Life & Death Chapter 16

Perhaps one of the best things about the Twilight series is the pockets of actual story buried around. My go to example happens to be Jasper. A Civil War era vampire who fought in vampire turf wars? Sign me the fuck up for that murder-fest. I want to see varying superhuman battling others of their kind, pitted against others who are matched in strength, topped only by the rare few with legitimate superpowers. Though I don’t want Meyer to tell it, if possible.

Carlisle/Carnine is another example of an interesting story. They grew up in the height of the stake burning witch craze and became a vampire. It’d be neat to watch someone with an internalized fear and hate of the supernatural become the object of their fear. Of course, that would take talent and it’s not about romance so it doesn’t interest Meyer. Which means their backstory will suffer.

Beau and Ed wander into Carnine’s office. It apparently looks like what Beau would expect from a college Dean’s office though Carnine looks so much younger. Here’s a tip for you Beau. If you see someone who’s older than a hundred look a certain way, that’s because they’re cultivating that look. They’re probably hiding the skin suit they’ve stitched from dead victims until you’ve been turned.

Carnine doesn’t mind the interruption. As an on call doctor, she sure as hell doesn’t have much else going on than to have a random human walk in and ask for her biography. Lucky for her, another doctor called out and she has to go to the hospital. She briefly points at a painting of London from the sixteen fifties and says that it’s the London of her youth. Then she flees the scene as Meyer could barely keep her interest piqued as it was. At least this way, it’ll be a poor story as relayed via Ed, the object of her affection.

Ed claims that, at first, Carnine tried to kill herself. Carnine was pretty stupid about it as she tried methods that were guaranteed not to work. Jumping off of things and drowning. Not once did she stick her hand in a fire which would have set her off like a fireworks display and ended this story prematurely.

Being as Carnine wasn’t a total asshole, she kept away from people so as not to kill them. After months of starving, she stumbled on a deer, killed it and felt better. Once she had food figured out, she decided to swim to France. Beau is incredulous that a vampire, being a supernatural being who can bench press cars and survive without breathing, could have swam to France. I know the feeling, Beau. Meyer tries to tell me that they have a personality as well and I just can’t believe it.

The best part is Ed’s reaction. She just goes “people swim the English channel all the time.” Sure, a swimmer who’s trained for it specifically can and will.  Ed then says it’s easy for them, to which Beau says “everything is easy for you”. Ed says this in particular as they, again, don’t need to breathe.

That really drives home the real reason Bella/Beau wants to be a vampire. Not because Bella/Beau believes they can do any good with their extended life. It’s because they want their life to be easy. No more worrying about aging or growing weak. Never having to fight those pounds creeping up on them as they get older. Getting to repeat high school while having all the answers, wearing the hippest clothes and having all the nicest gadgets. There’s nothing wrong with a selfish protagonist, I just don’t want Meyer to believe Bella/Beau has ever been motivated by love.

Beau is confused by the breathing bit. Ed says they don’t have to, it’s just out of habit. Then why not habituate yourself into not breathing? Wouldn’t that make it easier to avoid smelling tasty humans and resisting the urge? Sure they might have to inhale to speak but if they minimized that, the whole story could be pared down to half this size.

So Carnine went to France and took night classes. Because that’s something that was pretty common. I bet she got her doctorate through and old timey correspondence course. ‘This Certificate is a token of completion of Doctor Mizerbaum’s school of medicine and fine Taxidermy.” It only took two centuries for her to become immune to the scent of blood.

While Carnine was busying herself with the fine art of stitching and radio repair, she ran into the Italian vampires. They were refined and awesome excepting for their desire to eat people. They were much cooler than the pathetic sewer dwellers in England. Which smacks of racism to me. Also, it suggests the Volturi aren’t nearly as powerful as Meyer presents them in later books. Otherwise they would have kept their English chapter in order and respectable.

Their only grip with Carnine was that she didn’t eat people. They tried to convert her during her few decades of hanging out. Also, there’s a painting done by Solimena in the room inspired by the vampires. Beau asks what happened to those Italian vampires. Ed says they’re still there, doing vampire stuff and definitely factoring into upcoming sequels. She left for the U.S. at some point and then turned Edy.

Beau asks if Edythe has always been with Carnine. Ed says mostly but there was a point where she wandered off in rebellion to Carnine’s diet. This, of course, doesn’t bother Beau. Ed waxes on about still feeling guilt even though she could read the minds of her prey and ensure they were guilty. Not unlike another, certain vampire from another series but that’s from the long ago. So Ed came home after seeing the error of her ways.

Yes, folks. Carnine’s entire history was just given to us with the same fanfare of a chores list. I get that Meyer isn’t really interested in anything nor revolving around her avatars, Bella and Beau. She can at least muster a quarter ass when it’s about her fucktoy Edward. You could at least attempt to inject some care into the backstory of a major character. At the very least, go into a third person recounting from Carlisle/Carnine’s perspective. Rather than the dull recital of facts by a bored vampire teen.

Also, I’m still curious as to why Carlisle/Carnine decided to make a child of their family first. Ed tries to convince us that it was out of compassion to save someone from dying who had no family. This would describe a lot of people throughout the centuries Carnine has been around. I’m betting Carlisle/Carnine wasn’t even sure they could make another vampire so they tested it out on someone they could kill if need be. And then Ed turned out to be psychic and you can’t kill someone who knows you’re planning on it.

Ed then takes Beau over to her room. Normally, this would be an invitation to at least some old school heavy petting. Unlucky for our horny, human protagonist there isn’t a bed. There’s only a couch and a bunch of stuff like a stereo. Ed puts on some soft jazz, which certainly doesn’t dispel the atmosphere of boning. I’m surprised she doesn’t light a few candles and spread rose petals around the room.

Beau says that he’s not frightened by Ed. So she growls at him, a sound that has probably only sounded threatening coming from a human voice box once in all of history. Then she crouches and tenses up. Suddenly he’s flying through the room and ends up in her arms. beau says, ok, she’s terrifying but he loves her.

I’ve never understood the part where Ed insists they are a fierce predator who should be feared. Are they trying to scare off Bella/Beau? Because it just comes across as so half assed and meaningless to me. Being over a century old, Ed should know actions speak louder than words. They should know that if they really want to frighten their human paramour, they should probably demonstrate their danger.

Instead, Ed is constantly stroking Bella/Beau’s interest almost like a commercial. Ed is playing on the insecurities of their audience of one. ‘You know how dangerous it is to date me? You shouldn’t do it.’ Done to convince Bella/Beau that they fly in the face of common sense. They’re rebellious and strong for merely being attracted to someone who’s conventionally attractive. Are you trying to sell them on the idea of being a blood sacrifice, Ed?

Before the awkward boner can lead Beau to dry humping Edythe, there’s a knock at the door. Even in the remote woods of Washington, the girl scouts will still track you down. Even vampires can resist buying a pallet of Samoas and Thin Mints. Or it’s Archie and Jessamine. Here I’d almost forgotten how nice it was not to be dealing with the trademark “wacky” character of Alice/Archie.

Jessamine says that Doppler Weather Archie has picked up a storm. So they want to see if Ed wants to go play tonight. That’s right, it’s vampire baseball which requires thunder to play.

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