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Fanfiction

Episode No. 29 - Jubilee

written by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)

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About this story

Published: 31 Jul 1997 | Size: 88 KB (16706 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.6/5   4.6/5 (64 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Black Screen-- "One Month Later"


INT.MALL
--Morning

Angela and Rayanne wander the front of a toy store. In the background, you can see Sharon and Delia in one of the checkout lines. Rayanne notices the display of small red vending machines that dispense candy and cheap toys. Seeing them, she gets all excited and literally skips over to them, jumping up and down with excitement.

RAYANNE: Angelika! They have superballs! Gimme a quarter or two! Please! (she tugs on Angela’s arm in a childlike manner)

ANGELA: (dutifully digging in the pockets of her shorts, and handing Rayanne change) Here. (parent-like) And this is the *last* money you’re getting today.

RAYANNE: (head tip) Thank you.

Then Rayanne excitedly kneels in front of the superball machine and puts money in, maniacally repeating the word "superball" under her breath, like "Rainman". Two adults walking past Angela and Rayanne stop to stare at Rayanne’s antics.

RAYANNE: (noticing their scrutiny, explaining in a child-like voice) They don’t let us have any *real* money in the home.

The stuck-up ladies turn to Angela with questioning looks, but she has already broken up and cannot keep a straight face. They leave in a huff.

RAYANNE: (returning to Angela with her brightly colored prizes) I think they were just mad because I was blocking the machine with the plastic bugs in it. (sticking her nose in the air) I got the impression they were *serious* collectors. Those bugs are like Precious Moments. All lifeless housewives *must* have some.

ANGELA: Hey! Watch what you say. My *Dad* was a housewife for awhile there.

RAYANNE: (hand slap to forehead) I forgot. (pointing to machine) Do you think we should get him one? (mock serious) I understand the fire ant is quite rare.

ANGELA: (flabbergasted) You’re crazed.

RAYANNE: My hand to god, I heard that the fire ant will increase in value quicker than commemorative plates.

Angela laughs and shakes her head in disbelief, as Sharon and Delia walk up, with packages in hand.

ANGELA: What took you guys so long?

DELIA: (smiling) We still had to get a few things for the party. (Sharon elbows her)

ANGELA: (doesn’t see Rayanne behind her scowling at Delia) What party?

SHARON: (quickly covering) At day camp we have a party every Friday, and this week it’s my turn to buy some of the stuff.

DELIA: (playing along) I think it’s so great that you got a job taking care of kids.

SHARON: Well, it’s just for a couple of weeks. But since summer school finished, and I’m not tutoring Jordan anymore, I just couldn’t sit around the house all day.

ANGELA: Let’s not talk about Jordan.

SHARON: Okay. (gossipy) Let’s talk about the new love of your life!

ANGELA: (downplaying it) Sure. When I meet him, I’ll let you know.

Rayanne frowns and exchanges a knowing look with Sharon.

DELIA: So, now what?

RAYANNE: (brightening again) Let’s go stand outside the haircut place and make horrified faces at the customers!

She runs off in that direction and the other three follow.


INT.RESTAURANT
--Morning

Graham and Hallie in the back office. She is at 8 months and is *very* big.

GRAHAM: I’m feeling bad about closing the restaurant early just for Angela’s birthday party.

HALLIE: Graham it’s fine! You’re paying for the food and staff that will be here. Closing early for *one* night is not going to kill us.

GRAHAM: But it’s Friday night.

HALLIE: So? We’ll live. Besides, if we’re going to be doing more catering and renting out the restaurant or the back room for private parties, we’re going to have to have a practice run with the staff anyway. What better way to do it then with a client who can’t complain? Besides, (wistfully) you only turn sixteen once. I can still remember going to cotillions and coming out parties.

GRAHAM: *What* kind of parties?

HALLIE: Shut up! Those things are still very big in the South. We all got dressed up in these white dresses and teased our hair higher than hair should be.

GRAHAM: That’s an interesting image.

HALLIE: I swear, we used so much hairspray that I think we should personally apologize to the whole world for global warming. (pause) It’s a big night.

GRAHAM: I just can’t believe that she’s going to be driving. It makes me feel so old.

HALLIE: You *are* old.

GRAHAM: (sardonic smile) Not all of us can date out of our age bracket in order to preserve the illusion of youth.

HALLIE: Hey! Ethan and I are definitely the same age emotionally.

GRAHAM: And that age would be what? Five?

HALLIE: Listen doody head! Play nice or I’m telling. (pause) The point is, that this surprise party for Angela is a perfect idea. It’s something she’ll always remember.

GRAHAM: I just want her to be happy. (pause) And to know how proud I am of her for all she’s been through this last year. She seems to have dealt with everything beautifully. (small smile) And now I think something’s happening with Brian.

HALLIE: That’s the kid with cancer? The polite one? He’s a trip. (shaking head) When they came here to see Rickie, he called me "ma’am." I almost punched him.

GRAHAM: That’s him. Their relationship is so far beyond any that I had in High School. Or any that my brother Neil has had, period. And I really hope that something happens between them. (thoughtful) Do you think should tell her that?

HALLIE: (laughing) No! That’s the kiss of death! If you actually want her to even consider him a possibility, you should probably seem a little threatened by him.

GRAHAM: (skeptical) Isn’t that going a little too far?

HALLIE: Remember our discussion about jealousy?

GRAHAM: Yes. But you’ve never been a parent.

HALLIE: And *you’ve* never been a teen-age girl. At least that I know of.

Hallie raises her eyebrows at him and exits, leaving him lost in thought.


INT.MALL
--Morning

CAMILLE: (holding up a pink blouse) How about this?

PATTY: (frowning) I think that’s really more Sharon’s style.

CAMILLE: (clucking) I guess you’re right. It should be something more special anyway. It’s desperation talking. I always wait until the last minute. It’s a sickness.

PATTY: (reassuring) Angela will like anything you give her.

CAMILLE: I just cannot believe they’re both sixteen already. I swear, if there weren’t state laws, Sharon would want to leave the house *today*.

PATTY: (nodding) I know what you mean.

CAMILLE: Yes, but *you* still have Danielle and one more sweet sixteen party to go. (pause) You remember your sixteenth birthday party?

PATTY: (thinking) Everything back then seems so naive and innocent now. I just can’t picture any of them playing a kissing game these days.

CAMILLE: (nodding) No, you’re right. After what Sharon went through, I finally had to realize that no matter how much things haven’t changed, a lot has. I don’t think they really let it ever be a game to them now. It’s so serious, so soon.

PATTY: How is Sharon, anyway? Angela seems to think she’s doing better.

CAMILLE: (nodding) She is. She manages to let a smile out every once in a while. And then when she got this job at the YMCA day camp, I knew she had turned some kind of corner.

PATTY: What do you mean?

CAMILLE: It’s just that before it happened she was always babysitting for extra money and helping out at the nursery at church, and after what happened, she just stopped. Like she couldn’t bear to be around kids. Even her little cousins. Now she’s surrounded by kids all day. I like to take that as some progress of healing.

PATTY: I’m sure it is.

CAMILLE: (gossipy) So how is Angela doing?

PATTY: (wary) You can never really tell. I get the definite impression that she might be happy, but she’s very careful not to let that spill over into her relationship with Graham and me. (pause, pointedly) We do see Brian Krakow a lot, however.

CAMILLE: So the rumors I hear have some merit, then?

PATTY: (sarcastic) I can neither confirm nor deny those rumors. I refuse to come to any conclusion based on the limited facts I have. All I *can* say is that she isn’t spending most of her time in her room weeping and listening to depressing music. (pause) And for that I am truly thankful.

CAMILLE: Amen to that, sister. (reaching out for a short leather mini-skirt) What do you think about this?

PATTY: (raised eyebrows) That’s not really Angela’s style either.

CAMILLE: Forget Angela, I meant for *me*!

PATTY: Well, (a bit scandalized) I think it would go great with the handcuffs.

They both laugh and continue through the mall.


INT.MALL
--Morning

On the second floor of the mall, near the railings, Rayanne, Angela, Delia, and Sharon congregate, with mischief in the air.

RAYANNE: Hey! Watch this!

Rayanne leans over the railing and throws a superball down to the first level. We see it bounce back up even with the second level, and Rayanne leans precariously out on the railing to try to get it. She misses. Angela reaches out for her shirt.

ANGELA: (grabbing her) Careful. I doubt you’ll bounce as well.

SHARON: Maybe if she landed on her head?

RAYANNE: Watch it, Cherski. I’m not above pushing you into the fountain.

ANGELA: Where did the ball go anyway?

RAYANNE: You pulled me back before it stopped bouncing. Last I saw it was headed toward J.C. Penney’s. (shrugging, holding up a bright blue superball) At least we have one more. This time I’m going for distance!

Rayanne rounds the corner of the railing, so she can face the long aisle of the mall and aim the ball from the end they are at to the other.

DELIA: Be careful, Rayanne, I think that security guard on the escalator saw you.

RAYANNE: Really? (sexy) I usually get along pretty well with security guards.

SHARON: (close to panic) Maybe you shouldn’t do this, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: Okay. (Sharon looks relieved) Angela can do it. (Sharon’s eyes widen)

(pointing at Sharon) That face gives me an idea. Throw it Angela.

Angela takes the superball and ponders it for a moment. She looks from the wide eyes of Sharon to the excited Rayanne to the escalator-riding guard. Then, she smiles and tosses then ball down amongst other mall-goers. Rayanne screams and puts one hand over her left eye, as if she just lost it. Sharon, Delia and Angela watch in amusement as the superball takes a tortured path down the main aisle of the mall. The guard sees this and starts taking the escalator stairs two at a time.

DELIA: (seeing him, pointing) The guard! The guard!

RAYANNE: (still feigning blindness) Where? Where?

SHARON: We had better get going.

RAYANNE: Why? He’s a *mall* cop! He doesn’t even get to carry a gun!

DELIA: (non sequitur) I’ve heard that they get a 10% discount at The Gap, though.

RAYANNE: (shrugging) Well, I guess that evens it out then.

ANGELA: (tugging at her) Rayanne, we gotta go.

RAYANNE: (looking over her shoulder to find the guard quickly approaching) Oops! Gotta go.

They bolt as one, laughing and skipping around the corner to a side exit.


INT.RESTAURANT
--Morning

Hallie is giving some direction to the man behind the bar as Rickie approaches dressed in his busboy uniform. The lunch rush is thinning in the background.

HALLIE: (to bartender) Make sure you watch to seat people. I’ve *got* to get back to the office.

RICKIE: (coming up behind her) Ms. Lowenthal? (no response) Hallie?

HALLIE: What, Rickie? Is there a problem?

RICKIE: Not exactly. There’s someone here to see you. A man.

HALLIE: (intrigued) Really? Then send him on back here.

RICKIE: (looks uncertain) Okay.

Rickie dutifully departs and returns with a generic looking man.

MAN: Are you Hallie Lowenthal?

HALLIE: Yes. And who are you?

MAN: That really isn’t important. (he hands her an envelope) Consider yourself served. (rather flip) You’re being sued, congratulations! (he walks off)

Rickie lingers there, concerned, as Hallie opens the manila envelope and reads what is inside. Her face, previously a healthy pink, pales as she reads on. Her lips tighten.

HALLIE: (shaking her head) Bastard!

RICKIE: Is everything okay?

HALLIE: Not exactly.

RICKIE: What’s the problem?

HALLIE: My ex-fiance, Brad, is the problem. A big one. That spawn of Satan and his demonic horde of lawyers are suing to gain custody of my baby.

RICKIE: Can he do that?

HALLIE: (steely) Not if I have anything to say about it.


INT.HOSPITAL
--Early Afternoon

Brian sits in a doctor’s office across from Dr. Mengler, who is his therapist/ counselor when he comes to have periodic maintenance check-ups and treatments. Mengler is a round-faced man who appears too happy to be fully trusted. All throughout, Mengler smiles and nods in a falsely reassuring way.

MENGLER: (smarmy) So you feel like you’re beginning to deal with the fear?

BRIAN: I guess so. For awhile it was like the fear and the anger were holding me back. So, in a way I guess the fear immobilized me.

MENGLER: And you think you’re past that now?

BRIAN: Sort of. I still think about dying and wonder why all this happened to me, but I also realized that living with fear really isn’t anything new. (pause) Because even before I was diagnosed, I lived with all these fears--like *all* the time. But then, when I got sick, it was like all those old fears didn’t matter anymore. Because I saw what *real* fear could be like.

MENGLER: And how do feel about that now?

BRIAN: Well, I guess that even though the fear of dying held me back, (pause) in another way it made me free. Free to *do* things, to *say* things I might not have before. At least once I stopped hiding out.

MENGLER: (still nodding and smiling, like a clown with Parkinson’s) That’s very good, Brian. I really feel very positively about our discussion today. (he continues to look at Brian and nod, as if expecting some response)

BRIAN: (never one to disappoint, nodding himself) Me too. (he stops) I guess.

Dr. Garcia, Brian’s oncologist, knocks and enters the room. She looks somber, but attempts a small smile at Brian and Dr. Mengler.

GARCIA: Hi, Brian.

BRIAN: (standing) Hi. So are we done here, then?

GARCIA: Actually Brian, I thought we could go over the test results here. To include Dr. Mengler.

BRIAN: (slowly sitting back down) Why? (she doesn’t answer right away, but gives Dr. Mengler a look, Brian frowns) Where’s my Mother?

GARCIA: I just spoke with her. She had to go to the Ladies’ Room.

BRIAN: (he looks down) I guess . . . I mean, it’s obvious that something is . . . well, not *right*. Is it about my test results?

GARCIA: Yes, it is. (pause) I’m afraid that the tests show that the leukemia is back.

BRIAN: (shaking his head vigorously) But we got rid of it all.

GARCIA: As we’ve told you, there may have always been a residual amount there that we couldn’t detect. That’s why we have a two to three year program of continued use of medication and check-ups like this.

BRIAN: But you told me that didn’t happen anymore.

GARCIA: Residual cells surviving the initial treatment is becoming rarer, but it is by no means unheard of. Especially in cases like this. We knew you had a very high initial white cell count and were thus at risk for an early relapse.

BRIAN: (shrinking into a corner of his chair) But this isn’t that, is it? It’s just a setback, or something, right? (pause) It’s not a *relapse*.

MENGLER: (leaning forward) Brian, remember how we discussed the importance of facing the truth head on? Especially the hard truths?

BRIAN: (ignoring Mengler, long pause, finally looking up) Does this mean I’m going to die?

MENGLER: (interrupting) Now what have I said about rejecting negativity?

BRIAN: (giving Mengler a cold stare, rising) Dr. Mengler, could you excuse us?

MENGLER: (confused) But this is *my* office.

BRIAN: I know. And I don’t mean to "negate" you, or "marginalize" you, but *you* need to recognize some hard truths. (Mengler nods uncertainly) The first is that I don’t need to see you anymore, and probably haven’t for the last few sessions or so.

MENGLER: But. . .

BRIAN: And I only kept coming to be polite. (pause) The second truth is that I don’t really have the time to be polite right now and I want to talk to Dr. Garcia alone. (pause) I hope you understand.

MENGLER: Of course. (rising) I regard this as a positive exchange.

BRIAN: I’m sure you do. (Mengler exits, Brian won’t look at Dr. Garcia, he looks at a print on the wall) Did you tell my Mom about this?

GARCIA: (nods) Yes. She needed to . . . well, *compose* herself before seeing you.

BRIAN: (still facing away from her) So. This is pretty bad then, isn’t it?

GARCIA: I’m not going to lie to you, Brian. A relapse so soon is *not* a good sign. But because of your age, and some of the other factors I mentioned, it isn’t totally unexpected either. (pause) But what you need to know, and what I tried to impress upon your Mother, is that the five-year survival rate even when something like this happens is still quite good for ALL patients.

BRIAN: (turning to face her) So what does this mean? (pause) What happens next?

GARCIA: Well, you need to be hospitalized for another period of intensive therapy. We may try a different drug combination this time. And we need to talk seriously about the possibility of some form of bone marrow transplantation.

BRIAN: A transplant? Isn’t that sort of . . . radical?

GARCIA: Yes. But, in relapse cases there is some evidence that it presents the best chance for a second remission and a possibility of eventual cure. That’s why I want you or your Mother to contact your sister to see if she’s a full match. Sibling donors are most likely to be fully compatible.

BRIAN: (nodding, absently) Sure. She lives in Denver.

GARCIA: We can arrange for the test to be done there. Now, as for your treatment, we should really begin the next set of concentrated protocols as soon as possible.

BRIAN: How soon?

GARCIA: Your Mother wants me to admit you today.

BRIAN: No. (softly, shaking his head) No. Not tonight. And not tomorrow.

GARCIA: Brian, it’s important to do this as soon as possible.

BRIAN: (almost too calm) I said no. I have something to do tonight. A . . . *friend’s* birthday party. And tomorrow she’s going to get her license, and we’re all going out. She wants to drive some of us for a change.

GARCIA: Is this the young lady who came here with you the last couple of weeks? The one who brought you your schoolwork earlier?

BRIAN: (embarrassed) Yes. And I *have* to be there. It’s important.

GARCIA: (gently) I’ll bet it’s just as important to her that you do everything you can to get well. Don’t you think?

BRIAN: (he is shaking his head) You misunderstand. I meant that it’s important to *me*. To be there. That’s for *me*. (pause) I can come in bright and early on Sunday morning. And you can poke and prod me as much as you want. For as long as it takes. Just *not* tonight. (pause) Deal?

GARCIA: (nodding slowly) Deal.


INT.AMBER’S APARTMENT
--Afternoon

Rayanne and Danielle are in the small bathroom in the apartment, with a chair pushed up beside the sink. Rayanne has apparently been doing people’s hair. Rayanne looks at her reflection in the mirror, fussing with her hair, worn straight, with the light streak in it. Danielle gets on the chair backwards, facing the mirror. She smiles wickedly, as she preens as well, with a brand new light streak in her hair.

DANIELLE: This is so awesome!

RAYANNE: Your Mom is gonna flip!

DANIELLE: (excited) Let’s show them!

RAYANNE: Okay! (shouting) Angela, Amber, come look!

Angela and Amber crowd into the small bathroom and look shocked and delighted.

ANGELA: Oh, my god . . .

AMBER: It’s like a miniature version of you, Raynie! (takes a sip from a daiquiri) You two *have* to go somewhere together like that and freak people out.

ANGELA: Just going home tonight will accomplish *that*. (to Danielle) I thought you were just going to watch Rayanne do hers?

DANIELLE: I wanted to see what it was like.

ANGELA: Great. And Mom will blame me.

DANIELLE: She won’t even notice. Especially if you’re dyeing your hair again.

AMBER: Are you going red again, honey?

ANGELA: I was thinking about it. We got the stuff today at the mall. (fiddling with her hair) What do you think? Do you think I should do it?

AMBER: Sure. It’s the end of summer. You deserve to go a little crazy.

DANIELLE: What would Brian think?

AMBER: (latching on to gossip) Are you two an item now?

Rayanne watches Angela carefully.

ANGELA: (noncommittal) Not really. (reaching for a bag) So, I guess I’m going to do it again. I got a more subdued shade of red this time, though.

AMBER: Ugh! That stuff is going to smell! (to Danielle) C’mon honey, I’ll fix you some quiche and show you those cards, okay?

DANIELLE: Great! (Amber and Danielle exit)

RAYANNE: (motioning to the chair) Why don’t you sit down.

ANGELA: (she does, looking after Amber) You didn’t tell me your Mom started drinking again.

RAYANNE: (tying a big towel around Angela’s neck) Well, she is. She says she started again when I was visiting my Dad. Maybe she never stopped at all. (pause) It doesn’t mean that *I’m* going to start drinking again, or anything.

ANGELA: (leaning back) I know.

RAYANNE: (turning on the water) So, I’ve been meaning to ask you about Brian.

ANGELA: (frowning) What about him?

RAYANNE: Well, I mean, we all noticed how cozy you two seemed at the lock-in.

ANGELA: So?

RAYANNE: (shrugging) So, I just wondered if this is some sort of summer fling or something. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

ANGELA: Why would you say it like that?

RAYANNE: It’s like you kind of deny he exists when he’s not around. I guess I was just wondering what’s gonna happen when school starts. Are you going to avoid him in the halls? Should *we* avoid him too?

ANGELA: Where is this coming from?

RAYANNE: (barreling on) ‘Cause I could see why you’d want us to. (scrubbing Angela’s hair) He is pretty much the exact opposite of interesting. I mean, you could still see him outside of school. (pause) Or maybe in the boiler-room.

ANGELA: Oww! (bolting up) Not so hard. (pause) And I *get* what you’re doing.

RAYANNE: What?!? I’m just agreeing that Brian is a complete snooze.

ANGELA: Rayanne, I, like, *know* what reverse psychology is. (pause) I don’t have to be tricked into saying how much I like Brian. Or what a good friend he is.

RAYANNE: Then why are you holding back? (pause) You treat him like Jordan treated you. Like you’re *ashamed* or something.

ANGELA: I’m not. It’s just hard to, like, *change* the boundaries. Especially when you’re the one who insisted on them in the first place. (Rayanne nods at her) And maybe changing it will make it all not work. And that’s a lot to lose.

RAYANNE: (leaning her back again) What do you mean?

ANGELA: It’s not like trying to connect with someone you don’t know. It’s like trying to reconnect what’s already there . . . in a *completely* different way. And if you mess up with a stranger, well then you’ve really lost nothing. (pause) But if we find a way to mess this up, I could lose a really good friend.

RAYANNE: (opening the treatment) I guess that’s true. (pause) But you have a pretty good track record at being friends again with people. *Eventually*.

ANGELA: Except Jordan Catalano. I think maybe boyfriends are different.

RAYANNE: You could be right. But Brian Krakow isn’t Jordan Catalano. By, like, a *lot*. (pause) And I know something about getting into relationships just for the hell of it. Is that what this is? Or do you want something to happen?

ANGELA: I do want something to happen. But Brian won’t *do* anything.

RAYANNE: Of course he won’t! It’s *Brian*! You’ve got to *make* it happen.

ANGELA: (after a pause) What if I just can’t?

RAYANNE: (softly) Then you’re probably cheating yourself out of something great. I know a bit about that, too. (pause) About feeling like you don’t deserve someone who’s . . . (frowns) *nice*.

ANGELA: Rayanne, "nice" isn’t a four-letter word. (pause) Well, actually it *is*, but I think you know what I mean. Isn’t Corey nice?

RAYANNE: Yeah. And look how long I avoided him. I could have been with him all this time. (pause, smiles) Once you get past the strangeness of the fact that I’m dating someone, like, *without* a probation officer, it’s actually pretty cool.

ANGELA: (smiling) You’re even starting to sound like him. So everything is still pretty good between the two of you?

RAYANNE: (surprised herself) Yeah, it is. (pause) I don’t know. Usually I never even had to end it myself, the guy would just get bored and stop coming around. The few times that I felt myself getting sucked into a "relationship" I just got this feeling, like I was in one of those invisible shrinking mime boxes. Only all the time.

ANGELA: And with Corey?

RAYANNE: I don’t feel that way. Maybe I still will. (pause) But, I haven’t yet.

ANGELA: Maybe you never will.

RAYANNE: (snapping out of it) Hey! We’re talking about *you* here, sister! You and your sickeningly *normal* relationship with the boy next door!

ANGELA: Across the street, actually. And there *is* no relationship. Not like that. (she smiles to herself) At least not yet.


INT.DAYCARE
--Afternoon

Sharon stands at a counter filling little plastic cups with juice. Brian sits nearby, and has apparently been talking for some time. They both look somewhat upset.

BRIAN: So I’m going back in on Sunday. What do you think I should do?

SHARON: (not turning around) You have to tell her, Brian. You *have* to.

BRIAN: I know that. And I will tell her. But not today. It could completely ruin the whole surprise party thing.

SHARON: Angela’s probably going to be upset no matter when you tell her. (pause) But if she thinks you tried to hide it from her, or *lied* to her, it will be worse. That’s not the way you treat someone you love. (pause) Especially when you’re desperate to have a relationship with them.

BRIAN: (frowning) You make it sound like the only reason I hang around Angela is to, like, *trick* her into dating me. (angry) And I don’t even want that anymore!

SHARON: (skeptical, pouring another glass) You don’t?

BRIAN: (scowling) No! We agreed to just be friends. (pause) Good friends.

SHARON: (sighs) Brian, we also all agreed to live together when we grew up. Are we still going to do that?

Brian just raises his eyebrows and shakes his head.

SHARON: Well don’t you think it’s possible that this agreement could change too?

BRIAN: I’m telling you, I don’t *want* it to. That’s not what this is about.

SHARON: (slowly, turning to face him) Brian, I believe you when you say that you don’t want to go back on this "just friends" promise, but that’s *not* the same thing as no longer wanting to be more than friends. (pause) I think sometimes its easier to pretend not to want what you think you can never have anyway. I think it gives you back the illusion of control, or whatever. (pointedly) But, it *is* just an illusion.

BRIAN: (thinking this over, shame-facedly) Maybe . . . maybe I’m just scared.

SHARON: (tipping her head) That sounds true. What of?

BRIAN: (grasping) Like, what if she finally falls for me, and then I die? How selfish of me would that be? To risk that risk? I couldn’t stand myself.

SHARON: What would you care? You’d be dead! (rolling her eyes) That explanation may fit in with your martyr complex, but it doesn’t feel true to me. (pause) What are you *really* scared of?

BRIAN: I don’t know. (softly) I guess, I sort of wonder, you know, how I could ever compete with Jordan. Experience wise. I mean, *Zack* has more experience with girls than I do. What if I don’t . . . *measure up* or whatever?

SHARON: Oh. (getting it, nodding) Oh! Well I guess in a way I see what you mean.

BRIAN: (scowling) Aren’t you supposed to say that those things don’t matter?

SHARON: No, they do matter. (seeing Brian’s confidence plummet even more) But other things matter just as much. (sweetly) I mean, Brian, you slept in each other’s *arms*. That has to mean something. Trust definitely matters. And so does feeling comfortable, and like, *safe*. The other things matter too, but those can come in time. (small smile) And practice is half the fun.

BRIAN: (blushes, looks down) You’re better than my therapist, that’s for sure.

SHARON: (shrug, turns back to the snacks) Well you probably tell him what he wants to hear, and he falls for it, because he hasn’t known you, like, *forever*.

BRIAN: You’re probably right. (pause) When did you get smarter than *me*?

SHARON: Oh, I’ve *always* been smarter than you. I just don’t show off as much. (She turns to him, and notices his frown) Don’t pout. Have some juice.

BRIAN: (he takes it and sips some) What about you? Are you okay?

SHARON: I guess I am. (pause) Some days I don’t even think about what happened at all. But then when I do remember, that makes it worse somehow.

BRIAN: (with empathy) So you still feel bad?

SHARON: (nodding slowly) Yes. For a while I tried anything so that I didn’t feel bad. I guess because if I felt bad about what I did, then maybe I did the wrong thing. (pause) Avoiding bad feelings maybe isn’t an answer. Maybe you have to *own* the feelings in order to deal with them. I think what I have to do now, is just work on being honest and happy with myself again. (pause, looks at him) I was once, you know. I think I can be again.

BRIAN: I think so too. (pause, gesturing) And self-loathing is my area of expertise.

SHARON: (rolling her eyes, but thanking him) Get out of here, Krakow. The kids’ll be back inside any second from their game. And trust me when I say that they will knock you out of the way for juice and a ginger snap without a second thought.

BRIAN: All right. I’m going. I’ll see you tonight, Cherski. (pause) And thanks.

SHARON: No problem. (calling after him) Tell her, Krakow!


INT.KATIMSKI’S APARTMENT
--Afternoon

Zack and Delia are in Katimski’s front room. Zack is fiddling with the stereo and is apparently taping something. Rickie comes in, changed out of his work clothes.

DELIA: I tried to stop him, Rickie.

RICKIE: What now?

ZACK: (leaping away from the stereo, to grasp Rickie and twirl him) Delia questions my contribution to the mix tape for tonight.

DELIA: He put on "They Don’t Know".

RICKIE: (still quasi-dancing with Zack) You do know that they’re all sick of that song? (lets himself be twirled) Rayanne has threatened to remove your spleen with a melon-baller if you ever play it again.

ZACK: That’s the beauty of it. She won’t attack me at a party full of witnesses for the State.

DELIA: Unless they’re all sick of the song too.

ZACK: (stops in his tracks) Oh. Well, you can live without a spleen, can’t you? Anyway, it’s just one song. And we can do our dance! Like the Supremes.

RICKIE: I’m surprised with your upbringing that you know who the Supremes are. But I guess you could have heard about them from the *help*.

ZACK: (giving Rickie a sour look) I warned you about my parents, didn’t I?

DELIA: I thought we had a good time swimming. (to Rickie) His parents don’t exactly exude warmth, but they didn’t seem that bad.

RICKIE: I just wonder what they said after we left.

ZACK: (flip) Well, the conversation is still being transcribed, but I can get you copies in triplicate by next week.

DELIA: C’mon Zack, what did they really say?

ZACK: (suddenly serious) They actually had some nice things to say about you both. But then they did say something that bothered me. . .

RICKIE: Was it about me?

ZACK: Sort of. But not how you mean. (pause) They just kind of observed that you and I are very different. They kind of implied that you and I don’t have much in common other than being gay. (pause) Like our whole relationship is based on that.

DELIA: But that’s ridiculous.

Both Rickie and Zack go from thoughtful to rabid agreement instantly.

ZACK: It is. Completely. I don’t know what they’re thinking.

RICKIE: (softly) Maybe that I’m the only gay kid that you know in school. And that *you’re* the only one I know. Maybe *that’s* what they’re thinking.

DELIA: But that doesn’t *mean* anything. You two have a lot in common. (they both look at her) Like music and dancing, and friends, and the fact you’re both hilarious. You guys would have been friends regardless of your sexuality.

ZACK: (turning back to Rickie, but not smiling) She’s right.

RICKIE: (nodding, but also not smiling) Of course she is.

Zack and Rickie just somberly stare at each other. Delia, uncomfortable, turns to mess with the stereo system.

KATIMSKI: (coming in with Joseph) Enrique! Oh, there you are. Hello. . . .uhm. Zack , Delia.

JOSEPH: (giving a small wave) Hi, kids.

KATIMSKI: We . . . ahhh . . . wanted to talk to you, Enrique. But if you’re busy . . .

ZACK: No. That’s okay. I still have to wrap my present and get changed.

DELIA: I should probably go too.

RICKIE: (watching Zack go) You’ll call me before you go to the party?

ZACK: (nodding, sad smile) Of course. C’mon, Delia, I’ll drop you off.

Zack and Delia exit. Katimski and Joseph regard Rickie inquiringly.

JOSEPH: I hope we didn’t interrupt anything, Rickie.

KATIMSKI: No, because we . . . ahhh, I mean we just had some news for you.

RICKIE: (reassuring) No, it’s fine. I mean, everything is fine.

KATIMSKI: Well, good . . . good. We just came from that attorney.

JOSEPH: The one Ethan recommended.

KATIMSKI: Right. It’s about the guardianship papers. (quick little laugh) Everything is happening so fast.

RICKIE: Did they find my Aunt and Uncle?

KATIMSKI: Yes, yes they did.

RICKIE: So they’re going to come to the hearing?

KATIMSKI: Well, uhm, not exactly . . .

JOSEPH: The attorney said that they weren’t going to come back into the state for the hearing, but they did sign an affidavit saying that they don’t object to Richard being appointed your guardian for the next two years.

KATIMSKI: I mean, if that’s what *you* want, of course.

RICKIE: No, of *course* that’s what I want. This whole time that’s what I wanted. (pause) But I just thought maybe I’d see them again, you know . . . to say good-bye or thank you . . . or whatever.

JOSEPH: We can get their last known address from the attorney. I’m sure the private investigator the firm hired has that information.

RICKIE: (his voice is thick) Maybe we could do that. I mean, if it doesn’t cost extra or anything.

KATIMSKI: We can call him first thing on Monday.

RICKIE: Great. Thanks. (pause) So then, the guardianship is pretty much a done deal?

KATIMSKI: Well . . . of course the judge still has the power to determine what is in your best interests, but . . . with the affadavit from your Aunt and Uncle and the statements of Ms. Krzyzanowski and the Chases, the lawyer seems to think we have a very good chance.

RICKIE: Well, I’m glad.

KATIMSKI: (puzzled) I have to say . . . you don’t *seem* very glad.

RICKIE: No! It’s not that! (moving towards them, touching their arms) You two are great. It’s just . . . I don’t know. (pause) Dating is hard for people like us, isn’t it?

Joseph just looks down. Katimski thinks for a moment.

KATIMSKI: I think dating is hard for all people your *age*, no matter what they’re like. (pause) Or *who* they like.

RICKIE: (he can accept that) Thanks Mr. Katimski. Joseph.

JOSEPH: Anytime. Anytime at all.

KATIMSKI: (clasping Rickie around the shoulder) That’s what we’re here for, Enrique. Now let’s go and get ready for this party. We have a present to wrap too.

JOSEPH: (as they all exit) You’re *not* wrapping it, Richard. Everything you wrap looks like it was wrapped by monkeys.

RICKIE: (smiling) Maybe he just does that so you have to wrap everything, Joseph.

JOSEPH: No! (turning to Katimski) You wouldn’t do that, would you?

KATIMSKI: (with a knowing smile) I’ll never tell.


INT.RESTAURANT
--Afternoon

Graham is lingering and "helping" Neil set up the sound system for the party.

NEIL: I can’t believe Patty expects Marla and I to come to this thing. Isn’t the party supposed to be for the *kids*?

GRAHAM: Technically, yes. But you know Patty, she invited a lot of adults too. Once she invited the Cherski’s, she felt like she had to invite some of the other parents too. (pause) And of course, Chuck and Vivian are coming.

NEIL: (fiddling with a screwdriver) Ugh! They *hate* me. And so does Camille for that matter. I think Patty just wants to torture me.

GRAHAM: (smirking) Well, I think she would never invite Ethan and then not invite *my* brother.

NEIL: I’m almost glad he exists. Now we can form a Wacky Brothers-in-Law club.

GRAHAM: Well, as long as you put in an appearance.

NEIL: I will, I will. I’m just not sure I can convince Marla to come, though.

GRAHAM: Why not?

NEIL: It’s hard to get through to her when she’s not speaking to me.

GRAHAM: What did you *do*?

NEIL: What do you mean, what did *I* do? What about Marla?

GRAHAM: Marla is an angel. She’s too good for you.

NEIL: (sheepish) Fine. I’m sure we’ll work things out. (pause) It does sicken me to know that everyone I know--even my own family--likes Marla better than me.

GRAHAM: (clapping him on the back) That’s a credit to your good taste. Besides, the party will be fun. Just tell Marla that there’s going to be food and drinks and music and dancing.

NEIL: (nodding) She loves all those things. I think it’s *me* she’s trying to avoid. Besides, (smiling) I can just hang out with you all night.

GRAHAM: Neil, that’s sort of my point. I was hoping to spend some time with Patty tonight.

NEIL: Oh, you mean in between her panicking about small details.

GRAHAM: Exactly. We don’t have a lot of time alone these days.

NEIL: Oh? Back in marital hell again?

GRAHAM: (glares at him) No. It’s just this new schedule. She still works the same hours, but I usually work from at least ten to eight. Sometimes longer. We just don’t see much of each other, that’s all. I feel like I see Hallie more than I see Patty.

NEIL: Is there still some sort of spark there? Are you worried?

GRAHAM: (frowning) You do know that she’s dating Ethan, don’t you?

NEIL: Sure. (pause) But that’s obviously just a way to distract herself from you.

GRAHAM: (smiling a little) Do you really think that?

NEIL: (laughs) No way. (pause) But you sure bit at it fast.

GRAHAM: I did not.

NEIL: Okay. Whatever. (pause) Anyway, this whole schedule thing will all work itself out eventually. It always does.

GRAHAM: Even with you and Marla?

NEIL: (shrugs) Sure. We’ll only stop circling each other and screaming when we’re dead. (pause, gesturing) Possibly not even then.

GRAHAM: (quizzical look) So you *are* bringing her?

NEIL: Of course. (pats the speaker) Well it’s all set up. Want to know how I did it?

GRAHAM: (walking away) Not really.


INT.CHASE KITCHEN
--Afternoon

Danielle and Angela are getting some milk as Patty walks in the back door with packages. Angela’s hair is red again, but more subdued, like after it started to fade a little.

PATTY: (looking at Angela) So. You dyed your hair again?

ANGELA: Yes. (frowns) I hope you’re not going to shave your head this time. Like, in response, or whatever.

DANIELLE: Mom, look at this. (flipping her hair forward)

PATTY: (looking alarmed) I see. (pause) So I assume you were at Amber’s.

DANIELLE: Well, duh.

PATTY: (fingering the streak) And I suppose I have Rayanne to thank for this?

DANIELLE: Duh squared. (she looks a little too pleased with herself)

PATTY: (acidly) Wonderful. I don’t suppose that can be washed out before Angela’s birthday dinner tonight?

ANGELA: (rolling her eyes) Mom, it’s, like, barely noticeable. Besides, if Rayanne didn’t have a streak, I bet you’d *like* how it looks.

PATTY: (actually looking at Danielle closely) Hmm. Maybe you’re right. (she reaches into a package and hands something to Danielle) Here is that hair clip you so desperately had to have.

DANIELLE: (grabbing it and taking off) Thanks!

PATTY: So did you have fun with Rayanne?

ANGELA: (nodding) Yes. (slumping forward) It’s just . . . she *says* things sometimes.

PATTY: (unpacking some things) What things? *Bad* things?

ANGELA: Not exactly. But things that she, like, *knows* you don’t want to hear. Like she’s daring you to face things about yourself. It’s unnerving.

PATTY: (nodding in remembrance) I agree.

ANGELA: (leaning on counter) Mom, could I bring a date to this dinner tonight?

PATTY: (cautiously) I suppose so. I thought you were bringing Brian Krakow.

ANGELA: (slowly, as if thinking through it herself) I am. That’s what I mean.

PATTY: (flustered) Of course. I guess I just didn’t . . . *know* it was a date.

ANGELA: (standing straight) I guess I didn’t know myself. He probably doesn’t either. (pause) That’s sort of what Rayanne pointed out to me. (pause) So I think I have to go tell him. Right now.

PATTY: (alarmed) Right now? Don’t you have to get ready?

ANGELA: I can get ready after talk to him.

PATTY: (thinking fast) Angela, you do know that I want you to dress up for this dinner? At least a little bit. Your Grandparents are coming.

ANGELA: No, I know. I will. *After* I talk to Brian.

PATTY: Why don’t you do it before? You have a tendency to lose track of time.

ANGELA: (not getting her insistence) Fine. I’ll get ready now. Then I can go to Brian’s and he can bring me to the restaurant, okay?

PATTY: (pondering) That’s fine, I guess. As long as you’re not late.

ANGELA: (smiles) Mom, have your ever known *Brian* to be late?

PATTY: (smiles herself) I guess not. Go on and get changed. (As soon as Angela is out of earshot, Patty crosses to the phone and dials) Hello, Berniece? Can I speak to Brian? There’s a been a little change in plans.


INT.ETHAN’S APARTMENT
--Early Evening

Hallie is pacing nervously, if slowly, in front of the small window as Ethan reads the papers she was served with.

HALLIE: (turning to glare at him) Well, so what do you think?

ETHAN: Hallie, there’s fifteen pages of pleadings here. You can’t possibly believe I’ve done anything more than scan it.

HALLIE: Excuses, excuses. What do you *think*?

ETHAN: You know, you have the attention span of a turnip.

HALLIE: Fine. Can Brad take away my baby?

ETHAN: I just don’t know. But he can probably get some sort of visitation rights. I’m just surprised he’s asserting paternity. Once he does that, he’s going to have a support obligation for life. Did you threaten to sue him for support?

HALLIE: No. I said that I would take care of everything. (pause, very miffed) He wanted me to have an abortion initially, does that count for something?

ETHAN: I don’t see how that’s relevant if he wants to support the child now.

HALLIE: He’s just doing this to spite me.

ETHAN: You don’t know that. Maybe he just wants to be a part of his child’s life. (pause) I’m actually a little surprised you have a problem with that. I met a lot of kids in institutional care who would have given their right arms to have someone who wanted them this much.

HALLIE: He doesn’t want a visit or a voice in raising her, he wants sole custody! How can the court even entertain that idea?

ETHAN: Well, father’s rights are all the rage right now. And in this he says that he won’t have to put the baby with day care, because his Mother can take care of the baby while he’s at work, and he hopes to take advantage of the Family Leave Act and get his boss to agree to a lightened work-week at first.

HALLIE: His Mother? His Mother never even burped him! He means his Mother’s hired nanny! How is that any different from day care?

ETHAN: I think they anticipated that. That’s why he included his intention to take a lighter workload. (pause) He also emphasizes that you’re basically holding down two jobs at this point and will have to spend a lot of time at the restaurant.

HALLIE: I can’t afford to take time off. My family isn’t independently wealthy.

ETHAN: That’s his point. I guess you’ll just have to hammer home the idea that you only work out of necessity and that if you’re granted a liberal support award that you’ll stay home too. But you have to be willing to do that. (pause) Are you?

HALLIE: (long pause) I don’t know. I can’t abandon the restaurant in it’s infancy.

ETHAN: (frowning) I don’t think *that’s* an analogy you want to use in court.

HALLIE: (notices his tone) My god! You’re on his side, aren’t you?

ETHAN: No. I’m just pointing out some strategies to you.

HALLIE: (turning to point at him) I want you to *fix* this!

ETHAN: I can’t. And it would be wrong for me to try. I’m named in the pleadings. I’m sure I’ll be an issue at the trial. That’s how he asserts living with you is against the child’s best interests. Because you’re involved, and I quote, "with someone who is mentally ill and has proven that he is a danger to himself and others."

HALLIE: Where did they even get that information?

ETHAN: I don’t know. (pause) I can recommend a good attorney to you. She’s very experienced at custody cases, but I’m too involved. *Emotionally* involved.

HALLIE: (waddling over to put her hand on his shoulder) I know.

ETHAN: But one thing I know she’s going to say--and it *does* make sense, she would be right to say it--is that maybe you should stop seeing me. (he looks away) Put some distance between us. Until this is resolved.

HALLIE: Why? Just because you’re a whacko? (kisses the top of his head) I always knew that you’d have to be crazy to like me. (more seriously) I don’t want any distance. I mean, I can’t see how you’d be a danger to anyone.

ETHAN: Thank you. (pause) Unless of course, that was your subtle way of emasculating me, in which case, kiss off.

HALLIE: Well, I always knew this would be hard. I guess I never knew how hard.

ETHAN: He *is* her father, Hallie. I think you’re going to have to prepare yourself for the fact that you may have to share her.

HALLIE: Great. That really puts me in the mood for a party.


INT.BRIAN’S ROOM
--Early Evening

Brian messes with his sport coat in the mirror, when Angela appears, reflected in the doorway behind him. She is wearing the cranberry-red, crushed velvet dress.

ANGELA: (smiling) Hi. Your Mom let me in.

BRIAN: (turning to her) I’m almost ready. (flustered, turning back to the mirror) You look . . . *beautiful*. Even your hair. And I really like that dress.

ANGELA: I know--I mean, (pause, she sighs) I’m glad.

BRIAN: (after a pause) Angela, I have something really important to tell you.

ANGELA: Me first. (talking very fast) I mean, I guess I should have said this awhile ago, so it’s like it really needs to be said. Right now. Because I *know* that I, like, set the terms of how this should go, and even once I started feeling differently, once I saw how important you *are* to me, I still never said anything. And that’s wrong. To make you think I don’t feel something back when I do. (she finally pauses for breath) Because I do feel something for you . . . (she is disturbed by the fact that he will not turn around and look at her) Brian?

BRIAN: (his face is wrenched into an odd expression that manages to combine joy with pain, he steels himself before he speaks) Like what? What do you feel? Pity?

ANGELA: (stung) What?!? (pause) Brian, look at me.

BRIAN: (turning to her, expressionless) You don’t have to say things like that.

ANGELA: Why not, if I mean them?

BRIAN: It’s not real. It’s just some little Florence Nightingale fantasy. I *know* you. (shaking his head) You just want to save someone, or something.

ANGELA: (getting angry) That’s not what this is at all!

BRIAN: And you can’t save me, you know. If that’s what you’re trying to do, you’re doing, like, a really *lousy* job.

ANGELA: (drawing back) What are you talking about?

BRIAN: I had my check-up today. (pause) The leukemia is back.

ANGELA: (shocked look, then bark laugh) Oh, so *that’s* what this is about!

BRIAN: (astonished) You’re laughing?

ANGELA: Yes. Because I see what you’re doing. You’re always doing it. Whenever anything gets too close. Whenever *I* get too close. You throw up this wall, you get all superior and say something that you know will push my buttons. Something cold and dismissive that will make me mad. (pause) Or hurt me.

BRIAN: (softly, as his resolve breaks) I do?

ANGELA: (she nods slowly) But it won’t work anymore. I’m not going to storm off in a huff. I’m not going anywhere at all. Not without you. (pause) I know you only say things like that when you’re afraid. (pause, crosses her arms) So, what are you afraid of right now? That you’re still sick? Or that I love you back?

BRIAN: (he tears up, almost blubbering) Both. (he wipes his eye) I have to go back into the hospital on Sunday. (sniffles) For treatment.

ANGELA: Then I’m glad I finally said something. (pause) I mean, Brian, we’ve lost so much time. At first because *you* wouldn’t say anything.

BRIAN: (sniffle again) Oh, because if I would have said something then something would have magically happened? (pause) You probably would have laughed!

ANGELA: Maybe I would have. I don’t know. (pause) But we’ve wasted too much time because you wouldn’t say anything--and I couldn’t . . . I couldn’t *see* you for what you are. What you mean to me. (pause) And I can’t make up for all that lost time. I *can’t*. But we can’t lose any more time either.

She moves to him, and they stand, facing one another, she on the left, he on the right. They are both breathing a little heavily with emotion, and anticipation. Almost exactly like they stood in the Chase home in the "Why Jordan Can’t Read" episode. But this time they do not part in exasperation. They stare at each other.

BRIAN: So what does this m-- (he is interrupted as she moves in and kisses him, he is surprised and pushes her away) I was--I mean, I was *talking*.

ANGELA: (pulls back a bit and chews on her lip) Sorry. Would you rather talk?

BRIAN: (watching her smoldering at him, realizing what just happened, he shakes his head and softly lets out his breath in a way that makes it seem like he has been holding it forever) No.

ANGELA: (smiles) Good.

They kiss again. Angela runs her hands up his chest to his face. He pulls on her waist to draw her close, but then he loses his balance and stumbles into his desk, knocking the keyboard to the floor with a crash.

BERNIECE: (OS) (sounding very worried) Brian, is everything all right up there?

Brian, already embarrassed because of his tumble, looks even more mortified.

BERNIECE: (OS) Brian! I heard a crash! What’s wrong?

ANGELA: (soothing Brian with a touch, smiling, calling out loudly) Mrs. Krakow?

BERNIECE: (OS) Yes, Angela?

ANGELA: (resting her forehead on his shoulder) Everything is fine, but we’re ignoring you! Okay?

BERNIECE: (OS) (satisfied) All right dear, thank you for telling me.

BRIAN: (regards Angela with awe, speaks very slowly) You . . . are . . . my . . . god.

ANGELA: (throatily) Never forget that.

Then she pulls him to her again. Brian is a little self-conscious now and hesitates perceptibly. Angela takes the lead and they kiss again. For a moment they continue to kiss, and then Brian’s eyes widen as if some new element was just introduced to the process that we cannot see.

ANGELA: (VO) (still kissing) It was so strange. With Jordan it was like he was so much more experienced, that he was always in charge. (pause) With Brian it felt like *I* was the one in charge, in control. (pause) I sort of liked that. (pause) But really I was only a *little* more experienced, so it kind of felt like Brian and I were on the same page. Like we agreed on the . . . *pace* without even talking about it. (pause) I think I liked that even more.

The camera pans away from them, still necking, to the digital clock at Brian’s bedside. Initially it says 7:35 PM but then speeds through to 8:23 PM. The camera pans back to Angela and Brian, now sitting upright on the bed, still kissing, but slowly, gently, and periodically now. They have been talking intermittently. Brian’s eyes travel to the clock and then widen in shock.

BRIAN: Ohmigod! Your mother is going to *kill* me!

ANGELA: (amused look) She doesn’t really have to find out, Brian.

BRIAN: No. You don’t understand. We have to get going! That dinner with your parents! We’re supposed to be there in, like, seven minutes.

ANGELA: Brian, we can just call them. After I tell them what happened, about you having to go back to the hospital, I’m sure they’ll understand. (smiling at him) I want to spend as much time as I can with you.

BRIAN: No! We have to go! Now! (looks at his disheveled shirt, he has lost his sport coat somewhere along the way) Oh my god.

ANGELA: (whimsical) Don’t take my name in vain like that. It’s disrespectful.

BRIAN: (losing it totally) Stop! (sits on bed with her) Okay, listen. It’s like this. We have to go *right* now, so everyone doesn’t, like, hate me.

ANGELA: Brian, it’s just my parents.

BRIAN: No, it’s not. (pause, shaking his head) I wish they hadn’t told me. And I *told* your mother I had no control over you! But she didn’t listen.

ANGELA: What are you talking about?

BRIAN: It’s not just your parents! It’s a huge party at the restaurant. Everyone is going to be there. Actually they’re probably already there. So that’s why we *have* to go. Right now. (grabbing his coat) And if you want them to ever trust me again, you’ll act surprised. *Very* surprised.

ANGELA: (languishing in the moment) I kind of don’t even want to go. And it’s my birthday, after all. Why shouldn’t I do what I want?

BRIAN: Because . . . (at a loss) Because even if it is technically for your birthday, the party is really for everyone. And they all worked really hard on it. (pause) Imagine the effort for Sharon just to keep it a secret.

ANGELA: (smiling and nodding) That’s true.

BRIAN: And it’s like, people sometimes need to get together with everyone they love and celebrate. (pause) And with everything we all went through this year, I think they really need to celebrate something. It almost doesn’t matter what. We need, like, an *excuse* to recognize that even with all the horrible things that have happened, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Even me. (he reaches down and takes her hand) Especially me.


INT.RESTAURANT
--Evening

Angela and Brian enter the restaurant and the patrons at every table jump up and scream "Happy Birthday" as they enter. Angela does a great impression of surprise, or is perhaps actually surprised by the amount of people and the trouble that everyone went to in order to decorate the whole restaurant. Her parents and grandparents immediately crowd around her with the huge throngs closely behind. She hugs everyone. Brian edges out of the way and Sharon approaches him.

SHARON: So what took you so long, Krakow? We thought you blew it.

BRIAN: (blushing) We were just talking.

SHARON: (knowing smile) Uh huh. (reaches out to touch his shirt) That would be a lot more convincing if you didn’t have lipstick on your collar.

BRIAN: Well, we were talking, too. And I told her that I have to go back to the hospital on Sunday.

SHARON: Oh. (more seriously) How did she take that?

BRIAN: Wonderfully. (pause) It’s like she knows things. She seems so sure that everything will work out. It’s like, reassuring. (pause) We’re not telling anyone else though. We don’t want to bring down the party. (pause, he smiles, watching Angela with the other guests) And this is *her* night.

SHARON: Okay. I can go along with that, I guess.

BRIAN: Good. Everyone will find out soon enough. Especially when I go back to the hospital. (frowns at her) And I expect you to come and visit this time, Cherski.

SHARON: I will. (grabbing his arm) Now c’mon, let’s have fun! I know it will be hard for you, (rolls eyes) since you’re dressed like my parents’ broker, but we’ll try.

LATER--People are milling about and eating. Music plays in the background. The camera pans around capturing snippets of conversation. The first group includes Patty, Camille, Amber, and Hallie Lowenthal.

AMBER: (touching Hallie’s stomach) Are you sure it’s not twins? You’re so big!

HALLIE: No. I had a sonogram, so unless another one was hiding behind the one I saw, I’m just having a girl.

CAMILLE: A really *big* girl!

PATTY: So when is your due date?

HALLIE: Oh, who cares! She’s a Lowenthal girl! If she takes after me, then she’s going to be late for sure!

Across the space cleared for dancing, Ethan has been trapped by Chuck.

CHUCK: So I hear if you exhaust your assets, you get to be on Medicare and it will pay for a nursing home. Hmmph. Not that I’m ready for that myself, mind you.

ETHAN: (nodding politely) Well, estate planning really isn’t my area of expertise.

CHUCK: That’s a hell of a note. You go to law school for three years and they didn’t teach you *anything*? Or did they just teach you not to give free advice? It’s a conspiracy of silence. I don’t pay *anyone* $150 an hour. No sir.

ETHAN: Well, it’s not exactly ethical to disperse your assets just so the government will have to pay for nursing home care . . .

CHUCK: I didn’t ask your opinion on ethics! I want to know the loopholes!

GRAHAM: (coming up) Ethan, can you help me move this table?

ETHAN: (visibly relieved) Of course. (following Graham) Thank you for saving me.

GRAHAM: Sure. But when Vivian corners me about my cooking, I expect you to return the favor.

ETHAN: No problem. I think I liked it better when he hated me for no reason.

GRAHAM: I know. When he latches onto a reason is when the trouble really starts.

Rayanne and Corey are going around and getting food. Danielle has become Rayanne’s little shadow. Neil is nearby filling his plate.

DANIELLE: And so Ryan never even wrote me a postcard when he was vacation. Not even one! After he promised he would.

RAYANNE: (getting an appetizer) Okay! Here’s what you do. If he doesn’t call you before school starts, you just drop him completely. Move on.

COREY: What if he has a good excuse?

RAYANNE: If he has an excuse, then why hasn’t he called? (to Danielle) I mean, you deserve better than that, don’t you?

DANIELLE: (nodding) Completely.

COREY: Not all guys are the enemy.

RAYANNE: That’s true, Danielle. But you can’t assume they’re not.

DANIELLE: So, I make them prove they aren’t creeps?

RAYANNE: Exactly. Give me a high-five! (Danielle does and they walk off together)

NEIL: (walking up to Corey, having overheard) Can I give *you* a piece of advice?

COREY: (doesn’t know who this man is) Sure.

NEIL: (as if telling a great secret) Run away. While you still can.

Neil walks off in the other direction. Corey looks in the direction that Rayanne went, then looks straight ahead with a perplexed expression. Then he gives Neil’s back a weird look.

Vivian has cornered Joseph and Katimski.

VIVIAN: I was just saying to Patty the other day how she must help me fix up her cousin, Lucille. And she said she didn’t know any single men.

KATIMSKI: (frightened) Oh?

VIVIAN: And Lucille has such a pretty face, but she hasn’t gone out at all since the divorce. (to Katimski) I think she would be perfect for you.

Katimski and Joseph exchange an incredulous look.

Angela talks with Delia, Rickie and Zack.

ANGELA: (to Delia) So that’s why Sharon was so weird this morning?

DELIA: Exactly.

ANGELA: (to Rickie and Zack) I can’t believe you two were able to keep quiet!

RICKIE: Actually, we knew better than to tell Zack in the planning stages.

ANGELA: (smiling) So when did you tell him?

RICKIE: (laughing) Two days ago.

ANGELA: Zack, I can’t believe you let him treat you this way!

ZACK: I know! Where he gets the idea I can’t keep a secret is beyond me.

DELIA: Well you did go and blab it the minute you found out!

ZACK: That’s different. I have nothing to say to Jordan. I was grasping for topics.

ANGELA: (frowning) Wait. You saw Jordan?

ZACK: Sure. At registration. (shrugging) It was weird. We compared schedules. And then he asked about you. What else was I going to say?

ANGELA: Why was Jordan registering with your class?

ZACK: I don’t really know. (puts hand to chin) I didn’t think about it at the time.

RICKIE: (hesitant) Well, I think I know . . .

Before Rickie can continue, "They Don’t Know" by Tracey Ullman begins.

ANGELA: Oh no. Rickie, tell me you didn’t!

RICKIE: I didn’t. But Zack did. (he is dragged away by Delia and Zack) Sorry!

"You’ve been around for such a long time, now

Oh maybe I could leave you but I don’t know how

And why should I be lonely every night

When I can be with you, oh yes, you make it right

And I don’t listen to the guys who say

That you’re bad for me and I should turn you away

‘Cause they don’t know about us

And they’ve never heard of love"

(Visual--Zack, Delia, and Rickie--in that order--perform, lip-synching to the song, with a multitude of campy hand gestures and synchronized dance steps. It seems as if Delia is singing the song to both of them, and they to her and to each other)

"I get a feeling when I look at you

Wherever you go now, I want to be there too

They say we’re crazy but I just don’t care

And if they keep on talking, still they get no where

So I don’t mind if they don’t understand

When I look at you, and you hold my hand

‘Cause they don’t know about us

And they’ve never heard of love"

(Visual--Several couples join them on the dance floor. Neil and someone we must presume is Marla dance together, with no apparent animosity between them. Camille and Andy Cherski take a spin. Hallie and Ethan, both heavy, he with flesh, her with child, dance far apart. They vogue. Badly. They don’t seem to care.)

"Why should it matter to us if they don’t approve?

We should take our chances while we’ve got nothin’ to lose"

(Visual--Katimski and Joseph watch Delia, Rickie, and Zack with amusement. Joseph puts his hand on Katimski’s shoulder, and Katimski smiles at him.)

"Baby!--There’s no need for living in the past

Now I found good love, I’m gonna make it last

I tell the others ‘don’t bother me’

‘Cause when they look at you, they don’t see what I see

No, I don’t listen to their wasted lines

Got my eyes wide open, and I see the signs

‘Cause they don’t know about us

And they’ve never heard of love"

(Repeats once)

(Visual--Angela, Rayanne and Sharon shimmy and dance in a clump, with Rayanne making at least one threatening gesture at Rickie and Zack. Corey and Brian stand on the sidelines. Brian raises his eyebrows to Corey, who just shrugs. Rayanne and Angela witness this exchange, and Angela whispers something to Sharon. Then Sharon and Rayanne approach the two guys, and Sharon grabs Corey. He looks confused, but relents instantly. As Rayanne approaches Brian, he gets a terrified look in his eyes. She drags him out to the dance floor, where he shuffles self-consciously. Rayanne treats the slow song like a seduction, making him even more embarrassed. He throws Angela a "save me" look. She just smiles and laughs.)


LATER
--The music is softer now, and people are done eating. Patty and Graham stand with Angela.

PATTY: So, were you really surprised?

ANGELA: Totally. I thought it would just be a boring dinner with the ‘rents.

GRAHAM: The what?

ANGELA: The ‘rents! You know, the parents?

GRAHAM: Oh, of course. I knew that. I was just asking for your Mother’s benefit.

ANGELA: (smiling) So, when do I get to dig into that pile of presents over there?

PATTY: I guess as soon as we do the cake.

ANGELA: You mean you don’t have activities planned, like, down to the second?

PATTY: Of course not! (Angela gives her a look) Well, I did, but it was thrown out the window when you were late.

GRAHAM: (suspiciously) Why *were* you late? Is there something we should know? (glaring in Brian’s direction) Do I need to go menace Brian Krakow?

ANGELA: No. Of course not. It’s fine. (pause) Better than fine, actually.

PATTY: (looking at some point behind Angela, softly) Oh my god . . .

Angela turns to follow her Mother’s gaze, to see Jordan Catalano approaching them. The other partygoers part to let him through. He is carrying his guitar case.

ANGELA: (shocked but pleased) Oh, my god . . .

JORDAN: (stepping up to them, nodding in greeting) Hey.

PATTY: Hello, Jordan.

JORDAN: I know, I wasn’t like, invited or anything . . .

PATTY: (quickly) That’s my fault. (pause) It turns out I left quite a few people off the guest list. Sorry about that.

JORDAN: (to Angela) I heard about it from that kid, Zack. I hope you don’t mind.

ANGELA: (shaking her head, this seems surreal to her) Of course not.

JORDAN: How are you doing?

ANGELA: (still wary) Great. (pause) How about you?

JORDAN: Pretty good. I passed all my summer school classes.

GRAHAM: You took summer school?

JORDAN: Yeah. (pause) I didn’t *have* to. But Cherski pointed out that with the credits I did pass when I got . . . held back, or whatever . . . that if I took summer school I could register as a senior. And graduate a year early. (looks down) Well a year late, actually, but a year earlier than I thought I would. (pause) Which I guess I never actually thought about that much anyway.

ANGELA: (taken aback by this news) So this is your last year?

JORDAN: Yeah. That way maybe we can get Residue off the ground. It’s hard to get jobs when you’re still in school. (pause) The band is getting good. It’s like Tino leaving turned out to be a good thing. It got me moving. (proudly) We have a gig at Vertigo. A real one.

PATTY: (indicating the guitar) Are you on your way there now?

JORDAN: (looks down, blankly) Naw. I didn’t have time to get you a gift. But one of the new songs I’m working on . . . I thought I could play it for you, or whatever.

ANGELA: (nodding) I’d like that.

PATTY: (snapping into action) Do you need anything?

JORDAN: Just a chair.

Graham brings him a chair to sit on, as Patty quiets the stereo. Jordan opens his guitar case. When the music stops and Jordan strums on his guitar to tune it, virtually everyone in the party comes to look at or stand around Jordan. Once he sees this scrutiny, he clenches up for a minute.

JORDAN: Okay. This is a song I wrote. (pause) I had a little help with the words. A couple of you might know from where. (pause) I wanted to dedicate this song to Angela. Y’know, happy birthday. (pause) From one *friend* to another.

Angela is almost misty already, especially because of his word choice.

JORDAN: I call it "From There." (pause) Okay, here goes.

Jordan sings the song at a relatively decent tempo. Like when he sang "Red", the large room fills with the sound of his voice and acoustic guitar. His voice, especially on the last verse, is haunting and beautiful. As he sings, there are periodic shots of other’s reactions, especially Angela and Brian as they realize what the words are based on. Other reactions show that for some, Jordan has redeemed himself, and for others (like Patty and Sharon) that they are proud of him in a way.

"Maybe we were not meant to stay together
We’re a completely mis-matched pair
But it don’t matter, ‘cause I’ll always remember
Ev’ry single moment that we shared

I hate these notes, these words, this pick, and this mike
Only because they are not you
And I hate that I lost the best thing in my life
Because I couldn’t tell you the truth

So you can tell me I should go to hell
I don’t think that would be unfair
And I’d go in a second if you asked me to
And I’d send you a letter from there.

The loss of you is the prison I’m trapped in
It is dark and the walls are bare
But all I need is just some paper and pencil
And I’ll send you a letter from there

There were so many things you deserved to hear
But then my pride got in the way
I tried to put those things down in this song for you
But it’s much more than a song can say

I know it’s too late and you’re with someone else And I’m trying so hard not to care
I’m on the road to the state of loneliness
But I’ll send you a letter from there

Many years from now, I will walk down some street
In the middle of who knows where (he looks up, directly at Angela, starting here)
And I’ll remember you, and I’ll start to smile (drags out last two words)
(pause, continued ultra-slowly) And I’ll send you a letter from there"

Everyone claps, and not just out of politeness. Angela wipes away some tears and smiles at Jordan. She mouths the words "thank you" to him. He smiles back.


LATER
--Angela is seated and is opening presents. Everyone sits or stands nearby, watching. On the periphery, Brian smiles as Angela laughs in surprise or embarrassment at something she opens. Jordan walks up to him, and Brian stiffens.

JORDAN: Hey, Brain.

BRIAN: Hi--Hey. (pause) I liked your song.

JORDAN: I thought you would. (pause) You don’t want credit do ya?

BRIAN: No. I couldn’t take credit for something that you did on your own.

JORDAN: Yeah. (pause) I heard you two are together now.

BRIAN: Yes. (looks worried) You’re not going to hit me now, or anything, are you?

JORDAN: (gives Brian a look that says, "I wasn’t planning to, but I might now that you said something stupid") Nah. No point in that. Not unless you treat her bad. (looks at him) But I guess *you* wouldn’t do that. (long pause) It was just nice, y’know, being the one she *wanted*. (pause) But I guess . . . I guess you’re what she *needs*. (pause) At least for now.

Brian looks at Jordan with newfound respect. They both stand there watching Angela open presents. They smile at the revelry. Jordan wistfully.

JORDAN: Looks like she’s about done with that.

BRIAN: Yep.

JORDAN: So what did you get her?

BRIAN: (embarrassed) This book she wanted.

JORDAN: Huh.

BRIAN: I didn’t think . . . at the time . . . that we--(he trails off) Yours was better.

JORDAN: (looks pleased) I gotta get going. (he picks up his guitar case and exits)

Angela sees Jordan exit through a side door and throwing a quick look at Brian, who nods, gets up and follows him.


EXT.ALLEY
--Evening

As Angela opens the door to the alley, we hear that the music has started up again inside. All through this scene and two that happen concurrently within the restaurant, the song "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan plays.

ANGELA: Jordan, wait! (crossing to him) I just wanted to thank you.

JORDAN: For the song?

ANGELA: Yes. (pause) For everything. (at a loss for words) Just . . . *everything*.

JORDAN: You’re welcome.

ANGELA: You don’t have to go.

JORDAN: Yeah I do. I got practice. I never meant to stay. I just didn’t want to leave it, how it was, or whatever. What I said that night. That was wrong. It was all worth it. Even being friends. (pause) So, I wanted you to know.

ANGELA: Thank you. (pause) I can’t believe you’re not going to be in any of my classes anymore.

JORDAN: (shrugs) Maybe gym. Or lunch.

ANGELA: I guess that’s true.

JORDAN: I mean, we’ll still see each other.

ANGELA: Oh, of course. I’ll see you around. (VO) But we both knew that wasn’t true. We would *see* each other, but not much more than that. (Aloud) You’ll have to tell me when Residue is going to be playing.

JORDAN: I will. If we pack the crowd, we’ll probably get invited back.

ANGELA: I’ll be there.

JORDAN: Okay. I’ll see ya.

ANGELA: (VO) But he didn’t move right away. And neither did I. And as he looked at me, I realized something totally amazing. (pause) That I was as important an influence in his life as he was in mine. Even if I wasn’t his "first love". Like he was to me. (she tears up) He *loved* me. I could see that in his eyes. Even if he hadn’t ever said it. It was true. (pause) But it was too little, too late. (pause) Or maybe just too late. Because it wasn’t a *small* thing. It was huge.

Finally they break the look, and she gives him a smile and a nod, and a little wave goodbye. He turns to go, scuffling his feet on the pavement. As the sound of his footsteps recedes, she continues to watch him go and brushes the hair behind her ear. Finally there is no more sound at all, save the end of the song from inside, still heard, muffled through the door. She turns to go back inside.


INT.RESTAURANT
--Evening

While Angela is outside, Graham comes up to Brian.

GRAHAM: So I hear you’re coming along with us tomorrow when Angela takes her driver’s test?

BRIAN: Well, she asked me to, but only if it’s okay with you.

GRAHAM: Of course it is. (pause) Brian, your Mother told Patty about your going back to the hospital. Does Angela know?

BRIAN: Yes.

GRAHAM: Okay. Well, if you ever need anything, you know who to call, right?

BRIAN: (he just nods, long pause) Mr. Chase?

GRAHAM: What?

BRIAN: I just wanted to thank you.

GRAHAM: For the driving lessons? Or our fascinating and extensive discussions about wallpaper?

BRIAN: (smiling) All of it. The big and the small. And everything in between.

GRAHAM: (clapping him on the shoulder) You’re very welcome.

Elsewhere, while Angela is outside, Patty comes up behind Rayanne.

PATTY: Hello, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: (startled) Oh! Hi, Patty.

PATTY: I wanted to thank you again for helping to pull this off.

RAYANNE: Oh. Well, you know, no problem.

PATTY: Is your Mother gone?

RAYANNE: Yeah. She had a date with Rusty. Cherski’s givin’ me a ride home.

PATTY: There was something else I wanted to talk to you about . . .

RAYANNE: (suspicious) If this is about Danielle’s hair, I can explain . . .

PATTY: No. Actually, Angela told me how you talked to her about her love-life.

RAYANNE: And *you* think I should mind my own business?

PATTY: (smiles) No. Whatever you said to her really seemed to help.

RAYANNE: Oh. (pause) Well, I just warned her not to make some of the mistakes I’ve made. (pause) And I’ve made a lot. So I’ve got a lot of advice to give.

PATTY: Well, I just wanted to say that, in my humble opinion, Angela is really very lucky to have a friend like you. (pause) That’s all. (she moves on)

Rayanne just basks in that praise as she watches Patty walk away. The camera catches Angela as she comes back in the side door and crosses to Brian.

BRIAN: Is everything okay?

ANGELA: Yes. (pause) Jordan had to go.

BRIAN: Oh. Look, about your present. I know it was sort of impersonal, or whatever, but I just didn’t know . . . I didn’t want to, like, *pressure* you. (Angela shakes her head in disbelief) What?

ANGELA: Brian, didn’t I say to you that the tangible things you give me don’t matter as much? I love the book, but you gave me so much more than that. (pause, reaching over to touch his chest) You gave me, like, your *heart*. (he just looks at her, still capable of being amazed by the things she says, and of the things she *sees*, she mock scolds him) That doesn’t let you off the hook on holidays, though. I expect mounds of gifts.

BRIAN: You’ll get them. (pause) Do you want to dance?

ANGELA: I thought you’d never ask.

As they head to the middle of the floor, the song "Free" by the Martinis begins. It continues through all Angela’s musings, with longer instrumental parts to make it long enough. As they dance around the floor, Angela watches different people.

ANGELA: (VO) (a shot of Sharon dancing with Andy Cherski, obviously happy) I think Brian was right about the party. Everyone did need it. This whole thing would have been worth it just to see Sharon smile, for, like, *hours* at a time. Like she always used to.

ANGELA: (VO) (a shot of Rickie, with Katimski and Joesph on one side and Zack and Delia on the other) And a lot *has* happened this past year. Rickie went from his horrible life with his relatives to a brand new life. A wonderful one. And it’s great to watch him with his family. *Both* of them. ANGELA: (VO) (a shot of Ethan and Hallie talking animatedly at a side table, she says something and he laughs long and loud) And some people still have a long hard road ahead of them. And maybe they need a break from that. Maybe this party is that, too.

ANGELA: (VO) (a shot of Angela looking up at Brian) Because Brian is terrified that he might die. And, to be honest, so am I, but I can’t let *him* see that. That doesn’t help. I have to be strong for him, and like, *give* him my strength somehow, no matter what happens.

ANGELA: (VO) (a shot of the empty chair where Jordan performed) And maybe the party helps us celebrate just how far we’ve come. We all learned so much, and changed so much, that it’s hard to take it in all at once. It’s like you have to look for the small things that have changed, as evidence that maybe something deeper actually happened. (a shot of Rayanne standing with Corey, he reaches down and takes her hand and strokes it with his thumb. Rayanne gives a barely perceptible shiver and looks up at Corey) Like how Rayanne finally found someone who can show her that hands *can* be an erogenous zone.

ANGELA: (VO) (a shot of Patty and Graham gliding along the dance floor, lost in each other’s eyes) Or like how my parents have *never* danced well together. And I could never understand why. But tonight it’s like they can do no wrong. They’re moving beautifully, completely in synch. It’s like they finally stopped trying to dance to the steps . . . to the steps that all the other couples in the world are dancing to. (pause) It was like they finally realized that their steps--*their* way of doing things, was just as good, or whatever.

Angela looks up at Brian, and he looks back at her, and their faces meet in a kiss, right there on the dance floor. Patty and Graham notice this and smile at one another, as if to say, "good for them." Rickie is now dancing with Sharon and they get their romantic smiles on as well. Zack is standing next to Rayanne, who smirks devilishly and holds out her hand. Zack scowls, shakes his head in disbelief, and slaps a twenty dollar bill into her palm. Rayanne nods in satisfaction.

ANGELA: (VO) Of course, some things have stayed the same.

DANIELLE: (walking up and tugging on Angela’s billowy sleeve) Can I cut in?

ANGELA: (VO) For instance, Danielle is *still* a pest. (pause) But I really couldn’t imagine my life without her around. (aloud) Be my guest.

DANIELLE: (flipping her Rayanne-looking hair behind her ear, just as Angela does) Thanks. (nodding up at Angela) You’ll get him back.

Angela steps away from Brian, who smiles at Danielle and gives her a twirl. Others are also cutting in. Rayanne goes over and dances with Rickie, while Sharon pairs with Corey, and Zack and Delia tango inappropriately across the floor.

ANGELA: (just stepping back to watch everyone dance) (VO) It was a perfect night. So joyous. (pause) I know it was just my friends and my family dancing, but somehow it was so filled with emotion and with meaning that I knew I had to remember it always. So I just watched them, trying to etch each movement into my memory. (pause) Because I knew that my Dad and Brian had been taking pictures, but I wanted to remember it in my *head*. And I knew I would write about it in my journal, but I also needed to remember it in my *heart*. I have no idea if anyone else felt that way, but at that moment, as Rayanne would say, I became a prisoner of, like, *happiness*. No matter what else happened, I knew then that I would remember this night for . . . (pause) well, . . . for the *rest* of my so-called life.

She is silent as the last two verses to the song "Free" play out.

"So free for the moment
Lost somewhere between the earth and the sky
So free for the moment
Lost because I want to be lost

So free! For the moment
Lost somewhere between the earth and the sky
So free for the moment
Lost because I want to be lost
Don’t try to find me"

(Visual--Angela just stands there with that amazing smile on her face, enjoying the moment. Shots of the entire main and supporting cast, dancing in character are interspersed with shots of her face. Her expression echoes the wish of the song’s lyrics. As the song’s last note fades, the shot of her face and smile freezes and fades to black)


LATER
--The black screen fades back into the interior of the restaurant. Everything is pretty dark, and still a little bit of a mess. Only five people remain. They stand in a straight line, surveying the damage. From left to right it is : Sharon, Brian, Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie.

RICKIE: (softly) We are going to have so much cleaning up to do tomorrow.

SHARON: (kicking at a streamer on the floor) What do you mean, "we"?

RICKIE: I meant the people who work here with me.

BRIAN: We could try to clean up some of it now.

ANGELA: I’m too tired.

RICKIE: And I’m not on the clock.

RAYANNE: *I’m* just too lazy.

ANGELA: I just wanted to thank you all. (gesturing) For this. (she touches Brian’s arm and then hugs Sharon, and then Rickie--finally, she takes Rayanne’s hand) Thanks for what you said.

RAYANNE: No problem. (she plays with a balloon and sort of bats it into the middle of the room, taking it all in) Wow. (almost melancholy) We had a time. (she turns to Angela) Didn’t we?

ANGELA: (nodding) We did. (she looks at everyone) We had a time.

END


AUTHOR’S NOTES

--"They Don’t Know" sung by Tracey Ullman is available on her 1983 album You Broke My Heart in 17 Places.

--"I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan is available on the 1995 Soundtrack to The Brothers McMullen and is also available on an extended CD Single.

--"Free" by the Martinis is available on the 1995 Soundtrack to Empire Records.

--The lyrics to the fictional song "From There" are based in part on the words in the note that Brian Krakow wrote to Angela for Jordan Catalano in the last episode--written by Winnie Holzman.

--The one friend who read my original outline for these scripts astutely pointed out that the original ending was so depressing and maudlin that no one would want to read it. Not even her. She also pointed out that even if I thought that certain characters would never end up together or certain plotlines would not ultimately have a happy ending, that it did not preclude those characters finding at least a moment of happiness. Especially after everything I put them through. That comment changed the course of the entire plot for the better and provided the perfect theme for the last episode. Instead of a funeral ruining Angela’s sixteenth birthday, joy, hope, and celebration are the order of the day. After everything had been written, the same friend also introduced me to the movie and soundtrack to Empire Records and observed how perfect the song "Free" was for this episode. So, this one is for her, with thanks from the heart. She knows who she is.


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Episode No. 30 - The More Things Change ... by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)
Published: 31 Dec 1998 | Size: 191 KB (37982 words) | Language: english english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.3/5   4.3/5 (42 votes)

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Average: 4.6/5   4.6/5 (64 votes)
  • Elizabeth Wrigley-Field commented on 13 Aug 2001:
    This is my favorite fan fic ever. It's a far better ending to the show than In Dreams (of course, they didn't know they were definitely ending the show, I suppose--or at least, they needed a cliffhanger to justify the second season they must have been fighting for). I loved all the references to earlier episodes. There are many in the party scene, of course, especially toward the end, and most will be obvious to everyone. But I also really enjoyed Brian's reaction to Angela's kissing him--the "I was talking." Subtext-wise, of course, it fits (though out of order) with what Rayanne had just observed about Angela treating Brian the way Jordan had treated her, though it doesn't fit with what Angela and Brian's relationship goes on to become in this episode. I think that's okay--because the contrast between what happens to Angela and Jordan in his car in "Dancing in the Dark" and Angela and Brian in his room in this episode provide a subtext-ey justification for this non-parallelism. (I'm sorry, I don't know if that was clear. I hope it made sense to someone.)

    I loved the Brian-Sharon scene (two parts in particular from a wonderful scene overall: Sharon's explanation of why she's a better therapist, and the interaction about her being smarter than Brian), and I'm so glad that Shobi has developed their relationship. I hadn't realized before reading these fan fics that it doesn't totally make sense--it was always the three of them, and we see so much about Angela's relationship to both Sharon and Brian, but not to each other. Shobi, IMHO, does a nice job of rectifying that. Of course, as former co-founder of Danielle's Overlooked Club, or whatever Uma and I called it, I also appreciate what Shobi has done for her character.

    The Graham and Neil scene is great; the Hallie and Ethan scene is great. Everyone always talks about MSCL as a teen show. The older I get, the more I appreciate how they did the adult characters. Episodes like Dancing in the Dark make me so empathetic with Patty in particular (other episodes do the same for Graham, for example, the Pilot). I'm glad Shobi has continued that tradition. I think it's easy for fan fic writers (I say this as someone who recently began my own first fan fic, along with my best friend) to focus too much on the show's teens, to the exclusion of the adults. And Shobi does not. He writes them well.

    I love little things here, like Rayanne and Zack's bet, the scenes with Vivian and Chuck, the dance partners the kids wind up with in various dance scenes. Angela's voiceovers are great, but *especially* the one at the end of the outdoor scene with Jordan. And as always, Shobi's integration of music is impeccable (I'm going to have to find some of these songs so I can envision it all better). Oh! And I *LOVE* the part with Bernice Krakow!!! The heavy-duty emotional aspects of MSCL are often the ones that stick with me most vividly. I love going back to watch the episodes in all their hilarity (like the scene in Brian's house in Dancing in the Dark! "I can relate." Heehee!). Bonus points for good jokes here.

    This fan fic is the most I have ever liked Delia. If she's going to be a big character, Shobi picked the right traits of hers to emphasize--the funky, playful side we see in Life of Brian. This is the first episode, real or fan fic, where she doesn't annoy me (I guess she's not that bad in Life of Brian, but after that--oh, my!). I think this is the first episode where the dynamic between she, Rickie, and Zack really works, although Shobi was right to deal with the triangular problems between them earlier.

    As I think is clear, I really, really love this episode. The only thing in it I really miss from the original series (and this goes for every single fan fic episode I've ever read so far, and is partly because no one that I've seen gives camera directions) is all the beautiful visual moments: Angela inside her sweater in the Pilot or through a pumpkin in Halloween, etc.
  • Elizabeth Wrigley-Field commented on 14 Aug 2001:
    oops -- can't believe I left this out -- I like what Shobi does with Rickie and Zack here. I think it's really wise to raise the issue of how much they're right for each other, and how much they're just, you know, *available* to each other. I always wondered about that whenever anyone said Rickie should get a boyfriend.
  • Elizabeth Wrigley-Field commented on 20 Nov 2001:
    (Okay, I just reread my long review above, and it doesn't make much sense. Oh well.) Well, I just read this episode for the second time, about six months after the first time (it's an even better experience when you know the last song, which I now do). And once again I'm blown away by what an amazing writer Shobi is. (And, you know, incredibly jealous.) I think this episode is truly stupendous, and I basically think Shobi should be teaching courses in how to write dialogue. The only thing that stuck negatively in my mind is that I think Brian's thing about "now that I'm not hiding out," when Shobi's doing the whole Anne Frank thing, is a bit heavy-handed. I totally understand the temptation...I had the same issue writing my fan fic (which, okay, is only 1/3 or less of the way done). I think it's because you want people to get it, and you know people aren't going to read your fan fic a bazillion times like they watch the episodes. But still. I thought that one "hiding out" sentence was maybe a bit over the top. But the episode is incredible. And I'm awestruck.
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    over dramatic cheese where is the show we loved?
    I still like your epsiode 20 though
  • Kristi commented on 29 Jul 2003:
    Your stories are absolutely amazing! You should definitely write more... just... please don't kill off brian, i think i'd have to wear black for like a month and i just can't take that... and... let them (bri-angela) be together. Sure, in reality it probably wouldn't pan out that way. But luckily, this isn't real life... only the so-called thing. =)
  • Anonymous commented on 27 Jun 2004:
    I didn't really like it that much, I guess I don't like the fact that Brian and Angela got 2gether because I don't think that would really happen. I also think Brian should die from his cancer, I guess because I don't like him that much and that could add some dramabut, Angela and Jorden should have stayed together, I think Angela could have changed him.
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“School is a battlefield for your heart.”

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