Beau and Gisselle leave after plenty of complaining over breakfast by Gisselle, who had nightmares all night about swamp creatures getting into her bedroom.
That’s just inappropriate.
Anyway, they leave, but first Beau manages to sneak Ruby a slip of paper with the address of his secret love apartment on it and a date and time when he’ll be waiting for Ruby. What if that’s not a convenient time for her, Beau? She’s the one who lives hours away and has a baby. But whatever. Ruby spends the rest of the day painting and having a nice internal battle about whether or not to go and have her secret rendezvous.
- But you and Beau’s love is magical and pure and you should totally be able to be together
- But it’ll hurt Paul and he loves you and Pearl so much
- Well then, you should definitely keep this affair a secret, so as not to hurt Paul, but you should totally still do it
- Um, that’s lying
- It’s not lying if you do it to protect someone you care about!
- Yes it is! And would Paul do that to you?
- No, but Paul did make a promise that you two wouldn’t stand in the way if you found someone else
- Yeah but–
Ruby goes back to the hotel and calls Paul, telling him about the show, then she goes to dinner with Beau and they spend the night together. (Six!) The next morning she goes back to Cypress Woods and learns that Mrs. Flemming’s daughter in England has been in an accident, so the nanny has to leave immediately and go to her. Ruby feels terrible, mainly because she remembers an old saying of Nina Jackson’s and wonders if she’s given the Devil an opening into her life. Wow, straight to Satan, huh Ruby? I’m sure he made time on his schedule just to mess with you.
Paul comes home from his own business trip a few days later and tells Ruby that he tried to call her at the hotel the night she spent with Beau, but he doesn’t want her to think that he was checking up on her. Oh that’s exactly what you were doing Paul, don’t even try it. So Ruby promptly admits that she was with Beau. Paul lets her have it a bit, asking if she just doesn’t have any self-respect, going back to the man who deserted her and Pearl and then married her sister. He wants to know if she and Beau have made any plans (such as divorce) but Ruby has to admit that they didn’t really talk about that sort of thing. Ruby begs Paul to at least yell at her or something, but he won’t, and he changes the subject to how much he’s been talking up her artwork to his rich business contacts. He tells her that he’s invited Jeanne and James over for dinner, then leaves the room.
So that night at dinner, Ruby notices that Jeanne seems upset and sure enough, as soon as the two are alone, Jeanne starts crying and tells Ruby that she and James haven’t slept together in weeks and she doesn’t know what to do. She wants advice from Ruby since she and Paul are so happy together and seem to find time for romance no matter how busy Paul gets. Two words, Jeanne. Hoop. Skirt. Ruby tells Jeanne that nothing is perfect and that relationships take time, and Jeanne seems to respond to the advice and thanks Ruby. After the couple leave, Paul tells Ruby that James had asked him for advice as well. He and Ruby sit outside for a while and look at the stars, then they sadly go up to their separate rooms, where, Ruby tells us, Paul embraced a pillow and she embraced her memories of Beau.
Wait a minute.
Does that…mean what I think it means?
MOVING ON. Beau calls up Ruby the next day, all giddy with excitement over planning their next outing. Ruby tells him about Mrs. Flemming leaving and again reminds him that she’s not bringing Pearl to their love shack, and when he still pushes she tells him that Paul knows. Beau admits that Gisselle is suspicious too and has been making some threats, so our star-crossed (hahahaha) lovers end their affair and hang up.
Time passes and Ruby busies herself with Pearl and Paul works a lot and she thinks this is how it’ll go on until they die when she gets a surprise phone call one evening a couple of weeks later. It’s Beau, who tells her that he and Gisselle are out at that Dumas ranch again and that there’s been another incident. Gisselle was bitten up by mosquitoes and started to get headaches, followed by a fever, hallucinations, and paralysis. The doctor came out and determined that Gisselle (now in a coma) has contracted St. Louis encephalitis and the outlook doesn’t look good. She may remain in the coma indefinitely. Ruby wants to know if Gisselle’s in the hospital, but no, see Beau had a better idea. Since only Beau, the doctor, and the servants know what’s happened to Gisselle and they can be paid off, Beau’s had a wonderful, awful idea: Ruby can pretend to be Gisselle and be “married” to Beau, and they can pretend that it was Ruby who got sick and just tuck poor Gisselle into an institution somewhere. Somebody’s been watching Ringer!
(Although seriously, are any of y’all watching Ringer? It’s so delightfully cheesy, I love it. It’s like a cheeseball covered in cheese then deep-fried. Amazing. And it’s about a poor but kindly twin pretending to be her catty bitch of a rich twin. Territory I am more than comfortable with!)
Ahem. Ruby is far more tempted by the idea than any sane person should be, and tells Beau that she’ll talk to Paul about it. When she does, he gets very bitter again over the fact that she still loves Beau, but agrees to help with the plan. What’s more, he’ll bring Gisselle to Cypress Woods and care for her there, since that’s no less than people would expect him to do for Ruby. Ruby finally worries about Pearl, but Paul has an answer for that too—with Mrs. Flemming gone and Ruby sick, no one will question that he’d send Pearl to live with her aunt and uncle. Um, they totally would. It’s Beau and Gisselle! Ruby’s overwhelmed by Paul’s reaction to the whole thing, though she realizes that he’s doing this in part to keep her near him, as he asks her to visit her sick sister sometimes. With this all decided, Ruby’s biggest worry is that she won’t be able to pull off pretending to be Gisselle. Not whether or not your sister will die or wake up or your brother-husband will go crazy or your daughter will be super confused or anything like that, Ruby? Okay.
And that leads us to Book Two! Up next: twin-switching madness, more unnecessary racial details about servants, and Paul goes full nutso. See you then!