When last we left, Elena was insisting that now that she’d heard what Jeremy had to say and deemed it not an emergency, she was leaving. Good for her! Unfortunately, nobody else sees it that way.
Particularly Clayton, who seems to think this is all about him somehow:
“This has as much to do with me as it does [Jeremy]. Probably more. If Elena thinks she can show up, then walk right back out after I’ve been waiting for over a year–“
Fuck you, Clayton. She’s a grown woman who can make her own choices in life. She’s not your possession or your slave, subject to your whims.
“You’ll do what? […] Kidnap me and lock me in a hotel room again?”
“That was six years ago. And I was only trying to convince you to talk to me before you left.”
In case anyone out there is unsure, that is NOT OKAY. Jeremy kicks him out anyway, but he blatantly eavesdrops right outside the door. Jeremy tries to explain why they need Elena:
“You’ve researched the mutts. You took that on as a job. You know more about them than any of us. […] We need your nose to find him and your knowledge to identify him. Then we need your help to get rid of him. It’s a tricky situation, Elena. Clay’s not the one to handle this.”
And Nick, Antonio, and Peter are out of the running…. why?
Look, I get that she’s supposed to be the expert, but I’m just not buying that they can’t muddle on without her, and I don’t see why it’s automatically her problem if they have to replace her. Pretend this is an exit interview and it just sounds really creepy. She wants out. It’s not your job to force her to stay.
Elena calls him out on this, and he changes tactics, saying instead that all werewolves could be in danger if the police catch the mutt first and he blows the masquerade This at least makes some sense. She asks him point-blank if he’ll let her leave the Pack when this is all over:
“Did you mean what you said last night? That the choice is mine?”
Something flitted across Jeremy’s face. He brushed his bangs back and the expression was gone. “I was angry last night. There’s no reason to be in such a rush to make this decision, Elena.”
In other words, no, he didn’t mean it. I’m getting the suspicion that he’d have to kill her if she left. That’s a common enough trope of the genre and it explains the “something” on his face. He avoids answering the question, instead going on about how he’s giving her freedom, he wants her to make an informed decision, he’s asking not demanding, yadda yadda. I don’t really buy it. He’s come across as too manipulative and controlling to ever really let her go.
I wanted to stomp my feet in a two-year-old’s tantrum and shout that it wasn’t fair. But it was fair. Jeremy was being perfectly reasonable. That was the worst of it.
The worst arguments are the ones where the other guy weasels and misleads and changes the subject until you can’t remember why you were arguing against him in the first place without ever actually addressing any of your concerns so you’re left feeling impotent and helpless while still angry and upset. It’s awful.
I owed Antonio and Peter and Nick and Logan for their friendship
No real friend would force you into an uncomfortable situation because you “owe them” for their friendship. That’s awful and manipulative. At least this one she’s doing to herself.
When I’d been bitten, Jeremy had taken me in, sheltered me, fed me, and taught me how to control my Changes, rein in my impulses, and fit into the outside world.
He also locked her in a cage and has been controlling her ever since, so I’m not too inclined to be charitable.
I’d put him through hell for one solid year. When he’d brought food, I’d thrown it at him. When he’d talked to me, I’d cursed and spat at him. When he’d come near me, I’d attacked him.
Am I the only one who thinks that’s a reasonable response to being turned into a werewolf, kidnapped, and locked in a cage? Jeremy didn’t bite her, but it seems totally realistic to turn her rage against the werewolf in front of her instead of the one who bit her. I don’t think she owes him the rest of her life for that when it benefited him as much as her — he got another wolf to control and the secret stayed kept, plus now there’s a female.
Anyway, she decides to stay and help because apparently she feels like she does owe him her entire life. She insists on being able to leave when it’s over, and Jeremy agrees. He tells Clay, but Clay apparently has some issues with accepting reality:
Clay had obviously reinterpreted the facts through his own filter of logic, a logic as indecipherable as his code of behavior and ethics.
This man has a Ph. D in Anthropology. Let’s not forget that. Apparently his brain is so alien nobody can understand how he thinks, but he can communicate well enough to earn a Ph. D in a field studying aspects of human behavior.
The plan is made:
Tonight, the five of us, excluding Jeremy, would go into town to track the mutt down. We’d split into two groups, Antonio and Peter in one, the rest of us in the other. If we found the mutt’s lair, Antonio or I would determine whether or not the mutt could be killed safely.
So… why can’t she be replaced by Antonio again?
Elena calls home and finally gets in touch with Philip! And promptly starts lying to him, claiming her Cousin Jeremy’s wife, Celia, was in a car accident, and she’s been called in to help babysit the three kids while Celia’s in the hospital. It comes out pretty naturally, too. She’s probably been lying to him about little things for their entire relationship.
There are only two things in Stonehaven that reveal what lives there: the dossiers on mutts, and the Legacy, an ancient book showing the history of the werewolves. This is apparently the sum total of Pack knowledge of their roots, preserved carefully by each Alpha over the years, so I’m getting the idea that there’s only ever been one Pack? Otherwise how would splinters get a copy of the book? Anyway, it shows that they’re not immortal, that female werewolves are biologically impossible, that sex is best for werewolves in human form with human women, and that apparently the best sex involves killing your partner at the moment of climax. Ick. But not surprising, given what we know about the Pack thus far. They also claim Genghis Khan, surprise surprise.
Three pack members have no family tree in the book: Clay, Elena, and Logan, who was put up for adoption as a baby but was hereditary, probably the son of a mutt. He was left with a note to be opened on his sixteenth birthday directing him to the Pack.
This is getting long so I’ll skim over the other Pack stories: Antonio ran away with his teenage girlfriend when she got pregnant but after his First Change realized that he and his son would have to return to the Pack without her so he vanished into the night, leaving her to her life without him since he couldn’t explain. Peter decided to leave the pack at twenty-two to go be a sound technician for rock bands and eventually did something terrible but unspoken and went back to the Pack to hide from the death sentence. So apparently wanting out of the Pack is totally normal, except when it’s Elena because of course she’s not allowed to leave.
Apparently the various mutts and their habits are common knowledge, as Antonio drags Elena into a chat about which one this might be. Again, why can’t he do her job? Apparently there’s a number of mutts who are tolerated as loners because they keep their heads down, behave, and occasionally send money or gifts to the Pack to stay on their good sides. Elena blames herself for the situation they’re in because she didn’t say firmly enough that she was leaving for good so Jeremy didn’t replace her. Blah. Whatever.
The far wall was covered with pictures of me — a montage of photographs and sketches that reminded me of the “altars” found int he homes of obsessed psychopaths, which, all things considered, wasn’t such a bad description of Clay.
Ew. NOT OKAY. Ew ew ew.
Anyway Nick and Clay are excited to go hunting and Elena’s sexually attracted to Clay despite the “obsessive psychopath” behavior. End of chapter. Next time: hunting a mutt.