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Episode No. 23 - Lost and Found

written by Shannon Bryan

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About this story

Published: 1997 | Size: 99 KB (19169 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.3/5   4.3/5 (38 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

INT.CHASE HOUSE--afternoon

<one month later>

Danielle stands at the top of the stairs. She leans over the railing, yelling.

DANIELLE: Mom? Mom! Have you seen my blue hair band?

There is no answer. She pounds down the steps, annoyed, her hair a mess.

DANIELLE: Mom! Sharon's gonna be here and I can't find--

Danielle trails off when she hears her mother's voice in the kitchen. Patty is talking quietly on the telephone. Danielle tucks a strand of brown hair behind her ear in a very Angela-like gesture and listens at the closed door, curious.

PATTY: (OS) She doesn't talk about it much. But I know she worries. (upset) I mean, *I* worry about him, Camille! (pause, softly) I still can't believe I didn't...*sense* something was wrong. (distraught) What kind of parent am I? (Patty's voice drops lower and she moves away from the door)

DANIELLE: (VO) Whenever my mom and dad talk about Brian Krakow now, they automatically start to whisper like I'm not supposed to hear anything. Like I don't know what's going on. (frowns at the door, rolls eyes) My entire family treats me like such a *child*. (slightly smug) Even though it's supposed to be some huge secret, I know that Brian has to see a psychiatrist.

(Visual--Brian walks into a small waiting room. He moves to a chair in the far corner and drops his backpack at his feet. He sits stiffly and folds his hands tightly in his lap.)

DANIELLE: (VO) Like that's so scary or something. (head tilt, considering) It would only be scary if Brian had to talk to his parents. (gives up trying to eavesdrop and walks slowly to the couch) Everyone treats depression like it's catching or something. But it's not.

Angela comes in through the front door. She is dressed in a long black skirt, a black T-shirt, and chunky black boots. Her flannel shirt provides the only hint of color. Angela pauses near the kitchen door, hears her mother talking, and makes a grim face. She hoists her backpack onto her shoulder and hurries up the stairs.

DANIELLE: (watches her sister, her forehead creased with sudden worry) Is it?


Danielle is still on the couch, but her hair is now braided and she is practicing her clarinet. Badly.

ANGELA: (OS) Mom! Can't you make her do that somewhere else? (pause) Like outside?

PATTY: (OS, using fake happy voice) You're doing fine Danielle. Keep practicing. Just try playing a little more quietly okay?

Danielle shoots a glare at the kitchen door, and she takes a deep breath, as if to play even louder. The sound of the doorbell disrupts her practice.

DANIELLE: I've got it!

Danielle opens the door. Sharon Cherski stands on the porch, holding a textbook and her clarinet case.

DANIELLE: (big smile) Hi. Come in. I've been practicing.

PATTY: (enters the living room, crooked smile) That's for sure.

DANIELLE: We can go up to my room, okay?

SHARON: (nods, she is quieter than we're used to seeing her) Okay. (follows Danielle upstairs)


The sound of a slightly awkward clarinet duet echoes through the house. Patty is removing several plastic containers from the refrigerator. Angela walks into kitchen.

ANGELA: (heavy sigh) Why couldn't Danielle have picked a different instrument? (opens one of the containers Patty has placed on the counter) Like the triangle. (pause) Or maybe the tambourine. (looks up at Patty) What do you actually do with a tambourine, anyway?

PATTY: (tolerant smile) Angela, give your sister a break. She's trying very hard. You've got to admit, she *is* improving.

ANGELA: (shrugs, points to the container) Is this some of that stroganoff from the restaurant? (Patty nods) Can I have some?

PATTY: (looks at the container) How much is left? Oh--never mind. Go ahead. Finish it if you want. Just make sure you warm it up first.

ANGELA: (puts the container in the microwave) So is Dad still looking for another cook? Or is he just never having dinner with us again?

PATTY: (her expression grows tight and she turns away from Angela) I don't know. I think he's still looking.

The microwave beeps and Angela removes the container.

PATTY: (hands Angela a fork) Isn't Sharon staying for dinner?

ANGELA: (sits at the table) I asked her. She wasn't sure. (takes a bite of the stroganoff) God, this is *so* good.

PATTY: (hesitant) How, um, how is Sharon doing? Does she still feel...(long pause) responsible?

ANGELA: (avoiding Patty's gaze) She's fine, Mom.

Patty sighs, defeated, and rummages noisily for another fork.

ANGELA: (takes a deep breath) I mean, she's as fine as she *can* be. Okay?

PATTY: (nods, her eyes bright) Okay. (she turns and stares hard at Angela, nervous)

ANGELA: (rolls her eyes) I'm fine too. (shrugs at Patty) *Really.*

PATTY: (clears her throat) I know. I just...worry.

ANGELA: (gets up, takes a glass from the cupboard) I know you do. (faint smile) And if you could just figure out a way to get paid for it, we'd already be, like, millionaires. (fills the glass with milk, returns to the table) Oh. By the way, there's this big project in English right now. (casually) So Rickie, Rayanne, and Brian are coming over and we'll be working on it together.

PATTY: (obviously surprised) Oh. Okay. That's...that's fine.

ANGELA: (shoots her mother a look) Geez Mom! Brian's fine too. All right?

PATTY: (stung) I didn't say anything!

ANGELA: (picks at a noodle with her fork) You were thinking it.

PATTY: (incredulous) So it's a crime to worry about Brian Krakow? He's practically a member of this family. He's about as close to a son as your dad's going to get.

ANGELA: (chokes) Mom!

PATTY: (softly) I'm just saying I think we're allowed to worry a little. (pointedly) Don't *you* worry?

ANGELA: (stares intently at the food for several seconds; she sets the fork down suddenly) You know, I'm not that hungry after all.

Angela reaches for the plastic cover and snaps it to the container. She returns it the refrigerator and heads out of the kitchen.

INT.CHASE HOUSE--living room

Rayanne, Rickie, Brian, Sharon, and Angela are gathered around the coffee table in the living room. The table is littered with notebooks, English textbooks, and a large, half-empty pizza delivery box. Everyone except Rayanne has their textbooks turned to the same page: Ralph Ellison's prologue to Invisible Man. Rayanne is largely ignoring the homework process. She sighs loudly, bored, and reaches for a piece of pizza.

RAYANNE: I saw that movie once.

RICKIE: What movie?

RAYANNE: The Invisible Man.

SHARON: (shakes her head) This isn't the same thing.

BRIAN: (faint smile) Ellison isn't really invisible. He's, like, describing how his skin color makes him *seem* invisible. It's not that people *can't* see him. (pause) They just don't want to.

RICKIE: But why does he have all the lights in his basement?

RAYANNE: (waves her hands at the group, breaking up the discussion) Who cares! (closes her eyes) This is *so* boring.

BRIAN: (quietly) Prejudice isn't boring.

RAYANNE: (bright smile) Hmm. (head tilt) You're right. (glares) But homework *is*. (makes a disgusted face) Write a paper on what it's like to be invisible? That is, like, completely impossible! I mean, my whole purpose in life is to be *noticed.*

RICKIE: (smiles) And I have to say, you generally succeed.

RAYANNE: (stares at one of the books a moment before a slow smile spreads across her face) Maybe Brian could give me a few pointers.

ANGELA: (annoyed) Shut up, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: (leans back on her elbows) Gimme a break. (nods toward Brian) Look at the guy! His favorite colors are brown and tan. (smirks) You're like a walking advertisement for camouflage.

RICKIE: (glances at Brian to see how his taking Rayanne's ribbing, quietly) Just stop it, okay?

BRIAN: (stares at Rayanne, half defensive, half embarrassed) I happen to like brown. So what?

RAYANNE: So it's *dull*.


Angela takes an armful of soda cans out of the refrigerator and hands them to Brian. Danielle is sitting at the kitchen table, watching Brian over the rim of a school book.

DANIELLE: (VO, breathless) He is *such* a god.

ANGELA: (grabs more soda, gives Brian a sidelong glance) Just ignore Rayanne, okay? (smiles) I think she's on sugar overload.

BRIAN: (shrugs) It doesn't matter. (pause) Besides...she's, you know, probably right.

ANGELA: (closes the refrigerator, frowns) About what?

BRIAN: (looks at the floor) About me being invisible.

ANGELA: (shakes her head) You are not!

DANIELLE: (VO, smiles, triumphant) *I'm* invisible!

ANGELA: (regards Brian carefully) If you were invisible, how could you possibly annoy me so much? (smiles, gently elbows him in the ribs)

BRIAN: (faint smile) Good point.

The kitchen door swings open and Patty walks in, carrying a mug and cordless phone. She starts when she sees Brian, but recovers immediately.

PATTY: (warm smile) Brian!

BRIAN: (manages a nod and smiles shyly) Hi.

PATTY: Angela showed me the yearbook. You did a wonderful job. (sets the phone on the counter, crosses her arms) Graham and I were quite impressed.

DANIELLE: (VO) Yeah. Maybe because Angela appears about 60 more times than anyone else.

BRIAN: (softly) Thanks.

PATTY: How's that class going?

BRIAN: (stares at her blankly)

PATTY: (fake smile, faltering) Um, I'm not sure. Berniece mentioned you were taking a course at the university a few weeks ago.

BRIAN: Oh. (clears throat) Uh, I dropped out. (looks at the floor, obviously embarrassed) I have a tendency to, you know, overextend myself at times or something.

ANGELA: (pushes the door with her shoulder, to Brian) Come on. My arms are falling off.

Angela shoots Patty a look of death over her shoulder.


Angela, Rickie, and Delia are in the bathroom before school starts.

RICKIE: (stares into the mirror, fixes a smudge of eyeliner with a fingertip) Thanks again for letting me stay over last night.

ANGELA: (applies lip balm, regards herself in the mirror next to Rickie) You're welcome. (smiles) I had fun. Besides, my parents worship you. (frowns, leans against a sink) Although, now they're going to expect Danielle and I to actually do something around the house. (mock anger) Thanks a lot!

Rickie makes a face at her and they both laugh.

DELIA: Didn't Jason say something about a curfew at Pride House?

ANGELA: (eyes widen) Oh my God, Rickie, I completely forgot! (hair tuck, dismayed) I hope I didn't get you in trouble.

RICKIE: (turns on the faucet, washes his hands, avoiding Angela's gaze) I doubt it. I think they're starting to loosen up on things like that a little.


The kitchen is filled with activity as the restaurant prepares to open for the lunch crowd. Graham stands in front of the stove, stirring various sauces. A young man watches him intently, apparently some kind of cook-in-training.

Hallie is at the far end of the kitchen, involved in a near argument regarding a shortage of cloth napkins.

One of the waiters appears at Graham's elbow.

WAITER: Um, Mr. Chase, there's somebody here to see you.

GRAHAM: ...only a tablespoon of olive oil. Not a drop more. Okay? (turns to the waiter, distracted) Who?

WAITER: He said his name is Chris Thom and he's with---

GRAHAM: (dismissive) Hallie can talk to him.

HALLIE: (from across the room) Graham, what are you inhaling over there? Can't you see I'm busy? We have a small crisis that has the potential to blow up all over us. (grim, pointedly) And we won't have any napkins to clean up the mess. I don't have time for a suit trying to peddle a bunch of engraved toothpicks.

GRAHAM: (points at the stove with a wooden spoon) I could have sworn you hired me to *cook*, Hallie. Just deal with the guy or get rid of him. We open in half an hour!

A hesitant voice comes from the doorway. It is Chris Thom, who has been standing there the entire time. He is tall, has a head of wavy brown hair and wears wire-rim glasses. He is handsome in a Tate Donavan kind of way.

CHRIS: I, uh, can just come back later.

Graham and Hallie both turn toward the voice with comical looks of embarrassment on their faces.

HALLIE: (quickly walks forward, extends her hand, flashes a crooked smile) You''re Chris Thom? (Chris nods) I'm Hallie Lowenthal, part owner of the restaurant. (they shake hands) Just so you know, the name Hallie comes from an old German phrase which means, loosely translated: insert both feet in mouth and bite down hard.

CHRIS: (chuckles) Don't worry about it. What you don't realize is, I always try to come at the most inopportune times. People are so eager to get rid of me they usually bow to my every whim.

HALLIE: (lifts an eyebrow) Just how many of those engraved toothpicks do we have to buy?


Rayanne and Sharon have joined the group in the bathroom.

DELIA: (digs through her purse, stops suddenly and exclaims) A dance!

RICKIE: (smooths his shirt) What dance?

DELIA: No. We *need* a dance!

SHARON: (shrugs) Only seniors can go to the Prom.

DELIA: (growing more excited) I know. That's why we should have our own dance. (turns to Sharon) Like the World Happiness Dance.

ANGELA: (grimaces, mutters) *That* turned out well.

DELIA: (smiles at Rickie, giggles) Actually, it did.

RICKIE: (smiles back at Delia, nods) Very well.

DELIA: (moves to Sharon and grasps her friend's arm) You did a really super job of putting everything together.

SHARON: (shakes her head, smiles weakly) I don't think I'm in the mood to go to a dance, much less plan one. I'm sorry.

DELIA: (squeezes Sharon's arm) No, you're absolutely right. (considers for a moment, looks to Rickie and Angela) Maybe we can plan one.

RICKIE: (shrugs) That might be fun.

ANGELA: (hesitant) I don't know...

DELIA: But we need a theme. Something fun. (snaps her fingers, beams at Rickie) I've got it! Something tropical. Maybe like an island or something. (excited) We can have lots of decorations!

RAYANNE: How about Atlantis?

RICKIE: (stares at Rayanne) Didn't Atlantis sink?

RAYANNE: (innocent look) Oops.

RICKIE: (frowns at Rayanne, sighs) So what do you suggest?

RAYANNE: Forget it. You can leave me out of the little dance festivities.

DELIA: We're coming at this sort of late, so maybe we could tie in some kind of historical event. You know, so Foster will approve it.

ANGELA: What do you mean? What kind of historical even?

RAYANNE: How about Pompeii?

RICKIE: (to Delia) This wouldn't be a costume dance would it?

ANGELA: (horrified) Oh God, no! (covers her mouth) No costumes!

DELIA: (looks at Angela) I guess not.

RAYANNE: What about Little Big Horn? Bay of Pigs? (leans forward, grins) Considering most of the guys around here, we could go for a whole new meaning.

RICKIE: I thought you weren't going to help.

RAYANNE: This is helping?

INT.TASTE OF HEAVEN--business office

Hallie guides Chris toward a small office past the kitchen.

HALLIE: (clears off a chair so he can sit) As you can tell, the term "office" is a bit misleading. We generally refer to this room as the closet with the desk.

CHRIS: I understand. Back at my apartment, my desk *is* the closet.

Hallie laughs and sits behind the small metal desk.

CHRIS: (pulls a business card out of his shirt pocket, hands it to Hallie) Actually, I'm not selling toothpicks. I'm with a local volunteer group called Second Helpings.

HALLIE: (looks at the card, raises her eyebrows) It says here you're a lawyer. (looks back at Chris) And you do volunteer work?

CHRIS: (grins) I sort of figure the one cancels out the other. And since your restaurant is new to the area, I wanted to see if we could get you involved in the program.

HALLIE: (gestures) What do you do?

CHRIS: Second Helpings is quick and painless. We pick up any leftover food you have and take it directly to area non-profit agencies.

HALLIE: (looks thoughtful) That's a wonderful concept. Sign us up. (pause) But you better wait until I talk to Graham. (shrugs, rolls her eyes) I have to at least let him *think* we're equal partners. (shakes her head, sadly) Some people just can't face reality.

CHRIS: (reaches for his briefcase) Speaking of reality...(swallows, manages a nervous smile) what are my chances that you're free tonight? From what I hear this place is doing great. (hopeful) Maybe I could take you someplace for some bad food and good conversation.

HALLIE: (stares at Chris, shocked) Uh...

CHRIS: (laughs, embarrassed) I'm sorry. That was...out of line. (rubs his jaw) *Was* that out of line? I didn't mean to offend you.

HALLIE: (recovers, laughs) It takes a *lot* more than that to offend me. You'll have to try much harder.

CHRIS: (cautiously, feeling his way around) Then I didn't mean to offend...your husband.

HALLIE: No husband.

CHRIS: I meant boyfriend.

HALLIE: (slow smile) No boyfriend.

CHRIS: I better cover all the bases: girlfriend?

HALLIE: (laughs) What a surprise, I'm single. (grins) So what does that tell you? One of us has lousy taste.

CHRIS: It's obviously not me. (takes off his glasses, puts them in his pocket) So what do you say? Do you want to go out? (his smile falters) Don't tell me. You have to wash your hair. (pause) Walk the dog?

HALLIE: (grins) I find that greasy hair can be rather sexy. And my dog died when I was six.

CHRIS: Is that a yes?

HALLIE: (sly grin) That depends. What exactly do you mean by "bad food"?


Delia and Rickie enter the classroom together, talking animatedly. Jason watches them from his seat. He adjusts his beret and narrows his eyes.

DELIA: ...still say it's possible. We just haven't found the right theme.

RICKIE: I think it's a good idea, but I'm just not sure if this is a good time. I don't really think Sharon and Brian are in a dancing mood.

DELIA: But that's exactly why we need to--

JASON: (walks up to them) Hey.

DELIA: (beams at him) Hi.

RICKIE: (smiles) Hi Jason.

JASON: (his words are friendly, but his expression is almost angry) So I guess you're, like, *trying* to get kicked out of Pride House, huh?

RICKIE: (grasps his books tighter) What...what are you talking about?

JASON: (lowers his voice) You could have told me you were staying over at Angela's. At least I could have come up with some kind of excuse to cover for you.

RICKIE: (looks frightened) They found out?

JASON: (laughs, incredulous) What did you think? That they wouldn't? It's a shelter, Vasquez, not the Hilton.

RICKIE: (defensive) I know!

JASON: (stares at Rickie, shrugs) The way you've been coming and going lately, I wasn't sure.


Angela and Sharon walk down the hall toward class. Corey Helfrick walks several paces in front of them. Sharon watches Corey for several seconds.

SHARON: (nudges Angela) What do you think of Corey?

ANGELA: (frowns) He's okay. He's nice. (shrugs) Kind of cute. (turns to Sharon, curious) Why?

SHARON: I don't know. (pause) He offered to paint my shoes yesterday.

ANGELA: (raises her eyebrows, excited) He did?

SHARON: (half smile) He did.

ANGELA: (hair tuck, laughs) I think he likes you.

SHARON: (grimaces) I don't even want to *consider*--

JORDAN: (OS) Hey Sharon!

Angela's face pinches closed, but she musters a fake smile when Jordan catches up to them.

JORDAN: (looks at Angela, nervous, softly) Hey.

ANGELA: (nods) Hey.

JORDAN: (to Sharon) Do you have those flash cards?

SHARON: (makes a face, embarrassed) Oh. Yeah. (shakes her head) Sorry. I've been forgetting *everything* lately. (reaches into her backpack and pulls out a small pack of note cards bound together with a rubber band, hands them to Jordan) Here.

JORDAN: Thanks.

The three of them stand awkwardly for a long moment.

SHARON: (clears her throat, glances from Angela to Jordan) Well...I should get to class.

ANGELA: Me too.

JORDAN: (touches Angela's shoulder) Wait a minute.

Sharon starts walking slowly.

ANGELA: (hangs back, nervous, a little impatient) What?

JORDAN: (rubs his hands together, looks down the hall past Angela) So what's going on? Why are you avoiding me?

ANGELA: I'm not avoiding you.

JORDAN: (looks at her) Then why don't you ever want to do anything anymore? (crosses his arms, hurt) I thought we were, like, together or whatever. (his face tightens) So why aren't we?

ANGELA: (her lip trembles) I don't know. (takes a deep breath, tries to smile) I've just been...really busy.

JORDAN: (nods, resigned) With Brain.

ANGELA: (defensive) Not *with* him, with him. He just needs...he needs, you know, my support right now.

JORDAN: (slides his hands into his pockets, gives Angela a long look) I guess you can only support one person at a time, right?

ANGELA: (frowns at him, upset) That's not what I meant.

JORDAN: (shifts from one foot to the other) So how is he? (pause) Brain, I mean. Is he, like, doing better? Cherski doesn't talk about it.

ANGELA: He's fine. (turns away, uncomfortable) I mean--he's better.


ANGELA: (forces a bright smile) Yeah. It is. But I have to go. (nods down the hall) To class.

JORDAN: (watches her) Yeah.

ANGELA: (walks backwards) I'll see you later.

Angela turns and immediately starts sprinting toward Sharon. Jordan watches her until the two girls turn into a classroom.

JORDAN: (still in the hallway, he stares morosely at the floor and whispers) Later.

INT.BAND ROOM--afternoon

Students pack up their instruments in a flurry of activity and flood from the room. Sharon moves slower than the rest. She returns her clarinet to its case, lost in thought. Brian watches her, gripping his flute case tightly. He stands to leave, but sits back down suddenly.

BRIAN: Cherski. I mean...Sharon.

SHARON: (closes the instrument case, barely listening) What?

BRIAN: How, uh, how are the lessons going? (swallows, lifts eyebrows) With Danielle.

SHARON: (faint smile) They're good, actually. She's really talented. (head tilt) They're kind Sort of.

BRIAN: (relieved) Oh. That's--that's great. (looks away) Because...because I'm, you know, sorry that I basically forced you into them, or whatever.

SHARON: (amused) You didn't *force* me, Krakow. I'm giving Danielle lessons because she wants them. Not because *you* asked me to.

BRIAN: (considers this, nods) Okay. (realizes he's fidgeting with the flute case and slides it into his backpack) And I also wanted to say that...I mean, the fact that you're...(runs a hand through his blond hair, miserable, and tries a final time) I'm really grateful that you, like, took over with Jordan. (pause) So thank you.

SHARON: (sighs) You're welcome. (gives him a pointed look) Just keep in mind you owe me big, Krakow.

BRIAN: (shifts in his chair, nods) I know.

SHARON: We are talking for the *rest* of your life. And possibly well into the next one.

BRIAN: (laughs, annoyed) Okay! I get it!

They sit together for another moment. Sharon sighs and hefts her backpack into her lap.

SHARON: Well. I better get going.

BRIAN: Just...just a second. I wanted to talk to you about one more thing.

SHARON: (looks at her watch) Fine. Hurry up.

BRIAN: (glances at the doorway, as if to make sure no one is coming) I just want you to know...that what happened with Kyle isn't your fault.

SHARON: (she stands, her face tight) You know, Brian, I know you think you know everything about *everything*, but you don't.

BRIAN: (he also stands and moves to block her escape, talking fast) I *don't* know everything. But I know about...*some* things. And maybe you contributed (flinches at his word choice, grimaces) to what happened, but only, like, a *little*. I mean, Kyle must have had other problems. (sincerely) What Kyle chose to do about them isn't your fault.

SHARON: (tears up) I wish I could believe that.

BRIAN: Then believe it! Think about it: there's always somebody shouting about how television and movies and whatever cause people to be more violent. (shakes his head) I disagree. You have to already have...some kind of *inclination* for violence to act off what a little box shows you. There are millions of people who commit heinous crimes without even *watching* television. It's just an excuse. (long pause) And I can understand that maybe you think you have to blame yourself...or whatever. But that still doesn't make it your fault. (quietly) He had a choice.

SHARON: (wipes at her face) That sounds *so* good, Krakow, but can you honestly say that your whole...*thing* wasn't caused by Angela?

BRIAN: It wasn't!

SHARON: (gives him a disbelieving look, tries to walk past him) Right!

BRIAN: (holds up his hands) Wait! Okay, maybe...maybe partly. But not entirely. (gives Sharon a long look and falls back into his seat) I'm not depressed over Angela. I mean, so I might be. A little. But I've mostly been depressed over the way I *am*.

SHARON: (sits back down next to him) What do you mean?

BRIAN: (heavy sigh) I didn't want to accept the fact that Angela only sees me as a... (stumbles briefly) as a friend. And I just let the pressure build up from school until I couldn't even, like, stand up anymore! (stops talking abruptly, embarrassed) (takes a deep breath) What I mean is, I had to change. (bitter laugh) And I *hate* change. It's, like, *completely* overrated. But I can finally accept that I'd rather have Angela be my friend than not have her at all. (bites his lip, softly) And I just wish, you know, that Kyle could have made that same realization.

SHARON: (fighting not to cry) So do I.

BRIAN: (leans back in the chair, exhausted, he motions to the door) I'll shut up now. You can go.

Sharon stares at Brian a long moment, thoughtful.

BRIAN: (feels her gaze, turns toward her) What?

SHARON: (smiles at Brian through her tears) I think...I think you just paid me back.


A glimpse through the open kitchen door reveals that the dining area is filled. Graham approaches Hallie with a spoon, one hand cupped beneath it.

GRAHAM: What do you think of this?

HALLIE: (takes obligatory taste, smacks her lips) It's good.

GRAHAM: (worried) How good?

HALLIE: (rolls her eyes) *Good*. Better than good. If I started cooking now and stayed in this kitchen until I was 300 years old I *still* would not come within stirring distance. Satisfied?

GRAHAM: (frowns) I'm not sure. (nods toward the stove) Leo made it.

Hallie glances at the young man behind the stove, the same person we saw studying Graham earlier.

HALLIE: (shrugs) Well, when he learns from the master, how can it *not* be good? (pause) Did that restore your ego?

GRAHAM: (purses his lips, nods) Somewhat, yes.

HALLIE: Well that's all you're getting. I just spent fifteen minutes ranting at the dry cleaners. We'll have the napkins returned no later than five. However, we may have to find a new dry cleaning service.


HALLIE: (shrugs off his concern) Merely a little pothole in the road.

GRAHAM: I've seen your potholes. They have this uncanny ability to turn into huge, gaping canyons. (lowers his voice, only half kidding) We're talking mass destruction, here.

HALLIE: Don't worry. (pause) By the way, do you and Patty have one of those extra large load capacity washers?

GRAHAM: *Hallie*!

HALLIE: What? (brushes crumbs off her skirt) Actually, I don't have time to talk. I have to leave early.

GRAHAM: (flailing) What? When? Why?

HALLIE: (ticks off on her fingers) You heard me. Right now. Hell just froze over.

Graham gives her an odd look.

HALLIE: (laughs, takes pity on him) I have a date. (her smile tightens and she gives Graham a hard look) If you say something uncouth right now I will hurt you. Badly.

GRAHAM: (takes a step back, smiles weakly) Have fun!

INT.CHASE HOUSE--Angela's room

Angela lies curled on her side on the bed. The song "Stuck Here Again" by L7 plays on the stereo.


Danielle stands outside Angela's room.

DANIELLE: (VO) Sometimes my sister can be a really cool person. She lets me hang out with her and her cool friends and we, like, have fun together. (knocks on the door, aloud) Angela? Have you seen my blue hair band?

ANGELA: (OS) Go away, Danielle.

DANIELLE: (stares at Angela's closed door for a long moment) (VO) Of course, I usually wake up before the fun part begins.


Jason and Rickie exit a city bus onto the street. They walk side by side in silence for several steps. They look vaguely nervous around each other.

JASON: (hesitant, pulls at his beret) Look...Rickie. I didn't mean to be a jerk this morning. It's just, like, this natural talent I have. (slight smile) It just frustrates me to know you hate it at Pride so much. You could pretend a *little* for my sake.

RICKIE: (spreads his hands) I *don't* hate it. I just don' it. (quickly) But I do like hanging around with you. (sighs) If I had never been with Mr. Katimski, I'm sure I'd like it at Pride House better.

JASON: (sighs) It's just nice having someone to talk to again. (puts a hand to his head in mock pain) It's almost *impossible* finding someone who can pass the lengthy criterion I've established. (saddened) There are so many who want to be my friend, but so few are truly worthy. (shrugs, flashes Rickie a wide grin) To tell you the truth, I really don't care if you like it here. I'm selfish. I admit it.

RICKIE: (faint smile, puts a hand to his chest) I'm, like, totally honored to pass your high standards. (his smile slips) But I still can't...*accept* being here. And even if I do leave, I'll still see you in school. (head tilt) Besides, aren't you going to stay with your sister pretty soon?

JASON: Yeah. I am. But where do you think *you're* going to go if you keep ignoring the curfew? (shakes his head, serious) They're going to come down on you Rickie. I've seen it happen before. (stops walking, puts a hand on Rickie's shoulder) Then what?

Rickie just stares at Jason, uncomfortable.

JASON: (continues, softly) Because I know how much you want to go back to Katimski's. It's, like, *obvious*. (pause) And I can respect that. But you better make sure that Katimski feels the same way *before* you get yourself kicked out. (gestures, dismissive) I've put actual *effort* into our friendship. I'll be damned if I'm going to let you end up in some warehouse across town. I'd have to get a job just to afford the cross-city bus. (grimace) No thanks.

RICKIE: (looks at the ground, barely hears Jason's joke) I guess I should talk to Mr. Katimski.

JASON: (gives Rickie a shocked look) *There's* a concept!

RICKIE: (grins, embarrassed) Oh, shut up.

JASON: You wouldn't know what to do if I--(breaks off suddenly)

Jason stares at a young woman standing in front of Pride House. She is shorter than he is, but at least a few years older. She has long blond hair, pulled back in a braid. She smiles at Jason and wordlessly holds her arms out. Jason stares for a moment, stunned, before he races for the steps. The woman throws her arms around his neck. He grabs her in a huge embrace and spins her around.

Rickie stares at the pair, dumbstruck. Jason steps back from the girl and plants a loud kiss on her cheek.

JASON: (ecstatic) Jenni! What are you doing here?

JENNI: (smirks, lifts an eyebrow) I need a *reason* to visit?

JASON: (grins) Sure. Like bringing me money.

JENNI: (gives Jason a warm smile, pats his arm) You can dream.

JASON: (laughs and hugs Jenni again, he turns to Rickie) Looks like you're doomed, Rickie. Not only are you subjected to me, but now you've got my sister to deal with. Rickie, this is Jenni. Jenni, this is my fellow inmate, Rickie Vasquez.

RICKIE: (tries not to look as relieved as he feels) Oh. Oh! Hi--hi. (smiles politely) It's nice to meet you. Jason is always talking about you.

JENNI: (astonished) And you're still glad to meet me?

RICKIE: (charmed) Yes!

JASON: (cups his hand, pretends to whisper a secret) Lucky for us he has terrible taste.

JENNI: (laughs) If he associates with you? Definitely.

Jason elbows his sister, nudging her up the stairs.

JASON: (grins) Careful. I'm not sure your swelled ego will fit through the door.

JENNI: (laughing) What's your point, loser?

JASON: (shrugs) Well, as long as we know where we stand with each other...

RICKIE: (watches them, amazed at their camaraderie) Oh my God.


Danielle comes out onto the porch carrying a pair of roller blades. She immediately notices Brian across the street. He is sitting on his own porch, watching her. He waves, but remains on the steps.

DANIELLE: (VO) This is my chance. I could go over there right now. And, like, *speak* to him. (pause, looks down at the roller blades) Or I could just put on the roller blades and impress him. (drops the skates onto the porch with a loud thud and sighs) (aloud) Yeah. Right after I fall on my face.

BRIAN: (waves again, motions her over) Danielle! Can you come here for a second?

DANIELLE: (a shocked smile lights her face) (VO) A second? (breathless, swooning) Try a *year*. (aloud, nonchalant) I guess.


Jason holds the door open for Jenni, but she pauses.

JENNI: (puts a hand to her mouth, embarrassed) Oh my God! I completely forgot! (starts back down the steps, squinting) Daryl? Daryl! (turns back to Jason, brightly) The boyfriend. As if you need to ask. We're on our way to a conference in Boston, and our flight doesn't leave until tonight. So that's why I'm here.

JASON: (his smile freezes) Uh huh. I...see.

JENNI: (frowns, concerned) You don't mind, do you? I thought Dar and I could take you for dinner or something.

JASON: Dinner with you and...Dar. (looks ill) That sounds...great.

JENNI: (relieved) Good. (calls again) Daryl?

A young man steps out of a nearby doorway, a little sheepish. He smiles at Jenni, Jason, and Rickie.

DARYL: I didn't want to spoil the Kodak moment or anything.

JASON: (gives Rickie a desperate look) Actually, Jenni, you know what? I have a big assignment that's due. I'm not sure I can, you know, get away.

RICKIE: (takes Jason's cue, nods) It's for English.

JENNI: (hurt) Come on Jace. You have time for dinner with your big sis, don't you?

JASON: (opens, closes his mouth) Uh...

The main door opens and Peter Sanford steps out onto the stoop. He stares hard at Rickie.

PETER: Enrique. (folds his arms, archly) Welcome back. Could I speak to you for a moment?

Jason and Rickie exchange glances, each resigned to their respective doom.


Brian and Danielle are on the steps. She sits a step above him, so they are almost at eye level.

BRIAN: So the clarinet lessons are going okay?

DANIELLE: They're fine. (sniffs, still vaguely miffed about the aborted saxophone lesson) I like the clarinet *much* better than the saxophone.

BRIAN: (looks down, a little embarrassed) That's...that's good.

DANIELLE: (immediately ashamed, she flips her hair out of her face) I mean...I'd never be able to play the saxophone as good as you anyway.

BRIAN: (suspects she's lying, but is still pleased) I don't know about that. From what I hear, you're lessons are going much better than "fine."

They sit in silence together, enjoying the warm evening.

DANIELLE: (fidgets for a moment, looks down at Brian) Can I ask you something?

BRIAN: Sure.

DANIELLE: How come you got all...depressed? My family never talks about that kind of stuff. (feigns indifference, shrugs) You don't *have* to tell me. I was just, you know, wondering.

BRIAN: (lifts his eyebrows, taken aback) I'm--I'm not sure.

DANIELLE: (picks at a loose sliver of wood, softly) What does it feel like? Being depressed, I mean.

Brian runs both hands through his thick hair, clearly uncertain how much to say. He casts a nervous glance at Danielle, and then back across the street at her house. He bites at his lip and looks down at the sidewalk, his forehead creased.

DANIELLE: (sighs heavily and leans back against the step) (VO) It figures. With my luck, Mom probably told the whole neighborhood to exclude me from anything that's even *remotely* interesting. I'll never get to hear anything good. *Ever*.

BRIAN: (slowly) Do you remember when you fell off your bike last summer and you hurt your knee?

DANIELLE: (distracted) Huh? (beat) Of course.

BRIAN: Okay. Think about how much your knee hurt. Until you put that ice on it. (grows quieter) And the pain gets less and less. And pretty soon you don't feel the pain at all. You don't feel...anything. It's just...numb. (pause, thickly) That's sort of what depression is. Being numb. The pain's not gone, it's just...covered. Or something.

DANIELLE: (her voice is very small) Oh. Do you still feel that way?

BRIAN: (deep sigh) No. (looks away, self-conscious) I guess you could say...the ice is, like, melted now.

DANIELLE: I heard my mom say that you see a psychiatrist.

BRIAN: (stares ahead, his eyes unfocused) That's right.

DANIELLE: How come? Doesn't it help to talk to your parents? Or Angela? (VO) Or me?

BRIAN: (rubs his hands on his knees) Sometimes it's good to talk to someone who doesn't really know you. Someone who can't, like, judge you.

DANIELLE: (sincerely) I wouldn't judge you.

BRIAN: (gives Danielle a true smile) I know. (rests his chin on his hand, wistful) I'm glad you came over, Danielle. Sometimes I really miss my sister. And even though you aren't, you know, *my* sister, it's nice to have one around.

Danielle looks positively radiant under the weight of Brian's words.

INT.PRIDE HOUSE--Rickie's Room

Rickie sits cross-legged on the bed, picking at the quilt. Rayanne sits across from him, at the foot of the bed. She holds a bubble wand and blows into it. A stream of bubbles flows toward the door. One of the bubbles touches the doorknob, bounces gently, and pops, sending a small colored spray in all directions.

RAYANNE: (delighted) Did you see that? I could have, like, *ridden* that one.

RICKIE: (upset) Rayanne, are you even listening to me? (bites at a fingernail) I don't care about your stupid bubbles right now. I am *this* close to getting kicked out of here.

Rickie crosses his arms tightly, his face etched in misery.

RAYANNE: (blows a stream of bubbles at Rickie) I just don't understand what the big deal is, Vasquez. I'd sell a kidney to have this kind of freedom.

RICKIE: (snorts, swats at a bubble) Yeah. Like Amber really ties you down.

RAYANNE: (waves the wand back and forth, dripping the soapy liquid onto the bed, she ignores Rickie's look of dismay) You know what I mean. This is basically, like, your own place. There are plenty of ways to enjoy it. (pointed look) *Without* getting caught.

RICKIE: (softly) But maybe I don't *want* this much freedom. Maybe I just want a family.

RAYANNE: (stares a bit too intently into the pink bottle, musing) Families. Hmm. Overrated, in my opinion.

RICKIE: (turns away, softly) Not in mine.


Graham is rummaging in the refrigerator for something. Angela walks into the kitchen and does a double take when she sees her father.

ANGELA: (surprised) What are *you* doing here?

GRAHAM: (chuckles) I know this might come as a shock, but I live here. You know, *Dad*?

ANGELA: (frowns, shakes her head) Doesn't ring a bell.

GRAHAM: The guy who doles out allowance?

ANGELA: Oh yeah! (smirks) But not nearly often enough. (sits down at the table) Seriously. What are you doing home? Not that I'm complaining...

GRAHAM: (finds the bottle he's searching for, checks the label) We finally hired another cook at the restaurant.

PATTY: (OS) Angela! Have you seen your sister any--(enters the kitchen, trails off when she sees Graham) (icy) I didn't know you were home.

GRAHAM: (gives Patty a tentative smile) Uh, yeah. Just got home. I thought I'd rescue you from another night of leftovers.

PATTY: (stares at him) I wasn't expecting you to be home this early.

ANGELA: They hired a new cook.

PATTY: Oh. (fake smile) That's...good.

GRAHAM: (nods) It is. Except I'm feeling a bit replaced.

PATTY: (leans against the counter, mutters softly) I know how *that* feels.


PATTY: Nothing.

DANIELLE: (OS) Mom? Mom! Can Brian have dinner with us?

ANGELA: (shocked) What?

DANIELLE: (bounds into the kitchen, breathless) Can Brian eat with us? His parents are giving some boring talk at the University. (brightens when she sees Graham) And Dad already *promised*.

PATTY: (raises her eyebrows) You promised?

GRAHAM: (frowns) I did?

DANIELLE: (rolls her eyes) Duh! The day the restaurant opened. You bailed on me before Mom and Angela got home and Brian came over. You specifically said he could come over for dinner.

GRAHAM: (his face crinkles, to Patty) Did you hear that? She said I *bailed* on her. (to Danielle) Where did that word come from?

DANIELLE: *Dad*. Come on. Can he?

GRAHAM: (pulls a pan out of the cupboard, looks to Patty) Well I'm not sure if this is such a good time for Brian. (fumbling) I was thinking more in terms of...later.

ANGELA: (stares at the table top, casual) I think it's, you know, kind of a good idea.

DANIELLE: (gives her parents a sharp look, frustrated) Isn't he in *enough* emotional pain without you going back on a promise?

Angela covers her mouth with one hand and manages to turn her laughter into a cough. Patty and Graham exchange stunned glances.

PATTY: (cautious) Well...okay. I think it's a good idea, Danielle. He's more than welcome to eat with us. (narrows her eyes, tight smile) I gather you were talking to Brian just now?

DANIELLE: (shrugs) Yeah. So what. (shoots Angela a look) He needs *somebody* to talk to.

Angela's face pinches shut and she bolts out of the kitchen.

PATTY: (glares at Danielle) That was *very* nice.

DANIELLE: (feigns ignorance) What? I didn't say anything. (grins, rushes out of the kitchen) I'll go tell Brian!

INT.CHASE HOUSE--dining room

The entire Chase clan and Brian Krakow are gathered around the dining room table. Brian sits beside Angela and across from Danielle. Danielle shoots Angela the occasional dirty look, indicating she is a sore loser in the seating department. Patty, Graham, and Danielle eat with no trouble, but Brian and Angela both pick at their food, nervous.

PATTY: (fake smile) So. Brian. Danielle said your parents are giving a talk tonight.

BRIAN: (moves his fork back and forth) Um...yeah. They do this point/counterpoint thing for the psych department. It's like an elective or something. (pokes at a piece of chicken, frowns) They're doing another one next Friday.

GRAHAM: Friday, huh? (tries not to focus on Brian's untouched food) Sounds like the perfect opportunity to go out and have a little fun. (wiggles his eyebrows)

BRIAN: (dully) I doubt it.

GRAHAM: (cajoling) Why not? (oblivious to the look Angela gives him)

BRIAN: Well, it's my birthday and--

PATTY: (horrified) It's your birthday and your parents aren't even going to be home?

DANIELLE: (tiny smile, a hungry gleam in her eye) (VO) That is *so* amazing. Think of all the cool stuff you could get with that kind of guilt!

Angela looks startled and stares at Brian for a moment. She tucks some hair behind her ear before turning back to her dinner.

BRIAN: (shrugs off Patty's concern) It's not like we actually celebrate or anything. My parents aren't really into that. (shrugs) Which is, you know, fine.

Patty opens her mouth, but closes it again. She looks as if she wants to say something, but doesn't know quite what.

GRAHAM: (grasping desperately for another topic) Um...well...the yearbook looks terrific, Brian. I didn't realize you had such an eye for photography.

BRIAN: (faint smile) Thanks. I didn't know I did either. It was kind of fun being yearbook photographer. (pause, quick glance at Angela) And getting to, like, hang around with people you might not have had a chance to be with otherwise.

Angela ducks her head but a hint of a smile is visible. Brian glimpses it and seems to relax.

PATTY: Are you planning to join yearbook again next year?

BRIAN: (his face tightens) I...doubt it. (long pause) My camera broke.

GRAHAM: (grins) Didn't you say your birthday's coming up? (shrugs, lifts his eyebrows) Well? There you go!

ANGELA: (quietly) Couldn't it be fixed?

BRIAN: (shakes his head, avoids Angela's gaze) No. I...(swallows, miserable) threw it away.

ANGELA: (blinks, disappointed) Oh. (she stares at her plate a moment and lays her napkin on the table) (to Patty) May I be excused? I'm not very hungry.

PATTY: (annoyed) No you may not. You've hardly touched your food.

Angela sighs noisily and leans back in her chair. Graham looks to Patty for help with the dinner conversation, but she reaches for the salad dressing, studiously ignoring him.

BRIAN: (looks from Angela's plate to his own, realizes he hasn't been eating, and makes an extra effort) Thanks again. For inviting me, I mean. Everything is really good.

GRAHAM: (drily) I can tell.


Hallie and Chris sit at a corner table inside a small restaurant. The tables are covered with red and white checkered table clothes. A vase of cheap plastic flowers decorate each table. Despite the questionable decor, the restaurant has a warm, cozy atmosphere.

HALLIE: (rests her fork on her plate) Liar.

CHRIS: (surprised look) What?

HALLIE: You said this place had bad food. (nudges her empty plate) That was some of the best pie I have *ever* eaten. (lowers her voice, smiles) Just don't tell Graham I said that.

CHRIS: (chuckles) Your secret's safe. And the food *is* bad. But dessert...(lifts eyebrows) that's something else altogether. (drops his napkin on his plate) As long as we're talking about food--more or less--what's the verdict on joining the Second Helpings program?

HALLIE: It's a go. Sign us up.

CHRIS: (pleased) Great!

HALLIE: (folds her hands, leans forward) Okay. Now that that's out of the way, where's this good conversation you promised?

CHRIS: Oh. Right. (rummages in his pocket) Just let me find my note cards.

Hallie gives him a strange look.

CHRIS: (stares at her, breaks out laughing) I'm kidding. I don't have note cards. (beat) I'm actually paying that waiter (nods in Hallie's general direction) to hold a large piece of cardboard behind your head, so I can amuse you with the witty anecdotes I copied out of Reader's Digest.

HALLIE: (frowns, sigh heavily) Well, I've got to say one of you is doing a pretty lousy job. (shrugs) You're quite boring.

CHRIS: (covers his face with one hand, embarrassed) That's because he just walked away in disgust when he saw the tip. I'm forced to fend for myself.

HALLIE: (stares at Chris for a long moment, finally laughs and smiles at him) You're very strange. Lucky for you I *like* strange.

CHRIS: (smiles back warmly, speaks softly) Very lucky.


Graham is doing the dishes. Brian enters the kitchen carrying some plates.

BRIAN: (sets them on the counter) This is everything.

GRAHAM: Thanks, Brian. (glances at Brian) So. I never really found out. Did you have any luck with that...wallpaper we talked about?

BRIAN: (blushing) No. I think I finally decided that it might be easier to, you know, repaint the walls instead. To just, like, wait for now.

GRAHAM: (nods, sympathetic) That makes sense. (pause, gestures toward a container on the counter) Are you sure you don't want anything else to eat?

BRIAN: No thanks. (embarrassed) Everything *was* good. I'm just not very hungry tonight.

GRAHAM: Well how about I send something home with you? For later.

BRIAN: (smiles) Okay.

DANIELLE: (pokes her head into the kitchen, impatient, to Brian) Are you coming? I've got the game board all set up.

GRAHAM: (warning tone) Danielle, Brian might not want to play a game.

BRIAN: (quickly) No, that's okay. I'm coming.

Brian follows Danielle out of the kitchen. Graham looks after them, thoughtful.

INT.CHASE HOUSE--living room

Angela lies on the couch, watching Brian and Danielle play a game.

DANIELLE: (hands Brian the dice) Here. (VO, dreamy) I can't believe it. His hand just touched mine.

ANGELA: (bored) Don't you ever get tired of playing Monopoly, Danielle? I mean, it's pretty pointless. Brian always wins.

Brian shoots Angela a "shut up!" look and Danielle frowns.

DANIELLE: No he doesn't. I won last time.

BRIAN: I *used* to win. But I'm pretty out of practice. (smirks at Angela) You might even stand a chance.

DANIELLE: (lifts her chin) Not against me.

ANGELA: (sits up, outraged laugh) Oh-ho! Big talk! (slides down onto the floor, next to Brian) Prepare to lose.

BRIAN: (winks at Danielle) We'll show her.

ANGELA: (scornful) You *wish*!

Danielle reaches for the dice while Angela and Brian laugh and joke with each other. Still laughing, they both turn and smile broadly at Danielle. Danielle looks down at the dice in her hand.

ANGELA: (grins) You better blow on those for luck. You're going to need all the help you can get.

DANIELLE: (closes her eyes, blows on her closed fist) (VO) I don't need luck. (pause) Because I don't really care who wins anymore. I just want this game to last a long time. Like maybe forever. (she throws the dice)

ANGELA: (groans at the results, rolls her eyes) At this rate we'll be here all night.

DANIELLE: (secretive smile, pleased, VO) Excellent!


Jason and Delia walk down the hall together. The two thin braids that stick out of Jason's thick hair have been died a deep burgundy color. Rickie falls into step with them.

JASON: ...seen her since February and she brings along some boyfriend. Can you believe it? (makes disgusted noise)

DELIA: He couldn't have been *that* bad.

JASON: He was fine. (beat) For someone with absolutely no personality. Besides, it doesn't matter what he was. I'm way too self-centered to share my sister. (scowls) I can't believe she brought him along. (turns to Rickie) What? Like I'm too boring to entertain her all by myself?

RICKIE: That is definitely *not* your problem. Look at it this way: Jenni said she was on her way to a conference. She didn't have to stop over and visit you. She *wanted* to. (grins) She's a slave to your magnetic charm, after all.

JASON: (slumps against the wall) Which is exactly how it should be. (looks at the floor) It's just that I wish...I wish we could have had more time together. Alone. To catch up on...everything.

DELIA: (sympathetic) I know. But she's moving here soon, right? And pretty soon you'll be sick of each other.

JASON: (musters a smile) Like someone could get sick of *me*.

RICKIE: (laughs) You'd be surprised.

JASON: Ha ha. (sighs, squints at Rickie) It looks like you survived Peter more or less intact. What happened?

RICKIE: (his good mood deflates) I said I was sorry about fifty times. And he said if it happened again...I'd be gone.

DELIA: (shocked) Oh my God! That's terrible!

Angela and Rayanne join the group. Rayanne flounces over to Rickie and hooks her arm through his.

ANGELA: What's terrible?

RICKIE: (hesitates) Nothing.

JASON: (rolls his eyes) Since when does the prospect of getting kicked out of Pride House equal nothing?

Angela and Rayanne reply together.

ANGELA: (worried) Oh Rickie!

RAYANNE: (bored) Oh *that*.

RICKIE: (waves Angela's concern away) Don't worry. I won't get kicked out.

RAYANNE: (holds out her hands, displaying a different shade of bright nail polish on each finger) Look! A rainbow!

RICKIE: (appreciative) Oooh. I like it.

JASON: (scoffs, shrugs) If you like the Skittles look.

RAYANNE: (pats her bag) You know, Mathews, I'm pretty sure I've got a scissors in here somewhere. So stuff it, unless you want to lose those stupid braids of yours.

ANGELA: (trying to get their attention) Listen you guys, I was thinking. Why don't we just have a party instead of organizing some big dance?

RAYANNE: (excited, twirls in the hallway, earning glares from passing students who step out of her way) Angelika! That's brilliant! What kind of party?

ANGELA: A birthday party. A *surprise* birthday party.

RICKIE: For who?

ANGELA: Um. Brian, actually.

RAYANNE: (incredulous) As in *Krakow*? Count me out. Besides, someone that boring wasn't just *born*. He was created in a laboratory somewhere. (laughs suddenly, turns to Rickie) He probably came out of a...whatchamacallit. Volume meter?

RICKIE: (ignores Rayanne) *I* think it's a terrific idea.

RAYANNE: (grumps) That's just because you and Krakow are joined at the hip. Some of us (she elbows Delia) could care less about Brian's birthday.

DELIA: (uncertain, slowly) I'm not exactly Brian's number one fan, but I can't say that I hate him. At least not anymore. (pause) I think he's been through enough this year without me holding a grudge.

RICKIE: (obviously relieved, squeezes Delia) That's wonderful!

RAYANNE: (disgusted) Party pooper.

RICKIE: (glares at Rayanne) Why do you have to give him such a hard time? Could you at least *try* to be civil?

RAYANNE: (snappish) Why should I be civil? (annoyed, rummages in her bag, pulls out a half-eaten roll of Lifesavers, pops one in her mouth) I'm going to treat Brian like the boorish loser he's always been. I'm supposed to treat him all ooey-gooey nice just because he's depressed? (waves her arms) Please! He's *used* to being the object of derision and scorn. (looks thoughtful) If I change that, it might, like, confuse him even more.

JASON: (adopts weepy look) That's *so* beautiful!

RAYANNE: (shrugs) Make fun if you want. I don't care. (holds the candy to her chest) That just means more candy for me, buster. Because I *am* helping Brian in my own unique way. All I know is, after my...*accident*, (inspects the candy roll carefully, avoids eye contact) I would have liked it if...certain people had treated me the same.

Angela stares at Rayanne for a moment and then looks away, frowning.

JASON: But sometimes you can't treat people the same! Have you ever considered that your behavior is part of the reason Brian got so depressed?

RAYANNE: (snorts) Yeah, right. (she drops the Lifesavers back into her bag, but her expression is troubled, obviously considering what Jason just said)

ANGELA: (impatient) So will you help me plan a party or not? I have no idea what to do. (pause) Usually I just hang streamers.

Brian approaches the group slowly from behind. He looks uncertain about making his presence known.

RICKIE: Of course I'll help. (small smile) So will Jason.

JASON: (sarcastic) Hooray.

DELIA: *I'll* help. (grows excited, giggles) And I'll talk to Sharon about it in class.

BRIAN: (with false brightness) Hi...hey. Talk to Sharon about what?

The bell rings and Rayanne skips down the hall.

RAYANNE: (calls over her shoulder, triumphant) Saved by the bell!

Rickie and Angela speak together.

RICKIE: The English assignment.

ANGELA: Lerner's geometry review.

Rickie and Angela look at each other.

ANGELA: (babbling) I mean, we were wondering if she was going to the review...

RICKIE: Or if she was working on that invisible thing for Mr. Katimski's class instead.

BRIAN: (stares at them, doubtful) Oh.

DELIA: (to Rickie) We better go or we'll be late.

RICKIE: Right. (nervous smile) I'll see you at lunch though, right?

BRIAN: Uh, I'm not sure. That's what I--.

RICKIE: (moving down the hall with Jason and Delia, not listening) Great!

ANGELA: (tucks hair behind her ear, regards Brian) Well. I better go too.

BRIAN: (tries to cover his disappointment) Yeah.

Sharon comes up to Brian as Angela takes off in the opposite direction.

SHARON: What's going on?

BRIAN: (he stares after the retreating group, glum) The usual.


Hallie walks into the kitchen, humming. She carries a large paper bag bearing the logo The Bagel Stop. Graham is busy unloading a shipment of supplies in the far end of the room.

HALLIE: (plops bag down on one of the workstations) Breakfast!

LEO: (grabs a bagel on his way to the office, pleased) Hey, thanks!

Graham walks over to Hallie, still holding two jars of honey mustard sauce.

GRAHAM: (raises his eyebrows, amused) What's the occasion?

HALLIE: (stares into the bag, pulls out a bagel) There's no occasion. (takes a bite, thoughtful) Unless you consider hunger an occasion. Which I don't. But...(shrugs) to each his own.

GRAHAM: (stares at her, a little too casual) I take it your date went well last night.

HALLIE: (scoffs) Hardly. We ate at this hole in the wall diner and then went for a long walk. Of course it *poured*. We could have used an ark. (takes another bite of the bagel) Chris has got to be one of the weirdest guys I've ever met. (beat) It was great. Tonight we're going to rent a bunch of bad movies so we can make fun of them.

GRAHAM: (walks back to the supplies) That sounds...interesting. (turns back to Hallie with a half smile) You know, I have this theory about Chris.

HALLIE: (looks at Graham intently, almost hostile, lifts one eyebrow) What theory?

GRAHAM: (softly, sincerely) I think he'll make you happy.

Hallie lifts an eyebrow, surprised by Graham's words. She offers him a slow smile. Graham smiles back.

INT.HALLWAY--outside cafeteria

Jason, Rickie, and Delia walk toward the cafeteria just as Mr. Katimski exits. The teacher smiles broadly at all three students.

KATIMSKI: (chuckles) It's nice to see that you're late to everything. I was beginning to think you, uh, had an aversion to my class. (pause, focuses on Rickie, fondly) Gee whiz, how are things, Enrique? I was thinking of coming for a visit this weekend. Is that...okay?

RICKIE: (nods to Jason and Delia and they go on without him, turns to Katimski nervously) Actually, I was hoping to talk to you about that.


Delia, Jason, Sharon, and Angela stand in the hot lunch line. Delia chats with Sharon and Angela, but Jason hangs back slightly, quiet.

DELIA: (furrows brow, looks to Jason) What's up? You're, like, quiet. (smiles) It's kind of disconcerting.

JASON: Nothing's wrong. (relents under Delia's concerned look) I guess...maybe...I'm just going to miss Rickie when he leaves the House. (shrugs) Or whatever.

DELIA: (sympathetic, softly) Have you told him that?

JASON: Kind of. (avoids Delia's gaze) It doesn't matter anyway. Since he likes someone...else.

DELIA: (gives Jason a strange look) Who?

JASON: (embarrassed) I mean, you're like, a couple, right?

DELIA: (laughs loudly, claps a hand to her mouth, delighted) Oh my God, I *wish*! (squeezes Jason's arm) We are not a couple. We're like...a *pretend* couple or something. (bright smile) I've got a huge crush on Rickie, and he lets me hang out with him. (pause) I know he likes me, but he doesn't like me *that* way. (stares hard at Jason, whispers) You do know that Rickie doesn't like girls, right?

JASON: (outraged laughter) Of course I know! (long pause, shrug) I mean, I sort of know. (longer pause) I mean, I *hoped*.

DELIA: (sighs, rolls her eyes) It's just my luck to hang around with these cute guys who like each other and not me. How depressing.

JASON: (lifts his eyebrows, glances around) You hang out with cute guys? Where? (Delia makes a "give me strength" face and Jason laughs) (pause) Seriously. You think Rickie...likes me?

DELIA: (shakes her head, laughs) It's *so* obvious.

JASON: (lets out a sigh of relief and grins at Delia, slings an arm around her shoulders) Believe me Delia, you'd never really want to go out with Rickie. He's too boring. Me on the other hand, I'm brilliant and loads of fun. (sad look) But we could never have a serious relationship because your hair is *way* too gorgeous. (leans down as if revealing a great secret) I have such an ego that *I* have to be the pretty one. (kisses her cheek) And you have me beat. By a lot.

DELIA: (smiles at him) Thanks! (pause, mischievous smile) But I think we both know that *I'm* the brilliant one.

INT.HALLWAY--outside cafeteria

Rickie faces away from Katimski, clearly nervous.

RICKIE: I know I should have said something before. But I didn't know how.

KATIMSKI: (watches Rickie's profile, quietly) Say what?

RICKIE: (his face contorts, and he works hard to get the words out) That I didn't want to go to Pride House. (hoarsely) I...liked staying with you and Joseph. I mean, Pride House is...nice, but I still feel (his voice breaks) *alone*. (clears his throat) I mean, I know that I'm not, because Jason is a really good friend, but it's's not the same as having a family.

KATIMSKI: (takes a deep breath, closes his eyes) What do you want me to do?

RICKIE: (blinks rapidly, trying to hold back tears) I don't know. (pause, hesitant) But maybe you could know, just think about *maybe* letting me come back. To stay with you. Like before. (quickly, babbling) I know you have, like, this full life, and you're really busy, and you've already done so much for me, but if you could think about it just a little before answering I would really, really--


RICKIE: (spins to look at Katimski, eyes wide in disbelief) What?

KATIMSKI: (smiles, wipes his eyes) We miss you too.

RICKIE: (covers his face with his hands, overjoyed) Oh my God! (takes a step toward Katimski) Oh...thank you!

A group of students walks out of the cafeteria and Rickie and Katimski wait for them to pass. Rickie leans against the wall, dazed.

KATIMSKI: (quietly) But you're going to have to make a decision first, Enrique.

RICKIE: (worried) What decision?

KATIMSKI: Joseph and I have discussed this at great length. And we think it would better for everyone if, ah, I became your legal guardian. (gently) That would eliminate any...complications that might come up. (self-conscious) I've always wanted kids of my own. And you're a pretty terrific kid, Enrique. (pause) So now *you'll* have to do a little thinking.

RICKIE: (shakes his head, teary smile) No I won't.


Rickie, Jason, Angela, Sharon, and Delia sit at a table. Rickie is beaming.

ANGELA: (kisses Rickie's cheek) I'm so happy for you!

SHARON: Congratulations, Rickie!

RICKIE: I still can't believe it. I'm just...stunned.

DELIA: (firmly) Now we *really* need to have a party.

RICKIE: (glances around) Hey, where's Brian?


Jordan walks down the hallway by himself, hands in his pockets. Rayanne emerges from the girls' bathroom just in time to see him. They stare at each other, awkward.

JORDAN: (looks away) Hey.

RAYANNE: (fidgets with her bag) Oh. Hey.


RAYANNE: (starts walking away, finishes his sentence) What.

JORDAN: Graf. Wait. (frowns, his forehead creases) How come Angela won't talk to me?

RAYANNE: (she sighs, turns back to Jordan) Where'd you get a lame idea like that, Catalano?

JORDAN: (stares at Rayanne as if she's stupid) Because she won't talk to me.

RAYANNE: (rolls her eyes) Don't ask me. Ask *her*.

JORDAN: (considers) Yeah. I guess. (rubs his hands together, speaks haltingly) Because we're playing at The Wire this weekend, you know? And I want her to come. (pause) It's not like she *has* to come or anything. (looks away) But it would You know, if she did.

RAYANNE: (purses her lips, gives Jordan a long look) Like I said, just ask her. (pause, cheerful) But don't worry. If Angela doesn't come, *I* will.

She continues down the hall, swinging her bag.

JORDAN: (leans against the wall, sighs) Great.

INT.HALLWAY--outside cafeteria

Brian walks toward the cafeteria. He looks weary and keeps his eyes on the floor. He pauses in the cafeteria doorway, reaches into his pocket, pulls out some change, and turns back to the vending area. He stops dead when he sees Delia pull a can of soda out of the tray. She looks up and her face freezes into a grimace.

BRIAN: (false smile) Hi!

DELIA: (deep sigh) Hi.

Brian moves to the soda machine, awkward, and feeds his coins into the slot. He punches a button and nothing happens. He punches it again, harder. Still nothing.

BRIAN: (leans his head against the machine) Great.

DELIA: (lingers) What's the matter? Did the machine eat your change?

BRIAN: Yeah. (shaky laugh) What else is new. (leaves his head against the machine, but turns to face Delia) Delia...what I did to you was... undefendable. I can't defend it. It was unconscionable. And I'm sorry. I don't expect you to forgive me. Or even like me. (pause) But maybe you could, you know, stop hating me. (swallows) Or something.

DELIA: (frowns) I *don't* hate you, Brian. I just--

BRIAN: (interrupts, grim) Think I'm the world's biggest jerk.

DELIA: (faint smile) You're exaggerating. I'm sure you're not the world's *biggest* jerk.

Brian doesn't respond. He blinks and nods, as if her answer is exactly what he deserves.

DELIA: (guilty) Brian, I'm joking. I mean, you really hurt my feelings. But I also know you're a friend of Rickie's. (smile) And he's a pretty great guy. And I trust his judgement. So maybe...we can be friends too. (pause, her smile tightens) Someday.

BRIAN: (smiles weakly) Okay.

DELIA: (looks down at her soda, then at Brian, bites her lip) Do you...want a sip?

BRIAN: (swallows thickly, tries to smile) I...I...sure.

Delia holds the can out. Brian reaches for it gingerly, careful to avoid hand contact. He takes a quick sip and thrusts it back at Delia. His face is a mix of regret, shame, and relief.

BRIAN: Thanks.

DELIA: You're welcome.

They regard each other for a long minute.

BRIAN: (looks down, shuffles from one foot to the other) I should probably go.

DELIA: I should get back too. (pause, gestures toward the cafeteria) Do you want to come in? I mean, we're still eating. Rickie and Angela were wondering where you were.

BRIAN: (takes a step backwards) No. I don't want to eat with them. (grimaces, quickly) I mean, I *can't* eat with them. I just got back from an appointment (another step) and I have to make up calculus. (lifts his eyebrows) Maybe you could let them know...?

DELIA: Sure.

BRIAN: (he manages a real smile) Thanks. I guess I' to you later?

DELIA: (returns the smile, rolls her eyes) It looks that way.


A bell rings. Most students flock instantly from the room, but a few mill about, some approach Mr. Katimski with questions.

KATIMSKI: (steps forward) Ah, just a minute, people. If anyone is interested in extra credit, please see me before leaving. (broad smile, folds his hands on the desktop) Don't pass this up, I'm feeling particularly...generous this afternoon.

Brian bites at his lip, nervous. He stands, puts a hand to his stomach, and sits back down. Across the room Sharon makes her way to Katimski's desk. Brian emits a heavy sigh, pulls himself to his feet a second time and follows her.

Jordan's look of unease mirrors Brian's as he approaches Angela. He sits down in the empty desk in front of her.


ANGELA: (hair tuck, smile) Hey.

JORDAN: How's it going?


JORDAN: (quietly) That's cool. (fidgets) So. Residue is playing at The Wire on Saturday night.

Angela scans the room anxiously for Sharon and frowns when she sees her talking with Katimski.

ANGELA: (fake smile and fake voice) Oh? Really? That's great. How has that been going?

JORDAN: (rubs his fingers together, nervous) That's kind of what I was, you know, wondering. If you, like, wanted to find out. (pause) Cuz we start at eight and play until eleven.

ANGELA: (her smile becomes real and her face is transformed, radiant) Eight? On Saturday? That would be...(pause, nods) great!

JORDAN: (relieved, lets out a deep breath and smiles) So you'll come?

ANGELA: (opens her mouth to reply when she notices Brian at Katimski's desk) Um. I'll--I'll try. (pause, fake voice again) Whatever happens, happens, right?

JORDAN: (disappointed) Right. (traces the edge of the desk with one finger) I'm still working on the lyrics for that song I played you. When I get them finished...maybe I can sing it for you...or whatever.

ANGELA: (softens, gets dreamy look) I'd...I'd like that. (pause, comes to a decision) And I will definitely try to come on Saturday.

JORDAN: (smiles) Good.


Rickie shuts his locker door and turns to Delia, stunned.

RICKIE: *Brian* said that?

DELIA: (grins) I know. Isn't it amazing? He almost sounded, like, *human*. (shrugs) So I sort of forgave him.

JASON: (approaches them) Hey. (pats his pocket) I gotta have a cigarette. Either of you wanna get cancer from my second hand smoke?

RICKIE: For future reference, I suggest you *not* use that as a pick-up line.

DELIA: (nudges Rickie toward Jason, whispers) Go ahead. (louder) Oh look! There's, uh...Brian! (little wave) See ya!

JASON: Since when does she care about Krakow?

RICKIE: (sighs, walks with Jason) It's a long story.


Jason sits on steps, smoking. Rickie stands nearby, hands in his pockets. A few other kids smoke here and there. All of them ignore Rickie and Jason.

JASON: (casual) So I was thinking maybe we could go out and celebrate your newfound freedom sometime.

RICKIE: (nods) Okay. Did you talk to Delia yet?

JASON: (taps a long finger of ash onto the ground, looks up at Rickie) I didn't mean with Delia. (quietly) I meant you and me. (looks back at the ground) Unless you *want* Delia to come along.

RICKIE: (sinks down beside Jason, tries to gauge the situation) At this point...I would have to say, no. (looks quickly at Jason) I mean, I don't think Delia necessarily has to come along.

JASON: (exhales, relieved) Oh. That's great. No offense to Delia or anything, but I have twice as much personality and sparkling wit.

RICKIE: (slight smile) Not to mention ego.

JASON: (takes a long drag on his cigarette, exhales, looks straight ahead) So when do you want to go out?

RICKIE: (also looks straight ahead) Tonight I'll be moving my stuff back over to Mr. Katimski's. (hopeful) Maybe...tomorrow?

JASON: Tomorrow's cool.

There is a long pause. Rickie works up the courage to give Jason a quick glance.

RICKIE: (laughs nervously) It almost sounds like you're asking me out. Like on a date or something.

JASON: (drops the cigarette on the ground, crushes it out, softly) What if I was?

RICKIE: (eyes wide, swallows) I think...I don't know *what* I'd think. (more laughter) I mean, I *never* get asked out by the people I actually want to go out with. (pause, shy smile) I mean...not until now.

JASON: (his shoulders relax, clearly relieved, he downplays his feelings) That's just because you're the first person I've met with a social life as pathetic as mine. (shakes his head) Which makes *no* sense when you consider how witty and appealing we really are.

RICKIE: (with a straight face) Yeah, but you have a curfew and I don't. Which means *my* social life is about to take off while yours basically withers into nothingness.

JASON: (snorts) You mean yours *was* about to take off.

They both manage to keep a straight face for about two more seconds before bursting into laughter.

RICKIE: (quiets after a moment) Somehow...I still think it will. And maybe your social life won't *completely* wither away. (bites at his lip) Because... maybe we can, you know, take off...together. Or something.

They smile at each other, their faces lit with excitement and a hint of shyness. A bell rings but the two boys remain on the steps while the other students drift past them. The camera pulls away slowly, framing them against the school, still lost in conversation.

INT.TASTE OF HEAVEN--late afternoon

Hallie putters behind the reception desk while one of the employees handles a customer's bill. The restaurant is nearly deserted in the interim between the late lunch and early dinner crowd. One of the waiters is busy lighting the candles at each table.

The door opens and a man wearing the light blue uniform of a florist shop enters the restaurant. He balances a large tissue-wrapped package with one arm, a clipboard with the other.

MAN: (glancing at a clipboard) Is there a Hallie Lowenthall here?

HALLIE: (glances up, gives the delivery man a suspicious look) I'm Hallie.

MAN: (smiles, hands her the tissue-wrapped bundle) Then these are for you. (jots something on the clipboard, backs out the door) Have a good one.

EMPLOYEE: (smiles, wistful) Must be nice. I never get flowers.

HALLIE: (wrinkles her brow) Me neither. The occasional restraining order maybe, but flowers? (fingers the tissue) I'm almost afraid to open it.

EMPLOYEE: (hopeful) Want me to?

HALLIE: (crooked grin) I'm not *that* afraid.

Hallie tears at the paper, revealing a beautiful bouquet of lilies.

HALLIE: (stunned)

EMPLOYEE: They're beautiful!

GRAHAM: (peeks out of the kitchen) Hallie, can you come--(walks toward Hallie, eyebrows raised, laughs, incredulous) Someone sent you *flowers*?

HALLIE: (annoyed) Do you really have to sound that surprised?

GRAHAM: (laughs) Who sent them? Chris?

HALLIE: (sly smile) Maybe.

GRAHAM: (smirks) I never realized Ernest Goes to Camp was that romantic. (inspects the flowers, turns to her) Lilies? He sent *lilies*?

HALLIE: I happen to *like* lilies. (narrows her eyes) Do you have a problem with that?

GRAHAM: (shrugs) I guess not. Patty just prefers roses, that's all.

HALLIE: (buries her face in the lilies, smiles) I bet she does. And when was the last time you gave her some? 1982?

GRAHAM: (jokes, but seems vaguely unnerved) I think it was closer to '85.

HALLIE: (smug) I rest my case.


Hallie arranges the lilies in a vase. Graham watches her with an amused expression.

GRAHAM: I never pictured you as the flower type.

HALLIE: (snorts) Really. (smiles, cheerful) I guess that just proves you're a complete moron. Lucky you can cook. Because, really, Graham, your social skills leave a *lot* to be desired.

GRAHAM: And yours don't?

HALLIE: (sharp look) Hey. This is about *you*, Mr. Sensitive. Which means I'm going to completely overlook the fact that you're right.

GRAHAM: (taken aback) What *about* me?

HALLIE: (fidgets with the flowers) Nothing. (long pause, slowly) It's just nice to feel appreciated...once in a while. (quick look at Graham, almost defiant) How appreciated has Patty felt lately?

GRAHAM: (flustered, feigns innocence) I...what do you mean?

HALLIE: (hands on her hips) You come in early. You stay late. This may come as a shock, but we *have* hired another cook.

GRAHAM: (defensive) I left early the other night.

HALLIE: (thoughtful look) Hmm. You're right. One night in the past, what, two months? Astounding.

GRAHAM: (looks ashamed, his shoulders slump) Look. I'm *trying*. (lowers his voice, miserable) But she doesn't want to talk to me! What am I supposed to do?

HALLIE: (pulls out a lily, tosses it to a surprised Graham) Try harder.


Sharon and Angela stand in front of the mirror. Angela inspects a possible zit with concern while Sharon finger combs her hair.

SHARON: So are you going to see Jordan on Saturday? You know, at The Wire?

ANGELA: (blinks) What?

SHARON: Didn't Jordan tell you his band is playing there? (frowns) What are they called? Residual? Residue? (shrugs) Whatever.

ANGELA: Oh. I guess...he did. (long pause, tries to act casual) He invited you?

SHARON: (grimaces at a small snarl, doesn't see Angela's expression) Yeah. I don't think I'm going to go though.

ANGELA: (struggles to hide her shock) He asked *you* to see Residue play?

SHARON: Yeah. (pause) Well, not so much me as the entire classroom. (confidentially) I guess the last time they played not many people came.

ANGELA: (turns away, her voice small) Oh.

SHARON: Of course, the truly shocking thing is not that Jordan Catalano asked me to hear him sing, but that I was actually considering going. (sighs) But I'm not. (softly) I just don't *feel* like going. (leans against a sink) Are you going?

ANGELA: (pinched smile, fake voice) I doubt it. I'm not really interested.


Angela lies on the couch wearing a baggy pair of sweats. She stares dully at the television.

Danielle wanders into the room and leans against the foot of the couch.

DANIELLE: What are you watching?

ANGELA: (sullen) Nothing. (pause) You're in my way.

DANIELLE: (glares) What do you care. You said you weren't watching anything anyway.

Angela groans and pulls a pillow over her face.


Patty empties a container of Pringles into a bowl. She squeezes the can and tosses it into the garbage. Graham enters the kitchen holding a large book. He looks excited.

GRAHAM: Hey, Patty! (holds up the book; a thin, mustachioed man holding an elaborate serving dish is visible) My copy of Jacques Tessier's new book came in today.

PATTY: (glances at the cover, bored) Oh.

GRAHAM: (his expression falters, he sets the book on the table) Patty. (summons his courage) We, ah, we need to talk.

PATTY: (fake voice) About what?

GRAHAM: (softly, nervous)

Patty turns away and leans against the counter, as if gathering strength. She closes her eyes, and for a brief moment we see the fear and pain on her face. Patty controls her expression and glances back at Graham. She opens her mouth, but before she can speak the phone rings. They stare at each other for a moment, and then they both lunge for it. Patty reaches it first.

PATTY: (spins away from Graham and moves to the other side of the kitchen) Hello? (real smile) Camille! Hi! What? No, I'm not doing anything. (shoots Graham a pointed look)

Graham slumps against the table and waits, arms crossed. Patty ignores him, and talks cheerfully, her eyes trained on the refrigerator.

PATTY: You're kidding! (pause) A *cottage*? I'm stunned...and that's *such* a beautiful lake. (scandalized laughter) My God, Camille, do you want Andy to have another heart attack? (paces, notices Graham is waiting for her and her smile freezes) I didn't even know this was in the works. Tell me *everything*!

Graham clenches his jaw, grabs the cookbook, and stalks out of the kitchen.


Rickie is in the kitchen, puttering with plates and silverware. He is talking on the phone and appears happy and relaxed, a marked difference from his demeanor at Pride House.

RICKIE: (smiles) I *know*. I'm telling you, Delia, we had so much fun! I can't believe this is, like, *my* life. (excited) I think we might go out tomorrow. (pause) You know what? You should come, you will *not* be a fifth wheel. I promise. Please? (long pause) Great! I don't about the mall?

Rickie takes three glasses out of the cupboard and pours milk into each one.

RICKIE: (his smile fades and he becomes subdued) Yeah, we tracked him down a few days ago. Through my cousin. You know, school registration or whatever. (heavy sigh) The lawyer already sent the papers. All he has to do is sign them and send them back. And then I'll be *free.* (brightens) Hey. We'll have a lot of things to celebrate at Brian's party. (frowns) You *are* still coming right?

KATIMSKI: (enters the kitchen, delighted) Enrique! That looks wonderful!

RICKIE: (smiles, to Katimski) It's just bread and sandwich meat. Not very complicated.

KATIMSKI: (lifts an eyebrow) You'd be surprised.

RICKIE: (to Delia) Well, anyway, I better go. We're going to eat. I'll talk to you tomorrow okay? (pause) You too. Bye.

INT.CHASE HOUSE--Angela's bedroom

Angela is cleaning her room. A large pile of clothes is scattered across the floor, a smaller pile litters the bed. She holds up a pair of corduroy overalls and frowns at them before tossing them onto the "keeper" pile on the bed. Her door is cracked, and a noise in the hallway catches her attention. She grabs a faded flannel shirt from the bed, pokes her head into the hall, and sees Danielle trying to juggle a glass of juice, a magazine, and an apple into her room.

ANGELA: (terse) You know Mom doesn't like food upstairs.

DANIELLE: Like she cares. (rolls her eyes) They're fighting anyway. I could bring an elephant up here and it wouldn't matter.

ANGELA: Mom and Dad are *fighting*?


ANGELA: (strains to hear for a moment, but there isn't any sound from downstairs) What about?

DANIELLE: I don't know.

ANGELA: (sighs, waves the shirt) Do you want this or not?

DANIELLE: (suspicious) Why? What'd you do to it?

ANGELA: (losing patience) Nothing! I'm just sick of listening to Mom whine about my room. So I'm trying to get rid of some stuff. If you don't want this, I'll just toss it with the thrift store stuff.

DANIELLE: (sets the glass and apple just out of site in her room, tosses the magazine onto her rumpled bed, wipes hands on her jeans) You don't want it?

ANGELA: (shrugs) I'm tired of it.

DANIELLE: (strangely subdued, almost nervous) But why now?

ANGELA: (rolls her eyes) I just told you. (shakes her head) Forget I said anything. (returns to her room)

DANIELLE: (moves into Angela's doorway, watches her sister) I didn't say I didn't want it.

ANGELA: (throws the shirt at Danielle) Fine. Get out of here.

DANIELLE: (remains in doorway, troubled) I just don't understand why you're getting rid of all this stuff *now*.

ANGELA: (rummages in the closet for something) And I don't understand why you're still in my room.

DANIELLE: I'm not in your room. I'm in the *doorway*. There's a difference.

ANGELA: (frustrated) *Danielle*. Go. Now.

DANIELLE: (takes a step backwards, clutching the shirt) Okay. (she stares down at the flannel and touches it hesitantly)

ANGELA: (storms across her room, grabs the doorknob) Out!

DANIELLE: (reluctant to move, her lips trembles and she can't face Angela) I'm just...afraid...

ANGELA: (hesitates) Afraid of what? (sigh) Look, I'm sure everything will be fine with Mom and Dad. They've fought millions of times.

DANIELLE: (whispers) It's not them.

ANGELA: Then *what*?

DANIELLE: (nods toward the floor) You're giving your stuff away. And I heard mom talking about Brian--

ANGELA: (folds her arms) God, Danielle! When are you going to stop listening in on other people's conversations?

DANIELLE: (ignores Angela) --and she said he started to give his stuff away. (pause) When he was, like, depressed. (miserable, twists the shirt in her hands) And now you're giving your stuff away!

ANGELA: (shocked, stares at Danielle, her mouth open) doesn't mean anything. I'm just cleaning.

DANIELLE: (upset) But you spend all your time shut up in here listening to your crappy music. Or else you're with Brian. (pause, her face crumples) And I don't want you his depression.

Angela puts a hand on Danielle's shoulder and steers her toward the bed. She shoves some of the clothes out of the way and they both sit. Danielle still clutches the flannel shirt.

ANGELA: (both exasperated and touched) You can't *catch* depression, Danielle. It's not like a...cold or something. (pause) Sometimes I do get *depressed*. But that's different from suffering a *depression*, which is what Brian had.

DANIELLE: Then how come you're home cleaning your room when you could be at that coffee place listening to Jordan sing?

ANGELA: (puts a hand to her head) *Danielle*! Is that all you do? Spend your life listening to other people's conversations?

DANIELLE: (averts her eyes, pouts) It's not like anyone actually tells me anything.

ANGELA: (glares) Fine. I'm telling you now, even though it's *completely* none of your business. (pause, shrugs) I just didn't feel like going. Next weekend is Brian's party, and there's stuff I need to get done. That's all. Okay?

DANIELLE: (nods slowly) Okay. (concerned look) But Brian's getting better, right?

ANGELA: He is.

DANIELLE: So you aren't depressed now?

ANGELA: (crooked smile) Only when I think about how I'm stuck living in the same house with you. (laughs at Danielle's expression) I'm just *kidding*.

Angela regards Danielle for a moment.

ANGELA: (trying) Why don't you try the shirt on?

Danielle slips the shirt over what she's wearing, smiles self-consciously.

ANGELA: (smiles, nods) You actually look...okay.

DANIELLE: (beams) Really?

ANGELA: (gestures toward the clothes scattered on the floor, casual) I guess you could look through the other stuff...just to see if there's anything else you want.

Danielle reaches for a bulky blue sweater.

ANGELA: (pulls it out of Danielle's hand) Oh...not that one. (holds it up in front of her, stands before mirror) Maybe I'll keep it. (starts sashaying around the room) What do you think?

DANIELLE: (hesitant) I think it looked better on the floor.

ANGELA: (stares at Danielle, bursts out laughing) It did, didn't? (laughs harder, throws it toward the door)


Rickie, Katimski and Joseph are seated around the table eating.

RICKIE: (spoons casserole onto his plate, clears his throat) So did you...have you heard from my uncle yet?

JOSEPH: It's only been two days, Rickie. I'm sure everything will be fine. We just have to be patient.

RICKIE: (weak smile) I guess I'm not very good at being patient right now.

KATIMSKI: Did you say you were, ah, staying over at Brian Krakow's on Friday?

RICKIE: (passes a basket of rolls to Joseph, nods) Yeah. We're having a surprise party for his birthday. It should be really fun.

The doorbell rings. Katimski and Joseph look at each other, and then Rickie. Rickie shrugs.

KATIMSKI: (pushes his chair back, throws his napkin on the table) Gee whiz...who could that be?

Richard opens the door. A tall, broad-shouldered man fills the doorway. His black hair is pulled back into a tight, short ponytail. He wears jeans and a crisp, short-sleeved shirt. He resembles a younger version of Edward James Olmos.

KATIMSKI: (blinks) Can I help you?

MAN: (cool smile) Yes you can. My name is Martin Vasquez. (pause, looks over Katimski's shoulder into the apartment) I've come for my son.

The camera focuses on Katimski's shocked expression before zooming in on Rickie. He stares at his uncle, rigid, eyes wide with shock and fear.

To be continued...


The song Stuck Here Again is from L7's 1994 album: Hungry for Stink

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Episode No. 24 - Found and Lost by Shannon Bryan
Published: 1997 | Size: 127 KB (24565 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (70 votes)

Read this story now: Episode No. 24 - Found and Lost

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Rating Distribution:
Average: 4.3/5   4.3/5 (38 votes)
  • Ben Hoback commented on 01 Nov 2002:
    Writers, especially fanfic authors, need readers to tell them they're doing a good job to prevent depression from seting in; with a story like this one you'd think it wouldn't be necessary, but...

    I scored it a '10'.
  • anonymous author commented on 04 Jun 2003:
    Its 2003 now so I doubt you will look back to see if you have any comments, but the thing that has been annoying me is the way you spell Berniece. It is BERNICE, that is the correct spelling, thank you, besides that I think you are an excellent writer and love where you have been going with the storyline so far.
  • anonymous author commented on 13 Jul 2003:
    'Berniece' is such an annoying name, it might as well be spelled like that.
    Great story. I love Rickie and Jason, and Danielle.

  • Bridget Lydon commented on 30 Dec 2004:
    Loving it, I gave it a ten. There are very few MSCL fics that come so close to the real thing and actually stays loyal to the show!

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“Lately, I can't even look at my mother without wanting to stab her repeatedly.”

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