The Fictional Hockey League

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Play the Man: Post 21

Chapter Fourteen: Why would you insult maple syrup?

Nick’s Concussion of Convenience continues while Ryan is out of town, to the point where Jenna has to miss classes in order to be with Nick. (Frankly, she should have just taken him with her. Or, for that matter, they’re in Chicago. There are other wives and girlfriends of teammates. Surely someone out there could take care of Nick for a bit. Grad students have to go to class.)

But of course the plot requires an excuse to throw Nick and Jenna together. While making breakfast, she continues to lament how she can’t forget what happened with Nick (less than 24 hours ago), then when he joins her, they make French toast together.

“You Canadians and your maple syrup. It’s disgusting the way you guys eat that stuff,” Jenna chuckled (92).

Let me start by saying I adore maple syrup (not breakfast syrup, maple syrup). And yes, of course it’s a clichéd Canadian thing. (Note: I am not Canadian.) But what a weird thing to find disgusting. Especially when you’re making French toast.

Nick burns said French toast and Jenna’s response is that that’s why he’s a hockey player. Apparently being “worthless in the kitchen” means he “can whiz around on sharp pieces of metal on a slippery surface and put a tiny black disc into a guarded net” (92). Really, the two don’t seem all that connected. (Also? I’m a terrible cook but I can make French toast. This factoid is irrelevant, but true.)

Ryan comes home from the away game (they beat the Wild) and crawls into bed with Jenna. Nick is still at the house, actually because Ryan insisted that he stay until the team’s return, so right after she initiates sex with Ryan in the morning, Jenna hints that he take Nick home first, then they can spend the rest of the day in bed. Ryan instead suggests that he take Nick home later, when they want a break from sex. Jenna goes off the deep end in anger, gets up, gets dressed, and tells Ryan he can jerk himself off.

Jenna has been with Ryan for eight years and didn’t see his refusal coming? I can’t even blame Ryan for his confusion over her moodswing on this one.

So Jenna pounds on Nick’s door and basically kicks him out of the house. While waiting for Nick to get dressed, she slams around the living room where Ryan left his travel gear and complains about it, then snaps at Nick to ask if he’s ready. I know I’ve been saying and saying that I want Jenna to realize that Ryan is a douchebag and leave him, and I guess this could be a step in the right direction, but I genuinely don’t think it is. This seems to be more a manifestation of her own guilt and thinking that if Nick is out of the house, she won’t think about him or their time together anymore and then it’ll be as if it never happened. And that kind of magical thinking is the stuff we tell ourselves all the time, so I get it, but it’s out of character for Jenna

Her mood flips again, back to creepy-maternal, when they get to Nick’s apartment and she follows him in and cleans out his fridge.

Evidently, cleaning out his fridge (not a euphemism!) is somehow Very Important because it entices Jenna to look Nick in the eye for the first time since they had sex. Which suggests some seriously awkward moments while they’ve been non-stop together since then. Apparently saving up all that eye contact leads to an overload because when they do meet each other’s gaze, “the world seemed to stop” and then there’s some trite language about magnets and how they’re unable to stay apart.

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