GW Recaps–Two-Faced Woman: Chapters Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen
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Next: Chapters 15, 16, 17
Chapter Twelve/25 Not Untruthful (Wú Wàng)
A brief visit between Gabriel and Chiang, where Chiang informs Gabriel that he is a protector and needs to deal with the ghosts in his life.
What’s going on now: Mikki has arranged for Gabriel to interview Devanović. Stan the prosecutor is still being unhelpful, and the press finds out Sophie and her other selves. Gabriel, Joel, and Veronica have stayed close together in the wake of the horrifying discovery of the women, although the news is giving the story good press.
Gabriel visits Giselle in her shop. Giselle says she wants to talk to Gabriel later about investigating a personal matter. Then Gabriel is acting on taking stock of his life. He’s gotten tested and now he has to make a bigger step–breaking up with Alex.
He goes over to Alex’s apartment. The conversation doesn’t go well–Alex isn’t merely distressed, he’s angry and says several terrible hurtful things to Gabriel. This escalates into a shouting match and Gabriel storms out. Joel has been waiting for him, and Gabriel is surprised, not in a good way. He verbally lashes out briefly, but catches himself and gains control. Joel explains that he thought Gabriel wanted him to be there. Gabriel impulsively decides he wants to go to Rochester–now. He returns to his apartment and prepares–angrily, with Veronica helping him.
Joel comes over and they leave, but Joel is carefully quiet, freaked out by Gabriel’s anger. By the time they get to Rochester, Gabriel has recovered, but Joel is still cautious. They are awkward with each other in the hotel room. Gabriel, after asking about Joel’s difficult life, breaks down in tears and Joel comforts him. Gabriel has a dream about his mother speaking to him during an exorcism ritual Chiang performs. He wakes and reaffirms he loves Joel.
The next day, they meet with Bettina at a cafe. She tells stories about Gabriel’s bad-boy youth. Then she takes Gabriel to meet Antonio in a hotel lobby, who takes the picture of Knox to find out more.
Gabriel and Joel hang in the hotel bar for a bit, and feeling the sexual tension, return to their own hotel. And get intimate again at long last.
Chapter Thirteen/29 Dark Gorge (Kǎn)
The next morning a very much in afterglow Gabriel and Joel are watching Knox’s mother’s house. Gabriel is suspicious of the van in the driveway, and checks it out. Mom suddenly shows up, foul-mouthed and foul-tempered, and literally beats him away with a broom. Joel rescues him and they escape.
Later, Antonio meets them at a grungy bar to scope out Knox. Gabriel plays a few hands of poker and then braces Knox at the bar with a story about needing information. Knox is cautious but apparently open to talking. He says he will give them the information about the baby, but he’ll do it at an out of the way place. They follow, knowing he’s probably trouble. In a closed down bar, Knox actually does give them information saying the baby was that of a state senator’s daughter. Then he lets on that he knows Gabriel ‘harassed’ Knox’s mom, and locks them in a storeroom. Then he sets the bar on fire.
Gabriel and Joel work desperately to get out. Gabriel manages to open a vent from the room to the outside, and gets Joel out. He almost loses it and passes out in the room, but Joel pulls him through.
Chapter Fourteen/14 Great Measures (Dà Yǒu)
After being checked out at a hospital they are back in their room. Gabriel can’t sleep, and they drive back to NYC, secure in their new relationship.
The next morning, Danny’s sister Luz shows up. She’s left her husband and taken her young daughter back home to NYC. They enjoy each other’s company, even though Gabriel is not speaking to Danny. That leads Joel, who is trying to figure out an Xmas card for Gabriel, to visit Danny on his own. Danny’s FTM trans young cousin Halo is living with him. Halo is delighted to see Joel. Danny much less so. But he talks to Joel and after some back and forth, come to an understanding. Joel takes Halo and Danny to Gabriel’s apartment so Danny can reunite with him.
Between the Pages:
- In every book thus far, I have a few showcase scenes. These are ones that anchor the book for me in terms of style and feeling, if not content. They are scenes I look forward to in writing and often rework. TFW has several of these, and mostly they are Gabriel and Joel’s relationship. Previous to this, the scene in the New Jersey state park, and the scene in Joel’s loft. But also finding the women’s bodies, for sheer horror. In the set of chapters here, the showcase scenes are Gabriel’s fight with Alex, Gabriel and Joel getting it on, and the fire. Originally, I had the love scene take place after the fire. But I changed my mind, feeling better for them to get together without the context of something terrible preceding it.
- Creating a good argument and creating a good love scene are both difficult. By good, I mean that I feel comfortable with them and not embarrassed by them. Whether they work for others is a matter of individual taste. I wanted the argument to feel like the responses came naturally, and were bad enough to really cause a kerfuffle. We know how people can use little things against each other. The break-up doesn’t last long but it’s messy, and that is kind of Gabriel’s karma in ending relationships.
- By contrast I felt the love scene was a luxurious reconnecting. These are two people who can’t get enough of each other being able to finally express that again, without reservation. The mechanics of writing a sex scene is never easy. Choosing the right word and descriptor, balancing euphemism and directness. I like stylish explicitness.
- Another part I enjoyed writing was Joel thinking about buying a Christmas Card and how to be an adult. He’s been an adult in very tough ways, but buying a card is something difficult to figure out. BTW, the saccharine and cheesy song he hears in the CVS is Michael Bolton Said I Love You…But I Lied. Those overdramatic songs…Joel really loves them.
Beyond the Pages:
- A shout-out to the city of Rochester, NY. Another of my best friends lives there. In 2002, I had two internships in Rochester. One for the Federal Public Defender’s office, and one for an exceptionally intelligent criminal defense attorney. I was proud to assist him in preparing his legal guide. In 2004-2005, I taught at Bryant & Stratton and Monroe Community College in Rochester. A very tight financial time for me; I lived in Syracuse and would travel by back roads to Rochester to avoid the tolls of the NY Thruway. Getting a few gallons of gas at a time, taking few dollars out of the bank at the time, scraping by. But good work and people to work with. I still have the ’92 Camry (things are better but not new-car better) who is working her heart out for me. It’s why Gabriel has a Camry.
- Every city has it interested aspects. One of my favorite online mags, Atlas Obscura, on cool things in Rochester. Also because it’s The Roc, the Rocwiki.
- “Her tight gray hair and heavy face reminds me of Madalyn Murray O’Hair.” O’Hair was an incredibly divisive figure in her day (look at old interviews with her, compared to a genteel atheist spokesperson, Ron Reagan). She and her son and granddaughter ended up victim of a scam artist/killer. Read more about the strange story here.
Questions for Readers:
- I think here I’ll bring up Joel’s visit with Danny, and the hard conversation he has with Danny in order to end Danny and Gabriel’s non-speaking. Joel reveals things he doesn’t need to. Why? He doesn’t want to be what’s between them. He knows Danny has reason to be suspicious. Because Danny’s not willing to give him a break, Joel has to be the bigger person. He does this all out of love. Danny, who is never going to start the Joel McFadden Fan Club, goes along with him for that same love. Could you see yourself being that bigger person for a good reason? How far would you go to have someone who doesn’t care for you understand something about you (i.e., bisexuality, which Danny has a thing about–a thing bisexual/pansexual persons are very familiar with)?
Playlist: George Michael, Father Figure Carlos Santana and Dave Matthews, Love of My Life. Both of these are mentioned specifically in Chapter 12.
And George Michael…what can I say. I had sent one of my best friends a link to the Last Christmas video on Christmas. And a few hours later heard of George’s passing. I loved Wham and I loved George’s own work. A huge fan since my teens in the 1980s. If you weren’t around yet, Faith was a mega hit and ubiquitous on the radio–so many great songs. When I was in my teens, I had pin-ups of him. At 20, I had a poster–it was him in the Faith outfit–leather jacket, sunglasses, cross earring. A couple years ago I was really feeling Freedom 90 again, in terms of expressing gender/orientation, and decided to reclaim having a George Michael poster. Also a Freddie Mercury poster, as seen below.
GM: Sometimes I think that you’ll never/Understand me
But something tells me together/We’d be happy
CS/DM: The Carlos Santana song, mentioned in Chapter 12, is based upon a Brahms classical piece, Il Poco Allegretto. Santana’s father Jose had been a classical violinist in his youth. Il Poco Allegretto is a very passionate, emotional work. Santana and Matthews worked this into a lovely romantic song.
You’re the love of my life/And the breath in my prayers/Take my hand, lead me there
Bonus: Michael Bolton Said I Loved You…But I Lied
So many reasons in so many ways
My life has just begun
Need you forever, I need you to stay
You are the one, you are the one
Copyright 2017 Alex Fiano
Page updated 3/9/2018