Quinn is shocked when he returns to Blackwood Farm to see the restoration done on the white wicker furniture from the attic so it's now just like it was in his dream with Rebecca. Quinn thinks about how Mona will understand, as will “that kindly man” Stirling Oliver and “Nash, who seemed as great and kind as a teacher could be.” I'm not totally sure what he's talking about in terms of understanding but in any case, when Quinn walks in, Nash has his luggage by the door and is leaving. He tells Quinn that he can't stay and that he has to talk to Aunt Queen before he talks to Quinn.
Naturally, as would be the case for anyone who has known a man for an entire day, Quinn is “devastated” and asks if this is about their talk last night, if Nash thinks he's insane, but Nash says that's not the case. He repeats he has to leave and to speak to “Miss Queen” alone but promises he won't leave without telling Quinn.
Quinn “let them go to the front parlor together” and then goes to the kitchen for lunch where “Jasmine was just telling Big Ramona that they were rich.” Quinn thinks about how they were always rich, “they just didn't want to leave Blackwood Manor, everybody knew.”
Reminder that the all-black staff just really fucking LOVES working for the rich white people, they really do, they love it so much that even though they're totally rich they just don't want to leave said family or said family's property ever even though they definitely absolutely have the means to. They just really love it that much!
...seriously guys I cannot stress the level of creepy this is if you know anything about the “happy slave” narrative and how many Southern white people still do cling to it. Like Rice making them rich enough they COULD leave is what shows to me she's really bending over backwards to make sure the reader knows just how much they super love working for even richer white people and living in a bungalow with their hand-me-downs.
When he goes to the parlor, Aunt Queen explains “Nash is under the impression that you'll be disturbed in time by the fact that he hasn't so much chosen a bachelor's life as been rather predisposed to it.”
To which Quinn replies by asking if this means Nash is gay. Despite the fact this is exactly what Aunt Queen was saying, she is “shocked” because, I guess, maybe she didn't realize Quinn knew what that was? Or she just doesn't approve of saying something that bluntly, which is indeed what I would expect from a rich old sassy Southern lady.
Nash says yes, that's it. And then Quinn says this: “I knew that last night. Oh, don't worry that you gave it away with some obvious gesture or mannerism. You didn't. I just sensed it because I'm probably that way myself; at least, I'm bisexual, I have no doubt of that.”
Nash is in “stunned silence” but Aunt Queen gives a “low pleasant laugh” and says “Oh my precocious one. You never fail to charm me. Bisexual it is, how Byronic and charming. Doesn't that double one's chances for love? I'm so delighted.”
You know what I have no idea how to respond this or exactly what I even think of it so I'll just leave it here as is without comment.
I guess Nash must feel the same way because he just keeps staring and Quinn decides that Nash must be resigning not because he's gay but because "of what he'd seen in me and what I'd told him about my own predilections!" Because everything is about Quinn, I guess. Admittedly, I do think Quinn is right but I think it might be more that Nash is attracted to Quinn and, being a good responsible adult who isn't as keen on boning teenagers as most Rice characters, wants to remove any possibility of something bad happening.
Quinn, ever tactful, tells Nash he's "got to stay" and "let's take a vow that nothing erotic will ever pass between us."
So basically, Nash says he's gay, and Quinn responds by saying "well let's just promise never to bone"
I know I just said that it is likely indeed the case that Nash is attracted to Quinn, but this is still staggeringly embarrassing for a number of reasons and I dearly wish Nash had responded with something like "oh don't flatter yourself you little rich twit I like bears"
Aunt Queen agrees that this is a "potent argument" on Quinn's part, that there are lots of gay people all over the countries who are "fine teachers" and that "the matter is settled"
I notice both Quinn and AQ here both aren't just ASKING Nash to stay; Quinn is TELLING him he has "got to stay" and AQ is acting as if he's already agreed. I like to think this is a deliberate way to show they're both people used to getting what they want and just being surrounded by servants rather than those who can easily refuse them.
Also did I not predict LAST CHAPTER that this EXACTLY would be Nash's big dark secret? DIDN'T I?? Speaking of which if this is indeed the big dark secret it's REALLY CRAPPY STORYTELLING on Rice's part to reveal it the very next chapter and have no fallout whatsoever, especially in a goddamned dramatic mystery story like this.
Quinn shakes Nash's hand for some reason and Nash gives a "softly murmured statement that he would stay" and Quinn runs upstairs to get three hundred dollars from his drawer, make sure he's in his best suit with the Versace tie, and then as he goes back downstairs he feels something pull at him. But it's not Goblin "so much as it was a feeling or a mass of feelings" and he feels like Rebecca is with him for a minute. She probably is, as we get this line in italics:
"Little redheaded bitch...black bitch!"
Huh. How would Rebecca know about Mona? Maybe she could hear Quinn telling Nash about her last night. Wouldn't it be something if she was just his misogynistic subconscious though?
Quinn is sure she's waiting for him to fall asleep so she can talk to him, and in italics we get:
"A life for my life. A death for my death."
Shit, Rebecca is getting serious! Quinn thinks so too as he says, "Murderous ghost, get away from me!"
Then randomly thinks about the fact the wicker is refurbished again.
He takes Sweetheart's Mercedes 450 sedan and goes to Mona's address with a bouquet. There's a paragraph about her grand house but it's well-done so it's enjoyable, in Rice's typical good Gothic Romantic prose, without being irritating.
Mona answers and we are reminded she's a green-eyed redhead. And a "naturally rouged mouth" he wants to kiss and a white shirt and tight white pants and white sandals that show her red-painted toenails he also wants to kiss. He starts by "covering her mouth with mine" and "grabbing for her tiny wrists" but she breaks away and says they have to leave quick, which they do. She tells him to go to The LaFrreniere Cottages, that she called them this morning. Quinn asks how she knew he'd come, she explains "I'm a witch" and that's how she knew when he left his home and that Goblin is in the car with them now even though Quinn can't even see him at the moment, and that she wanted him to come. Quinn says she put a spell on him (not sure if he's serious) and he hasn't slept since he last saw her and "Only lawyers and wills have kept me from you, tales of infidelity and orphan children and roaming in ghostly furniture and forging alliances as strong as I intend to forge with you."
....Mona understandably responds "God you've got some vocabulary. Or maybe it's your delivery." Then she declares that it's meant he should come to her because "I'm Ophelia always, floating in the flowery stream. I need your rushing poetry. Can you drive if I unzip your pants?"
HAHAH DAMN MONA
Quinn wisely says that's not a good idea, and then adds he thinks this might all be a hallucination. She says it's not and asks if he has any condoms. Quinn quickly becomes frantic about how they have to get condoms, to which Mona responds,
"No we don't. I have tons of them in my purse."
AND THAT'S THE LAST LINE
Man, I actually like Mona? She's funny. I mean, when I remember all I've read about her adventures prior to this book she is a really concerning, disturbing character to me, as I said in her introduction, but if I had absolutely no foreknowledge of her, this would be HILARIOUS to me and it actually still is when I read it before I remember WHY she's so frankly sexual.