Chapter Twenty-One: Trails
Better Title: Almost a Good Chapter
Maybe it's the warmer weather or the longer days, but I actually liked this chapter. No. Strike that. Like is too strong a word. I less-hated this chapter. (I feel the same way diet pudding and Jurassic Park 3.)
It begins with Bella waking up in the Cullen house. She is no longer wearing the engagement ring because she hates the idea of marrying Edward. Or maybe the ring is impossible to detect with the naked eye. She tells us, "My left hand felt heavier, like [the ring] was still in place, just invisible." Oh boy. Don't get me started on invisible rings. Those suckers are never worth the price, and I always end up losing them at the pool.
She reminds us for the umpteenth time that marriage is not really her cup of tea. She'll only marry Eddie if they do it in Vegas, without much of a ceremony, and she wants to wear sweatpants during the wedding to really drive the point home that she's not into matrimony.
I'm surprised she doesn't add, "And when the justice of the peace asks me if I take you as my husband, I'm going to shrug. And then when it's time to kiss, I'm just going to give you a fist bump. Also, I'm wearing sweatpants with words on the butt. And I'm not wearing a shirt. That would be too formal. I'll wear a bikini top or maybe just some tape."
The Cullens return home from their hunting trip. Alice is in a pissy mood. Poor thing is all flustered by the fact that she can't see the future because the werewolves are involved. (I'm smiling. I know it's petty of me, but when Alice is sad, it makes me happy, and I think it makes me taller too.)
Today, Bella and Edward will walk around the woods so Bella can leaves her scent for the bad vampire army to follow. After that, Jacob will carry her to a hiding spot on the mountain where she'll camp out until the war is over. That's the plan. Got it? Good.
Alice tells Edward, "I think that you're going to want to pack for cold weather." Why would Edward need warm clothes? I thought he was a vampire. Maybe I misread something, and he's not a vampire, just really annoying and pretentious. Is Alice telling him what to pack for Bella? If so, that's downright rude. Bella is standing right there. Once again, the Cullens treat Bella like a little kid who not only can't pack her own suitcase, but probably needs to bring along her Gameboy or else she'll get bored on the trip. Better pack some crayons, too, and a juice box.
I don't like Bella (duh), but I especially don't like the way the Cullens treat her. They always act like they're so much better than her. And whenever Bella says something important, such as, "Victoria is probably behind this whole thing," the Cullens don’t even care. During these pages, I felt sorry for Bella.
Stop looking at me like that.
Bella calls up Jacob to arrange a meeting place in the forest. When Bella hangs up, she sees Alice and Edward having a staring contest. Or maybe they're using their dumb vampires power to chit-chat with each other. Speaking of vampires…WHY DON'T THEY SEND BELLA TO ANTARTICA?!
I know. I know. They need to use her scent to leave a trail. I get that. I do. Really. But after she leaves the trail, Jacob could take her on a plane to the South Pole, where she'd be safe with the penguins and Anti-Claus (Santa Claus' evil twin, who climbs into your home through the fridge and takes things…but only if you're good. Instead of flying reindeer, he rides atop tunneling birds, obviously).
Bella catches the tail end of Alice's argument with Edward, as Alice says, "This isn't about you, Edward." I bet this is about souls, isn't it?
Actually, it isn't. It's about weddings. Alice hates the idea of Bella getting married in Vegas. She wants to plan a proper wedding for her, complete with a real minister, because the Cullens are mean and disrespectful towards Bella's wishes. Alice wears Bella down after some more arguing and sad faces.
Do you see what I mean about the Cullens? Bella has made it clear that she doesn't want a wedding. And I believe her. I don't think this is a case of Bella pretending not to want a wedding but secretly hoping someone throws her a surprise ceremony. (Unlike that time I told everyone I didn't want an ant farm for my birthday, but secretly I wanted one in the worst possible way. Still do…kind of. But whatever. Ant farms are dumb. I don't want one. No, really. They're so dumb and childish. Especially the cool ones made with blue gel. Those are super dumb. They're also on sale at the learning store. They're probably on sale because they're so dumb.)
Bella hates weddings. But Alice forces one on her. Is this as bad as kidnapping Bella just so Alice could get a fancy Porsche? No. It's only a party, after all. But the idea of treating Bella like a puppy still bothers me. I may be oversensitive today. By the way, you should know I'm sobbing right now, and whimpering, "Leave Bella alone."
The worn-down Bella succumbs to Alice's wishes, and Alice prances off to buy glitter, flowers, salad, lip gloss, shoes, and other items a stereotypical girly-girl would buy after winning an argument.
Before she leaves, Alice asks to see the ring, but Bella says she's not wearing it. (Or is it invisible? Hmm.) Alice then makes some vague comment that Edward has already given Bella diamond jewelry. We'll later learn that the heart charm Edward gave Bella is probably one big diamond.
Note to self: Rob Bella.
Another note to self: Ask Emmett to teach me how to kill a man with a bubble wand…because no one would expect to be killed with a bubble wand. Therefore it's the perfect weapon.
With the camping gear packed, Edward and Bella head out into the forest to leave the false trail. Edward tells Bella which way to walk, and as they proceed, she drops strands of hair and touches trees to make sure her stink is everywhere. I can't think of anything funny to say about that. So apropos of nothing: Sometimes I look at trees and wonder if they're just growing or if they're trying to slowly escape Earth.
They talk about weddings. Edward is sorry for Alice's behavior. He offers a compromise and says that even if Alice plans the event, it can still be a small, intimidate gathering, and Emmett could even become ordained online and perform the ceremony himself.
Emmett! Hi Emmett! Oh. Wait. He's not really there. They're just talking about him. Eh. Whatever.
I would love to go to the Church of Emmett. His sermons wouldn't deal with boring matters of faith, temptation, and redemption. They would deal with karate, how to catch an arrow in your bare hands, and giant sand worms. After the service, everyone would probably get fireworks and orange-drink.
After a bit of walking, they reach the clearing where the good vampires will wait for the bad vampires. Bella trips and cuts her hand open on the ground. Oh crap! Jasper's going to run out and eat her! It was nice knowing you, Bella.
Hmm. Jasper? You there, buddy? No?
Edward offers to help clean Bella's wound, but she won’t let him. Instead, she uses her bloody hand to leave an even smellier trail, as she slathers blood on nearby rocks and trees. You have to admire her work ethic, but I must ask: Why doesn't she pee all over the place too? And with that, my lemonade has become infinitely less delicious.
She finally allows Edward to look at the wound. He says he's no longer tempted by her blood because…um…I don't know. Let's say he was struck by wizard lightning. The real reason makes even less sense. (Hint: It's about love.)
The two forever buddies then meet up with Jacob in the woods. Jake will carry Bella to the hiding place while Edward navigates a different path so as not to mix up the werewolf scent.
And this is where the chapter really worked for me. Jacob acts cocky. A bit too cocky. But I dig it. I've said it before, but there's a certain Han Solo vibe about him, and it's even more obvious as he jogs with Bella in his arms. Watch The Empire Strikes Back, and tell me you don't see Jacob as Han and Bella as a whinier, less confident version of Princess Leia. Go on, watch it.
You're not watching it, are you? Why are you being so difficult today? Is this about my hat? I don't care what others think. I'm wearing it!
Throughout this trek, Jake says Bella has a big crush on him, but she doesn't realize it yet. She denies the allegation. She's still ticked off about his forced kiss. But Jacob doesn't give up.
That's the difference between Jacob, Edward, and Mike Newton. Jacob is filled with amazing self-confidence. Edward is filled with clichéd, generic greeting card emotions. And Mike acts like a nerdy baby bird who is too afraid to fly. They all have different approaches to kissing a girl.
JACOB: You. Me. Kissing. Let's do this!
EDWARD: My heart is like an ocean of love drowning in an ocean of passion. Softly part thy lips and let me whisper darkness into your soul.
MIKE: Um…do you think that maybe, if you're not busy, that maybe…you could put your lips, like, on my lips for like a few seconds? Or whatever. I'm just kidding. Whatever. I have to go now. Marry me? Just kidding. Sort of. Whatever.
And that's why I like Jacob. Sure, he's a bit of an ass. But this book needs more of that. Jacob and Emmett are the only characters who have a speck of personality. Everyone else acts like a mannequin. I know a lot of people love Edward. But answer me this, Ed-fans: if you had a chance to hang out with him, what, exactly, would you talk about?
FAN: OMG! I think you're cute and brave.
FAN: So. What do you like to do?
EDWARD: I don't sleep because I'm a vampire.
FAN: What are your interests?
EDWARD: I once had the flu and I'm also good at high school.
FAN: Neat. [Yawns]
FAN: I'm going to go now. My mom is picking me up in three hours. I better wait outside.
Now imagine yourself hanging out with either Emmett or Jacob. You're smiling, aren't you? See what I mean?
Jake lugs Bella through the trees, and continues to remind her that he's much better than Edward. He brags and says she can't resist his hot, super tight body. I guess you could read this and say Jacob is being a narcissistic jerk. But I read it as if he's goofing around. Besides, it's not like he spends all day looking in the mirror. The dude can't help it that he's a walking fitness model, just as I can't help it that my shins are so sexy it's almost a crime. (It's both a gift and a curse.)
But Jacob says he won't fight Edward for Bella, at least not tonight. He knows that they'll need all available warriors to stop the newborn vampire army. This makes Bella cringe, because the spoiled brat has demanded that Edward stay behind during the battle.
She tells Jacob this, and he's a bit confused. Bella tries to explain herself, saying that she can't risk losing Edward. Jake thinks it over and says, "That doesn't mean he loves you more than I do."
Bella replies, "But you wouldn't stay with me, even if I begged."
You're damn right he wouldn't stay with you, Belly. You're a fool. You're a greedy fool who wants the entire world to bend to your every wish. The fact that Edward agreed to stay with you doesn't mean he loves you. It means he's an easily manipulated idiot. You could tell him to do anything, and if you begged enough, he would.
BELLA: Eddie, will you kill all the birds in the world? I don't like them because they don't have hands.
EDWARD: Um…I don’t think I can do that.
EDWARD: OK. Where does Emmett keep his bird sword?
That's not love. Love isn't about being bossed around. It's about communication, understanding, and knowing who you will sit with on the roller coaster so that you don't have the awkward "I'm sitting with Sarah, but who's sitting with Leroy?" debate moments before the ride starts.
Bella changes the subject and they talk about werewolf lineage. Jacob says he should be the Alpha Male of the werewolves, since his great grandfather was the first werewolf. But when Sam offered Jake the role of leader, Jacob refused. He's not ready for the responsibility. Yet.
They eventually find Edward, who has set up camp. A bad storm is moving in and Jacob , Edward, and Bella get ready to camp out. Oh man. I bet the next chapter turns into an all-out orgy!
Glowers: 0 (Book total 14)
Murmurs: 1 (Book total 63)
The next chapter is an all-out orgy. And by orgy, I mean "awkward talky-time."
EDWARD: Bella, you need to get some rest. Brush your teeth and moisturize your skin. And don't forget to floss.
JACOB: Why do you tell Bella what to do all the time?
EDWARD: Because if I don't, she'll die.
JACOB: You're not giving her a chance.
EDWARD: Fine. You think she can survive on her own? Check this out. [To Bella] Lamb, Jake and I are going to step outside of the tent for a minute. You'll be fine on your own, right?
[Jacob and Edward leave for one minute and then return to find Bella covered in blood and missing a foot]
EDWARD: What happened?
BELLA: Well, I wasn't sure if I should cut off my own foot or not. And Eddie wasn't around to tell me to stop. So…
BELLA: It's all good. My foot doesn't hurt. Just the part where my foot connected to my leg hurts. So I don't think I need to see a doctor.
BELLA: And I brushed the wound with toothpaste because the bone looked like a tooth to me. Then I used your cellphone to wire all my money to some needy man named SpAMFILE.
BELLA: I may have also become addicted to opiates. Not really sure yet.
JACOB: We were only gone for a minute!
BELLA: Wait. Hold on. Um…yep. I'm addicted to opiates. Weird, right?
EDWARD: [Turns to Jacob] Now do you understand?
BELLA: Do you have any opiates? Or foot glue?
We've got your foot glue right here.