The Fictional Hockey League

Critiquing hockey romance novels, of which there are many. Overthinking it is the point.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Play the Man: Post 18

Chapter Eleven: FINALLY, geez.

This scene takes place a few days later, and apparently the Caravaggio painting is still a major sticking point between Jenna and Ryan. He still has zero interest in seeing it, even briefly to make Jenna happy, and she “didn’t think it was supposed to be that much of a sacrifice if he loved her” (71). I have to agree here. Personally, I’ve done more for people I like a lot less than one is supposed to like one’s fiancé.

She was also waiting for a sign to know if it was time to simply call it quits, label this a lesson learned, and move on (71).

The narrative is unclear as to whether the above pondering is about calling it quits on this particularly disagreement or the whole relationship. If the latter? YES. YES, IT’S TIME TO CALL IT QUITS. OMG, YES. And that has nothing to do with going for Nick instead; it has everything to do with being a whole person who respects herself, good grief.

The Caravaggio is one of Jesus revealing himself to two disciples and the narrative tries to make a connection between this and Jenna’s own need of revelation.

…she wished that someone would appear to her and point her in the right direction, tell her if it was worth it to try and stick it out with Ryan or end it (71).

Oh trust me, Jenna, if I could appear to you, I would happily do so, shouting all the while to “END IT.” Sadly, I can’t even end this book as there’s nearly 100 pages left in it.

Meanwhile, we learn that Nick has been reevaluated for his concussion and apparently while he’s improving, he still needs someone around, so he’s still staying with Jenna and Ryan. Oh that real-world concussions were so plot convenient! (I know some people who have gotten very nasty concussions from hockey and were not required to have someone around all the time. And these were concussions that were bad enough to keep them from playing for months. Nick is expected to be back on the ice in another week or so, but he still needs constant care? I call shenanigans.)

In fact, the text itself seems unclear as to how Nick is feeling. He’s well enough that he’s the one attending this museum trip with Jenna, which proves awkward when they run into Jenna’s art-friend Katie, who assumes that he must be Ryan. Because the point of view jumps around all the time, we know learn that this mistaken identity causes him irritation. Yet a page later, we’re told that his concussions symptoms have passed (so why does he need someone around other than plot reasons?) and that he’s “back to his old self—controlled and calm” (73). Irritation at a logical mistaken identity doesn’t sound controlled and calm to me.

And his calm doesn’t show up later, either. The two of them get home to Jenna (and Ryan)’s house and she’s annoyed that Ryan is out, without leaving a message. Nick flips out.

“Stop it, Jenna! I can’t just sit by and watch this anymore” (74).

Um. This is out of character from what we’ve been told, even if not so much what we’ve seen. And it’s a really weird reaction. This is where Nick flips? Because Ryan inconsiderately didn’t leave a note? So many other things have occurred in this book that Nick could have gotten angry about.

Jenna assumes that Nick is upset that he’s been put in the middle—his friendship with Jenna versus being Ryan’s teammate. He clarifies that Jenna deserves better than how Ryan has been treating her. Jenna finally asks what she does deserve.

His hockey instincts took over and his body reacted. He closed the distance between them and pressed his lips against hers (74).

I… don’t recall ever seeing anyone play hockey and kiss someone during a game. I don’t see how kissing can be a hockey instinct. I mean, there was that one time Steve Ott leaned over during a face-off and licked Jeff Halpern’s visor.  So, I mean, anything is possible. (Seriously.Licked his visor.) Okay, I know, I know, the author doesn’t mean that kissing is a hockey instinct, but what she does mean is very unclear.

One thing leads to another, which includes “filling the void that had been left within her” (74) (not a euphemism!) and they silently have sex. Jenna doesn’t want to say his name in the bed she shares with Ryan. I’m not sure what Nick’s reasoning is. The description of the sex goes on for several pages, whereas it basically fades to black whenever Jenna is with Ryan, so you know that Nick must be the one for her. Also, they climax simultaneously, which is always a romance novel sign.

The chapter ends on a cliffhanger—as the two of them are still in bed, albeit staring at the ceiling, they hear the front door open. So I shall leave this post here on a cliffhanger as well. 

Stay tuned—will Ryan discover the couple in flagrante delecto? Will Jenna finally end things with Ryan or keep telling herself he’s worth it?

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