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Conversations in the Dining Room

Episode 11
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Emma Knytleigh brought the tape recorder to London to record the auction proceedings.  By mistake, other proceedings were also captured on tape...

At the Savoy (evening, 2 September 1999)

Ann: I can’t believe we got her! She’s so beautiful! The frame is in rough shape, but we can have that restored, and the canvas can be cleaned and…

Chester: Good job!

Emma: It’s amazing what you can buy if you have some money to spend.

Chester: But it was ever so cheap. Well below the estimate. Well done!

Emma: Well, I’m shattered. Too much excitement, and wine, for me. Here’s my stop. Breakfast downstairs at half past eight?

Ann: Yeah, that sounds great.

Emma: Chester, aren’t you staying on this floor too?

Chester: I’m just going to help Ann carry the painting back to her room.

Emma: Fine. Oh, Ann, can you take the tape recorder? I’m afraid I’ll drop it or something. Oh, damn, I’ve been recording all of this. (tape stops)

(tape starts)

Ann:…hope I didn’t break anything. Let me have a look.

Chester: Leave it Ann.

Ann: This has been the most exciting day! What shall we do to celebrate? Could you face another drink? I’d like a nightcap.

Chester: Mmmm. Yes, a nightcap sounds like just the thing.

Ann: Let me see what I’ve got…is Scotch alright?

Chester: I fancy a G&T. Is that too demanding?

Ann: No, that’s fine. Here you are.

Chester: Great. Thanks very much.

Ann: Cheers. Let’s have another look at her. Oh, Chester, she’s great!

Chester: So beautiful…

Ann: Yeah, she really is. Beautiful and mysterious.

Chester: Ann, I wasn’t talking about the painting just now. I was talking about you. Come here, I have an idea…

Ann: Chester? Did you hear something? I think I might have turned the tape on by mistake.

Chester: Oh, Ann. Forget about the tape. I want to turn you on…(long pause)

Ann: No, no, stop. Chester, please. Oh, no. (sound of giggling).

Chester (quite loudly): Ann! Stop laughing. What’s so funny?

Ann: I’m sorry. Oh dear. Oh, really, I am. You just…caught me by surprise.

Chester: And my kissing you was funny?

Ann: Don’t get all defensive. I’m sorry. It’s just…you and me kissing in front of Fanny. Sort of incestuous.

Chester: Incestuous? Hardly. Go on, kiss me again. (longish pause).

Ann: (Giggles.) No, no. We’ve got to stop this. I can’t. What’s come over you?

Chester: Nothing’s "come over" me. Give us another kiss…

Ann: No, seriously Chester. This isn’t right. Stop it.

Chester:  Oh Ann, I think you wanted this too. (singing) Savoy …the home of true romance. Da da, give happy feet the chance to dance… Dance with me Ann. Isn’t this what you hoped for when you invited me to come up to the auction and spend the night?

Ann: No! I wanted you to come because you’re a friend, because you like this sort of thing. I don’t know how you could have thought.... Really Chester, this is absurd.

Chester: Do you think its absurd that I’m in love with you?

Ann: You’re in love with me? Wait a minute. Since when? What?

Chester: I think since I met you that day in Puckering. When we talked over breakfast about your work, about medieval history and about Stoney Grove. I thought you felt something too, but didn’t want to pursue it, not then. As long as you and Simon were together, I never would have said anything, but now…

Ann: Now-- what? Simon and I are still together.

Chester: Well, er, technically, but you’re not really together, are you?

Ann: Chester, hang on. How do you know what’s going on between me and Simon? What possible business is it of yours?

Chester: Of course it’s my business, damn it! I just told you that I was in love with you. Is that so incredible?

Ann: No. No, it’s not. It’s quite…sweet.

Chester: And you’ve got to admit, Simon’s not the sort of bloke you’ll be happy with. I think in your heart, you’ve admitted that.

Ann: No I haven’t! Why should I? What’s wrong with Simon and me?

Chester: Oh come off it, Ann. Stop playing with me. You’ve been fighting, you’ve moved into a separate bedroom for God’s sake, and I think you made it pretty clear to everyone that he was on the way out when you asked me to come up to London with you. Did you really have no intentions of making love to me tonight?

Ann: Really, I didn’t.

Chester: Why not?

Ann: Because I’m in love with Simon. I always have been.

Chester: That’s just crap. Don’t use Simon as an excuse. You can’t be in love with him. He’s so…

Ann: So what?

Chester: So—common. He doesn’t give a toss about anything really meaningful. He’s botched up the house, he’s not serious about things, he didn’t even care about the painting. You can’t love him.

Ann: Chester, I think you’d better leave.

Chester: No, listen…

Ann: Chester, don’t push me. Get out. Now.

Chester: Alright then. We’ll talk tomorrow. Good night.

Ann: Don’t hold your breath. Good night.

(Long pause)

Ann: Oh, shit. (tape shuts off).