Ruby and Gisselle head back to New Orleans , their departure from Greenwood punctuated by Rachel coming to say goodbye to Ruby and telling her that she’ll always have family at Greenwood, and by Gisselle flirting with Buck when he comes to help out her wheelchair in the car. Oh Gisselle. Ruby feels like she’s trapped in a nightmare on the drive home, remembering the bad dreams and depressing paintings she used to do about her unknown father when she was a child in the BAYOU, and she compares herself to a “hobo looking for a handout of love” when she came to New Orleans looking for Pierre. There’s…really nothing that I can add to that, is there?
Well, now Grandmere Catherine is gone and Pierre is gone and Paul is far away and Ruby is sad and alone. Gisselle starts complaining in the car about how Daphne will really try to take over everything now, and there won’t be any Pierre to soften her tyranny. She wants to know why Pierre didn’t realize he was sick and go to a doctor, and Ruby judges her silently for being angry at their father instead of sad. Um, Ruby, I think anger is a perfectly reasonable reaction to grief. In fact, yeah, it’s even the second stage, so sorry that Gisselle doesn’t react the same way as you to everything. Then of course Gisselle has to sour my sympathy by being excited that her friends are bound to come over and visit once they’ve heard the news, and she’ll get an update of all of the gossip. Oh Gisselle.
They arrive at the house, and Ruby greets Edgar, who is so overwhelmed by grief at saying her name (since Pierre loved her so very much) that he can’t, and starts to cry. Oh lord. The girls go inside and the undertaker is there, as Daphne wanted the wake to be held in the house. Stock Creepy Undertaker Character #102 is oily and gross and brags about his handiwork with Pierre’s body rather than offering condolences. Ruby says goodbye to Pierre and is left to face Daphne, who is decked out in black lace like a “dowager queen” and who has some words for her two stepdaughters. She’s done putting up with Gisselle’s whining and Ruby’s complaints, since Pierre’s death is (to Daphne) ample evidence of what happens when you worry about other people and not yourself. The girls will get their inheritances when they turn 21, and until then Daphne is in charge, as she always has been, previous appearances to the contrary. The funeral will be in two days, after which Ruby and Gisselle are back to Greenwood. If they cause any trouble, she’ll send them to a stricter school, and if they really annoy her, then she’ll take their inheritances, send Gisselle to a “home for crippled people” and Ruby back to the BAYOU. Daphne tells them to go upstairs and get ready to greet visitors. Ruby wants to know if Jean’s been told about his brother’s death, but Daphne says of course not, because what would be the point? Ruby takes Gisselle upstairs. Gisselle wants to fight for staying in New Orleans, saying that after a while Daphne would just ignore them, and Gisselle can be with her friends again and Ruby with Beau, but Ruby would rather be at Greenwood than in the same house as Daphne. Gisselle has Edgar take her to her room, and Ruby goes down to see Nina, who of course had been trying all kinds of voodoo rituals to save Pierre, but she was thwarted by “someone” who let the devil in. Oh Daphne, you trollop.
Ruby goes back upstairs and calls Beau, who says he’ll be there soon, and gets ready for visitors. Ruby notices that Bruce Bristow, Pierre’s business manager, is there, and seems to be overly friendly with Daphne. Ruby has only met him a couple of times, but doesn’t like him, as he tends to ogle her and calls her “La Ruby” as though they had the kind of relationship that allowed for nicknames. Daphne sees that Gisselle isn’t there, and sends Ruby up to get her. Beau and his parents come in just as Ruby goes upstairs, so they only get a chance to say hello before she has to get Gisselle. Which she does splendidly, tearing the phone out of the wall and forcing Gisselle into her black dress and shoes, then making her go downstairs. Fun times. After a bit, Gisselle goes to talk with some friends and Ruby is able to be alone with Beau. They walk out to the gazebo and Ruby tells Beau that she wants to talk to Jean about Pierre, but that Daphne’s forbidden it. Beau tells Ruby that he’ll drive her out to see Jean (I hope he doesn’t just leave her there! Ha! I slay me!) and she’s very grateful and they kiss a little before Ruby feels guilty and they go back inside.
The next morning, Beau comes over and he and Ruby ride over to the hospital. On arrival, Ruby learns that Daphne has stopped paying for Jean’s private room, and he’s now staying in a ward, where he’s stopped caring about his belongings and appearance. When Ruby goes to speak to Jean, he actually seems to recognize her and be happy to see her, and then Ruby tells him that Pierre is dead and he doesn’t react well. He begins screaming Pierre’s name and has to be taken out of the ward. Ruby cries on Beau’s shoulder and blames herself (I wonder why) and they go back to the Dumas house for the wake. However, when Ruby gets home, she’s confronted by Daphne and Bruce. When Daphne hears where Ruby’s been, she threatens to tell Beau’s parents that Ruby’s already getting him into trouble and she doesn’t want to hear Ruby’s arguments for Jean having his old room back. Daphne tells Ruby that when she turns 21 and has her money, she can spend every penny on Jean if she wants to, but until then, she’s to go upstairs and stay quiet. Oh, and she can’t go to the wake. Ruby flips out at this, but Daphne is adamant. Gisselle pops into Ruby’s room when she hears her crying to find out what went on, but she’s about as sympathetic as you’d expect. What she wants Ruby to concentrate on is figuring out a way to convince Daphne to let them stay. Ruby laughs in her face. Gisselle wants to know why she can’t be punished like Ruby and stay home, and Ruby yells at her that Pierre loved her, and Gisselle yells back that he did until Ruby came along. She’s not…entirely wrong, there. Ruby turns around to cry some more and Gisselle leaves for the wake. A little while later, Gisselle sneaks Beau up to see Ruby, but they’re interrupted fairly quickly by Daphne, who kicks Beau out.
The funeral is…much like a funeral, but Ruby’s mood is brightened a little when Paul shows up. After the funeral, Daphne tells the girls to meet with Paul outside and make it quick, as she wants them to pack up to go back to Greenwood the next day. Gisselle protests that they should stay home for at least a week out of respect for Pierre, but Daphne wants to know if she’d spend the week praying and reading or calling her friends and partying. Nope, they’re going back to school. Gisselle goes inside, depressed, and Ruby visits with Paul. He gives her some of the BAYOU gossip, and tells her that he’s now working at his father’s cannery, making a good salary, and planning to build a house. Ruby asks if that means that he’s met someone else, but of course that’s not what it means. Ruby tells Paul that he needs to move on, but Edgar comes out and tells her that Daphne wants her inside, now. Ruby says goodbye to Paul, and with a minimum of incestuous weirdness, he leaves. Inside, Daphne wants to have a meeting with Bruce, Gisselle and Ruby. Gisselle asks if Paul’s left, but Daphne doesn’t want to sit around talk about “some Cajun boy”. And then:
“He’s not a boy; he’s a young man,” I said. “And the manager of his father’s factory.”
(Daphne) “Fine. I hope he becomes king of the swamp.”
I kind of love Daphne sometimes. Anyhow, Daphne wants the twins to know how the game has changed at Greenwood. Half the money that Pierre sent them, absolutely never will they get permission to leave the campus, and if they need money for some emergency, they can call Bruce and he’ll take it out of their trusts for them. They don’t need any new clothes, and they can put it in writing if they need money. She again threatens them with reform school and says that she never asked for Pierre to die and leave her to take care of his offspring from his “wild indulgences”. She sends them off to pack and tells Bruce to see to it that they get in the limo in the morning.
Still to come: more Louis weirdness, Gisselle is a bad, bad girl, and yet another sort-of medical miracle.