One With You Chapter 16:
Everyone continues to mourn the loss of Eva’s mother. Clancy, who in case you didn’t remember is obviously Eva’s mother’s husband’s body guard who helped cover up the fact that Gideon murdered Nathan. DUH.
He reveals Monica’s secrets. To Gideon. Not Eva. I still do not fucking understand how these people keep secrets like this. I would immediately turn to my husband and be like, “OH MY GOD YOUR MOTHER MAY NOT BE WHO SHE SAYS SHE IS WE GOTTA GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT.” I’m not a very tactful person, but I also feel like it makes me a better communicator than literally every character in this story.
He got right to the point. “Mrs. Stanton left behind over twenty-five years’ worth of handwritten journals and a backup computer drive with electronic journal entries. She asked that I pass them along to Eva in the event of her death.”
Keeping my curiosity to myself, I said, “I’ll make sure she gets them.”
Oh my fucking god, are you serious? I just finished making a joke about how it was soooo convenient that Zack’s dad had left him years worth of letters and it’s happening all over again! This trope is not inherently bad, I just can’t help but notice how often it’s relied on. I guess it’s great because character can get answers but also experience the drama of losing a beloved person/thinking a beloved person is dead/thinking a beloved person doesn’t love them.
“You’ll need to judge the best time to give them to her,” he said. “And you may decide she should never see them.”
“I see.” So I’d have to go through them. It made me uncomfortable to think of doing so.”
Um, no. You should just give them to Eva and not read them first. Why is Gideon the Decider?
“Regardless,” Clancy went on, “you now have a new financial responsibility that you’ll have to take over on Lauren’s behalf. It’s not inconsiderable, but you won’t have any trouble managing it.”
I’d stiffened at the name he used, then grown more alert as he continued.
Nodding, he said, “You started researching her story after the Tramells died.”
“But you’d cleaned most of it up.” Out of the entire conversation thus far, that was the one thing that made sense.
“What I could. I dug into her past when Mr. Stanton became serious about their relationship. When I confronted her, she told me what I’m about to tell you—none of which is known to Mr. Stanton. I’d like to keep it that way. He was happy. Who she was didn’t affect him, so he doesn’t need to know.”
Why couldn’t Monica ever tell Stanton of her past? ‘Who she was didn’t affect him” is one of the stupidest things I’ve read in this series, and it’s been a non-stop shit show of stupid things.
“Lauren Kittrie was raised in a small town on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. Her family was poor. Her mother abandoned her and her twin sister with their father, who worked as a hand on a local ranch. He was a busy man, not much interested in or capable of raising two beautiful headstrong girls.”
However, if they had been ugly, weaklings he would have been able to handle the responsibility.
Sitting back, I took a page from Eva’s book and tried to picture two teenage Monicas. The image was more than striking.
“As you can imagine,” he continued, “they got noticed. Toward the end of high school, they’d caught the attention of a group of wealthy college students from Austin. Punks, with a dangerous sense of entitlement. The leader was Jackson Tramell.”
I nodded. “She married him.”
“That was later,” he said flatly. “Lauren was savvy about men from the outset. She wanted out of the life her parents had, but she knew trouble when she saw it. She rebuffed him, many times. Her sister, Katherine, wasn’t as smart. She thought Tramell could be her ticket out.”
“Unease caused me to sit back. “How much of this do I need to hear?”
I’m with Gideon on this one. I mean, I guess I kind of want to know what happens, but I’m also ready to be done with these people once and for all.
Clancy doesn’t even acknowledge Gideon’s question:
“Against Lauren’s advice, Katherine went out with him. When she didn’t come home either that night or the next day, Lauren called the police. Katherine was discovered by a local farmer in his field, barely conscious thanks to a toxic combination of street drugs and alcohol. She’d been violently assaulted. Although it wasn’t proven, it was suspected that multiple individuals were involved.”
So obviously then Lauren married him…? There’s no way this story is going to end with anyone looking good, least of all America’s healthcare system.
“Katherine was in bad shape,” Clancy went on. “The hallucinogenic drugs in her system combined with the physical trauma of gang rape caused permanent brain damage. She needed round-the-clock care for an indefinite period of time, something their father couldn’t afford.”
Restless, I went to the bar, then realized a drink was the last thing I wanted.
“Lauren went to the Tramells, confronted them about their son and what she suspected he’d done. He denied it and no one was able to prove a connection to him, owing to a lack of physical evidence at that time. But he saw an opportunity and took it. Lauren was the one he’d wanted, so he got his parents to cover the expenses of basic care for Katherine in return for Lauren herself and her silence about the assault.”
Oh come the fuck on. Seriously! You’re telling me this guy was so sadistic and terrible but also infatuated with Lauren that he bribed her into marrying him by offering to pay for the ongoing care of her sister who he destroyed? And Lauren went along with it? And I’m supposed to be like, ‘Oh, what a sacrifice she made?” Get out of here!
“Clancy straightened in his chair. “Jackson wanted sex. Lauren negotiated with his parents to secure marriage, which she thought would provide some sort of guarantee that Katherine would always be looked after.”
I really really do not know whether it’s okay that I’m laughing at this.
“For a span of months, the situation between Lauren and Jackson was stable. They lived—”
“Stable?” A harsh laugh tore at my throat. “She just about sold herself to the man who orchestrated the gang rape of her twin sister. My God …”
I tossed back the liquor.
Monica—or Lauren—had been stronger than any of us had given her credit for. But was it worth it to Eva to learn that, considering the horror of the rest of it?”
We’re supposed to think she was strong for doing this? For a second, pretend you are Katherine. You have been brutally gang raped and now you need constant care because of permanent brain damage you suffered from this gang rape. Do you want your sister to marry the guy who did this to pay for your care? Medicade was established in 1965, I’m not sure what year this happened but surely there was another option?
Maybe you can read this as a ‘she did what she had to do’ situation, but I am struggling to react the way I’m meant to here.
Anyway, during this time, Lauren/Monica met Eva’s dad and got pregnant. When Jackson found out, he wasn’t happy, and “tried to take care of it—with his fists” because where else was this story headed?
She was scared so she killed Jackson.
Clancy sat quietly, letting me absorb that revelation. I wasn’t the only one who’d killed to protect Eva.
They are a family that murders for the right reasons, damn it. Like no loss or anything, but this revelation made me roll my eyes.
I began to pace. “The Tramells helped Lauren get away with it. They had to. Why?”
“During the time Lauren was with Jackson, she quietly documented anything and everything she could use against him later. The Tramells valued their reputation—and the reputation of their debutante daughter, Monica—and they just wanted Lauren, and all the problems she’d caused, gone. Lauren left with the clothes on her back and the understanding that, moving forward, Katherine’s care was entirely her responsibility.”
Maybe this would all be more meaningful if Lauren/Monica had gotten to tell Eva this. Seriously, what did killing her accomplish? Surely there could have been another way for this to come to light? Why is THIS the climax of all five books?
Which explained Monica’s marriages to wealthy men and her preoccupation with money. All these years, she had to know how shallow her daughter thought she was, but she’d lived with it, instead of telling the truth.
Heartbreaking? Her poor mother was forced to marry rich men and live a life of luxury and constantly thrust her decisions/taste onto Eva all because of this dark secret. Please.
Clancy reminds Gideon that now this is his responsibility, so I guess it’s lucky Eva married an extremely rich guy too. Although, it’s unclear to me how it’s not Stanton’s responsibility and how he never figured out where these expensive payments were going?
Eva finds Gideon reflecting on all of this:
But what I had to do was clear enough. I would see to her sister’s welfare. I would take care of her beloved daughter. In those ways, I would honor the woman Monica had been. And one day, if it seemed like the right thing to do, I’d introduce her to Eva.
WHY IS IT YOUR DECISION TO MAKE??? PLEASE EXPLAIN.
Then Gideon tells Eva he loves her and that’s it, chapter (and basically the book besides a shitty epilogue) over! I hate this. I hate it so much.