In the garden, Louise and Gabriel are so absorbed in their conversation and snuggling that they don’t hear the announcement, but someone soon shows up to fetch them… and it’s not someone that either of them expect or particularly want to see.
Manon: Hey you two lovebirds! *Gabriel jumps* You’re so concentrated on your… things that you missed the announcement!
Gabriel and Louise look shocked, and they spin around to see that one of the people they were talking about avoiding is standing there, in the flesh.
Gabriel: Manon! Um, darling, what are you doing here?
Manon: Oh, never mind that. Come and give me a hug, big man!
Gabriel: Um, but really, what are you doing here? Who’s staying with Andrés?
Manon: He’s fine, he’s actually staying with his big sister. Enzo was more than happy to welcome him into their home for a while.
Gabriel: That’s, um, great. Are you planning on staying here for a while? Just dropping in for a visit, then?
Louise: I swear, they brought her in to stir the pot. It figures, we were just talking about NOT wanting to see her, and MINUTES later, she’s here. Remind me why I’m on this trash show anyway?
Manon explains that the new challenge has been announced and tells them that everyone is gathering on the deck. Louise and Gabriel look at each other, hesitating, but they follow her to where everyone is gathering. Once there, they don’t sit together and are avoiding looking at each other. Kyungri is the last to arrive and she lets out a cackle as soon as she sees who is sitting next to Gabriel.
Kyungri: Oh my God, this is just perfect. It’s delicious, even. I’m delighted. OF COURSE they’re going to bring the wife back now that the action is sizzling. This show, I swear. This is what I mean! Love is going to mess with you, no matter what! Money is what matters. Yes, money.
Manon: So I imagine that you’re all wondering what I’m doing here. I have to say, it’s really wonderful to be back here with all of you! You all look fantastic, it’s good to see that the show has been treating you well…
Kyungri: Get to the point, sweet cheeks. We know ajmkv didn’t bring you in here to butter us up, so what’s going on?
Manon: My my, Kyungri! No need to be so blunt, especially since I’m actually playing a rather important role in this week’s challenge!
Everyone looks puzzled, but Gabriel has figured out what’s going on.
Gabriel: You’re here to be that photographer they mentioned in the announcement, aren’t you?
Manon: That’s right, darling! I’m going to shoot all of you tomorrow. You’ll all be exquisitely styled and I’m going to shoot your individual spreads, your cover tries, and a group photo! It’s me you’re going to have to impress with your modeling skills.
Kyungri looks delighted while Harrison and Marjan give each other a knowing look. Louise is stone-faced, and Gabriel tries to keep his cool. After hearing more details about the challenge, Manon lets them go for the night and Gabriel pulls her aside for a conversation. Louise awkwardly walks away, heading straight into the house.
Manon: So what did you want to talk to me about, honey? I’ve certainly missed you!
Gabriel: We have to talk about some things. I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon, so I’m not sure exactly how to put this…
Manon: I know about Louise. I’ve been watching you on TV every week, as you’ll recall. I was even cheering you on! You two make a cute couple, and I’m sure she’ll be very welcome at our house if she wants to visit sometime.
Gabriel: Darling, look. I think it’s about time we ended this whole open marriage thing. I’m not sure I can live with it anymore. It was great in the beginning, I really felt like it helped our relationship. It’s getting harder now. I think… I’m becoming a one woman man now.
Manon: Oh, me too! I think I’ve had my fun and I’m ready to really settle down with you. Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Gabriel: That’s not quite what I mean…
Manon: Remember when I was here last time? We had such a good time, it was like we had fallen in love all over again! I went home and thought about it for a long time and I just can’t help but feel completely in love with you.
Gabriel: Darling, you need to listen to what I’m saying…
Manon: And even though I’ve had trouble seeing you with that Louise girl, I’m sure we can move on from that now that our marriage will be closed! It’s going to be quite wonderful, and I’m sure Andrés will be so happy that we’ll be living together all of the time!
Gabriel: She wasn’t listening! I was trying to have that talk with her and she just kept on interrupting me and saying sweet things that I just didn’t want to hear. Eventually I just gave up, I’m not strong enough to do this now… I’ll have to try again later because I think she just doesn’t want to listen right now.
Gabriel: Um, that sounds great. Um, but, um, how’s Andrés doing? We haven’t talked about him much yet. Is he doing well in school? Does he stay with Laura every time you go out on location for photoshoots? How is Laura adapting to living with her dad now?
Manon: *laughs* Whoa, slow down there cowboy! It’s so nice to see that you miss your family! I’m sure they’ll all be so happy to see you back when you come home. Andrés is turning into a little version of you, he’s basically a mini you!
Gabriel: *laughs* Aw, that little man is such a treasure. I miss him! It’s been hard to spend so much time away but I know we’ll have so much fun together when I’m done with this show.
Manon: I can’t wait! We’re both ready for Daddy to come home!
Gabriel: Um…. yeah.
Kyungri: I have to admit, Harrison, you’ve really come into your own! Before last week, I only saw you as an extension of Matthieu and now you’re really blooming! All thanks to my coaching, of course.
Harrison: Yeah, you really helped me a lot! I’m not sure I’ll ever be truly comfortable with being a celebrity but it helps when there are people like you around to help out a little bit.
Kyungri: Careful now, boy. People are actually going to think I’m nice when in reality I’m just helping you be my biggest competition in this place. My win will only be even more magnificent if it’s against the strongest opponent!
Harrison: Sure, Kyungri, whatever you say. But do you really think we’ll be the Top 2?
Kyungri: Oh, you can bet on it! But actually don’t because gambling is not my style. I like my money straight up and without caveats. Umma always said, get the money in the most direct way possible, don’t let the glitz distract you!
Harrison: Yeah… whatever you said. I guess I’m really starting to feel that we might be the Top 2, too! I love everyone left, but Gabriel and Louise are kind of cancelling themselves out at the moment, I don’t think they’re focused.
Kyungri: Kind of like you were doing when Matthieu was here?
Harrison: Will you always mention him when we speak?…
Kyungri: My apologies. Making fun of Matthison is kind of muscle memory now. But yes, I agree with you. Gabriel has been dragged to the Top 5 but I don’t see him going any further, and unfortunately I think he’s taking Louise down with him. And Marjan, well… she’s a mystery.
Harrison: What do you think happened to her? I feel like she’d be happier quitting and resolving her issues, but it’s almost like she’s being forced to stay.
Kyungri: I agree with you. She’s obviously either extremely paranoid about being under surveillance, or she’s being forced to continue by someone who desperately wants her to stay in the competition until the very end… but why?
Harrison: I wish we knew so we could help her.
Marjan has perked up a little thanks to the prospect of a new challenge. She and Louise are getting ready for bed, and Marjan excitedly talks about the photoshoot.
Marjan: I always look my best when I’m in front of a photographer! I’ve always said, a girl is a blooming lotus of glamour and love when she’s being captured on film, and I believe it. I think I’ll do a great job!
Louise: I’m sure you will, Marjan.
Marjan: And you too! You come alive in front of the camera, I’ve seen you! Quiet as a chinchilla avoiding fur trappers when you’re not in a challenge but ferocious like the bear that ate the trappers when you’re being immortalized on photographic film!
Louise: Uh… yeah. Sure. I mean, it is nice to show many sides of myself while I’m here, but I’m honestly not looking forward to this challenge.
Marjan: It’s because of that red-haired photographer lady, isn’t it?
Louise: Yes, actually. I can’t even look at her without feeling a mix of guilt and anger. Who am I to kick her out of the picture?
Marjan: Well, you won’t be kicking her out of any picture… she’s not even in it, remember? You’re the star here, the one being photographed! You’re the shining LED lamp here, she’s nothing but a burned-out bulb.
Louise: You ARE talking about the challenge, right?
Marjan: Of course, silly! What else would I be talking about?
Regardless of what Marjan is truly talking about, Louise feels lighter. She finishes getting ready for bed, and while everyone else is still awake doing other things, she tucks herself in and sleeps until late the next morning, mostly untroubled about the situation. She sleeps comfortably, confident that she will come out on top in her unspoken battle with Manon.
The next afternoon, a team of Vista Magazine makeup artists and stylists come over to prepare the contestants for their cover shoots. Each of the housemates is dressed in black and gold costumes and is sporting extravagant jewelry, makeup, and hairstyles. Though the concept of the shoot is simple, Vista has expressed that they want the contestants’ personalities to really shine through the exaggerated styling. Harrison finds their looks hilarious and can’t stop laughing when he looks into a mirror.
Harrison: We all looked like we belonged in a very fancy BDSM club or something. This is so out of character for almost everyone except for Kyungri, but I guess we’ve all done many things out of character during this show. And speaking of Kyungri, she was looking SO good. Plastic or not, she was looking perfect.
Kyungri: So remember, Harrison: we’re the Top 2 and we have to act like it. I’m looking like a forbiddingly expensive, fabulously sumptuous five-course meal, and you look… good, too.
Harrison: High praise coming from Mastress Kyungri. I’ll take it!
Kyungri: *laughs* As you should when you’ve been blessed by a goddess! Anyway, all you have to do is slay this shoot and we’ll be set. I don’t even have to say that I’m going to do a perfect job, but it bears repeating: I’ll deliver a perfectly flawless performance. We’ve got this challenge in the bag!
Harrison: Your subtleness is only matched by your humility. I’m in awe. Oh, hey Louise!
Louise: Hey guys, you’re looking pretty good.
Kyungri: Flawless, my dear. We’re looking flawless. And you, too. Remember when I helped with your makeover way back in Week 4? You’ve come a long way, Louise! Praise Shaman Unnie!
Harrison: Yeah, Lou, you look fantastic.
Louise: Thanks guys, but I’m just really ready to get this over with. This outfit is so uncomfortable!
Kyungri: Girl, beauty is pain. Get used to it. Oh, by the way, Manon came in here earlier looking for you. She said to join her in the living room when you get a chance.
Louise: Oh no… What does she want? I don’t really want to talk to her one-on-one. I wonder what Gabriel said to her last night…
Manon: Louise! Come, sit.
Louise: *sits awkwardly* What’s up?
Manon: You can come closer, I won’t bite!
Louise: I’m OK, thanks.
Manon: I know why you’d be awkward around me, and I understand. But you don’t know me at all, Louise. I’m not a bad person.
Louise: I’ve never thought you were a bad person. Anyways, you know exactly what’s on my mind, so why don’t you tell me what you called me here for.
Manon: *sighs* Louise. I know you’re in love with my husband. And I’m not dumb, I know he’s in love with you, too. He loves his redheads, doesn’t he?… Anyway, he didn’t say as much last night but I know him better than anyone, and I know what he wanted to say to me but couldn’t. He wants to be with you, and leave me, I know.
Louise: Um, I don’t know if it’s quite like that…
Manon: *snaps* Yes you do. “Um…”, you sound just like Gabriel. *sighs as she composes herself* I’m sorry, that was unnecessary. What I’m trying to say here is that I know he wants to leave me for you, and I’m going to give him my blessing.
Louise: Really? But I thought you were deeply in love with him…?
Manon: Oh, I am… and I may always be, who knows. You know what he’s like, electrifyingly charming. It’s hard to get over a man like that.
Louise: I’m aware, yeah. *laughs* But where does that leave you?
Manon: Bitter and alone? *laughs* No, I’m joking. It’s unbecoming of me to try to hold on to a man who has obviously moved on. I owe it to myself to look for something else that’s better for me than a one-sided marriage. Plus, this is karma hitting me full-force… way back, I left Enzo for Gabriel and I broke his heart. You know.
Louise: Yeah, I remember.
Manon: So now it’s come back around… it’s only fair that I allow Gabriel to choose to do the same thing. So, you have my blessing. Just, please. Wait until after the show is done and we can resolve these things privately, for the sake of our son.
Louise is taken aback. She quietly nods, and Manon pats her shoulder. Louise gets up and goes back to the studio. Manon watches her leave with a stony expression on her face, then sighs and balls her fists. She shakes her head and smiles once more, getting up and following Louise to the studio.
7 thoughts on ““The Girl Who Makes A Splash” (Part II)”
“I think… I’m becoming a one woman man now.”
“Oh, me too! I think I’ve had my fun and I’m ready to really settle down with you. Wouldn’t that be lovely?”
Ouch. Ouch. Ouuuucccchhhhh. Oof. That was a blow. Yup. Excuse me while I gasp in agony in Gabriel’s place at the drama that is about to unfold
Whoa, Gabriel! You can NOT let that go! Oh gods, this is going to blow up in his face. Horrifically. Probably hurting Louise in the process. All because Gabriel has the spine of a jellyfish. Damn it, Gabriel. If this ends up hurting Louise, my gnome army and I are going to have some words with you.
“We all looked like we belonged in a very fancy BDSM club or something. This is so out of character for almost everyone except for Kyungri”
Oh. Huh. Well, look at that. At least one person was mature in that relationship, it seems. A bit mean to deceive Gabriel like that, but… huh. Surprisingly drama-free, it seems. 0.o I’ll be stuffing the gnome army back in my pocket, then.
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This comment was a ride and I loved it. Manon proves once again that there’s more to her than meets the eye, and she took the step Gabriel was too scared to take. #loubriel lives!
I wonder what kind of fancy BDSM club they’ve been to, hmmmm? 😛
Somehow, I doubt Manon is actually letting Gabriel go. 😬
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That… remains to be seen 😉
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Manon showing up was a buzz kill. And talk about stirring the pot. Ha! Kyungri is kinda into something. Love is a liability on a show like this. Manon weirds me out with how cool she is about everything. And she almost seemed to railroad Gabriel with the whole let’s go home thing.
So was that skinny dipping? Kyungri and Harrison? It sure looked like it. Haha.
And honestly thought Manon was topless in that first image during her scene with Louise. She surprised me though… letting go so easily. No tricks up her sleeve. I hope. I expected some drama with a capital D.
I do think the balled fists thing means drama though. Seriously woman… you in an open marriage. You can’t expect it to last forever if you’ve got competition constantly. And comparison.