Chosen Chapter 2

Let’s talk about mind control and love, shall we? Remember how Rowling had Voldemort’s mom controlling his dad with a love potion? Remember how that wasn’t considered a good thing? And remember how we were supposed to be bothered by people’s attempts to win Harry’s affection with spiked chocolates? I wish PCK had while she was ripping off the whole magical school for overly special people.

It’s just that, last chapter, Zoey referred to Heath as one of her boyfriends. This might be technically correct as she likes him but he once like her. The problem is, Heath doesn’t have a say in the matter. He did before Zoey bit him but just because he showed her feelings before he was under vampiric influence doesn’t mean it’s okay that he is now.

This is one of those obnoxious things where the author clearly doesn’t think about the ramifications of her character’s actions. I don’t think Zoey should be perfect and have avoided ensnaring Heath, far from it. I think that was a great little bit of conflict that feels natural in the setting. The problem is that the character, who’s supposed to be upright and moral in her universe, isn’t bothered by the mind control. In fact, no one is bothered by Heath being made into a blood slave. This is exactly the kind of thing Stepdad would probably rail against and Zoey is practicing it without batting an eye.

Anywho, last chapter PCK left us hanging b y only revealing one of Zoey’s many presents. What kind of author would PCK be if she glossed over the gift giving and said that Zoey got many more holiday gifts she didn’t like? She wouldn’t be the PCK we know and love. So she has to go over each and every gift and its merits, starting with Damien’s.

“Oooh, it’s beautiful!” I stroked my hand over the folded material of the scarf, thoroughly shocked that I’d actually gotten a cool gift.

“It’s cashmere,” Damien said smugly.

Zoey almost likes it for a second until she sees that there are snowmen on it. Because author forbid she wear a scarf with snowmen on it. I mean, how thoughtless is that? Scarves are worn in the winter when you wouldn’t see a snowman anywhere in the northern hemisphere. That’s like wearing a wearing a floral print shirt in the spring. It’s just madness. Then she opens the gift from the “twins” who say they didn’t go with the snowman theme.

“That’s okay!” I said a little too quickly and enthusiastically, and then tore into their package. Inside was a pair of black leather stiletto boots that would have been utterly cool and chic and fabulous … had it not been for the Christmas trees, complete with red and gold ornaments, that were stitched in full color on the side of each boot. This. Can. Only. Be. Worn. At. Christmas. Which makes it definitely a lame birthmas present.

I know I said this last post but I’ll say it again. Zoey has not told anyone that she hasn’t winter themed gifts. That’s like getting toffee every year, telling your family that you love it and then secretly hating them for it because you can’t stand it. In fact you actually hate toffee so much that you’ve put forth a petition every ballot in an effort to outlaw it but doing it by proxy so your family won’t stop giving it to you.

Also, I really doubt they’d get her boots like that. When it comes to fashion, my name will never appear tied with a runway in Paris nor will I ever get an Oscar for best costuming but I know a couple of things. Even the most out of touch bastard can tell that holiday clothes are only worn around that holiday and things that specific don’t make nice gifts.

Then comes Erik’s present and it’s from “Moody’s Fine Jewelry” which is an actual store in Tulsa. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be impressed but I guess it means Erik didn’t grab her bit of frippery of the rack at Walmart during a black Friday sale. It’s boxed in “real velvet” and Zoey opens it to find pearls attached to a chain. She is enthusiastic to the point of wetting the couch until she sees the pearls are arranged like a snowman.

Wait, where did Erik get the money to buy real jewelry? He must have been whoring himself out while in New York. Maybe that’s what “Shakespeare Contest” is code for, prostitution. Every year Erik and a bunch of other students go to New York, earn a boatload of money to pay for tuition and whatever extra they can keep, then come back and apply ice until they can walk again.

Jack says that it’s all part of a snowman theme that matches his snow globe and Damien’s scarf. Erik says it wasn’t meant to be part of a theme but to be different from the usual hearts that are popular. Zoey whines sarcastically that, yeah, who’d what heart shaped jewelry. Then Zoey does her best to make sure that she gets Christmas boots and other such sundries until she’s staked by Van Helsing.

“Yes, yes, it certainly is a Christmas birthday theme,” I said, fingering[Ha!]the pearl snowman. Then I beamed to everyone a very bright, very painted-on smile. “Thanks, you guys. I really appreciate all the time and effort it took y’all to find such special gifts. I mean it.” And I did mean it. I may loathe the gifts, but the thoughts behind them were a totally different thing.

Aphrodite—I didn’t miss having to type that name out—stops by and says the mail is there. They send her packing, because she’s horrible, and she mocks Zoey’s necklace before wandering off. Erik says she’s a bitch and says he thought she’d have changed after losing the DDs. Then he says that she’ll never change.

I looked sharply at him. So says Erik Night, her ex-boyfriend. I didn’t need to say the words aloud. I knew by the way Erik looked hastily away from me that they were easy enough to read in my eyes.

Nice to see that Erik can’t win, no matter what he does. Zoey reminds us that, yes, Aphrodite was queen of the douchebags but there’s more to her story. Then she tells us it wasn’t really Aprhodite’s fault and Neferet is the real villain here aside from friends who buy her things. She says she can’t tell anyone but won’t say why. I like to imagine it’s because Zoey sounds like Mr Bean whenever she has something important to say.

Somewhere in all that back story, Aphrodite dropped off a package for Zoey. There’s a box inside a box which contains the prettiest bracelet Zoey has ever seen. All that means is that it’s prettier than that candy one she got on Halloween when she was seven. She coos over it and then PCK reminds us that the vampires ok Oklahoma are helping to waste natural gas and keep the prices up.

“It’s absolutely perfect!” I said, fastening it to my wrist. “I wonder who could have sent it to me?” Laughing, I turned my wrist this way and that, letting the gaslights that were so easy on our sensitive fledgling eyes catch the polished silver and make it glisten like faceted jewels. “It must be my grandma, but that’s weird because we’re meeting in just…,” and I realized everyone was totally, absolutely, uncomfortably silent.

That’s because they don’t know what to say to their god-queen, Zoey. They’re frightened that because they didn’t get a gift that elicited the same reaction, that they’ll be banished to the Phantom Zone like your mom. Or, perhaps worse, stuffed into the attic like grandma. They find a card that fell out that has a note from Heath. It wishes her a happy birthday and says he knows how much she hates Christmas and that he’ll be done with his stupid Cayman island vacation soon.

Apparently all of Zoey’s friends read the note silently before handing it to her. They get mad, not that Heath is still obsessing over her, but that she didn’t say anything about not liking holiday themed presents. They all manage to guilt her, especially Erik, that Heath knows her better than them. To be fair, Heath has known her years and not months. Zoey actually acknowledges this but only because the author won’t allow Zooey’s friends to be mad at her for real.

Zoey makes a lame excuse about how she’s meeting her grandma at Starbuck in a bit and doesn’t want to be late. She apologizes once more and leaves but not before trying to make everyone feel bad for being mad at her. She says she did tell someone and that was Stevie. That way she can have the last word and make them mull it over while she’s gone.

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