The first thing the search party finds when looking for the missing human is Elena’s panties, as well as the shredded remains of her and Clay’s other clothing.
The human is dead, of course. Worse, Elena finds Clay’s hair and prints, which she can distinctly tell are his as though they were familiar shoes because obviously paws have tread patterns and come in many distinct sizes like shoes so they’re readily identifiable…. anyway. Clay insists that he didn’t do it, and he was with her last night, but she points out he was gone when she woke up. She takes this as a sign she shouldn’t be with him, but she knew that in chapter 1. Nothing here is surprising, except maybe in a meta sense in that I’m sure the author intends to exonerate Clay.
“Why do I bother? Nothing I say will change your mind. Do you know why? Because you want to believe that I did it. That way, you can hole up in here and dwell on how wrong you were to come to me last night, curse yourself for having given in to me again, for forgetting what a monster I am.”
Clay’s right on the money, but for good reason: this relationship is a sick joke, something that’s not healthy for Elena. For all his demands that they be together, he really doesn’t care that he’s wrong for her, that he’s cruel and domineering and abusive. So he turns it around on her: she’s wrong to hate him because hatred is bad, rather than admit that she’s right to hate him because he’s cruel to her.
Sometimes I think Elena makes excuses for Clay because Jeremy’s the same way:
“A meeting implies a group meeting, […] a group meeting implies that all the members of hte group are expected to be there.”
“What if I’m not a member of the group?”
“You are as long as you’re here.”
“I could remedy that.”
Jeremy lifted his feet onto the footstool and leaned his head back against the headrest. “Beautiful weather we’re having, isn’t it?”
“Do you ever discuss anything you don’t want to discuss?”
“It’s the privilege of age.”
I snorted. “It’s the privilege of position.”
Jeremy orders everyone around ignoring what they want or how they feel. He’s the leader they all take as a role model, so of course the men of the Pack are like him to a certain extent. And yet…
As someone who’d once been human in a democratic society, the idea of an all-powerful, unquestionable leader rankled. How many nights had Jeremy and I spent debating it, here in this room, drinking brandy until I was too tired and drunk to walk up to my room and fell asleep here
I was going to comment on how she knows better and calls him out on being an asshole but I’ve been sidetracked by how he used his superior capacity for liquor to implicitly win arguments. Fucking asshole.
Jeremy’s plan is to take everyone but Elena, Nick, and Clay to go find out who the killer is, and in the meantime forbid anyone from running in the woods until this is sorted out. Clay predictably explodes. On a practical level, why would any leader want to keep around a werewolf who was prone to violent outbursts when he didn’t get his way? How could that be good for the Pack, or for morale? Seriously?