Beautiful Creatures Ch31 Lollipop Girl

2.11

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.

“Larkin!”
“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.”
“Why?”
“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.

37 Comments

  1. actonthat says:
    I hate the women who wrote this book. Actively hate.

    edit: I’m afraid to look, but I wonder if there’s any Ridley redemption-fic out there in which she bitches everyone else out for being terrible people and runs into the sunset with Link.




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    1. Ember says:
      If there isn’t, I know what I’m asking for this Yuletide. Or next Rarepairs, maybe.



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      1. actonthat says:
        Well, a browse through the pit and AO5 doesn’t bring up anything good. But, inspiringly, all of the stuff tagged with Ridley is very sympathetic toward her. I didn’t see any EVIL WHORE, and I saw a lot of resentment toward the family for abandoning her. If nothing else, fans seemed to pick up that she’s a tragic character, and not someone to despise.



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    2. MGP says:
      Why does Ridley need redemption? Every time she appears, she proves herself objectively morally superior to the protagonists.



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      1. Ember says:
        Yes, but mostly because that is such a ridiculously low bar. She does break teenage girls’ legs and help her aunt bring about the apocalypse out of spite. It shouldn’t be that long of a road out of the woods, though, if the events of this chapter are any indication.



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        1. Farla says:
          In fairness, the leg-breaking may have been accidental (she’s just generally causing chaos, which is irresponsible and spiteful, but she didn’t specifically aim at anyone) and helping her aunt appears to be more about self-preservation since if Lena goes light she’ll die too.



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          1. Ember says:
            Yeah, the morality of her actions is really complex! Just how I like it with my tragic witch-girls. <3



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        2. MGP says:
          Honestly, given that Emothan’s dad was suicidal without any sort of intervention, I prefer to believe that it was taking Ridley everything she had to keep him from jumping. Her conversation with Emothan makes more sense as an exasperated “You know what? Fine. You’re right.” from a girl that’s just so sick of having to defend herself against unjustified personal attacks that she’s lost her patience with the assholes surrounding her and agrees with their accusations just to make them stop. Not that that works on Emothan, because he’s *such* a dick.



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          1. Ember says:
            That’s an interesting idea, but it doesn’t explain why Emothan’s dad gets better when the Lollipop goes boom, or why Serafine would be mad at her, or why she wouldn’t at least tell Link the truth before running off to New York. Besides, like Farla pointed out about simply throwing him off the balcony, it shouldn’t be this difficult for her to get him down from there and locked up somewhere safe, if that were what she was trying to do. From everything we know about her powers, it really does seem like her goal here is to keep him teetering on the edge for as long as possible.



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            1. Farla says:
              Actually…Emothan is assuming the lollipop exploding is her releasing her spell, but he has no idea how any of this works. Maybe the explosion is more a sort of final move, where it’s a big blast of siren-energy but she can’t use her abilities for a little while afterward.

              This would explain why his dad, who has every reason to actually be suicidal by this point, immediately gets off the ledge and seems to have no idea why he’s there or would want to jump. She was gently pushing him toward jumping, then shoved him hard away from the idea when she decided to be good.




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  2. 13thlemur says:
    The pacing in this book truly is terrible isn’t it?



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    1. Farla says:
      The secret is it turns out there isn’t any pacing at all.



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  3. Ember says:
    Oh, are you fucking shitting me? FUCK.



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    1. Ember says:
      I just looked at her tumblr tag and you know I thought I was prepared for anything but I was not prepared for those gifsets of a scene from the movie where she apparently gets fucked by moonlight.

      ETA: Oh God I have a horrible suspicion that might be her Claiming. Please please PLEASE someone tell me I am wrong.




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      1. Hadithi says:
        Her claiming is her running around at a train station night, bending over like she has menstrual cramps, screaming, and suddenly calming down and luring a boy onto train tracks to get killed.



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        1. Ember says:
          NVM just saw your second post.

          Yeah that does not look much like menstrual cramps to me.




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          1. Hadithi says:
            It was actually a fairly long scene, and this was the end of it. The menstrual cramp thing was when she was trying to stop herself from growing dark. What you’re seeing there is the final moment, when it overwhelms her.



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            1. illhousen says:
              I am morbidly curious and don’t feel enough rage. Link?



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              1. illhousen says:
                Thanks. RAGE quota is filled.



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      2. Hadithi says:
        I just checked the Tumblr tag. Yes, this is indeed her claiming.



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      3. actonthat says:
        Christ. So we just went from “Claiming has a rapey subtext” to “Claiming is rape.”



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        1. Farla says:
          Claiming is rape that ruins you by making you a slut!



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      4. Farla says:
        So we’ve added “you’re evil if you enjoy it” to our rape metaphor!

        I feel I should take a look at the movie sometime.




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  4. Amag says:
    Ethan’s reaction to finding out his dad’s about to jump… dear god, am I the only one getting vibes that Ethan *likes* being ashamed of his dad, because that way he gets to feel superior? And needs his dad to stick around so that he can pity him to his heart’s content and tell himself what a good person he is for still “loving” his dad despite all that?

    And then again with Link’s very sweet interaction with Ridley, I’m getting the same vibe that Ethan’s feeling very pleased with himself for not being like Link. Even though Link is the one being heroic and decent here!




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    1. actonthat says:
      Emothan just comes across as a complete sociopath. “Hmm, this development is intriguing. He is relatively batty, but I suppose he could still be useful. No, perhaps it would not be good to allow him to perish. I shall save him this time.”

      He’s been trending that way for some time, but he sprinted across the line with fireworks and flying colors that would make Katniss “Without hestitation I shot her through the heart” Everdeen proud.




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      1. Farla says:
        At least you know where you stand with Katniss. He seemed to be carefully weighing how embarrassing his dad was against something – possibly just how much fuss the funeral would be – and finding his dad just scraped by.



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    2. Farla says:
      I think he likes being the one in charge. He’s complained that his dad isn’t there for him, but he’s definitely taking advantage of that and showing no interest in getting help or support from the adults in his life that haven’t checked out, like Amma and Marian.



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  5. illhousen says:
    “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.”

    That… sounds like a normal small town museum? Add to this people who give their own memorabilia to expand the collection, and it would be a nice idea keeping the history alive.

    “Lately, I was ashamed of my dad. But I still loved him, crazy or not, and I couldn’t lose him.”

    What… I… What. What the fuck is wrong with him? It’s a level of sociopathy exceeding Katniss! Look, your dad is about to commit suicide. You aren’t supposed to contemplate it and think coherent thoughts. You are supposed to panic, exclaim something like “ohmygodohshit” and RUN towards him. If you are supposed to be smart and level-headed, you may think of some plan to prevent him from jumping on your way there.

    Hell, Ridley comes across as more sympathetic even in full villain mode. At least she seems to be genuinely sorry about the situation.

    “And so Link comes through as the hero of the book.”

    Why Link and Ridley aren’t protagonists, again? They are so much better. Ridley even have a redeeming arc that I actually care about.

    “I really hope saving Lena requires his death, but there’s more books to this.”
    Maybe he becomes a ghost? A horror movie one, in endless suffering which he wants to spread around. One can dream…

    “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’m going to pretend it’s a dramatic echo of one of their previous conversations where Link, say, lamented that his dreams are very unlikely to be ever fulfilled since his music is no good, and Ridley told him he’s not all bad. Or something similar.
    So the real meaning of this exchange is “We are still together, just have a few things to work through”.




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    1. Farla says:
      Given how weird casters are, maybe the casual ability to discard loves ones is something they look for in a mate.

      It’s a quote from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but the character saying the line there was right pointing out that the fact she looked like a femme fatale didn’t mean she was actually one at all – but that would be saying the endless slut shaming and evil eyes thing was wrong and Ridley was still a good person, that when he says he can see she’s not all bad she’s responding by saying that he’s right, the things that look bad now are really circumstance, and I don’t think that’s what the book means.




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      1. actonthat says:
        Yeah, that use of that line was bizarre, because what she’s saying is, “I’m not a bad person deep down, I just got a shitty lot in life,” but the book hates her so much that I can’t believe that’s what it actually meant. I think the authors may have really, really misinterpreted that line into some predestination, “I look like this so I must act like this,” BS.



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        1. Farla says:
          I think you figured it out. “I’m not choosing to be bad, I’m just drawn that way so I have no choice in the matter.”

          That fits with the book’s whole claiming thing perfectly, and completely failing to get that even if she wore a sexy outfit she could still be a perfectly good person is exactly the sort of outlook you’d expect from this book’s general treatment of women.




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  6. actonthat says:
    Something interesting: The girl who plays Savannah in the movie is black.

    When Hollywood is out-diversitying you, ur doin it rong.




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    1. Ember says:
      Um. I’m not usually one to complain about implausible (or “implausible”) non-white casting, but the uncontested queen of the high school in a Confederacy-obsessed deep south small town?

      I guess it could work if there’s a generation-wide pushback against thir parents’ nostalgia (and if she’s kind of a complete badass – can you imagine the way she must get treated by certain teachers?) But that just makes Emothan’s smugness and whining even less justified, and his treatment of her and her friends even more monstrous.




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      1. Farla says:
        There’s also the part where Emothan rages at how they’re being mean to Lena because her skin is too white.

        Hopefully that’s just not in the movie, though.




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        1. Ember says:
          Not to mention the MLK quoting. What, is there a ctc of Savannah’s mom when Marian pulls that one out? I wouldn’t even be surprised at this point.



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  7. Elisabeth says:
    “Lately, I was ashamed of my dad. But I still loved him, crazy or not, and I couldn’t lose him.”

    I shouldn’t have to say this, but that’s not even close to a normal reaction. If Ethan really isn’t a sociopath, he should instantly regret being ashamed of his father and thinking nasty thoughts about him the instant his father’s life is in danger. What is wrong with him?!




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