Hopefully you remember who Megumi is.
Captivated By You: Chapter 6
At lunch with her father, husband, and best friend (aw!), Eva talks about wedding plans.
“I’m going to ask Ireland to be a bridesmaid.”
“She’ll like that.”
“What do we do about Christopher?”
“Nothing. With luck, he won’t come.”
My dad frowned. “Who are we talking about?”
Eva’s dad, suddenly the most relatable character in this story. These characters even have the benefit of coming in before the storm of minor characters, and I still barely remember why they’re important.
There’s a weird power struggle as Eva and Gideon try to explain why they don’t much care for Christopher, which is always a good sign at the start of a marriage to someone you’ve known for a few months.
I explained, not wanting my dad to hold anythingagainst my husband.
“Christopher’s not a nice guy.” Gideon’s head turned toward me. He didn’t say it aloud, but I got the message: He didn’t want me speaking for him.
While Eva’s dad is paying for the wedding, Gideon asks if he can pay for transportation. Eva’s dad agrees that this is a reasonable request. Gideon then throws in a private jet to fly Eva’s dad across the country at a moment’s notice. Not making this up, this actually escalated just like that. Yes, it is about as weird as you might think.
“It’s a bit extravagant, and I don’t want to be a burden.”
Gideon pulled his shades off, baring his eyes. “That’s what money’s for.”
Or for eating food. I know a lot of money who use money in order to eat food.
Although seriously, let’s really consider this scene. We have Eva’s dad, talking with his daughter’s fiance, who is a man in his twenties, pulling off his sunglasses to explain to him what money is for. This isn’t a charming rogue; this is an entitled little shit.
We skip ahead a day, and we get this gem I can’t even say anything about:
Whoever said Mondays sucked had obviously never woken up to a naked Gideon Cross.
Later that day (look, when you have a line like that last one, does it even matter what’s in the rest of the scene), Eva gets back to work and – surprise – Megumi is back! If you’re like Eva’s dad and you’re struggling to remember who all the characters are in this book, Megumi mysteriously disappeared around the end of the last book, and she’s been “out sick” all this book so far. Here is Captivated By You selling a character who has been in mysterious, maybe sickly straits:
She was pale and had dark circles under her eyes. Her usually sassy asymmetrical haircut looked limp and overlong, and she was wearing a long-sleeved blouse and dark slacks that were out of place with the August mugginess.
She’s not dressed appropriately for the season? YUP. SOMETHING SUPER SKETCHY MUST BE UP.
As though Sylvia Day gave just as many shits about this subplot as we do, the book only bothers having Megumi affirm that she was sick and didn’t feel like talking to anyone before she suddenly bursts into tears and leaves the scene.
She started crying. Horrified, I stood frozen for a minute.
“Megumi. What’s wrong?”
She pulled off her headset and stood, tears spilling down her face. She shook her head violently.
“I can’t talk about it now.”
“When is your break?”
But she was already hurrying to the bathroom
Eva briefly does her job for a page (her boss brings her a new project: they’re running the ad campaign for LanCorp’s new PhazeOne gaming system. OMG that’s the people Gideon was shitting on during his videoconference! AND NOW THEY’RE WITH HIS CORPORATE RIVALS. OMG. GUYS DO YOU THINK GIDEON IS GOING TO LOSE EVERYTHING? I REALLY BET HE REALLY IS REALLY OMG) before she tries to ask Gideon for a favor so she can help Megumi.
Which reminds me that her last favor she asked Gideon for was to try to get in touch with the missing Megumi, and Megumi just popped up again of her own accord, so why did we bother with that whole thing with meeting Gideon’s private investigator?
This new favor actually does come to fruition, but not before Eva and Gideon’s contractually-obligated one of 2-7 fights per chapter. Eva calls Gideon’s assistant asking to be connected whenever Gideon has a free moment, but she gets connected to him in the middle of a meeting! She apologizes and hangs up, but then Gideon… Gideons:
the secondary line flashed with an incoming call. I switched over. “Mark Garrity’s office—”
“Don’t ever hang up on me,” Gideon snapped.
I bristled at his tone. “Are you in a meeting or not?”
“I was. Now I’m dealing with you.”
Hell if anyone was going to “deal” with me. I could be as pissy as him any day of the week.
“You know, I asked Scott to give you a message when you had time for it and he patched me through. He shouldn’t have done that, if you were busy with—”
“He has standing orders to always connect your calls”
Meanwhile, Scott is presumably off to the side, all, “I just work here…”
“Well, excuse me for not knowing the etiquette for getting in touch with you!”
“Never mind that now. Say what you need.”
“Nothing. Forget it.”
He exhaled roughly. “Don’t play games with me, angel.”
It’s the sex one. Obviously. That poll could have been “What color is a banana?” and you would have been more likely to answer it wrong.
When the fighting finally stops because the conversation turned to sex (and the sun rises in the east…), Gideon arranges to have Eva use his office to have a quiet, private lunch and talk with Megumi about what’s wrong.
On their way to his office, something insignificant happens with such a weird level of detail that I can only assume it’s 1) insanely subtle foreshadowing of… something, or 2) Sylvia Day really struggling to meet the page count.
The redhead I was used to seeing at the reception desk must have been out to lunch, because a guy with dark hair let us in. He stood when we approached.
“Good afternoon, Miss Tramell. Scott said you should just go right in.”
“Has Mr. Cross left?”
“I’m not sure. I just took over here.”
How would his having just started this job affect whether he knows this or not? This would be like telling someone you don’t know where the nearest subway station is because you only just woke up about an hour ago.
Megumi meets Gideon for the first time, and he leaves the two of them alone. And then we have… the greatest/worst transition of all time:
[Megumi] took in the sprawling space with its panoramic views and monochromatic color scheme […] There were so many sides to the man I’d married. His office reflected only one. The classically European style of his penthouse reflected another.
“Have you ever experimented with BDSM?” Megumi asked
“Did you like it? Did it turn you on?”
“No.” I walked over to the nearest couch and sat. “But I wasn’t with the right person.”
“Were you scared?”
“Terrified. […] Why are you asking me these questions, Megumi?”
She answered by rolling up her sleeve, exposing a wrist so bruised it was nearly black.
In the last chapter Crossfire finally became a parody of itself (Seriously, “I wouldn’t get myself off. I always saved it for Eva. Every thick, creamy drop.” is a real thing that was written in this real book. There is no way that was written with a straight face, like Day typed it up, sat back to look it over, and nodded, thinking, “Yup, I have captured some true love here.”). But now it’s a parody of a parody of itself.
Really, though. Crossfire has finally brought up BDSM, the calling card of the Fifty Shades series it’s so fervently imitating it’s peeking over to see what answers its writing down on the quiz in their history class, but in a serious and negative kind of way. This is like a non-Euclidean rabbit hole of imitation and reference.
Question of the Day! What do you think happened to Megumi? What do you think is even happening in this book?