On a pretty sunny day they hold Vera’s funeral and Audrina finds it strange that she’s attending this particular funeral when she missed Elly’s and Billie’s. She hopes that one day she’ll be able to forgive Vera and only think about the good times. Wait…what? Which good times? When she gave you the empty box from the Valentine’s candy that was really meant for you? When she encouraged you to wear a pretty dress on your birthday so that it would be more poignant when you were gang-raped? When she killed her mother and your mother-in-law and blamed it on your little sister?
As soon as they get home from the funeral, Damian thinks that they should all play ball in the yard, since that will cheer them up. Wait…what? I say again. Huh? Shut it Damian. As Sylvia comes inside, there’s a new pep in her step and roses in her cheeks. Girl really hated Vera. Audrina hasn’t spoken to Arden since Vera died three days before and she hurries upstairs before he can try to give her puppy-dog eyes again. As Audrina is sitting in her bedroom trying to map her life out, Damian comes to the door and begs her not to leave him. After all, she’s promised her whole life that she’d stay with him forever. Gross. Audrina’s had it up to here with that shit, and she tells Damian that she’s leaving. There’s something in their house that keeps people from being happy (HINT: It’s two things, and one starts with a “D” and the other with an “Ar”), and she’s getting out. He guilts her about Sylvia and how Audrina is the only one who can take care of her and how can she just leave her? Audrina’s planning on taking Sylvia with her, but she doesn’t tell Damian.
Damian’s all “I guess those boys really did kill all that was special and wonderful about you, because my Audrina would have never abandoned her needy little sister. Way to lose your gift.”, and my migraine gets worse and my urge to kill rises, but Audrina’s not hearing that and tells Damian that there never was any gift, he’s full of it, and she pities the girl she used to be who believed in Damian so entirely. YES. YES. YES. Damian gives her the sad eyes and leaves.
At breakfast later on (I don’t know if this is the next day or if the funeral was at 5am or what), Damian’s sulking and quiet, but speaks up to theorize that Vera must have dressed Elly in that traveling suit and packed her suitcases (duh) and he goes on and on about how Elly would never have left him, not really, but Audrina knows that he’s just trying to mess with her mind some more and she ignores him. Sylvia starts playing with her prisms at the table, and Audrina goes upstairs to escape the colors and to pack. It’s 10:10, and she plans to leave by noon with Sylvia. As she’s packing, Arden shows up. He tries to kiss her and she avoids it, and then he plays this on the world’s smallest violin:
“I love you…I’ve always loved you. Terrible things, worse things happen to many people and still they stay together. They find happiness again. Help yourself, Audrina. Be brave. Help me. Help Sylvia.” THEN SHE SETS HIM ON FIRE. Okay, not really. But she does tell him to shove it, and that he’s no better than Damian and they’re both supremely messed up. Arden’s all “But you said you looooved me, you suck, you don’t know how to love, why won’t you see if we can make it work? I hate you. No I don’t! I’m sorry I said that. I loooooove you, please don’t leave me, you’re mean!” Audrina tells him to be grateful that he’ll get to escape the house before he turned into Damian, and Arden says that “I could say right now that Damian did try to help you, but I guess it’s too late to say that.” Audrina, channeling me, throws a paperweight at his head. It misses, damn it, but he leaves.
The door opens a moment later, and Sylvia comes in. Audrina tells her that they’re leaving, she’s packed their bags and they’re going to go somewhere to be normal and happy. Sylvia is having none of it, shaking her head and holding up her hands, and going “Noooooo, hoooooome” and the like. Audrina tries to convince her again, but Sylvia throws a fit, so Audrina decides that, you know what? If Sylvia’s going to be that way after everything that Audrina has done for her, she can stay there at Whitefern with Damian, because maybe they deserve each other.
An hour later, Audrina is packed and ready to go. Damian’s following her around the foyer, crying, and Audrina tells him that Sylvia’s going to need him more than ever once she’s gone. Damian cries a little more, telling Audrina that he’s always just wanted one woman to see him as “fine and noble” and he always thought it’d be her, and if she’ll just stay he’ll give her everything that he has. Audrina tells him that he has Sylvia. He made Vera what she was, he made Audrina what she is, and he made Sylvia–she cuts off there, because she sees Sylvia in the doorway of the Roman Revival Salon, staring at them. Damian gets freaked out, as he and Audrina both realize that if there ever was a “gift” to be caught in the rocking chair, Sylvia has it now. Plus, she’s really, really unstable.
Audrina is taking Damian’s Mercedes, she hopes that’s cool. Damian doesn’t care about cars or anything if she leaves, wah wah wah. Sylvia comes to stand in the doorway, and Audrina can see Elly and Lucky in her. Audrina’s head starts to hurt, like it always does in that house. She knows that Sylvia will destroy any woman who comes into Damian’s life once Audrina leaves. She also thinks that only God knows who hated Damian more–Vera or Sylvia. Audrina says goodbye to her little sister, telling her that if she ever wants out of Whitefern, Audrina will come for her. Damian is sitting in the hall, depressed, and Arden comes downstairs to watch.
Audrina says goodbye to Sylvia again, and Sylvia turns and stares at Damian. Audrina suspects that Damian’s not going to like life in a house ruled by Sylvia and her prism powers. Maybe she’ll just make him buy fancy chandeliers? Arden helps Audrina load the car, and she gives him a hilarious apology for not banging him as much as he would have liked, even though she did love him in her own way. He doesn’t think that she’ll ever leave, and I’m wishing she would just get in the damn car already. She does! She gets in the car and notices that the storm has ended and the world is fresh and clean and inviting. She’s finally getting away from Whitefern, from the shadows and the stained glass and the cupola!
And then something makes her turn her head around and look back at the house. Up in a second floor window there’s a face looking down at her, one that looks so much like her own that it makes her gasp. Sylvia moves back and forth in the window, her lips moving with what Audrina assumes is the playroom song. Audrina looks away and tries to start the car, but her hand is shaking so much that she can’t turn the key. No! Nooooo, Audrina, start the damn car! Audrina works her telepathy, begging Sylvia to let her go. She’s already given her half of her life! She hears the windchimes in her head again. Audrina has a premonition then: If she leaves, something very bad is going to happen to Damian, and after it does, Sylvia will be locked away and will never see the sun again.
Audrina gets out of the car and embraces Arden. I vomit. They go back up to the house, where Damian and Sylvia are waiting, all overjoyed. Audrina decides that she is the First & Best Audrina and has put her loyalty for her family first. Besides, where would she run? She feels a strange, accepting peace (that’s called Stockholm Syndrome) as they go back into the house. She and Arden will try again, and if they fail (again), they’ll try a third time, then a fourth…
And that’s the end! Seriously! I am not messing with you. That’s how the damn book ends. Jesus.
Okay. To the future! I had planned to go chronologically through the series and do the Dollangangers next, but the death of Vera has left a redheaded-bitch shaped hole in my heart, so in order to heal more gradually, the first series is going to be the Landry Series, starting with Ruby. What you have to look forward to: Voodoo! Superfluous French! Racism! Classism! Sailing terms! Redheaded bitchery! Twins!
See you then!