[Matthew says: Quick news-like thing! We’re trying some new stuff with our Twitter starting this week, so it’ll do a little more than just update whenever a new post goes live. We’re going to try tweeting jokes from our posts, tweets about “classic” posts, links to other great content about these terrible books around the web, and more! If you’re on Twitter, check it out!]
In case you somehow could have forgotten, Travis had epic battle against Mobster!Benny’s henchmen because Abby couldn’t quite win enough money to pay back Mick’s debts to the mob. Just when you thought things couldn’t get crazier for our heroes, Abby’s ex, who now runs the casino they’re gambling in, tells her she has to go to dinner with him or leave the premises. Wowza!
Now, Travis is about to fight on Benny’s behalf so that he’ll forgive the rest of Mick’s debts.
Chapter 16: Home
What are the chances that the gang is headed back home from Vegas in this chapter? At least 50/50 I’m guessing. I mean, they fucking better be going home soon because who the hell has been watching plot puppy this whole time?
Okay, so let’s see how Travis does in his fight.
Travis basked in the applause and congratulations of his triumph as the crowd roared.
Wait. What? You mean there was all that build-up to this fight which was supposed to be insanely hard and against a top fighter, and that’s it? It’s just like, “Oh, yeah, Travis won in like five minutes. Casual. No big deal.”
Travis tells Abby that he’s been offered a job by Benny to fight once a month. The clincher? He gets six figures for each fight. [Matthew says: It’s probably supposed to sound impressive that he’ll make six figures from the fights and our reaction is supposed to be “Six figures! Heavens to Betsy!”, but because the money he makes from a fight finally has a believable enough source (Las Vegas mobsters instead of college kids), the reaction is ironically a more subdued, “Hm, looks like it checks out this time.”] It all sounds so perfect, but Abby’s not having it. She rightfully points out that Travis is being a naive idiot to think that he’ll be able to stop fighting after a year, pick his work hours, and that everything will be just dandy. [Matthew says: He’s also probably a naive idiot for thinking that doing underground fights for the mob isn’t incredibly dangerous, but obviously this isn’t a problem because he and his brothers fought a lot when they were kids! Technically I didn’t even write a joke just there – that is the actual explanation this book is going with.]
“I can’t believe you’re even considering this! Working for a man that would have beat the hell out of the both of us last night if you hadn’t stopped him?”
“Exactly. I stopped him.”
Yeah, Abby. He only tried to beat the shit out of you guys, but he didn’t because Travis was a better fighter than his goons! So obviously he’s completely trustworthy, and this is a sound plan.
And so beginneth Trabby’s breakup. Oops did I spoil the rest of this chapter?
On the plane ride home, Abby tries to reason with Travis again to no avail.
My mouth dropped open. “You already agreed to it?”
He winked. “Not yet.”
“But you’re going to?” He smiled.
“You’ll quit being mad when I buy you a Lexus.”
“I don’t want a Lexus,” I seethed.
She wants BMW, damn it! C’mon, Travis. The gals in all these books may protest that they don’t want the male’s money, but how could that be true! Their ladyparts are just making them confused.
“You can have anything you want, baby. Imagine how it’s going to feel driving into any dealership you want, and all you have to do is pick your favorite color.”
“You’re not doing this for me. Stop pretending you are.” He leaned over, kissing my hair.
“No, I’m doing it for us. You just can’t see how great it’s going to be.”
Travis will do anything for Abby unless she actually asks him for something, and in this case it seems like a pretty reasonable request. “I love you so much, Abby. I’ll change for you! I’ll totally stop fighting! Oh wait, you actually wanted me to stop fighting? About that…”
Because apparently location is the issue at hand, Abby decides that Travis will see reason once they’re back at the apartment. It’s unclear why she’s so convinced that where they have the conversation is the problem and not the fact that Travis is completely delusional. They change the subject, and she agrees to attend Thanksgiving at his father’s house. I mention it because this winds up becoming a “major” plot point for some reason.
Once home, Abby finally tells us where plot puppy has been.
I bathed Toto, disgusted that he reeked of smoke and dirty socks from being in Brazil’s apartment all weekend, and then towel-dried him in the bedroom.
This is clearly what responsible dog ownership looks like.
At this point, Abby makes the decision that things with Travis need to end because he won’t see reason, and she can’t be a part of that life. She’s clearly not telling him because she knows he’ll go apeshit, but this is one of the reasons she actually gives for pretending she’s just leaving to go do laundry at her dorm (Seriously. That is her excuse.)
If I’d told him in that moment, all hope of separating myself from Mick, and Vegas , and Benny, and everything I didn’t want would be lost. Travis wouldn’t let me leave, and by morning I would have convinced myself to accept his decision.
I’m sorry, but this doesn’t seem like the kind of situation you’d come to terms with in the morning presumably after a night of passionate lovemaking or what not. This is something that has supposedly haunted Abby for a long time and something she was trying to escape completely, so I don’t buy this at all. I guess I could buy Travis’ emotionally manipulating her enough to guilt her into staying.
When America and Abby are about to drive away, Travis sees her crying through the car window and figures out what’s going on. Of course he starts trying to chase the car, call Abby, follow them on his motorcycle, etc. Abby decides she has to hide in America’s dorm room for the night. This is…so romantic?
Travis goes so far as to break into Kara and Abby’s room while Kara is in there telling Travis she’s not there. If you’re wondering how Abby knows this, it’s because she’s hiding around a corner down the other end of the hall. Seriously. This is actually terrifying, and there is absolutely no way McGuire or anyone else could ever convince me he’s not a complete psycho. [Matthew says: I’ve been thinking about this the whole book actually. Abby is seriously stuck with this obsessive, controlling person who we’re constantly seeing stalking her, tracking her down, trying to find her, etc. There’s nothing romantic about this. This is like “I’d get a restraining order, but that might make him commit suicide in front of me” territory. Sorry, I don’t really have a joke about this one. I’ve actually been reading this book, thinking, “Abby has no choice but to move across the country. That is seriously the only way she could actually escape this psychopath.”]
Also holy hell, poor Kara. I was scared he was going to murder her or something.
Things aren’t any better at school the next day according to America:
“He was kicked out of History today. When you didn’t show, he kicked over both of your desks. Shep heard that he waited for you after all of your classes. He’s losin’ it, Abby.”
To be fair, this really is the best way to win back the person you love. Why bother even listening to them in the first place and understanding their needs when you can just cause many scenes later to convince them to come back to you? I know I wouldn’t take anyone back unless they kicked over three desks to prove how much they missed me.
Abby manages to avoid running into Travis for a week until she decides to grab some food at the cafeteria one night. Travis, literally lurking in the shadows, spots Abby. [Matthew says: This actually happens in next week’s chapter of Walking Disaster and not this week’s, but Abby and Travis’s conversation where Abby actually tells Travis it’s over is the least plot-essential scene in these two chapters somehow.]
Just when the lights of the cafeteria came into view, I saw a dark figure approach.
He tells Abby they need to talk and tells her he turned the offer down. Wow, so you will listen to the other person’s feelings when they dump you? That’s a pretty fucking terrible way to approach a relationship, so it’s no wonder Abby tells him she isn’t going to take him back. [Matthew says: Although looking at it from a position of operant conditioning, this is a pretty good way to approach, like, training a dog not to shit in the house. (The dog is Travis.)]
Travis tries to force Abby to makeout with him after his grovelling doesn’t do the trick, but somehow his lips aren’t magical enough to convince her to take him back. [Matthew says: You bet I’ll be going into this more in detail in my post next week. Like I’m going to miss an opportunity to talk about how pathetic and whiny Travis is.]
The most shocking thing is that for once Abby explains something that makes complete and total sense to me. Seriously.
If I gave in, either he would change his mind about Benny, or he would resent me every time money could have made his life easier. [Matthew says: Which we have never observed to be a problem for Travis, but okay.] I imagined him in a blue-collar job, coming home with the same look in his eyes that Mick had when he returned after a night of bad luck. It would be my fault that his life wasn’t what he wanted it to be, and I couldn’t let my future be plagued with the bitterness and regret that I left behind.
Granted, it’s hard to take seriously when you know how ridiculous the Mick issues are [Matthew says: Or why she’s assuming Travis is going to end up in a blue-collar job], but it does make a lot of sense that she would expect Travis to resent her for being the reason he doesn’t have a fuck ton of money. I’m surprised she doesn’t mention how utterly unappealing and scary he is as a person, but at least we’re making some progress.
Lest you forgot this whole scene was taking place outside the cafeteria, Abby lets us know that The Students Without Netflix have been watching the whole exchange. Or, as Matt brilliantly said earlier, “binge-watching Trabby”. [Matthew says: Because you watched “Trabby”, you might be interested in “These Other Two Kids In Your Econ Lecture” or “Those Really Drunk Girls On The Couch In The Campus Coffee Shop At One AM On A Saturday Night – I Totally Bet Something’s Going To Happen”.]
After several moments he finally released my arm. I ran to the glass door, yanking it open without looking back. Everyone in the room stared at me as I walked toward the buffet, and just as I reached my destination, heads angled to see outside the windows where Travis was on his knees, palms flat on the pavement.
The emotion I have felt most while reading this chapter is embarrassment not sadness or pity or anything like what I’m probably supposed to be feeling. Just plain old embarrassment for Travis. [Matthew says: “Are you still watching ‘Trabby’?” (Continue Watching/Back To Browse)]
Abby goes to cry in a bathroom. Kara, being the best character in this book, apparently sees this happen and tells Finch to go comfort Abby. What a saint! If I were Kara I would have just smugly watched the demise of Trabby without lifting a finger to help either of those shlubs.