Previously, Falyn is totally not interested in Taylor. Today, the mystery of love???
Beautiful Sacrifice: Chapter 10
But first, SCREAMING.
The hair dryer made a high-pitched whine loud enough to cover the sounds of Kirby letting herself in. When I saw her standing in the bathroom doorway, I yelped. […]
“Why are you screaming at me?”
I switched off the hair dryer. “Why are you sneaking into my bathroom?”
Kirby worries that her boyfriend Gunnar is cheating on her because he’s not answering his phone, which I totally remembered was a subplot in this book.
“He’s not cheating.”
She looked at me from under her brow, accepting what she already knew. “Then why doesn’t he call? Why doesn’t he answer his phone?”
“Because he’s driving.”
“He can’t even text?”
“No! Do you want him to come home, alive? You’re being ridiculous”
Yep, this… sure is a subplot! Falyn quickly steers us back to the main plot, which for all its shortcomings, is at least more interesting than “sometimes Gunnar doesn’t text Kirby all that frequently”. (Can’t wait to see how that gripping narrative arc plays out. Will he text her more often? Will she care less about it? Only time will tell.) Falyn tells Kirby that she went hiking with Taylor, and they ran into Kirby’s mom. Hey, by the way, has anyone picked up that Kirby’s mom is Greek?
“Did mom give you a lift into town?”
“To the trail head. Taylor’s truck was there. She doesn’t like him.”
“He’s a hotshot. Of course not.”
“She Greeked at me.”
“Oh. She must have really not liked him.”
“She spoke the tongue of the Olde World, of the Olden Ways, damning me with the disapproval of the ancestors as she implored our father’s father’s fathers to condemn the shame which I have wrought of my own foolish volition, with mine own imperfect hands. I am stained with my sin.”
“Oh. She must have really not liked him.”
(~~serious voice~~ Also let’s note that Kirby’s family seems to be Greek just so Falyn can pull jokes about magic curses or how foreign languages are goofy. Them being Greek is never mentioned without it subsequently being the source of a joke. And it’s not laughing-with joking coming from within the community, a la My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but it’s just Falyn constantly conflating what’s Greek and what’s weird. Tasteful!)
“Why do you like [Taylor]?” I asked.
Kirby shrugged. “Just because he’s a hotshot doesn’t mean he’s like my father. Besides, it’s hard to dislike someone because he chose a job to save things.”
Not like the despicable behavior of sometimes not answering your phone. That’s where Kirby draws the fucking line.
The main thing that happens in this very short chapter, however, is that Falyn isn’t sure if she wants to go out with Taylor and meet his brother Tyler, and really makes a lot of her indecision. Yes, much like the part of the horror movie where the college kids realize they aren’t going to have a fun relaxing weekend at their friend’s grandparents’ cabin, we are now at the part of the Maddox Bro novel where our leading lady realizes this Maddox guy isn’t just her annoying frenemy. Apparently. No, you didn’t skip a chapter. Apparently we’re here now.
Blurring lines with Taylor was dangerous. He’d agreed to take me to Illinois. But when? So many things could go wrong between his promise and Eakins. He didn’t want my truth now, but what if he required it later? What if there were more conditions?
What if I want more conditions?
…would she? When did she start feeling this way?
“I don’t understand why he wants me to meet his brother. What purpose would it serve?”
What purpose would it serve? This isn’t a fucking Jane Austen novel. The social maneuvering and manipulation we’ve seen so far is a little less “Lady Susan tricks her brother-in-law into thinking that paying for her daughter’s education is to his own benefit” and a little more “Taylor lifted up his shirt and showed Falyn his abs”.
“What would it mean if I did?”
…it would mean you met your new friend Taylor’s brother? When did everyone in this story become convinced they were in a way more complicated story?
Kirby tells Falyn that “You need to get out of your own head”, which might be the most helpful thing a best friend has ever said in a Maddox Bro novel.
“Falyn, go. Stop overthinking it. You spent the entire day together, and you still want to see him. That’s saying something, especially for you.”
Although she’s still in a Maddox Bro novel, so she’s still gotta aggressively push for them to get together.
“You look hot. And he’s hot. You would make beautiful babies.”
Let’s step back from our usual haters-gonna-hate stance for a second (as much fun as that is). I feel like a lot of the fun with love stories – especially “at first, they hated each other…” stories – is the fun of knowing something that the main character hasn’t figured out yet and waiting to see what finally prompts their moment of clarity. Ideally, we even get some character growth here too, because if they already have everything they need to be together in the first place, what story do you even get? Even Fifty Shades of Grey gets this right, to a certain degree: that first book ends with Ana realizing Christian isn’t a person who can offer her what she needs and breaking it off. (The sequels don’t entirely deliver on him actually growing into a person she can be with after that, but that’s whole other issue.)
But what’s frustrating about the Maddox Brother novels is that it often feels like the main character doesn’t like him until she just… does.
Taylor had that something about him, more than just charm. He wasn’t the asshole he tried to be—at least, not to me.
But is he worth the risk?
What risk? When did Falyn start thinking about risk? This about face is so sudden! We read how many pages of Falyn aggressively denying Taylor’s advances – with Falyn herself even pointing out a mere two chapters ago that she’s been downright mean to him – just to have her just tell us “oh, by the way, I’m questioning my feelings now”?
I mean, hey, feelings are hard and dating is a journey. It often more so takes self-awareness rather than a single, telling moment that changes everything for people to realize whether they’re feeling it with someone or not. But when did we ever get an inkling that Falyn was even close to feeling like this:
My heart beat faster, knowing Taylor was less than a block away.
This isn’t what I meant earlier by “the fun of knowing something that the main character hasn’t figured out yet”. This isn’t reading Falyn better than she’s read herself, this is friggin’ divining her future.
For the first time in years, a guy hinting that he was interested in me didn’t feel like a violation.
“In years” up to and including this same guy a few chapters ago.
The chapter ends with Falyn alerting the reader that “Something bigger than just a night at Cowboys was about to happen”. First-person narrator Falyn won’t narrate anything about her past but apparently has no problem visiting us from the future.