back to ACT 1

ACT 2, SCENE 1

MICHAEL GOOD'S FLAT

Michael's flat some days later. Michael is drinking a cup of coffee while he reads a magazine. The clock shows it's 11 o'clock. The intercom buzzes. Michael goes over and presses a button.

MICHAEL: Yes ... Come on up, Peter.

He presses the door button. A few moments later there's a knock at the door. Michael opens it and Peter Philbin walks in. He's a successful playwright, with some notable West End successes to his name. Single, he's few years older than Michael - in his late thirties perhaps. Michael displays no sign of the animosity that he showed toward Peter on the telephone a week or so earlier.

PETER:       Hallo, Michael. Look, I'm sorry I dropped you in it with Antonia the other day.

MICHAEL: That's OK. Antonia and I were coming apart at the seams anyway.

PETER:       And thanks for your help in getting Robert Reeves off my back. I was really worried he'd set his attack dogs on me.

MICHAEL: Think nothing of it. This play of yours is just the thing to take my mind off Antonia, anyway. How's it going?

PETER:       That's why I've come round, actually. I'm having real trouble with it. The first act practically wrote itself, but the second act's been taken over by this wretched character who just won't get off the stage!

MICHAEL: Julia mentioned something about this the other day. Which character is it? Not mine, I hope?

PETER:       No, she's the daughter of one of the other characters. I had planned that she would just have a walk-on part in the first act. Then when I started writing the second scene of the second act there was a knock on the door and instead of the character I was going to write lines for, she came in instead!

MICHAEL: No!

PETER:       Yes! She took over the bloody play. And she's very demanding. She keeps wanting a bigger and bigger part.

MICHAEL: Come on, Peter, you're the writer. You wrote her in, you can just write her out.

PETER:       Easy to say. Normally I'd agree, but not this time. I don't have any control over her at all.

MICHAEL: But she's just a character.

PETER:       No, she's not. I swear she's sitting there in my head, dictating her lines to me.

MICHAEL: No!

PETER:       Yes! And when I told her to go away, she said 'Well if you won't write a bigger part for me, I'll make sure that no one else has anything to say either'.

MICHAEL: And then what happened? Did you just give in?

PETER:       No. Instead of writing the bits she wanted, I tried writing a scene without her.

MICHAEL: And?

PETER:       And nothing. The rest of the cast didn't seem to want to say or do anything useful.

MICHAEL: You can't be serious! You're telling me that one of your characters has taken control of your play? A young girl?

PETER:       I can't really say she's one of my characters. I mean, she makes the stuff up, not me.

MICHAEL: And she's really in control?

PETER:       Absolutely. When I gave in and started writing the lines she dictated, the other characters came back to life again.

MICHAEL: Has this happened to you before? Having a character write their own lines, I mean?

PETER:       No, and it's a very unpleasant experience.

MICHAEL: Unpleasant?

PETER:       Yes. She's taken my play away from me. She's writing this wonderful part for herself but I can't take any of the credit.

MICHAEL: Why complain? Makes it easier for you. I mean, can't you just sit back and let her write the rest of the play?

PETER:       Unfortunately she's not interested in the play, only her part.

MICHAEL: So she only writes her own lines?

PETER:       Not exactly. She forces the other characters to say things too. But only things that let her continue to dominate the second act.

MICHAEL: What about the third act?

PETER:       She's not interested in a third act. She's got what she wanted. The trouble is her second act leaves no room for a third, it's a dead end. It's left my original plan for the plot in ruins.

MICHAEL: And you say she dominates? You mean she does most of the talking?

PETER:       No, not just that. She really does dominate the other characters. She seduces your character for a start.

MICHAEL: Seduces me? How old is she? Not under age, I hope?

PETER:       No, I think she's about twenty. Some sort of student. She hasn't said too much about herself, she says I'm on a 'need to know' basis.

MICHAEL: She sounds intriguing.

PETER:       I can't tell you how stupid I feel, Michael.

MICHAEL: Stupid?

PETER:       Yes. I mean, normally it's me putting words in the mouths of my characters and here she is, a character, whispering words in my ear. God, I hate her!

MICHAEL: And she seduces me, eh? Do I go willingly, or do I put up a fight?

PETER:       Actually, she doesn't so much seduce as blackmail you into having sex with her. She has some sort of hold over you.

MICHAEL: I can't wait to meet her, on stage I mean. I seem to have a thing for demanding women. I mean, look at Antonia.

PETER:       Yes. I know what you mean. When that woman has you by the balls you're not inclined to say no.

MICHAEL: She has that effect on you too, does she?

PETER:       Yes. More or less forced me to make love to her. And to be indiscreet about you.

MICHAEL: I admit I was cross at the time, but I do understand. Antonia has that commanding air that says 'Do what I say and do it now'. And you don't dare resist her - who knows what she'd do. Has she still got you under her thumb?

PETER:       No. She's gone very quiet lately. I haven't seen her since, well before all this stuff with Julia and Robert blew up.

MICHAEL: How long had you and she ...?

PETER:       I think she just grabbed me one day when you weren't available. We met at a party a couple of months ago. I found her attractive and told her so.

MICHAEL: That's enough for her to put you down as a reserve in her little black book.

PETER:       Right. At the time I didn't even know that she was married. She doesn't behave as though she is when, what's his name, Lionel is it, when he's not around, does she?

MICHAEL: She doesn't behave as though she's married when he is around. In fact, she doesn't behave, period.

PETER:       What's Lionel like by the way? Not jealous and dangerous like Robert, is he?

MICHAEL: No. He's desperately trying to get a divorce so he can marry some young stripper!

PETER:       He's been married twice already, hasn't he? Wasn't there one before Antonia?

MICHAEL: Yes. I never met his first wife. They were divorced years ago and she's married again. Lives abroad, in Spain I think. There's a daughter too. Roxanne. She lives with Lionel and Antonia - didn't want to go abroad with her mum.

PETER:       So he's on to number three then?

MICHAEL: Unfortunately for Lionel, Antonia wants to stay married to him. She calls Lionel her 'chequebook' and she's damned if she's going to lose that.

PETER:       No. Shopping is her religion. I think she worships at the shrine of Harvey Nicks.

MICHAEL: (laughing) I wonder who she's got her teeth into now. If she's not seeing either of us, she must have found someone else.

PETER:       You're right. Antonia needs admirers the way some people need cigarettes.

MICHAEL: Well, perhaps you and I have escaped. Lucky for us, since it seems neither of us could say no to her.

PETER:       Just like your character in the play when Trixie's around.

MICHAEL: Trixie? Is that what this girl's called? Nobody's called Trixie these days, are they?

PETER:       I didn't name her, she did.

MICHAEL: Anyway, you can't tell me some twenty year old could get me to do something I didn't want to.

PETER:       But you haven't met her, Michael. Just you wait.

MICHAEL: What are you doing about the play? How are you going to finish it?

PETER:       I've put it aside for the moment. I'm hoping I can force Trixie to relent, accept a smaller part. Then I can rewrite the second act to make room for the third.

MICHAEL: Put it aside? Not for long, I hope.

PETER:       Depends on how long Trixie can cope with being starved of attention. I don't know what else to do.

MICHAEL: And is this Trixie based on a real person?

PETER:       No one I've met, thank goodness.

MICHAEL: And what about you and Julia? Are you still having an affair?

PETER:       No. It wasn't like that at all actually. She'd been having a tough time with Robert and I think she just needed a shoulder to cry on.

MICHAEL: He's not a nice man, is he?

PETER:       No. Then when I was trying to comfort her, well Julia's not the sort of woman you can put your arms round without sex rearing its ugly head.

MICHAEL: I'm sorry to hear your sex has an ugly head. Women find mine quite attractive.

PETER:       (grinning) You know what I mean. Julia just oozes sex appeal when you're close to her.

MICHAEL: Agreed. Unfortunately I've only been allowed to admire her charms from afar.

PETER:       Anyway, Julia and I are still friends of course, but we're not having an affair. It was just a one-off thing. I wouldn't want to cause the breakup of her marriage. She's still having problems with Robert, though.

MICHAEL: What sort of problems? I've only met him a few times, but I've heard he's got underworld connections.

PETER:       So it seems. Some sort of money-laundering. I think Julia's regretting ever getting married to him. He's not actually hit her, but he's apparently got a vicious temper.

MICHAEL: Sounds as though she should divorce him. I mean, she's not like Antonia, prepared to stay married to someone she hates as long as she can share his wealth.

PETER:       No. Julia's not that driven by money.

MICHAEL: And she could easily support herself as an actress.

PETER:       Absolutely.

MICHAEL: Which is why you must get on with this play, so she can relaunch her stage career. She doesn't know you're having problems with it, does she?

PETER:       Not yet. But she'll want to read the thing before long and so far all I've got is a first act that makes sense and a second act dominated by a scheming young woman.

MICHAEL: Well, I think Julia is going to need reassurance about going back on stage. We should both try to boost her confidence.

PETER:       Good idea. Look, why don't the three of us get together? Read through what I've written. It would help Julia and who knows, it might get the wretched Trixie off my back too.

MICHAEL: OK. Why don't we meet here? I'll phone Julia and invite her over.

CURTAIN

ACT 2, SCENE 2

MICHAEL GOOD'S FLAT

Michael's flat the next day. Michael is sitting in his usual chair, reading a newspaper. The clock shows it's 2.30. The intercom buzzes. Michael goes over and presses the button.

MICHAEL: Yes ... Oh Julia. Yes, come on up.

He presses the door button. A few moments later there's a knock at the door. Michael goes to the door and opens it. Julia walks in looking worried. They embrace (chastely).

MICHAEL: Julia, thank you for coming round. How are you?

JULIA:         I'm worried about the play, Mickey. I mean, it was a clever way of getting me out of trouble with Robert, but now it seems that there really is going to be a play, well, I'm terrified of going back on stage.

MICHAEL: Don't be silly, darling. The part Peter's writing for you is just perfect. It suits your natural comic talent wonderfully.

JULIA:         How much of the play have you seen? So far Peter's just shown me the first act. He told me a bit about how he sees the rest of it.

MICHAEL: Me too. But the first act is very well written. And funny.

JULIA:         Well, yes, I admit the play is very funny. But one of my problems is that Peter seems to enjoy having his female characters spend a lot of time in their underwear.

MICHAEL: A man after my own heart.

JULIA:         I don't think I want to parade about in my bra and panties. Not in front of a West End audience. I'm not as young as I was!

MICHAEL: But you're just as desirable, darling. You've got nothing to worry about.

JULIA:         You're just being kind. Peter's even threatening to make me appear topless at the end of the first act.

MICHAEL: Oh goody!

JULIA:         Yes, well Robert may not mind me going back on stage, but I'm sure he'd draw the line at that.

MICHAEL: Why should Robert mind? The whole world should see your wondrous breasts.

JULIA:         What do you know about my breasts, Mickey? As far as I know, you've never seen them in the flesh.

MICHAEL: Unfortunately true. But I've seen you often enough in revealing dresses to imagine them. I even dream about them sometimes.

JULIA:         You're joking.

MICHAEL: No, I really do. Very pleasant dreams too.

JULIA:         Stop it, Mickey.

MICHAEL: They're national treasures, you know. I really envy Peter. He's seen them in the flesh.

JULIA:         Mickey, they're just breasts, not works of art.

MICHAEL: Julia, you see them all the time, so you don't realize how spectacular they are. I'm very grateful to Peter for making them a feature of his play. I hope he makes you walk around half-naked while I'm on stage with you. I can watch them jiggle.

JULIA:         Now you're just being disgusting.

MICHAEL: It wouldn't be disgusting. I bet they'd bounce up and down wonderfully. How about stripping off now and giving me a preview?

JULIA:         Mickey, you're incorrigible.

MICHAEL: Come on. Just a peep?

JULIA:         I'm certainly not taking my clothes off now. Anyway, why is it always the women who strip? Why can't we have some male nudity for a change?

MICHAEL: I'm perfectly prepared to take my trousers off if you like!

Grinning, Michael pretends to start to strip.

JULIA:         Now you know I meant in a play, not here and now. Can we be serious and just talk about the play?

MICHAEL: Oh, all right. But before we do, you must tell me. Are you still having an affair with Peter? Because if you are, and Robert finds out, we're all going to be in deep trouble.

JULIA:         I'm not. In fact it wasn't really an affair in the first place. I just needed someone to talk to. Robert and I are going through a bad patch.

MICHAEL: I'm sorry to hear that.

JULIA:         Yes, well, Robert has a nasty temper. And I'm pretty sure he's having an affair. I'm worried that he's going to dump me, just like Lionel with Antonia.

MICHAEL: Lionel might have tried, but Antonia has refused to be dumped. He's not going to get his divorce without it costing a fortune in legal fees and alimony.

JULIA:         Yes, but Antonia is harder than I am, and Robert is harder than Lionel so ours won't be such an equal contest. Anyway, if he doesn't want me any more, I wouldn't want to stay with him.

MICHAEL: Why on earth didn't you talk to me about all this before?

JULIA:         What could you have done?

MICHAEL: (with a suggestive look) I could have comforted you, just as Peter did.

JULIA:         (ignoring or not noticing the look) But you were on stage most evenings. At least you were then, before the end of the run.

MICHAEL: True. Anyway, back to the play. You're not really worried about going back on the stage are you?

JULIA:         Well, it's been more than three years.

MICHAEL: It's like riding a bike, Julia.

JULIA:         I hope not. I never did learn to ride a bike properly. I kept bumping into things.

MICHAEL: Come on, Julia. You're young and beautiful and everybody's dying to see you back on the stage. It's where you belong.

JULIA:         That's very flattering, Mickey. I think that all I need is a chance to rehearse with someone I trust. I mean before the whole cast gets together. Perhaps just the two of us?

MICHAEL: I'd love to, Julia, but I'm worried that Robert will get jealous again if we spend too much time alone together.

JULIA:         I suppose he might.

MICHAEL: That's why I've asked Peter to come round as well. I thought that together the two of us could reassure you.

JULIA:         Oh, yes. What a nice idea.

MICHAEL: Actually, he should have been here already.

JULIA:         Well, while we're waiting, tell me how things are between you and Antonia? I heard that she and Lionel are having a huge fight about a divorce.

MICHAEL: I think it's over between us actually. Antonia's made it clear our relationship is not going anywhere.

JULIA:         I could have told you that a year ago, Mickey. Antonia isn't looking for a replacement for Lionel. It's the last thing she wants. You were just one in a long line of distractions.

MICHAEL: So it seems.

JULIA:         You need someone quite different. Not someone like Antonia. You need someone you can share things with.

MICHAEL: You're right, that is what I'm looking for. (Eagerly) You're not offering your services are you?

JULIA:         (smiling) No, I'm not. I like you as a friend, but you should stop pursuing women who are already married.

Before Michael can answer there's another buzz. Michael goes over to the intercom.

MICHAEL: Yes ... Peter. Come on up

He presses the door button. A few moments later there's a knock at the door. Peter Philbin enters.

JULIA:         Hallo Peter. Mickey tells me you two are going to help me get back on my acting feet.

PETER:       Hallo Julia. Yes, not that you'll need much help. I was thinking we could maybe try reading through a few scenes. What do you think?

JULIA:         I think I'd find that very useful.

PETER:       By the way Michael, thank you for those excellent suggestions for the first scene.

MICHAEL: You don't think they set the wrong tone?

PETER:       No, not at all. What made you think of that way of starting the play?

MICHAEL: Just something that happened to a friend of mine.

PETER:       Ah, that's why it rang so true.

MICHAEL: I'm glad you found the idea useful.

JULIA:         What are you two talking about?

PETER:       You'll see the lines when I give you the next draft, Julia. I should have one ready in the next couple of days.

MICHAEL: By the way Peter, Julia's worried about having to prance round half-naked at the end of the first act. I've told her not to worry but she needs re-assuring.

PETER:       You don't have to prance, Julia. Just look statuesque.

JULIA:         Yes, but in my underwear?

PETER:       I can rewrite that part if it really worries you. As long as you're prepared to wear a dress that shows off your figure. The scene does call for you to look very seductive.

JULIA:         Of course. But I really would be happier not to have to strip off.

MICHAEL: I won't be happier. I was looking forward to that part of the show.

PETER:       I'm afraid I put Julia's modesty before your mammary fetish, Michael.

MICHAEL: It's not a fetish. It's just a minor fixation.

PETER:       So Julia, which piece of the play would you like to read today?

MICHAEL: Can I suggest the two-hander between my character and yours in the third scene of the first act?

JULIA:         That sounds like an excellent idea. (She pauses for a moment) No, wait a minute. Isn't that the one where you get to embrace me passionately?

MICHAEL: (pretending to be uncertain) Is it? I'm not sure.

JULIA:         (grinning) You scheming bugger, Mickey! Just because you won't be seeing my naked breasts you want to feel me up instead!

MICHAEL: (smirking) You can't blame me for trying, Julia. These rehearsals are going to be fun!

CURTAIN

ACT 2, SCENE 3

MICHAEL GOOD'S FLAT

Michael's flat some days later. Michael is listening to music while reading a newspaper. According to the clock it's nearly 11 o'clock. The intercom buzzes. Michael turns off the music, goes to the intercom and presses a button.

MICHAEL: Yes ... Who? ... Roxanne? ... Oh yes, of course. Come on up. It's on the first floor.

A few moments later there's a knock at the door. Michael, looking puzzled, goes to the door and opens it. Roxanne Mason enters. She takes off her jacket to reveal that she's dressed in a tight blouse and short skirt. She looks considerably more glamorous than when we last saw her.

Michael goes to shake Roxy's hand, but she kisses him on the lips instead. He steps back in surprise.

MICHAEL: Roxanne, you look fantastic! Are you off to see someone special? What's the occasion?

ROXY:         Call me Roxy, please. You're the someone special I've come to see.

MICHAEL: Am I? Well, what can I do for you, Roxy?

ROXY:         It's very simple, Mickey - I can call you Mickey can't I? All your other girlfriends do, don't they?

MICHAEL: Other girlfriends? I mean, you're a friend of course, but ... well, yes, of course you can call me Mickey.

ROXY:         I really should have said 'all your other lovers'. It's simple, I want to be one. One of your lovers, I mean.

MICHAEL: You want to be what? Roxy, what on earth are you talking about? I'm almost old enough to be your father!

ROXY:         Don't be stupid, Mickey. You're barely ten years older than I am. Anyway I'm prepared to overlook your age. It's your experience, well, to be precise, it's your lovemaking skills I'm interested in.

MICHAEL: My lovemaking skills? What do you know about my lovemaking skills?

ROXY:         (grinning) Not enough, obviously. That's why I'm here. But I know they work. I've heard the results. Very impressive. Antonia's very vocal, isn't she? She's quite the screamer.

MICHAEL: How on earth do you know that? Heard the results? What do you mean?

ROXY:         Well, I've been bugging our house for quite a while and ...

MICHAEL: (interrupting) Bugging your house? You mean, with some sort of 'electronic gizmo'?

ROXY:         (grinning) Exactly. Anyway, as a result I've heard you both at it - you know, the times when you've come round to the house for an assignation with Antonia.

MICHAEL: Why on earth would you bug your own house?

ROXY:         Well, I've been looking out for my dad. I've suspected for ages that Antonia was having affairs. I wanted to know what she got up to when there was no-one else in the house. I thought it might be useful to gather some evidence.

MICHAEL: How very devious. But where did you get this bug? This gizmo?

ROXY:         I made it.

MICHAEL: You made it?

ROXY:         Yes. While I've been at Cambridge I've been spending the long summer vacations working in the research labs at Masonic Electronics.

MICHAEL: Ah, I see.

ROXY:         Yes, surveillance equipment is one of their specialties. They do a lot of work for the security services actually, top secret stuff. I've been helping design and make bugging devices for quite a while. I'm actually quite an expert.

MICHAEL: Good heavens. But I still don't understand why you want to have sex with me.

ROXY:         I told you, I'm interested in your lovemaking skills, your sexual techniques.

MICHAEL: Don't you have a boyfriend your own age? What do you need me for? You're not a virgin, are you?

ROXY:         I've got male friends, and I've had sex, but you'd be surprised how little the men of my own age know about giving pleasure to women. They're still schoolboys really.

MICHAEL: I thought these days everyone learnt about sex in primary school. What with the internet and everything.

ROXY:         Oh, they know where things go, but all most of them want is big tits and a blowjob. And even when they want the real thing, well it's all over in five minutes.

MICHAEL: (incredulously) Five minutes? My God. What can a man do in five minutes?

ROXY:         Me usually. And that's if I'm lucky. Nasty, brutish and short, that's been my sex life.

MICHAEL: You poor thing, Roxy. It's not meant to be like that.

ROXY:         Exactly. You seem to know how to give more ... more lasting satisfaction. And if you were to show me, then I could teach my future boyfriends, couldn't I?

MICHAEL: That may be, Roxy, but I couldn't possibly take you to bed. Lionel would kill me if he found out, for a start. And Antonia would, well ...

ROXY:         Who cares what Antonia thinks? You know she's never going to marry you. She made that perfectly clear the other day.

MICHAEL: I suppose you're right.

ROXY:         And my dad is in no position to say anything. That Samantha of his is practically the same age as me.

MICHAEL: I still don't think it's a good idea, Roxy.

ROXY:         I don't think you understand, Mickey. This is not a proposal, it's an ultimatum. If you don't do what I want, well, I'll just have to use some of my tapes.

MICHAEL: Tapes? You mean you've got tapes of my lovemaking? Of me and Antonia?

ROXY:         I'm afraid so. Quite a few.

MICHAEL: Now let me get this straight. Unless I go to bed with you, you're going to send tapes of my sexual exploits to the News of the World? Or put them on the World Wide Web?

ROXY:         Something like that. But it won't come to that. You'll see. We'll both enjoy it. After all, I'm not exactly ugly, am I?

Roxy quickly takes off her blouse and skirt, revealing her lacy underwear. While not as voluptuous as Julia, she has a very shapely figure.

And after all those thirty-something's, wouldn't you like to taste a twenty year old?

Michael suddenly bursts out laughing.

ROXY:         (blushing) What's so funny, Mickey? Is there something wrong with my underwear?

MICHAEL: No, absolutely not. No, I'm laughing because I've just realized what's going on. This is Philbin's joke, isn't it? Where is he, waiting downstairs?

ROXY:         Philbin's joke? What do you mean?

MICHAEL: Peter's put you up to this, hasn't he? Just because I said I'd be able to resist a blackmailing twenty year old student.

ROXY:         I don't know what you're talking about, Mickey. Philbin? Peter Philbin, the playwright?

MICHAEL: Yes, exactly. He's writing this play and one of the characters is this dominating twenty year old student, just like you. And she manages to, well, force my character to have sex with her. She's even got a similar name - she's called Trixie.

ROXY:         And?

MICHAEL: Well, I told him that wouldn't work on me in real life. So Peter's sent you to test me, hasn't he?

ROXY:         Mickey, I assure you this has nothing to do with Peter Philbin. I've never met him.

MICHAEL: Now Roxy, I admit you had me going there for a while, but I don't believe you.

ROXY:         Mickey, I really do want you to go to bed with me.

MICHAEL: Look, I'm going to phone Peter and tell him that he was right, that I would have been seduced. And please put your clothes back on.

ROXY:         No. You go ahead and phone him. And when you realize he's got nothing to do with this, well then you can apologize. You can make it up to me by giving me the sort of orgasms you gave Antonia.

Michael picks up the phone and dials.

MICHAEL: Peter. It's Michael Good.

... Look you were right about me and Trixie.

... Yes, Roxy's just proved that I would indeed have been seduced.

... Roxy! ... Roxy Mason! ... Lionel's daughter!

... She's here now.

... Yes, she nearly got me to ...

... Look Peter, I admit it. You win.

... Really?

... You didn't? ... You don't?

... I see. ... Yes, see you soon. 'Bye.

Michael puts the phone down, looking very puzzled.

MICHAEL: It seems I owe you an apology. Peter says he's never met you.

ROXY:         I told you that. Now can we get on with it?

MICHAEL: Of course not, Roxy. You can't blackmail me with those tapes.

ROXY:         Why not?

MICHAEL: Because I don't care if everyone knows Antonia and I are lovers. After all, they were going to find out soon enough if Antonia had agreed to divorce Lionel. It would all have come out in the divorce case.

Roxy looks as though she's going to cry.

MICHAEL: Roxy, don't cry.

ROXY:         But I really thought it would work.

MICHAEL: (putting his arms round her) I'm surprised you need me to show you anything. I'd have thought you'd have made a bug that had a little camera, and not just a microphone. Then you could film it all.

ROXY:         (brightening) That's very astute of you, Mickey. I have been working on something like that.

MICHAEL: My god, Roxy, what sort of girl are you?

ROXY:         I'm the sort who knows what she wants. And I thought I knew how to get it.

MICHAEL: But blackmail?

ROXY:         Well, I didn't think I'd need to go that far. I thought that when you saw me in my underwear you'd jump me. Everyone else does.

MICHAEL: I can understand that. It certainly had the desired effect on me. I mean, I admit you are well, almost irresistible.

ROXY:         Almost? Perhaps this might tip you over the edge, then.

She pulls Michael to her and kisses him. It's a long and deep kiss. When she stops, Michael stares at her in astonishment.

MICHAEL: Roxy! Who taught you to kiss like that?

Roxy has a puzzled look on her face.

ROXY:         I don't know. I don't think I've ever kissed anybody like that before. Something happened there, didn't it? Between us, I mean.

MICHAEL: Something certainly did. Do you think you could do it again?

She does. When eventually she lets him go, both of them look confused.

MICHAEL: I'm not sure what's going on here, Roxy, but you win. I'll do anything you ask as long as you keep on kissing me like that.

ROXY:         Really? You mean it?

She kisses him again.

MICHAEL: My God, yes! Kisses like that make me putty in your hands.

ROXY:         (grinning) I felt something much more rigid than putty pressing against me just then.

MICHAEL: Well, I'm easily aroused.

ROXY:         I hope that what goes up so quickly doesn't come down as fast. I'd like things to last. Longer than five minutes anyway.

MICHAEL: We'll see. I think I can promise that. So what exactly are you expecting me to do? Start by drawing diagrams?

ROXY:         Why don't we skip the theory and go straight on to the practical.

Roxy quickly sheds her bra. Michael whistles softly.

We can start with whatever it was that got Antonia to shout "Bingo" a few weeks ago. And you can take off your trousers. I want to see what I'm going to be up against!

MICHAEL: (grinning as he reaches for his zip) Bloody hell!

CURTAIN (very briefly)

The clock on the wall shows an hour or so has elapsed (it's 12.15). Roxy is sitting on the sofa in her underwear, writing in a notebook. She has a dreamy look on her face. Michael, looking very pleased with himself, is buttoning up his shirt. He sits down on the sofa beside her.

ROXY:         You know Mickey, I almost did shout "Bingo" there. I must finish these notes before I forget some of the details. (smiling as she writes) That was quite complicated. Very effective though. And what a climax! (grinning) Mine, I mean.

Putting her notebook in her bag, she stands up and slips into her skirt and puts on her blouse.

Well, that's enough excitement for one day. Even good things have to come to an end sometime ... (she giggles) and good end things have to come sometime. Yours took longer than five minutes though, a lot longer. Can I see you again tomorrow?

MICHAEL: Look Roxy, that was very enjoyable. For both of us, it seems. But I really don't think we should do it again.

ROXY:         I agree, Mickey. I don't want to do that again.

MICHAEL: Thank goodness for that.

ROXY:         Not that particular thing, I mean. Not yet, anyway. I'm sure you've got other tricks up your ... up your trouser leg. I want to experience them all. One by one. Then we can come back to that one and start all over again.

MICHAEL: But ..

ROXY:         Look, I know that Antonia seemed to want you to do the same thing to her over and over, but I've heard you trying to persuade her to let you try something different. She may be habit-bound, but I'm not.

MICHAEL: You really have been listening, haven't you?

ROXY:         Research is my middle name, Mickey. Anyway, same time tomorrow?

MICHAEL: Do we have to be quite so business-like about this, Roxy? You come in here, we spend an hour or so in bed, you make some quick notes and then you dash off. Can't we chat? Sit down again, please.

Roxy sits down again next to Michael.

ROXY:         Chat, Mickey, what about?

MICHAEL: You know, before today I don't think we've ever had a private conversation, we've just exchanged a few words whenever I've met you with Lionel or Antonia. There's so much about you I don't know. For example, what do you want to do with your life? What's next after Cambridge?

ROXY:         Well, assuming I get the predicted first, Stanford, I think, or possibly MIT. I haven't quite decided. The weather's nicer in California, but that might be a distraction. And there are some very smart people in the Media Lab at MIT.

MICHAEL: And then what?

ROXY:         Well, the whole point of going to universities like that is to hook up with like-minded people and then form a start-up.

MICHAEL: A start-up? A start-up what?

ROXY:         A start-up business. A start-up is how you turn technical ideas into money. I've got lots of ideas.

MICHAEL: So hopefully you'll make lots of money?

ROXY:         I know it's easy for me to say this, having a rich father, but it's not the money that's important.

MICHAEL: It isn't?

ROXY:         No, it's the ideas that excite me. (She grins) Almost as much as you do.

MICHAEL: But you're going to start a company of your own? You're not going to join the family business?

ROXY:         Not a chance. Too hard to get new ideas developed there. No, it's the States for me. For a while at least.

MICHAEL: So you have it all planned out then?

ROXY:         Some things. Not everything. And what about you? What are you going to do, now that Antonia has turned you down? Why on earth did you want to marry her anyway?

MICHAEL: I love her, Roxy. At least, I thought I did.

ROXY:         But now you're not so sure?

MICHAEL: No. Now I'm pretty sure I don't love her. She suddenly seems so hard, almost brutal.

ROXY:         She's always been like that.

MICHAEL: Perhaps, but I never really noticed until recently. I suppose I've always been attracted to women, usually older women, who have the power to dominate me, but it seems there's a limit to my masochism.

ROXY:         You're not a masochist, Mickey. You don't want sex to be painful, you just want to give more pleasure than you receive.

MICHAEL: I suppose so.

ROXY:         I think that's very sweet. And as for preferring older women, well, you seemed to enjoy yourself with me.

MICHAEL: Yes, but you're another dominator. Telling me what to do and when to do it.

The following exchange starts as lighthearted banter. As it progresses they clearly take it more seriously and move closer together.

ROXY:         I'm not a dominatrix, Mickey. I just said 'show me'. You did almost all the driving. And a thrilling ride it was too.

MICHAEL: And what lovely countryside. A delight to the senses.

ROXY:         You spent a lot of time there, exploring the countryside.

MICHAEL: I like exploring. Secret, hidden places, full of fragrance. What about you? How did you find the boring bits?

ROXY:         I particularly enjoyed the boring bits. I didn't think being bored could be quite so exciting.

MICHAEL: Really?

ROXY:         Oh Yes. And I really enjoyed all those twists and turns, going up and down. Almost like being on a roller-coaster.

MICHAEL: We didn't go too fast, I hope.

ROXY:         No, you slowed down at just the right moments. Just perfect. I loved every second.

MICHAEL: I'm glad.

ROXY:         Mind you, I wouldn't want to be bored all the time.

MICHAEL: Of course not.

ROXY:         But I wasn't. You seemed to find lots of things for me to do, to keep me occupied while you were busy driving. And you let me take matters into my own hands every now and then.

MICHAEL: I thought you might like to control the pace sometimes. You showed a natural aptitude for it.

ROXY:         Did I?

MICHAEL: Yes. Have you ever done any horse-riding?

ROXY:         When I was younger, yes.

MICHAEL: I thought so. You obviously learnt how to get the best out of your mount.

ROXY:         All this talk is getting me rather excited. I'm not sure I can wait until tomorrow for another outing.

MICHAEL: (kissing Roxy) Nor me, Roxy. But I'm afraid we'll have to. I'm meeting my agent for lunch in half an hour.

ROXY:         (kissing Michael back) Well, the delay and anticipation will only add to the pleasure tomorrow.

MICHAEL: Oh dear. I'm probably going to end up falling in love with you. What will you do when I ask you to marry me? Turn me down flat, like your stepmother?

ROXY:         (laughing) Well, you won't know unless you ask.

MICHAEL: I'd better make sure it never gets that far. Lionel may feel comfortable marrying someone half his age, someone not much older than his daughter, but I don't.

ROXY:         You're twenty years younger than Lionel, much more handsome, and I don't feel the least bit like your daughter. As I said, there are hardly ten years between us. (She stands up and walks towards the door). See you tomorrow.

MICHAEL: (standing up and following her) Don't you have to be back in Cambridge?

ROXY:         No. I took my finals a couple of weeks ago. I'm free to devote myself to you. Utterly.

Roxy gives Michael a deep kiss, then puts on her coat and leaves.

MICHAEL: (groaning) Bloody Hell!

CURTAIN

on to ACT 3

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