Reuse the set from Act I, Scene 7. There should be a piano in the corner, or at least something that represents a piano. Hailey is playing the piano but is doing it very mechanically. The guests try to ignore it and eat their cake. Jackie sits next to Kate, who naturally is sitting next to Daniel. Phillip sits across from Jackie but gets distracted from staring at her by Emma sitting next to him, trying to get his attention. Neville sits next to Jackie. Jackie tries to hide her giddiness while Phillip glares at Neville. Neville only has eyes for Jackie.
DANIEL: Emma, why aren’t you eating any cake?
EMMA: Blah, too fattening.
JACKIE: Surely, one slice couldn’t hurt!
EMMA: It starts with one slice, and then it starts a constant addiction to sugar. I’d rather not get started.
NEVILLE: Seems a bit of an insult to the host to not have any.
JACKIE: You’re so considerate!
Phillip continues to give Neville a dirty look, which Neville ignores.
KATE: Well, it’s your loss, Emma. This cake is perfect!
DANIEL: You think so? I’ll be sure to send some home for you!
ANGELA: I can’t take this anymore!
DANIEL: Excuse me?
Angela marches over to Hailey and grabs her hands to get her to stop playing.
ANGELA: Stop playing this dull music! It’s a birthday party-play something more lively for crying out loud!
HAILEY: Fine, but you know how much I hate playing pop music!
Hailey begins playing the song Bad Romance and sings along with it (and is terrible!)
LACY: Really, you had to get her to play different music! Thanks a lot!
PHILLIP: Happy birthday, indeed!
The guests murmur happy birthday and continue to listen to Hailey play. Play music into next scene to allow actors time to change clothes for next scene.
The tables should be pulled apart and placed separately. The tables should also be unadorned. There should be a few people out there studying. Kate and Jackie sit across from each other writing a paper and doing research in books.
JACKIE: So, are you and Daniel dating now?
KATE: I guess.
JACKIE: What do you think of him?
KATE: He’s the sweetest, most handsome man I’ve ever met! I could really see us ending up together!
JACKIE: Oh don’t tell Mum that. Then she really will be making wedding arrangements.
KATE: I know, I know. Speaking of the devil, she’s gotten a cold, and I know it’s mean to say this, but thank God she can’t talk for a couple of days!
JACKIE: I gave her that muffin.
KATE: You didn’t! Jackie, I was only joking about that!
JACKIE: I didn’t do it on purpose! I threw it away, but the rubbish been was pretty full, so it just kind of rested on the top. I heard Mum come by and say, “Who threw away a perfectly good muffin?” She took it out and ate it!
KATE: Gross! Certainly not very aristocratic of her, like she tries so hard to be!
The girls giggle. Neville comes up to them.
NEVILLE: May I sit with you?
JACKIE: Of course!
NEVILLE: Did you enjoy the party?
KATE: Oh yes, very much so!
JACKIE: Yes and no. It would’ve been fine if Phillip would just leave me alone.
NEVILLE: What do you mean?
JACKIE: Well, at Daniel’s housewarming party, Phillip said I was fair enough to look at but not good enough to tempt him. He was so unpleasant the whole night. Now he’s trying to make me uncomfortable and nervous by dancing with me and constantly staring at me.
NEVILLE: That doesn’t surprise me. Phillip has been most cruel to me ever since I joined his family.
KATE: Joined his family?
NEVILLE: I was adopted by them.
JACKIE: So what did he do?
NEVILLE: When I was about thirteen, Phillip’s father adopted me. Phillip never accepted me as a family member even though everyone else did. In fact, everyone else loved me, especially Leila, the youngest. When I was eighteen, Phillip accused me of a horrible thing and convinced everyone to kick me out on the streets. If it wasn’t for the military, I wouldn’t be in school or even have a home!
JACKIE: What a despicable man!
KATE: Why does my Daniel like him so much?
NEVILLE: I don’t know, he has a big heart. I try not to think about it. I just need to focus on getting though my psychology exam.
JACKIE: Oh right, we’re supposed to be working!
KATE: Is there an assignment in front of me? I totally forgot!
Kate, Jackie, and Neville laugh.