Chapter 18: The Funeral
Jacob is at the door, and his face is "smooth" and "masklike." He's in total asshole mode, trembling with rage. Charlie probably didn't take his gun to Harry's funeral, right? Maybe Bella should grab it. "Hostility rolled off of him in waves," Bella says. Embry and Jared are waiting in the car, trying to look as intimidating as is possible in a Volkswagen. Jacob makes sure Bella is alone and comes in.
His jaw set, and he marched - there was no other way to describe the way he moved - up the sidewalk and shrugged past me into the house.
Is it me or would S. Meyer's descriptions seem less silly if she didn't rhetorically insist there was no other way to have written them? (Probably quite a few words would be better: stalked, stomped, strode forcefully.) Also, he marches, but then shrugs past her? What does marching and shrugging look like, exactly? He marches and shrugs into the living room and S. Meyer tries to use the word "sarcastic" properly again:
"Slumber party?" he asked, his tone sarcastic.
Sorry, better luck next time. Jacob's tone isn't done, either. He makes a face like he smells something "unpleasant," and this happens:
"Where's your 'friend'?" I could hear the quotation marks in his tone.
I don't think anyone was going to call you on that, Bella. That said, I kind of like this weird, light-meta gesture. But Jacob's got a problem with the way Alice smells? Who doesn't like the smell of whisky, cigarettes, incense and amoral decisions?
Jacob and Bella bitch back and forth at each other for a while; it's kind of fun. My only problem is it seems like Jacob knows Alice is the Cullen in town long before he should: he asks who the visitor is and is told a page after his "slumber party" joke. Last he knew, recall, it was Carlisle's car on the street, and when he called last night he hung up before he could get any more information. Did he think Bella and Dr. Cullen had a sleepover? That would be no fun; who wants to talk about Jesus all night?
"Have you heard the good news?"-Carlisle Cullen
"Shut up." -Bella Swan, Zac Little, Various
Jacob has come to essentially say that the wolf pack can't guard Forks proper when a Cullen is in town; they have to stay on their own land. He also wants to know if the rest of the family is returning now. Bella is intentionally rude and vague, which is good. I am totally in favor of Jacob being verbally abused. I just wish Bella was a little more imaginative: she literally tells him to "run along now." Still, she starts crying when he does run along, frustrated by the seeming irreparable damage done to their relationship by Alice's visit. But he comes back, and they have a briefly adorable make-up scene.
"Did it again, didn't I?"
"Did what?" I asked, my voice cracking.
"Broke my promise. Sorry."
"S'okay," I mumbled. "I started it this time."
AWWWW. But it doesn't last long. Bella asks why they can't all just get along in peace: "You'll still be my friend, even though I love Alice, too?" She loves her, she really loves her! (As it turns out, the last chapter we read, "Visitor" is the jumping off point for a lot of Alice/Bella lesbian slash-fiction.) But Jacob is like, blah blah blah sworn enemies blah blah blah. They hug, and Bella silently laments her "nasty catch-22" (but not her propensity for redundancies). She wants Alice to stay forever ("I was going to die - metaphorically - when she left me," Bella says. I think we all knew you were speaking metaphorically, Bella. The fact that you feel you need to clarify is more worrisome than anything else!) but she doesn't want to lose Jacob. Not that Jacob does much to earn our sympathy; Bella innocently asks why it has to be this way, and he basically says if in the same room with Alice he couldn't help but kill her. Oh, you poor thing with your uncontrollable killer instinct! Let me get my world's smallest violin case, in which I conceal the world's smallest rifle!
And then Jacob sows the seeds of his biggest fuck up yet. He abruptly decides to put the moves on Bella, who freaks out so hard she can't even summon her standby Romeo & Juliet motif.
True love was forever lost. The prince was never coming back to kiss me awake from my enchanted sleep. I was not a princess, after all. So what was the fairy tale protocol for other kisses? The mundane kind that didn't break any spells?
Bella, what the hell are you talking about? For a second there, I thought Edward was the prince, but then you switched horses in midstream. But you weren't on a horse, after all, you were just being crazy. Hey, did what I just said make any sense? No? What's the fairy tale protocol for shutting the fuck up?
Jacob's face comes slowly toward Bella like an approaching meteor, but the phone rings and interrupts them. A blue-balled and frustrated Jacob grabs the phone and his expression is such that Bella assumes it is Alice on the line and reaches for the receiver. Jacob ignores her. It's her fucking phone, asshole!
"He's not here," Jacob said, and the words were menacing.
There was some very short reply, a request for more information it seemed, because he added unwillingly, "He's at the funeral."
Jacob hangs up and says it was Carlisle. Bella is already angry, but it gets a lot worse. Jacob senses something and abruptly tries to flee the house. Fire? Bella gives chase, and when he stops short in the entryway they crash into each other and end up tangled on the floor like a cartoon or something. At least Jacob didn't like, run in place for a while and then leave a dust cloud behind him as he zoomed out of frame. Bella sees Alice (the cause of Jacob's fear, the pussy) standing frozen in the driveway, looking panicked. Bella runs to her, but all Alice manages to choke out is "Edward." Her bleak expression is suggestive enough that Bella faints.
She comes to on the couch; Jacob is swearing a lot. The words he uses are left to our imagination (a lot of "cunt" and "whore" directed at Alice, which is what she asks Jasper to call her anyway) but Bella feels "vague disapproval" at Jacob's language. Don't be such a fucking schoolmarm, Bella! Bigger things are (probably) happening right now! Alice is trying to get her to focus, saying they don't have a lot of time. Bella asks what happened.
"I don't know," she suddenly wailed. "What is he thinking!?"
Acting: This is Ashley Greene's "we are so fucked!" face.
She pulls out a phone. "Her fingers dialed the numbers so fast they were a blur," Bella says. Is it me, or is this a stupid time to emphasize vampire speed? They can dial phones SO FAST! Wow! Alice ends up on the line with Rosalie when she can't get ahold of Carlisle, says something about being on a plane soon, and then hears something that causes her to start yelling at Rosalie a lot. "Fuck you, bitch!" Alice screams (I'm paraphrasing), and hangs up the phone. Good. I don't even know what Rosalie did yet, but she deserves to get hung up on.
So, it takes everyone a long time to get on the same page, since Bella and Jacob don't really understand what just transpired and Alice doesn't know about the phone call Jacob just answered. But when Alice hears about it, she explains that it wasn't Dr. Cullen who rang. He is still out hunting. It was Edward on the line. "He thinks you're dead," she says.
Rosalie told Edward about Alice's vision - the other Cullens are still operating under the assumption that Bella committed suicide. (So Alice hasn't called them to check in for the last few days? Don't you think that would be like, a really important thing to share?) Do you see where this is going yet? Bella seems to think Edward being mistaken in this way is no big deal, and that it will be sorted out next time he calls.
"Bella," Alice whispered. "Edward won't call again. He believed her."
"I. Don't. Understand." My mouth framed each word in silence.
OH. SNAP. Alice says Edward is going to Italy, which is not a euphemism for something, he is literally on his way there right now. Bella flashes back to when Edward explained how he would kill himself, if need be: by provoking the Volturi. Hey, Bella, do you remember the other part of that conversation where Edward mocked Romeo for being rash and stupid? DOES EDWARD REMEMBER IT? OY. VEY.
I suppose it only makes sense that in a story built on blunders of an ever increasing magnitude, sooner or later we would get one monstrous fuck-up, a boner for the ages, in which Alice, Jacob, Bella, and Edward all share the blame (though I mostly blame Jacob). And it only makes sense that said ultimate boner would reflect the Romeo & Juliet motif by copying Romeo & Juliet exactly. Are we really going to let S. Meyer get away with taking this post-modern awareness of Romeo & Juliet all the way up to the water's edge, only to ditch it when it becomes inconvenient? When is Alice going to turn to Bella and Jacob and say, "We're all a bunch of fucking morons!"
It takes a long time to explain the stakes of the next phase of this book. Bella asks Alice what she needs to do.
"Bella, I - I don't think I can ask you to..." she trailed off in indecision. "It will literally take five pages to explain."
Edward has decided to go to Volterra, the Vampire Vatican City, to ask to die. Thing is, Alice things they will say no - the head Volturi guys used to be tight with Carlisle back in the day. So Edward's back-up plan will be to cause some kind of mass disruption of the peace in Volterra, where a bunch of muggles live, forcing the Volturi's hand - they will shut him down right quick if he threatens their secret. First rule of Vampire Club is you do not talk about Vampire Club. Alice says even if that happens, they won't necessarily make it in time (Really though? They're getting ready to leave thirty seconds after Edward called! Was he already in Spain or something?) to save him. Their only shot is if Edward gives in to his "more theatrical tendencies" and plans some kind of elaborate stunt, buying them a few more hours. Right, because that is how people who are actually suicidal behave; Edward is so distraught over Bella's death that he's going to take a few hours to plan a really awesome show and go out with a bang.
(Bella, it should be noted, is still laboring under the assumption that Edward left her because he really lost interest. "But he left! What difference does it make now? He knew I would die sometime!" Alice replies that she doesn't think Edward ever planned to outlive her by very long, which is pretty dark, but Bella appears either not to hear her or not to think at all about the implications of it.)
Alice also says there's a pretty good chance that all three of them will get iced by the Volturi, but that doesn't really faze Bella. She hastily scribbles a note to Charlie - Edward's in trouble, I'll be back in a few days - which will do nothing to stop him from calling in the National Guard or raining Agent Orange down on Forks as soon as he gets home, but whatever.
As she hurriedly packs a bag, Bella has a strong feeling of déjà vu - here she is, fleeing Forks again. Here we are, having a fully-formed plot dropped in our laps 2/3 of the way through the book again.
Jacob, who is apparently still here, (and hasn't apologized yet!) tries to get Bella to stay. It's a pretty weak argument - "Hey, he was no good to you anyway. So let him kill himself and forget about it" - and he seems to know it. So he settles for arguing with Alice for a while. They hurl lame insults at each other - "dog," "leech." C'mon Alice, you can do better than that. I'm going to pretend that instead of "dog," you said "cum bucket." I will give Alice points for trying to terrify Jacob for no reason whatsoever when he points out it is not safe to bring Bella to Vampire Vatican.
"Yes. You're right, cum bucket." Alice was snarling, too. "The Volturi are the very essence of our kind - they're the reason your hair stands on end when you smell me. They are the substance of your nightmares."
Bella interrupts the fight, Alice runs to the car and starts impatiently revving the engine. Jacob tearfully pleads with Bella one last time to stay, and she tearfully kicks him to the curb. But not before kissing his hand. Bella is a gentleman. (Actually, she kisses his hand after pulling it away from her hair, effectively reversing one of Jacob's moves on him.) As they screech away, Bella looks to where Jacob has sprinted into the forest and sees a chunk of a shoe. Jacob ruined another pair of sneakers? That guy is fucking up everything!