SVU 36: Have You Heard About Elizabeth?
I'm back after a few months' delay to recap SVU 36, Have You Heard About Elizabeth? Well, let's see. Perfect size six? Pacific Ocean-colored eyes? Matching barrettes? Master of the condescending shoulder pat? Yep, heard about her.
Okay, so I have to admit that this isn't a terrible cover. Elizabeth and Jessica do spend some time being sisterly, and they actually look kind of cute here. However, this will probably be the nicest thing I say about this book, so I'm glad I was able to get it out of the way so quickly.
Speaking of getting things out of the way, the ghostwriter gives us the "identical but so different" speech on page three, so at least I don't have to live with any suspense in this one. I'm going to divide this recap into three parts for the three separate plots in which very little actually happens. I'm serious: this book probably could have been ten pages long if they'd cut out the repetitive and/or unnecessary parts.
A Plot: Elizabeth and Tom Can't Make Up Their Damn Minds About Anything
We open with Elizabeth and Jessica expositing about Elizabeth's upcoming interview with a magazine called NEWS2US. I'm not sure how prestigious this magazine is supposed to be, because the issue they're looking at contains a photo layout of "Hollywood's Hottest Leading Men Under Thirty." Plus the name is "NEWS2US." Enough said.
They throw in some backstory about the previous three books, in which the twins and company uncovered a country club scandal, and you can read about it here, here, and here if you absolutely must. Elizabeth heads over to the Sweet Valley Gazette for her interview, which she's sharing with maybe/maybe not boyfriend Scott Sinclair. She starts thinking about her definitely ex-boyfriend Tom, and how upset she is that his sleazy father came onto her and Tom didn't believe her when she told him.
Scott interrupts her "traumatic flashback" (her words), and we find out that he has a "wholesomely handsome face" with "sun-streaked blond hair" and "crystal blue eyes." Out of curiosity, has Elizabeth ever had a meaningful interaction with a guy who wasn't smoking hot?
They begin the interview, which is a complete disaster with the photographer constantly blinding Elizabeth with his camera flash and Scott answering all the questions because Liz keeps getting tongue-tied. She does finally get in a trite comment about reporters changing the world, but overall the whole thing is clearly an ineptly-handled mess and the foreshadowing is so heavy-handed I'm surprised the characters themselves don't pick up on it.
After the interview, Elizabeth puts on a baseball cap and leaves. Scott walks her out and kisses her on the forehead, and all I can think about is how he managed to do that without the bill of the cap getting in the way? Or is Elizabeth rocking the sideways baseball cap look? I'm going to pretend she's got the spandex leggings, too. God, I'm getting easily sidetracked on this one. Anyway, Elizabeth thinks about how "uncomfortable" she sometimes feels around him and feels a "swirl of nervousness" when he hugs her. She shrugs it off, and I'm already ordering her a copy of "The Gift of Fear."
escapes leaves, and immediately starts mooning over Tom. Buckle up, guys. This is the first of many times she does that. She almost immediately spots him with his new girlfriend Dana! What are the odds? Sorry, I mean what would be the odds if this weren't a Sweet Valley book? She cries and storms off, furious that Tom would be seen in public with a woman that isn't Liz I guess? I don't know what, specifically, she's offended about here.
Tom, meanwhile, is fending off Dana's amorous advances and wondering why he's so "squeamish." I'm going to guess the cause is prolonged exposure to Elizabeth Wakefield. Sexual repression must be contagious.
He also thinks about Liz's recent fling with Todd Wilkins and current relationship with Scott, reflecting that she's "going through a lot of guys these days." That's just two guys, Tom. I kind of wonder what he thinks of Jessica's love life if he thinks dating two guys at different points in time is the same as whoring it up.
He also mentally complains that Dana is boring and self-absorbed, and suddenly I get why he was attracted to her after he broke up with Liz. She's a brunette version of her. Still, he's sticking with Dana because he's not going to sit around feeling sorry for himself "while Elizabeth dates half the men on this campus." TWO, Tom. Count 'em.
Long story short: Liz isn't over Tom, Tom isn't over Liz, and I am completely over this stupid subplot.
A few days later, Elizabeth and Nina get the NEWS2US magazine at the coffee shop and sit down at a table to read it. There's no mention of paying for the magazine, so I'm going to mentally add in an irate cashier accusing them of shoplifting while they tune him out.
The article itself is exactly as terrible as you might have guessed. There's a picture of Liz gazing at Scott adoringly while the article makes her out to be a talentless hack. Which, I mean, they're not wrong. But in the article they strongly imply that Elizabeth is riding on Scott's coattails (cough among other things cough), and Elizabeth is very not pleased. She quickly decides that Scott's to blame, because "Elizabeth had seen that Scott wasn't shy about blowing his own horn--or insisting that he and Elizabeth were dating even when they weren't." That line would have been so much better if it had ended, "or insisting that Elizabeth was blowing his horn, too."
Yeah, I just crammed two double entendres into one paragraph about Elizabeth Wakefield. I'm living the 1bruce1 dream, you guys.
While Elizabeth storms off to give Scott a stern talking-to, Tom is (again) thinking about how much he misses her. Dammit, even Margo wasn't this obsessed with Liz. He thinks that "once Tom's office was a place of refuge, now it just depressed him. Once it had been filled with Elizabeth's laughter and bright energy, now it was empty. Once it had seemed like the den of a hard-boiled reporter, now it just seemed drab." Once Tom was dull and boring, now he's actively pissing me off with his melodramatic exposition.
It's Tom's turn to read the article and become enraged, and he too blames Scott. Not to defend Scott or anything, but I think at least some of the blame should go to the reporter who wrote the story, right? Just me? Okey doke.
Back to Liz, who calmly approaches Scott and lays out her frustrations in a reasonable and constructive manner.
LOL, of course she doesn't. She knocks a bunch of shit off his desk and starts passive-aggressively bitching about the article. Scott very quickly persuades her that he had nothing to do with it and the reporter was totes jus' jellus of Elizabeth's mad journalism skills and goddess-like beauty. Elizabeth, because she's Elizabeth, eats it up without hesitation and immediately forgets she was ever angry at him.
I may think Scott's kind of slimy, but I have to give him credit: he can play Elizabeth at least as well as Jessica ever did at the top of her sociopathic game.
Next Scott tells Elizabeth that he's been accepted into the Denver Center for Investigative Reporting, which the book tries very hard to convince me is the Harvard of journalism schools. Elizabeth is happy for him, but sad because she thinks that the NEWS2US article probably ruined her chance of getting in. I hate to nitpick (I lie, I love to nitpick), but if the article just came out today and DCIR has already mailed their acceptance letters, why would she think the article would make a difference? Is DCIR also the Harvard of time machines?
Tom, meanwhile, contacts a friend who used to intern at NEWS2US to find out more about the article because his journalistic instincts tell him something fishy is going on and no I'm kidding he just wants to discredit Scott out of revenge for dating Elizabeth. Honestly, if the guy is dating Elizabeth then I think he's already been punished enough.
The friend tells him that not only is Scott's father a big shot at the company that owns NEWS2US, but that same company also underwrites the undergraduate program at DCIR. Tom is thrilled by this, and immediately starts putting together a broadcast for WSVU. He thinks he can't wait until Elizabeth finds out about Scott, because even Tom knows that this has nothing to do with investigative reporting and everything to do with petty love triangles.
Elizabeth checks her mail and finds an acceptance letter from DCIR. "I'm a great reporter!" she tells herself. Or maybe DCIR is a really shitty school. Just a thought. She immediately begins waffling back and forth about whether or not she wants to transfer, because the NEWS2US plotline ran out of steam halfway through the book and needs to be replaced with something even lamer.
She finds Jessica in their dorm room, but before she can share her good news, a conveniently-timed WSVU broadcast interrupts the conversation and they see Tom's news story about Scott. Which maybe three people on campus actually give a shit about? Talk about your slow news day.
Liz flies into a second rage at Scott, but this time instead of breaking his stuff she just picks up the phone and yells at him. Scott is again able to manipulate Elizabeth into seeing him as an innocent victim with minimal effort, and Elizabeth tells him about getting into DCIR. He says, "[insert supportive but non-threatening response intended to convince would-be girlfriend that I just want to be good friends here]," and I'm really only paraphrasing that a little.
After the phone conversation, we get an out-of-nowhere summary of the early SVU books, and I'm frankly offended that Elizabeth goes over the racist fraternity storyline without even mentioning William White. Why would she skip over the best part? She really is a shitty reporter.
Speaking of skipping over things, Liz agonizes some more about whether she should stay at SVU or go to DCIR. It's already so dull I'm starting to miss the stupid NEWS2US plot. She decides to talk to Tom "one more time" because that kind of thing always turns out well for her.
In her next scene, she's outside the WSVU building, where "she could see into the window of Tom's office." You guys, Liz is literally peering into someone's window. I can't even remember where the real Elizabeth Wakefield ends and the caricature we laugh at begins anymore.
Because the will-she-won't-she about going to DCIR was so thrilling, the ghostwriter ups the excitement by tacking on some will-she-won't-she about going in to talk to him. She talks about her nervousness to a butterfly that lands on her hand because Liz is a full-on Disney princess now.
She keeps finding excuses to put off going in until Dana brushes by her on her way to see Tom. Elizabeth gets irrationally angry about Dana's bad fashion sense and Tom and Dana dating each other, because Elizabeth's ex-boyfriends are supposed to remain lonely and celibate for life, apparently.
In the office, Tom has been waiting to see if Elizabeth will contact him and is disappointed when Dana arrives. I don't feel too sorry for her, though, because she obviously sees what's going on and starts rubbing salt in Tom's wounds about Elizabeth. She's not even subtle, but it works and Tom starts making out with her. Good thing this isn't a rebound thing, right, Tom? Tom? Right?
Elizabeth calls Scott and agrees to meet him at the library, which she starts out by describing as eerie but in the very next paragraph decides it's romantic. Which...is actually an appropriate conversation when she's there to see creepy Scott. He's still spouting phrases like "I can't make your decision for you" and "Let me be a friend," which would sound a lot more sincere coming from someone who hadn't spent the last few books trying to get into her pants.
As part of their newfound completely-platonic-not-romantic-at-all friendship, Scott asks "what goes on in that beautiful head of yours," and I already know the answer is: very little, Scott. Almost nothing, in fact.
While they talk about a lot of mundane crap I skim over, I do notice that when Scott asks if she thinks there will ever be a female president, she replies, "I sure hope so!" I hope Liz is ready to face some serious disappointment in twenty years.
Now that he's spent a whole two pages pretending to be interested in Elizabeth in a not-physical way, Scott leans in and kisses Elizabeth. Hands up, anyone who's shocked by that. Yeah, didn't think so.
Elizabeth actually gets into it, but then she thinks about Tom and--boom--moment's over. She runs off, but not before Scott tells her that "I just want you to know that I'm here for you." Dude, the "just friends" ship sailed when you jammed your tongue down her throat. You can drop the act.
Back to Tom and Dana, who are still kissing when Elizabeth walks into the office. I don't know which is more bizarre: that they've been making out for the duration of the entire previous scene, or that they still haven't gotten past first base in that amount of time. Elizabeth runs off in tears and Tom basically kicks Dana out. I'm no Dana fan, but that's cold, Tom. Way to make it obvious that you're just using the girl.
In a rare moment of self-awareness Tom explicitly notes that he's doing exactly that, and that's he being a total jerk. Don't get your hopes up, though, because he's not about to let that brief epiphany stop him from continuing to use Dana like a paper towel.
Elizabeth rushes back to her dorm and vows, "I won't cry anymore, I won't!"...as she flops onto her bed and sobs. I don't even know. Next she decides to be indecisive about the DCIR acceptance letter some more, noting that students would be able to intern at "real newspapers," as opposed to a campus paper. Hasn't Elizabeth interned at several real newspapers? God knows why they accepted her, but she did.
The next day, she's walking across campus in a much better mood. "It was hard to be depressed on such a gorgeous day, and Elizabeth found herself feeling more hopeful. Not that she had come to any solution about what to do with her future, but it seemed as if--"
She might as well have finished that with "nothing could possibly go wrong," because that's the moment that she literally runs into George Conroy, Tom's father/slimeball who came onto her and broke them up. He reveals that Tom already knew that Elizabeth had told the truth about George's behavior, which sends Elizabeth into yet another rage. This girl's got anger issues, I think. She finally decides that "this is the last time I'm ever going to cry over him."
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Okay, I'm better now.
In the cafeteria later that day, Elizabeth gets her lunch and tries to decide who to sit with. She immediately rejects "a group of girls from her comparative literature seminar" and "two guys from one of her writing classes," because of course she wouldn't deign to sit with you lowly non-main characters. Grow some two-dimensional personality traits, or at least some names, and then perhaps Saint Elizabeth will grace you with her presence.
No, instead Elizabeth sets her sights on Tom, because she hasn't thrown a fit at anyone recently and it's his turn. She claims that "scenes were not Elizabeth's style," but I think she should ask Scott if that's true. She marches over and slams her tray down on his table, spilling food and milk all over the place. Liz just cannot stop knocking shit off tables, can she?
The good news is, after two hundred nothing-filled pages of Elizabeth sighing over Tom and wavering about which school to attend, we finally get a scene that's actually interesting. She demands to know why Tom aired the broadcast about Scott's connections, Tom gets defensive, and soon enough they're having a screaming match.
Tom even calls her "self-righteous," "opinionated," and "judgmental," and I'm glad someone finally did it. He tells her that she and Scott were made for each other, and Elizabeth thinks she "wasn't sure how the conversation had turned to the relationship between her and Scott," which is bullshit because she's the one who brought up Scott from the very beginning.
Anyway, the argument only ends because they both finally notice that everyone in the crowded cafeteria is staring at them, and Elizabeth runs away in tears. So much for that vow from a couple hours ago that she was all done crying about Tom.
Back at the dorm, Elizabeth is (again) agonizing over her response to the DCIR acceptance letter. Both Tom and Scott leave messages on her answering machine, and she goes way overboard in overanalyzing them in terms of how they impact her decision. I am sanctimonious-Liz-levels of offended at how blatantly she's basing her decision on two guys instead of on, and bear with me here, what she wants to do as a grown adult with her own opinions and motivations.
She finally makes her decision, and the ghostwriter tries to be coy about it by just telling us that she checked one of the boxes and mailed the response. The end says, "Did she choose to stay or leave? Find out in "Sweet Valley University 37, BREAKING AWAY."
Not to tell you your business, ghostwriter, but I think the title pretty much gave it away. You might as well have called the next book "Elizabeth Chooses DCIR" for all the suspense you just removed.
B Plot: Jessica Discovers a Bunch of Obvious Truths and Treats Nick Like Shit
While Elizabeth is getting ready for that infamous NEWS2US interview, Jessica is worrying about what she'll wear for her upcoming photo shoot for a swimsuit calendar. She thinks, "I've been so busy riding sidesaddle with Nick lately," which is way more information that I needed to have about their sex life.
First, though, she needs to convince her creative writing instructor not to fail her for missing an important test while she was working undercover during the previous book. She tells him a wildly exaggerated version of the country club case, and the professor gives her an A because he's "never heard a more...outlandish story." Oh really, professor? Bet you've never read a Sweet Valley book.
While she's telling the story, Jessica thinks about the detective film fan club chat group she joined on the internet, and I find that kind of adorable. I bet she writes the slashiest fanfic, too.
Jessica tells Nick about her A later on, and I have to mention that Jessica has a purple denim jacket. Yay for Unicorn continuity! Even better, Nick later speaks "huskily" to Jessica, and I don't think I've seen that word come up since the early SVH books. The ghostwriter must be seriously old school.
The mood is ruined, though, when Jessica brings up the swimsuit calendar and Nick abruptly starts telling her that he doesn't want her to do it because it's too sleazy. He goes full Elizabeth Wakefield on the subject, but the argument fizzles out before it really starts and Nick admits he's just stressed out because he's been studying for the college entrance exams so he can become a law student instead of a police officer. They get into a new and different fight when Jessica accidentally implies that he's not smart, which is definitely the pot calling the kettle black.
At the photo shoot, Jessica is "surprised" to learn that models get their hair and make-up done on-site by professionals. Which, seriously? That's got to be the least surprising thing about modelling. Watching all of the steps the models have to go through to cover any imperfections makes Jessica begin to think that maybe the "media promotes unrealistic images of women." That's right, perfect-size-six character in a Sweet Valley book, it very well might do exactly that.
Jessica complains about it all to the other girls, who are surprised to find that she has never modelled before. Except that's a load of crap because the Sweet Valley High books are full of plotlines where Jessica does modelling. You know how I mentioned that this ghostwriter seems to be old school? Well, on second thought I don't think they actually read past those early SVH books.
When Jessica starts to criticize everyone for being shallow (there are apparently quite a few black kettles in this book), they get angry and point out that she's no different. Seeing a conveniently-located copy of the NEWS2US magazine, she grabs it and plans to use it as proof that she's actually lives a life of excitement and adventure. When the article fails to mention anyone else's involvement except Scott's, everyone mocks her and Jessica fumes. She's also pissed off about how phony modelling is. Golly, Jess, no kidding? You're just chock full of groundbreaking insights!
Meanwhile, Nick is struggling with his studies and begins to think he's not cut out for college. His main argument is that he has a tattoo on his shoulder. "What kind of lawyer has a tattoo?" he asks himself. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess quite a few, actually. Crazy as it sounds, lawyers tend to be human beings with diverse personalities. Some of them might even drink non-diet soda or listen to that new-fangled rock and roll music!
Nick decides to go out for some fresh air, and along the way begins to convince himself that there's no way he's smart enough to pass the entrance exams. Dude, just remember that Jessica got into SVU. Jessica. You are going to be fine.
Someone must be running around town dropping off random copies of the NEWS2US magazine, because Nick comes across one at a diner. He reads about Elizabeth and Scott's interview and is immediately enraged. Okay, every time a character reads this article, we get a play-by-play about how angry they are. Every. Time. This is the most rage-inducing feature story in history. The point is, Nick's rage is enough to convince him to stick with his college plans, so yay for bad journalism I guess?
Jessica talks to Denise after the photo shoot and tells her she's "beginning to think that...that the media is completely unfair to women." It's official. Jessica Wakefield is woke, y'all.
When the proofs from the shoot arrive, the Theta members gather to see them. I only mention it because this scene features one of only two appearances by Lila Fowler. Otherwise the only point to the scene is that Jessica realizes that when she wears a bikini she looks half-naked. Jessica, I'm begging you to stop with the dazzling epiphanies!
She decides to back out of being in the calendar, which means this book just dropped yet another plotline halfway through. It changes gears abruptly when Jessica goes from forgetting about Nick completely to convincing herself that he's dying in a ditch somewhere in the space of less than a page.
She races to his apartment and after her initial relief to discover he's still alive, she is furious that he hasn't called her for a few days. Never mind that she forgot he even existed during that time. She also thinks that if he had been paralyzed, she'd be more willing to forgive him. I'm thinking her temporarily-paralyzed ex-husband Mike left her with a very specific turn-on.
Nick, however, is distracted by his studying and asks Jessica if she knows the derivation of the word "eleemosynary." I seriously doubt that's going to be on a college entrance exam, which are taken by high school students, but okay. Jessica is shocked to find that Nick's house is messy and Nick himself is acting studious, but decides that she'd rather he be a law student than a police officer because he'll be safer.
Is there going to be any actual conflict in this storyline? Because I thought Liz's plot was pointless until I got to this one.
Jessica's support is unfortunately short-lived, because while he takes the exam later on, she begins to freak out because she's turned on by Nick's dangerous lifestyle and this new, safer Nick is...boring. I think maybe the problem is less about Nick's choice of career and more about Jessica's shallow attraction to him.
She decides that the answer to her problem is to seek out her own danger, reasoning that "if my life was that exciting all the time, I wouldn't need Nick's to be!" Jess, what do you mean, "if"? Exciting things happen to you on a near-constant basis, in episodic format and generally with a formulaic three-act structure.
Jessica the adrenaline junkie considers calling Lila to talk about her problem, but dismisses it because she hates us and doesn't want us to have any more awesome Lila time. Instead she talks to--who else?--Elizabeth. Goddammit. She wanders off to find her sister, forgetting that she promised to wait for Nick to finish his test. Jessica tends to be not great to the guys she's dating, but she is an especially sucky girlfriend in this book.
She bursts in on Elizabeth in their dorm, and even though Elizabeth is in the middle of scene number 237 of staring indecisively at her acceptance letter to DCIR she drops everything to listen to her sister whine. She also corrects Jessica's pronunciation of the word eleemosynary and I'm sorry but Liz does not know that word or any word more than three syllables long. Come the fuck on.
While this is going on, Nick has completed his test and is excited to tell Jessica about it, except that she's long gone. He shrugs it off, thinking that he's used to Jessica only being interested in exciting things and he can't expect her to stick around for something boring like a test. Even if it's obviously really important to him, and she knows it? She really doesn't deserve this guy.
That night Nick takes Jessica out for dinner at her favorite restaurant, but while he tries to tell her about the test she tunes him out and barely notices that he's even talking to her. She's distracted because she's just heard rumors about Elizabeth transferring to DCIR from a bunch of gossipy airheads that can't even keep their story straight. So instead of being a grown up and talking to Elizabeth about it, or even confiding in her boyfriend who's clearly trying to communicate with her, she's being a self-absorbed bitch.
Jeez, I think I just figured out why Nick later fakes his own death to get away from this girl.
C Plot: Denise
This storyline starts off much more promisingly, with a Lila scene! Hallelujah! Lila is shopping with Denise and a handful of secondary characters, and she's buying everything in sight. Denise gets jealous, because she can't afford most of the clothes at the store, but later decides she doesn't really need money because she has Winston.
Unfortunately, that philosophy vanishes the moment she runs into Andy, a guy who offers to sign her up for a credit card. He assures her that she doesn't need to be employed to get the pre-approved gold card, it comes with a "substantial" credit limit, and she can "shop now, pay later."
She ignores everything he tries to tell her about terms and conditions and signs up on the spot. I foresee nothing but good things coming from this decision!
The next scene has Denise literally skipping down the street carrying a ton of purchases. She buys three dresses, silver earrings, a gold bracelet, a watch for Winston, a garnet necklace, two cashmere sweaters, and six pairs of shoes before we mercifully cut away. Denise has clearly embraced this hackneyed cliché of a plot with all her heart.
Later that day, she invites Winston out for dinner at a super-fancy restaurant, but I'm not sure how fancy it is if she can get reservations just a few hours ahead of time. Winston complains that he could just heat up some soup and stay in, and this introvert wants to give the man a high-five. However, Denise the spending addict talks him into it by telling him that she's already bought him a nice outfit to wear.
Winston worriedly asks Denise if she's been drinking, which she has not. No, she's this judgment-impaired sober.
They arrive at the restaurant that night, complete with snooty maître d' and French words on the menu--which Winston mangles completely. Denise finally tells Winston about her new credit card, and Winston asks her what she'll do when the bill comes. "Denise decided to shut out Winston's last sentence."
NO NO NO Denise, that is a very good question that you should not ignore. When Winston is the most sensible person in the Sweet Valley book, you know things have gone downhill.
Denise distracts him by ordering one of everything off the dessert cart, and now I'm starting to think that she just has an addictive personality overall. Never let this girl go to Las Vegas.
While Winston goes to the restroom, the snooty maître d' informs Denise that her credit card has been declined and she has to pay cash. Well, that twist certainly came out of nowhere! (No, it didn't.) When Winston comes back, Denise weakly asks him if he's any good at washing dishes. Rimshot, I guess.
Denise goes to talk to Andy to try to take care of her credit card problem, and he responds by raising her interest rate, adding a penalty, and increasing her minimum payment. Denise acts horrified to find out that he actually expects her to pay back what she spent, and while I'm no fan of credit card companies I feel it's worth mentioning that this whole mess is pretty much all her fault for going on a shopping bender without even thinking about the consequences.
When the SVU financial aid office informs Denise that she has to start prepaying her loan interest, she panics. "She could think of only one way to come up with some cash--and that was to start returning the things she had bought." Which, really? Because I would have suggested doing that the moment you first realized you were in the shit.
She starts by trying to return a blouse, but the saleswoman frostily tells her it's been worn and kicks her out, which seems a little extreme considering she didn't even make a scene about it. Thanks to that lone bad experience, Denise gives up entirely and decides not to even bother trying to return the rest. I just about yelled at the book at this point. You're that deep in debt and give up the second it gets even a little hard? Nope. Suck it up.
"Maybe I can get some kind of part-time job," thinks Denise. Well, yeah, getting a job just might be helpful when it comes to earning money. How do you get all the way to college without figuring that out? Freaking spoiled brats, every one of them.
Instead of following up on that flash of brilliance, Denise spots one of those "We can fix your bad credit" signs at the bus stop and calls them immediately. She talks to a man named Chris Collins, and I'm going to assume that he looks like a young Robert Redford's brother. The Other Mr. Collins tells her that they can help her by basically giving her a new credit card with a higher interest rate, and Denise decides that means all her problems have been solved and waltzes off into the sunset without a care in the world.
Oh, Denise. Why do you suck so much? You're usually better than this.
And that's the book. I think the C plot was the most interesting one in the book, because aside from Liz and Tom's shouting match nothing really happened in the other two. Just lots of people being indecisive about things. At least Denise was out there doing stuff, even if that stuff consisted entirely of increasingly idiotic decisions.