Next morning Edward is asking what happened to Alex over breakfast, and why Jeremy didn’t tell him. Alex fobs off everyone with “I took headache pills after drinking too much,” and wonders who the fuck went delivering some less than romantic and welcome flowers into his room while he was out for a wander.
Both the flowers and the notepaper the note was written on are from inside the house and accessible to everyone, so arguably ANYONE could have sent them.
After this, you get options for how to spend your morning: option one: sniff around the Edenic brothers by hanging out in the library with Joshua and Oscar, or go see Dr. Bell who wants to examine Alex after his little spell last night.
After completing Jeremy’s route once, a third option opens up here, too.
Because I’m playing Jeremy’s route, and Dr. Bell has discussed Jeremy’s medication with him, I figure we’ll go that route. Jeremy is being sweet as pie, and suggests writing to mother, while Edward sneers that it’s pointless because she never bothers responding anyway: poor lil kiddo.
Every decision or choice Alex makes around now is to do with sourcing information on the family, and then honing in on someone like a fucking apex predator picking off the weakest critter in a herd. Obviously things don’t have to turn out that way, but it’s largely about assessing and then concentrating his focus.
So Dr. Bell examines Alex after we get to see his room, and it doesn’t appear that there’s anything actually physically wrong with Alex, though the dude’s sleeping habits are up utter shit creek.
Alex decides to do some detective work and asks about the letter, but Dr. Bell isn’t really much help and points out the same thing Alex already knows: that the stationery it’s written on is freely available and accessible to everyone in the house.
Jeremy turns up, and Alex asks what this medicine’s for, if he’s sick. Nope, he’s just on supplements because he was last year, and his dad is deeply worried about him.
Alex is like, “WTF?” and since we know how Edenic treated Joshua, that’s a pretty damned reasonable reaction.
Actually, the more I play this game, I think armchair psychologists and r/raisedbynarcissists over on Reddit would have a field day dissecting the family dynamics: clearly William Edenic has some issues going on around abuse and control. Oscar, with his trying to smooth over his dad’s abusive tendencies and stop the kids getting abused by keeping them quiet? Classic enabler. Then you have sweet little Jeremy, who, like it or not, occupies the role of the Golden Child, which should mean the other siblings resent the fuck out of him, but Joshua and Oscar, at least, don’t, and actually are weirdly protective of him.
Edward and Joshua seem to be in competition for the role of Black Sheep or Family Scapegoat: one acts out and rebels and seems to have, well, some emerging masculinity issues going on: Edward is so desperate to prove how grown up and what a man he is, (which might explain some of his weird attachment to Alex) while enabler Oscar is basically trying to keep him “down” and childlike. (Edward is, despite his youthful looks, nineteen. And here’s the poor kid basically being babied by Oscar.) Joshua is basically invisible to everyone, and doesn’t react or really seem bothered about by anyone, while, kind of heartbreakingly, gets to watch his little brother be treated as he probably would have liked to have been. It’s like the guy doesn’t bother caring or getting affected or worrying about what happens to him because he’s internalised their lack of giving a shit about him.
And while all this is happening: where’s Mum? According to Laurence, she’s out on the town by herself, which roughly translates to “she’s slutting around and partying like a rockstar.” According to the whole family, she’s ill and lives in London, though judging from her shopping habits, she’s not exactly pining away in a sanitarium like Dr. Bell’s wife, she’s just all outta fucks to give about her family and living it up. (Then again, if William was off screwing other people and having them move in with him and having kids with them, and being a ragey abusive shit, I don’t think it takes a whole lot of psychoanalysis to work out why Josephine isn’t exactly keen on hanging around.) Edward seems to realise what’s up and resent her, Jeremy doesn’t have any idea she’s not even his real mum, Oscar is in denial about the whole situation, and presumably Joshua is just like, “*shrugs*, as long as dad isn’t angry I don’t care.”
SERIOUSLY THESE PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST BRUTALLY FUCKED UP FAMILIES IN ANYTHING EVER.
I think the absolute kicker is how ordinary and stiff upper lip they look on the surface too: it almost, almost makes you feel a bit bad that Alex is basically storming in there and trying to shake the foundations a little more. But I like Alex and trust his judgement and believe in him, so I’m not gonna feel too bad unless he goes to full on reprehensible levels.
*clears throat* A-hem. Okay, so sweet little Jeremy wants to know if Alex can teach him how to play piano because he really wants to learn. …Alex can do one of two things, but let’s teach him because Jeremy’s route, and when you do that, Alex recalls… Beth… his dead sister, teaching him and Oscar how to play piano. Yeeeeouch.
What follows is actually quite sweet: Alex and Jeremy starting to build a relationship, and for the Alex-haters, Alex actually redeeming himself somewhat.
There’s a break after this, and Alex thinks on his plans; this is one of those marking points where things pan out depending on your so far choices.
Next day, Edward’s inviting Alex to his “club.” It appears that Edward sees himself as a proper British gentleman and has joined a club to play cards and hang out with other kids who are too young or socially inept or not important enough to be in more prestigious clubs. Alex is thinking, “Shit, how do I get outta going to this?” and Oscar comes along; Edward nonchalantly asks if he and Alex can visit a friend, Oscar’s like, “Nope, Alex is OUR GUEST, that would be rude and IMPOSING on your friend,” and Edward’s all, “Urrrgh,” because his bullshit didn’t faze Oscar. Even though Oscar was more likely saying “no,” because it’s clearly obvious that he still doesn’t trust Alex around the older siblings, and Edward’s already a handful and a half
and may or may not have a massive crush on Alex.
Oscar asks why Edward wants to go out anyway, Edward says something about playing cards, and Oscar’s like, “Nope.” Alex doesn’t intervene because he was trying to work out how to decline the invite anyway. But he’s seen the tension it’s caused, and asked his investigator to find out what the deal is with this club that Edward’s in.
So Edward, after dinner, is not in his typically smart-arse mood, so Dr. Bell suggests they go play some cards, which doesn’t cheer Edward up either.
They head for the games room and Edward is still pissy, and Oscar tells him he’ll have people to play cards with when he goes to college. Edward’s still unimpressed.
So next up, we have another choice for Alex around positioning at card tables: I put Alex at the table with Jeremy, and we get to see the resentment Edward (formerly the baby of the family, I guess) has towards Jeremy: it’s pretty damned amazing how seriously immature this guy can be: he’s nineteen and he acts like a kid in his early teens taunting his ten year old brother. All the while being all, “I am TOO grown up and manly!”
They chat about education: Jeremy’s off to school, and Edward’s… meant to be off to college, right, but Edward drops a bombshell: “I don’t believe academia agrees with me.”
Yeah, he doesn’t want to go to college: he wants to be a soldier. (And nowadays how many people join the army so they can get paid uni degrees?) The thing is, he’s… not stupid; it’s his way of distinguishing himself from his brothers: Oscar’s the responsible, smart, next in line one, Jeremy’s the cute angelic one, and he’s… gotta shine in his own light.
The really awkward bit though, which also shows how much at odds he is, how he’s sort of been pitted against him– and again how poor bloody Joshua is just basically treated like shit by his parents: a military career was Baron Edenic’s “hope and dream” for Joshua. Joshua is all, “*shrugs*, Dad will approve” which sort of puts Edward in an awkward spot since pretty much everything he does is done so with the goal to rebel and buck authority.
Anyway, Alex thinks about the brothers and decides that Jeremy is different to the rest. Arguably you’d think Alex would have a deeper concern for or feel some sort of kinship with Jeremy because of who he seems to be and that he’s basically completely innocent in this whole mess, but… Alex has issues and warms slowly to people, right?
Jeremy is basically untouched innocence, and unlike everything else in the household, and… he reminds Alex of Beth.
So Alex has this moment of “Is he really like that, or is he just stupid and naive or putting it on?” And… yet he kind of wants to admit that he actually likes and cares about the kid, and that his opinion on him has shifted since getting to know him.
So we get one of those closing off cut scenes, and basically, it’s time to shift down the Jeremy route a bit closer to the outcome.