Months have passed, and the scene opens in mid-September. Stella is decorating the room when Stanley comes in and informs him that today is Blanche's birthday. He makes fun of her for taking another hot bath and reprimands Stella for waiting on her so patiently when Blanche needs to learn how to take care of herself. Stanley announces that he has discovered some things about Blanche that Stella would never believe, and Stella demands that he tell her what he has heard from others, believing that any of the negative gossip that he has gathered about her sister is completely false.
Stanley reveals that the entire town of Laurel had scorned Blanche because she had been quite loose after Stella had left Belle Reve. Blanche had stayed at a seedy hotel named the Flamingo after she had lost Belle Reve and had carried on affairs with several disreputable people - and had gained such a horrible reputation that she had been asked to leave the Flamingo only a few weeks before she had arrived on Stanley and Stella's doorstep. She had left Laurel because all the men there knew about her act, and she couldn't fool anyone anymore.
Stanley also tells a shocked Stella that Blanche is never going back to teach school because the school district kicked her out for carrying on an affair with a seventeen-year-old boy whom she had taught. The boy's father had learned about it and had told the superintendent, who had immediately dismissed her, and the entire town had heard about her shame.
Blanche, who hasn't heard a word of their conversation, suddenly calls out to Stella to ask for an extra towel so that she can dry her hair. She hands one to Blanche, who asks her why she has such a strange expression on her face, and Stella blames her nervousness on exhaustion. Once Blanche closes the bathroom door again, Stella tells Stanley that she doesn't believe any of the stories that he has told her about Blanche and informs him that Blanche had once fallen in love with a beautiful young man who had crushed her because he was a "degenerate." She also informs him that Mitch will be stopping by for ice cream and cake, but Stanley responds by telling her that he has also filled in Mitch on Blanche's sordid past. When Stella indignantly asks him how he could tell Mitch gossip about Blanche, Stanley defends himself by saying that he and Mitch had served in the same outfit together during the war and that he had to be loyal to his friend. Stella, who is shocked, tells him that Blanche had thought that Mitch had planned on marrying her, but Stanley assures her that Mitch is through with Blanche.
Stanley announces gleefully to Stella that he already bought Blanche a bus ticket back to Laurel and that she will be heading back home on Tuesday, no matter what Stella says. Blanche finally comes out of the bathroom and announces that she feels refreshed and rested after her long, hot bath. She suddenly notices that Stella is looking at her sadly and doubtfully, and she quickly asks her what has happened. Stella, who turns away from her, tells her that nothing is wrong, and Blanche knows that her sister is lying to her.
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