Last time on why isn’t this done yet, Rhine was annoying and the book hated women more.
Rhine and the rapist are going on a walk.
He and I are hand in hand through the sleepy winter wonderland that the orange grove has become. Everything around us is white and deeper white, and a path has been carved for us through snowdrifts as high as my head. I didn’t know winter could be so extreme this far south.
I swear it’s like the author is mocking me.
The rapist comments on how well she gets along with Jenna.
“She’s my sister,” I say
I just spend a while googling and can’t find any sign this is another Mormon author, or any other explanation for what the fuck is with the book’s obsession with this.
In the ten months we’ve been here, Jenna has held on to her resentment for her imprisonment and the murder of her sisters. I can’t blame her.
It’s amazing how good the book is at minimizing things. Kidnapping, murder and imprisonment are not things you need to work at to stay angry over. Feeling this way is not a character flaw that you magnanimously don’t blame the person for.
Rhine then says that it’s lucky because Jenna’s could be a rival if she wanted to.
she is very compassionate and loyal when you aren’t responsible for the murder of her family.
No shit, Rhine.
While Rhine has spent much of the book being stupid, self-centered and cruel, I think this is a new apologist low for her.
The rapist says that Jenna did talk to him the last night, in addition to all the not consensual sex because she’s only doing it out of fear they had. She told him Rhine was stressed about the baby and being stuck inside all the time to convince him to give her a keycard to get out. It’s unclear if Jenna would still act like this if she knew the shit Rhine was saying in her internal monologue. Possibly. Considering the short lifespan of women in this, it’s likely one of Jenna’s sisters was Rhine’s age.
It’s happening. I’m becoming first wife!
She attempts to say she means that being first wife means being trusted so she’ll get out, but it’s obviously bullshit because if escaping was really her first priority, her first thought would be “I can use this to escape!” not “This means I’m most important! …and I can use that to escape too, I guess.”
Rhine is deliriously thankful that her owner has installed a cat door, so she hugs him and then they kiss. She talks about how he looks like an innocent little boy unlike his jerkface evil mad scientist father, because we can never skip a chance to talk about how sweet the rapist is.
She then tries to find Jenna to tell her, but can’t find her, so…she uses her new freedom and key card to hang out in the library on the wives’ floor for the rest of the day, because why escape now that she’s got her own little kitty door and such a pretty golden collar?
Apparently Cecily’s at eight months now and can barely walk. She’s having horrible back pain.
The attendant offers to bring a dinner tray to her in bed, but she says, “Don’t be stupid. I’m having dinner with my husband like everybody else.”
This obviously means she’s an obnoxious brat who’s never happy with anything and not that she really wants to spend time with him despite how uncomfortable she is. I mean, she called him stupid! A thirteen year old being rude? Unbelievable.
Jenna’s there at dinner already and looks like hell. Rhine says Jenna was nineteen last month. I’m going to just assume dates line up here, though I wouldn’t be surprised if an actual attempt to keep a timeline showed errors left and right.
Anyway, this means the rapist is having increasingly kinky sex in an attempt to knock up someone who’ll be dead in eleven months. Even if evil mad scientist could keep her alive an extra few months like Rose, she’ll be extremely sick and in no condition to gestate or nurse a child.
And I asked her to run away with me when I formulate a plan
The first decent thing Rhine’s done all chapter. But Jenna refuses. She’s already established that she doesn’t care because her whole family’s dead and she’ll be dead soon too.
Even if her body becomes one of Vaughn’s experiments, she doesn’t care.
NO ONE CARES, RHINE. ONLY YOU AND I GUESS SECONDARY LOVE INTEREST KEEP HARPING ON THE IDEA OF DISSECTING A PILE OF MEAT THAT BY FUCKING DEFINITION IS INCAPABLE OF CARING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO IT.
Rhine snarks that Cecily must really be feeling sick because she hasn’t bitched about Rhine’s keycard. Because Rhine is terrible. Then she starts feeling concerned…for secondary love interest, because clearly he’s the one in danger here.
Jenna knocks the boiled carrots around with her fork. Vaughn tells her to eat something, and his voice is so frightening despite his smile that she does.
Despite the fact that Rhine’s reaction to evil mad scientist seems completely nonsensical to me, all evidence in the book is that it’s everyone’s reaction. This makes me feel bad for evil mad scientist. Imagine if every time you tried to talk to people about anything, they reacted like you were threatening to murder everyone in the room. It’s probably why he likes Cecily so much, she doesn’t treat him a giant pile of vipers.
When they go back to their home cage, Rhine thanks Jenna for the key. Because as I said, we must always be reminded of what a nice person the rapist is, she says he already wanted to and he was just waiting for a push.
You’ve already got him convinced you adore him. You do such a good job that I’m almost convinced myself.”
My fondness for Linden isn’t entirely an act, but I don’t know how to explain my feelings for him when I don’t even understand them myself
Rhine, I’m pretty sure what she meant was that she’d already noticed this and was trying to be diplomatic regarding the fact you’re making out with a rapist.
Also, your feelings are because you are stupid and horrible and instinctively gravitate to whoever is the most powerful and privileged to claim that they’re the real victim here. Stockholm can only explain so much. You are just like this. It is your nature, and it is terrible.
Proving my point that Jenna knows she’s in love with the rapist, she immediately moves on to remind her of comparatively less objectionable secondary love interest. Jenna, being competent in addition to kind and smart and not prone to making excuses for rapists, easily found out what happened to him by the amazing process of fucking asking someone Rhine you are so fucking useless you know that.
Gabriel wasn’t called to the basement, it turns out. He’s been reassigned there instead. Jenna attempts to point out that plenty of servants work in the basement. Rhine wails about how it’s all her fault.
Here’s the thing – even if it’s because of them making out, all the guy did was make it so the boy she was making out with is no longer delivering her food with an excuse to spend hours up in her room alone. That is an incredibly mild reaction under the circumstances, and not at all what you’d expect from someone we’re told is evil.
Jenna interrupts Rhine’s whining to say that she was caught while trying to verify this herself and so she’s probably not going to be let out again. But she says she can still distract them long enough for Rhine to get to the basement herself, just so Rhine can see he’s alive and okay.
“You’d do that?” I say.
She smiles, and for once she looks strikingly like Rose smiling on her death bed. “Sure,” she says. “What have I got to lose?”
Rhine is for once observant, and realizes that Jenna must have something to lose if she’s scared of evil mad scientist. She asks what he did. Jenna says nothing. Rhine realizes she knows way too much about what’s in the basement since they’ve only been there once and didn’t see any of the things she mentions. Jenna repeats that he did nothing.
“Tell me what he did,” I cry, forgetting the low voice I’ve been using. “What did he do to you?”
“Nothing!” she cries back. “It’s what he’s going to do to you. He knows you tried to run once, and he expects me to convince you to stay, but I’m trying to help you, so just shut up and let me!”
So – yes, Rhine probably reminds her a lot of one of her dead sisters. This is beyond being a nice person and well into trying to help someone as a proxy for failing the others.
Jenna storms out.
The hologram in the fireplace winces.
…This is our ending line, and I’ve no idea what it means. The next chapter isn’t Rhine going holy fuck the hologram reacted we’re being spied on! or anything, it’s her getting a massage. Maybe the idea is just Jenna slammed the door so hard it made the power flicker.
Well. We are now two thirds through this book. There are nine more chapters to go.