Chapter Eighteen – Dark Prince
Narratives are about conflict. It’s what drives the plot. So far in Halo, the main conflict that’s been set up is whether Bethany and Xavier can be together despite the disapproval of Ivy and Gabriel and the possible reprisal from Heaven. That’s really the only thing driving the plot for the last seventeen chapters, padded out by a lot of angsting. Sure, there are supposed to be sub-plots about the angel’s mission and all that, but they’ve been thoroughly shoved aside in favour of the romance.
Problem is, the answer appears to be yes. The angel council gave them the go-ahead. Ivy and Gabriel decide that Xavier isn’t such a bad sort. Bethany and Xavier are together and loved up. The conflict has been resolved. The story is over. And yet, there are 223 pages left to go.
Well, what do you do when you’ve run out of plot? Do you remember that you’re supposed to be writing about supernatural beings? Do you take a tip from Twilight?
Bethany has an English class (her favourite, you might recall, because she’s just so deep). She doesn’t want to go, though, because she’s too busy making out with Xavier, but she gets there in the end. Luckily for her, the teacher, Miss Castle, doesn’t mind that she’s late. The class are studying the Romantic poets, and Miss Castle asks if anyone has a favourite poem they want to share.
Enter the new kid, stage left. And I’m sorry for the massive quote, but this has to be seen.
He was tall and lean, and his straight dark hair reached his shoulders. His cheekbones were sharp, giving him a gaunt, hollow look. His nose drooped slightly at the tip, and his brilliant jade-green eyes gazed out from beneath low-set brows. His lips curled in a permanent sneer. It made him look intolerant of his surroundings.
He was dressed in black jeans and a black T-shirt, and a dark tattoo of a serpent wound around his forearm. He was totally unselfconscious about not being in school uniform on his first day. In fact, he had the confident swagger of someone who considers himself above the rules. There was no denying it – he was beautiful. But there was something about him that suggested more than beauty. Was it grace, poise, charm, or something more dangerous?
And, oh yes, he has an English accent. Totally not a villain, guys. Not at all.
He reads ‘Annabel Lee’ by Edgar Allan Poe, and the whole thing is indeed quoted in the text. Beht notes that everyone in the class – specifically every female in the class – is practically swooning over him. Miss Castle sets them a task to write a poem of their own in pairs. Jake ‘not-a-villain’ Thorn heads straight for Bethany.
He tries to flirt with her a bit, and she tells him she has a boyfriend. When the class ends, she, unsettled, goes straight to find Xavier, who is driving her home. There’s a bit about him always opening the car door for her which I’m not going to touch because I’m still trying to recover from the last chapter.
When they pull out onto the road, a black motorcycle cuts across them, almost causing a crash. They don’t see the driver.
“We’ll find out soon enough,” Xavier growled. “You don’t see too many Yamaha V Star 250s around here.”
“How do you know the bike model?”
“I’m a boy. We like engines.”
They go back to the angels’ house and do homework, although Beth finds it boring. Xavier tells her that he’s under pressure from his parents to do well at school and get into a good college. They flirt a bit.
This chapter wasn’t infuriating like the last one. Just boring, despite the introduction of our totally-not-villain.