It’s October? October?? Where are the months going? Am I…am I in a VCA novel? Oh man.
With the Mardi Gras holiday over, it’s time for Ruby to start going to school in New Orleans. Gisselle picks out her clothes, but tells her sister that she won’t be able to save her a seat near her in their classes since Gisselle is always surrounded by admiring boys, and she can’t take their thrills away. For her first day, Ruby is going in with Daphne and Pierre so that they can register her, Gisselle (as per usual) is riding with Beau. On the ride over, Daphne tells Ruby to make sure that she only makes friends with the best people—everyone will know Ruby’s story by now, and lots of people will want to get close to her, but she has to make sure about them first. Ruby is a little nervous about this, but Daphne tells her just to check with Gisselle before she makes friends with anyone.
They meet with the principal, who is described in way to much detail for a throw-away character, but we’re told that he has a thyroid condition because that was important for us all to know. Ruby is duly registered and introduced to Caroline Higgins, requisite nerd, who will be Ruby’s guide around the school. Caroline tells Ruby to call her “Mookie”, which is apparently a nickname that she doesn’t like, but that everyone else calls her, so she’s learned to live with it.
Mookie also tells Ruby that everyone has been eagerly awaiting Ruby’s arrival, and no one has been able to concentrate in class all morning. Somehow I don’t think that’s all Ruby’s fault. They go to English class, where, sure ’nuff, all of the seats around Gisselle are full of boys, like she’s Scarlett at the barbecue. The teacher gives Ruby her textbooks, and mentions that the class has been discussing Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue”, and he’s pleasantly surprised when Ruby tells him that she’s already read it. Teacher makes a point of noting that people from the BAYOU aren’t as backwards as some of the students seemed to think, and also that he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to tell Ruby and Gisselle apart, but now he sees that it won’t be a problem. Snap! Gisselle does not like that.
At lunch Beau finds Ruby in the cafeteria and takes her over to the table where Gisselle is holding court along with her two best friends Claudine and Antoinette. Gisselle has been telling everyone about how Ruby used to clean fish and sell napkins by the side of the road, but Beau defends Ruby by telling their friends about her artwork and the paintings that she’s sold. Soon everyone is asking Ruby questions about the BAYOU, and Gisselle, hurting for attention, tries to get some company for a cigarette outside before lunch is over. No one wants to go, including Beau, and Gisselle gets pissed and huffs out with two boys from another table. That afternoon Beau offers Ruby a ride home, and though they wait a little while for Gisselle, she doesn’t show up. Beau, knowing that Gisselle is only making him wait to annoy him, takes off without her, even after Ruby says that she thinks she sees her sister coming out of the school doors.
Weeks go by and school is pretty much school, only Ruby is naturally the best thing that’s ever happened to a school, and she, in short order, becomes the art editor and editorial cartoonist for the school paper, joins the glee club, and gets the lead in the school play.
Beau is the other lead in the play, which thrills Ruby and annoys Gisselle, especially when he suggests that she should be Ruby’s understudy since no one would ever know the difference. Gisselle snaps back that he never could tell the real thing from the fake and was that just an orgasm joke in a V.C. Andrews novel? My stars! Gisselle continues that Ruby’s already been her understudy ever since she came to town, since Gisselle had to teach her how to walk and talk and take a bath. Ruby’s all “Gisselle, that’s not truuuue!” and *weeps*, but Gisselle is taking no prisoners and notes that she also had to teach her sister that it wasn’t “natural” for a boy to put his hands under her clothes. BURN.
Ruby screams that that’s a lie and runs out of the cafeteria (and straight out of the school!) crying. She walks home, stopping at one point to watch two little girls playing in their front yard, and she imagines what life would have been like if she and Gisselle had been raised together. That evening, Gisselle unlocks the adjoining door between their rooms and apologizes to Ruby. She admits that she really was jealous about Beau liking Ruby, and she assures her twin that she’ll make certain that everyone at school knows that she wasn’t telling the truth. Ruby totally buys it. Gisselle then invites Ruby to a slumber party the next night at Claudine’s house. Ruby accepts and the pair happily does their homework together.
The next day at school everyone is nice to Ruby when they see that she and Gisselle have made peace, and Ruby tells Beau about the slumber party. He’s suspicious, as the boys usually hear all about such plans (Maybe you’re just not invited, Beau, ever think of that?), but Ruby figures it was spur of the moment and thinks nothing of it. That night at dinner, Daphne is also annoyed at the short notice, but Pierre thinks that the girls should be allowed to go, and Daphne begrudgingly agrees. At the party are Claudine, Antoinette, and two other girls: Theresa (which is my cat’s name, tee hee), and Deborah. The night starts out innocently enough, eating popcorn and listening to records, and while there is some vodka cranberry action going on, Gisselle doesn’t mix the drinks too strongly and it all seems fine. Ruby brings the party down for a minute when Deborah makes some remark about New Orleans and the BAYOU not being too far apart yet seeming very different, and Ruby’s all “We all want the same things…like love and happiness”. Oh shut up. Gisselle agrees with me and announces that it’s time to have some fun: they’re going to dress up in Claudine’s grandmother’s old clothes and pretend that it’s the ’20s. Claudine parcels out the clothes and Ruby gets an old-timey bathing suit. She changes in Claudine’s room, but leaves her underwear on under the suit since it’s too big for her. Claudine pokes her head in to check on her and immediately tells Ruby can’t leave her underwear on since that’s not historically accurate or whatever. She leaves again and Ruby shrugs and takes the bathing suit back off, then starts to take off her underwear. She has her bra off and is starting on her underpants when she hears laughter. She freezes and then three boys from school (Billy, Edward, and Charles) come leaping out of Claudine’s closet and take some pictures of her. Ruby screams and grabs her clothes and runs into the hallway where her sister and the other girls are waiting all grins. Ruby screams at them and runs into another room to get dressed.
She comes downstairs later and finds everyone sprawled around drinking and she confronts Gisselle, who does not give a damn.
She does, however, want to know if Ruby’s going to tell on her, and Ruby says no, since what would be the point? Ruby goes home, determined that the first thing she does will be to lock the adjoining door between their bedrooms once again.
Up next: Sexy art times and ever more frackin’ voodoo.