Tonight’s writing revelation: I keep trying to pretend I will somehow trick my readers into not noticing the obvious. When instead I should embrace the obvious (since they’ll notice it anyway) and move on with the story.
So yes, hypothetical readers, that subplot you think is there? Is there. And yes, I know it’s a standard-issue subplot. I have faith that I’m going interesting places with it, but I will not get there by pretending I’m not going anywhere.