The Almost Proposal: In Which Abi Roux Trolls Her Minions
The Cut & Run minions were anxiously awaiting August 11, 2012. The moment Stars & Stripes released, so many of us descended upon Riptide Publishing's website to download the eagerly awaited 6th book in the Cut & Run series that the site crashed about 10 minutes after the book was released.
The fandom went radio silent while we read.
The minions who read quickly were quiet, waiting for the others to catch up (we are a respectful lot).
But it didn't take long for one particular scene in Stars & Stripes to start getting attention. And questions. And angst-filled pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth.
Warning: Spoilers after the jump.
The scene. You know the one I'm talking about. We were warned. "Remember the tree," Abi said. Well, I didn't remember the tree. The tree snuck up on me.
There were many opportunities for Zane to propose marriage to Ty during their evening on the Riverwalk. Ty could even tell Zane was working up to something, but would “then chicken out and back down” (loc 4205). But I didn't honestly think Zane was going to propose. No way. Not so soon after he had even considered marriage a possibility! A proposal from Zane was a non-starter. I thought.
“You sneaky bastard,” Ty said as Zane laughed.
“If you tip high enough, the concierge will do just about anything for you. I figured we could watch the fireworks from here.” (loc 4225)
I read to about there and thought, *gasp* he's going to do it . . . Zane is really going to propose to Ty right here, right now. Without analyzing it to death first.
My breath hitched. My pulse quickened. My adrenaline started pumping and my face flushed. I stopped reading and went back a few paragraphs. I read each sentence twice because I wanted to savor this moment.
“Will you tell me something if I ask?”
Ty frowned at the odd way the question was posed. He had a feeling he knew where Zane was going, and though it made him uncomfortable and tense, he nodded.
“What happened to you in the Marines?” (loc 4246)
And that's when I realized the moment was gone.
Damn you, Zane Garrett! Damn you, Abi Roux!
At first I thought Abi Roux was just screwing with us, or blatantly foreshadowing the real proposal that was to come in a later book. But Abi has, in so many words, let us know that Zane was going to propose but changed his mind at the last minute.
Abi has a lot of fun with her minions, and enjoys messing with us. And she's certainly hinted that the scene could be a bit of trolling on her part. However, I don't think the scene is only about trolling her minions. Let's examine this a bit further.
Many things about this scene surprised me; which is what made it so delicious. I was most surprised that Zane was going to propose so soon after he realized that he wanted to marry Ty. On the one hand, Zane is much too methodical and analytical to decide he wants to marry Ty and actually propose a few chapters later. In fact, Zane doesn't even utter the “m” word to himself or anyone else until 66% of the way through the book, when he comes out to his mother; the almost-proposal came at the 78% mark. It took how many books for him to 1--figure out he loved Ty, 2--admit it to himself, and 3--be able to say it out loud? On the other hand, I think Zane has known for some time that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Ty. Zane has made several references from the beginning of Stars & Stripes, if not previous books, to spending his life with Ty. He just hadn't used the "m" word until recently. So perhaps Zane did all his analyzing off-page, over the course of the past couple books.
On the other hand, a main theme of Stars & Stripes was Zane's growth; we saw Zane recognize that he had been going down the path of becoming like his mother and consciously choose a different path. Had Zane taken a leap of faith and gone through with the proposal before he over-analyzed it, that would have been a demonstration of his growth. A "hit you over the head" demonstration of his growth. A bit too obvious, perhaps. Zane "almost" going through with the proposal shows that while he is not his mother's son, he's still got a ways to go yet. I prefer this explanation.
This series is a lot of things, but it has primarily been about the growth of these two incredible characters, Zane & Ty. Zane coming thisclose to proposing so quickly after realizing he wants to marry Ty is, in fact, a pretty huge step for him. I might be frustrated that he didn't go through with it. But I'm proud of him for having the guts to get as far as he did. Because I really do think he intended to propose.
What I really want to know is, what did Ty think was going on under that tree? Did he see all the little red proposal flags we did? If so, was he caught off guard just as much as we were? Was he just as confused when it didn't happen? Or did he know that the time wasn't quite right and trust that Zane would ask when he is ready? If Ty did know Zane was working up to a proposal, was he just as proud of Zane as I am? Or was he more irritated/frustrated? Tell us what you think below.