Jingle Bell Romance: Chapter 4, Part 1
Well, I can’t believe it happened, but we are about to encounter a character even more insufferable than Nick.
Nick is shadowing Julia for his hard-hitting account of a wealthy woman who now runs a toy store. Julia even says her routine should make him “drop dead of boredom,” so just imagine how great this will be for his readers!
As they head up the stairs to her apartment, they hear a voice say, “When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
Nick, genius reporter who looks down on absolutely everyone, immediately says (and I can just hear the smugness), “I recognize the line from Hamlet.”
Oh. My. Gawd.
Yeah, so there’s a super-smart macaw living with Julia. The macaw’s name is…Shakespeare and he quotes Shakespeare all the time…and the author and Nick did not know one of the most famous Shakespeare lines…from MACBETH, Jesus!
I mean, this isn’t even hard.
This bird, I’m telling you, is just horrific. I get that some birds can learn lots of words, but I don’t believe they can so perfectly tailor the words to the situation. For example, Julia pets him affectionately, and the bird says, “Ah, Julia, shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
You know, that famous line from King Lear.
The bird’s only saving grace is that he makes Nick uncomfortable, because Julia is pet-sitting the bird for a friend…a man friend.
Even thought they are Just Good Friends, Nick gets all petty and jealous, which is always a super attractive trait in a man you aren’t even dating. So he baits her like an ass and she responds bizarrely by pointing out how simply she lives, in an above-the-shop apartment with only the bare minimum of furniture. I mean, she’s fine, she’s living perfectly comfortably, but Nick, with his disdain for “humble” lifestyles, acts like she’s living in the Cratchit hovel.
This leads to the reveal of Julia’s dark secret—she fell in love with a Swiss banker who stole her identity and her money. Despite her family’s wealth and influence, they couldn’t find the guy or recover any of the money, which strikes me as just a tad farfetched. So her parents gave her a loan (they wanted it to be a gift, but she refused) so she could start her toy store.
Nick sees that this is why she “dropped out of sight,” because again, the whole world was eager for a moment-by-moment recounting of the life of a random ambassador’s daughter.
Julia ditches for a few minutes to check emails, and the stupid bird says, “Alas, fair maiden! Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
Except that’s not the actual line. The actual line is, “Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow.” But that wouldn’t really fit here, because it’s morning. Also the author doesn’t know Shakespeare. “…she heard Nick laugh and quote the next line,” but again, I’m not convinced she knows what it is, since it’s just “That I shall say good night till it be morrow,” and again, morning.
With Julia gone, Nick goes snooping at her things. We see that things are not nearly so dire as they both seem to think, since she has a leather chair and sofa, antique tables, and a flat-screen tv, AND a zillion gifts from around the world speckled about, so I’m honestly not sure why they’re both acting like Julia lives like a broke student or worse.
Back from emails (cause toy stores are known for being super-slow the week after Thanksgiving), Julia spontaneously pries into Nick’s relationship with his father. Shockingly, Nick lays all his cards on the table pretty much immediately: when he was 12 and his brother Ian was 15, they were out in their rowboat, fishing, and started messing about, “trying to knock each other off into the water with the oars—you know how kids do.”
Actually, I don’t. But then, my parents and grandparents were safety sticklers, and that sort of shit would NOT have flown when we were kids.
And with good reason: Nick whacked Ian into the water, and when Ian didn’t immediately surface, Nick assumed he was playing a prank, “trying to scare” Nick, as he often did.
And again, faking injury or death was another thing that my family would NOT have been down with.
AND WITH GOOD REASON. Nick finally dives in after Ian, finding him at the bottom, having hit his head and drowned within a minute.
Which is all pretty horrible, and especially so since an innocent 12-year-old kid had to pull his brother’s body out of the water like that. And because Ian was “just about perfect,” “wanted to be a preacher,” and, because of that, Pastor Dad’s favorite, Pastor Dad has never let Nick forget that.
I feel legit sorry for Nick, even if he is an overgrown high school bully with all the anger management skills of a toddler. That sucks, and it is awful that he still holds into this image of Ian as being near-perfect…even though the kid was dangerously (fatally) reckless in several different ways.
Nick also still blames himself completely, citing the accident as his “fault,” his “stupidity,” completely absolving his dead brother.
Dude, this family was in need of so much therapy…but I guess Pastor Dad didn’t think so. Pretty horrific to think he’s been counseling the local families for decades, all the while letting his son live with this kind of burden.
Julia doesn’t exactly have any words of wisdom for Nick. (Though to be fair, it’s not like she’s a therapist or anything.). But she does point out that all this opening up to each other makes them friends.
Though Nick, in his head, immediately removes himself from the dreaded Friendzone, his thoughts only on a romantic relationship, not a platonic one.
So yeah, I feel for the guy, but he’s not exactly doing himself any favors with that line of thinking.