Guess who's back?
Tell your friends.
Oh, wait, Chris and Cathy don't have friends, because their selfish, terrible, inconsiderate mother (who is out-of-this world beautiful & wonderful and smells great and wears flimy negligee while interacting with her children) locked them in a room in Foxworth Hall.
In case you were interested, Corrine is wearing a "beautiful lightweight suit, with soft gray fur at the cuffs and around the neck of the jacket."
Corrine yammers on about missing them, wondering why they aren't so excited to see her, and she's got presents and excuses and she's just a full paragraph of terrible. She ends with "you didn't suffer, did you?"
Cathy is feeling conflicted,because she loves her mother and wants to trust her.
Chris's voice has dropped and he tries to be very diplomatic, saying that of course they missed her but it was wrong of her to stay away for so long. Is anyone going to be like "Mom, we feel like shit, the twins aren't growing, and by the way, our grandmother didn't feed us for 10 days? Look the scar on Chris's arm from where he fed us with his blood." or even "hey, in case you didn't know, we are children and children need to be in school" or "hi mom, can you please get me a bra?"
Anyway, so Corrine is upset at Chris, and asks him if something went wrong.
He responds with an impassioned plea for her to really look at them, and realize how much they have grown up in the attic.
They argue and talk about love. Chris feels that he has to love his mother, and it goes on for several paragraphs. In short, they love her, but they have had enough of being in the attic. He demands that she let them out of the room. He offers to let her off, scot free. She'll never have to see them again. Cathy thinks about the starvation, the tar, and the blood drinking. Cathy decides that what Chris is saying and the way he is saying it to Corrine is her fault. I'm not sure why she thinks that what he does has anything to do with her, but apparently the mom has also decided that Chris's behavior is Cathy's fault.
So convoluted. Cathy starts yelling at Corrine as well, pointing out the obvious - the twins are gaunt and have dull hair, their eyes are "hollowed out" and look unhealthy. Corrine doesn't like this, turning away and crying. Corrine manipulates the children, textbook style. She turns it around, pointing out that the children agreed to wait in the attic until the patriarch's death. She promises rewards in the future. Cathy is touched by Corrine's monologuing, but isn't buying it. Chris is quiet. Cathy follows suit.
Corrine cries about her children being ungrateful. Says that she is the only person who cares about them. They hug their mother and apologize to her.
Pardon me, but
God damn it.
Corrine is such a bitch.
She shoved Chris and me aside, then brushed off our hands as if they burned, and she got to her feet. Now she refused to meet our eyes which begged, pleaded, cajoled.
"Open your gifts that I selected with such care," she said in a cold voice filled with choked sobs, "and then tell me whether or not you are thought about and loved."
Corrine looks awful, btw, while she's being stone cold. Mascara is dripping down her face, her lipstick is smeared, her hair is a mess. Cathy points this out. I can't say I wouldn't be equally petty if I were narrating a book about my imprisonment.
Corrine ignores everyone but Chris, and tells him that she purchased a set of encyclopedias for him. They are bound in genuine red leather, tooled in twenty-four-karat gold around four sides, and hubbed-spined a full half-inch outward. They will have his name on them, but she can't mail them to him directly.
Cathy is at least smart enough to think about the cost of the books and how that money could be better used in their escape from Foxworth Prison funds, but then realizes that Chris really wants them.
How much the world has changed! When i was a kid, we had encyclopedias in the hallways, AND a CD-ROM encyclopedia that took equally if not longer to use. These genuine leather bound encyclopedias that cost Corrine thousands are now worth nothing.
Momma Corrine raises her head "regally" and turns to leave. She then tells them the following:
"When you have thought about the pain you have given me today, and when you can treat me with love and respect again, then I will come back. Not before."
That's not how this works, Corrine.
Turns out that the mother-of-the-year didn't speak, touch, hug, or even really look at the twins. So Cathy sucks it up and pretends to be happy for them. Carrie is concerned that she looks funny, and didn't grow. Cathy lies and tells her she grew lots. They open their gifts.
New books, new toys, new games, new puzzles. Corrine knew their tastes and hobbie, but not their sizes. She also brought Cathy books she's already read.
Cory was gifted a banjo. Not even going to question the logic here. Corrine is all "oh, it's so hard for me to sneak gifts to you" ... but here's a banjo that I wrapped. Never mind me, servants, mind your business, I'm just carrying a stack of wrapped gifts to the attic, nothing to see here, it's not weird. Cory immediately knows how to play it and Carrie sings along. If only Corrine wasn't a terrible person, they could have managed to make money by becoming a family band!
Cathy is lectured by her brother. She is too upset to eat the candy, and he yells at her about playing the martyr and suffering needlessly.
The dresses her mother got her don't fit in the bust, because we can't go a chapter without being reminded that Cathy has breasts. I am glad that Lifetime decided to do this recently, otherwise it might have ended up as a limited HBO series; and no one needs that.
Chris is a complete ass while Cathy is upset. He tells her:
"Make out a shopping list," he joked. "It's time you started wearing bras and stopped bobbing up and down. And while you are at it, write down a girdle, too."
Thankfully, Cathy yells at him. But not in the "destroyed by words" way I want to yell at his smug, stupid, douche-bro face. She tells him to shut up, and that she shouldn't have to point out that she's no longer a tween, it's obvious that her mother hasn't looked at her. Unfortunately, she closes her statement with "what you need is a jock strap - and some sense in your head that doesn't come from a book!" Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Cathy flounces out and starts dancing in the attic. After pointing out that she hates everyone and everything and wants to be dead. Well, she is a teenager, so some of that is hormonal and some of it is situational, and she's entitled to her feelings. She dances so hard and fast that she falls and hurts herself. She struggles on her now-bum knee and climbs out onto the roof and contemplates throwing herself into the rose bushes. (Where there be thorns!) And imagines a future where the mother and grandmother make up a story about a local girl climbing up the house and dying, and then Corrine feeling so bad that she lets Chris and the twins out. Cathy then wonders "what if momma doesn't care" and worries about the twins. Cathy climbs back up the roof and lays outside well into night, getting colder and colder. She ponders God and Heaven.
Eventually Chris comes up and gives her a jacket. He tells her that the twins have eaten dinner & they only pretended to eat all of the candy. She's like "wtf is wrong with you" in her head, but is unable to voice her concerns. He lectures her about not saying "ugly things." Cathy points out that what she said is true, and it's what she feels, and she knows he feels the same way. He says that he has never wished himself dead, and that she shouldn't say such things or even think about death.
Fuck that. Stop trying to make mental health about "smiling more." You will be a shitty doctor, Christopher Dollanganger Foxworth Jr.
Eventually, Chris tells her that he isn't stupid and he knows that she's more of a mother to the twins than Corrine. Since this is a "gothic horror romance" novel, we learn that his voice is "gritty, hushed, and deep." He also spoke "without bitterness, only regret - just the flat, emotionless way a doctor tells his patient he has a terminal illness."
How would she even know about the "flat emotionless way a doctor tells his patients he has a terminal illness?" She's been locked in an attic for several years, medical dramas aren't really a thing yet, and as far as I know, they have lived a pretty charmed life and never heard a doctor diagnose anyone with a terminal illness.
That's when it came over me in a cataclysmic flood -- I loved Chris -- and he was my brother.
Cathy also points out "what a perfect way to strike back at Momma and the grandparents." She decides that God has closed his eyes to everything the day Jesus was put on the cross. She also realizes that her Daddy would see her and feels shame. Chris demands that she look at him.
She then apologizes to him, saying she didn't mean it, and she's just so afraid all the time and how she wants to do things, outside things. They hold each other.
Finally, she points out that they have to take the initiative, and points out that old adage that many of our fundies forget: "God helps those who help themselves."
Chris pathetically says "I'll give it some thought, though, as Momma said, we could come any day into that fortune."