Beautiful Redemption: Chapter 10
Thomas is helping Liis put some finishing touches on her apartment by hanging up a painting of two women. This of course prompts Thomas and Liis to have a conversation about art, which is exactly what you’d imagine from a conversation about art in Beautiful Redemption:
“[They’re] Spectators. Listeners. Like us.”
He looked unimpressed. “They’re weird.” […]
“Thanks for hanging the girls.”
I shrugged. “They don’t have names.”
“Because they’re not real.”
“They’re real to me.”
So much chemistry between these two, y’all. This brief conversation about whether art is “real”, aside from being an actual thing in this book, segues into a discussion on the subjective nature of reality, with Thomas taking a mental universe position while Liis takes the realist position that reality is ontologically independent of our perceptions. Just kidding. The actual segue is way more of a stretch, somehow.
“Speaking of things that aren’t real… I’ve been trying to think of a way to talk to you about certain aspects of the trip.”
He stood up and walked toward me, leaning down just inches from my face, slightly turning his head.
I pulled away. “What are you doing?”
He backed off, satisfied. “Seeing what you would do. I was right to bring this up now. If I don’t show affection, they’ll know something is up.”
Damn, he’s a good secret agent.
[I] sat on his right, leaving not even air between us. I nuzzled my cheek against his chest and slid my hand across his rigid abdomen […] I cuddled up against him with a smile because Thomas Maddox – the astute, always-in-control Special Agent – was as still as a statue, his heart thundering in place.
What a convenient case for these two to be assigned to, given their romantic tension!
We stayed that way [for a while.]
“This is nice,” he said finally.
“Nice?” I was mildly offended.
I know, right? What an asshole.
But fine, let’s hear Liis out on this one.
No one had held me that way since Jackson in Chicago, and even then, it hadn’t felt like this.
Look, not even Liis’s description of this moment sounds like this is that enjoyable. It kind of feels like a bit of a stretch that statue man is immediately so much better than any other cuddle she’s ever had.
They fall asleep like that, eventually enjoying the moment despite being characters in a Jamie McGuire novel. Until Liis wakes up at 3am by herself to the sounds of people fucking from Thomas’s apartment upstairs.
I heard a bump upstairs. I looked up with a smile. It was nice knowing that he was so close. But then I heard something else, something that made my stomach turn.
Oh God. […]
But Thomas wouldn’t do that. I had been the only one since… maybe I’d gotten him out of his slump.
“Oh God!” a woman’s muffled cry repeated my thought aloud, filling his condo.
I got a good laugh out of the last part of that, I’ll admit it.
Liis grabs a broom, about to start banging it on the ceiling, when suddenly there’s a knock on the door. She opens it and finds, surprise, Thomas! Presumably one of three things will happen at this point, in order of what I’d assume is descending likeliness:
- She realizes that Thomas can’t teleport, so he can’t be the one she heard having sex upstairs seconds earlier.
- She apparently assumes Thomas can teleport, and they have a long conversation full of wacky misunderstandings before realizing they’re assuming different things.
Somehow it’s the latter.
“Can I stay here?” […]
I narrowed my eyes. “Don’t you have company?” […]
Recognition lit his eyes, and he was instantly embarrassed. “You can hear that?”
I rolled my eyes. “Yes. The whole building can hear it.”
He rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, Liis.”
“Don’t apologize,” I seethed. “It’s not like we… it’s not real.”
“Please don’t apologize! It just makes me feel more pathetic!”
You might be thinking, “Surely she can’t misunderstand the situation more, can she?” Buuuuuut…
“Oh! Whoa. No. That wasn’t… that’s not me. Up there. With her.”
“What?” I closed my eyes, completely confused.
“I’m not with her.”
I glared at him. “Obviously. You just met her.”
His hands were moving back and forth in a horizontal motion. “No. I’m not up there, fucking her.”
“I know,” I emphasized each word. I might as well have been talking to a wall.
“No!” he yelled in frustration.
It’s like they’re trying to have the least clear conversation possible. Although unclear as possible is the norm for a Jamie McGuire novel, so maybe this isn’t really that weird.
Eventually the sex noises pick up again and it finally dawns on Liis that the man who was at her door in the time it took her to get up and grab a broom probably isn’t the same person having sex in the apartment upstairs.
“Someone has a woman in your condo?”
“My brother,” he groaned.
Oh, good! Another Maddox brother whose name I’ll never get right on the first try. Welcome to the show.
I took him over to Cutter’s. Agent Davies was there, and—”
I pointed to the ceiling. “That’s Agent Davies?”
Don’t worry. I just googled it and the next Maddox Brothers novel isn’t from Agent Davies’ perspective. We’re going to be ok.
Thomas picks up on the implications of Liis’s reaction.
“You thought that was me. You were pissed.”
I made a face. “No I wasn’t.” […]
“You were jealous.”
After several second of being unable to come back with a believable response, I blurted out, “So?”
Thomas leaves and the horror that the rest of Beautiful Redemption is about to happen dawns on Liis.
Not only did I not hate Thomas, I liked him. Worse than that, he knew it.
I like how this should sound sort of cute, but given the track record of the books we read over here, is actually genuinely concerning.