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After Ethan puts away his copy of The Catcher in the Rye, he and Lena have a telepathic conversation. At this point, it's like old hat for them.
Ethan feels self-conscious that Lena, a girl, will be able to read all his icky boy thoughts, so he tries really hard to think of basketball.
Riding to school the next morning, Link tells Ethan that his mom, Emily Asher's mom, and some of the other moms are scheming against Lena. They think she's a danger because of the whole broken window fiasco.
Link overheard a rumor that Lena was in a mental institution before moving to Gatlin. Ethan doesn't believe it.
The big black dog (looking more dog and less wolf today) wanders onto the high school campus and starts barking at Mrs. Lincoln (Link's mom).
Mrs. Lincoln tries to get Principal Harper to give Lena an Occupational Transfer. "'She can take her pick, any school in three counties. As long as it's not Jackson'" (9.14.151).
Then Mrs. Lincoln turns to Ethan: "'You're one of us. […] You belong here'" (9.14.154).
Ethan doesn't respond.
The rest of the school day is relatively uneventful. As Ethan puts it, it's "abnormally normal" (9.14.157).
After school, Ethan lies to Amma and tells her he's going to the library for a school project. Guess where he goes instead? Yep—Ravenwood. Link is the accomplice and drops him off.
This time, the door to Ravenwood opens before Ethan even knocks. Lena steps out onto the porch.
Ethan's excuse is that he brought Lena her English homework. But really, he wants to talk to Uncle Macon about the locket.
Now we meet Macon for the first time, and he goes on a hilarious rant about the residents of Gatlin County. We'll just say that men with brains and a good vocabulary toss out the best insults. You have to read the rest.
Ravenwood is totally different since the last time Ethan stepped inside. Ethan almost feels like he's fallen into one of those Civil War flashbacks again. It's like Extreme Makeover: Gatlin Edition.
In the foyer, Ethan notices a massive painting of a woman with golden eyes.
Lena, Ethan, and Macon go into the sitting room for a chat, and Macon tells Lena that her cousins will be coming for the Gathering Days, a harvest festival before Thanksgiving.
As they chat, Ethan learns that not only does Macon know Ethan's mom, he knows her maiden name. That's a little strange.
In the ballroom, a table has been set for an elaborate feast. Ethan has no clue how it could have gotten there because he hasn't seen anyone else in the house other than Lena, Macon, and Boo Radley, the dog.
The dinner is spectacular. There's even a pig with an apple in its mouth. It looks like the kind of mouth-watering buffet you only see in cartoons.
Ethan pulls out the locket to ask Macon about it, and the whole house goes black.
In the dark, Macon asks Ethan to put the locket away. Done and done.
Then Macon touches a candelabra, and it instantly lights up. Once that little bit of magic is taken care of, Macon gives Lena and Ethan a totally confusing information dump:
First, Greenbrier is beyond the boundaries. (Um, what?)
Second, Ethan can't protect Lena.
Third, Macon will go to any lengths to protect Lena until her birthday.
Then he throws a vase across the room without touching it and disappears. Yeah.
As he's fleeing the house, Ethan notices the portrait of the golden-eyed woman again. But this time she's wearing a locket.
Lena says she's seen that painting a thousand times before and that the woman in the painting was never wearing a locket before.