So on yesterday’s chapter of the story from Abby’s perspective, she goes to her birthday party and blacks out. Thank goodness we get to hear Travis’s side of the story today and can learn what happened after she blacked out! You know, relatively speaking. “Thank goodness” is probably a little overenthusiastic.
Chapter 13: Porcelain
To summarize the sequence of events that brought us to this point:
- Travis and Abby are just friends, but totally want each other
- Travis and Abby almost drunkenly sleep together
- They don’t talk about it because Abby has to go shopping
And that is actually where we are in this real book that is real.
Travis is upset by this.
Abby usually spazzed out whenever something serious came up.
That’s one way to put it. [Ariel says: It’s probably the strangest way to put it. This could have easily been remedied by saying she “shuts down.” Even shuts down would have been a generous statement, though, given her reaction to serious things seems to be to…continue to blend in with her surroundings and act like the equivalent of a cardboard box or wallpaper. Spazzed out implies she actually has reactions to things that happen in this book.]
Travis and Shepley go to Brazil’s apartment where the party is. I’ll be honest, I totally forgot who Brazil was at first, but I picked up pretty quickly that he’s on the football team [Ariel says: And is the other character who was named after a country for some reason that probably isn’t symbolism], and Travis got the football team to help him throw Abby’s surprise birthday party. This, of course, makes no sense, because every time we ever see the football team in this book, they’re mocking Travis or throwing food at him because I guess no one in these books likes eating food? But I guess now they’re all friends suddenly [Ariel says: I guess they’ve become best friends forever during all those lunch sessions which consisted only of the food throwing and sassy comments.], because they’re throwing a party for Abby and not inviting any sorority girls, just Abby’s friends.
“America would shit a wildcat if she showed up and we were here with a bunch of sorority girls.”
That’s one way to put it.
At the party, we’re introduced to our next contrived will-they-won’t-they device: shittons of alcohol! Hey, at least it’s not a “move into my apartment and platonically sleep in my bed for a month” bet.
“It’s tradition. If the football team is throwing her a party, she’s getting the team treatment. […] I’m not making her do anything. For every shot [of tequila] she drinks, she gets a twenty. It’s our present to her.” His smile faded when he noticed Shepley’s frown.
“Your present to her is alcohol poisoning?”
Oh man, the football team giving the birthday girl $20 for every shot of tequila she drinks? This is like what a fourteen year old boy would guess college is like. Actually, can we verify that Jamie McGuire isn’t a fourteen year old boy? This would also explain why no one ever goes to a real class. [Ariel says: Remember that time we found out Abby likes math? LOL.]
They finish setting up the party, Travis and Shepley go back to their apartment to change and give Parker a last minute call that his girlfriend [Ariel says: of one week]’s birthday party is happening right now, and Travis mumbles and grumbles about Parker. But when they get back to the party, we meet Chris Jenks, who Travis hates even more than Parker! Oh shit! Travis hates Chris Jenks because he’s an alcoholic and a sexual predator and… um, yeah, those are his incredibly ironic reasons, as it would so happen. How about that. [Ariel says: We never hear about this from Abby’s side. Jenks is just one of the random football players who sometimes mocks Travis at lunch. You know, we give this book a lot of shit for having the Madonna-whore complex going on, but every guy in this book is either a great guy or a sexual predator. (Matthew interrupts: Wait, we’ve seen great guys in this book?) Even Blando is hinted at being a sexual predator when it comes to Travis’ leftovers. I think critics call this the Ryan Gosling-Chris Brown complex, but I haven’t been an English major in awhile, so I can’t be sure.]
America brings Abby to the party and everyone yells surprise and she’s surprised, and Matthew learns that that’s pretty much the only way you can summarize a surprise party.
Brazil explains the $20 per shot game to Abby as he lines up nineteen shots (as Abby has turned nineteen, and also apparently must die). Brazil doubts she can take more than three shots, but Abby laughs at his misogyny and starts playing out the sexy girl sexily doing sexy shots like it’s nothing trope.
She lifted the first shot glass to her mouth and tolled the rim from the side of her bottom lip the middle of her mouth. Her head tipped back to empty the glass, and then she rolled the rim across the rest of her lip, dropping it into her other hand.
If you can’t describe someone drinking from a glass with less complexity than you’d describe a Cirque du Soleil performance, you are probably trying too hard.
“This is really a waste, Brazil,” Abby said, wiping the corners of her mouth. “You shoot Cuervo, not Patrón.”
Having proved herself a formidable opponent, Abby talks Brazil into a double or nothing bet. After that, the party itself is just a party. People drink and talk and dance and laugh, and there’s nothing for me to make fun of. Kidding!
I squeezed her to me, and buried my face in her neck. When we were like that, quiet, happy, ignoring the fact that we weren’t supposed to be anything more than friends, it was the only place I wanted to be. [Ariel says: Ha! Remember when Abby also thought this was the only place she wanted to be?]
The door opened, and Abby’s arms fell away. “Parker!” she squealed, running over to hug him.
Things manage to get stranger/more “fourteen year old boy who’s pretty sure this is what college is like” as we move on to the “everyone take turns slapping the birthday girl’s ass” portion of the evening.
Shepley slapped her on the butt. “One!” (This is how the section starts, by the way. Nothing introduces this sequence, just a guy friend slapping her butt out of the blue.)
America added a second swat, and then the entire party joined in. (This is why we have things like rape culture)
At number nineteen, I rubbed my hands together, making her think I was going to bust her a good one. “My turn!”
She rubbed her posterior. “Be easy! My ass hurts!”
The party sings Happy Birthday, and sings her nickname “Pigeon”, which is the point where any normal person would probably transfer schools. Possibly because everyone at school refers to her as “Pigeon” now, Abby finishes the tequila shot challenge. Shepley, displaying a level of real-world thought not usually seen in this book, says that Abby has had way too much to drink and should maybe make herself throw up. America, displaying the level of shitty friendship actually seen in this book, continues insisting Abby’s fine. No, seriously, it’s actually kind of horrible.
“God, Shep. Leave her alone. She’s fine,” America said, annoyed. […] “Just let it run through her system, she’ll sober up. It’s not her first rodeo. Calm down.”
Okay, just because someone has binge drunk a lot in the past, that is not a good reason why they should do so again. Following this logic, Abby could drive blindfolded provided she’s done it before. America, it’s been a really tough competition, but I’m pretty sure you win the “Worst Friend in a Bad Books, Good Times Book” award. Congratulations on being a much worse person than the author intended.
Anyway, Abby is drunk.
“You, Travis Maddox, are kinda sexy when you’re not being a whore,” she said, a ridiculous, drunken grin twisting her mouth in different directions. […] “You know what, Mr. Maddox?”
Her expression turned serious. “In another life, I could love you. […] I might love you in this one.” [Ariel says: I don’t think McGuire had this in her head when she wrote Beautiful Disaster. Given that Abby never has given any inclination that she feels this way whatsoever.]
Abby does not immediately throw up all over Travis, thus proving once and for all that Jamie McGuire just doesn’t know how to tell a good story. [Ariel says: Don’t worry, I got that covered for all of us.] Instead, Abby tries to kiss Travis, but misses, and the entire party stops and stares, because remember the entire school is following the Travis-Abby saga, which I guess is fair since nobody has a real class at this school so they gotta find something to do. Shepley is furious that America encouraged Abby to drink so much because she’s now passed out and they have to take her home. America continues to not really give a shit about her friend’s alcohol poisoning.
“She’s your friend, and you let her do something insanely dangerous! You encouraged it!” […]
“I know her, Shep! I’ve seen her do way more than that for money!”
Shepley and America get into a pretty bad fight. Abby starts vomiting and Travis gets her into the bathroom and helps her throw up into the toilet, because TWU LUV. Except actually.
In that moment I recognized that my feelings for her were a lot stronger than I thought. Sometime between the moment we met, and holding her on that bathroom floor, I had fallen in love with her.
The first time you talk, just the two of you. The first kiss. The first time you hold the other person’s hair back while they throw up into a toilet. Such wonderful moments in a new relationship. [Ariel says: The first time you win a contrived bet to get her to move into your apartment.] [Matthew adds: Love is so beautiful! The first time you get blackout drunk and seduce them and try to take their virginity. Man, we can just keep going! Can’t we?]