Life & Death Chapter 20

Once again I have to mention the chapter title. It’s “Impatience” which perfectly sums up how I’m feelings with this whole plot Meyer spun out. At least, unlike Pao-pao, they don’t really give away the chapter. I don’t feel like I could have just absorbed the book by reading over the chapter list and pitched it into a bin. Also, this opening line.

When I woke up, I was confused. It took me longer than it should have to remember where I was.

You could have stopped at “confused”, Meyer. If there’s one thing Bella/Beau is, it’s stupid. I can only assume that Renee volunteered for prenatal boxing classes with lead gloves to give them that much brain damage. The biggest risk they run when at the hospital is that the doctor will claim they’re legally brain dead and shut down their life support.

‘Duh, what’s a vampire? How are you strong enough to carry me though I’ve seen you stop a sliding car? Are you a superhero? How many pairs of shoes am I wearing? How come the sun starts off bright when I stare at it and then goes dark? Why am I tasting your fist? Can you help me find my teeth?’

This is the setting equivalent of “I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror(lengthy description and too many superlatives)”. It works in the same way duct tape can be used to make a boat. Yes, it will function but it’s not the best use of your time. Better would be to simply introduce the setting and let the descriptions flow naturally.

Beau is vaguely recalling something about racing along in a limo with Archie and Jessamine. Beau badgered Archie to give him constant tarot readings about what was going on. Which does make me wonder how does Alice/Archie’s powers work? Can they see anything anywhere they focus on? Or is it fixed within an area around them? It’s just magic clairvoyance that does what the plot requires of it.

Most of Archie’s details are status updates on Ed and the rest. ‘Still going through a forest.’ Meyer does offer a solitary detail about the vampire foresight. Beau asks Arch to watch Chaz and he says that humans are harder than vampires. Which means Alice/Archie should have gotten warning about the antagonists far earlier than they did.

They drove through California and get to Arizona with no incident between anything. They decide to head to the airport for some reason. Beau asks if they’re flying somewhere and Archie says no but it’s better to be close. We all know what it’s like to suddenly need to fly to Bolivia and be no where near an airport so we can identify.

Might I ask why they didn’t fly down in the first place? Flight time from Seattle to Phoenix is around three hours. Factoring in drive time, also around three hours, plus findings a plane, they could be in Phoenix within 12 hours assuming they’re not using money as a wand to open doors.

Meanwhile, the drive from Forks to Phoenix is twenty three hours. Even if they drove double the speed limit down there and didn’t need to stop for gas, Archie and Jessamine are not getting Beau to Arizona before they could fly there. Then they go to the airport to wait around just in case?

Archie then asks to come in and says he got Beau some food ordered. They go into the living room of whatever hotel they’ve found so Beau can eat. Archie then acts as a filter for the action Meyer knows must be happening but doesn’t want to write out. They chased Joss around but it seems she’s given up and disappeared. The other Cullens are watching Charlie just in case Joss wants to pull a Se7en on him.

Arch then reminds Beau he should eat. Beau picks up food and eats it without tasting or looking at it so Meyer doesn’t have to make up some dish on the spot. She got into this business to pen about sparkly boners, not things like food. Jessamine then appears, telling Beau he has nothing to fear.

Beau says he’s not scared for himself. Archie says not to worry about it because his psychic powers assure him none of them are in trouble. Least of all Edy who is so amazing and powerful and beautiful and really just a shining example for all humans to aspire to. Have no fear that the blood drinking fuck toy will get ruined, Beau.

Archie says they’ll all be fine and their only fear is losing Beau. He, rightfully, asks why this is. After all, they don’t give a tin shit about all the other humans Joss and her crew have killed on there way there. They certainly had no problem letting Lauren run off knowing that she was still going to be eating people. So what makes Beau so damn special that he gets a double superhuman escort?

The answer is that Ed has been mopey for over a century. Which is fine, that’s pretty much standard in vampire fiction. Neck biters that lament the weight of their immortality is a major feature of newer vampire fiction. That everyone who knows them is willing to throw their life away because one things finally got Ed to stop putting on mascara and writing poetry about graveyards is a bit far.

Archie then says he’d have done it without Edy asking. Beau asks why and Archie says that, to him, it already feels like they’ve been friends. Because they will spend so much time hanging out in the future, Alice/Archie is already attached which is actually kind of an interesting take on future sight. Archie says it was nice of his sister to tall in love with his best friend.

Beau sort of takes advantage of his new best friend status and future asks about Archie’s name. The drives us to Archie’s origins with the grace of a square wheeled Hummer down a mountain side. He mentions he doesn’t recall much but his hair probably meant he was in prison. That would also explain the old timey teardrop tattoo.

Then he casually mentions how he waiting for twenty eight years to meet Jessamine. Archie had visions of her but knew she wasn’t ready to meet him. So he waited until she was in the right place, mentally, to meet. Which is a lot more romantic than anything Ed and Bella/Beau have done. I’m trying to imagine someone being able to remember someone they view as a soul mate and resisting the urge to be with them at that moment. That’s a nearly legendary level of patience.

Beau wants to know about Jessamine’s past which hasn’t been invented yet. So Meyer, via Jessamine, simply says that Beau isn’t ready for that. Which is a shitty reason. Jasper/Jessamine isn’t imparting the secret of the five palm fist to Bella/Beau. It’s their personal history. They should be saying “I don’t want to talk about it” or “I don’t know you that well yet.”

There’s some mumbling then about what Archie saw with nothing explicit except he saw Beau die. Then Beau asks how someone becomes a vampire. It requires a vat of virginal blood, prepared on the night of a harvest moon under the guidance of a high priest of Tockachan, deceiver of goat lungs. How the fuck do you think, Beau? This is one part of vampire lore even Meyer wasn’t willing to bend over a barrel.

Jessamine explains how, as predators, they have too many powers used to hunt humans. Which still makes no sense, Meyer. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, that’s not how nature works. Lions can’t fly and lure in the gazelles because they hunt them. Vampires might naturally need to be stronger than humans to kill them, fine, but they don’t need to be able to lift a car to do it. Never mind all the bonus powers most of the Cullens have.

She also tries to say their “venom” is a weapon as it incapacitates their prey because it’s so painful. No, it’s not a weapon. It’s your means of reproduction. That’s like saying men have a weapon with jizz because, when it gets in someone’s eye they can’t see. Sure you could use it like that but that ain’t what it’s for.

Archie then says that, also, they’re like sharks in that once they smell blood they can’t control themselves. Except for the Cullens because of how amazing they are. I don’t really care that they resist so well but Meyer simply uses it as a demonstration of how amazing her vampires are over the other store brand ones. Archie then says it’s not without downsides as Royal, for example, had to live knowing that his family aged and died.

Then Archie gets hit by a sudden vision because Meyer is ready for the climax. He’s staring off into space and Jessamine asks what he sees. Archie says it’s a long room with lots of mirrors and the tracker is there. So a GMC showroom circa nineteen ninety five? I will stop making those jokes as soon as Meyer stops pretending that the word “tracker” carries any gravitas. Archie describes it more but doesn’t know what it means other than the villain’s plans have changed.

They call Carnine and update them on the recent developments. Beau gets to talk to Edythe who says they lost her as she’s seemed to be suspicious of them. Really? You mean the vampires who are trying to kill her are something Joss wants to avoid? What is the world coming to these days? Edy says Joss seems to have stolen a small plane and is heading towards Forks to start over. Sure, I can see the logic in that. Instead of, say, maybe she’s fleeing else where to regroup and get some backup.

Beau says Charlie is fine and if Joss comes back she’ll find her. They say their goodbyes after professing their undying love for one another, again. Archie is then sketching out the room he saw in his vision. Beau recognizes it as a ballet studio. Beau says his mom taught dance there for a little bit but didn’t stick with it.

And here I was hoping Meyer had the balls to have Beau once done ballet. We wouldn’t have made fun of him for doing ballet, Meyer. It’s far more embarrassing for Beau to be one of your characters than to do something seen as feminine. Besides, there are plenty of guys who do ballet in real life.

Of course this can’t just be any ballet or dance studio, it just so happens to be the one Renee taught in. Archie is worried for Renee but she’s still in Florida. Though she’s coming home soon so Archie wants to know how they can warn her. She doesn’t have a cell phone for the same reason cabins in horror movies don’t have reception or internet. Archie says he can leave her a message and Renee will check it when she gets a chance.

Beau calls and says that it’s very important for her to call him at the hotel number. Then Beau says there’s nothing else to do but wait. Or one of your vampire pals could go out and scout this dance studio as well as Renee’s house. Make sure Renee isn’t lying in a pool of congealed blood next to Phil. I mean, bad guys never kill in a fit of rage when they’re thwarted or anything. That would just be childish.

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