Now that Derek knows the truth, everything is out in the open.
He still wants to be with me.
But I’m afraid this is temporary. I’m afraid he’ll change his mind. I’m afraid he’ll realize he’s not up for the task.
And I’ll lose both him…and my job.
This is a book of transition and at the same time it’s also a reverting back to what behaviors we don’t want to refresh. There’s so much positive momentum going for Emerson and Derek – we see that she’s able to bring him out of his shell, bring him back to life and give him something to be better for. Emerson has opened herself up to Derek in a way that she wasn’t planning to even explore until her daughter Lizzie was out of the house, so that adds a layer of complexity but also a layer of joy.
The bulk of this story is around the development of Emerson and Derek’s romantic relationship and what that means for their present and future. We know that Derek has never wanted kids and is quite awkward around them (in his mind) but that causes a problem for Emmy as we know that Lizzie is her whole life and it’s not something that she’s willing to compromise. When Derek learns about Lizzie, and then opens his mind to the notion of having some type of relationship with her, we have hope.
What starts as a relationship between tutor and student evolves into a friendship. There’s a comfortable and safe dynamic there because Lizzie doesn’t yet know the role that Derek plays in their life and that’s a space that makes everyone more comfortable. Derek raises Lizzie’s confidence, he makes her realize that anything is possible and that she’s got someone who’s going to watch her watch her back. He defends her to her teacher and in that, he’s got a friend for life.
That evolves into his family taking a liking to her – and once it becomes clear to Lizzie that Derek and her mom are more than just friends, we get a quick progression to seeing the entire Hamilton family take Emerson and Lizzie in as their own. Happy ending right?
The other side of this story is the one where Derek is back to his old ways. He’s stressed with work, trying to finish a rocket that they’ve designed and do the test launch. He’s still troubled by Odessy and that’s a nightmare that bothers him every day and on every project that he does. He’s working through a Mars Rover plan and continues to find challenge after challenge with it.
On top of that, he learns that his best friend Ryan is getting married and has been asked to be the Best Man. A happy time for most, however it also means that he’s going to have to face Kevin and Tabitha as they’ve stayed friends with Ryan and his fiance, and we all know that isn’t going to end well for anyone. Derek still holds such anger and rage towards both of them that ten years isn’t enough to let it go. We watch each interaction with Kevin bring more and more anger in Derek, and that means that he starts to push Emerson away.
We see Derek struggle on the anniversary of his mother’s death – a death that he carries guilt over because he left an angry voicemail that she listened to the morning she died which may or may not have caused her to have a heart attack. Then we see the rocket explode, and that pushes Emerson away. Add to that anger and mood, Derek realizes that Emerson had read something that he wrote and kept it a secret, something that he deems to be a lie, and well, the world that we were enjoying throughout this seventh installment gets flipped upside down.
Everything we hoped for is no longer viable. Every moment that we thought was precious and an opportunity for the future is now gone. Hearts and souls are broken, and there’s really no path to redemption. On that note – i’m now off to find book 8 because well….I can’t spend the rest of this day not knowing what’s going to happen next. Enjoy!