Everybody, stay calm. It is in fact Monday. Matt and I decided to move Beautiful/Walking Disaster to our Monday/Tuesday slots so that we could properly introduce OUR SECRET NEXT BOOK to you guys on Wednesday and get that show on the road Thurs/Fri. SPOILER ALERT we are going to be doing this Host style where instead of discussing the same chapter each week, we’ll be chugging along in the book, doing a new chapter every day and commenting on each others’ posts. More details about the new series on Wednesday!
Previously, plot contrivances conspired to get Abby and Travis sleeping in the same bed without having sex. Will they or won’t they? The anticipation is too much!
Chapter 3: Cheap Shot
Abby is hanging out with Finch outside her dorm when Travis shows up to offer her a ride back to his apartment. He makes flirtatious jokes about sleeping in the same bed, and an outraged Abby complains that everyone already thinks they’re having sex, and Travis is just fanning the fire. She doesn’t want everyone to think she’s one of his sluts!
As they head upstairs to go pick up some of her stuff, Abby comes to this realization:
I flipped around. “Oh my God! People probably think we’re together and you’re shamelessly continuing your . . . lifestyle. I must look pathetic!” I said, coming to the realization as I spoke. “I don’t think I should stay with you anymore. We should just stay away from each other in general for a while.”
Even though I’ve finished the book already, I’m still unsure how reliable Abby is when it comes to gauging the interest level of the other students in regards to her and Travis’ relationship. She’s always telling us about rumors and stares and judgement, but it would be hilarious if really no one else gives two fucks about them, which I have a feeling is probably the case. I mean, I’m reading the damn book and I give no fucks about their relationship. [Matthew says: Travis seems to think everybody’s fascinated by his and Abby’s “are they/aren’t they” relationship too, and he’s backing it up with mockery from the football team. So either, yes, everybody at this school is fascinated by Travis’s love life for some reason, or, no, it’s just the football team that’s weirdly obsessed with Travis.]
“Have you ever had a girl— that’s a friend— stay with you? Have you ever given girls rides to and from school? Have you eaten lunch with them every day? No one knows what to think about us, even when we tell them!”
I really can identify with caring about what others think, you know, to a point. This is college, though. Everyone understands ambiguous relationships. Also, most people understand friendships. [Matthew says: Also most people don’t give much of a shit about other peoples’ ambiguous relationships.] This is partially Abby’s way of avoiding the fact that she has feelings for Travis and that they really aren’t just friends. However, it’s mostly about the fact that Abby, as has been previously established, is an idiot.
The only reason Abby would actually have to be embarrassed is if the scenario above was really the case and she felt like shit about it.
Travis proposes a brilliant solution! They’ll go out to dinner and to a club together. “Think about it. Me, drunk, in a room full of scantily clad women? It won’t take long for people to figure out we’re not a couple.”
Abby’s like, “Cool, I’ll bring someone home too.” And Travis is like, “…No?”
Honestly, though, I remember thinking this chapter was pretty fun back when I first read it. My feelings are tainted now by how much I hate everyone, but I do remember enjoying the gang going out together. They get sushi, drink a lot, and go clubbing, and it feels pretty realistic.
It should be noted that even though Abby is presented in the first chapter as someone who has no clue what to wear anywhere, she goes out wearing a sexy black dress and pink heels, so clearly McGuire decided to do away with that initial characterization three chapters in. [Matthew says: This really puts our plans to sell a “CARDIGANS 4EVER” mug in danger.] Who needs characterization when you have plot devices like “boiler goes out in character A’s dorm. Now character A is going to sleep in character B’s bed for some reason!”
At the club, we get another little teaser about Abby’s past. Travis comments on how flawless America and Abby’s fake IDs are. Abby apparently has “connections”.
Travis tries to pry, but Abby changes the subject quickly by saying she needs a drink. It’s time for shots! Cheap shots?? [Matthew says: They take a whiskey drink. They take a vodka drink. They take a cider drink. They take a lager drink. They sing the songs that remind them of the good times. They sing the songs that remind them of the better times. Nah, just kidding, they order “beer” and apparently that’s specific enough.]
After dancing for a bit, the girls go to find their men at the bar. Travis is being hit on by an “excessively voluptuous” blonde. More interestingly, though, is that there is “a small group of girls standing a few feet away. They eyed the blonde, waiting for their turn.” I’ve always jokingly been like, “Form a line ladies,” but I didn’t realize that was a thing that would actually happen in one of these books. I wonder if any of the women in this line think they’re actually just waiting to get served at the bar. [Matthew says: And then they get to Travis and they’re like “oh, god, I was in the very wrong line.”]
Travis buys Abby a drink, upsetting the excessively voluptuous blonde who storms off. Nothing is said about the other women patiently waiting their turn in line! No cuts, Abby. Have you no manners? [Matthew says: Travis doesn’t even mention the other girls waiting in line in his book. SOMEONE ONLY HAS EYES FOR HIS PIGEON.]
Abby makes a snide comment about how she’s the only girl a guy with no standards doesn’t want to sleep with. Travis is offended!
“First of all . . . I have standards. I’ve never been with an ugly woman. Ever.”
Travis Maddox: All class, all the time.
He then explains that he thinks Abby is too good for him. Nay. Abby is too good for every guy. She is flattered by this, and they go to dance it up together.
Side note: in Walking Disaster, the word “bag” is thrown around quite a lot. In this book, everyone is constantly sneering. No, really. It’s all the time! I leave out a lot of quotes that showcase this because most of the time they’re really innocuous parts, but it’s happened three times this chapter already.
1. “That’s a biker bar,” I sneered, watching him fasten my tote to his bike.
2. “It looks like Vegas threw up on a flock of vultures,” America sneered.
3. He sneered at my second insult. “I can’t think of a single guy I know that’s good enough for you.”
I’m not even that far into this chapter let alone the book!
Abby stars to think not-so-friendly thoughts about Travis while they’re sexy dancing together, as friends do. He kisses her neck and she freaks the fuck out.
“You think that is going to change anyone’s mind about us?” I said, pulling my hair to the side, covering the spot he kissed.
He laughed once. “I don’t give a damn what they think about us.”
So she’s not mad because she’s not interested…she’s mad because she’s worried people will still not believe them about not being just friends because clearly they are not just friends. Yup, this is supposed to be a real challenge Abby is facing. [Matthew says: Although let’s say she wasn’t interested at all and Travis was acting like this all the time. That would be super challenging and/or irritating.]
Abby tells Travis he’d never get her on his couch, so he goes to dance with slut!Megan. A guy approaches Abby at the bar and begins to hit on her, so Travis of course comes over and breaks it up. It’s totally fine, though. He’s not doing it because he thinks Abby is his property (as she points out), he’s doing it because Ethan is a rapist, of course!
“Do you know who Ethan is?” he asked. When I shook my head, he leaned in closer. “I do. He was arrested last year for sexual battery, but the charges were dropped.”
They fight in circles for a bit, and then Travis tells Abby she’s beautiful, so she’s happy. But she totally isn’t in love with him! And she has no idea Travis is in love with her even though he says things like “you’re making me crazy.” So then that night she asks him to cuddle and they cuddle because JUST FRIENDS.
And there’s no way this line here could indicate Travis has feelings for Abby. He says it right after she asks him to hold her.
He shifted to look straight into my eyes. “I should say no to prove a point,” he said, his eyebrows pulling together. “But I would hate myself later if I said no and you never asked me again.”
So it will totally make sense to all of us when Abby acts confused about his feelings for the next X amount of chapters, right?
The next morning, Abby thinks, “The lines were becoming blurred and it was my fault.” But she doesn’t exactly tell us why this is a bad thing. [Matthew says: Uh, yes she does! Because at the end of the day he’s still Travis “Man Whore” Maddox. Get it? Because his nickname is “Mad Dog” and “Man Whore” sounds kind of like okay let’s just pretend everyone already got the joke before I started explaining it.]
Abby makes oatmeal, and Travis mentions her birthday is coming up in a couple weeks. The chapter ends with a shocking revelation.
Abby finds out his birthday is on April first and she acts like that’s insanity. Yes, people really are born on that day, Abby.