Beautiful Redemption Chapter 9
Liis fills Val in on her upcoming undercover wedding date (in three weeks! Remember this timeline.) Val is, of course, annoying/feisty/sassy/tough-talkin’ about it, which understandably irks Liis:
“I rested my chin on my fist, pouting. “Why can’t you just leave things alone, Val? I need him to trust me.”
She swallowed. “How many times have I told you? There are no secrets in the Bureau. Maddox should have assumed that I’d find out eventually. He’s acutely aware of my talents.”
Yeah, except I can think of a few secrets in the Bureau at the moment. You know, how nobody knows why Liis is really working at said Bureau.
Things get accidentally topical but also retro?
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Curb the jealousy, O.J.”
This seems like a very awful and out of place reference. I know that O.J. is a pop cultural obsession again, but this seems both out of date and like McGuire is trying to ride the gravy train that is a resurgence in ‘popularity’ of a disturbing crime. That takes real talent.
Val continues to be weird, and talks about how perfect Thomas and Liis would be together because sometimes he smiles when she walks by. Let’s forget how he goes apeshit whenever Liis talks to Sawyer and focus on this smiling thing.
Speaking of Sawyer, after lunch he shows up in Liis’ office and asks her if she wants to grab dinner with him. So of course, Thomas has been also standing by the office door all along and is jealous. I actually feel bad for Sawyer as a character that this is literally the only purpose he servers.
The conversation immediately makes no sense:
“What?” I said from behind the monitor.
“What are you doing?”
“Checking my email, also known as work. You should try it.”
“You used to call me sir.”
“You used to make me.”
Hasn’t she only been working there like a week? Playing fast and loose with the ‘used to’, aren’t we?
Thomas complains that Sawyer is taking her to Thomas’ favourite restaurant. No fair! Thomas double checks that Liis is really emotionally unavailable and wasn’t just saying that because she wasn’t interested in him.
“I’ve just been…” His expression changed from casually flirty to curious and flirty. “Who’s the SWAT guy you left behind in Chicago?”
This is the least flirty thing I’ve ever heard? Talking about someone’s ex is definitely a way to keep things as far from flirty as possible.
Liis says she doesn’t want to discuss this at work, which makes a lot of sense. What doesn’t make sense is that this causes Thomas to invite himself to dinner that night. Talking about their romantic situation while Liis has made plans to hang out with Sawyer also seems like an inappropriate time to continue this conversation, but clearly these are two people who don’t understand situations.
Liis says no to this, but we all know that to a Maddox that just means, “See you at 8.”
“What is with everyone today? Val is acting crazy, and you’re insane…and arrogant, by the way. I just want to come to work, go home, and maybe not eat alone once in a while with whomever the hell I want to, without drama or whining or contests.”
The whole of Squad Five was staring into my office.
Yup. This is definitely the FBI without Netflix.
He leaves and Liis starts smiling uncontrollably for some reason even though the whole office is clearly gossiping about her and she definitely has not done any work today. Okay, I guess that doesn’t sound all bad.
At the restaurant that night, the waitress says Thomas hasn’t been there in a long time. All roads lead back to Cami!
“Didn’t you used to bring your girl here?” Sawyer asked.
Thomas lowered his chin and glowered at Sawyer, but when Thomas’s eyes met mine, his features softened. He looked down, situating his silverware and napkin. “The last time I came here was with her.”
“Oh,” I said, my mouth suddenly dry.”
I really wish I could promise you that eventually Sawyer contributes more to the plot than this, but I would be lying.
Sawyer gets up to go to the bathroom, and Thomas and Liis immediately start talking about Cami. Liis asks if she left him for his brother. The answer might surprise you.
“Yeah,” Thomas said. He puffed, like something had knocked the breath out of him. “But she wasn’t mine to begin with. Camille has always belonged to Trent.”
I shook my head and furrowed my brow. “Why do that to yourself?”
“It’s hard to explain. Trent has loved her since we were kids. I knew it.”
This is utter and complete nonsense because Trenton had other girlfriends and had never even really spoken to Cami before that book. Out of nowhere, the book was like, “Trenton had loved her the whole time! From afar!” I get that it could be frustrating for him if Thomas asked her out but…come on! There was no evidence to suggest there was a valid reason for Trenton not asking her out sooner despite his alleged love for her.
Saying she “belonged” to Trenton while she didn’t even know she was the object of his affection is offensive and fucking ridiculous.
Liis is shocked that Thomas did something so “heartless.” If only you understood that this was actually not all that heartless, Liis. The heartless part was that he kept it a secret.
“But you pursued her anyway. I just don’t understand why.”
His shoulders moved up just a tiny bit. “I love her, too.”
Present tense. A tinge of jealousy twinged in my chest.
Remember this. They fight about it for the rest of the book.
“Trent talked about Camille all the time, but in a way—to me, at least—I never thought he’d go for it. For the longest time, I thought he’d never settle down. Then, he started seeing this other girl…Mackenzie. That’s when I decided he was past his crush on Camille. But pretty quickly after that, there was an accident, and Mackenzie died.”
I feel like Thomas made a very fair assumption and it is not his fault Trenton’s girlfriend died and left him open to pursue Cami again someday. At the time Thomas asked Cami out, Trent was apparently still mourning his dead girlfriend, so who could blame Thomas for thinking that it was probably fine if he asked Cami out.
“But Trent and Camille ended up together?”
“I work a lot. She’s there. He’s there. It was bound to happen once Trent decided to chase her. I couldn’t really protest. He loved her first.”
I can’t. I really can’t. He didn’t love her first. He thought she was hot from afar first.
They talk about how Cami is keeping his secret about being in the FBI for him, and he talks more about how he still loves her. This seems like a very fucking stupid thing to say to the new woman you’re into.
The discuss how Camille is going to be at the wedding, and he says she’s in his past. Liis is obviously confused by this since he still says he loves her.
He breathed a laugh and looked down. “You can love someone without wanting to be with them. Just like you can want to be with someone before you love them.”
Yeah this is kind true, but the way he’s talking about Cami (and continues to talk about her) implies he still does want to be with her. It would make more sense if he was like “I still care about her but I don’t want to be with her anymore.”
The chapter ends with Sawyer returning to the table (he was off flirting with the waitress, not having a long poo) and mercifully changing the conversation.