CUE:  Lights dim CS

(Exit RICHARD.  Enter BEN with magazine and newspaper.)

NARRATOR:  They saw each other more often.  An embrace here, a glance there.  She wondered what would have happened if she had met him first.  Before she met Ben, before he met Marie.  She wondered if they would have been a couple.  She wondered how she would have felt if she ever met Ben.  She wondered if Richard would have been suspicious.  She wondered if Ben was.  Just once, Ben asked about it.

CUE:  Lights up on VIOLET and BEN

(Same sofa deal.  BEN is reading the paper.  VIOLET, a magazine.)

BEN:  What's with you and Dick?
VIOLET: Richard.  And nothing.
BEN:  It doesn't seem like nothing.

(He stops reading the paper and folds it over in his lap.)

NARRATOR:  He was not a jealous man, nor was he a stupid one.
VIOLET: (indignantly)  What does that mean?
BEN:  It means it seems like you have a penchant for Richard.  (He hisses the name.)  You spend more time with him than you do with me.
VIOLET: We're friends.  Friends spend time together.  (BEN scoffs at this.  VIOLET becomes irate.)  Is this just another way for you to push me away?  Like telling me to fuck more people like before?
BEN:  You're saying you never thought about it?
NARRATOR:  She attempted calm.
VIOLET: About what?
BEN:  About fucking your friend, Richard.
VIOLET: I don't want to talk about this.

(NARRATOR nods.)

BEN:  Why don't you answer my question, Vy?
(She closes her eyes at the nickname.)

VIOLET: (A sob)  What do you want me to say?  Fine.  I've thought about fucking Richard.  There.  Do you feel better now-
NARRATOR:  (gesticulation is miming that of VIOLET'S)  You insensitive fuck?
VIOLET: Is that what you wanted?
BEN:  (quietly)  What do you want, Vy?
VIOLET: (Her voice is infinitesimal.)  I thought I wanted you.  Now I'm not so sure...
(He walks past her offstage.)

CUE:  Lights dim CS

(Enter RICHARD.)

NARRATOR:  The next day…

CUE:  Lights up CS

(RICHARD now sits next to VIOLET on the couch.  His eyes are downcast.  His hands on his knees.  He looks at her.)

RICHARD: (like a kid trying to convince his parents to let him do something) So…not to sound insensitive, but…do you want to?
VIOLET: I don't know.  Maybe…  What about Marie?
RICHARD: (looks into her eyes)  I'd rather be with you.

(VIOLET throws her arms around his neck, smothering him a bit.)

NARRATOR:  That's all she needed to hear.  In three hours, she threw away four years. She moved her stuff into Richard's place…
(Enter BEN. He hands Violet a cardboard box labeled, VIOLET'S STUFF.  Without even looking at her, he exits.  Her gaze follows him as he leaves.)
(RICHARD smiles and kisses her on the cheek.  His arm is around her.  She smiles back at him.)
(Exit RICHARD.  VIOLET is left alone on the sofa with her box of stuff.  She smiles banally at no one.)

NARRATOR:  And finally had what she thought she wanted.

CUE:  Lights dim CS

  Until, two months later…

CUE:  Lights up CS

(Door is placed behind her.)

(VIOLET sits in RICHARD'S apartment on couch.)
(She is going through the box she'd been holding.)

NARRATOR:  She'd unpacked slowly.  She was on the final box.

(VIOLET pulls out a picture frame.  The audience can't see it.)

NARRATOR:  The personal items.

(VIOLET stops on the frame.  She looks at it and wells up.)

NARRATOR:  A picture of when they first moved in together.

(VIOLET places the frame beside her.  She removes an old cigar box (or something like it).  She pulls out two tickets.)

NARRATOR:  Their second date.

(VIOLET replaces the tickets.  She pulls out a necklace.)

NARRATOR:  Birthday gift.

(She puts the necklace on.  She takes out a cigarette and a pack of matches.)

NARRATOR:  Guilty pleasure.

(She lights the cigarette and takes a long drag.)
(RICHARD enters.  He stops when he sees her smoking.)

RICHARD: (behind her, accusatory)  What are you doing?
VIOLET: (her eyes widen at his voice, cigarette hangs from her mouth)  Uh, nothing!

(She turns to face him and holds the cigarette behind her back.)

(She smiles sweetly and he tries to look behind her.  She angles herself to block the cigarette.)

RICHARD: What's behind you?

(She turns while still hiding the cigarette.  She shrugs her shoulders.)

RICHARD: Are you smoking?

(VIOLET shakes her head.  Smoke starts to come out of her nose.  She looks down at it.  She waves it away with her free hand.  She can't hold her breath forever.  Out of desperation, she mocks a horrified look and points behind RICHARD'S head.)

RICHARD: (turning)  What?

(She turns away and blows out the rest of the smoke.  He sees the tail end of it.)

RICHARD: Since when do you smoke?
VIOLET: I quit for a while.  I only do it every now and then.
RICHARD: I hate smoking.
VIOLET: I know.  That's why I didn't tell you.
RICHARD: Oh, that makes it better.
VIOLET: Richard, it's just a cigarette.
RICHARD: (firm)  Violet, smoking is a filthy habit.  I don't want you to do it anymore.  Put it out.

(He reaches for the cigarette.  She moves it out of his reach.)

VIOLET: No!  I can smoke if I want.  I live here too.
RICHARD: I can't believe you're being like this.
VIOLET: Being like what?  God forbid I would--
RICHARD: Put it out.  I don't want smoke in my apartment.
VIOLET: It's only your apartment now?  Fine, (sticks the cigarette in her mouth) then I'll leave.

(She exits, slamming the door behind her.)
(RICHARD walks to the photo of BEN and VIOLET.  He picks it up.)

NARRATOR:  (to RICHARD)  Trouble in paradise?
RICHARD: Shut up.

(Exit RICHARD with box of stuff.)

CUE:  Lights dim

NARRATOR:  (to the audience)  In a huff, Violet ended up…

CUE:  Lights up on VIOLET and BEN

NARRATOR:  With a familiar face.

(Enter BEN and VIOLET.  They sit on couch.)

BEN:  He yelled at you for smoking?
VIOLET: Can you believe that?
BEN:  What a control freak.
VIOLET: I know!
BEN:  That's what you get.
VIOLET: What is that supposed to mean?
BEN:  That this is your own fault, stupid.
VIOLET: My fault?  You practically told me to go have sex with him!
BEN:  Don't even try to turn this around on me.  I've been jerking my own chain for two months now, I'm pretty sure it wasn't me who decided on celibacy.
VIOLET: Yes, but it was you who wanted me to go out and have, "more experience," I believe your words were?
BEN:  Vy, if you came over here to dredge up all this bullshit and try to pawn it off on me, I'd be better off if you left.
VIOLET: That's not what I meant, I just.  I don't know what to do.
BEN:  No offense, but I'm not about to give you advice on how to salvage your relationship with the DICK, oh I'm sorry, I meant Richard, that you broke up with me for.
NARRATOR:  She knew he was right.
VIOLET: I'm sorry, Ben.
BEN:  Yeah, well.  I always had a hard time staying mad at you.
VIOLET: I was looking through some of my old stuff.  I found the necklace you gave me.
BEN:  I'm sure it smells like dirty, filthy nicotine now, you dirty, dirty sinner.

(She nods.)

VIOLET: I miss you.

(She leans to kiss him.  He moves away.)

BEN:  Don't, Vy.
BEN:  Just don't, okay?  You're with someone else.  You made that decision to leave me and be with him.  You can't have it both ways.