Life & Death Chapter 19

I think the most frustrating thing about this series is that it’s built on a lot of assumptions. That is, the author is assuming things about the characters or expecting us to. For example, that Bella/Beau have any kind of connection. Meyer just kind of skips over that and has the characters profess their love.

This is the same with their reason for fleeing James/Joss. We’re left to make up our own reasons and story. Why is Ed sending Bella/Beau away? Because of danger. The problem here is that the motivation is important. Without it, anyone not invested in the idea from the get go starts to question the reasoning and it falls apart.

That’s where Meyer relies heavily on the fairy tale aspect of her work. Some people might call it handwaving but that would require Meyer actively lift a hand and wave it away. That’s space in the book that could be used to remind us how perfect Ed’s skin is and how marbled his chest is or how Edy has dimples.

Beau notices that Charlie is still home and clearly waiting up for Beau. The mistreatment of Charlie still pisses me off. At least PCK made Zoey’s parents obnoxious to explain why she never talked to them. Meyer, in the usual fashion, just lets us watch as Bella/Beau pulls away from their parents who clearly try their best to love their spawn. I just want to take Charlie away from the whole thing and give him a mystery to solve and be the hero for once.

They let Beau out of the harness and he worries about not seeing Ed again. He kisses her hard and says that, no matter what happens, he loves her and that won’t change. He also asks for her to keep Charlie safe because Beau doesn’t want to have to move back if something happens to dear old dad.

Beau walks into the house and begins by snapping at Charlie. Then he decides that this won’t be enough and he’s going to really have to hurt Charlie’s feelings. Sure he could just grab some of his shit and tell his dad he’s got to go back to mom for awhile but that wouldn’t result in emotional abuse towards Chaz. I’m starting to wonder if Meyer doesn’t have a little unresolved issues with her daddy.

Charlie is trying to figure out what the hell Beau is talking about when Beau says he’s going home. He asks if the date went bad or what. Beau tries to shout him down and storm out with a backpack full of things. Charlie, being not completely neglectful, grabs Beau before he can leave and asks the most logical question “are you on drugs?” Because that’s the only reason a teen would act moody or weird.

Of course while Charlie is posited as a man’s man, who eats at steak places and works a Meyer approved ‘dad’ job, he’s a complete pushover and doesn’t force Beau back in the house. Instead he pleads with his teenage son to wait at least a week so Renee will be back home.

This makes a whole host of no known sense. Charlie is the law in his town. Forks, like a lot of municipalities, has a curfew in their code(It’s under Chapter 9.25 in case you’re curious). Meyer is trying to tell us that Charlie will just sit back knowing his son will be out violating curfew and driving back to Arizona, alone, without money. No, Meyer, I’m not buying it. You didn’t establish him as that bad of a parent.

Beau says he spent the night with a wonderful girl who is going to stay there, get married and have kids. He says this is too much like what Charlie did and he wants out. He says he hates Forks and runs to the truck to drive off. Edy is hiding inside and forces Beau out from behind the wheel to take over because Ed is a bitch, no matter if they were born with tab a or slot b.

Ed confirms that Joss is behind them about a mile and caught the end of the spate between Beau and Chaz. Beau has a brief moment where he realizes he might have hurt Charlie a lot more than intended. Ed goes “meh, he’ll forgive you. He practically has to.” In the mean time, he’ll just break out the hidden bottle of Jack and drink away the pain.

Ed then explains why Joss is chasing them. It’s the challenge. Joss sees herself as a hunter and a single human being protected by a bunch of vampires is hard. Ed says she’ll probably have to kill Joss and Carnine won’t like it. The first hint we’ve gotten that Carnine doesn’t like death comes a little late, Meyer.

Beau is worried that Ed will get hurt. Ed says she doesn’t fight fair. Beau asks how and Ed asks if Beau has ever tried to fight without thinking about it first. That’s not how fights work, Meyer. When people are fighting, they aren’t really thinking. If you’ve ever seen a bar fight, that’s why it’s usually wild haymakers and some awkward grappling. That’s why martial art training is to get the practitioner to break those habits and learn proper form. If you’re stopping to think about what you’re doing, you’ve already been hit in the face with a pool cue and are going down.

They get to the house where Lauren is waiting, the other girl of the murderous vampires. They ask if there’s anyway to stop Joss and she says no. She says “in all my three hundred years”, which is an incredibly clunky bit of exposition, she’s never seen anyone so deadly. That’s why she joined her “coven”. Why Lauren’s male analogue decided to try and kill Bella in the second book then is even more baffling. Lauren seems like she’d much rather be free of Joss and Victor than try and get vengeance.

There is mild concern that the climax could happen at any moment. Edy channels the author and says that Joss won’t attack the house tonight. Thank god you dissolved that tension, Meyer. The looming threat of Joss ready to strike at any moment might have added some urgency to Beau’s flight. Instead, we know that nothing will happen in this chapter for sure so we can just skim over it and pretend we’re reading.

Ed says they won’t have a choice but to fight and Carnine is rather accepting of it. She seems as bothered about the upcoming murder with the same disdain as someone finding out Starbucks is out of vanilla syrup. ‘I guess it can’t be helped. Slaughter them all.’
They look at Royal and tell him to swap clothes with Beau. He is clearly miffed and says no.

Ed just shrugs and looks to Earnest. They go upstairs and Earnest has to swap clothes with Beau so they can try and throw off Joss’s scent. Once Beau is safely gone, Ed and the rest will start hunting Joss down.

No, I don’t see how this plan could fail at all. There’s not telling how old James/Joss is supposed to be but if they really delight in the hunt, a little clothing swap will only keep them interested. Why not use Bella/Beau as bait for a trap? I would think a century old vampire or two would be able to device a vampire pit filled with burning charcoal and Bella/Beau’s shirt or something. But no, send Bella/Beau away and then go on the offensive while hoping the bad guy doesn’t give chase.

Ed looks at Lauren and tells her she has a choice to make. She looks around and says she’s intrigued by isn’t going to get in the between the two sides. This way she can pop up later for a cheap werewolf reveal. She warns not to underestimate Joss, she’s got a brilliant mind and is just as comfortable in the human world as they are. There’s the Meyer strength, leaning on the telling rather than the showing. Lauren then apologizes and takes off.

Carnine asks Edy how close Joss is. Edy says three miles and she’s circling with the “male”. See kids, this is why you don’t set hard limits on a characters powers. That way you can adjust their strength on a sliding scale and no one can hold you to it. Also, how does Ed know it’s three miles? I thought how well he can feel someone’s mind was dependent on them as well as how used to their thoughts he was? Wouldn’t that screw with his ability to pinpoint someone by thought alone?

It’s finally time for Beau to get his ass moving and into the next chapter. Ed says to be safe and she and Earnest take off in the truck. Jessamine then looks at Beau and says he’s wrong. She can feel what he’s feeling and says Beau is definitely worth it. I’d like to see the balance sheet for proof on that one. Then Archie asks if he may, indicating picking him up and running. Beau says he’s the first one that’s asked and allows it before they all run away from the home, leaving the lights on behind them.

I don’t know what that last detail was included for. Maybe in the Meyer household, leaving the lights on in a room you aren’t in is a lashable offense. It doesn’t really speak to desperation. ‘But they left their lights on, you guys!’ No, leaving a kettle boiling or a something in the oven to burn would indicate desperation. That the lights will still be on merely mean the Cullens will have to cash in a little bit more of the fortune when the power bill comes.

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