ItSo…C: Chapter 3
I had thought Chapter 2 was the end of the conversation out in the trees, but I was wrong. Lindsey offers to show the little family her shed of Christmas decorations, which she and Jesse will put up all around the farm before too long. Jesse, though, with his hatred of Christmas, is having none of it, and basically insists on staying in the trees to clear brush or something.
Here we learn that Lindsey has “medical training.” (Interesting—how much? And in what?)
Fight or flight—the adrenaline rush that comes when a man is threatened. But why did Jesse Slater feel threatened? And by what?
By Christmas, Lindsey! He’s already shown reluctance whenever the subject comes up!
A note: it is still pure speculation on my part that Jesse’s wife (Erin was her name) died at Christmastime. But if that is the case, I’m surprised the female reference from the last chapter left out that detail. One might consider it pertinent, given the nature of this new job and the time of year.
Anyway, Lindsey can draw only one conclusion:
Whether he realized it or not, Jesse was a lost and lonely soul in need of God’s love.
Of course he is, Lindsey. Of course he is. A few Sunday school classes, and all his problems will be solved.
We also find out that Jesse has rented a trailer, and Lindsey is sweet enough to offer him dishes and linens and the like. Jesse has a nice moment of guilt and resentment (“Don’t make me like you.“) because he is about to start his “investigation.”
Very soon he would have the farm he’d coveted for the past eighteen years.
So, I understand the sequence of events to be: Jesse’s mom inherits farm, six years go by, mom dies, stepfather kicks out teenage Jesse. But how this amounts to Lindsey not rightfully owning the farm 18 years later, I hope we will learn.
A week goes by:
As many times as [Lindsey had] offered, Jesse refused to take his meals with her, but he hadn’t objected when she’d taken to preparing breakfast for his little girl.
Wait, so now Jesse no longer eats breakfast with Jade? What, does he eat before they leave their trailer? Does he wait until after the bus picks her up, then eat on his own? That seems inefficient? And why does he let Lindsey take all the trouble of preparing breakfast every day? Why doesn’t he pick up breakfast for all of them, at least sometimes?
Every morning [Jesse] made an endearingly clumsy attempt to fix the child’s beautiful raven hair. And every day Lindsey itched to do it for him.
He’s been at this two years. Why isn’t he better at it? Are men just assumed to be incapable of fixing hair? Here, a simple ponytail confounds Jesse, eliciting laughter from Lindsey (nice), who has to fix it for him.
Lindsey mentions that her Sunday school class (apparently all girls) “often” come over for “dress-up parties.” Again, no experience here, it just feels to me like Lindsey spends a ton of time with these kids outside of class.
Lindsey also thinks about how her former fiancé “betrayed” her (so I figure he cheated), and now she assumes she will never marry or have kids. (Yes, I know she could have a kid without being married, since she wants one very badly, but I doubt she thinks that is part of God’s plan.)
After Jade leaves and Lindsey and Jesse get to work, Jesse starts his campaign of learning more about Lindsey, presumably so he can steal her house out from under her more easily. Lindsey reveals that she caused vague “trouble” as a teenager, and was sent to live with her grandparents at the farm. Jesse keeps prying, and Lindsey keeps answering like it’s all any of his business:
[Finding out that Lindsey didn’t grow up around here, Jesse was] feeling somewhat better to know Lindsey had not been involved in what happened eighteen years ago.
Um, Jesse? Eighteen years ago, you were fourteen. And Lindsey was eleven. Regardless of whether she grew up here or not, I highly doubt that a middle-schooler would have any part in whatever illegal land-grab you think went down.
“How long did your grandparents own this place?”
“Hmm.” Her forehead wrinkled in thought. “I’m not sure. They’d probably been here three or four years when I came. I’ve lived here nearly fifteen years.”
Jesse did the math in his head. The time frame fit perfectly. … So her grandfather had been the one.
Do you mean that he did something wrong, Jesse? Because if you do, I need some more evidence, please.
The too-familiar tug of guilt irritated Jesse. He had no reason to feel bad for her. She’d enjoyed the benefit of living here for years while he’d wandered around like a lost sheep.
I’m glad to see Jesse feeling guilt. Still, he is starting to get on my nerves.
We also learn that Lindsey trained as a “lab tech,” but turns out she prefers raising Christmas trees. And now that they’ve worked on that all morning, she enlists him to help set up for the “wienie roast” for her church, which will take place at her farm. Though that doesn’t seem like part of his job duties to me.
Lindsey convinces him to attend with Jade, and Jesse accepts…not because he wants to roast wienies, but because he wants to kiss some local ass.
The more people trusted him, the sooner he could have his answers—and the sooner he and Jade could take possession of this farm.
Huh. So you think that’s the way it’ll go, eh, Jesse? Methinks you will need to build a lot of trust to compete with a resident of fifteen years, who is also a Sunday school teacher. Good luck, pal. You’re gonna need it.