Less than an hour after the end of the last scene, Stanley, Stella, and Blanche are seated around the kitchen table. There is one more setting at the table for Mitch, who has not yet come, and his empty seat is quite noticeable.
With Stanley looking sullen and Stella wearing an embarrassed, dismayed look on her face, Blanche is seated at the table with a forced, artificial smile on her face. She impulsively asks Stanley to tell her a story, and Stanley says that he had always believed that his jokes offended Blanche. Blanche launches into a pathetic story of her own involving a parrot who wouldn't stop being a smart mouth, and at the end of her joke, she laughs heartily, but Stella must feign amusement, and Stanley doesn't even pretend to be entertained. Blanche comments on Stanley's indifference, and Stella tells her that Stanley is so busy being dirty and greasy that he can't do anything else. Stanley loses his temper, hurls a plate to the kitchen floor, and yells at Stella for constantly insulting him. He insists that she has only begun to comment on his "commonness" since Blanche's arrival, and he claims that he is the king of his household and deserves the respect that comes with that title.
Stella begins to cry quietly, and Stanley stalks angrily out of the room. Blanche asks her what had happened between them while she had been bathing, and she suspects that they know why Mitch hasn't arrived. She announces that she is going to call Mitch, but Stella advises her against calling him. In spite of Stella's protest, Blanche dashes into the bedroom to call Mitch but must leave a message because he is not there.
Meanwhile, Stella has stepped out onto the porch to yell at Stanley for causing the trouble that he's started. Stanley tries to be contrite and assures her that everything will be fine once Blanche leaves because they will have the baby and be a family by themselves. Stella asks him to come back inside, and she returns to the kitchen to light the candle on the birthday cake for Blanche. Blanche admits that she shouldn't have called Mitch, and Stella tries to comfort her. The telephone rings, and Blanche is sure that the call is for her, but it's really one of Stanley's friends who is inviting him to bowl.
Stanley gets off the phone and seems to be in a great mood, and he even tells Blanche that he has gotten her a birthday present. He presents a shocked Blanche with the bus ticket back to Laurel, and Blanche tries to laugh away her surprise, but she gets up from the table abruptly and rushes out of the room. The Varsouviana, the music that she had been dancing to with her dead husband before he had shot himself, begins to play softly in the background.
Stella reprimands him for being so rude to Blanche because she tells him how delicate and trusting Blanche had been as a young girl. But Blanche had been abused emotionally by other people like Stanley, and she had had to change in order to prevent herself from getting hurt. She is shocked that Stanley still plans on going bowling with his friends after he has been mean to Blanche, and she demands to know why he has treated her so badly. Stanley tries to comfort her, telling her how she had first thought that he was as common as dirt when they had first met, but when he had taken her away from Belle Reve and turned on the colored lights in his room for her, she had loved it and loved him. He asks her to remember how happy they were before Blanche had arrived in New Orleans, and suddenly Stella makes a slight movement. She shuffles away from the bedroom and sits down in the kitchen with a watchful, concentrated look on her face. Stanley initially doesn't notice this change in her and continues to insult Blanche, but he finally asks Stella what is wrong. Stella asks him to take her to the hospital, and Stanley immediately supports her and takes her outside.
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