Rayford Finds Another Reason to Tell Us He’s Not Interested in Hattie Anymore: Left Behind Chapter 13

Posted on February 15, 2016 by

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Apparently yesterday was a huge day for Matthew and myself. One With You is coming out April 5th, so that could be the next book one or both of us reads for the blog. Matthew decided to see what happened when he put Fifty Shades Darker actors/characters into what-dog.net.

But I guess if you came here to read about Left Behind, here’s that information.

Left Behind Chapter 13:

Buck Williams sat near an exit at JFK Airport reading his own obituary. “Magazine Writer Assumed Dead,” the headline read.

I’m glad the headline for Buck’s obituary truly reflects how beloved he is by all.

The obituary goes on to explain how awesome Buck is (youngest senior staff writer! Awards!  Prestige). It also gives this detail:

Sullivan added that Williams and Tompkins had become friends after the writer had interviewed the investigator for an article on terrorism in England several years ago. The two had just emerged from the Armitage Arms Pub in London when a bomb exploded in Tompkins’s Scotland Yard vehicle.

Tompkins’s remains have been identified, though only items of personal identification of Williams were recovered from the scene.

Is this really the kind of information you’d find in an obituary? I can buy the career-related information, but the tidbits about how Buck and Tompkins had become friends seems superfluous.

Abruptly, we switch back to Rayford who has a random and terrible plan with no clear purpose:

Rayford Steele had a plan. He had decided to be honest with Chloe about his attraction to Hattie Durham and how guilty he felt about it. He knew it would disappoint Chloe, even if it didn’t shock her. He intended to talk about his new desire to share his faith with Hattie, hoping he could make some progress with Chloe without her feeling threatened.

At this point I have read the chapter in its entirety, and I can honestly tell you I still have no clue what this plan is supposed to achieve. He’s going to tell Chloe he was attracted to Hattie but never acted on it…for some reason. And then he’s going to try to share his very newfound faith with Hattie…to get Chloe to convert?

Ray broaches the subject with Chloe on his way to the airport with her. Remember, he’s going to fly, and he’s asked if she can ride along. Chloe still isn’t sure if this is the Rapture. At this point, I find her dilemma about as compelling as if in season 15 of Law and Order SVU someone had asked, “What’s our stance on rape?”

Chloe just keeps saying she doesn’t know, and Rayford keeps probing her with stupid questions:

“What did you think of the video? Did it make sense to you?”

“It made a lot of sense if you buy into all that. I mean, you have to start with that as
a foundation. Then it all works neatly. But if you’re not sure about God and the
Bible and sin and heaven and hell, then you’re still wondering what happened and
why.”

“And that’s where you are?”

“I don’t know where I am, Dad.”

“It makes sense if you don’t understand what the whole premise of this book is, Daddy, but I’m totally oblivious!”

Rayford fought the urge to plead with her. If they had enough time over lunch in Atlanta, he would try the approach of telling her about Hattie.

Still completely unclear how telling her about Hattie is going to suddenly make her turn to God, but sure.

Back to Buck. He meets up with Steve, and they talk about how Carpathia might be able to help Buck…somehow?

“What makes you think Carpathia is going to help?” Plank asked later as they walked through the park. “If the Yard and the exchange are behind this, and you think Carpathia is linked to Todd-Cothran and Stonagal, you might be asking Carpathia to turn against his own angels.”

I don’t understand anyone’s plans anymore. I give up.

Steve says the Carpathia is impressive, and then he cites his looks as the driving force behind how impressive he is. He looks like a “young Robert Redford”, so obviously he can help anyone do anything. He also knows a lot of languages:

“But don’t you see which languages they are, Steve? Think about it.”

“Spare me the effort.”

“The six languages of the United Nations, plus the three languages of his own country.”

Any good Antichrist knows the right languages. See? I didn’t call him the Devil this time, guys. I’m learning.

Meanwhile, between flights, Ray has a chance to talk to Chloe about Hattie. He confirms he never acted on his attraction, but that he felt so guilty as if he had. It’s not really the kind of conversation I can imagine any daughter needs or wants to have with her father.

“I’m going to invite Hattie to dinner with us this week,” he said.

Chloe narrowed her eyes. “What, you feel like you’re available now?”

Rayford was stunned at his own reaction. He had to keep himself from slapping his
own daughter, something he had never done. He gritted his teeth. “How can you say
that after all I’ve just told you?” he said. “That’s insulting.”

Um, it kind of seems like a reasonable thing to assume, dude.

Chloe is really worried Hattie is going to come onto her father “like gangbusters”. Don’t worry, though, he just wants to make sure Hattie accepts God because he cares about her, BUT HE DOES NOT WANT TO BONE HER. For some reason he had to tell Chloe that he used to be attracted to Hattie before actually talking to her about God.

“This is all news to me,” she said. “I hope you restrained yourself because of your wife and kids.”

“I almost didn’t.”

“So I gather. What if this strategy with Hattie just makes you all the more attractive to her? What’s to keep you from being attracted to her, too? It’s not like you’re still married, if you’re convinced Mom is in heaven.”

Ray points out that his wife has basically just died, and he’s not ready to move on so quickly despite the fact that he was attracted to Hattie before she died. This is all very stupid. It gets even more stupid.

“…She’s too young and immature, and I’m too disgusted with myself for having been tempted by her in the first place. I want to be up front with her and see what she says. It’ll be instructive to know whether all this was just in my mind.”

If he’s really so disgusted by himself, why is it necessary to find out if it was all in his head? Chloe points this out, and he tells her she’s being bratty! No. She is being completely reasonable actually.

“…If you tell her you were interested for the wrong reasons and that you aren’t interested anymore, why should she be vulnerable enough to admit she thought you two had possibilities?”

Nailed it, Chloe. It’s totally unclear what he hopes to achieve here.

Over in Buck’s side of the story, he attends Carpathia’s speech to the United Nations. His speech is just listing facts about the U.N. and naming every country. Everyone, including Buck, absolutely loses their shit. I’m not making this up. He names every country in alphabetical order and pronounces them all correctly, and people go fucking nuts for it.

He began in almost a whisper, “From lands distant and near they have come: from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria … ” He continued, his voice rising and falling dramatically with the careful pronunciation of the name of each member country of the United Nations. Buck sensed a passion, a love for these countries and the ideals of the U.N. Carpathia was clearly moved as he plunged on, listing country after country, not droning but neither in any hurry.

This book can’t even make the Antichrist particularly compelling.

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Posted in: Left Behind