Because we have such little to get excited about when it comes to Beautiful/Walking Disaster, Matt and I were overjoyed when we found out that finally our chapters begin and end in the exact same place. No mental gymnastics to figure out who was going to double up or split a chapter! Okay, I just like the phrase mental gymnastics. But still, excitement and celebration all around, friends!
When we last left off, Abby had taken fifteen tequila shots, which probably impresses or depresses you depending on whether you are a bro or a human being. Sorry, that stereotype was so Zoey Redbird of me.
Chapter 8 – Rumors
Rumors you say? Yes, because what this book needs is both more he said she said and other people caring about a story that not even we, the readers, care about.
It does remind me of one of my favorite lines from the wonderful IT Crowd. “There were rumors that there was a rumor, but that was just bullshit.” This seems fitting as something tells me there’s gonna be a whole lot of bullshit this chapter. [Matthew says: By “something” you mean, “having read so much as a page of this book”.]
Abby wakes up in a bathtub, recalling some of the events from the night before.
Sheets, towels, and blankets surrounded Travis. He had fashioned a soft pallet to sleep on while I expelled the fifteen shots of tequila I’d consumed the night before. Travis had held my hair out of the toilet, and sat with me all night.
Remember, this is how the book is defining love, at least from Travis’ perspective. I preferred the examples given in last week’s comments, though.
Travis makes Abby promise not to drink like that again, and normally I’d be like “Wow, look at Travis telling his woman what to do,” but in this case it really does read more like a friend looking out for another friend. [Matthew says: About time somebody in this book did.] He tells Abby she needs to call America because Shamerica had a fight the night before.
Abby calls America and tells her to come pick her up so they can talk. America agrees on the condition that she doesn’t have to see Shep, which is so dumb because obviously he’s going to run outside to try to talk to her.
Ten minutes later, a car horn beeped twice outside, and I closed the door behind me. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, Shepley rushed past me to America’s red Honda, and hunched over to see her through the window. I stopped in my tracks, watching America snub him as she looked straight ahead. She rolled down her window, and Shepley seemed to be explaining, and then they began to argue. I went inside to give them their privacy. […]
We set out for a drive and America yelled and cried and yelled some more. At times she broke into rants that seemed to be directed at Shepley, as if he were sitting in my place. I sat quietly, letting her work it out in a way only America can.
I think it’s pretty clear that Jamie McGuire didn’t really know how to keep this fight going, so we’re just meant to fill in almost all of the blanks. Ah yes, “They yelled, argued, complained, ranted,” this makes me feel a range of emotions because of how much care and attention is give to these characters. America mentions being upset that he called her irresponsible, but that seems pretty lightweight and forgivable. [Matthew says: I get into this a bit more in my post tomorrow, but it’s incredibly irritating how we’ve seen glimpses of actually intriguing issues (relatively speaking) in Shep and America’s relationship in the last chapter and their fight is entirely paraphrased, while Abby and Travis have literally one issue we’ve already pretty much fully explored but we keep hearing about it again and again and again. How much more could possibly be said about “Travis is promiscuous and Abby is not! WILL THESE CRAZY KIDS EVER WORK OUT THEIR DIFFERENCES???”]
But let’s get back to what really matters. Let’s somehow turn this back around to Abby and Travis! No longer is America’s dialogue replaced by vague verbs!
“He thought you would be the reason we wouldn’t work out, and then he ended up doing the job on his own. And speaking of you, what the hell was that last night with Parker?”
The sudden change of topic took me by surprise. “What do you mean?”
“Travis threw you that party, Abby, and you go off and make out with Parker. And you wonder why everyone is talking about you!”
Shit! You mean there’s a rule that you should make out with whoever threw you a party? My roommates last year must have been so offended. [Matthew says: Furthermore, there must also be a rule that you can’t make out with the person you’re dating at a party if one of your friends threw it! I have a lot of people to apologize to!]
And then suddenly America and Abby both say sensible things that do not fit into this book at all:
“Hold on a minute! I told Parker we shouldn’t be back there. What does it matter if Travis threw me that party or not? I’m not with him!” [Correct.]
America looked straight ahead, blowing a puff of air from her nose. “All right, Mare. What is it? You’re mad at me now?”
“I’m not mad at you. I just don’t associate with complete idiots.” [YES! But wait…that’s a complete lie.]
I wish I could believe that America doesn’t associate with complete idiots (symbolism?), but all evidence points to the opposite.
America lays out a lot of completely obvious truths like if Abby really liked Parker she wouldn’t be sharing a bed with Travis and that the bet thing is bullshit. The conversation then becomes about how Travis might take Abby down a dark path again, just like her father did, which has apparently been the reason all along that she won’t give into the lurve. Has that been made apparent in any way, shape, or form before this conversation? No, but isn’t this drama so exciting? [Matthew says: I have no idea this was even a plot point. This would be like if you didn’t find out that Romeo and Juliet’s families hated each other until Romeo killed himself.]
In case you got too swept up in the Trabby drama that you forgot about Shamerica, here’s your friendly neighborhood reminder that they’re still mad. Abby conveniently changes the subject back to Shep, and America is like, “OMG UR RIGHT I FORGIVE HIM.” So they go home and Shamerica make out.
But who the fuck cares about that when it’s time for Travis to give Abby her birthday present? Can you guess what it is!
“Every girl from Kansas needs a Toto,” Travis said, helping me hang on to the tiny fuzz ball in my lap.
“He does look like Toto! That’s what I’m going to call him,” I said, wrinkling my nose at the squirmy pup.
“You can keep him here. I’ll take care of him for you when you’re back at Morgan,” his mouth pulled up into a half smile, “and it’s my security that you’ll visit when your month is up.”
Oh no. No! He did not just get her a puppy to make sure she comes back to visit him. Travis could lead a really great seminar on emotional manipulation.
Abby is super happy about Toto (yeah, she went there), and I can’t blame her. If I was faced with a cute puppy, I wouldn’t be focused on the negative either. I mean come on, puppy. But seriously, Travis is awful.
Travis picks Abby up and carries her to the bedroom so they can nap together, because, say it with me now, they’re just friends. They discuss the night before, but Travis doesn’t even allude to the fact that Abby apparently told him she loved him. Now, I can’t remember if he reveals this or not later, but at the moment I really think Jamie McGuire just threw that into Travis’ story so fans (haha) didn’t feel like they’d wasted 12 bucks to buy the same story.
In case anyone was dying to know when this chapter’s title was going to come into play, your wait is over! The next day in The Cafeteria of Rumors and People With Nothing More Interesting Going on in Their Lives than Trabby, Shep warns Abby that there’s a rumor that there are rumors, but apparently it’s not bullshit.
“There’s a rumor,” Shepley began. “Everyone’s saying that Travis took Abby home and… the details are different, but it’s pretty bad.”
“What? Are you serious?” I cried.
America rolled her eyes. “Who cares, Abby? People have been speculating about you and Trav for weeks. It’s not the first time someone has accused you two of sleeping together.” [I know right, America? Wow you’re saying a lot of smart stuff this chapter. Did you switch bodies with Kara? That would be a way more interesting story at this point.]
Travis and Shepley traded glances.
“What?” I said. “There’s something else, isn’t there?” Shepley winced. “They’re saying you slept with Parker at Brazil’s, and then you let Travis… take you home, if you know what I mean.”
I guess it really was a slow day at the rumor mill. Snoozefest, amiright? At least add that she might have been abducted by aliens afterwards, that she’s now pregnant, and nobody knows if her baby is human or who the father is.
At the Lunch Table of Dubious Friendships [Matthew says: Why do these people sit together?], more insulting food throwing occurs.
“I heard you had quite a birthday, Abby,” Chris Jenks said, throwing a piece of lettuce on Travis’s plate.
This time it’s lettuce and not a french fry, clearly Jenks means business.
Then someone else comes over and informs Abby that Parker is furious because when he showed up to the apartment yesterday and saw Trabby in bed. Remember how Parker thought it was a little odd Abby was still living with Travis (because it is), but that he was blissfully unaware they shared a bed (because it’s ridiculous.)
America is like, “Oh yeah was totes gonna tell you, sorry, lol. I’m named after a country.”
One of the guys makes a comment about sleeping with Abby if Travis isn’t going to…so he starts beating him up in the cafeteria. Damn it, Travis, don’t you know it’s time to throw food on his plate! That is how we handle conflicts in this book.
Travis punched him repeatedly in the face, his elbow spiking high in the air before he landed each blow. The only thing Chris could do was to cover his face with his hands.
No one touched Travis. He was out of control, and his reputation left everyone afraid to get in his way. The football players ducked and winced as they watched their teammate being assaulted without mercy on the tile floor.
In case your violence to sexy translator is off, this shit is hot as hell, y’all. Oh my stars, someone get me a fan to cool me down from all this manliness and fighting over a woman’s honor.
Travis and Shep leave the cafeteria to go cool down, and Chris apologizes. America is like, “She didn’t sleep with either of them!” Which is really besides the point, insert rant about double standards. I just saved about 500 words.
America tells Abby they’re going back to the apartment to talk to Travis even though Abby expresses that she doesn’t want to be around him when he’s like this (well done, Abby!)
“My sense of self-preservation is outweighing my curiosity at this point, Mare.”
“The only thing that stopped him was your voice, Abby. He’ll listen to you. You need to talk to him.”
I sighed and released her wrist, falling against the back of my seat. “All right. Let’s go.”
America somehow becomes an even worse friend than she was in the previous chapter. Amazing!
Oh no, but Travis doesn’t want to see Abby, so she and Shep have a nonsensical exchange before she can enter the apartment.
“If I didn’t do anything wrong, then why doesn’t he want to see me?”
“I’m not sure; he won’t talk to me about it. I think he’s embarrassed that he lost his temper in front of you.”
“He lost his temper in front of the entire cafeteria! What do I have to do with it?”
“More than you think,” Shepley said, dodging my eyes.
Gee Abby, if this was a puzzle it would be 10,000 pieces and super hard to solve. More interestingly, though is that at first Shep says that Travis doesn’t want to see her because he’s embarrassed he freaked out and she saw it, but then somehow it turns into him alluding to the fact that Travis lost his temper because of her which was never in question. Guy makes nasty comment about Abby. Travis freaks out. If this was an algebraic equation there would be no variable!
They have a heart to heart in which nothing about their romantic relationship is discussed (again) and Travis confesses that he was awake when Parker saw them in bed together but didn’t set him straight. Later that night, Abby is like, “Nothing can ruin our friendship!” and Travis smiles (for some reason), and is like, “Haha you never listen to me.”
So then they cuddle and fall asleep because, yup say it with me again, they’re just friends.