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Episode No. 23 - Fools

written by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)

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About this story

Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 81 KB (14892 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (37 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Black Screen-- "One Month Later"


Patty and Graham are still asleep. Graham rolls over, and opens his eyes briefly. He then closes them again, but momentarily opens them again and jerks his head up.

GRAHAM: (loudly) Patty! Wake up! It's eight o'clock already!

PATTY: (groggily) It *can't* be. (reaches for her watch) Didn't you set the alarm? (she looks at the watch through bleary eyes) My god, it *is* eight! We're all going to be late! (shouting, getting up, moving toward the door) Girls! Get up!

Patty throws open the door, intending to charge into the hall. Instead she is confronted with Angela and Danielle, dressed for school, and doubled over in laughter, just outside their door.

ANGELA & DANIELLE: (shouting) April Fools! (they high five, still laughing)

Graham, struggling into his robe, joins Patty in the doorway, and regards his daughters with amusement. Patty just glares good-naturedly, playing the part she knows the girls expect--namely exasperated. The girls start to wander off.

PATTY: (sharply) Angela?

ANGELA: (coming back to the door, defensive) It was Danielle's idea, Mom.

PATTY: I just wanted to know what time it *really* is.

ANGELA: Oh. It's about seven o'clock. Don't worry, we wouldn't have let you oversleep. We had this whole panicked entrance planned. . . Dad just beat us to it.

PATTY: (irritated) You were in on this?

GRAHAM: No! I just woke up and saw the clock.

ANGELA: (gleeful, broad smile) You should have seen your face, Mom. Hilarious.

PATTY: (as Angela heads downstairs, nodding ruefully) Yeah. Hilarious. (turning to Graham) You don't have to look *quite* so amused, do you?

GRAHAM: You have to admit, they did get us.

PATTY: They get this from your side of the family, you know. I hate April First.

With that, she turns on her heels and marches into the bathroom. Graham simply stands there, in her wake, smiling and shaking his head.


Brian is sitting in an X-Ray room. He looks haggard and pale, worse now than before he began treatment. Amber Vollone, Rayanne's mother, enters the room, dressed in her short, white lab coat.

BRIAN: (shyly) Hi.

AMBER: (picking up a folder) Hey, sweetie. (Brian bristles at that) So you have to get another chest x-ray, huh?

BRIAN: (coughing slightly) Yes. I've had this cough, and Dr. Garcia wants to make sure there isn't any fluid in my lungs, or something.

AMBER: Well, with chemo, infections are a danger. (looks at the chart) Your last name is Krakow?

BRIAN: Yes. (not sure where this is going)

AMBER: (looking at him) Do you go to Liberty?


AMBER: I think you know my daughter, then. (sticking her hand out) I'm Amber Vollone (said as if this should mean something to him)

BRIAN: (floundering) I don't really know any kids by the name of Vollone. . .

AMBER: (laughs) No. Of course not. Raynie goes by her father's name.

BRIAN: (still confused) Raynie?

AMBER: (annoyed) *Rayanne*? Rayanne Graf? She's my daughter.

BRIAN: Rayanne is *your* daughter?

AMBER: (messing with some equipment) Sure, why so surprised?

BRIAN: (recovering nicely) You just seem. . .too. . .young, or something, to be Rayanne's Mom.

AMBER: (smiling, laughing) Ooh, sweet-cakes, I think I like you a lot! Keep it up, but you're still going to have to get your x-ray. (pause) So you know Angela Chase then, don't you?

BRIAN: Sure. Since I was like, four years old. She's my neighbor.

AMBER: (gossipy) Then you know the ice queen too. (snidely) Patty? I call her the human popsicle.

BRIAN: (disturbed by Amber's non-adult tone) Why?

AMBER: (smiles) Because she's so cold and she acts like she has a long wooden stick up her butt!

BRIAN: (frowning) Patty--I mean, Mrs. Chase--has always been very good to me.

AMBER: (fixes him with a look) God, you are *so* polite. I forgot, I guess. Raynie told me that you were. And that you took her out for ice cream, like you were on "Happy Days" or something. I think that is *so* cute.

Brian, eyes widened in amazement, clearly doesn't know what to say.

AMBER: So, did you know that Rayanne is the *star* of the school play?

BRIAN: (glad to be back on familiar footing) Yes. I saw a practice. She's really good.

AMBER: Is she? She won't practice in front of me. She says I make her nervous. I can't wait until the end of May, when I can finally see it. I'm so proud of her.

With the last sentence, Brian finally sees something of a mother in Amber and smiles up at her.

AMBER: Okay, Brian. You know the drill. (puts the machine up next to him) Just try to keep still and I'll run out there and take a few pictures and you can get back up to watching TV or whatever you do since you don't have to go to school.

BRIAN: Oh, I'm keeping up with my schoolwork.

AMBER: (sighs) I should have guessed. You are such a "gold star" type of kid! It amazes me that Rayanne is even civil to you. A few years ago she would have been tripping you in the halls and stealing your lunch money.

Brian looks alarmed at the prospect. He takes off his shirt.

AMBER: I guess my baby's growing up. (looks at him) I guess you all are.

She leaves the room, and Brian holds still, with a heavy shielding blanket in his lap and the machine pushed up close to his chest. It buzzes once, and then a second time. Brian just sits there with a resigned look on his face.


Graham enters the restaurant through the kitchen entrance. The kitchen now looks fully equipped. He seems surprised to find Hallie there before him.

HALLIE: (into cellular phone) No that is *not* all right! No. . . No, I don't care what she told you, Brad. You made your choice, and you chose your family, and that's that. (seeing Graham) Look, someone came in. I'm not talking about this any more! (she slams the phone down violently) God! What did I ever see in him?

GRAHAM: (walking on eggshells) That was Brad? Fiance-Brad?

HALLIE: *Ex*-fiance. Don't forget the "ex". . . as in "ecch" (makes a face)

GRAHAM: (setting down his things, casually) So you decided to tell him after all?

HALLIE: (irritated) No. My mother called him, if you can believe that. She must have. . . (just thinking of it) unless it was *you*. You two were the only ones who knew. (she looks at him)

GRAHAM: No. I didn't call him. I only even met him the once.

HALLIE: I believe you. He probably would have said if it was you. He didn't really like you.

GRAHAM: (appalled) He didn't?

HALLIE: Well, it's not so much that he didn't like you, just that he didn't really respect you.

GRAHAM: What? Why?

HALLIE: Because you were just some cooking teacher, y'know. Brad thinks that by a certain age everyone should be settled into their *career*--you know, the one they are going to have for the rest of their life? (apologetic now) He just didn't understand your mid-life crisis.

GRAHAM: (becoming more offended by the second) Almost no one stays in one job all their life anymore! And it was *not* a crisis. And I am *not* in the middle of my life. I'm barely forty.

HALLIE: (amused) And just how long are you planning to live?

GRAHAM: What? I don't know. (getting it) Shut up!

HALLIE: Well, I was merely observing, that crisis or no, you probably are in the middle of your life. At *least*.

GRAHAM: (looks suddenly depressed) Can we please stop talking about how old I am? What did Brad want, anyway?

HALLIE: (off-handedly, moving to her bag) Oh, just the usual, y'know, hi, how are things, do you have my Beatles CD, and by the way let me just take a second to accuse you of getting knocked up on purpose. Then you know, gotta go, we should do lunch, and do you need any money for an abortion?

GRAHAM: (shocked) Really? He said that?

HALLIE: In a roundabout, but very proper way, yes.

GRAHAM: What did you say?

HALLIE: You heard some of it. You missed the obscenities. (out of nowhere) They say you should talk to your baby. (looks down at her stomach) Well baby, let me explain right up front that your father is a complete putz!

GRAHAM: So, I mean, how did you leave it? Is everything okay?

HALLIE: Let's see, my *mother* is in complete denial about the fact that I am not going to marry "Moneybags Brad" as she likes to call him. *Brad* is pressuring me to get an abortion. And *I* didn't quite get around to mentioning the fact that it's far too late for that already. (looking at watch) And, to top it all off, if I don't get going, I'm going to be late for a showing, which will probably get me fired, and I'm beginning to show, so pretty soon my clothes won't fit. But enough about me, how are you? And Patty?

GRAHAM: (alarmed) Fine. Why?

HALLIE: (knowing) Still fighting, huh? I thought when you told her about the bambino, she might lighten up about me.

GRAHAM: Oh. Well, I haven't exactly told her yet. There never seems to be a right time for that discussion.

Hallie gives Graham a strange look. He moves toward her, and grasps her arm.

GRAHAM: (protectively) But just remember, that I'm here for you, if you need me. It must be hard going through this on your own.

Hallie's lips part at his touch, and for a moment she looks at him longingly. Then she stiffens and extricates her arm.

HALLIE: (softly) I've got to go. See you later. (she exits)


Rayanne seems to be analyzing her hair in the mirror, as if checking for ticks or something. She hums the "Sesame Street" song. Sharon comes in, but looks totally preoccupied, and doesn't speak immediately to Rayanne.

RAYANNE: Don't say "hello" or anything.

SHARON: (breaking out of her trance) Sorry.

RAYANNE: (regarding herself and the handfuls or hair in the mirror quizzically) Do you see any gum in my hair? Dana Odenkirk said I had gum in my hair.

SHARON: (barely glancing) I don't see anything.

RAYANNE: (snapping her own gum) I guess *I've* just been April Fooled.

The bell rings. Sharon looks up. Rayanne doesn't bat an eye.

SHARON: Rayanne, can I talk to you? About something important?

RAYANNE: Sure. (fiddles with hair) What?

SHARON: I'm late.

RAYANNE: (looking up at the clock on the wall) I know. Me too. But I just think of it this way. I'm still *thinking* about Biology, even though I'm doing my hair, so, like, I'm still putting in my fifty minutes. It's like Zen learning, or something.

SHARON: (bites her lip) No. I mean, I'm *late*. For my period? I think I may be, I don't know, pregnant. I guess.

RAYANNE: (nodding along with the story) Cool. (nonchalantly) Oh, guess what? I decided that I'm joining the convent. (smiles) Sister Rayanne Marie has quite a ring to it. (rolls her eyes) Pull the other one, Cherski. You are just, *so* not the type of person who is good at April Fool's Day.

SHARON: (trembling, raising her voice) Do you honestly think I would *joke* about something like this? I'm totally serious.

RAYANNE: (stops playing with her hair and looks at Sharon) You *are* serious, aren't you?

SHARON: (quickly, panicking) Yes. What am I going to do? I can't talk to Kyle, I mean, he's not even speaking to me, and my god, not my parents, they would freak out! My Dad would probably have another heart attack, and that would be all my fault. And I was going to go out for Pom Squad next year, and you can't bounce around with poms when you're, like, six months pregnant!

RAYANNE: Whoa, whoa! You're getting a little ahead of yourself, aren't you? You're just *late*. I've been late plenty of times, and here I am with a living father who admittedly could care less about me, and with a slim, trim figure all set to try out for "poms", though I have no idea why I would ever want to do that. Just take a few deep breaths, or a Valium, or something.

Sharon takes a few deep breaths, and seems to count to ten, She calms down a bit. Then she moves to the sink and splashes some cold water on her face. Rayanne goes over to the towel dispenser, and savages it in order to actually get some of those useless tri-folded brown towels out. She moves to Sharon and hands them to her.

RAYANNE: (off-the-cuff, trying not to seem concerned) Here. I've never understood that idea--when you're upset, everything will seem better if your face is wet? What *is* that? Is it just the extra burden of it? Yeah, I used to feel bad, but now I feel bad *and* my face is wet, so what I was feeling before must not have been that bad? You could shoot yourself in the foot too, or pour ketchup on your head to get the same effect . . . I don't know, it's just always struck me as odd.

SHARON: (wiping her face) Rayanne? Maybe *you* are the one who needs a Valium or something. Can we focus? What am *I* going to do?

RAYANNE: I don't know. (thinking, quickly again) You need to get one of those tests. Those pee-on-the-stick, pink-yes, blue-no tests. Have you had one of those?

SHARON: No. I just noticed I was late today.

RAYANNE: How late?

SHARON: Sixteen days.

RAYANNE: Sixteen days? Have you checked your pulse lately? Or fed your dog? (understatement) Hello! That's a long time.

SHARON: With all that's been going on I just wasn't *thinking* about it. With what happened with Kyle. And then Brian Krakow getting sick. It just slipped my mind, all right?

RAYANNE: Okay. No need to get defensive. It *is* too bad that Krakow is sick, however. He probably could have just cobbled together a test in the chemistry lab. At least then we could have gotten some of his precious "extra credit" out of this. Like for science. Like his volume-whatever.

Sharon gives Rayanne an exasperated look.

RAYANNE: Okay, okay. (back on task) Have you ever been late before?

SHARON: (sighing) No. I'm like clockwork. And I should have noticed, too. But I guess I just never thought that. . . this could happen.

RAYANNE: *Nothing* has happened yet. We just have to get the test. We can go right now, if you want.

SHARON: No. I need to take notes for Brian in French. And I *have* to go to Geometry next period. We have a quiz. That's why I'm cutting, (tears up) I'm supposed to be, like, studying, or even gossiping. I am *not* supposed to be worrying about something like this.

RAYANNE: (not knowing how to comfort her) Do you want me to go get someone for you? Delia?

(Sharon shakes her head) (Rayanne bites back a comment) What about Angela?

SHARON: (her face brightens for a moment, but then clouds over again) No. I can't talk to her about this.

RAYANNE: (softly) Why not?

SHARON: She, I mean, she's never even had sex before. And when we talk about it, there's this *distance* between us. Like she's judging me or something. Even if it's just a little. I couldn't deal with that right now.

RAYANNE: (comes up behind her, hands her a tissue from her voluminous "bag of tricks") I know what you mean. (pause) We can go after school. To get the test.

SHARON: My mother is supposed to pick me up.

RAYANNE: Well just call her and tell you have some squad or band or committee thing, and you'll be home late.

SHARON: Okay. (thinking) I can do that, she has never been able to keep track of all my activities. She'll believe that.

RAYANNE: Good. It's settled. We'll go buy one after school.

SHARON: (nodding, thinking about it) My god, I can't go in there, and like, buy a test. In front of everyone.

RAYANNE: I'll buy it. (explaining) Well, I won't *buy* it, since I'm totally broke, but I'll bring it up to the counter, or whatever.

SHARON: Really? (sniffles) You'd do that?

RAYANNE: (frowning) Of course.

SHARON: Thanks. (hands her the tissue back)

RAYANNE: (frowning at the used tissue) Umm, you can keep that. (pause) Listen, I've got to at least put in an appearance at Bio, even though thanks to the topic, I've still been sticking to my Zen learning techniques. That Zen thing is just a theory though. Or is it a hypothesis? (smiling) You can see that I've been using my Zen techniques a little too much lately. But, I'll see you after school.

SHARON: (still looking worried) Thanks.

RAYANNE: (imploring) And try not to think about it. It's probably nothing.

SHARON: (as Rayanne exits, she looks into the mirror) I hope you're right.


Rickie is at his locker, packing up. Delia comes bouncing up.

DELIA: Hey! Where are you going? Aren't you coming to watch rehearsal?

RICKIE: (smiles) I think Mr. Katimski can manage without me for a day. I'm going to visit Brian in the hospital. Angela said he specifically asked about me. I haven't been for a while. So, I'm going.

DELIA: (looks disappointed) Oh. Okay.

RICKIE: (hopefully) You could come along, you know. You haven't been to see him.

DELIA: (doubtfully) I don't know. We aren't exactly friends.

RICKIE: I know. But maybe it's time that you, like, forgave him. I think. . . I mean, I think he really *needs* that right now.

DELIA: I thought I did that. I *am* taking notes for him in calculus.

RICKIE: I know. And he's always saying how good they are and how much he appreciates it, but coming to visit would mean a lot to him, I think.

DELIA: (softly) You really care about him, don't you?

RICKIE: Sure. (a bit defensive) I mean, I guess so. We're both, like, on the outside looking in, or what have you. And, he's really the only *guy* friend I have.

DELIA: (hinting) Are you sure that's all?

RICKIE: (smiles) Now I think that *you're* projecting!

DELIA: (frowning) You sound like Oprah.

RICKIE: Really? Good. I *like* Oprah. So are you coming?

DELIA: I don't know. I wouldn't know what to say.

RICKIE: I know. Sometimes I don't either. But just being there at all seems to brighten his day.

DELIA: (guilty) I guess he doesn't have many good days, does he?

RICKIE: Not even before this happened, unfortunately. (smiles) That used CD store is near the hospital. We could go shopping afterwards. Y'know, for more music for the cast party?

DELIA: Okay. But if he ignores me, insults me, dismisses me, or asks me to leave the room, even once, for any reason, I think I'm going to have to kick him.

RICKIE: (chuckling) That seems fair.


Jordan and Angela are in the tutoring room in the desks that face one another. Angela is looking over something that Jordan did.

ANGELA: These are actually very good.

JORDAN: (smiling) Don't sound so surprised.

ANGELA: (embarrassed) I'm not. It's just--I mean, you learn fast.

JORDAN: That's okay. I'm just teasin'. (smiles at her)

Angela catches his eyes, and she just seems to drown in them for a moment.

JORDAN: This is nice. Being tutored by you. It's different.

ANGELA: What do you mean?

JORDAN: Usually it's me showing *you* things. Like driving. (pause) And *other* things.

Angela blushes, smiles sweetly, and looks down.

JORDAN: (looking away) Since it seems so different, I was wondering if we could, I don't know, start over. Like, with a clean plate. (Angela smiles at that) Like none of that other stuff ever happened. The bad stuff.

ANGELA: You mean, like, start dating again? Be a couple?

JORDAN: (uncomfortable) I don't know about *that*. I just meant that maybe we could go somewhere sometime. Together. (staring at her) I miss you.

ANGELA: We see each other more now than we ever have, with tutoring and you giving me rides to and from school.

JORDAN: (smirking) You know what I mean.

ANGELA: (blushing again) I know.

JORDAN: So can we? Go out? Like tonight?

ANGELA: (VO) It was so strange. Out of nowhere, Jordan Catalano was asking me out, like on a normal date, in this totally normal way, when nothing in our relationship thus far had been what I considered normal. Not that normal is a bad thing, exactly. I just kept wondering if Brian Krakow was feeding him lines from under the desk or through a hidden microphone. (speaking) Sure. Where?

JORDAN: Well, Tino said that Vertigo is having another open mike night. I thought we could go and check out the other bands. Residue isn't ready yet. We're still practicing some new music, but one of us should check out the competition, y'know. (looking at her) Or we could go somewhere else, whatever you want to do.

ANGELA: (smiling) No. That sounds fun. I just have to check with my parents, but for some reason I think my Mom will say yes. Ever since she met you, she seems to be okay when I do things with you. (pause) I have to say that I never expected that having her meet you would be a good thing.

JORDAN: It was weird. Like she could read my mind.

ANGELA: (laughs) I know. I swear she knows when I'm lying. It's almost supernatural, or something. (smile, hair tuck) But that sounds fun. I'm sure she'll let me go.



Graham is on the phone in the front of the restaurant, which, aside from the lack of tables, etc. looks finished. There is water bubbling merrily in the fountain.

GRAHAM: Hello, oh. . . (pause) That's a weird message, Neil. Is that Marla on the tape? Is she singing or being strangled, I can't really tell? Just kidding, Marla. Anyway, Neil, about tonight. I will definitely meet you at The Clybourne. It has been the strangest day, and I really need to talk. The loser buys, so be sure to bring your wallet. I'll see you around five. (hangs up)

Hallie uses her key to open the front doors. Graham just watches her.

HALLIE: (surprised) Oh. You're still here. I thought you'd be long gone by now.

GRAHAM: What are you doing here?

HALLIE: Oh, that stupid distributor told me about this great deal on those candles we wanted, at like, cost. What he neglected to tell me is that part of getting that deal was that I had to come pick them up myself, tonight, so he could make room for more inventory. So I loaded them all up, but they take up half the car, so I thought I'd drop them off before heading home. (snorts) My driving is enough of a hazard, right, without having the rear-view mirror blocked with boxes. Anyway. . .

Leaving the door open, she exits to her car. Graham just stands there, clearly waging an internal debate about something, until she comes back carrying a rather unwieldy box.

GRAHAM: I'm sorry, I wasn't even thinking. Let me take that.

Graham approaches her to take the box from her. It would be a difficult transfer under the best of circumstances, but Hallie tries her best to go around him, avoid him, and basically not look at him.

GRAHAM: Would you hold still, I've got it.

Hallie clutches it even more tightly, and her face crinkles up into a fit of frustration and anger. She tries to yank it away from Graham, and in the process, they both lose their grip and the box crashes to the floor.

HALLIE: (shouting) My God! Would you just stop it?

GRAHAM: (wounded and confused) It just looked heavy. And in your condition. . .

HALLIE: Graham, I am not exactly a fragile person. Just stop it. I am not going to break or something. (she bends down and tries to pick up the oblong box, but she cannot seem to get a good hold) Dammit!

Graham bends down as if to help her, but she holds up her hand for him to stop.

HALLIE: No. I have to do this by myself. (softly) I have to get used to doing things on my own. (looks at him) You're not always going to be there to pick up the. . . things I drop. (tearing up) My god, I hope it's only *things*. I can just see me being the first mother in history to set the baby down on the roof of the car so I can unlock the door and drive away with it still up there. (laughs to self) And I think that people point frantically when I do that with my coffee. I should just wait.

GRAHAM: Even *you* wouldn't do that. And I'll be here to help.

HALLIE: (standing, emphatically) No! No, you won't. Not in the way I've been imagining that you would be. Or that Brad should have been. (pause) Don't pretend that you haven't noticed the *undercurrent* going on between us. I swear that Patty noticed it before you did. And it's not just that I'm flirty, because god knows I am, or that you're charming, because we all know you *think* you are! There's something there, we all know it, and it has to stop. Now. Today. Yesterday, even.

Graham just looks down, winces visibly when Hallie mentions Patty, and generally looks very guilty during this entire speech. He denies none of it.

HALLIE: (simply barreling along with her thoughts, agitated) . . .Because *you* are a married man. And today I started thinking about names for the baby, and one of the first things I thought was: "I wonder what Graham thinks." And the other part of me, the very small, very quiet, *rational* part was saying: "Well, what do you bet that he likes the names Danielle and Angela?" (pause) I mean, I don't know about you, but I've been thinking about it. A lot. I've already half decided that I don't like the name "Hallie Chase" and that I should just keep Lowenthal. (laughs) I'm going to hell for that one, I'm sure of it.

GRAHAM: Hallie, I. . . what do you want me to say?

HALLIE: That I'm *not* going to hell would be good. (pause) Because it would be all right, if you weren't married. But you are. And it might even be all right if you didn't love your wife, but. . .

GRAHAM: (simply) I do.

HALLIE: (at her own rhythm, but virtually simultaneously). . . you do.  (long pause, she looks at him) It wasn't just me, though. Was it?

Graham swallows and looks like he is about to speak.

HALLIE: (shaking her head) Don't even bother to answer that. That was stupid. Nothing you could possibly say would make me feel better.

Hallie quickly bends and hefts the box onto the bar, sending a cloud of sawdust into the air around her. She claps her hands together, as if to clean them of dust.

HALLIE: Well that's it then.

GRAHAM: (manages to look sad and relieved all at once) What is?

HALLIE: There's the first box of candles. I knew I could do it on my own.

GRAHAM: And where does that leave us? Are we still in business?

HALLIE: (nods, tries not to tear up) Yes. Definitely. I didn't work on persuading you for months and months to have nothing come of it. After all, (looking around at the restaurant, which is empty, but strangely beautiful in the afternoon light) this is my dream too. And look at it. (awestruck) This is *ours*. Your family's. . . (touching her swollen belly) and my family's too, I guess.

GRAHAM: (coming up beside her to survey their kingdom) And the investors', and the bank's. Let's not leave them out of our happy little family.

HALLIE: (laughs) No, we can never forget generous old "Uncle Savings & Loan," can we?

GRAHAM: So we're still partners?

HALLIE: (nods) Partners.

GRAHAM: And I hope we're still friends.

HALLIE: Absolutely. You *and* Patty. I'm going to need some friends.

GRAHAM: (beaming) I'm glad. And not just because of the restaurant.

HALLIE: Good. (deadpan) Hey, partner?

GRAHAM: (worried that there's more) What?

HALLIE: I bought all those candles and loaded them up so I think you can unload them, okay? And get a move on. I have somewhere to go.

GRAHAM: Okay. (smiling) But you better not make me late for pool with Neil.

HALLIE: (innocently) I don't know where you get this? Associating *me* with being late? That's not like me at all. Have you been smoking crack again?

GRAHAM: (nodding, deadpan) Yes, but maybe that's why it always seems to me like you're constantly late.

HALLIE: Hey! I'm the interesting and funny one in this partnership. I'm just carrying you for your cooking and box-lifting skills, so get going.

Graham exits. She watches him go, wistfully for a moment, then she simply turns her attention to the box, and begins to open it.


Brian is working on some schoolwork on the tray that attaches to the metal railing of his bed. Rickie and Delia knock and come in.

BRIAN: (pleased) Hey! (sees Delia) Oh, hi. I didn't know you were coming.

DELIA: Hey. I hope that's okay.

BRIAN: (sincerely) It's better than okay. It's just that I'm . . . surprised, I guess. But pleasantly surprised. (he tries a shy smile at Delia, which she manages to return)

RICKIE: (trying not to smile too obviously) We brought your schoolwork. We got it from Angela.

BRIAN: Good. (explaining) Well, not *good* like I was running out. I'm still pretty behind. (almost to himself) I just can't seem to concentrate like I used to. I meant good because I think Angela is getting a little overwhelmed by having to come by here all the time.

RICKIE: I don't think so. (reassuring) She seems happy to do it.

BRIAN: Oh, I know. She's been great. I didn't mean that. (softly) I just meant that I think being in the hospital upsets her. (looks around) I guess I can understand that. So thanks for giving her a break. (to Delia) And thanks for coming by. I--I mean I never got to thank you in person for taking notes for me in calculus. It really means a lot, you know, after what happened.

Rickie raises his eyebrows, trying to signal Brian to avoid that particular topic.

DELIA: It's no problem. Really. I'm happy to help.

BRIAN: (trying way too hard) And they're really good. The notes. I mean, Sharon's are the neatest, of course, but I need them most in calc, and your notes make more sense than his lectures ever did most of the time. I mean, it's like he goes out of the way to be obscure (seeing Delia regarding him strangely) I guess I don't really have to tell you that, though. (deflating) Sorry. I babble. (disgusted with himself) I know it's annoying, but there is no such thing as a self-muzzle. So. Just thank you. I really appreciate it.

DELIA: (smiling) You're welcome.

BRIAN: (gets out of bed) Well come on, we can sit down. (thinking) I mean, if you can stay a minute. If you need to get going, or whatever, I totally. . .

DELIA: No. We were planning on staying for a few minutes, right Rickie?

RICKIE: (smiling at her) Right

They move to a table in the corner.

DELIA: (abruptly) So how are you? I mean, are we allowed to ask?

Rickie's eyes widen in either amazement or embarrassment.

BRIAN: (taken aback) No, it's fine. I mean, *I'm* fine, I guess. Dr. Garcia is still trying to induce initial remission, you know, getting rid of the cancer cells.

DELIA: Does it hurt?

BRIAN: No. All I do is have tests taken and take the chemo pills. They don't hurt, they just make you kind of sick. I take other pills with them, to prevent the nausea, but they haven't worked very well so far.

RICKIE: When are you getting out of here?

BRIAN: Dr. Garcia says that remission induction and the second phase of treatment take about four or six weeks altogether. So if I'm on schedule, I could be back home by spring break and maybe back at school, at least part time, soon after that. But she says those are just estimates. Enough about that, what have you two been up to? Anything that has nothing to do with the hospital.

RICKIE: Well, Delia took me to a John Waters film festival last weekend.

DELIA: (giggles) That was so much fun! (to Brian) Can you believe Rickie hadn't ever seen Hairspray before?

Brian just looks at her, not wanting to admit it.

RICKIE: Delia, somehow I don't think that Brian has seen it either.

DELIA: You haven't?

BRIAN: (shaking his head) No. Sorry. I don't see a lot of movies.

DELIA: Oh. Well, it's hilarious. Ricki Lake is in it, but she's a lot heavier than she is on her show.

RICKIE: (defending her) But still very cute!

DELIA: (agreeing) Yeah, no, that's right, still cute. And it's set in the sixties and deals with racism and stereotypes. . .

RICKIE: But in a fun-loving and musical way!

DELIA: Exactly. I think it was Divine's last movie with Waters. . .

RICKIE: (explaining) Divine is this huge, huge, drag queen that plays Ricki Lake's mom. . .

DELIA: (Giggles) And it has the best music and dance scenes (looks at Rickie, starts to hum and shimmy back and forth in her chair)

DELIA & RICKIE: (singing) "Gimme some gravy"

Delia and Rickie start to dance rather well, for still being seated. Shots of Brian during this exchange reveal him to be surprisingly enchanted with their banter. Watching them dance and click so well together brings a smile to his face, but there is a little envy in him too.

BRIAN: That sounds fun. You two. . .


BRIAN: You two are really good together. (smiles) I'm glad you got the chance to find that out.

Rickie just smiles back at him.

DELIA: Brian, you do know that Rickie and I aren't a couple, don't you?

BRIAN: (ineptly trying to be "hip") Oh, sure. You're just keeping it casual or whatever. That's. . . y'know. . . *cool*.

DELIA: (shoots a glance at Rickie, annoyed) Brian, we aren't a couple, because Rickie is *gay*. He likes other *guys*.

RICKIE: (in shock, to Delia) Could you have said that *less* tactfully? Do you think that's even possible?

DELIA: What? Do you think he was going to get the point in another way? What is wrong with being direct? I think Brian appreciates directness, (glancing Brian's way) Don't you Brian?

Brian is going to answer, but she turns back to Rickie so he just shuts his mouth again, and continues looking shocked.

RICKIE: Taking out an ad in the newspaper is pretty direct. Are you going to do *that*? Or are you planning on shouting it from church bell towers with a bullhorn?

DELIA: No! He's, like, your friend, you said so yourself, (Brian smiles warmly at that) and it's just stupid that he doesn't know.

BRIAN: (interrupting) You know something?

DELIA: What?

BRIAN: You two even argue well together.

RICKIE: (charmed by the thought) Really?

BRIAN: (not smiling) It's cute. (pause) In a mildly nauseating way.

DELIA: (smiles) Maybe that's just the chemo talking.

RICKIE: Delia!

DELIA: What? That was funny! (to Brian) Sorry.

BRIAN: It's okay. My therapist is always talking about how important it is to have a sense of humor, even at times like this. Unfortunately, I was never very funny. At least not intentionally.

RICKIE: (after a comfortable silence) Angela said you were specifically asking about me. Did you need something? Is it about computer? I know my notes are sometimes pretty garbled.

BRIAN: It's not that. (glances nervously at Delia) I just wanted to ask you a favor. You know those handkerchief-bandanna things you wear? On your head?

RICKIE: (frowning) Yes. What about them?

BRIAN: I was wondering if you could show me how to do that. (Rickie and Delia still regard him quizzically) I'm going to . . . I mean, I'm kind of starting to lose my hair. (unconsciously touching it) That's why it's sort of dirty. I don't like to wash it or brush it much, because it comes out. I know I'll need to keep my head warm. So I just planned on wearing a lot of baseball caps. But I thought around the house, those bandannas might be more comfortable, or something.

DELIA: (more somber now) Couldn't you get a wig?

BRIAN: (wryly) Have you ever seen a wig that looks like this? (points to head)

RICKIE: (chuckling) Sure. I can show you. No problem. I don't have one with me right now, though.

BRIAN: I don't have any at all, so I was also wondering if you could go and buy some for me. (reaches into pocket of sweats) Here's some money. I figure I need about seven. In varying colors or whatever. You know what kind of clothes I wear.

RICKIE: (taking the money, teasing, but not meanly) Yes I do. Brown, brown, khaki, tan and blue.

BRIAN: (almost ashamed) I know. I'm not very imaginative when it comes to clothes. Is that enough money?

DELIA: It looks like more than enough.

BRIAN: Good. If there's some left over, treat yourself to a snack or something. It's the least I can do when you're both being so nice.

RICKIE: Brian, shopping is hardly a chore for us.

DELIA: (giggles) Yeah, it's more like a hobby.

RICKIE: Or an obsession, even. But thank you for the offer.

BRIAN: No. Come on, I want you to have it. Just promise me that whatever you order is something that Dr. Garcia would freak out if I ate. Like a chili dog or something. (at the mention of chili dogs, Brian suddenly looks a little green)

BRIAN: (standing up) If you two would like, excuse me for a minute. . .

Rickie immediately reaches out and clamps his hand down on Delia's leg in case she is thinking of making good on her prior threat. Brian trots quickly into the adjoining bathroom and vomits noisily and repeatedly. Delia and Rickie's smiles fade into expressions of pity and sympathy, respectively.

DELIA: (after Brian has stopped for a minute) Maybe you should go in and make sure he's all right.

Rickie reluctantly heads into the small bathroom. Brian is on the floor hugging the toilet, and leaning on it for support. For such a big guy, he looks surprisingly fragile and weak. Rickie goes over to him, flushing the toilet.

BRIAN: Sorry about this. It just hits me at the oddest times. That's what I get for even thinking about chili dogs. Sorry. I know this is gross.

RICKIE: You don't have to be sorry. I'm actually kind of used to this. Y'know, with Rayanne. (kindly) You have a better reason though.

BRIAN: (with obvious self-loathing) Can you--I mean, that always leaves me feeling pretty wiped. Could you help me up?

RICKIE: Of course.

Rickie hefts Brian up, putting the toilet seat down, so he can sit down. Then Rickie grabs a hand towel off the rack and wets it in the sink.

RICKIE: (handing Brian the towel) For your face.

BRIAN: Thanks. (wipes his face) Rickie? Was what Delia said out there true? I can never tell when people are teasing me.

RICKIE: (swallowing hard) It's true. (worried) Does it matter?

BRIAN: (nodding) Of course it does.

Rickie bites his lip, but says nothing.

BRIAN: I mean, I already kind of thought you were, but sometimes it seemed like you were only talking to me because I knew Angela or whatever. . .

RICKIE: (looks confused now) Wait. What do you mean? Exactly?

BRIAN: Well, I already kind of considered us friends. But I'm notorious for being wrong about that type of thing. So, hearing that you consider me a friend too, and like, say it aloud, in front of people, well, (smiles up at Rickie) that's the best news I've had all week.

RICKIE: (finally getting what Brain is referring to, and just as importantly, what he is *not* referring to, smiling back at him) Thanks.

BRIAN: (sarcastically) Don't get too excited. Your only competition are rather disturbing medical test results, and Angela's reports about how wonderful Jordan is, and how great he's doing with *her* as his tutor. (tosses the towel at Rickie, shakes his head, as if remembering something painful) You come in just a hair above taking my shirt off in front of Rayanne's *Mother*.

RICKIE: (shocked) You got x-rayed by Amber?!?

BRIAN: (disapprovingly) Yes. Now I think I can understand why Rayanne drinks.

Rickie simply tosses the towel back at Brian's furrowed face.

INT.POOL HALL--Early evening

Graham and Neil are drinking beers and playing pool. The hall is almost empty.

NEIL: (watching Graham shoot) You've been awfully quiet. Especially for someone who said that they needed to talk. What's going on?

GRAHAM: It's about Hallie Lowenthal. And Patty.

NEIL: (whistles) I don't even want to know. The next time I see Patty she'll probably get it out of me in seconds. That stare of hers! It makes me want to go fetal and suck my thumb.

GRAHAM: (lining up a shot) That's because you have no backbone.

NEIL: Oh. Look who's talking. At least Patty is still speaking to *me*.

GRAHAM: She's still speaking to me. (pause) Just not very nicely.

NEIL: Oh. That's much better then. What is the problem?

GRAHAM: (blowing the shot) It's Hallie. She's pregnant.

NEIL: (turns red and almost chokes on his beer) My god. I didn't even think the two of you. . . (trails off)

GRAHAM: (irritated) God, Neil! We didn't. The baby is her ex-fiance's.

NEIL: Is that why he's an "ex"?

GRAHAM: I don't know for sure. I don't think so. She hasn't actually told me why they broke up. I just got the impression that it was his decision, not hers.

NEIL: Smart guy. I wish I could get rid of Marla that easily.

GRAHAM: No you don't.

NEIL: (smiles) I guess I don't. So what's the problem then? With Patty and Hallie?

GRAHAM: (clueless) I have no idea what is wrong with Patty, it's just like there's been this distance between us. It's been almost a month since we had sex.

NEIL: Really? That doesn't sound like you two.

GRAHAM: I know. And then today, Hallie totally lost it at the restaurant and said all these things to me about how she was imagining the two of us getting together.

NEIL: Wow. What did you say?

GRAHAM: Nothing. I was in shock. That she *said* it, I mean. I knew what she was thinking, I mean, at times it was obvious. Looks would pass between us. But she said that it had to stop.

NEIL: I repeat, "what's the problem?"

GRAHAM: Because when she said that, I was, I don't know, angry, and disappointed. Like I had to admit that I didn't want it to be over. I had to recognize just how close I came.

NEIL: To what?

GRAHAM: To acting on it. The attraction. I could have lost everything. Everything I've worked so hard for. (angry at himself) God, why do I do things like that?

NEIL: (pondering) I don't know. Maybe it's because Hallie seemed to really need you, and you don't feel needed enough.

Graham regards Neil skeptically.

NEIL: No, hear me out. That girl Judy, the one you almost "acted on it" with last fall, hadn't she just been through a divorce or something? Isn't that what you talked about?

GRAHAM: Partially. We talked about printing too.

NEIL: Well, maybe that's part of it. That's what these women have, that Patty doesn't. They actively need you.

GRAHAM: (defensive) Patty needs me.

NEIL: (rolls his eyes) No offense, Graham, but for what? Besides sex I mean.

GRAHAM: (offended) Neil! I can't believe you!

NEIL: (shrugs) Well, you're always telling me how she, like, throws herself at you in times of crisis.

GRAHAM: That doesn't mean she doesn't need me.

NEIL: I know. It's just that she's completely financially independent. I mean she's supporting *you* right now. And she's always been sort of emotionally distant. And who takes charge of everything? When Angela was lost this Christmas, or the gun went off in school, or that girl OD'ed, which one of you charged in to deal with it? Patty did. Every single time.

GRAHAM: Well, one of us has to stay with the kids.

NEIL: Graham, none of this is a criticism! That's what you wanted when you married her, isn't it? Someone you could lean on too?

GRAHAM: (softly) No. You're right. (long pause) I guess. . . I guess I just never expected her to be quite so good at it. Being the strong one.

NEIL: And maybe that's why you never actually do anything about these "attractions". I mean, you don't want a divorce, do you? You still love Patty?

GRAHAM: I don't want a divorce. I can't even imagine what my life would be like without Patty. Or the girls.

NEIL: So, that's it. It's just a fantasy on your part. A need to be needed. So maybe that's what you're seeing in these other women, someone who *needs* to lean on you, at least a little. But. . .

GRAHAM: But what?

NEIL: I just have no idea what they see in *you*.

GRAHAM: Watch it. I am holding a very large stick right now. So that's it then, huh? It seemed worse than that this afternoon. When it finally dawned on me what I was thinking, what I was considering doing. It was kind of scary.

NEIL: That's why you've got to talk to Patty.

GRAHAM: That's strange advice coming from you. Communication. I mean, you wouldn't even tell Marla your *address* for months.

NEIL: (mock serious) Hey! Don't even joke about that! If Marla knew where I lived, or, god forbid, my last name, I would really be in trouble. (he laughs) No. You have to talk to Patty because something is obviously not right with you two. And I bet that she knows everything. She probably knows how Hallie was feeling *and* how you were feeling *and* what every other human on the planet is feeling at any given time. (grimly) Her power is just that vast.

GRAHAM: You make her sound like super-woman or something.

NEIL: (shrugs) She is, isn't she? In a way?

GRAHAM: (nods, smiling warmly) In a lot of ways. I'll talk to her tonight. (shakes out of his reverie, takes a sip of beer) Now c'mon! Let's play. It's been your turn for like a half an hour.

--Early Evening

Patty and Camille Cherski are in the kitchen, eating take out Chinese food right out of the cartons. They are also drinking wine and are laughing.

CAMILLE: Patty, this was such a great idea! With Andy working late, I thought it would just be me and Sharon, but then she called and said she had some activity and then she was going to eat at some friend's house. We should do this more often! How often did you say Graham plays pool with Neil?

PATTY: Usually about twice a month.

CAMILLE: As much as I can't stand Neil, it's pretty nice that he and Graham get along so well. Andy won't even speak to his brothers anymore.

PATTY: I think Graham just has to get away from females and be with men once in awhile. I mean, he's surrounded by women here at home, and even at work.

CAMILLE: (her face turns sour) That Hallie person?

PATTY: (with her fake smile) Camille, she is really not that bad.

CAMILLE: (rolls her eyes) Patty, that smile may fool most people. But most people haven't known you for your entire life. Cut the crap.

PATTY: (laughs) Camille! Danielle and Angela are around.

CAMILLE: (smiles) Sorry. So how are things between you and Graham? Really?

Patty just looks at her, uncertain whether or not to talk about it.

CAMILLE: C'mon Patty, who else are you going to talk to about this? Your Mother?

They both laugh uproariously at that, Patty with a little bitterness.

PATTY: Everything is fine, Camille. Really. It's no big deal.

CAMILLE: (defeated) Okay. As long as you're sure. (the doorbell rings)

Patty rises to go get the door, and Camille follows a short way, still carrying a carton of something that she is picking at. Patty goes to the front door as Danielle begins to bound down the stairs.

PATTY: (amused) I've *got* it Danielle.

--Early Evening

Patty opens the door, and stands there dumbstruck when she sees that it is Hallie Lowenthal, who has obviously been crying.

PATTY: Oh, my god. Hallie? Graham's not here.

HALLIE: (sniffling, embarrassed) I know. Actually, I came to see you.

PATTY: (surprised) Then come in.

Hallie enters the house, and as Patty shuts the door, we can see Camille's shocked expression when she sees who is visiting. The door slams.

--Early Evening

Rayanne and Sharon come into the apartment. Sharon regards everything with a sense of bemused detachment and just a smidgen of distaste. Rayanne carries a brown paper sack.

RAYANNE: (opening sack, taking out pregnancy test) Okay. Do you want to do this now, or do you want something to eat, or something?

SHARON: I think I'd better just do it now. I mean, I don't want to, but I have to know? Right?

RAYANNE: Yeah. You have to know.

SHARON: Have you. . . I mean, has this ever happened to you?

RAYANNE: No. I've been late before, and a little scared, but I was never late enough to go and get a test. Besides, whenever I've done it, I've always, you know, *used* something.

SHARON: (indignant) Kyle and I used something. We were always safe, and responsible. (pause) But nothing is 100% effective I guess.

RAYANNE: What did you use?

SHARON: Condoms, and a sponge.

RAYANNE: The pill is better, isn't it. At preventing pregnancy, I mean?

SHARON: I guess. I mean, I could afford the condoms and the sponges, but a prescription for the pill is a little out of my allowance range. And I just couldn't bring myself to talk with my Mom about it. She and my Dad kind of see me as, like, this *perfect* child, or something.

RAYANNE: Well, you kind of are. You're like Patty Chase's wet dream.

SHARON: (laughing, shaking her head) Actually, I think Brian Krakow has *that* dubious honor. (sadly) Anyway, I'm not perfect any more. If I ever was.

RAYANNE: (pointing) Anyway, the bathroom's through there.

SHARON: (walks to bathroom door, turns back) Thanks.

RAYANNE: G'wan! The sooner you take the test, the sooner we can get on with our lives.

Rayanne fiddles around in the kitchenette while she is waiting for Sharon. She hears a door open and turns around, only to find Amber coming in the front door. She looks mildly alarmed.

RAYANNE: Mom! What are you doing here?

AMBER: I live here, remember?

RAYANNE: Right! Of course! I just thought you were doing something with Rusty tonight?

AMBER: I *am*. He's coming over here. I called him and told him if he wanted to see me tonight that he would have to settle for staying in, and that he would have to bring the food, because I'm beat.

RAYANNE: Oh. When is he getting here?

AMBER: Any minute. (we hear the sink in the bathroom running) Who's here?

RAYANNE: Just a friend. Her name is Sharon.

AMBER: That girl you worked with at the teen help line thingie?

RAYANNE: Yes. Exactly. I'll go get her. (she barges into the bathroom) My mother is home, and her boyfriend is coming over. I mean, she's never home, I didn't think she would be tonight.

SHARON: That's okay. We could go to my house I guess. I have my own bathroom.

RAYANNE: But did you already, you know. . .

SHARON: No. I didn't have to go. And then I heard your Mom's voice. I can never go when people are around. Neurotic, huh?

RAYANNE: Okay. Just give it to me, and I'll slip it in my bag, and we'll make our getaway as quickly as we can.

The two girls come out of the bathroom, and Amber smiles at them.

AMBER: Hi, you must be Sharon. I'm Rayanne's Mom. You can call me Amber.

SHARON: Hi. Nice to meet you.

AMBER: Raynie, it is just so strange, you must have been with me in spirit today, because this is the second of your friends that I met today.

RAYANNE: Really? Who else did you meet?

AMBER: The sick one. Krakow is it? He had to have a x-ray today.

SHARON: You met Brian?

AMBER: You know him too?

SHARON: Pretty much all my life.

AMBER: He's kind of cute. A little too skinny, but that hair is a riot. (laughs) Going all this way and that. (opening one of those frozen drinks in a pouch) But I guess his hair isn't going to look like that much longer.

RAYANNE: Is he okay?

AMBER: I guess so. I've seen a lot of those kids come through the hospital. The oncology department is really very good. He's getting the best care. . .


AMBER: (not wanting to say it) They can't save everyone, honey. Not all the kids make it. But Brian seemed really strong. He had a strong spirit. He was also unbelievably polite. Now I can picture him taking you out for ice cream.

Sharon shoots Rayanne a shocked look, but Rayanne just shrugs.

AMBER: Where are you two off to?

RAYANNE: We're just going over to Sharon's for awhile.

AMBER: Okay. That works out well, that way Rusty and I can have some quality time, if you know what I mean.

Sharon's eyebrows go up at this, but she smiles and nods politely.

RAYANNE: (rolls her eyes) Mom, I *always* know what you mean. (to Sharon) C'mon let's go.

The girls exit.


Patty and Camille are sitting in the living room. Patty looks over her shoulder towards the first floor bathroom.

CAMILLE: (not very quietly) What is *she* doing here?

PATTY: I have no idea. Did you see her, she had been crying.

CAMILLE: That's why she wanted to go wash up? (Patty nods) Oh. She *also* looked like she has gained weight since I last saw her.

PATTY: Camille!

CAMILLE: Well, it did. I'm just saying. . .

We hear the sink running for a second. Then the bathroom door opens and Hallie comes out. She looks a little better, like she has washed her face, but it is still easy to see that she has been crying, and her make-up is washed away.

PATTY: (standing) Are you okay? Come sit down.

Hallie takes the chair and Camille and Patty watch her appraisingly from the couch.

HALLIE: Thanks. Sorry about that dramatic entrance. I'm just upset. I was driving around, aimlessly, and I saw your light on. . . and I knew I had to talk to you sometime. And I was just standing there on the porch, trying to think of what to say to you, and I suddenly lost it and started bawling. That's never happened to me before. Maybe it has something to do with hormones, I don't know. . .

CAMILLE: What hormones?

HALLIE: Well, (to Patty) that's part of what came here to tell you. I'm pregnant.

Camille looks triumphant, seeing her weight theory proved correct, but Patty pales considerably, it is obvious that she has the wrong idea.

HALLIE: And I just needed someone to talk to about the whole situation, with Brad and his horrid family. Preferably a woman. But it turns out that I don't have a lot of friends. (laughs) I know, not that big a surprise, the way I run off at the mouth.

Camille and Patty both try to deny this, with gestures.

HALLIE: I mean, when I left college, I left all my friends behind and moved here with Brad to be near his family. And he got me a job and sort of plugged me into his world. Of knowing the "right" people. And it was clearly implied that all my old friends from Texas were not "right" for some reason or another. And now, it's like he got all of our friends in "the divorce". The only people I don't know directly through Brad are you and Graham, who I was lucky enough to meet at that cooking class. (pause) It's weird, because I only ever took it to get Brad off my back about how bad my cooking was, or actually, still is, but that class changed my life. And Graham's. And yours too.

PATTY: (quietly) That's true.

HALLIE: And I know that you don't like me very much.

PATTY: That's not true.

CAMILLE: Oh Patty, yes it is! (Patty looks appalled) (to Hallie) It is. But maybe just because we don't know you very well.

HALLIE: (laughs) Actually, getting to know me is generally what turns people off. Brad's family liked me at first, I guess they just thought I was nervous, so I talked a lot and put my foot in my mouth. I guess they thought that I would settle down or something when Brad and I got married. Maybe Brad thought that too. At the engagement party they threw me, they gave me all these gag gifts. (softly) Brad's sister gave me a box of depends. She said they were for my diarrhea of the mouth, so I could stop saying such inappropriate things all the time. I laughed, but I knew. . . I mean, she made it clear. . . that she wasn't kidding.

PATTY: Is that why you and Brad broke up? Graham never told me.

HALLIE: (almost crying again) Graham doesn't know. I was too embarrassed to tell him what happened. (sighs) Once Brad's family figured out that I was never going to be a perfect society lady, they offered me one hundred thousand dollars to break up with him.

PATTY: (surprised) When you said Brad was loaded, I didn't know you meant *that* loaded.

CAMILLE: My god. What did you do?

HALLIE: I laughed. (shrugs) I couldn't believe they were serious. It was all like something out of a bad Danielle Steel novel. They accused me of marrying Brad for his money. I pointed out that that's what pre-nuptial agreements are good for and told them that Brad would be furious when I told them what they did.

PATTY: Was he?

HALLIE: I never got the chance to tell him. They went and told him. Then his Mother said that if he married me that she would disown him. (pause) He broke off our engagement the next day.

CAMILLE: And he said his decision was based on the money?

HALLIE: He admitted that it had something to do with it. But he also said that he always thought that I would quit working once we were married, and he didn't understand my obsession with the restaurant. He didn't understand that I wanted something that was all *mine*.

The doorbell rings again. Danielle bounds down the steps, quickly enough to indicate that she has probably been listening.

DANIELLE: (opening door to find Jordan standing there, screaming) Angela! Jordan Catalano is here! Come in.

Jordan steps in, and all three women stand. He looks intimidated by the sheer number of eyes peering at him.


PATTY: (coming forward to greet him) Hello, Jordan. Angela will be right down.

Angela bounds down the stairs, wearing a skirt, but also her omni-present flannel shirt and boots.

CAMILLE: Hi, Angela.

ANGELA: Hey. (she smiles at the adults and Danielle, to Jordan) I'm ready.


PATTY: (as they exit) I want you home by ten. (she shuts the door, and turns back to the living room, but before she can shoo Danielle out of the room. . .)

DANIELLE: (to Hallie) Why were you crying?

HALLIE: Hormones, I guess. I'm pregnant.

DANIELLE: Oh. But you're not married.

PATTY: (embarrassed) Danielle!

HALLIE: No, it's all right. (to Danielle) That's true. I'm having the baby anyway.

DANIELLE: Like Murphy Brown?

HALLIE: (charmed) Yes. I guess so. But without a makeup person and hairdresser.

DANIELLE: (she looks at Hallie with renewed respect) Cool. (she charges upstairs)

HALLIE: (turning back to Patty and Camille) Well, it's nice to have at least one person's blessing.

PATTY: I'm sorry, Hallie, but I'm still not really clear on why you came here.

HALLIE: Looking for a friend, I guess. I mean, we should be friends, you and I, we're going into business together. But I guess we're not. Friends. And that's sort of my fault.

PATTY: How so?

HALLIE: I know you feel left out of the business. And it's your money too, not just Graham's. It's under his name for business reasons, but it's both of your future's that we're gambling with here. And your family's. I guess I never understood what a huge risk you're taking. (touching her stomach) Until now. Now I think I can understand why you're so cautious all the time. (looking around, and then up the steps where Danielle has gone) You have so much to lose. And I tend to run roughshod over everybody else, and I know I've done that to you. So, I'm sorry. I promise that we'll include you in more of the decision making.

PATTY: (peace offering) Well, Graham told me about your reasoning behind framing the concept of the restaurant as a dining *experience*, and, in my humble opinion. . .it made a lot of sense.

HALLIE: (surprised smile) Thank you. I still haven't come up with a name to go with the reasoning, though, so don't be too impressed.

PATTY: Actually, as Graham was explaining this to me, using all these adjectives, like fluffy, decadent, and rich, I sort of had an idea along those lines.

CAMILLE: You didn't tell me that. Let's hear it!

PATTY: Well, I thought a good name would be "Cloud Nine".

Hallie's eyes open wide, as she considers the possibilities.

PATTY: (going on) It fits in pretty well with the fountain and the little cherub carvings around the base of the fountain.

Hallie is nodding.

PATTY: And the types of food Graham says will be on the menu. . .

HALLIE: Exactly! And I can just see the menus, now, with fluffy white clouds in the background, or separating the food types. Can you do that? Print them like that cheaply without obscuring the lettering?

PATTY: (thinking) Well, it *would* cost a little more. But since one of the partners is married to someone who owns a printing shop, I bet we can get a good deal.

HALLIE: I love it! (to Camille) Don't you love it?

CAMILLE: (nodding) It *is* pretty catchy. I'll bet the ad copy will write itself.

PATTY: (explaining) Camille is a freelance copyeditor.

HALLIE: Really? We'll have to run stuff by you when we get to that.

CAMILLE: Well, anything I can do to help, (pats Patty's knee) of course I'll do it.

HALLIE: It's settled then. That's the name. (to Patty) Right?

PATTY: What about Graham?

HALLIE: That'll teach him to miss a meeting, huh? (laughs) Going off with Neil, or whoever. Who is Neil anyway?

PATTY: Neil is Graham's younger brother.

HALLIE: (very interested) Really?

CAMILLE: Oh, don't even think it! (Patty and Camille laugh very loudly) Dating Neil is like purgatory, you do your time and then you get out as fast as you can!

HALLIE: Really? I mean, if he's anything like Graham. . .

Patty stops laughing and looks suspicious again.

HALLIE: . . the way Graham talks about you, and the girls. (sighs) I just wish more men were like that. I wish *Brad* was like that. Even a little. Maybe then there would be a chance for us. (to Patty, a peace offering of her own) You're really lucky.

PATTY: (getting at least some of the subtext) Thank you.

CAMILLE: (nosy 'til the last) So, have you told Brad?

HALLIE: He knows. He's already threatening to sue for custody.

CAMILLE: (gasps) What did you say?

HALLIE: (angry) I told him that if he thought even all his money would be able to persuade a judge to take a child away from it's mother then he was more high on himself than I thought. (pause) Then I told him to take all his stocks and bonds, and wad them up into a little ball, and *cram* it!

CAMILLE: When you say things like that, I find myself liking you more and more.

PATTY: (nodding) And hating Brad more and more.

HALLIE: (smiles) Good. Hating Brad is the new prerequisite for all my friends.

PATTY: Well, (smiling) then I guess I qualify after all.


Angela and Jordan seated listening to a band that sounds wretched.

JORDAN: They really stink. You wanna get out of here?

ANGELA: (relieved) I thought you'd never ask.


The park is well-lit, with pathways. Angela and Jordan walk along a path near a large swingset.

JORDAN: Shane got suspended today.

ANGELA: Really? What for?

JORDAN: They caught him putting crazy glue on the chairs in the lunch room. Y'know, for April Fools Day? Tino put him up to it.

ANGELA: (laughs) Oh no, did anyone sit in it?

JORDAN: Some freshman did. But Shane didn't think it through very well. If the glue is already dry, then nothing happens. And if it's not, you're going to feel that you sat in something sticky. This kid felt it and got up quick.

ANGELA: I bet his pants were ruined though.

JORDAN: Yeah. (looking at the swingset) You wanna go on the swings?

ANGELA: (smiles) Sure. I haven't done that in years.

They get on swings next to one another and begin pumping back and forth. Jordan gets higher much faster than Angela.

ANGELA: (VO) We used to come down here all the time when I was little. This is nice, being with Jordan this way. I bet Rayanne would think it's corny, but this is what I imagined that dating would be like, only it never was. I bet Rickie would understand. It's nice to do something small and ordinary and have it seem brand new, just because you're with someone special.

JORDAN: C'mon, swing higher! Jumping is the best part!

Jordan is swinging high enough for the chains to go slack before he crashes back into gravity's pull again. On the next upswing, as he reaches the apex, he lets go, and flies off into the dark night, landing on his feet, in the grass, with a grunt.

ANGELA: (VO) Sharon and I used to do that all the time. Brian was always too afraid. I should have known Jordan would like to jump. (pause) I don't remember ever being scared to jump before, but at that moment I had this excitement in my stomach. Whether it was from the prospect of jumping, or whether it had something to do with this strangely perfect night with Jordan Catalano, I'll never know, because at that minute, I just let go. . .

Angela flies out of the swing. Jordan is facing the swings, waiting for her. She lands near him, and he puts out his arms to catch her. They stumble, but do not fall. She looks into his eyes, and they continue to hold one another. Then they both let go, but in another way. They kiss passionately, in the dim light of the park, near the swings, as the camera pulls away from them.


Sharon leads Rayanne into her room, with more pink that you can shake a stick at.

RAYANNE: Are you sure your parents don't mind that I'm here?

SHARON: Of course I am. I can have friends over anytime I want.

RAYANNE: Why do you have two beds?

SHARON: They're antiques. They came in a set. My mom always wanted to have more kids, but she was never able to get pregnant again. We always called that Angela's bed. It's where she slept when she stayed over. (smiles) We always made Brian take the floor.

RAYANNE: Wow. Sometimes I forget how long you all have known each other. There must be a lot of things you know about Angela that I don't.

SHARON: (resigned) I'm going to go and check on the test.

RAYANNE: (flopping on one of the beds) Why? You still have time left. Come talk to me, it'll take your mind off it. Tell me more Angela stories.

SHARON: I want to hear about you and Brian Krakow going out for ice cream.

RAYANNE: (defensive, her reputation is at stake) It was nothing. Just me getting free food off someone. *That's* nothing new.

SHARON: Okay. I remember you saying once that you had tried going out with all types of guys. I just thought you were starting a geek phase, or something.

RAYANNE: No, I did that in Middle School. I kissed Adam Molnar, who is like, the king of dorks, he has Krakow beat hands down.

SHARON: Eew! I can't believe you kissed Adam!

RAYANNE: He actually kissed pretty good, for Eighth Grade. I didn't really know you and Angela then.

SHARON: No, that's true. We kind of hung out with other kids.

RAYANNE: (derisive) Yeah. The *popular* crowd. A bunch of two-faced social butterflies, and kiss-ups. (looking at Sharon) I don't mean you.

SHARON: I guess I'm finally beginning to see how true that is, in a way. It never mattered back then, because I always had Angela. But it's sort of true. We kind of started avoiding Brian when we started at the Middle School. Now, after my break-up with Kyle, some of my so-called friends are avoiding *me*.

RAYANNE: You've still got Angela.

SHARON: (nods) And Delia. And you. Thanks for being here with me for this.

RAYANNE: Sure. You can probably go check the test now.

SHARON: I know. I'm just working up the courage.

RAYANNE: So we want it to be blank, right?

SHARON: Yes. There's a plus sign if it's positive.

RAYANNE: You want me to come with you?

Sharon just nods. They walk out into the hall and next door to the bathroom. Sharon picks up the indicator, and regards it grimly.

SHARON: (grimly) It's positive. (She sets it down carefully, as if it, like her life, may shatter)


Graham comes in. Patty is sitting in bed, reading.

PATTY: Hey there. Did you win?

GRAHAM: Nope. I was off my game tonight. Distracted.


GRAHAM: I was upset, Patty. (pause) We need to talk.

PATTY: Okay. But I have some news first. I had a visitor.

GRAHAM: I know. I saw the Chinese. I figure that means Camille stopped by.

PATTY: (nodding) She did. But we had another visitor. Hallie Lowenthal.

GRAHAM: (truly surprised by this) She was here? Is she all right? There was something going on all day with her and Brad. He called again just as I was leaving to meet Neil. (thinking) She *did* tell you that she's pregnant?

PATTY: Yes. She told us about the baby. And we talked about names.

GRAHAM: (confused) For the baby?

PATTY: No, for the restaurant. We also picked one. Want to hear it?

GRAHAM: Yes--wait, you two picked it? Together?

PATTY: Yes. I came up with the name from the description you gave me, and Hallie and Camille both liked it.

GRAHAM: Well, what is it?

PATTY: Cloud Nine. (she lets that percolate with Graham)

GRAHAM: Yeah. I like that. Good job, Patty, now this feels (smile) real.

PATTY: Thank you. Now what did you want to talk about?

GRAHAM: (sitting on the bed next to her) I want to know what's wrong. With us, I mean. Because something is wrong.

PATTY: (softly) I know.

GRAHAM: Well what is it?

PATTY: I don't trust you. Sometimes.

GRAHAM: (angry) I hate it when you say things like that. I don't think you've ever really trusted me not to disappear. It's like you're always planning ahead for the day that I leave. It colors *everything* you do. How do you think that makes me feel?

PATTY: I know. (staring at him) So is that why you do it? Since I don't trust you anyway, you do things to deliberately test me? Because you can't possibly lose my trust, if you never had it anyway?

GRAHAM: (looking away) What things?

PATTY: Meeting female customers when you say you're out with Neil. Trying to play Hallie Lowenthal and I off each other.

GRAHAM: You knew about that? About Judy?

PATTY: I'm not stupid, Graham. I didn't know who. But Neil called here one night when you were supposed to be out with *him*.

GRAHAM: Why didn't you say anything?

PATTY: (angry) Because I'm terrified of losing you, that's why! I'm not about to be your second choice!

GRAHAM: What are you talking about?

PATTY: (ranting, crying) All my life, I've been everybody's second choice! My biological parents, *whoever* they are, gave me up rather than get to know me. The Woods wanted to have children of their own, not some cast-aside! You don't know how many times I heard my father say he was disappointed in me. I had to live up to this standard of the perfect child they never even had! How can you compete with a dream child? (pause) Even with Tony Poole. All the drugs, and the booze. I told him that I loved him, but he had to give them up. It was them or me. He just laughed, like he didn't even have to think about it. Like the choice was obvious. (pause) I think I married you partly because I thought you would never do that to me.

GRAHAM: What do you mean?

PATTY: You seemed to love me so much. And (ashamed) I thought, here is someone who won't even go looking for anyone else, if he gets *me*.

GRAHAM: Because someone like me was so beneath you?

PATTY: No. (pause, cannot look at him) Yes. I thought I was better than you. Or at least, I thought you couldn't *do* any better than me.

GRAHAM: (resigned) So it's not even about *me* then, is it? It never has been. You're not afraid of *losing* me. That's secondary. You're only afraid of being left again. Of failing at marriage.

PATTY: (worried) No, Graham, it *is* about you! I said that those things were *part* of the reason I married you. They're not the whole reason. (pleading) They're not even the most important reasons.

GRAHAM: (unconvinced) Then what are? Why me?

PATTY: Because you believed in me. (pause) And you taught me how to laugh, even at myself. I never knew before. I was always too busy making sure everyone was happy, too busy trying, in vain, to be perfect. Too worried about what people would think, to really let go and just laugh. You made me laugh more than I ever had, with anyone. You still do. And, you made me realize how much everyone needs to laugh. Even me. It's *you*, Graham. (she starts to weep) Without you, all the laughter. . . all the joy, would disappear. . .

Graham's hurt expression melts during this speech. He looks like he is about to cry as well, and smiles, genuinely touched. He reaches for her, and holds her tightly in his arms, rocking her.

GRAHAM: (softly, into her ear) It's the same for me, Patty. That's why I could never leave you. How could I? (pause) It's like the whole world exists in your face. . . and when you smile at me, anything seems possible. How could anything ever be "better" than that? You could never be second choice. You're the only choice. The best choice I ever made.

PATTY: (pulls out of the embrace, gently, and smiles at him) Thank you. I just need to hear it sometimes. Maybe too often. But, I love you too.

GRAHAM: (huskily) I know.

Graham moves in and gently kisses her. She returns his affection, and, as usual things heat up quickly, and their lovemaking becomes more urgent. Graham drags her down off the bed, and out of sight.


Patty is standing in her robe in the darkened living room, near the clock on the mantle. She is looking at pictures of her and Graham on their wedding day. Her hand comes up to her throat in a very Angela-esque gesture. She smiles, probably remembering that day, but her smile is genuine for once. Her sincere smile is very different, but what it lacks in wattage, it makes up for in warmth. She is beautiful in that moment. We hear the back door open, and Angela comes in. She comes toward the living room and sees her Mother there. She looks worried.

PATTY: (her back goes rigid, she does not turn around) Don't you have a watch?

ANGELA: Uhm. . .no.

PATTY: (turning around, sternly) Do you have any idea what time it is?

ANGELA: Well, I mean, Jordan and I. . .(seeing Patty's expression). . . I guess not.

PATTY: It's past eleven. And it's a school night. I *told* you to be home by ten. When I say ten, I *mean* ten.

ANGELA: (earnest) I know. We must have lost track of the time. I had no idea it was that late!

PATTY: I thought I was able to trust you. But you've proven now that I can't.

ANGELA: (pleading) No. You can! Honestly. It was just. . . (Angela trails off as Patty breaks into a satisfied smile)

PATTY: (like the Cheshire cat) Angela?

ANGELA: (seems confused) What?

PATTY: April Fools. (starts toward the stairs, turns back) Turn out the light when you come upstairs, okay?

ANGELA: (dumbfounded, regarding Patty with equal parts alarm and awe) Sure.

PATTY: Great. Good night.

ANGELA: 'Night. (she watches Patty climb the stairs and smiles to herself, then she leans over and turns out the light--everything goes black)

BLACK SCREEN: " Prologue. Twelve Days Later."


There is a man on the porch, around 26 years old, with brown hair, glasses, and a noticeable paunch. He is dressed in a suit and seems agitated. He rings the bell.

ANGELA: (opening the door, regarding the man with curiosity) Hello.

MAN: (brightly, in a somewhat manic tone) Hi! I'm looking for Patricia Wood.

Angela looks confused.

MAN: (laughing, hitting his head with the palm of his hand) Sorry. I guess her name would be Patricia Chase now, wouldn't it? Does she live here?

ANGELA: (confused, suspicious) Yes. She's my Mom.

MAN: (thrilled at the idea) Really? That's great. (Angela frowns at that) Can I come in? (with that, he sort of barges past Angela, who looks shocked)

ANGELA: Dad! (to the man) I'm sorry. I didn't get your name.

MAN: Oh. My name is Ethan. Ethan Henshaw. (Graham walks in, and the man turns to face him, and extends his hand) Ethan Henshaw. Pleased to meet you.

GRAHAM: (automatically taking his hand) Likewise. (he glances at Angela)

ANGELA: (shrugs) He's looking for Mom.

GRAHAM: (smiling) Oh. Do you know Patty from Wood & Jones?

MAN: (laughs) Well, not really. We've never actually met.

GRAHAM: You haven't?

MAN: (still smiling, and virtually bouncing with energy) No. (glancing around the house, noticing some pictures) My god, (going to it) this is her, isn't it? This is Patricia. I mean, Patty. She's beautiful.

GRAHAM: (trying not to be rude) I'm sorry, but who *are* you? Are you a friend of Patty's or something?

MAN: (smiling, looking a little embarrassed, but not much) I guess you could call me that. Or a relative. (pause) I'm Patty's brother. (he turns back to the picture)

Graham and Angela look at one another with appropriately shocked expressions.

BLACK SCREEN: "To be continued. . ."



--Hairspray is indeed a film by John Waters, starring Divine and Ricki Lake. It was released in 1989, and is just as wonderful as Rickie and Delia think it is.

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Episode No. 24 - Choices by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)
Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 94 KB (17226 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.3/5   4.3/5 (46 votes)

Read this story now: Episode No. 24 - Choices

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Reviews for this story

Rating Distribution:
Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (37 votes)
  • anonymous author commented on 04 Jun 2002:
    A long-lost brother? That's really cliche. But then again, "cliches happen"
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    in #19, Jordan said he didn't want to pretend -- meaning he didn't want to have to pretend that what
    he did with Rayanne never happend, you're changing that
    Patty Chase's wet dream -- hello Breakfast Club! : )
    Jordan Catalano doesn't swing, like, as policy
    I think that Rayanne went to a different middle school than Angela and Sharon and Brian (she does live "clear across town") and that they only met at high school
  • zach gave this story a 4.0/5 4.0/5 rating and commented on 19 Aug 2008:
    Well, you definitely have Patty and Hallie down cold! I kinda cringed at Jordan swinging as well but, in all - it's not as if I'm going to not read the next one!
  • anonymous gave this story a 3.0/5 3.0/5 rating and commented on 20 Jun 2009:
    I don't like the labels at the beginning of each episode saying "one week later," etc. Episodic television doesn't use those, with the exception of Part I/Part II storyline continuations.

    Also, what is listed as a "prologue" at the end is actually an epilogue. And they would never show that label, either.

    I thought the dialogue in the first episode of this series was fantastic, but it is starting to sound less and less like the actual characters as I read through these.

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“Do we have to keep talking about religion? It's Christmas.”

Danielle Chase, Episode 15: "So-Called Angels"