Calendar Girl (June): Chapter 8
This chapter doesn’t even discuss the plot of this novella until the very end, because I guess Audrey Carlan just decided to cut her losses with June‘s “sexy networking erotica” concept around this point.
So instead the chapter kicks off with Mia mulling over her feelings for Wes. Again.
Did I love Wes? Of course I had very strong feelings for him. More so than I’d ever admit to him, but I was leery to call it love.
It’s just crazy boring that we’re halfway through this series and we’re still reading about Mia’s cold feet over the dude she met all the way back in book one. We see how much they’re thinking about each other even as the months go by, so it’s just getting confusing what’s even holding them back by this point. And that’s before we get into Calendar Girl‘s mental gymnastics between romantic love, platonic love, and platonic fuckbuddy love:
With Alec, Mason, Tony, Hector, and even Tai, those three words – I love you – slipped so easily out of my mouth, but not with Wes. Why?
Everyone reading this book has known why for like the last six books.
To be fair, Mia is very aware of this, and admits that “somewhere deep down, I knew that if I said the words, the feelings of hope and loyalty would build”. It’s hardly new criticism by this point when I say that Calendar Girl‘s narrative is a mess, but look at this fucking “yes, and” character motivation we’ve got going by this point:
[If I said the words,] I wouldn’t be able to move on to new experiences, finish off the year with a new guy every month, and pay off Pop’s debt. […] Aunt Millie gave me this opportunity to fix the wrongs that my father made and the guilt I had over ever introducing Pops to Blaine.
Jesus, that’s a lot for a girl to keep track of. Don’t forget that Mia’s dad is in a coma. I know, it’s shocking, but that’s why this entire story is happening. That’s why Mia has to remind us a few times every book.
No matter how much Wes wanted to pay off my father’s debt, I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life. I’d be beholden to him. And what if we didn’t work out? Then he’d have paid a million dollars […] and I just walked?
Look, I think this is a very complicated, very valid point. But it’s also completely unchanged from the last “Mia thinks about Wes” chapter. We don’t need to keep doing this.
And as long as we’re thinking about the endgame of Calendar Girl here, why exactly are we supposed to believe that this is actually going to just be over once Mia pays off her dad’s debt to the criminal loan shark, who is maybe not the most trustworthy person in the world? Shouldn’t we spend more time worrying about that than the exact same “but how much do I like Wes” thing again and again?
Mia moves on from this thought and realizes that she only has a week left with the Shipleys, but she hasn’t heard about her next client yet, so she gives her Aunt a call this time rather than wait. Last time her client wasn’t booked until the last minute, but Aunt Millie quickly assuages those fears this time.
“Not only are you booked for the rest of the year, I now have a waiting list with a backlog of six gentlemen who would like to take any of your months if we receive a cancellation.”
Ok, let’s suspend disbelief about why senior citizen Warren Shipley, the engaged Tony, and the newly in a relationship Mason would actually need to book Mia again. But why the shit would the photographer couple from May need Mia again? She barely even talked to them. I almost suspect that Calendar Girl forgot that Tai wasn’t her client.
“Just proves that good company is hard to find. Especially with the special ability to not only help business but know their place“
There’s also a whole long thing where it turns out Warren paid the extra $25k, which is confusing because that’s the extra, under-the-table fee if the escort consents to sex with the client, which didn’t happen. Millie does some digging around and points out “Ah, here we go. It’s a bonus. […] The fine print does state that if the client is exceptionally happy and wants to send additional monies […] they may.” Because for some reason business mastermind Aunt Millie needed to look up what a tip is, which is also written into her standard contract for some other inexplicable reason.
Immediately, I knew exactly what a huge chunk of that money was going toward.
…to… to paying off her dad’s debt to a loan shark? Didn’t we just talk about this at the beginning of this chapter? This is literally the reason why she can’t be with Wes, right? And even if Wes weren’t in the picture, why wouldn’t taking care of this debt with a murderous criminal be your number #1 priority for that reason alone? What else would she be spending money on?
My baby sister’s dream wedding to her dream man.
…what are Mia’s priorities even?
So, anyway, Aunt Millie finally fills Mia in on what the next book is gonna be about. And… well, there’s no easy way to say this. Remember all the casual racism in the last book when it became super obvious Audrey Carlan couldn’t write characters of color?
“His name is Anton Santiago, but get this… He goes by Latin Lov-ah.”
“Latin Lov-ah? Why the hell would he go by that name?” [I] brought up my Gmail account, and clicked on her message. A picture filled the screen. […] “Oh my, lickable Latino.”
Yeah, we’re probably in for a lot more of that.
“Day-um,” I said in my best Latina accent.
“That’s my client? Isn’t he…”
“A famous hip-hop artist, yes,”
How did recognize him from his picture but not from a name like “Latin Lov-ah”? That’d be like if someone had to do a Google Image search before they were like, “Oh, that Oprah.”
Mia describes her next client for the reader. I know we joke a lot about how Mia inexplicably makes everything about her, but it’s just buck wild here:
Mocha-colored skin with fierce black hair and pale hazel eyes stared back at me. The eye color was a cross between green and brown but light enough against that dark skin to stand out as uniquely as my own. And I wasn’t being conceited. I’d heard my eyes were incredible since birth. If I’m out and about, I’m told every day by random strangers how amazing, or cool, or neat they thought the pale-green color was.
Latin Lov-ah wants to cast Mia in his new music video after seeing her in Alec’s art show, in the photoshoot she did in Hawaii, and “in the smut mags” with Wes and Mason. This is actually the most rational sounding thing that’s happened in this book in a long time. I was getting very confused why nobody had caught onto Mia’s existence if she was suddenly so high-profile.
Mia also realizes she hasn’t told Aunt Millie that Maddy’s engaged yet, which is probably more hilarious than it should be, because the minor characters show up so infrequently in this book I completely forgot that those two were related. Aunt Millie is very not on board.
“What do you mean, she’s engaged?” […]
“I know, but I’ve got a really good feeling. Besides, they are going to finish their bachelor’s and then get married in a couple of years.”
Millie huffed loudly, sounding very put out by the news. “Unless she gets pregnant first. Then her dream of being a scientist [is] gone. Poof. Disappeared in the blink of an eye and replaced with a snotty, shitting, crystal ball of flesh that ties you down for the rest of your life.”
“Wow, tell me how you really feel,”
…”crystal ball of flesh”?
After the phone call, Mia realizes one problem with her next gig:
The only problem is that this white girl cannot dance. I didn’t even know what the hell people were talking about when they said “raise the roof,” or “drop it like it’s hot.”
Your first problem might be that “raise the roof” is apparently where we’ve set the bar for hot new dance moves that confound Mia.
One song I shimmied with said something about, “She hit the floor… Next thing you know… shorty got low, low, low, low, low.” Why was it sexy to smack the floor and get low? Did the woman sit or kneel?
Wow, Audrey Carlan, tell me how you really feel.
Oh, also the chapter ends with Mia trying to gently confront Warren about how badly he’s neglected the love of his life, but does anyone really give a shit about Warren by this point?
“Is Kathleen coming along [to New York]?” […]
He sat down his pen and clasped his hands into a steeple, resting his chin on his fingertips. “Frankly, it never dawned on me that she would be interested in going.”
Because it doesn’t seem like Warren even gives a shit about his own subplot.
“And when was the last time you took her out to dinner?”
His head jerked back. “Dinner? She makes dinner for me. It’s part of her job. Why ever would I take her out to eat?”
Warren: I’m not a gross dude who objectifies young women! I’m a good dude with a heart of gold! Also Warren: Take my girlfriend out… to dinner???? Mia: This is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life.
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