blah [Ariel says: blah indeed.]
Chapter 6: Shots
We last left Travis and Abby in bed together just as friends, which is a real sentence I just wrote.
The sun had just begun to cast shadows on the walls of my bedroom when I opened my eyes. Abby’s hair was tangled and messy, and covering my face. I took a deep breath through my nose.
Dude. What are you doing… besides being creepy? [Ariel says: I actually thought that last part was Matt not making it clear that was his commentary. I’m surprised Travis has ever acknowledged his creepiness.]
His alarm goes off and thus ends the sweet bliss of being curled up in bed with someone you’re crazy about who isn’t interested in you.
That has to be the most annoying alarm I’ve ever heard. It sounds like a dying animal.
No, the most annoying alarm is the Droid phone. The one that just goes “DROID” in a robot voice. My freshman year roommate got that phone halfway through the year and it scared the shit out of me. [Ariel says: No the most annoying alarm is my boyfriend’s. It’s one of those classic alarms that isn’t on a smartphone and sounds like it should signal an emergency like zombies attacking or a tornado.]
Anyway, Travis is surprised that the woman he forced into an uncomfortable situation where he offered her his bed and didn’t say he was going to sleep in it too is acting kind of crabby towards him.
“Are you always so temperamental, or will that taper off once you believe I’m not just creating some elaborate scheme to get in your pants?” […] I leaned in, whispering in her ear. “I don’t want to sleep with you, Pidge. I like you too much.”
GEE, IF THAT ISN’T AN ELABORATE SCHEME TO GET IN HER PANTS RIGHT THERE. And it’s not like he isn’t aware of it either.
Jumping up and down to celebrate the thrill of victory would have been a bit obvious, so I restrained myself until I was sufficiently hidden behind the door, and then made a few celebratory air punches.
Although Travis really has no idea what the fuck he’s doing, much like the reader.
Keeping her on her toes was never easy, but when it worked, I felt like I was one step closer to…
To what? I wasn’t exactly sure. It just felt right.
Shepley returns to the story to fill his whining quota by begging his girlfriend, America, to go to his frat’s “date party” with him, because apparently Jamie McGuire couldn’t think of anything more real-sounding than “date party”. America doesn’t want to go unless Abby’s going, but Abby can’t go because she doesn’t have a date, and Travis doesn’t have a date but he doesn’t “do” dates but he does want to go with Abby but Abby doesn’t want to go with him but America wants Abby to go with Travis so she can go with Shep. It’s a whole big thing, you guys. [Ariel says: Jesus Christ how is this only just happening in your book? Why couldn’t Abby and Travis tell their fucking stories in sync!]
Abby reluctantly agrees to be Travis’s date and leaves for class with America. Shepley tries to get Travis to admit he has feelings for Abby but Travis is all “we’re just friends” and Shepley isn’t buying it because they don’t talk about fucking (this is his actual logic, guys) and asks why Travis doesn’t just date her.
“She’s different, Shepley. She’s good.”
“What are you waiting for?”
I shrugged. “Just one more reason, I guess.”
Honestly, I liked this part of the exchange. As stupid as this sounds, this is the most realistically and humanly stupid Travis has sounded. I can actually totally relate to this situation where you’re crazy about someone but scared to commit to doing something about it and you’re not sure why, so you’re just waiting to be more sure, as if you’ll somehow learn one more thing about them and that’ll be “just one more reason” that makes you 100% certain you want someone, even though you already know you’re crazy about them. I’ve been there before, so, yeah, this is the first time in the novel Travis actually clicked for me as a relatable person as opposed to a ridiculous caricature sex monster.
Speaking of which, on the very same page:
“I’m going to see if I can get Abby on the back of my bike again. It’s the closest I can get to the inside of her thighs.” [Ariel says: This just made me realize something. His “one more reason” is that he needs to see at least one of her breasts.]
Later, Abby explains to Travis that the whole campus thinking they’re sleeping together is not something that she wants, which is a difficult concept for him for some reason.
“Everyone already assumes we’re having sex. You’re making it worse.”
Apparently her having sex with me was a bad thing.
[Ariel says: Hector Salamanca expresses it better than I can.]
And then it gets worse in ways that I don’t even know enough about gender and sexuality studies to really explain why they’re so problematic.
“Do you want the whole school to think I’m one of your sluts?”
My sluts? They weren’t mine. Hence them being sluts.
Abby then realizes that if people assume they’re sleeping together, but also Travis is sleeping with other girls (because they’re not), then Abby’s going to look pathetic. Seeing this revelation not from inside Abby’s head, it looks like a completely valid concern. [Ariel says: No, it’s not! It would be like if in college you were dating someone and I was like “Matt, we can’t hang out a lot because it might look like we have feelings for each other and because you’re dating __, I’ll look like a pathetic friend who is in love with you!” It’s so paranoid and self-centered. I could understand it if Abby and Travis were dating and people thought he was still sleeping around when he wasn’t, but this is ridiculous.] Travis’s solution to the problem is to take her out to dinner with Shep and America and then go to a club, because apparently that is a reasonable solution to this problem because logic. They all agree to this, Abby and America dress up to go clubbing, and we get the greatest description of a woman’s breasts we’ve seen on Bad Books, Good Times to date:
Her tits were playing peek-a-boo
[Ariel says: That’s all the reason he needs.Game on.]
Chapter 7: Seeing Red
After dinner (where Travis learns Abby got fake IDs… in Wichita, which is apparently supposed to be a revelation that someone would have gotten a fake where they used to live), the gang goes to The Red Door.
Anyone new walking in was like fresh meat […] Especially girls that looked like Abby and America.
Then why was your brilliant plan to take her here?
Abby has her “To being the only girl a guy with no standards doesn’t want to sleep with” line, and Travis has his “No, no one is good enough for you. Also, no fatties.” line (I’m paraphrasing). Travis takes Abby on the dance floor, and although she protests that she’s too drunk to dance, but she laughs it off and they start dancing, and then things start heating up.
The song ends and Travis kisses Abby on the neck. Except by “kiss” I mean “let my tongue lick the salty moisture from her skin”, which is actually what is written in this book, because rawr. Abby gets pissed off, telling Travis that that’s the sort of thing why people think they’re sleeping together, and Travis is all, “After all that bumping and grinding against my dick[?]”, which is a fair point.
Some other girl (Megan. Still no idea who she is, which is weird because Ariel knows who this girl from Travis’s past is from reading the novel from Abby’s perspective, whereas I’m reading the novel from Travis’s perspective and all I got is “they slept together previously”, which is basically anyone) swoops in and Travis thinks that if Abby’s pissed at him, he might as well play the part (more so, I guess?). But then he immediately abandons this plan when he sees a guy named Ethan flirting with Abby, and he goes back, threatens to beat up Ethan, and then makes Abby, America, and Shep leave.
Abby and Travis then have the most ridiculous fight.
“I’m not your fuck buddy, Travis.” […]
“I never said you were! You’re around me 24-7, you sleep in my bed, but half the time you act like you don’t wanna be seen with me!”
She slept in your bed once because you sort of tricked her into doing it. Not really your strongest argument.
“No, you treat me like your property. You had no right to run Ethan off like that!”
“Do you know who Ethan is? […] I do. He was arrested last year for sexual battery, but the charges were dropped.” […]
“Oh, so you have something in common?” […]
“Are you calling me a rapist?”
And we reach the shit summit of this shit mountain of a fight.
“I’ve been drinking, all right? Your skin was three inches from my face, and you’re beautiful, and you smell fucking awesome when you sweat. I kissed you! I’m sorry! Get over yourself!”
My answer made her pause, and the corners of her mouth turned up. “You think I’m beautiful?”
YEP. ACTUALLY WHAT HAPPENS. All his creepy behavior – licking her neck on the dance floor, not letting her talk to dudes (this specific dude was apparently a sexual predator, but that feels more convenient for the plot than it does like a good counterargument about how Travis treats Abby so possessively), and putting her in the uncomfortable “sleep in my bed with me!” situation – is immediately excused because, hey, being told that she’s pretty is all a girl really wants.
Suddenly they’re BFFs again, and drunk BFFs going to cuddle in the same bed quasi-romantically at that.
I laughed and turned, looking at her sweet, horrified expression. “What, Pigeon?”
“This,” she said, laying her head on my chest and stretching her arm across my stomach, holding me close.
Not what I was expecting. At all. I held up my hand and froze in place, unsure what the hell to do. “You are drunk.”
“I know,” she said, shameless. […] “It’s the only excuse I have.” […]
“I should say no to prove a point,” I said, my eyebrows pulling together. “But I would hate myself later if I said no and you never asked me again.”
Tune in next week, where they somehow still haven’t admitted their feelings for each other already.
Also, no, I didn’t forget about counting instances of the word “bagged” for this post. It actually didn’t show up in these two chapters. The world is a lie.