Okay so Nate’s gone from being an occasional pash buddy into a boyfriend overnight. I am a little weirded out and so is Ruby. He is obviously one of those serial monogamists I have heard so much about. Remarking on clothing and resting his hand on her knee, somebody stop him already. (Please note the sarcasm.) Okay now I get it, they’ve been doing this for a month now so the situation has progressed but Ruby still seems a little tense about it all.
The ever present notion of his father is plaguing them. Ruby wants to address the issue with him and Nate studiously avoids the issue completely. Like Ruby remarks-
“…Even when things were as good as they could be, they could only be good enough.”
The angry elephant in the room isn’t going anywhere.
Valentine’s Day. I hate it. For me it’s like New Year’s Eve, always destroyed by the immense expectation or being alone. For me it is usually the latter. In ninth grade I once received a rose from the best friend of the guy I was crushing on but that was a long time ago. I am being to see it through jaded eyes as an exercise in marketing. I seriously need to find myself a geek already. Anyone got a brother or friend into Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Veronica Mars out there? Look at me, using my blog as a dating service. Forget I said anything.
I have a feeling that all of Nate’s fancy-schmanzy plans will come to naught. That Rest Assured deliveries will take prominence and something bad is going to go down between Nate and the Angry Elephant. At this moment though Ruby is more concerned about giving the perfect gift with ribbing from Nate and Olivia. For someone who hadn’t had ‘proper’ boyfriend before or even had cash for presents, this would have to be a weird and somewhat stressful exercise. Most important is she realises the difference between what she has with Nate versus The Douche. Good differences both in the guy and herself.
Ruby’s somewhat discomfort with her new relationship expresses itself via her voiced frustration about his attention to her new clothing. She is becoming more aware that she is completely unlike anyone he has dated before. He doesn’t mind but she is self conscious and concerned. She knows he doesn’t judge on appearances but she is still concerned at his need to sweep aside the problems in his life. For Nate, denial is his way of life.
“Everything feels overwhelming right now, for some reason.”
For some reason? She’s been abandoned by her mother, found and taken in by her sister and sister’s husband, started a new school and a new job with new friends and a boyfriend. For some reason? Overwhelmed would be an understatement. I didn’t even include the fact that her best friend cheated with her douche bag boyfriend, her new boyfriend has a violent father and her new dog has mental problems. It sounds like a walk in the park.
Making out with Nate sounds like a treat. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.
I love the insanity that is Jamie’s multiple waves of Valentine’s Day. It’s so zany and over the top that it is pure Jamie. Organising it sounds like a drag but Jamie does it with love so it can’t be that bad.
“Multiple gifts, given in order of escalating grandness, over the entire day.”
Sounds like it would be heaven to be on the receiving end. Or overkill. Your choice.
I find it both weird and understandable that Ruby hasn’t told Cora or Jamie about her relationship with Nate. It’s just implied.
Jamie gives Ruby some much needed gift giving advice that I’m always given and is about as helpful as ‘tits on a bull’ (borrowed that from my mum).
“The best gifts are from the heart, not the store.”
“This from the man who buys in waves.”
“I’m not buying this….I mean, I bought the CDs, yeah. But the idea is from the heart.”
He’s making her a mixed CD, one with all her favourite songs to sing. How cute. And if I didn’t know better I would think that the guy that helped him was Owen from Just Listen. Anger management and ‘music freak’ was my tip off. All these reintroductions of well known and well loved characters is quite organic and I am surprised but always happy to hear of them again.
Harriet gives her two cents worth about the Valentine’s Day festivities and I finally hear my own opinions regarding the day.
“I think this holiday is a total crock, completely manufacturer by the greeting card companies. If you really love someone, you should show it every day, not just one.”
Also, should it be called a ‘holiday’ if you don’t get a day off of work?
Ruby gets Nate a voucher which is the least heart motivated gift one can give. At Christmas my family started doing a Secret Santa a few years back. The first year we all ended up getting one another a voucher. It made for a horrifically boring present unwrapping session and vouchers were henceforth outlawed. Vouchers, while practical, are slack or representative of a complete lack of ideas (usually of which I suffer from.) Jamie’s undeniable glee in his present waves only make her feel worse. A car one year? Wow. Cora gave his a gift card. Yikes.
If I saw my boyfriend waiting to pick me up with a mass of balloons and roses in the front seat I would think they were for me. Ruby seems to have no reaction at all. I love the image of Gervais drowning in a sea of baby’s breath too as it’s almost poetic. Nate skips school to deliver other people’s Valentine’s Day presents and I know this is the beginning of the end. There is no way that he’ll be taking Ruby out tonight.
“Call it a bad feeling. Or just the logical conclusion to an unavoidable situation? But I think I knew, even before that first fifteen minutes passed with no sign of him, that he wasn’t just late, something was wrong.”
Looks like she’s catching on to my way of thinking. Waiting outside in the cold for Nate had to have reminded Ruby of the little yellow house and waiting for her mother to come home. Though I sympathise with Nate’s predicament, I am a little angry with him for making her wait like that. When he does show up Ruby describes him as ‘nervous’ and’ jittery’ and I can tell something is about to go down. I like that he concedes that his gifts won’t make everything miraculously okay, it shows some progress in being more realistic. He again tries to diffuse her questioning with humour then kissing but she’s having no bar of it. She’s being more assertive in her concerns for him, calling him out on his untruth about just arriving home.
“You can’t act like you care about someone but not let them care about you.”
Zing. But then he spills forth with his own frustrations, that people won’t let him be in his current situation.
“What, you think just because you think just because you help people and make their lives easier that you’re somehow better and don’t need help yourself?”
Finally, she called him on it. And yet it’s not hitting home for him. Both Heather and Ruby have suffered with their impotence, their inability to change Nate’s living situation. How frustrating to helplessly be on the side lines of someone else’s suffering. Ruby’s getting a glimpse at the state of Cora’s concerns for the past decade. Not only that but having placed her hands upon Nate she realises that the abuse he is suffering isn’t just verbal and psychological, it’s physical too. The poor guy. Giving him an ultimatum, he leaves as she expects.
“How do you help someone who doesn’t want your help? What do you do when you can’t do anything?”
Ruby’s comment applies to many situations; Ruby and her mother, Cora and Jamie with Ruby, Nate with Ruby, Ruby with Nate, etc. If anything this could be the central theme to this novel. I cannot wait until the next chapter.
A Note from Adele
Another desperate plea for iTunes review. If I get ten I may even debut in the New and Notable section along with the 3000 Twilight themed podcasts lol. A girl can dream can’t she?
No pictures today as I am heading out for dinner.