With ‘Lies and Weddings,’ Kevin Kwan Dives Back Into Ultrarich Drama

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“Can they really?” Francis mentioned, feeling sick to his abdomen. All this time, he’d thought Augie was lastly protected, that she had lastly married cash.

Prince Julius poured himself one other glass of scotch. “This is why we are so relieved that Augusta accepted Maxxie. My boy is just so goddamn lucky to marry into the Gresham family! That’s one big worry off my mind. He’s your problem now, ho ho ho.”

The marriage ceremony banquet was the pièce de résistance of the nuptial weekend. Upon arriving at Bellaloha, the dinner friends adopted the torch-lit path into the rain forest, the place they stumbled on one lengthy curving banquet desk for 300 that snaked playfully between towering timber and verdant bushes. Not content material with the pure fantastic thing about the flo a, Arabella had demanded that every tree be festooned with flowers, and hovering over the center of the desk was a floral sculpture cover composed of 1000’s of orchids, dahlias, and Icelandic poppies. At the very middle of the banquet was a huge banyan tree with 1000’s of historical roots descending from the branches, and lots of of flickering lanterns had been entwined within the roots, casting a magical glow onto everybody. As the friends supped on Dover sole à la Augusta on the eighteenth-century Greshamsbury Sèvres that had not been used since Edward VII had come to remain when he was nonetheless the Prince of Wales (3), Jackie was by the facet of the stage, within the midst of becoming a distant microphone onto Rufus’s jacket collar, when Arabella got here speeding up.

“Rufus,are you giving the first toast?”Arabella excitedly inquired. “That’s the plan.”

“Very good. Now, will you be saying nice things about a certain somebody?”

“I plan to say very nice things about Augie and Maxxie, yes, after I humiliate them for a few rounds, of course.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about. Will you have something special to announce in your speech?”

“Something special?” Rufus regarded confused.

“About a certain entente cordiale, perhaps?”

“Mother, English please. I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.”

“Oh come on, no need to be coy with me,” Arabella giggled. “I’m talking about your petit plaisir de l’après-midi? A little bird told me that you spent the better part of the day holed up in Solène de Courcy’s suite at the Mauna Lani.”

Rufus rolled his eyes. “Solène sprained her ankle and exposed her bleeding knee to water contaminated with flesh eating bacteria. Eden had her on so many antibiotics I had to make sure she didn’t have a bad reaction.”

“Is that what you were doing? Making sure she had no bad reaction?” Arabella sniggered gleefully.

“Precisely. And she spent an hour giving me advice on how to improve my art career—unsolicited, I might add.”

“How kind of her. She’s such a sensible girl. Now, you must repay the favor by saying something nice about Solène and her mother during your toast.”

“You want me to mention Solène and her mother during my toast to the bride and groom?”

“Why not? Haven’t the de Courcys been the highlight of your weekend?”

Rufus gaped at his mom. “Wait a minute. Have you been trying to set me up with Solène all this time?”

“I know it might be a little premature, but it would be so fun to give our audience a little preview of what’s coming next season.”

“Next season? Do you think we’re living in a television series? Let me make this very simple for you: Solène de Courcy is a very nice girl, but it’s never going to happen in a million years. She’s not my type.”

Arabella checked out her son in exasperation. “Not your type? What’s wrong with you? She’s one of the most beautiful women on the planet! She has an exclusive modeling contract with Chanel!”

“Mum, when will you realize that I don’t give a damn about any of that?”

“I don’t understand . . . Bea told me things were going perfectly!”

“How would Bea know what’s going on? I haven’t seen her for days.”

“I’m going to murder those silly girls! Bea’s too distracted by her photo shoots, and Eden has been an utter failure.”

“What does Eden have to do with any of this?”

“Bea and Eden are rooting for you to fall in love with Solène! They both adore her. Everyone adores her. Why can’t you?”

“Eden’s been part of your maniacal plans?”

“She was supposed to earn her keep, but it looks like she’s been far too distracted herself, sleeping with that Freddy guy.”

“Wait—what? Eden and Freddy are not sleeping together!”

“Of course they are. They’re having a torrid fling. Eden’s desperately been trying to catch Freddy since the moment he arrived on that ridiculous shark boat. And you don’t even know the half of it, that stupid girl has been so careless that she’s gotten herself—”

Rufus rushed off earlier than she might end.

At the opposite finish of the banquet desk, Nicolai Chalamet-Chaude (Wetherby/Dragon/Eton/Balliol) was within the midst of explaining to Eden how Hawaii had turn into fairly the haven for billionaires (“You’ve got Larry in Lanai, Mark and Priscilla kicking it in Kauai, and Pierre over in Oahu”) (4) when Rufus got here speeding up with an unmistakably pressing look. “Eden, may I have a word?”

“Of course. Baron, if you’ll excuse me for a moment,” Eden mentioned politely.

Rufus grabbed her by the hand and led her down a pathway, slicing via a thicket of bushes till they discovered a quiet clearing within the forest.

A heat crimson glow filtered via the timber, making every little thing appear otherworldly.

“Everything okay?” Eden requested.

“Yes. Are you okay?”

“I am, now that you’ve rescued me from that man.”

“Good, good. I just need to know something . . .”

“Yes?”

“Are you sleeping with Freddy Farman-Farmihian?”

“What in the world would make you think that?”

“Er . . . I just . . . you’ve spent all afternoon with him.”

“And you spent all afternoon in Solène’s room, not that I’d ever ask what happened in there.”

“Nothing happened with Solène! Well, nothing I initiated anyway. She did lunge at me several times, but when I rebuffed her, she started ranting that I couldn’t get it up and was too intimidated by her success.”

“Solène lunged at you?”

“Like a raccoon on meth, but you know I’d never touch her even with a ten-foot pole.”

“What made you think I was sleeping with Freddy?”

“My mother told me.”

“Your mother?” Eden grimaced in disbelief, not comprehending how the countess might have come to that conclusion. “Either your mother’s deranged from all the stress or someone’s been spreading vicious gossip.”

“No, you’re right, Mummy’s deranged. But I was watching the two of you all weekend . . . dancing at the ball, laughing like old friends during our excursions . . . I’m not sure . . . I got worried.”

“Worried? Rufus, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself. I told you, Freddy’s a sweet soul underneath all that swagger.”

“So you do like him. Today when I saw how intimate you were with him down by the pool, I just—”

“Intimate?”

“You were caressing his hand . . .”

“I was comforting him. He was telling me about his mother, she died when he was twelve.”

Rufus all of a sudden felt very silly. “Oh god, I’m sorry. I’ve gotten everything all wrong, haven’t I? I was sure he fancied you, and I thought that you were trying to make me jealous.”

“Why on earth would I do that?”

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