Soon: Chapter 27: The Big Confession, Finally

As much as I’m sure Jenkins wants us to see Paul as some RTC James Bond, I’m just not there.  When Paul gets the drop on Morty Dunkin’, he has Angela call security.  Then, he doesn’t get her out of the building before the news crews get there.

James Bond would never be so clumsy with one of his lovely ladies.

In fact, he sees her back to her hotel, where she takes the opportunity to grab him and kiss him.  I guess being kidnapped and tied up and almost drugged will do that to a woman.

She pulled his face to hers and kissed him hard.  He froze, not responding, much as he wanted to.

Angela pulled back, smiling.  “You’re shy in public,” she said.

Um, they’re not in public.  They’re in a hotel elevator.  Which I guess leaves them vulnerable to being seen, but still, it’s not like she tried to snog him in the middle of the Strip.

And can I just add that I am once again in awe of Angela’s opinion of her own desirability?  This is the second time she’s tried to get it on with him, and the second time he’s not responded, and still she just thinks he is “chivalrous” or “shy.”  The thought that he might not want her just never crosses her mind.

Oh, that we all had that kind of self-confidence.

That night, as Paul chauffers Angela to her meeting to recruit more prostitutes to Christianity, he finally breaks it to her that he’s married.

“I’m sorry,” Paul said.  “I should have said something.”

“What, you didn’t think to?  You couldn’t tell what was happening, or didn’t you think I might fall for you?”

“Fact is, Angela, I fell for you too.”

“That’s supposed to make me feel better?  At least it wasn’t one-sided?”

Wow, good for Angela.  I’m serious–she’s not letting him get away with anything.

“I should have told you.”

“You sure should have.”

“Forgive me, Angela.”

“That’s the least of it, Paul.  This is going to take some getting used to.”

I actually have to give it to Jenkins here–forgiveness is usually far from the least of it for RTCs, and Angela, once again, doesn’t let him off that easily.

“You have a family too?” she said.

“A girl and a boy.  Seven and five.  Jae and I have been married ten years.”

“So you’re very married.”

“I am.”

Actually, right now Paul is very separated, but he doesn’t let Angela in on this.  Nor does he let her in on the dozens and dozens of women who preceded her.

Here is Angela’s parting shot, and once again, I have to give her props–it ain’t a bad one:

“Feel bad.  Regret it awhile.  Miss me.  And go back to your family.  I’ll survive.”

Survive?  Angela, you have no idea what a lucky woman you are.

Picture from TV Tropes.

Now, you may be thinking, “Where’s your Actually Not That Bad for this part, Ruby?  You’ve admitted that this isn’t a bad scene at all–Angela isn’t letting Paul get away with anything as he finally reveals his Big Secret to her.”

And you would be right, but for what Paul is thinking as Angela heads into her meeting without him:

Angela was everything Jae wasn’t, at least everything Jae hadn’t been for a long time.

Jae had been unfair, but maybe she had a right.

Jae had been unfair.

JAE.  Had been unfair.

Let’s be clear here: this has never been the story of two good people who just aren’t right for each other and happen to be trapped in a no-longer-loving marriage.  And this isn’t the story of some evil, shrewish wife and long-suffering husband.  From the beginning, this has been about a man who has been cheating on his wife for EIGHT SOLID YEARS with DOZENS OF DIFFERENT WOMEN and even PAUL HIMSELF can’t come up with an excuse, much less a reason for it.

But he does know that JAE was unfair when she incorrectly accused him of infidelity the ONE TIME he hadn’t actually done it.

I want to smack Paul so hard, and so much.

Straight was right.  …  There were no options.  He had to work it out.  Rebuilding with Jae sounded like a chore when his heart wished he could start over with Angela.  This would be a true test of his faith.

So there it is.  Good Christians don’t divorce.  Not even when they’re miserable.

Hell, I wouldn’t want to be with anyone who considered our relationship a “chore,” something to “work on.”  Of all the things in life, love and marriage should be the easy things.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

As they say in Jerry Maguire, “Love shouldn’t be such hard work.”

Man, the thought of being a RTC makes me so tired.

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Posted on January 9, 2012, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Wow, that sounds really depressing. Jae hates him, and he openly acknowledges he loathes the idea of getting back together too. But he has no choice. Ugh. It’s just like with Vickie from Second Glance. We’re supposed to admire the male’s commitment to their proper women, when he’s just being downright insulting. Paul is grudgingly going to try to make it possible for him, Jae and sharp objects to be safely in the same room, because he feels God wants him too, not because he likes the idea of getting together with the mother of his children. Dan forgets about Tamarra and asks Vicky out, not because his day as a non-believer made him miss or appreciate her company, but because he’s reminded that he’ll be the first to plant his flagpole there, and that’s the important thing. The rest of the woman, especially her personality, is just a package deal you have to take when you get the all important intact hymen.

    • Ooo, nice catch on Dan and Vicky! You are absolutely right. And the thing is, it would have been so easy to insert a few lines to the effect that Dan always knew that she was great, but was blinded by Tamara, who turned out to be not the girl he thought she was…

      But no, it’s all about making sure you marry a virgin.

  2. No. Relationships always take work. To listen, to share, to make time to spend with the other(s), to remember what they like and arrange it for them, to communicate, to do the little things that make them happy. The issue is, it shouldn’t be unpleasant work. And it should be done because you’re happy with them, and want them to be happy with you.

    Paul here is not doing it because of Jae, or for the children. He’s not trying to mend things. He just has to win Jae over to him because it would not do for them to separate, because RTCs don’t divorce. Bleh.

  3. Well, Angela has met Paul before – she knows he’s kinda dumb and willing to play away from home. He’s probably slept with much uglier women than her.

    “Unfair” is the perfectly wrong word to use. “Unpleasant” would be entirely workable.

    In Atheistopia, of course, divorce is compulsory – every two years. (But you can get married again straight away. IF you want to.)

    I think there’s a lot of confusion between “I want to stay with this person, so I’ll try to reach some sort of accommodation with her” and “I will change (myself/her) to make this relationship work”. Lots of people say “relationships take work”, but I think it’s a question of how one defines “work” – certainly one doesn’t want to take the first argument as a sign that things are doomed, so it’ll have to be resolved. But to regard everything as a struggle… I’m not so convinced.

  4. It does seem rather odd and a bit heavy-handed for Jenkins to rely on the no-divorce rule as a way to set up the attempt at reconciliation with Jae. Considering this basically means he’s trapping her in a marriage so he can salve his ego, it sounds like this book is more of a sop to 1950s gender roles than anything else, along with a side helping of male ego-soothing. (>_<)

  5. Ah… I was with you, right up to the point where you argued that love should be easy. Well… Yeah, maybe it would be nice if it was like that, but it kinda never is. Relationships do take work, and marriages do become strained, but that doesn’t mean that the people involved should just end it just because there’s trouble. Even if they do sincerely want to be together, that alone doesn’t make it all effortless; it’s almost inevitable that there’s going to be rough spots, but people can try to work through them if they still want to be together. Of course, just because people want to be together, it doesn’t mean that they can, or should, ignore anything that might be wrong with the relationship; sometimes people are better off apart, and that’s an option that should be considered. But even at the best of times, it’s not always going to be easy.

    ‘Course, Paul and Jae should really get a divorce. Not because it would be difficult to stay together, but because they don’t actually want to stay together. Jae pretty much considers them to be separated already, and Paul is fully aware that he deeply wishes he could be with Angela instead, the poor woman. Paul’s resolution to make up with Jae seems to have nothing to do with Jae at all; rather, it seems more like resignation. It’s not out of love, it’s purely a “test of his faith”. He’s resolved to turn his loveless marriage to Jae into a real one, almost in spite of the person he’s married to. And none of this seems to be subtext, or an unintentional result of Jenkins’ blundering – this really does seem to be the story being told, plainly and simply. I’m baffled. I really am.

  6. Makes you wonder a bit about the author’s relationship with his own wife…

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