Life & Death Chapter 22

How did James/Joss find Rene’s house? Let’s stop and dial back a few where Lauren was hanging out with the Cullens. Meyer never comes out and says it but it’s implied that Laurent/Lauren went right back to JJ and filled them in on the Cullens. That’s the only way JJ could have known about Alice’s clairvoyance. Otherwise JJ would have to have been receiving dispatches from the author herself and that would just be silly, right?

Of course it’s the only accounting I can come up with for how JJ ends up in Phoenix. Lauren/t never hears Bella/Beau’s last name mentioned so all they have to go on is Charlie’s place. Sure JJ could have snagged a piece of mail or overheard Charlie Swan but Rene doesn’t strike me as the kind of lady who kept her married name. JJ probably overheard Bella/Beau shout how they were going back to Phoenix so JJ has at least the city.

Though I would love to have watched JJ sift through phone books, desperately trying to find a Swan address. Meyer could have fixed this if Bella/Beau had thoughtlessly decided they needed to visit Rene’s house just to make sure. Then their scent would be all over it and give something for JJ to stumble upon. Compound this by saying “trackers” have incredible sense of smell, even greater than normal vampires, and it’s easy enough to accept.

Back to the book at hand, Archie has a new vision. Beau asks what it was and Archie says nothing, just the same room. To punctuate the lie, he asks if Beau wants breakfast. Beau says he’ll eat at the airport. Might I recommend a bottle of duty free vodka? Archie asks if Beau’s mom is okay and Beau says, yup, never better.

As they’re going to be leaving soon, Beau is tasked with packing his shit. He walks back into his room and scribbles a note to Edy. He say he loves her and he’s sorry, apologizing a lot, about what’s going to happen. But JJ has his mom and he has to try and save her because a squishy human has a better shot against the living statues that are Meyer-pires.

We’re told that he explicitly folds the note into thirds and puts it into an envelope before being sealed. All very vital details, I’m sure. Of course Myere left out the most critical details, whether it was a business envelope with the blue print that prevents the contents from being read through the paper or not. Yet another wiki page of the Twilight saga goes woefully under written because Meyer feels like being lazy.

In the car, Beau mentions the envelope to Archie, asking him to give it to Rene. Archie says yes warily, knowing something is up. It doesn’t take future sight to guess that someone handing you a note for someone the should be able to call(assuming Rene gets save by Edy’s crew) is a bit suspicious.

They sit down inside the airport to hang out and wait for Edythe’s arrival. Beau is looking at the flight arrivals and departures while bemoaning all the places he’s never been and will never get to go. He notices that Jessamine and Archie are keeping very close eyes on him and wonders how he can get away.

Beau says he’d like to get a bite. Jessamine says that’s wonderful but Edythe should really be the one to do it to him. Archie offers to go with and Beau says he’d prefer Jessamine to do it. Then he hands over the envelope to Archie and repeats the request that it be given to Rene. Again, it shouldn’t take psychic vision to feel the red flags going up.

As he’s walking away, Beau figures there’s one place where Jessamine won’t follow him. He asks her if she minds and heads into the bathroom. This is one place where there could be a divergence far from Twilight. Men are generally frowned upon for going into the ladies room in the US. There’s not the same taboo on women walking into the men’s though.

Jessamine could just march into the bathroom with confidence and the worst thing that would happen would be a few stares. One guy might have the guts to ask if she needs something. That’d get shut right down with a “oh, there’s a line and I have to go” real quick.

Beau knows that there are two exits to these bathrooms. So he runs through this one and out the other side. Then he’s dashing off to the elevator, riding it towards ground transportation and hoping a shuttle to a hotel. Once he’s at the Hyatt, he hops into a cab that’s just been vacated and throws the driver eighty buck to drive to Rene’s address which is in Scottsdale. As he’s a cab driver in fiction, they take the money in advance without question and drive.

Can I ask where in the hell Beau got that money? Beau just having almost a hundred dollars in early millennium money seems surreal to me. The imagery Meyer has offered so far, the simple house, the inexpensive hobbies and the beat up truck serve to paint Charlie as lower middle class. Not exactly the kind of parent who has a lot of cash to hand to his kid any given day. And Bella/Beau doesn’t work so it’s not like they have an income. I guess they have one of those magical wallets that always has exactly how much they need to advance the plot.

Beau spends the drive thinking about Edythe and what they would have done if he hadn’t run off. This is as dumb as it is asinine. They arrive and Beau dashes out to find the key that’s always hidden under the mat or under a flower pot. If I ever find myself trapped in a fictional universe, I’ll never be wanting a bed for all the spare keys buried like tulip bulbs throughout the front garden.

There’s a number written by the phone which Beau dials. Joss immediately answers and says she’s impressed at how quick he was. Beau wants to know how Rene is doing and Joss assures him that she’s just fine. Does Beau remember the ballet studio around the corner? Good, he should get his ass there to ensure Rene keeps all her blood on the inside and unconsumed.

Beau runs down the street, giving us the name of the street he turns onto. The studio is there but the parking lot is empty. There’s a hand written sign in the window about them being closed for spring break. I can’t tell you how many small businesses I know that close for school holidays. It’s hell getting your pants hemmed on President’s Day where I live.

Being the slow learning crustacean Beau is, he is surprised to find the front door unlocked. I would have been surprised if it was locked. Hell, I would have given JJ and Meyer props if they made Beau force his way in. It would have been interesting to see Bella/beau debate the merit of breaking into a place and overcome their normal inclination not to. That might have resulted in character building and that’s a cardinal sin in shitty writing.

We’re given a paragraph of description about the interior that doesn’t add or set the mood in any way. For example, the carpet is damp. The dance floor is dark because the blinds are down and the lights are off. Lastly, the air conditioner was running and the air is cool inside. As this is mostly normal for a building that’s not in use, Beau is terrified. ‘Agh, room temperature! I think I just pissed myself…’

Rene’s voice then calls out Beau’s name. He runs over towards it and hears Rene call out again followed by the dumb line that give away that something is going wrong. Beau, you scared me! Don’t you ever do that to me again!” Beau doesn’t answer her or just call out hoping to hear Rene. He just lumbers blindly towards her voice, sure that everything is as it seems.

Then he spots the TV which was playing a video. If he had at least the intelligence of a goldfish, Beau might have been smart enough to feel stupid. Beau is relieved that Rene is still in Florida and safe. Joss asks if Beau will say that the Cullens will avenge him. Beau says no, he asked in his goodbye letter for them to do nothing.

Joss takes this as an invitation to begin her villain’s monologue. Apparently Victor was going to kill Charlie but he was too closely guarded. So Joss decided to head to Phoenix to pay Rene a visit. She wasn’t sure Beau would actually go there, I mean who would use it as a ruse and go there, but there he was. She figured he’d go someplace comfortable and familiar. Never mind that Archie and Jessamine should have taken him elsewhere just for that reason.

It’s a pity that Beau came alone. Joss was so looking forward to a bit of a challenge. Of course she has a sixth sens about her prey and got his hotel number from the answering machine. How helpful of him to have given her the clue she needed to locate and taunt him. As Edy didn’t come to rescue him, she’s going to have to make this very gruesome.

Then Joss comes to a full stop and says that she has a story to tell him. How much different this series would have been if JJ had been a mute. Bella/Beau would have been dead long before Ed could have shown up. Joss made Archie. He was living in an asylum and smelled tastier than Beau does. Though Archie’s protector drained Archie before Joss could get to him. She was so angry she killed that nameless vampire. Also, she was surprised to see Archie there.

With that pointless anecdote out of the way, Joss says they’ll have some fun. She breaks Beau’s arm in what is arguably the most cathartic moment of the series. He’s then thrown against the wall and she breaks his leg. She then puts the camera in his face, she’s been recording this, and tells him to order Edythe to come after her. Beau refuses even after repeated threats to break more bones.

With her stupid plan thwarted, Joss decides to make Beau truly hurt. She takes his unbroken arm and nips his hand. Beau can feel the fire of vampiric transformation begin to spread through his hand and up his arm. He breaks the camera and gets thrown into the wall, again.

Fire had ignited my bitten finger—flames exploded across my palm. Heat was scorching up my wrist. It was fire that was more than fire—a pain that was more than pain.

That’s almost as lazy as just pegging a sensation as indescribable and calling it a day. I once grabbed a bar of steel that had, moments before, been welded. There was the initial shock of that first burn, that tender stab as the heat registered and made me pull away. I had a moment to think maybe I escaped with just a reddened hand for being stupid. Then there was the building temperature as the burn seemed to burrow into the flesh. I could feel the skin tightening as blisters started to form.

I could simply say that it burned and it was like fire. That wouldn’t get across how it felt to get burned like that. We don’t read fiction to be told, dryly, that something feels good or bad. We want to be sold on the empathy of it. We want to feel what the character feels, we need it. Sell us on the transformation, Meyer. Fulfill that need.

Anywho, Beau failed at breaking the camera and he’s bleeding. He can see Joss struggling to maintain control at the presence of blood. I don’t know why she’s bothering. Just bite down and dig in, he’s already dead. Beau is screaming and watching her approach, knowing that she’s going to kill him finally. If only we didn’t know better.

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