Chapter Six – French Class
Bethany wakes up and goes downstairs, where Gabriel is cooking breakfast for the hungry masses for himself and the other angels. Bethany says she isn’t hungry, and is sternly told that she must eat, lest she get faint. What is this trend for having guys tell the heroine when and what to eat? He does it in the most patronising way possible, too, as if she’s too stupid to know how food works (which may be a valid concern with Bethany, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt for a moment)
Someone knocks at the door outside. Gabriel can apparently sense thoughts now, so he knows that it’s the woman from next door. Since the angels are trying to avoid prolonged human contact, they decide to wait and hope she’ll go away. How would angels deal with door-to-door evangelicals? More to the point, I don’t get this reluctance to contact humans. They’re trying to keep their true identities under wraps, I get that, but it’s possible for them to converse with humans without going ‘I am an angel of the Lord!” I don’t see how they’re supposed to spread the word if they stay in their house all the time.
A few minutes later we were surprised to hear the click of the side gate, and next thing we knew she was at the window, waving at us enthusiastically. I was outraged by the intrusion, but my siblings maintained their composure.
Yes, how dare people try to be friendly! Their neighbour, Mrs Henderson, has come to welcome them to the neighbourhood and bring them jam. The angels give stilted replies to her attempts at conversation, and Bethany admires the way Ivy is polite to her while saying that she herself has already forgotten the woman’s name.
“We haven’t had much time for socialising,” said Ivy. “We’ve been quite busy.”
Doing WHAT?? Going for walks? Cooking?
Anyway, they say that they have to get to school. And if you’re wondering whether that little scene had a point; well, no. No it didn’t.
Bethany meets Molly outside her locker (where Molly ‘touched her cheek against mine in greeting’. I’ve never seen or heard of someone doing that to greet a friend). They start talking about Facebook, which Bethany knows nothing about, and then Molly tells her that it’s only seventy-two days until prom! Squee!
“It’s a rite of passage, the one event you’ll remember your whole life, apart from maybe your wedding.”
I know that proms can be a big deal to some people, and I do get the appeal of getting all dressed up for a big formal dance. All I can think of is that it’s a bit depressing if you hold that one dance to be the crowning moment of your existence.
Next, Bethany has to go to French class. But who does she meet in the corridor but the ridiculously good-looking Xavier. Bethany is once more ‘dazzled by his striking looks’.
The obsession with appearance in this book is quite depressing. I don’t believe for a second that Bethany would be this hung up on Xavier if he were plain, or honestly ugly.
They’re in the same French class, and share a book since Bethany has forgotten hers. She reads French perfectly since:
“We only needed to start something before we excelled at it.”
Keep this in mind for later.
When class finishes Bethany waits for him so she can thank him for the loan of the textbook. Those of you who were making bets on how long her resolution to stay away from him lasted: three chapters, or in-universe, less than a day.
Two girls walked past and glared daggers at me. The taller one waggled her fingers at Xavier.
“Hey Xavier,” she said in a syrupy voice.
“Hi Lana,” he replied in a friendly but dispassionate tone.
Lana attempts to flirt with him but he ignores her. Hmm, do I detect ‘Love Interest who is desired by all but has eyes only for the heroine’?
Then Molly turns up again. She invites Bethany to a girl’s night in at her house, but Bethany hesitates and says she’ll have to ask Gabriel and Ivy for permission. Molly then asks if Gabriel has mentioned her at all since they met on the beach. Bethany lies (again) and tells her he said it was nice to see that Bethany made such a nice friend.
We end with Bethany once more staring enraptured at Xavier across the dining hall.
Strip out the padding and the last three chapters could easily have been combined into one.