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In which Bethany goes against divine orders and Romeo & Juliet is used as yet another template for a star-crossed romance.

missabnormal: Last chapter, I had had enough of everything that was going on, so I decided that I needed some help. So, I decided to bring back Aoba and Ren to help me out with the sporking of this chapter!

Aoba: *grumbling* I can't believe I have to do this.

Ren: Well, she asked us politely, so we must help her out.

missabnormal: So! We open up the chapter with the front door opening as Bethany returns from her date. Gabriel clearly isn't pleased with Bethany's actions and he's making it clear when Bethany walks in. However, rather than feeling guilty, Bethany is "still remembering Xavier's voice and remembering his strong hand on [her] back as he ushered [her] into Sweethearts, as well as the fresh scent of his cologne". 

Of course! Because as if Bethany has done anything wrong, right? It's not like she should be ashamed for going against her Father's orders!

Aoba: Bethany continues by saying that she knew that Gabriel would have known she had snuck out when she climbed down the balcony, and that he would have known where she went and who she was with. *disbelieving* Well if you knew that he would know, why'd you do it, you idiot?! I swear, this Bethany's a real brat.

"You shouldn't have waited up, I was perfectly safe," I said. The words unintentionally came out sounding too offhand, impudent rather than apologetic. "I'm sorry if I worried you," I added as an afterthought.

Well if you were sorry, you wouldn't have done it! *angry* Jeez, she's annoying! She really sounds more like some bratty teenager instead of an angel!

Ren: Gabriel says something similar, telling Bethany that if she were truly sorry, she wouldn't have snuck out. He's refusing to look at Bethany, which she hates. When Bethany tries to protest, Gabriel stops her and starts to scold her.

"I was apprehensive about having you with us on this mission, and now you have proven yourself to be completely erratic." He looked as if the words left a bad taste in his mouth. "You're young and inexperienced--your aura is warmer and more human than any other angel's I have known, and yet you were chosen. I sensed we would encounter problems with you, but others believed all would be well. But now I see you've made your decision--you've chosen a passing fancy over your family." He rose abruptly.

Gabriel is very much correct in what he's saying. Bethany has been acting unprofessional throughout this mission and is clearly disobeying orders. But I am a little confused. Why hasn't Bethany been recalled from Earth yet? If she's going against orders, then she should not be allowed to do this mission.

missabnormal: *sarcastically* Oh, don't be silly! As if anyone could ever punish little Bethany!

Bleh. Bethany tries to reason with Gabriel, who puts an end to her protests, telling her that she can talk in the morning. Ivy, on the other hand, is looking all sad and worried, so Bethany decides to try and talk to her, telling her that she wishes that Gabriel would do "that prophet-of-doom routine". Well, you know why he's doing it? Because you're being a brat and going against divine orders!

Ivy consoles Bethany and tells her that she will realise that her love for Xavier is no more than an infatuation, and her feelings will pass. And right now, we get one of the most appalling passages. And that's why we need to spork it.

Ivy and Gabriel were talking in riddles.

No, they're not! They're being perfectly clear that you are not following orders and you're just ignoring them!

missabnormal: Damn right! And here you are, acting like they're not giving you an extension on your curfew!

How did they expect me to see a problem when they couldn't even articulate it?

Ren: The problem, which I assume is Bethany dating Xavier, is that it goes against orders, and that she is running the risk of being expelled from Heaven. They understand more than her, so she should be listening to them.

I knew my outing with Xavier was a minor deviation from the agenda, but what was the harm in that?

missabnormal: *angry* That's it. I've reached my limit. *she stands up, picks up the table, and hurls it out the window, making Aoba and Ren jump in surprise.*

*enraged* There is a lot of wrong in what you are doing right now, you twit! You are going against your own Father for the sake of some hot guy, and you're insisting that there's nothing wrong! You are intentionally hindering this mission for your own selfish desires and wants, and you're doing things that will get you kicked out of Heaven! You're not even a friggin' angel, you're just a bratty teenage girl who has been spoiled her whole damn life and now you're throwing a temper tantrum because you're not getting your way! You are so stupid that you don't even understand the rules and even though you have them explained to you a million times, you just won't listen and... Gaaaaaahhhhhh! *continues to rage*

Aoba: *nervously and worried* She just threw out the table... man, Missy must have really seen a lot of stupid in this book.

Ren: At this point, Bethany is intentionally hindering their mission for the sake of Xavier. I can see why Missy here is getting agitated.

What was the point of being on earth and having human experiences if we were going to pretend that they didn't matter?

This is a mission, dammit! And besides, becoming obsessed with some cute guy is not a human experience!

Ren: You are on Earth for a reason, and falling in love is not one of them.

Despite what my siblings thought was best, I didn't want my feelings for Xavier to pass.

This is definitely sounding stubborn.

missabnormal: Bethany, you are just hindering your siblings who are trying to get things done! Get over yourself, for crying out loud!

That made him sound like a cold or a virus that would eventually work its way out of my system.

missabnormal: He is pretty much an obsession of yours, Bethany. So stop trying to deny the obvious.

Never had I experienced such an all-consuming desire for someone's presence.

This is infatuation, not love! And it is certainly not healthy!

An expression I'd read somewhere crossed my mind: "The heart wants what the heart desires." I couldn't remember where it came from, but whoever wrote it had been right.

missabnormal: *annoyed* The quote is actually "the heart wants what it wants" and it's by Emily Dickinson. It was written in a letter to Samuel Bowles, and yes, while someone doesn't have much control over who they fall in love with, they can do things that will help them fall out of love, too!

Don't try and mangle up quotes to justify this sort of crap!

If Xavier was an illness, then I didn't want to recover. If my attraction to him constituted an offense that might incur divine retribution, then so be it. Let it rain down. I didn't care.

*all three are staring in stunned shock*

Aoba: Did... Did Bethany just say that she didn't care whether she gets expelled from Heaven or even destroyed?

Ren: It appears so. It's shocking to see that she is truly indifferent to her mission.

missabnormal: There is no way that Bethany is an angel at this point. Hell, when Phantom comes up to her, Bethany just whines and actually says that "at least one member of the household didn't hate [her]". Yeah, she's a brat.

Bethany has a shower before going to bed, and we get some meaningless prose about letting her wings free and all that. Once she's done, she goes to bed while continuing to angst over Xavier. She says that she doesn't want to hurt Gabriel or Ivy but according to her, "[her] heart seemed to turn to stone whenever [she] thought of never seeing Xavier again". 

Aoba: There's a difference between angst and whinyness, you know? *rolls his eyes* This is just so pathetic.

missabnormal: We haven't seen anything yet, though!

I wished he was in my room right then. I knew what I would ask of him: to escort me from my prison. And I knew he wouldn't hesitate. In my imagination I was the maiden tied to the train tracks, and the face of my tormentor alternated between that of my brother's and sister's. I realized I was being irrational, turning the situation into a melodrama, but I couldn't stop myself. How could I explain to my family that Xavier was much more than a boy I'd developed a crush on? We'd only had a few short encounters and one date, but that was irrelevant. How could I make them see that a similar encounter was unlikely even if I lingered on the earth for a thousand lifetimes? I still possessed my celestial wisdom, and I knew it with the same certainty that I knew my days on this verdant planet were numbered.

*Aoba and missabnormal burst into laughter*

Aoba: *laughing* Did... Did she seriously compare herself to one of those old westerns with the girl tied onto the tracks?! This is just gold, there's no way that she is an angel now!

missabnormal: *giggling* This is just pure Wangst, actually!

Ren: *looking amused* I find it hard to believe that this is supposed to be love. It's coming across as infatuation and pure stubbornness.

missabnormal: You're right. And besides, this is absolutely nothing compared to how Ren loves Aoba in DRAMAtical Murder. Sure, he's part of Aoba's conscience, but he truly loves Aoba and wishes to be there for him forever, which is why he eventually gets his own body so he can continue loving Aoba! Not to mention, they have a lot more romance and chemistry together than Bethany and Xavier ever hope to have!

Whatever. Ren, you go ahead and take over.

Ren: Bethany wonders how Heaven will react upon hearing about her actions. She's aware that the consequences may be severe, but she wonders whether it's too much to ask for some understanding and compassion. And yes, it is. Bethany is going against orders, and willingly so, and I imagine that the authorities up in Heaven are not going to be very approving of what she is doing, especially because it has been mentioned so many times that falling in love with a human is forbidden.

The matter is never brought up again for the rest of the weekend, and we finally skip to Monday morning, after Bethany and Gabriel have arrived at school. Bethany states that Molly and her friends were a good distraction from these events.

Aoba: So Bethany is sitting with the popular rich girls, listening to them making fun of their least favourite teachers' bad fashion sense. Apparently, one teacher "looked as though his hair had been cut by a lawnmower", another teacher "wore skirts that would work better as carpet", and another teacher "with her tailored slacks tucked under her breasts, had been dubbed Harry High-Pants". *appalled* Damn, these are some really shallow brats. Why the hell are they making fun of their teachers' fashion?

missabnormal: *quivering with rage* Here's their justification.

Most of them saw teachers as an alien species, undeserving of common courtesy, but despite their laughter, I knew that there was no real malice intended in their jibes; they were just bored.

That. That is their reason why. Because they don't even see their teachers as human and because they're bored, so it's okay to be rude to them.

*eerily calm* Aoba, Ren, please step back.

Ren: *concerned* Are you okay, Missy?

missabnormal: *venomously, yet with an angry smile* No. I'm really mad now. *she flips over another table*

I absolutely hate people like them! These shallow idiots bully their teachers behind their back, simply because of their fashion sense, and they don't even see them as human beings worthy of respect! These kinds of people are the ones I hate the most! It's one thing to not like a teacher because of their teaching methods, but it's a completely different thing altogether to viciously mock them and treat them as if they're not even human! This sort of crap pisses me off so much, I just want to slap these girls until they learn to respect their poor teachers! Dear God, I hate this sleazy entitlement and smugness that these princesses have, I hate it so so much! *rages on*

Aoba: *stunned* Looks like she's reached her breaking point again. *gets an idea* Hey, Missy!

missabnormal: *still raging* What do you-

*Almost immediately, she is calm and completely lovestruck*

missabnormal: *dreamily* Oh yeah... Now that's the stuff... Oh Ruki, you sexy diva~ Go on and seduce me with those dangerous eyes of yours~

Aoba: *awkwardly* I just found those lying around, actually. Who would've thought those would work... Oh well, that means I have to spork, I guess.

The girls' conversation turns to that of prom shopping. According to a girl called Hayley, they're going to "get the train to the city and check out the boutiques in Punch Lane". 

Guess what? Punch Lane is the name of an actual restaurant in Melbourne, Australia! If she's going to use Australian businesses, why not just set the story in Australia, dammit?!

Ren: And why are all the girls obsessed with buying dresses and makeup? This is something that truly bothers me. And the fact that the author herself is a woman makes this all the more bewildering.

Well, Molly agrees to go shopping before asking Bethany if she's coming. Bethany says that she doesn't know if she's going to prom. This apparently offends Molly so much, who asks her why, and Bethany tells her that she doesn't have a date. But apparently, some boys had already asked her to prom, but Bethany had turned them down in the hopes that Xavier would ask her. Another girl tells Bethany that finding a dress is more important. And then, Xavier shows up.

Aoba: *dryly* Great. *glances back* Hey, Missy! You done over there?

missabnormal: *calmer* Oh yes, I feel so much better. So, what's happening?

Ren: Xavier Woods has just showed up.

missabnormal: Great. *sighs* I'll take over now.

So Xavier, being the cocky ass that he is, asks the girls whether they don't mind if he "[steals] Beth for a minute", to which Molly tells him that they're in the middle of an important conversation. Xavier doesn't care and takes Bethany away to an empty table. God, I hate him!

Bethany asks him about what he's doing and Xavier tells her that he "[seems] to be making a habit of rescuing [her]". I swear, this guy is just oozing arrogance! And stop indulging in her rescue fetish, dammit!

Apparently, both Xavier and Bethany are attracting some attention from others, some looking jealous, and others looking curious. Bethany tells him that and gets uncomfortable, but Xavier simply tells her that people like to gossip and that they can't help that. She asks him why he's not sitting with friends, and he tells her that he finds her interesting. They're soon interrupted by two boys from the swim team, and Xavier praises them for their performance at a swim meet.

After this short bit as well as Bethany getting all blushy over Xavier again, we find out why Xavier wanted to talk to Bethany. Apparently, Bethany's started molting!

He pulled a long, white, iridescent feather, flecked with rose, from the pocket of his blazer. "I found this in my car last night after I drove you home."

I snatched the feather from his hand and slipped it between the covers of my planner. I had no idea how it had ended up in Xavier's car. My wings had been firmly tucked away.

Well, if they were firmly tucked away, why are you molting?! Even more, why haven't your wings been removed before going down to Earth?! This is just ridiculous!

Aoba: Xavier asks her if it's a good luck charm, and Bethany says it's something like that. However, Xavier's noticed that Bethany's looking a little agitated and asks her what's wrong, but Bethany doesn't reply. But rather than leaving her alone, he presses further, telling her that she can trust him, that he's a loyal guy.

Look, you prick! If she doesn't want to talk, don't force her to, dammit!

This so-called flirting goes on a little bit longer before they joke about relationships and all that, and at the end of all this, Bethany has a revelation.

There was nothing I could do about it. My attachment to Xavier Woods was instant and all-consuming. Suddenly my old life seemed far away. I certainly didn't yearn for Heaven as I knew Gabriel and Ivy did. For them, life on earth was a daily reminder of the limitations of flesh. For me, it was a reminder of the wonders of being human.

She really doesn't give a damn about the mission anymore, doesn't she?

Ren: In the next few passages, Bethany is describing how she has started to conceal her feelings for Xavier, and this is has clearly strained her relationship with Gabriel and Ivy. According to her, she senses "a rift between [them] now that hadn't been there before. [Their] relationship seemed more fragile, and there were uncomfortable silences at the dinner table. Every night [she] fell asleep to the sound of their whispered conversations and felt certain that [her] disobedience was the subject of discussion". But instead of feeling guilt over this, Bethany does nothing.

missabnormal: *disgusted* So Bethany really doesn't care about divine orders, doesn't she? She's not even an angel at this point!

Bethany has started looking forward to getting up, and has started getting up without Ivy coming to wake her up! Not to mention, she's started styling her hair a little more in the hopes of Xavier noticing! She's also been thinking about her conversations with Xavier, and has started planning witty remarks to use in the future! *rolls her eyes* Yeah, I am really not convinced that this is love.

We move on, and Bethany starts saying that she's envious of Molly and her group. Why?

What they took for granted, I could never have: a future on this planet. They would grow to have families of their own, careers to explore, and a lifetime of memories to share with the partners they'd choose. I was just a tourist living on borrowed time. For this reason, I knew I should curb my feelings for Xavier rather than allow them to develop. But if I'd learned anything about teenage romance, it was that intensity wasn't dictated by duration. Three months was the norm, six months marked a turning point, and if a relationship lasted a year, the pair was more or less engaged. I didn't know how long I had on earth, but whether it was a month or a year, I wasn't going to waste a single day of it. After all, every minute spent with Xavier would form the basis of memories I would need to sustain me for eternity.

Aoba: You say you need to curb your feelings, but you're not doing anything to stop yourself! You're probably gonna get blasted by your Father with the way you're going!

Oh, whatever. Bethany continues talking about how they spend time together by walking through town and spending time at the Sweethearts café, which has suddenly become their 'place'. They sometimes talk about their day, or they sit in silence. Bethany goes on about how she likes to just look at him, orgasms over his appearance and scent-

missabnormal: *appalled* Aoba!

Aoba: *defensive* What? She is!

missabnormal: Yeah, yeah. But I have to comment on this. I am not convinced that they're in love, because it's all about their physical appearances.

I mentioned this in my sporking of chapter 10. In my original series, Yamini and Ruki fall in love not because of appearances but because they see themselves in each other! They also have similar interests, which they bond over, and when they fall in love, they turn into blushing dorks, despite being badasses! It's absolutely adorable to see a couple become blushing dorks because it's cute, it's sweet, and it's genuine!

Here, they're too smooth with each other! All they talk about is how their love is the greatest in the world, but we don't see them bonding or getting to know one another! There really isn't that much romance at all! So it's just coming across as forced and superficial! In fact, Bethany is going on about how she's become more popular at school because she's going out with Xavier, and so people have started becoming friendly towards her!

It really is not coming across as real, true love. If anything, it's almost as if Xavier's dating the new girl at school just to boost his popularity, or Bethany is going out with the class president just so she can be popular! Basically, it's coming across as really shallow.

*sighs* Whatever. One day, Bethany tells Xavier that literature is her favourite subject and teases Xavier about not knowing what 'enjambment' means.

Aoba: Xavier then asks Bethany why she likes literature so much. According to her, she likes "the way each person can have a completely different understanding of the same word or sentence". When Xavier asks if that frustrates her, she simply says that it's better to stop trying to make sense of things. She then whines a little about Gabriel and Ivy, Xavier says something about changing her world, and soon, it's time for Bethany to go to literature class!

Apparently, Bethany's always happy to go to literature class, which is taught by a woman named Miss Castle. She calls it a "diverse class", despite only consisting of twelve students. There are two goth girls, a group of nerdy girls, and two stereotypical jock boys.

Ren: Miss Castle comes into the classroom and is described as a "tall, slender woman in her early forties with masses of dark curly hair and dreamy eyes". 

missabnormal: Anyone else get this mental image? Because I definitely am.

Seems like Professor Trelawney's found a new job teaching muggles about Muggle Literature!

Ren: Bethany continues to describe her in this passage.

Judging by the way she carried herself and the way she spoke, she would have been more comfortable in a Jane Austen novel, in which women rode in carriages and witty repartee flew across a drawing room like sparks. She was passionate about language, and it didn't matter what text we were studying, she identified vividly with the heroine each time. Her teaching was so animated, people sometimes stopped to look in the classroom, where they'd see Miss Castle thumping the teacher's desk, firing off questions or gesticulating wildly to illustrate a point. I wouldn't have been surprised to walk in one day and find her standing on top of her desk or swinging from the light fixtures.

*raises an eyebrow* It's one thing to have a teacher who is passionate about the subject they're teaching, but it's completely different to portray them in a ridiculous manner.

missabnormal: I love it when teachers are passionate about what they teach. Like my Grade 12 English teacher, who was also the principal of my high school. *smiles* I still have so many fond memories of that class. He'd make some of the most cringe-worthy puns that we still laughed at and it was a genuinely fun class that everyone loved! He made Hamlet, short stories, and The Great Gatsby so much fun to learn!

Anyways, there's something else I need to point out. Miss Castle identifies with 'the heroine'? Sorry to break it to you, but there aren't too many classical literature that focuses on female characters, especially the ones you study in high school. You know who the most popular classic literary heroines are?

  • Elizabeth Bennet, from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

  • Jane Eyre, from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre

  • Scarlett O'Hara, from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind

  • Jo March, from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

  • Anna Karenina, from Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

  • Eponine, from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables

  • Anne Shirley, from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables

There's a few more, but the point is, you don't study any of this in high school. You know what I studied in high school? Short stories and poems, and the main literary works I studied were the OdysseyLord of the FliesTo Kill a MockingbirdThe Kite RunnerFahrenheit 451The Great GatsbyLife of Pi, and Fifth Business. I also studied four Shakespeare plays: A Midsummer Night's DreamMacbethRomeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. Yeah, I know everyone's high school English classes are different, but there's no way that you're reading books that only have heroines in them!

Speaking of Shakespeare, guess what Bethany's studying?

We'd started the term studying Romeo and Juliet in conjunction with Shakespeare's love sonnets. Now we were assigned the task of writing our own love poems, which would be recited to the class. The studious girls, who'd never had to rely on their own imaginations before, flew into a panic. This wasn't something they couldn't look up on the Internet.

Aoba: What's with the whole obsession about romantic love? What about family and friendship? Oh wait, I forgot, those are unimportant in comparison to romance. *rolls eyes*

Ren: The girls in this class are having trouble getting inspired, so Miss Castle tells them to think about the qualities that they find attractive in a boy.

"Well, I think intelligence is very important," a girl named Bianca volunteered.

"Obviously, he should be a good provider," her friend Hannah piped up.

missabnormal: *scathingly* Right, because men are supposed to provide for the helpless women! God, this pisses me off!

Ren: A goth girl named Alicia says that people who are dark and disturbed are interesting. And then, one of the jock boys named Tyler speaks up.

"Chicks shouldn't talk so much," drawled Tyler from the back of the room. It was the first thing we'd heard him say all term, and Miss Castle was graciously prepared to overlook its derogatory nature.

Aoba: Wait, wasn't he the same guy who called Lady Capulet an MILF? So, Miss Castle calls him a thug and kicks him out of the class for that immature comment, but she's not scolding him for his obviously sexist comment here?! This is just ridiculous!

*sighs* Miss Castle goes on more about falling in love, and a boy named Ben Carter speaks for all three of us when he "[puts] his face in his hands".

And then, Bethany finally gives an idea!

"Great love stories have to be tragic," I said suddenly.

*surprised* What? No, they don't! There's Pride and PrejudiceJane EyrePersuasionAnne of Green GablesNorth and SouthA Room with a View, and The Princess Bride! There's plenty of classic love stories that have happy endings!

Miss Castle encourages Bethany to elaborate, and she immediately brings up Romeo and Juliet!

"Well, take Romeo and Juliet for example: It's the fact that they're kept apart that makes their love stronger."

No, Romeo and Juliet were horny teenagers who were merely infatuated with each other and who committed suicide after three days.

"Big deal--they both end up dead," snorted Ben.

Yes! Thank you, Ben!

Ren: I think he's the only sane character in this book.

"They'd have ended up divorced if they'd stayed alive," announced Bianca. "Did anyone else notice that it took Romeo all of five seconds to switch from Rosaline to Juliet?"

missabnormal: Huh. I'm starting to like Bianca as well.

And this was exactly what my classmates and I liked to point out when we studied this play! That they were just infatuated with each other!

"That's because he knew Juliet was the one from the moment he met her," I said.

"Puh-lease," Bianca retorted. "You can't know that you love someone after two minutes. He just wanted to get in her pants. Romeo is just like every other horny teenage boy."

"He didn't know anything about her," Ben said. "All his praise is for her physical attributes: 'Juliet is the sun' and blah blah blah. He just thinks she's a babe."

Aoba: *impressed* Wow. They're pretty much speaking for us! And all their points are true!

Ren: Well, I'm glad that I'm able to actually agree with some characters for once.

missabnormal: Everything they're saying is absolutely correct. Romeo and Juliet were just infatuated with each other from the very beginning, because they're horny teenagers! And yeah, when I was thirteen, I honestly believed it was an amazing love story, but I grew up and realised that it's not as amazing as these YA authors like to make it out to be!

"I think it's because after he met her everyone else became insignificant," I said. "He knew right away that she was going to be his whole world."

Aoba: Ben groans, which is what we're all doing right now. However, Miss Castle is taking Bethany's side like the hopeless romantic she is.

Miss Castle gave me a meaningful smile. Being a hopeless romantic, she couldn't help but take Romeo's side. Unlike most of the teachers at Bryce Hamilton, who competed to see who could get to the parking lot first after the final bell rang, she wasn't jaded. She was a dreamer. I suspected that if I told Miss Castle I was a celestial being on a mission to save the world, she wouldn't have even blinked.

missabnormal: You're doing jack on this mission, Bethany. And no, she probably would have asked you if you were sleeping well. And on that note, we are finally done!

*she gives Aoba and Ren hugs* Thank you so much for helping me out, you guys! I really appreciate it!

Aoba: *smiles tiredly* No problem. But you owe us big time.

Ren: The pleasure is ours.

*they both take their leave*

missabnormal: Well, I hope you all enjoyed this sporking! I'll see you again in Chapter 12!

Continue to: Chapter 12- Saving Grace

Go back to: Chapter 10- Rebel


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