Wherein Lani Sarem explains how her fraud job was all just a big misunderstanding. Oh, and also everyone in YA is a big meanie and the New York Times caved to their whims. They would have like, totally let the book stay there if not for those meddling kids!
Maybe you’re looking for some Twilight––I mean, Handbook For Mortals––merchandise:
When Twilight is your only source of ideas for merch and marketing pic.twitter.com/F2I9Tsdd3M
— Jeannette Editor (@Polar_Bear_Edit) May 1, 2018
We left off with Zit just moments from death in her bedroom back home. Now, let’s journey together through a long-ass story that her mom chooses to tell rather than saving her life.
Dela began to tell Mac the story of how my parents met and how I came into existence.
Okay, let’s just skip over that second part, Dela. We don’t need to hear that, and certainly not through the filter of your daughter.
As I scanned through Mac’s recollection of her telling him the story, I was reminded that my mother can be a magical storyteller, weaving the words of any story into a beautiful tapestry so vivid you’d swear you were watching a motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.
Wait a minute. You don’t have to actually write well? You can just tell the reader that your words are really good? What the fuck have I been wasting my time on, then, trying to write decent books with sentences that make sense and aren’t super repetitive? Why have I been laboring tirelessly to improve my craft with each new book, when I could have just told the reader flat out what a great writer I am?
A smile spread across her face and both Mac (who had no idea where the story would go) and Charles (who had lived it with her) both leaned forward to hang on her every word.
They’re so entranced by her cinematic storytelling that they no longer care that the clock is ticking on saving Zumba’s life, apparently.
It was 1977.
Remember the last recap, when you guys were talking in the comments about how weird it was that her parents met in the seventies but she would have had to have been born in the mid-nineties to be in her twenties now? Well, I tried to find some information about the author, namely, her age. Because we know that Zard is Lani, has always been meant to be Lani, and that Lani even went so far as to cast herself in the lead role of Zuck in the film version, I saw 1977 and got suspicious. It was surprisingly difficult to find an age for her listed anywhere, but a modeling profile puts her at thirty-six. No birthdate listed. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that she lowballs her age publically and that she was born in 1978, based on the fact that she seems unable to separate herself from the character and as such can’t stand to alter the book’s timeline from her own. It probably never occurred to her that Zud couldn’t be in her twenties in the book if her parents got down together in the seventies, because that would be when she was conceived and she is Zarck.
The setting now is a traveling circus, complete with that g-word slur.
In one of the smallest tents sat a gorgeous, young girl who was wearing a beautiful long skirt of vibrant colors that rippled as it fell toward the ground, her brown sandals peeking through past the hem of her skirt. One leg crossed over the other, she was swinging her foot slowly. Her off-white cotton top had slipped off her left shoulder and the front was open just enough to show a little bit of cleavage.
Remember also during the last recap, when you guys were discussing in the comments that Lani not only has to be Zanadon’t, but also Hey There Delilah? You were bang-on with that. Now that Zagnut isn’t there to be the center of attention, the mother has to become Sarem’s avatar, as evidenced by the fact that aside from Zalt And Lepper, no other characters receive this level of detail when they’re described. For example, the first appearance of Charles in this flashback reads like this:
Her long hair fell in front of her face and blew slightly when the tent flap opened and in walked a young and very handsome man.
Young and very handsome. Charles is arguably an equally important character in the scene, but he gets two adjectives in comparison to the paragraph Dela got describing her clothes, shoes, posture, and cleavage.
Dela, just eighteen at the time, didn’t even bother to look up.
If Dela is eighteen in 1977, that makes her fifty-nine in the present, meaning that for Lindt Zuffles to be twenty-five, Dela and Charles would have to have been in their mid- and late thirties when they had their ill-advised young love. We know how old Charles is now, too:
Twenty-year-old Charles […]
Making Charles sixty-one…
Now, you’ll notice that Copperfield’s birthdate is 1956, meaning that in 1977, he would have been twenty-one. So obviously, Copperfield and Spopperfield are two different, distinct persons. Don’t worry, that’ll get taken care of later. Right now, I want to focus on this, just a few paragraphs down:
Dela still hadn’t looked up, while the boy who was known as Charles […]
He’s twenty! He’s a twenty-year-old man. He’s not a boy! There is such gross, gross age stuff going on in this book, in terms of language.
Anyway, in all of that, Dela asks Charles why he’s there, and he’s like, you’re a psychic, you should know why I’m here, which has to be like, the most annoying joke to a psychic.
Though she still hadn’t looked up, Dela knew that he was tall and handsome, with tick and wavy dark brown hair, his piercing blue eyes glancing around the room.
Dela is telling this story, so it’s default in Dela’s POV. If she didn’t see him glancing around the room, she can’t tell us that he’s glancing around the room. Full stop.
This whole time, Dela is laying cards out on a table and reading them, but we never learn what she’s reading about, just that she’s flipping over cards. She tells Charles that she doesn’t see something if she’s not trying to, and he asks her what she means by that.
Dela finally looked up and made a huffing noise, exasperated; she shot him a look while scrunching her nose. He found the annoyed Dela to be very cute somehow and thought she looked utterly adorable when she scrunched her nose. He had noticed how stunningly beautiful she was the first time he had met her but they hadn’t exactly hit it off then.
Again, Dela is telling this story. Which means she’s telling Mac and Charles what Charles is thinking inside his head. She’s also describing at length how attractive she is. Not only is that weird, it’s just plain not possible from her POV, especially since she’s already told Charles that she can’t see things she’s not looking for. So, unless Dela is using her psychic powers to find out if Charles thinks she’s cute, she can’t tell us any of this.
We find out that Dela thinks Charles is pretentious and she refers to him as a “so-called celebrity,” which makes me wonder why he’s working at a circus if he’s already famous. But whatever.
Charles––even at that young age––was not used to girls who didn’t immediately fall all over themselves in front of him. He didn’t know how to deal with a girl who didn’t care. He also didn’t believe in what she did and he didn’t understand how she could take herself seriously.
So, Charles sounds like a real winner, huh? POV skew aside, I’m sure this is meant to show us what a pig Charles used to be, so we can see how much he’s changed now. And by “so we can see,” I mean, “so the author can tell us” because so far, he’s still treating women like worthless objects. All of his behavior toward Sofiaeoeouuuu is going to be either justified by some bad action on her part or we’re going to be expected to just pretend we didn’t read about it.
Charles was so busy thinking about how he might charm her that he almost didn’t pay attention to her response––which would have annoyed her more (which he would have found also cute and therefore might have been a win-win for him either way).
Whose POV are we in? Are we in Charles’s POV, or Dela’s, since she’s telling the story? Of course, we’re in neither. We’re in Zwiss Chard’s omniscient POV because god forbid she not be the focus of even her parents’ meet-cute.
Dela tells him that being a psychic is like being in a house and looking out the window to see what’s outside. If she could see everything all the time, she would be overloaded and go insane.
Charles tells Dela to focus on him and tell him why he’s there. The reason he’s there, as revealed by our omniscient narrator, is that he’s trying to figure out how Dela manages to trick people into believing that she’s psychic. She makes a crack about how she’s being tested by him, but agrees to read his cards, anyway. And to prove that Dela really is mystical and powerful and majikkahlly delicious, we get this:
Dela couldn’t help but notice that, when he sat, he loooked exhausted. He almost melted into the chair. Across the table from him, Dela also noticed the deep, almost black looking circles that were under his pretty blue eyes, and she could see that his skin looked dehydrated and showed some redness––all signs of a lack of sleep.
Leaving aside for the moment that his pretty blue eyes and dark circles are across the table from him, Dela: Psychic Dermatologist is doing what we in the business call a “cold reading.” A cold reading is something fraud psychics do; they pick something obvious and ask leading questions like, oh, I don’t know…
“Are you sick?” she asked without looking up.
and, when Charles says he doesn’t think he’s sick:
“Having trouble sleeping?”
If you want to see an example of a cold reading, check out any John Edwards video on YouTube. He’s one of the worst, most obvious cold reading frauds because he sets himself up as a medium communicating with the dead, so he’s already got people who are highly emotional and willing to believe they’re actually communicating with their loved ones because they want to believe. He’ll say something like, “Someone passed away in a car accident,” and a person in the audience will obviously know someone who died in a car accident, because, duh, car accidents are common. Or, he’ll say, “I’m getting a message from someone, starts with a J…starts with a J…I’m getting a Jessica or a Jennifer,” which are both incredibly common names. When he manages to get someone to answer, he continues to ask questions like, “Was there a lot of tension in the family following her passing?”, that will obviously apply to literally any death. Maybe the person in the audience who knows Jessica is wearing a breast cancer awareness pin. “Did Jessica pass away from breast cancer?” Yes, how amazing that he picked up on that detail! People then pour out more and more information so that he can narrow his specific answers. Yes, they know a Jessica. Yes, there was a lot of tension in the family following her passing because her brother decided to turn off her life support and some of the other family members disagreed with that decision. They’ll tell John that detail about the life support, then he’ll ask a question about it phrased in such a way that confirmation bias will convince the grieving person that he supplied those details. I’ve never been able to figure out how people fell for him because he’s just so super clumsy and obvious.
Anyway, that’s what Dela is doing in this passage. She’s looking at Charles, taking in details about his physical appearance and presenting them as though she’s getting the information psychically. In other words, it’s possible that the author of this book is such a con artist herself, she can’t write an honest character.
Charles isn’t falling for it:
That could be a good guess, he thought. I have deep circles under my eyes and I look sleepy. Not impressed yet.
Want more evidence that Dela cold reads?
“You’re having nightmares.” This time she didn’t ask but told him; she was pleased that she could get some information about him so clearly and quickly. She knew that each time she read for someone new the person could turn out to be an “easy read” or a hard one.
I mean. If that doesn’t sound sketch…
Well, that’s a very logical reason for not being able to sleep, so I’m still not impressed.
But don’t worry, dear readers. Dela is the real deal.
After a few moments, with her eyes still tightly shut, she reached out and grabbed Charles’s hand. She gripped it hard and both of them felt the jolt of energy.
If she’s able to just touch someone and tell their fortune that way, why does she need the cards?
Dela tells Charles specifically what his nightmares are about: getting shot in the chest.
Charles’s eyes got big, and he shook his head a little in disbelief. He ran his fingers through his soft and silky hair and his eyes shifted away from hers.
Does anybody really stop to think about how soft and silky their hair is when they’re disturbed by an uncanny experience? Or is this Zambot telling us about her dad’s hair and how soft and silky it is? Not knowing whose POV we’re in, either Charles is super vain or Zuul is telling us about her hot dad.
Charles tells Dela that she’s hit the nail on the head. But he calls her Dely, and you know how the author of this book feels about mispronouncing names.
“Don’t call me, Dely. You know I hate that. I don’t serve sandwiches,” she snapped at him.
Why does he call her Dely in the first place? It’s not like it’s a shorter version of Dela. It’s exactly the same number of letters and syllables. It’s like Sofia’s nickname being Sofie. It doesn’t make any sense.
Charles tells her that she should give away free sandwiches with every reading to increase sales, which they both find very funny.
She couldn’t help but notice how amazing his smile was and how handsome he was––not handsome, actually, but stunningly gorgeous as she watched his amazing beautiful blue eyes light up. He’s funny, too, apparently, she realized.
Good for her, because I’ve yet to realize it, myself. Will there be proof of his hilarity at some point?
One good thing about this chapter is that Sarem doesn’t go into detail about the cards in the spread, so I don’t have to bore you all with a half-hour long video ranting about shitty tarot. All we’ve gotten at this point in the reading is that she’s shuffled the cards and laid down “three more” after we’re told she’s “stacking them in sets of three.” So, it looks like it’s another “just turn over cards until they say something you want them to say” scenario. Like I said, at least she doesn’t go into detail. Charles just looks at the “colorful” pictures on the cards and the “subtle details that seem to point to hidden meanings.” He asks her how she got all that stuff about his nightmare from pictures.
“I’m both clairvoyant and clairaudient. ‘Clairoyant’ you may have heard of. It means you can see things like they’re happening on a TV show. ‘Clairaudient’ means you can hear it just like when you listen to he radio. The cards are tools, but I can see and hear things too. I saw your nightmare just like you do.”
Clairvoyant doesn’t mean you can see things absolutely clearly like they’re being acted out in front of you. For some people, yes, that’s the case. For others, it’s just snippets of mental images or even just persistent thoughts of a certain number or symbol. One of my second cousins is clairvoyant and she knew that her husband had died because she had a vision of leaves and knew exactly what that vision was showing her. Clairvoyance is rarely like how it’s portrayed in the movies. Clairaudience is usually described as hearing the voices of the dead or spirit guides inside your head. I personally feel clairaudience is the most common form of psychic ability. Almost everyone I know (who doesn’t think all psychics are delusional frauds) has had a clairaudient experience. But what both of these things are? Not like they’re being described in the book.
Dela asks Charles if he wants to know what the dream is about, and he’s like, yeah, duh, obviously.
“Shuffle the cards then,” she said as she leaned foward. In her hand she was holding a well-worn deck; he could tell she had been using it for quite a while.
Now, here’s an example of how to not sprinkle your description in. Charles has already looked at all of these cards closely to the point of examining small details. Now, he’s noticing that the deck is worn? That’s a macro detail. The hidden symbols in the illustrations are a micro detail. Don’t describe micro details before macro details unless there’s a good reason, i.e., Wil Graham noticing a missing cat that nobody’s brought up yet.
Dela hadn’t asked Charles to shuffle the deck before, but she has reasons for him to do it now:
“I was just looking at the present. That’s the easy part. I need to look at the past and future now. If you put your energy into the cards it will be much easier. They don’t bite, I promise. I may, but they don’t.” She knew how to be witty as well.
Did she, though?
Charles laughed a little at her joke and, being a twenty-one-year-old guy, he was instantly intrigued to find out if she really did bite.
Screeching brakes. He was twenty earlier in this scene. How long does Dela take to do a reading? And remember when I told you not to worry about Charles not being David Copperfield because it would be corrected later? There you go.
Dela could tell he was nervous, but she didnt know that it was both because he was not completely convinced the cards wouldn’t bite––and he was also still wondering if she might.
The first rule of comedy is: if you find a joke that makes only you laugh, repeat it over and over until it’s even less funny than it was the first time.
“Clear your mind and do your best to keep it clear for the next few minutes. Try not to focus on any one thing or let your mind wander if you can,” Dela instructed him.
She spoke calmly and with concentration; he noticed for the first time that her voice had a sultry tone to it that he liked.
Keeping in mind we’re seeing all of this through Zargon’s “pulled” memories…imagine hearing your dad describe anything about your mom with the word “sultry”. Yeah, the chemical showers are over there. Scrub up.
Dela tells Charles to shuffle until it feels like the cards are going to jump out of his hands to be read. If someone told me that, the first thing I would do is just throw the whole deck directly into the air and be like, “Spiritually gifted! Whooo!” and get kicked out of the New Age bookstore.
That’s not a criticism of the book. It’s just what I would do, because I’m the worst.
Charles began to shuffle the cards faster than anyone Dela had ever seen. The magician in him kicked in and he even did some quite spectacular sleight of hand speed tricks with them wihtout really thinking about it before cutting them. The cards flew fast and quickly, as if they were dancing.
Fast and quickly, huh?
She couldn’t help but be impressed by his skills and, for the first time, she realized how entrancing he could be, and how his eyes glistened. He could tell she was impressed and smirked in spite of himself before leaning forward so they were almost face-to-face, staring at each other.
Were they…were they facing away from each other before? I think the phrase Sarem was looking for was nose-to-nose or something. Also, Charles is still coming off like a total urethra here. Dela is willing to help him with the nightmare thing and he uses it as an opportunity to show off his card tricks. Then he’s smirking.
Fortunately, he gets worse.
“Impressed? he queried, with a cocky attitude but grinning from ear to ear with the nicest smile she had ever seen from a man––well, almost man. He’s still a little more boy than man, she thought, but he could become a great man.
He’s twenty-one! Like, I know he’s a young man, but he’s not a boy. This bugs the shit out of me because so many men are allowed to be immature into their thirties because they’re “still boys”. One of those jackasses fired from the Trump administration was like, my age and people were still using the boy excuse.
“By card tricks? Hardly.” She scoffed at him, even though she secretly was becoming impressed and a little giddy from his flirting––though she hid it well. She knew enough to know that she needed to be coy; he was someone who only liked the chase.
So, why would Dela, who doesn’t seem to like Charles all that much, who stated earlier that she thought he was pretentious, is now thinking about how to…what? Seduce him? Date him? Win his heart? He’s done nothing so far in this scene but reinforce those qualities that she didn’t like about him when they first met.
Anyway, she has him cut the cards into three piles, then starts her little speech about how the cards work.
“The three piles represent your past, present, and future. What I see in the past cannot be changed and the present is happening now, but the future is yet to be. Some things are meant to be and they will be, but most of what happens in our life is not set in stone so, therefore, our decisions cause our course. Even by just knowing how it looks currently and by getting this reading about it, you can affect it. Do you understand?”
“I guess so.” Charles shrugged. He was too busy looking at her to really let the words she said sink in or to try to understand them fully.
Charles Spellman: Certified Dreamboat.
Now, here’s where I start to question how big the table in the “small” tent she’s in actually is.
She picked up the “past” pile and began to lay out cards in sets of three again. As she laid out each set of three she studied them for a few moments before laying out the next set of three cards. She had set out four rows of three card sets before closing her eyes and breathing deep. She fanned the cards but kept them in order as she did this. After a few seconds she did the same thing with the “present” pile, putting the “past” pile back where it had been and then repeated this with the “future” pile.
So, I found my smallest deck––well, not my smallest, as I have a miniature deck with one-inch cards––and tried to figure this out. She’d have to have a dining room table in that little tent. Why are the spreads in this book so huge? I mean, I’m not saying large spreads are stupid or unnecessary, but Sarem has people doing like thirty-six card spreads on beds and in teensy tents.
Anyway, after laying down all of these cards and carefully arranging them and putting them right back for some reason, she takes Charles’s hands to see into his future. While he sees into her shirt.
He was beginning to truly realize how beautiful her face was, her smooth complexion, rosy cheeks, and even her bright, plump, and kissable lips. Though, like most guys, his eyes did eventually wander slightly south of her face. She was wearing an off-white cotton top over her frilly colorful skirt, and the top framed her chest in all the right places. He couldn’t help but stare.
I don’t. Like. I can’t even begin here. How? Where?
I’m sorry guys, I gotta list this one out so I don’t miss anything.
- This is possibly? probably? in Zafé Du Londe’s POV as she’s looking at her parents’ memories. And this is a memory she chooses to visit? The memory of her dad staring down her mom’s shirt?
- This makes Charles even more disgusting, somehow, but we’re supposed to find him endearing because boys will be boys or some shit?
- Yet another description of the female character’s clothes and desirable physical attributes (though I’m not sure how “bright” figures into lip attractiveness).
- The sheer, utter ’90s fanficness of “in all the right places”.
I read that paragraph and I reeled. I got vertigo from the depth of the wrongness in that paragraph but any nausea I experienced was solely from the part where our main character may be fondly remembering her father getting his horny eyes down her mom’s blouse.
But it doesn’t stop there! We head hop in the next paragraph and get Subway’s reaction:
When Dela opened her eyes, it was obvious what he was staring at––especially when he didn’t even notice she had opened her eyes and was staring back at him. She waited for a moment to see if he would look up. Finally, she loudly cleared her throat to get his attention.
“I said try not to focus on any one thing and keep your mind clear,” she reminded him while she shook her head as if she was slightly disgusted. In reality, she was flattered that he clearly liked her.
Lani Sarem is trying to rebrand this as a feminist triumph. Sweet dreams, everyone.
Dela tells Charles that his wandering eye is causing his current troubles.
“You slept with your assistant Betty, and while to you it was nothing, to her it was everything. She’s been in love––and slightly obsessed––with you for over a year. And even though you were both drunk, she thought it was the start of a life together.” Dela made a face of disapproval. Charles wasn’t sure if it was disapproval of Betty or him.
Well, it’s this book, so obviously she disapproves of Betty. We can’t blame Dream Daddy for his behavior because, you know. He’s just a boy.
And of course, Chuckie Spudman had no idea that Betty was into him. Also, Betty? I mean, I know people are named Betty, but in a book with names like Scherezade and Dela and Spellman and Jackson, Betty is where we’re landing? Okay. Anyway, Charles had no idea that Betty was in love with him, therefore he is in no way responsible for his actions. He’s the victim of a crazy, evil bitch:
“Since you slept with her that one night, you’ve been brushing her off, and she’s been getting more and more upset with you. She sneaks through camp at night and watches you sleep.”
The fun doesn’t stop there:
“Well, she saw you two weeks ago with some girl who came to the show. She lost it when she saw you with that other girl.” Dela looked Charles dead in the eye. He returned a blank stare. It was obvious that he didn’t even remember the girl he had slept with only two weeks earlier.
No wonder Betty’s gone full Liason Fatale over Charles. He’s a catch.
“Oh? Oh! Right. I remember her!” He snapped his fingers together and nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Pretty blonde. Nice to look at, turns out not even really that much fun. Betty was better than her. Not that Betty was amazing.” He shrugged. It sounded harsh but thruthful..
Dela is going to fall in love with this person. And we’re supposed to be okay with that.
She does tell him she didn’t need the recap, at least. Then she goes on:
“[…] Anyhoo, Betty is a woman scorned, and she’s finally realized that it meant nothing to you, and that she means nothing to you, and she can’t handle that. She’s decided if she can’t have you then no one will. When you do your bullet trick on Sunday, she’s going to switch out the shells for real ones, and when she shoots you in the chest, she’s going to kill you.”
“Aaaaaaanyhoo, you’re going to get shot.”
So, obviously, Charles leaves the tent and finds Betty, firing her immediately. He calls the police and they come and arrest Betty, who has live ammunition in her possession. Obviously, because it’s a book, she admits everything because she’s just too far gone over her obsession to act rationally and not incriminate herself.
Ha ha ha, no, that doesn’t happen at all. That would be the better, but still arguably terrible, course for this book to take. No, no, Dela has a fool-proof plan:
“The only way for this to work out even sorta okay for you, is for you to pretend that everything is fine until Sunday. Then, on Sunday, you will need to wear a bulletproof vest. When she shoots you, you’ll need to fall to the ground as if you were dead. She’ll convinct herself through her actions when she thinks you are dead. Just make sure that you call the cops right before the show and tell them that you have an idea of what’s going to happen. Tell them that you overheard her talking to someone, but that you don’t know who it was, so they can’t try to confirm the story. Do not tell them that I told you, or they won’t believe you. If you do this right, they will take her away. Your problem will be solved and your nightmares will go away. If you try to do something beforehand, no one will believe it and you will have no proof. In that case, the problem will simply get worse, and she will become more obsessed. I can’t even run all the scenarios of waht could happen if you try to do something before Sunday but I am certain that none will work out very well.”
Step one: Lie to the police.
Step two: Get shot with a real damn bullet.
Step three: Count on your assailant to incriminate herself.
Sounds like we can’t lose, guys!
Charles asks Dela if his dreams mean that he’s psychic. Which she feels is an arrogant question. Because apparently only Dela is allowed to be psychic. But she gives him––and us––yet another long-winded explanation about “energy” and “fate” because as readers, we haven’t been beaten over the head about that enough yet in this book. Basically, he’s not psychic, but Betty’s energy and his fate are showing him that he doesn’t need to die. Or something. Honestly, I nodded off halfway through the explanation.
When Dela can’t tell Charles any more information, he starts to doubt again. So, Dela reassures him:
“People do crazy things sometimes––especially women and especially for love.
There’s that sweet, sweet feminism in this ultra-feminist, woman-led project we were just hearing about last time!
I’m not really sure what she sees in you, but love is deaf, dumb, and blind as they say.”
First of all, no, they don’t say that. They say “love is blind.” Second, using “dumb” to mean non-verbal is incredibly offensive.
She threw in a job, though to be honest, she was starting to see what Betty had seen in him. He was charming, magnetic, and extremely good-looking.
Wait, after learning that he slept with his assistant––whose interest he didn’t notice despite her pining for him for a year–– and callously tossed her aside for a girl he didn’t remember––and whose sexual performance he’s just fine with casually rating in front of a stranger who didn’t ask in the first place––Dela is starting to see why women like him? She finds him charming now, knowing all of that? After he stared down her top right in front of her? “Energy” and “Fate” and “Spirit Guides” or whatever the fuck have shown Sandwichella everything she now knows about Charles and that makes him more attractive to her?
This is the most toxic bullsh…
Charles tells Dela that she has a lot of answers for someone so young. So, you know what she’s going to say next, right?
“I was born old, and I have an even older soul. […]”
And I have a strong gag reflex that’s triggered by the words “old soul.”
Dela looks into Charles’s eyes and apparently sees something but even though we’re in omniscient third, we don’t see it. Because the author doesn’t know how POV works, just like she thought she could set up a “big reveal” over something as major as her protagonist’s parentage while writing in first person POV. Charles asks her what she saw and she won’t tell him. It’s apparently supposed to be some big moment, but I skimmed over it because duh, obviously it’s about fucking him and making their abomination of a daughter.
“I have an appointment coming. If you want to live, wear the vest. If you don’t, well, either way you won’t have any more nightmares after Sunday.”
“It’s part of the act to show I’m not wearing one.”
Charles was starting to believe her, but he wasn’t sure how to fake not wearing the vest while actually wearing the vest.
If you can figure out how to fake sawing someone in half or cutting them into three sections in a cabinet or floating them in the friggin air, you can figure out how to disguise a bulletproof vest. Or, I don’t know, make it part of the act, like Penn and Teller do. Either way, there’s nothing stopping her from just shooting you in the face. Maybe pick a plan that doesn’t involve allowing your stalker to aim and fire a gun at you.
Dela basically has the same reaction I did, which was, okay, well, don’t wear it and die. Then an old woman comes in for her psychic appointment, Charles kisses Dela’s hand––which of course he’s a friggin hand kisser, why wouldn’t he be?––and leaves and the chapter ends.