Let me start off by saying that I do not feel that I am defending myself, or the creation of Jonathan’s character, in any way. I consider this a discussion, like a … book club. I’ve heard what you had to say, and now I’d like to share some inside (literally) information with you. When I created Jonathan, I wanted him to be a little arrogant, very mysterious, eerily insightful, and completely lust-able. His motive for dating Rachel was just to have fun – and Rachel’s fun. She was so caught up in his appearance and the fact that he paid attention to her, she didn’t care to know anything more about him, which was safe for him. Then of course, there are the physical perks that come along with a surface relationship with Rachel, and she’s a beautiful woman, so there was nothing to lose.
Jonathan really didn’t take a true interest in Emma until the night of her first nightmare. And even then, he was more curious about what was going on with her. He started paying attention. That’s when everything changed. The night he came to her room to get her away from her nightmare, his interest shifted, and he knew they had more in common than he thought possible. So yes, when Rachel’s true colors started to show, he stayed for all the wrong reasons. He stayed to be close to Emma, and was essentially using Rachel. Rachel was the physical relationship, while Emma was the emotional one. Emma was who he could confide in unlike any other. The person who he exposed his true self to. And he wasn’t just a pretty face to her. In that way, their relationship was much more intimate than what he had with Rachel.
As far as the “grossville” factor that he was sleeping with Rachel while developing feelings for Emma, I’m not going to try to talk you out of your reactions. But I wasn’t as disturbed by this because I didn’t see Rachel as Emma’s “mother”. They acted more like college roommates than anything else. And yes, Jonathan was seven years older than Emma, but he was closer to her age than to Rachel’s. The age difference became a non-factor when he and Emma talked. Their bond trumped that. In the middle of the night, when he was escaping his past, she was his friend, his confidant and the girl who got a glimpse of his soul.
And no, his soul is not pure. It is tortured and filled with rage. But Emma was able to calm him, and reach him when he was on the brink of losing it completely. That’s why he fell for her. Because he believed he was a better person around her, and that she would accept him, all of him. I myself am still uncertain if what he felt was truly love, or just a desperate need to feel whole – to be healed and forgiven. When he was with Emma, he had hope that this was possible. But his secrets are too dark and brutal. His guilt is deeply rooted. Jonathan needs much more than Emma to be redeemed.