The night of the dinner, Celia and Alan sit in her cottage counting down until 8:00, with Celia assuring Alan that she ISN’T bigoted, or small minded, or old fashioned. Promises which quickly begin to unravel as the dinner begins, a dinner that has potential to go well, as Kate enthusiastically tries to drum up a conversation about the hope and beauty apparent in Celia and Alan’s romantic reunion and all that. Yet Celia is so distracted by Kate touching Caroline’s hand at one point that she turns surly and rude to pretty much everyone, including Alan. When Kate presses, “You must feel so special, and so happy,” about reuniting with Alan, Celia says dismissively, “Oh, I don’t know, I suppose so.” Ouch.
The night turns increasingly bitter from there, with Celia and Caroline eventually excusing themselves to have a shouting match in the next room, a shouting match that of course everyone still sitting at the table can hear perfectly. Celia says Caroline’s making a fool of herself. That it “turned her stomach” when Kate touched her. That Kate’s just using Caroline to get a promotion. And, worst of all, that Caroline told her herself that she doesn’t love Kate. When she told her about Kate that one morning, she says, “You said, she thinks the world of me–but I didn’t hear you say, ‘And I think the world of her back.’” Not surprisingly, after this, Kate calls herself a cab. Lawrence excuses himself to his room, Alan awkwardly follows Celia out, and poor William, who has also just been called a “puff” and a “pussy” by Lawrence with no one really coming to his aid, is left at the table alone.
Caroline runs outside to try to keep Kate from leaving. Kate says through tears that she always knew that she cared more about about Caroline than Caroline did about her, but she didn’t have to tell her mom that. Caroline notably doesn’t say, “But I DO care about you just as much” here, not that Kate would have believed her at this point, but Caroline does eventually resort to pitiful pleas for her to come back inside. Oh, this really was the lowest blow of Celia’s, out of all the other ridiculousness. Don’t you guys know that Caroline just isn’t as open to show off her emotions so readily? Aren’t the lengths she’s gone to prove that this is something she wants evidence enough?