“Goodness!” Monique said.
“Wow,” Tina said respectfully.
I slumped so hard against the steering wheel, my head activated the horn for a brief honk. I should have known. I should have known! Summit Avenue was one of the oldest streets in St. Paul. It was absolutely packed with mansions. And 607 Summit Avenue was a doozy. White, except for black shutters. Three floors. An amazing front porch right out of Gone with the Wind. And the detached garage was as big as my current house.
Yeah, Betsy is upset and spends the chapter and beyond complaining that she gets to live rent-free in a fucking mansion. It is NOT her money and it should NOT be up to her whether or not Jessica buys/rents this place, and yet for some reason they treat it as if she should have a say. Not just “a” say–the FINAL say.
She stalks into the house, irritated to find an eight-foot wide sweeping staircase fit for Scarlett O’Hara, and screams for Jessica to come speak to her. Monique asks, impressed, whether Betsy is going to live here, to which she says, “Shit no!” again, as if she ought to have the final say in how Jessica spends her money or what home she gets to live in entirely for free.
Marc and Jessica appear and are just head-over-heels with the place, which Betsy says is too much. It is also said that there are eleven bedrooms and they each get their own bathroom (the size and number of rooms in the mansion is not ever consistent, shock of all shockers). It also has a basement which is just a gigantic room underneath the entire house, and an attic that eventually becomes importantish.
Marc is all impressed that the dining room table has “seventeen leaves,” which I had to look up and apparently leaves means an extension in the table. So you can make it 17x larger, I guess. That sounds frustrating, especially for such a bunch of lazy, entitled, narcissistic characters.
So Marc and Jess keep trying to beg, plead, cajole, and convince her to please please please at least TRY IT OUT?? Which Betsy keeps arguing against with complaints like the governor’s mansion is across the street, it’s too grand, it doesn’t suit her personality or personal tastes, it feels too much like Tara (another Gone with the Wind reference–one of the most luxurious plantations is called “Tara”), whatever. Jessica has already paid closing costs and agreed to $3,000/week while the realtor tracks down the owners, which is weird. They desperately want to sell, disappeared somewhere, and the realtor can still authorize rentals and eventually maybe sell it to said renters? I’ve never owned my own home or sold any, but it seems weird to me that a realtor has the power to rent out your home without you even knowing about it…I dunno, maybe my feelings are wrong.
Anyway, Betsy finally agrees to at least take a tour of the place (“Give me the tour. Let’s see what you’ve signed me up for.”) and we find out that the master bedroom has its own bathroom with a jacuzzi and a pedestal sink (yes, it’s what you’re thinking and no, I don’t know why that’s a lauded feature just behind “jacuzzi.”) and that’s all she gets out before the three start arguing over who gets it. Marc “calls it,” Jessica says “Like hell, the person who actually stands a chance of entertaining in their room should get it,” with finally Betsy pulling yet another total cunt move that Jessica should NOT be putting up with considering it is entirely her money being spent:
“Since I’ve been shanghaied into this place,” I interrupted while May-May (the realtor’s name. Betsy makes fun of it, even though her name is Betsy and also ‘she’ is the one who came up with it, considering how much the author writes Betsy as herself) droned on about the authentic wood in the authentic floorboards. “I’ll take the master bedroom. It’s not like you guys don’t have a dozen others to choose from.” (yeah, SAME TO YOU you FUCKING selfish CUNT)
“Ten,” May-May corrected.
“No fair!” Marc cried.
“It’s that, or back to Termite Central.” Finally, I was throwing my weight around…and actually getting my way! “Uh, hey, Marky-Marc, why don’t you and May-May go check out the pedestal sink?” (okay, yeah, everyone including fuckin’ May-May knows that’s a distraction technique so she and Jessica can speak alone, but again why would you choose the fucking SINK to “check out”? Are sink styles more important to people than I’d ever imagined?)
“Why? If I don’t get to use it, I–hey!” Betsy pushes him towards the bathroom with dutiful May-May following behind, and I know I’m griping a lot about this but once again, did she mean to tell him to look at the jacuzzi? Who the FUCK whines ‘if I don’t get to use it’ about a fuckin’ PEDESTAL SINK versus the goddamned jacuzzi that I’m 99% sure is never mentioned ever again, and if it is this is the only book where it exists!
She claims to have pushed Marc towards distracting the realtor because her “undead status is none of her business,” but they don’t really talk about her being a vampire so who knows why that was necessary? She asks Jessica who she expects to take care of the place, as she and Marc “work nights,” “and you weren’t exactly born with a silver broom in your mouth.”
The 29-year old billionaire of course reminds Betsy there is such a thing as housekeepers. She also mentions that she’s going to hire a gardener, to which Marc shouts out he will mow the lawn and she sarcastically asks him if he really thinks he would want to or have time to mow two acres a week. A WEEK?? How often do rich people mow their fucking lawns?!
Anyway, the fact he’s yelling through the door to answer their conversation points out how exceptionally pointless it was for Betsy to remove them from the room, and again, her vampiric state never even comes up outside of she “works nights,” plus they’re just like…standing in there in silence, their ears pressed up against the door? I guess? Yeah, good cover!
So Betsy, the woman who won’t stop nagging that this place is too expensive even though it has nothing to do with her or her finances, doesn’t seem to give a fuck about having housekeepers except that she doesn’t want “THAT many” because they might discover her not-so-secretive… secret. Y’know if you want her to feel more down-to-earth and relatable, maybe make her more uncomfortable being waited on hand and foot rather than uncomfortable with the concept of someone else spending their fortune the way they want to. I get that Betsy not wanting Jessica to spend money on her is supposed to convey how she’s not a user and she loves Jessica with or without money, but it doesn’t come across that way. It just makes her sound like a whiny, petulant bitch, especially with that whole “throwing her weight around” BULLSHIT even though SHE’S NOT PAYING and SHE ALSO “has like a dozen other rooms to choose from,” she’s just THAT MUCH of a self-important bitch that of COURSE she should get the master bedroom–Jessica and Marc only exist to further her whims!
That’s actually pretty true. I wouldn’t exactly call Marc or Jessica “well-rounded” or “two-dimensional.” Y’know how some books have rich, fascinating side characters whose lives could likely make a story of their own? Yeah, not these two, not the way MJD writes them anyway. They never feel like they do anything when Betsy isn’t around. They never really sound like they have any sort of life outside of her whatsoever. Marc is even worse than Jessica in this–Jessica being a young black billionaire with a tragic past and dead parents, who can outspend Bill Gates, the Waltons, and Oprah without even the potential of going broke…she can’t help but be interesting. Marc as a gay suicidal ER doctor could definitely inspire some network drama that’s on the air waaaay too long, too, but like…they’re not written to be interesting. They have interesting potential, but nothing is made of it. Nothing beyond pleasing their tall, blonde lord and savior.
That’s another thing that can be mildly uncomfortable to think about–that the potentially awesome but ultimately ignored black woman and gay man are just hangers-on made solely to support their Aryan posterchild. Like…maybe that is just me, maybe I’m being oversensitive, maybe I’m just so full of hatred and spite towards this series at this point that my mind will grasp onto anything that vindicates my stance on it being just…just awful, squandered potential. But your Super Awesome, Most Bestest, Most Powerfulest, Most Coolest, Most Specialist, Funniest, Prettiest Mary Suest being an alleged tall, beautiful, amazing blonde who is literally worshipped just for existing feels a little awkward when you note that her best friends, who only exist to further her, are a black woman and a gay man–both of whom who spend their lives complaining they’re not as pretty as she is. I mean, it really does read like a way for her to say but my best friend is black or but my best friend is gay just so she can get away with presenting unfortunate stereotypes when she needs to. Which, trust me, she becomes more and more grossly despicable til you reach a point it’s a literal chore to keep reading and you need a lot of random breaks to scream into a pillow and rant to your best friend. But she always has a built-in “excuse” where she thinks it makes it okay for her to say and think the most disgusting, wretched ideals.
Moving on, that’s actually the end of the chapter. They let Marc and May-May out of the bathroom, Jessica “jokes” that they were just discussing the fact Betsy is as stupid as she looks, and they go to explore the first floor the end. A whole chapter solely dedicated to describing and complaining about a giant house, just because you can!
Seriously. I really don’t know why she even complains about it so much, or at all! She just…complains. Just because. She has no problem with the idea of having housekeepers and gardeners and whatever other glorified servants, so it’s not like she’s just uncomfortable with excess. She’s described her father’s home as huge, and her mother’s sounded pretty large too. She’s been besties with the very rich Jessica since she was also 13 physically instead of just mentally, and she has always had a large, unapologetic amount of money herself.
And that isn’t me saying she should be apologetic–at one point, Betsy halts the series to basically go on a miniature rant about how she has and has always had so much money and refuses to apologize for it, blah blah blah. It’s pointless, and no one cares that you feel so defensive about something and desperately wish to convey otherwise.
I bring up the housekeepers because I, as a bonafide poor person, would be uncomfortable having someone come in to clean my house. Especially if I am there, just lazing about while they clean up after my messes…the idea sounds very, very uncomfortable and very, very awkward. If Betsy had been worried about that, I would have understood, but she is the opposite. She was legitimately worried that they potentially wouldn’t have someone to clean for them. That maybe, just maybe, she may have to pitch in and tidy up her home herself.
So this “oh, golly, you can’t spend sooo much money on me,” just rings SO false, and nevermind the fact IT ISN’T SOLELY ON HER ANYWAY. It doesn’t make her relatable, it makes her a whiny fucking bitch who can’t even be gifted a house without throwing a fit. And she naturally assumes, apparently with ample justification, that it IS mainly for her, and she DOES have “weight to throw around” with her termite house being part of the down payment even though Jessica bought that too. JESSICA BOUGHT THAT TOO. It’s not even in Betsy’s name, because Betsy is considered dead by the government (except when she’s not and the government thinks she had a joke funeral). It’s so convenient, that she both benefits from being legally dead but also from not being legally dead! Only her former coworkers even think she is, and that’s debatable too.
I genuinely do not understand when periphery characters realize that they are not the main character of the story, especially when they acknowledge that someone else is. Even if you were the most dumbfuck uncharismatic person in the world, you would still see your life from your own eyes. You would still be your own main character, even with someone much more interesting than yourself in your life. Sure, maybe then it becomes some kind of tragedy on envy or something, but you’re still the main fucking character.
Not Jessica or Marc! Not Tina! Hell, not even Sinclair acts like he is the main character, although he is the closest one to do so as he is also an arrogant fuckwaffle.
You can only buy this house if Betsy says so.
You can only choose your bedroom after Betsy says so.
You can only go to work if it is convenient for Betsy.
You can only have a love life if it is convenient to Betsy.
Everything, all of your life choices, are made entirely around what Betsy needs at any given time, and if you ask why she has the built-in excuse of being the “vampire queen,” even though even that is eventually up for debate after MJD fucks herself over with a time travel arc and reveals why the Book of the Dead was written, and why it declares her “queen.”
I’m getting ahead of myself, yet again. There is just so much I wish to tell you about, and so much I don’t want to forget to say!
In time, dear readers. In time. Until then, I’ll pull a Betsy and just stop short without any real resolution to my rantings because I feel like it.
COMING SOON: Why the Vampire Queen should probably give a shit about a vampire murderer.