Fear not, dear reader! While we’re taking Fifty Shades one chapter at a time, we’ll be reading Hush, Hush at a faster rate now that we’ve gotten that godawful first chapter out of the way. Lest you were worried we were lazy or something, but, nope, we’re totally gonna actually read this one at a more reasonable rate so you get MORE HUSH, HUSH! Also, there’s thirty goddamn chapters in this book, and no way are we spending thirty weeks with this shit.
Nora gets home and we learn a bit about Nora’s home. We learned in the last chapter that Nora’s father was murdered, a detail that I kind of skipped over because I was too busy making jokes (whoops), and in this chapter we learn that Nora’s mother travels a lot and is rarely ever home, which seems like a super convenient device for getting those pesky parents out of the way so we can get down to some young adult friction amirite oh god I can’t believe I just wrote that pun someone please kill me.
On the plus side, this does do a nice, subtle job of showing a certain isolated and lonely side of Nora. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the fog symbolism.
I sometimes wonder if the original builder realized that out of all the plots of land available, he chose to construct the house in the eye of a mysterious atmospheric inversion that seems to suck all the fog off Maine’s coast and transplant it into our yard.
They talk about how much fog is around Nora’s house multiple times in these two chapters, so it’s a little obvious that this will, incredibly, have something to do with the plot in the future. We also get to meet Dorothea, the housekeeper, who asks how her day at school was, which means it’s time to talk about Patch!
“He’s tall, dark, and annoying.” And eerily closed off. Patch’s eyes were black orbs. Taking in everything and giving away nothing.
She also describes his physique with a weird amount of detail for someone she’s looked at for all of one high school biology class, because how else would we know she’s not interested in him? Regardless, there’s bullshit biology homework that needs to be done, and biology is her toughest subject, and getting an A or a B is the difference between a full or half scholarship. Because learning what your classmates look for in a sexual partner determines whether or not you’re going to college.
She calls Patch to work on the assignment and, I shit you not, he says this:
“I’m in the middle of a pool game.” I heard the smile in his voice. “An important pool game.”
Patch is in a super sketchy place (called Bo’s Arcade) at a sketchy time of the night (9pm on a school night), but Nora can’t fake the interview because of Coach’s “warning that he’d check all answers for authenticity”, because apparently all of Patch’s favorite hobbies are in their biology textbook, so she flips a coin, her “heart squeezed out an extra beat”, and she goes.
And it’s boring. The book tries super hard to make Bo’s Arcade look like a super tough crowd, but there’s a high schooler playing pool in it, so it’s inherently not going to work. Nora gets Patch to interview, and it’s all really boring. Like, her questions suck. Even if this was a legitimate biology assignment, I would not be giving her an A for the stupid questions she’s asking. I’m getting the feeling that Patch’s answers are supposed to be mysterious and therefore seductive, but it’s not working very well.
“A secret?” he said in confidential tones. (Matthew’s note: no shit) “I’ve never gone to school before.”
Nora’s responses are pretty unintentionally hilarious, though.
He was lying. Everyone went to school. There were laws.
“There were laws.” I can’t get enough of this one. “There were laws.”
Patch keeps being a dick and she leaves and nothing funny really happens that Ariel hasn’t already talked about (Nora doesn’t care about Patch’s birthmark! Crazy!) so she goes home and goes to sleep and wakes up in the middle of the night when she hears a loud crack and tells us how she thinks her dad’s spirit is following her after he was killed a year ago. It’s properly depressing and kind of endearing, and it’s going to be a huge bummer when they turn this “like someone was orbiting my world, watching from a distance” thing into
Edward Patch stalking her later.
Coach McConaughy stood at the chalkboard droning on and on about something, but my mind was far from the complexities of science.
I bet what Coach is talking about has nothing to do with science either.
Coach said [to Nora], with slight irritation, “What qualities are you attracted to in a potential mate?”
Nora’s all “this is stupid”, so Coach has Patch answer. Patch is more than happy to participate.
“Intelligent. Attractive. Vulnerable.”
Coach was busy listing adjectives on the board. “Vulnerable?” he asked. “How so?”
Okay, is he actually just teaching them how to be pick-up artists in a high school biology class? I am pretty sure everything that has happened in this class in this book is illegal.
Vee spoke up. “Does this have anything to do with the unit we’re studying? Because I can’t find anything about desired characteristics of a mate anywhere in our text.”
Oh my God, FINALLY. You know shit’s bad when Vee is the voice of reason.
“Why don’t you give us your list, Miss Sky?”
Vee held up five fingers. “Gorgeous, wealthy, indulgent, fiercely protective, and just a little bit dangerous.”
I didn’t say it lasted very long.
“All right, Patch. Lets’ say you’re at a party. The room is full of girls of all different shapes and sizes. You see blondes, brunettes, redheads, a few girls with black hair. […] You’ve found one girl who fits your profile – attractive, intelligent, and vulnerable. How do you let her know you’re interested?”
What. Does this have to do. With science.
Patch laughed under his breath. “The problem with human attraction is not knowing if it will be returned.”
“Excellent point,” Coach said.
“Humans are vulnerable,” Patch continued, “because they’re capable of being hurt.”
This is the weirdest goddamn thing.
After class, Nora goes to Coach to demand to have her seat changed and Coach disagrees, and, man, I hope you’re ready for some characterization!
“I like the seating chart. Almost as much as I like this new man-to-man play I’m working on for Saturday’s game.”
Oh my God, COACH LIKES FOOTBALL??? No, seriously, this is like baby’s first characterization over here.
Nora and Vee go see a horror movie and there’s some really obvious foreshadowing (“Can you imagine?” Vee said. “Living your whole life never having a clue that the only reason you’re being kept alive is to be used as a sacrifice?”), Vee talks about how seductive Patch is (“his dark side calls to me”), and Nora talks about LOVE.
I had never been seriously interested in anyone. How weird was I? “It isn’t about the boys, it’s about… love. I haven’t found it.”
Instead of rereading the ensuing dialogue to summarize it for you, I’m just gonna tell you that I found a little drawing I made in the margin of a stick figure slamming his head against a table, so I think I was trying to give myself a warning, here. They go to the library, run into Patch, and drive home. Vee refuses to drive Nora home because the fog is too creepy (?) so she gives Nora the keys to her car so she can drive herself home (???) and then Nora gets attacked by someone with superhuman strength and is in mortal peril.
He gave another pound, the glass vibrating between us.
I started the car. I tried to synchronize shoving it into first gear, pushing on the gas pedal, and releasing the clutch.
She could try to actually be concerned, however.
I watched with horror as the door began to bow. He was tearing – it – off.
She escapes and is still bored. Much like me.