Featuring the Best TSA Agent of All Time: Beautiful Oblivion Chapter 13

"go home"

In case you forgot, Trent heroically saw through Cami’s protests, and kissed her despite all the times she told him she wasn’t interested. After learning about Trent and Cami’s kiss, T.J. immediately buys a plane ticket to California for Cami. If it was that easy for her to visit him like this all along, why didn’t he just do that for her sooner? Why does it take jealousy for this to happen? [Matthew says: Man, we’re opening up quite a can of worms asking why characters in this book don’t try to solve their problems.]

Chapter 13

This chapter opens with Cami headed through security at the airport. She tells us that she needs to know if she’s falling out of love with T.J. solely because of the distance. It goes unsaid that she’s probably wondering if she’s falling out of love with T.J. because her heart is longing for a very special, very useless douchebag.

Speaking of which,

I stood in the long line at security and heard my name being called from across the room. I turned to see Trenton running full speed toward me. A TSA agent took a step, but when Trenton slowed down next to me, he relaxed.

He’s so special even a TSA agent is willing to completely fail at his job. I’m surprised this wasn’t explained with a simple, “There was something in Trenton’s eyes that made the TSA agent relax.” I also feel like this was a missed opportunity for Trent to get tased. In the name of love of course.

Trent is upset that Cami is going to see her boyfriend 1) because she said she’d see him today, but now she’s going to California! 2) Because if she goes, everything will be different when she gets back.

I’m afraid neither of these seem like very compelling reasons for Cami not to go see T.J. For all Trent knows, Cami is going to sort out her feelings to see if she even wants to be with T.J. anymore…oh, wait, that’s exactly what she’s doing. I know ideally he just wants her to dump the guy via text message or what have you, and then run into Trent’s arms, but why would he want such a shady start to a relationship? [Matthew says: Seriously? It’s a fucking Maddox. Their only defining characteristic is that they have no standards.]

And why is this whole situation okay simply because Cami hasn’t seen T.J. in person in a few months? If part of Trent’s argument for Cami not to go see T.J. right now is, “Well, if you go see your boyfriend in person, it’ll make the fact that I’m trying to steal you from him sooo much more awkward,” then that just doesn’t add up.

“It’ll be different when you get back. You know it will.”

“Please stop,” I begged, glancing around. The line moved again.

Trenton held out his hands. “Just . . . give it a few days.”

“Give what a few days?”

He took off his hat and rubbed the top of his head while he thought. The desperate expression on his face forced me to swallow back a sob. I wanted to hug him, to tell him it was okay, but how could I comfort him, when I was the reason he was hurting?

Trenton returned his hat to his head, pulling it down low over his eyes in frustration. He sighed. “Jesus Christ, Cami, please. I can’t do it. I can’t be here, thinking about you there, with him.”

"go home"

But it’s okay for her actual boyfriend to be in California thinking about Cami here with Trent? [Matthew says: Weird. That can’t be it. That’d be like Trenton thinks the rules don’t apply to him or something, and we all know he hates guys like that!] And how manipulative that he’s making Cami feel bad and like she’s to blame for all of his tortured pain.

Trent tells Cami he’s in love with her. Queue another frustrating reference to Cami’s Big Secret.

After a long pause, I cringed at the words I was about to say. “If you knew what I know . . . you wouldn’t be.”

He shook his head. “I don’t wanna know. I just want you.”

“We’re just friends, Trent.”

Trent’s face and shoulders fell.

Wait, what? Pick a reason and stick with it Cami. Immediately jumping from, “I have this groundbreaking secret that would make you fall out of love with me” to “We’re just friends” is pretty unconvincing. Why not just tell him you don’t speak English.

Trent argues that they haven’t been just friends in awhile, which I guess is referring to the two weeks they’ve been hanging out? Whatever, who cares, because what follows is my favourite scene in the whole book so far:

“He turned his back to me, and I handed my ticket and ID to the agent.

“You okay?” the agent asked, scribbling on my ticket.

“No,” I said. My breath caught, and I looked up as my eyes filled with tears. “I’m a huge asshole.”

The agent nodded, and motioned for me to move on. “Next,” he called to the person behind me.

The agent is definitely a stand-in for all of us who could just not give any fucks about these two morons. I love how the agent just nods like, “Yes, yes you are a huge asshole. Bai.” Clearly this agent has an active Netflix account.

We jump ahead to Cami hanging out in T.J.’s bed. It seems really odd to me that we skip their greeting, which would have been interesting to see given Cami’s just told him about Trent kissing her. [Matthew says: I’m not surprised. T.J. would have to have a character for that.] There are more important things at hand, though, like T.J.’s butt.

He was lying next to me, breathing soft and deep through his nose. He would have to wake up in a few minutes to get ready for work, and I would get a great view of his tight backside as he crawled out of bed.

Cami does inform us that everything fell into place as soon as she saw him at the airport and that he’s sooo amazing and she doesn’t deserve him because he’s so nice and perfect. T.J. is killing her confidence not because he’s a jerk to her but because he’s so wonderful to her, which I guess is a thing that happens…? So she should definitely dump this guy and go be with a dick she deserves like Trent is the takeaway here?

Even more baffling is the evidence Cami gives us for how wonderful T.J. is:

Obviously, I didn’t feel undeserving of him because T.J. was an asshole. It was the reverse. When someone this amazing walks into your bar and asks for your number before he’s had a single drink, you work your tail off to keep him.

Standards have actually never been lower in this series.

T.J. has to head to work, so Cami considers how Trent would just get to hang out with her all day and how nice that is.

Instead, I was staring up at a white ceiling, noticing how nicely it stood out against the clay beige walls.

Beige was so T.J. He was safe. He was stable. But anything could look good from a few thousand miles away. We never fought, but you don’t have anything to fight about if you’re never around one another.

That is bullshit. They have so much they could fight about, but Cami’s already admitted to us she’s scared to say anything to rock the boat in this relationship. And being safe and stable? Nothing about their relationship has seemed safe and stable thus far.

Longing for Trent, Cami checks her phone only to find the most puzzling email I could have imagined:

I reached over and checked my phone. An email from Single in Your Area Now, but that was it.

What the fuck? We get no explanation whatsoever as to why she’s on a singles website when she’s been dating T.J. for six months now. Why include this strange and inexplicable detail? What is your game, McGuire! [Matthew says: I thought this was inexplicably weird too! I think maybe this is McGuire’s best attempt at a spam email, because there’s no reason Cami would be on a dating site? I can’t understand how Cami exists in a world in which Trenton plays Flappy Bird but nobody has Tinder. Although this does force me into a position where I have to believe that Cami is somehow getting emailed banner ads. There’s no winning.]

Suddenly this chapter becomes a long rant from Cami about how T.J. is so perfect, but she loves Trent and his flaws! She just fucking told us that if she actually spent time with T.J., she’d probably see he wasn’t perfect either.

Suddenly it was okay to want messy, and flaws, and uncertainty, so much of what Trenton embodied . . . everything I saw in myself that I thought I didn’t like. Because even if we were struggling, we had goals. It didn’t matter that we weren’t there yet. What mattered is that we both experienced setbacks, and full-blown failures, but we got up, brushed ourselves off, and kept going—and were making the best of it. Trenton didn’t just make all of those things acceptable; he made getting there fun. Instead of feeling ashamed of where we weren’t, we could be proud of where we were going, and what we would overcome to get there.

Translation: I want to be with a loser who I can be a loser with too.

No, I mean, I get what Cami is saying and all. I’m just not seeing why T.J. makes her feel like she can’t share her goals with him or admit her failures? I get that she’s falling for Trenton because he’s there and T.J.’s not which is a real thing that happens to people. These pages and pages of unnecessary glorifications of what a shit head Trent is aren’t convincing me of how perfect he is for Cami based on these things, though.

[Matthew says: Hands down, my favorite bit of this sequence about how Trenton is better for her than T.J. is where Cami thinks “T.J. knew what kind of bagel I liked, but did he know that I hate commercials”, which seems like a pretty safe bet.]

Cami regrets that she didn’t choose Trenton, which she’s only realising because T.J. isn’t in the room…she was super in love with him when he brought her breakfast 3 pages ago, so isn’t this just proving to her that distance really is the only thing keeping them from being happy? I know I’m overthinking this, but damn it, I wish there was some consistency.

I have a very Cami question. Have you ever been in love with two people at once? I believe it counts if they’re fictional characters. Like I know most of you will be like, “I am so in love with Travis/Gideon/Christian all at the same time!!!111!!” Because that’s how we all roll here at BBGT.

 

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0 comments

  1. Madeline Reply

    Bored TSA Agent/Kara 5ever!!!

    I’ve never been in love with two people at the same time, and I can imagine it would be confusing, but all of Cami’s motivations, thoughts, and actions make no sense whatsoever. They’ll only make sense when stupid super-secret/super-not-so-secret plot twist is revealed. And that’s pretty poor plot and characterization in the meantime.

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      I ship TSA Agent/Kara SO HARD NOW.

      The sad thing is, the actions don’t make sense even when the secret is revealed! In fact, they’ll make significantly less sense, I’m sorry to say. Sure, being in love with two people at the same time could make you really confused and do stupid things, but Cami takes it to a new level.

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  2. Bellomy Reply

    Romantic love is a strange foreign notion to me. I can define the word and use it in a sentence but can’t grasp its essence. I must do more experimentation.

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  3. Manny Reply

    No, I’ve never been in love with two people at the same time.

    I think that the plot could have worked better in the usual way: Cami is in a LDR relationship with a guy that fails to be there for her even through a phone call.
    She meets Trent who tries to be there for her – as friend first, but later falling in love with her. She breaks up with TJ.
    Plot twist is revealed then – a bit of problems, bla bla, happy ending.

    Oh wait, I might write this book based on my own experience in a LDR when my ex didn’t have time to call me – except I didn’t have a Trent in my life, but that would be the nice part. I could make money out of it.

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      I think the same thing!!! After I finished reading the book, I sat down and thought about what could have improved it. And honestly, just portraying T.J. and Cami’s relationship falling apart for realistic reasons would not have changed the way Trenton and Cami’s relationship panned out. And in fact, it would have had it make a lot more sense. It wouldn’t have even changed the stupid plot twist!

      If only we all had a Trent in our life that could inspire us to write shitty books that make us lots of money. Le sigh.

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  4. Kate Reply

    Cami has a worse attention span than Plot Puppy. T.J. walks out of the goddamn room, and she instantly forgets about him/their relationship? That’s just unreasonable.
    I have definitely been in love with two people at once, but I’m polyamorous, so it wasn’t, like, a problem. I think this is why I’m so endlessly baffled and amused by all the lame, forced love triangles in these books? Like, their problems could be solved so easily if they weren’t all desperate for (but so, so shitty at) monogamy.

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      Yeah, I was flummoxed by that. I think we were supposed to read this scene as, they’re still in love, but when he goes to work it reminds her that he never has time for her and it’s not working. That alone could have worked, but suddenly he leaves the room and he’s too perfect for her and Trenton is this flawed but perfect guy for her? Blech.

      OMG I feel like so many relationships on shows/in books would be so much better if they were just polyamorous. True Blood like flirted with this in one fantasy sequence for Sooki, and I was like, you mean to tell me that these vampires who have lived for ages are still so hung up on monogamy that they wouldn’t just both date her? So sorry if you never saw True Blood, but I’m sure you get the gist, and it was the first example that came to mind.

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