This week’s Eva chapter begins with Shawna, a character I have no recollection of, calling Eva to plan a karaoke night.
In my head, I pictured the vibrant redhead who was quickly becoming a friend. In a lot of ways, she was like her brother Steven, who happened to be engaged to my boss.
Wow, it took a lot of modifying clauses before we got to why we’re supposed to know this character. Reading this book is like constantly playing the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game.
Friday was our bringing-the-drew-together night. I tried to imagine Arnoldo or Arash singing karaoke and just the thought made me smile.
Speaking of minor characters with dubiously important subplots, Eva gets her minimum once-per-chapter text from Brett, this time saying, “We need to talk. Call me.” Presumably next chapter the text will be, “We super need to talk,” because this entire subplot is just Brett’s increasing intervals of mild desperation.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t conflicted about him still reaching out
Really? I had no idea, since this has only been brought up once a chapter despite this plot having seemingly been resolved over a book ago.
I used to think facing issues that made me uncomfortable showed strength and responsibility. Now, I realized that sometimes resolution wasn’t the purpose. Sometimes, you just had to take the opportunity to examine yourself better.
Then why are we still spending time on this? Is this series so desperate to keep going that we’re going to retread the same character development over and over again with increasingly nonsensical lessons? Can anyone explain what “resolution wasn’t the purpose” has to do with either of those other two sentences?
Meanwhile, up next on the merry-go-round of underdeveloped stock characters (it is a metaphorical merry-go-round): Tatiana, the mother of Cary’s unborn child!
I wanted to like the woman who said she was carrying my best friend’s baby, but the leggy model didn’t make it easy for me.
It’s weird how many characters this description would apply to if it weren’t for that one part.
Cary tells Eva about how he saw Trey, his… ex? (I don’t even know anymore), for lunch:
“Did you say anything to him about the baby?”
He shook his head. “I thought about it, but I couldn’t do it. I’m such a dick.”
“Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s a rough spot you’re in.”
To be honest, this is kind of actually the only subplot in this book that makes me feel anything close to the emotions it’s trying to. Because this is a complicated situation, and there’s some very human emotions that-
Cary’s eyes closed […] “I was thinking the other day how much easier it’d be if Trey swung both ways. Then we could both be banging Tat and each other, and I could have it all.”
Never mind everything.
Next in the minor character cavalcade (metaphorical cavalcade): Eva’s boss Mark and his fiance Steven! Having an absurdly fancy midday lunch and talking about Eva’s upcoming wedding. Eva shows them her engagement ring.
“Whoa. Mark, darlin’, you have got to get me one of those.”
And we meet another minor character: Sylvia Day’s increasingly phoning-it-in writing.
The picture in my head of the flame-haired, burly contractor wearing a ring like mine was comical.
- The way Hermione cast a spell from her wand was magical.
- Aslan the lion’s roar was lion-like.
- Dr. Jekyll’s transformation into Mr. Hyde was gothic and metaphorical.
- The way Gregor Samsa was transformed into a giant insect was existentially absurd.
Because this is the nature of the book we’re reading by now, the next stop on the minor character line train is… Clancy!
Clancy is the security/private eye/”muscle”-type goon that Eva’s stepfather had on retainer for her. But since Eva’s switching over to Gideon’s security/private eye/”muscle”-type goons, she has no need of his services. It’s like this book’s version of switching from your parents’ AT&T account to Verizon.
Anyway, Eva decides to end that years-long relationship with this text message:
“Gideon wants to have his ppl with me moving forward, so you’re free from now on. 🙂 TY for all your help.”
Here’s hoping that every single one of these minor characters eventually gets written out of the plot with a similarly detached text message. Meanwhile, you can’t turn a page in this novel without running into yet another minor character.
I straightened and faced NYPD detective Shelley Graves.
WHY NOT. BRING ON ALL THE MINOR CHARACTERS. This chapter we’ve got Eva’s boss, Eva’s boss’s fiance, Eva’s boss’s fiance’s sister, Cary’s baby momma, Eva’s stepdad’s security person, and a detective who has literally not had anything to do in this story since we somehow swept aside that time Gideon fucking murdered a dude. WHY NOT. ANYONE ELSE WE CAN BRING INTO THE MIX?
“You know, one of the feds I talked to about Yedemsky also has the last name Clancy.” Her gaze bored into me. “You think they’re any relation?”
The blood drained out of my head at the mention of the Russian mobster whose corpse had been sporting Nathan’s bracelet.
THE RUSSIAN MOB. WHY, OF COURSE! COME JOIN THE PARTY, RUSSIAN MOB.
Let’s find out why the Russian mob is also a component of this story! WHY THE FUCK NOT.
I stared at her for a beat, trying to pull my thoughts together. Clancy. Gideon. Nathan. What the hell did it mean? Where was she going with it?
Most of all, why did I feel as if she were helping me? Looking out for me. For Gideon.
What I ended up saying startled me. “I’m looking to support an organization that does good work for abuse survivors.”
Nice segue, Captivated By You.
Eva meets up with Gideon and talks about this whole Russian mob thing that, lest you forget, is actually part of the narrative. Eva has figured out that Clancy and his brother in the FBI planted Nathan’s bracelet on the mobster. Gideon already knew this. They fight. Which is strange, because even with an explanation spelled out for me, this is just like every other instance where I don’t understand what they’re fighting about.
After the fight (do I even need to summarize their fights anymore? Is this even important?), Sylvia Day makes kissing sound absolutely awful:
Gideon’s hand fisted in my ponytail, holding me in place as he took over the kiss, fucking my mouth
The next morning (I have no idea how much time has passed in this chapter. Is this even important either?) Cary and Eva and Gideon talk about their future as roommates. Cary feels like he should stand up, be responsible, and try to make things work out with Tatiana and move in together for the baby, and that Eva and Gideon probably shouldn’t feel forced to have to deal with that in their lives. This rare moment of maturity from Cary is immediately nullified by the very frequent moment of “Gideon has money”, when Gideon points out that they can just soundproof Cary and Tatiana’s part of the apartment.
The apartment that four grown-ass adults who are married and/or with kids are all sharing for some reason. Somehow this is the most plausible concept that’s been introduced this chapter.
Cary is still sad about the whole thing, though, and Gideon and Eva “didn’t speak or even look at each other, not wanting to create a unit that left Cary out”, which somehow segues into this:
It struck me then that I had to make some adjustments, compromise a little more on the issue of working with Gideon. I had to stop thinking of Team Cross as being his alone.
This is literally the thought process that just happened:
- We are looking at Cary and not each other
- Therefore I should abandon my goals of advancing my own career and just work for my husband
And yet it’s still not as ridiculous as the Russian mob thing.
Around the end of the workday, Eva decides to go up to Gideon’s office to talk with him about this.
The redheaded receptionist at Cross Industries buzzed me in.
Look, I’m not willing to let go that this is probably leading to the lamest, subtlest foreshadowing of something ever.
I watched Gideon [lead a meeting]. It never ceased to amaze me how self-assured he was for a man who was only twenty-eight.
All twenty-eight year old white men are more self-assured than they should be.
Because this chapter hasn’t used up all its minor characters yet, Eva has a talk with Gideon’s stepdad who happens to be there!
“Elizabeth [Gideon’s mother] is taking this very hard. I’m sure there are a lot of complicated emotions a mother must feel when her first child decides to get married, especially a son. My mother used to say that a son is a son until he gets married – then he’s a husband – but a daughter is a daughter for life.”
“Fuck you, women!”
“Let’s be honest,” I insisted quietly. “Your wife didn’t have this reaction when Gideon became engaged to Corinne. […] It’s very personal, Mr. Vidal. Elizabeth is feeling threatened because I’m not going to put up with this bullshit anymore. You both owe Gideon an apology and she needs to admit to the abuse.”
Gideon’s stepdad has no idea what Eva is talking about, which ultimately results into Eva telling him that Gideon was raped by the therapist he saw in his youth. It is unclear whether he really doesn’t know this or was in denial. And it remains unclear because the chapter ends with Gideon showing up, angry at Eva, and pulling her away.
Have fun writing next Monday’s chapter, Ariel!
Question of the day: How many of the minor characters’ names can you remember? NO PEEKING. NO SCROLLING UP THROUGH THE POST. Just write down/guess as many characters’ names as you can remember. Go!