Todd and Jessica are furious with each other on the way home from the party. Jessica defends herself, saying she wasn’t flirting, she was just talking to Liam. They argue a little about whether they really know each other, and damn it, this isn’t high school anymore! They are Sweet Valley adults now.
Jessica debates whether she should come clean about how she almost cheated on Todd at work, but then keeps her mouth shut. She thinks he might take it the wrong way. Is there a righ way he could take it? “Thanks for not cheating on me, Jess, you’re the best!”
There is actually some interesting character work going on with Jessica in this scene, though. She always wants to be rewarded for good behaviour like not cheating or telling the truth about her sister not being the one to get drunk at a bar in high school. A lot of this probably comes from the fact that Elizabeth just melts when Jessica acts like a regular, nice human. So it would make sense that she would want Todd to fall over himself praising her for not cheating even though she considered it.
It also makes sense that the way Todd is acting reminds her of her ex-husband Regan. Granted, we didn’t see much of their life together, but we were told he was controlling and jealous. (Although, I think one of the examples was that he was angry Jessica sunbathed topless in front of their ship’s captain, which seems like a reasonable thing to be angry about?) It makes sense that Todd’s outsized jealousy over Liam flirting with Jessica, and Jessica not blanking Liam completely, would freak Jessica out and make her wonder if this is something that is going to be pretty fundamental to their relationship.
She also acknowledges that maybe a lot of this is happening because they were still angry at themselves and each other for hurting Elizabeth.
If beauty was the standard, then it wasn’t even love, just two guilty people, trapped by their crime and forced to live with what they had paid for so dearly. They were isolated, with no one else but each other, so removed by the stories they had told themselves that they could no longer see the truth. Or they could see nothing but the truth.
Granted, this paragraph loses me at the end (or it keeps me the whole time), but I really like the first part. It does seem like maybe they’re just together because they’re “trapped by their crime” and “isolated.”
Would neither one of them be courageous enough to end this, to leave this agony?
As quietly as possible, Jessica lifted the covers and slid out of bed. She tiptoed, barefoot, across the room, opened the closet, and took out her shoes and her jeans. She would send for the rest later.
I think the reason I enjoyed this chapter was mainly because I can’t recall any time there was a weird usage of “like” thrown in. Also that it was incredibly short.