Piano Man

Gaaaaaaaaaaaah, sorry y’all.

So, Ruby and Abby, newly minted BFFs, begin their academic careers at Greenwood. The place is run like clockwork–students are on time, everyone wears their uniforms (except Gisselle), and no one so much as writes on a desk. Gisselle has already made Samantha into her little servant, and despite Ruby’s warnings, the little thing actually seems grateful to be so. On their first day, Ruby is called into Mrs. Ironwood’s office, where she immediately gets the “So, you’re a promiscuous little CAJUN who besmirches our school by existing, so behave or else” talk, and is told that she will also be held responsible for any nonsense that Gisselle gets into. Uh oh. Ruby points out that Gisselle doesn’t really need to be catered to, she needs to have her ass whupped, but Mrs. Ironwood will have none of it and Ruby is sent on her way.

Ruby is in a funk for the rest of the day, one that is only lifted when she gets to her last class–art. Art is taught by Miss Rachel Stevens, who is younger and more casual than the other teachers, and with whom Ruby feels an immediate kinship. Miss Stevens is highly impressed with Ruby’s past successes and eagerly invites Ruby to come along and paint by the river with her one Saturday. She tells Ruby that she sold one of her paintings while she was in college, but that she soon realized she’d have to teach in order to keep a roof over her head. Ruby laughs, but secretly wonders why “someone so pretty, sweet, and talented wouldn’t consider marriage another alternative”.

Era-appropriate foreshadowing.

Um….Man-Thing? Why are you here? ANYWAY. Ruby leaves art class in a much better mood, one that even Gisselle’s inevitable bad mood can’t spoil. The first few weeks at Greenwood fly by, with Abby and Ruby becoming better friends and Gisselle turning Jacki, Chubs, and Samantha against Vicki. Oh, Beau calls at some point, but it’s a lame phone call, so I won’t go into it.

One night Vicki is turning the dorm upside looking for her sole copy of an important European history report. Ruby immediately confronts Gisselle, who in turn points to Samantha, who admits to have taken the report and hidden it as a joke. However, when Samantha goes to retrieve the report from her hiding place, it’s not there, and while she’s sitting there puzzled, the girls hear Vicki scream in the other room. The trio rushes in to find Vicki in tears, with her soaking-wet report on her lap. Samantha and Gisselle both deny having done it, but Ruby knows that Gisselle was the culprit. Later that night, Gisselle tells Ruby that she wants to room with Samantha, letting Ruby room with Abby, giving Vicki the single room. Ruby agrees, even though she’s not sure that it’s the best plan, but she’s darn excited about rooming with Abby. After they’re moved in, Mrs. Penny reminds the girls that their tea with Mrs. Clairborne is the next day. There’s also some treacle about how Ruby and Abby are all “we’re sisters!” now, but oh whatever.

Ruby and Gisselle talk to Pierre on the phone, and he sounds tired and mentions having a chest cold. FORESHADOWING. He’s surprised to learn about Gisselle and Ruby getting new roommates, but is reassured by Ruby that she’s still going to keep an eye on Gisselle, and that Gisselle is settling in. After the call, the twins get ready for their tea at Mrs. Clairborne’s. Ruby is shocked when Gisselle actually dresses appropriately for the event and has Samantha wheel her out on time. Gisselle mentions that she’s promised to steal some cookies for Chubs, but Ruby doesn’t think that Chubs needs the calories. Oh fuck off, Ruby. Gisselle points out that if Chubs doesn’t care, then why should she or Ruby?, but Ruby feels that friends shouldn’t encourage each other’s weaknesses. Gisselle wants to know who ever said that she was Chubs’ good friend? Ruby and Abby shake their heads at each other like the sanctimonious twits that they are, and Mrs. Penny comes out to fetch them. She’s decked out in a dress with a sash, a corsage, and a straw hat, and when Gisselle dubs her “Scarlett O’Hara”, Samantha runs off in giggles to tell the others what hilarity Gisselle has just uttered. Mrs. Penny blushes and stammers and they set off. It turns out that Buck is also the school’s chauffeur and Gisselle is immediately suspicious when Abby and Ruby giggle at the sound of his name. I can’t imagine why.

Gisselle flirts with Buck a little bit while he helps her into the car, and demands to know how Abby and Ruby know him. They don’t answer. On the ride to the Clairborne house, Gisselle notices that someone in the car is wearing a lot of jasmine perfume. It’s Mrs. Penny, who is wearing the scent because it’s Mrs. Clairborne’s favorite. Gisselle thinks that Mrs. Penny should wear what she likes, not what “some rich old lady” likes, and Ruby is appalled at her sister’s lack of discretion. Seriously, Ruby, have you ever met Gisselle? Plus…she’s kinda right. Mrs. Penny thanks Gisselle for her concern, but assures her that she likes the perfume too, and as they arrive at the mansion, she gives the girls some history/ground rules for their tea. Namely:

1. The house was once part of a working and thriving sugar plantation, with up to four separate sugar houses before the Civil War (Gisselle makes a crack here about how Pierre has always said that the Civil War didn’t end slavery, just changed the pay from nothing to minimum wage, a joke Buck appreciates and Mrs. Penny does not)

2. Under no circumstances are any of the girls to mention the Civil War.

The house is appropriately pristine and chock-full of antiques. Ruby notices that every clock is stopped at five after two, but Mrs. Clairborne appears before she can ask about it. Mrs. Clairborne is also appropriately pristine and antique, and she wears a pocket watch around her neck that is also stopped at five after two. They have tea and make awkward small talk about what their fathers do, where their families live, and how they should be acting as proper Greenwood girls. After more chatter, Ruby asks for the bathroom, and on her way there, she overhears someone playing a piano. The music is so beautiful that she can’t help but try to find out the source. She enters one of the patios by the garden and finds a handsome (naturally) young man there, playing. He stops playing suddenly and spins around to look at her, and Ruby realizes that he’s blind. She introduces herself and he’s unimpressed once he learns she’s one of the Greenwood students. Ruby snaps that she’s more that just a Greenwood girl, and he smirks that his grandmother (Mrs. Clairborne) and cousin (Mrs. Ironwood) will soon burn that out of her. Ruby insists that no one tells her what to think, and the pianist laughs again, then grows serious as he listens to her accent. He asks where she’s from, and when she says New Orleans, he’s able to hear past that and accurately pinpoint that she’s a CAJUN from the BAYOU. And instead of denying it or pleading a nanny from there or any attempt to maintain her cover, Ruby confesses that she’s from Houma.

The pianist (forget that, his name is Louis), asks if his grandmother knows about Ruby’s past. Ruby admits that she might, since Mrs. Ironwood knows, and Louis is surprised that she was allowed to enroll in the school at all. Ruby tells him that she’s also a blue-blooded Creole, and Louis is intrigued, because people can only have one background. Ruby asks him who he is, and compliments his piano playing. He mouths some blah about how he’s not playing, he’s screaming and crying through his fingers, but he waves this away, explaining that only another artiste would understand. Ruby is all “OMG I totally understand! I’m a painter, I know about expressing my screaming pain, do you want a link to my DeviantArt account??” and brags a little about the paintings that she’d sold through Dominique’s, since Louis’ attitude pisses her off. Louis seems impressed, and when she tells him that she usually paints BAYOU scenes, Louis describes the way that the lake used to look at twilight, and suggests that she paint that. Ruby, astutely, takes this to mean that he wasn’t always blind. Louis, tiring of Ruby as we all do, says sadly that no, he wasn’t always blind, and turns back to the piano, telling Ruby to get back to the tea before she’s missed. Ruby asks his name, and he tells her, then begins screaming through his fingers again, and Ruby leaves.

When she gets back to the tea, Abby immediately notices that Ruby is bummed out, since they’re ~*sisters*~ now, but Mrs. Clairborne ends the tea before Abby can ask Ruby about it. As they leave, Gisselle gives Ruby the side-eye, since she can tell that something’s happened, but then she gets distracted by Buck, kissing him a little while he helps her into the car. Abby and Ruby ignore this, and poor Mrs. Penny doesn’t notice. As soon as they’re in the car, Abby asks Ruby what happened, and Ruby, who can never just say something like “I wandered around in the house and met Mrs. Clairborne’s grandson”, says “I met a very interesting but very sad young man”. Mrs. Penny is horrified that Ruby went into the private wing of the house, but that’s waved away by the three girls, who want dirt. Mrs. Penny doesn’t want to answer them, saying “Oh dear, oh dear!” over and over, but Gisselle tells her to knock it off and tell them what’s up.

Turns out that Louis is the son of Mrs. Clairborne’s daughter, who died (along with her husband, Louis’ father) when he was 14 (he’s 30 now). After that, Louis went blind and suffers from melancholia, and usually doesn’t leave the house or speak to anyone. She doesn’t think he’s ever spoken to a student before (not till special, special Ruby, of course). Mrs. Clairborne doesn’t like anyone to speak of it, so Mrs. Penny begs the girls to drop it and not talk about it anymore. She won’t tell them how Louis’ parents died. When they get back to the dorm, Mrs. Penny hastens off, and Gisselle questions Abby and Ruby as to how they know Buck. She’s disappointed that they only met him the once, but muses that, hired help or no, he’s cute and the only game in town. She also demands to know everything that happened between Louis and Ruby, or else she’ll make something up and spread that around. Ruby tells her sister that she’s impossible and that she told her everything, and Gisselle accepts this, since it means that she’ll have to find out how Louis’ parents died some other way, and use the info to hold over Mrs. Penny’s head. Oh Gisselle.

Abby and Ruby change out of their tea party clothes and discuss Louis some more. Ruby tells Abby that Louis was able to detect her CAJUN past, and that he was surprised that she was allowed to enroll in the school. Abby muses about how surprised he’d be if he knew about HER secret past, and, naturally, Gisselle overhears the last part and wants to know the deets. Turns out that the story of Louis’ parents isn’t as much of a buried secret as Mrs. Penny thinks, as Jacki knew and has told Gisselle. Before our girl will tell her sister and Abby, though, she wants to know what Abby’s secret is. When they refuse to tell her, she threatens to invent something, and finally Ruby makes up a story about Abby being caught with a boy at her old school. Sans bra, even! Since Abby is surprised at the lie, it looks like she’s just surprised that Ruby’s blabbing, so Gisselle buys it. However, she’s decided she doesn’t want to tell them about Louis’ parents just yet, and she wheels herself off, laughing. Ruby tells Abby that she’ll tell them sooner or later, since Gisselle cannot keep a secret, but she wonders to herself what the terrible secret could possibly be.
And we’ll find out…next recap! ;D I’m sorry about the delay, guys, but I have the month off from derby, so I’ll whip myself into shape. Coming up: Louis’ secret, painting time with Miss Stevens, so, so many inappropriate boundaries. So many guys. It’s weird stuff.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Shannon says:

    You’ve come back to us! Hooray!

    Hilarious as always.

  2. silfert says:

    Ah, good ol’ Lamebeau. The anti-action hero!

    1. Megan says:

      Seriously. And the phone call is basically him whining that he misses Ruby and doesn’t Ruby miss him and wah wah wah. Suck it, Beau.

  3. Sadako says:

    Welcome back! 🙂

  4. Becca says:

    Ruby is a judgemental bey-otch! I think calories are a better weakness than naked painting sessions with her sister’s boyfriend…

    1. Megan says:

      Absolutely! Ruby is SO holier-than-thou, it’s ridiculous. She’s the worst. Heaven and Dawn certainly know their faults and are big queens of shouldering the guilt, Cathy justifies all of her actions to herself, but with major doubts, and Melody…well, Melody is just kinda simple. Ruby just thinks that since she came from Nature or whatever, that’s she’s qualified to judge everything that everyone does. It doesn’t help that *everyone* judges every action Gisselle takes.

      1. Becca says:

        Ruby is definitely the most sanctimonious out of all the VCA “heroines”. I guess coming from the bayou means you can do no wrong – ya know, even when you get knocked up by your boyfriend who runs off to France and you decide to marry your half-brother so your baby will have an Uncle/Daddy 😛

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