Sorry for the lateness of today’s recap. I chose self-care over work and took a nap and ate macaroni and cheese instead. Also, I started reading some Poldark recaps while researching a plot detail for this recap. They’re by Meghan O’Keefe and holy shit I’ve been laughing myself sick over the first two.
Oh, and shout out to all the Polish people in my comments. There are a lot of you!
Chapter six opens in Demelssia’s POV. Unlike every other day so far, she’s fucking thrilled to find that Moss is home.
Last night in her narrow bed, she’d dreamed of him again–malachite-green eyes, shining smile, and that expressive face–engrossed in his music as he played the piano. She’s woken breathless and full of desire.
Why is she so hot for him all of a sudden, when she was scared of him the first time they met?
He lent her that umbrella.
She’d not received much kindness since she came to London, except from Magda, of course, so his gesture meant that much more.
Look. I have never been a stranger in a strange land in any kind of permanent situation. So, I can’t state with absolute certainty that if someone gave me an umbrella, it wouldn’t make me fall deeply in love with them despite having no substantial interaction with them. But it does seem like she’s just a teensy bit too tragic if the kindness of lending her an umbrella is all it takes to get her circus-tent-sized panties to drop.
Again, this is a place where I can’t tell if it’s a true parallel or if I’m looking for things to liken to Poldark, but remember when Ross bought Demelza a cloak in the Masterpiece Theater version (the only version I know) and she was like, thanks, now I’m beholden to serve you forever?
Yeah. That. But an umbrella.
Hey, wanna see an arrangement of words that sums up everything E.L. James has ever written?
A blond woman
There’s more to that sentence, explaining that the evil blonde temptress is in the kitchen making coffee wearing only a man’s shirt. The only way to deal with this shock that her employer who runs through a wastebasket-full of johnnies every night might have had sex with a woman is to abuse the fuck out of some italics.
Who is this woman with big blue eyes?
Why is she wearing his shirt? A shirt Alessia had ironed for him only last week.
This woman is with him. She must be. Why else is she wandering around wearing his shirt? She must know him intimately.
I’m as shocked as you are that there wasn’t a third “intimately” tacked on there.
She realizes that he will never be interested in a woman like her.
This is her place. This is what she was raised to do: keep house and look after a man.
Now it’s time to go to Moss Troldark’s POV. In a poem I guess.
Alessia stands in the doorway. A vision in blue.
Slowly she removes her scarf and lets
her plait swing free.
Shake your hair out for me.
Come in. Lie with me. I want you.
But she turns, and she’s in my drawing
room. Polishing the piano. Studying my score.
She’s wearing nothing but pink panties.
I reach over to touch her, but she disap-
She’s standing in the hall. Eyes wide.
Clutching a broom.
She has long legs. I want them wrapped
around my waist.
I shit you not, it’s formatted with weird ass tabs in the middle of sentences. WordPress fucks with the line spacing, but I swear to everything that’s holy, the first lines of the paragraphs start like five spaces before the lines that follow. This is the worst poem ever. He could have summed it up better like,
Roses are red
I hate being an Earl
I’m gonna go out and do cocaine and fuck somebody probably.
Elizaline wakes Moss up with the promise of coffee and suggests they should go get breakfast or have her butler bring some over. She mentions that she met the new maid and that she’s very young. Then Elizaline tries to get Moss to have sex with her. She accuses him of hating her body, of finding someone else, and Moss is like, I thought you were on your period? You know, since you’re suddenly not pregnant. And Elizaline is like, you told me you don’t mind having sex when someone is on their period and this is the one credit I have to give E.L. James. So far, both of her heroes have been all about the period sex.
But Moss isn’t thrilled that Elizaline remembered that because he’s trying to politely decline sex with her and she is pushy as hell. She starts crying about how she and Kit wanted a baby and had been trying for two years and now, she has nothing.
Hey, Moss? You need to make sure your dick isn’t even in the same room as Elizaline. She’s already made a crack about how you’re too careful not to get anyone pregnant, now she’s aggressively trying to mount you and crying about wanting a baby. Is she even unpregnant? Was she not pregnant in the first place? I will not be surprised in the slightest if she turns out to be scheming a way into inheriting the estates or whatever via entrapment. She’s blonde, and this is an E.L. James novel.
Moss tells Elizaline that their days of grief-nookie are over. He’s like, you haven’t lost everything. You have enough money. I’m letting you stay in the house. I can give you a job.
“You’ll always have me, but not as a diversion, Caro–as a friend and a brother-in-law.”
Caroline sniffs and wipes her nose. She leans back and gazes at me with heartbreaking, watery blue eyes.
“It’s because I chose him, isn’t it?”
Um. Yeah. It’s…because you married his late brother. That’s kind of a big deal.
Elizaline demands to know who the new woman is who’s captured Moss’s attention because obviously, he doesn’t want to fuck her due to another woman and not because he came to his senses and went, huh, you know, I don’t think having sex with my dead brother’s wife just hours after his death was such a great choice, after all.
Moss takes a shower and gets ready to go to breakfast with Elizaline, but he’s super excited about seeing Demelssia before he goes.
She isn’t in the kitchen, so I venture to the scullery, where she’s ironing one of my shirts.
Is “scullery” even a term you guys use across the pond anymore? There are so damn many weird-ass, archaic words. Wastrel. Whoring. Plait instead of braid, scullery instead of the laundry room. How was this not a Poldark modern AU fanfic?!
Moss tells Demelssia to change the sheets in the guest room and that the woman in the house is his sister-in-law. He even introduces them. Elizaline is basically like, why the hell are you introducing me to your housekeeper, but she’s polite and asks where Demelssia is from. And then Moss asks why Demelssia is in London and Elizaline is like, let’s go. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be, “Let’s go,” because she’s callous about the poors or, “Let’s go,” because Demelssia clearly doesn’t want to answer him, but they leave.
In Demelssia’s POV, she thinks,
As she returns to the ironing, she says the words out loud in English and Albanian, and the sound and meaning make her smile.
Remember for later that she’s practicing basic words like names for family members. Trust me. Rage is coming. No, seriously, it doesn’t matter how difficult the language is to grasp. You will rage.
She does her chores and is psyched that the spare bed actually was used. She’s also super extra-psyched to find there are no condoms in the wastebasket. But like. That really doesn’t rule out the possibility that he might have rawed his brother’s wife all over the house.
In Moss’s POV again (just a few paragraphs later), Moss and Elizaline are in a cab. She asks him point blank if the new woman he’s with is Demelssia. Moss denies it and asks Elizaline why her butler, who arranged the first housekeeper for Moss, didn’t tell him there would be a new one, but Elizaline is just like, stop being so fucking weird about your housekeeper.
What I really want is information about Alessia Demachi. I process what I know. Fact one, she’s Albanian, not Polish. I know very little about Albania. What brings her to the UK? How old is she? Where does she live? Does she travel far each morning? Does she live alone?
I could follow her home.
I could ask her.
There you go, buddy.
Moss finally admits to himself that he wants to bang his housekeeper, but he knows he can’t, specifically because she’s his housekeeper. Only, he doesn’t think he wants to bang her, he thinks he wants to “bed” her and then I assume he adjusts his tricorn hat. He decides that Demelssia just doesn’t like him, and Caroline agrees:
“She seems terrified of you,” Caroline observes.
So, we have outside confirmation here that Demelssia seems terrified. Not in her POV anymore, for some reason, but she’s still telegraphing terror.
Elizaline is all, she’s got the hots for you, that’s why she doesn’t want to be around you, and again, maybe I’m looking for shit to compare to Poldark, but the first time Elizabeth meets Demelza, it’s the same kind of stilted, oh no, he’s into her, I have to leave this room immediately kind of moment.
In other reasons to dislike Elizaline, she scolds Moss for giving too large a tip to the cab driver.
Inside the restaurant, Elizaline complains about being expected to work for a living, which makes no fucking sense since we already know that she’s rich and has a free house. They talk about how it’s only been two weeks since Kit was buried and Elizaline isn’t ready to have a job yet, and we jump forward to Moss coming home.
I’ll give you negative-six guesses as to what he’s going to find.
Quietly I close the door, but as I stand in the hallway, it becomes apparent that the music is not coming from the sound system. It’s from my piano. Bach. Light and fluid, played with a deftness and understanding I’ve only heard from concert-standard performers.
No, it’s the Ivory Tickling Bandit. He’s been on the loose in London, breaking into people’s houses and giving unsolicited concerts.
She is seated at the piano in her housecoat and scarf, swaying a little, completely lost in the music, her eyes closed in concentration as her hands move with graceful dexterity across the keys. The music flows through her, echoing off the walls and ceiling in a flawless performance worthy of any concert pianist. I watch her in awe as she plays, her head bowed.
She is brilliant.
In every way.
Then she goes from the prelude to the fugue and he’s like, holy shit, she’s not even reading this off of sheet music, she’s doing this from memory.
Good God. She’s a fucking virtuoso.
Concert pianists memorize their repertoire. It’s literally part of the job. Every concert pianist is expected to.
He’s embarrassed that she plays so well and she read his composition. Then he thinks:
What the fuck is she doing cleaning when she plays like this?
IDK, Moss, why do immigrants with medical degrees end up sprinkling sawdust on puke in elementary schools? Oh, wait, ID-do-K. Xenophobia. Not to mention the fact that it’s not like music is a wide open field with paying jobs falling from the trees.
Oliver shows up and rings the doorbell, so Moss is totally caught spying. Demelssia panics and starts tearfully apologizing. She’s so upset, she can’t put her coat on.
“Hey, it’s okay. Here, let me help you with that.” My tone is gentle as I take hold of her coat. It’s every bit as cheap, thin, and nasty as it looks.
Maybe you should buy her a cloak.
The name Michal Janeczek is sewed into the collar. Michal Janeczek? Her boyfriend? My scalp prickles as little hairs on the back of my neck rise. Maybe this is why she doesn’t want to talk to me. She has a boyfriend.
Fuck. The disappointment is real.
I slip her jacket over her arms and shoulders.
Or maybe she simply doesn’t like me.
Good lord. I have my old diaries from middle school and high school and I guarantee I used the phrase, “Maybe he doesn’t like me” about ten thousand times less than Moss says it about Demelssia.
Demelssia vows she’ll never play the piano again, and Moss is like, you can play it any time you want.
She stares at the floor, and I can’t resist. Stepping forward, I reach out and gently tilt her chin so that I can see her face.
“I mean it,” I say. “Anytime. You play so well.” And before I can stop myself, I let my thumb trace her full bottom lip.
And then his body “responds” and he’s like, this is a mistake. Then she runs off and leaves her boots behind and he gets all distressed that they’re falling apart.
She must be penniless if this is what she’s wearing.
Isn’t it a step up from the not-having-shoes thing you thought in the last chapter? Like, did you think she was doing financially fine at that point?
Moss meets with Oliver, who’s like, uh, we don’t have any employment record for that girl. So, you know we’re going to find out she’s in the country illegally.
“Yes. How do you pay her? With cash?”
What the fuck is he implying?
“Yes. Cash,” I snap.
Oliver shakes his head. “You’re the Earl of Trevethick now. She’ll need to go on the payroll.”
Because taxes, dummy. Oliver basically says this, but in much more official terms like, “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs,” and “work permit,” which I feel like literally, any human being over the age of twenty would already know, whether they went to college or not. “Don’t pay employees cash under the table, and especially don’t employ people illegally if they don’t have the right immigration status,” is pretty fucking basic stuff.
In Delmessia’s POV, she freaks out about the fact that he touched her and she got caught playing the piano and she left her boots behind and I’m basically skipping the entire section because it is 150% just Demelssia going, “Wow, this thing happened, and then this thing, and this thing, and that’s how I feel about it, yup!” because James couldn’t be bothered to write the scene from POV of the character who would have had the most dramatic reaction to it. But we do learn that soon, Magda and her son, Michal, will be moving to Canada, and Demelssia will be homeless. There’s also a mention of Michal’s Instagram and the selfies they took together, so, you know. Big Misunderstanding in three, two, one…
Back in Moss’s POV, we learn that he has to go visit the estates he’s just inherited and inspect them. And then there’s a fucking ton of repetition about how awful and social climbing his mother is, how devoted and good Kit was, and how Moss was not. More stuff about Kit being the favorite and Moss’s mom not loving her two other kids as much, etc. But if he goes away, he won’t get to see Delmessia, so he gets all spoiled about it and takes it out on Oliver.
And nobody ever mentions being able to see the Thames, so now I have no fucking clue where Moss lives.
My impression so far: Now we’re at the point where I realized the chapters were going to make me weary. So, so weary. If the story would just move along without all the repetition, it wouldn’t be so bad. But every chapter has the characters doing the exact same things:
- Enters the apartment and notes whether or not the alarm is on.
- Puts on her housecoat and scarf.
- Does laundry.
- Cleans his bedroom and notes whether or not there are condoms in the trash.
- Gets freaked out by Maxim.
- Plays the piano.
- Wakes up.
- Thinks about how much he hates his new responsibilities.
- Thinks about how great Kit was.
- Thinks about how shitty he is, himself.
- Meets with Oliver.
- Turns down Caroline’s obvious attempts to seduce him.
- Gets drunk.
- Plays the piano.
It’s so boring because it just rolls on and on in the same way. At least the next chapter takes place at his mines in Cornwall.
No. I’m not joking.