You know what’d have been useful? Times. We keep getting chapters split across one day. It’s particularly important right now, since we need a countdown to midnight.
Anyway, Link pops in to say that Emothan’s dad is up on a building roof.
According to the South Carolina Visitor’s Guide, the Fallen Soldiers was a Civil War Museum. But really it was just Gaylon Evans’ old house, which was full of his Civil War memorabilia. Gaylon left his house and his collection to his daughter, Vera, who was so desperate to become a member of the DAR she let Mrs. Lincoln and her cronies restore the house and turn it into Gatlin’s one and only museum.
What the fuck is wrong with this guy? Seriously, what?
“Great.” Embarrassing me in our house wasn’t enough. Now my dad had decided to venture out. Link looked confused. He probably expected me to be surprised that my dad was wandering around in his pajamas. He had no idea this was an everyday occurrence. I realized how little Link actually knew about my life these days, considering he was my best friend—my only friend.
And lest you think he’s just terrible to outsiders, he’s also a piece of shit toward those he’s close to.
Link, of course, doesn’t know this because Emothan never bothered telling him, but that isn’t even the reason why he’s looking surprised. Link repeats that no, his dad is ON THE ROOF AS IN JUMPING YOU ASSHOLE.
Lately, I was ashamed of my dad. But I still loved him, crazy or not, and I couldn’t lose him.
I can’t unpack this. Just everyone, stare at it for a while.
Anyway, so he’s frozen up because he’s worried about losing Lena too.
“Yeah, what’s up?” He seemed to sense something was going on, and actually looked concerned, for a guy whose general expression was disinterest.
“I need you to take Lena back to the house.”
“Just promise you’ll take her back to the house.”
“Ethan, I’ll be fine. Just go!” Lena was pushing me toward Link.
Hm. Is it going to be important that Larkin isn’t actually shown taking her back? He just generally seems pretty sketchy.
“What if… what if he’s already jumped?”
“No way. I left Rid with him. She’d never let that happen.”
Huh. So she could just tell him not to jump.
Emothan makes his own jump to it being her fault because everyone keeps saying she can make anyone jump off a cliff, but honestly, we know his dad is depressed to the point of insanity. This isn’t a surprise. But she’s Evil and Emothan is Good so naturally it’s just all her fault.
“Dad, you don’t want to do that. Let me help you.” I took a few steps toward him.
“Stop right there!” he shouted, holding his hand out in front of him to make his point.
“You don’t want his help, do you, Mitchell? You just want some peace. You just want to see Lila again.”
Hm. I’m thinking distraction.
I mean, she can get the entire town to be Lena’s best friend. She shouldn’t be struggling to talk anyone off a roof, let alone someone already suicidally depressed.
So Emothan calls her a witch because that’s his thing and says to leave his dad out of it.
“I could care less about hurting you, Short Straw. I’m just doing my job. It’s nothing personal.”
And what’s she doing? I think it’s just keeping them apart.
She absolutely has the power to kill his dad right now and that means, correspondingly, she must know exactly how hard to push to get him to stand on the ledge but not quite jump. A less powerful character might just not have worked up enough force or, even if she was planning this solely as a distraction, could miscalculate and end up with him jumping, but she’s obviously got some amazing control. His dad isn’t in danger. She just wanted to separate him from Lena.
This raises another interesting point – the party appears to not be part of the plan. Lena was supposed to head back inside. If she’d just stayed inside the whole time, Link would still have gone to the house and called for Emothan, and he’d still have left to try to save his dad. That means the party was just something she did for Lena.
“You’re doing this for Sarafine.”
“Come on, Short Straw, what did you expect? You saw how my uncle treats me. The whole family thing, not really an option for me right now.”
It’s almost like declaring someone evil and kicking them out just leads to them stuck with whoever else will take them.
Emothan, instead of trying to talk his dad down, just yells at him and Link about what a psycho mindraping bitch Ridley is.
Ridley turned to face me, unwrapping a cherry lollipop. “I’m sorry about this, Short Straw. I really am. But everyone has a part to play, and this is mine. Your dad is going to have a little accident tonight. Just like your mom did.”
She claims that wasn’t her, though, someone else did that one. I’m still not convinced she’ll be doing this one either – the only purpose of this seems to have been to get Emothan here. It’s not just that there’s no point in killing his dad, but in fact, he’d probably run back to Lena as soon as the guy jumps.
“Rid, don’t do this.” Link was walking toward her, slowly. I could hear the chain from his wallet jingling.
“Didn’t you hear what your friend said? I’m a witch. A bad one.” She took off her shades, revealing those golden feline eyes. I could hear Link’s breath catch in his throat, as if he was really seeing her for the first time. But only for a second.
“Maybe you are, but you aren’t all bad. I know that. We’ve spent time together. We’ve shared things.”
“That was part of the plan, Hot Rod. I needed an in, so I could stay close to Lena.”
Link’s face dropped. Whatever Ridley had done to him, whatever she had Cast, his feelings for her were bigger than that. “So it was all crap? I don’t believe you.”
“Believe what you want, it’s the truth. As close to the truth as I’m capable of, anyway.”
“What about everything you told me about you and Lena growin’ up together? How you two were like sisters? Why would you want to hurt her?”
All anyone’s done is scream at Ridley that she’s a monster. No matter what she does, they hate her and they’ll always hate her. Link is the only one who sees her as anything else.
She says she doesn’t have any choice, she had to separate them. Emothan realizes Ravenwood isn’t protecting Lena, it was him being there and now she’s defenseless.
I saw Link step forward and grab her shoulder. “Rid, don’t do it.”
For a split second, I had no idea what was going to happen. I saw everything in slow motion.
My dad turned to look back at me.
I saw him start to let go of the railing.
I saw Ridley’s pink and blond strands twisting.
And I saw Link standing in front of her, staring into those golden eyes, whispering something I couldn’t hear. She looked at Link, and without another word, her lollipop went sailing over the railing. I watched it arc down to the ground below, exploding like shrapnel. It was over.
And so Link comes through as the hero of the book.
“I don’t want your thanks,” she sneered, pulling away from Link and adjusting the strap of her top. “I didn’t do either of you a favor. I just didn’t feel like killing him. Today.” She tried to sound menacing, but she ended up just sounding childish.
Our protagonist, on the other hand, is anything but.
“Though that’s not gonna make some people too happy.” She didn’t have to say who, but I could see the fear in her eyes. For a second, I could see how much of her persona was just an act. Smoke and mirrors. Despite everything, even now, as I tried to pull my father to his feet, I felt sort of sorry for her. Ridley could have any guy on the planet, and yet all I could see was how alone she was. She wasn’t nearly as strong as Lena was, not inside.
She went against a far more powerful caster who’s her only remaining family, and all you feel is slight pity for her at how inferior to Lena she is.
I really hope saving Lena requires his death, but there’s more books to this.
After all that, he finally contacts Lena.
Are you with Larkin?
Yes, we’re headed back to Ravenwood.
What the fuck is with time in this book. The party is right outside the house. They’ve had to rush across town and then try to talk someone down, she hasn’t even made it back to the house.
Ridley sauntered by us, back through the open balcony doors, those ten-mile legs stepping across the threshold. “Sorry, boys. I gotta jet, maybe head back to New York for a while, lay low. It’s cool.” She shrugged.
Even though she was a monster, Link couldn’t help but watch her go. “Hey, Rid?”
She stopped and turned to look at him, almost ruefully. Like she couldn’t help what she was any more than a shark could help being a shark, but if she could…
“Yeah, Shrinky Dink?”
“You’re not all bad.”
She looked right at him and almost smiled. “You know what they say. Maybe I’m just drawn that way.”
I don’t know what is wrong with this book. Please, please let this end in protagonist death. I don’t care if it’s noble and if everyone spends the last chapter of the book on nothing but how great he was, just let him die.