To confirm what’s probably not surprising news, we’re taking a bit of a break from Calendar Girl because something else has just come out that absolutely requires our attention.
— fiftyshadesUK (@fiftyshadesUK) November 24, 2017
So nobody would mind if we take a break from Calendar Girl, right? I mean, it’s a new Fifty Shades. It’s like BBGT homecoming. Plus, uh, is anyone actually gonna miss what this story has turned into?
Calendar Girl (October): Chapter 10
Calendar Girl continues its transformation into Crossfire with what’s actually one of the better parts of Crossfire: actually making its characters go to therapy.
Because lord in heaven, do they need it.
“Why are we here?” Wes sighed and leaned against the back of the elevator.
I huffed and leaned into him. “You know why. It’s time.”
“I’m fine,” he grated through his teeth.
Tipping my head, I cocked a hip and stared into his eyes. “Really? We’re having this conversation again?”
I like that Mia’s pushing him into getting help. I know, have the love story’s central couple actually support each other. Crazy idea. Wes is open but resistant, and tells Mia a few times he’s doing this for her, because “I just… I hate what happened, and continuing to talk about it makes me think that it’s going to bring it back even worse.” And that’s legit heartrending. This is actually the most Wes has ever seemed like a real human person.
The tension surrounding him could be cut with a knife, it was so thick. I rubbed his forearm while his knee bounced. Seeing him so anxious was new. I’d seen Wes in all different settings but never in one where he was openly uncomfortable.
Yes, we’ve never seen this man who was kidnapped and tortured and forced to watch his employees and friends be murdered or assaulted be openly uncomfortable before.
One thing that’s really fun about therapy scenes in the books we read on this blog is that they’re a good chance to glean whether the author has any self-awareness about all the unhealthy shit they’ve spent the whole story glorifying. Or whether the therapist is just gonna be a mouthpiece for the story to explicitly talk about its themes.
At first, it really looks like the latter:
The door opened and, to my surprise, Gina DeLuca walked out. […] The doctor consoled and hugged her. Yep. That’s all I needed to see to know that this was the right place. She operated on love and compassion, and that’s exactly what my guy needed.
HEY. HEY GUYS. HEY. Anyone wanna guess what Mia’s evidence is that this is a doctor who treats her patients with love and compassion?
I looked around the room, and from where I was sitting, I could just barely see a family photo facing her chair. Another point for the doctor. A family woman.
BECAUSE FAMILYYYyyyYYYy! Hahaaaaaa having babies gives a woman value! This is lowkey a recurring theme of this story that started as a contrived framework for a young woman to bang a new hot dude every month.
Her reputation, the help she was giving Gina, and the fact that she was a woman with a family made me believe she could potentially help my guy get through the trauma of his experience in Sri Lanka and Indonesia in a loving way.
Yes, truly it is her ability to have landed a man and reproduced with him that qualifies her to help treat PTSD. Lean in, amiright?
But I digress. That’s still Mia bein’ Mia. How’s the therapist herself do on the “does this story have any self-awareness at all” front?
Well, I’ll let you know, if Mia ever stops talking.
“I almost forced myself on Mia last night. I was stuck in the middle of a dream,” Wes stated flatly. “I don’t want to ever do that again or risk hurting her. I love her. We plan to get married. Can you fix this?”
Dr. Shofner licked her lips and clucked her tongue. “Okay, well, I hope to help—”
I cut her off. “He didn’t force me to do anything, and he most certainly didn’t hurt me. More than anything, I was surprised and rattled because the night terrors routine has changed. I’m not sure how to bring him back anymore.”
Ohhhhhh boy, we’re back in “Mia makes it all about herself” mode during Wes’s first-ever therapy session.
They begin talking about how Mia’s been using sex to bring Wes out of his night terrors.
The doctor smiled. “And how does that bring him back?” The question was directed to me. “I don’t know exactly.”
I love when books accidentally summarize and critique themselves in two lines of dialogue.
Dr. Shofner says something actually solid to Wes, telling him that “Captivity is something you survived. It does not define who you are.” I want to appreciate that this is actually good. And ultimately, the therapist doesn’t get to say a ton to Wes aside from reassuring him his mind has a lot to process and she mostly gets Mia and Wes to reassure each other that they feel safe with each other. I feel like we as readers have seen that this is debatable, but as therapy this seems… fine? She didn’t therapist-splain the themes to us, at least. I can live with that.
But she does asks them more about how Mia “brings him back”. Wes explains that Mia asks him questions about where he is, if he loves her. Mia’s impressed that the doctor keeps it professional when Wes gets awkward trying to talk about getting hard. Silly Mia, you knew she was a pro when you saw that she had a family! And a degree, I guess, but mostly the family thing.
We skip ahead to learning that Wes planned to have three sessions a week for the near future, which is great. Then we learn that Mia is still jealous whenever Gina is around with Wes, because we’re still doing that. It’s boring to be honest, because it’s just Mia admitting that her feelings of jealousy are shitty but they’re there but she can suck it up, which is fair but not really interesting. But we do get this hilarious bit with our favorite housekeeper of eternal sorrow:
Another unfortunate side effect to Wes being home and going through post-traumatic stress therapy was the many days I’d come home to him and Gina on the couch or patio deck laughing. Judi would carry a scowl the moment I’d enter as if I were allowing him to ruin us.
Judi is a real dark horse for Calendar Girl‘s most mysteriously unhinged character. She just shows up every now and then to really root for Mia and Wes and get legit angry if they’re not enamored with each other at any given moment. That’s all she does in this story. I love her.
Then things take a dark turn.
today, Ginelle was set to arrive. I could hardly frickin’ wait!
Just in case it’s unclear why I’m dreading the return of this minor character, Gin immediately reminds us:
“Wes, baby, this is my best friend, Ginelle. Gin, meet Weston Channing, the third.”
Wes mouthed “the third” and winked at me. “It’s good to meet you.” He held out a hand.
Ginelle didn’t say anything. Her mouth was open, her eyes bugging out of her head. “Hot damn, my panties are wet. Wait, I’m not wearing any. My invisible panties are wet!”
Oh my god, I’m already exhausted.
I closed my eyes and silently steamed. Wes howled with laughter.
Look, I know I joke a lot about how Wes doesn’t seem like a normal human person, but somehow Gin has showed up, made that joke, and just by actually laughing at it, Wes still seems like the least believable character in this scene. It’s goddamn sorcery.
Suddenly Gina walks in and Gin flips out that Gina is still there. I know. Gin and Gina together at last. Our day of reckoning has come. Don’t mix them up.
Mia takes this opportunity to just take Gin straight to Wes’s guest house where Gin will be crashing while she “start[s] her life over.” She summarizes the last few books for Gin, and I contemplate the horror of reading an entire book about Gin starting her life over.
“Mia, I needed this change. It was time to leave it all behind. […] It was time for an adventure. I’m ready to see where life takes me here in California. […] Lead the way.” She gestured to the door, and a feeling of absolute light rushed through me.
Whatever the opposite of that is is what I just felt.
“This time, I will lead the way.” I meant every word. After ten months of doing what I was told, going here, there, being hired to be something to save someone else, I was tired of following. From here on out I was the leader of my own destiny.
Well, Gin’s done the impossible. I’m pumped to read Fifty Shades of Grey again.