When we left off a few hours ago, Trabby confessed their love, Blando got his ass dumped, and Trabby made love. This time, though, Abby didn’t leave in the middle of the night. AWWWW. I bet nothing can go wrong!
Chapter Eleven: Jealousy
No, no, ignore the chapter’s title. Nothing can possibly go wrong between Abby and Travis! Not those two level-headed kids who handle every situation in a straightforward, sensible fashion.
His cell phone vibrated somewhere on the floor, and after clumsily searching the crumpled clothes next to the bed, I found it in his jeans pocket. The display was lit with only a number, no name.
“Is uh . . . is Travis there?” a woman asked.
“He’s in the shower, can I take a message?”
“Of course he is. Tell him that Megan called, would ya?”
Don’t worry, nothing going wrong here! Travis makes a big show of telling Megan to leave him alone.
He kissed me before looking at the display , and then shook his head. “Yeah? It was my girlfriend. What do you need, Megan?” He listened for a moment and then smiled, “Well, Pigeon’s special, what can I say?” After a long pause, he rolled his eyes . I could only imagine what she was saying. “Don’t be a bitch, Megan . Listen, you can’t call my phone anymore . . . Well, love’ll do that to ya,” he said, looking at me with a soft expression. “Yes, with Abby. I mean it, Meg, no more phone calls . . . Later.”
I feel like I’m supposed to easily decipher what Megan’s saying on the other end…but I’m struggling to imagine how this conversation could possibly be as desperate as it seems. It’s especially the bit between “you can’t call my phone anymore” and “love’ll do that to you.” I mean, come on. His girlfriend picked up the phone and is obviously right there, so why do you think you can’t keep calling? Guuuurl, please. I’ve seen mysteries on Blue’s Clues that were harder to solve.
I bet you’re all wondering how the other students are going to react to Trabby’s relationship because if there’s one thing we know about this book, it’s that we can’t go a chapter without hearing about their stares. If this ever becomes a movie, I would do anything to be an extra in the background and do fucking ridiculous, over-exaggerated stares at Trabby.
On our way to the cafeteria, he took my hand in his, intertwining our fingers as we walked. He seemed so proud to be holding my hand, announcing to the world that we were finally together. Finch noticed, looking at our hands and then to me with a ridiculous grin. He wasn’t the only one; our simple display of affection generated stares and murmuring from everyone we passed.
I wonder what their mummers are. “What do you think happened to Blando?” “Is anyone taking care of their dog?” “Do you think Travis is going to sing a love song on the lunch table today?”
At The Lunch Table of New Romance and Football Players Who are Supposedly Friends With Travis and Shep, Abby wonders why she fought her feelings for so long REO Speedwagon style.
I thought of all the times I had insisted being with Travis was the wrong decision and how much time I had wasted fighting my feelings for him. Looking across the table at his soft brown eyes and the dimple dancing in his cheek as he chewed, I couldn’t remember what I was so worried about.
You wasted a lot of people’s time, Abby. Least of all your own. You owe us and The Students Without Netflix a huge apology. Probably Blando too.
The scene that follows next should answer Abby’s question about why she kept telling herself she shouldn’t be with Travis. Chris Jenks of course makes snide comments about Abby giving it up to Travis (who cares), Travis being whipped (also, who cares?) and that ““Every straight guy at Eastern wants to try her out because she landed the unattainable Travis Maddox.” That last one is ruder than the others, but I also think it’s one you could easily brush off. Seriously, these comments are so meaningless, that what comes next is both laughably absurd and deeply disturbing.
Travis lifted Finch’s tray off the table and swung it into Chris’s face, knocking him off his chair. Chris tried to scramble under the table, but Travis pulled him out by his legs and then began to whale on him.
Chris curled into a ball, and then Travis kicked him in the back. Chris arched and turned, holding his hands out, allowing Travis to land several punches to his face. The blood began to flow, and Travis stood up, winded.
“If you even look at her, you piece of shit, I’ll break your fuckin’ jaw !” Travis yelled. I winced when he kicked Chris in the leg one last time.
The women working in the cafeteria scampered out, shocked at the bloody mess on the floor.
So Travis has gone absolutely ba-fucking-listic, and there are no consequences whatsoever. Abby doesn’t go, “Oh, yeah, maybe that’s why I didn’t want to date this nut job.” What’s even worse, though, is that no one else at the school even seems to care! The other students are “watching with amusement” while the rest of the lunch table “simply stared at Chris’s limp body on the floor, shaking their heads.”
So everybody is just totally cool with this? No one is going to call the cops, campus security, or, you know, stop Travis from beating the shit out of this guy? I get that Jenks is annoying as fuck, but what he said just deserved an eye-roll not a beating.
Later, Abby points out that the comment that really set him off is actually kind of a compliment to her in a roundabout way. Travis is like, “Oh, yeah, I guess you are special for taming me, but like I don’t want anyone else to even think about bagging you.” Yes, he does use the word “bag” during the actual dialogue, I didn’t make that up.
Blando shows up and gives this really preachy speech about how for some reason he thought Abby was smart enough not to date Travis and that Travis only viewed her as a challenge and will soon toss her aside. God, go away, Blando, you’re not even supposed to be in this book anymore. You served your lame purpose, now fuck off to get some Chinese takeout, which is what you do best.
The scene jumps ahead to a Halloween party out at the gang’s favorite bar. They’re all having a good night until a guy buys Abby a drink even though she tells him not to. She doesn’t do anything wrong, but Travis comes over and has a meltdown. I guess this is supposed to be sexy and not make him repulsive to the reader, but when I first read this, this was where I realllly started to see Travis as this pathetic, whiny psycho. He is so many unappealing things in one person that it’s kind of amazing in a sad way.
Things somehow get even worse when later a guy (dressed as a pirate) tries to talk to Abby for a second.
Travis barreled his way onto the dance floor, and plunged his fist straight into the pirate’s face, the force sending both of us to the ground. With my palms flat on the wooden floor, I blinked my eyes in stunned disbelief. Feeling something warm and wet on my hand, I turned it over and recoiled. It was covered in blood from the man’s nose. His hand was cupped over his face, but the bright red liquid poured down his forearm as he writhed on the floor.
I wish to diffuse the tension of this situation, the pirate had just been like, “Aaaaarghhh! I wasn’t trying to steal ye lass, matey. I’ll need an eye-patch to cover me black eye now!”
When they get home, Travis tries to insist that he’s going to mess up a lot, but that Abby needs to forgive him. In a rare moment of clarity, Abby points out the really fucking obvious, “You hit that guy because you were pissed at me! What should that tell me? Because red flags are going up all over the place right now!”
The red flags are endless, Abby. RUN! Transfer motherflippin’ schools if you have to. This is only the beginning. Despite all these red flags, America shows up at Abby’s the next morning to tell her to work things out with Travis and to rudely wake up poor Kara. Things only get worse for our hero when Travis shows up to grovel. This girl never gets to sleep when these assholes are around, but she does get this great line:
Kara rubbed her eyes and sighed and then grabbed her shower bag . “I’m always very clean when you’re around, Abby,” she grumbled, slamming the door behind her.
Oh, Kara, you’re a delight!
Abby tells Travis he needs to calm down and that she’s going to stay with him even if other guys hit on her. He begs her again to say she loves him because he just keeps getting grosser and more pathetic as this book progresses.
Kara comes back from the shower after giving them ages of privacy, angel that she is. Only to have to ask Travis to leave while she gets dressed. My first roommate ever in university was a completely insane asshole, and the icing on the awful cake was that her boyfriend wouldn’t just fucking leave the room when I came back from a shower. They were the worst until I met Trabby.
“Do you know what codependency is, Abby? Your boyfriend is a prime example, which is creepy considering he went from having no respect for women at all to thinking he needs you to breathe.”
Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more, Kara. How can Jamie McGuire have invented you and also Trabby? It makes no sense! It’s like if Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lawrence were siblings.
But then it becomes clear that Kara is just here to give us the titular line of the book. Well, to get Abby to give us the titular line.
“It’s dangerous to need someone that much. You’re trying to save him, and he’s hoping you can. You two are a disaster.”
I smiled at the ceiling. “It doesn’t matter what or why it is. When it’s good, Kara . . . it’s beautiful.”
As much as I love Kara, this actually makes no sense. She doesn’t really know Travis at all. I mean, Abby’s only slept in the dorm like three times this whole book. This comment, insightful as it may be, just comes out of nowhere and is so heavy-handed. Not as bad as all the anti-pot and blow job PSAs we get over in the Marked universe, but getting close.
The chapter ends with Travis joking that he needs to come up with another bet to get Abby to stay at his apartment constantly. Please for the love of God, no.