Two months have passed since Miss Underscore's visit to Rochester's tawdry Somerset pig-sty. The departure lounge farewell scene betwixt our star-crossed lovers was so sweet and tender it could have been scripted by Richard Curtis. Even if a miniature silver unicorn trotted along the airport concorse, carrying Miss Underscore's overnight bag in its mouth whilst Vera Lynn crooned from atop the Easy Jet check in desk, even then, it could not have been more touching. Nor if, during their goodbye kiss, a choir of celestial bluebirds fluttered around their heads, sprinkling stardust from their tiny sapphire wings. Yes. Lovely. Divine. Poignant. So, it seems incredible that Rochester should have spent the following two months callously ignoring Miss Underscore. (Yes. I agree. What a cunt. A 24 carat cunt.)
Our 16th scene takes place outside the Dick Turpin Veterinary Surgery. A weeping Miss Underscore stands with a leather collar and lead dangling forlornly from her hand.
Later, Miss Underscore is propped up in bed. The phone rings. It is Rochester. (I imagine this scene must take place with the same cheesy split-screen technology of Pillow Talk.)
Rochester: Alright petal? I got your message. Fuck. Boo? He's not really dead is he?
Miss Underscore: Oh Rochester, his back legs just went. He couldn't even stand up on his own. Couldn't walk. He was like that for two weeks. It's been unbearable.
Rochester: You had him . . . err . . . put to sleep.
Miss Underscore: (sobbing) Yes, I had to. Nothing was working. I spent a fortune on tests and medication. He was just getting worse and worse. It was heartbreaking.
Rochester: Cunting hell. I loved Boo. He was my kind of dog. I'm sorry petal.
Miss Underscore: Everyone loved Boo. My dad would buy him Hob Nob biscuits. Boo was the only one in the fucking family to get premium brand biscuits. The rest of us had to suffer the indignity of Asda Farmstores Rich Tea.
Rochester: Aye. Remember when I saved his life? Carrying him up those steps on our first date?
Miss Underscore: Yes. It is all Boo's fault that I fell for you. It was so sweet and heroic of you.
Rochester: I was conned. There was nowt wrong with him. He was fine by the time he got to the headland. How long had you had him?
Miss Underscore: Oh, about 5 years. He was a scabby homeless mutt. He charmed his way in. One minute he was going through my bins and the next he was enthroned on the armchair by the fire, being hand-fed Marmite on toast. Of course, every now and then he'd pee in my ballet pumps or I'd find him shagging a Laura Ashley cushion. He was an utter rogue, but irresistible with it. (pause) My God Rochester. He was YOU IN DOG FORM!
Rochester: Aye. Charisma. Some of us are blessed with it.
Miss Underscore: You've been quiet. . . .I expect this is the moment you tell me that you've been shagging your own Laura Ashley cushion?
Rochester: No. No. It's not that. I haven't flower. (pause)
Miss Underscore: Two months Rochester. Nothing. Nothing in TWO MONTHS.
Rochester: I know. Sorry.
Miss Underscore: I thought you were dead.
Rochester: Aw pet.
Miss Underscore: Well, that was preferable to just thinking I'd been dumped by a bastard who didn't even have the decency to tell me. I thought things were lovely when I left the airport. Did you not see the unicorn?
Rochester: They were lovely. Very lovely. Unicorn? What unicorn?
Miss Underscore: Oh, nothing.
Rochester: You daft cunt. Mind you, those bluebirds were a pain in the twatting arse, weren't they? It took me days to get the glitter off me black overcoat.
Miss Underscore: Then I got your text that you were writing me a letter.
Miss Underscore: But you never wrote it.
Rochester: (groaning) No. I didn't know what to say.
Miss Underscore: Well, whatever it is, just tell me now. I can't stand not knowing.
Rochester: I am sorry. You didn’t deserve this.
Miss Underscore: So?
Rochester: You're so far away.
Miss Underscore: And?
Rochester: And then there's the Senor Boldon thing. I was fucking thrilled you came to stay. But I kept thinking about it all weekend. You had to do it didn't you? You had to sleep with my brother? I know you live in Sunderland, but is there any need for you to be so fucking Jeremy Kyle? It just makes you look a bit daft.
Miss Underscore: That's not it Rochester. There's something you're not telling me. Just say it.
Rochester: (sighing) I don't know what you mean.
Miss Underscore: Yes you do. You've always known about the distance. You’ve always known about Senor Boldon. Fuck, you used to joke about it. All of those threesome requests. Just tell me.
Rochester: (silence) OK. Ok. I'm. . . . errr. . . . I'm getting back with my wife.
Miss Underscore: (quietly) Oh. Oh. Fuck. That’s not what I was expecting.
Rochester: She started talking about it not long after your visit.
Miss Underscore: I thought she hated you. Hadn’t she set up a support group with all your other exs? Didn't they all meet at Starbucks to discuss your lynching over lattes.
Rochester: Aye. The cappuccino castration coven.
Miss Underscore: I don’t know what to say Rochester.
Rochester: You know that since my boy was born I’ve only seen him a handful of times. For fuck’s sake, he’s nearly two. Maybe I can repair all the damage I did. I need to try.
Miss Underscore: Yes, I see that.
Rochester: You’ve been here. You’ve seen how shit things are. I live in a pig sty (literally). I’ve got no work at the moment. Not seeing the kids. You’re 300 miles away petal.
Miss Underscore: Oh. So that's it then. Christ.
Rochester: You OK?
Miss Underscore: Yes, yes . . of course. . . well no, not really.
Rochester: I've done nothing but think about this. About us. About the kids. If it wasn't for the kids we absolutely be together.
Miss Underscore: Do you think it will work?
Rochester: I don't know petal. I just know I've got to try. It's fucking terrifying really.
Miss Underscore: I get it. Of course you should be with your kids. Are you moving back in?
Rochester: Possibly. We talked about that over lunch the other day.
Miss Underscore: Lunch?
Miss Underscore: (tearfully) Lunch? Oh God . . . (curious) What did you have?
Rochester: Errr. . . steak and chips.
Miss Underscore: Oh, I love steak and chips.
Miss Underscore: That sounds heavenly. Bearnaise sauce?
Rochester: It was canny actually. No sauce. Sauce is for puffs. (proudly) Onion rings though.
Miss Underscore: Oh Rochester.
Rochester: I know. I know, flower. Honestly I do.
Miss Underscore: I'm going to go now. I can't believe I've been dumped on the same day my dog was put down. Maybe I'll start a blog about it all, 'My life with the Brothers Grimm'.
Rochester: Never be as good as my poetry blog pet. I've got a whole 3 followers now. You might get a lesbian following mind. That could be interesting. I am so sorry about all of this petal.