Xtina tells her mother her dress is fabulous, she has a wonderful sense of style. Eleanor stands, mouth agape, watching her friend lie with skill & ease. And then, with a truly devilish gleam in her eye, she starts reciting one of her mother's poems. Eleanor cringes in fear for a moment: this was a particular favorite poem of Gavin's and Xtina used to like to tease him by reciting her 'alternate' version, which was downright pornographic & therefore offensive to Gavin's delicate sensibilities. But Xtina keeps this recital clean, a perfect rendition of her mother's poem, done in a perfect imitation of Gavin, too, though Helen wouldn't know that. "Bless you, child, that was perfect!" Helen enthuses, "I wish Eleanor could recite poetry with the same energy & spirit as you have," she says as she casts a disdainful glance Eleanor's way. Xtina smiles & shoots a triumphant look at Eleanor.
Xtina takes off to go dance with Rainier, and as soon as her mother gets her alone for a minute, she's 'warning' her about Justin again. "He does too much for you & he looks at you like he owns you, child. If you are to stay in this city, I think it might be best if you chose someplace else to live, somewhere where you can't be approached by predators."
"Can't you just accept his generosity, cooking this meal for you, graciously?" Eleanor asks sharply, getting very tired of hearing her mother constantly put Justin down, just because she doesn't like the way he looks at her.
"People like him aren't motivated by generosity, child, don't be so naive. He's after your money, or something even more vile & base," her mother says, emphasizing her point with a poking finger.
"What do you mean, 'people like him'? You don't know Justin, you won't speak to him, you don't know anything about him except that he wasn't born wealthy. He is generous, Mother, he's got an incredible talent with food & he shares it with all of us," Eleanor says, growing bolder, unable to just sit & listen in silence while her mother continues to insult Justin.
"Child not only is he after you, but it seems like his plan is working: you speak of him like he were your lover. I don't need a lengthy acquaintance with trash to know it smells, child: the man is no good & you are to stay away from him, before he corrupts you utterly"
It seemed like it would work, that she could just not tell her parents about Justin, but her mother has been nagging her about him since she got here. Eleanor cannot stand for any more of it.