Back in the Goodman’s tv room, Jackie, Kate, Lacy, Angela, and Hailey all chat together.
KATE: (looking at her phone) Daniel just asked me out to dinner!
JACKIE: Ooh, a real date congratulations!
ANGELA: Ugh, Mum will be revolting!
KATE: It feels weird to be the only one of us girls who has a man.
LACY: Maybe you’re the only one who could change her status to taken, but we all have at least one man we like.
HAILEY: I like Heathcliff!
JACKIE: Do you like anyone who isn’t fictional?
HAILEY: I guess not.
LACY: Okay, everyone but Hailey has a man they like.
ANGELA: Wait, who does Jackie like?
KATE: She likes Neville.
Lacy frowns at this, but no one notices.
JACKIE: Why would you tell them?
KATE: They’d figure it out later anyways. They’ll see you drooling over him at lunch today.
JACKIE: He’s coming for lunch?
HAILEY: Yes, but unfortunately, he’s coming with Michael Perrins.
The girls shudder at the name.
ANGELA: That slime ball we call a landlord? What does he want?
KATE: I think I know. The other day I saw Mum and Dad reading a letter from him. I think he’s thinking of selling the house!
LACY: And you’re just now telling us this?
KATE: I didn’t want to worry you over what may not be true.
JACKIE: How could he sell the house? I thought we owned it.
HAILEY: Apparently not.
KATE: If only I had my center for foreclosure displacement open already! Then I’d know we’d be okay!
ANGELA: Kate, you and Jackie are in college, so you could just move into a dorm or a flat that’s paid for with scholarships and stuff. It’s the rest of us who are doomed.
LACY: Well, he is coming over for lunch, right? Maybe they’re trying to work something out.
JACKIE: Maybe we’re worrying over nothing. It could be just an increase in rent or something.
The girls do not look convinced.
MRS. GOODMAN: (off stage) Girls! Lunch is ready!
The girls leave. The lights fade.
The girls pace nervously in the reading room.
KATE: I don’t know why I feel so nervous. I mean, lunch went fine. He didn’t mention selling the house at all!
JACKIE: Ugh, and he wouldn’t leave me alone. I wanted to be alone with Neville, and I think he wanted the same, but Mr. Perrins stayed glued to my hip every time I tried.
ANGELA: Did you see him staring at you the whole time? I think he fancies you!
JACKIE: Blah! I’m going to pretend that’s not true. I just hope it doesn’t complicates things with Neville.
HAILEY: Perhaps you should ask him out quickly and get it over with. At least then you would get it done and over with.
Kate and Angela nod their heads.
JACKIE: Me? Ask him out? Are you mad? Wait, don’t answer that?
LACY: (sighs) I wish I knew what our parents were talking about with Mr. Perrins. Why did it have to be so private?
KATE: I think we’re about to find out.
Mrs. Goodman enters. She looks very wide-eyed and grave.
MRS. GOODMAN: Mr. Perrins wants to talk to you, Jackie. Alone.
JACKIE: Me? Oh please Mum, don’t!
MRS. GOODMAN: I really think you should talk to him!
JACKIE: Fine. Where is he?
MRS. GOODMAN: In the tele room.
Angela, Lacy, Hailey, and Kate look at Jackie with a shared apprehension. Jackie reluctantly crosses to the t.v. room.
Cue the lights back to the t.v. room. Michael Perrins is waiting for her looking smug but a little nervous. Jackie cringes.
PERRINS: Hello Jacqueline.
JACKIE: How do you do?
PERRINS: How do I do what?
Perrins laughs in an almost snorting way. Jackie’s frown increases.
PERRINS: Do you know the situation between your parents and I?
JACKIE: You’re selling the house?
PERRINS: Smart girl you are!
JACKIE: You arse! How could you do that to us?
PERRINS: Darling Jacqueline, I have no choice! Your parents have been short on their payments. There is a solution though.
JACKIE: Here’s a solution-you can stop being a sadistic sod and don’t sell our home!
PERRINS: Our home, yes. There’s only one way you can claim this as yours, my dear.
JACKIE: Oh please, I’m dying to hear this!
PERRINS: Well, if I married someone from your family, technically it’d be your house too.
As Perrins gets down on one knee, Jackie’s eyes go wide with dread.
PERRINS: So, Jacqueline Elizabeth Goodman, to save your house and family, will you be my wife?
PERRINS: What? Why?
JACKIE: What do you mean, why? For one thing, you’re old enough to be my father! Second, you disappoint me. As a minister, I thought you’d show more kindness and forgiveness to those less fortunate than you. But mostly, you disgust me!
PERRINS: Fine! Then I’m still selling the house! Good luck in the dodgy flat you end up moving your family into!
Perrins storms out of the room. Moments later, Mrs. Goodman storms in. Mr. Goodman and the rest of the girls follow her in.
MRS. GOODMAN: Oh Jackie! How could you?
JACKIE: Do you seriously expect me to marry someone I hate?
MRS. GOODMAN: I know, I hate him too, but Jackie! Now we’re going to lose our home! You go back and tell him you’ll marry him!
JACKIE: No! The only reason I’ll ever marry is for love! I don’t love him and I never will!
MRS. GOODMAN: But don’t you love us? You’re being very selfish!
JACKIE: I’m being selfish? You expect me to live with that creep for the rest of my life just so you don’t have to move?
MRS. GOODMAN: Jackie, this is our home! We have no where else to go! We could find a new place, but we don’t have a place to stay til then. And anywhere else we live won’t feel the same. Jackie, don’t put us through this!
Jackie folds her arms but remains silent.
MRS. GOODMAN: Mr. Goodman, tell her if she doesn’t marry him, I’ll never speak to her again!
MR. GOODMAN: She can hear you.
MRS. GOODMAN: Tell her!
MR. GOODMAN: Alright. Jackie, if you don’t marry him, your mother will never speak to you again. And if you do marry him, I’LL never speak to you again.
MRS. GOODMAN: Oh, Mr. Goodman!
Mrs. Goodman sobs and runs out of the room.
JACKIE: Thanks Dad!
Jackie cries and hugs her dad.
LACY: What are we going to do now?
MR. GOODMAN: Don’t worry, we’ll think of something.
The girls sit down still absorbing everything that just happened. More out of nervousness than anything, Kate thumbs through a pile of mail that is on a table. She comes across a fancy envelope made of parchment and embroidered edges. She reads the address label.
KATE: (gasps) Jackie, you got a letter from Lady Victory De Bois!
The girls look at Kate with shock. Jackie goes over and looks at the envelope.
JACKIE: She must be responding to my essay for that grant.
HAILEY: When did you apply for a grant?
JACKIE: Last week, when we were at the library. I didn’t think I had a shot, but she never writes to people who lose!
ANGELA: At least not in an envelope so fancy. I hope.
Jackie tears open the envelope and reads the letter.
JACKIE: (reading aloud) “Dearest Jacqueline, I read your essay and simply fell in love with it! I have qualified you as a finalist for my annual grant. I am inviting you and one other essayist to stay at my home so I can meet both of you and decide who is most worthy of this honor. A limousine will arrive to pick you up on Monday at eight a.m. sharp. Congratulations, and I look forward to meeting you! Sincerely, Lady Victoria De Bois!” Oh my God!
MR. GOODMAN: A grant? Then technically the money is yours to do with as you will? I know you meant it for college, but-
JACKIE: Of course, Dad, I’ll use it for the house! If I win…
MR. GOODMAN: I must find Mrs. Goodman. Someone owes you an apology!
JACKIE: If I win…
Mr. Goodman runs out of the room. Jackie’s sisters all hug her.
KATE: Our luck is turning around already!
JACKIE: It all depends on the other contestant…
LACY: Who cares about the other contestant! Jackie, you’re so good with words, it has to be you! This grant could save us all!
HAILEY: You simply have to be very lady-like and charming, and I’m sure you’ll win her over!
ANGELA: So, just act opposite of Mum and you’ll do fine.
Jackie giggles slightly. The girls have a group hug and share a new sense optimism. The lights fade.