You know what my favorite part of working in Midtown Manhattan is? If you ever decide, “I don’t want to bring lunch today, I’ll just go to a sandwich place on my block,” you still have to narrow it down from HUNDREDS OF SANDWICH SHOPS.
Chapter 14: Oz
If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu right now, that’s because Chapter 8 was also titled “Oz”. How lazy is that? Why don’t you just go ahead and write the same book twice or… oh…
The disastrous events of last chapter ended with America and Shepley getting into a really nasty fight that revealed some deeper, previously unexplored areas of contention in their relationship that could be interesting to explore and flesh out these characters. So, naturally, they get back together on the first page of this chapter.
“Play it coo-”
Before my sentence was complete, Shepley had opened the door and run down the stairs. The doorway was a great spot to watch Abby smile at Shepley and America’s eager reconciliation.
As for Abby and Travis, the last chapter ended with Abby drunkenly telling Travis pretty explicitly she might have strong romantic feelings for him, right before she threw up everywhere forever, which is kind of what you get for drinking nineteen shots of tequila.
Travis gives Abby her birthday present (the puppy, because that is an appropriate gift to give someone you’ve known for two months) and we get even more proof that Jamie McGuire really can’t write. You know, in case you skipped the first thirteen chapters.
“You like him?”
“Him? I love him! You got me a puppy!”
Clearly she’s going for the “Like it? I love it!” exchange, except Abby doesn’t go “Like him?” or even just “Like?”, she just says “Him?”. How do you fuck this up? Now it reads like she’s just suddenly completely surprised that the puppy has one of two different kinds of genitalia.
Anyway, remember how this is actually a story about an abusive, controlling relationship?
“You can keep him here. I’ll take care of him for you when you’re back at Morgan, and it’s my security that you’ll visit when your month is up.”
“I would have come back anyway, Trav.”
“I’d do anything for the smile that’s on your face right now.”
My words made her pause, but she quickly turned her attention back to the dog.
So they’re just never going to talk about how they got really drunk and almost had sex that one time, are they? Are we just supposed to forget about it, like Abby’s love for cardigans?
Now, remember how Ariel and I are fairly confused how Abby could possibly think dating one guy while sharing a bed with another guy is a good idea? Time for that shoe to drop.
Two male voices murmured int he living room, one of them Shepley’s. America’s voice was a high-pitched break between the two, but none of them sounded happy. […] the door blew open. Parker stood in the doorway. he looked at me, and then at Abby, his jaw tense.
I knew what he thought, and it crossed my mind to explain why Abby was in my bed, (“explain” would imply that this actually makes sense) but I didn’t. Instead I reached over and rested my hand on her hip.
“Shut the door when you’re finished being in my business”
Oh shit! Travis admits to the reader that it was an impulsive decision and definitely a really bad one, but he didn’t care about the consequences because
it’s someone else’s problem because he’s so happy in that moment lying next to Abby. How self-centered cute!
The girls left for class early the next morning in a rush. Pidge barely had time to speak to me before she left, so her feelings about the day before were definitely less than clear.
Surprising no one.
Amazingly enough, Shepley has deduced that Travis fell in love Abby last night and makes him admit it. I’m not going to bother summarizing it because it’s basically the exact same scene as the time Shepley deduced that Travis had feelings for Abby and made him admit it, because Jamie McGuire hasn’t quite figured out that writing the same thing over and over again isn’t the same thing as narrative.
Travis and Shepley then do the one of the stranger things that happens in this novel – actually go to class. In the lecture hall, new characters keep looking at Travis and start gossiping with him. It seems like news got out about 1) the way Travis and Abby were acting together at the party, 2) that Parker walked in on them in bed the next day (more on this later), and 3) no, seriously, why does everyone at the school care about this?
“You heard where?” I asked, adrenaline screaming through my veins.
Elizabeth shrugged. “Everywhere. People were talking about it in my class this morning.”
“Mine, too,” Levi said.
The other girl just nodded.
Does nobody at this school have Netflix or something? I don’t understand why everyone cares about other peoples’ love lives this regularly.
“I heard it was a threesome sort of deal. So… which is it, Travis?”
Ohhhhh, okay, now I see what’s piqued their interest.
I looked to Shepley. “Lunch is next. Someone’s going to say something to [Abby]. They’re saying we both bagged her. Fuck. Fuck, Shepley what do I do?” […]
“Dismissed,” Dr. Park said. “Get the hell out and be productive citizens today.”
Does nobody at this school give a shit about academics?
At lunch, Travis has the awkward task of telling Abby that there are rumors going around that she had a threesome with Travis and Shepley.
Her mouth fell open. “Great! So I’m the school slut now?”
America, who last week we awarded “Worst Best Friend in a BBGT Book Ever” to, defends her title:
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.
And then people continue throwing food onto each other’s plates, so I guess we really are supposed to seriously view this as an insulting gesture in Walking/Beautiful Disaster world.
“I heard you had quite a birthday, Abby,” Chris Jenks said, throwing a piece of lettuce onto my plate.
See, in other cultures, giving someone free food is typically viewed as a token of hospitality or friendship. Also, lettuce is not particularly aerodynamic. How did he do this?
To be fair, Travis does feel really shitty about all of this, and makes it very clear that he doesn’t mind the rumors about him (since they’re nothing new), but he feels responsible for Abby being involved in the rumors. Although I’m sure no one here is particularly surprised or interested by this, so let’s just skip ahead to where Travis beats the shit out of Chris Jenks.
“If you didn’t sleep wit her, mind if I take a shot?” Chris said, chuckling to his teammates. (I didn’t say he didn’t deserve it!)
Without thinking, I jumped from my seat, and climbed over the table at Chris. […] I grabbed Chris by the throat with one hand, and a fistful of his T-shirt in the other. My knuckles barely felt the connection with his face. My rage was full blown and I was just short of letting everything fly. Chris covered his face, but I kept whaling on him.
Travis angrily leaves, once again debating with himself whether he’s making Abby’s life worse, with only the eloquence Travis Maddox can offer:
My heart had been back and forth between leaving Abby alone and deciding it was okay to pursue her more times than a freshly single sorority girl on the second floor of a frat house.
…why just the second floor? Is that where they keep them?
Abby goes to Travis’s room and they have another not-conversation about their feelings for each other. It’s pretty obvious by now that this is just padding, since we’re only 40% of the way through this book and we’ve seen this exact conversation repeatedly. Travis says something fairly explicitly revealing feelings, Abby ignores it, blah blah blah. Although there is a part worth looking at when they discuss Parker.
“I didn’t set him straight. I didn’t explain because I wanted him to think something happened. (Again, she never asks what he means by this, because that would mean they’re actually talking about their feelings and the book would end) Now the whole school thinks you were with us both in the same night. I’m sorry.”
Abby shrugged. “If he believes the gossip, it’s his own fault.”
Now, hang on. Parker is the only person who saw Abby and Travis sleeping in the same bed, so wouldn’t that suggest that he started this rumor? Which is 1) really shitty of him, 2) probably confirm that he believes the gossip, since he would have started a portion of it, and 3) weird that Abby and Travis wouldn’t figure this out. Sure, there’s different versions of the story floating around and enough of them could have originated from events at the party that other people saw and Parker didn’t, so it’s not a huge plot hole, but enough of one where I’m contractually obligated to point it out.
Abby tells Travis she’s not mad at him, and then they all go out for dinner, during which there’s a line so out of place it can only be really clumsy foreshadowing.
Her fingers were tiny, and I caught myself noticing how naked her ring finger looked.
Although nothing in this book ever means anything, so maybe not.