Content note: Rape is discussed herein.
Urgh. Still not feeling well, but I’m beginning to think I won’t anytime soon, so, another chapter we go.
So, chapter fourteen! It is now Thursday. Abby is obsessive baking to get over her recent heartbreak; she’s barely slept and done nothing other than bake and sleep for two days. Apparently Vera’s funeral should be today, but it’s cancelled due to excessive bees — Kammani’s plague.
I would normally post a video here, but bees freak me out. So have acapella singing instead:
Meanwhile, Gen, who came over to tell Abby the news, is afraid of Mina.
“She has this thing she does with her hand. She reaches out and makes a fist..” Gen made a fist and held it out, her arm shaking. “… and things … die. She killed Baby that way, but Kammani brought her back.”
“Kammani couldn’t bring Vera back,” Abby said, but it was a hollow argument. She knew Gen was probably right.
“Mina didn’t let go of her fist,” Gen said. “I saw her. She didn’t straighten out her hand. I didn’t get it at the time, but I’ve been thinking about it, and I think Kammani couldn’t raise her because Vera’s heart couldn’t beat. Mina was squeezing it. “
Friggan gruesome shit right there. Anyway, so Gen thinks Mina’s a serial killer who will pick them all off one by one, and by the way, Christopher’s freaked out that Abby might be in danger, meaning it’s True Love after all and whatever. After all, nobody cares that someone they know might be in danger without being in love and junk.
Abby lets Gen move in with her for protection (because…. I don’t know… Abby’s safe somehow? Or something?) in exchange for helping her bake. The tonic recipe thus far consists of Hawaiian Punch, Earl Grey tea, rosewater, and Grand Mariner. I’m thinking this is more “party punch” than “magical tonic”.
Each bite [of cookie] was like taking a bite of Christopher, and if she had any sense she’d be on bread and water.
This is officially getting kind of creepy actually… wtf.
I’m reading the next few sentences over and over, trying to picture it in my head, but all I can conclude is that Christopher is a master of the secret Flash Step technique:
Christopher was standing in the doorway to the courtyard.
[Abby's] reaction was instant. She didn’t stop to think; she was halfway up the stairs, moving so fast, Bowser sat up and barked “What’s up?” She tried to keep going, but Christopher was too fast for her, and his arm clamped around her waist as she tried to scramble out of the way, so that she had no choice but to give up or they’d both fall down the stairs.
Abby was standing in the kitchen, at a counter. By any rights, she’d be between Christopher, who was in the doorway to the exterior, and the stairs, thus giving her a head start. She moved suddenly, which should give her Christopher’s reaction time as a further head start. But he beat her to the stairs and grabbed her around the waist? Sounds like some ninja bullshit:
Abby insists she doesn’t want to talk to him. Christopher totally overrides her wishes, like most romance novel protagonists. What a great start. He accuses her of “playing games”, and says she “pulled a Cinderella”. This is healthy.
They move to the coffeehouse, and he continues to interrogate her, while she continues to try to tell him to buzz off. He declares that he and Sam will help move Gen’s stuff in, despite Abby’s obvious discomfort with that idea.
“You’re just going to have to get used to seeing me. Talking to me. And besides, I’ve developed a taste for your sugar cookies.”
How a stuffy math professor could make such a simple sentence sound sexual was beyond Abby’s comprehension, but she’d about reached her limit.
Ew ew ew, rapetastic. He stomps all over her feelings, disregards her stated wishes repeatedly, then insists he’s going to keep doing it and hits on her?
[Abby] stood alone in the deserted coffeehouse, watching them go, telling herself that the odd feeling in the pit of her stomach was dread and not joy.
Ick. Moving on.
Friday morning, Vera’s funeral happens. In a rather sweet moment, Daisy gives Squash a sachet of herbs, vitamin powers, and a pawprint to bury as a way to say goodbye to Vera. Then she takes charge of Squash, declaring that she belongs to the dog, as that’s the way Squash phrased her relationship with Vera. So basically, Daisy/Squash is a million times more considerate and honest and caring than Christopher/Abby.
After the funeral, the girls interrogate Sam as to what happened to Vera. Daisy at first is a bit covert about it because of Noah, but when that gets awkward she rapidly fesses up to the whole thing — so Daisy/Noah is already more honest and open and communicative than Chris/Abby.
Except then Daisy freaks out that Noah already is familiar with this whole idea because of Mina. She realizes that he helped give her tonic and then had sex with her.
He went deathly still. “So, working for Kammani makes me a rapist, then?”
“No.” Daisy put her hand ot her head. “No. I mean… I wanted what happened between us; you know that.”
“Yeah, but only because I drugged you, right?” He stared at her, his eyes hard. “That’s your working theory, isn’t it?”
I’m not sure what to make of this bit. On the one hand, good on the book for pointing out the problematic consent issues here. On the other hand, Noah doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, and he’s using this as a way to accuse Daisy of trying to trap him, to accuse her of making up a rape narrative because she’s upset. Which, she’s not even accusing him of doing anything wrong! He’s the one bringing it up! But somehow that makes her a false-accuser because women are always falsely accusing men of rape, right?
I just don’t know. Two paragraphs later they’re laughing about her having a clicky pen, as if the author wanted to acknowledge the problems with a token scene then ignore them in favor of light-hearted romance. I feel like you can’t just open that door then slam it shut again, you know?
Daisy worries that Kammani might have done something to Noah to make him fall for Daisy, because this is happening awfully fast. She doesn’t say anything, though, just tries to chase away the dark thoughts with warm happy lovey feelings. Again, opening the door, then slamming it shut again. It’s very strange.
Meanwhile, Kammani is on Mina’s pills, so she can’t feel real emotions anymore. I’m not going to talk about that right now, but I’ve had a similar experience and it’s awful, so I’m hoping this doesn’t get played for laughs. The bees didn’t work because, ever since Colony Collapse happened, we’ve been desperate for bees. So she decides to have a plague.
Meanwhile, Shar’s decided to finish her book! Without any mention of Kammani, because seriously, this kind of sucks. Apparently, Sam got his throne kind of by accident; one king stopped paying attention to Kammani, so she replaced him with Sam’s dad, until he got bored and handed it all down to his son. Shar wrestles with her tendency to be jealous of Sam’s other/past lovers, but handles it fairly well.
Sam points out the fact that there’s absolutely no mention of Kammani anywhere bodes ill for how her last stint in the mortal plane ended. He was dead at the time, so he’s not sure what happened, but it had to be bad.