So six months go by. Ruby’s decorating the house, with daily visits from Gladys (oh hurrah). Ruby gets to focus mainly on her studio since Gladys refuses to deal with it. Paul’s busy at the cannery and with his oil wells, including a new one which he names “Pearl’s Well”, putting the proceeds from that well into a trust for Pearl. They have lots of dinner parties for Paul’s business associates and Paul likes showing off for people who expected less from a CAJUN. Yeah yeah yeah, we know. You’re rich. You’re CAJUN. Get a reality show already.
Ruby finally sends a letter to Daphne, telling her about marrying Paul and about Pearl and about how much oil they have (seriously guys), but really all she wants is for the Dumas family attorney to have her contact info. Okay, that’s fair. (But she does rub in the rich rich rich! thing for awhile)
ASIDE: I picked up the wrong book here for a second and it took me far too long to realize it. “Who the hell is Howard? Wait…”
Unsurprisingly, Daphne never writes back. Rude! One night, Jeanne (who has become good friends with Ruby) comes over to get relationship advice. See, Jeanne’s been dating her boyfriend James for a while, and she thinks that they’re going to be getting engaged soon, so she wants to know what made Ruby finally decide to marry Paul. Ooops. Also, who asks their sister-in-law that question? “So what made you decide to settle on my brother? You totally love him, right? Also, how many guys have you slept with?” I didn’t make that last one up, she really asks Ruby that. Ruby, naturally, lies and says that she didn’t. Sure enough, Jeanne and James get engaged a few days later. After a night discussing the wedding, Paul comes by Ruby’s bedroom to mope for a while about how he wishes that they could have had a big fancy wedding as well. He also kisses her on the neck, but we have enough squick to come.
And then…Gisselle!! She comes rolling in three days later with two random dudes in tow. She compliments Ruby on what she’s accomplished, “for a CAJUN”, whines when her boy toys admire Cypress Woods, and does everything short of yell “BY THE WAY HOW’S OUR BROTHER,YOUR HUSBAND?” in front of her boyfriends. Though she does ask that precise question once the men are out of earshot. She also informs Ruby that Beau and his French fiancee have broken up, so Ruby might have been able to be with him after all if she hadn’t rushed into marrying Paul. Ruby doesn’t take that well. Later on, once Gisselle’s escorts have been sent away to tour the grounds, she tells Ruby all about Daphne and Bruce and their sham of a marriage, oh and by the way, Gisselle’s totally slept with Bruce. Ruby is appalled, but Gisselle notes that it’s really no worse than sleeping with one’s half-brother. Ruby insists that doesn’t happen and Gisselle doesn’t understand the point of getting married then.
Which, again, Gisselle and Paul, you guys. Would have solved so many problems.
Gisselle is equally annoyed to learn that Ruby’s not supplementing her lack of marital relations with some secret lover and mentions that she wrote to Beau and told him about Ruby’s wedding. Nice. OH AND BY THE WAY. Uncle Jean has killed himself. Ruby is horrified and Gisselle rather gleefully tells her that it happened months before, Daphne refused to contact Ruby, and well, you know that Gisselle hates writing letters and bad news. Ruby’s sadness is interrupted by the arrival of Paul. He kisses Gisselle hello and she turns her face so that he kisses her lips (OTP y’all). Paul is flustered by this realization of his dreams and invites Gisselle and her men over for dinner. She’d rather go out, so after some back and forth about whether the SWAMPS are, like totally lame, Gisselle and the lads leave.
After they leave, Ruby goes up to her room to ponder all of the ways that her life is royally screwed up. She mopes in there for so long that it gets dark outside and she’s missing Grandmere Catherine when suddenly she hears the sound of someone in boots coming down the hallway. You know what that means, right? Do you know what time it is? That’s right!
IT’S CONFEDERATE ROLE-PLAY TIME!!!
Who is at her door you ask? Well, technically it’s Paul in a Confederate officer’s uniform and a fake red Vandyke beard, but when Ruby laughs and calls him Paul, he corrects her in a done-up accent and tells her that his name is William Henry Tate, and he’s there to cheer her up after he heard some Yankees ruined her day. He wants to invite her for dinner and he’s even brought a dress for her to borrow. Ruby, cheered up and playing along, agrees and “William” leaves her so that she can get changed.
Now, okay, to a degree, this is actually pretty cute. It’s fun, it’s making Ruby laugh again, and hey, they’ve got the money to spend on outfits and what not. But this is Paul and Ruby we’re talking about, so naturally it’s gonna get weird. Plus, Paul couldn’t get a beard that matched his natural hair color*? Does this beard make him his own evil twin?
Ruby gets dressed and does her hair and goes down to dinner, where “William” tells her Civil War anecdotes and they have a good time. After dinner, they go walking on the patio and Ruby thanks Paul for going to all that trouble to cheer her up. (This is after Paul says the title of this post. Yes that is a direct quote, but I’ll let that one slide). Paul tries to initiate some makeouts, but Ruby hastily thanks him and they continue in character until Ruby goes to bed. Where she’s rather promptly joined by Paul, who tells her to call him William, and then they have sex.
GOD DAMMIT YOU TWO. THIS IS NOT OKAY. LARPING IS NOT REAL LIFE. YOU ARE STILL BROTHER AND SISTER. Don’t get me started on Ruby, who’s all “No wait hold on oh wait I like that” AGAIN I SAY AGAIN: PAUL TATE YOU ARE GROTESQUE. Plus, really, he won you over with Civil War anecdotes? Really? Please tell me they were just scenes from Gone with the Wind. “And then there was this time that I was fleeing Atlanta as it burned, and I was in a cart with the woman I loved and her sister-in-law and–”
That is just so not the point, Swamp Thing.
Ugh. So the next day, Paul acts like nothing happened, though Ruby gets him to admit that maaaaaybe just maaaaaaybe something might have possibly happened. After he suggests to Ruby that she just had sexy dreams about him, though. I HATE YOU PAUL. Ruby goes upstairs to paint and gets inspired to paint a series about a Civil War couple. Jeanne comes over in the midst of Ruby’s paintings and they have fun planning Jeanne’s 1960s wedding for a bit. “What it’s going to need, Jeanne, is more eyeliner.”
The planning goes on and on over family dinners and whatnot, with Gladys demeaning all of Jeanne’s choices, especially if Ruby approves of them. At one of these family dinners, Gladys tells Ruby that she and Paul’s father have political ambitions for Paul. I cannot even imagine Paul in a position of any authority whatsoever. Ruby allows herself to imagine how pissed off Gisselle would be to see her sister as first lady of Louisiana, but then, think of the Devil, she gets a postcard from Gisselle shortly thereafter. Surprise! Gisselle’s in Paris! And guess who else is there? Beau!! Who has a thin mustache now, just like Rhett Butler.
Stop haunting me, movie. I’m not turning on the Netflix Instant. I’m not.
You are on my last nerve today, guy.
Ruby starts getting lots of postcards from Gisselle, each one detailing all of the amazing fun that she and Beau are having in Paris and how she believes that Beau has finally started to love her for herself and not just because she reminds him of Ruby. Ruby hates reading the cards, but can’t help it, and she hides them from Paul. Jeanne’s wedding is wonderful, though it makes both Paul and Ruby a little sad. Paul tries to parlay that into something else, but Ruby shuts him down. Two days after the wedding, Ruby gets the last postcard from Gisselle, announcing that she and Beau are back in New Orleans, where Beau will go to med school and Gisselle is going to go to college. Gisselle hints that she might bring Beau out to Cypress Woods for a visit very soon, a thought which terrifies Ruby.
Having finished four of the paintings in her new series, Ruby has also been steadily sending landscapes into New Orleans to be sold in Dominique’s studio, where they sell like hotcakes, again making me wonder why the hell she needed to marry Paul for support again. A New Orleans paper does a story and photo spread about her, which, according to a letter from Gisselle, nearly makes Daphne drop her coffee on herself when she sees it. In the same letter, Gisselle notes that she thinks Beau will be proposing to her very soon, and that when it happens, Ruby will be first to know. In fact, Gisselle thinks it might be happening in just a week, since she, Beau, Daphne, and Bruce are heading out to the ranch that the Dumas own.
Ruby doesn’t write back, obviously, and she falls into a depression. She does hear from Gisselle a week later, though. While she and Paul are eating dinner, James (the butler, not Jeanne’s husband) comes to tell her that Gisselle is on the phone for her and she sounds all worked up. Ruby assumes that Gisselle’s calling to tell her that she and Beau are engaged, so she takes the call in Paul’s office. Gisselle certainly is worked up, for you see, Daphne went riding that afternoon and fell from her horse, hitting her head. Gisselle now only has her sister, she tells Ruby, because Daphne is dead.
RIP, Jean Dumas and Daphne Dumas Whatever Bruce’s Last Name is. (It’s Bristow, but who cares?) Thanks for thinning the cast?
Up next: Beau and his mustache speak some French, Bruce is pitiful, and Ruby has some more decisions made for her. See you then!
*Yeah, I know, lots of men with brown hair actually grow red beards. I’m marryin’ one! (POINTLESS PERSONAL ANECDATA) But we all know Paul just picked a beard at random and was probably drawn to the red for reasons I needn’t elaborate. Unless it was a complicated psychological need to manifest Ruby’s status as his “beard” of sorts in a physical manner on his face…okay probably not.
Plus, we all know Paul can’t grow a beard.