This 4th part is quite a doozy, I must admit. It's the longest section of the book, but at the same time it's very interesting to see how the plot thickens, builds up, and resolves itself in some very unexpected ways. I'm really glad I had a snow day today, so I could really submerge my whole self into the story, without interruptions, as it was an all day reading feat, that I'm happy to have conquered!
Now I will move on to the plot summary, which most certainly contains spoilers, so if you want to read this one and be surprised, read no further, and know you've been warned.
Plot summary so far -(p.429-638)- I have copied and pasted my notes from my iPad, which is why it's all in a different font and it's super long, so if you don't want to read it all, I certainly won't hold it against you. P.S. if you make it to the end, you're freaking awesome! Now without further adu, my notes:
We do a bit of time traveling in this section. It's eight years later (after Theo's left school and gone to work for Hobie) that we're transported onto the streets of New York when someone calls out Theo's name.
Theo turns because he recognizes the voice, but doesn't recognize the man who called out to him. Turns out the man is Platt Barbour, complete with a look of privilege gone wrong. Platt has not aged well. He works for an academic publisher. Theo breaks the uncomfortable silence by asking Platt about Andy.
Platt says, "You don't know?"
"He's dead." (p. 434)
Platt goes on to tell Theo that five months ago, Andy and their father drowned, when the boat capsized.
Theo just stands there sad and confused as if it were an un-funny practical joke. He had thought about Andy often, but never picked up the phone to call him, because he thought he'd run into him again at some point in time. Now that's not a possibility. Theo and Platt go get a drink at a quiet place on Third Avenue.
At the bar, Platt tells Theo that his father was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and that no one in his family wanted to talk about it, ever. The children were just told that 'daddy's ill.' (p. 436) The reality of the situation was that Mr. Barbour was in and out of mental institutions, getting electroshock treatments, and was never quite the same after that. The swings were less extreme, but he was irritable all the time and couldn't concentrate. Then about six months ago Mr. Barbour switched doctors, took a leave of absence from work, and went up to Maine where his uncle had a place on a little island to get some air. All the Barbour children took turns going up there to be with him, especially Andy, because he was at MIT in Boston and was the closest geographically. The doctor cleared Mr. Barbour for sailing and he and Andy went out a bit later in the day then they should have, the water was a bit snappy, and the rest is, well you know...(p.441)
Platt then says to Theo: "Come see Mother. I know she really wants to see you. Please. She'll never forgive me if she knows I ran into you and let you get away. Won't you walk over for just a minute?" (p. 442)
Theo does and as he steps into the foyer of the Barbour house, he feels as if he's travelled back to childhood. Everything is EXACTLY the same.
Platt takes Theo to his Mother's bedroom saying: "We're very informal now." (p. 442) When Theo walks through the door, he notices the artwork on the walls. Then Mrs. Barbour welcomes Theo with open arms and cries of exclamation and Theo thinks she reminds him of Miss Havisham. However, she has a lot of interesting old things that Theo wouldn't of known to pay attention to when younger, but now finds to be very appealing, indeed.
In his conversation with Mrs. Barbour, Theo learns that Andy was engaged to a Japanese girl, named Miyako.
Theo tells Mrs. Barbour that he's dealing in antiques, American furniture mostly, down in the Village with James Hobart. She's delighted, as none of her children had any interest or visual sense. (p. 446)
On Theo's way out of the door, Platt mentions that he's been in touch with Tom Cable, and the old memories: of how they'd been suspended from school together and how he'd blown him off when his mother died, still make Theo uneasy. (p. 447)
Instead of taking a cab, Theo walks, to clear his head.
Back at Hobie's house, we learn that Theo has been selling Hobie's changeling chairs as originals for the past several years in order to keep Hobie afloat financially. Theo has taken Welty's place in the shop and has become quite proficient at the position. Then we learn that Theo sold a changeling to Lucas Reeve, who wasn't fooled by Theo's discounts, misdirections, and falsified antiquities and is quite angry at both Hobie and Theo for thinking him a fool and a chump.
Also, at this time, the reader learns in flashback mode that Pippa came back and visited with Hobie and Theo for Thanksgiving, but this time she brought her boyfriend Everret, a British librarian, with her. This outrages Theo because he has a thing for her. So in order for Theo to get over Pippa, he turns to doing "opes" OxyContins, that Theo cuts into lines and snorts with his crispest bill in his wallet: "pure pleasure , aching and bright, far from the tin-can clatter of misery." (p. 465)
Then it's the night of Theo's dinner at the Barbour's. It's a stormy and rainy evening. Theo stops at the market to buy flowers: Lilies, three bunches. When Theo takes them to the cash register, he realizes why he doesn't like their scent. It's because it reminds him of his Mother's memorial service.
Toddy opens the door and Theo barely recognizes him, he's grown up so much, but before Theo could apologize for his rain drenched look, Toddy embraces Theo.
Toddy is larger and more robust than Platt, with un-Barbour like hair of a darker, cardboard-colored blonde and a very un-Barbour like smile on him as well - eager and bright with no irony about it. (p. 465)
Toddy is at Georgetown studying political science, but really wants to work for a non-profit and help disadvantaged youth. He admits to Theo that he wants to go this way because Theo made quite an impression on him, when he was living with them. Unfortunately, Theo is stuck on the disadvantaged (italics) part.
Thankfully, Kitsey enters the room, cutting Toddy's speech off. She gives Theo a hug and he notices she still has white-blonde hair. She also has Mr. Barbour's long fine nose and his bright, almost goofy clarity of gaze. Theo realizes that she's grown up to become a beautiful woman.
Then Platt comes into the room, poorly shaven and in tweeds and a rough sweater to announce that Mother would like everybody in her room for dinner.
Kitsey makes Theo a drink, Vodka on the rocks, and blurts out: "I thought you hated us." (p. 467)
Hated you? No.
But I was so awful!
I didn't care.
We were horrible to you, Todd and me.
Come on. You two were just little.
Yes, but we knew better. Es
Especially after what had happened to you. And now...I mean with Daddy and Andy...
Then Kitsey and Theo enter her Mother's lair, armed with their drinks.
The night passes by in a dreamlike mangle of past and present for Theo, but the oddest part of the evening was Theo's unrelenting sense of returning home. Even Etta, the domestic engineer, gives Theo a gigantic hug in the kitchen.
Toddy ("It's Todd now, please") had risen to his father's position as Captain of the Table, guiding the conversation with sincere charm.
Kitsey and Theo don't really get to talk much at dinner because Mrs. Barbour is talking Theo's ear off about the furniture that has been in their family for generations, but every time Theo looks in her direction, Kitsey's eyes are focused on him.
Platt drinks a lot of gin and limes and then pulls Theo aside to tell him that Kitsey is on anti-depressants. Theo is a little take aback at this and blurts out: "Oh, I hope they work better for her than they did for me." (p. 469)
Platt then tells Theo that Kit is on a leave of absence from Wellesley and isn't sure if she'll go back. She feels guilty that she didn't go up to see after Daddy, as she was better than anyone else but there was a party, she phoned Andy and begged him to go up instead...well. (p. 469)
Theo feels sick at hearing this , another person ruined by the same poison of why did I (italics) and if only (italics), that had wrecked his own life.
Platt then ends the conversation by saying: "You should ask her out to dinner or something, it would thrill Mommy senseless." (p. 470)
By the time Theo leaves the Barbour's, the rain has stopped. However, Andy's death is still too huge for Theo to grasp, and yet at the same time, weirdly predictable. Theo thinks how remarkable it is that the world continues to limp on without Andy and how strange it is to find that the present contained such a bright shard of the living past, damaged and eroded, but not destroyed. (p. 470)
These thoughts pull Theo out of his stupor of misery and self-absorption.
Theo is twenty- six years old and hasn't been more than three days clean in a row over three years. He still uses pharmaceutical grade opiates on a regular basis. Theo tries to quit, but 36 hours in, with his body in full revolt, and the remainder of his un-opiated life stretching out bleakly ahead of him like a prison corridor, he needs some fairly compelling reason to keep moving forward into darkness, rather than falling straight back into the gorgeous feather mattress he'd so foolishly abandoned. (p. 473)
While high, Theo pays a visit to his storage locker. His pup-tent disguise is just how he left it 8 years earlier and the smell of duct tape chemicals in the air, transports Theo back to Vegas. He wants to unwrap the painting, but can't bring himself to do so. Instead he drops his tin of "opes" into the Bloomingdale bag and shuts the door, turning the key. However, Theo can't stop thinking of the painting. It was as if a satellite signal from the past had burst in and jammed all the other transmissions. (p. 475)
Theo's withdrawals get uncomfortable soon than Theo expects. He works to keep his mind off of his discomfort and lies to Hobie about having a cold. Popchik sits on the bath mat and watches Theo anxiously. However, it's "the mental stuff" that becomes unendurable for Theo. It's as if Theo lives on two worlds, and the storage locker with his painting is part of the imaginary world rather than the real one. (p. 477)
Eight days later at breakfast, Hobie gives Theo his messages. The one that stands out in Theo's mind is from Lucius Reeve. Theo chokes on his coffee, but takes his number from Hobie, and tells him he knows what it's about. Also, Hobie tells Theo that one of the Barbour children have phoned. "Kitsey?" Theo asks hopefully, but Hobie says it was Platt.
The thought of dealing with Lucius Reeve unmediated is almost enough to send Theo back to the storage unit. As for the Barbour's: Theo isn't all that anxious to speak with Platt either, but is pleasantly surprised when Kitsey answers the phone.
Then after a very brief conversation about Theo coming over for dinner again soon, Platt gets on the phone, and tells Theo that he would like his help in selling some of his Mother's furniture, without her knowing. Platt wants to work with Theo on this because they know each other and Platt feels he will get a fair price.
All of a sudden, Theo gets a brilliant idea on how to satisfy the annoying Lucius Reeve and help Platt out, all at the same time. Theo will write out a bill of sale and back date it. Then if Lucius has any questions he will call Platt who will give him his true sad story. Lucius will then email Platt a picture in which the distinctive feature is a phoenix carving, and Platt will tell Lucius that the piece was in Maine until Platt's mother sold it to Theo a couple of years back, who bought it from a dealer that is now out of business. If Lucius still presses, Theo will age the receipt and provide the documentation to Platt, who will in turn give it to Lucius. Then if Platt takes care of things on his end, by backing Theo up if Lucius does call, then Theo will give Platt ten percent on the price of the piece, which is seven thousand dollars.
Platt laughs-an oddly happy and carefree-sounding laugh. "Daddy always did say that all you antiques fellows were crooked." (p. 481)
Theo hangs up the phone feeling goofy with relief. Sure, Mrs. Barbour has her share of second and third rate antiques, but she also owns so many important pieces that it disturbs Theo to think about Platt selling things out from under her, without a clue as to what he's doing. Also, if anyone gives off the aroma of being embroiled in some sort of ongoing and ill-defined trouble, it's Platt. (p. 481)
Theo then calls Lucius Reeve back, knowing that he has Platt in his corner. Theo and Lucius agree to meet up at a restaurant called Tribeca in downtown NYC. A place that's far enough away, that Theo won't have to worry too much about running into Hobie or his friends. Theo has the carbon of the fake bill of sale on him, but doesn't intend on producing it until he has to.
Then Lucius says to Theo, "I know about the museum." (p. 483)
Oh, please. You know very well what I'm talking about.
Theo feels a jab of fear and focuses on his plate of food and says quite plainly: "I'd rather not talk about it. It's a painful subject." (p. 483)
But here's what I wonder. Why did James Hobart go about repeating that tale to everyone in town? You turning up on his doorstep with his partner's ring? Because if he'd just kept his mouth shut, no one would of made the connection. (p. 483)
I don't understand what you mean, says Theo. (p. 484)
You know very well what I mean. You have something that I want. That a lot of people want, actually.
Theo doesn't know how to react to this and his thoughts go toward his father; how would he handle this?
Theo holds steady and keeps saying to Lucius: "I don't know what you're talking about." (p. 485)
Lucius then says:"If you care to understand what I'm talking about-is to buy the painting off you. For about half a million dollars." (p. 486)
All Theo does is shake his head and says:"This is the most absurd fucking thing I have ever seen. When you want to talk about the other matter, call me." (p. 488)
Momentum spins Theo out of the restaurant so fast he hardly knows where he is going; but then four blocks away, Theo shakes so violently that he has to sit on a bench. Once he's calmed down, he purchases a Pepsi from a small store. For the first time, Theo can understand his father's impulse for leaving town without a word.
Theo comes to the conclusion that he will have to tell Hobie what's going on. How he will react, Theo can't imagine, but it would be better if he heard it from him. The connection Reeve had made between Welty, the ring, the painting, and Theo was real, even if the story was fanciful and off-base.
So far no one, not even Hobie, had made the connection that Welty's ring put Theo in the gallery with the painting. Now that Reeve had made the connection, this was the narrative that could put Theo in jail, with very serious penalties.
Theo feels that hiding the painting away had only increased its power and given it a more vital and terrible form... that had worked itself free into some fraudulent public narrative.(p. 490)
When Theo gets back to Hobie's, he tells him that he's made a stupid mistake. A really stupid one. Then spills the story of Lucius Reeve. Once Theo starts, he can't stop.
Hobie says to Theo:"Stop. I get the picture." (p. 492)
Then both Hobie and Theo are unsure how to move forward.
Hobie says:"Sometimes the edge between puffery and fraud is very cloudy indeed." (p. 492)
Then Hobie doesn't say a word, he only gazes at Theo, which makes Theo nervous. Hobie listens to the rest of what Theo has to say and then says:"Okay. So how do you propose to deal with it?" (p.493)
This isn't the response Theo anticipated.
Hobie says that Theo will have to refund everyone who bought the changelings, by buying all the pieces back because everything is now being called into question. Every piece of furniture that's ever gone out of the shop, since dealers live by their reputations and honor. If it's not taken care of now, it will surely pop up and bite them in the future.
The conclusion is that Hobie and Theo will start fresh, and take things as they come. (p. 497)
Theo goes upstairs knowing that he didn't even tell Hobie about the show-stopper. The less Hobie knows, the safer he will be, is Theo's thinking. However, Theo wishes he could talk to someone, someone he trusts.
Theo in his room notices someone outside of his window watching him. All along he'd known that keeping the painting was a mistake, yet he still kept it. Theo pours himself a vodka and thinks about dialing his drug dealers number, but dials the Barbour's instead.
Etta answers and Theo asks if Kitsey is there. Etta tells him that she and Platt are out, but will be back after dinner, and she'll let Kitsey know Theo called.
Theo hangs up and returns to his vodka and thinks the only thing he has going is that Reeve doesn't know where the painting is. He can hire whomever he wants, but as long as Theo stays away from the storage facility, there's no way he can track it down.
It's Christmas. Theo and Kitsey have gone out to lunch. Kitsey goes to make a telephone call, and Theo puts his Mother's emerald earrings on the tablecloth, so she'll see them upon her return. Kitsey totally ruins their romantic moment by saying:"Thank you! But...will they be quite right? For the actual day?...Emeralds aren't really my stone. I think they may just seem a bit hard, you know? With white? And my skin? Eau de Nil! Mum can't wear green either" (p. 505)
I need to interject here and call Kitsey out for being a ridiculous, spoiled, ungrateful brat! Doesn't she know how lovely Theo is being towards her? How romantic? She has the nerve to turn such a lovely gift down because it might look too harsh? Bitch, please. If my boyfriend gave me a cubic zirconia, I'd be thrilled, and if he gifted me emerald earrings-his mothers, grandmother's, whomever's-I'd probably shit myself with excitement. Just saying.
At the end, Kitsey finally comes to her senses and says to Theo:"Well look. I will(italics) wear them for the wedding. They're beautiful. And I know they were your Mother's." (p. 508)
Then we backtrack in time and discover that Theo and Kitsey's courtship happened really fast. In fact two months after the reunion dinner at the Barbour's, Kitsey and Theo were seeing each other every day, practically.
To Theo his courtship of Kitsey is a way of moving forward and putting the past behind him; his unrequited love for Pippa , and the infinite loss of his mother.
We as the reader, also find out that Kitsey is the one who asked Theo to marry, and keeps saying:"Won't(italics) Mum be pleased?"(p. 511) The clarity of Mrs.Barbour's happiness at the marriage news is exhilarating for Theo; it was as if he'd removed a pair of smudged-up glasses that fuzzed everything he saw. (p. 511)
Four months have passed and now it's December and Theo feels as if the energy that had swept him up and fizzed around him all summer long, has dropped him hard into a drizzle of sadness that stretches endlessly in every direction. Theo thinks it's because he's not over Pippa, and might never be so. Also, instead of he and Kitsey holding hands in a booth, they have obligations-dinner parties, and busy restaurants with friends. Then the wedding planning too, has worn Theo out, due to it's materialistic nature.
Still Theo has never felt so sure of the future, it's rightness, and the happiness of Mrs. Barbour, nourishes Theo's dried out heart. Personally, I think this is going to end badly, but I need to keep reading to find out. This is just my thoughts on foreshadowing to come. Hopefully, I will be wrong, but so far there are a lot of red flags; the earrings being the one that sticks out in my mind the most.
The interplay of past and present is in full effect in section VI. Theo loves Kitsey because she's everything he isn't. Even Hobie and Pippa are excited for Theo, and as a reader we learn that it's just Kitsey's way to make a flippant or trivializing comment whenever anyone brings up anything serious, including her brother and father's deaths. SIDE NOTE: I personally, find this trait very annoying. Good thing I'm not Theo and don't have to marry her.
While all this is going on in Theo's personal life; Theo is still holding his breath regarding the business end of things. No one has called Theo out yet, but Theo feels it's only a matter of time before the first fraud surfaces and lawyers are involved.
Theo is worried his troubles might surface before the wedding or even more cruelly, afterwards. Kitsey has told Theo that her mother has cash flow issues. They aren't as rich as when Mr. Barbour was alive because he had made some bad financial decisions at the end.
Platt is the most realistic about Theo and Kitsey's relationship when he says to Theo:"You know how to make(italics) money, she doesn't." (p. 517)
However, the thing that keeps Theo up and night and worried to pieces is Lucius Reeve. The name sends shivers up Theo's spine, and even more troublingly, Theo has received a series of handwritten letters from him since the summer; all of which Theo has ignored and has tried to block from his mind, without success.
Then two disturbing things happened in rapid succession:
1. Hobie gets a letter in Reeve's all too familiar handwriting that says:"At what point is this delay unreasonable? Can we not move forward on what I have proposed to your young partner, since there is no benefit to either of you in continuing this stalemate?" (p. 518)
2. Theo has to lie to Hobie regarding what Reeve wants, since Hobie has no idea Theo has the painting. However, Hobie isn't buying the convoluted story Theo is telling him, because it doesn't make sense, and insists on keeping Reeve's letter as evidence, in case a legal battle should arise.
Then Theo starts to panic about the painting. What if he dies? What if he gets hit by a bus? Would the ungainly package be mistaken for garbage and tossed in the incinerator? (p. 520)
To ease his mind, Theo calls the storage facility (where the painting is) and is reassured that they maintain a strict temperature and humidity range that's suitable for art works, as many of their customers have valuable works stored there.
Then another unfortunate event occurs. Grisha asks Theo if everything with the laws and business are OK because he's noticed some people hanging around the shop, keeping an eye on him. Mike (another moving guy) has noticed this too and thinks it's been going on for a month or two, maybe longer. Theo asks Grisha that if he sees anyone suspicious hanging around the shop, that he should discreetly point it out to Theo. Mike speculates Theo's tail might be a private investigator or ex-cop. Then Grisha drops the bomb on Theo by saying a different guy came into the store the other day and asked for Theo by first and last name and Grisha didn't like the looks of him at all. Said he was scary looking, a guy you wouldn't want to mess with. This part ends with Theo and Grisha agreeing that they need to be careful and watch their backs from here on out.
Then we zig zag back to the present. Theo leaves Kitsey at Tiffany's to pick out wedding china and as he's wondering down the back ally's of NYC trying to find Jerome, in order to get fixed up so he can forget all the material wedding day bullshit, he runs into Boris.
Boris tells Theo that he stopped by the shop the other day because he was looking for him, and Theo feels guilty for not recognizing him, thinking he was a spy or private investigator. Then Theo feels extra bad that he had stopped looking for Boris all together, so long ago.
Then Boris introduces Theo to Myriam, whose Ukrainian, and she points to an old Polish bar and tells Theo that Boris will meet him there in one hour.
Three hours later, Theo is still sitting at the Polish bar, and there's no sign of Boris. Theo's mood turns bleaker and darker because he thinks Boris has blown him off after all these years. Then while Theo is thinking about leaving, Boris shows up.
Boris has grown up to be good looking even though he still lived life off the books. Even though he's married and has kids, he still had girlfriends and doesn't know his kids very well either, and so the cycle begins again.
Boris explains that Myriam is his right hand woman in their business named:'Polish cleaning Services' and our motto he says is:'Well clean you out,' ha!(p. 534)
Then they talk about the good old days in Vegas and Boris says he overdosed on the coke and prescription pills they had taken from Theo's house the night he left. Boris goes on to tell Theo that if Kotku hadn't been there, he would of died.
Boris goes on to say that after Theo left, he and Xandra lived together at the house. That's when Xandra told Boris that she was dealing drugs and her higher ups were upset because the money wast right for the amount of drugs they had given her. Boris feels real bad about taking the drugs, but he doesn't tell Xandra this, and in fact lays all the blame on Theo, since he's no longer in Nevada.
Then Boris starts buying coke from Jimmy at the gun shop in Vegas, and deals it to all the high school kids and realizes its really good, easy money and the rest is history. Boris says that in the present he doesn't do coke much anymore, because the excess of coke in high school burned him out.
Boris can tell that Theo isn't very happy, and asks Theo if he'd like to come work for him.
Then Theo gets up in his drunken vodka stupor to leave the bar, and tells Boris he needs to come with him because he has a surprise for him. Boris tells Theo under duress that he will go with him, but only if Boris's driver takes them. Theo agrees and Boris finishes his vodka, lights a cigarette and says:"Let's get this nonsense over with, then." (p. 541)
Theo takes Boris to Hobie's place and introduces Boris to Hobie, when Popchick makes himself known, and Boris gets very excited about seeing his doggy friend again.
Then Boris, Theo, and Popchick all leave the house together and get in Boris' car and go to a club in Queens. It gets late fast and before Theo knows it, they are all back in the car after the confusion of the club, and just drive around the city for hours, with Popchick asleep in Boris's lap. They all talk, laugh, and drink vodka from the bottle, and do bumps of coke. Theo notices a blue Star of David tattooed on Boris's forearms and needle marks, and asks Boris about it. Boris says the tattoo was because he told Mr. Silver that he was Jewish, so he'd hire Boris, which is how Boris learned how to run his business.
After their night of fun, Boris and Theo go out for breakfast together. Boris tells Theo that in Vegas, he stole the original painting from Theo, and that's what he's been making his fortune in business off of. Theo doesn't believe it and demands proof. Boris shows Theo an iPhone picture of the back of the painting he has, and sure enough Theo recognizes its distinctiveness: rich drips of sealing wax, brown and red; irregular patchwork of European labels which gave it a steamer trunk feeling. The crumbling yellows and browns were layered with an almost organic richness, like dead leaves. (p. 557)
Theo walks away from Boris pissed off, gets in a taxi and drives off, leaving Boris just standing there in his overcoat by a bank of trash cans.
Theo predictably goes by taxi to his storage unit to pick up the pup tent package. He grabs it and takes it to Hobie's to see what's inside. In the newspaper that Theo thought was his painting, he discovers that it's just a scribbled up Civics workbook.
Theo freaks out and takes some of the pills, they don't work, and Theo makes some coffee to clear his head. He is glad Hobie is out of town.
Theo thinks work will help ground him, but it only adds to his unease. In a way Boris had done Theo a favor by taking the painting off his hands, so it could never be traced back to him, but all Theo feels is despair, self-hatred, shame; a conviction that his whole life is balanced atop a secret that might at any moment blow apart. (p. 559)
Theo is sipping tea the next afternoon, when Hobie comes home from the auction house. Hobie tells Theo that Kitsey called and said it was nice to meet Boris after hearing so much about him. Hobie even says he's never seen Popper so happy either. Theo goes pale at hearing Popper's name because in his hurry to leave Boris, after finding out the truth about his painting, Theo forgot to take Popper with him. Theo wonders how he is going to cover for Popper's absence, when Boris comes to the shop and returns Popper to Theo. "I started to keep him." (p. 562)
Boris attempts to apologize to Theo again and wants to make it right, but to Theo the silence between them is crushing. Boris wants Theo to say something, but Theo remains silent. Finally, Theo asks:"Why the hell did you take it?" (p. 563)
Boris responds:"What can I say. I am thief."
Boris tells Theo that he may be able to learn where the painting is, which is very different from knowing how to get it back.
Boris then leaves, and Theo thinks that this will be the last time their paths will ever cross.
Theo has a migraine headache, so he closes the shop and gets himself together to meet up with Kitsey for their dinner at the Longstreets'. In order to make it through dinner with people Theo abhors, he takes a mild dose of opiates. Theo thinks he hasn't felt so good in months.
While Theo is waiting for Kitsey at her house, Theo talks to Mrs. Barbour about Andy, and then Platt comes into the room and says that Kitsey has been held up. Theo notices that something unspoken passes between Platt and Mrs. Barbour. Then Mrs. Barbour suggests that Platt should take Theo out for a drink. Theo says that he would be happy to wait for Kitsey there, but Mrs. Barbour is in no mood to entertain, and she's too polite to say it out loud. Then Theo's phone chimes loudly as an incoming text comes in. Theo realizes its from Kitsey saying she will be running late and will meet him at Forrest and Celia's at 9pm.
A week passes and Theo has still not recovered fully his evening with Boris. Kitsey has Theo going to so many events with her, they haven't spent any time alone, together. Then it's Tuesday and Theo is on his own and about to close shop, when Boris dashes up the curb and knocks on the door. Boris asks Theo if he wants to go Uptown with him? He's going to talk to some people about you know what, the painting.
So, Theo goes Uptown with Boris to talk to Horst,and in the car Theo gets Horst's backstory from Boris, which is very sad. Horst thinks Theo is an a
dealer. Theo answers back yes, uncertainly. Horst said he talked to Sascha, and the lead seems to land in Ireland, which doesn't sound right, but Horst is hoping to know more soon. He tells Boris to wait and see, as they are not to the bottom of it yet. Then Theo and Horst talk art.
Then a young boy of about 22 overdoses. Theo and Boris leave and Horst has to clean up the mess, but he is used to it and has nurses in the house to help, which is better and less judgmental than the ER.
Out on the sidewalk, Boris tries to cheer Theo up, but Theo is still too shaken to talk. Theo is thinking of his own near misses.
Boris thinks that the whole thing was a mis-direction in order for Sascha to make off with the painting and because Horst is good friends with him, he says nothing, but Boris says that he will not let Sascha steal from him. Boris says they need to talk to Victor Cherry and everything regarding the painting will sort out. Theo realizes that Boris is saying that the painting could be traded for anything on the black market, but it will likely move only within a relatively small network, since it is so famous.
Theo is looking very white and sickly when Boris drops him off under a street lamp. Theo decides to go to Kitsey's place because it's closer, he has a key, and can let himself in and wait until Kitsey comes home from her girl's night. When Theo puts the key into the door to unlock it, he is startled when the door catches on the chain.
Emily, Kitsey's roommate answers the door half asleep and tells Theo that Kitsey's not in and she's not sure when she'll be back. When Theo asks her to let him in so he can wait for her, Emily says in no uncertain terms that it's really not good timing. Then Francie, the other roommate comes to the door and says in a very upset fashion:"Look, I can't help you, its really a bad time now, I think you'd better just go." (p. 589)
Theo is so shocked by all of this, all he can do is stand in the hallway breathing heavily. Then Theo starts wondering, if it's a girl's night out, why wasn't Emily out with Kitsey? Theo texts Kitsey, as he wants to talk to her about what just happened. He doesn't get a message back, and when he calls, he just gets voicemail. Then he sees Kitsey in her pink Prada coat on the opposite street corner, and she's huddled arm and arm with a man; a man Theo recognizes as --Tom Cable.
Luckily, they are too absorbed in each other to recognize Theo, as they enter Kitsey's apartment together.
Theo can't believe his relationship with Kitsey has turned into an episode of 'Cheaters' and stays up most of the night, with his thoughts swirling--Kitsey's twice weekly trips to the Hamptons, strange numbers flashing, quick hang ups, texts in the middle of the night, and the excuses for these--"Oh, just Em. Oh, just Mommy. Oh just a telemarketer." (p. 591)
Then Theo knows that Mrs. Barbour is in on it too. The excuses she's made for Kitsy's absences, her urgent voice over the intercom saying 'don't let him up.' It all makes sense to Theo now.
The next night Theo and Kitsey are supposed to go to a part together, when Boris comes bursting through the shop doors, with some news. He says he has a good line on Theo's painting. Boris says the painting has been kept in a restaurant or at least, near the restaurant, in the same building anyways. Anyways, Boris says to Theo: "Horst--he never knew your name was Decker, not until he asked me on the phone today. You know a guy named Lucius Reeve?" (p. 593)
Horst says to stay away from him. Horst knows you are an antiques dealer but he didn't connect the dots with this other thing until he knew your name.
After Boris gives Theo this message, he tells Theo he has to go.
Later that night Theo meets up with Kitsey at her apartment, where Theo notices, both of her roommates are no where to be found. Theo tells Kitsey, she can drop the act because he knows, he saw. Kitsey denies everything, until she finally admits to it by saying: "It's rough to be in love with the wrong person." (p.598)
This hurts Theo and then Kitsey tells Theo, I know about your things(italics) and I don't care.
At Kitsey's cool intelligence towards the situation, Theo feels his anger drop out from under him, and spends the night with Kitsey. This is easy for both of them to do because weren't they both pretending in the first place? Then on another level, Theo feels suffocated by the weight of everything unknown and unsaid, pressing down between them, and this keeps Theo up long after Kitsey drifts off to sleep.
Then when Theo finally drifts off to sleep, he has strange dreams regarding Boris's visit, earlier about the painting, and the words:"Deserves to be shot." (p. 601) refuse to leave Theo's head, even after he wakes up. Then Theo thinks about the painting being swept away on a powerful current and just drifting out there somewhere: a tiny fragment of spirit, faint spark bobbing on a dark sea. (p. 603)
Since Theo can't fall back to sleep, he leaves before dawn, without waking up Kitsey. When Theo gets home, he is startled to hear Pippa's voice, and see her standing there in her pjs, coffee cup in hand. She explains she was on her way to California, when she got stuck in Newark, so she took the rain check to visit. Pippa congratulates Theo on his engagement and Theo is just so stunned by all of this. It is also convenient that Hobie is out at the bakery.
Theo composes himself and asks Pippa if she'd like to go to the movies with him tonight at seven? When Pippa says that sounds fantastic, Theo is practically out of his mind with excitement.
The whole time during the movie, Theo can't stop sneaking looks at Pippa, and realizes with horror that she's not enjoying the film; she's upset.
After the movie, they are having trouble catching a cab, so Theo suggests they duck into a wine bar. They talk about everything, and then Pippa says that she's missed the hell out of Theo. Then she says she loved the movie, but it brought back the sadness of not being able to hear correctly after the accident in the art museum, and having to give up on her piano career.
Then Pippa says how much she dislikes London, and Theo says come home, and Pippa says what about Everrett? Theo doesn't have an answer, so he says nothing.
Then Pippa and Theo talk about the would of, could of, should of's if they hadn't met that fateful day at the art museum.
Then Theo tries to explain to Pippa that both Welty and Hobie are advanced beings, and Welty knew exactly what he was doing that day at the museum, when he gave Theo the ring and picture. It's as if Welty is looking after Theo even still. It was as if Welty saw Theo for who he really was, and sent him exactly where and with whom he needed to be. (p.618) Pippa was listening, intensely, to Theo, something Kitsey never did.
The next day, and the day of Kitsey and Theo's engagement party, Pippa and Theo are awkwardly distant with each other.
Kitsey's godmother is throwing this engagement party. Of the few hundred invited, approximately fifteen (including Pippa, Hobie, Mr. Bracegirdle, and Mrs. DeFrees) are Theo's guests. What makes all of this comical and totally perverse to Theo is that Kitsey's godmother can't stand him, and he is worlds away from the match she had hoped for. She refers to Theo as 'the groom.' (p. 620)
Theo gets good and looped on OC before the party. Out of all the guests, Hobie and Pippa are the only unique ones. Then we get snippets of conversations between the guests, and I have to agree with Theo, that it's all mundane and boring.
However, the party gets a bit more interesting when a friend of Mrs. Barbour's, Havistock Irving, introduces Theo to Lucius Reeve, and Havistock seems to know about the other offering as well. Then Havistock whisks Kitsey away to gossip about Theo in private.
Theo is left sweating, wondering, how in the heck did he find out?
Theo finally gets to Hobie and asks him if they can talk in private? Theo asks Hobie if he knows Havistock Irving, and points him out in the crowd. Hobie says he doesn't know him by the name Theo mentioned him by, but he and Welty knew him as Sloane Griscam, in dealings in the past. Plus, Hobie says he's a shark who's charmed his way into old folks homes to cheat them of their valuables and/or rob them outright, and his partner Lucian Race (as Hobie knows him as), is as smart as Satan.(p. 629)
The party is three hours of torture for Theo and he's constantly looking for Pippa. When he finally sees her, she's with Boris. Theo goes over and Boris said they need to talk in private. They do and Boris tells Theo they have to leave to grab his passport and cash. Boris tells Theo he needs to arrange to be away three days tops. All Theo hears is "Get out of here." (p. 635) They are the best words Theo has heard all night long.
Theo finds Kitsey and says he's leaving and she will have to make an excuse for his absence. Theo also notices that Kitsey is wearing his mother's emerald earrings, which was strangely moving to Theo, even though he realizes that they don't suit her at all. Theo tells Kitsey that he will be gone for a few days and warns Kitsey to keep Havistock away from Mrs. Barbour's house. He kisses Kitsey goodbye, and goes to find Hobie to tell him goodbye. Hobie tells Theo if he needs anything, to let him know. Then Theo tries to find Pippa to say goodbye, but she's no where to be found. Boris grabs Theo by the arm and pulls him down the staircase and out the door.