Sometimes when trying to convey the same thing is happening in both books, I will call Bella/Beau the Bs and Edward/Edythe the Es. Just to save some space when I’m about to compare something.
Chapter 5: Blood Type
People attempting to be friends with Beau are planning a beach trip! Their desire to include Beau is sweet given he doesn’t react to anything if it’s unrelated to Edythe. It’s not true love if you have ties to your community.
At lunch, Edythe invites Beau to sit with her. This causes quite the stir among Fork’s student body. Even though a lot of the dialogue is the same, the Bs have different attitudes. Maybe this is what Meyer was referring to when she said Beau is less angry than Bella, but it’s unclear why their reactions differ. For a book proving that gender changes nothing, gender is the only culprit.
The confusing, lifeless conversation begins as underwhelmingly as I’ve grown to expect from Twilight. It’s like when you keep running into an acquaintance who you have nothing in common with aside from one mutual friend, and you can never think of what to say beyond discussing that one mutual friend. Except if that acquaintance was supposed to be your soulmate.
“This is, uh, different,” I finally managed.
“Well,” she said, and then paused. I could tell there was more, so I waited. The rest of it followed in a rush, the words blurring together so that it took me a minute to decipher the meaning. “I decided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly.”
I kept waiting, thinking she would explain, but she didn’t. The silence got more uncomfortable as the seconds passed.
“You know I don’t understand what you mean, right?” I asked.
“I’m counting on it,” she said, and then her eyes focused behind me. “I think your friends are upset that I’ve stolen you.”
If you’re trying to warn someone to stay away from you, it is always the best approach to be as cryptic as possible. Especially if you’re a teenage vampire. It’s great because the other person won’t jump the conclusion that you are a vampire, they’ll just assume you’re one dangerous, beer-drinking, rebellious teen and will continue to be drawn to your enigmatic self! If things go sour, hey, you warned them.
In a court of law this would be indisputable.
“Your Honor, my client cryptically warned the prosecution about the dangerous situation. Therefore he cannot be held liable for any vampire related damage that the accuser claims to have suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence.”
And then he gets off. Like I said, holds up.
In Twilight Bella understandably is irritated by Edward’s mysterious replies. He’s hot, so she’s not too angry, though. Beau, on the other hand, is highly amused! What gives? Exhibit A:
“Yes, because you’re not listening to me. I’m still waiting for you to believe it. If you’re smart, you’ll avoid me.”
“I think you’ve made your opinion on the subject of my intellect clear, too.” My eyes narrowed.
He smiled apologetically.
Maybe this is the chip on the shoulder Meyer was talking about? Because here’s Beau’s reaction:
“I do, because you’re not listening. I’m still waiting for you to hear me. If you’re smart, you’ll avoid me.” [Because women are always concerned if they’re being HEARD.]
Then I had to smile, and I watched as her smile automatically got bigger in response. “I thought we’d already come to the conclusion that I’m an idiot. Or absurd, or whatever.”
“I did apologize—for the second one, at least. Will you forgive me for the first? I spoke without thinking.”
I prefer the updated exchange, but I’m still wondering about the difference in tone. Did Meyer think that having Bella be angry would make her seem stronger? Or give the illusion of personality?
The light-hearted take was nice. It’s like these two just can’t help but smile around each other, even though there’s meant to be real tension under Edythe’s ineffective warning. This joy makes their connection seem realer.
Later in their conversation, the Es try to get the Bs to share their thoughts. When the Bs refuse, the Es are frustrated.
“That’s really frustrating, you know,” he complained.
“No,” I disagreed quickly, my eyes narrowing, “I can’t imagine why that would be frustrating at all — just because someone refuses to tell you what they’re thinking, even if all the while they’re making cryptic little remarks specifically designed to keep you up at night wondering what they could possibly mean… now, why would that be frustrating?”
“Or better,” I continued, the pent-up annoyance flowing freely now, “say that person also did a wide range of bizarre things — from saving your life under impossible circumstances one day to treating you like a pariah the next, and he never explained any of that, either, even after he promised. That, also, would be very non-frustrating.”
“That’s really frustrating,” she complained.
“Really?” I raised my eyebrows. “Like… someone refusing to tell you what she’s thinking, even if all the while she’s making cryptic little comments designed to keep you up at night wondering what she could possibly mean… Frustrating like that?”
She frowned, her lips pouting out in a distracting way. I worked to hold on to my focus.
“Or is it frustrating like, say, she’s done a bunch of other strange things—for example, saving your life under impossible circumstances one day, then treating you like a pariah the next—and she never explained any of that, either, even after she promised? Frustrating like that?”
Women just get so emotional! While a man is always cool and level-headed about all the craziness.
Time flies when you’re saying the same thing over and over again but in a slightly different way. Danger! Can’t stay away! Secrets! Beau heads to class, but Edythe is skipping.
The students are pricking their fingers to find out their blood types and – oh! Perhaps Edythe’s class cutting…and the blood…could it be linked? Hints are being dropped. Dots are being connected.
The Bs almost pass out in class, and the Ms (Mike/McKayla) walk them to the nurse. The Es are there. They are always lurking within a few feet of the Bs.
Edward scoops Bella into his arms, much to the chagrin of Mike. But, you guessed it, Edythe doesn’t carry Beau. Instead, she props him up in a way I’m sure is meant to protect his fragile manhood. I was really excited, I thought this human in distress was going to be scooped up by a woman, but no. YOU HAD ONE POINT TO PROVE, MEYER.
Bella is allowed to be squeamish, whereas Beau has to have a medical excuse…which comes up about 5 times this chapter. Here’s one example:
I sighed. “I have a weak vasovagal system.”
The nurse looked confused.
“Sometimes,” I told him.
Edythe laughed again, not bothering to disguise it.
But Bella doesn’t have to give any excuses at all! She’s allowed to be in distress and need scooping up, but Beau needs to have a medical excuse!
Edythe gets Beau out of gym class, which is truly the most romantic things a high school love interest can do.
In Twilight, we bear witness to the moment that inspired Christian’s obsession with Ana’s driving. Edward grabs Bella and insists on driving her home, telling her he’ll have Alice return the car to her later. He is aggressive and manly. While Edythe is friendly, accommodating, and playful in this scene. BUT HUMANS IN DISTRESS, REMEMBER?
Edythe drives Beau home, and they have a superficial conversation that we’re supposed to read as deep and soulful, I’m guessing. Now it’s time to play a game called, “Gender or plot hole correction.” In Twilight, Edward just drives away. In Life and Death, Beau wonders how Archie is going to return his car later, and then he finds his keys are missing!
Chapter 6: Scary Stories
Everyone basically sings “Summer Nights” to Beau but about sitting with Edythe at lunch yesterday. Beau is unresponsive. He’s sad Edythe isn’t in school. But, oh, those summer niiiights.
One weird thing is that Bella’s told she looked mad during her conversation with Edward, while Beau is told Edythe looked mad. Does Meyer believe men must always be the even-tempered ones? She’s starting to piss me off! I bet Matt is keeping a cool head about all this as I just FLY OFF THE HANDLE.
Things are mostly the same, except Beau gets bullied more for fainting. Gender-swapped boys will be gender-swapped boys!
The sun comes out, so the beach trip is on. The sun has not been gender-swapped, so that answers that question once and for all.
Eventually, more people show up to join the fun:
As we got closer I could see the shining, straight black hair and copper skin of the new arrivals, teenagers from the reservation come to socialize.
This is where we meet this book’s Jacob – Jules. She’s into cars, so forget everything you thought you knew about girls and boys and cars and Twilight. Jules and Beau knew each other as kids, and her mom’s the one who sold Charlie the car. It’s been a really long time since they’ve seen each other. Rude Logan comes over to interrupt and start making fun of Beau for talking to the Cullens. Jesus Christ, he sat at lunch with one Cullen, one time. Chill out, buddy.
One of the other locals warns that the Cullens Don’t. Come. Here. Knowing that Jules and are friends are werewolves, I can’t help but sing “Werewolf Bar mitzvah” whenever they’re trying to say something important. I’m as bad as Rude Logan.
Beau pretends to be interested in hanging out with Jules so he can get more information about the Cullens. His attitude is essentially, “Sigh, I guess I can force myself to have a conversation if it’s about Edythe.”
Her husky voice dropped a little lower. “Do you like scary stories, Beau?”
For one second, I could hear Edythe’s voice clearly in my head. Do you think I could be scary?
“How scary are we talking here?”
“You’ll never sleep again,” she promised.
WEREWOLF BAR MITZVA, SPOOOOOKY SCARY!!!
She smiled, to show me she wasn’t taking this seriously, either. “Another legend claims that we descended from wolves—and that the wolves are our sisters still. It’s against tribal law to kill them.
“Then there are the stories about the cold ones.” Her voice dropped even lower.
Werewolves and vampires are natural enemies, and they agreed to stay off the werewolves’ land. But ha ha werewolves probz don’t even exist! However, if you do believe the legends, Jules’ great-grandmother made this pact because these vampires were special and didn’t kill, so it was a nice deal because they had vampire-free land, and in return they kept the vampires’ secrets. Back in great-grandmas day, you didn’t have teens having fraught relationships with vampires.
I tried to keep my voice casual, but I was pretty sure I failed. “So how does it fit in with the Cullens? Are they like the cold ones your great-grandmother met?”
“No….” She paused dramatically. “They are the same ones.”
Damn, I love a good dramatic pause. Nailed it, Jules.
I’m not sure how this story was at all scary, but it does cause Beau to flashback to Edythe’s cryptic warnings. Considering all of their conversations are cryptic warnings, it was a deep well to draw from.
McKayla shows up, jealous, and it’s time for Beau to head home from a day of rekindling an old friendship because this person was willing to talk about Edy