Life & Death Chapter 8

A common focus I’ve seen in criticisms of Twilight and its narrow universe revolves around Ed. I know, so many of them do. Honestly, if Meyer wanted me to say only one word that could encompass everything wrong about the series I’d say Ed.

One of the things aimed at Ed is that he’s a fantasy defined by the most desirable traits and nothing else. Thus the books serve as wish fulfillment for the audience as the most perfect man they can imagine is focused on their avatar. This makes him boring as his traits are the most superficial as possible.

The belief that Twilight is merely popcorn, satisfying a romantic fancy is missing the point, which I only realized this on this second read through. It’s actually the whole story. Every element feeds into the dream.

Obviously Ed is part and parcel but so is Ed’s family. Outside of Rosalie/Royal, they’re instantly accepting of Bella/Beau. Charlie and Rene are neglectful but never in a way that leads to actual harm. That the whole town is focused on their appearance and everyone that wants to get a character name is defined by whether they want to sleep with them. Hell, the villains are only defined as bad because they want to kill Bella/Beau.

Beau goes into Port Angeles with what Meyer calls his friends and I call props. They go to the florist where a “glossy woman” upsells Allen to roses. I don’t know which part is more insulting, that she’s called a glossy woman, which is Meyer code for something(probably harlot), or the inference that Allen is an idiot for picking roses when suggested.

While they’re picking out their corsages and such, Beau asks if it’s normal for the Cullens to miss a lot of school. Yes, yes it is. Why with the annual sunny days averaging just over one hundred and thirty, it’s a wonder they ever show up at school. Which would make a thinking reader wonder how they hell they’re blending in, missing enough school to get a fundraiser started in their honor.

Beau gets bored and says he’s going to meet them at the theater later after wandering around. The sock puppets all nod and let Beau meander his way to the next plot point. Being the idiot he is, Beau quickly gets lost among the streets of Port Angeles. Then he remembers the advice his mother gave him about navigating large cities. Run as quickly as possible and take randomized turns until you’re out of breath. If you haven’t found a safe place by then, you’re doomed and should accept your fate.

Lucky for everyone reading, Beau stumbles upon some sort of illicit activity. At least that’s the impression we’re supposed to get as everyone jams their hands in their pockets and says there’s a cop. Beau runs off, only to be pursued by the nondescript people, two of which are girls. They say that they know Beau is a plainclothes cop and she say him working with his partner in vice.

Look, Meyer, there’s not enough crack in the world to convince anyone that Beau, in all his white flour blandness, is an undercover cop. One of the men, a bald man, brings out a gun and says he doesn’t believe Beau when he protests he’s just in high school. Somone says they need to keep this quiet and grabs a broken piece of pipe from the gutter. Port Angeles being known for having all sorts of impromptu melee weapons littering their streets.

There’s a flash of headlights and the screeching of tires as Edythe swoops in. Though the moment has some urgency, it’s quickly drained by them having a dull argument in parked car, in the middle of the street. Ed “hissed” in a “furious” voice to get in. Beau hops in but slows it down by saying she has to leave because bald man has a gun. Edythe opens the door to get out, Beau stops her and they exchange looks. She then tells him to put on his seat belt and they drive off to safety.

It’s a good thing someone so paranoid they were about to kill Beau for being a cop wasn’t shocked into action by the appearance of a car. A group of people bent on criminal activity who believe they’ve found a vice cop would surely not swarm an unmarked vehicle that appears to pick up the possible officer. A good thing too as Edythe might survive a length of steel pipe to the face, I doubt Beau would.

They drive away and then stop a few blocks away. Beau asks if Edythe is alright and she’s amused. Then she starts to calm down and says she has a bit of a temper. Just ask what happened to her shop teacher in seventy three when he gave her a C on her bird house. Let’s just say no one will find him unless they’re looking for a cask of Amontillado in they subdivision that went up in seventy four.

They then drive over to the props of Beau’s. They’re surprised to see him with Edythe, thinking that Beau had left. Yes, the friend you drove four hours just decided to wander away. What’s the lead content of Forks been like the past twenty years? They sheepishly invite Edythe to the movie. Ed declines and asks if they’ll take offense if she forces beau to take her to dinner. Of course, not, they were just keeping him company until his forever girlfriend shows up.

At least Meyer doesn’t name drop a local restaurant when they show up, unlike another certain vampire fiction author. Edythe dazzles the waiter who, we’re told, actually wobbles when she smiles at him a second time. Beau says she shouldn’t do that as she doesn’t know the effect she has on people. Edythe says she can think of a few effects she has on people. Aside from annoyance and hate boners, are there any other reasonable reactions?

Edythe orders two sodas and a menu from the waiter then tells Beau to drink when they show up. Beau does as he’s told and shivers. Edythe asks if he’s cold and if he brought a jacket. Yeah, mom, geez. She hands him a scarf to wrap around himself which is almost as exciting as the man with the gun. Then it breaks the high water mark the near violence set when Edythe demands he eat some bread sticks. Edythe then wants to talk about the experience.

“I don’t know how you can be so blasé about this,” she said. “You don’t even look shaken. A normal person—” She shook her head. “But then you’re not so normal, are you?”

No, Beau is a special snowflake. It’s not that he’s suffered multiple head injuries or has a poor survival instinct. Nope, he’s cool under pressure. Beau notices Edythe keeps deflecting the questions he’s asking by talking about him. He wants to know if she’ll ever answer any he has. Edythe asks if he’s then made an progress guessing what she is. Beau has but wants to talk about it in private in the car.

They decide to exchange information quid pro quo. Beau asks how someone could just happen to show up at the right time and place to save him. GPS tracking or a grid pattern search coordinated with cell phones and the rest of the Cullen clan. Edythe says that maybe just one person could read the minds of others. Also, how is it Beau can manage to get into so much trouble. Authorial intervention, mostly.

Beau jokes that she’s saved him twice now and it’s almost like those Final Destination movies. You mean you’re life has shitty production values, a story that doesn’t age well and diminishing returns in the sequels? Looking at how the films turned out, that’s dead to rights. Edythe then says she saved him three times, the first was from herself. Which is not creepily threatening at all.

Beau wants a more direct answer to his question about being found. Ed says she was reading Jeremy’s thought and noticed he disappeared. Then he picked up on his face from one of the criminals. Ed says she’s glad she came with him to dinner or else she would have hunted them down. That’s exactly what you’d need to hear right after someone tells you they almost killed you. “Hi, I’m an unstable jackass and like to kill people. Do you love me yet?”

When the bill comes, Edythe throws down cash and tell the waiter no change. Beau attempts to offer something for the meal. Edythe says it’s her treat and to not “get caught up in antiquated gender roles“. Or he’s just trying to be nice and not put the dinner, which only he ate, on her without making a token offering. Nice way to be a bitch, Edythe.

Edythe then walks towards her car, leaving Beau to run after her. She ushers him into the Volvo, pointing markedly at his seat belt. Of course she doesn’t put hers one. I supposed Vampires can’t be harmed by flaming wreckage. As they drive off, Ed says that now it’s Beau’s turn. Which is just a terrible cliffhanger at any speed.

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