Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Re-Read: Chapter Thirty Eight- Touched

"It's not the face, but the expressions on it. It's not the voice, but what you say. It's not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it. You are beautiful."

Wanda is not sure what to make of the conversation she heard between Ian and Jared just outside her room. She still has trouble comprehending that Ian would have a crush on her, know that she is, as Kyle put it, a worm. Ian freely admits that he like her; he likes her very much and wonders if this is one of the things she is not sure about.
"No. I mean yes, I ... don't know. I ... I -"
"That's okay. You haven't had long to think about it. And it must seem...strange."
"Yes. More than strange. Impossible."
Ian asks for an answer, but before even asking the question, he reaches over and picks up Wanda's hand. He holds it in his for a moment before tailing his fingers slowly up her arm. He watches her arm, rather than her face, and notices the goose bumps left in the wake of his touch.
"Does that feel good or bad to you?"

Melanie reacts, telling Wanda that it is bad. Wanda protests, telling Melanie that his touch does not hurt, but Melanie insists that is not what Ian is referring to: "Good, to him, means the way it feels when Jared touches us." Melanie provides Wanda with a memory of her and Jared before she was captured. They stand in an canyon with Jared behind Melanie, trailing his hands from her shoulders to her wrists. This memory adequately explains the difference in meaning to Wanda. She tells Ian that Melanie says his touch is bad, but she does not know. When he asks if she wants him to stop, she responds yes, if only because she cannot concentrate and Melanie's anger also makes it hard to think.

Ian wonders if Melanie would give them a minute along, even addressing Melanie directly. Wanda relays the response, which is a "no" coupled with Melanie's distaste for Ian. He finds all of this difficult with an audience, but promises to give her a chance to think everything over. Wanda tells him that it may take a while, since not a lot about the situation makes sense to her. When Ian smiles at her this time, Wanda realizes that she wants him to like her, but tells him that it is not her that he is responding to; it is Melanie and her body. Ian agrees that Melanie is very beautiful, but she is a stranger to him and not the one he cares about.
"Ian, you don't...Nobody here separates us the way they should. Not you, not Jamie, not Jeb. You couldn't care about me. If you could hold me in your hand, me, you would be disgusted. You would throw me to the ground and grind me under your foot."
Ian tells her that he could never do that, not if he knew it was her. She once again insists it is just the body he responds to.
"It's not the face, but the expressions on it. It's not the voice, but what you say. It's not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it. You are beautiful. I've never known anyone like you." 
Wanda wonders if he would feel these things if she showed up in Maggie or even Wes' body. "Body and soul. Two different things..." For Ian, this body is part of who she is, and unless she changes her mind and leads the Seeker to them, it is who she will always be. This finality hits both Wanda and Melanie. Wanda could die in this body and Melanie would never live in it again. Wanda could live forever if she left Earth (humans have the shortest life span of any species) and Ian tells her that if she is going to stay, should she not make the most of the time she has? When Jared kissed her, she knew what  he was about to do, but Ian's lips on hers came as a surprise. With Jared, there was simply desire beneath the kiss, but with Ian, the kiss is fueled by confusion. He once again asks her, "good or bad?" and she tells him she can't think. Liking her response, Ian returns his lips to hers, but with more force. Ian's actions have a negative effect on Melanie, who wants to shove him away and kick him in the face.

After another moment, Wanda asks him to stop so she can think. He cautiously agrees and is pleased he did not share the same fate as Jared with a punch to the face. Wanda tells him that Melanie wants to do much more than that, but cannot because Wanda did not lose control; Melanie can only take over when Wanda is overwhelmed. Seeing Wanda's concentration, he correctly assumes she is conversing with Melanie, who does not accept Ian's apology. Ian is a little distraught that his kiss did not overwhelm her as Jared's did, but that he does not mind giving her time to really think things through. He is perturbed with himself for not recognizing Wanda's feelings for Jared since her love for Jamie is so obvious. He wonders how much of it is Melanie and though Wanda does not know and asks if it matters; it does to Ian.
"Time is on my side. We've got the rest of our lives in here. One day you'll wonder what you ever saw in Jared."
Though Melanie is certain Ian is wrong, Wanda cannot help but laugh with him, glad he is back to normal self. Their time together is interrupted with Jamie's appearance in the room. With Ian in his way, Jamie settles himself on the edge of the mattress. Jamie also relays the discussion he and Jared had during lunch. Jared does not think Wanda should have to move from the room she is use to (the one she shared with Jamie) and should go back to living with Jamie. Ian easily sees through Jared's plan, even correctly guessing that Jared said there would be enough room for all three of them in the room.
"So that's good, isn't it, Wanda?" It will be just like before we came here."
Though Jamie's words are heartfelt and excited, they slice through Wanda. Jamie quickly realizes the implication and amends that it will be great with the four of them together. Jamie pushes past Ian and secures his arms around her neck, apologizing for his careless words. She assures him she is fine and in return, he tells her that he loves her too. Practically begging, Jamie asks if she will come back to their room and what Melanie thinks about it. Wanda tells him that his sister wants to be with him and she does too. Jamie's excitement cannot be contained and he rushes off to tell Jared the news, but before he can go, Ian wants him to relay a message to Jared.
"You want something, Ian?"
"Sure, kid. I want you to tell Jared he's shameless."
Jamie is confused by the request, but simply sends him off to get lunch for Wanda.
"Sure. And I'll ask Wes for his extra bed. Kyle can come back in here, and everything will be like it should be!"
"Perfect," Ian said, and though I didn't look at his face, I knew he was rolling his eyes.
"Perfect," I whispered, and felt the razor's edge again.  

From Stephenie Meyer's playlist: "Smile Like You Mean It"- The Killers (page 394)

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