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Episode No. 26 - Performance Anxiety

written by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)

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About this story

Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 88 KB (16872 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (32 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Black Screen-- "Seven Days Later" then, as that fades, "Wednesday"


INT.CHASE KITCHEN
--Morning

Angela and Danielle are eating cereal and watching Graham bustle around on the verge of a total panic attack. Patty watches Graham with a bemused expression.

ANGELA: (to no one in particular) My hair is really growing out. (fingers her hair) Do you guys think I should dye it again, or not?

No one pays much attention. Angela gives her family a "hello!" expression.

GRAHAM: (gesturing) I cannot *believe* that we open tomorrow! There are a million things that have to be done. We are *never* going to be ready on time.

PATTY: Of course you will! Everything is done. The help is all hired . . .

GRAHAM: I *still* don’t think we have enough busboys, and the others cooks could do with some more training (thinking) I think I just need to go in there and dig into the work and just (pause) *stay* there until it’s done. (looks around as if surprised to see people around) So. I’m going. (he moves out of kitchen)

PATTY: (calling after him) Maybe you should get dressed first. You think?

GRAHAM: (stops in the doorway, looks at his ratty bathrobe) Oh. I guess so.

DANIELLE: (watching Graham wander out) Mom, is Daddy going crazy?

PATTY: (smiles) No. He’s just excited about the opening of the restaurant. I don’t think he slept very much last night. He was already up when I got up.

ANGELA: (picking at her cereal) If he was up *that* long, the least he could have done is make us some breakfast. (pause) Like he *used* to.

PATTY: (frowning) Okay, you two. I want both of you to give your father a break. This is a big step for him, and for the whole family. If everything does go well. . .

DANIELLE: (raised eyebrow) Are we going to be *rich*?

PATTY: (rolls her eyes) Not exactly. But it would . . . it would be pretty great if the restaurant is a success, wouldn’t it? This is very important to your father, so would it *kill* the two of you to act a little excited? He really needs our support, okay?

Danielle nods obediently, and Angela looks about to acquiesce as well.

PATTY: (light bulb) That reminds me. I need to call Ethan and make sure he can make it tomorrow night. (exiting room) You two be sure to rinse out your bowls!

ANGELA: Mom? What about my hair?

PATTY: (not stopping) Whatever you decide is fine, honey.

Danielle gets up and moves to the sink. Angela just sits there, stirring her milk.

ANGELA: (VO) It’s so strange. I always thought it would be great if my parents could just butt out of my life. But then, when I wasn’t looking, they went and got these lives of their *own*, or whatever. I’m pretty sure that the fact that my parents seem to have more of a life than I do is one of the first signs of the apocalypse. (pause) Now I’m just waiting for locusts, or something.

There is a knock on the back door. Angela, surprised, goes to open it. She does, and finds a cute young boy with black hair standing there, holding a plastic bike helmet.

ANGELA: (raised eyebrows) Hi. (pause) Are you here for Danielle?

RYAN: Yeah. I’m Ryan. We were gonna ride to school together on our bikes.

ANGELA: Oh. Sure. (she turns to call Danielle, but before she can speak, Danielle bounds up to her and shoves past, yelling "Bye") Bye.

ANGELA: (jealous, watching Danielle go) (VO) The locusts have landed.


INT.BUS
--Morning

Brian Krakow is sitting by himself near the back of the bus. He looks pale, and his clothes seem loose on him. He still wears a bandanna on his head.

ANGELA: (plopping down next to him) Hey.

BRIAN: (barely looking at her) Hi. (he looks out the window as the bus moves)

ANGELA: (VO) Things have been sort of . . . *tense* for me and Brian the last week. Ever since the day of Katimski’s hearing. I meant to talk to him the next day, when I brought him his schoolwork, but the next day he came back to school. So I never had to collect his work anymore. So I didn’t talk to him about what I said, and how, like, *wrong* I was about him. And ever since then, the more that time passes, the harder it gets.

BRIAN: So. You’re going to the play, right? Our Town?

ANGELA: Yeah. I thought I would have to help out or something. But it turns out Rickie and Delia have everything under control.

BRIAN: So what night are you going?

ANGELA: Saturday. The last night. How about you?

BRIAN: (shakes head) I never got tickets. I just didn’t know if I’d, you know, still be well enough, or whatever. Who’re you going with?

ANGELA: My family. And my Uncle. (pauses, looks away) And Jordan.

BRIAN: (nods) Right. Of course.

ANGELA: Lots of kids from class are going. To show, like, support for Mr. Katimski. You should go. There are still tickets left. It would mean a lot to Rickie. Not to mention Rayanne and Delia. (she trails off, still looking at him)

BRIAN: I guess. I don’t want to go alone, though.

ANGELA: The seats in our row are already sold, otherwise you could just come with us. (thinks) You could ask Sharon. I don’t think she has tickets yet.

BRIAN: I don’t know. I think I make her uncomfortable or something.

ANGELA: (concerned) What do you mean?

BRIAN: Well, at first, she came to see me all the time. Then, she just . . . stopped.

ANGELA: That doesn’t have anything to do with you. She’s been totally avoiding everyone. We don’t know *what* happened. Probably something with Kyle. You should talk to her. I’ve tried. She won’t talk to me. Maybe you could help.

BRIAN: (doubtfully) Maybe I will.


INT.HALLWAY
--Morning

Angela walks down the hall. She hears an uproar and watches as the big group of Rayanne, Corey Helfrick, Rickie, Delia, and Zack Dobson laughs uproariously and walks, in a clump, towards her.

RAYANNE: (spotting Angela) Hey! Angelika!

ANGELA: Hey. (hair flip) What’s so funny?

RICKIE: (scolding tone) We were just talking about last night’s rehearsal.

ANGELA: (smiles) What about it?

RAYANNE: It was crazy! And it was all Delia’s fault!

DELIA: It was not!

COREY: (nodding) I think it was, actually.

Angela just nods and smiles, when she does open her mouth to say something, periodically, people just steamroll over her without noticing they are doing so.

DELIA: (explaining) All I did was say my line, my *one* line, in a German accent.

ZACK: A *really* bad German accent. We’re talking Colonel Klink here!

RAYANNE: And we just all lost it! For the whole rest of the rehearsal we did the entire play with everyone doing an accent. (preening with a bad southern accent) Ah was from the south. Isn’t that raht, y’all? (they nod) And Lerner *so* did not get it! She thought it was, like, an acting exercise or something! I mean, we had a time! (looking around) Didn’t we?

ZACK: (flamboyantly) The girl does not lie! We had a time!

DELIA: (giggles) And *Rickie* almost had an embolism. (Rayanne high-five’s her)

RICKIE: I did not!

COREY: (smiling) Actually, you kind of did.

RICKIE: Well, it was supposed to be a dress rehearsal.

RAYANNE: Well, we *were* all dressed.

RICKIE: All I know is that it better not happen again. Tonight’s our last practice before we open.

ZACK: (grabs Rickie by his lapels, gets up in his face) God, Rickie! Will you just, like, *unclench* for a minute! They were just blowing off steam.

RICKIE: (can’t help but smile at Zack) Okay. I’ll buy that. *Once*! If it happens again, I’m telling you, heads will roll! (tyrant-voice) You’re *all* replaceable!

RAYANNE: (begins goose-stepping and salutes him) Yes sir. (the bell rings, and Rayanne looks up in alarm) Oops! (she gives Angela a quick squeeze) Seeya. C’mon, Corey, we’ll be late! (she and Corey head off in one direction)

RICKIE: (as Zack and Delia pull him off in the other direction) Seeya at lunch!

ANGELA: (just standing there for a minute, frowning) Bye.


INT.RESTAURANT
--Mid-Morning

Graham supervises a kitchen full of activity, with underlings all about.

GRAHAM: (hovering over someone chopping vegetables) Try to make the cut a bit finer. (watching) Exactly. Good job.

Hallie Lowenthal comes in. She is between 5 1/2 and six months pregnant, and moves a little slower than we are used to, but she still seems bristling with energy.

HALLIE: (watching the group work in silence) Well, what is this, a restaurant, or the four food groups boot camp? (turns on a radio) Let’s whistle while we work!

The group of workers smiles a little at that. Graham moves to Hallie.

GRAHAM: (seriously) I’m glad you’re here.

HALLIE: (flip) It’s always good to hear that from a man. It’s been awhile.

GRAHAM: No. I mean it. We have a problem.

HALLIE: Oh? What? (she moves through the door into the dining room, which is all set up, and looks perfect, Graham follows her with a worried expression)

GRAHAM: The liquor distributor said that we can’t get on the delivery route until next Monday.

HALLIE: So? Just send the bartender on a little field trip. Or give me the list, and I’ll take one of the waiters and go. (explaining) I’m not exactly in the best condition for hauling kegs into a trunk. (smiles) Although it does bring back wild memories.

GRAHAM: Won’t that be more expensive?

HALLIE: Of course. But it’s not like it’s forever. In five days we’ll be all set. Don’t worry so much, Graham, I swear you’re giving yourself an ulcer.

GRAHAM: I guess I could send the bartender in my Bronco.

HALLIE: See? It will be fine. There’s petty cash in the safe. Just be sure he gets enough *now*, while we still have time to send him. I don’t want to run out halfway through the dinner rush on Saturday night. And be sure he gets a receipt.

GRAHAM: Okay. (he heads over to where a youngish man is polishing glassware and placing it in those carrels that hold glasses upside-down above bars)

Hallie sits at a table near the wall and plugs her notebook computer and modem jack into the wall, and boots it up. Graham returns and sits across from her.

GRAHAM: Okay. That’s all settled. What are you doing?

HALLIE: Just checking my e-mail.

GRAHAM: You can do that on that little thing?

HALLIE: Sure. That was the *one* good thing about Brad. He always gave the best gifts. (looking intently at the screen, she gives a little laugh)

GRAHAM: What? What is it?

HALLIE: It’s just that brother-in-law of yours. He’s on some weird mailing lists, and he’s been sending me the funniest things.

GRAHAM: (frowns) You’ve been talking to Ethan?

HALLIE: Sure. You remember how hard it was for us to get him on the phone. And we had so many questions, so I got his e-mail address. I’ve been sending him questions all along. (looking at him) He’s been quite a help, I can tell you that much. Thank Patty for me, because she was right, he’s a great sounding board.

GRAHAM: You talked to Patty about him?

HALLIE: Who do you think gave me his address? I never did get him on the phone. (alarmed) Why? Did Patty say something? I hope I haven’t been bugging him.

GRAHAM: I’m sure you have. But Patty probably warned him about you.

HALLIE: (mildly irritated) Shut up. He wouldn’t write me back so much if he didn’t like talking to me. When do I get to meet this guy, anyway?

GRAHAM: That’s right. You haven’t met him, have you?

HALLIE: I haven’t even heard his voice.

GRAHAM: Well, you should meet him tomorrow. He’ll probably come with Patty.

HALLIE: You don’t say that with a lot of enthusiasm.

GRAHAM: It’s just strange. I’ve never really had to share Patty with her family before. We really don’t see her parents that often. Not that I’m complaining about that, mind you. Chuck and Vivian have never really liked me. (pause) She’s just been spending a lot of time with him, that’s all.

HALLIE: (shrugs) They do have a lot of years to make up for, don’t they?

GRAHAM: I guess so.

HALLIE: What’s he like?

GRAHAM: It sounds like you’ve probably talked to him more than I have.

HALLIE: Maybe. It can be hard to tell from e-mail and the chat rooms. Anyone can seem interesting when they have time to think about what they’re going to say.

GRAHAM: Well, I could see where *you* might enjoy talking to him. He has this sort of (pauses) over the top behavior. Like what he thinks doesn’t always go through the proper filters before he says it.

HALLIE: That sounds like me.

GRAHAM: Only more so. (shrugs) Sometimes I don’t think it’s normal. (pause, backtracking) He’s a really nice guy though.

HALLIE: Yes, that was a rousing endorsement. (looks at screen) Here’s some news.

GRAHAM: What? Bad news?

HALLIE: Not really. (looks at him) I’m not sure I should tell you though. You’re keyed up enough as it is. I’m afraid your heart will jump through your chest, like an alien, or something.

GRAHAM: I thought you weren’t going to keep any more secrets from me.

HALLIE: Okay. This message is from our friend at the paper. He said that he heard the food critic from the rival paper is probably going to visit during the first week, and that he likes to drop in during peak times, to see the whole staff at it’s busiest.

GRAHAM: What exactly does he mean by "peak times"?

HALLIE: Probably at night. Maybe the weekend. Who knows? You can’t let it worry you.

GRAHAM: Well it does. I was supposed to have Saturday night off, so I could go to this play, but I’d better cancel if the food critic might come.

HALLIE: Graham, you can’t work all day every day until the reviews come out.

GRAHAM: (somber) Just watch me.

HALLIE: What about Patty and the girls?

GRAHAM: They’ll understand. It’s only for a week.

HALLIE: I hope you’re not expecting *me* to work those hours. I mean, I’ve got a light load, not that many properties to show, but I need to keep my job until the baby is born.

GRAHAM: I know. What’s most important is that the food is consistent. And good. Critics are really coming to evaluate that more than anything else.

HALLIE: True. Okay, you know best. The kitchen *is* your domain.

GRAHAM: That’s right. And everything will be perfect. Perfect. I’ll get the kitchen staff into shape. (he turns to go)

HALLIE: (calling after him) Try not to leave any marks with your whip, Graham. I’m pretty sure that would violate some labor laws.

GRAHAM: (stopping, turning to her with an imitation of her own smirk) Am I really that bad, or are you just looking for another excuse to talk to Ethan?

HALLIE: (smirks back at him) Touché. Now go cook, already!


INT.SCHOOL HALLWAY
--Noontime

Sharon and Delia are standing at a long table set up in the hallway. They are moving around, setting up signs saying "Prom Tickets" etc.

SHARON: I can’t believe I got roped into this.

DELIA: (shrugs) Well, if you’re going to run this thing next year, it’s good to learn how to do it from people who know.

SHARON: I guess. "A Night to Remember" is a stupid theme, though.

DELIA: Well, we’ll think of a better one next year.

Delia takes her seat, and Sharon bends over to pick up a little cash box. Kyle Vinovich walks up on the arm of a pretty blond girl with a vacant smile.

KYLE: Hey, Sharon.

SHARON: (puts the box on the table, looks at him with surprise and maybe alarm) Kyle! (stammering) Wuh-What . . . I mean, hi. What can I do for you?

KYLE: (enjoying this, he points at the sign) Tickets? We want to buy some tickets to the prom. It *has* been opened up for underclassmen, right?

Sharon’s face crumbles as she looks from Kyle to the girl and back again.

DELIA: (jumping in) Right! Those stupid juniors overestimated turnout, so. I heard that maybe some underclassmen paid them to do that so they could go. But yes. Ninety dollars for a couple. Fifty for single tickets. That includes everything.

KYLE: Great. (he hands over a check, probably from his parents) Here you go.

Sharon takes the check and just looks at it.

DELIA: Okay. So that’s two reservations for Vinovich and . . . ?

KYLE: Redman. Kirsten Redman. (he puts his hand around her waist, and she smiles and whispers something into his ear--he laughs)

DELIA: (tearing tickets out of a booklet) Okay. Here you go. Have a good time.

KYLE: I’m sure we will. (pause) Bye, Sharon.

SHARON: (almost inaudibly) Bye.

DELIA: (sympathetic) Don’t let him get to you, Sharon. He did that on purpose. He *wants* to get a rise out of you.

SHARON: (watching as Kyle stops in the middle of the hall to kiss Kirsten, just as he once did with her) I wish I could believe that. (Delia looks at her questioningly) But I think it’s just the opposite. I just think he’s happy and oblivious to anything else. He’s totally moved on. (frowning) Maybe that’s what I need to do.


INT.CAFE
--Noontime

Patty and Ethan sit in a booth

PATTY: (smiling at him) I’m glad you could make it.

ETHAN: Hey, when you offer to pay for lunch, I’ll always be able to make it!

PATTY: Well then, how about a free dinner tomorrow night? At Cloud Nine? It’s opening night, you know?

ETHAN: (frowns a little, still speaks quickly) Sure, I know. Hallie mentioned it.

PATTY: Hallie?

ETHAN: Sure. She’s been e-mailing me questions as they come up. So I’ve been mailing her back. And sometimes we meet in the chat rooms, and, well (shrugs) chat, I guess. It’s pretty fun. She seems to have a good sense of humor.

PATTY: (archly) Yes, she does. So did she invite you to come?

ETHAN: Not really. (he fiddles with some breadsticks)

PATTY: Well, would you like to come?

ETHAN: Sure. I mean, I guess so. It just sounded like sort of a family thing though.

PATTY: You *are* family.

ETHAN: I just meant that it sounded like it was something you would invite the Woods to. (looks away) And I know you haven’t even *told* them about me yet, so.

PATTY: They’re not going to come all that way on a Thursday. Besides, they just make Graham nervous. They’re coming on Sunday, you know, instead of us going to see them. Since the girls have gotten older it just makes more sense for *them* to do the traveling, not us. So, will you come?

ETHAN: Sure. Of course. I mean, I *am* family aren’t I?

PATTY: Great. Why don’t you meet us at the house and we can drive together?

ETHAN: (brightly) Sounds great.

PATTY: (standing) I’ll go call Graham and tell him.

ETHAN: Okay. Take your time.

Ethan watches her go, and as soon as she is out of sight, his bright smile disappears, and is replaced with a sad, dull, stare. He reaches into his bookbag and pulls out a bottle of prescription pills. He stares at the bottle, obviously debating whether or not to take one. As Patty returns, he stuffs the pills back into his bag and out of sight, with harried glances in her direction to see if she noticed what he was doing.

ETHAN: (fake smile again) So is everything set?

PATTY: Sure is. Just come to the house around five.

ETHAN: Got it. (playfully) Now about this Hallie Lowenthal person . . .


INT.LUNCHROOM
--Noontime

Rickie and Angela sit alone at one end of a lunch table.

ANGELA: (perplexed) So, where is everybody?

RICKIE: (chewing) Oh. Delia and Sharon are selling tickets to the prom in the main hall, and Rayanne is meeting with Krzyzanowski for the first part of lunch, and then she was going to meet (arched eyebrow) *Cory* out by the picnic tables.

ANGELA: Really? What is going on with those two?

RICKIE: (gets his little romantic smile on) I think Rayanne doth protest too much. She *says* they’re just friends, but she’s been over to his house a lot recently.

ANGELA: (she looks across the lunchroom, and sees Brian trying to navigate his tray over to the "geek" table without mishap) So? (defensive) Maybe they are just friends. That’s completely possible, you know?

RICKIE: I know. But I’ve seen Rayanne looking at him when he’s not looking . . . (Angela snaps her gaze back to Rickie) . . . and it’s different from how she’s looked at other guys. (knowing smile) More vulnerable, or something.

ANGELA: (carefully) So, does her being with Cory, y’know, *bother* you?

RICKIE: (thinks, and then smiles, surprised at himself) Not really. I’m actually kind of glad that she *has* someone. It makes me feel less guilty.

ANGELA: (nodding) About Delia?

RICKIE: (blushes) And Zack. (Angela raises her eyebrows) Shut up.

ANGELA: (smiles) I didn’t say anything. I just wonder why you would have to feel guilty about being friends with Delia . . . or for finally finding someone you like.

RICKIE: I don’t know. It’s just that Rayanne and I spent so much time together. We were like Siamese twins, or something. But sometimes she would meet a guy, and it would just be understood that I should, I don’t know, disappear, or whatever. That never felt very good. I wouldn’t want to make Rayanne feel that way.

ANGELA: Oh. That makes sense, I guess.

RICKIE: Just think how you would feel if Brian started seeing someone. Wouldn’t you feel (pause), I don’t know, relieved, or whatever?

ANGELA: (she looks doubtful about it) I guess I would.

Zack Dobson comes over to their table. His hair gets repeatedly into his eye on one side of his face as he talks, and he continually brushes it out of the way.

ZACK: (sitting down next to Rickie, across from Angela) Hey.

RICKIE: (smiles) Hey. I was wondering where you were.

ZACK: (arms out) Well, here I am, in all my glory.

RICKIE: (rolls eyes) And with all your modesty, too.

ZACK: Hey Angela. Ignore Rickie. He’s just in denial about my fabulousness.

ANGELA: (smiling, playing along) I know. Sad, isn’t it?

ZACK: (pleased, nodding) It really is. I’m funny *and* fascinating. It’s been proven by medical science! I think Rickie also still thinks the earth is flat, and that the sun revolves around the earth!

RICKIE: And Zack wants me to believe that everything revolves around him.

ZACK: Exactly! Now why are you having so much trouble with that concept? I’ll have to try and explain it to you again tonight. We are going out after the dress rehearsal, aren’t we?

RICKIE: For a little while, maybe. I was thinking that the three of us could grab a bite to eat, but I have to be home by ten-thirty. It’s a Katimski rule.

ZACK: The *three* of us?

RICKIE: Sure. You, me, and Delia. Rayanne said she had to get straight home.

ZACK: (looks perturbed, shortly) Okay. Fine. I’ll see you tonight. (gets up)

Angela looks away, not wanting to intrude. Rickie senses Zack’s change in tone.

RICKIE: (to Angela) I’ll be right back. (he gets up and catches Zack by the arm) Zack? What’s wrong? Is it my curfew?

ZACK: (shrugs, sighs) No. It’s nothing. I’m just being stupid.

RICKIE: I know *that*! (smiles) But what are you being stupid *about*?

ZACK: (smiling at the cut) It’s just . . . Look, I *love* Delia. I could eat her up. She is second in fabulosity only to me, but do we have to do *everything* with her?

RICKIE: Okay, first, "fabulosity" is *not* a word; and, second, Delia is my friend and I thought she was yours too.

ZACK: She is! But sometimes I don’t want to, you know . . .

RICKIE: What?

ZACK: Sometimes I don’t want to go out just as friends. When I asked you out the first time and you brought her along, it was fine. I thought it was a good way for us to interact without any, like, expectations or anything. But she is always around! Like she’s our chaperone or your bodyguard or something. (irritated) I mean, I’m not going to jump your bod the first time she’s not around! (softening) Okay, maybe the second time I will, but isn’t that . . . I don’t know . . . sort of the point?

RICKIE: (looks put upon) What do you mean?

ZACK: I mean, have I got my signals crossed here? We are *dating*, aren’t we?

RICKIE: (nods slowly) I guess we are. I hadn’t put it in those terms. In my head.

ZACK: That’s all my little tantrum was about. I’d just like to spend some time alone with you, that’s all. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

RICKIE: Not at all. I’ll talk to Delia.

ZACK: Great. Thanks. (feigned nonchalance) One other little thing . . .

RICKIE: What?

ZACK: (smiling devilishly) You wanna go to the prom?

RICKIE: (eyes wide) I don’t know. When they opened it up for underclassmen, Delia and I talked about going together, but we decided that we can’t afford it.

ZACK: Well, don’t worry about *that*. My folks are loaded, and there’s nothing my Mom would like better than for her only child to go to at least one school dance. (pause, impish smile) Even if it is with two people.

RICKIE: Two people?

ZACK: Sure. You and Delia were already going, and the two of you have told that tired story about how well you danced together at the fall dance enough times that I can’t wait to put you to the test. We should make it a threesome. We can buy a couples ticket and one single and all go together. It’ll be a hoot!

RICKIE: (looks doubtful) That’s a little odd, isn’t it?

ZACK: (sighs) Rickie, have you looked in the mirror lately? All three of us are a little odd! In fact, I lean more towards a *lot* odd if you ask most people. Who cares what people will think? You didn’t when you danced with Delia at the fall dance. You said it was quite a spectacle. (triumphantly) This probably will be too.

RICKIE: I don’t know. What about us spending some time alone?

ZACK: Well, we can do post-prom all on our own. (pause) So do you? Want to?

RICKIE: (nods slowly) Yes. I do, actually. I’ll talk to Delia today.

ZACK: Great. I’ll talk to my parents. You ask Katimski. (he reaches over and squeezes Rickie’s arm) Gotta go. See you tonight.

RICKIE: Yeah. See you later. (he walks back to Angela)

ANGELA: (worried) Is everything all right?

RICKIE: (gives a shell-shocked smile) Better than all right. I think we’re going to go to the prom. The three of us--Zack, Delia and me. (he laughs) My life is becoming so much like a bad after-school special that I just keep expecting Meredith Baxter-Birney to show up with some words of wisdom.

ANGELA: (smiles tightly) Well, I’m happy for you. You guys will have a lot of fun.

RICKIE: I’m sure we will. (looks down at his food) Are you going to go?

ANGELA: Nobody has asked me yet, so I don’t think so.

RICKIE: Why don’t *you* do the asking? It *is* the 90’s.

ANGELA: I couldn’t ask Jordan. It costs a lot of money, and I don’t have enough to pay for us both, and he wouldn’t let me pay even if I did.

RICKIE: (exasperated) I didn’t mean . . . (looks away) never mind.

ANGELA: No. What were you going to say?

RICKIE: I didn’t mean Jordan. But you don’t want to hear my suggestion, so let’s just change the subject. Couldn’t you ask your parents for the money?

ANGELA: I could ask. But what is your suggestion? What don’t I want to hear?

RICKIE: Just that there’s someone else you could ask. That’s all.

ANGELA: (looks in Brian’s direction) You mean Brian.

RICKIE: (shrugs) You could go as friends. You *are* still friends, aren’t you?

ANGELA: Of course. (pause) It’s just been hard since he’s been sick. When he told me how he felt about me, all of a sudden I had to start seeing him in a new way. And it was great. We were really (pause) *connecting*, and maybe it could have become something else--I just don’t know. But when he got sick we both reverted back to the way it was for the last few years. We push each other away.

RICKIE: (sympathetic) And now you and Jordan are back together?

ANGELA: (sighs) I have no idea. He said he wanted to start over. And we’ve been going out, and . . . other things, but he’s hard to read sometimes.

RICKIE: Well, you could go solo. You could hang with us.

ANGELA: (shakes her head) No. I don’t want to be a third wheel.

RICKIE: Actually, in our quirky little world, you have to worry about being the fourth wheel--we’re just *that* strange.

ANGELA: And proud of it, it seems.

RICKIE: That’s right! The only thing I feel guilty about is letting Zack pay for everything all the time. I *have* to get a job as soon as the play is over. I can’t keep asking Katimski for money, when he hasn’t found a job yet.

ANGELA: (thinking) Well actually, what would you think about working for my Dad? He’s been saying that he still needs busboys. It doesn’t pay very much, but it’s not that far from Katimski’s.

RICKIE: Really? Do you think he’d hire me?

ANGELA: They have some other high school kids working there. As long as you don’t mind working with food.

RICKIE: I don’t mind working around your Dad’s cooking. Especially if we get an employee meal or something. Can you ask him for me?

ANGELA: Sure. No problem.

RICKIE: (getting up to go) Thanks. I’m going to try and find Delia and see if she’s up for this crazy scheme. (turns back to look at Angela) I hope you figure out what’s happening with Jordan. And Brian. Even if you can’t take back what you said to Brian, you could still apologize, or talk it out, or whatever. You should.

ANGELA: Rickie, you should start carrying pom-poms and wearing a pleated skirt.

RICKIE: (vamps a bit, mirroring Zack) Do you want me to show off my gorgeous legs, or did you have another reason in mind?

ANGELA: It’s just that if you’re going to be a cheerleader for Brian, you should look the part.

RICKIE: (seriously) I’m not saying these things *just* for Brian’s sake. I’m saying them for you, too. I want you to be happy. (pause) Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you really want. Some things you seem just to want on *principle* or out of *habit*, or whatever. And other things have to be shoved under your nose again and again and you still don’t know if you want them. Until one day you realize that you can’t imagine your life without the thing you didn’t even know you wanted.

ANGELA: (softly) What are you thinking about?

RICKIE: I don’t know. Drama Club, maybe? Me and Delia? You and Brian? (shrugs) I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, does it? As long as you see what I mean.

ANGELA: (shakes her head) No, I guess it doesn’t.


INT.CLASSROOM
--Afternoon

Jordan is sitting at his desk in the tutoring room. Brian enters.

BRIAN: (walks over to Jordan) Hi.

JORDAN: (looking up) Hey. (pause, smiles) You look better.

BRIAN: Thanks. So, you know, how is tutoring going?

JORDAN: Good. It’s good. (looks away) Angela’s a little late.

BRIAN: I noticed. (shrugs) Since I’m back at school now again, I could start tutoring you again, you know, instead of just making the lessons . . .

JORDAN: Oh. (confused look) I thought you didn’t stay the whole day?

BRIAN: Sometimes I don’t. But I’ve been feeling better lately.

JORDAN: (looks down, not nicely) Maybe it would be best if Angela just kept tutoring me. When she started up, it took us a while to find . . . a rhythm . . .or whatever. And I need to be focused for finals. I need to do okay on them.

BRIAN: (embarrassed, flustered) Oh sure, of course. I just didn’t want Angela to think I was taking advantage of her . . . or something.

JORDAN: She doesn’t. I mean, (shrugs) I think she *likes* tutoring me.

BRIAN: (expressionless) Oh. That makes sense. (quickly) It’s probably better all around anyway. This way, if I don’t feel well, I can just go home. I wouldn’t want to . . . overdo it, or anything.

JORDAN: That makes sense.

BRIAN: (sees Angela come in) I’d better go.

JORDAN: (almost guilty) Thanks for making the lessons.

BRIAN: Sure. (pause) I’ve got to go. (he walks around Jordan’s desk and down an aisle to the exit, avoiding Angela)

ANGELA: (watching Brian go) Hey. What did Brian want?

JORDAN: Nothing. He was just seeing how tutoring is going. I told him it’s fine. (pause) Y’know, that we’re okay without him.

ANGELA: (suspicious) Why did you say that?

JORDAN: Well, we don’t want him to . . . overdo it, or anything.

ANGELA: (looks at the door, nods) I guess that’s true. (looks back at him, smiling at his "concern" for Brian) I guess we should get started, huh?


INT.AUDITORIUM
--Afternoon

Rickie and Delia are sitting out in the seats where Mr. Katimski used to sit.

RICKIE: (looks at her hopefully) So what do you think?

DELIA: (getting excited) I think it’s a *great* idea!

RICKIE: (smiles) That’s what Zack said you’d say.

DELIA: (giggles) We’ll have to color coordinate our outfits. (thinks) And we can all get matching flowers! And we can sit with Corey and Rayanne!

RICKIE: (frowns) I don’t think Rayanne is going to go.

DELIA: (puts her hand in front of her mouth) Oops. Well, don’t tell her, but I think that Corey is going to ask her.

RICKIE: That doesn’t mean that she’ll say yes.

DELIA: (she hadn’t thought of that) Oh. Well it’ll be fun either way, right? Now what are we going to do for post-prom?

RICKIE: (looks guilty) Actually, Delia, I kind of wanted to talk to you about that.

DELIA: What?

RICKIE: It’s just, well, Zack and I were thinking of doing something alone the rest of the weekend. Just the two of us.

DELIA: (her eyes go up) Oh. You mean like a couple.

RICKIE: Right.

DELIA: Well then, why ask me to go with you to the prom?

RICKIE: Well, I told Zack you and I had already planned to go, so when he asked, he kind of asked to tag along with us.

DELIA: (with no expression) Oh.

RICKIE: And he said that he wanted us to prove we could dance as well as we say. He kind of thinks that we’re all talk.

DELIA: (rising to the challenge) Oh? We’ll have to practice at the cast party this Saturday! (finally smiles) We’ll wipe the floor with everybody else at the prom!

RICKIE: Let’s try not to make anyone cry this time, though.

DELIA: (giggles) Spoilsport.


INT.HALLWAY
--Afternoon

Sharon sits bored at the ticket table. Brian plops down in the seat next to her.

BRIAN: Hey, Cherski.

SHARON: (dully) Hey. You here to buy a ticket, Krakow?

BRIAN: (rolls eyes) What do you think?

SHARON: (shrugs) Hey, if they have such a thing a third-world mail order brides, they might come out with mail order prom dates. You never know.

BRIAN: (overdone innocent look) Actually, Sharon, I came here to ask *you* to go with me. Does that mean you won’t?

Sharon’s eyes widen and she turns to look at Brian, who manages to keep a straight face until she looks him in the eyes, then he laughs softly and she joins him.

BRIAN: I almost had you there for a minute. (long pause) Actually I did come here to talk to you.

SHARON: About what?

BRIAN: About . . . (pause) about why you stopped coming to see me. About how you’ve been avoiding me and everyone else, ever since I came back to school.

SHARON: (she won’t look at him) Brian . . . I . . . I mean . . .(she trails off & looks down)

BRIAN: And I know we’ve never really been all *that* close, but you did come to see me at first. You didn’t stop until sometime before spring break. (he stops to see if she will speak, but she doesn’t, so he plugs on) And at first I thought it had something to do with you breaking up with Kyle, or how he was treating you afterwards, but that all happened before I was diagnosed. So then I was thinking about something that Angela’s Uncle said to me . . .

SHARON: (looking up abruptly) You met Ethan?

BRIAN: Sure. Angela brought him by once when she came over. (annoyed) She’s always doing that. Bringing someone with her, I mean. Like Danielle, or her Dad, or Rickie, or whoever. (rolling his eyes) Like she couldn’t stand coming to see me and needed someone else there to keep her entertained, or whatever.

SHARON: (sighs loudly, looks exasperated) Brian, would you just stop that?

BRIAN: (honestly doesn’t know how he sounds) What?

SHARON: Your little martyr routine with Angela. She’s not even here, so what are you doing, trying out lines that you can use to make her feel guilty later?

BRIAN: What do you mean?

SHARON: Do you honestly think that she brought those people for herself? Do you? (pause) It amazes me that you say you care so much about her but then make these horrible assumptions about how she acts!

BRIAN: (frowning) Well then why did she bring them?

SHARON: I don’t know! Probably because she thought enough people weren’t coming to visit you, or maybe she just thought you were lonely. (looks away) Or maybe she’s as *insane* as you are, and she didn’t want it to look like she was checking up on you, or that she worries about you as much as she does.

BRIAN: (looks guilty himself now) Oh. I didn’t think about it that way.

SHARON: Of course you didn’t. You *never* have.

BRIAN: (pause) You realize, of course, that I totally noticed how you changed the subject like that?

SHARON: I didn’t say that just to change the subject! I’m just sick of you playing "poor ignored Brian" to Angela’s "I don’t care" act. It would take a lot less energy for you two just to admit how you feel. (pause) The fact that it also helped change the subject, was, like, an added bonus, or what have you.

BRIAN: Okay. I’ll buy that. (pause) All the time I was sick at home, I had a lot of time to think. And I thought a lot about why you stopped coming to see me. One idea came to mind, and I understand if you don’t want to talk about it with me, but when Ethan came to see me, he was sort of grasping at things to talk about, and he told me about how he met you and talked to you about school.

SHARON: He did?

BRIAN: Yeah. He told me you had some questions about . . . (looks away) abortion rights. He said it was for history class. I didn’t say anything at the time, and I don’t think Angela was paying very close attention, but I *know* that Mr. DeMitri would never even bring the subject up because it’s too controversial.

SHARON: (looks afraid and maybe a little relieved at the same time) Oh. So?

BRIAN: So I was thinking about why you might be asking Ethan about something like that, and what a coincidence it was that it was around the same time that you started avoiding everybody. So, I guess I was wondering . . . I mean . . .if that was something that *you* were dealing with? Because, I guess then I could totally understand why you’ve been acting the way you have been.

Sharon won’t look at him, she just stares down, with a sad and vacant look.

BRIAN: (he leans in, and touches her arm) Sharon, are you okay?

SHARON: (a few tears roll down her cheeks) Have you talked to anyone about this?

BRIAN: (shakes head) No. I wouldn’t do that. But you can talk to me if you want to. I can keep a secret. You have to talk to someone.

SHARON: (sniffles) Rayanne knows. And I don’t really have anything else to say.

BRIAN: Okay, maybe you don’t have to talk about it. But, you can’t just keep avoiding life like you are. Take it from someone who knows. (his hand moves unconsciously to readjust his bandanna) Even if something bad has happened, or is even still happening, you can’t just give up on life.

SHARON: I’m *not*. I’m not doing that.

BRIAN: Then why did you stop coming to see me? (he frowns) That hurt me, Sharon. You must have known that it would. So, why?

SHARON: (still crying a little) I guess . . . I guess that I *wanted* to hurt you. (Brian looks shocked) It’s horrible. I know it. But I couldn’t help it. I was so angry with you. When everyone found out about the leukemia, they rallied around you, with all this sympathy and offers of help and everything. And when I found out about my . . . *condition*, I hated that you could tell them about your leukemia and get their sympathy, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell them I was pregnant, because they would all look at me differently.

BRIAN: (softly) Sharon . . .

SHARON: (shaking head) No, they would. They would judge me. And I guess the worst part was knowing that I deserve it.

BRIAN: Why? Do you think I *deserved* to get leukemia?

SHARON: (wipes eyes) No. But it’s not the same. I got pregnant because of something I *did*.

BRIAN: No one knows what causes leukemia, Sharon. So it could have been something I did, or some drug my Mom took when she was younger, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not like . . . I mean . . . I assume you were being careful. You weren’t trying to get pregnant. (dismissively) It’s just statistics.

SHARON: What do you mean?

BRIAN: It just happens to a certain number of people. You can’t keep asking why something like this happens, because if you do, you’ll just go crazy. Trust me, I know. I’ve been so angry, running through this long list of people who I think deserve to have leukemia more than I do. (pauses, shakes his head) And that’s what is really horrible. What I’m really saying is that there are all these people, who in my mind, *deserve* to be sick. (pause) Or at least deserve it more than me.

SHARON: (cocks her head to one side) Is that why you’re not talking to Rayanne?

BRIAN: I guess. She was acting kind of horrible, but then I said all these things to her. And (looks down, ashamed) I grabbed her. I’ve never done anything like that before. I just don’t know how to take it back. (pause) So that’s why you can’t think about "why". You’ll just drive yourself insane. (shrugs) And then you’ll end up in the room next to me in the asylum. And neither of us wants that.

SHARON: (smiles sadly) No. (pause) It’s just so . . . *hard* sometimes.

BRIAN: I know. (nodding) It was hard for me to come back to school. But if I just stayed at home, it was like I was getting treatment for nothing. No matter what I look like, or what people might be saying behind my back, I had to come back . . . to start living again . . . or else the leukemia would still win, like by default.

SHARON: (rolls her eyes) Guys always phrase things in terms of winning and losing.

BRIAN: Sorry.

SHARON: No. It’s okay. I think I get what you’re saying. And maybe you’re right. It makes no sense for me to be hiding or cutting off my chances to be happy, because that invalidates all the agonizing I went through to make the decision I made, right?

BRIAN: Exactly. We both have to try to live again.

SHARON: Okay. (pause) It’s easy to say, but I’m going to try.

BRIAN: (nods once) Great. And there’s no better way to start than letting me take you to Our Town on Saturday night.

SHARON: (tips her head) Brian, you didn’t go through all this just to get me to go with you to the play, did you?

BRIAN: You mean I could have gotten away with flattery, or a small gift? That’s typical of me, (smiles, looks away) always overdoing it.

SHARON: (smiles, and her smile is almost back to normal) I’d love to go with you.

BRIAN: (in full martyr-mode) Which means no one else has invited you.

SHARON: True. But surprisingly, even with everything I’ve been going through, I’ve missed you. And I’m glad you’re doing better. (she takes his hand and gives it a squeeze) And thanks for talking to me about this. For knowing what I needed to hear. Even if I didn’t know it myself.

BRIAN: You’re welcome. Anytime. (he returns her smile)


INT.CHASE DINING ROOM
--Evening

The four Chases sit around the dinner table, eating pasta.

GRAHAM: So, I just don’t want to leave the restaurant in other hands during the first weekend, that’s all. Especially not with this reviewer supposedly coming.

ANGELA: But what about the play? Rickie and Rayanne are expecting us to come.

GRAHAM: You guys can still go. You should.

ANGELA: This is important to them, you know.

Graham sighs and looks guilty.

PATTY: (shortly) Angela, your father knows that. But the restaurant is as important to your father as the play is to your friends. I’m sure they understand that. Why can’t you?

GRAHAM: (refereeing) Patty, it’s okay. (to Angela) I’m sorry, honey. I’ll write your friends a quick note saying how sorry I am. But I have to do this. (he gets up and heads into the kitchen)

ANGELA: (VO) I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been hating the idea of the restaurant. (takes a bite, long pause) My father used to work at Wood & Jones with my Mom, but he never seemed to care about it very much. I guess I’m just not used to him caring about anything other than us.

PATTY: (observing the requisite silence between scolding and non-scolding topics of conversation) So now we have an extra ticket to the play. Do either of you know anyone who wants to come?

Danielle seems to ponder this as she takes another bite of pasta off her fork.

ANGELA: (VO) I immediately thought of Brian Krakow, and how he was fishing for an invitation earlier this morning, but then I thought how awkward that might be if Jordan and I wanted to go out afterward. But then I thought of how inviting him might be a great way of saying that I was sorry. But by the time I had thought of all those things, it was already too late . . .

DANIELLE: Can I invite Ryan?

ANGELA: What if I want to invite someone?

DANIELLE: You’re already bringing *Jordan*.

PATTY: That’s true, Angela. (to Danielle) Okay, go ahead and call him.

Danielle heads out of the room to use the phone.

PATTY: Angela, I’m sorry that I snapped at you, but I just talked to you this morning about being supportive of your father.

ANGELA: (looks down and picks at her food) I’m sorry. You’re right.

PATTY: (concerned now) Angela, is everything all right?

ANGELA: (VO) I wanted to scream at her. No! Everything is *not* all right! My friends are all in this big hug-fest that doesn’t include me, Sharon is avoiding me, Brian is mad at me, and I have no idea what is going on with Jordan, except for the fact that it’s easier for Rickie to get invited to the prom than me! And where does Rickie get off saying that I don’t know what I want? And why does it bug me so much? Because he said it at all, or because he’s right? (Visual--close-up of Angela picking at her pasta, her brow is furrowed, but otherwise her face is impassive, in contrast to the quick pace and frenzied wailing of her thoughts).

ANGELA: (VO) But of course I couldn’t say any of that, so . . . (spoken aloud) Everything’s fine. May I be excused?

PATTY: Sure. (she just watches as Angela leaves the room)


Black Screen-- "Thursday--Opening Night"


INT.SCHOOL HALLWAY
--Noontime

Sharon is (wo)manning the prom ticket table as Delia, Zack, and Rickie approach.

SHARON: Hey guys.

DELIA: Hi, Sharon. We want to buy some tickets.

SHARON: We?

RICKIE: Yes. (smiles) One couple and one single ticket.

SHARON: The three of you? You’re going together?

ZACK: Don’t look so shocked Sharon! (he smiles over at Rickie and Delia as he pulls money out of his wallet) I think she’s most shocked that I can find a date at all, much less two. I don’t deserve that type of abuse, do I?

Delia and Rickie shake their heads "no" in bemused silence.

SHARON: (flustered) No! It’s not that. It’s just . . . (she fumbles with tickets)

ZACK: (taking the tickets from her, grasping her hand) I know, I know, you just don’t want to compete with *me* for Prom Queen. I know. But, don’t worry Sharon, I’ll vote for you if you promise I can be in your court!

Zack looks over at Delia and Rickie and begins to laugh. They soon join him and walk off down the hall together that way, leaving Sharon there with her mouth tight and her eyebrows arched at being the butt of Zack’s joking.

BRIAN: (walking up to her) What’s so funny?

SHARON: Apparently their whole existence. (stuffing the money into the metal box) I hate that I’m an extra in their strange little Three’s Company revival.

BRIAN: (looks perplexed) What?

SHARON: Never mind, Krakow. Anyway, thanks again for the advice yesterday. I’m definitely taking it. (pause) I’m going to go to the prom, too.

BRIAN: Somebody asked you?

SHARON: No. (matter-of-factly) But it’s only a matter of time. I put out the word that my "mourning" over Kyle was over and that I was open to offers. The rumor mill should have it around school by this afternoon.

BRIAN: (frowns) Oh. (pause) Sharon, that’s not really what I meant by getting back into life. I meant just calling on your friends for support. Like Angela.

SHARON: I’ve worked hard on damage control for this prom, why shouldn’t I go?

BRIAN: I just don’t think . . . I mean, are you ready for that? Such a big deal type of date?

SHARON: Of course. It’s not *that* big of a deal, Brian. You’d know that if you ever went on dates yourself. (she gets an idea) In fact, why don’t *you* go?

BRIAN: With who?

SHARON: Just ask Angela. You know you want to.

BRIAN: I can’t.

SHARON: Why not? And *don’t* say because she wouldn’t go with you, because I bet that she would. People go as friends all the time. It’s totally accepted.

BRIAN: (looks down) I couldn’t. Ask her to go as friends, I mean. (pause, explaining) If I asked her to go, even as friends, that’s not how I would feel. It would mean more to me than that. And I would, like, try to make it mean more to her too, even if I asked her to go as a friend. And that’s not fair, is it? Those expectations? That’s not fair. To her.

SHARON: (thinking) No. I guess it’s not. Just ask her straight out then. (softly) Tell her how you really feel.

BRIAN: (sadly) I already did.

SHARON: (raised eyebrows) You did? What did you say?

BRIAN: (slowly) That I loved her. (pause) But you knew that, didn’t you?

SHARON: I knew that you *did*, (sympathetic) I just didn’t know that you *told*.

BRIAN: We agreed to just be friends.

SHARON: (frowns) Why?

BRIAN: (sighs) She doesn’t feel the same. And I couldn’t lose her as a friend. And I can’t go back on it. Not now. (he looks to his left and sees Angela approaching) Listen, I have to go. I got Our Town tickets for Saturday, okay?

SHARON: Sure. I’ll see you in Bio. (he leaves, Angela sidles up) Hey.

ANGELA: Hey. (tentative smile) Are you okay?

SHARON: (smiles back) Yes, actually.

ANGELA: I’m glad. (looks in the direction Brian went) Did Brian talk to you?

SHARON: He did. He was surprisingly helpful. (looks down) I guess it’s not really that surprising. He’s always been able to, you know, *comfort* me. He’s like the brother I never had, and usually don’t even want.

ANGELA: So are you going to tell *me* what’s been going on?

SHARON: (nods) Someday. Not at school, though, okay?

ANGELA: Sure. (casually) Was Brian here buying prom tickets?

SHARON: No. Do you actually think he would have the guts to ask anyone?

ANGELA: (small shrug) You never know. Brian can surprise you sometimes.

SHARON: (smirking) Like by admitting that he loves you?

ANGELA: (shocked) He told you about that?

SHARON: Yes, he did. (pause, she crosses her arms) Why didn’t *you*?

ANGELA: (smiles, looks down) I don’t know. At first it was something that I wanted to keep (she touches her chest) like for myself. But then he got sick, and. . .

SHARON: And it seemed, I don’t know, *dangerous* to care, or something, right?

ANGELA: (almost ashamed) I guess. I mean, how stupid would it be for me to finally realize how he feels and start feeling something back, and then. . .

SHARON: To lose him? To the cancer?

ANGELA: (sadly) Exactly. And then there’s Jordan. I have no idea what he wants. At least I know what Brian wants. (thinks) Or at least what he *wanted*.

SHARON: What about what *you* want?

ANGELA: I don’t know. It’s easier just to wait for one of them to *do* something.

SHARON: I guess. (pause) But just remember that cancer isn’t the only way to lose someone. If you wait too long, maybe neither one of them will still be around.

Angela just frowns and searches Sharon’s face to see if she has some inside information, as a prom patron comes up and Sharon turns to deal with her. As Angela watches Sharon, her face becomes etched with doubt and she bites her lip.


INT.RESTAURANT
--Early Evening

Hallie is serving as de facto hostess, and the place looks pretty packed for the first night as Patty enters with Danielle, Angela, and Ethan in tow. As Hallie turns toward the group, her eyes light up, and then surprise registers on her face as she sees Ethan. Ethan’s expression mirrors her own, as he takes in her swollen belly.

HALLIE: You made it! Just in time, too, or you might have to eat standing up. I can’t believe how many people are here! (Angela just smiles at Hallie)

PATTY: Well, the ads and the newspaper story probably explain some of it.

ETHAN: (chiming in) And I told everyone at the law school. Hi, I’m Ethan. It’s nice to finally put a face with a name.

HALLIE: (reaching to take his hand) I know! After all we’ve talked on-line, it’s weird to see you and hear your voice. It’s different. Than I expected I mean. (shakes out of that particular reverie) Well, c’mon, let me show you to a table.

As they walk toward a table, Ethan holds Patty back and lets the girls go on ahead.

ETHAN: You never told me she was pregnant!

PATTY: (smiles sardonically) Oh? Didn’t that come up in your many conversations?

ETHAN: No. No, it didn’t. (Patty simply laughs and moves toward the table)


INT.AUDITORIUM
--Evening

Backstage it is fairly dark. Rickie, Rayanne and company are in the wings, and we can hear the murmur of the opening night crowd. The lights go out and the audience quiets. Abyssinia Churchill takes the stage, but the camera focuses on Rayanne and her obvious growing excitement, which is approaching a manic state.

ABYSSINIA: (OS as Stage Manager) "This play is called ‘Our Town’. It was written by Thornton Wilder and directed by Richard Katimski and Enrique Vasquez. In it you will see Mr. Hubley; Miss Graf . . . ." (her VO continues softly in the background)

When Rayanne hears her name, her smile turns into a frown, and she looks terrified instead of excited. Rickie, with a clipboard, comes up to her, concerned.

RAYANNE: Rickie, I can’t do this!

RICKIE: Of course you can. (simply) You have to.

RAYANNE: (she is shaking) But I can’t! I just can’t!

RICKIE: You did it fine last night. And two nights ago you did it perfectly, even with a really bad southern accent. What’s different now?

RAYANNE: (loudly) Well, for one thing, there are a lot of *people* out there!

RICKIE: Shh! If you’re going to freak out, do it quietly.

RAYANNE: Why the hell aren’t *you* freaking out?

RICKIE: Because I know you’re going to be fine. You were born to do this, Rayanne. Those people out there are going to fall in love with Emily, and cry for her. All because of you.

RAYANNE: You mean because of Angela.

RICKIE: (shaking his head) No. That’s not true. Your *audition* may have just been an imitation of Angela, but your performance isn’t. Somewhere along the line you let some of yourself come through in the role.

RAYANNE: (long pause, she looks pleased at the thought) Do you really think that?

RICKIE: Yes. Besides, I’m the only other person who knows the whole part, and I don’t think anyone wants to see me out there on a ladder or mooning over Steve Hubley’s anemic version of George. They’re here to see you. And they’ll get their money’s worth. You’re a great actress.

RAYANNE: (softly) Thanks, Rickie.

RICKIE: (pushing her toward the stage) You’re welcome. (she goes, and Rickie snaps his fingers once) And *I* am a great director. (he looks onto his clipboard and draws a line through something written there) My first star tantrum: dealt with!


INT.RESTAURANT
--Evening

Angela, Danielle, Ethan, and Patty sit at the table amongst the ruins of a meal.

ANGELA: (VO) The food was good, of course. But not as good as when Dad cooks for us at home. When you cook in large quantities, even in a nice restaurant, the food tends to lose something. I don’t know what, though. (pause) Maybe love. (she looks around the table, Danielle looks bored) The place does look nice though. The meal wouldn’t have been so bad if Dad could have come out to eat with us, rather than just saying a quick hello; or if Ethan had been telling us stories instead of chatting up Hallie Lowenthal every chance he got; or if Danielle and I had anything to talk about, like, *other* than how annoying my Mother was being.

Angela’s eyes wander to the front of the restaurant in time to see Hallie talking to the seriously out-of-place looking Jordan. She bolts up.

ANGELA: (interrupting her Mother) Mom, may I be excused?

PATTY: (following Angela’s gaze, irritated at first) Where do you think you’re going to be excused *to*? (sees Jordan, who nods at them, shyly) Oh.

ANGELA: So can I go?

PATTY: What about you father? Aren’t you going to tell him how wonderful everything was?

ANGELA: He’s so busy, now. I’d just be in the way.

PATTY: (unwilling to be shrill in public) Okay. Be home at a decent time.

ANGELA: I will. (she exits)


EXT.PARKING LOT
--Evening

Angela and Jordan lean against his car in the lot next to a park or a grassy bluff of some sort. She looks up at the stars, and he steals looks at her.

ANGELA: (dreamily) Thanks for coming to rescue me.

JORDAN: (shrugs) Whatever. That seemed like a nice restaurant.

ANGELA: I guess it is. (looks at him) You didn’t want to stay there did you?

JORDAN: Not really. (looks away)

ANGELA: I didn’t think so. (absently) You don’t belong in a place like that.

Jordan gets a steely look in his eye, bound and determined not to care.

ANGELA: (finally realizing how that sounded) I mean, with my parents hovering over us. They can be so annoying.

JORDAN: Your Mom seemed okay. That one time. She listens.

ANGELA: I guess. (neither of them speaks for a long moment)

JORDAN: (apropos of nothing) Joey’s going to the prom.

ANGELA: Seriously?

JORDAN: Yeah. Like I said. It’s their last blowout before graduation. For a while I was worried about Residue. If Joey or Stan left town or something. It looks like they’re going to stick around. (pause) They have a space left at their table.

ANGELA: (hopeful, but trying hard not to be) Oh?

JORDAN: And I know you don’t know them very well. They’re all seniors. But I was wondering if you might want to go. With me. And hang with them.

ANGELA: (beaming) Sure. If you want to.

JORDAN: (fumbling) I mean, you aren’t expecting anyone else to ask, are you?

ANGELA: (her face clouds for a moment, but only briefly) Not really.

JORDAN: (smiles) Good. I’ll get the tickets, and tell Joey.

ANGELA: (her smile is less sure now) Great.


Black Screen-- "Friday"


EXT.STREET
--Morning

Angela, brimming with happiness, waits for the bus. The Krakow station wagon pulls up, with Brian driving. He leans over, and throws open the door.


INT.KRAKOW STATION WAGON
--Morning

Angela gets in the car, mildly surprised. Brian pulls away from the curb, not really looking at her.

ANGELA: Why are you driving today?

BRIAN: I’m leaving school early. I have a doctor’s appointment.

ANGELA: Oh? Is everything okay?

BRIAN: Sure. I mean, I guess so. (pause) I’m still in remission, if that’s what you mean. I’m just getting my weekly treatment, and another transfusion, to fight off the anemia it causes. I feel fine, but Dr. Garcia says that can be deceiving. So. How was the opening of Cloud Nine?

ANGELA: Good. You should go.

BRIAN: I am. I told my parents and they were intrigued. (he shrugs as if saying "Don’t ask me to explain them") So we’re going to go tonight when they get home. (he smiles at the thought of it) The three of us.

ANGELA: I’m glad. (there is an awkward pause)

BRIAN: I talked to Sharon. (pause) It wasn’t about me. You were right.

ANGELA: (semi-angry) Don’t sound so surprised.

BRIAN: I’m not. (silent as he turns the wheel) And I know you were just worried about Rickie. You know. Before. What you said . . .

ANGELA: (more guilty than ever) I didn’t mean what I said.

BRIAN: It doesn’t matter. Whether you meant it or not. I wouldn’t have been so mad if it wasn’t partially true. (pause) It’s weird how we can see some things about people so clearly and easily, and not others. It gets easy to underestimate people.

ANGELA: (unsure if he is talking about her, Sharon, or himself) What do you mean?

BRIAN: It’s like I see every slight, and every snub in big neon letters, but the good stuff is, like, in infra-red. So I forget about the kindness, the friendship, because I can’t see it, or something. Until I’m reminded it’s there, somehow.

ANGELA: Does that mean that we’re calling a truce? That I’m forgiven? (Brian just nods solemnly as he parks) That’s good, because I have to tell you something.

Brian opens his door to get out and Angela follows suit. As the shot widens, we can see Jordan near his car a few rows back, watching her get out of Brian’s car. He begins to move toward them, as Brian rounds the car and nonchalantly checks her door to make sure she locked it.

ANGELA: I thought we were going to stop underestimating each other?

BRIAN: We are. (looks sheepish) I’m probably *not* going to stop being neurotic however. (pause) What were you going to tell me?

JORDAN: (as Angela opens her mouth to speak) Angela! There you are!

ANGELA & BRIAN: (greeting Jordan) Hey.

JORDAN: I got the money. (glances pointedly at Brian) Y’know, for the prom?

ANGELA: (annoyed at the timing and torn between them) Great.

BRIAN: (Angela turns to him with a pleading look, imploring him to understand, he is resigned, but not cold to her) Well, I better get to class. See you two later.

JORDAN: Yeah later. (loudly to Angela as Brian walks away) You know you can just call *me* if you need a ride. (a shot of Brian reveals his pained expression)

ANGELA: (watches Brian go, turns to Jordan) Why did you *do* that?

JORDAN: (innocently) What? (she walks off, and he follows)


INT.RESTAURANT
--Afternoon

Graham and Rickie are seated in a small back room, talking.

RICKIE: So, like, I was wondering if you still needed another busboy?

GRAHAM: Definitely. (surprised) Are *you* interested?

RICKIE: Uhm, yeah. (puzzled) Didn’t Angela tell you?

GRAHAM: I haven’t seen a lot of Angela lately.

RICKIE: Oh. Well, only if you think I’m qualified . . .

GRAHAM: Of course you are! We pay slave wages though.

RICKIE: That’s okay. When do you want me to start training, or whatever?

GRAHAM: (thinking) Can you come in Monday after school?

RICKIE: Sure. (standing) I’ll see you then. (at the door) By the way, congratulations on last night. I heard everything went well.

GRAHAM: Really? (pleased) Angela said that?

RICKIE: (embarrassed) Well, no. I heard some of the waiters talking. All Angela talked about all day was the prom. She’s pretty excited.

GRAHAM: (wide-eyed) She’s going to the prom? That’s news to me. (pause) But thanks for the sentiment, the opening did go well. How was yours?

RICKIE: (thinking) It started rough, but finished smoothly. Rayanne was amazing.

GRAHAM: (frowns) I’m sorry I won’t be able to see it.

RICKIE: Oh, you will. We’re taping it on Saturday. I’ll get a copy.

GRAHAM: Thanks. I appreciate it. (waves him off) You must have a lot to do, I know I do, so get going, and I’ll see you after school on Monday. Four sharp.


INT.HALLIE & ETHAN’S APARTMENTS
--Evening

The shots fluctuate back and forth between their respective apartments. Each is sitting alone at a desk in front of their computer. They type periodically, and their voice-overs reveal what they are typing.

HALLIE: (VO) They set us up, definitely!

ETHAN: (nods) (VO) I know! I can’t believe they never told you how old I was.

HALLIE: (VO) I’ve got you beat! I can’t believe they never told you I was pregnant.

ETHAN: (nods along with that sentiment) (VO) Patty did seem pretty amused. But why didn’t *you* ever tell me?

HALLIE: (VO) Because then I would have to get into the whole story of who the father is, and I didn’t want to get into that on-line.

ETHAN: (VO) Why? Is it Elvis’s love child or something?

HALLIE: (VO) No. It’s just something I’d rather discuss in person.

ETHAN: (VO) So you can see my reaction?

HALLIE: (VO) (smirking) And punch you if it’s the wrong one!

ETHAN: (laughs) (VO) Well, I’m free right now. You want to meet at the all-night diner and talk? I’ll practice my supportive nod on the way over.

HALLIE: (hesitant) (VO) I don’t know, I’ve never dated a younger man before . . .

ETHAN: (smiles) (VO) Who said anything about dating? I’m just nosy! Besides, to use your words, I’ve got you beat! I’ve never dated a pregnant woman before.

HALLIE: (VO) Well, neither have I, so how have you got me beat?

ETHAN: (VO) I guess I don’t. Since I *have* dated younger men before. You win! So you wanna go anyway? I still want to talk, but carpal tunnel syndrome is beginning to set in. And I’m hungry.

HALLIE: (devilish smile) (VO) Oh, did you miss snack-time at school? Too busy playing with your blocks or eating paste or something?

ETHAN: (VO) I’ll just assume that was a crack about my age. How did you know about the paste?

HALLIE: (preens in the screen) (VO) One condition: No comments about how I look!

ETHAN: (VO) I promise. Besides, I’ll be too busy making comments about how you’re older than dirt to even notice.

HALLIE: (VO) That’s fair. I’ll see you in a half and hour?

ETHAN: (VO) I’ll be there. But give me forty-five minutes. It takes me awhile on my bike, since I don’t have my training wheels off yet!


Black Screen-- "Saturday"


INT.BACKSTAGE
--Evening

Backstage everyone is excited. Rayanne and Rickie peek out at the audience.

RAYANNE: Do you see her?

RICKIE: Amber, or Angela?

RAYANNE: (excited giggle) Either! Both!

RICKIE: (pointing) There’s Amber next to Katimski and Joseph.

RAYANNE: (waving) And there’s the Chases. And Cherski’s in back.

RICKIE: (nodding) Yeah. With Brian. (worried) You’re not getting nervous again, are you? Because everyone is here?

RAYANNE: (shakes her head) No. I’m over that. I just can’t believe we made it. Closing Night! And so far everyone seems to like it. (Rickie just smiles and nods, agreeing) And I never could have done it without you.

RICKIE: Yes, you could have.

RAYANNE: (serious) No. I could have done it, but it wouldn’t have meant as much. To be here, with you directing me, and Angela out there cheering me on. (pause) That you both forgave me. . . (gets misty, loses her voice) It just means so much more with you two here, that’s all.

RICKIE: (reaches out to hold her hand) I know. I’m just glad we’re all together.

RAYANNE: Me too. (she looks over to where Corey and Zack are moving a piece of the set, as Delia directs them, but badly--they run into something and Zack yelps loudly, Rayanne laughs) Y’know, Vasquez, you have some pretty weird friends.

RICKIE: I know. (pulling her close) But as far as I’m concerned, you are still the first, the best, *and* the weirdest, hands down. (pause) You know that, don’t you?

RAYANNE: (hugging him) Now I do.


INT.AUDITORIUM
--Evening

Brian and Sharon are seated near the aisle, when a clean-cut, blond, jock-looking guy walks by and waves to Sharon, who smiles back at him.

BRIAN: Wasn’t that Scott Wilson?

SHARON: Yes. He’s already on the varsity basketball team, as a sophomore. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?

BRIAN: (shrugs) Not really. I didn’t know you knew him that well.

SHARON: I don’t. At least not yet. (smiles) He invited me to the prom.

BRIAN: (surprised) Did you say "yes"?

SHARON: Of course. Scott’s great-looking, and smart, (seeing Brian’s arched brow) --well, smarter than Kyle at least--(Brian nods at that) and (she smiles, but not in a nice way) Kyle didn’t even *make* the basketball team.

BRIAN: (perplexed, maybe worried) Oh. Well, I’m glad for you. (glumly) Angela is going too, maybe you can sit together and Jordan and Scott can grunt to one another and color the pictures on the back of the menus.

SHARON: (frowns, looks over to where Angela is whispering something to Jordan) Brian, I know how awful you must feel to see Angela with Jordan.

BRIAN: How would *you* know?

SHARON: Well I felt horrible when I found out Kyle was going with Kirsten Redman, and I haven’t loved him since the third grade, like you have Angela.

BRIAN: (automatically correcting her, but speaking softly) It was fourth.

SHARON: What was?

BRIAN: It was in fourth grade. When my sister moved her stuff out of the house. When she went off to college, she took some stuff, but when she moved to Denver, (pause, softly again) well, I never felt so alone. I was up in her room, crying, and Angela came in, but she pretended not to notice. She just sat next to me on Lisa’s bed. Eventually she said, "You’ll always have me." That helped. (pause) Not a lot. But it helped. And she said it without even thinking, like she really meant it . . .

SHARON: I’m sure she did.

BRIAN: (embarrassed now) Well, that was the moment. When I first knew.

The lights out front go out, and the play begins. Sharon watches as Brian, not understanding why he opened up like that, and relieved to be off the hook, pokes a finger up to his eye, to wipe away his errant thoughts, and the possibility of tears.


INT.WASHROOM
--Evening

Jordan backs away from a urinal and pulls it’s handle. He walks past the sinks as if to go out, but then he sees Ethan at the sink washing his hands. Sheepish, he returns to where the sinks are and stands in front of another one, next to Ethan, and turns on the water.

ETHAN: (looking in the mirror, seeing Jordan) Hey! How’re you enjoying the play?

JORDAN: (pulling on the soap dispenser) It’s long.

ETHAN: (nodding) Well, that’s what intermission is for.

Jordan looks over at Ethan, who has his long-sleeved shirt rolled up so as not to get it wet. It should strike viewers at this point that they have never seen Ethan without a long-sleeved shirt on. As Ethan shakes his hands dry and begins to button up his cuffs, Jordan sees scars on each of Ethan’s wrists. They look like old scars, but are still very noticeable. Jordan says nothing, but he stops wringing his hands together under the water and just lets them hang there. Ethan does not notice.

ETHAN: We’d better get back, we don’t want to miss any of Act III.

Jordan nods and wipes his hands on his pants as he watches Ethan exit.


INT.STAGE
--Evening

The last moments of curtain call. Some boy we have never seen, who played George, comes out and bows. Then he gestures to his left and Rayanne comes out on the stage to join him. She is glowing and triumphant. She takes a bow herself, and then she and "George" bow together. Rayanne beams out at the crowd as they part slightly to allow Abyssinia Churchill through to receive the final accolades as the Stage Manager. Reaction shots from those in attendance flash past as the audience keeps clapping. The Chase contingent claps enthusiastically, Angela in particular. A shot of Sharon and Brian reveals similar enthusiasm, but Brian is also quite teary-eyed. The last shot is of Amber, Katimski and Joseph. All three are suffused with parental pride, and Amber, rather than the stomping, shouting, or whistling we might expect, applauds and dabs at her eyes with a tissue. The next shot is of the company bowing together, as the applause reaches thunderous levels, and freezes on Rayanne’s smiling face as she basks in the unconditional love of applause.


INT.BACKSTAGE
--Evening

Mere moments later, backstage. It is chaotic to say the least. Virtually everyone in the cast mills around and can be seen in the background during these vignettes.

KATIMSKI: (to Rickie) A masterful production . . . no doubt about that.

RICKIE: Thanks. But you’re a little biased aren’t you?

JOSEPH: (laughs) Me too! Who cares? You were all great!

RAYANNE: (regarding Sharon with surprise) Hey, Cherski! I wasn’t sure if you would make it.

SHARON: (smiles) How could I not be here? You were wonderful. (hugs Rayanne)

BRIAN: You really were. I really . . . I mean . . .the theme of how we take life for granted . . . well, that really hit home . . . Y’know, for me. (Sharon departs)

RAYANNE: (smiles) That wasn’t me. That was just Wilder.

BRIAN: (shaking his head) No. I’ve *read* the play before. But it was you . . . your performance, that made me *feel* it.

RAYANNE: (almost shyly) I’m glad. Thank you. (then with a mischievous smile, she grabs Brian by the shoulders and slams him hard up against the wall. Then, as she brushes off his jacket where she grabbed him, she says) Now we’re even.

BRIAN: (who looked startled at first, but now is almost relieved that he doesn’t have to say anything further about what happened) That we are.

JORDAN: (walking between them, to Rayanne) Hey. You were pretty good.

RAYANNE: Thanks.

BRIAN: (comes up beside Jordan, in greeting) Hey, Jordan.

Jordan turns to look at Brian and just stares dully at him for a moment and then turns back to Rayanne with an air of annoyance and dismissal. Brian leaves.

RAYANNE: (scowling) Why’d you do that, Catalano?

JORDAN: (shrugs) He just doesn’t get it. I can’t be friends with him.

RAYANNE: Why? (rolling her eyes) Besides the obvious, I mean?

JORDAN: We both want the same thing. And we can’t *both* have it. (pause, looks over to where Angela is hugging Rickie) Maybe she’s just less important to him than she is to me. Maybe he just doesn’t *get* that we’re competing, or whatever.

RAYANNE: (not without sympathy) Maybe not.

JORDAN: I didn’t quite get it at first myself. But, now I do. (quietly) And I know that she’s going to get bored of me someday. There are already times when I have, like, *nothing* to say. And Brain does. I see them talking together. (shakes his head) I just don’t want to lose her yet. Not yet.

RAYANNE: Is that why you’re going to the prom? (smiles) Tino must love that one!

JORDAN: (shrugs) It’s what she wants. And it may be the last time I see some of my friends. They’re graduating, you know. (pause) Like I should be.

RAYANNE: That’s who you’re going with? Maybe you should . . . (trails off)

JORDAN: What?

RAYANNE: (shaking her head) Nothing. Forget I said anything. Good luck.

JORDAN: Thanks. (pause) Y’know, we haven’t really talked since that night we . . . y’know?

RAYANNE: (interrupting) I know.

JORDAN: Well, anyway, you were really good. You reminded me of Angela. (sees her raised eyebrows) Tonight, I mean. In the play.

RAYANNE: (smiling at her inappropriate thoughts) Oh. Right. Thanks.


INT.KATIMSKI’S
--Late Evening

The cast party is in full swing. Rayanne is standing off to one side watching Delia and Rickie dance. Zack looks on, delighted at their flamboyance. Corey walks up.

COREY: (handing her punch) Hey, have I mentioned how great you were?

RAYANNE: (smiling at him) Yes, but it’s a sentiment worth repeating.

COREY: Okay. (doing a Tony the Tiger impression) You were grrrreat!

RAYANNE: (smiling slightly) Thanks. (she turns her attention back to the dancers)

COREY: (watching as Zack joins Delia and Rickie) Those three are good together.

RAYANNE: (fighting against her proprietary interest in Rickie) I know.

COREY: They’re going to the prom together. The three of them. That sounds fun.

RAYANNE: (smiling, but not looking at him) Were you thinking of going?

COREY: It might be fun. (pause) If I found the right girl to go with.

RAYANNE: One who can act and dance and who happens to be a laugh-riot?

COREY: Exactly. And she would have to like Sesame Street. (pause) And me.

RAYANNE: (smirking) You had me right up until that last one. (Corey’s face falls) I could never go out with a guy unless I *knew* there was some chemistry there.

COREY: Oh? (arched eyebrows) How do you find that out?

RAYANNE: Usually by doing *this*. (she reaches for his face, pulls him to her and plants a sloppy kiss on him--shortly thereafter Corey returns the kiss and they stand like that, in a clinch, in the middle of the party with a bass beat pulsing loudly. Finally she lets him go, and Corey takes in great heaping gulps of air to catch his breath, she smiles seductively) Well, that settles that! So do you still wanna go to the prom? (Corey merely nods) Great! We’ll go then. You and me. (she looks across the room and sees Amber there, pointing at her wristwatch) We can discuss the details tomorrow okay? (again the mute nod) I’ve got to go. I have something to do. Something . . . I *have* to do. I’ll call you tomorrow.

COREY: (dumbly nodding yet again, as Rayanne parts the wave of the party goers heading for the front door) Cool.


INT.CHASE KITCHEN
--Late Evening

The house is dark, as Graham quietly enters through the back door. He hangs up his coat and sighs, he looks very tired. The kitchen light goes on, startling him.

ANGELA: Hi. (seeing his expression) Sorry. I thought I heard someone.

GRAHAM: What are you still doing up?

ANGELA: I just got home. I went to the cast party for awhile.

GRAHAM: (sitting down at the nook table) So how was the play?

ANGELA: (smiles) It was great. There’s a tape though, so you can still see it. Everybody missed you, but they all understood. (pause) So, have you eaten? (gives herself a "duh" look) Of course you have, you work in a restaurant, I just thought . . .

GRAHAM: Actually, we were so busy tonight that I didn’t really get the chance.

ANGELA: (opening the fridge) Well, we should have some leftover spaghetti unless Mom gave it to Ethan . . . here it is. You want me to warm it up for you?

GRAHAM: (looking at Angela with wonder) Sure. Why don’t you let me do it while you get out plates and glasses and stuff. You’re having some too, aren’t you?

ANGELA: (smiling) Sure.

Later, in the dining room, they sit together, eating.

ANGELA: So, how was work?

GRAHAM: It was good.

ANGELA: Do you think the reviewer was there tonight?

GRAHAM: I don’t know. It got so hectic that I forgot all about it until just now.

ANGELA: (chewing) But hectic is good, right? People seem to like it?

GRAHAM: Yeah, they really do. The Krakow’s came back into the kitchen last night and wouldn’t stop raving about how good everything was. (pause) They looked at me so strangely. (pause) Like they couldn’t believe I could be that good.

ANGELA: (nodding) I saw people looking at Rayanne that way tonight. (looks down at her food) It must be kind of exciting for you to have a talent like that.

GRAHAM: I guess it is. (pause, smiling) So what is this I hear about you going to the prom? How much is this going to cost me?

ANGELA: (smiling) Not much. Just the dress, and some flowers. Jordan said he would pay for everything else.

GRAHAM: Ahh. (eyes widened, knowingly) So *Jordan* is the lucky guy, huh?

ANGELA: (brief frown) Of course. Who did you think . . .

GRAHAM: (quickly) It doesn’t matter. As long as you’re happy. (pause) Are you?

ANGELA: Yes.

GRAHAM: That’s all I need to know.

ANGELA: What about you? With the restaurant, I mean? Are you happy, too?

GRAHAM: (his sense of wonder about his daughter has returned) I really am.

ANGELA: (very serious and sincere) I’m glad.

They just stare at one another over the pasta for a moment, and then dig back in.


INT.BOOKSTORE/COFFEEHOUSE
--Late evening

Amber and Rayanne walk into the vestibule of the store. You can see a meeting going on inside the store, with eleven people, including Ethan, at the tables in the cafe part of the store. Amber begins to move inside, but Rayanne seems reluctant--the same fear that appeared on her face before the opening night of the play recurs.

AMBER: C’mon Raynie! This is the right meeting, isn’t it? That Rational Recovery group? I mean, (pointing) there’s Ethan right there.

RAYANNE: I know. (shaking her head) I just don’t know about this.

AMBER: Honey, I haven’t made you go to AA because you seemed to feel so strongly about it, but Ms. Krzyzanowski thinks you need some sort of group. And this one meets your criteria: it doesn’t talk about God, and the brochure said that RR focuses on helping yourself rather than relying on faith.

RAYANNE: I know. (she still looks terrified)

ETHAN: (coming up and poking his head out the door) Hey, ladies. C’mon in, we’re just starting.

AMBER: (putting an arm around Rayanne protectively) I think we’ve got cold feet.

ETHAN: Ahh. Is that true, Rayanne?

RAYANNE: (looks down) Sort of.

ETHAN: (softly) Rayanne, I think I know how you’re feeling.

RAYANNE: You mean nauseous?

ETHAN: (smiles) No. I mean that I know how hard it is to deal with strangers when it seems like . . . (pause) like what little confidence and charm you had only came from a *bottle*. (gesturing back to the group) We all know. (pause) But the performance I saw tonight didn’t come from a bottle.

RAYANNE: It’s harder to be yourself. (pause) At least for me.

ETHAN: I know. No one ever said this was going to be easy. It’s actually a lot of work. All things worth accomplishing are, I’ve found. But I think you can do it. (he reaches out for her hand) So what do you say?

RAYANNE: (taking his hand) I’ll try.

Later, Rayanne has joined the circle. The conversation lulls, and out of nowhere, Rayanne speaks.

RAYANNE: I know that I haven’t really said anything, but I wanted to thank you all for, y’know, welcoming me into your group. (pause, looks down) I have a real problem with alcohol. I know that it’s not a disease or anything, at least not for me. (looks up) It’s a choice. A choice that I make to. . . *drink*. And I guess I’m here because I finally figured out that it’s a bad choice. For me. And I guess what I really *need* (pause) more than anything (pause) is some *help* to make the right choices . . . (she looks around and no one looks perplexed or amused as she feared, they are all nodding along with sympathy--and when she sees this, she breaks into the same smile she wore during the curtain call, and though we hear another member of the group responding to her in the background, inside Rayanne’s head we hear the deafening roar of a crowd).

END



AUTHOR’S NOTES

-- Our Town, by Thornton Wilder, was copyrighted and first performed in 1938.

--While Alcoholics Anonymous has inarguably done a lot of good for a lot of people, it is important to recognize the serious failings and problems with AA as well. AA’s focus on a higher power and faith in the place of reason alienates some and precludes the participation of others. And many dubious or at least debatable propositions are implied or outright stated by 12-Step organizations. Just a few examples of this are: that alcoholism is unquestionably a disease; that those with alcohol problems can never drink responsibly; that meetings must be attended virtually for life; and that all children or spouses of alcoholics are invariably disturbed or "codependent" and need 12-Step programs themselves. The list could continue, but one can easily see that strict adherence to the tenets of 12-Step programs can (at least for some) merely replace one addiction (to alcohol) with another (to recovery). Rational Recovery is a program that focuses on the individual’s choices, rather than their faith and is therefore more self-help oriented. Putting an end to a substance abuse problem is not easy, and AA and RR are just tools in that fight. There is nothing wrong with AA, but it doesn’t work for everyone. You should decide for yourself which tools work for you. For more information on Rational Recovery or to see if there are groups in your area, contact:

Rational Recovery Self-Help Network
P.O. Box 800
Lotus, CA 95651
(916) 621-2667


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Episode No. 27 - A Night To Remember by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)
Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 92 KB (17471 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.1/5   4.1/5 (44 votes)

Read this story now: Episode No. 27 - A Night To Remember
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Average: 4.5/5   4.5/5 (32 votes)
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    Jordan and Prom?? and him getting excited about it? and jealous of Brian? ??????
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    Jordan and Rayanne were never freinds, and they must feel realy awkward now, why is he telling her how he feels, jordan has been doing a little too much soul seraching with characters, aand in ways that he wouldn't
  • Dana commented on 11 Jul 2002:
    I agree that Jordan may be doing a little too much soul searching here, but I don't
    find it that out of character for him. He's certainly had moments of insight before. I
    think it makes sense, too, because maybe he's changing due to Brian's and-
    especially- Angela's influence.
  • anonymous author commented on 20 Mar 2003:
    Okay, here we go:
    This whole PROM thing really sucks. I find it believable that Jordan would be threatened by Brian, because Jordan knows that he can never talk to Angela like that and it is completely obvious through the series that he feels intelectually inferior and he is even ashamed of it.Remember the "WJCR" when Angela tries to talk to him about his reading disability and he's all:"Let's not talk about this."
    Or in "Halloween" when Angela tries to convince him to continue to go to school he goes :" She( meaning Mrs.Lerner)'s lookin to throw me out;okay? She thinks I'm a loser. He says that last word like he also believes he's a loser.Or in "Self esteem" when Angela says " btw I spell my name with one L" did you see that look on his face?
    Or in "Pressure" in his garage when he tells her angrily: "I mean, you can think what you want about me, I never lied?"It's obvious that he thinks Angela considers him to be stupid,among other things.
    So, my point here is that you were on right track here, but I don't think Jordan would talk about that, especially not with Rayanne. I agree with the "anonymous" that they feel akward and they didn't really like each other before.
  • zach gave this story a 4.0/5 4.0/5 rating and commented on 21 Aug 2008:
    Jordan finally coming to terms with his 'competing' with Brian is something I thought would eventually be dealt with and you did it well, here. In some of the past episodes, I kind of felt like Jordan was the only character whose essence seemed to be missing but, going to prom because he feels he "has to" to prevent Brian from gaining the upper hand seems plausible enough. Another good one!
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“Do we have to keep talking about religion? It's Christmas.”

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