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Episode No. 20 - Second Chances

written by Shannon Bryan

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About this story

Published: 12 Sep 1997 | Size: 97 KB (17538 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.6/5   4.6/5 (141 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

<same night>


INT.CHASE HOUSE--Angela's bedroom

Angela sits on her bed, legs drawn up, hands around her knees. The infamous letter lies face down beside her. Her chin rests on her knees and she nibbles her lower lip, thoughtful.

ANGELA: (VO) When you start looking at the world with your eyes and instead of your heart it's kind of amazing to see what's really out there. Or who. Like, instead of just focusing on this little corner, I can finally see the whole picture. And now I understand why Brian is always *there*. Hanging around me like a piece of loose thread or something. Getting in the way. All this time I've been blind to the fact that Brian Krakow...loves me?

She shifts on the bed, stands, and walks slowly toward the dresser.

ANGELA: (VO) But what I want to know is...does he expect me to love him back?

Angela stares at her reflection in the mirror, waiting for an answer.


EXT. SCHOOL STEPS--morning

Angela walks toward the school building.

RICKIE: Hey!

Angela turns to see Rickie running to catch up with her.

ANGELA: (offering a brief nod) Hey.

RICKIE: (studying her face) I thought you were going to call me last night.

ANGELA: (ducks her head, tucks a few loose strands of hair behind one ear) I was going to. But Jordan showed up and... (trails off, sighing)

RICKIE: (blinks at her, his smile slipping a notch) And...what? The two of you went out?

ANGELA: (thinking) I don't know. Sort of.

They enter the building, crossing through the metal detectors.

RICKIE: Then I guess Brian didn't talk to you last night about...anything?

ANGELA: (her smile is a little too bright) Like what?

Rickie grabs Angela by the shoulders and gently pulls her toward the wall. He leans against a locker, brow furrowed.

RICKIE: You know Angela, I don't know which is worse. The fact that Brian practically worships you or the fact that you can't see how much he cares.

ANGELA: (defensive) I...know it. (slow, beautiful smile) I mean, the letter was pretty clear.

RICKIE: (one eyebrow shoots up) So he told you how he feels?

They start walking again.

ANGELA: Sort of. (sighs) Getting Brian to admit anything is like pulling teeth.

RICKIE: But you still went with Jordan?

ANGELA: (her face changes, she gets that familiar dreamy look reserved for Jordan) He came to my house! He came to *me*! He actually talked to my mother. (the look dissolves and she puts a hand to her head, as if fighting a headache) She thinks he's great.

RICKIE: (softly) What do you think?

DELIA: (OS) Hey Rickie!

Angela and Rickie both turn to see Delia walking toward them. Her eyes are only on Rickie, a wide smile lights her face.

RICKIE: (returning the smile) Hi.

DELIA: (practically blushing) Hi. (to Angela) Oh. Hi!

ANGELA: (frowning) Hi. (sensing sudden fifth wheel status, she continues down the hall, alone, calling over her shoulder:) I'll see you later, Rickie. (afterthought:) Bye Delia.

RICKIE: (calling after her) I'll see you at lunch, okay?

Angela just nods.

Students rush past her on the way to class. Someone touches her shoulder.

SHARON: Hi Angela.

ANGELA: Hi.

SHARON: (torn between concern and affection for her friend) Did I see you with Jordan yesterday afternoon?

ANGELA: Uh, yeah.

SHARON: Does that mean everything's okay now? All is forgiven?

Angela reaches her locker, dials the combination, and pulls some books out of it.

ANGELA: (weary) I really don't know yet, Sharon.

Rayanne hurries past. She smiles at Sharon, but the smile falters when she sees Angela. She hesitates, as if wanting to speak to Sharon, or maybe Angela, but keeps on walking. Sharon frowns, looking after her. Angela looks the other way, suddenly interested in studying a graffiti-scrawled poster advertising the play.

ANGELA: (once Rayanne is gone) I'm going to be late. I better go.

SHARON: (aware of the tension and hating it, she tries a fake smile) I'll see you in Katimski's.

ANGELA: Yeah.

SHARON: (softly, nervously) Angela, do you think that--(she breaks off suddenly) Oh. Never mind.

ANGELA: (pressed for time, walking away) What?

SHARON: It's nothing. We'll talk later. (her smile turns real) Okay?

Angela raises her hand in a little wave and moves off down the hallway. She sees Jordan coming down the stairs and does a quick U-turn. She ducks into a half-filled classroom, ignoring the odd looks from the other students.

ANGELA: (VO) I waited for him to tell me the whole night. But he didn't. He talked about everything else. I mean, it's obvious he was trying. But it was also clear he had no intention of telling me he didn't write the letter. He was perfectly content with letting me think those words were his. And the truly disgusting thing is, part of me doesn't really care who wrote that letter. I know that Jordan is sorry about what happened. I know that he...cares about me. I see his face and hear his voice and everything else just drifts away. But there's a part of me that *does* care. And that part doesn't want to deal with him right now.

She leans her head against the doorframe and watches Jordan go by. He shuffles past, oblivious to the fact she's watching.


INT.KATIMSKI'S CLASSROOM

The bell hasn't rung yet. Katimski is at his desk, talking to a small group of students. Delia and Rickie talk softly while waiting for class to begin.

DELIA: ...still want to see a movie on Saturday?

RICKIE: (still somewhat amazed that Delia has such an interest in him) Yes. Of course. Is there anything in particular you want to see?

DELIA: Isn't there a new Harrison Ford movie playing? (grimacing, searching her memory) What's it called again?

RICKIE: (smiling) Harrison Ford? Say no more. I'm there.

Delia smiles. They continue chatting and Rickie notices a figure move slowly past the door. The clock on the wall reads 8:12. Brian Krakow is late for his class. Rickie gets a pained look on his face and slides out of his seat.

RICKIE: Delia? I'll be back in *one* second. I just have to, uh, check something quick. (runs to door and looks out, Brian is almost to the corner) Brian!

Brian keeps walking.

RICKIE: (louder, stepping into the hallway) Brian!

Brian turns. He doesn't quite meet Rickie's gaze.

BRIAN: (mechanically) Hey. I'm late for Calculus.

RICKIE: (concerned) What happened last night? With Angela?

BRIAN: (softly) Nothing happened. (glares) And thanks for telling her that I wrote the letter.

RICKIE: (flustered) I'm sorry. I thought she knew. I mean, I can't believe she didn't figure it out herself.

BRIAN: (interrupting, sounding almost angry) She didn't *want* to figure it out. She didn't want a letter from *me*! (lowering his voice) Anyway, nothing happened. Nothing happened because I couldn't...couldn't (clenching a fist) get the words out. I can tell everyone else what to say, I can even write it down, no problem. (disgusted) I wanted to tell her but I couldn't. I was terrified. I didn't know what to say. I--I tried to, like, tell her it wasn't me. To tell her it was someone else...or whatever. But she was so upset and the words just came out...(he shakes his head, stricken)

RICKIE: (hears Katimski taking roll, but stays with Brian) What words, Brian?

Brian can't or won't answer.

RICKIE: (prodding gently) What did you say?

BRIAN: (speaking fast, almost choking the answer out) I told her that I, uh, meant every word. Of the letter. And I think she knew. I tried to, like, take it back, but I couldn't. It's like my brain and my mouth are in two different time zones whenever she's around. I made a fool out of myself. (bitterly) As usual. (starts to walk away)

RICKIE: (worried, not wanting him to go) But she listened, right?

BRIAN: (he nods, attempting to smile and failing miserably) Oh she listened all right. Until Jordan came.

Brian continues down the hallway.

Rickie stares after him.


INT.HALLWAY

Sharon hovers near Rickie's locker, looking vaguely nervous. Finally she takes a deep breath and bounces up to Rickie, a bright smile in place.

SHARON: Hi Rickie.

RICKIE: (surprised, he smiles back, a little uncertain) Hi Sharon. What's up?

SHARON: (nudging him) I hear you have a date with Delia. She's really excited.

RICKIE: (biting his lip) Well, I don't know if I'd call it a date exactly...

SHARON: (shrugging) Close enough. Actually, there's another reason I want to talk to you.

RICKIE: I'm on my way to lunch. Want to walk with me?

SHARON: I'd rather talk in, like, private, or whatever. (Glancing around the hallway, she grips his arm and steers him toward the girls' bathroom) In here.


INT.GIRL'S BATHROOM

Rickie lets himself be pushed into the bathroom and watches in faint amusement as Sharon bends down to make sure the stalls are all empty.

SHARON: Good. The coast is clear. (Leaning against the counter, crossing arms) Rickie...(now that she's got him, she's not sure how to begin) has Angela said anything about...you know, forgiving Rayanne?

RICKIE: (his lips pull into a thin line) No. (sighs) I'm beginning to wonder if she ever will. I'm afraid that maybe...maybe Rayanne went too far.

SHARON: (softly) She forgave Jordan but not Rayanne? Maybe it's time we did something to, you know...help the situation along.

RICKIE: (doubtfully) We?

SHARON: (tilts her head toward Rickie, a co-conspirator) Yes. It's *beyond* obvious that they miss each other. I was thinking that we could...(camera pulls away so that we can't hear them)


INT.CAFETERIA

The scene switches from Sharon leaning toward Rickie to a table in the lunch room where Rayanne leans toward Delia Fischer in a similar manner.

RAYANNE: You're Delia Fisher, right?

DELIA: (smiling) That's right. (forehead crinkles) You're Rickie's friend...Rayanne?

RAYANNE: (plopping her tray down) I'm afraid you're out of the loop, Delia. I *was* Rickie's friend. His best friend, actually. (Smiling pleasantly) But I can see I've been replaced. (Her face hardens) By you.

DELIA: (shocked at this near stranger's accusation) What? No. I mean, I think...I think you have it wrong.

RAYANNE: (cocks her head, condescending) Is that so? Then how come you seem to live inside his locker? (moves her fork around on her plate, not eating) Go ahead. Explain how I'm wrong.

DELIA: Well, because I like Rickie. I mean, I really *like* him. I know you're his friend. I just have, well, sort of a--a crush on him.

Rayanne snorts and stares hard at Delia, the look of anger on her face melting into amusement. Or maybe scorn.

RAYANNE: Well good luck, honey, because I don't think you're going to get very far. You're not exactly the type Rickie goes for.

DELIA: (wounded) And what type is that?

RAYANNE: (smiling, toying with Delia) The male type.

DELIA: (shrugs, relieved) Oh. I know. I don't care. I just think he's fun.

Rickie and Sharon arrive. Sharon is all smiles, but Rickie looks extremely nervous to see Rayanne and Delia together.

RICKIE: Uh, who's fun?

DELIA: (tugging on the hem of Rickie's vest, playfully) You are!

RAYANNE: (not the reaction she was looking for, annoyed) Yeah. A real laugh-riot.

Sharon slides into the empty seat beside Rayanne. She smiles at Delia.

RICKIE: (backs away from the table, eyeing Rayanne and Delia) Sorry to run, but I, uh, have to find Angela.

RAYANNE: (snidely) Then what are you doing here, Vasquez? We all know that Angela's not going to be sitting at *this* table.

Rickie opens his mouth to say something, changes his mind, and walks away.

SHARON: (frowning at Rayanne) Why do you *do* that?

RAYANNE: (she picks up the dubious looking hamburger on her plate, all wide-eyed innocence) Do what?


EXT.SCHOOL STEPS--lunch time

Rickie picks his way through the crowd of students until he spots Angela sitting on a step by herself. He sits down beside her.

RICKIE: I didn't know you brought a lunch. (vaguely reproachful) I've been looking all over for you.

ANGELA: I didn't bring a lunch. I'm just not hungry.

RICKIE: (caretaker mode) You should eat something. Really. You'll feel better.

ANGELA: (outraged laugh) You think my life will make sense if I *eat*? (head shake) I think you've been spending too much time around my dad.

RICKIE: (resting his hands on his knees) I just meant...(he pauses, puts a hand on her arm) I just, you know, worry about you.

ANGELA: (small smile) I know. (squeezing his hand) I'm sorry.

RICKIE: So. (trying to sound casual) Have you, ah, talked to Jordan today?

ANGELA: (gives him a look) No. And I haven't spoken with Brian either. (glumly) I think he's avoiding me. (VO): Possibly the same way I'm avoiding Jordan.

RICKIE: (concerned) No. I think he's avoiding everyone. He's been kind of down since Christmas and I think maybe he just needs time to figure stuff out. Or whatever.

ANGELA: (scornfully) What does *Brian* have to figure out?

RICKIE: His parents are pestering him to take another advanced class. (pause) And they want him to start applying for scholarships.

ANGELA: (raising her eyebrows) What? Already? I didn't think you could do that yet. Don't you have to be a junior?

RICKIE: (rolling his eyes) I know that. And you know that. But try telling that to the Krakows. I guess they've already been sending for different applications and bugging Brian to look them over.

ANGELA: (VO) (stares off into the distance, watching cars go by) When Brian ranted about all the pressure he was under right before the geometry midterm, I just thought he was blowing things out of proportion. As usual. I forget that his parents are so hard on him. It's almost enough to make me thankful for my parents. (little smile) Almost.

Brian suddenly stalks up to them. He tries very hard not to look at Angela. Instead, he glares at Rickie. He looks miserable. His hair is uncombed and his blond curls stick up radically. Brian's eyes flick between Rickie and the ground.

BRIAN: (furious) Katimski just stopped me in the hallway. He said you have a packet of tickets for me. (incredulous) I can't sell tickets! (throwing his hands up) When am I going to sell tickets? I don't have *time* to sell tickets!

RICKIE: (annoyed, trying not to show it) Then you should have come to Katimski's last night. (getting to his feet) Brian, I distinctly remember you *wanting* to sell tickets. (looking into Brian's face, pointedly) Remember when Delia came by?

Brian seems to lose steam and his anger fades. He just stares at Rickie.

ANGELA: (taking a deep breath) I'm, uh, selling tickets too. (trying to get through to him) Maybe I can help you, or something.

BRIAN: (still refusing to look at her, but it's obvious her words have the desired effect) Okay. (resigned) Fine. I'll do it. (pause) What am I supposed to do?

RICKIE: Drama club will have a table set up during lunch and after school--

BRIAN: (turning away) Tell me later, okay? I have another yearbook meeting. We're trying to finalize everything. The deadline is next week.

RICKIE: (treading eggshells) No problem. Just stop by my locker before the end of the day and I'll give you the tickets. (smiles) Okay?

Brian doesn't return the smile. His eyes finally stray to Angela. She manages a slight nod.

BRIAN: (swallows) Okay. So, like, later.

When Brian is gone, Rickie sinks back down beside Angela.

RICKIE: (tentatively) Angela, maybe you should talk to Brian again.

ANGELA: Talk to him? How? You saw how he was just now. He doesn't want to talk to me. I practically need a pair of pliers to get anything out of him. (softening) Besides, I waited for him to tell me, to say *something*. I really did. And maybe he would have, but (helpless) Jordan came!

Rickie sighs and puts an arm around her.

ANGELA: (thinking) Rickie...maybe you could put me and Brian at the same table tomorrow? To sell tickets?

RICKIE: (kisses Angela's cheek, pleased) I think I can manage that.


INT.CLASS ROOM

Several students are in the midst of a tutoring session. Everyone seems to be hard at work except for Jordan Catalano, who sits alone. He looks bored and plays idly with a pencil, occasionally glancing up at the clock on the wall. He shifts in the chair and flips through a stack of worksheets that Brian made him. They are all completed.

Brian enters the room, looking extremely ill at ease. Jordan doesn't seem to notice.

JORDAN: Hey Brain. You're late.

BRIAN: (clears throat) Uh, yeah. Sorry. I had a yearbook meeting.

JORDAN: Before we get, you know, started, I just wanted to say thanks. (pause) For writing that letter. Angela loved it.

BRIAN: (barely audible) Yeah. (he looks as if he would rather be anywhere else in the universe than listening to Jordan's thanks)

JORDAN: (little head nod) That was really cool.

BRIAN: (reaches for the completed worksheets, looks through them) Listen...Jordan. (staring intently at the desk, not at Jordan) You've come a long way in the few weeks we've been working together. I've seen, like, real improvement. (speaks quickly) But I have to pull out of the tutoring program because I just can't do this anymore.

JORDAN: (taps the pencil against the desk, looking vaguely disappointed) Why not?

BRIAN: Because...because...I'm not a very good tutor. There's someone else who can do a much better job.

JORDAN: (skeptical) Who?

BRIAN: Sharon Cherski.

JORDAN: That's Angela's friend. (leaning back in his chair, regarding Brian) She doesn't like me much.

BRIAN: (babbling) Of course she does. Definitely. She's just, you know, kind of, you know, vocal sometimes.

JORDAN: (sighing) This is because I asked you to the write the letter, right?

BRIAN: (hating life) Yeah. (realizing what he just said) I mean no. Not really. It's just that when I wrote it, I--I didn't intend for Angela to find out that I wrote it. Because it makes everything so--

JORDAN: (leaning forward, almost in Brian's face) Wait a minute. How does Angela know you wrote it? (studies Brian, more curious than angry) Did you tell her?

BRIAN: (shaking his head) No. It was someone else.

JORDAN: (chews on the corner of a thumbnail, more to himself than Brian) So that's why she kept looking at me like that last night.

BRIAN: (guilty) I--I shouldn't have written the letter. It was a mistake.

JORDAN: Nah. At least she's talking to me again. That's cool. It's, like, we can start over or something now. There's something about her, you know?

BRIAN: (choking) I know.

JORDAN: She's like air.

BRIAN: (struck by Jordan's description) What do you mean?

JORDAN: (speaking slowly, trying to get the words right) It's like you need her to live or something, but you don't even realize it. Until you lose her. (shakes his head, embarrassed at revealing too much) (looks back up at Brian) So you gotta quit, huh?

Brian gathers up Jordan's completed worksheets and exchanges them for a new, blank set.

BRIAN: (nodding, trying to look decisive) Yes. I *have* to. But here's your next assignment. I'll talk to Sharon and she'll talk to you later today, all right?

JORDAN: Whatever.

Brian gets up to leave.

JORDAN: (stopping Brian before he reaches the door) Hey, Brain. You were a good teacher. (almost proud) I feel like I learned stuff.

BRIAN: (nods) That's because you're a fast learner. You make it easy to teach. (softly, to himself) But not easy enough.

Jordan's smiles grows brighter, clearly pleased by Brian's compliment. Still smiling, he pulls the top worksheet closer and starts working.


INT.HALLWAY

Brian leans against a nearby wall of lockers. He looks exhausted. He stands quietly for several minutes. Finally, a bell rings and he starts moving, mixing among the students who empty out of nearby classrooms.

Sharon and Delia walk by, laughing and talking.

BRIAN: Hey Cherski!

SHARON: (stopping at her locker) What is it Krakow?

Delia looks down at a notebook she's holding, ignoring Brian. For once Brian ignores her back, not bothering with the usual awkward greetings or smiles.

BRIAN: I quit tutoring Jordan Catalano. I told him you'd take over.

SHARON: (gapes at Brian) You what? Thanks so much for telling me. (makes disgusted face) I don't believe it.

BRIAN: Believe it. And I *am* telling you.

SHARON: (rolling her eyes) Yeah. Only you waited until the after, not the before. Krakow, how am I supposed to fit him into my schedule? I have, like, ten million things to do as it is. I have a life, Brian. Do you know what that is?

BRIAN: (softly) Look Cherski, you owe me. How many times have I helped you out, huh?

They stare at each other: Sharon flushed and angry, Brian pale and guilty.

BRIAN: Look. If you don't want to tutor him, that's fine. That's great. Because I really don't care. (raises voice) I don't. And *you* can be the one to tell him.

SHARON: (yelling after Brian) Krakow! Wait a minute! *Wait*!

He doesn't. Sharon watches him disappear into the mass of bodies. Scowling, she slams her locker loud enough to make Delia flinch.


INT.HALLWAY

Angela emerges from the bathroom with Rickie just in time to see Jordan Catalano. Short of running back into the bathroom, Angela has no choice but to acknowledge him.

JORDAN: Hey. (smiles) Ready for Katimski's?

ANGELA: (casual) I guess.

RICKIE: (pats her arm) I've got to get to class. I'll see you later.

JORDAN: (looks after Rickie) So is he okay?

ANGELA: (surprised by the question) What do you mean?

JORDAN: He was kind of bummed out for a while, with no place to stay and all. But he seems, like, happy now. (shrug) Or whatever.

ANGELA: (that dreamy look steals over her face) Yeah. Rickie's doing better.

JORDAN: Oh. That's good. (pause) So how are we doing?

ANGELA: (cautious now) Better.

JORDAN: I have to tell you something.

They near Katimski's classroom and start walking slower.

ANGELA: What?

JORDAN: I just want to tell you that I'm not very good with words. That's not, like, news or anything. Every time I try to say something that matters, it comes out wrong. All mixed up. But that Krakow kid, he's good with words. (shuffling his feet) And I asked him to help me write that letter for you. So when you said you loved it and everything, that's not just me. It's because of Brain too. He, like, knew the words I couldn't find, or something. (pause) I wanted you to know the truth. Just because I didn't think of those words (looks into her eyes, softly) doesn't mean I didn't, you

know, mean them.

ANGELA: (VO) I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Every time I try to hate Jordan Catalano he does something truly amazing. He does something so right and so beautiful it makes me want kiss him for the rest of my life. Starting now. (standing on tiptoes, kissing his cheek) (Aloud:) I'm glad you told me.

JORDAN: (clearly worried) You aren't, like, mad at me again, are you?

Angela shakes her head. Smiling, she takes his hand and pulls him into Katimski's class.


INT.HALLWAY

Brian stands at the far end of the hallway watching Angela and Jordan go into Katimski's classroom. He blinks rapidly and turns away, hurrying in the opposite direction.


INT.KATIMSKI'S CLASSROOM

Mr. KATIMSKI scrawls something on the board. When he steps back, Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965) is revealed.

Most of the students look incredibly bored, even though class has barely begun. Angela is copying down the comments about Eliot from the chalk board. Jordan pulls a stick of gum out of his pocket and unwraps it. Sharon is also taking notes. Occasionally she glances toward Jordan and frowns.

Angela turns in her seat to look at Brian and notices his desk is empty. She drops her pen in the aisle, an attempt to get Sharon's attention. Sharon looks up from her notebook.

ANGELA: (mouths words, points to his desk) Where's Brian?

SHARON: (still angry) Who cares?

Mr. Katimski turns away from the board.

KATIMSKI: (observing class) Wait a minute, wait a minute...something's not right. (scratches head, squinting) Gee whiz, where's Brian? (glancing around room as if Brian might be hiding beneath a desk) Is he here today? Is he sick? (hands on hips) Who, ah, knows where Brian Krakow is?

A few kids mutter quietly, but no one responds. Finally Jordan raises his hand.

JORDAN: He might be, like, sick or something. I don't know. He was in my tutoring session, but he looked kind of tired.

ANGELA: (turning around, to Jordan, concerned) He was sick?

KATIMSKI: Angela? Do you have something to add?

ANGELA: (facing front) Uh, no. (fake smile, head shake) No.

KATIMSKI: (taps the edge of his desk with the chalk) Well...will one of you thoughtful students please tell Mr. Krakow what tomorrow's assignment is? (going back to the board, speaking as he writes) I want a page written on one of Eliot's poems. That's page, uh...let's see, ah yes. Here it is. Page 438. The poem we're interested in is called, uh, Preludes. (leaves chalk in tray, picks up his copy of the text book) We'll discuss the assignment a little more in depth after reading the poem. (clasping hands) So. Who, ah, wants to read the first verse?

No one responds.

KATIMSKI: (sighs) Oh gee whiz...come on people. No one? Well fine...ah, Angela. (smiles) Since you were talking to Mr. Catalano earlier, I suppose you won't mind reading aloud, hmm? (prodding) Page 438.

ANGELA: (flipping to the correct page, she leans forward, tucks some hair behind her ear, reading)

The winter evening settles down

With smell of steaks in passageways.

Six o'clock.

(Visual--The school day is at an end. Students leave their lockers and flock from the building, boots step carefully through slush and melting snow.)

(Visual--Rickie lingers by his locker, presumably waiting for Brian. Eventually Rickie hands an envelope to Angela and she leaves, hurrying to catch the bus. Jordan calls after her. She turns and waves, smiling, but does not stop.)

ANGELA: (VO) The burnt-out ends of smoky days.

And now a gusty shower wraps

The grimy scraps

Of withered leaves above your feet

And newspapers from vacant lots;

(Visual--Sharon approaches Jordan, looking extra cheerful. She says something and Jordan nods and hands her some worksheets. Sharon takes them, smiling brightly. As soon as Jordan leaves, her smile falls flat. She makes a face and shoves the pages into a folder.)

(Visual--Chase family dinner. There is much conversation, but Angela is quiet throughout, introspective. When she leaves the table and Graham and Patty exchange glances, concerned.)

ANGELA: (VO) The showers beat

On broken blinds and chimney-pots,

And at the corner of the street

A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.

And then the lighting of the lamps.

(Visual--Brian sits cross-legged on his bed, surrounded by textbooks. He stares down at his notebook and tosses it on the floor. He flops back onto the bed and stares at the ceiling.)


EXT.SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF CHASE HOUSE

Angela carries a bag of garbage outside and drops it into the barrel. Her breath sends frosty clouds into the winter evening. A lone car drives by. She walks slowly to the front sidewalk, gazing intently at the Krakow house across the street. The street lights glow like soft pearls.

She pats her jacket pocket and crosses the street.


INT.BRIAN'S ROOM

Brian is now sitting on the floor. He leans against the bed, eyes closed, listening to music. The song "The Old Apartment" by Barenaked Ladies fills the room.

BERNEICE KRAKOW: (OS) Brian! Angela Chase is here to see you.

Brian blanches. Shock, embarrassment, and excitement war across his face. He hops to his feet and turns in a circle, hands to his head, trying to figure out if his room is presentable.

BERNEICE KRAKOW: (OS) Did you hear me? (to Angela) It's possible he's ignoring me. Why don't you go on up.

Brian stands rigid in the middle of his room, listening to the sound of footsteps on the stairs.

ANGELA: (knocking) Hey. Brian. Can I come in? (pause) I, um, have your tickets.

Brian moves to the door. He stands in front of it, debating, before pulling it open.

BRIAN: Hi.

ANGELA: Hi. (walks into his room, sees the books on his bed) Studying, huh?

BRIAN: (confused) What? Oh. Yeah.

ANGELA: (hands him an envelope) Rickie waited for you after school but I guess you left early.

BRIAN: (stares at the envelope as if it might bite, takes it reluctantly) I, um, didn't feel very well.

ANGELA: I was kind of worried when I saw you weren't in English.

BRIAN: (pleased, trying not to show it) Oh. No big deal. I mean, I feel a little better. (sits on the bed) I guess I was just really tired or something.

ANGELA: Katimski wants us to write a page about a poem T.S. Eliot wrote. It's in Chapter 8.

Brian nods. He smiles weakly and his gaze drifts to the floor. Angela looks at him. They both fall silent. Angela inspects the fish tank.


INT.CHASE KITCHEN

Graham does the dishes. Patty sits at the table, sifting through paperwork. Danielle sits across from her, pretending to do homework.

DANIELLE: What do you do if you like a boy, but you're not sure if he likes you the way you like him?

Patty and Graham exchange half horrified, half amused glances. Graham raises his eyebrows, a silent: You take it!

PATTY: (cautious) Is this Ryan we're talking about?

DANIELLE: (imitating Angela) Maybe.

GRAHAM: The best thing to do is give the boy time to express his feelings. Say, five years.

DANIELLE: (annoyed) Dad! That's forever! I'll be Angela's age.

PATTY: Then wait ten years.

DANIELLE: Wow. No wonder Angela loves asking you for advice. (rolls eyes, prepares to get up from table)

PATTY: (smiling) Okay, okay. I'm sorry honey. It's just you're so...young.

DANIELLE: (sly smile) I'm not that young. You just think I am because you won't let me wear lipstick. If you saw me in public with lipstick, you'd think I was older. (pause) Much* older.

PATTY: (weary of this familiar argument) Danielle. We already discussed it.

DANIELLE: You can't blame me for trying. That's what kids do.

GRAHAM: (laughing) Oh, I see! *That's* what they do. I thought they drove their long-suffering, good-hearted parents to distraction.

DANIELLE: (shrugs) That too.

Graham finishes the dishes and rinses the sink.

GRAHAM: Where's Angela? Upstairs?

PATTY: I think she's at Brian's.

GRAHAM: (surprised) Brian *Krakow's*?

PATTY: Yes. (looks up from an invoice) Why?

DANIELLE: She hates Brian. (suspicious) What's she doing over there?

PATTY: (scolding mode) She doesn't *hate* Brian, Danielle.

DANIELLE: (peevish) She does too! I heard her tell Sharon that...(trails off when she realizes that two sets of eyes are focused on her) Forget it. (grabs workbook and flounces from the room)

PATTY: (staring at Danielle's empty seat) Tell me again, Graham. Was it a conscious decision to have two children?

Graham chuckles. He begins putting the clean dishes into their appropriate cupboards. He starts whistling softly.

PATTY: (pulls calculator out of her brief case) You're in a good mood.

GRAHAM: (turns) Yeah. (smiles) I guess I am. (head shake) Patty, I can't tell you how excited I am. (ecstatic) This restaurant is the best thing to ever happen to me! (not realizing how his words sound) And I owe it all to you!

PATTY: (her smile freezes) That's...great.

GRAHAM: (hangs towel beneath the sink) I mean it, Patty. None of this would be happening right now if you hadn't signed me up for this class. (smiles) You're amazing. Thank you.

Graham leaves the kitchen. Patty remains at the table.

PATTY: (smile crumbles) (softly, to no one) You're welcome.


INT.BRIAN'S ROOM

Angela stares through the fish tank at Brian. They squirm in the awkward silence.

ANGELA: (VO) I don't believe this. When we were kids Brian used to talk my ear off. Now we barely communicate. It's like we speak different languages. We need our own interpreter or something. Why can't he just open his mouth his mouth and talk to me like a person? If he's so smart, how can he be so stupid?

BRIAN: (breaking the silence) Well. Thanks. For the tickets.

ANGELA: (plunging in) Brian. I want to talk to you. About the letter.

BRIAN: (avoids her gaze, shakes head vehemently) No. There's nothing to talk about.

ANGELA: (hurt) How can you say that? After what you said to me?

BRIAN: (desperate) I told you to forget that. I--I didn't mean it.

They face away from each other, both of them near tears. Neither willing to let the other see their pain.

ANGELA: (voice thick with emotion) I don't believe you.

BRIAN: (knowing he's hurting her, feeling even worse) Okay. Let's just say, like, hypothetically, that I meant what I said. That the letter was from Jordan, but the words, or whatever, are from me. (risks a look at her) Hypothetically.

ANGELA: (eyes bright, nodding in agreement) Hypothetically.

BRIAN: (pacing the length of his room, talking more to himself than Angela) But what good would it do? I mean, everyone knows you love Jordan. And the letter made you happy. It let you forgive him, or whatever. And that's what really matters. Because whoever wrote the letter, they just wanted you to be happy. That's what's important. (softly) That's *all*.

ANGELA: Jordan told me you wrote it.

Brian stops pacing. He stands with his back to her.

BRIAN: (voice trembling) Angela. You and I both know I have only, like, a modicum of dignity. Can we please stop this conversation before what little I have is, like, *completely* gone?

ANGELA: (nods) Tell me one thing and I'll go. Okay?

BRIAN: Fine. (exhaling loudly) What?

ANGELA: Brian...look at me.

He roughly wipes his face before turning.

ANGELA: Why didn't you tell me (pause) how you felt...before?

BRIAN: (bitter laugh, almost a sob) That's a good one, Chase. Considering you can barely stand me as it is. I'm like your personal library. Or I'm invisible. I mean, God, I know I'm not Jordan Catalano, but am I such a huge embarrassment? It's like I became this pariah halfway through seventh grade. You and Cherski are like, ten castes above me. (slowing down) And I can deal with that. Not being your friend, I mean. But you get this, like *look* on your face when you see me. (shakes his head) That's bad enough. But now you have a real reason to laugh at me. (sinks back onto the bed, puts his head in his hands)

ANGELA: (guilty, knowing most of what he says is true) God, Brian! I wouldn't laugh. Why, would I laugh? (sits tentatively beside him, thinking) I don't know why I act so...so--

BRIAN: (speaking into his hands) Condescending?

ANGELA: (faint smile) No, that's your territory, Brian. (serious) But I know that I haven't been a very good friend. Not even to Sharon. But Sharon and I are working on fixing that. Maybe...(pause) you and I could too.

BRIAN: (lifting his head) I don't expect you to...to...(unable to say the word) *care* about me back. I understand. (barely a whisper) But I would like to be your friend. (crooked smile) It's not like I have, you know, very many.

ANGELA: (relieved to have survived the conversation thus far) Maybe we could practice, or something. (shy smile) Want to go for a walk?

BRIAN: (glances at the books on his bed, hating himself) I'd love to, but I'm so behind. I can't seem to concentrate lately. Everything takes me twice as long.

ANGELA: (her face tightens, coolly) Oh. Okay. Some other time.

Angela moves to the door.

BRIAN: (trying to salvage the situation) But maybe you could study with me. (pause) Or something. (hopeful) Do you still need help in geometry?

ANGELA: (tucks hair behind ear) No. Now that I've actually been going to geometry it's not so bad. (lifts an eyebrow) But I *do* have a paper to write on T.S. Eliot...

Brian smiles.


INT.CHASE HOUSE--bedroom

Patty sits on the edge of the bed. Graham talks excitedly through the bathroom door. She listens, expressionless, until Graham opens the door. When he looks out at her, toothbrush in hand, she puts on her best smile.

GRAHAM: I'm telling you honey, I can't stop thinking about last night. Those investors virtually *embraced* me! And this afternoon we actually found a decorator we can afford! (rinses mouth, spits in sink) I've never seen so many color swatches or paint chips in my life. I was actually considering turning Hallie loose with some crayons.

PATTY: (pulling down the comforter, smiling) You mean you aren't planning to wallpaper the restaurant yourself?

GRAHAM: (makes face) Pass.

PATTY: So what have you decided? Wouldn't it help to have a name first, to..I don't know, pull a theme together?

GRAHAM: (grinning) That's the big news. We might have a name. Hallie had a stroke of her usual brilliance this morning. Are you ready? (plops down next to Patty) What do you think of: Taste of Heaven. (loses some of his enthusiasm at Patty's blank look) Because of the fountain? We were thinking of white lace curtains and gauzy tablecloths. (chuckles) You know, all the stuff that I usually hate seeing in a restaurant.

PATTY: (takes Graham's hand) I like it. It's a great name.

GRAHAM: (pulls away, stands) But what? (disgusted look, head shake) Why are you doing this?

PATTY: Doing what?

GRAHAM: You know what. Spoiling this...(waving hands) the way you spoil everything.

PATTY: (taken aback) I wasn't aware I spoiled *everything*. I just thought the name was a little long, that's all. People have a hard time remembering long names.

GRAHAM: (gestures) Fine. I can see your point. Maybe. But could you let me have five minutes before raining on the parade? It's taken weeks for us to come up with something Hallie and I can actually agree on! (heads for the hallway)

PATTY: Aren't you coming to bed?

GRAHAM: (clipped tone) Later. I promised Hallie I'd look over the rest of those bank papers.

Graham hesitates in the hallway. He returns to the bedroom and gives Patty a perfunctory kiss on the cheek.

GRAHAM: (relenting) I won't be long. (sighs) And I'm sorry if I'm lousy at taking criticism--

PATTY: I wasn't trying to criticize!

GRAHAM: (touches Patty's face) That's the problem, Patty. (meets her gaze) You don't have to *try*. It's unconscious.

He pads down the hallway.

Patty presses a hand to her mouth, trying to keep the tears silent.


INT.CHASE KITCHEN

Angela comes through the front door, locks it, and heads for the kitchen. She sets her English textbook on the counter and flicks on the light. Graham is revealed sitting at the table, an empty glass beside him.

ANGELA: (surprised, worried) Dad! What are you doing?

GRAHAM: (smiles) Nothing much. Thinking.

ANGELA: (looking inside fridge) In the dark?

GRAHAM: (making light of her worry) I'm getting older Angela. It's easier to think with fewer distractions.

ANGELA: (smirks, not buying it) Yeah, right. (pause) Are you hungry?

GRAHAM: No. I was just going to bed. (sets glass by sink) You were at Brian's?

ANGELA: (pours herself a glass of milk) Yeah. (drinks, wipes mouth) We're studying T.S. Eliot.

GRAHAM: (smiles, wistful) I used to love Eliot. (closes eyes, reciting) We are the hollow men, we are the stuffed men...(trails off, chuckles) See what I mean? The light's on and I can't remember the rest.

ANGELA: What's that from? The hollow men thing?

GRAHAM: It's a poem. The hollow men represent scarecrows, (frowning, trying to remember) but metaphorically, the meaning goes much deeper.

ANGELA: (pats Graham's arm, gently mocking) Dad! You just used the word "metaphorically" in a sentence!

GRAHAM: (laughs) Don't tell anyone.

Graham bends and kisses the top of Angela's head.

GRAHAM: If you're done making fun of me I'm going to bed.

ANGELA: 'Night. (VO): 'We are the hollow men.' (drains glass) I can't believe my dad knows a poem like that. (pause) Eliot was right. I think...I think maybe we're all born hollow. And we spend our lives waiting, empty, like a glass, until we find someone to love. Someone who loves us back.

Angela sets the glass next to her father's and turns out the light.


INT.HALLWAY--morning

Brian Krakow walks to his locker. Laughter ripples up and down the hallway as he approaches.

STUDENT 1: Way to go Krakow.

STUDENT 2: What'd you have to pay her, Krakow?

STUDENT 3: (to Student2) Nah, I think it was a private *tutoring* session.

STUDENT 1: From what I hear, it wasn't very private!

All three boys break into loud laughter.

BRIAN: (eyes narrowed) What are you talking about?

STUDENT 2: That's not saying much for Graf if he can't even remember!

STUDENT 3: (laughing) So where'd you get the handcuffs, Krakow?

BRIAN: (realization dawns, he shakes his head, embarrassed) They weren't, I mean, it wasn't like--

STUDENT 1: (patting Brian's shoulder) Thanks for clearing that up, Bri.

The three friends walk away, still laughing. Brian slumps against the lockers, stunned.


INT.HALLWAY

Angela and Rickie talk beside her locker. Rayanne storms up to them, furious.

RAYANNE: (glares at Angela, then Rickie) So which one of you do I thank?

RICKIE: (confused) What are you talking about?

Angela starts to walk away, but Rayanne grabs her jacket and pulls her back.

RAYANNE: Nice try, Angelika. You're staying right here. You tell me to my face. Did you start the rumor?

ANGELA: (shrugs out of Rayanne's grip) What rumor?

RAYANNE: *What* rumor? What, are you, like, the only person in the entire school who hasn't heard the exciting news?

RICKIE: What news?

RAYANNE: (scowling, in low voice) That Krakow and I *did* it.

RICKIE: (quick glance to check Angela's reaction) Where did that come from?

RAYANNE: (stepping forward, menacing) I wonder. (to Angela) Anybody remember a weekend I spent handcuffed to your parents' *extremely* uncomfortable bed?

ANGELA: What does that have to do with Brian?

RAYANNE: Good question. Aside from the fact he was there, I have no idea.

RICKIE: Why are you so worked up about this? I mean, if it not true...?

RAYANNE: (frustrated) That's not the point, Rickie! (rolling eyes) I have *standards*. I have a reputation to protect. How's it going to look if people think I'm doing Brian Krakow? I'll *never* live this down!

ANGELA: (disgusted) I don't believe you. You aren't, like, even *real*.

RAYANNE: What does *that* mean? Just because I'm not all sweet and innocent doesn't mean--

RICKIE: Wait a minute, guys--

ANGELA: If "sweet and innocent" means I'm not having sex with my best friend's boyfriend--

RICKIE: Guys!

RAYANNE: (incredulous) Your boyfriend? (head tilt) Hello? Have you heard of a thing called reality?

RICKIE: (grabs both of them, angry) I've heard enough. More than enough. (head shake) *Way* more than enough.

Sharon and Kyle round the corner. They both watch with interest as Rickie hauls the two girls toward the bathroom.

RICKIE: (sees Sharon) Cherski! Now!

SHARON: (panicking) Uh, Kyle, I have to go.

KYLE: (vacantly) Go where?

SHARON: (calmer) To the, uh, bathroom. (sunny smile) I'll catch up with you later.

KYLE: I can wait if you want.

SHARON: (edging away) Uh, no. That's okay. You don't have to.

Sharon jogs down the hall before Kyle can say anything else.


INT.BATHROOM

Angela stands stiffly near the first bathroom stall. She stares at the floor, her face closed off. Rayanne is yelling at Rickie. He stands in front of the bathroom door, guarding her escape.

The door opens behind him.

RICKIE: (shouting) Sorry, but you'll have to use another bathroom.

SHARON: It's me!

RICKIE: Oh. Sorry.

Rickie stands aside to let her in.

SHARON: (nervous smile at Angela and Rayanne) Hi guys.

RAYANNE: (stalks toward the other door) Bye guys.

Sharon rushes past her and moves in front of the door, mirroring Rickie.

SHARON: You can't leave.

RAYANNE: (glaring) Excuse me?

RICKIE: She's right. Listen to me. (runs hand through hair) Both of you keep saying I'm not in the middle. It's, like, become your mantra or something. (to Angela) You say you don't care if I talk to Rayanne. (to Rayanne) And *you* say you don't care if I talk to Angela. (deep breath) Well you're both lying. And I'm sick of it. (jabs air above his head) I've had it up to *here* with you!

RAYANNE: (digs though purse) I don't have to listen to this.

SHARON: (softly) Rayanne...

RAYANNE: (sneers, pulling compact out of purse) Hey, nice rumor, Cherski.

SHARON: What?

RICKIE: (warning) Forget the rumor, Rayanne. We have to talk.

RAYANNE: So what's the plan, huh? You're going to hold us prisoner in here until Angela and I kiss and make up? We could starve to death before that happens. I hate to tell you, but *I'm* not the one holding a grudge.

Angela stares at Rayanne, wide-eyed.

ANGELA: (chin quivers) You think this is a *grudge*? I don't have a *grudge* against you.

RAYANNE: (powders nose) That's right. You just hate me.

ANGELA: (outraged) You hurt me, Rayanne! What am I supposed to feel?

RAYANNE: How about some of that forgiveness you gave Jordan?

Angela turns away.

RAYANNE: (drops the compact in her bag, disgusted) You know, today might be a good day to go to class. Geometry has *got* to be better than this. (steps toward Sharon)

SHARON: You aren't finished.

RAYANNE: Well *you* are. Get out of my way.

Sharon doesn't move.

RAYANNE: You want me to knock you through that door, Cherski? Cuz I swear to God--

ANGELA: (hoarse) It's not that I don't forgive you.

Rayanne goes silent. She blinks at Sharon. They all wait.

ANGELA: (lip trembles) I just...I just don't know how to be (pause) around you anymore.

For an instant Rayanne's face crumples. But she controls herself, trying hard not to let the hurt show.

ANGELA: When I started hanging around you (pause), I felt...I don't know, honored. (through tears) I thought, wow, someone like Rayanne Graf likes me. I thought that I...needed you to make my life better...(puts a hand to her face) but I don't *need* you.

Rickie blinks back tears.

RAYANNE: (stiffens) Get out of my way, Cherski. Now.

ANGELA: (weeping softly) Rayanne, just because I don't need you...(pause) doesn't mean I don't *want* you...your friendship.

Rayanne turns to look at Angela, shocked.

ANGELA: (deep breath, struggling with the words) I used to think I needed you to be a part of my life. Like I would die without you. I wanted to *be* you.

Rayanne laughs at this, the laughter segueing into tears.

ANGELA: But I don't want to be you anymore. I want to be me. (pause) I want to be your friend. And if you want to be mine--(Rayanne's head bobs up and down at this)--then you have to act like a friend.

Rayanne takes a halting step toward Angela.

RAYANNE: (ashamed, crying) I screwed up so bad. (head shake) I'm so sorry, Angela. I'm SO sorry. If I could take it back, or undo it somehow I would. I'd do anything to change what happened. You've got to know that.

Rickie puts an arm around both girls.

RICKIE: Rayanne, tell Angela you will never do such a hideous, disgusting, and downright evil thing again, as long as you live.

RAYANNE: (wipes her face, whispers) What he said.

RICKIE: Angela, tell Rayanne you will let her live this time. But *only* this time.

ANGELA: (laughing through her tears) What he said.

RICKIE: (voice breaking) Then I declare the two of you...friends.

Angela and Rayanne look at each other. Both are crying. They seem to be seeing each other for the first time.

SHARON: (muttering) This is ridiculous...(stomps over to Rayanne and pushes her toward Angela) Hug already!

Angela and Rayanne hug, laughing and crying. Rickie sniffles, suspiciously close to tears.

ANGELA: I have missed you *so* much.

RAYANNE: Oh God, Angela, I missed *you*.

RICKIE: (hugging both of them together) I've missed this!

SHARON: (hangs back, smiling) So. If the two of you are friends again, where does that leave me?

RAYANNE: (dragging Sharon into the group hug.) This looks like a good spot.

ANGELA: Definitely.

Camera pans away from the group but we hear:

SHARON: (OS) (plaintive) Hey! Watch the hair!


INT.CAFETERIA

Camera pans across crowded cafeteria. We see a card table set up near the entrance. Rickie and Delia chat back and forth, occasionally selling tickets for Our Town.

Rayanne, Angela, and Sharon sit together. Rayanne chews on the end of a braid, listening to Sharon complain.

SHARON: ...and then he just walks off. And I'm supposed to take over. Just like that. (makes disgusted face) As if I don't have enough to do.

ANGELA: (shocked) So *you're* tutoring Jordan?

SHARON: Not exactly. (sighs) Look, Chase-Face, I know how you feel about him. But I can't just sit there and study adjectives with him. Or whatever. (frowns) I need to be, like, impartial. And that is *so* impossible right now.

ANGELA: (concerned) Then who *is* going to tutor Jordan?

SHARON: Brian. (sees Angela's expression, speaks quickly) Just for a little while. Once the play is over, Abysinnia can take over. She's in the tutoring program, it's just that Our Town is chewing up all her free time. (smile) That's only two more weeks. I'm sure Brian can manage.

ANGELA: (turns in her chair, looking across the cafeteria) Where is Brian, anyway?

RAYANNE: Okay people, will you *please* change the topic? I'm trying to eat here. (pokes at a greasy slice of pizza) Which is difficult enough without having to listen to you two blab about Krakow all lunch hour. (pushes the tray away, frowns) I knew I should have had Tino bring Chinese.


INT.HALLWAY

Brian sits in the computer lab. The room is mostly deserted. He stares at the computer screen blankly. Every time he types a sentence he shakes his head and deletes what he has written.

We have a brief view of Angela and Rickie pass by in the hallway. A moment later Angela backtracks, alone, and pokes her head in the room. Seeing Brian, she walks over to him and moves an empty chair beside his. Brian stares harder at the blank screen.

BRIAN: (trying to type something) Hi.

ANGELA: (tucks hair behind ear) Hi. (pause) Sharon said that you quit tutoring Jordan.

Brian's eyes close in preparation for an argument. After a moment of silence he lifts his head and looks at her.

BRIAN: (together) Maybe I should have told you last night, but I--

ANGELA: (together) When I signed him up I didn't think that you--

BRIAN: (glumly) So. I guess you think I'm a jerk now, right?

ANGELA: (upset) Why do you do that? Why do you always assume I'm mad at you?

BRIAN: (softly) Maybe because it seems like...you usually are?

Angela frowns and look away.

BRIAN: I liked tutoring Jordan. I really did. Which is something I don't even want to dwell on, actually. And that's why I can't keep doing it. Because...because (hoarsely) you *know* why. It's just not going to work anymore. Maybe if I hated him...(head shake, earnest) but I don't. (faint smile) I actually, like, *care* if he passes, or whatever. (smile fades, ashamed) But I just don't have the energy to help him succeed with (long

pause) you know, *two* things. (swallows) Not after...(more awkward by the second) not *now*.

Brian's expression indicates he's already said too much. He gathers his books, obviously looking to escape.

BRIAN: I better go. I'm going to be late.

ANGELA: (softly) For what?

BRIAN: (glazed smile, stumbling for the door) You know, my class.

ANGELA: (persistent, knowing he doesn't have a class) *What* class?

BRIAN: The class I have now. (fake smile) But thanks for not being mad. I'm sure Jordan will be okay with Sharon.

ANGELA: But Brian, that's what--

BRIAN: (false brightness, waving) Later, Chase.

Angela sighs loudly and lowers her head onto the desktop.


INT.RESTAURANT

Hallie Lowenthal and Graham stand in a corner of their restaurant, watching a dozen people work around them. Their expressions are a mixture of pride and anxiety.

The front door opens and a man wheels a dolly full of supplies toward the kitchen. Across the main dining room, several workers are busy sanding the floor. Clouds of dust fill the air. We can hear the buzz of voices and the hum of machinery throughout the building.

GRAHAM: (sighing) What a mess.

HALLIE: Sure. But think of it: In a few weeks this place will be filled with happy customers. (glance toward Graham) Customers who will be filled with an assortment of your culinary delights. (sly smile) Expensive delights.

GRAHAM: I hope so.

HALLIE: (lifts eyebrow) You hope that we'll have customers, that they'll be stuffed to the gills, or that we'll charge five bucks apiece for those little creamer thingies?

GRAHAM: (laughs) All of the above.

The door opens again. A man enters carrying two cans of paint.

WORKER 1: I've got the paint. (glances at label) Bone White.

GRAHAM: (head shake) That's not right, is it? (to Hallie, upset) I thought we decided on Antique White.

HALLIE: (nods) We did.

WORKER 1: (drops cans with a loud bang) Look. I asked you three times. You said Bone.

GRAHAM: I know. But we changed our minds to the Antique. (pause, dark look at Hallie) You *did* tell him we changed it, right?

HALLIE: (opens mouth, shuts it, head tilt) I thought *you* told him.

WORKER 1: Well guess what. Nobody told me. (glances at watch) And I have another paint job to get to. If you want Antique White, I suggest one of *you* go get it. (exits)

GRAHAM: Well I can't go. (gesturing) Somebody needs to supervise.

HALLIE: I need to get back to the office. I've already been gone too long. One of these days I'll get back and find they gave my desk to someone else.

GRAHAM: (waves finger at her) So go. Just make a little detour to the Paint Depot on your way.

HALLIE: (amused) I don't have time!

GRAHAM: You should have thought about that when you forgot to tell Ken about the change in color.

HALLIE: (stares at Graham) You do realize that made absolutely no sense, right?

GRAHAM: (reluctant smile) A sure sign I've been spending too much time with you.

HALLIE: (laughing) Fine. I'll exchange the paint. God knows the mural would look *horrible* on Bone compared to Antique. (rolls eyes) There's such a *huge* difference.

GRAHAM: (forehead wrinkle) You don't want the Antique now?

HALLIE: (lifting cans) I'll see you later. (nods toward the door, waits for Graham to open it for her) Antique is fine. The restaurant is fine. Everything is fine. You worry too much.


EXT.OUTSIDE RESTAURANT

GRAHAM: (walking out with her) What else am I supposed to do?

HALLIE: I'll get back to you on that.

Graham walks to her car and opens the back door. Hallie leans in and sets the paint cans on the floor. When she grasps the door to stand, her hand is almost touching Graham's. She is standing infinitely close to him. They look at each other for a long moment, barely breathing.

Graham breaks away first, awkward, and maybe a little disappointed.

GRAHAM: (clears throat) Uh, well. I better (nods toward building) get back inside...

HALLIE: (pained smile) Yeah. (looks away) You better.

Graham watches Hallie get into the car and drive away. He stands outside the restaurant, shoulders hunched against the cold, long after she is gone.


INT.KATIMSKI'S CLASSROOM

Students drift into the room. Angela is near Katimski's desk, asking him a question. Jordan is already at his desk, writing in a notebook. Brian and Sharon walk in the room at the same time. Sharon pulls him aside.

SHARON: Even though you're completely undeserving of my cooperation, I tried to change my schedule for you, Krakow. (unconcerned shrug) I couldn't. (raising a hand) *But*, I worked my usual magic to get Abyssinia Churchill to agree to take over.

Brian lets out a long breath of relief.

SHARON: After the play is done.

BRIAN: (horrified) What!

SHARON: That's the best I can do. (softening) It's only two weeks.

BRIAN: (laughing, almost hysterical) Only! *Only* two weeks.

SHARON: (sighs) Brian, you shouldn't have signed up for the program if you didn't want to do it. You can't, like, pull out whenever you want to. (pointedly) This isn't like the Help Line thing. (pause) You made a decision. You have to stick with it.

BRIAN: That's great, Cherski. But what happened to that nice speech about being a hypocrite? And respect? Sure. I'll tutor Jordan. (leans close to her) So. I guess that means you broke up with Kyle then, right?

SHARON: (defensive) I'm not *with* Kyle!

BRIAN: Well you're not *not* with him, that's for sure. (turns away, stops) And make sure you thank him for spreading that rumor about Rayanne and me. I love it. It's terrific. It really makes life worth living.

SHARON: (outraged) Kyle didn't start that rumor!

BRIAN: (angry) Then who did? (taking out his hurt on Sharon) You?

SHARON: (her lips compress, she flashes him a look of death) Of course not. (her eyes narrow) I wouldn't want to insult Rayanne.

BRIAN: (nodding, tight smile) Oh, of course.

Brian and Sharon rush past each other, bumping into the surrounding desks in their hurry to escape each other.

KATIMSKI: Okay class, come on. We have work to do.

After a minute or two of feet shuffling everyone takes their seat.

KATIMSKI: Hmm. All right. (glances around the classroom) Did, ah, did everyone finish the assignment? (no one responds) Good. You can hand them in after class. First we'll, ah...talk about Eliot's poem. (sniffs, scratches head) Who can tell me what the word "preludes" means?

SHARON: A beginning?

KATIMSKI: (nods, beaming) Very good. Gee whiz, that's it exactly.

Katimski goes to the board and writes: Preludes=Introduction/Beginning

KATIMSKI: Okay, let's hear your thoughts on the poem. Tell me what you think it means.

STUDENT 1: That it's winter?

KATIMSKI: (frowns) Uh, well, yes. That's true. But I'm looking for...a little bit more detail. Not what's said. What's *implied*.

Katimski scans the classroom. Notices that Brian is resting his head on his

arms.

KATIMSKI: Brian? How about you?

Brian lifts his head and blinks. He wipes his mouth and flips his book open to the correct page. Staring intently at the book, he speaks in a dull

monotone.

BRIAN: I think Eliot is referring to how hopeless life really is. How hard it is getting through another meaningless day. Waiting for another empty tomorrow. Because what's the point when tomorrow is just as empty as today? There is no point. It's completely point*less*. Why bother to write a poem about it? By discussing it, we're, like, compounding the problem. We're wasting time in an already wasted day. It's not about beginnings. Or even endings. It's just...nothing.

Brian stops talking abruptly and shuts his textbook. He manages a quick look at Katimski.

BRIAN: (shrugs) Or whatever.

KATIMSKI: (stares at Brian strangely) Gee whiz...that's a new interpretation. (glances around, hopeful) Ah...anyone else?


INT.HALLWAY

Brian stares into his locker blankly. Rickie walks up to him, all smiles.

RICKIE: Hey Brian. You can still sell tickets after school, right?

BRIAN: (distracted) Yeah. Sure.

RICKIE: We were thinking about going out after the rehearsal tonight. Nothing big, you know, just hanging out. Or whatever. Like for ice cream or something.

BRIAN: (shutting locker) Who's "we"?

RICKIE: (ticking off on his fingers) Me, Angela, Rayanne, Delia--

BRIAN: (mumbling) No thanks.

RICKIE: If you're saying no because of Delia, don't, because--

BRIAN: (irritable) It's *not* Delia.

RICKIE: (looks sympathetic) Oh. Is it...Rayanne?

They near a group of "jock types". The group starts laughing as they pass.

STUDENT 1: Hey Krakow! (pulling toy handcuffs out of locker) Rayanne said she wants these back!

BRIAN: (his face compresses) (to Rickie) What do *you* think?

RICKIE: (touching Brian's shoulder) Try and ignore them, Brian. I'm sure it'll blow over soon.

BRIAN: (snorts) Define 'soon'.

They round the corner and head for the stairs. At the landing Brian stumbles and falls against the wall. He leans against the wall for a moment, white faced.

RICKIE: (concerned, looks around for possible help) Are you okay?

BRIAN: (head shake, trying to clear head, continues up the stairs) I just felt dizzy for a second. I'm fine. I haven't been eating much lately, that's all. (musing) I'm never hungry.

Rickie stops walking and pulls Brian back. The flow of students continues around them.

RICKIE: (sighing) Brian, you've got to talk to Angela. You're going to drive yourself crazy if you keep this up.

BRIAN: Keep what up?

RICKIE: This weird denial thing you have going. You can't avoid her. You *shouldn't* avoid her.

BRIAN: (raising his voice) I can't help it. I *am* going insane. Which, when you think about it, is kind of a relief. Just the thought of sitting there all day, oblivious, is actually quite comforting. Although I know that I'm probably too much of a coward to actually go insane. I would probably go, like, *half* insane. I'd be able to function just enough to take another advanced course at the University.

Brian's loud voice earns them a wide berth by the other students. Rickie looks both nervous and embarrassed.

BRIAN: (continues, oblivious to passing stares) But the truth is I'm probably not going crazy at all. I don't have *time* to go crazy. I have too many responsibilities to go crazy! I'm just tired. And *why* am I tired? Because my life is truly pathetic. I can't even believe I get out of bed every morning. Why bother?

RICKIE: (worried by Brian's behavior) Come on Brian. I think we should go find Angela. Like, right now.

BRIAN: (still ignoring Rickie) But you know what really kills me? What is, in fact, *killing* me at this very moment? It's not the fact that Angela Chase is, like, madly in love with Jordan Catalano because of a letter that *I* wrote. Although that is *very* high on the list. It's the fact that I have this *amazing* grade point average. Because I'm supposed to be so smart, right? But really, it's like this immense curse. Because my brain won't shut off. I can't stop thinking...about everything I should have done differently.

RICKIE: What do you mean? Done what differently?

BRIAN: I need to find the *one* thing I did wrong that caused this...this mess. Some totally infinitesimal thing that turned my life into a joke of truly cosmic proportions. (pause) Because if I could find that one thing and fix it, maybe everything would be okay. Maybe Delia Fisher wouldn't hate my guts. Rayanne Graf wouldn't hate my guts. And maybe Angela Chase would know that I exist on a conscious level.

A bell rings, ending Brian's soliloquy. He looks at Rickie.

BRIAN: I should shut up now. I have to go.

RICKIE: Where?

BRIAN: (walking backwards down the hall, flashing Rickie a too-bright smile) I get to tutor Jordan Catalano.

RICKIE: (shocked, trailing Brian) I thought you were going to quit!

BRIAN: (smile grows wider) Oh no. I made a decision. (echoing Sharon) I'm sticking to it.

RICKIE: What?

BRIAN: (turns and walks away faster) See ya.

RICKIE: (stands in the hallway, calls after Brian) At least think about coming tonight! Okay?

Brian keeps walking.


INT.HALLWAY

Angela emerges from the bathroom and heads back toward Geometry. In no hurry to return, she ambles slowly down the hall, glancing into the surrounding classrooms.

ANGELA: (VO) Sometimes I wish I could just walk into another class. Just to see if they're *all* really that boring.

She rounds the corner and glimpses Jordan and Brian sitting together. She stops in her tracks, staring. She blinks and walks closer, amazed. A small smile lights her face.

ANGELA: (VO) When I saw the two of them together like that, I wanted to walk in there and hug Brian. (pause) And I felt ashamed, because I didn't know Brian had that kind of courage. (edges closer to the room) When you grow up with someone, you get used to seeing their good points and their bad. (crooked smile) Especially the bad. But I think I'm starting to realize that Brian isn't the same person I grew up with. (smile fades, frowning) And I can't help wondering: where was I when he changed?

Jordan says something to Brian and Brian nods. Brian points to a worksheet and Jordan frowns. It becomes apparent that Jordan doesn't know how to do something. Brian leans forward and patiently explains the process.Finally, Jordan nods, relaxes, and starts working.

ANGELA: (VO): I wanted to walk in there and tell Jordan how proud I was of him. For working so hard. For just (smiles softly at Jordan as he brushes the hair out of his eyes) *being* there.

Brian looks up from the book he's trying to study and Angela ducks out of sight.

ANGELA: (VO) But I couldn't. (takes a deep breath and continues down the hall, slowly) Because once I entered that room, it wouldn't be Brian *and* Jordan. (forehead crinkles) It might become Brian *against* Jordan. And I didn't want that to happen.

Walks away, fingers trailing against the lockers, until she rounds another corner, out of camera range.


INT.HALLWAY--outside the auditorium

Brian and Angela sit at a card table outside the auditorium. They have a clear view of the stage and auditorium. Rickie and Katimski talk softly about stage direction. Delia and Corey Helfrick are busy moving props onto the stage. Rayanne is stretched out along a row of chairs, half-listening to Rickie and Katimski talk.

ANGELA: (glances at Brian) (VO) It's funny. I've never felt nervous around Brian in my life. Angry, annoyed, bored: yes. But not nervous. Now that I know how he really feels, I can't sit still around him. (sidelong glance, shifts in chair, frowns) Then again, knowing Brian, there's probably something on my chair. (shifts again and looks down at the chair)

BRIAN: (tapping fingers against cash box, talking too fast) Wow. This is fun. At this rate we'll be here until graduation. (pause) At least.

ANGELA: (faint smile) Or our ten year reunion.

BRIAN: (laughs, lets himself relax slightly) True.

ANGELA: (clasping hands together, almost imploring) Brian?

BRIAN: (inspects tickets carefully) What?

ANGELA: I made it clear last night that we *are* friends, right? (nervous smile) Because I consider you one. (awkward) A friend, I mean.

BRIAN: (brave smile) Oh yeah. Of course. And I'm glad. (softly, trying notto see more in Angela's face than what is really there) I really want to be friends. Because, that's, you know, best. (pause) Under the circumstances. (nods in agreement) It's best.

ANGELA: (stares at him for a long moment) (she smiles suddenly) Good...That's really good. I'm glad you feel that way. Because I was worried. (ducks head, tucks hair behind ear) When you told me how you felt I was afraid that--

BRIAN: (interrupts) No, no. (swallows thickly) This is much better. (forced laugh) I don't know what I was thinking. Actually, I *wasn't* thinking. (shrug) As usual.

ANGELA: (smiles, almost tender) I just want you to know that...I'm--I'm honored, Brian. Maybe if I had known before. Before I met--

BRIAN: (cuts her off) No, no, you're right. (chokes each word out through a tight smile) Friends. Is. Better.

Two students approach the table, chatting.

BRIAN: (visibly relieved) Hi. Hey. (babbling) You want tickets for the play, right? Because this is definitely the right place. To buy a ticket. (pause) For the play.


INT.AUDITORIUM

Rayanne has just finished one of Emily's heartfelt dialogues. She stares, wide-eyed, out at the empty chairs. Her face bears a look of terrible longing.

KATIMSKI: (clapping) Beautiful! (rapt smile) That was *perfect*.

RAYANNE: (yawns, stretches) Does that mean we can take a break? I'm, like, *starved*.

KATIMSKI: (annoyed) Gee whiz, Rayanne. You realize that we'll be performing this play before an actual audience, don't you? We need to practice!

K'NOWSKI: (OS) Mr. Katimski?

Katimski turns to see Cathy Krzyzanowski standing at the back of the auditorium.

K'NOWSKI: Do you have a moment?

KATIMSKI: Hmm...I think so. (vague smile) Of course.

Katimski walks over to Krzyzanowski and they speak softly for several minutes. Their words are muffled, and as the discussion progresses, Katimski grows agitated. He breaks off suddenly and claps his hands for attention.

KATIMSKI: (grimly) Rayanne, you have your wish. We'll, ah, take a short break.

RAYANNE: (does a little dance) Yes! (motions to Rickie and Delia) Let's blow this lemonade stand.

KATIMSKI: Rickie, (grimaces at his slip) er, *Enrique*, could you come over here please?

Rickie hops off the stage and hurries over to Katimski and Krzyzanowski.

RICKIE: (mildly worried) What's up?

K'NOWSKI: I think we better go to my office.


INT.HALLWAY--outside the auditorium

Brian and Angela are still at the table. They both watch as Rickie, Katimski and Krzyzanowski go through a door at the far end of the hallway.

ANGELA: I wonder what's going on. (concerned) I hope everything's okay with Rickie.

BRIAN: Why wouldn't it be?

ANGELA: I don't know. (pause) I just worry about him.

BRIAN: Me too.

Angela casts a sharp look at Brian.

BRIAN: (defensive) What? He's my friend too.

ANGELA: I don't know. It just seems like the two of you are so--oh my God.

BRIAN: (turns to follow her gaze) (softly, defeated) Perfect.

Jordan Catalano offers Angela a hint of a smile. He nods at Brian.

JORDAN: (moves to the wall near Angela and leans, hands in his pockets) Hey.

ANGELA: (beautiful smile) Hey.

Brian tries not to look miserable. He almost succeeds.

JORDAN: (to Angela) So, you're, like, selling tickets to that play thing?

ANGELA: Yeah.

JORDAN: How long do you have to stay here?

ANGELA: (quick look at Brian) Probably not, you know, all that much longer. (hopeful) Why?

JORDAN: You wanna go to the Loft? I'm working on something. (shrugs) Maybe you can tell me if you like it.

ANGELA: (dreamy look, amazed) I'd love to! (remembering Brian and the tickets) But I can't leave quite yet.

JORDAN: (frowns at the stack of tickets) You gotta sell all those?

ANGELA: Not all of them.

JORDAN: Are you going? To the play?

ANGELA: Oh yeah. Definitely.

JORDAN: You have a ticket?

ANGELA: We bought ours last night.

JORDAN: (his eyes flick to Brian, confused) We?

ANGELA: (nervous laughter) My family.

JORDAN: Oh. Your mom's going?

ANGELA: (strange look) Yeah. And my Dad.

JORDAN: (a little wistful) Your mom's nice. (pause) So. You think she'd let you go with me?

ANGELA: (surprised) Are you asking me to the play?

JORDAN: (seems just as surprised) I guess so.

ANGELA: (softly) I'd like that. Very much.

JORDAN: (nods, smiles) Okay then. That's cool.

Jordan pulls a ten dollar bill from his pocket and drops it on the table. Angela reaches into the cash box and gives him some change. He slips the ticket in his pocket without looking at it.

JORDAN: (glances around, bored) So how much longer do you have to stay here?

BRIAN: (heavy sigh, head shake) Go.

ANGELA: What?

BRIAN: (loudly) Just go, okay? I'll--I'll do the tickets.

ANGELA: (torn) Are you sure?

BRIAN: (to Jordan, bitter) Go to the Loft. Play your song. Have a terrific time.

JORDAN: (doesn't notice Brian's attitude, takes Angela's hand) Cool. Come on.

Angela flashes a grateful smile at Brian. He smiles back, pained. Jordan leads her down the hall. She looks back once, and waves.

When they're gone, Brian counts the remaining handful of tickets. He takes out his wallet and buys them all.


INT.K'NOWSKI'S OFFICE

Cathy sits behind her desk, elbows propped on the desktop, hands folded beneath her chin. Katimski is slumped in a chair. He looks troubled. Rickie focuses on the wall just past Cathy's shoulder.

K'NOWSKI: I know this is a big change, Rickie, but Pride House is an excellent facility. Rebecca and Peter Sanford run the house, and they're wonderful. (confident) I think you'll like them.

Rickie looks doubtful. And scared.

K'NOWSKI: (picking up on his feelings) Pride House can be a good home, Rickie. (gently) If you let it.

Rickie folds his arms, hugging himself, and nods.

RICKIE: (unconvinced) Sure.

KATIMSKI: When is he supposed to go?

K'NOWSKI: They'll be ready for him (small smile at Rickie) this weekend. Saturday morning.

RICKIE: (clearly upset) That's so...soon.

K'NOWSKI: (nods) Yes. But you've been waiting for several weeks. (not unkindly) I had to pull a lot of strings to get you in, Rickie.

RICKIE: (choking) Thank you. I'm sure it'll be, you know, fine.

KATIMSKI: What about other alternatives?

K'NOWSKI: (impatient) We've been over this before, Richard. Beyond foster care, or his family's return, there's Pride House. (pause) Or an institution.

RICKIE: (adamant) No. I'll go back on the street first. To that warehouse.

K'NOWSKI: (annoyed look to Katimski) That's not even an option, Rickie. Besides, the question is a moot one. (firmly) Pride House has an opening for you. (leans forward, intent) It's a safe, comfortable environment, Rickie. Everything will be okay.

RICKIE: (nods, swallows) Okay. (louder, with conviction) Okay then.

KATIMSKI: (strained smile) Well, then. This is...certainly...news, isn't it? (adds quickly) *Good* news. Gee whiz...(embarrassed chuckle) listen to me! (to Rickie) I guess this, ah, means we have some packing to do.

RICKIE: (looks at the floor, weak smile) I guess.


INT.HALLWAY

Brian exits the administrative office into the main hallway. Two students hurry up to him, disappointed.

STUDENT 1: Is it too late to buy tickets?

Brian blinks at them. He holds out one cupped hand, revealing the dozen tickets he paid for.

BRIAN: (hoarse) Take them.

STUDENT 2: (shocked) What do you mean?

BRIAN: (almost angry) Are you deaf? I said take them! (lets the tickets fall on the floor and stalks away)


INT.JORDAN'S CAR

Angela looks out the car window, watching traffic flow by. She is radiant.

ANGELA: (VO) Have you ever been so happy that you have to, like, *remind* yourself to breathe?

They approach a stop light and Jordan slows the car. Angela steals a quick glance at him.

ANGELA: (VO) I wonder why it's so hard to be happy. It seems to take so much effort, or something. Like we're afraid to let ourselves be happy. Like we're not allowed. (leans head against seat, eyes closed) But I think...(pause) I think maybe we are.

JORDAN: Hey. I almost forgot. (reaches for something in the back seat) I saw these...and thought of you.

Jordan hands her a small bouquet of daisies with a nervous smile.

JORDAN: They aren't, you know, the most beautiful flower, but they're, like, strong, or whatever. (pause) They kind of remind me of you. (pause, quickly) Not that you aren't, you know, beautiful. (head shake, struggles for words) You've got this smile that makes it hard to breathe sometimes,

or something.

ANGELA: (puts a hand to her face, amazed) (VO) I've always loved roses. Ever since I was little. I love their smell, the velvet petals. But suddenly, their beauty was no match for those daisies.

Angela slides close to Jordan and takes the flowers. Blinking back tears, she beams at him, and slowly lowers her head against his shoulder. Jordan stares down at the top of her head for a moment, surprised. And then he smiles. It is a sweet, honest smile, something we have rarely seen on Jordan. It is the look of someone redeemed.


INT.BOILER ROOM

Brian sits on the floor of the boiler room, cross-legged, a notebook in his lap. He is surrounded by a sea of crumpled paper. He makes a disgusted face and tears off the page he is currently on, crumples it into a ball, and tosses it with the others.

We hear the distant sound of a door, followed by footsteps on the stairs. Within moments Rayanne stands in the doorway. She gasps in surprise at seeing Brian, but her surprise is quickly replaced by loathing.

RAYANNE: What are you doing down here, Krakow? (sly smile) Hoping to stumble onto a little action? (looks around in exaggerated manner) Hmm. I don't see your video camera.

Brian groans audibly.

BRIAN: Could you please just go away?

RAYANNE: (mimicking) Could you please just go away? (glaring) I came down here for a much deserved break, Krakow. (pulls the silver flask out of her bag) And now that I see you, I *really* need a drink.

BRIAN: (turns away, disgusted by her behavior) Then why don't you have it someplace else. (turns back to her, petulant) I was here first, you know.

RAYANNE: (sits as far from Brian as possible) Well guess what Bri, I'm here second. Deal with it.

BRIAN: (looks upward, mutters) I cannot believe this is happening.

RAYANNE: Then I guess you better try a little bit harder, eh Bri?

Brian begins to gather the crumpled pages. He makes a pile far from Rayanne's reach.

BRIAN: Could you please just make an *attempt* at decency? I came down here for some privacy. (pointedly) I'd like some.

RAYANNE: (drinks from the flask) Negative, Brian. (relishing Brian's discomfort) Too bad we don't have any handcuffs. (wicked smile) Hmm. I have an idea. Feel like another trip to the Pleasure Center?

Brian's eyes widen with almost comical horror and he scrambles to his feet, hands to his head.

BRIAN: Oh my God! (gasps for breath, nearly hyperventilating) Oh my God! (tilts head back, bitter laughter) This is *so* like my life. This is just perfect. I mean, really, I shouldn't even be surprised.

RAYANNE: (eyes narrow) What are you babbling about now?

BRIAN: (points at her) It was you! When I called the Help Line, I got *you*. (presses hand to his forehead, slumps against wall) I could, like, actually puke. Right now.

RAYANNE: (defensive) Maybe it was me. So what! (batting eyelashes, smirks) I *helped*, didn't I, Stevereno?

BRIAN: (glares) Oh yeah. Making me think I called 1-900-GET-NAKED was a big help. Very considerate.

RAYANNE: (breathless) Why Brian, just how often *do* you call 1-900-GET-NAKED?

BRIAN: (lets out frustrated scream) Is there some specific reason you hate my guts, or is it just, like, something you do for fun?

RAYANNE: (snorts) You're looking for a reason *besides* the tape?

BRIAN: You can blame me if you want to, but we both know if you and Jordan hadn't felt a compelling need to, like, *inspect* the back of his car, there wouldn't have been a tape!

RAYANNE: (guilt coming out as anger) And I'm sure you couldn't wait to run straight to Angela. (downs a fast drink) God. You are such a pathetic coward. (stares coldly at him) You're beyond pathetic, Krakow. The appropriate word hasn't even been *invented*.

Brian lifts his chin, defiant.

BRIAN: Maybe I'm a coward, and maybe I'm pathetic, but at least I'm a *real* friend to Angela.

RAYANNE: (smiles sweetly) Oh? Is that what you are? Angela's friend? (slides closer, relishing the moment) Does Angela think of you as a (throaty) *friend*?

Brian's stricken expression shows Rayanne's words bite deep. To his absolute horror--and Rayanne's--he comes dangerously close to crying.

BRIAN: (speaks deathly quiet, voice wavering) Go ahead and get drunk. I really don't care. Just don't speak to me. I would rather (pause, struggles for words) eat staples than listen to one more word come out of your mouth.

Brian turns away and wipes at his eyes. The tears keep coming. He bows his head and makes a valiant effort to disappear into the wall.

Rayanne's mouth hangs open, momentarily stunned. She is torn between continuing the fight and apologizing. After an uncomfortable moment listening to Brian cry, Rayanne clears her throat.

RAYANNE: (guilty) Look, Krakow...Brian. I'm--I'm sorry.

Brian is silent.

RAYANNE: (grimaces) I like to let my mouth run off sometimes, that's all. It's, like, a habit. (considering) A bad habit. (takes another drink, adjusts her short skirt, crosses her ankles) It's not, like, *personal* or anything.

BRIAN: (looks at her as if she has grown a third eye) Not *personal*? You insult and berate me for ten minutes and it's not personal? (scowls) Your mom must have smoked, like, a *lot* when she was pregnant with you.

Rayanne lets the comment pass.

Brian wipes his face with the sleeve of his shirt and stares listlessly at his notebook. Rayanne fidgets with one of her braids.

RAYANNE: (heavy sigh, mutters) I *said* I was sorry. (long pause) So. Krakow. (making an effort) Why *are* you down here?

BRIAN: (not ready to accept the peace offering) Why are *you* down here? Shouldn't you be upstairs printing off flyers or something? 'Brian Krakow: Biggest Loser at Liberty'. (huge fake smile) Actually Graf, that's a good idea. Why don't you go play in the copier room and leave me alone?

RAYANNE: (dismissive gesture) That's no fun. (shrug) It's, like, common knowledge that you're the biggest loser.

Brian hits his head against the wall.

RAYANNE: That's a good way to kill brain cells, Krakow. (pause) Then again, I guess you've got enough to spare. (looks with renewed interest at the crumpled pages) What are you writing, anyway? More love letters, perchance?

Brian scrambles for the pages but Rayanne is faster. She snatches one of the crumpled sheets and unfolds it with a look of childish delight.

RAYANNE: (sing-song voice) Let's see what Bri's been up to. (stares at the page, shoots Brian a look) What is this? An outline? Wait a minute. (pause, reading) This is that tutoring junk you do with Catalano. (regards Brian with a certain amount of respect) Are you working on some devious plan that will reduce Jordan to a pile of atoms? Let me guess: another extra credit project?

BRIAN: (rips page out of Rayanne's hand) (wearily) Not quite. If you *must* know, I won't be tutoring Jordan much longer. I just want whoever takes over, to like, not mess things up. Or whatever.

RAYANNE: (instantly bored, cups hand to ear) I can't hear you Krakow, you're putting me to sleep.


INT.THE LOFT

Angela and Jordan sit on the floor, near Residue's practice area. Jordan looks nervous, excited...and happy. Angela is glowing.

JORDAN: (deep breath) Okay. So, this is, like, a song I just finished. (pause) But I only have the music, not the lyrics. (frown) Cuz, you know, I'm not very good with words.

ANGELA: (VO) I wanted to memorize the feeling of the floor beneath my legs. And the exact sound of Jordan Catalano's voice. Because it has this kind of (pause)...quality. Like music. It's got all these hidden meanings and passion and beauty. (watches Jordan fiddle with his guitar) I wanted to remember this feeling forever. They should make some kind of magic bottle or something, so I could save this whole night. And put it on the dresser in my room. I could open it whenever I wanted, and be, like, (soft amazement) happy. (out loud, gently) You are good with words.

JORDAN: Whatever. (pause) Okay. This is it.

Jordan plays hesitantly at first, but grows stronger as the song progresses. It's a slight, stirring melody, very beautiful, with a hint of melancholy. When he finishes, he looks at Angela. She doesn't respond.

JORDAN: (embarrassed, struggling to speak) It's still pretty rough. (looks away) It needs a lot of work.

ANGELA: (comes to life, violent head shake) No!

Jordan stares at her.

ANGELA: It doesn't need work! It's beautiful! Oh Jordan, it's beautiful!

JORDAN: (smiles, relieved) Cool. I'm glad you like it. Because (lowers voice) I was, you know, thinking about you when I wrote it.

ANGELA: (looks as if she doesn't trust her ears) You...were?

JORDAN: (nod) Yeah. I call it Chasing the Dream. (swallows, moves closer) Because, you know, your last name...(trails off) And you're like, this dream. (nervous, half smile) I keep thinking that I'm going to wake up or something. (pause, very soft) And you'll be gone.

Angela reaches for him, teary. She leans into him and they kiss. Her arms go around his neck and she buries her hands in his hair.


INT.AUDITORIUM

The double doors burst open and Mr. Katimski walks into the auditorium. Several stage hands and actors are still missing. Katimski glares at the near- empty stage and scratches his head. Rickie lingers in the doorway, staring at the empty ticket table. He bites his lip and follows Katimski inside, upset.

KATIMSKI: Where is Ms. Graf? (squints) Has *anyone* seen Rayanne Graf?


INT.BOILER ROOM

Rayanne is folding a paper airplane out of one of Brian's crumpled pages. Brian glares down at his blank notebook, ignoring her.

RAYANNE: (smooths paper) So you're not tutoring Jordan anymore, huh? What's the matter Krakow, (lifts eyebrow) tired of the (pause) *competition*?

BRIAN: (focuses the glare on her) You know, not that it's any of your business, but I have about three million more important things to worry about than whether Jordan Catalano can tell the difference between an adverb and an adjective. (pause, superior look) Although he *can*, of course. (tiny smile) Thanks to me.

RAYANNE: What a waste of time. Toss a couple of School House Rock tapes at him and call it a day.

BRIAN: (frowns, curious) School House Rock?

RAYANNE: (perks up, singing) Lolly Lolly Lolly, get your adverbs here. Got a lot of Lolly, jolly adverbs here. Anything you need and we can make it absolutely clear...

Brian gives her a blank look.

RAYANNE: (tries again, belts out) Conjunction Junction, what's your function...?

Brian gives her the same look.

RAYANNE: (disgusted) Geez, Krakow, didn't you ever watch Saturday morning cartoons? Did you grow up in a tube or something?

BRIAN: (sheepish nod) Actually, I kind of did. My parents didn't really let me watch cartoons when I was a kid. (pause) Much.

RAYANNE: So *that's* why you're an anal, socially-inept super geek. (head bob, brightly) Got it!

BRIAN: What? You can only go five minutes at a time without insulting someone? You must have, like, a high acidic content or something.

RAYANNE: (slaps thigh) Fun-nee, Krakow! You're a regular comedian. (regards him carefully) Maybe there's hope for you yet. (pause) Not!

Rayanne gets to her feet and throws the paper plane at Brian. It bounces into the wall next to his head. Brian grabs it and crumples it and tosses it back at her. He misses by a mile.

RAYANNE: (brushes off the back of her skirt) It's been a real barrel of laughs. (winks) Just think, you can start another rumor. (drops flask back into her bag of tricks)

BRIAN: (indignant) I didn't start the rumor!

RAYANNE: And I'm supposed to believe you? Hardly. I guess that rumor you started about Jordan and Angela was just, like, a practice run or something.

BRIAN: (lowers gaze to the floor) That was different. I was...I mean...you can't expect someone to...(grimaces) Look. I didn't start any rumor about that weekend at Angela's. (harsh laugh) I don't want people thinking I, like, *know* you or something. I don't even want to be seen with you!

RAYANNE: (smiles) Finally. Something we both agree on. (hefts bag onto her shoulder) Later, Krakow. I can't have Katimski blow any major fuses until *after* the play.

Brian shifts on the floor, looking after her. His mouth works silently, obviously wrestling with something.

BRIAN: (softly, uncomfortable) Hey. Graf. Wait. (pause) I mean, I have to ask you something.

RAYANNE: (sighs) Just read chapter eight in Biology. (smirk) There are plenty of helpful diagrams.

BRIAN: What? Oh--no. (blushes, annoyed) Not *that*. (long pause, clasps his hands around his knees) I was wondering what it felt like, when, you know, you (looks down) almost died that time, or whatever.

Rayanne fingers a braid, surprised by the question. She stares at Brian for a moment, an odd expression on her face. She shuffles her feet, frowning.

RAYANNE: I--I, that's not...(pause, collects herself) What's it to you?

BRIAN: (quickly) Nothing. I was just...wondering. That's all.

RAYANNE: (studies Brian, mildly suspicious) What's really going through that overactive brain of yours, Krakow?

BRIAN: (snapping at her) Nothing! Just forget it. I'm, like, trying to work on a--a project. And it would be easier if you could, you know, help me. (pause) Obviously I'm living in some kind of fantasy world thinking you might actually *help* me.

RAYANNE: (deep breath) I just don't like to (pause) I don't like to talk about it. Go read a book or something. (hesitates) It's something that makes me kind of...ashamed. (half smile) And it takes a *lot* for me to feel ashamed, believe you me. (softening) I really don't remember much. I just remember that I was, like, really cold. And tired. All I wanted to do was sleep. (nervous laughter) Which is the one thing I was totally not supposed to do.

BRIAN: Okay. Thanks. (tight smile) That's good. I mean, not that you almost died, but what you just said. I can, you know, use that.

RAYANNE: (flashes him a final annoyed look) Whatever.

The door to the hallway slams shut a moment later. Brian sits for a moment, unmoving. Finally, he pulls his notebook closer and starts writing again, a look of determination on his face.


INT.AUDITORIUM

Rehearsal is ending. Props are returned to the storage room, scenery is being moved off-stage. Delia and Corey are noticeable in the background.

Rickie approaches the stage and calls to Rayanne.

RICKIE: Hey. You were great.

Rayanne shrugs off the compliment.

RICKIE: Do you still want to go out or something?

RAYANNE: (distracted) Not really. I've got a headache about five times bigger than Tammy Bender's butt. I'll probably just go home and go to bed.

RICKIE: (disappointed) Oh. Sure. (pause) I was just hoping we could all, you know, talk.

RAYANNE: About what?

RICKIE: (weak smile) Nothing I guess. It's not...not that big of a deal. (brightening) We'll talk tomorrow.

RAYANNE: Deal. (leans in and kisses Rickie's cheek) Later, Vasquez.

RICKIE: Rayanne! Do you know where Angela is? Or Brian?

RAYANNE: (heading for the doors, calls over her shoulder) I haven't seen Angelika all night. Must you make my headache worse by mentioning Krakow? (overblown sigh) The last I heard he was hiding in the boiler room waiting for the girl of his dreams. (sad look) Poor Brian. He doesn't understand that inflatable girls can't make it down those stairs.

RICKIE: (warning) Rayanne.

RAYANNE: Oops. (covers mouth with hand) He's your little friend now, isn't he? I take it the two of you bonded during my absence. Fear not, Enrique, I'm back! (blows Rickie a kiss and slams through the doors, into the hallway)

RICKIE: (softly) Really?


INT.HALLWAY

Rickie sits in a darkened hallway, his back against the lockers. It's easy to see he's been crying. Brian walks toward his locker, but stops momentarily at the sight of the figure in the hallway. He stares for a moment until he realizes who it is.

BRIAN: Rickie?

Rickie wipes his face and looks up.

RICKIE: (manages a smile) Hey. I thought you left.

BRIAN: No.

RICKIE: (vaguely curious) You were in the boiler room?

BRIAN: (shrugs) I needed someplace quiet to study. (crooked smile) It's pretty much a given I'd be down there alone.

RICKIE: (nods, glances down the hall past Brian) Did Angela leave? You guys sold all the tickets?

BRIAN: She had to, you know, go somewhere.

The tone of Brian's voice tells Rickie all he needs to know. He asks anyway.

RICKIE: What do you mean? She went with--? (lets the sentence hang)

BRIAN: (nods, big smile) Yup. But we, you know, had another talk. And everything's okay. We're, like, perfectly fine now. (nods some more) We're friends. And that's, you know, really good.

RICKIE: (unconvinced) Are you sure?

BRIAN: Oh, yeah. Of course. I mean, maybe something will happen someday, or whatever, but Angela is happy. (pause) I sold all the tickets.

RICKIE: That's great. Thanks a lot. (pause) What about *your* happiness?

BRIAN: I'm happy *for* her.

RICKIE: (snorts) It doesn't work that way, Brian.

BRIAN: (almost angry) Yes it does. It *has* to. It's like, my only choice. So I'll keep waiting around. Until she changes her mind. Or I spontaneously combust or something. (pause) Whichever comes first.

RICKIE: I understand your point, Brian, but you have to look at it this way: think about how long *you* have known you love Angela. (pause) Now think about how long Angela has known. Do you see the difference?

BRIAN: Yeah. Sure. (grabs his backpack from the locker, shuts it) Well, I'll see ya.

RICKIE: Oh. (looks away) So you have to go, then, right?

BRIAN: Yeah.

RICKIE: (shaky laugh) This night really didn't turn out like I thought.

BRIAN: (softly) No kidding.

RICKIE: I mean, Angela left, Rayanne left, Delia's dad came early, and now you're leaving. (voice wavers) So much for going out.

BRIAN: (lifts eyebrows, uncertain) Are you...is everything okay?

RICKIE: Not exactly. (clears throat) I guess that opening at Pride House is finally *open*.

BRIAN: (his smile falters when he sees that Rickie is far from happy at this news) But isn't that, like, a good thing?

RICKIE: I don't know. It was. But now, after staying with Mr. Katimski... (pause) I just don't know!

BRIAN: (pats Rickie's shoulder) I'm sure everything will be, you know, just fine.

RICKIE: (sniffs, smiles) Yeah.

BRIAN: (edges away) I'm sorry. I'm already late. I should really go.

RICKIE: (waves him off) That's okay. I completely understand.

Brian nods, looking both guilty and unhappy. He lingers another moment, conflicted, before walking away.

Rickie sighs deeply and sinks back onto the floor. He covers his face with his hands, crying softly. Nearby movement startles him. He looks up, scared, his face still wet.

Brian stands awkwardly above him.

BRIAN: I just thought, you know, that it probably wouldn't hurt if I stayed, like, five more minutes. (slides down to sit next to Rickie) I mean, my dad can't get that upset about five minutes, right?


INT.CHASE HOUSE--living room

Patty sits on the couch. She stares at the television screen, not actually watching.

Graham enters the room from the kitchen. He carries two steaming mugs and hands one to Patty.

GRAHAM: (sighs, relieved) Well, the paint fiasco is finally taken care of. The walls are painted.

PATTY: In Antique White?

GRAHAM: Yup. (glances at watch) And John is hopefully working on the mural, even as we speak.

PATTY: (smiles, imagining finished product) It's going to look so beautiful, Graham.

GRAHAM: Assuming we get it finished in time. (pause) Which, at this point, is looking rather unlikely. (hopeful) How about you just wake me when the restaurant is ready to open?

PATTY: Not a chance. (sips coffee) Oh, that reminds me. What about the menu layout? You'll have it done by Monday, right? We're going to need time to go over everything. (pause) And I *do* like the name.

GRAHAM: (smiles) I'm glad. (hesitant) I'm sorry I got upset last night. I think it's just nerves. It's not fair to take it out on you.

PATTY: (somber) Thank you. (reaches for remote and clicks television off) Do you have a minute? I really think we should talk about--

The phone rings, interrupting Patty. Graham throws her an apologetic glance.

GRAHAM: Hold that thought.

He runs into the kitchen. Patty listens to him pick up the phone.

GRAHAM: (OS) Hello? (pause) Hallie! No, it's not too late. No problem. What? (laughter) You're kidding!

Patty's face tightens as the conversation continues. She sets the mug down hard on the table, spilling some of the contents. She turns out the living room light and goes upstairs.


INT.JORDAN'S CAR--Chase driveway

Jordan pulls into the Chase driveway. They both sit in a silence for a long moment.

ANGELA: (beautiful smile) I had a wonderful time. (looks down at the flowers in her lap) I really love the flowers.

JORDAN: That's cool. (pause) So. I was, like, wondering, if you wanted to do something this weekend. Like catch a movie or something.

ANGELA: (shocked, slow smile) I thought you didn't like making plans. (teasing) What happened to: 'whatever happens, happens?'

JORDAN: (smiles) Nothing. I just think that maybe, we could give it a try. (pause) If you want to.

ANGELA: (radiant) I would. Definitely.

JORDAN: (nods) Good.

ANGELA: (nods) Okay. (glances toward the house) I better go. Unless you want to come in?

JORDAN: (sighs) Nah. Not tonight.

ANGELA: (opens door, slides out of car) I'll see you tomorrow.

JORDAN: Do you want a ride to school or something? Cuz I can stop by.

ANGELA: Okay. That would be great.

Jordan backs out of the driveway. Angela waves. Jordan nods and drives away. Angela stands in her driveway for a moment. It is a beautiful, cool night. The sky is full of stars and possibilities. She presses the daisies to her face and spins in a circle. Smiling, she skips up the front walk and onto the porch.

She stops and sits on the top step, looking up at the sky.

ANGELA: (VO) When you love someone, I mean *really* love someone, it can hurt more than anything else in the entire world. It can make you want to curl up and die a thousand deaths.

Angela stands and puts her hand on the front door.

ANGELA: Until that person loves you back.

She turns the knob and disappears into the house.

END

 

NOTES

The song "The Old Apartment" can be found on the Barenaked Ladies' 1995 album, Born on a Pirate Ship. Highly recommended!

Thanks to everyone who stuck around to finish reading this. And huge, industrial-sized thanks to E.R. for providing the inspiration to start my own story, and encouragement to actually finish it.

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Episode No. 21 - Transitions by Shannon Bryan
Published: 1997 | Size: 89 KB (16406 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.4/5   4.4/5 (59 votes)

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Average: 4.6/5   4.6/5 (141 votes)
  • v commented on 05 Jul 2001:
    Although this episode could have been separated into two.... the result was definitely the closest to perfect that anyone could have expected from any writer besides the original creators. I enjoyed the way Rayanne was portrayed and the boiler room scene was very funny. Bravo.
  • donny commented on 20 May 2002:
    Didn't finish it but too many brackets. Excellent so far except maybe for the group hug and I think Brian would be mad and embarrassed but walk out only because he doesn't confront people. He would know exactly what is going on and be real crushed and maybe a little pissed off. If I wrote one Ricki might get Brian to date that Delia chick and then he'd see Angela with Jordon and put his foot in his mouth again. Don't get me started... Yours is real cool because aside from a few minor things like Sharon getting in on the group hug it's just like you're reading the first of the next season.
  • anonymous author commented on 02 Jun 2002:
    "She's like air"???? No.
    Jordan may care about Angela, but that doesn't mean he all of a sudden cares about school plays.
    Whay dos Brian buy all the tickets? Does not make sense
    A lot of the dialogue and plot seemed forced, but the general story plot was good, but for the make up
    moment in the bathroom, you really caught MSCL. That small scene was IT, totally REAl
    Jordan Catalano does NOT give flowers. As like, policy.
  • Ben Hoback commented on 01 Nov 2002:
    Jordan seemed to be out of character in this one, he talked way too much for someone who's always had trouble finding the right words. That however is my only complaint in this otherwise perfect 10 story.
    I particularly liked how you wrote Brian's stress. The ending to the scene in the boiler room left me wondering if it was a suicide note he was writing, glad it wasn't.
  • anonymous author commented on 01 Jun 2003:
    A++++. I agree though,Catalano was too wordy and some of the scenes were forced, however, overall this writer has perfectlty captured MSCL. The characters, the dialouge, pacing- all were right on. However much we long to see Angela and Brian together this writer acutely realizes that in order for this story/series to continue, we must continue to long for their union. Thanks for a great story!!!
  • chaseface888 commented on 06 Aug 2003:
    I really liked how jordan expressed himself through music, because that's really the best way he could express his true feelings towards angela. Very well written, good job!
  • anonymous author commented on 18 Jan 2004:
    dialogue was not believable--these characters would never say these things
  • anonymous author commented on 02 Jul 2004:
    i dont know about anyone else. but i never longed for brian and angela to be together. jordan is her obsession. it doesn't just end. i think that she shouldn't be with anyone. she needs to fulfill herself in order to make her reality as good or even better than her dreams.
  • Becca commented on 27 Dec 2004:
    Great story. I agree that it could be broken up into two stories, especially since it has many subplots. The only thing I would change would be to take out the references to previous shows (the Help Line, the handcuffs, etc.). And Jordan is too sweet....he should just sing her the song, go for a ride in his car, and skip the flowers.
  • marina commented on 19 Jan 2005:
    I love it!!! I like the way you described Jordan, even though he 's not like that in the show. I just loved the fact that he wrote this song for Angela!!! He & Angela have this great relationship now, and as I 'm like their huge fan, so I really enjoyed reading this. Maybe it 's little bit unreal ( Jordan and the flowers ), but who cares??? It 's a fanfic, after all. I think you gave pretty good sollution with Brian - I like him being or at least, trying to be a good friend. Nice... :-)
  • Michael Buse commented on 31 Mar 2005:
    You need to watch 1.19 if you can. You fall into the same trap so many others have. The last episode ends on a Friday night and you have them going to class the next day, which is Saturday. Other than that, you pull too hard for Jordan to be someone he isn't. And Angela wouldn't go off with Jordan while she's talking to Brian (selling tickets).
  • Jenn commented on 23 Apr 2005:
    I absolutely loved the story, it was so insightfuland it it was really true to the essence of the show and the characters. Esspecially the Brian Character which whom Iam like obbsessed with. I have to be honest and admit I did end up skimming the story but, thats not because it was not intresting cause i totally was, but I was just so caught up in the story line of Angela and Brian I found it hard to focus on anything else.

    i WANT TO TELL THE AUTHER: this stoy was better then the one i had started reading called MY SO CALLED LIFE GOES ON, and its by the Author who rote the first two books inspired by the televishion series. I I hope you will take that as a complement, because it is. I really see potential with your work, not that I am someone wh knows much about the biz, but I really belive you should persue a job in the feild of Television. Particularly Screen righting, I know if you were arighter of a show that I would most certainly watch it. EXCELLENT STORY AND BEST WISHES FOR YOUAND YOUR FUTURE, hopefully you will continue to grace us with more exciting epics of Angela and Brian, thanks again

    JENN
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“I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother.”

Angela Chase, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"