Trabby is back in full force after Travis finally set his woman straight by forcing her to come home to his apartment so they could confront their problems head on. By confront their problems head on, I of course mean they wind up having sex because that’s exactly where no signs were pointing and it was an easier scene for McGuire to write, I guess.
Chapter 21: Smoke
Though spring break is soon upon our heroes and The Students Without Netflix, some last minute snow causes Trabby to dodge a snowball fight on the way to the cafeteria. [Matthew says: Having
paid my dues in grown up in the midwest, I actually sympathize rather than view this as something to make fun of. Snow that lasts until spring break is a serious issue, guys! It may even be a more worthwhile cause than Students Without Netflix.] Though this scene is a mere two pages in my kindle, it alludes to being very meaningful. Like there’s a very tense moment where a snowball is thrown between their heads, but nothing comes of it:
His amusement faded when a tightly packed snowball exploded against the door, just between our faces. Travis’s glare scanned the lawn, but the sheer number of students darting in every direction doused his urge to retaliate.
If it was anyone else, I’d assume their “urge to retaliate” was just to chuck a snowball at another student, but in Travis’ case I’m guessing smashing someone’s face into a car or beating them to a pulp would be more inline with his usual tactics. Also I have never before heard of someone’s glare scanning anything, and I hope never to hear it again as it makes zero sense. Anyway, because you probably are just dying to know if they make it safely into the cafeteria, I’ll cut to the chase, they do indeed (unfortunately). I bet you’re also dying to know if members of the school’s staff are as intrigued by Trabby as the Students Without Netflix.
He led me by the hand down the buffet line, piling different steaming dishes on one tray. The cashier, used to our routine, had given up her predictable baffled expression weeks before.
It would appear that the problem is far graver than we thought. Not only are there students who do not have access to Netflix, but there are also Staff Without Netflix – quelle horreur! [Matthew says: Somehow it’s exponentially sadder when it’s the staff that gives a shit about Travis and Abby’s love life.] It’s possible that it’s a student cashier, but I’m going to go ahead and run Staff Without Netflix thing because as Jamie McGuire probably always says, “Fuck the details!”
America doesn’t fare as well as Trabby in the Epic Snowball Fight of Eastern U, which I’m assuming is the only form of entertainment for all the poor people without Netflix on this campus now that they’re so over Trabby.
“America’s a little uptight ,” Travis explained. “She’s meeting his parents this week.” Brazil nodded, his eyebrows shooting up. “So they’re… ” “There,” I said, nodding with him. “It’s permanent.” […] We were all young and Brazil couldn’t wrap his head around Shepley’s commitment.
What does this even mean? Is this implying they’re engaged or something? Brazil acts completely shocked about her meeting Shep’s parents, and I get that this is a big step, but really all it signifies is that they’re serious. [Matthew says: Or that, say, they happen to be in town.] What the fuck is “permanent” meant to mean here aside from maybe that they’re not going to break up every five minutes from now on. Travis gets the call about his final fight, which you read about in Matt’s post last week. You also read that he’s going to be up against yet another super famous fighter that’s never been mentioned before ever. Man, this would maybe be slightly meaningful if Travis didn’t win every fight within two seconds, [Matthew says: Or if we haven’t seen him win fights against Las Vegas henchmen armed with knives before this unarmed college kid.] but there’s never been any suspense in that regard anyway, so it’s definitely not going to start now. We also have to read the whole mad-scramble where Travis desperately tries to find someone to stand guard over Abby at his fight. She helpfully suggests that she just, you know, stay up and wait for him, but damn it he needs her there! You know who probably needs Abby there more? Plot puppy. What about that, Trav? Thank god Trent, one of the many Maddox brothers, agrees to come. With that problem being settled after an unnecessary amount of time dedicated to it, [Matthew says: I’m glad that unconvincing attempt at tension was really drawn out in your book too, because that means Jamie McGuire used the same fluff twice.] we skip ahead to the scene where Abby immediately starts warning us how she has a bad feeling about this venue.
I glanced to the doorway and then back to him. “I don’t have a good feeling about this, Trav. Not about the fight, but… something. This place gives me the creeps.”
Perhaps it is all the suspicious lanterns hanging from the ceiling! Oh the devilish lanterns!
This fight is slightly more intense than usual, given it’s actually described to us in full detail, and McGuire makes a point of telling us that this is different than all the other times before. [Matthew says: For instance, he doesn’t have a knife like all the other fights sometimes involved.] He still manages to win, though, but just when you think celebration is in order A LANTERN ATTACKS! I couldn’t find a better clip. but it reminds me so much of the old Amanda Show news sketches. I particularly love “When Bradys Attack”.
[Matthew say: Total aside, but can we point out that the audience didn’t get the joke with the Chinese restaurant named “Casa del Tokyo”? You disappoint me, Nickelodeon live studio audience.]
All I have to say is, at least lanterns are a problem Trabby hasn’t faced before. Before you start telling me that it’s only one lantern, you should know that OTHER lanterns begin exploding as well. They are such monsters.
Trent and Abby get split up from Travis, and Trent doesn’t know the way out. Luckily Abby does, and she’s headed for the windows they used to get into the building. That is until some people run by saying the windows are the other way. Trent says that he believes these people even though Abby is like, “We were literally just in that direction, and they are wrong I know where I’m going.”
Trent’s logic is that they can’t split up, so she has to go with him, until she refuses and then he’s like, “Okay bye.” I guess if you’re convinced the other way is going to save your life that’s fair enough, but I also don’t get why he isn’t listening to Abby when they did just come from that direction and not see any fucking windows. But suspense!
What follows is a scene that is shocking because it’s actually a really decent scene where I’m rooting for Abby. Yes, I never expected this to happen. Basically she finds the right room, but Travis had closed the window behind them when they came in, and it’s too high off the ground for her to reach. Abby manages to climb up on some shit that’s in the room, and she’s trying desperately to get the window to open until she finally smashes through the glass. Go Abby! I mean. Wait. I thought I’d want her to die in the fire? Why do I have to have human emotions at the most inconvenient times.
You know, maybe this scene is so good because Travis isn’t in it and Abby saves herself rather than relying on Trent or Travis. Again, I’m shocked as fuck…oh wait she still isn’t able to get out and Travis shows up behind her in the room. Thus ruining the scene. [Matthew says: Abby was literally stopped by a glass window. I don’t think you could metaphorically get any closer to a glass ceiling.]
So Travis saves the day and they both escape the burning building because it’s too much to ask that Abby be the hero in this scene. The big cliffhanger ending is that you think Trent has died in the fire, but the first page of the next chapter shows he’s fine, so whew. Illegal fightclubs are totes fine, y’all.