Barbara Covett: She's the one I have waited for.
Sheba Hart: What you say about me, about Richard - you're not fit to shine his shoes. And Ben, and Polly, that I'd be happier without them. Why did you do it?
Sheba Hart: Because I didn't help you collect your cat?
[slaps Barbara again]
Sheba Hart: You've cost me my family!
Barbara Covett: No, no, take some responsibility! I gave you EXACTLY what you wanted! You'd still be stuck in that marriage without me.
Sheba Hart: What?
Barbara Covett: You can't accept it yet, but...
Sheba Hart: You think I wanted to be here with you?
Barbara Covett: You need me, I'm your friend!
Sheba Hart: You put me in prison, I could get TWO years!
Barbara Covett: They'll fly by! I'll visit you every week! We've so much life to live together!
Sheba Hart: You think this is a love affair? A relationship? What, sticky gold stars, and - and a strand of my hair? A sticker from Pizza Express? It's a flat in the Archway Road and you think you're Virginia frigging Woolf! And where did you get my hair? Did you pluck it from the bath with some special fucking tweezers?
Barbara Covett: You know it's rude to read a person's diary, it's private!
Sheba Hart: We're not companions! We're not friends! You don't even like me!
Barbara Covett: That's not true, I only have tender feelings for you, only love!
Sheba Hart: You're barking, fucking mad. You don't know how to love. You have never, your whole life. Me, Jennifer Dodd. You're nothing but waste and disappointment! You bitter old virgin. You're lonely for a reason. They loathed you at school, all of them. I was the idiot who bothered, but only because no one told me you're a fucking vampire! So what is it, Bar? You want to roll around the floor like lovers? You want to fuck me, Barbara?
Barbara Covett: Please don't diminish our...
Sheba Hart: Our WHAT? What?
Barbara Covett: Give it back. I know you! Selfish and vain, you think you have a divine right! You don't belong in the world, you belong here! You big baby!
Steven Connolly: Do you want to do it again?
Sheba Hart: Yes...
[smiles nervously and nods]
Sheba Hart: I wanna do it again.
Barbara Covett: Here come the local pubescent proles. The future plumbers, shop assistants, and doubtless the odd terrorist too. In the old days, we confiscated cigarettes and wank mags. Now it's knives and crack cocaine. And they call it progress.
Steven Connolly: What're you having for tea, Miss?
Sheba Hart: I don't know, I'll probably buy something on the way home.
Steven Connolly: Are you a good cook?
Sheba Hart: Not really.
Steven Connolly: You suck?
Sheba Hart: [turns around and notices Steven's sly grin] Go home, Steven.
[about the relationship between Steven and Sheba]
Barbara Covett: Well, that's when you should've stopped it.
Sheba Hart: I did! I told him I wouldn't teach him any more. But he refused to accept it, he just kept coming back. It began to feel like our secret, and well, secrets can be... seductive.
Sheba Hart: I hadn't been pursued like this for years... I knew it was wrong, and immoral, and completely ridiculous, but, I don't know. I just allowed it to happen.
Barbara Covett: The boy is fifteen!
Sheba Hart: But he's quite mature for his age!
Sheba Hart: This is going to sound sick, but something in me felt... entitled. You know, I've been good all my adult life. I've been a decent wife, a dutiful mother coping with Ben. This voice inside me kept saying "why shouldn't you be bad, why shouldn't you transgress? I mean, you've earned the right."
Sheba Hart: [touches Steven's cheek] It's incredibly important we keep this secret. Does anyone know you're here?
Steven Connolly: No.
[pause, Sheba sits down with him]
Steven Connolly: Miss. I'm no genius, but I ain't a dickhead. I won't tell no one. You can trust me.
Sheba Hart: We'd both get into terrible trouble.
[they kiss and start to make love]
Steven Connolly: [after he and Sheba have made love for the first time] Can I smoke, Miss?
Sheba Hart: You can do what you want, but enough of this 'Miss'.
Steven Connolly: [laughs] Were you a model once?
[shakes her head]
Steven Connolly: Well you should've been. You're well fit.
Sheba Hart: Gosh but don't I know it.
Steven Connolly: [smiles] You're into The Streets?
Sheba Hart: Mmm, no, my daughter is.
Steven Connolly: She the same age as me?
Sheba Hart: None of your beeswax.
Steven Connolly: [laughs] Well, anyway, the point is - you're fit.
Sheba Hart: So are you.
Steven Connolly: You reckon? My sister thinks I look like a bollock with measles.
[pause as Sheba smiles and watches him]
Sheba Hart: You've done my brain in.
Barbara Covett: The day we met... it had already begun?
Sheba Hart: [pause] Yes.
Barbara Covett: Had you had any further relations that day?
Sheba Hart: We went to the art room.
Barbara Covett: [sarcastically] Well I'm glad I was such an aphrodisiac. I was trying to help you.
[Sheba has just admitted to her affair with Steven]
Barbara Covett: [voiceover] And then I realised my fury had blinded me. There was a magnificent opportunity here. With stealth, I might secure the prize long-term, forever in my debt. I could gain everything by doing nothing.
Barbara Covett: Courage, mon brave!
Sheba Hart: [kisses her fingers and throws them in the air]
Barbara Covett: [voice-over] And bon voyage, to her little leprechaun! Sheba and I share a deep understanding now. No one can violate our magnificent complicity.
[Steven gives Sheba a necklace as a Christmas present]
Steven Connolly: It's made of real fake gold.
Sheba Hart: So that's your vicious father?
Steven Connolly: You wanted a sob story, I gave it to you. Made you feel like Bob Geldof.
Sheba Hart: You lied to me!
Steven Connolly: Ooooh, sorry, Miss! What, would you prefer it if I lived in a shithole?
Sheba Hart: And your mother?
Steven Connolly: I think she's gonna pull through. What do you want? What're you doin' here?
Steven Connolly: [throws cigarette] They're going to expel me now!
Sheba Hart: No, they won't. I'll get the blame if she tells.
Steven Connolly: As if she won't!
Sheba Hart: She - likes me, she might not.
Steven Connolly: She likes you, huh? Like that? You givin' her one and all?
Sheba Hart: Why are you being so cruel? Why, Steven?
Steven Connolly: I really like you. You're a nice person, and you've been cool, and it's been great, okay? But it's supposed to be fun. Now it's a serious thing. Whatever shit you're working out, you know, with your husband, your kid, you - I don't know. I can't help you.
Barbara Covett: And Fatty Hodge pounced on her. A dubious double-act. The blonde... and the pig in knickers.
[Sheba is going to see her son perform in his school play, but Barbara demands that she must instead go with her to the vet to see her cat put down]
Richard Hart: My condolences! Poor, poor, pussy! Now can I have my wife back, please?
Barbara Covett: People languish for years with partners who are clearly from another planet. We want so much to believe that we've found our other. It takes courage to recognise the real as opposed to the convenient.
Barbara Covett: When I was young I had such a vision of myself. I dreamed I'd be someone to be reckoned with, you know, in the world. But one learns one's scale. I've such a dread of ending my days alone. But recently, I've allowed myself to think that I may not be. Am I wrong?
Barbara Covett: People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely. But of the drip, drip of the long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. What it's like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the launderette. Or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
Barbara Covett: I couldn't possibly speak for Mrs Hart, but instinct tells me you might not be her type.
[Barbara's first impressions of Sheba as she watches her in the playground]
Barbara Covett: [voiceover] Hard to read the wispy novice. Is she a sphinx or simply stupid? Artfully dishevelled today. The tweedy tramp coat is an abhorrence. It seems to say "I'm just like you." But clearly she's not. A fey person, I suspect.
[Barbara's opinion of her male pupils]
Barbara Covett: [to Sheba] Little towers of testosterone. You'll soon get used to them.
Sheba Hart: When you started teaching, didn't you want to give them a real education to help overcome... the poverty of their backgrounds?
Barbara Covett: Oh yes, of course. Bu one soon learns that teaching is crowd control. We're a branch of the social services.
Sue Hodge: Console yourself with the gems. That's when it's satisfying. Then you can make a real difference.
Barbara Covett: The rest is just cattle-prod and pray.
Barbara Covett: When I was at school, if one of us had had some bad news or was a bit down, we used to stroke each other. You know, someone would do one arm and someone else the other. It was a wonderful sensation. Did you do that at your school?
Sheba Hart: [embarrassed] No.
[Barbara looks down at Sheba's cleavage]
Barbara Covett: It's incredibly relaxing - for the giver and the receiver.
[Barbara takes Sheba's hands in hers]
Barbara Covett: Close your eyes. It doesn't work if you don't.
[Barbara starts to stroke her fingers up and down Sheba's forearms]
Barbara Covett: That's a good girl.
[Sheba pulls away, her face showing revulsion]
Sheba Hart: I think that's enough.
Barbara Covett: No, close your eyes.
Sheba Hart: [firmly] I really think that's enough, Barbara.
[Barbara is upstairs, watching Sheba and Richard having a blazing row about her affair with Steven Connolly]
Barbara Covett: [voiceover] By the time I took my seat in the Gods, the opera was well into its final act.
Richard Hart: You're his teacher!
Sheba Hart: And you were mine! I'm not justifying. I'm not trying to justify it...
Richard Hart: You are so full of shit! It's totally different. You were twenty!
Sheba Hart: He's sixteen in May. He's not some innocent...
Richard Hart: Of course he's innocent! He's fucking fifteen! Are you insane? If you meant to destroy us, why not do it with an adult? That's the convention, it's worked for centuries!
[after her affair has become public knowledge, Sheba has moved out of her home and is staying with Barbara]
Barbara Covett: [voiceover] This last month has been the most delicious time of my life. Of course we have had our ups and downs. The pressure is intense when two women share their lives. But, oh, but what marvellous intensity it is! Circumstances are not always ideal. The swinish press, the stringent bail terms, meetings with lawyers and so on. But all things considered, we're coping admirably. In fact, gold stars abundant. The cuckold permits her to see their children once a week. Thee are usually tears and fits of teenage tantrums, too. In time she'll recognise she's just not the mothering kind, and then Barbara will be there to comfort her. Nurse, beloved friend and wise counsel.
Barbara Covett: [voiceover of Barbara writing in her diary] People trust me with their secrets. But who do I trust with mine? You, only you.
[Barbara demands that Sheba must come with her to see her cat put down. Richard tells her to get back in the car so they can go see their son in his school play]
Sheba Hart: [to Richard] Give me a minute, will you? I can handle this.
Barbara Covett: Oh, I'm to be "handled", am I? Like toxic waste. You see me on sufference. I'm an imposition to be tolerated.
[talking about her cat]
Barbara Covett: Someone has died!
Barbara Covett: We are bound by the secrets we share.
Sheba Hart: You think this is a love affair?
Polly Hart: Your boyfriend is younger than mine!
Steven Connolly: You're beautiful, Miss. Ya don't know how beautiful ya are!
Steven Connolly: [not realizing he's speaking to Barbara, who has snatched and answered Sheba's mobile phone] Where are ya? I've been dreamin' about your hot, sweet cunt all morning'!
[Barbara sees Sheba talking to Sue Hodge who is rather plump]
Barbara Covett: Ah, the blonde and the pig in knickers.
Barbara Covett: Judas had the dignity to hang himself, but only according to Matthew, the most sentimental of the apostles.
Barbara Covett: Her preference is for the younger man.
Richard Hart: I knew who you were when we met. You were young. I knew it might get tough, but I was prepared. You're a good mother, but at times you've been a fucking lousy wife. Why didn't you come to me? You could have told me how lonely you were. You never trusted me to help you. I'm not saying I was so fucking fabulous, but I was here.
Barbara Covett: Why were you fighting? Perfectly simple question.
Steven Connolly: [mumbles] Dunno, miss.
Barbara Covett: You don't know. One minute you're an inert lump, the next you're trying to castrate a fellow pupil. Nothing occurred between these two states?
Sheba Hart: We never invited you to the fucking Dordogne!
Barbara Covett: I'm sorry, but you specifically said if I happened to be in France I should drop in.
Sheba Hart: We didn't mean it!
Barbara Covett: Well, fine. I won't come then.
Richard Hart: [talking to Sheba about Barbara] Why is she ALWAYS here? What kind of fucking spell has she cast on you?
Barbara Covett: I don't like your tone.
Polly Hart: [to Richard] Ben's getting REALLY stressed, I think he's gonna BLOW!
Richard Hart: [to Sheba] Just get in the bloody car, will you?
Sheba Hart: My father always used to say... you know, on the tube..."Mind the gap".
Barbara Covett: Oh um...
Sheba Hart: I don't know... it's just the distance between life as you... dream it, and... life as it is.
Barbara Covett: I know exactly what you mean.
Barbara Covett: I had expected a suave young lawyer, and two perfect poppets. Not so. She's married some crumbling patriarch, he's nearly as old as me. And there's the daughter, a pocket princess. And finally, a somewhat tiresome court jester.