I'm ba-ack. We left off with Malcolm treating Alicia like crap because she rejected his creepy advances, and pick up months later with not much changed. Malcolm is being meaner to everyone, especially Mal, who loves sissy stuff like music. One day he comes home to find Mal playing piano with Alicia, even though he has forbidden it, and while Alicia protests, he drags Mal off to be punished (read: beaten). This upsets Alicia, which makes Olivia happy, because she wants her to hate Malcolm so she doesn't respond to his "amorous approaches", coz she totally would otherwise.
Soon Christopher turns three and Garland and Alicia throw a big party, which makes Malcolm totally jealous. Malcolm has daddy issues as well as mummy issues. But his mummy issues win out when Alicia looks all pretty at the party and he can't stop looking at her. Seriously, he just sits there staring at her the whole time. Not creepy at all.
Later that day, as Olivia is heading to bed after everyone else, she hears a scream from the SWAN ROOM and runs in to find Garland crumpled on the floor, Alicia screaming in half-torn clothes, and Malcolm with a scratch down his face. The doctor is called and pronounces Garland dead from a heart attack. Alicia is understandably distraught, and when Olivia later tucks her into bed she demands to know what happened. Alicia reveals that she thought Garland was coming in to see her in bed, but it turned out to be Malcolm. Olivia says, "what did he want?" Because apparently now she is really stupid. Alicia says, "he wanted me". Surprise!
Malcolm told Alicia that Garland was too old to satisfy her and he could, and it was totally OK because he was Garland's son. Gross. Alicia of course tried to fight him off and managed a scream, which caused Garland to run into the room and see his son attacking his wife. Garland and Malcolm had a fight that ended with the former collapsed on the floor, and Olivia is all up to date. She goes to confront Malcolm, who blames everything on Alicia because he is The Worst. Olivia feels bad for him because she thinks he'll fell guilty for the rest of his life. She's in for some unpleasant surprises...
There's a big funeral and Alicia is a drugged-out mess, so Olivia takes care of her, and feels like she's welcoming her into her own miserable world. Just the type of person to help you through grief. Malcolm goes back to ignoring Alicia's existence, which is apparently really easy to do because she walks around "like a ghost" with, gasp, no makeup on! Her depression soon gets on Olivia's nerves, because Olivia is quickly joining Malcolm as The Worst, so she gives Alicia a stern talking to and tells her to start being a mother again and setting a good example to her son. This lecture works too well for Olivia's liking, because at dinner Alicia comes down with makeup and jewellery on and Malcolm starts talking to her again because he is actually The Worst.
Alicia, not ready to leave Foxworth Hall yet despite Olivia's urging, is nice to Malcolm because she reasons he must feel guilty. She is literally too nice for her own good. Malcolm soon takes the opportunity to rape her repeatedly and it is awful. Olivia discovers the truth when she finds Alicia crying in bed, and is told that Malcolm has been forcing himself on her for weeks, calling her his mother's name - Corinne - and threatening to hurt her son if she told anyone. It is sickening to read about.
Olivia blames Alicia for being "too trusting and innocent", because this wouldn't be a V.C. Andrews novel without a heavy dose of victim-blaming. She thinks she must have enjoyed it in some way, and asks Alicia what she did to "tempt" Malcolm and I want to throw the book across the room again. Alicia is really upset and confesses that she's telling Olivia the truth now because she "has to" - she's pregnant. Olivia is pissed off and judges Alicia for being so weak and crying. She gets even more pissed off when Alicia reveals she went to Malcolm's room earlier to tell him she was pregnant, because Olivia has never been to his room while he was in bed, so how dare she?! Ugh.
Alicia then tells Olivia that Malcolm wants her to have the baby in secret, so he can raise it with Olivia - and that if she does what he wants, she'll get to leave with Christopher and her inheritance, but if she doesn't, he will drive her out penniless. He just keeps getting better and better (by which I mean WORSE AND WORSE). Malcolm is convinced Alicia is pregnant with a girl and Olivia agrees it must be the case because he always gets what he wants. She admits to herself she should have helped and protected Alicia more, but then decides she has no respect for her, and while she ENVIES her she has no sympathy for her. Olivia, I have no sympathy for you.
Olivia contemplates herself in the mirror and we get the description Cathy will later give: a mouth like a "thin, crooked, knife slash" and breasts like "twin hills of concrete". Because that's totally the way people describe boobs, especially their own. Olivia then realises she's kinda happy because she sees an opportunity for power over Malcolm. She takes charge, telling Alicia she will pretend to go away while Christopher stays at Foxworth Hall, and then will sneak back in to be shut away in a certain room that connects to an attic. Olivia, meanwhile, will pretend to be pregnant herself while bringing food up to Alicia every day. Something is very familiar about this scenario...
Next time: Olivia's plan is set in motion.