I’ve just been on hold with TWO, count ’em, TWO multinational companies and my problem still isn’t resolved (well, it kind of is, in that I took my business elsewhere). Let’s tackle some werewolves, shall we?
When we last left off, Elena and Jeremy had smelled human blood. In this chapter, they discover a body under the bridge. I’ll spare you the excessive gore in the description and just say it’s been chewed on consistent with a werewolf kill, and an old one that’s clearly been moved here for the Pack to find to boot. Dirt indicates it was previously buried. They’re interrupted by hunters with dogs, who they rush up the stream banks to meet and therefore prevent from seeing the corpses.
The hunters are looking for wild dogs, and Jeremy points out that this is private property, and he and his guests are using it so he’d rather not have someone get shot on accident, but if they’d stop by the house first he’d be glad to provide them with maps and warn people that there’d be hunters so they’ll stay out of the woods until the search is done. Which. Is entirely sensible and human.
Unlike Clay the Rapist, who barges into the scene in a temper and starts swearing and shouting.
“Did you miss the fucking signs on the way in?” he snarled, turning on the younger man, the strongest of the group. “Or is trespassing too goddamned many syllables for you?”
How the heck did he not get expelled from school long enough to earn a PHD?
Anyway, the fight is interrupted by one of the dogs, who decides apparently that with three werewolves around it should attack Elena the Mary Sue. She screams and kicks feebly and makes a big show of being afraid; Clay kills the dog, and Jeremy makes a big to-do about shots and medical bills while Clay ‘comforts’ Elena, thus diffusing the whole situation and convincing them to leave for now and do things Jeremy’s way in the future.
The danger seemed to be escalating with each passing hour. First we’d been spotted in the city. Next we’d found a body on the property. Then we’d had a confrontation with the locals, calling attention to ourselves and probably raising suspicion. All in twelve hours. The mutt had to die. Tonight.
Clay goes to apologize for confronting the humans, and Elena is so not in the mood to hear it, so she lets Jeremy deal with Clay while she calls Phillip.
I tried to think as Phillip would, to feel compassion and grief for that dead boy, a life as full as my own cut short.
Apparently assholism is part and parcel of the whole werewolf thing I guess? I mean, I’m just trying to keep up with the book here. Different people deal with death in different ways, but I’m trying to figure out what this sentence wants us to think about Elena. Maybe pity? “Poor Elena can’t feel emotions”? Seems a little inappropriate in the face of someone being mauled to death by a werewolf.
Warning: Victim blaming
What the hell had I been thinking? I hadn’t been thinking — that was the trouble. If I hadn’t felt guilt a few hours ago, I felt it now.
This is the beginning of the weird disconnect in this book where for some reason, that clearly rape scene is being treated as though it was consensual sex, and therefore, as though the biggest issue is that Elena is cheating on Phillip. Which, given that it was so very rape-tastic, makes me feel icky for even reading this. Blaming a rape victim for “cheating” is so very not okay.
Here I had a wonderful man who cared for me and I was screwing around with a self-absorbed, conniving monster who’d betrayed me in the worst possible way.
The only thing I can think of that might excuse this is if this is stockholm syndrome, if the way he plays her, pretending he wouldn’t rape her even as he does so, sinks into her subconscious to make her feel so unworthy of a healthy relationship that she crawls back to him. Making Clay even more of a fucked-up monster than Elena thinks he is.
Jeremy, who gives zero fucks about any of this, pairs Elena and Clay together to hunt the mutt. While waiting for dark, Elena goes through Jeremy’s studio, because apparently Jeremy paints wolves interacting with humans in a surrealist style.
A dangerous subject, but Jeremy was careful, selling them under an assumed name and never making public appearances.
I love the weird danger level here. It’s okay to sell paintings of giant friendly wolves, but only if you do so under a fake name and can’t be traced back to the real you, who is a werewolf but nobody knows it anyway.
This creeps me out:
In [one painting], I was standing on the edge of a cliff, naked, with my back to the viewer. Clay was sitting on the ground beside me, his arm wrapped around my leg. Below the cliff, a pack of wolves played in a forest clearing. The title was scrawled in the bottom corner: Eden
I’m not sure why yet, but it just really creeps me out. Maybe the idea that Clay and Elena’s clearly supremely fucked-up relationship is being idealized? Maybe the idea that he wants them to found a new race of werewolves as a new Adam and Eve? Not quite sure.
There’s a portrait of Clay looking “all innocent and dreaminess”, which is also fucking creepy. The next is Elena, naked, with a look of “feral sensuality”, which is also fucking creepy, especially since she doesn’t see that sort of thing in herself when she looks in a mirror, so he’s putting that sexuality onto her, painting her in a sexual way when he’s supposed to be her father-in-law. This whole scene is creepy. Jeremy is creepy.
Logan calls, saving us from the creepy paintings!
Clay hates Logan and hates that Elena talked to Logan because she’d rather spend time with the not-rapist than the rapist. Logan is coming back! He knows she wants him to come back so she can spend less time with the rapist, but he laughs about it like it’s not a big deal.
Elena is now happy. Fuck this book.