Study Guide

Where Things Come Back Lust

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It was not a long, wrinkly skirt. It was a pair of blue jean shorts that were unbuttoned at the top. When I caught myself staring too much, I turned back to see two full-fledged zombies waiting patiently and arguing about where to drive to next. (3.26) 

There's nothing more distracting to Cullen than the sight of Ada Taylor in some cut-off jeans that are unbuttoned at the top. She's even wearing a bikini top to go with it. What's a hot-blooded teenage boy to do but stare? 

I couldn't stay focused on the movie long enough to gain any sort of interest, because Alma Ember had set her popcorn aside and opted instead to nibble on my left earlobe. While that was quite enjoyable, I felt overcome with an uncertainty of what to do with my hands. So I just continued to eat popcorn as Alma Ember continued to cannibalize my left side. (5.63)

Well, this is an awkward situation. Cullen's on a date with the more experienced and older Alma Ember, but he doesn't seem to know what to do now that she's giving him some… um, physical attention. 

I could have very easily walked Alma Ember into her house that night and walked myself out the next morning, but I didn't. I didn't even leave the car. Alma kissed me on the mouth, backed up, looked let down, and then crawled out of the backseat. (5.65)

Even though Cullen could have totally scored with a babe like Alma Ember, he doesn't go for it. Maybe he's shy, or maybe he's just not sure about how strong his feelings for her are. 

[…] I found myself sitting on Alma Ember's bed. I was completely naked save for a pair of gold-toed socks and a cross necklace that I'd found in my brother's room. Alma Ember wore even less than that. After she showed me what being a good wife had taught her—her words, not mine—I fell asleep under the watchful eyes of a dozen or so porcelain dolls. (5.144) 

It's such a bummer to constantly be thinking about Gabriel's disappearance and how depressed everyone is at home. Can you really blame Cullen for deciding that he needs a little sexual healing to take his minds off of things? 

After just three dates, the two of us, sixteen years old at the time, decided to get more acquainted one sunny afternoon at the previously mentioned spot on the bank of the White River. Once our clothes were back on and we were back in Laura's car, I began to laugh. (9.26)

Let's just say that Cullen's very first sexual experience doesn't exactly go as smoothly as he'd hoped. Maybe laughing hysterically afterwards wasn't the <em>best</em> way to endear himself to his lady friend, though.

Now that Russell Quitman's fate had been sealed, I was feeling very guilty for all the zombie fantasies in which I had chopped off his head. That being said, I was feeling less and less guilty for all the nonzombie fantasies I was having about Ada Taylor and her wrinkly skirt. (9.56) 

Now that Russell Quitman is paralyzed, that means that Ada Taylor is totally fair game, right? If it's wrong to lust after a paralyzed kid's ex-girlfriend, then Cullen Witter doesn't want to be right. 

I, on the other hand, found some strange refuge in being with Ada Taylor, whom I quickly discovered was a lot more than just a pretty girl in unbuttoned blue jean shorts and a bikini top. (11.2)

It might seem callous of Cullen to put so much time and effort into a new relationship while his brother is missing, but it's really his way of coping. All that female attention helps him keep his mind from going to a very dark place. 

The movie was just interesting enough to stay focused until Ada took it upon herself to start making out with me. This was the other thing teenagers in Lily did on Friday nights—Lucas and Mena were engaged in the same sort of behavior in the front seat. (13.128) 

It's a dream come true: Cullen is finally getting physical with the girl of his dreams, and he's one hundred percent into it. Now he's just got to play it cool so he can seal the deal… 

We leaned against her car, her talking, me listening. She said things like, "Sorry, but Mom is really strict, and she'd kill me if she knew I had a boy stay over," and "I think my dad might have heard us whispering, but I don't think he'll say anything."

"Next time," she said, "we'll have to find a better place."

"Right," I said, unable to restrain my smile. (13.166-168) 

Cullen may have been kicked out of Ada's house unceremoniously in the wee hours of the morning, but it was worth it. After all, he's sleeping with the hottest girl in school, Ada Taylor, and she's all but promised a repeat performance. 

He looked down at the unconscious boy and whispered, "Your date's been cancelled, Cullen Witter." He closed the trunk, got into the car, and drove slowly back toward town. (18.95) 

Well, that's not creepy at all. Cabot is trying to ensure that <em>no one</em> gets to be with Alma if he can't be with her… which is creepy and territorial. It's clear that he's not ready to let her go and respect her wishes. 

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