Cozy Christmas: Chapter 12, Part 2 and Chapter 13
I cannot believe that we are halfway through this book and freaking NOTHING has happened. Again, I’m not expecting an action-packed adventure here, but…yanno, SOMETHING.
They’re all back from the decorating and hanging at the coffee shop. And Whitney decides it is time to manipulate Josh into going on a date:
“So, are we still on for next week?”
The puzzlement on his face amused her and boosted her mood. Her smile broadened naturally. “For the outdoor pageant. Remember? You said you couldn’t go tonight because of this decorating project.”
“I don’t recall promising to go later.”
“It was implied,” Whitney says flatly.
Okay, we’ve gone without overt misogyny, so I guess it’s time for some “feminine” manipulation, just to make sure we dislike both our main characters.
Finally, Josh shrugged. “Okay. What time?”
Wow, you can really tell how into this (and her) he is!
Whitney reflects that she is “so crazy about Josh Smith [she] can hardly stand it.” Which I guess explains (???) why she basically strong-arms him into taking her where she wants to go. That and “he was so reticent she often suspected he was putting her off rather than attempting to get to know her better.”
So again, correctly interpreting that he’s trying to put her off is just a cue to her to PUSH HARDER.
Younger women might try to remake themselves into someone they thought would please the man in whom they were interested. Whitney was not going to fall into that trap. She was going to be totally herself.
Manipulative and pushy?
Oh, and younger women try to change to please men. But not an older, worldly woman like Whitney…who is TWENTY-FIVE.
Whitney didn’t stop grinning until she reached her car and climbed in. Josh was going to go to the pageant with her! He hadn’t acted as if he was very enthused but she couldn’t be choosy when it came to drawing him out.
Yeah, celebrate bullying a guy into taking you out. Weirdo.
So this pageant “date” isn’t going to happen for like, a whole other week and there’s church before that. Josh flakes on church, lying like a good little RTC that he thinks he’s coming down with something.
In a way that would probably be labelled stalker-y if it came from a man, Whitney immediately descends on the coffee shop with questions and chicken soup. And then she comes back to the coffee shop, again and again and again, “at least twice a day” over the course of the week, and “almost going so far as insinuating that his illness had been a sham.”
Which, of course, it had been. And older, worldly Whitney is not at ALL put off by a man so desperate to avoid her that he’s feigning illness and flaking on church.
But then again, Josh does run hot and cold. He’s spent the week lying to and avoiding Whitney, but when she arrives for their “date,” he’s all smiles. He has been vaguely wondering about God’s plan for him with all this.
They head off, and conversation almost immediately turns to money. Whitney, of course, has problems with rich people. I say “of course” not because that trait makes sense for Whitney’s character, but because Josh is rich, so Whitney has to have a problem with rich people.
“The problem is the sense of absolute power that rich folks get. They think they can do anything if they’re wealthy. They can lie and cheat and behave abominably as long as their bank accounts are full enough to bail them out of trouble.”
Josh pulls a #notallrichpeople card, and Whitney tells him of her latest theory, which is that Robert Randall is secretly the super-secret benefactor. Her theory is that he is lying about being bankrupt and having to lay off everyone. (Well, being “jilted” by his “nasty ex,” thus leading to him closing his plant. As happens.) Josh is a bit weirded out by all this, and gets Whitney’s assurance that she’s not going to move on this until she has actual evidence. That done, we get to the nativity play.
For a failing town, the church has put together a seemingly expensive presentation here: a multi-stage, interactive play with dozens of actors, full sets recreating the town of Bethlehem, huts along the “road,” loudspeakers, spotlights, and actual animals, including sheep and a donkey. Some of the actors mess up and everyone has a good laugh. After, Josh once again gets into his Poor Little Rich Boy routine, explaining for a second time to Whitney that his family had a (gasp!) professional decorator do their house up for Christmas.
Whitney talks him into getting a tree and taking it to her parents’ house to decorate with them. And when she gets her mom alone in the kitchen, she reveals Josh’s Poor Little Rich Boy past to her. Mom gets that Whitney is into Josh, and it all leads to a callback to Whitney’s “studious” and “overwhelming” glasses. Because although Whitney has convinced herself that she will not change herself for a man…she wants to change herself for a man.