"All right, what are you two doing?" Jackie comes in with a fake suspicious look, adjusting a watch around her wrist. Maybe Kevin gave it to her. Maybe for their anniversary, last March. Maybe it wasn't from Cartier, maybe it didn't cost very much. Maybe she needs it on her wrist, today. "She's trying to kill me with your antique coffee!" Eleanor shouts, to Fiona's delight, and Kevin enters, still with the black cloud over his head, and asks how she slept. "As if sedated," she yawns. "Nothing forces me to embrace my life like a night on polyblend sheets." Jackie grins, because that's the Eleanor she loves, but for Kevin every word is a knife.
Grace enters, wearing her uniform, for the first day at Immaculate Virgin. They cheer for her, but Eleanor says false-firmly that her ensemble is missing something. Grace goes stiff as a board, terrified, New School fear on top of Grace Fear on top of Eleanor O'Hara being naturally intimidating, and Kevin watches them carefully, ready to jump in. "A French braid! Classic component of any Catholic school uniform. Luckily for you, I'm a master," she says, pulling a chair close. Kevin finds new ways to be unimpressed with her.
"I guarantee you'll she'll be the most glamorous girl at Immaculate Virgin..." Eleanor babbles, and Kevin sees his bills sticking out of her purse. He grimaces hatefully at Jackie, who apologizes and begs him not to say anything. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she mouths, and as Fiona's asking why it's called a French braid, he slaps the bills back onto the table, where they belong.
"Well," Eleanor says, "Because it's mysterious and alluring," she says, every word and every touch on Grace's head a bit more comfort, a bit more strength, a bit more armor to take into her day. Eleanor knows more about where Grace is coming from, I think, than Jackie or Kevin do; Eleanor knows more about fear than either of them ever will, and what it takes to be defeated. This is conjecture, but: She's offered her guardianship, she's offered to pay for her school, she chose to sleep in her room. All specifically Grace, even though by every measure Fiona is the awesome one. Eleanor has an interest in Grace, and I think has to do with this balance between wanting to take care of Jackie in some way, and in recognizing the darkness in what Grace is all about, and the ways she'll need to skate on the surface if she's going to survive. No wonder Kevin hates her so much.
Fiona asks where she learned to French-braid, and the answer is joyful and matter-of-fact: "In France!" Kevin rolls his eyes, and Jackie tells Grace how great she looks. But she's still nervous, and why? "Daddy bought the wrong color bike shorts," Grace admits, after a long pause. Eleanor goes yikes but not as yikes as she should. "Oh, honey. I... Nobody can see them," Jackie promises, but Grace points out that God can. At the tone, you will be wearing the wrong color shorts under your skirt.