Previously on Obsidian, Katy swamps her bikini bottoms while held in Daemon’s wet hot alien embrace, and later begins the slow and difficult realization that there might possibly be something potentially supernatural going on with him, maybe.
Note: all direct quotes are either in bold or block-quotes. If something’s in quotation marks but not bold or block-quotes, it’s paraphrased snark.
Not gonna lie, guys, I’m excited to watch Katy assemble the clues from the previous chapters into a working hypothesis that explains the true source of Daemon’s inhumanly sexable face. I’m guessing “aliens” isn’t going to be the first thing she lands on, though. If anyone’s willing to place bets, my money’s on her demanding to know if he’s a faerie, him getting homophobically pissed at being called a faerie, and then the music rushing to a crescendo as he sloughs off his human shell to reveal his true cephalopodan glory.
Anyway, show us your sleuthing skills, Katy:
Dee called that night, and even though I wanted to tell her that my time with Daemon hadn’t been all puppy dog tails and rainbows, I lied. I told her he was great. He earned his keys and then some. Otherwise, she might make him take me on another outing.
I almost felt bad for lying when she sounded happy.
Wait, no, where is my sleuthing?
Also: you wanted to prevent your new friend from making you hang out with her brother again, so you told her you had an amazing glorious joyful time hanging out with her brother. That . . . makes sense.
Katy spends the next week entirely indoors and online—which was exactly the horrific fate she’d wanted to avoid when Daemon threatened to trap her in house for a week if she didn’t don her skimpiest polyester and do some breast-strokes with him in unmapped secret lakes. I’m glad to see she dodged neither of those bullets, I guess.
And then, the following Saturday, Katy’s strolling by a front window and does a doubletake because a certain someone’s lurking in a totally not creepy fashion on her front porch. Standing there. Silently. Looking up at the sky. Just standing there. Not announcing his presence or anything. Just standing there.
So, naturally, she immediately goes out to talk to him oh my god Katy what are you doing.
KATY: “What are you doing?”
DAEMON: “I like staring at the sky. There’s something about it.” [Looks at the sky.] “It’s endless, you know.”
KATY: He is so, like, hotly philosophical.
Thus prepped for wooing, Katy’s guided into an enthralling conversation about her blog (Daemon: “So what do you blog about? Knitting? Puzzles? Being lonely?”), and Katy further confirms she’s just like us omg:
“I [blog] because I like it. I love reading, and I enjoy talking about books.”
Riveting. Do, go on.
“What kind of books do you read?”
“All different kinds.” I leaned against the post opposite of him, craning my neck back to meet his steady gaze. “Mainly I prefer the paranormal stuff.”
“Vampires and werewolves?”
Man, how many questions could he ask? “Yeah.”
“Ghosts and aliens?”
“Ghost stories are cool, but I don’t know about aliens. ET really doesn’t do it for me and a lot of readers.”
One single eyebrow arched. “What does it for you?”
“Not slimy green space creatures,” I replied.
NOT YET, ANYWAY.
Having thus exhibited the book’s grasp on the concept of irony, Daemon drops that topic of conversation and requests the privilege of her company on a hike.
KATY: “Uh, you know I’m not good with the whole [walking in a straight line without flailing myself into your biceply arms] thing.”
DAEMON: [Grins a “[r]ough” and “[s]exy” grin]
KATY: “You already got your keys back, so why’re you trying to hang out with me? I find your friendliness deeply suspicious.”
DAEMON: “I don’t have a reason. I thought I would just stop over, but if you’re going to question everything, then you can forget it.”
Good job painting yourself as a friendly neighbor and Katy as a paranoid bitch who’s not worthy of your kindness, Daemon. Your manipulation game is stellar.
So stellar, in fact, that Katy buys it and agrees. To go hiking with him. Alone. When she doesn’t even like hiking. When she doesn’t even like him.
Her reason: “I’d been dying of boredom for days.”
I mean, venturing out into the dangerous, isolated wilderness with a man who threatens, mocks, and humiliates you is technically a cure for boredom, I guess.
Daemon’s as shocked by her decision as I am:
“Are you sure?”
I agreed, with a hefty amount of trepidation.
This girl not only has zero self-esteem, she wouldn’t recognize self-preservation instincts if they threw her down and sat on her. Which is what I want to do right now, to prevent whatever awful shit is about to happen from happening.
Daemon informs her that he intends to lead her down a super-remote, little-known route, far from the more crowded walking trails that lead to the nearby, picturesque Seneca Rocks. When Katy readily submits to being taken deep into no-one-can-hear-you-scream territory, Daemon pauses for several minutes before noting, “You’re very trusting, Kitten.”
“Stop calling me that.” It was a little difficult to keep up with his long-legged pace, so I trailed a few steps behind him.
I swear to god, book, if you don’t stop making Katy blithely unaware of Daemon’s “you do realize you’re putting yourself in danger by hanging out with me right?” hints, you’re going to become well acquainted with a wall. Repeatedly.
Katy informs him in no uncertain terms that him calling her Kitten sounds “like an insult” or “something sexually deviant,” and I know I don’t need to tell you that his response is laughter, because he’s a douchebag and of course that’s how he responds. No, he doesn’t apologize, and no, he doesn’t agree to obey her request and not call her Kitten anymore.
They talk a bit more, Daemon refers to her as one of the (no doubt numerous) “beautiful girls who [has] the hots for [him],” Katy trips over her feet in shock, Daemon saves her from faceplanting by wrapping her in his steely embrace, and she instantly orgasms. Daemon seems genuinely surprised to learn that she’s, shall we say, insecure about her appearance, then offers this bit of wisdom:
“I’ve always found that the most beautiful people, truly beautiful inside and out, are the ones who are quietly unaware of their effect. [ . . . ] The ones who throw their beauty around, waste what they have? Their beauty is only passing. It’s just a shell hiding nothing but shadows and emptiness.”
Oh, good, misogynistic bullshit masquerading as comfort and support for readers with low self-esteem.
“Are you an unattractive to moderately attractive teen who’s insecure about her looks? Don’t worry, you’re Truly Beautiful. Women who meet society’s beauty standards and know it—especially those whores who put effort into their appearance—are fugly wastes of space. They’re nothing compared to you.”
- A woman’s body has absolutely nothing to do with her character or her worth as a human being.
- Women can choose to put as much or as little effort into their appearance as they like, because their bodies are their own.
- A woman’s awareness of her own attractiveness doesn’t make her vain, shallow, or unworthy of respect or love, much less “nothing but shadows and emptiness.” Seriously, that description reduces attractive women to non-human objects.
- And what’s this “women who show their beauty are wasting what they have” bullshit? When did a woman’s beauty become a finite resource that your douchebagy face needs to regulate?
Finally, they change the subject to one only slightly less maddening: history. Boy, I can’t wait to see how they fuck this up. Start us off, Daemon:
“Did you know this land was once traveled by the Seneca Indians?”
Oh, no. Please don’t let this white guy woo this white girl with poorly told and probably racist stories about Native Americans.
DAEMON: “Now pay attention . . . A long time ago, this land was forest and hills, which isn’t too different than today with the exception of a few small towns.”
ME: [Crawls away]
I don’t know how much of this story will be plot important, but the point is that the massive Seneca Rocks peak (that’s conveniently just a couple miles behind Katy’s house via walking trail) is made primarily of quartzite, which native peoples and hippies believe has special energy-related powers, including “throw[ing] electronics and other stuff off” and “hid[ing] things.”
Gee, I wonder what large electronic thing could be hiding on, in, or around Seneca Rock. (I’m stealthily charading spaceship over here, FYI.)
Also, there’s this legend about a beautiful native princess whom all the guys wanted to marry, and she decided only the guy who could climb to the highest, most dangerous peak of Seneca Rocks with her could have her. So there’s a climbing competition, and one guy does in fact keep up with her, but he slips just before he reaches the top, and the princess has to decide if she’s going to reach down and save him or not.
Daemon asks what Katy would do in that situation—save the unworthy guy and be forced to marry him, or let him die (because saving him and not marrying him isn’t an option, apparently?)—and Katy says of course she’d save him; “[h]ow could you even be capable of love or worthy of it, for that matter, if you let [someone die]?”
The legend wraps up and is followed by some ignorant speculation about Native Americans, and then the book realizes it’s been holy crap almost six pages since the last time Daemon had to wrap his body around Katy to protect her from something, so a confused black bear is shoved onto stage left.
Daemon, showing his heroic colors at last, immediately hisses at Katy to shut up and drags her into the safety of his body:
Tugging me toward him, he caught me off guard. I placed my hands on his chest to stop from tumbling over. His chest seemed to . . . hum under my hands.
Oh man if he’s not a space squid please let him be a space robot. Please let there be long erotic odes to his undulating piston in my near future, I deserve this.
Someone apparently dosed this bear with PCP, because instead of doing the usual black bear thing and shyly excusing himself from the scene, this one rises up on its hind legs (an I-can’t-see-you-very-well maneuver, not an I-AM-TERRIFYINGLY-BIG one, FYI), roars (I thought black bears didn’t roar?) and charges them with plot-convenient murder dripping from its fangs.
And Daemon curses, and there’s a couple of bright flashes Katy sees through her closed eyelids, and there’s a blast of heat that ruins her hairdo, and the chapter ends in darkness.
Thank god, that “holy shit Daemon are you a faerie?”/”NAY, HUMAN, BEHOLD MY SLIMY MAGNIFICENCE” conversation has to be nigh; after all, even Katy can’t ignore being teleported to safety. Right?