Once again, we’re halfway through a Calendar Girl novella. There’s still five books left in this series after this. How’s everyone feeling?
Also, this kind of goes without saying for Calendar Girl at this point, but trigger warning for sexual assault and related PTSD, which get discussed quite a lot in this chapter, because Calendar Girl really wants to make it hard for us to ever write jokes.
Calendar Girl (July): Chapter 6
The chapter kicks off in the middle of a grueling, all-day rehearsal for the video. Mia’s just trying to get through the day because tomorrow is her birthday, which she has the day off to spend with Wes. So that means this chapter actually kicks off with Mia summarizing her feelings for Wes. Again. Can’t wait for more of the same…
I wanted to see Wes so badly I could feel the ache in my teeth. However, I also didn’t want my heart to be broken when I told him I was ready to be exclusive.
Wait, what? When did this happen?
Yeah, I know she’s been thinking about Wes and whether she loves him or not a lot. But given that we live in Mia’s head, it’s kind of shocking that we through five books and five chapters of “it’s tough, but I don’t want a commitment” to suddenly reading “oh btw when you weren’t looking I changed my mind about that”.
Mia reminds us that asking this of Wes would mean that he would have to end his casual thing with Gina.
Commit. That was one word I hadn’t said in a long time or place anywhere near the opposite sex. Mostly because every time I did, I got screwed over one way or another.
As evidenced by the first few pages of the first book and then no other mention ever again.
As for the video, we finally get a few details about what this thing actually looks like, and it’s thankfully just as bonkers as we were all hoping.
Anton did some crazy urban ninja-style run-and-leap off the mirrors of the studio
Anton gets caught up in the moment and makes a very stupid improvisation.
He tugged my waist, got to his knee, and draped me over it. My back arched almost painfully over his knee, and he laid a hard, smacking kiss on my mouth.
And that’s when it happened… again.
Mia gets another flashback to Aaron’s attempted rape, after which she starts screaming at Anton, “Get your fucking hands off me!” before she vomits into a trash can again. Would it be too much to ask that just once she vomits on Anton, because for a dude who “gets” what she’s going through, he’s being super selfish about constantly putting her in triggering positions. On the plus side, the book does recognize that Anton’s behavior is the problem. Maria is so not here for this shit.
“Who’s hurting you? I know people. Very, very rich people who will not stand for a good woman being hurt by a scumbag.”
Ok, this sounds like MARIA WILL STRAIGHT UP KILL A BITCH. Right? No other way to read that?
“I know exactly what a battered woman looks like, hermosa, because I was one. For many years. Not okay with allowing that shit to happen to good women” […]
“There’s nothing any of you can do about it. It’s been handled,” I lied.
We interrupt this discussion of sexual trauma to revisit how Audrey Carlan continues to not really get how to write people of color.
“I need more, Mia, because right now, I’m flaming mad. As in muy caliente“
Maria encourages Mia to open up about what’s going on. Mia confides what happened to her.
“Does Anton know?”
“Then he shouldn’t have kissed you or held you that way.”
I let out a frustrated breath. “Anton and I have been working on it.” […]
she held up her hand. “No, he knew your issue, then threw you over his body in a way that put you in a vulnerable sexual position. That wasn’t smart. I’ll talk with him about his improvisation. That little scene was not part of the choreography. As a matter of fact, that cabron isn’t supposed to have gotten the seductress. The whole point is she’s off limits!”
I love when characters in these books do my job for me.
“You should probably find a professional to talk to about it. I will say telling me, Anton, and others who care for you will help.”
Aw dang! And good mental health advice too? Everything is going great!
That made me think of Ginelle.
NO. NO. STOP. NO. STOP. NO.
When they return to the others, Anton immediately rushes to apologize for his actions. To his credit, he does seem genuinely apologetic, but this isn’t going to move him over into the “decent human” category if the book ends before he ever actually applies what he learned from his mistakes to how he behaves in the future.
Maria wraps up practice for the day. For some reason, Mia thinks about setting up Maria with Alec.
[Maria] was all that and a bag of chips. I wondered if she had a guy. Alec would rock her world. Hell, Alec had rocked my world and often.
No more Alec.
I sighed and moved to Heather [and] hugged her close
Yeah, “No more Alec” is just thrown in the middle there. Either she processed her emotions about the trade-offs of wanting exclusivity so fast she didn’t even touch on them, or she just decided she’s gonna put a hit on Alec.
Somehow this scene also results in Anton reconciling with Heather, officially offering her a promotion to being his manager.
“H, we’re going to have to hire us a new PA. You’re going to be too busy to be dealing with our day-to-day necessities. Oooh, hire a sexy little Latina?” His eyes twinkled, and a sexy grin slipped across his lips.
She shook her head. “Oh, hell, no. You’ll be banging her in five seconds. I’m hiring a gay man! End of. Nothing to distract either one of us.”
Anton shrugged. “Party pooper.”
I’m amazed this story found a way to make working for Anton somehow sound like an even more hostile work environment.