Captivated by You Chapter 3: Gideon
There’s a new minor character on the block. [Matthew says: Just what this book was missing!] Arash, Gideon’s lawyer, appears to have not fucked off into
beautiful oblivion after being briefly mentioned in the first chapter, so I thought it would be worth turning the spotlight to him. He exists and he is apparently more than a lawyer, he’s a friend, because the chapter opens with him teasing Gideon about how smooth he is for talking to Eva’s dad about their upcoming marriage.
The reason for Arash’s abrupt introduction and seemingly overnight transplant into Gideon’s tight-knit group of buddies (which also materialized overnight) quickly becomes apparent:
He stood. “Yes, I heard. Your mother’s here. Let the wedding insanity begin. Since you’re free this weekend, how about we round up some of the usual suspects at my place tonight? It’s been a while, and your bachelor days are numbered. Well, technically they’re over, but no one else knows that.”
The usual suspects? You could maybe convince me that Arash is a fairly good friend of Gideon’s who has never been mentioned before, and then there’s that guy Arnoldo (you deserve to be hailed for your excellent memory if you remember who he is) who Gideon hangs with. But to try to convince me there are “usual suspects” is a step too far.
[Matthew says: This is less a criticism and more my state of unwavering confusion concerning key details of the premise (…which I guess makes this a criticism anyway) but Gideon is a hyper-successful businessman in his twenties, because fiction. So what about his “usual suspects”? Is Arash a twenty-something lawyer? Are all of Gideon’s friends way too young to be so succesful?]
Arash heads off, and before Gideon’s mother enter the room, Gideon quickly tells us this:
During the two minutes I had alone, I texted Angus about getting to California. I still had unfinished business there, and taking care of it while Eva was visiting her dad gave me a legitimate excuse to be where she was. Not that I absolutely needed one.
Eva’s been pretty clear about not wanting you to hang out with her in California, so I guess you don’t need a reason to follow her there, Gideon. Sense-making!
Gideon’s mother tries to convince Gideon he’s making a huge mistake by marrying Eva, and she obviously fails to change his mind about marrying her. It’s about as suspenseful as watching someone butter toast. [Matthew says: The conversation also lasts about as long as it takes to butter toast, but it’s long enough to feature Gideon describing his mother with “Her pretty pink mouth tightened with disapproval”, because everybody in this book must be sexy, even when being described by their son.]
Raul, Gideon’s private investigator/body guard (I’m still not quite sure what his preferred job title is), provides Gideon with an up-to-date report of what Anne Lucas looks like. This leads Gideon to realize that the woman who annoyed Eva and flirted with Cary at the end of the last book isn’t Anne Lucas! THEN WHO WAS PHONE?
This is a rare opportunity for Gideon to take a stroll down memory lane:
“Eva said the woman had long hair,” I murmured, noting that Anne still had cropped hair. I remembered the plastic feel of it, the sharp-gelled spikes scratching my thighs as she deep-throated my cock, working desperately to get me hard enough to fuck her.
Not only is no current woman in Gideon’s life a threat to Eva, but he isn’t really even attracted to women he used to sleep with! A woman’s greatest fantasy is that the sexiest and richest man in the world will fall in love with her and that he’ll have had lots of sex and be amazing at it, but he won’t have really enjoyed the sex beforehand. I think the closest we came to something more complicated was Christian Grey being in love with “Mrs Robinson” but she was treated as an evil child molester, so it doesn’t really count, I guess.
There were a number of women in my past who might cause problems for me with my wife. The women I’d slept with were aggressive by nature, ones who put me in the position of needing to take the upper hand. Eva was the only woman who’d ever grabbed the lead and made me want more.
See what I mean? If you don’t, it becomes even more apparent when Eva shows up in Gideon’s office:
“You’ll make me come,” I murmured. All the effort I’d once had to expend to become aroused enough to orgasm was unnecessary with my wife. The fact that she existed stirred my blood. The strength of her desire was enough to set me off.
Now try a variation of that for a pickup line: “Your existence alone makes me want to come.” Super flattering!
[Matthew says: There’s also something for those of you dying to see how hearing the story from Gideon’s perspective fleshes out his character, since previously all we really got out of him was that he thought Eva was super duper fuckable but, boy, she sure likes to be her own person! Now we can see how this duality seems from Gideon’s perspective!
[She] challenged every dominant instinct I had. I wanted to fist her ponytail in my hand, take her mouth, and grind against her.
Gideon asks Eva not to go to California, and she says she has to see her dad now that he knows about the engagement.
“Is there something you should be telling me?”
“No. He sounded good when I talked to him, but I think he was hoping we’d have more time together before I got married. To him, it seems like you and I just met.”
You are not alone in feeling that way, Mr. Reyes, I can assure you.
Things start getting heated between Gideon and Eva even though Gideon needs to be on a conference call soon! Relationship issues take precedence of course, and Eva and Gideon discuss their earlier argument over Brett and Corinne. Resolving a pointless fight really gets these two going, so they have sex while Gideon is on the call. [Matthew says: Not absurd enough for you? IT’S A VIDEO CONFERENCE.]
Most of this scene is actually an argument between Gideon and some creative-types who are working on generic app and trying to create an awesome user experience (insert more buzz terms here.) But then there’s this gem:
Staring into a half-dozen angry faces with a riot of protests exploding from my earpiece, I felt the orgasm hit me like a freight train. I fumbled for the mute button and let the groan tear from my throat as I spurted powerfully into Eva’s greedily working mouth. She moaned and milked my dick with both hands, pulling and squeezing as I kept coming in a flood I couldn’t stop.
His video is still on, so presumably he’s groaning really loudly but keeping his face completely neutral. I encourage you to attempt to groan (sexily?) while maintaining a completely blank and/or menacing expression. It’s highly entertaining. [Matthew says: Meanwhile, I want to never hear “dick” and “milked” in the same sentence ever again.]
Afterwards, they need to fill the void left behind from their resolved conflict and create a new one. Eva is concerned that Gideon will be hanging out with his boys tonight and that there’s a chance they could go to a club!
“I’m not worried about you,” she muttered, her arms dropping to her sides.
“Arnoldo doesn’t trust me, Gideon. He doesn’t really want you with me.”
“It’s not his decision to make. And some of your friends aren’t going to like me, either. I know Cary’s on the fence.”
“What if Arnoldo tells the others how he feels about me?”
If Eva is worried about Arnoldo turning Gideon’s beloved friends (who have never been previously mentioned) against her, then he wouldn’t need to be at a club to do that. In fact, I’m pretty sure he could just group message everyone on Facebook and call it a day if he really wanted to.
Later that night, we meet Manuel, who actually appears to be the only new minor character added since that crazy kid Arash. Manuel is the element that’s been missing all along from Gideon’s crew of dude-bros. He’s the jovial guy who gives Gideon crap for causing him to lose a bet over who’d be the first to get married. Oh, Manuel, never change.
Gideon talks to Arnoldo about Eva’s concerns:
I didn’t waste time with small talk. “Eva worries that you’ve got a problem with her.”
He glanced at me. “I’ve never been disrespectful to your woman.”
Except for right here right now with that line. Always change, Arnoldo.
Two more problematic things come up during this conversation. I mean, I’m sure there are loads more problematic things because trying to count the things that are wrong in the Crossfire series is like trying to count the fucking characters during a Mario Party mini game. Except it’s even harder than that, really.
“If her happiness depends on what I think,” he answered in Italian, “you ask too much. I will never say anything against her. I’ll always treat her with the respect I feel for you as long as you are together. But what I believe is my choice and my right, Gideon.”
I looked over at Arash, who was lining up shot glasses on the bar in the living room. As my lead attorney, he knew about both my marriage and Eva’s sex tape, and he didn’t have a problem with either one.
Well, he shouldn’t because Eva didn’t make the sex tape on purpose. she was having sex with her boyfriend at the time and someone taped them.
“I sat with Eva and Brett Kline at dinner. I observed them together. There is chemistry there, not unlike what I saw between Bianca and the man she left me for. I wish I believed Eva would ignore it, but she’s already proven that she can’t.”
I really have to ask, why is this Brett thing still an issue? Why is Arnoldo fueling the least threatening fire of all time? Fuck off, Arnoldo.
Gideon at least sticks up for Eva and said he was to blame for a lot of the negative stuff that’s happened between him and Eva, and Arnoldo is just like, “No fucks are given.”
[Matthew says: I actually have a third one to add:
Manuel grinned. “Latinas rule, my friend. Sexy, curvy. More than a handful in bed and out. Hot tempered. Passionate.” He hummed. “Good choice.”
So, first, we have the problematic detail that this is pretty racist? Not like an “I hate X people!” hateful racist, but nonetheless a “aw man, X people are super hot!” objectifying racist, which isn’t an improvement to really brag about. (Of course, there’s nothing problematic about including racist characters in a story, per se – the problematic part is when a story doesn’t identify those characters as such, so ultimately the book is only helping to construct the same racism as its characters.)
But there’s something else with this I’d like to talk about: somehow I totally missed that Eva is Latina? This could just be me skimming through these books or being an inattentive reader (or, to be honest, white privilege – I don’t even know what kinds of cues I might have missed), but somehow I feel like there’s a problem if it took me four books of a series to learn the main character’s race? Surely this should have come up more than a few times? If not in explicit statements, surely they would be elements of her experience that would clue us in, since I’m almost certain that a Latina girlfriend of a white man in the public eye would probably experience this differently than a white woman would.
[Ariel says: I hate to say anything that even remotely sounds like it’s in defence of this book, but this fact has come up loads of times. Eva mentions her father is latino a bunch of times, and she also mentions it about herself quite a few times. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons she gave for her parents not being able to overcome their ~differences~ was “he’s latino and she’s white!”]
I talked with my girlfriend about this one, since she reads about how race is typically coded in literature more than I do and had recently discussed how – unless stated otherwise – readers and writers tend to assume that their characters are white. Unsurprisingly, she put what I wanted to try to say better than I was ever going to:
I feel like saying she’s “Latina” is used like her hair color, in that it’s a random detail used for cursory physical description. No language used, no culture described. Nothing. She’s coded as white in the sense of being completely blank.
Blankness is, of course, a huge problem with this series in a myriad of ways (albeit less so than in Fifty Shades, where every character is essentially a paper cutout), and we’re definitely not suggesting peppering in random spurts of other languages apropos of nothing (again, considerably more of a problem in Fifty Shades – remember José “Dios Mío!” Rodriguez?). Nor am I saying that writers shouldn’t try writing outside of their experience, but that does come with a certain responsibility and care that I’m not feeling in Crossfire, where the first time I noticed the main character wasn’t white was because another character was being casually racist about it.]
My question is, if you could choose a character to hang out with Gideon’s crew, who would it be and why?