In the Running (Dee Lloyd) – Chapter Six

Sick with worry, Matt storms into the house. He calls out Maura/Reenie’s name and hears no answer. Therefore, he goes to her bedroom, where he hears the shower. Relieved, he sits down on her bed and notices her bag. He ponders about opening it.

Matt lived his life within the solid framework of rules. He liked knowing two and two always added up to four. A specific cause always produced a predictable effect. If you touched a flame you felt a burning pain. [What, only four analogies for the same thing? Couldn’t you think of a fifth one?] And he tried to keep to a few simple rules for life in general. Family was important. Dishonesty had to be punished. The strong had an obligation to help the weak. No one could argue with any of that. [So? Let me see about that…]
However, the intensity of his response to Reenie had him thinking of ignoring one of his own rules. [Which one? Family comes first? Two plus two is four? Or probably the strong help the weak?] He didn’t trust her, but he didn’t seem to be able to fight a compulsion to protect her whether she was honest or not. [Ah, he seems to be talking about the dishonesty rule…] Her beautiful eyes and her delightfully curved body fascinated him. Her fiercely independent spirit was almost irresistible. [I’m really asking myself: Did she show a fiercely independent spirit? She showed a lot of irrationality, some nerve grating and she cooked. Independence? All her actions depend on others – on her grandma’s wish for a political carreer, on Jon’s threat, on Matt’s hospitality, and so on.]
Wait a minute! No matter how attractive she was or how indomitable [you’ve got to be kidding me!] her spirit, a crook was still a crook! If he had any sense, he’d give Reenie a helping hand right out of his life. Forget the questions; stop worrying about her safety; just help the woman on her way. Yeah, sure. [I think the yeah, sure is meant sarcastically (yes, really). But it would make more sense if it wasn’t.]

Inevitably, he decides to just have a little peek. He sees the envelope (but doesn’t open it) and Maura’s engagement ring and of course, he focusses on the ring. Because she can never legally own such a ring, therefore she must be a thief. In this moment, Maura/Reenie enters the room. She’s outraged that Matt goes through her stuff (and rightfully so), but from her reaction Matt can judge that it’s the envelope she’s more worried about.

“I am not a thief.” Reenie held his gaze by the sheer force of her indignation. [Why would she need the force of her indignation when she hasn’t done anything?] “I wish I’d never accepted that ring. But it was given to me.”
“I’m supposed to believe that a woman who was driving that decrepit old wreck and is looking for work as kitchen help would own an expensive ring like this? Come on, Reenie.” [Because rich people don’t work? Don’t take a time out? Only drive BMWs? And if she’s on the run, wouldn’t it be more sensible not to show how rich she is?]

Matt feels compelled to believe her, probably because she has blue eyes and boobs.

“If you aren’t a thief…” he began. He threw up his hands in exasperation. [A normal, everyday gesture. I always throw my hands up.] “What the hell is going on? If the law isn’t after you, who is?” [I confess. I just spent 10 minutes image-googling “the law”, “the law in pursuit” “the law is after me” and so on, but I found no image that could even slightly convey the law in motion. I also find it highly unlikely that the law would be after anybody. The police, maybe. The CIA, maybe. The FBI, maybe. But the law itself?]

Matt has taken on a quite threatening stance, but Maura/Reenie has no fear because she knows, instictively that he’d never hurt her. Instead she wants to curl up into the fetal position in his arms and be protected. You see, what an independent and strong woman she is?!

But she decides

(s)he could give Matt part of the truth.
“My fiancé. No … my ex-fiancé,” she said. “I’m hiding from my ex-fiancé.”
“Fiancé.” Matt uttered the word as if it had an unpleasant taste. “The man who gave you this rock.” [Ew, now she’s tainted! She obviously had contact with a man before Matt…]

First Matt reacts with disbelief. Then:

Did he hurt you?” Suddenly, Matt’s hands were gripping her upper arms.
His grasp pulled the material of her shirt tight over the wound on her shoulder. When she flinched, Matt quickly released her arms and took her fingers in his big warm hands. [Way to go, Matt. In an effort to protect her, you’re hurting her… It’s always a good thing to grip someone’s upper arms. Next time, try some shaking, too!]

Matt demands more information, especially on the whereabouts of this fiancé so he can go out and kill him (oh, how manly…). Maura/Reenie doesn’t tell him, because she doesn’t want to endanger him (Matt, that is… she obviously has no concerns for Jon).
The whole episodes makes Maura/Reenie want to leave because she can’t drag Matt into the whole thing.

Reenie’s tempting lips were raised toward his. Her words said she was leaving, but the message her eloquent blue eyes were sending was that she needed to be kissed. [That’s what rapists say, isn’t it? “She may have said no, but the way she was dressed told me that she wanted me. Her eyes said it all.” *shiver*] And, God help him, he’d wanted to taste her lips since almost the first moment he’d seen her. [You really shouldn’t drag God into your desires. (spoken by an atheist)]
When he bent to kiss her, she met him half way. Nothing in the world could have stopped his mouth from covering Reenie’s full, soft lips. [Nothing? Really? How about an earthquake or an alien invasion?] He’d expected her kiss to be warm and vibrant like everything else about her, but even his dreams fell short of reality. Her response was so fresh [Maybe she just brushed her teeth?] and spontaneous that his own normal caution and restraint went up in smoke. When she parted her lips, the pent-up emotion of the past few days burst into a raging conflagration. [That must have looked really cool. Like a fire-breather.] She was as eager to taste his mouth as he was to savor hers. Matt nibbled at her lips; Reenie touched her tongue to his, then his plunged inside. [Note, plunge is not an ideal word to describe a kiss. Merriam-Webster about plunge: to cause to penetrate or enter quickly and forcibly into something. That’s more along the lines of rape, again… And by the way: Inside where?]
At first, only their mouths touched. [Didn’t their tongues just touch, too?] Everything else in the world faded. Matt was only conscious of heat and sweetness. [He must be in chocolate land on a hot day.] Then, she was in his arms. [All of a sudden, transported by magic.]
The sensation of her fingers plunging into his hair made him too hard and hot to endure for long. [All of him? That doesn’t sound so sexy. If the whole guy stiffens when I touch him, it’s not such a good sign…] Her slender body arched against him. Her rounded buttocks fit perfectly into his hands. [That must mean that they are meant for each other!]
(… they are somehow able to let go of each other before anything serious happens …)
“This is crazy, Matt. That shouldn’t have happened.”
“It had to.” [It had to? That sounds like, “you know, I’m sorry, I didn’t really want to do it and I didn’t even enjoy it, but what can you do, it had to happen…”]
The amazing, life-altering kiss was an indisputable fact. [I would like to install a poll: Have you ever received a kiss that was life-altering? Please discuss in the comment section… 🙂 It’s such a cliché. Maybe I’m not romantic enough but I can’t imagine that a kiss will somehow at some point in time change my life. (Unless, probably, it makes me realise that I’m gay/straight and I didn’t know before.) Maybe I’m just doing something wrong…]

Being characters in a romance novel, they couldn’t just let a kiss be a kiss. No, they have to talk about it now…

“The chemistry’s been there from the beginning, little one. [Little one?????????? *chokes* If there’s a guy out there who reads this and plans on kissing me – never ever call me little one after it! Not only does it sound condescending, it makes you sound like a pedophile!] This was inevitable, [see above. It is not romantic if you put destiny that way…]” he said, trying to ram this emotional firestorm [how can you ram a storm? Please stay within one metaphor…] into a logical framework. “But it’s only one of the things we have to talk about.”
“I’ve told you all I can, Matt. And I have to leave before he finds me.” She was still breathless and her lips were swollen from their kiss. [They kiss for a couple of minutes and her lips are already swollen? Maybe they are doing something wrong and not me!]

Well, before they can get really into it, they hear a sound. It’s Bronwyn who comes by to drop her and Matt’s father off.

Reenie’s face had drained of color [is that even a valid phrase?] at the sound of an unfamiliar male voice. That settled it. There was no way he’d let her leave. [It sounds like we’re entering Misery territory once more… We have the car accident, the injury, no hospital and now the host won’t let the guest leave. Again, how someone can think that this is romantic is beyond me… (See comments to Chapter One.)]

Matt tells Maura/Reenie that it’s only his father, warns her that “this conversation isn’t over yet” (what is he, her father? In connection with the “little one” comment, I’m afraid that he – or Dee Lloyd – have some serious emotional issues with their father figures and they should probably work on it. With professional help.) and then he goes and introduces her.

Pete was more heavyset and shorter than his son, but he had the same heavy brows and broad cheekbones. He also had deeper laugh lines around his mouth and the corners of his dark eyes. [How come that people in those books never have wrinkles? They have laugh lines. And is it really worth mentioning that the older guy’s wrinkles are deeper?]

Wyn has to leave to meet Walt Ames, but before that she makes some comments about a friend of hers, Sandra Field, who wants to go out with Matt. Then she’s off and Pete, Maura/Reenie and Matt talk about the general situation. Wyn just got offered a full-time job as a nurse but that means that she can’t take care of Pete anymore. Matt leaves Pete the decision if he wants to move back in with Matt (which is pretty nice of him, since it is Pete’s house). Finally, they get to the decision which was obvious since the start of this conversation: They will hire Maura/Reenie  to take care of Pete as long as he’s healing. And because she’s staying in Pete’s bedroom right now, she needs another room.

“Well, girl…” There was a kindly glint in his shrewd black eyes. “There’s lots of room. Four bedrooms upstairs, and there’s an apartment over the shop where the college students who hire on as summer help stay.”
Matt’s bedroom was upstairs.
“Maybe over the shop,” she agreed. [Does she really think that not having their bedrooms next to each other will keep them from fucking if one kiss was already “inevitable”?]

Just after they agreed on everything, Bronwyn comes back – with Walter Ames in tow.

And again, we are left with this cliff-hanger.


2 Responses

  1. Hilarious! I like that you do book criticism with a modern sensibility instead of using stodgy/pedantic literary terms and stuff. Great blog.

  2. Thank you for the kind feedback. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for another chapter for a while. Probably soon, though. 🙂

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