[Ariel says: I can’t believe you were worried about getting the chapter with the Cami/Trent sex scene when a chapter about Raegan’s subplot was in play.]
I was at a taping for Jimmy Fallon’s upcoming spin-off show Lip Sync Battle over the weekend! I’m not actually allowed to talk about it, but I felt like I needed to share that I did a Cool New York Thing In New York.
Beautiful Oblivion Chapter 22
Cami tells us that things are awkward between her and Trenton because he’s “more than a little disappointed” about her not moving in with him. It’s almost like ambushing a girl you’ve been dating for under a month with an apartment to live in together after she explicitly stated she didn’t want that was a one-way ticket to disappointment?
Although it’s totally different when you’re harassing a girl with dates when she explicitly states that she isn’t interested and your advances are especially inappropriate because she’s told you she has a boyfriend. Don’t forget that was totally different.
Cami catches us up on what’s going on in her life when Trenton isn’t being sad that he doesn’t own her.
Saturday night, Raegan was sitting on our love seat, flipping channels in a show-stopping cocktail dress.
That’s right! It’s almost an entire chapter about Raegan! Just what you were waiting for! [Ariel said: I guess McGuire is making up for all those times we complained America never got her very own special chapter (footage not found).]
The single shoulder strap looked like shimmering diamonds, and the rest was curve-hugging red satin. The sweetheart neckline made it that much sexier. Her silver heels were sky-high, and her hair was straight, shiny, and half up, half down.
“I wish Blia were here. This moment definitely calls for one of her customized phrases.”
I find it hard to believe that any situation ever calls for comment from Blia. [Ariel says: My first thought was, “This chapter is almost purely based on words no one has ever spoken or thought. Things like, “You know what’s missing from this book, Jamie? A Raegan-centric chapter.” Or, “You know what’s missing from this scene, Jamie? Blia.”]
Brazil shows up early to pick up Raegan.
Raegan stood up, and Brazil was speechless for a moment. His mouth pulled to the side. “You look nice.”
I frowned. Raegan looked like a million bucks, and I could tell Brazil was intentionally acting unimpressed.
Speaking of unimpressed, what’s the point of this subplot? This one, where Raegan is dating her neglectful ex until they go to the same event that he broke up with her before last time they dated? There’s not even a conflict. All this subplot can do it wait for that to happen, and then… stop. [Ariel says: OMG they’re just like Buffy and Spike and the time Buffy desperately wanted to go to Spike’s lame frat party because she bought a dress for it last year but didn’t get to go. Now I get the comparison!] I’m not saying that a subplot has to tie into the main plot or serve as a foil to it, but it should probably have something going on in its summary aside from “it was happening until it wasn’t”.
While Raegan is off to the frat Valentine’s Day party, Trenton and Cami have a quieter date planned of going out to dinner and then…
…TO THE GODDAMN RED, THE ONLY BAR THEY EVER GO TO EVER.
Except Trenton isn’t showing!
At fifteen ’til nine, I was sitting on the love seat, playing a stupid bird game on my cell phone.
Why do we need to know that? All we need to know is that she’s killing time by playing a game on her phone. Or that she doesn’t particularly like it. But why do we need to know that it involves birds? This doesn’t add anything to describing Cami’s emotions. Nor does this add detail, because all we know is that it’s a “bird game”. All this does is distract you from your immersion in the story, all because the author wanted to point outside of the story and tell us that she knows that Angry Birds and Flappy Bird exist. But won’t tell us which one. Good for you, Jamie McGuire? [Ariel says: “You know what was missing from this chapter, Jamie? Another one of your fabulous references to bird-themed cell phone games! Show those kids how hip to the max cool, yo, you are!]
Trenton shows up late, missing their dinner reservation, with a dozen red roses. But they’re not from him.
“They were delivered to the shop late, after you left. They’re not from me.” […]
I talked myself out of this several times this week, but I had to.
[Ariel says: IF IT STARTS WITH A T, IT MUST BE A MADDOX.]
[…] “He sent them to fuck with your head. And mine.”
“No,” I said, “he wouldn’t do that.”
“Don’t defend him! This is bullshit!”
Yep, Cami definitely sounds like the person to get angry at in this scenario.
“I’ve been sitting at work this whole time, staring at those fucking things. I wanted to calm down before I got here, but this is just . . . it’s fucking disrespectful”
Whereas Trenton, who was the Other Man and wouldn’t leave Cami alone until she dumped said former boyfriend until she started dating the Other Man instead, is the paragon of respectfulness.
“I am so fucking in love you, Cami,” he said, reaching for me. “I have been since we were kids. The first time I saw you on the playground, I knew what beauty was. The first time you ignored me was my first broken heart.”
Oh, Jesus, we’re supposed to be taking this seriously! Look, if I wanted to read about adult men talk about how their miserable lives were defined by the time a girl turned them down in grade school, I’d just go on Twitter and search the gamergate hashtag.
[Ariel says: This whole sudden revelation that Trenton has supposedly loved Cami since he was a child reminds me so much of how Boy Meets World initially made Topanga just this weirdo from their class, and then later decided that she and Cory had been in love since they were kids. But at least that show has the decency to be make fun of itself and be generally awesome.]
“No one has ever wanted someone as much as I want you.”
“When I heard about your dad, I wanted to rescue you,” he said , chuckling, but not out of humor. “And that night at your apartment, I thought I’d finally gotten something right.” He pointed to the ground. “That my purpose in life was to love you and keep you safe . . . but I didn’t prepare for having to share you.”
…seriously? The time he punched her dad unconscious (which could very quickly result in actual death in real life) was when he thought he had “gotten something right”? And made good on his childhood vow to take over a victim’s relationship with their abuser and thus get her to fall in love with him?
Cami doesn’t really know what to say about this, but not for normal people reasons.
any attempt at an explanation would lead to questions—questions I couldn’t answer.
Well, yeah, you very well can’t tell him “it’s because my ex-boyfriend TJ is actually your brother, and everyone knows but you” now. (Spoilers.)
Cami consoles Trenton by reassuring him that she loves him.
“I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. Every woman who’s met you wants a shot at you. How could you ever think you’re the consolation prize?”
Wait, then how is this through Cami’s eyes if her entire rationale is based on what everyone thinks? [Ariel says: Also, can we have a moment of silence for the low standards that every woman who’s ever met Trenton apparently has?]
Trenton makes an unintentionally self-aware statement.
“Goddammit! I ruined our whole night! I’m such a fuckin’ jerk, Cami!”
“I’m an unreasonable, selfish, insecure dick who is so scared of losing you.”
And yet I won’t place odds on him actually taking this realization to heart and changing by the end of the book. [Ariel says: I would make the safe bet and assume he’s going to just somehow find new ways to emotionally manipulate Cami into living with him in the same way he got her to date him.]
Trenton continues to be a sad sack throughout the rest of their evening, which is sort of hilarious for the reader who hates Trenton.
- “The card I got you is not this good.”
- “Your present isn’t this awesome, either.”
Suddenly, Kody shows up at the door, reminding us that Raegan has a subplot.
“Ray’s been trying to call you,” he said, upset. “She and Brazil got into it again. She needs a ride home.”
How did Cami miss her calls? She literally told us she had been playing games on her cell phone all evening until Trenton got here, at most 5-10 minutes ago.
Cami, Trenton, and Kody drive over to the Sig Tau house, and look around for Raegan. But can’t find her. Until they do. It’s gripping.
Also, we get some obligatory Beautiful/Walking Disaster fanservice, which looks unmistakeably like she’s going to get raped from an outsider’s perspective.
A girl screamed, “Put me down, damn it!”
It was Abby, and she was hanging over Travis’s shoulder, beating the hell out of him with her fists, and kicking. He stomped over to a car and threw her into the backseat. After a short conversation with a guy in the driver’s seat, Travis crawled into the back with Abby.
THIS IS GODDAMN TERRIFYING. This is like a Dateline special, not a fucking romance novel! If there’s anything that can be said about Trenton and Cami, thus far it’s nowhere near as rapey as Travis and Abby were.
Our gang of responsible citizens explain why nobody is calling the police, like right goddamn now.
“Should we . . . ?” I began, but Trenton shook his head.
“They have been back and forth like this for weeks. I do not want to get caught up in that disaster.”
Hahaha it’s funny because he said “disaster”, which was the word used in the title of Abby and Travis’s books hahaaaaa this is why we have rape culture. [Ariel says: Who cares about rape culture when there are totally awesome titular lines???? LAWLIN SO HARD.]
Cami, Trenton, Raegan, and Kody go back to the girls’ apartment and cook mac and cheese and have the quiet night in they realize they wanted all along. Aside from the part where they let their friend forcibly take a struggling girl to his apartment against her will.
Thematically appropriate question of the day! Do you like mac and cheese? What’s your favorite kind? I’m a huge fan of Annie’s white cheddar. I tried making mac and cheese from scratch once with gruyere and holy shit, it was not worth the effort.
[Ariel says: I LOVE ANNIE’S!! I am saving one box that I brought back from America with me. I’m waiting until a truly special occasion to eat it. Annie’s Peace Parmesan is amaze. Also my mom makes the best homemade mac and cheese, and I made it the other night and blew my boyfriend’s mind.
If you haven’t done so, I recommend trying ketchup, salsa, or asian spicy sauce made by Lee Kum Kee in your mac and cheese (obviously not at the same time.)]