Scene Two

The stage opens with the dining area lit in a bright white and yellow light. Damien is sitting at the dining table eating his breakfast, reading the daily newspaper that had been brought to him by one of the footmen. Out in the lobby there is a commotion and Willow storms in holding a crumpled letter, her eyes puffy with tears and face red with anger. Damien pays no attention to his wife until she slams the letter onto the table.

WILLOW: [angrily] Do you know what that is?

DAMIEN: [jokingly] A letter?

WILLOW: Oh, it is so much more than that.

[Willow began to pace back and forth between the fireplace and Damien’s chair.]

WILLOW: It is a letter containing information about one of your, or should I say multiple of your escapades.

DAMIEN: [laughing] Escapades? Darling, what are you talking about? Who is this letter from?

[Damien reached to pick up the letter but Willow snatched it from his hand.]

WILLOW: Never mind who it is from. It’s what it contains.

DAMIEN: Well, do enlighten me darling. If not for your sake, then for mine. [mocking] The tension is killing me.

WILLOW: [reading from the letter] I regret to inform you that your husband, Mr Damien Ancelot has quite a hoard of dark secrets that up until now has been kept hidden, but I feel it is my duty to enlighten you. Over the past few years since his father has passed, he has been the centre of quite a few scandals.

DAMIEN: Oh, what nonsense! Do you honestly believe this?

[Willow continues reading as though Damien hadn’t spoken.]

WILLOW: And as a result, has become a father to three children. One little boy passed away last month. Out of the other two children one young girl is alive and well, while the other illegitimate child is still yet to be born.

[Looking up from the letter, her eyes focus in upon Damien.]

DAMIEN: [pauses] May I ask who the mother of this supposed unborn child is meant to be?

WILLOW: [mocking] Why, darling. She is living right under this very roof. It’s our dear Alice! It seems that all of London know about you and your follies.

[There was a momentary pause.]

WILLOW: One question! I suppose it did not matter to you but was she a willing participant or did you force yourself upon her?

DAMIEN: I will not sit here and listen to my wife accuse me of such things.

[Damien stood up from his chair and started towards the door when Willow stood in his way, refusing to let him past. She forcefully stepped towards him. Damien laughs at her attempts to overpower him.]

WILLOW: You [pointing at him] will give me the truth. I deserve that much!

[There was a long pause. Damien stood humming a tune under his breath as though refusing to talk out of spite.]

WILLOW: [loudly] Speak!

DAMIEN: Well, it seems that this little mouse has evolved and gained some claws. I will tell you now that you will never escape me and my escapades. You are mine!

WILLOW: But… [shaking her head] Why keep Alice here?

DAMIEN: She is just a little reminder that I can do as I please. No law will condemn me to a mundane family life

WILLOW: [fiercely] Maybe so but I refuse to play your mindless games any longer.

DAMIEN: Oh, do not spoil the fun. [smiling] I will show you how preciously fragile emotions can be.

[Damien leaves the room. Willow stands by the fireplace, staring into the distance with a grave look on her face. A few moments pass and Damien re-enters the room with Alice by his side. A few months have passed and she is noticeably pregnant. He forcefully sits her down and kneels in front of her.]

DAMIEN: Alice, my dear sweet girl. I will not apologise for I am a man and men can quite rightly do as they please. However something must happen with you and the baby. I have given it much consideration, and I believe [taking a hold of Alice’s hands and looking into her eyes] that the best course of action is…

ALICE: [hopeful] Are you going to look after the child?

DAMIEN: Take care of your bastard child. I think not. [laughing] No, my solution is much simpler and catered towards my needs. As of this moment you are dismissed from the Ancelot services. I will not have your blackened mark hanging over my household any longer.

[Alice’s face flamed red as her eyes welled with tears.]

WILLOW: Have you no shame? She is not the sinner here!

DAMIEN: I care not.

[Willow walks towards Alice and tries to comfort her.]

WILLOW: You may stay for one night but tomorrow you must leave.

[Alice slumps from her chair onto the floor, closing her eyes as if faint. Her hands tremble as she wipes away the tears. Looking up with eyes of panic, she watches as Damien leaves the room in one swooping motion. Willow lingers for a while, watching Alice sob, then turns to leave. The bright morning had faded to a dismal afternoon with the murmurs of thunder in the distance.]