The chapter starts with a series of things that don’t make any sense, so you know this is going to be a good one.
Trenton shot me a text that he was at my door […]
“I have a doorbell, you know,” I said.
He frowned, pulling his coat off and hanging it on the closest barstool. “What are we? In 1997?”
But… he’s at the door. This is like if your doctor says you need a flu shot and then arguing that nobody buys CDs anymore. Even with completely unrelated technological advances aside, pushing one button still sounds way easier than pushing a bunch of buttons? [Ariel says: This struck me as really odd too. I’ve been known to text a friend from my car if we’re in a rush, or text them if they don’t answer the door after I’ve rung it…but doorbells have never gone out of style, damn it.]
But it’s not just Trenton saying things that don’t make any sense! Don’t forget about the slightly-less-minor minor character Raegan, whose subplot continues to be 90% off-page.
“With Brazil. They’re on a date. That’s why she left early from work tonight.”
“Weren’t they just arguing yesterday?”
“Hence the date.”
Trenton shook his head. “Am I nuts, or was she happier with Kody?”
One of my favorite things about the Raegan-Kody-Brazil subplot is that it’s so shoved to the side that the only way it ever progresses is by other characters directly commenting on it. Could you imagine how great it would be if the main plot were written this bluntly? Just give me one sentence chapters like “Call me crazy, but I think Cami feels conflicted about leaving TJ!” It’d be great.
But, alas, suddenly things get much worse. Not for Cami and Trenton. For me, reading this book.
we realized – at the same time – that we were alone and would be all night
Oh no. This is the sex chapter.
“This isn’t the way I wanted to do this.” He kissed me again. “I wanted to take you to dinner first.”
“Your girlfriend’s a bartender who works on all the good date nights. We’ll make an exception,” I said.
Trenton immediately pulled away from me, searching my face. “Girlfriend?”
Oh phew! They’re about to have yet another fight, thus putting off the sex chapter! Maybe to a day when it’s Ariel’s post! SORRY, BLOG BUDDY. EVERYONE FOR THEMSELVES. [Ariel says: I trusted you!!!!]
“I don’t know why I said that. It just came out.”
Yes… feed your petty squabbles…
Trenton’s expression changed from confused to a surprised, appreciative smile. “I’m good with it if you are.”
The corners of my mouth turned up. “That’s sort of way better than dinner.”
God dammit, it just made them stronger.
His eyes scanned my face. “Camille Camlin is mine. That’s just crazy.”
Ugh, they have to rub it in with problematic possessive diction? They can’t just bang? [Ariel says: I know we give them a lot of crap, but it’s not really weird or that big of deal to call someone yours that way. It’s creepy when Gideon says things like, “She’s my wife and she’s my possession” (sorry just spoiled 45% of the fourth Bared to You book.)] [Matthew adds: I think it’s more so the frequency with which they refer to their SO as “mine” rather than the act itself. It gets weird.]
He beamed. “My girl’s fuckin’ hot!” His mouth slammed into mine, and then he yanked my shirt over my head, exposing my red bra. […] he unbuttoned and unzipped my jeans, revealing my black and red lace panties. He shook his head and looked up at me. “If I’d known you were wearing stuff like this, I wouldn’t have been able to wait so long.”
Well, only a miracle can save us now.
I could hear muffled voices right outside the door, and then it blew open, smacking against the wall.
Raegan’s cheeks were streaked with mascara, and she had on the most beautiful pink cocktail dress I’d ever seen.
YES. HOORAY FOR RAEGAN’S BORING SUBPLOT.
“You don’t get it!” she yelled. “You can’t bring me to a date party and then leave me alone all night so you can drink with your frat brothers at the keg!”
Brazil slammed the door shut. “You could have been over there with me, but you were hell-bent on pouting all damn night!”
You may be thinking to yourself, aren’t a mostly-naked Cami and Trenton also in this room?
Raegan and Brazil stared at us for a few seconds, and then Raegan began to cry and ran to her room. Brazil followed her down the hall, but patted Trenton on his bare shoulder first.
Is the “sweet, I walked in on you during foreplay and neither of you are fully clothed, let me just touch you real fast, bro” pat a real thing? Do people do that?
Raegan and Brazil were still yelling while we both put on our shirts. I didn’t want this drama to be the backdrop to our first time together
Raegan and Brazil keep fighting, which would be a very strange-looking sentence if you read it out of the context of this book.
“I’m not listening to you bitch at me all night!”
“If you would just listen! Why don’t you hear what I’m trying to tell you? We can make this work if we just—”
“You don’t want me to listen! You want me to obey! There were other people at that party besides you, Ray! When will you get it through your head that you don’t fucking own me?”
This book has everything except a reason why Raegan wants to make things work with Brazil. [Ariel says: I think Raegan’s tried to explain it away by saying he was her first love, which is stupid.] [Matthew adds: I can’t think of a stronger disincentive than “but it’s your first ex!”]
I frowned. “Brazil, don’t yell at her like that. You guys have been drinking-” […]
“She’s fucking yelling at me. That’s okay, I guess? You women are all the fucking same! We’re always the bad guys!”
The irony being that it’s the men who say that who are all the same.
Suddenly, the novel realizes that Raegan and Brazil are such non-characters that they can’t sustain a fight. Is Brazil just a dick ignoring Raegan, or is Raegan really that controlling? We have literally no content to feel any involvement in this, so the novel’s basically saying, “I don’t even care about these guys. Let’s make it about Cami somehow!” Which is what happens.
“No one said you were the bad guy, Jason, just calm down,” I said.
“I did! He’s the fucking bad guy!” Raegan snapped.
“Ray—” I warned.
“Oh, I’m the bad guy?” Brazil said, touching his chest with both hands.
“I’m not the one who’s half naked with Trenton over here, when she was in your front yard kissing her ex last night!”
Everyone freezes, realizing that Cami’s drama is way more real (in a number of ways) than Reagan and Brazil’s. Raegan scrambles to explain to Trenton that she saw TJ begging for Cami back, which she turned down, and he “kissed her good-bye”, and that “It wasn’t even a kiss kiss”. Now the fight gets serious! AKA about things that have actually been in this book.
“There was nothing to tell.”
“Someone else had their motherfucking lips on you. That’s pretty goddamn pertinent, Camille.”
I cringed. “Don’t call me Camille when you’re pissed. You sound like Colin. Or my father.”
Trenton’s eyes lit with anger. “Don’t compare me to them. That’s not fair.”
Trenton then responds like every Christian Grey/Gideon Cross/Travis Maddox/literally every 2010s romance male love interest: by threatening to murder a dude!
“If he ever touches you again”— he stood up and looked straight into my eyes—“ I’ll kill him.” He grabbed his keys, and then walked out the door, slamming it behind him.
Remember, murder actually happened in Crossfire already, so society has already decided that it can be romantic to murder people. TRUE LOVE.
On the plus side, at least this isn’t the sex chapter! It is not much of a plus side.
The next morning Raegan apologizes to Cami, and Beautiful Oblivion breaks the “show, don’t tell” rule of writing to tell us something that isn’t remotely accurate.
Her eyes were heavy, and I could see that she was hurting more than I was over what she’d done. Forgiveness was not easy for someone like me.
Really? Because the first 74% of this book would strongly suggest the exact opposite. You know, the part where she never followed through on her warnings to ignore Trenton’s unwanted advances, let her brother talk her into financially supporting him despite past problems with drug abuse, and bent over backwards to assuage all of her other abusive family members. This is why we have “show, don’t tell” folks. Because you can’t tell the reader that your main character doesn’t forgive easily when the entire book is them being kind of a huge pushover.
Later that day at the tattoo parlor, we finally meet Bishop, who is – surprise – exactly like every other male character in this book.
“Morning,” he said. “No offense, but who the fuck are you?” […] He strolled over to the counter and leaned in on his elbows. “I’m kind of big shit around here. […] I travel around a lot, doing gigs wherever . It’s like vacationing for a living. It gets lonely, though…”
Doesn’t it get boring writing every single male character as a womanizing asshole? I’m not saying that female characters in fiction, conversely, don’t generally all get written the same (because of course – have you seen literally anything?), but it’s really hard to tell which womanizing assholes we’re supposed to hate and which womanizing assholes we’re supposed to root for.
Cami and Trenton have a talk. Trenton is fully expecting Cami to break up with him, but she just wants him to be less of an asshole, so they make up. Or, in Jamie McGuire-language:
- “I was sure you were tasting the douche water last night . . . now I know you’re drinking it.” (What?)
- “Oh, really? Your girlfriend? Because you kind of just asked me to break up with you!”
“I don’t think people break up past high school, Cami…” (What???)
- “News flash, Trenton Maddox!” I said […] “You will not kill anyone for touching me, unless I don’t want to be touched! And even then, I’ll be the one committing murder! Got it?” (SERIOUSLY WHAT????)
Naturally, it ends with them saying they love each other and making out.
Question of the Day: How are your New Year’s resolutions going?