TPCR: Chapter 12, Part 2 and Chapter 13
This has got to be the weirdest party ever. First Erin shows up and spirits away a little girl with a dying mother, so she can show the kid a horse that will still be there at a non-party time, and now Lucas and Max are whisked away from their own party by a call from Lucas’s mom, who mysteriously is not at the party, but wants to see them ASAP.
What is so important that it can’t wait?
Well, a pine box, for one. It’s a handcrafted family heirloom that is already Lucas’s, since his grandfather gave it to him many Christmases ago. But his mother wants to give it back to him (he left it behind when he skipped town) RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW, party be damned.
No, there is absolutely no better, non-party time when this could have taken place. Shut up.
Lucas’s mother (Lisette, if you care), even says that since the box is passed from Clayton to Clayton, Lucas could give it to Max someday. Which is actually really sweet and “the first time he’d seen any indication that his mother was willing to accept Max into the Clayton family.”
Our first vaguely Christian idea occurs in who knows how long, as Lucas sits there and reflects that, much like his overbearing asshole father…
…he was just as guilty of “going his own way.” And he’d refused to forgive his father for his harsh demands.
Dude, you were a teenager. It’s okay. Seriously.
Refused to forgive himself for not making things right before his father died.
Your father died in an accident and was an asshole and never gave you the chance to make things right. Jesus, this Christian guilt stuff just kills me, the way it makes people so sad about things that are in no way at all their fault!
Look, I get that Lucas might feel irrational guilt about not making things right before his father’s (completely unexpected) death. But it’s been well over seven years and you are an adult now, Lucas, and you can look back and see that your father was an asshole and it is totally okay not to forgive him.
Yeah, yeah, I’ve been over this before, but here we go again: I think forgiveness of this sort is highly overrated. I don’t mean the little forgivenesses that people do because they love others and have ongoing relationships and you learn to let the little things go because we all make mistakes. I mean this RTC idea of forgiveness where you are obligated to forgive a dead asshole for being a total asshole to you when he was alive. He’s dead, he won’t know. If it makes you feel better, then go for it, but you do not need to forgive dead assholes!
(Not that I speak from experience or anything. Heh.)
Sigh. Anyway, no time for more emotional RTC breakthroughs, because Tweed has arrived with a tale of a horse trailer that went into a ditch and the horse needs to get out.
GORAMMIT, NOBODY IN THIS TOWN HAS ANY RESPECT FOR A PARTY!!!
So Lisette actually volunteers to take Max back to Lucas’s new house and watch him until Lucas gets back. Which is too, too solid for this world, man.
Lucas actually gives her a hug, so we do have some emotional breakthrough here.
Cut to a few hours later, and Lisette makes a frantic call to Erin, because Max won’t stop crying and Lucas won’t answer his phone. Erin is understandably surprised that Lisette would call her and not, say, May or Arabella, but then again, she is right next door. So she heads over like a trooper.
Turns out Max is not having a night terror like before, but is instead convinced that Lucas is never coming back, just like his own daddy, because Lucas did not say the word “goodbye” when he left, just like his daddy had not said “goodbye.”
To give Lucas credit, he had no idea that this was a “thing” with Max, and did say goodbye to him, just without using the word “goodbye.” He said, “I’ll be home as soon as I can, buddy.”
Erin is, of course, reassuring and sweet and appropriate, telling Max how much his dad loved him, so much so that he asked Lucas to take care of him “forever.”
Once she is assured that Max is okay, Lisette asks to go home, because she has a migraine coming on, and Erin can take care of Max. Which seems like a heckuva an imposition, but whatevs.
When Lucas gets home, he finds Max asleep in Erin’s arms. After putting Max in his bed, Erin explains what happens, and Lucas once again runs down his abilities as a father.
This is what unleashes the floodgates for Erin, and unloads seven years worth of anger onto Lucas. Not that he doesn’t deserve it—it’s about time it was impressed upon him how hurtful he’s been.
Now, Lucas does immediately feel guilty about the fire, which he still assumes is because of him. But Erin is pissed because Lucas once again wants to “protect” her, just like he “protected” her in high school, which she sees as a rejection of her, so his Bad Boy reputation wouldn’t be hurt by his dating a sensible, responsible girl.
Lucas throws her rejection of him back at her by pointing out that he proposed. And Erin (again, understandably) takes issue with that, as well, since he didn’t technically ask, but rather “implied” it. And after a long and pointless flashback, Erin says what she’s really been thinking all these years, that because of “something wrong” with her that made it “easy” for him to never look back, never write or call.
Again, really hard to argue with this.
And to give Lucas credit, he barely tries. And he does realize how much of a stupid kid he was, and how much he hurt her. He declares himself guilty of “being an eighteen-year-old guy who wanted to keep the woman he loved all to himself.”
Probably true, too.
Gorrammit. (Adds Actually Not That Bad to tags.)
And they kiss.