Jake Finds Out Chapter Two, or Claire is a Lying Liar

Claire is coming back from getting groceries and sees Benjamin. She’s not sure whether she wants to talk to him, so she follows him around for a bit and then decides to conveniently bump into him. Claire thinks she’s being all sly, but Benjamin tells her that he knows she’s been following him since she stopped by the kite shop.

Benjamin than explains that he knew it was Claire by her distinctive walk and the fact that he could hear her thongs. I remember being young and terribly confused about that. Why on earth would someone put on two pairs of underwear, let alone thongs. I was quite relieved when I realized he was talking about footwear and not loud undies. (Wow, I’m really glad I never told anybody about that! I would have looked like a-aw, crap.)

Benjamin tells Claire that he wanted  to talk to her and asks her about her major freak-out. She blows him off and said that she was woozy from having a beer. (Do the Pullaways suffer from Really Stupid Excuse Syndrome or something?) Benjamin tries to “subtly” get the conversation back to his Seating Arrangement Theory. Claire blows it off again.

Claire then lies her pretty little ass off and said that she had thought maybe it was Wade driving and that for a little while she was shaken up at the thought of her being the driver. She’s cheering on her own manipulative ministrations and congratulating herself on fooling Benjamin. Their relationship is kind of sick.

Nina is in her bedroom, watching Claire and Benjamin. They’re holding hands and smiling and Nina’s thinking that she should charge extra because he’s fifteen minutes late. Finally, he knocks on her door. She answers the door and is kind of cold to him, because of the crush, because he’s late, but mostly because she’s convinced that he spent the time she should have been reading to him, making out with her sister.

Benjamin’s reading material? Love poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Nina is wondering if this some Super Seekrit way of Benjamin telling her that he loves her. Nina continues to read the poem and comes across the word “champak”, which is a kind of tree that has fragrant flowers. Benjamin makes a comment about Nina’s perfume. Nina keeps on reading and gets even more uncomfortable when Benjamin complements her on her improved poetry reading. Nina says that it actually means something to her. For some reason she conveniently forgets to mention that it’s also because the object of her desire is laying in her bed having her read love poems to him. Sheesh. Of course, she doesn’t tell him her feelings, because if people on Chatham Island actually expressed their true feelings, the sky would turn purple and planes would get yanked out of the air. Oh. My bad. That was Craphole Island, not Chatham.

Claire goes up to her widow’s walk to write in her diary. She writes about her encounter with Benjamin and doing the right thing versus the smart thing. I remember when I first  read this I thought Claire was such an evil shrew. I now find myself empathizing with her position. Lucas has already done his time and it’s not like ‘fessing up would get him those two years of his life back. (Out of curiosity, what would you do? Answer in the comments, please!) Claire also points out that Zoey’s feelings shouldn’t matter more than her father’s life.

Claire decides that it would be better if she just keeps on lying. She figures she’ll be around when Zoey decides to dump Jake and nobody would take issue with her lies, and everybody would live happily ever after.

Except Benjamin.

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8 Responses to Jake Finds Out Chapter Two, or Claire is a Lying Liar

  1. C says:

    Hmm…what would I do… well, I relate to Nina a lot more than Claire. I wouldn’t be Daddy’s Pet in the first place. I’d probably be disgusted with him, feel a little guilty for being disloyal ’cause he was trying to protect me…remind myself that he’s probably more concerned with his/the family’s reputation in general and that he’s a hypocritical entitled dick for thinking it’s okay to send someone he judges as trash, to jail, and meanwhile thinks *he’s* above the law.

    Then I’d disown him, admit I just remembered my suppressed memories, apologize to the injured parties, and be nicer to Nina ’cause she rocks.

    But honestly I wouldn’t even have gotten into that situation/car in the first place.

    • Yeah, you kind of have to wonder how much of that was Burke engaging in CYA. I really think that if it had been Claire who had gone to court, things would have turned out quite differently.

  2. C says:

    P.S.

    Makes sense though, that Claire would condone/go along with her dad… they’re alike. Both manipulative and deceitful. But the rule of thumb should probably be: if someone’s trying to manipulate or guilt-trip you…don’t let them. They’re assholes.

    So instead of thinking, “well I’m not gonna fall for my dad’s bullshit excuse that he did all this horrible stuff because he loves me, ’cause he didn’t even ask me what *I* wanted or respect me enough to be honest with me.” …she thinks “Well, I understand ’cause I would’ve done the same thing if I were him.”

    Sadly, this makes Benjamin’s judgemental assumption about her, accurate. She might as *well* have lied herself, if she’s gonna go along with the lie now that she knows about it.

    But it says a lot about Benjamin that he’d want to be with Claire anyway (and not say/do anything about his suspicions). He’s hardly superior and in a position to look down on her. Nina deserves better.

    • Well, to put things in perspective, if Burke had gone to jail, Nina and Claire’s closest relatives would probably have been Uncle Mark and Aunt Elizabeth.

      I really like Benjamin’s sense of humor most of the time, but as a whole, I’ve never really gotten his character. I’ve never understood Claire and Benjamin’s relationship because the reader isn’t really given context. At least later on in the series we’re given more insight as to how Jake and Zoey’s relationship started.

  3. C says:

    Good point! It would be terrible if Nina had to live with Uncle Mark because her father was sent to jail… but preventing *that* from happening, wasn’t Burke’s motivation. So I can’t give him a pass. And as you say, if Claire had gone to court, she wouldn’t have been punished as severely as her father would for his actions…so everything would’ve been relatively okay. Argh.

    I’m with you on Benjamin… I find him amusing sometimes too, but don’t really like/understand him. Just root for Nina to get what she wants. 🙂 I might not be remembering well, but I think the books made some vague assertion that Ben & Claire were together because they were similarly cool/cynical/calculating? It seemed like they were always trying to outwit eachother, instead of being honest or affectionate… and then my impression was that Claire got interested in Jake because he was easier to manipulate, more trusting, and didn’t always assume the worst of her (at first), unlike Benjamin. But was Ben better for her because he could see through her/challenged her… and because Claire’s too complex to not get bored with Jake’s straightforward simplicity/black & white view of things? Or was Ben an ass for judging Claire and acting condescending and superior…. and what she really needed was a (supposedly) sweet uncomplicated guy to see her through rose-coloured glasses and “inspire” her to be a better person just by believing/assuming she already *was*?

    Damned if I know. I don’t really like Ben or Jake. Or any of the guys except Lucas, a bit, ’cause you can’t help but sympathize with his situation – even though he was an idiot to take the fall for Claire, a girl who didn’t really care about him anyway. And pretty dumb to fall for Zoey too. Everyone should be falling at Nina’s feet! Stupid boys, threatened by smart, funny girls.

    Thinking about these books waaay too much.

    • In a weird way, Claire and Benjamin were perfect and horrible for each other in that once Benjamin realized that Claire had suffered memory loss, he knew that she would tell the truth. I think he expected her to do it automatically, though..hence the obnoxious pushing. I think he totally went about it the wrong way.

      I think Claire assumed that since she was lying For The Greater Good, that she wouldn’t have to worry about feeling guilty while being with Jake. Jake wouldn’t challenge her because, as you said, everything is black and white for him and if he can’t see it right in front of him, it doesn’t exist.

      I honestly really never got what Nina saw in Benjamin. I mean they’re cute together, don’t get me wrong…but all I remember really is Nina saying how she tried to get how Benjamin “saw” her and tape-recorded herself and smelled her shampoo, which is something I’ve actually done. Maybe, I’ll come across that as I recap more of the series.

      • C says:

        Heh, let’s psychoanalyze Nina’s attraction to Benjamin. 😉 It’s especially interesting because, if Ben and Claire are alike, and Claire and Nina don’t get along… you could argue that Nina secretly craves her sister’s approval/love, and thus her crush on Ben is a substitute for those feelings. So the sisterly indifference and disdain is probably not mutual.

        Nina’s also insecure about her looks, so the obvious initial attraction could be the fact that he can’t see her and judge her appearance. Along with finding him cute/smart/funny.

        Oh yeah, and another connection to her sister: maybe she envies Claire’s ability to get what she wants relatively easily… so the idea of taking Benjamin away from her is an appealing revenge fantasy. Not that she’s scheming or vindictive exactly. I’m still on Nina’s side, dammit.

  4. I may be biased here, but I’ve always thought the original model for Nina was way prettier than the one they used for Claire. Of course, I think the cover for Claire Gets Caught isn’t the greatest. The reissue models are just…blah to me.

    TEAM NINA! YAY!

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