Long-time readers of the blog, you read that right. New readers of the blog, you’ll find out.
One With You: Chapter 6
The chapter opens with Gideon and Angus listening to the audio from Eva’s confrontation with Anne from the last chapter. Gonna be honest, still not 100% certain who Anne is. There are a lot of characters in Crossfire who only show up for maybe two chapters per book and almost all their subplots are some variation on “I hate Eva and/or Gideon”, so… I don’t care?
Angus discusses how he’ll keep looking for any evidence Hugh might have (about how he sexually abused Gideon as a kid… even the book points out that it wouldn’t make sense for Hugh to have kept evidence of this). They also discuss what a great job Eva did making Anne fear her, and what a great person Eva is for Gideon.
“She’ll stand by you.”
“If my past goes public? Yes, she will.”
As I said the words, I realized how true they were. […]
“If I lost everything, she’d still be here. It’s me she wants, as fucked up as I am.” […]
“You’re not fucked up, lad. Too pretty for your own good, to be certain.”
Isn’t that everyone’s problem on Bad Books, Good Times? I mean in the books we read here. Not, like, for me and Ariel.
“Y’ve made some dubious choices when it comes to the lasses, but who hasn’t? Hard to say nay when you’re randy and they’re lifting their skirts.”
I don’t know how much you’re helping, Angus. Especially when the next thing that happens is Gideon getting a call from his sister, Ireland, which points out slightly more pressing reasons why Gideon’s sort of a shit.
I couldn’t see how being in my teenage sister’s life benefited her at all, but Eva felt it was important for some reason and so I made the effort for her.
I get that Gideon has a rough relationship with his family, and many of them he has good reason to not like, but it’ super not clear why he actively doesn’t give a shit about Ireland, who shows up once a book to be mildly pleasant and that’s it?
“I c-came home from school and Dad was waiting for me. They’re getting a divorce.”
UGH CLASSIC IRELAND. SO NON-BENEFICIAL, AM I RIGHT, GIDEON?
“Do you think he’s having an affair? He’s the one instigating all of this. […] Can you talk to him?”
I gripped the phone too tightly. “And say what?”
To be fair, Gideon does have good reasons to be the only person who gets to feel good about this, since his stepdad just learned in the last book that Gideon was raped by his therapist as a child and that his mother just denied it all this time.
Someone knew. Someone cared. Someone couldn’t live with it any more than I. I wouldn’t change that even if I could.
But, of course, this is Gideon, so he can’t even think about that before he gets reprehensible.
“Maybe counseling.” […] The mirthless snicker escaped me then. What would Dr. Petersen say if he could see into that mind of hers? […] I was no different from any other molested child and she was no different from any other weak, self-absorbed woman.
Not that Gideon’s mom isn’t self-absorbed, but given that we’ve read four books of how deeply misogynistic Gideon is and that the reader has never been encouraged to see this as a character flaw, it’s hard to read “woman” in that sentence and not think Gideon means it as an insult…
A lot of stuff happens this chapter that isn’t a plot puppy, and I already promised you a plot puppy, so…
- Ireland tells Gideon she loves him, and his frosty, Gideony heart grew three sizes that day.
- Gideon calls Christopher (his step-brother/arch nemesis #7) to tell him that he’s there if he needs to talk to someone about the divorce. Even Christopher bluntly points out this doesn’t make sense for Gideon’s character.
- Gideon’s mother asks him to help by talking to his step-dad about the divorce, Gideon suggests they try therapy, and she responds with “I can’t believe you!” and then complains about Eva. I’ve rewritten this bullet a dozen times and still can’t figure out a way to make it make any kind of sense.
- Gideon reminds us that his company is releasing a hot new video game console soon. I guess this is very important.
Eva shows up at Gideon’s after her dinner with Cary with a box of her things, so she can slowly start to move into what will be their shared apartment. And a puppy.
“What the hell is that?” […]
“He’s yours,” my wife said, with laughter in her voice. “Isn’t he adorable?”
To reiterate: Eva has surprised her husband with the gift of a dog, which they have never talked about having and taking care of for the next decade or so.
“Oh my God, you should see your face!” Eva laughed
YEAH, BECAUSE YOU JUST GAVE HIM A FUCKING DOG?
“I don’t want a puppy.”
“Sure you do.”
I don’t have to explain why this is absolutely absurd to just surprise someone with a living thing that they’ll be responsible for raising and training and taking care of for years to come, right? And yet this isn’t the first time this has happened on our blog. How is “Surprise! Here’s a dog!” a romance novel trope? Because this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. This exact same thing happened in Beautiful Disaster, and we’ve been making jokes about “plot puppies” – which would seem to be important but only ever show up when contentiously convenient to the plot – ever since.
Guess what the contentiously convenient reason for the puppy is this time!
“He’s an anniversary gift from your wife, you have to keep him.”
“We’ve been married a month.” She leaned back into the sofa and gave me a the fuck-me look.
Wow, this is quite a transition.
“I’m dying, Gideon,” she breathed, her lips and cheeks flushing pink. “I wanted to wait, but I can’t. I need you. And it’s our anniversary. If we can’t make love then and have it be just you, me, and what we have— with no bullshit— then we can’t make love ever and I don’t believe that’s true. […] If that makes any sense at all.”
Soooo just so we’re making sure we got this right: Eva surprised Gideon with a puppy they never talked about having, ignored him when he very reasonably brought up that he never said he wanted a puppy, then explained that the puppy is an anniversary gift and used the point to segue into sex.
Crossfire‘s plot puppy is a literal puppy that was brought into the story so Eva could talk about how she wants to have sex.
On top of that, don’t forget that this book kicked off with this whole “let’s not have sex until the ceremonial wedding for actually pretty well-considered reasons”, and now a third of the way into the book, we’re just totally tossing that. Which is really weird when you stop to think about the plot of this book and realize that… Eva and Gideon waiting to have sex again was actually sort of the plot of this book up until now. I joked about how that was the plot of this book in chapter 2, but… it sort of actually was. Because nothing else is really happening. Seriously, what is this book about now? I guess the ceremonial wedding, sure, but we just struck down one of the most-discussed reasons why that was going to be important. So seriously, where is this book going?
Thanks, plot puppy.
Plot puppy does manage to get a much more important role in the story than any plot puppy previously (not that there’s much competition for that) when Gideon has one of his chronic nightmares, and it turns out plot puppy has MAGIC NIGHTMARE-HEALING POWERS.
Oh, right, he named the dog Lucky because Eva got him for Gideon when she told him she wanted to have sex again. This is 100% actually exactly what really happened.
Lucky scrambled up the hanging comforter, pulling himself onto the bed. He leaped, tackling me in the chest.
“For fuck’s sake, calm down!”
He whined and curled into my lap, making me feel like a dick.
I caught him up, holding him against my sweaty chest. “Sorry,” I muttered, stroking his head.
Closing my eyes, I pushed back and leaned against the headboard, willing my pulse to slow. It took several minutes to get my bearings, and about that long to realize that petting Lucky was calming me down.
Gideon calls Eva to tell her that he thinks Lucky woke him from his nightmare on purpose. Later the next day, Gideon talks to his therapist about this, who thankfully points out that a puppy is sort of a big deal. Less thankfully, the book continues to not see it this way.
“That’s quite a commitment.”
“He’ll be fine. Animals are good at self-sufficiency.”
IN WHAT WORLD?
Dr. Petersen also points out his concerns that Eva is becoming “a coping mechanism” for Gideon.
“I want you to be mindful of a potential tendency to seclude yourself with Eva”
Dude, where have you been the last four books? What do you mean, “potential”?
The therapist appointment ends early when Angus contacts Gideon with an emergency:
“The police are at the penthouse with Eva. […] Anne Lucas filed charges of harassment.”
That was obvious.