Silenced: Chapter 20, Part 1: More Deeply Than Ever Before
Paul decides to call Jae (I think for the first time since he tried to convince her not to go to D.C., and this is all just a fascinating insight into his tiny mind:
Regardless of the international situation, he could not let anything keep her from being his first priority.
His first priority…to control what she sees and where she goes.
Besides loving her and caring more deeply for her and the kids than he ever had before…
Okay, first of all, that’s not saying much. An improvement from constantly berating and serially cheating on his wife, and barely remembering his kids’ names to not serially cheating (because God is watching) and occasionally carrying the luggage.
“That’s not love. In fact, I don’t think you even know what love is.
-Tom Servo, MST3K, Alien from L.A.
It’s funny ’cause it’s true. Paul really does have no idea what love is. Calling his wife once a week when he’s out of the country? Sometimes feeling guilty because he doesn’t pray for her enough? “Taking charge by serving her“? He still barely notices the kids’ existence. Still doesn’t trust his wife’s judgment…about anything. Still enlists his best friend to keep tabs on her and assist in manipulating her.
Yeah—that’s not what love is.
Anyway, the rest of the sentence:
…Paul sensed that when the truth came out, if she didn’t run from him—which was, of course, entirely possible—she had the potential to be his greatest ally.
That’s awfully optimistic of Paul, considering the bridges he’s burnt in his decade of emotional abuse.
We go to D.C. to see the actual call. After a brief line showing how terribly PC this Atheistopia is (the kids are going to a “Washington Native American football game” with Berlitz and Aryana the next day), we see that once again, Jerry Jenkins has forgotten that everyone has skull phones.
Because Paul calls the Decenti house’s landline.
This book was written in 2004. I haven’t had a landline since 2003. In a world of skull phones, would anyone still pay for a landline? I can see maybe having one old-school cell around, in case of an emergency of some kind, but a landline? Yeah, I think Jenkins just forgot again.
Of course, having a landline means we can have a “humorous” moment in which Ranold tries to listen in on the call. (He is in the kitchen, while Jae is talking to Paul in her bedroom, so apparently the house has multiple landline phones.) Brie calls out her grandpa, and the unhappy couple can have their conversation in private. Or at least, as private as a call can be that is not a skull call.
For less than one page, Jae and Paul talk about how much they both wish she could come to Europe to be with him, though seeing as how Paul spends his days getting tours of cities and his nights praying with the underground Christians, I wonder how much time they imagine they could spend together.
Jae mentions absolutely nothing about Ranold and his (correct) suspicions, as she should, but she does passive-aggressively state that “I don’t like being a single parent.”
Though really, she should be used to it after all these years.
Hilariously, we are told that Jae and Paul finish their already-scintillating conversation with “incidentals and courtesies.” Oh yeah, this is some kind of strong, loving, sexy marriage they have now!
“Incidentals and courtesies.” Makes it sound like a conversation with your insurance guy.
When the conversation ends, Jae doesn’t feel any immediate anger or suspicion, though she muses that…
If she found any evidence that he was still fooling around behind her back, [she] had no doubt her forgiveness reserves would be spent.
“I mean, sure, I was willing to forgive the first thirty-seven times, but thirty-eight? That is a BRIDGE TOO FAR!!”
On Paul’s end, he actually thinks a nice thought about Jae…
She had a quick mind, strong character. She thought for herself.
Though this thought doesn’t seem quite so genuine when we remember that Paul was trying to manipulate that strong mind and change those thoughts, as he and his best friend conspired to keep Jae from doing what she wanted to do.
He also thinks that those “incidentals and courtesies” amounted to a “warm conversation.”
So yes, Servo, he really doesn’t know what love is.