You know, you know, it’s serious.
Or not, really, because what a VCA book coma means is “I am floating above the world outside of my body so that I can continue to observe those events that are going on around me and also continue to narrate this never-ending book”.
Audrina is in a coma after her tumble down the stairs and is being cared for at Whitefern with Vera as her nurse, which is just cheap and stupid on Damian’s part. Vera is swanning it up in a nurse’s uniform, which is probably less about nursing and more about living in a weird sexual fantasy of Arden’s. On a fun note, one of the first things that Audrina sees once she starts floating around is the white chaise lounge in her bedroom that Arden wanted her to have. Even her furniture has to be white? Damn Arden. Issues. She can also hear things, so she gets a floaty earful of Vera and Arden as they debate what her future should be. Since Audrina has been in her coma for a grand total of three weeks, Vera is all about pulling the plug, then marrying Arden and going off together. Arden is a little reluctant to do so, since he wants to believe that Audrina will wake up any day. Vera warns Arden that if he waits too long, she’ll leave, and he’ll be stuck with a vegetable wife and Sylvia for the rest of his life. Arden’s all “But I love my wife and I want her to get better, but lord knows I love having sex with you, so I am conflicted” and Vera yells at him a little and claims that he was the father of her long-ago miscarried baby. Arden doesn’t think so, since they only had sex once, and besides he only did it because Audrina was too young. Gross.
Vera claims that Sylvia has been learning to trust her, which EtherealPlaneAudrina doesn’t want to happen, and she thinks desperately that Sylvia cannot, under any circumstances, trust Vera. Sylvia, who has been in the room for Arden and Vera’s entire conversation, seems to hear Audrina’s thoughts and comes over to stare at her. Audrina thinks about Sylvia and their relationship, and about all of the odd Whitefern girls, born nine years apart…but then she remembers that there was something about the First & Best that she’d learned recently, but she can’t put her finger on it. Vera pulls a “Goodbye Arden”, walking towards the door all dramatically, but Arden can’t handle it and calls her back. He tells Vera that he loves her, though not like he loves Audrina, and he makes her promise that she’ll give Audrina more time, and that she won’t hurt Sylvia. Then they have sex. In Audrina’s bedroom. In front of her comatose body. And in front of Sylvia. Classy. Audrina, gratefully, goes under again during this, but not before thinking that she has to get well in order to save Sylvia and Damian from Vera. Oh, just let her have Damian. He’s got it coming.
Vera, whenever she’s caring for Audrina, has developed the habit of talking to her, telling her things like how much sex she’s having with Arden and how when Audrina dies she’s going to get rid of Damian and Sylvia and sell the house and everything in it, then spend the rest of her life boning Arden and bossing him around. Vera’s got a five-year plan, there’s nothing wrong with that. Audrina’s five-year plan was all about gardening, at least Vera’s has some life-destroying and sex in it. While she’s detailing all of this, Vera’s scratching Audrina up and rolling her around willy-nilly while she changes her nightgown and whatnot, and then there’s a weird segment wherein Vera looks over Audrina’s naked body and comments on it, pinching her nipples. What is it with VCA and weird nurses, anyway?
Sylvia comes in with one of her prisms and dazzles it over at Vera to get her away from Audrina. Vera naturally freaks out. Interestingly, Vera accuses Sylvia of doing the same to Elly and to Billie, which…okay. If she’s in truth-telling mode because she’s talking to coma-Audrina, then why yell that at Sylvia unless it’s true? Hmmmm. Sylvia is unmoved, she just sidles over to the shadows and keeps an eye on Vera.
Vera rambles on a little more about Arden and how she’s taking him away, and then she references the First Audrina’s rape and how Arden left her there. Arden comes in at this point and shakes Vera, telling her not to talk to Audrina like that, as she might be able to understand, and he wants Audrina to die (if she dies) still loving and believing in him. I HATE YOU SO MUCH. Vera is delighted to learn that it’s true, that Arden was there that day and ran, and tells him patronizingly that she really does understand–the other boys were so big and scary, what else could he have done? Audrina is confused (AGAIN) because she’s remembering what she’d learned before her fall, and she still doesn’t understand why Damian, and everyone else, would have lied to her about how much older her dead sister was. Oh sweetie. Let’s try to connect some dots, please, shall we? Come on.
More time goes on and while Audrina is slowly getting better, it isn’t outwardly apparent, not even to supernurse Vera, who slaps Audrina around when no one’s watching and inserts her catheters unsanitarily with Arden watching (even though he doesn’t try to stop her). When Vera isn’t around, Arden comes in and moves Audrina’s arms and legs for her, all while whining at her to wake up and come back to him. Audrina, however, is tired of Arden, and considers him weak and cowardly for having abandoned her sister and for taking up with Vera. Damian comes in at long last to see Audrina and begs her to wake up and not leave him all alone with Vera and Sylvia (ha!), but Audrina is tired of him too. Audrina drifts for what seems like a few more weeks, and wakes up (kind of) one day when Arden and Vera enter the room. Vera wants Arden to convince Damian to leave him all of his money when Damian dies. Arden isn’t too up on this idea, and reminds Vera that Sylvia will always need to be taken care of, so Damian will most likely use his money towards that. Also, Arden’s sure that even if he doesn’t get any Adare money, he can earn enough to keep himself and Vera “fed and clothed”.
Yeah, that’s not enough for our girl. Vera wants to lead the glamorous life, and in order to do that, they’re going to need money. Money for jewelry and clothes and traveling and long fur coats of mink (even in the summertime) and she wants it now! See, she’s twenty-five and Arden is even older and soon they’ll be thirty (!) and then what’s the point?? While they’re talking, Sylvia comes in and tries to brush Audrina’s hair, which is pretty sweet. Arden decides that Vera is right–Audrina’s never going to wake up, and she wouldn’t want to live like this, so he agrees to pulling the plug. OH FOR THE LOVE OF… Audrina tries her best “I AM NOT GOING TO DIE, BACK OFF YOU ASS” telepathy, but Arden can’t hear her.
One nice summer day shortly thereafter, Audrina wakes up and realizes that her death is at hand. Vera comes bustling into the room and takes extra good care of her sister-cousin, since, as she points out “Wouldn’t want the coroner to think I neglected you!” I’d like to think that this would be about as successful as flossing just before you go to the dentist is, meaning that the coroner would pick up on it, but this is a VCA novel, after all, and nobody is ever good at their jobs. Vera kicks at Sylvia, who has taken to sleeping on the floor next to Audrina’s bed, and notices that Audrina looks better, but she doesn’t care. She tells Audrina that if she’s better and is just faking her coma, Vera doesn’t really give a damn since pretty soon Audrina’s going to find herself paying for it. Vera helps herself to some of Audrina’s perfume and announces her plans Bond-villain style:
Vera’s going to arrange Audrina’s death, but in such a way that Vera will be well out of the house when it happens. Once Audrina is dead, Vera’s going to marry Arden and she’s going to blackmail Damian using his stock fraud (though he’s since reformed), and once she’s got all of his money, she’s going to put him in an old folk’s home and Sylvia in an institution. She mentions that Arden told her that he and Audrina “found each other” just before she fell, and Vera chastises Audrina for always messing up her life, even when it’s starting to go well. She also notes that too many people fall in their house and that somebody should have locked Sylvia up long ago. She once again blames Sylvia for Elly and Billie’s deaths. Laughing, she leaves the room.
While she’s gone, Sylvia wanders into the room with some of her prisms. Audrina tries to talk and tell Sylvia to help her. Sylvia comes over to Audrina, but instead of helping her, she pulls out a hand mirror and starts to look at her reflection in it. Audrina realizes that Sylvia looks exactly like her. This is not helpful, Sylvia, really. Audrina manages to regain her voice and tell Sylvia to get Billie’s cart and put her on it. Vera comes back in and ties a baggie of cookies to the cord of Audrina’s life support, all the while talking to sweetly to Sylvia and telling her that she gets a treat. Vera leaves and Sylvia grabs the cookies and pulls the plug. Damn Sylvia! Focus, girl, focus! Audrina, who is quickly slipping away, whispers to Sylvia and Sylvia, finally, seems to get that this is not right. It helps that Audrina is apparently using mind control on her. No, really. It says that. Sylvia goes and gets the cart and somehow hoists her sister onto it. She then takes her down the hall to the playroom and hides her under the bed. Thanks Sylvia. Note: this whole time Sylvia is crawling around chanting “Auuu dreeee naaaa. Sweeeeet Auuuu dreeee naaaa” which is less than comforting. Under the bed, Audrina watches a spider spinning its web (gross) and hears Vera come home and start raising hell. Vera yells at Sylvia to tell her where Audrina is, and Sylvia apparently throws a vase at Vera (awesome). Vera comes into the playroom, but doesn’t find Audrina as Sylvia comes in and makes Vera chase her out of the room. Sylvia returns and pulls Audrina out from under the bed and deposits her in the rocking chair, then leaves and shuts the door. Again, thanks Sylvia.
Almost against her will, Audrina starts rocking. She has the rainy-day-in-the-woods vision again, but this time instead of Spencer and the other boys, the attacker is Arden, and instead of the First & Best, the attacked is herself. She starts screaming and Damian finds her there in the playroom. She tries to tell him about the vision, but he brushes it aside and Arden calls an ambulance. She passes out and wakes up in the hospital. Damian is with her. Audrina asks him if Arden was there that day in the woods when her sister died, and though Damian doesn’t want to tell her, Arden enters the room and admits it. He says that he can tell that Audrina hates him now, but he’s not going to leave her. He sends her presents, which she sends back or tells Damian to tell Arden to send them to Vera. Damian, unsurprisingly, wants her to lighten up and forgive Arden, since both Damian and Audrina owe Billie a lot, and if Audrina owes Billie, then she owes Arden more. Wait…what? Damian, that makes no sense at all. Shut up. Audrina still refuses, since Arden abandoned her older sister and slept with her other older sister, and there’s some other elusive thing that Audrina can’t quite figure out, but that is bothering her. She goes to physical therapy and whatnot and three weeks later Damian takes her home. She hasn’t spoken to Arden in all of that time. We also learn from Damian that Vera fell and broke her arm whilst chasing Sylvia around and so is in yet another cast. How does she function? And to echo the concerns of commenters, how does she have all of this sex without shattering her pelvis? These are questions for the ages. Damian mentions that he suspects that Sylvia did it on purpose. He also tells Audrina that she can’t blame Arden for his affair with Vera, since Damian had noticed that Arden didn’t seem all too happy with his relationship with Audrina. Damian knew that Arden’s “nights with” Audrina weren’t great, and this pleased Damian. A part of my soul just died.
Audrina goes in and settles on the chaise lounge and Arden comes in to talk to her. She calls him out on plotting her demise with Vera, and he wants to know what their future holds now that Audrina hates him. Oh shut it. How about prison? Audrina’s really over his nonsense, though, and she’s got stuff to figure out, so she pulls herself up and makes for the cupola in the attic where the windchimes are. She screams a little, and Damian joins her. She demands to know the truth and he agrees to tell her.
But that’s the next recap.