Chapter 7: Gentlemen’s Club
We skip along to Sunday evening, the day that Hayden has been roped into attending a birthday party for one of her dad’s friends, even though she doesn’t know anyone there. She’s not delighted about going to begin with, and she’s in an even worse mood when she sees that the gentlemen’s club at which the party is being held is surrounded by news vans and reporters who peer into her rental car as she pulls in. She’s able to avoid them, since there’s a valet.
I’m a bit confused by her wardrobe choice for the evening, since it’s a “slinky silver dress that clung to her curves, emphasizing her cleavage and bottom. Not to mention that it was slit up to the thigh, revealing a lot of leg” (88). I’m not saying she shouldn’t want to look good and feel attractive, of course, but this seems a lot of emphasis on sex appeal for a party for one of her father’s aged friends.
Conveniently, it turns out that the Birthday Guy buys all his wife’s and mistresses’ lingerie from Darcy’s store, so she’s in attendance as well. This cheers Hayden up briefly, until another man comes along and asks Darcy to dance.
Damn, she should have known her best friend, with that indecently short dress, wouldn’t be available for long (90).
Hayden? Why are you policing and judging your friend’s clothing choices? You shouldn’t do that at all, let alone when you’re wearing a clingy, bosom/bottom-emphasizing, thigh-high-slit dress.
Her father finally notices she’s here and comes to talk to her. Hayden notices that something seems off and quickly surmises that her father is drunk. Presley refuses to talk about the divorce or the news broadcast. When Hayden finally gets a word in edgewise and asks if her father is buzzed, he insists he’s not drunk and snaps at her that he gets “enough flak from Sheila” and that he doesn’t “need to hear this shit from [his] own daughter” (93). He apologizes almost immediately, but the damage has been done. Hayden has been frightened and is trying not to cry and she’s now convinced that Sheila’s hints about Presley’s alcoholism might have merit.
The chapter, but not the party, ends here. Hopefully the next chapter will explain why Presley insisted that Hayden attend this shindig and hopefully it’s for better than “the plot requires it” reasons. (I haven’t read the next chapter yet beyond the first paragraph, but SPOILER, Brody and Becker are on their way to the club.)
I was also surprised by some of the references in this scene. The Birthday Guy is described as having the “build of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a George Hamilton tan,” both of which I get, but the George Hamilton comparison seems a little dated, no? But then, I’m not sure what the median age of Harlequin readers might be. Later, when Hayden thinks of Sheila’s allegation that Presley might have an alcohol problem, she compares the errant thought to “an unwanted visit from the Avon lady.” Have Avon ladies really been going door to door unbidden any time in the last decade or so? (I’m genuinely asking. I’ve never had one come to call.)
Anyway, we’ve heard absolutely nothing, even from the team owner, about how the Warriors did in LA (they were up by 2 to 0 when they left Chicago) so hopefully that’ll come up in the next chapter, too.