Audrina and Sylvia meet Arden at the airport, where Arden immediately grabs Audrina up in a public-place-inappropriate kiss and she ends up losing track of Sylvia. A full hour later, they find her staring at the magazines at a newsstand, completely covered in chocolate ice cream from a cone some complete stranger had handed her. Oh Sylvia. Making things more awkward, Sylvia (who Audrina has somewhat potty-trained but still wears diapers most of the time) has had an accident and the ride home is uncomfortable. Arden ignores Sylvia, as he does, even when she’s “clawing at him” for affection. Arden, you are a bastard. I know she’s dirty and smells bad at the moment, but she’s
A. A little girl (she’s about 9 or 10 now)
B. Not quite right, as I think we all know
C. Your supposed beloved’s beloved little sister. Make an effort, if nothing else.
Audrina goes home, and as she and Sylvia walk into the house, she immediately overhears Damian and Elly arguing in the kitchen. Elly has been slaving over a hot stove making one of Damian’s favorite gourmet meals, and she’s pretty pissed off that he didn’t come home until 5:30 that morning–he’s sleeping with someone else. Elly demands to know who it is, and Damian, naturally, doesn’t tell her or deny it, only says that it’s none of her business. That’s it for Elly–she dumps all of the food into the sink. I like to imagine what the food was, since it’s supposedly a “gourmet” meal, one that takes hours and hours to prepare and costs so much money. I’m picturing Elly throwing bowls of truffles and caviar and lobster tails down the disposal. Of course, I think given the 1950s-1970s possible time frame she’s in, it’s probably meatloaf and string beans or something.
You know, Elly, you are feeding two other people besides you and Damian. Just a thought.
Damian roars a little about how much good money that food cost and tells Elly to behave herself. Elly tells him to go to hell. Yeah, Elly! She wants a life of her own, far far away from here, a life without being his housekeeper and cook and part-time lover; she’s sick of taking care of his “idiot daughter”, and as for his Audrina…and here’s where Damian breaks in with that “deadly, silky” tone of his. “What is it you want to say about my Audrina?” Elly drops it before Audrina (who is huddled in the hallway with Sylvia) can hear anything good. Elly changes the subject to money. See, after Lucky died Damian apparently lost her inheritance in the stock market, and he managed to charm Elly out of hers too, with the promise that he’d pay it back doubled in three months. She was an idiot and a fool to believe in him, blah blah blah, she wants her four grand, please. Damian wants to know where she’d go if she left him.
To Vera, it seems, who has contacted Elly again. Vera’s living all alone in the big scary NYC, Lamar Rensdale having flown the coop. Damian points out that he’s heard Lamar flew the coop straight up to Jesus, and by his own hand, which Damian imagines Vera had quite a bit to do with. That’s cold, Damian. Cold, but factual. Elly has lost her edge in this fight and begs Damian to just give her the money and he’ll never hear from her or Vera again. Damian refuses to give Elly the money–as long as she lives there she’ll have food and shelter and clothes, but he will never give her money to go and live with Vera. He also charmingly tells her that if she leaves she can never come back, and points out that she’s not a young woman anymore and life is hard on the outside. Elly shrieks up a storm again, about the usual:
*She’s an unpaid housekeeper and she hates it
*She shouldn’t have starting sleeping with him, but she’s always wanted him
*She envied and hated Lucky
*There was a doctor in the hospital where she had Vera who wanted to marry her, but she refused because she was sure that Damian would come through
Elly goes to Damian’s office and brings back his corporate checkbook, demanding that he write her a check for $25,000, since, after all, she’s giving up her right to live in her own family’s ancestral home. Damian writes one for 50K instead, and while Elly is staring at that and get worked up about it, Damian starts kissing her. Elly drops the check and Damian sweeps her away upstairs. Audrina drags Sylvia into the kitchen, where she hangs the check on the corkboard so that Elly will be sure to see it.
Audrina has another sleepless night, full of what she saw and heard, and wondering why Lamar killed himself if Vera truly loved him. Oh Audrina. When she finally dozes off, she wakes up with bad dreams and heads downstairs, only to freeze at the top of them. Aunt Elly is sprawled at the bottom. As Audrina makes her way down the stairs, unable to believe that Elly is really dead, she thinks that she hears a soft noise in the kitchen, like someone carefully closing a door. Elly is dead, dressed in a suit Audrina’s never seen before. Audrina starts to cry and to fix Elly’s blouse and hair, straightening her legs and adjusting her skirt. She slowly realizes that someone is screaming, and that that someone is her. She looks up and see Sylvia heading down the stairs towards her, trying to use the banister and hold onto her prisims at the same time. Sylvia is smiling, and Audrina realizes that her eyes are focused. Audrina thinks that Sylvia is about to speak to her, when Damian rushes down to them and starts freaking out over Elly.
Audrina assures Damian that she found Elly that way and she doesn’t like the way that he looks at Sylvia and her prisms. Damian tells Audrina that he and Elly fought the night before (Audrina admits that she heard them), but that Damian later proposed to Elly and she seemed happy when she went to her bedroom. Then, because he’s Damian, he rushes to Elly’s room to look for the check. Audrina tells him about pinning it in the kitchen, but when she and Sylvia check, it isn’t there. Damian calls the police, but has Audrina change Elly into one of her old housedresses before they arrive, since he doesn’t believe she was leaving him anyway. Audrina does so. The police come and Audrina somehow forgets to mention hearing the door close. The police leave and take the body, and Damian leaves to make funeral arrangements. Alone, Audrina starts thinking about the fight she heard and begins to realize how trapped she really is by Damian. After all, Elly wanted to leave, and now she was dead. Audrina sees her life ahead of her, trapped by an aging Damian and driven by this thought, she packs up her suitcase and Sylvia’s and runs away (little sister in tow!) into the woods to elope with Arden.
When they gets to the cottage, Arden is naturally thrilled by the idea of eloping, which surprises me, since I’d have thought he’d see that as too much of an independent move. “Are you proposing to meeee? I’m the maaan, Audrina, I thought you were innocent and special and different!” He is less than amped about Sylvia accompanying them. Audrina explains what happened to Aunt Elly, and that she has to get away now or never. Shockingly, Arden isn’t thrown by that, though Billie does tell Audrina to be sure that this is what she wants. Audrina assures them both that it is. Billie offers to take care of Sylvia while they’re gone, but Sylvia screams whenever Billie tries to touch her, so Sylvia has to tag along.
They drive down to North Carolina, where they can get married the same day that they get their marriage license, and in some random little church with Sylvia as their only, babbling witness, Audrina goes and marries Arden Frakking Lowe.
Okay, so the wedding night. This is hella awkward, so I’m not going to get too into it. Arden gets them two suites so that Sylvia can have her own bathroom. It’s slightly implied that Audrina uses a diaphragm. She then takes roughly two hours getting ready for bed: hour-long bath, curls her hair (with curlers!), removes her nail polish, gives herself a manicure, gives herself a pedicure, brushes out her hair, puts on perfume and talcum powder, dresses in a slinky nightgown and peignoir that Billie gave her, and then she sits. She sits and worries, understandably so, giving Arden excuses until he announces that he’s going to break down the door. She opens it just as he runs at it, so he crashes into the tile wall. Awesome. I wish he’d broken his nose. Audrina gets into bed while Arden takes the world’s quickest shower and comes to bed.
He gives her some crap about not checking him out since he’s spent so long working out to make her appreciate him, and makes sure that she actually knows what sex is. Outside it starts to storm. When Audrina gets tense, Arden asks if she’s “stopped loving him already” OMFG YOU DISGUSTING TOOLSHED. Ahem. Audrina tells him that she’s just tired and stressed and, hello, her aunt died that morning, so can’t they just cuddle? But no, see, they can’t, because this is Arden Lowe’s wedding night by god, and he’s horrible. Audrina, with good reason, asks if Arden has ever had sex before. He is at first reluctant to answer, but she presses him, and he admits that he has, but won’t tell her more. Except to mention that, you see, men have a build-up of sperm that they have to release, one way or the other, so it really works out the best if they can do so with a woman that they love.
I’m sorry, wait, what? Was that…blue balls, Arden Lowe? Did you just A. try to guilt your terrified wife into sex and B. try to justify cheating on her using BLUE BALLS?? I just…I…no, because…flames. Flames on the side of my face, people. FLAMES.
Arden spews some other crap about “loving is sharing” and Audrina guesses correctly that Billie told him to tell her that, because he and his mother had a creepy conversation about his sex life early that day before the elopement. Arden stops talking then and starts going at it in earnest, while Audrina listens to the thunder and has rocking chair flashbacks, and it’s a terrible scene. Moving on.
The next morning, Audrina wakes up to find Sylvia crouched in the corner of their bedroom, and Arden all aflutter from what he clearly thinks was a great wedding night. Audrina can tell from his eyes that he doesn’t fully believe that everything is great, but she lets him think that it is, and she remembers the First Audrina stumbling home in the rain as Part II comes to a close.
RIP Ellsbeth Whitefern.
Coming up in Part III: Billie betrays us all! Damian is awful! Arden continues to be the worst at all things! Sylvia gets prettier and creepier! And, and, and! VERA.