Last time we left out intrepid heroes, [Matthew says: More like insipid heroes! Ohhh! Sorry. As you were saying] Abby was upset because Travis had lured her away from a platonic date with Blando under false pretenses. He’d said he’d needed her to be at his fight, but TWIST he really just didn’t want her hanging out with Blando. Confession: I also didn’t want Abby hanging out with Blando. There, I said it.
At the fight, a guy tried to sexually assault Abby, so if you initially thought Travis was doing Abby a huge, throbbing favor by saving her from another boring conversation with Blando (seriously, that dude is bo-rang), you can think again. Also, if you thought Abby was going to come out of this book without someone (who wasn’t Travis) trying to sexually assault her, you can think again. Because the one thing this book was missing attempted rape on the female protagonist.
[Matthew says: Also, lest you forget, Ariel’s summary of the last chapter up above is almost as long as when that part of the story is told from Travis’s perspective in Walking Disaster, because I guess McGuire realized it wasn’t important. If only she had the same realization about the rest of the story.]
Chapter 20: Last Dance
Abby is unable to commit to being sad about one thing, let alone one thing that makes sense. I know I’m acting like this isn’t super typical for this book, but I’m still angry as ever about it.
All along I believed that I was important to Travis, that he needed me. But in that moment, I felt like the shiny new toy Parker said I was. He wanted to prove to Parker that I was still his. His.
“I’m nobody’s,” I said to the empty room.
As the words sunk in, I was overwhelmed with the grief I’d felt from the night before. I belonged to no one.
I’d never felt so alone in my life.
I’m not really seeing how this particular instance was any different than anything else Travis has ever done. I’m pretty sure he interrupted most of Abby’s past dates with Blando including a time where he asked her to come to one of his fights instead of seeing the date through to its thrilling conclusion.
Or what about the time he manipulated Abby into giving up Thanksgiving with America because he totally honestly just figured she was still coming since she’d promised before they broke up. Oh, wait, you mean he admitted he was lying about that completely believable reason over in Walking Disaster? [Matthew says: Just think of all the nuance we’d miss if we didn’t have that parallel novel.]
Also a big LOL to Abby talking to her empty room. So relieved Kara was out living her baller life and not dealing with this bull shit.
The next scene returns us to The Frat House of Awkward Father Encounters and Awkward Blando Encounters for the big Valentines Day party that we read about last week from Travis’ perspective.
Despite the fact that they had been very aggressive about getting Finch and Abby to come to this party, Shamerica just go dance by themselves the whole time. That’s pretty irritating, you guys. Finally, though, Finch and Abby decide to join their pals on the dance floor, and we get possibly the most baffling description of dancing I’ve ever read.
We bounced and shook until a thin sheen of sweat began to form under my dress.
It’s amazing how normal that sentence would have been if “bounced and shook” had simply been replaced by “danced.” Come on, McGuire, you were so fucking close!
Just when I thought I was reading about a pleasant and truly platonic date between Abby and her gay BFF (Finch for everyone who keeps forgetting that he’s a character in this book), [Matthew says: That’s me!] Travis shows up to make everything about him again. God, Travis, it’s like can’t you just not be in one fucking chapter? Go hang out with Trent again at that bar you two like. You have a whole book to yourself, you can afford to stay out of this one for awhile.
Travis insists that he really did need Abby with him at the fight, and he also reveals that after being cast aside for the millionth time, Blando finally won’t speak to Abby anymore. Please please tell me this means he’s finally out of the book for good and that his contract is up. His interactions with Abby are just painful to read.
Abby gets fed up with Travis again because it’s the same conversation we’ve been reading this whole book. Later, Finch tells America off for complaining that Abby isn’t looking like she’s having enough fun at the party. I officially like Finch, y’all. He’s just like, “You made us come, and now we’ve been here long enough. Bai.” Unfortunately he fails to point out that earlier this chapter America promised Abby that Travis wouldn’t be showing up. Worst. Friend. Ever. [Matthew says: I don’t understand how America could actually make that promise though. America’s actually just lying to Abby to make her do whatever she wants. This book is actually the story of a young woman who doesn’t have a single non-manipulative person in her life, when you think about it. It’s actually super depressing! At some point in this aside I was going to actually write a joke, but I guess I opted for making everyone sorta sad instead. Thank you for reading our comedy blog.]
Instead of leaving, though, Abby decides to start grinding with someone on the dance floor because…the song that she and Travis danced to on her birthday came on. Sigh. This seems about as reasonable as anything else that has happened in this book so far. At least Abby’s dad didn’t show up again asking her to win him another 20k. Can you imagine if we got stuck in even more of a loop in this book? Like Groundhog Day only time was actually passing. [Matthew says: Man, I actually wish this story looped more like Ariel suggested. Think of all the plot puppies!]
Travis gives the toast that Matt had to cover last week (I feel your pain now, buddy). You know, the one about the horror of losing your best friend because you fell in love with her. Oh, and to douche bags. This speech was highlighted over a thousand times according to my Kindle app. I’m going to lie to myself and say it’s because all those other people found this bit as awful as I did. [Matthew says: Or maybe it’s highlighted by Kanye West’s legal team since he totally wrote “Let’s have a toast for the douche bags” first. Wow. I just realized that Travis is more unlikeable as a person than Kanye West. That’s actually impressive.]
As we also saw last week, Abby keeps ignoring Travis and starts to dance with different guys. Travis must save his woman from looking like a slut, so he whisks her off and forces her to go to his apartment. [Matthew says: You had one job, Travis!] The part that still disturbs me most about all this is that the designated driver only vaguely objects to taking Abby to Travis’ apartment, even though she demands he take her home. Um… what?
“I need you take us to my apartment.”
“Travis… I don’t think… ”
Travis’s voice was controlled, but frightening. “Do it, Donnie, or I’ll shove my fist through the back of your head, I swear to God.”
Donnie pulled away from the curb and I lunged for the door handle. “I’m not going to your apartment!”
Okay, so which parts of this are women supposed to find sexy? Is it the part where Travis’ voice is “controlled, but frightening” or the part where Abby is forced against her will to go home with Travis? Or is the part where we’re meant to believe that deep down Abby really does want to go with Travis, and he just loves her enough to fight for her and ignore what she’s *telling* him she wants because she’s probably on her period so she can’t be trusted to tell him what she really wants.
For some reason, once they get to the apartment, this is Abby’s next threat.
“I’m calling your dad!” I cried.
Travis laughed out loud. “And he’d probably pat me on the shoulder and tell me that it’s about damn time!”
So calling the police just wasn’t a good enough option I guess? And “about damn time” for what? This family is so fucking creepy.
“You can’t tell me what to do anymore, Travis! I don’t belong to you!” In the second it took him to turn and face me, his expression had contorted into anger. He stomped toward me, planting his hands on the bed and leaning into my face.
“WELL, I BELONG TO YOU!” The veins in his neck bulged as he shouted, and I met his glare, refusing to even flinch. He looked at my lips, panting. “I belong to you,” he whispered, his anger melting as he realized how close we were.
Before I could think of a reason not to, I grabbed his face, slamming my lips against his. Without hesitation, Travis lifted me into his arms. In a few long strides, he carried me into his bedroom, both of us crashing to the bed.
This scene! So scary! So gross! So stupid! In some ways, it’s a masterpiece. Just not in the ways McGuire was probably hoping for it to be.
Being manhandled seems to have done the trick, and just like that Abby begs Travis to have sex with her, says that the happiest moments of her life have been with him, that they’ve never been apart, that she’s always been his and all of this other utter and complete nonsense that just doesn’t ring true at all. I’ve read this book twice now, and I still have yet to have read a scene that really makes me feel like any of that is true. I believe all the scenes where Abby was furious with Travis and basically hated him, but this part? Not so much. [Matthew says: Man, I wish I had the same complaint about Walking Disaster. That book’s like a goddamn reverse-Bechdel Test where every scene is Travis talking about Abby.]
The next morning, Travis is super scared that Abby is going to take back what she said the night before. He admits that everything he did last night was pretty creepy, but Abby’s like, “But the sex! It was so great! We good.” So as Matt perfectly pointed out last week, it’s all totes fine because it was the best sex evur.
So now you know. Women just need to be tamed for their own good. Abby even admits that she could have saved them a lot of pain by getting back together with him on Thanksgiving and he’s like, “I’M MAD. But it’s kewl just don’t do it again, okay, you silly ladypants?”
Most importantly, I just have to say, boooo title of this chapter, booooo. Last dance? Why? Why are these chapter titles even included! I never thought I’d say this, but at least House of Night doesn’t bother giving its chapters really dumb, useless titles. Like, these titles are the embodiment of Blando as a character. They’re boring and have no real reason for being in the book. This did give me an idea for a new game though. If House of Night did have chapter titles, what do you think some of those would be if they were written in Jamie McGuire’s “style”? [Matthew says: Before everyone leaves a comment saying “Poopie”, let’s try to think of other fake chapter titles for House of Night.]