it out, ladies! He put a ring on it!
JENNY: I can do a cartwheel.
BRIDGET: My hair tastes like snow because there's snow in my hair.
OPTIMUS: The theme of my wedding is going to be "Moonlit Beach."
JENNY: My cat throws up all the time, and then my dad stepped in it! [Uncontrolled giggling]
BRIDGET: I'm a horse! [Makes horse noise]
ROGER: Hey Optimus!
OPTIMUS: Step off, Roger. [Points to her promise bracelet] This bitch is spoken for. Don't hate.
ROGER: Wanna play blocks?
OPTIMUS: What the hell are blocks?
Edward isn't thrilled that his daughter is engaged, but Bella is happy because she knows Jacob must raise Optimus should Bella and Edward be killed in the Great Vampire War. It's a huge responsibility for Jacob to raise his lover, but you must remember that at the rate Optimus is growing, Jake only has to keep an eye on her for about a month, and then Optimus will be old enough to take care of herself. And then she'll die of old age by October. So Jacob can surely handle it. It's exactly like taking care of your friend's fish while he's away on vacation, except you don't have sex with the fish.
There's a small moment in this chapter when Bella wants to practice fighting techniques with Emmett, but Edward won't let her.
Emmett is here? Hi Emmett! Hey Emmett, according to Google Maps, you live 2,931 miles away from me. If I don't make any stops for food or fuel, and sit on a pile of absorbent kitty litter, I can make the trip in 48 hours. So I can be there by Sunday or Monday. Oh…hey, did you know Monday is Valentine's Day? That's super weird, right? Didn't plan that at all. I swear. OK, see you then!
Anyway, Bella wants to practice with Emmett but Edward says no. Huh? Not only does Edward refuse to teach his wife basic self-defense, but she can't even learn some tips from The Pain Maker? Why? I dare you to explain this. I double wolf dare you.
I don't know why Edward stops Bella from training. And Bella doesn't offer any explanation either. I'd understand if she had said, "Edward wouldn't let me train with Emmett because he's a horrible husband who would rather I die than make a fist." But she doesn't say that. She says nothing and does as she's told. What a wonderful relationship these two kids have.
After spending Christmas with her dad, Bella returns home and finds the vampires inside having a murmur party, which is sort of like having an argument, except everyone is a complete toolbox.
Alistair has left, saying there is no hope against the Volturi and it's better to run than to be killed or turned into one of the Volturi's slaves. Amun also wants to leave, but his boyfriend/slave boy Benjamin wants to stay and fight. Benjamin is the super powerful young vampire who can control the forces of nature with his thoughts. If the Volturi are after anyone, it's probably him, despite Marcus's whines of, "He's not so great. I can connect four drinking straws together and make an Ultra Straw! And it only leaks a little!"
Amun is very protective of Benny, and doesn't want anything bad to happen to his prized possession. Amun says they're all doomed, while the Romanian vampires say now is the time to rise up against the corrupt Volturi. There is a brief tiff, and finally Amun agrees to stay, but drops a few hints to imply he will switch sides should the battle turn ugly.
Meanwhile, the Volturi are traveling across America in an epic game of leapfrog, stopping often to take pictures of pretty trees.
Amun's fight leads to a long section of the chapter in which every vampire stands up and says, "We are with you, Carlisle! We will help you against the Volturi!" It's dramatic. I'm sure in the film, lush orchestra music will accompany these passionate speeches. (Or Yakety Sax!) But is this really necessary?
These vampires have been here for weeks and weeks. Surely they had already allied themselves with the Cullens. This is like a football team making it to the Super Bowl and moments before the kickoff, the quarterback says, "By the way, guys, I just want you to know that I'm on your team."
Stephenie Meyer is trying to make it seem emotional and important, but she's simply rewriting the same events again and again. During the battle, I wouldn't be shocked if we saw dialogue such as this.
BELLA: We must protect Optimus! Attack the soldiers on the left flank!
TANYA: I want you to know that I stand with you.
BELLA: That's terrific, but the soldiers are advancing.
ELEAZAR: I have long been a friend of the Cullens, and I too will stand with you.
BELLA: Neat. But seriously guys, we should be attacking the Volturi, not making impassioned speeches.
SENNA: You have my support. As a child I saw the true cost of war and know that it's in times of struggle that…OUCH! [Senna is decapitated]
KEBI: You can count on me to help you…[Kebi is bitten in half by a Volturi]
BELLA: Come on, guys! Just start fighting!
GARRETT: I will fight for you, Bella. The Cullens shall feel my love and friendship during… [Garret is killed by Marcus' beach ball.]
After all the flowery speeches, it's clear that the vampires will stick with the Cullens, as the Volturi travel to Forks via tightrope.
And then everyone goes hunting. This means Bella and Edward kill wild animals, while the other vampires kill kindly old men sitting in the park. It's OK though, because the kindly old men live 300 miles away, so there's no chance that Bella will know them. Bella is a hero and role model, and her image should be tattooed on your body as a sing of respect. (Sarcasm hand…which is tattooed with some killer tribal art, a yin-yang, and a portrait of Batman wearing Robocop's helmet.)
While slurping down elk blood, Bella has a horrible thought: What if her shielding powers won't work on Alec or Demetri? Optimus can use her powers on Bella's mind, so it stands to reason that others might be able to punch holes through Bella's defenses.
Edward isn't worried. He thinks Optimus is the only one who can affect Bella's mind because Optimus has the opposite power of …you know what? It doesn't matter. There are only five chapters left. Let's just plow through this and then forget it ever happened. Just like middle school.
Murmurs: 6 (Book total: 88)
Mutters: 4 (Book total: 54)
Bella buys more presents for Optimus.
BELLA: I went out and bought our baby presents for the rest of the year.
EDWARD: Great! What did you buy?
BELLA: For Valentine's Day, I'm giving her a piano key.
BELLA: It's symbolic of music and the harmony of the world. For Easter, I'm giving her a basket filled with my own breath.
EDWARD: That's nice. But she's been dropping hints about wanting a Nintendo Wii for a while.
BELLA: Is "Nintendo Wii" the name of a glass vase? Because I was going to give her a glass vase filled with sea water for the Fourth of July.
EDWARD: No. It's a video game console.
BELLA: Video…game? Is that some sort perfume? Perfume would make a lovely gift for the Summer Solstice! Babies love perfume. Great idea!
BELLA: Anyway, for her next birthday, I'm giving her a single kiss on the forehead, and next Christmas, I'll give her a jar of raspberry preserves. She may not want it now, but when she grows up, she will truly appreciate the raspberry preserves.
ROSALIE: Bella, your daughter has picked up a dead raccoon in the woods and is carrying it around, calling it "Baby." She even dressed it up.
BELLA: Tell her to come inside and I'll let her play with a cup of water and her own shadow.
QUIL: For Valentine's Day, I gave my girlfriend a diamond bracelet. She gave me a chicken nugget which she bit into the shape of a heart. She also bit a cookie into the shape of gun and zapped me. Then she yelled, "Crashed Potatoes," and ran into the basement giggling. I shouldn't have let her eat that cookie. Women...
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