“Abbreviated“? Really? I’ve tried not to notice these chapter titles as much as possible, but come on now; this is just getting stupid. I don’t even know how this one is supposed to fit with the subject matter in the chapter…I think Meyer just ran out of words, so she picked a random one.
Anyway, this chapter was…largely uninteresting, until the last page, which I actually kind of liked. The last paragraph made me feel something, at least, and that’s more than I can say for most of the book so far, so it’s significant. I only hope Meyer doesn’t fuck up the next chapter so much that it was all for nothing, as she tends to do.
So this chapter starts right where the last one left off – since Meyer has gotten back into the groove of cutting her scenes in half again – with Jared saying Stryder’s name. Wanda/Stryder doesn’t respond, so Jared goes on to tell Stryder that if she’s in there with Wanda, she should know that the kiss was for her; he wasn’t kissing Wanda…and that he loves her (Stryder).
Wanda still doesn’t say anything, just keeps occasionally sobbing but trying to control it because she wants to be quiet, and then it becomes quiet outside the hole, which gives Wanda time to realize the uncomfortable position she’s in in the hole. Pretty stupid idea to climb in there with all those boxes, eh Wanda?
Meyer describes Wanda’s position in – you guessed it – excessive detail, and then Wanda begins to worry about what she’ll tell Ian and Jamie about the bruises she’s given herself by crawling in there, though that never comes up at any point in the rest of the chapter, so it was useless to mention. She might as well have not even gotten the bruises, for all it meant to the story.
Wanda questions how long she is “supposed” to hold the position she’s in, but…when was she ever supposed to? Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s just a wording thing, but Jared didn’t tell her to, he was actually trying to get her out of the hole, so it’s all her decision to stay bunched up in there. Especially since it’s gone silent outside, so Jared might not even be there. So Wanda stays in pain that is almost too much to bear all for the sake of staying quiet, but I really have no idea why. What does that accomplish? I can see running away from Jared after what happened, and even hiding, but he knows where you went; why do you have to be silent?
As Wanda agonizes over her physical pain, Stryder is apparently working through her own relief and fury about the situation, because she’s happy that Jared finally acknowledged her, but upset that he kissed Wanda…even though he just said it was for her, not Wanda. She’s basically trying to talk herself out of being upset about it, but having a hard time doing it, and Wanda knows this…yet she still refers to the fact that Stryder is not talking to her while doing it as being juvenile and petty and giving her the cold shoulder.
*sigh* No, Wanda. She’s busy thinking her own thoughts, and as you yourself have pointed out, trying to diffuse her own anger at both the situation and you; it’s understandable that she wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t talk to you while doing that. She’s not giving you the cold shoulder; you haven’t even talked to her to give her an opportunity to ignore you, you’re just mad she’s not initiating conversation while dealing with her own personal stuff! You’re even more of a selfish bitch than I thought before! Give the woman five minutes, for god’s sake!
But, angry Wanda is, and she feels betrayed because Stryder is mad at her for what happened. She doesn’t understand how that could make sense, because she says it’s Stryder’s fault she’s in love with Jared too, because Stryder forced her memories of Jared on her. She refers to Stryder as having “overthrown” her, but once a-fucking-gain, she has said repeatedly that she DECIDED to go after Jared and Jamie ON HER OWN! Stryder NEVER overthrew her; the only time she ever even had control was in the desert when Wanda gave up!
Wanda thinks that because she cares that Stryder is suffering, Stryder should care that she is, but that’s not fair! Wanda, whatever you want to believe, you did betray Stryder! Jared is her boyfriend, and you have referred to her as a friend; if you’re really her friend, it doesn’t matter if you love the same guy she does! If she is with him, you back the fuck off! No, it’s not your fault Jared kissed you, since he initiated that, but Stryder should be mad at you for not stopping him, and she has every right to feel upset if she knows you wanted him to be kissing you, when you’re supposed to be her friend! Dear god, how is this hard to figure out??
You, Wanda, were not betrayed, Stryder was. You have NO right to be angry with her, but she has every right to be angry with you, and she’s doing a NICE thing by not talking to you while she’s still upset, because she’s trying hard not to blow up at you before she’s thought it through and tried to calm down! That’s a very mature way to handle it, so back the fuck off! And again, if you’re not talking to her, she can’t be ignoring you anyway!
She forced her memories on you to make you sympathize with her, Jared and Jamie; she didn’t EVER want you to fall in love with them. She was trying to appeal to your supposed good nature. And if a friend shared her memories of her boyfriend with you, and you fell in love with them, and you were both human, that wouldn’t give you right to go after him, and it doesn’t here either! So don’t act like she deserves this!
Wanda says that Stryder enjoys her pain, and calls her a “vicious human” because of that, when she has zero proof that Stryder enjoys it, and she’s done NOTHING vicious to her. Stryder is too busy trying to deal with her own emotions to bother with enjoying Wanda’s pain, and besides, Wanda just said what Stryder was thinking, and none of it was about enjoying Wanda’s pain! Aggggh! Sure, she enjoys that Jared wasn’t kissing her, but that doesn’t mean she likes that that hurts her, just that she likes that Jared at least hasn’t betrayed her. There is NOTHING vicious about that, and everything vicious about the attitude you have toward her, you stupid bitch alien.
Ugh, enough about that. Moving on.
Wanda starts crying again, and then the pain of the position she’s in becomes too much, so she starts trying to push herself out of the cave. Should have let Jared pull you out when you had the chance. She swears she will die before she goes in the hole again, but she’s sworn she would die before she’d do a lot of things and still did them, so who wants to bet she’ll end up in the hole again?
She can’t seem to get herself out no matter how she tries, so she starts to break down, at which point Stryder offers a suggestion to help her. Wanda ignores her and keeps doing her stupid shit that wasn’t working before, because she’s nothing if not petty and childish, so Stryder calls her on being petty, to which she responds:
“That’s rich, coming from you.“
Again, Stryder wasn’t being petty; she was, as described by you, trying to think through everything so she wouldn’t be upset anymore. You are the ONLY one being petty here, Wanda. Just suck it up and admit it.
Regardless of that fact, Stryder for some reason agrees with Wanda that she was being petty. I have to hope it was just to shut her up and not because she really agreed that she was, which I could see because she does know Wanda well enough for that by now, but who knows. Stryder apologizes, and says she did it because she’s human, and as a human, it’s hard to be fair sometimes, because they “don’t always feel the right thing, do the right thing“.
…Okay, this HAS to be humouring Wanda, knowing she’s too stupid to figure that out, because there’s NO way Stryder can really think that way. She WAS being fair, she WAS doing the right thing in terms of dealing with it…I just can’t accept the idea that Stryder really thinks she was doing wrong that way. I can’t, and I won’t. So she’s humouring Wanda to shut her up, and that’s all there is to it.
“The resentment was still there, but she was trying to forgive and forget that I’d just made out with her true love – that’s the way she thought of it, at least.“
No, that’s not just the way she thought of it; that’s what you did, Wanda. You flat out fucking admitted it, and were upset when you found out Jared wasn’t doing it back for you. So it’s not just the way she thinks of it. Fuck off now.
Wanda doesn’t acknowledge Stryder’s apology (cause she’s a bitch, if you didn’t already get that), but she does take her advice on how to get out of the hole, and lo and behold, it works, and she lands on the mat that I’m pretty sure teleported across the room somehow, since it didn’t seem to be just outside the hole when Jared was sitting on it, but hey, maybe it was and it was just poorly described again.
She’s sure Jared is gone, which when she finally looks up, she finds that he is, and she’s glad for that because it’s less humiliating. I dunno; I think most of the humiliation should have come from tossing yourself into the grocery-laden hole, Wanda…
Wanda curls up on the mat, feeling emotionally exhausted, and closes her eyes to think about things other than what happened, like Jamie, Ian, Kyle, Jeb and Doc. She has the thought that Doc drinking himself unconscious seems unlike him, and then suddenly, with no section or chapter break, the next line is:
“I woke slowly, roused by my growling stomach.“
…Wtf? She never went to sleep, there’s no break, and now she’s suddenly waking up? She was just thinking, and she said she wasn’t even actually tired, just emotionally so, so we go right from her thinking about Doc to waking up. God, Meyer, what the hell? That was so jarring, and once again it felt like I missed something, but nope, it was just your poor writing again. I wish I could get used to that; it would make this much easier.
My god, how are there still 8 and a half pages left of this chapter?? I remember thinking a lot was wrong with it when I read through it the first time, but I had no idea it was this much…
Anyway, Wanda wakes up apparently, because she’s hungry, and tries to figure out if it’s day or night and how long she’s slept for, even though she’s well aware that without a clock or access to natural light, figuring that out is going to be pretty much impossible, so yay for more wasted words!
She eventually gets up and, after deciding not to eat from the supply pile she destroyed by being thrown into some of it and climbing on top of the rest, she decides to go get some rolls from the kitchen, because it is somehow less selfish to eat something freshly baked and in good shape than something destroyed. Yeah, yeah, I see her logic, but it still seems ridiculous.
She feels hurt that no one has come looking for her, when not long ago she was terrified of anyone coming to look for her, and she didn’t want even Jared to be there, so she has another “woe is me” moment, before finding Jamie waiting in the doorway to the garden. They’re both happy to see each other, and Jamie explains that Jared told them what happened, but he thought Wanda needed time alone, so Jeb wouldn’t allow Jamie to go to her.
Jamie is relieved that Wanda is fine, and then they hug, at which point Wanda is, for some reason, surprised that Jamie is tall enough to rest his head on her shoulder, because apparently he’s grown significantly in the past day. Realistic, Meyer. Especially since at 14, there’s a chance he could actually already be taller than Stryder, so this wouldn’t be a new thing, but whatever.
More woe is me from Wanda when Jamie asks if Jared was mean to her, but she says he wasn’t, and then Jamie reveals that Jared believes that Stryder is present now. He asks how Stryder feels about that, though the answer is obvious, and then how she feels about it, so she says the truth is easier for her than trying to hide it.
Wanda realizes from the light in the garden that it’s sunset, so she says she’s hungry, and Jamie says he saved her food. She tries to argue that she just wants bread, we go into this whole crap again, but at least Jamie tells her she won’t fit in there until she decides to so she has to knock it off, so hopefully that’ll finally shut her up. Oh, wait, it won’t, because she argues with him again about how nobody wants her there, and I am SO FUCKING SICK OF THIS, MEYER! We’ve heard this ten thousand times; LAY OFF!
She is just fucking whining again about how even JAMIE doesn’t want her there, he just wants Stryder, and dear fucking god, we are ACTUALLY halfway through the book at this point; STOP HARPING ON THAT! I do not, and WILL NOT feel bad for her, just more annoyed every time she whines about the SAME GODDAMN THING, so please, for the love of god, STOP IT!!!
Wanda and Jamie go into the kitchen, and Trudy and Heidi acknowledge her, with Trudy saying it’s good to see her in a way that Wanda describes as “sincerely“, but then she (Wanda) goes on to suggest that the greetings weren’t sincere because Jamie just wasn’t making allowances for common courtesy when he pointed them out to her. That doesn’t make any sense! If it’s sincere, it wasn’t just common courtesy! Fucking Jesus Christ, when is this going to STOP? Whining is not how you get sympathy; it’s how you get stabbed! At least when you do it this often!
Jamie asks if Trudy saved dinner for Wanda, which she did, and it’s some kind of huge portion of meat, since they apparently eat until they’re sick every time they have perishables, so they don’t go bad…instead of coming up with one of their ingenious methods to cool things, or just bringing less perishables back from the raid. It’s a wonder any survive the trip at all, if they go bad within a day.
Wanda tries to reject the meat, but Jamie makes her eat it anyway, and then people start coming into the kitchen, supposedly to hear her teach again. Oh fucking joy. I thought we were done with this.
Apparently, there are a few people missing that would normally be there for her teaching sessions, one of them being Jeb, which begs the question of why Jamie didn’t go down to find Wanda earlier, because he said he was only sitting in the doorway because Jeb told him not to go to her, and kept him in that spot so he (Jeb) could keep an eye on him and make sure he didn’t go down…which he wasn’t actually there to do. So many little errors.
Wanda is still surprised how many people are there, even with some missing, and then they jump right into the stupid alien crap with Wes asking a question about the Dolphins again, so Wanda starts back with the bread baking and telling them about the Dolphins’ grandparents and the stupidity of all that. You know, all that stuff she shouldn’t know because she hasn’t been talking to any of her alien brethren since they started taking over the Dolphins. Yeah, that stupid stuff.
Luckily, Meyer doesn’t make us suffer through her whole story on the Dolphins, she cuts it off by saying that “life went on“. THANK YOU, MEYER. This is my favourite thing you’ve done.
There’s a fairly pointless paragraph about how Jamie tries to talk Wanda out of sleeping in the supply corridor, even though there’s absolutely nowhere else for her to sleep, apparently, so she continues to, with him (because he’s “stubborn“. I really am going to stab her).
She doesn’t see Jared for the next night or day, so she just goes about her usual chores, ignoring the angry looks the raiders give her that no one else does (because she’s ‘used to them’, though she sure as hell never seemed to get used to them before, the others just changed their opinions eventually), which Meyer rants about for almost an entire page. I’m skipping all of that, because there is nothing useful in it; it’s just random experiences with people who do like her, and random experiences with people who don’t like her. Fucking riveting shit.
The only reason any of that is important is because it’s further proof that people are being genuinely nice and friendly to her, so if she says they aren’t or that they secretly hate her one more fucking time, I am seriously going to go off the deep end.
Apparently Kyle is the only one whose hostility toward her she can’t ignore, probably because his hands apparently curl into claws, which would be fucking terrifying (I’m kidding, I know what she meant, I just hate the way she worded it), so when she sees him it gives her the desire to panic and hide again for some reason…until something happens that second night when she’s teaching.
What happens? Well, in a nutshell, because Meyer cannot seem to get to the point without at least a page of boring crap leading up to it (who gives a fuck about chocolate bars? She’s just a bitch to Jamie again because of them; they’re not fucking important otherwise), Wanda is teaching, and a question is asked about the aliens’ Healing methods, and she says again that she knows nothing about them, which we already knew, because she talked to Jeb about this. There is no reason we need another entire paragraph on it, but there it is again.
Anyway, after all that crap, people are clearly distracted and upset by the fact that she doesn’t know anything about Healing, so not much more teaching gets done, because the questions run dry pretty soon thereafter. Jeb ends the session and everyone leaves, so Wanda asks Ian what she said that upset everyone, and he says it wasn’t her fault; it’s just that they “have mortality on their minds“.
At this point, finally, after a page and a half, and all that buildup before that went nowhere and whose tension was definitely lost completely by the time the answer came here, Jamie and Ian tell Wanda that Walter is not doing well. Wanda says she knew it was a problem with Walter because of intuition, but no, Wanda, Walter was sick before with what Doc thinks is cancer; it’s a logical leap that if people are thinking about mortality and worried and upset about not knowing how to heal, that that MAY be because of the guy that’s dying.
Ian says they didn’t tell Wanda about it because things have been difficult for her, but I can’t imagine that’s really why, so I’d like to know the actual reason, but I’m sure I’ll never find out. Either way, Jamie and Ian go on to explain that Walter’s bones have snapped because they’re so brittle, and that Doc is sure it’s the final stages of cancer. They explain that even without being stuck in the cave, the humans never had a cure for cancer, so there’s nothing they can do for him.
Wanda thinks to suggest that Walter be implanted with an alien, since he could be healed that way, but that doesn’t only not make sense for the reason she gives (that no one would want to trade their mind for their body’s cure, which is true; it would be pointless and honestly worse), but also because she knows that the aliens aren’t keeping adult hosts anymore, which Walter would be, so he would just be implanted, healed, used by a Seeker to give away the location of the cave, and then disposed of once everyone else was found and disposed of. So, stupid plan all around, there, Wanda, but thanks for trying.
Ian tells Wanda that Walter has been asking for her, at least as far as they can understand, since he’s saying her name, and that Doc’s been keeping him drunk to help the pain, so he feels bad that he wasted a bunch of the liquor on himself. I don’t know why the hell he would have done that, if his failure was a failure to cure Walter, because he’d KNOW he’d need the alcohol, but whatever; people in this cave are apparently all stupid, all the time.
That is, unless Doc’s failure was related to something else, which I still think it was because of Jamie’s “bad timing” comment, and the thing earlier about how Jared “promised”, and Walter just got really sick after Doc had drank all that liquor…but who knows if Meyer will ever let me know if I’m right. She certainly didn’t try to build mystery on that point if I am, she just glazed over it.
Wanda asks if she can see Walter, or if it will make others unhappy, but Ian says she shouldn’t care about that if it’s Walt’s final wish, and she agrees with him. Ian says he won’t let anyone harass her, there’s some pointless bit about Wanda wanting a clock to see if it’s a good time to visit, but that’s irrelevant, so they go anyway, and then the walk to Walter takes two fucking pages. Yes, that’s right, two goddamn pages to walk through a cave.
During their walk, Jamie is holding Wanda’s hand, and Ian is walking next to her, and no one cares about that until Kyle shows up, and he’s all mad that Ian’s with her, as though that doesn’t happen every single fucking day, and Ian didn’t defend her the very first time Kyle saw her after getting back from the raid. *sigh* again.
Kyle snarls, apparently, since he’s some kind of animal, when he sees her holding Jamie’s hand, so Ian takes her other hand in his to prove a point, and Kyle just leaves. Realistic.
As they walk further, Wanda tries to let go of Ian’s hand but he won’t let her (oh, that bodes well), and they have a discussion about Kyle and how wrong he is all the time, and how Jamie and Ian won’t let him hurt her, and how he’ll have to suck it up that she’s a part of them if he doesn’t want Jeb to kick him out, and how bad Wanda feels for that and blah blah blah; crap we’ve dealt with a million times with different people.
None of them talk anymore after that, so Wanda and Stryder start talking to each other about how Stryder thinks Wanda belongs there because she hasn’t had anything like ‘this’ (referring to holding their hands and friends and whatnot, I guess) anywhere else before, but Wanda doesn’t agree because she thinks Stryder belongs more. Stryder says they’re a package deal, trying to be supportive, but Wanda is a bitch again with this comment:
“As if I needed reminding…“
$%&@^*&($&(**%! Fuck I hate this bitch. Nuff said.
Blah blah blah, Stryder’s been quiet because of the lack of Jared, because I guess she really cares about no one else, then Stryder speculates that Jared might be with Walter, and Wanda, in one of her rare moments of actual intelligence and thought for another person, reminds her that Jared is not why they’re going to see Walter. Then there’s a whole bunch about how Stryder doesn’t care about Walter as much as Wanda does, because Walter is Wanda’s friend, not Stryder’s, which was obvious. Why did this need to be explained??
They finally get to the hospital wing, and we learn that the blue lanterns are solar powered (only took half the book to reveal that; I know I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear about it), and that Wanda hates the hospital wing because it “seems forbidding” and smells bad. Yeah, hospitals tend to; not much very good goes on in them. I’d think Stryder would have had a memory about that in there somewhere, but meh, maybe she’s been lucky not to have to go to one at any point.
Doc is asleep on one of the cots, and Walter is on the other, awake, so they go to him, and Wanda releases her hands from Ian and Jamie’s so they can “flutter helplessly in the air“, as hands so often do. She moves close to Walter and asks if there’s anything he needs or anything they can do for him, so he looks at her, and then there’s this:
“‘Finally,’ he gasped. His breath wheezed and whistled. ‘I knew you would come if I waited long enough. Oh, Gladys, I have so much to tell you.'”
And that’s the line that got me. Clearly, Walter has mistaken Wanda for his wife that either died or was taken by the aliens, and that is a thing that actually happens near death, so it makes me sad for him. I like Walter. I don’t want him to die.
I don’t think there’s much else to say about that. I went into a lot of detail in the first half of the chapter, but as I realized how much was left, I know I skimmed a lot of the second half…so for that, I apologize. But these chapters just feel so goddamn long, when there are so many errors and annoying things to write about, that I just didn’t want to spend any more time on it than I already have. It took Meyer WAY too long to get to the point of the chapter, and she didn’t even really reach it until the end, so…that’s my excuse.
So there you go. A lot of mostly pointless stuff, but a good last line, and hope that the next chapter won’t ruin that, but not much real faith in that. Guess we’ll see!
(See Mike’s take on this chapter at http://emptystress.wordpress.com!)