Life and Death Chapter 11: Complications
Beau and Edythe sit through another movie in the dark and science class and feel “more aware” of each other “like an electrical current” just like last time, which has got to be the actual laziest metaphor I’ve ever read in my life. Later in gym class, McKayla doesn’t approve.
“You and Edythe Cullen, huh?” Her tone was just slightly hostile.
“Yeah, me and Edythe Cullen,” I replied. I’m sure she could hear the sound of wonder in my voice.
“I don’t like it,” she muttered.
“Well, you don’t actually have to.”
“So she just snaps her fingers and you heel?”
As this is a book that was rewritten just to prove that the story doesn’t change when you genderswap it, I have to spend all my goddamn time looking at how the story was changed when it was genderswapped.
“You and Cullen, huh?” he asked, his tone rebellious. […]
“That’s none of your business, Mike,” I warned, internally cursing Jessica straight to the fiery pits of Hades.
“I don’t like it,” he muttered anyway.
“You don’t have to,” I snapped.
“He looks at you like… like you’re something to eat,” he continued, ignoring me.
I choked back the hysteria that threatened to explode, but a small giggle managed to get out despite my efforts.
Yup, it’s totally the same love story regardless of gender, right down to all their friends worrying that they’re getting abused! Except nobody worries that men are in an abusive relationship. Just that they’re whipped. Good job making this the same story, Stephanie Meyer.
Beau and Edythe meet up later. Edythe confesses that she was using her psychic mind powers to eavesdrop on McKayla’s comments in gym. Then clarifies that “I wouldn’t hurt your friend”, and if that just doesn’t say love.
Now that Beau and Edythe have made it pretty clear that they like each other, we’re now at the part of the love story where the characters themselves aren’t anywhere near as interesting as their will-they-won’t-they romantic tension, also known as “the part of The Office when most people I know stopped watching”. Edythe is primarily a jerk, Beau is primarily a cardboard box, so we can kind of skim over the highlights:
- Beau’s dad asks him if he’s sure he’s not going to the dance on Saturday. Daaaaad.
- Yes, I said these were the highlights. Just imagine all the great stuff I’m leaving out.
- Edythe tells Beau that he of course can’t watch her hunt a bear, because that would be dangerous as shit
- Edythe spends a day asking Beau questions, like what his favorite color (the color of Edythe’s EYES. DAWWW.) and what music he’s listening to. Say what you will about Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, I don’t remember Christian ever spending a day asking Ana questions about herself. Or, like, even so much as a car ride.
- (For those interested, Bella’s favorite color is brown, because trees and rocks and dirt are brown. I am starting to see why so many people have made jokes over the last ten years about how boring Bella is.)
- Edythe explains that twilight is the safest time of day for vampires. So now you know that one.
But, lo, something incredible happens that is completely new to boy-Beau’s version of Twilight. Of course, this is Bad Books, Good Times, so when I say “incredible” I mean “I have spent days trying to figure out how this scene could possibly have made any sense to anyone but somehow it was written without anyone ever thinking, ‘nope, this is not my best idea'”.
You might recall that Taylor is under the impression that Beau is taking her to the prom. Somehow. If you’re still questioning why that was supposed to make any sense, your brain might literally be broken by this scene where Beau apparently has to tell her that she isn’t.
“There’s one question you haven’t asked me yet.”
“More than one, actually, but which specific one are you looking for?”
“The most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done.”
She grinned. “Is it a spectacular story?”
“I’m not sure yet. I’ll tell you in five minutes.” […]
At my usual table, my friends were all just getting to their feet. I walked toward them.
Patches of red flared in my cheeks, but that was probably okay. I was supposed to look emotional. Anyway, the pretty guy in the melodramatic soap my mom used to watch religiously looked fired up when he did this scene. […]
“Taylor, can I have a minute?” I said as I walked up to her. I didn’t say it quietly. […] “I can’t do this anymore.” Everyone fell silent. […] “I’m tired of being a pawn in your game, Taylor. Do you even realize that I have feelings of my own? And all I can do is watch while you use me to make someone else jealous.” My eyes darted quickly to Logan, whose mouth was hanging open, and back to Taylor. “You don’t care if you break my heart in the process. Is it being beautiful that’s made you so cruel?”
Taylor’s eyes were wide, her mouth open in a little o.
“I’m not going to play anymore. This whole prom charade? I’m out. Go with the person you really want to be with.”
A longer glare this time at Logan. And then I stalked away, slamming through the cafeteria doors in what I hoped was a dramatic way.
What. Was. That.
I haven’t read all of Twilight yet (or any of it, if I’m being honest; it’s skim city over here), but this scene didn’t happen in the corresponding chapter, so I doubt that it’s coming. So this scene was added to the book, for one of two reasons. Either Stephanie Meyer felt that 1) this was something that boys just do (NOT THAT GENDER MATTERS. HUMAN IN DISTRESS.), or 2) she thought this scene made the book better.
The chapter ends with Jules Black and her mom showing up out of the blue and seeing Edythe! Although the chapter’s heart definitely ended when Stephanie Meyer decided to have the boy version of Bella Swan pretend to be in a soap opera in the high school cafeteria for some goddamn reason.
Chapter 12: Balancing
Jules and her mom, Bonnie, have arrived at Charlie and Beau’s to watch “the game”. It is not specified which game, but I’m guessing it’s sportsball. Just so you know, this chapter does not include a character deciding to reenact a soap opera. So feel free to skip it.
Jules and Beau get a chance to talk by themselves, and Beau has to confess that Edythe Cullen was spending time with him. Jules laughs a bit, “looked a little embarrassed”, and reaffirms that her mom doesn’t like the Cullens because she’s superstitious. Then they all watch the game and Jules and Bonnie leave. Charlie asks Beau if he’s sure nobody asked him to the dance. Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.
Edythe asks Beau more questions the next day at school. In both Twilight and gender-swapped Life and Death, the Es are “surprised at [the Bs’] lack of romantic history”, and ask “So you never met anyone you wanted?”. At least Twilight is consistent that love is about one person identifying someone they want, as opposed to being about two people mutually connecting with each other.
She smiled. “You’re not like anyone I’ve ever known, Beau. You fascinate me.”
[…] “I can’t understand that,” I said.
The truest words in Twilight.
While waiting for Saturday morning to arrive, Beau spends a lot of time wondering whether his feelings for Edythe are worth the legitimate danger she poses to his life. I don’t need to explain why this one is a horrifying portrayal of love, right?
On Saturday morning, Edythe shows up to pick up Beau for their romantic-tension-packed Seattle adventure.
They drive and emotions are tense. They get out of the car and hike and emotions are tense. Also, Beau can’t stop studying Edythe’s features.
I tried to keep from looking at her; every time I did, her beauty filled me with the same sadness.
It gets sadder, somehow.
the ribs I could nearly count under the thin cotton. She was too perfect
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Sorry, that was me trying to type something about how disappointing it is that gender-swapped Twilight‘s perfect physical specimen of a woman is so unhealthily thin that her individual ribs are distinguishable through her clothes while I was holding the bridge of my nose and sighing forever.
the gentle swell of her breasts – don’t stare, don’t stare
And here I was worried that Meyer’s nuanced take on gender and how it constructs our experiences in society was going to leave out “men like tits”.
Then she steps into the sun and the chapter ends, which is book for realizing the story’s biggest unanswered question is what happens when one of its characters is in sunlight and trying desperately to figure out how to make narrative tension out of that.