Calendar Girl: January Chapter 8
We’re on the penultimate chapter of book 1 of 12 and I think Audrey Carlan might have already stopped trying.
Nobu Restaurant in Malibu was swanky. […] The sun was just setting, and the colors of the sky bouncing off the water were breathtaking. […]
“Beautiful,” he said […]
“It is pretty,” I agreed.
“Not the view. You.”
Just like we figured would happen before we even learned that this book existed, the finale is mostly concerned with how they DID get feelings.
He groaned into my mouth
And with descriptions that seem really weird if you spend more than two seconds thinking about them.
He groaned into my mouth and then pulled back and just stared. After a moment, he shook his head and smiled. I knew there was something he wanted to say to me, but right then, I knew it wasn’t going to be something I could handle.
“Let’s get a drink and a bite?”
His shoulder slumped, the moment broken. “Sure,” he finished
At the party, Mia and Wes run into Gina, one of Wes’s incredibly attractive friends. Gina is so attractive she creates a logical fallacy.
The woman was every man’s wet dream and every woman’s nightmare. Except mine. I wanted to be her!
Ok, but if that daydream option’s available, presumably most other people would just want to be her too? It just seems a little full of Mia to assume no one else had that thought.
Gina starts flirting with Wes (if they’re friends, presumably he’d find this a little strange, or Mia could assume Gina’s just kinda flirtatious, but this is too much thinking – HOT GIRL IS TRYING TO STEAL HOT MAN). Wes introduces his Gia to his “friend” Mia, and Gina immediately sees through it.
“Mia? Like in the movie?” she queried.
Wes looked over at me with that panty-dropping grin. “Wanted something to remember my girl by,” he said […]
“Remember her? Where are you going?” she asked me directly, crossing her arms over her ample bosom.
Oh, Wes, your foolishness is no match for Gina and her ample bosom.
“Seattle,” I said and caught it when Wes winced.
“Oh yeah? For what?”
“Work.” I had nothing better to say.
Gina rolled her eyes. “What type of work are you in?”
“Well, for this job, I’ll be modeling for an artist over the next month while he paints me.”
Gina plastered on a fake smile. “And will you be wearing any clothing during these paintings?” She hit the nail on the head.
Then maybe you needed a better lie! Or, like, a lie! At any! Really just any kind of story. Given all the shame around her line of work, it’s really weird that no one in this story has ever tried to be discreet about it. Instead we always get the total opposite, like when Wes’s mom bragged to his dad about what an attractive escort she chose for their son – which is a real scene that really happened, lest we forget.
Wes pulls Mia away from Gina, but then asks her if this is true. She opts to tell him the truth. They have yet another conversation where they try to figure out what the stakes are in this novel, which is a great question because they still don’t make any sense to me.
“Do you even want to do this?” he asked finally.
“It’s not a matter of whether I want to. I have to!”
Reminder that what she has to do is pay off her father’s gambling debt or else he’ll get murdered. Despite how he’s a character so important to her that she’s willing to prostitute herself for a whole year to save him from something she has no responsibility for, the book has decided the best place for him right now to try to convey the depth of their relationship is in a hospital with a coma.
“You don’t have to do shit. Everyone has a choice. You could stay.”
And there it was. He definitely wanted me to stay, even though he knew I couldn’t.
“Why not? Because it will make you feel something?” he sneered.
WHAT ARE THEY EVEN FIGHTING ABOUT NOW? Does he think that she doesn’t want to because she “has to” (which, if he really cares, is a red flag he should really seem to be more interested in learning about) or because he’s somehow divined her backstory about how she has historically gotten emotionally attached to men too quickly?
Later that night, at home, Wes drunkenly begs Mia not to leave him. They start fooling around, and he asks her to spend the night with him for once. In the morning, he asks her again why she’s an escort, and they have a conversation so obvious that we probably could have written it note-for-note after the first chapter. And the criticism of it:
Instead of skimming the truth or making up something plausible (oh, honey, it’s a little late for that), I laid it out for him.
“My dad owes some really bad guys some money. A lot of money.”
“I have a lot of money,” he said quietly. […]
“Yes, you do, but it’s your money. (As opposed to the money that Mia’s making, which is not her money. Jesus, Wes, try to keep up.) My dad got in bad with some loan sharks for gambling. I’m working to pay off that debt.”
He let out a slow breath.
“I have a lot of expendable money, Mia. I could help you.”
I shook my head. […] “I know you could, but I haven’t asked for your help.” It was imperative that I make it perfectly clear that this was my decision. I wasn’t a damsel in distress, and he wasn’t a white knight, charging in to save the day.
Mia goes for broke.
“Do you love me, Wes?”
His gaze shot to mine. “Um…”
Mia explains to the reader that the only reason she would considering staying and letting Wes pay the debt would be if Wes loved her. After one month. Where she was paid to spend all her time with him. That sounds like the healthy thing.
“I know I like you. I like you a lot.”
I smiled wide and traced his nose from the bridge down to the tip with one finger. “I like you too, Wes. A lot. But this is something I have to do. Not only for my dad, though that is the driving force, but for me, too.”
Pro Writing Tip: Just because a character says their motivations again and again and again, it doesn’t make them actually make sense.
They talk about how they can totally stay friends after she leaves. They joke that maybe they could make it friends with benefits. Mia also thinks… whatever this word salad is:
It reminded me of how much I was going to miss his bedroom skills. Going back to a battery-operated boyfriend was not high on my list of things I wanted to do in Seattle. Like see the phallic Space Needle. That was high on the list.
I… I think this is saying that Mia is going to miss having sex with Wes so much, that she needs to go out into the world and stare at giant phallic objects. Is… this isn’t saying anything other than that, right? WHY?