This chapter was a lot longer than I feel like it needed to be. There was a lot of unnecessary filler, which is not at all surprising given my experience with Meyer, but it just dragged on so much, and then ended without having had a whole lot of substance at any point. The first half is basically just Bella doing normal, everyday things, and then the second half is just plain weird, so I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth about this one. It wasn’t horrible, but I certainly didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one, and that’s dampening my hopes for this being much better than The Host, in the end.
So that we don’t get our hopes up about this chapter not being emo, the first line is “The next day was better…and worse“. Yay. It’s better because she gets to make a perfectly nice guy who has done nothing to her jealous, and that is satisfying for her, and because she gets to eat lunch with a whole bunch of people instead of alone. Everything’s coming up Bella!
…Except that she’s tired, poor baby, and being tired leads her to make a fool of herself in a couple of classes, so that’s why the day is worse. Well, part of why; the other part is that Edward isn’t in school. You know, the guy that freaked her out entirely yesterday, and that she actually says in this chapter that she was dreading having to see; she’s supposedly upset that he’s not around. Why, exactly? I mean, she seems relieved he’s not there, and rightfully so, so why would him not being there make the day worse? Is Meyer confused? Cause I certainly am.
Blah blah blah, Bella’s a coward, unimportant things happen as she worries that Edward will show up, she feels better as Mike walks her to class and Edward isn’t showing up, she and Mike talk a little when they get to class and it becomes clear that he’s got a crush on her, so she’s going to have to let him down easy, and then Edward still isn’t there and Bella is relieved about that…except that she’s not.
Wait, what? She’s relieved he may not be there up until the point that she confirms that he’s not there, at which point she feels bad because she feels she’s the reason he’s not there? Why would she care about that, when he scared her? Why would that be bad enough for her to consider it something that made the day “worse”? She only focuses on how egotistical it is to think that she could be the reason for him not being there, but she’s really got to look at why she’d feel guilty about that at all. I don’t like the way Meyer writes these characters; this is not how young women should feel. If someone makes you feel scared and uncomfortable when they’re around you, you should feel no guilt for getting them away from you, whether it happens intentionally or not, and for feeling good when they’re not there. It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes, especially when you might be in danger otherwise.
The school day ends and Bella manages to avoid Mike, so she heads to her truck and gets her grocery money and shopping list ready, since apparently Charlie is incapable of cooking anything, so she’s going to take over. How has he survived so long on his own if he can’t cook more than fried eggs and bacon? How did he ever provide for her when she visited when she was younger? And why does she continue to refer to him as ‘Charlie’ when they don’t seem to have had a bad relationship prior to this? I thought most people called their father ‘dad’ (or something similar) unless their relationship was poor…
Anyway, she heads to the grocery store, but Meyer takes an entire page to get her there. Said page is filled with nothing but Bella watching the other people from Edward’s group get into their car, going on about their expensive clothes and how jealous she is that they have both looks and money, and then deciding that the reason their group is isolated from everyone else must be because they want to be, not because other people don’t want them around. Her reason for believing that? “I couldn’t imagine any door that wouldn’t be opened by that degree of beauty.” Seriously?! Why does Meyer prize beauty above ALL else? It’s a very unhealthy point of view to have! Especially when you’re impressing it on young readers, most of whom are female!
Blah blah blah about doing the shopping; no one cares…and then she’s home, where she prepares a lovely dinner, changes, and then reads a bunch of emails from her mom. Really, this is just riveting. I’m so glad I’m reading this book.
In the emails, her mom exhibits her ‘scatterbrained’ tendencies and then panics when Bella doesn’t respond, and threatens to call her father if she doesn’t hear from her. Bella writes her back telling her that everything’s great, that her dad bought her a truck and that she misses her, and that’s that. See what I said about the first half of this chapter being mundane?
To up the excitement, Bella starts reading, and then when her father gets home, she heads back down to continue making dinner. We are treated to a random rant about her father having never shot his gun, which I think was just so Meyer could make the point that Bella is not suicidal enough to shoot herself, as though that’s necessary, and then Bella is sad that her dad remembers her mother’s experimental cooking, but it’s all good because Bella’s only made steak and potatoes this time.
The pair eat dinner and Bella tells her dad about the people she’s met at school, which leads to a brief description by Charlie about Mike and his family, followed by a much more involved one about the Cullen family. Charlie is very defensive of them, because he’s got a lot of respect and appreciation for Dr. Cullen, and because none of the kids have ever caused any trouble. He’s very upset that people talk negatively about the family, and his reaction surprises Bella, so she clarifies that she thought they all seemed nice, they just keep to themselves a lot.
For some reason, Bella also finds it pertinent to mention that they’re all very attractive, which makes Charlie laugh. He tells her that Dr. Cullen is even more attractive – distractingly so – and then they both go silent until they’re done dinner. Not sure why; that doesn’t seem like an awkward thing to say given her comment…but hey, whatever floats your boat.
Bella washes the dishes while Charlie watches TV, which seems weird to me given she did all the cooking, but why am I surprised, when this is coming from Meyer? After she’s done, she does some homework and then goes to bed, where she can finally sleep. Huzzah! One less thing to complain about!
The rest of the week goes by without much happening, though Edward still doesn’t return to school, which Bella finally allows herself to be relieved about, and while Meyer does try to explain what happened without describing every moment of each day (which is appreciated), she still goes on a bit long, given how unimportant the things she does bother to talk about seem to be.
The weekend passes with Charlie working and Bella cleaning the house, doing homework, writing emails to her mom and going to the library, which disappoints her just like everything else in Forks does, and then it’s Monday, and more unimportant stuff is happening. I’m pretty sure this book has more filler than The Host at this point, and that is horrendously depressing. Only 13 and a half pages left in this chapter…dear god, these recaps are seriously going to take forever, for very little content. Ugggggh.
On Monday, Bella is happily greeted by a bunch of people, and that, combined with an easy pop quiz, makes her feel more comfortable about living in Forks, which obviously surprises her. After her first class, she and Mike walk outside to discover that it’s snowing, which everyone is excited about except for Bella, who thinks the snow has ruined her day. Really? It’s snow; what’s it going to do to you? You spent all this time complaining about the rain, and snow will be quieter at night, so…what’s the problem?
But no, she has to complain about the snow because it’s “too cold for rain“, which for some reason she now would prefer, I guess, and because she doesn’t think it looks right, since it’s not coming down in big flakes like she’s seen on TV (since she’s from somewhere where it doesn’t snow, so she’s never seen snow in real life before). Considering how new this is, shouldn’t she at least be a little bit interested/excited to see it, regardless of whether it’s exactly how she imagined it? I hate that Meyer’s characters never seem to appreciate anything.
Someone (which Bella suspects to be Eric) throws a snowball at Mike, so Mike prepares to retaliate, while Bella takes off because she doesn’t like “people throwing wet stuff“, and then proceeds to complain about the snow even more. At lunch she has to pass through a giant snowball fight, which is kind of surprising to me because I don’t really remember kids doing that when I was in high school…but anyway, Bella doesn’t get hit with any, so it’s all good.
When they get inside the cafeteria, Bella notices that Edward has returned to school, and has a bit of a panic attack. Her friends are concerned for her because they don’t know what’s wrong, but she just tells them she feels sick, and then considers whether she should skip class and go to the nurse’s office instead. She decides against it when she sees that Edward is not glaring at her, he’s not even paying attention to her, and he seems happy, as his group are all laughing. She notes that Edward seems less pale, and that something else about him is different as well, but she can’t place what.
Jessica catches Bella looking at Edward, and just as she does, Edward catches her doing so as well. She looks away quickly, but is pleased that when he did look at her, he didn’t look angry, just curious. Jessica confirms that Edward doesn’t look angry and asks why Bella would think he would be, so she confesses that she doesn’t think Edward likes her. Jessica informs her that the Cullens don’t like anybody, or notice them enough to care, but that Edward is still staring at her anyway.
Bella tells Jessica to stop looking at him, which she does, and then Mike shows up again with plans to have an ‘epic’ snowball fight after school, which Bella, of course, instantly decides she’ll have to hide to avoid being a part of. Luckily for her, though, she won’t have to worry about that, because when they leave the cafeteria after lunch, they all discover that the snow is already gone, having been replaced by rain.
When she gets to class, Bella is pleased to see that Edward is not there yet. He shows up only a few minutes later, though, and almost instantly greets her, which shocks her. We are treated to a brief description of how unbelievably gorgeous he is, but of course, and then he introduces himself in an absurdly polite manner which indicates that he already knows who she is.
Bella is confused, wondering if she imagined his anger from the other day, and panics a bit knowing that she’s got to come up with something to say to him, so she asks him how he knows her name. That leads to an awkward conversation that I can’t really understand the point of, in terms of the plot of the book, because all it points out is that Edward somehow knows to call her Bella right off the bat, whereas everyone else initially calls her Isabella and then has to be told she prefers Bella. Who cares?
As luck would have it, after their awkward exchange, Bella and Edward discover that they need to work as lab partners for the class, to identify the phases of mitosis using a microscope. And this is where the chapter starts getting weird. Considering how little actually happens here, Meyer takes a hell of a lot of time to get through this lab, I’m assuming just to show us how Bella and Edward interact together. But as I said, it’s weird, and it’s awkward, and it’s like a battle for who’s the smartest when it’s clearly both of them, which just seems obnoxious to me. Even the parts that are supposed to seem flirtatious just feel annoying.
All we really learn throughout this is that Bella is all googly eyed over how ‘beautiful’ Edward is, they’re both smart, like I said (and like we already knew about Bella), Edward has ice cold hands (I wonder why) and when he touches Bella, she feels an electric shock…and they’re both competitive show-offs. I really feel like it did not need to take multiple pages to establish all that useless bullshit.
Still, they’re done their work long before anyone else is, so they’re left with more time for awkward interactions (yaaaay) and for Bella to describe how different Edward’s eyes seem from what they looked like the last time she saw him. I know that’s probably supposed to actually be relevant in some way, but y’know, I just really don’t care to such a degree that I’m not even going to go into any details about it. Like I said, there is so much stuff in this chapter that is either clearly filler or is probably supposed to be important but feels like filler anyway, that I just can’t be bothered.
The teacher comes over to check their answers, which are of course all correct, and identifies that Bella was in advanced placement courses when she was in Phoenix, because she is just THAT smart. The teacher seems unhappy about this for some reason and goes away, so Edward starts talking about how unfortunate it is that the snow is gone, which Bella obviously disagrees with.
Blah blah blah, it’s soooo difficult for her to live in Forks, and that’s fascinating to Edward for some reason, and then we finally get to know why Bella actually moved to Forks when she apparently hates it and everything about it so much. She says it’s because her mother got remarried, and then oh my god it takes forever for Meyer to get to the reason why that would make her move, because she needs to go on uselessly about a bunch of other crap…and finally we get to that her mother’s new husband moves a lot, and Bella knew her mother was unhappy not being with him (because she was staying behind to be with Bella), so she left so that her mother could be happy. Awwwww, how entirely self-sacrificing, just like Wanda! Fuck.
I don’t know, I would be all for this if Meyer’s characters didn’t always go all ‘woe is me’ after doing something ‘nice’ for someone, but when they do, it just really takes away from the nice deed that they did, and makes it annoying. It doesn’t seem like life in Forks has been bad to Bella at all; in fact, it’s been very good to her…so why is she still complaining about it? She should be happy she did something for her mother that didn’t turn out so bad for her at all, and that’s that. Enough whining.
Edward points out that Bella’s unhappy and says he doesn’t think that’s fair, so Bella says life isn’t fair (it’s not, but come on, you got a free fucking truck the first day, and a bunch of friends with no effort on your part the next; I think you’re doing fucking okay), and then Edward calls her on the fact that he thinks she’s putting on a show, but is really “suffering more than you let anyone see“. Ugggggh. I don’t feel bad for her, Meyer, and I’m not going to, so fuck off with this shit!
Edward presses Bella on the subject to find out if he’s right about his assumption, and she snaps at him, asking why it matters to him. He says that’s a good question, and I think for one shining moment that that’s the end of this incredibly boring conversation, but then nope, he asks if he’s annoying her, and we’re right back into more pointless bullshit again. Goddammit.
Bella is annoyed that her face is so easy to read, but Edward says he finds her hard to read, so she says he’s a good reader, and then the teacher calls the class’s attention to himself finally, but Bella just keeps thinking about how beautiful Edward is but how he’s pulling away from her again.
Edward leaves quickly again when the class ends, so Mike shows up to talk to Bella as per usual, complaining about how hard the lab was. Instead of being sympathetic, Bella decides to show off by saying she didn’t have any trouble with it, but then adds that she did it before, so as not to hurt his feelings. As if she really cares.
They briefly discuss the fact that Edward seemed more friendly today, and then they head to gym class, where Bella continues to be distracted by thoughts of Edward, and Mike continues to be super sweet in looking out for her, despite that she doesn’t give a shit about him.
When gym is done, Bella heads out to her truck, and as she’s about to go, she notices Edward standing by his car, staring at her. Creepy. She almost hits a car in her distraction, then pulls out and leaves, noticing Edward laughing at her as she does so. Smoooooth.
And that’s it for this chapter, thank god. It really did feel like that took forever to get through. God, I hope the rest aren’t like this…my kingdom for less boring filler…