Yes, we’re really on book six of this series. It is already my most disliked.
Calendar Girl (June): Chapter 2
The last chapter ended with Mia’s new client, the elderly Warren Shipley, saying that “Just by your look alone… I can already tell I’m going to have them eating out of the palm of my hand.” Which Mia finds unsettling.
“What do you mean, just by my look?” My eyebrows narrowed of their own accord.
To answer her question, Warren’s son Aaron feels her up in front of his dad.
Aaron huffed behind me and placed a hand on my lower back… very low.
I’m gonna be upfront here, today’s post is gonna be one of those where I write a lot of sentences that don’t make any sense, it’s just what’s in this book.
Somehow it takes them quite a while to explain the basic premise to Mia, as though this is a particularly complicated idea. I’m not overstating this; at one point she thinks “the One Percent” refers to “an outlaw biker gang outside of Vegas”, because I guess Mia’s been living under a rock since 2011.
Warren has tons of money and wants to use it to provide medical assistance to third-world countries, and needs to schmooze prominent businessmen and politicians to do so. All of these men (because it’s always men) have “very young, beautiful women on their arms.” It’s worth noting that Audrey Carlan seems very determined to make Warren sound like a good dude who’s visibly uncomfortable with this and views this “disgusting status type of thing” as a necessary evil for a greater good. Buuuuut he’s still complicit in it, so…
…and it’s never made particularly clear how exactly his plans would be stalled if he just – idk – didn’t bring an objectified younger woman to these events, so…
And his creepazoid son isn’t helping make this book any more palatable.
“Father has hired you because you’re beautiful, young, and will look drop-dead sexy in a cocktail dress. You’ve heard the term ‘arm candy,’ right?”
I legitimately can’t decide whether it’s creepier that Aaron and Warren have a father-son relationship where they’re fine with Aaron feeling up women right in front of his dad, or how the way Aaron acts towards Mia is somehow not as sultry as the way he constantly says “Father”.
“You’re to be Father’s whore,” the senator confirmed blatantly
I mean constantly.
“Father is a modern-day vigilante.”
I’d make a joke about making a drinking game out of every time Aaron says “Father”, but that would actually kill people.
“Look incredibly gorgeous, smile, hug on Father as if you’re his young plaything, and your job is done.” […]
“And what about you?” […]
“Me. Well, I get to chase my father’s hot young plaything in private.”
Warren’s plan is to “have trade opened up to countries that offer specific vaccinations for a fraction of the cost”, because the solution to fixing healthcare in impoverished countries totally hinges on driving up to Canada to get cheaper drugs. Calendar Girl definitely tries to brush this under the rug as quickly as possible by having Mia ask why the government isn’t “jumping at the chance to help, especially if it’s not at the taxpayer’s expense” (wistful sigh yep, this was written before the Trump administration) and having Warren explain that “there is a lot of red tape”, which is as close as I’ve seen a book get to just saying “because reasons”.
Just so we’re all on the same page here – because we’re barely touched chapter 2 of June and the foundation of the entire plot is already buck wild – Warren needs arm candy because that’s just what you gotta do in order to get permissions he apparently needs to do something that will apparently work.
AND WE’RE NOT EVEN AT THE BAD PART YET. A few days later, Mia attends the first of Warren’s fundraisers.
With Wes, I had him to anchor me to the environment, make me feel as though I fit in. Not this time.
The book never explains what’s apparently different about these two scenarios where Mia’s only job is to help men talk to other men about men conversations.
I was shocked by the number of men over fifty dressed in fancy suits with women young enough to be their daughters – possibly granddaughters – on their arm. [Men whose] friendship only extended as far as the next business deal. […] It sickened me, but I was being paid to be here.
[A] man, who must have been at least sixty-five or seventy, shook his head and petted my cheek like I was a favored pet. “No worries, little girl. Who’s your daddy?”
Remember when I was complaining about how it was unrealistic that all of Mia’s five prior clients were all super easy jobs with relatively decent people and somehow being an escort/sex worker hadn’t landed her in any unsavory situations yet? YEAH I KIND OF REGRET COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT.
Warren shows up and the creepy old man is delighted that Warren is a creepy old man now too, and then they solve healthcare in the third world. Again, very few of the sentences I’m writing about this chapter actually make any sense to me.
“Warren, I didn’t know you’d finally taken a lamb.” The man grinned. […] “Do you share her?” […]
Warren laughed out loud. A full-bellied laugh that could be heard far and wide. “‘Fraid not, old friend. Bit selfish in my old age, Arthur. […] Mia, you look parched. Go on ahead and get a drink. I’ll be there in a moment.”
I nodded, and he tapped my ass lightly.
Here’s the thing about Calendar Girl‘s entry into the world of wealth and political favor… there’s this old Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin writes a short-story about aliens taking all the oxygen from earth. As the aliens leave humanity to die, they simply say “We prefer your extinction to the loss of our job.” Calvin asks Hobbes for feedback on his story.
…and that’s kind of how I feel about this book’s depiction of politics as a bunch of self-interested, old men with unfathomable amounts of money otherwise entirely propelled by who’s collected the youngest, hottest women.
Aaron nodded […] “He owns the ports Father [drink] wants to take the meds through. He has the port authority in each country he serves in his back pocket. Father [drink] needs that guy in order to park his ships.” […]
“But why? What he’s doing is good, kind, and humanitarian.”
Aaron chuckled. “It is, but it doesn’t make any money” […]
“Thank you, Mia.” [Warren said.] “You’re already helping me get where I need to be with the program.
I turned my head and frowned. “How do you figure? I didn’t do anything.”
“On the contrary. Arthur had been avoiding me because he thought I had an issue with another business deal he was making with [our] competitor”
Anyway, guess what, we’re still not at the weird part.
Later that night, Mia ponders her role this month, thinking “I needed to figure out a way to be more helpful”. Which is already a little weird, since she’s simply here doing a job. “But Matthew!” you might object. “She wants to help with a humanitarian mission! Surely your dark, bottomless heart can see that isn’t a plot hole!” And yeah, but this is Mia, you guys. You know what Mia means when she says she wants to be “helpful”…
I walked through the vast, dark halls of the mansion later that night in search of the kitchen. […]
“Oh, I didn’t see you there,” came a lilting voice from my side. I turned and found the house manager, Kathleen. […] She didn’t say a word, but I could tell something was on her mind.
“You know, you can ask me anything. I’ll answer honestly. I’m getting the feeling you don’t know why I’m here. […] I’m an escort. Warren hired me” […]
Kathleen’s eyes went as wide as an endless blue sky. Her hand went to her heart […] I couldn’t help myself. She obviously had something going with the Senior Shipley.
YEP, MIA IS HERE ONCE AGAIN TO FIX EVERYONE’S LOVE LIVES.
“Mia, he doesn’t want anyone to know. It would hurt him. […] Thank you for your concern, but you don’t know either of us. We’d appreciate your discretion in this matter.”
WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT.
“If that’s what you want,” I finally said.”
So what do you guys think? Three chapters until Mia comes up with a shitty plan to get them to reveal their secret love for each other?
(Update: I left out a part of Mia and Kathleen’s conversation where Kathleen explains that she helped raise Aaron after his mother – you guessed it – died when he was young. Apparently dudes’ moms dying when they’re kids is so commonplace in Calendar Girl that I totally glossed over this.)
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