Justin gets up to hug in her welcome immediately, tells her she's beautiful, asks her how her day was. He's always so attentive to her, she thinks, even when she pushes & tests him, he's still always so gracious. She doesn't want to keep him a secret, but there is no way her parents will see past the fact that he works in a bar, that he didn't go to college (she shudders at thought of telling them he didn't finish high school, but they wouldn't even ask something like that.) no matter how nicely he behaves.
She tells him she has a snobby Beverly Hills bitch for a boss & a stupid job, and he kisses her, biting and playful. He nibbles on her ear & she feels herself melting inside. "I have something to tell you," she whispers, before he drives it right out of her head.
She can see it on his face, when she tells him her parents can't know about him, it's like she dropped a bomb on him. "You're ashamed of me," he says, his voice dead & wooden. "I'm not ashamed of you, Justin," she protests, "Please understand, it took a lot for them to allow me to go to school so far away from them, and to spend the summers here, too...I have a history of getting into trouble & "self-destructive behaviors"," she says, "They would completely misinterpret you, and make me go back home if they knew about us." She wishes he didn't look so crushed, she wishes he understood how precarious her position is, until she gets her trust fund money, until she's independent, she can't defy them. And they don't trust her judgement, and would never accept Justin. "They can't force you back east, Eleanor," he says, "You're an adult now." Eleanor shakes her head sadly, ashamed to admit to her wretched state of dependence, "They pay for the school, for everything, please Justin, it's just a couple of weeks, and most of the time I'll be going to museums and such with them. But when they do visit here, I just need for them not to know...that I'm your girl. Pretend like we're just friends, neighbors, okay?"
He's never refused her anything yet, and he agrees to this as well. "I'm sorry, Justin, I really am," she says, feeling a deep chagrin, testing him harder than she ever meant to, needing him to come through. "I'll do what you want, Princess, but I need to know, am I something you're going to toss aside as soon as you finish school? Are you ever going to be able to bring me into your family? Am I some dirty secret of yours?" he asks, forcing her to face him. She tries to imagine him, in the family home, in the same room as her father, her mother, but she just can't get the picture to focus, and she squirms under his gaze.
He groans at her indecision and kisses her, inhaling her. "Eleanor," he sighs, his lips against her throat, "As long as you're tossing me crumbs, I'll be at your feet to lick them up, if you want me to live in your closet the rest of my life, I'll do that, too. I just want to know what it's going to be." Eleanor nestles her head against his chest, running her hands over his muscles, he's tense, waiting for her to speak. She's never thought past school, what she'll do with herself after graduation. But she's not going home, and she won't be able to live off their money without being under their supervision. "When I finish school, I'll be on my own, Justin, I won't have to please my parents, only myself," she says, looking forward to the day. But she has no idea what she wants to do, cannot picture herself outside of the protective walls of the home & school, trying to figure where Justin fits into that vague imagining is impossible.