Just Choose Cathy, Cathy.

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Previously on Petals on the Wind:

The remaining Dollanganger siblings fled Foxworth Hall and ended up living up with Dr. Paul “I don’t know what boundaries are” Sheffield. Chris is going to be a doctor and spends a lot of time mooning over Cathy, Carrie was sent to boarding school because that was a smart decision and it turned out much the way you’d expect, and Cathy, our Cathy, has started a relationship with Paul and has just moved to New York to partner with fellow dancer Julian Marquet, along with pursuing an ever-increasing amount of revenge towards her mother.

And now, back to our story.

Cathy is keeping her engagement (oh lord) to Paul a secret, knowing that she needs to be able to partner with Julian in order to progress in the company and neither he nor Madame Zolta will be too enthusiastic to learn about her relationship status. Madame Z gives both Cathy and Julian raises, along with agreeing to sell Julian her Cadillac for a pittance (Julian is apparently wild about Cadillacs). He takes Cathy for a ride but soon enough starts wistfully wondering why Cathy doesn’t love him, followed by begging, followed by the usual Julian nastiness, culminating in Julian deliberately braking so as to cause Cathy to hit her head on the windshield, then stealing her purse and kicking her out of his car into the rain. Turns out that he abandoned her in Brooklyn, and though she’s able to get a cab back to her apartment, she doesn’t have any money with which to pay the $15 fare. Cathy convinces the cabdriver to let her go upstairs to get the money, which she is forced to borrow from a casually naked Yolanda. And what does Yolanda want in exchange for this favor, you might ask? She wants Cathy to invite Chris up to NYC the next weekend.

Cathy points out that Chris can’t just leave school whenever he wants, but Yolanda doesn’t want excuses, she wants Chris (and then Cathy doesn’t have to repay the $20) but Cathy refuses, insisting she’ll pay Yolanda back and won’t let Chris get involved with the “likes of you!”. Yolanda, who is only wearing panties and is putting on red lipstick sans mirror because she is a vil-lain, informs Cathy that she and Chris are *already* involved–she’s everyone’s type, including Chris’ AND Julian’s. Cathy calls Yolanda a whore and they fight briefly (Cathy decks her one and gives her a bloody nose) and in the end Cathy moves out of their apartment. Where is poor April during all of this? Also, of course the major theme of their fight is that Cathy considers Yolanda a whore and Yolanda considers Cathy a tease and naturally a woman can only be one or the other. Sigh.

Cathy stops off at Julian’s to get her purse back and he shoves her around as he demands to know who she’s in love with if she can’t love him. I wonder why she can’t love you, Julian, you’re such a prize. He correctly guesses that she’s involved with Paul but she denies it. Julian tells her he’s seen the way she looks at Paul—and he’s seen her look at Christopher the same way. Uh oh. Cathy slaps him then and they fight a bit (what a day she’s having) and Julian tells her that he’ll kill any man who comes between them. Then he gives her back her purse. Nice? As she’s leaving he curses her, and Cathy won’t repeat what he says, only that it ends with Julian telling her she’ll wish she’s in hell before he’s done with her. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD ANYONE TURN DOWN THIS GEM.

Cathy goes to Madame Zolta and tells her she can’t live with Yolanda anymore and effectively blackmails the director into giving her another raise so that she can have her own apartment. She sends Corrine one of her rave dancing reviews and a note, warning Mrs. Winslow that Cathy’s out there and she’s planning. Cathy mails the letter immediately and then cries because she’s never going to be free.

Julian comes over to tell Cathy that the company is going on tour to London (and to eat her bacon, of which she only had two slices, JULIAN) and she’s so excited that she puts her anger aside and they celebrate. Julian is full of praise for both of them and starts waxing poetic about the tour, and their fame, and then…their eventual marriage and children and ballet school. Cathy is forced to break into his reverie and point out that she’s not in love with him and therefore won’t be marrying him, that, in fact, she’s engaged to someone else. Julian loses it (again) and screams some more about how she’s leading him on before leaving her apartment. He could have at least thrown his tantrum before he ate her bacon.

Cathy goes home to Clairmont for Christmas, where she and Paul keep their engagement still a secret. She imagines Cory sitting with them opening gifts as well, and tells us that Carrie has grown half an inch. Chris gives her a locket and a poem, and Paul gives her a gray fox coat, which makes her think of her mother’s furs and the wealth that she betrayed her children for. Chris can tell that something is up between Cathy and Paul and spends most of the rest of Christmas Day up in his room. They all watch Cathy’s performance in The Nutcracker on TV that night, and Chris is a jerk about how romantic she and Julian appear. As Cathy is leaving Paul’s room early the next morning, she runs into Chris in the hallway because of course she does, and he runs away but not before giving her a look of disgust because of COURSE he does. Learn to deal with your emotions, Christopher!!!

The next day Cathy talks to Chris and tells him about her and Paul and their plans to marry, after he tells her that her new fur coat makes her seem like a kept woman (CHARMING) and he’s none too pleased about their engagement as I think we all might have suspected. Chris tells his sister that she doesn’t have to marry Paul to pay him back for helping them, but Cathy insists that isn’t the case and that she loves Paul. Chris wants to know how she’s going to marry Paul but dance with Julian, since Julian is obviously in love with her. Cathy can tell he isn’t just talking about Julian.

Cathy goes into town to have a ring for Carrie resized, when she realizes that Corrine is standing next to her at the jewelry counter. Corrine is there with a friend and doesn’t notice Cathy. They’re discussing a recent party and Cathy is bitterly disappointed when she realizes that Corrine likely didn’t watch her in The Nutcracker but was instead out and about. Paul comes up and refers to Cathy by name, but if Corrine hears him she doesn’t react. Cathy starts to cry, but doesn’t explain what’s happened to Paul.

Paul has planned a dinner party at a fancy restaurant that night and as Cathy is getting ready Chris comes in and kicks Carrie out of their room and proceeds to shake his sister whilst berating her about marrying Paul. How ever can Cathy choose from this cavalcade of winners? Chris tells Cathy that while he know it’s wrong, he loves her, and since she doesn’t even want to have kids, why can’t she just be with him? They don’t even have to sleep together! They can just all live together, happily ever after, if she just won’t marry Paul! Cathy very rightly tells him to shut up, and launches into him that she doesn’t think about him that way, that he makes her feel so guilty, that if they’d had anyone else around then he wouldn’t feel this way about her, but she thinks of him as only a brother. Chris tells Cathy she’s lying to herself and she’ll ruin Paul’s life and even Julian would be better if it had to be anyone, and oh she’s just as heartless as their mother. WHAT THE HELL, CHRISTOPHER.

Cathy points out that Chris has slept with Yolanda and there’s nothing he can do to stop her and Paul. Chris (the AUDACITY) says that he could tell Paul about them. ABOUT YOU WHAT. About that time that you assaulted her?! Go away, Christopher. And he does, after Cathy tells him that Paul already knows about what happened. Chris does not attend the dinner that evening.

Cathy and Paul and Carrie have a lovely evening and Paul gives Cathy an engagement ring. Now. Now, okay. Imagine that you’re friends with Paul. Imagine that you’re a member of this close-knit small town society and one day your friend and colleague is just like “Oh by the way, I’m getting married again!” “That’s wonderful,” you say, “It’s about time! Who’s the lucky lady?” and then your 40-something friend beams at you and says “It’s Cathy! My maybe-19 year old ward! The one I adopted, along with her brother and sister, when she was 14!” What do you do? What do you even do? If you’re, say, Paul’s sister, what do you do?

Well, we’re going to find out. Next time.

 

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Rosie says:

    So awesome to see you’re back to writing your blog and that you haven’t lost your touch! This is so amazing. Keep them coming!

  2. K says:

    Even when I was 12 or whatever I was when I first read these books, I thought the Paul relationship was sketch. Now I rightfully see it as repulsive. What was up with it being portrayed as sweet and positive? Ugh. I was a Cathy and Chris shipper and I still have a soft spot for them, as I hang my head in shame. I promise I don’t support incest in any other instance!

  3. Alicia Brown says:

    I’m glad you’re back! (Has it really been a year and a half?) LMAO at “It’s Cathy! My maybe-19 year old ward!” When I read these books at age 11 or 12 I remember thinking that Paul was too old for her, and that’s it. I had no concept of how horrifyingly wrong their relationship was on every level!

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