Somehow I accidentally skipped a chapter and started reading next week’s chapter of Reflected In You before this week’s chapter of Reflected In You. I didn’t notice until I was five pages in, and it wasn’t because of the story.
This chapter of Reflected In You is Eva and Gideon’s sexy weekend away after that whole incident where Gideon beat the shit out of a guy that Eva was kissing and then Gideon and Eva fucked until they felt better about the whole thing.
Speaking of Gideon beating the shit out of a dude, Eva remembers to ask about that.
There was a pause before he answered. “There’s no permanent damage. Would you care if there was?”
Gideon moves on from expressing psychotic behavior to expressing sociopathic behavior. So… slight improvement?
“I want to know about you two,” he demanded tightly.
Is this part of his obsessiveness? I mean, it is, but, like, the obsessive part of his character that we’re supposed to think is a good thing? Because, seriously, prying into your significant others’ past relationships when you’re paranoid and jealous is bad news for everyone involved, but let’s not forget that this is a romantic quality in Sylvia Day fictionland, which, now that I’ve typed that, sounds like the worst theme park ever.
But something genuinely amazing happens! Eva puts her foot down!
“Don’t take that tone with me, Gideon. I’m tired of being an open book for you while you hoard all your secrets.”
He tries to counter with his usual dickish bullshit and he tells him to shut his fucking face. Okay, not with those words, but anything that means I don’t have to read more Gideon “I own you”-dialogue is good enough.
“I can’t give you more in return.”
“You mean you won’t. Let’s be-”
“I can’t.” I pulled away from him, twisting so that I faced him. “Look what it’s doing to me! I hurt you last night. On purpose. Without even realizing it, because the resentment is eating at me even while I’m convincing myself that I can live with everything you’re not telling me.”
Um, wait, what was that one part again?
“Look what it’s doing to me! I hurt you last night. On purpose. Without even realizing it”
Uh, pretty sure you realized you were kissing another dude, Eva. His face was on your face. Also, the fact that Eva still doesn’t realize that she should have known that kissing another dude would hurt Gideon is just baffling. Isn’t Eva the… slightly more sane one? I mean, I’d expect such a lack of awareness from Gideon- oh, hey, look at this right on queue:
“What’s between you and Dr. Terrence Lucas? […]”
“I screwed her,” he spat. “[…] Luca’s wife. […] He alienated me from my family. I returned the favor.”
“You broke them up?”
“I broke her.” He exhaled harshly. “She came on to me at a fundraiser. I brushed her off until I learned who she was. I knew it’d kill Lucas to know I’d banged her, and the opening was there so I took it. […] When she was ready to leave him for me, I sent her back to her husband. […] I was screwing Lucas through her – I didn’t expect for her to become collateral damage.”
So let’s get this straight. Gideon Cross – the romantic male lead of this novel – once slept with the wife of a man he felt had wronged him, and did not expect this to hurt the woman in any way. This is why I did that “Let’s pretend this was the plot of The Notebook” post last week, because this isn’t necessarily a “bad” story, but the fact that all of this unaddressed misogyny is peppered throughout a story that deems itself a romance is dangerously out of touch with what “romance” is. And there’s a potential counterargument in that this is a story about unhealthy people trying to make a healthy relationship, but that’s invalid, because that can be done without misrepresenting – and glorifying – their unhealthy steps along the way.
Now, there’s another potential counterargument (if for some reason you’re reading this blog and disagreeing with the views Ariel and myself have about these books) in that this was part of Gideon’s past that he’s overcoming with Eva on his path to becoming a better person through his love for her, therefore ROMANCE. But silly you! We’re on the “It Is A Good Thing To Obsess Over Your Significant Other’s Sexual History” obsession ride at the Sylvia Day Fictionland theme park!
“Actually, you know what? You keep on thinking I’m God’s gift to women, angel. It’s better for me if you believe I’m the best you can get. […] Now, tell me what the fuck you had with Brett Kline.”
Eva explains with some difficulty, because it’s a part of her past that she’s ashamed of, that she was basically his groupie.
“He wrote a love song about you, Eva.”
About blow jobs.
I looked away. “The truth wouldn’t make much of a ballad, would it?”
Neither would blow jobs.
A little while later, Eva thinks to herself, “My problem was me […] Only I could make myself a stronger person,” and then Gideon walks in and says that he thought Eva was being self-centered about Corinne but then realized how she might feel after he saw her and Brett, saying, “I get it now. I didn’t before.” So, uh, it’s actually a rather healthy scene. Weird.
Nothing else happens in this chapter. They walk around on the beach, Gideon opens up about his relationship with his mom a little bit, Eva wants to invite Gideon’s younger half-sister to their dinner with her dad, and that’s about it.
Oh, and there’s a sex scene where Gideon prematurely ejaculates just from kissing Eva and it’s supposed to be about how much he loves her. I don’t know how that one’s supposed to make sense.
Oh, and there’s a part where Gideon says this:
“There are things you can bargain with, angel, but your body and sex aren’t negotiable.”
I’m not taking that out of context or anything. It actually reads that rapey.