A Hotel Bar, quite empty, because it is too early for cocktails. The bartender is polishing glasses behind the bar, and someone is whirring polish over the marble floor. Dana Lee, exhausted and nervous, is having a pre-cocktail drink with Ritchie. Her meetings with Adam, for they had too much of that obligatory mood to be called dates, were now almost daily, a part of Adam’s heavy-handed courtship. They confused and tired Dana. A part of her was seduced by the comfort, familiarity and niceness of Adam Tan and his world, but her heart held out for the mysterious Eli Kee. She had declined Adam's gift of a diamond bracelet, as being inappropriate. It was a beautiful bracelet and would have gone so well with her Ice Ball gown, but Dana didn’t want to encourage Adam in any way, or give a false impression of her intention. As Dana spaced out behind her signature dark glasses, a frosty glass of champagne in hand, Ritchie talked:
“B-b-bella came in you know. She asked ‘how’s Dana doing her hair for The Ice Ball?’ and ‘what’s she wearing?’ and so I told the little b-b-bitch to mind her own b-b-business and did she want to know what s-s-size knickers you wore too? And do you know b-b-bitch laughed? She wanted c-c-curls my god!
“And then she settles in, and wants a nice long chat with M-M-Mother Ritchie, and it’s Eli this and Eli that… Q-q-quite came out of the closet about this young man at last, and I said isn’t this young man someone of Dana’s? And bitch said she’s known Eli since she was a t-t-teen and ‘was that in the 1920s?’ I said and she said that Eli had said that you, Dana, were like a b-b-big sister to him… ‘And what are you to him, p-p-pray tell?’ I asked. And what do you think bitch said? ‘I’ll tell you a secret Mother’. Bitch is always calling me b-b-bloody Mother even though I’ve told her a hundred times ‘please bitch, sister is much more correct. Mother is too f-f-far-fetched you know’! ‘Sister Ritchie,’ she said, ‘will you promise me to keep this a secret?’ W-w-what do you think I said? ‘You know me,’ said I, ‘you can tell me anything, I’m the soul of d-d-discretion. Mouth zipped, fingers crossed, now c-c-confess you little s-s-slut’. And I kicked the door of the cabin shut.”
“What did Bella say, Rich?” said Dana, sitting up, removing her glasses for the first time that afternoon.
Ritchie paused for dramatic effect, threw back the champagne in one breath and announced: “B-b-bitch said that she’s going to marry Eli Kee!”