Chapter Five: Cheater
Better Title: Bella Doesn't Kill Herself At All
At the sporting goods store, Mike tells Bella to leave early because business is slow today. As she gets ready to leave, two shoppers talk about a recent bear sighting; apparently, the bear was big and black. I'm assuming that this bear is actually a werewolf, and suddenly I become interested in the story again.
With some free time on her hands, Bella doesn't want to go back home and deal with her concerned father, so she drives around aimlessly. She hasn't been sleeping well and is suffering from the same nightmare every night, which makes her wake up screaming. This has become so common in the Swann house that her dad doesn't even check on her after she screams, just like most people don't even flinch when a car alarm goes off.
Her nightmare doesn't seem very scary: She's walking around in the forest, lost. I've had daydreams that were more frightening. For instance, just now, staring at my laptop, I thought, "Wouldn't it be horrible if every time I hit a key on the keyboard a kitten died, but I didn't know about it, so throughout my life I've unknowingly killed millions of poor kittens, and even writing this sentence may have wiped out an entire family of young cats?" Now that's scary.
Bella continues to drive around and think about Edward and her pain. I was warned that this book contained a lot of emotional Bella thoughts, and it does. But believe it or not, I'm going to cut her a little slack here. Breakups are hard, especially if it's with your first love, and especially if the breakup was caused by your inability to not bleed. So for the rest of this chapter, and this chapter alone, I will not poke fun at Bella for feeling miserable, because for once, she has something to feel miserable about.
In her mind, she goes over Edward's final words, in which he made her this deal: He will disappear and make it seem as though he never existed, and in return, she must promise to be safe. This is the worst treaty every created. It's like a bully who says he will hit you hard in the neck, but in exchange, you must give him $5. It doesn't make sense, and only a fool would make such a pledge. Bella should have negotiated better terms. For instance:
Edward leaves forever and lets Bella keep the photos. In exchange, she will be careful when driving and dealing with werewolves, but she can ride her bicycle without a helmet (only on the driveway and in cul-de-sacs).
Edward leaves and takes the photos, but he promises to come back every Christmas and Flag Day if Bella promises to never leave her house and never stand in front of the microwave when it's in use.
Emotions are overtaking poor Bella, and she realizes that she shouldn't be driving. She pulls over and curls up on the seat of her truck, mashing her face against the steering wheel. If I wasn't trying to be nice towards her during this chapter, I would make fun of her right now. Instead, I just shake my head, grin sympathetically, and say, "Keep your chin up and your nose clean, kiddo. The world ain't done with you yet." (When talking to a book, it works best if you sound like an actor from the 1940s.)
She finally understands that the deal she made with Edward was stupid, because while he took all the photos and material things that could remind her of his existence, he couldn't take her memory or change the fact that she's a different person now. So when he said, "It will be as if I'd never existed," he was lying.
Since he was allowed to lie about his promise, she thinks she can lie about her promise to stay safe, and wants to do something stupid and dangerous to get back at him. But without vampires, there is nothing dangerous in Forks. (Unlike the den of hell that is Port Angeles.)
Fate is on her side: she parked her car in front of a yard where two motorcycles are being advertised as "For Sale." Riding a motorcycle is just the type of danger Bella is looking for. A fellow classmate of hers lives at the house; she goes to the door, and the classmate's younger brother answers. She asks about the bikes, and the kid says the motorcycles don't run at all and she can have them for free because his mom is making his dad throw them out.
Bella only needs one motorcycle to be reckless, but the kid suggests she take both and use the parts from one to fix the other. She's worried about her dad finding out; he has forbidden her to ride a motorcycle. As a police officer, he's seen too many accidents to let his daughter ride on a death machine.
Motorcycles can certainly be dangerous, but there are other ways Bella can act recklessly that won't require her to pay a mechanic first. Why waste the time and money? Instead, she could live dangerously right this very moment by eating trans fats, or by going to an airport without photo I.D., or by doing aerobics without stretching.
As they load the motorcycles on the truck, the young kid once again tells Bella that the bikes need a lot of work. She thinks about taking them to the overpriced mechanic in town, but then remembers Jacob Black, the car-savvy Native American who is probably a werewolf. (He is my third favorite character in this series, behind Emmett and Alice, and slightly ahead of Bella's truck and that guy named Conner who has only been mentioned twice). Jacob could probably help her fix the bikes.
When she gets home, she calls Charlie at the police station to get directions to Jacob's house. Charlie and Jacob's dad Billy are good friends, and he is more than happy to give Bella the info. But Bella still wants to keep the motorcycles a secret and hopes that Billy won't find out and rat her out.
She quickly drives over to the Blacks' house, and finds it strangely familiar. Jacob is happy to see her, and has grown even more since the last book, standing an impressive 6'5". He's a bit more grown up and still has long black hair. Bella doesn't seem romantically interested in him, but she likes him a lot as a friend. Of course, since she has a fetish for powerful mythical monsters, once it's revealed that he's a werewolf, she'll probably fall all over him and his musky scent. (Although I may be getting ahead of myself. If I'm wrong about Jacob being a werewolf, I will be disappointed, and the editorial I'm writing for the New York Times entitled "Jacob is a Werewolf for Sure" will fail to connect with readers.)
Jacob and Bella share a friendly conversation. It's nice to see two teens talk and act like teenagers, instead of acting like brooding, dramatic ninnies. Bella says hi to Billy, but quickly leaves with Jacob and heads to his garage out back. While he's showing off his 1986 Rabbit (the car, not the animal), she asks if he'd be willing to help her rebuild the motorcycles. Without giving it a second thought, he said he'd love to.
She offers to pay for his service, but Jacob, being the awesome guy that he is, refuses the money. Finally, after some friendly bickering, they strike a deal: In exchange for fixing the bikes, he will get to keep one, and Bella will pay for all the parts if he teaches her how to ride when the bikes are done.
Had she made a similar deal with Edward, the terms would probably be something like: Bella pays for the parts and service, and when the bikes are done, Edward gets to ride both of them at the same time, and she can only ride one for half an hour on her birthday.
Yep, I like Jacob. He's friendly, funny, and handy. If Bella needed car help from Edward, all he would be able to do is serenade the car with a love song and then kiss the roof of the car in hopes that his romantic gestures would do the trick. Jacob isn't so…precious.
He is now 16, and Bella is 18. The age difference shouldn't be a problem since the age difference between Bella and her last man-buddy was well into the double digits. But Bella still sees Jacob as a friend, and hopes she's not leading him on. Open your eyes, woman! Jacob (next to Emmett) is the best guy in town.
He agrees to keep this project a secret. It won't be too difficult to hide the bikes at the Black house, since his dad uses a wheelchair and cannot get out to the garage. The chapter ends with Bella feeling happy, and glad that Jacob is her friend. And I'm happy that she's no longer curled up in a ball, sounding like she's reciting the lyrics from bad singer/songwriter album.
Prediction: Bella continues to lead Jacob on. She calls him every day, hangs out with him all the time, and invites him to seemingly intimate events, saying, "Wanna sleep over at my house? I only have one bed, so we'll have to share. And then tomorrow, we can go skinny dipping and bra shopping. Won't that be fun, good buddy!?"
Need more Dan? Here you go.