"A Jenny-free holiday season. It's been on my wish list for quite some time. Amnesty till midnight."
Jenny, reasonable to a fault, thanks Blair for granting her imaginary amnesty from her imaginary banishment, but Blair explains the further terms: "See no one. Speak to no one. Don't step foot outside this apartment, except for your interview." The deal is struck. An owl hoots under the midday sun. Christmas shines briefly in Little J's eyes, bright and for one moment, like a star's last dying breath. Like a funeral nobody attended, far off in the lonely outer dark. One day it will reach us and we will know what we have lost, each and every one; but for Princess Humphrey, that day is today.
Nate giggles and roughs up his hair and pinches his cheeks and acts windblown and Nantuckety about meeting his lying sketch-ass girlfriend outside the jail, but instead of noting what a strange full-of-lies coincidence it is, Juliet lies more and more and more badly and more badly. At some point this is a game of cruelty, like the bear-baiting of Bellona: How much, how many lies, will he countenance? How much shame runs down his back like a hot-wet summer night, how much lodged in his forebrain for later, how much does she honestly not intend? It is a riddle; for these two fair souls it is a mystery.
Nate is insecure about two things: His whiskey dick with girls, and his dad that is in jail. Of these conversations he is loathe to speak, for although this one-time fancy trick has no shame he does bear a secret that will bear no unraveling, for these two secrets are bastard sons of a selfsame father: The young Archibald has never truly understood his father until now. Kept in a gilded minimum-security cage, in an Empire penthouse of his very own, straining to get out, his face hidden with iron, misunderstood, fated to pretend, weighed down by Vanderbilt expectation and a life of listed legacies.
Aye, like Monte Cristo himself he waits, one day, to be free. And on that day will be a reckoning, a cheer and hue and cry, as he takes to the air with one fist raised and burns his trail of desire across the sky, all the way to DUMBO; but that day never seems quite to come. When he looks into the tired eyes of his rehabilitated father, his onetime Captain, he sees a man haunted by the things he did and didn't do; he knows both grace and shame in equal amounts. But today, now, in the autumnal city, Juliet Sharp's lies are not cunning; we shan't indulge in them at all. It is enough to say this: That though Nate is ashamed of his family's bloody history, he is willing to speak. But Juliet continues to lie, and to confound, because her secrets aren't shame but a deeper darkness still, that's yet unfolding.