Monthly Archives: March 2014

Silenced: Chapter 25: Brilliant!

“Ranold,” Margaret called out, “the message light is blinking on the phone.”

The message is from Bia.

International counter-terrorism: best left to answering machines.

Bia’s carrying the Idiot Ball right now: she totally bought Paul’s “Bia’s great and loves her kids” fake-out.  Seems a bit out of character for Bia to fall for such an obvious ploy, but she is a woman, amirite?  So much as mention her kids, and she’ll be putty in your hands.

Jae realizes what Paul was doing, but is pissed:

[Paul] was a master, but if his brilliance had cost her the chance of seeing him over there, she was not going to be happy.

For those keeping track, this is the second time in seven pages that Paul has been called “brilliant.”  Repeat a lie enough, right?

But Ranold is still suspicious, because fool him once…  (Also, though he doesn’t actually say so, I suspect that he hasn’t forgotten that Paul has been jealous of Bia since the moment they met.)

***

Ball Dangler makes a statement that they’re not going to negotiate with terrorists (meaning Styr Magnor, but he might as well be talking to Paul and Co.), and Paul reflects on Dangler:

…while Paul was diametrically opposed to his worldview, it had not always been that way.

“Good thing I stuck Jesus into my heart six whole months ago!  Otherwise, my kid might be dead tomorrow!  Oh well, I guess that’s just what everyone else (who’s grown up in a world where religion is outlawed) gets!  Sucks to be you, almost everyone on the planet!  Can’t make an omelette, right?”

Styr plays some more Telephone with ChappellShow, with Paul directing ChappellShow’s end of the conversation.  It’s all pretty boring and redundant, but ChappellShow manages to set up a meet with Styr at a pub in Shoreditch.

So soon we get to see Paul’s mad spy skillz in action again!

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Silenced: Chapter 24: It All Comes Together, Sorta

Hey guys, sorry for the delay—hopefully this extra-long chapter makes up for it!

This chapter bounces around a bit, reminding us of little bits that we need to be thinking of in light of the upcoming slaughter.  (Or “holocaust,” as we might have it—after all, that’s how Paul refers to the killing of FIVE Christians in Soon.)

Jae convinces “the kids” that it’s okay she’s going to Europe because she’s going to try to convince Daddy to come home.  I’ll note something here that has struck me in the past—it’s usually “the kids,” rarely “Brie and Connor.”  When I think of how may parents referred to my brother and I, growing up, it was usually the reverse: “Ruby and Angus,” not “the kids.”  Maybe it’s no big deal, but it feels to me like just another way to think of the kids as props (especially props to keep Jae and Paul’s marriage together, because you absolutely can’t divorce if there are kids, right?).

Anyway, Brie and Connor are mostly okay, since they’re still riding the wave of happiness from Uncle Berlitz and Aunt Aryanna taking them to the football game.  That is so incredibly sweet.  I kinda love both Berlitz and Aryanna, and am sad that Berlitz was created to be destroyed by God/Jenkins.

It’s especially sad in light of the fact that this seems to be the only attention that Brie and Connor have enjoyed from adults in a long, long time.  Berlitz and Aryanna seem charmed by the kids, and genuinely interested in their lives and happiness.  Meanwhile, Paul can barely remember their names and Jae is simply too preoccupied with her own unhappiness and, oh yeah, the fact that she’s still married to a serially-cheating asshat.  (Only difference is, now Paul’s cheating on her with Jesus.)  Oh, and also the fact that Jae has been tuning out the kids to listen to the New Testament, but surely that’s not neglectful!

Warning Paul about the bug had been the right thing, regardless [of Jae’s own uncertainty].  Jae was his wife, first, and even if it turned out he was guilty of treason, she owed him the benefit of the doubt initially.

Ah, what a good little RTC wife.

Also, I’m trying to think of a time when Paul gave Jae “the benefit of the doubt” about ANYTHING…and nothing is coming to mind.  Hell, Jae is giving Paul the benefit of the doubt when it comes to TREASON, and Paul didn’t give Jae the benefit of the doubt when she cleaned up stuff he had thrown on the floor.

After a bit of a break, Jae is back to the New Testament, now in Hebrews.

How Jae wished God would talk to her that way, and even wishing it made her realize she was making a huge assumption: that God was real.

Really?  Hell, I could wish that a leprechaun would leave a pot of untaxed gold on my doorstep, but that doesn’t mean I am assuming that leprechauns are real.  Kinda depends on the wish, no?  I could wish to win the lottery, which is real, and I could wish for a pet wolpertinger, which is not.  For someone with an advanced degree, Jae’s reasoning skills need a bit of a brush-up.

But Jenkins is going to get this girl RTC’d, gorramit, SOMEHOW.

The rest of Hebrews 1 is about how angels aren’t God, which I don’t care about, and I guess Jae doesn’t, either, since Jenkins just quotes the whole section and then cuts to the next scene, with no comment from Jae.

***

But who has time to think about the Bible when we can hate on Bia Balaam?!

Paul takes Bia to the airport in the pre-dawn hours (really, no electric airport shuttle service in four-star Atheistopian hotel?).

“You look great,” he said, and she did, especially for that time of day.  She was not a young woman but her unusual height made her look perpetually trim.

Okay.  So, if Paul’s only measurement (har) of womanly beauty is trimness, shouldn’t Bia look great all the time to him?

(Honestly, I think Paul has been attracted to Bia for a long time.  He just won’t admit it, even (especially) to himself.  In my experience, when a man is not attracted to a woman, he just stops thinking about her looks.  He doesn’t spend all his time cataloguing her every hairstyle and outfit and nuance of expression.  The asshat doth protest too much, methinks.)

They chat pleasantly on the way to the airport (oh, wow, Paul is such a great double agent!), and on the way back, Paul muses about Jae some more:

Niggling at his brain was the prospect of Jae’s showing up late that afternoon.  He longed to see her, to hold her, touch her, kiss her.  What he really wanted to do was tell her the truth about himself.

Much as Paul claims, again and again, that he’s a changed man who cares about his wife more than ever before, what he wants to do to her (not with her, mind), is look, touch, talk at.  Mind you, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing at all for a man to want to kiss his wife after a week or more apart.  Not at all.  But Paul  doesn’t want to have a conversation unhindered by miles or bugs or nosy relatives.  He doesn’t want to interact with her as a partner in their shared lives.  Nope, it’s still All About Paul—what he wants to do and what he wants to say.  Jae’s needs and desires remain irrelevant.

But he had no idea whether it would be prudent.  Was she really believing in Paul at this point, or was that just something she had to say?  She had saved his life by warning him of the bug, but she remained the most dangerous person in his life.

AND HE STILL DOESN’T TRUST HER AFTER ALL THIS.

He prayed for her as he drove.

You smug, condescending ass.

***

Over at the French Super Sekrit Hideout, ChappellShow is upset because Styr Magnor called yesterday and he (ChappellShow) hung up on him per Paul’s instructions.  (I don’t know how you “hang up on” someone on a skull phone call.  There are a series of finger taps, as discussed in the first book.  Do you clap your hand to hang up on someone?

Kinda sad, really.  So much drama has been lost from our lives because we can’t plunk the phone back into the cradle, angrily or otherwise:

So Magnor has not called ChappellShow Back yet, so ChappellShow has no idea if he’ll have anyone to take to the Spring Formal.

But Paul knows what’s truly important right now:

“What’d you think of the manifesto?”

“Brilliant.  That your work?”

Paul nodded.

So humble, he is.  Oh, and we learn something new about the French underground:

“All our groups get printable versions [of the manifesto], our e-mail contacts get a Net version, and all our press contacts get both.”

The French Underground Christians have press contacts.

Okay, so why then does Straight know next to nothing about them?  Why aren’t they better organized, more vocal?  What a bunch of idiots.

Of course, just at that moment when Paul arrives, Styr Magnor calls back.

[ChappellShow] hit a switch on his earphone that allowed Paul and Lothair to hear without it sounding to Magnor as if he was on a speakerphone.

EARPHONE WUT???  Look, you jerks, do you have skullphones or don’t you?

As they talk, Paul realizes that Styr’s voice sounds familiar, and that he hates Chancellor Ball Dangler.  Styr hates Ball Dangler, that is.  Though Paul hates him, too.

…Paul was desperately trying to remember the name of the Scandinavian cell group that vehemently opposed Baldwin Dengler’s appointment as head of the International Government.

Ah.  So Magnor is really involved in a political grudge, and is a political terrorist, not a religious terrorist.

So that’s one less religious terrorist we have, just leaving Paul and Straight and…well, every other Christian who’s sign on to the “brilliant” manifesto.

And then it came to Paul.  Angry Storm the group called itself.  They had pushed for the mayor of Oslo, Erik Buri, to assume leadership of the International Government, and he had come within a few votes of recalling Dengler and doing just that.  They vowed revenge, even though the Dengler choice would prove providential, as Buri died two years later.

That seems like a weird reading of “providential,” unless Atheistopia expects its elected officials to be immortal.

Paul grabbed a pen and a notepad and scribbled Angry Storm to show Chapp.  But as he wrote it, something else hit him.  He played with the letters.

Oh.  Of course he did.  This is a Jenkins hero.

Okay, guys, take a guess right now if you like, before reading the next paragraph…

And…

Styr Magnor was an anagram for Angry Storm.

OF COURSE IT IS.

“Huh,” Paul thought.  “And Stepola is an anagram for Apostle.  My world…imploding…”

And wait, so this Scandanavian dude anagrammed his name into English?  WHY???

Paul crossed it out and wrote, CR, ask the origin of his name.

“I’ve been meaning to ask you, Styr.  What is the origin of your name?”

Dude, really?

Okay, to be fair, it probably is difficult to work such a question gracefully into a conversation about international terrorism.

But Magnor bites:

Magnor means ‘fighter.’  It describes me perfectly.”

“And Styr?”

“I don’t know.  It’s from Norse legend.”  It was clear Magnor was bored with this and even suspicious.

GEE I WONDER WHY

And what the hell difference does it make?  He’s the political guy or not, no matter what the name really means.  And those are real names, so what is Paul trying to do?

The conversation ends with nothing really changed in the relationship, and the Christian terrorists still having no idea where the now-possibly-political terrorists are.  But at least we know Styr Magnor isn’t RTC?  I guess?

***

The announcement is made, the manifesto goes out, Ranold is pissed but fighty (love that dude), and Paul and the other terrorists snack on fruit and cheese because it’s France.

Styr gets back in touch with ChappellShow.  He knows that the manifesto is (sorta) ChappellShow’s doing, but claims credit for it himself.  There is panic in (some of) the Atheistopian citizenry, “who feared a repeat of the L.A. fiasco.”

Yep, a “fiasco.”  That’s what I always call it when millions die.

Then again, plenty of eeevil atheist citizens tell Ball Dangler that he should just sit back and let 40 hours pass, then laugh together at the mean ole religionists and their failed campaign of terror.

Too bad they don’t realize they’re the mob in an Apocalyptic Novel with a thuggish god.

Paul Googles around (since I guess he has nothing better to do, and finds out that “Magnor” means “supporter of Erik.”  This sounds wrong to me, especially since my own quick Googling reveals that Magnor does indeed mean what Styr said: fighter.  So maybe it’s a misprint, and Paul means that Styr means “supporter of Erik.”  But either my Google-fu is off today or I’m just lazy, because I’m not seeing that either.

Meh.

Either way…

That cinched it for Paul.

He knew who Styr Magnor was.

Goody.  I can’t wait until Paul has his final showdown with Styr Mag—

Silenced: Chapter 23: Next Manifesto

In a passage that mirrors the one in Soon, the manifesto against the evil atheists is written.

But Paul has Grown in the Faith, I guess, seeing as how he’s penning this one all by himself (the Soon manifesto having been written by “Old Carl”:

This he would send to Straight, who would run it past the underground leadership in Detroit, Washington, L.A., Bern, Rome, Paris, and all the other contacts around the world.  Each faction would be free to copy, forward, and disseminate the document as far and wide as they dared, including to all the major news organizations in their respective countries.

Straight has never even spoken to anyone in any of the European underground factions.  Just saying.

We aver that the current world system, which has banned for nearly four decades the practice of religion by people of faith…

Wait, so the practice of religion would be fine by people of no faith?  Glad they put this non-writer in charge of the statement.

…is an abomination in the sight of almighty God.

Too bad God let it happen, and has let generations of children grow up with no access to religion, only to be dessicated…wait, this is coming out wrong.

We ask that you rescind immediately the decree announced today and put a moratorium on laws prohibiting the practice of religion until you can determine how people of faith can peaceably live in this society without fear of reprisal.

Okay, this seems a pretty reasonable request.  I can’t see how—

We are beseeching our God to act in judgment, should this request not be carried out within forty hours of when the decree is announced, or midnight, Bern time, Tuesday, January 22.

FORTY HOURS???  Less than two days?

Okay, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.  This is actually an improvement (by a factor of FOUR) on the timeline in Soon.

We respectfully warn that you will regret ignoring this request…

This is some new, passive-aggressive permutation of “with all due respect,” is it?  Bless their atheistic hearts.

We refer you to the Old Testament account of the ten plagues that God unleashed against Egypt.  There are those among us who are asking God to eschew the first nine plagues…

There we go, guys!  This is what we’ve been building to!  Kill the firstborn!

Gee, isn’t it FUNNY how we’ve been introduced to a lot of young men who didn’t make an appearance in Soon?  (Berlitz and Taj especially, though BallDangler also mentioned that he had four sons.)

…and to refrain from hardening your heart…

“It’s almost as though we feel it was unfair of God to harden Pharoah’s heart the first time around, as though God was stacking the deck or something…nah, “God is never wrong.”

Short of this, we fear that God may not limit this plague to the seat of government but rather that it will affect the entire world.

We hope…er, fear—FEAR, that’s it…that God will rain his deadly judgment down on the entire planet.

To our brothers and sisters around the globe, we remind you that you need not feel bound by the Old Testament caveat of protecting your own households by sprinkling blood on your doorposts to identify yourself.  We believe the blood of Christ has already been shed on your behalf and that God knows his own.

“Also, that whole ‘sprinkling blood’ thing is just GROSS.  Geez, God, what were you thinking?”

After finishing the manifesto, Paul actually has a very brief moment of almost-remorse.

Paul didn’t know how to pray—that God would do it or not do it.  Such a catastrophe would eliminate any hope of these millions of slain firstborn ever entering the kingdom.

I’ve probably just been listening to too much Christian Talk Radio, but I feel like the RTC answer to this is that God would have already planned that all those firstborn sons would not be among the “elect” in the first place.  They would never have chosen to become RTCs.

(Of course, these firstborn sons, many raised in a world which has outlawed religion, have had so much opportunity to learn about Jesus and convert.)

Anyway, Paul’s brief moment of near-humanity is spoiled by stupid ole Jae, who calls Paul at that very moment…to warn him.

Kinda sad, really.  The Christians are praying for millions to be killed, and atheist Jae is risking her freedom (or, at the very least, her relationship with her parents) to save one horrible asshat.

Jae also mentions that she will be in Europe soon, and tells Paul about the entrapment with Calandre and the bug.

“Paul, hear me.  I’m on your side.  I believe you’re playing up to the underground to infiltrate them.  If I’m wrong, well, then you’re going to take me down with you.”

“Just like you’ve always done…”

Now knowing about the bug, but not wanting to make the sounds of finding it, Paul decides to “use it to his advantage.”  First, he calls Straight to warn him that he (Paul) is bugged.  Then he calls Bob Koontz (yanno, his boss in Chicago, the guy he should be reporting in to regularly?) to say nice things about Bia Balaam:

“I know Decenti sent her to keep an eye on me, but the more I think about it, the less it bothers me.  She’s good people, and if I were in the old man’s shoes, I’d probably do the same.  Did you know she’s got kids?”

“I didn’t, Paul.”

“Yeah.  A grown daughter and a son at Georgetown.  Pretty proud of ’em, and rightfully so.  Well, hey, just wanted to keep you in the loop, Bob.”

“Sorry this is the first time I’ve ‘kept you in the loop’ since leaving Chicago, Bob.  And hey, that Bia, she is some incredible gal, eh?  I’m sorry for every dirty look and snide comment I ever made about or to her.  Sorry, am I speaking too softly?  Feels like I’m kinda speaking softly.  BIA BALAAM IS THE BEST.  Oh, and have I mentioned to you lately how much I love my wife?  I love her so much, I would never dream of banging some hot French chick while I’m here.  So, hey, go atheism.  Um, bye-bye, Bob.”

Paul is such an amazing covert operative.  How did Atheistopia ever suspect anything?

Silenced: Chapter 22, Part 2: Instant Replay and Then Some

The reason Chapter 22 is so long is that Jenkins reproduces, almost word for word, the interaction between Paul and Calandre, this time with Bia and Ranold and Jae listening in.

Once again, the Decenti landline is used, and Ranold and Jae hover over it as “speaker mode” is used.  Turns out the awesome Bia planted a bug on Paul during their small talk session!

Hmm, maybe if Paul had been paying a bit more attention to what was going on, he might have noticed…

But he was just too blown away by the fact that Bia actually spawned a couple of kids.  What with her being so tall and angular and overdressed and all.

“I fear the bug was either malfunctioning or he was out of range all day.  You’re going to find this strange and out of character, General, and you, Mrs. Stepola, may be encouraged by it.  But don’t be fooled.  One bit of intelligence we did pick up from Ms. Caresse is that Paul emerged from a car that was not issued to him by the French Bureau.”

“Is that so?” Ranold said.

Gee, if only we had had Paul followed, we might know more!

Jae was still stewing about Paul’s being out of character and her expecting to be encouraged by that.  Maybe he was in character; had they thought of that?

Well, probably not.  I mean, Bia is well familiar with Paul and how he has cheated on Jae right under her nose for a decade.  She’s talked to Trina Thomas and seen the pictures and everything.

Then again, Bia doesn’t know that Paul once carried the luggage.  So he’s a Changed Man now.

So we have to suffer through rereading the whole scene.  Well, you guys don’t, but I do.  It’s also quite excruciating on the audiobook, FYI.  (Of course I’ve listened to the audiobook of Silenced.  Don’t be silly.)  Oh, and we get play-by-play:

Laughter.  Footsteps.  Elevator noises.*  A door opening.

Jae was dying.

*I guess Jenkins forgot that he created “jetvators” in Soon.

“I am more than a girl, Ray.”

Jae closed her eyes and actually wished for the first time that she was a praying woman.

Sigh.  She already believes.  Because why else would you wish to be a praying person?  No matter how bad things have been in my life, I have never wished to be a praying person.

“You know what?” he said.  “I’m not going to do this.  Don’t make me insult you or appear ungrateful for the offer, but I’m leaving.  Thank again and good night.”

Good night and good luck.  Wow, that is just as nasty the second time around, Paul, you ass.

“That’s all there is,” Bia said.  “A bit of TV noise in his room after that, but that’s all.”

Jae felt as if she could fly.

Which, right there, shows that Paul is not in character.  If someone behaves in character, you don’t become elated when they do what you expect them to do.  I mean, if my dad turned down the advances of some random woman, I’m pretty sure my mom would be like, “Um…yeah.”  Because that is what you are expected and supposed to do.

Oh, and just at that moment, Paul makes a skull phone call, so they can all listen in!

It’s Straight, of course, though they don’t know that.  (This actually makes sense this time, since even a bug probably wouldn’t pick up an incoming skull phone call echoing in Paul’s ears.)

“It’s time to marshal the international underground church, everybody, to again pray that God will act.” [says Paul, to Straight, on skull phone]

“This could be huge.” [says Ranold]

OH, YOU FRAKKING THINK SO, GENIUS???

Seriously, they officially have enough to just Kill Him Now.

Oh, but it gets better.  They get to talking about Jae:

“You’re kidding…You did?  I know you told me God puts it on someone’s heart and—it’s just that when He was prompting you to pray for me, He was prompting me to pray for Jae.  Go figure…Yeah, well, maybe He is working in her life.  Nothing would make me happier.” [says Paul on his skullphone]

“Big question now is, has he flipped, or is he infiltrating the underground?” [says Ranold]

Oh fer…

Reaction GIF: facepalm, Jensen Ackles, Dean Winchester, Supernatural

Gorramit, I love you, Ranold, my man.  I hate it when Jenkins makes you stupid.

“Sounded pretty convincing to me,” Bia said.

Breaking Bad High Five

THANK YOU, Bia.

I mean JESUS, can we please get with the program, here.  Y’all should’ve had Paul disappeared like, months ago.  Now you have actual evidence.  I mean, why is it so hard for you guys to pull the trigger, both literally and figuratively?

Good grief.

Anyway, Jae figures this is her chance to get to Europe, so she fake-reluctantly volunteers to go.  Ranold, to give him credit, at least suspects that Paul was talking to Straight.  Not that he intends on bringing Straight in for any intense questioning or a show trial or anything.  He’s just sticking by his theory until they can get more info.

Man, the NPO is just so decent and open-minded and evidence-oriented and committed to innocent-until-proven-guilty.

Worst evil dictatorship ever.

Silenced: Chapter 22, Part 1: Calandre Caresse

Time for Jae to be a total jerk again!

I feel for her, I really do, puppet as she is to Jenkins’ notion of what constitutes an amoral atheist slowly navigating her own way towards good little RTC wifedom.

But…

…[Jae] found her mother more maddening than ever—her docile take-life-as-it-comes attitude, letting Ranold get away with whatever craziness he dreamed up.

Huh.  A docile wife letting a husband do whatever he likes, no matter how many people he hurts?  Hit a bit too close to home, Jae?

I wish I could believe that’s what Jenkins is doing here.

Anyway, Jae’s all-over-the-place emotions are just a lead-up to Ranold telling her all about the woman who will be luring Paul to his doom sex.

And with all this hanging over her head, Jae feels the need to play Jenkinsian word games with Ranold:

“Name’s Calandre Caresse, and we’ve used her before.  Shes–”

“Come on, Dad.  That’s not her real name.  That’s a stripper’s name.”

Oh, like you’re a one to talk about weird names, Jae Decenti Stepola/Apostle.

He cocked his head.  “Far as I know, that’s her name.  She’s classy, discreet, and can be trusted.”

“Listen to yourself!” Jae said.

Ranold looked genuinely puzzled.

“All right,” she said.  “let me ask you something.  How would you describe me?”

“Smart, pretty, loyal.”

“You’ve said that before.  Be more creative.  Am I classy?”

“I’ve always thought so.”

“Discreet?”

“Sure.”

“Trustworthy?”

“You bet.”

Heh, don’t bet the farm there, Ranold.

“Dad, you just described a woman who lures men to her bed for a living the same way you would describe me.”

Um, not really, Jae.  Because despite your instruction that Ranold be “creative,” you fed him all the words.  Face it, Jae, you’re just looking for ways to trap your dad.  Now, if you’re upset about this whole scheme, that’s fine, but don’t make the problem into that of Ranold thinking of a Fembot the same way he thinks of you.  Because he quite clearly doesn’t.

Also, why is this scheme even taking place?  Again and again, we see that for all it’s “sinful” acceptance of such things as homosexuality, prostitution, and pornography, Atheistopia is oddly marriage-oriented for such a supposedly amoral society.  So many questions remain: why, in this world, did Jae and Paul both stay in a loveless marriage for so long?  Why are the NPO agents just as offended by Paul’s marital infidelity as by his betrayal of the organization and the “world system” itself?

Actually, Ranold clarifies why they’re doing this:

“You deserve to know what he really is, Jae!  All this phony Paul’s-a-new-man malarkey…if we do decide to send you over there, I want you clear that Paul is the target, the enemy.”

Poor Ranold.  For ten years, he has watched the marriage of his little girl die death by a thousand cuts (of Paul’s asshattishness), and he is now making one last effort to make Jae see the truth.

Of course, Jae then determines that she needs to get to Europe to SAVE PAUL, even if she has to lie to Ranold to do so.  Which doesn’t seem very RTC of her.

***

Paul and ChappellShow have some Man Time alone together.  Naturally, ChappellShow thanks Paul for humiliating and berating him in front of the people he’s supposed to lead.

And they talk about entrapping Styr Magnor.  BORING.

***

Back to Ranold’s wondrous scheme: as Paul is returning to his hotel (WHY HASN’T PAUL BEEN TAILED GORRAMITALL???), he sees “a dark, attractive young woman heading for the door of Le Hotel Boutique across the street.”

No doubt next door to Le Bakery Baguette on one side and Le Gallery Monet on the other.

Anyway, Calandre pulls the INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS ploy of tripping over her own feet, which of course prompts Paul to play white knight and rush over to help her up.  And she clings to him and mews and touches him.

Paul did not reciprocate but couldn’t say he found her touch unpleasant.  He had been away from home too long.

I…really don’t think it’s been that long, Paul.

Hilariously (well, not really), Paul introduces himself as “Ray Decenti.”  The two go to the bar in the hotel (no doubt called Le Lounge Champagne), and Calandre gets wine and Paul gets coffee, because good little RTC boys don’t drink.

Then she invites him up to her room.

And he goes.

Um…why???

Is Jenkins making the point that Paul can expose himself to so much temptation and still remain “faithful” to Jae?  Because honestly, this all just makes Paul look either dumb, or like a big tease.

In the “palatial” hotel room (which no doubt has Le Bed Immense)…

He moved away.  “You don’t fancy me?”

“Actually, very much.  You’re really a beautiful girl.”

“I am more than a girl, Ray.”

“You know what?” he said.  “I’m not going to do this.  Don’t make me insult you or appear ungrateful for the offer, but I’m leaving.  Thank again [for the coffee] and good night.”

Fun fact: you know what words Paul didn’t say during this entire episode?  “I’m married” or “I’m in love with my wife.”

I mean, why would he feel the need to insult Calandre?  Just tell her the truth.  Isn’t that the Christian thing to do, after all?  And if you were so annoyed that she wanted to sleep with you, (again) why go to her room at all?

I don’t get it.

In any event, Ranold’s plan failed because he didn’t know his target well enough.  As we discovered in Soon, Paul doesn’t like take-charge women with attitude like Bia Balaam and Calandre Caresse.  He prefers them half-drunk.

Next time, we’ll see why Chapter 22 requires two parts, and see Jae’s reaction to all this.