I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath to find out what exactly the title of this chapter “The Bet” is all about! The first half of “The Bet” made no mention of any bet, so what gives? Rest assured, all, there is indeed a bet. Shockingly it has nothing to do with how long it will take for Travis to “bag” Abby.
At the end of part one, Travis got a phone call telling him he had a fight to get to. The gang prepared to head off to said fight, but Abby’s clothes were too slutty, so Travis had to make her go change. [Matthew says: I have no idea how you guys lived with that cliffhanger.][Ariel says: I’ve been getting bombarded with questions all week. Anticipation has reached a fever pitch.]
Chapter 4 Part 2: The Bet
I didn’t mention last time, but one thing that both infuriates and cracks me up in this book is that Abby is constantly outraged by Travis’ behavior, but her reaction is simply to shout his name and then continue as if nothing happened. For example, when he locks her in the room so she’ll change her clothes, this is what happens:
“Travis!” I yelled. I kicked off my heels, and shoved my feet into my Converses. Then I wiggled out of my halter top, throwing it across the room. The first cotton shirt that touched my hands I yanked over my head, and then ran down the hall, standing in the doorway.
I’m so angry, and I’m going to express my anger by completely obeying you! It’s so reminiscent of Fifty Shades where Christian’s always telling Ana how strong she is but it’s only because she argues with him for five seconds before ultimately doing exactly what he tells her. [Matthew says: I can’t wait until they finally have sex. Not because I’m actually interested in the story, I just want to see if her orgasms are described as explosions like in Fifty Shades too.]
At College Fight Club, Travis and Abby make their bet before Travis’ fight begins. It starts with Travis telling Abby he only gets hit when he lets people hit him.
“I find it hard to believe that you only get hit when you let them hit you.”
“Would you like to make a wager on that, Abby Abernathy?” he smiled, his eyes animated. I smiled.
“I’ll take that bet. I think he’ll get one in on you.”
“And if he doesn’t? What do I win?” he asked. I shrugged as the yelling on the other side of the wall grew to a roar. Adam greeted the crowd, and then went over the rules.
Travis’s mouth stretched into a wide grin. “If you win, I’ll go without sex for a month.” I raised an eyebrow, and he smiled again. “But if I win, you have to stay with me for a month.”
Though this sounds like the perfect example of a lose-lose situation from my perspective, Abby thinks this is a grand idea and agrees to the wager.
Travis wins his bet, and Abby, who placed a bet on Travis to win the match, also wins her bet (betception! Two bets in one chapter!).
After the fight, they go to pick up Abby’s stuff from her dorm room, and Kara is perfectly pleasant to them, though Abby seems scornful of how much of Kara’s attention is focused on her text books. Poor Kara, so misunderstood.
On the ride back to the apartment, Abby starts to realize that things between her and Travis may not be so friendly, and this is somehow supposed to be a revelation.
The lines were blurring again,
and I wondered how we would spend a month together and not ruin everything. The loose ends of our friendship were tangling in a way I never imagined.
Oh really? After the time he tried to kiss you at the club and then you guys cuddled in his bed you never imagined the lines were blurring? Sure, we’ll go with that. [Matthew says: Hey, someone licking your neck is a very difficult sign to read.]
America again positions herself both as a yes-friend and a trouble-maker. Two kinds of people I hate! One second she’s insinuating that Travis and Abby are acting like a couple and the next she starts asking about Parker and the party he invited Abby to, which is apparently not the same date party she agreed to go to with Travis. ‘Cause that would be totally rude!
“Fine, I’ll talk about something else. Didn’t Parker invite you to the Sig Tau party this weekend, Abby?”
Travis’s smile vanished and he turned to me, waiting for an answer.
“Er . . . yeah? Aren’t we all going?”
“I’ll be there,” Shepley said, distracted by the television.
“And that means I’m going,” America said, looking expectantly at Travis.
Travis watched me for a moment, and then nudged my leg. “Is he picking you up or something?”
“No, he just told me about the party.”
America’s mouth spread into a mischievous grin, almost bobbing in anticipation. “He said he’d see you there, though. He’s really cute.”
She’s probably just trying to wind Travis up, but this would make more sense if Abby had feelings for him and they were trying to figure out if Travis did too. This seems to just be unnecessary torture. [Matthew says: It’s almost like we have no idea what America’s motivations are.] Travis reacts poorly, and Shep gets pissy because of his paranoia about Abby and Travis’ relationship. Because their relationship will somehow mean the demise of his and America’s relationship. Everyone in this book is so self-centered!
Abby correctly assesses the situation in part, noting that Shep’s mood might be because of her and Travis.
“You’re right. It’s because of us. Don’t fall asleep, okay? I wanna talk to you about something.”
WHAT A MYSTERIOUS MYSTERY!
Abby’s not sure what it’s about because she’s back to playing dumb about Travis’ feelings for some reason [Matthew says: And suddenly the lines are unblurry! Maybe Abby just doesn’t know what lines look like?]
Shepley burst out of his room, and America ran after him. “Shep, don’t!” she pleaded.
He looked back to the bathroom door, and then to me. His voice was low, but angry. “You promised, Abby. When I told you to spare judgment, I didn’t mean for you two to get involved! I thought you were just friends!”
“We are,” I said, shaken by his surprise attack.
I don’t want Abby and Travis to get together any more than you do, Shep, but seriously, you are somehow the dumbest character in this book, and you are competing against Abby and Travis!
Shep storms off presumably to stew in the juices of Impending Relationship Doom, and America and Abby have a heart to heart. America appears to ship Trabby [Matthew says: YES.] in this scene because there’s no reason for characters to display any consistency in this series, not when there’s love in the air. [Matthew says: Which might actually be the single way this book is even remotely realistic?]
Abby points out that earlier Travis expressed a lack of romantic interest in Abby, which is a fair point and the best evidence we have to why Abby doubts Travis’ feelings. However, this did not come up during her blurred lines
Ima take a good guuuuuurrrrlll comment.
But, UH OH, Travis overhears Abby telling America that she doesn’t want to date Travis either! Despite the fact that he said the same thing earlier, Travis gets really angry. Can you guys guess how he expresses his anger?
Travis gets wasted and brings two girls home for a good old fashioned threesome! While Abby listens! To be fair, he doesn’t technically force her to listen, but he kind of does. Remember, he only has sex on the living room couch like any exemplary roommate would, and Abby doesn’t have a way to get back to her dorm because usually Travis or Shep drives her back and forth. Not to mention it’s three in the morning, so she’s kind of stuck for the night. All that aside, he doesn’t technically force her. Semantics.
There’s also a really awkward moment where Abby is lying awake when Travis comes in to grab condoms from his room, and then she listens to the whole thing and acts like she doesn’t understand why this makes her sad. [Matthew says: Serious question. If Travis never brings girls into his room for sex, why does he keep condoms in his room?][Ariel says: This is the kind of intricate riddle a bridge troll would craft. I tried to write a few jokes about symbolism and keeping important things like condom collections away from sluts who might be waiting to steal them. Ultimately, though, the answer is just probably that Travis is an idiot and/or logic has no place in this book.]
I’m going to share a Very Special story with you guys! I’ve been in a similar position to Abby, and we’re not talking like a roommate situation in this scenario. A few years ago, my BFF and I got invited to a housewarming party in the city. What we didn’t realize, thanks to underhanded feminine drama, was that my BFF was dating a guy who another girl was interested in. And it was this girls’ housewarming party, so it was pretty weird that she wasn’t like “Hey, maybe they shouldn’t come.”
Not only that, but the party was a cover/excuse for four people to have an orgy after the other guests had left! By the time we realized this, it was too late for us to get home. My friend and I intimately shared a sofa bed while we listened to four people getting it on together upstairs. The kicker is that the guy my friend was dating (casually) was part of the orgy! So I guess my friend was the bigger Abby here.
Let me tell you, that’s the sort of awkward night that really cements a friendship. When you play “Who’s Doing What to Whom?” you’re pretty much guaranteed to be friends forever. Shame America was in Shep’s room and not with Abby in this case.
Abby goes to sleep in the living room after Travis eventually showers and gets into his own bed. If you’re like me and your immediate concern was that Abby just slept where Travis had the threesome, I think we’re meant to understand that she doesn’t sleep on the couch but a recliner in the room, which is apparently cum-free since ’03. Okay, I made that last bit up, but I’d like to believe it. [Matthew says: I really want to that on a mug, but I’m pretty certain nobody would actually buy it.]
When Abby wakes up, America and Shep are in the room and start apologizing to her. America says she’s packed Abby’s things and they can make their escape while Travis is at the store. What follows is a bizarre sequence of events [Matthew says: Just so you guys know, because of the way Walking Disaster breaks the story into chapters, from this point on you’re actually going to have to wait until next week to see it from Travis’s perspective, but I will say that, yes, it’s about as nonsensical as you’d expect]:
The door flew open, and Travis walked in, his arms laden with grocery sacks. He walked straight into the kitchen, furiously working to get the cans and boxes into the cabinets.
“When Pidge wakes up, let me know, okay?” he said in a soft voice. “I got spaghetti, and pancakes, and strawberries, and that oatmeal shit with the chocolate packets, and she likes Fruity Pebbles cereal, right, Mare?” he asked, turning.
Aside from that all sounding absolutely disgusting [Matthew says: I start every day with spaghetti and strawberries], wasn’t he mad and sad about what Abby said about not wanting to date him?
I couldn’t have been more confused if I had woken up in a foreign country. Nothing made sense. At first I thought I had been evicted, and then Travis comes home with bags full of my favorite foods.
For once I’m not outraged by Abby’s confusion. The thing I find strangest is that throughout this whole scene, we don’t actually know what’s going on at Abby’s head. She just tells us things like what time it is or what she’s physically doing.
She tells everyone she’s fine and that it’s Travis’ apartment, he can do what he wants. This shocks everyone and disappoints Travis.
“You didn’t pack your things?” Travis asked.
I shook my head and looked at the clock; it was after two in the afternoon. “No, and now I’m going to have to unpack it all . I still have to eat, and shower, and get dressed . . . ” I said, walking into the bathroom. Once the door closed behind me, I leaned against it and slid down to the floor. [So it seems like we’re going to get inside her head a little, right? Given that we’re already supposed to be inside her head.]
I was sure I had pissed off America beyond repair, [Uh, why?] but I’d made Shepley a promise, and I intended to keep my word [And why would moving out of the apartment be breaking a promise to Shep? Surely continuing to share a bed with Travis “platonically” concerns him more.]. [Matthew says: Didn’t Shep basically tell her so last night? Also, wouldn’t this technically be breaking a promise to Travis because it was his bet? It’s not like she has a huge social web to keep track of. She basically only hangs out with these three people.]
A soft knock tapped on the door above me. “Pidge?” Travis said.
“Yeah?” I said, trying to sound normal.
“I can go if you want me to, but a bet’s a bet.”
The door vibrated with the soft bump of Travis’s forehead against it. “I don’t want you leave, but I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
“Are you saying I’m released from the bet?”
There was a long pause. “If I say yes, will you leave?”
“Well, yeah. I don’t live here, silly,” I said, forcing a small laugh.
“Then no, the bet’s still in effect.”
And thus the plot device lives on and no one’s behavior makes any sense. [Matthew says: Also pretty firmly putting Beautiful Disaster in Stockholm Syndrome territory.]
While Abby’s in the shower, Travis continues to be invasive and comes in to “bring her stuff” and talk to her. They both feel like they’ve messed the situation up beyond repair, [Matthew says: What’s this “they” bullshit? When did Abby have a threesome?][Ariel says: Abby felt like her conversation with America was too harsh or something.] but in Abby’s case she just thinks this while Travis is telling her the exact same thing. You’d think she’d be like, “I also fucked things up.” Instead, she tells Travis not to drink and drive again.
I cringed at his explanation. I hadn’t stopped to think how it would make him feel to hear me talk about how wrong for me he was, and now the situation was too messed up to salvage.
“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” I said, standing under the water.
“I know you didn’t. And I know it doesn’t matter what I say now, because I fucked things up . . . just like I always do.”
“Don’t drive drunk on your bike anymore, okay?”
What gets me is the part where she thinks she can’t salvage the situation and yet seconds later Travis gives her an opening to salvage it and she just turns into a PSA. I agree with her 100% but still.