Life didn't come to a standstill when Eleanor's parents came to town. She still has to go to work. At least she has something to do, writing a review of an art show in a gallery in Silver Lake Mercedes sent her to. Rarely in her own office, Mercedes happens to be on hand when Eleanor's mother calls to tell her she's dropping by to see where she works. Like she needs both her mother & Mercedes in the same room...
Eleanor was sure her mother would hate Mercedes, but the phony Beverly Hills bitch knows old money when she smells it & sucks up hard to her mother, complimenting her on her famous charity balls, fawning on her for 'advice'on her own upcoming charity event. Her mother is instantly delighted with Mercedes.
The two of them go on forever, leaving Eleanor to wonder where her father is.
As soon as Mercedes leaves, her mother starts in on her, "I don't like the way that neighbor of yours, the cook, looks at you, Eleanor. He looks like a predator, you should have him thrown out of there."
It's too absurd for words, but she has to say something, "Mother, that's ridiculous. Justin isn't a predator, or a cook, either, for that matter. He's my neighbor, and my friend."
"Child, you can't be living in a city of gold diggers like this and be so naive. You can't trust men like that, they're never your 'friends'. They are only after one thing: your fortune. You stay away from that, that beastly neighbor of yours." Eleanor never expects a good opinion of anything from her mother, but she's getting out of hand with it now, talking like they live in an Austen novel, like she's the center of her own little provincial world, "I don't tell people about the money & I don't go around in designer clothes, showing off. None of my friends are gold diggers, they wouldn't know I had anything to dig at if you didn't show up to demonstrate it to them. And I am NOT naive!"
Her mother does not like to be contradicted. But at least this time she doesn't threaten to make Eleanor come home.
After an awkward silence, her mother starts a new subject, "I have excellent news, child. Your father's friend Dr. Chaudhri has invited us to his home for dinner, and your friend Zach will be invited as well. This is an excellent opportunity for you to talk to him." What is she thinking? Eleanor wonders. "Mother, Zach is my friend, I talk to him all the time. I'm not interested in him like that. I've told you I don't want to get involved romantically or marry. I certainly don't need a matchmaker." Eleanor has bent to her mother's will on many issues, but she will not back down on this. Her mother will not talk her into dating Zach, or even pretending to date him.