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Episode No. 30 - The More Things Change ...

written by E.R. Holdridge (Shobi)

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About this story

Published: 31 Dec 1998 | Size: 191 KB (37982 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 4.3/5   4.3/5 (42 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Black Screen-- “One Month Later”
 

INT.CHASE HOME--Noontime

Angela is at the foot of the stairs, with car keys in her hand, looking impatient.

ANGELA: (screaming) Danielle! If you want to come with me, then get a move on. (under her breath) I’m not a taxi service.

DANIELLE: (OS) Can you help me for a minute?

ANGELA: Can’t it wait?

A crash sounds upstairs. Angela rolls her eyes and pounds up the stairs. Once in the upstairs hallway, she approaches Danielle’s door, and opens it without knocking. Danielle’s room is spartan and impersonal. Like a hotel room. Angela’s eyes go wide and her mouth falls open upon seeing it in such a clean boring state. Belatedly, she looks to where Danielle is leaning over a dropped box-- obviously the source of the noise.

DANIELLE: (tossing Angela an irritated look) I’m fine. (pause) Thanks for asking.

ANGELA: Danielle, what happened to your room? (looking around) Where’s all the “Hello Kitty”? And your stuffed animal collection?

DANIELLE: (shrugging toward some assorted boxes and plastic bags) In there.

ANGELA: What’s going on? (suspicious) ‘Cause we’re not switching rooms. (firmly) We’ve been over that.

DANIELLE: Nothing’s “going on”. I’m just getting rid of some stuff.

ANGELA: (going over to a bag and fingering the arm of a starched white stuffed cat) But you love this stuff. (VO) *I* still love some of this stuff.

DANIELLE: It’s kid stuff. I figure now that I’m starting middle school. . .

ANGELA: (frowning) Oh. (pulling the animal protectively toward her) You’re not going to throw this stuff out are you? Because Mom would pitch a fit.

DANIELLE: No. I’m just going to put in down in the basement. (surveying her new “adult” kingdom) So. Will you help me carry it down?

ANGELA: I guess. But let’s do it when we get back.

DANIELLE: (arched brow) I’m not going to change my mind, you know.

ANGELA: I know. It’s just that I promised I’d pick up Sharon, and visiting hours don’t last forever . . . that’s all.

DANIELLE: Sharon’s coming too?

ANGELA: Yes. (hugging the animal to her) So?

DANIELLE: It’ll just be crowded. That’s all.

ANGELA: (irritated) So?

DANIELLE: So nothing. (pause) Just thanks. For taking me all the time. (pause) I’m just surprised you don’t ever want to go by yourself.

ANGELA: (frowning) Why do you say that?

DANIELLE: (shrugging innocently) No reason.

ANGELA: Whatever. (changing the subject) Did you tell Mom you were going to do this?

DANIELLE: No.

ANGELA: Then you have other things to worry about. She is going to freak out when she sees it. (knowingly) It makes her and Dad feel old or something. I did something like this when I started at the Middle School. Then I found her weeping over this big box of my Barbies. Like they had died or something. She’s just going to make you put it all back.

DANIELLE: No she won’t. (shoots Angela a strange look) It’s *my* room. Mom doesn’t have to be in control of every little thing, you know. Angela toys with the animal a minute more before setting it down. Her head is inclined as if she is thinking about something.
 

INT.OFFICE--Noontime Wood & Jones Printing. Patty is at her desk on the phone. She seems happy.

PATTY: My god, Camille, you have to tell me every detail of the conversation. Every single syllable. I want to relish it. (laughing) No. I know how deadlines go. Okay, Chinese it is then. My treat. Later, babe.

Patty sits there for a moment after hanging up, looking pleased with herself. Her reverie is quickly interrupted by the gruff voice of her Father.

CHUCK: (popping his head in) Who’s “babe”?

PATTY: (startled) Oh! Daddy! You’re here. (pause) Wait. *Why* are you here?

CHUCK: Can’t I stop by to see my only daughter?

PATTY: (nodding) Of course. It’s just that you never actually have. (editing) Much.

CHUCK: Who was on the phone?

PATTY: (smiling) Camille. (Chuck makes a hurrumphing sound) Don’t start, Daddy.

CHUCK: (throwing up his hands) I didn’t say anything.

PATTY: Well good. Because whatever Camille did or did *not* do in my youth . . .

CHUCK: She *did* break Great-Grandma’s wicker chair. None of us would have ever touched it. (pause) An *antique*. It probably would have been worth a fortune by now. (disgusted) A girl that big, heading straight for a wicker chair . . .

PATTY: Well regardless, she’s been a great help to me lately with all these referrals. That more than makes up for a chair.

CHUCK: What referrals?

PATTY: (sighing) Daddy, I *told* you that she recommended me to some of her advertising clients.

CHUCK: (nodding) That’s right. The Wellman account. Small potatoes.

PATTY: (enjoying this) Well, how about this Daddy, just today I landed the Enselmo account.

CHUCK: (skeptical) Enselmo’s always gone with one of the big boys. He’s been with J.J. Donnery Printing for decades.

PATTY: (smug) And we snatched the account right out from under them. What do you think of that?

CHUCK: (a smile slowly crosses his face, he nods) Stealing business from Donnery. (softly) I can’t quite believe that.

PATTY: (firmly) Believe it. (picking a thick bundle of paper off her desk) They messengered the final contract over this morning. (waving it in his face) A two year requirements contract to furnish them with all their printing needs. (he snatches it from her, peering at it intently) The account is worth as much as this building and everything in it. (triumphant) Any comments?

CHUCK: (after a long pause, he smiles) It looks like my daughter is one of the big boys. And Donnery knows it. (small mean laugh) The jackass!

PATTY: (shocked) Daddy!

CHUCK: Pardon my French. It looks like we showed them they have some competition after all.

PATTY: (generously) That we did.

CHUCK: This calls for a celebration! Let me take you out to lunch.

PATTY: (reluctant) I don’t know. (looks at her desk) I have all this work.

CHUCK: C’mon. We can even go to that new place. The one you like. Where all they serve is rabbit food.

PATTY: (nodding) Okay. That sounds good. (grabs her bag, reveling in his attention) But you didn’t hear the best part. Camille is really close with Dan Enselmo and he called and told her what Tom Donnery said when he found out.

CHUCK: Tom? That’s the son? (moving with her towards the door)

PATTY: Exactly. Camille said that he got all red in the face and said . . . .
 

INT.MALL--Early Afternoon

HALLIE: Well, this utterly sucks!

Hallie & Ethan stand in the middle of what is clearly a Mommy & Me type store. Hallie is huge and looks very uncomfortable. She is rubbing her back. Ethan is carrying a very large pile of baby clothes around as they browse.

HALLIE: I can’t believe I still haven’t had this baby. I think the baby inherited my tendency to procrastinate.

ETHAN: (very energetic) C’mon! Pay attention, we’re supposed to shopping for baby things. (cajoling) It’ll take your mind off it.

HALLIE: (indicating the pile he’s holding) We already have more than enough. (growling) Besides, “Baby Things” sounds like a bad Stephen King novel.

ETHAN: (thinking) Well he hasn’t published anything in the past couple of weeks.

HALLIE: (rolling her eyes) Shut up. I swear it’s your lame jokes that have scared her into staying in the womb permanently. (pause) That or your singing.

ETHAN: Hey! I thought you liked my singing!

HALLIE: It *did* amuse me. But I’m tone deaf. Maybe the baby isn’t. There must be some explanation. (pause, looking at her distended belly) Maybe she’s taken root or something.

ETHAN: A week or two on either side of the due date is nothing to worry about.

HALLIE: (indignant) I’m not worried! I’m tired! I want this baby out!

ETHAN: (smiling) You realize that you sound a bit irrational, right?

HALLIE: You should have heard me this morning. I was trying to bribe her. A canopy bed, her own room, anything. I finally stopped at a pony.

ETHAN: (setting the pile down, and looking through a rack of things) A pony?

HALLIE: Yes. I swore on a stack of Dr. Suess books that if she were born this week that I would give her a pony. (pause, sigh) I think she’s holding out for the new car.

ETHAN: (giggles) Foreign or domestic? (holding a jumper) What do we think of this?

HALLIE: Hmm. I don’t know. I keep wondering what it will look like on her.

ETHAN: (putting it back) They should have baby fashion shows for just that reason.

Ethan then proceeds to imitate a baby fashion show, complete with an obsequious announcer .

ETHAN: (smarmy game-show host voice) And here we have lovely Brittany wearing what’s all the rage with the on-the-go infants in Paris.

Then he switches to being a hapless baby toddling uncertainly down the runway. Before getting very far, he plops down to his knees, as though tripping.

ETHAN: (still on his knees, looking up at her) I guess that’s why they don’t. Too many casualties. (pause) Although it does take the “waif” look to the logical extreme.

By now several patrons and two saleswomen have approached the duo. Ethan having attracted undue attention. He stands and grabs the pile of clothes and heads toward one of the salespeople.

ETHAN: (grabbing her by the crook of the arm) Hi there (looking at her name tag) Bonnie! I’m Ethan. (she looks concerned about his fall) Oh, don’t worry about that, it was just a floor stress test. It held my weight fine. So, everything’s fine. Better than fine, actually. (nodding to the huge pile of clothes) If you work on commission, I’m about to make your week.

HALLIE: (calling after him) Ethan, I wasn’t going to get *all* of them. . .

But Ethan is oblivious, chatting up Bonnie and walking to the register.

SALESWOMAN: (the second worker comes up to Hallie) Well, he certainly is the picture of a proud Poppa already.

HALLIE: (watching him) He’s . . . um . . . not exactly the father. He’s just a good friend

SALESWOMAN: (embarrassed) Oh. Well he certainly has the Dad act down pat.

HALLIE: (nodding absently, with a concerned look) Yes. Yes, he does.
 

INT.CAR--Early Afternoon

Angela is driving, with Sharon in the passenger seat and Danielle in back. They round a turn and Sharon grabs for the handrest and makes a little noise.

ANGELA: (irritated, but good-naturedly) God, Sharon will you stop that?

SHARON: (shooting her a look) What?

ANGELA: Can you stop making those little frightened bunny noises every time I go around a corner or stop? (pause) It’s unnerving.

SHARON: I just thought you were going to hit that parked car. (shaking her head) I mean, really, *who* taught you how to drive?

ANGELA: (sighing) Sharon, I passed my driver’s test with flying colors. I didn’t have to go back like some pink-obsessed person I could mention. What does that tell you?

SHARON: (putting her arm out to the dash as Angela comes to a rather abrupt stop) Umm . . . honestly? That you must have bribed them or something. I mean you do know that you *can* apply the brake before the white line, right? And have you even heard of, like, a turn signal?

ANGELA: (concentrating on the road) (VO) Sometimes Sharon has this annoying ability to sound exactly like my mother. (Sharon makes another noise, pause) Or a frightened bunny. I have no idea which is worse. (pause) Luckily Sharon is easy to distract. (aloud) So what is that book you’re clutching in terror?

SHARON: (looking down) Oh. It’s “The Prince”. By Machiavelli.

DANIELLE: (piping up from the backseat) It’s a book about that perfume guy?

ANGELA: (scolding) Danielle!

SHARON: (turning to talk to Danielle) No. That’s someone else.

ANGELA: Why are you reading that?

SHARON: (like it’s obvious) Well, it *is* on the summer reading list.

ANGELA: (worried) You, like, actually *read* the summer reading list?

SHARON: Yes. (defensive) I mean, some of it. (pause) I mean I don’t want to get behind. I’m going to be busy with this whole newspaper thing. I mean, hopefully I will, at least.

DANIELLE: What newspaper thing?

SHARON: (before Angela can scold) I’m going to work on the school newspaper. (with false modesty) Well, if I have my way, I’ll kind of run it. Or whatever.

ANGELA: (surprised) You’re going to try to get the editor-in-chief position?

SHARON: (shortly) Yeah. So?

ANGELA: It’s just that a senior usually gets it.

SHARON: That’s not a rule. Maybe there just hasn’t been a qualified Junior yet.

ANGELA: (after a thoughtful pause) I was thinking of going out for the paper.

SHARON: Really? I sort of got the impression that you thought extra-curricular activities were, like, *lame* or something.

ANGELA: (offended) No I don’t. (grasping) I painted scenery for Our Town.

SHARON: (her “tell the truth” frown) Rickie said you quit halfway through.

ANGELA: (thinking) I guess. But I helped with other things.

SHARON: (conceding) That’s true. Well you should definitely sign up then. I can use all the support I can get if I’m going to clinch the election.

ANGELA: Do you think you have a chance?

SHARON: I think I have a pretty good shot. I know a couple of the senior girls that are coming back to the paper from Student Council. And you know that kid Galen, who does the layout and the cartoon?

ANGELA: (she doesn’t) Umm, I think so.

SHARON: Well, he’s like, second clarinet so I see him all the time. And Zack’s introduced me around to a couple of the other seniors.

ANGELA: When did you see him?

SHARON: At his pool closing party. Everyone was there. It was fun. His house is so huge. But he really knows how to plan a party. (aside) Finally, another person who understands the concept of mingling. (pause, head-tilt) Why didn’t you come again?

ANGELA: Oh. (thinking) I guess I must have been . . . busy.

SHARON: (knowing cluck) At the hospital?

ANGELA: (concentrating on driving again) I guess.

SHARON: Oh. (pause) So, anyway, I think I have a chance. As long as I convince Russo, (turning to face Danielle)--he’s the advisor--that I’m qualified.

ANGELA: (smiling) That shouldn’t be a problem. You practically put out the yearbook single-handedly last year. I can’t think of anyone more qualified.

SHARON: (giving Angela a small smile) Thanks. (she looks down at The Prince for a moment, flipping to the beginning pages) (VO) “It is customary for those who wish to gain the favour of a prince to endeavor to do so by offering gifts of those things. . .in which they know him to take especial delight.”

Sharon lets the book close and looks over at Angela again, but Angela does not notice. Sharon’s eyes narrow and she is now using her “fake” smile.
 

INT.CLOUD NINE--Afternoon

The restaurant is fairly empty, the lunch rush having long-since departed. Mr. Katimski sits alone at a table, regarding a menu thoughtfully. The camera pans to the door leading into the kitchen, where we see Graham coming out, stained and spattered, but smiling. He wipes his hands on his apron, as he unties it and walks toward Katimski.

GRAHAM: (taking a seat across from Katimski with no fanfare) Well, hello stranger.

KATIMSKI: (surprised) Oh! Hello. Graham. (sticking out his hand) It’s good to see you again. (shaking hands & looking around) Gee whiz, does everybody get this type of personal attention? (absent chuckle) I guess now I see why you’re doing do well.

GRAHAM: Not really. But Carol said you’d come in, and I haven’t seen you since Angela’s birthday party. (pause) And I needed a break.

KATIMSKI: (gesturing lazily) Well, by all means. (pause) I just came to see Enrique. And to sample some of your famous pastries. (pause) It’s almost like I never see him at all. Enrique, I mean. He shows up to eat and sleep and that’s about it. Lately not even for food.

GRAHAM: Well, I’ll have to take some of the blame for that. I foist leftovers on pretty much anybody. (smiling) But I am partial to people who say nice things. And he always does. I’ll go in back and get him and send him out with a pastry or two, okay?

KATIMSKI: (as Graham stands) Umm . . . Graham?

GRAHAM: Yes?

KATIMSKI: Is that normal? I mean . . . being treated like a Bed & Breakfast?

GRAHAM: (chuckling) Yes. At least I hope so. It’ll settle down when school starts, probably, but it will never be the same again. Too many of them can drive. Now it’s become too easy for them to escape. We’re wardens more than anything else.

KATIMSKI: Ahh. That does make sense. (frowning mildly) This is going to take some getting used to. This being a . . . a . . .(he searches for a word)

GRAHAM: Parent?

KATIMSKI: Yes. (nodding with a faint smile) I guess that’s what I am.

GRAHAM: (with a smile) I’m still trying to get used to being one myself. (pause) Speaking of which, when is that going to be official? Do you have a court date?

KATIMSKI: Actually yes, in October sometime. The lawyer thinks your depositions are going to be good enough. He doesn’t think the judge will require any testimony since the guardian ad litem is concurring in the petition. (pause) But thank you. You and Patty have been wonderful about this.

GRAHAM: No problem. We’re glad to help.

KATIMSKI: And thank you for the advice. (pause) Does this parenting thing ever stop feeling so overwhelming?

GRAHAM: (thinking, shaking his head) Not really. At least not so far.

KATIMSKI: I’m just not sure of how to set down rules. (pause) Any advice?

GRAHAM: (hedging) Umm, the rules are really more Patty’s department. I’m more like the back-up person. (seeing Katimski frown) But I do nod supportively.

KATIMSKI: I guess I’ll have to think up some rules.

GRAHAM: You’re a teacher, you’re used to bossing kids around. I’m sure with a little thought you’ll do fine. (Katimski smiles at him as he turns to go) I’ll send Rickie out.

KATIMSKI: Yes . . . . . . I suppose I’ll have to try that.

SHARON: (VO) “[A] prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those that are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.”

Visual--Katimski just sits there, watching Graham go and nodding. Rickie comes out momentarily.

KATIMSKI: Enrique!

RICKIE: Hey, Mr. Katimski. (puts down a plate with a pastry on it)

KATIMSKI: I didn’t want to get you in trouble . . . (trails off)

RICKIE: It’s no trouble. (laughing) I just wish you could come in and save me from the hell that is “salad prep” every day. What’s up?

KATIMSKI: Well, I kind of have some good news. (gesturing) It looks like you won’t be the only person in the house going back to school next week.

RICKIE: (smiling broadly) You got a job? Which one?

KATIMSKI: Brixton Academy. (picking at the pastry) You know, the private one?

RICKIE: Of course. That’s great! (head tilt) But I thought they said “no way”.

KATIMSKI: Ahh, they did. (short giggle) But whoever they picked took a better job and left them in a lurch. So, it looks like I’m going to have to start getting ready. Immediately.

RICKIE: (picking at the pastry in a similar manner) This is great! Did you tell Joseph?

KATIMSKI: I called him at work. (chuckle) He’s thrilled of course. I think he just wants me out of the house.

RICKIE: Maybe if you’d quit rearranging the furniture every week?

KATIMSKI: Well, my obsessive redecorating days have now ground to a halt. (shame-faced smile) I only moved “his chair” in the first place in order to see how long he’d pout about it. (shaking his head) Anyway, we thought we might go out to dinner to celebrate. We were wondering, if, you know . . . you had plans . . . or not.

RICKIE: I work until five. After that, Zack was supposed to pick me up, but . . .

KATIMSKI: (interrupting quickly) Well, then, by all means . . . I mean, these are your last few days of freedom before school starts up again . . .

RICKIE: (just as earnestly) No. I’ll just call him and cancel . . .

KATIMSKI: You don’t have to do that. (looks away, then back) Were you planning a big evening?

RICKIE: Nope (reassuring), just going to hang out.

KATIMSKI: Well then, why don’t you invite him along?

RICKIE: Really?

KATIMSKI: Of course. We want to get to know him better, anyway. (pause, small laugh) Since you’re spending so much time together.

RICKIE: (surprised, but not unhappy) Okay.

KATIMSKI: (licking a finger) And Enrique . . . (aside) please tell Mr. Chase that this was delicious by the way . . .you do know that we expect you to cut down on your hours here at the restaurant once school starts? (Rickie nods but Katimski continues) Because, yes, of course, the work ethic is very important, but your schoolwork has to come first. (pause, thinking, he’s on a roll, he is trying to be forceful) And while I have you here, I wanted to mention that once school starts back up we fully expect to start eating our evening meals together again, like, (long pause) you know . . .

RICKIE: Like a family?

KATIMSKI: (polite voice) Thank you. (firm again) Like a family. (pause) Now Joseph and I have discussed this, and it is *not* negotiable.

RICKIE: (smiling slightly) Okay.

KATIMSKI: (gives a quizzical look, it seems too easy) At the same time *every* night.

RICKIE: Okay.

KATIMSKI: Okay? (pause) Okay. (he seems confused)

RICKIE: (wiping the side of his mouth to cover a smile, he realizes what Katimski wants and provides it) But maybe, could Zack come over and eat with us sometimes? Or Rayanne? She’d appreciate a real meal for sure.

KATIMSKI: (chin in hand, thinking) Hmm. I don’t know. (pause) We’ll have to see. I’ll talk it over with Joseph. That’s the best I can do right now.

RICKIE: Okay. That’s fair. (looks at watch) I better get back at it.

KATIMSKI: True. So. I’ll see you at home. (he watches Rickie go, nodding to himself, speaking lowly) I’ll have to teach Joseph a supportive nod.
 

INT.HOSPITAL--Afternoon

Brian sits up in bed. He is haggard, pale, and looks much worse than we have seen him to date. Nevertheless, he is alert, and Danielle (perched on the end of his bed), Sharon, and Angela surround him. The remnants of a recently finished board game are on a tray that attaches to the bed rail. Angela sits nearest to Brian.

DANIELLE: I want a rematch. (to Brian) Wanna play again? Brian opens his mouth to speak, but Angela, without even glancing at him, beats him to it.

ANGELA: Danielle, he’s too tired. We can bring it again next time.

DANIELLE: (sour faced) Why do we always stop when you’re ahead?

ANGELA: (deep sigh) Stop keeping score. We’re just playing for fun.

BRIAN: (eyes wide) Really? (dryly) You were so intense that I thought you’d break the “Pop-O-Matic” bubble.

SHARON: (pursed lips) The little giggling fits you had when you sent us all back to our home bases were kind of uncalled for, too.

ANGELA: (smiling) Danielle, *they* have always been what you’d call sore losers. (she picks stuff up and begins packing the game away)

BRIAN: (to Danielle) So, are you all excited about starting at the Middle School?

DANIELLE: (nodding) Yeah. I can’t wait.

ANGELA: I tried to warn her that the seventh and eighth graders are horrible to the incoming sixth graders, but she wouldn’t listen.

SHARON: *Don’t* listen to her Danielle, it’s so much better. Seriously. You get to meet all these new people. It’s like, exciting. Brian makes a little clucking noise of disapproval.

SHARON: *What*, Krakow?

BRIAN: Nothing. (reassuring Danielle) I’m sure you’ll be fine. I bet your friends won’t forget who you are halfway through the year, or anything. (bitterly) I’ve *heard* that can happen.

Sharon rolls her eyes. Angela looks instantly guilty and her head bobs a bit as she looks down at her feet while putting the game away.

SHARON: (VO) (while Brian chats with Danielle) “And whoever thinks that in high personages new benefits cause old offences to be forgotten, makes a great mistake.”

Angela finishes putting the game away and instantly occupies herself with cleaning some of the clutter around the bed, including a meal tray.

ANGELA: (scolding) Brian, you barely touched your lunch.

BRIAN: (dismissive) I wasn’t hungry.

ANGELA: But you have to keep your strength up. (with a smile) Why don’t I go get you a nice piece of fruit?

BRIAN: (turning to look at her, snappish) Because I said I don’t *want* it. Okay?

ANGELA: (looking back at him, stung, shrugging) Sure.

Sharon looks from Angela to Brian and back again. Her face is etched with concern.

SHARON: (brightly) Actually, some fruit sounds good right now. (nudging Danielle) Why don’t we go to the cafeteria and get some? We can run by maternity on the way there and look at all the new babies.

Danielle look likes she wants to refuse, but then catches Sharon’s eye. Sharon manages to communicate something to her by flicking her eyes over at the couple.

DANIELLE: Okay. (rising, crossing to the door) Angela, do you have any money?

ANGELA: (moves across the room to her purse, digging in it) Here.

DANIELLE: (speaking softly) Don’t worry, I’ll bring something back for him.

ANGELA: (brightens a bit) Thanks. Danielle and Sharon exit.

Angela puts down her purse, and moves over near the bed.

ANGELA: (standing attentive at bedside) So. Do you want me to brush your hair?

BRIAN: (he shoots her a guilty look) Better not. It’s starting to come out again.

ANGELA: (softly) I know. (she sighs, long pause) Skooch over.

Brian moves over a bit without comment. Angela perches on the bed next to him.

ANGELA: Your Mom said you’re coming in to school one day next week, like for a meeting, or something.

BRIAN: Yeah, I have to meet with Foster and some of my teachers about setting up a special work schedule. (pause) Also I’m dropping a couple of my minors. (she looks surprised) I can’t keep up. I could try, but I just can’t do it. (pause, looks away) And there doesn’t seem to be much point anyway.

ANGELA: What do you mean?

BRIAN: Nothing. (shrugs, speaking quickly) I just don’t know why I ever cared as much as I did. It never made me happy.

Brian’s thoughts are interrupted by the intrusion of Dr. Garcia.

GARCIA: Hello, Brian. Angela. (Angela starts to slide off the bed) You don’t need to get up on my account. No more tests or treatments today. I just wanted to check in one last time before I go off rounds. (looks at Brian’s chart) So, Brian have you told her the good news?

ANGELA: (her expression indicates that he has not) What good news?

GARCIA: Brian’s sister is a complete match. So after this next intensive round of chemotherapy, we’re going to go ahead with the bone marrow transplant.

ANGELA: That’s great. (turning to Brian) Isn’t it?

BRIAN: (slowly) Sure. Yes. (pause) It’s just hard to get excited about spending all that time in the hospital. Especially for something that might not work anyway.

ANGELA: (confused) I thought you said it increased your chances? I thought a transplant would make you, like, eight times more likely to . . . you know. . . survive?

BRIAN: It does. But eight times five percent is still only a forty percent chance.

Angela looks to Garcia for confirmation of the stark numbers. Garcia nods.

GARCIA: Brian, I also wanted to try and convince you to really seriously think about what we discussed this morning. Your parents are very concerned.

BRIAN: (blushes furiously, glances at Angela) Not now, okay?

ANGELA: What? (turning to Garcia) What is it?

GARCIA: (hesitating, but seeing a potential ally in Angela) We want Brian to think about doing some sperm banking. The massive dose of chemo we give before the transplant often causes sterility. It’s better to be safe than sorry. (to Brian) I know this type of thing might seem too far off a possibility now, but somewhere down the road you might regret not doing it.

BRIAN: I’m *not* doing it, okay? I’m just not. Can we drop the subject? Please?

GARCIA: (sighing) Of course. I didn’t mean to intrude. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Garcia exits. Brian looks mortified and possibly angry. Angela stares at him.

ANGELA: (VO) I had no idea what to do. But sometimes guys need a little nudging to get them to do what they should. (aloud) Brian, maybe you should think about it.

BRIAN: I *have* thought about it. It’s just too much. (beat) To think about. (beat) At this particular moment. (pause) Does that . . . I mean . . . do you think that sort of thing would matter? (pause) Y’know, to girls?

ANGELA: (VO) I had no idea. But, probably it would. (aloud) No. At least not to me.

BRIAN: (looking straight ahead) Oh, okay. (pause) Good.
 

INT.HOSPITAL CORRIDOR--Afternoon

Sharon and Danielle are walking back towards the room when they see Rayanne walking further along down the hall.

DANIELLE: Rayanne!

Rayanne turns, glowering at whoever is summoning her, but she smiles when she sees that it is Sharon and Danielle. She skips over.

RAYANNE: Hey Cherski. (mock-glaring at Danielle) Hey *punk*!

SHARON: What are you doing here? Visiting Brian?

RAYANNE: No. I was out shopping for school stuff. My Mom gave me her credit card, but she only trusts me with it for like an hour at a time, or something. So I had to return it. (makes a face) Threaten to run off to Vegas just once and they never let you forget it. (turning to Danielle) So what’s up with you, punk?

DANIELLE: We’re just visiting Brian. (pause) And don’t call me “punk”.

RAYANNE: I’d guessed *that*. I meant with that Ryan character. Did he come crawling back to you yet?

DANIELLE: No. (disgusted look) The worm.

RAYANNE: (laughs delightedly, and gives a little clap) See! You *are* a punk.

Sharon watches them in bemused silence, she seems shocked to be ignored.

SHARON: Well, I’m going to take this fruit in to Brian.

They barely register her comment and nod and wave her away.
 

INT.HOSPITAL--Afternoon

Brian’s hospital room. Angela has moved to the chair. They watch the TV in silence. Brian seems fully attentive still. Sharon enters bearing fruit.

SHARON: Hey. I’m back.

ANGELA: Where’s Danielle? (mildly alarmed) You’re not just letting her run amok are you?

SHARON: Of *course* not! (pause) She’s with Rayanne.

ANGELA: (smiling) Oh wonderful. They’re probably running amok together then.

SHARON: Well, why don’t you go and check. I think Rayanne wanted to talk to you anyway. (she holds up a hand) *I’ll* stay with Brian. It’s fine.

ANGELA: (looks over at Brian, who motions for her to go) Okay. Just for a minute.

The second Angela is gone, Sharon shoots a glare at Brian, and drags a chair up close to his bedside.

SHARON: Okay, Krakow. Here’s an orange. You *will* eat it, of course. (her tone leaves the “or else” clearly implied) Why do you give her such a hard time?

BRIAN: (defensive) Oh? Is that how it seems? Me giving *her* a hard time? (pause, head shake) Because that’s an interesting perspective on it all, Cherski.

SHARON: (deep eye roll while peeling the orange) Say what you mean.

BRIAN: (sighing) If it’s not her, it’s my Mother. They are always hovering. And they take each downturn so personally. (pause) It’s bad enough when I find out I’m not improving, but to see the disappointment in them (pause) that’s just . . . too much to bear.

SHARON: Krakow, she has to feel like she’s doing something! (she hands him an orange slice, which he dutifully eats) How can you not see that?

BRIAN: Which one? Angela or my Mother?

SHARON: (thinking) Both. Maybe they do hover. So, *let* them. How does it hurt you?

BRIAN: It does hurt me. It *does*. Do you think I can break down in front of them? (pointing at the door) In front of *her*? Because I can’t. I *won’t*. (pause, deep sigh) And it’s hard, you know? It takes *so* much energy to reassure them both, every moment that I *will* be all right. (pause) And I don’t have a lot of energy to spare.

SHARON: (mulling this over, handing him another slice) I see your point.

BRIAN: Can’t you help? Can’t you distract her? I don’t know, get her invited to some party or something?

SHARON: Brian, she’s been invited tons of places all summer. We had a party at Zack’s house just last weekend. (pointedly) But she didn’t come.

BRIAN: (puzzled) She didn’t tell me about that. Why didn’t she go?

SHARON: I don’t know. (pause) She says she was here.

BRIAN: She wasn’t here on Saturday night. She was at home. I called her. (pause) Maybe she was just too upset to go or something. Because I’m in here.

SHARON: (rolling her eyes) Brian, could you like, *please* send away for a clue? She hasn’t done hardly anything with us since sometime before summer. You were out of the hospital then. The last big thing she did was . . . well . . .(blurting it out) the *prom*. And she hasn’t been to Vertigo, or Let’s Bolt, or anywhere else since.

BRIAN: (mulling this over) What about the lock-in?

SHARON: Brian, there was an adult there. Same with her party, which she didn’t even know about anyway. (pause) She hasn’t gone with us anywhere, except for really *safe* places, like the movies or the mall. Places the three of *us* always used to go together. We constantly invited her to go dancing, at Amnesia, that all ages club that Delia likes. But she always had some excuse. (looks away) Lately that excuse has been you.

BRIAN: (he lowers his head as this sinks in) I guess, I never thought about her acting differently. I mean, I’ve never really done those things, so I guess I sort of forgot that for awhile there she *was* doing them. (pause) Why. . . I mean, why do you think. . . what are her reasons?

SHARON: I don’t know. It seems sort of important though. (pause) Just today she started talking to me about being on the paper. Just like last year when we were all going to be on yearbook together. It was weird.

BRIAN: She never said anything to me about the paper. (pause) But it sounds like something she might have been interested in, y’know. . . (he trails off as it hits him)

SHARON: *Before*? Like, before the dye job?

BRIAN: (looks down again) Yeah. Before. (pause) So, do you think this has something to do with Rayanne? (pause, looks up) Or, y’know, *him*?

SHARON: (won’t meet his eyes at first) I can’t answer that. Maybe you should ask her. (offers him the last slice of orange)

BRIAN: Sharon, I’m really not hungry anymore. (small smile) Please stop force-feeding me.

SHARON: Okay. (she eats the slice) We can just tell her that you ate the whole thing.

BRIAN: Who? Angela or my Mother?

SHARON: (quick little smile) Both.

BRIAN: (after a long pause) Sharon, do you think you could talk to her about this?

SHARON: (quickly) No. I shouldn’t. I *couldn’t*. It should be you .

BRIAN: (swallowing hard) I don’t know if I can do that. (sadly) I don’t even think I really want to. (pause) Because all of a sudden, now that I think about it, *her* hovering seems like the best thing I have going in my life.

SHARON: (torn) Brian, how can I ask her about this?

BRIAN: I don’t know. But I really hope you will. You’re, like, the *strong* one, Sharon. You always have been. You’re like the one person I know who can face up to the truth. The hard truths. And you make other people face them too.

SHARON: (softly, gesturing) You’re strong too, Brian.

BRIAN: (shaking his head) No. Not when it comes to her. With her, I can’t. . . I mean. . .I don’t think I can be as strong as you’re asking me to be. Not about this.

SHARON: I don’t want to be the one. I’ll be like the messenger that always brings bad news. (pause) Maybe things will get back to normal when you get out of here.

BRIAN: Sharon . . . I mean, you *do* realize . . .that I might never . . . *leave* . . . here.

SHARON: (reaching out to lightly take his hand) I know. (long pause)

RAYANNE: (coming in the door, viewing the scene, chewing on a hair-tail) I’d seriously advise against that, Cherski, Angela’s nothing if not possessive.

Sharon rolls her eyes and chuckles a bit, but lets go.

RAYANNE: You should see the big branding scar on Jordan Catalano’s . . .

Angela walks in with Danielle. Danielle is smiling, having overheard.

RAYANNE: Oops! (covering her mouth) Faux pas! (aside) That’s from “The Tick” Krakow. I’m telling you since they probably don’t show it that much on PBS. (really looking at him) God, Krakow! Look at you. You’re like, *wilting*. Don’t the nurses ever water you?

Brian looks slightly amused, but Angela does not.

ANGELA: (warning voice) Rayanne.

RAYANNE: (ignoring her completely, crossing to the bed) If you’re going to sit around on your ass all day, they at least should get a you a tanning bed, or something. Put some color in your cheeks. (pause) And your face too.

ANGELA: Rayanne!

RAYANNE: What? Brian doesn’t mind. (slapping the sideboard) Do ya, Bri? He loves all the attention. (turning to Angela) I bet whenever you leave he calls in the night nurse and they linger over his sponge bath.

BRIAN: (still smiling) The night nurse is a guy.

RAYANNE: (sexy) Hmm. Really? *I* feel a little dirty. Maybe I need a sponge bath. (thinking) Or maybe we should get Rickie in here. Then he can forget about stick-boy.

DANIELLE: “Stick-boy”?

RAYANNE: You know. . .(she makes a pinched rodent face) Ferret-face?

SHARON: She means Zack.

ANGELA: I thought you liked Zack?

RAYANNE: (puts her hand up for “stop”) Please. He’s one of those people that suck all the air out of the room. Like he has to be the center of attention. All the time. (shaking her head in disgust) I *hate* people like that.

Angela snorts at this. Sharon just looks amused.

BRIAN: (nodding, playing along) I hate them too.

RAYANNE: (to Angela) See, we’ve talked about this, me and Krakow.

ANGELA: Oh really? (incredulous) When? During your many visits?

RAYANNE: (annoyed) I call him at night. (looking at Sharon) I’m good with guys on the phone, right Cherski? Sharon’s eyes go wide and she gives a look that says, “I’m out of this.”

RAYANNE: (pointedly to Angela) Why do you think he *needs* a sponge bath? Angela’s eyes narrow considerably.

RAYANNE: (as if telling a secret) Call up and recite chess moves. It gets him hot.

Rayanne stares at Angela with her lascivious smile, daring her not to laugh. Angela tries to remain stern, but finally laughs.

ANGELA: (outraged) Chess moves?

RAYANNE: Pretend you’re Bobby Fisher. It drives him wild.

BRIAN: (shakes his head) The other night she pretended to be selling wholesale kosher meat.

RAYANNE: (smiling) And you *totally* believed me.

BRIAN: (superior) Of course I didn’t. I know your voice. Rayanne looks like she’s about to say something, but doesn’t.

ANGELA: (tidying up again) You could come here with us you know.

RAYANNE: Nah. I hate hospitals.

SHARON: I thought you loved hospitals.

RAYANNE: That’s Tino. You’re talking about someone who threw himself off a balcony so he could get painkillers. Little did *he* know. Demerol don’t do shit. (turning to Brian) Remember that. Get percodan. Or a morphine drip.

BRIAN: (nodding) “Demerol don’t do shit”. Got it. (dripping with sarcasm) I’ll be sure to use those exact words with Dr. Garcia. That’ll go over real well.

Angela is still looking expectantly at Rayanne.

RAYANNE: What can I say? (pause) I hate hospitals. This is the first time I’ve been in one . . . since, y’know . . . *that* night. (she shakes her head, tries to be flip) Besides, this ward sucks. If we were in pediatrics, there’d at least be toys.

They are all silent for a moment.

DANIELLE: (sidling up to Angela) We should get going.

ANGELA: That’s true. (explaining) I used the pay phone to call home. (to Sharon) Your Mom’s coming to our house, for, like, Chinese. So you’re all just coming home with us.

SHARON: Rayanne too?

RAYANNE: But of course. Getting free food off people is, like, my specialty. (she grabs hold of her big bag) C’mon punk! We can go bring the car around.

ANGELA: (grabbing for her purse) No way! No way are you touching my Mother’s car. (handing Sharon the keys) Sharon can bring the car around.

SHARON: (little nod) Naturally. (she grabs the keys and goes over to Brian) Bye, Krakow.

BRIAN: Bye, Cherski. (softly) Promise me you’ll think about what we talked about.

SHARON: (her smile gets grim, she pats his hand) I will. Danielle comes over to the bed and gives Brian a small hug.

RAYANNE: (as she ushers Danielle out) Later, Bri!

BRIAN: (to the three of them) Bye.

ANGELA: (cleaning up the remnants of the orange) So you ate after all?

BRIAN: (scowling mildly) That’s your subtle way of saying, “I told you so” right?

ANGELA: (smiling to herself as she dumps it in the garbage) No. Not at all. (pause, hair tuck) It just saves me some worrying.

BRIAN: (looks guilty) You worry a lot don’t you?

ANGELA: No. (shaking her head) I don’t know. (pause) Sometimes. (she comes over to his side and hops up next to him) So when does this intensive treatment start?

BRIAN: I guess in a few weeks. Lisa should get here sometime near the end of it.

ANGELA: I bet you’re pretty excited to see her again, huh?

BRIAN: (nodding) It’s been awhile. (pause) I wish it didn’t take me dying to get her to come and visit, though.

ANGELA: (frowning) Brian. Don’t. . . I mean, I don’t think it’s you she’s avoiding.

BRIAN: I know. (pause) You should go. You shouldn’t be late for dinner.

ANGELA: (laughing) Okay, *Mom*. (she leans over and gives him a peck on the cheek) Try and get some rest, okay? I’ll be back tomorrow.

BRIAN: (as she leaves) You know, you don’t *have* to come every day . . . (he trails off, she turns to give him a questioning look, he loses his nerve) But, I’m glad you do.

A shot of Angela standing in the doorway catches her worried look change into a smile.
 

INT.CHASE KITCHEN--Late Afternoon

Patty and Camille are pulling out stuff to set the table with. Camille clearly knows her way around the Chase kitchen quite well.

CAMILLE: (getting plates) I can’t believe your Father took you to a vegetarian place.

PATTY: He didn’t really like it. Luckily dessert is generally vegetarian. He did say that they had good pie. (pause) I wouldn’t know. *He* ate most of mine.

CAMILLE: (laughing) Of course. (pause) So have you told Graham yet?

PATTY: (still radiant) No. I thought I’d tell everyone tonight.

The back door opens and the four girls file in. Greetings are exchanged. Patty tries to hand utensils and plates to Danielle.

PATTY: Can you set the table? The food will be here any minute.

DANIELLE: (walks right past) In a second. I have some stuff to move from my room. (to Rayanne) Can you help me with it?

RAYANNE: (giving her a piercing look) “I could for money.”

Danielle’s eyes widen, and then both of them burst into laughter, as Sharon, Angela and the two Moms look on confused.

DANIELLE: (moving through the door) Come *on*! Rayanne shrugs and follows Danielle upstairs.

PATTY: (to Angela, holding out the dishes) Dare I ask what this is all about?

ANGELA: (defensive) I have no idea what is up with them.

PATTY: I’d guessed that. I meant what is Danielle moving?

ANGELA: (remembering) Oh, right. (gesturing) She packed up her whole room. And she’s moving all the toys and dolls and stuff into the basement.

PATTY: So. (wide eyed) It’s happening again.

ANGELA: So do you want me to stop her?

PATTY: (quickly) Nope. (shaking her head) I’m staying out of it this time. I’ve learned my lesson. (giving Angela a dirty look) The hard way.

ANGELA: (VO) Of course. The story of my life. I’m just like those guys who landed in the first boat at Normandy. I have to break all this ground and fight all these battles with my parents, risking my life and getting wounded. And Danielle gets to take advantage of how I’ve, like, softened up the enemy. (pause) That's fair.

Angela scowls back at her mother and walks right past her out of the kitchen. Patty stands there, perturbed, holding the dishes and utensils out. Sharon sighs, catches a look from Camille and steps up to relieve Patty of her burden.

SHARON: *I’ll* set the table.

PATTY: (pleased) Thank you, Sharon.

Sharon takes the plates into the dining room and begins to set the table. As she sets the first plate and place setting down, the camera closes in on it. You can see Sharon’s face smiling in the plate for a moment as she hums tunelessly to herself. Then she moves away but the shot still focuses on the plate, and then fades to a shot of the same plate covered with the remnants of food. There is noisy conversation going on, as the camera pulls back once more to reveal the 6 women sitting around the table emersed in their own conversations. Angela looks bored, or distracted. The camera circles the table, catching bits of conversation.

CAMILLE: (to Patty) So Berniece said that they weren't sure the insurance would cover the transplant after all, and just the transplant itself costs like $100,000.

PATTY: My god. (pause) When did you see her?

CAMILLE: I went by there with a casserole yesterday. (shrugs) I know, that's stupid, right? I just couldn't think of any other way to help. She's a mess . . .

RAYANNE: (to Danielle) I have no idea. I barely *see* Rickie, anyway. He's always out with Fisher and Stick-Boy. (makes a face) Or *working*.

DANIELLE: But you have Corey, right?

RAYANNE: (shrugging) Sure. I guess so. He's been away at that college camp thing for art for the past couple of weeks. Dead French guys really interest him, you know.

DANIELLE: Did he send you a postcard?

RAYANNE: No. (holding up a finger) *But* he didn't promise to, either. Ryan did.

SHARON: (to Angela) And so I'm thinking that my best chance for getting the Editor-in-Chief position is to be really aggressive. I've come up with this whole new plan for doing things. I think it's going to really work for me.

ANGELA: (only half there, nodding) Uh huh. (VO) I had no idea what Sharon was talking about. If she asked me I would be totally busted. Except if I guessed correctly. Which is surprisingly possible. She's generally talking about herself. (pause) Maybe everyone is. (pause) I just kept thinking of school starting in a few days. It's like I couldn't quite believe that summer was really over. I thought I would have all this time this summer to, like, get things done. (pause) To really straighten out some things. But I guess I never did. And now I have to jump back in with both feet. And I'm not ready for school. For getting up early again. For doing homework. And for facing all the things I thought I would deal with over the summer. But never did. (she nods at Sharon who has been talking to her all this time, aloud) That sounds great for you.

SHARON: It really will be if it all works out.

CAMILLE: (to Patty) And so Dan said that Tom Donnery was livid. And he asked Dan all these questions about Wood and Jones, like he hadn't even heard of it before.

PATTY: (evil smile) I guess he's heard of us now. Graham is going to be thrilled.

CAMILLE: Why? The restaurant is going fine, right?

PATTY: It's doing wonderfully. (throws up her hands) I think we may have underestimated Hallie's business sense.

CAMILLE: (snide laugh) That must be it. (pause) Because it *can't* be her sparkling personality.

PATTY: (shocked scolding) Camille!

DANIELLE: (to Rayanne) So do you know what play they're doing this year?

RAYANNE: Actually, plays are in the spring, *musicals* are in the fall. (thinking) And I haven't heard anything. Hmm. (turning around to bat Sharon on the shoulder) Cherski, you seem to know everything, what have you heard about the new speech teacher?

SHARON: (turning) Well, I know that it's a she. And that she got chosen over the new English teacher to be in charge of the drama department. Other than that . . . (she crinkles up her face) Not much. (she looks over at Camille) Mom? What do we know about the new speech teacher?

CAMILLE: (still picking at something) Well, let's see. I saw Rene Lerner the other day and she said that she's very young. (tipping her head) I got the impression that she's a little too enthusiastic for some of the other teachers.

Rayanne gets a thoughtful look on her face. A door slams from behind them, and Graham walks from the front room to the dining room. He looks shocked to see so many people.

GRAHAM: (shooting Patty a look) Umm . . .hi. What's going on?

PATTY: We're celebrating.

GRAHAM: Celebrating what?

DANIELLE: Yeah. What exactly *are* we celebrating?

PATTY: We are celebrating because today I landed an account. A big account. (pause) The mother of all accounts. The biggest account we've ever had in fact.

GRAHAM: That's great, Patty. (looking through some mail) How big are we talking? Patty grabs a napkin and writes something on it with a pen. She folds it and hands it to him.

GRAHAM: (opening it) Oh. My. God. I don't think I've ever even seen this many zeros. May I frame this? (looking over the detritus of the meal) Hey, did you save any for me?

PATTY: (pushing her plate to him) Not much. It's all gone except for the cookies.

DANIELLE: Hey, where are the fortune cookies, anyway?

RAYANNE: Yeah, we have to play the "in bed" game.

SHARON: (reaching for a bag) Here they are. Pass them around.

DANIELLE: What's the "in bed" game?

RAYANNE: After your fortune you put in the words, "in bed." Like "You will live long and prosper . . . in bed." Or whatever. (she grabs one and passes the bag on)

ANGELA: Well, I've heard that you add "in love", *not* "in bed".

RAYANNE: (fake yawn) Bo-ring! Besides, we get into bed every night. How often are we really in love? Come *on*!

ANGELA: (VO) Rayanne and I manage to have the same disagreement over and over again. Using the weirdest subjects as, like, a metaphor. Which really says something about Rayanne. (pause) Or maybe me. (aloud) Fine. You win. What's yours say, Sharon?

SHARON: (groaning) Don't make me. (Rayanne motions for her to read) "You will find that hard work is the key to success." (she half-heartedly points to Rayanne)

ANGELA: (together with Rayanne's line, she's looking down at her cookie) (VO) In love.

RAYANNE: (together) In bed! (to Danielle) See! I'll do mine. (she opens it and looks at, but does not appear to read it--she smiles) Mine says, "You will one day find yourself handcuffed in your best friends house." (she looks up to look at the sea of uniformly shocked and questioning expressions and smiles triumphantly) In bed. (pause, takes a sip of soda) Hmm. Now I have to say that this one sounds a little far-fetched. Even for me. (turning to Angela) It's your turn.

ANGELA: (looking from Rayanne to her Mother and back) I'm too scared to open mine now.

DANIELLE: (trying to look innocent, setting the bag aside) Me too.

RAYANNE: Cowards. (little clap) That reminds me! This friend of Tino's wants to start a company called "Misfortune Cookies".

PATTY: (trying not to be too amused) Dare we even ask?

RAYANNE: They'll be like fortune cookies, but with little plastic spiders in them. Or an eyeball. Or part of a finger. Or really weird messages. But all bad.

SHARON: (skeptical) Like what?

RAYANNE: Like (pause, thinking) Okay, like this. "Confucius say: If your pets could kill you, they *would*."

SHARON: (frowning) In bed?

The entire group laughs, except Patty. Camille shakes her head, and Graham covers his mouth.

PATTY: (strangely more shocked by this than the "in bed" talk) That's horrible. (finally she laughs) That's really, *really* horrible. (pause) Graham, remind me to leave the cat outside tonight though, just in case.

They all laugh some more. After the mirth subsides, Graham picks up Patty's plate and picks at it.

GRAHAM: Oh, I meant to tell you all, Rickie told me that Katimski got a job.

ANGELA: (looks down at her unopened cookie) (VO) For some reason the first person to spread good news always feels good just by association. I can't decide if that's irrational or not. Maybe it's a karma thing. (she focuses back on the conversation for the moment)

DANIELLE: So Brian says his sister's a complete match. I mean, that just shows that he's really lucky. There's only, like a 35% chance that it would work out this way . . .

ANGELA: (she looks away from the table again) (VO) And now he has a forty percent chance of survival. "Eight times better" does sound a lot more hopeful than "40%". Maybe *that's* why he never told me. (she turns back to the table)

SHARON: So Zack was telling me about some of the other seniors, and . . .

ANGELA: (VO) Seniors. I can't believe that we're Juniors already. I'll have to take the SAT this year and start thinking about colleges. I think they do that on purpose. I mean, they let you drive just when you get too busy to have anywhere fun to go.

SHARON: And then Delia suggested that when Corey gets back, we can ask him to . . .

ANGELA: (VO) Sharon knows what pretty much everybody is doing. (pause) Except the one person I most want to hear about. Of course, I can't *ask* about him, but I still think about him all the time. I haven't seen him, in like forever. I have no idea what I'm going to say to him if I see him. I guess it's not a matter of "if" anymore. School makes it a matter of "when".

She reaches out to her plate, and slowly closes her fist around her fortune cookie. She wraps it in her napkin, and slips it slowly into the pocket of her overalls.

ANGELA: (VO) *He's* probably doing something exciting right now.
 

INT.LOFT--Evening

Jordan Catalano, Joey (the drummer), and Stan (the bassist) are trying to practice. Shane paces the loft, apparently bored. The song they are playing sounds fine at first, but is unrecognizable. After some uninterrupted decent playing, Stan breaks a string and Jordan stops. Stan just sighs, and pulls the bass and strap over his head. He begins to put it away.

JORDAN: (watching him) What're you doing, man? STAN: What does it look like? I'm going home. (continues packing)

JORDAN: We got more, y'know. (Stan says nothing) More strings.

STAN: I know. But I'm tired. (pause) And it's late. And *I* have to work in the morning. (he glares over at Shane) Unlike some people.

SHANE: (shoots a look right back at him) Wuss.

STAN: (standing and crossing to him) Don't you and Catalano have *school* soon or something? (Shane just glares at him. Jordan looks down) Besides, (he turns back to Jordan) I don't know why we're learning these songs anyway. (peace offering) I mean, they're good and all. But we should really just learn some more covers.

JORDAN: (begins shaking his head vehemently) No. *No.* We've been over this. The covers can *get* us gigs, but if we don't use my songs, we'll never be anything more than a cover band. (he pauses, lost in thought)

JOEY: (shrugging, playing peacemaker) What's wrong with that?

JORDAN: Because . . . because I'm trying to turn this into something else. (pause, his hand goes behind his head) Something, y'know, *great*.

SHARON: (VO) “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”

Visual--The three band members and Shane all just look at each other.

STAN: (relenting) Whatever. It's your thing Catalano. But we'll have to be something great some other night. I have to get to bed. I have a long day tomorrow.

JORDAN: Okay. How about we practice again tomorrow night?

JOEY: (sheepish) I can't. I swore to Gertie I'd take her out.

JORDAN: Oh. (disgusted) Maybe you can get yourself a longer leash, sometime.

JOEY: (annoyed) Hey! Who's waiting for you when *you* come home, Catalano? (softening) Besides, it's Friday night. Aren't *you* going out?

JORDAN: (looks down) Nah.

SHANE: He doesn't do nothing. Ever. Cause of that weird girl.

STAN: (rolling his eyes) It's been months, man. Get *over* it already. (shrugs) Since when do you get all worked up over a girl anyway?

JORDAN: (looks put upon) I dunno.

JOEY: (seems more sympathetic) Maybe Gertie could set you up with one of her friends . . .

JORDAN: No. That's okay. I've got some other stuff to do.

SHANE: You need to have *someone* to do.

JORDAN: (cuffs Shane across the shoulder) Shut up. Just get out of here.

Stan shrugs and leaves. Joey gathers up his things and shoots a look back, as Jordan sinks into a chair, clearly dejected. Shane walks up to Jordan.

SHANE: You comin'?

JORDAN: Nah. Get a ride with Joey. (pause) I don't want to go home right now.

SHANE: Suit yourself. (gives him a weird look) Later.

Shane rushes off to catch up with Joey. Jordan sits there silently for a moment and then reaches out for his guitar. He pulls a crumpled piece of paper from his case and smoothes it out on his knee. Close up on paper--it is filled with handwritten chords Jordan looks down at the paper and begins to softly and slowly strum his guitar. The slow, sometimes faltering melody continues over the next scene. The loft fades out.
 

INT. ANGELA'S BEDROOM--Evening

Angela has changed for bed. She is sitting at her dressing table, staring into the mirror at her hair or her face. She does not smile The fortune cookie she pocketed at dinner sits on the dressing table, the napkin having been unwrapped. She lowers her gaze to stare at it. Jordan's simple chords are the only sound in the scene. The camera pans up to a picture tucked into the left corner of the mirror. It is the crumpled print of the award-winning photo that Brian Krakow took of her. A close-up on her face reveals her looking at it. Then her gaze travels to the right, to the other corner of the mirror, where another picture resides. The Polaroid of she and Jordan dressed for the prom. She looks down at the fortune cookie.

ANGELA: (VO) If only fortune cookies really were true. Or TV psychics. Or Magic 8-Balls. Or even tarot. If only there was something that could tell you what was going to happen in the future. Just *one* thing you could listen to, that couldn't get confused, like your head does. And sometimes your heart. If only it were that easy. (pause) But all those things are kept vague for a reason. The fortune will probably say, "Perseverance can make all your dreams come true". In love. (pause) And that's great if you know what you want.

She reaches out as if to open the cookie. Instead, she curls her hand around it, cradling it.

ANGELA: (VO) I guess some people don't know what they want. I guess that makes the people like me, who *have* what they want, sort of, like, the *lucky* ones.

She still is not smiling. She takes her hand away from the intact cookie, wraps it up tightly in the napkin, puts it into a keepsake box on her dressing table and turns out the light.

Black Screen-- “Four Days Later”
 

INT.CHASE KITCHEN--Morning

Patty sips coffee as she watches the girls clean their breakfast dishes. Danielle seems happy and excited, but Angela seems irritated and tired.

ANGELA: (dropping her plate noisily into the sink) I can't believe you're making me take the bus. I'll be the only upperclassman on it.

DANIELLE: *I'm* excited about taking the bus.

ANGELA: (gives her a sour look) At least it's not the same one. That's my *one* consolation.

PATTY: Angela, we discussed this. We have two cars. You are welcome to use them when they are not in use, but I am not going to be trapped at work all day so you can drive to school.

ANGELA: Fine. (walking right past Patty) I'd better go then, so I don't miss the *bus*.

PATTY: (as the back door slams shut, belatedly) Have a good first day. (she sighs and turns to Danielle) How about you? Hopefully you can manage to have a good first day.

DANIELLE: (smiling) I'm sure I will. It's going to be great. (exiting too) Seeya.

PATTY: Bye! (Patty turns to the sink and runs some water over the dishes sitting there)

Graham comes wandering in behind her. He looks like death warmed over.

GRAHAM: (groggy) Did I miss them?

PATTY: (turning to him) Graham, go back to bed. I can't believe you're up this early.

GRAHAM: Well, I wanted to see them off.

PATTY: You didn't miss much. Just another repeat of the "I wish I had a car" refrain from Angela. (shuts off the faucet) It's not like when they were little and wanted hugs, and almost cried. They barely noticed me. (moving to hug him) Besides, we're used to your new schedule now. None of us really expect to see you in the morning. (she makes a face at him) Especially not looking like this.

GRAHAM: (grimace) Oh, thank you. (yawning) You know, we could probably afford to get Angela a car. Everything's going fine.

PATTY: (patting his chest) Everything is better than *fine*. Too bad the kids aren't smarter, we could actually afford ivy league tuition now. (Graham laughs) I *know* we can afford it. But Angela made the choice not to get a job this summer. (firmly) She has to learn her actions have consequences, Graham.

GRAHAM: Patty, she spent the whole summer with Brian for a reason. You know that .

PATTY: I know. (pause) I guess she wasn't just frittering away her time at the pool or the lake. (pause) I mean, I guess that was different.

GRAHAM: Just think about it. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Neil could help us fix it up.

PATTY: (scowling) You actually *want* to go car shopping, don't you? Cool Dad, buying a cool car. You're as bad as she is. (pause) But I'll think about it. (she kisses him) Now let go, I've got to go to work. You should go back to bed for a couple hours.

She extricates herself from his grip and grabs her briefcase on the way out. Graham just yawns again and begins to shuffle back out toward the stairs.
 

INT.BUS--Morning

Danielle slowly gets on the bus to the Middle School. Everyone seems to be uniformly larger than she is. Some boys roughhouse and throw things back and forth as she passes. She finds a seat and is about to take it when an older boy shoves her out of the way and takes it. A perturbed look flashes across Danielle's face but it passes quickly and does not seem to diminish her excitement. She merely moves further along the aisle and takes the next available seat.
 

EXT.SCHOOL FRONT ENTRANCE--Morning

Zack sits cross-legged on the ledge, smoking. His hair is even longer and more asymmetrical than before. It gets in his eyes and seems to come dangerously close to being lit on fire by his Camel. Rickie comes up to him, unnoticed. He gets a sour look on his face.

RICKIE: (irritated) So, you're still smoking.

ZACK: (surprised, brings hand up to heart) Jeez, Rickie! Scare me to death! You've got the whole stealth-ninja thing down, don't you?

RICKIE: (unrelenting) You know I hate smoking.

ZACK: (sighing) I know. (he doesn't make a move to put it out) You told me. It reminds you of your Uncle.

RICKIE: (embarrassed) Not only that. I hate kissing someone with smoke on their breath.

ZACK: (bitchy) Well, I guess it's lucky that we don't actually do much of that then, isn't it?

RICKIE: (concerned now) Why do you say that?

ZACK: (shrugging, tosses the butt to the ground) Nothing. No reason. Just ignore me. I'm not a morning person. (smiling) That's all. (looking Rickie over) You're so put together in the morning, it makes me sick. (pause) You know, if I quit, I'm going to gain weight.

RICKIE: Good. You're too skinny, anyway. Your ribs poke me when we hug. (pokes Zack in the chest, smiling) It's like hugging a shoe tree. (giggles) Seriously.

ZACK: How would you know? Is that your big fetish? (thinking) So you're like this slut that goes around with closet organizing tools behind my back? And this is how I find out? (fakes being hurt) I thought I noticed a stain on my Italian loafers. (pause) I blamed the dog.

RICKIE: (smiling wearily) You can stop now. There's no audience but me.

ZACK: (breaks off his front) I was just trying it out anyway. How was it?

RICKIE: (chin in hand) Hmm. I'd give you an "8" for originality and delivery, but I take away a point for confusion since you don't have a dog.

ZACK: I don’t have Italian loafers either. (shrugging) Not my best work, then.

RICKIE: That's okay, you still do a good impression of funny. Come on, let's go in.

Zack purses his lips in a mocking “kissy-face” and follows Rickie inside.
 

EXT.SCHOOL STEPS--Morning

Corey Helfrick walks slowly up the steps towards school. Rayanne bounds in from the side and flings herself at him. He drops his bag, flails wildly, and manages to brace himself against the railing as he slides to the ground on his butt.

RAYANNE: (looking into his shell-shocked face) Hi. Miss me?

COREY: (nodding slowly) Yes. (beat, looks around) Are you protecting me from snipers?

RAYANNE: Who'd wanna shoot you?

COREY: I was sort of wondering that myself.

RAYANNE: (laughing) I just missed you.

COREY: And aren't afraid of crippling me trying to show that, huh? (little smile) I missed you too. (he plants a little kiss on her nose) Can I get up now?

RAYANNE: (sexy smile, speaks lowly) Not. Just. Yet. (she moves her face towards his)

Shapely legs appear in the frame just behind them.

SHARON: (OS) Corey! There you are! We were, like, looking for you.

RAYANNE: (under her breath) Nice timing, Cherski.

Rayanne and Corey straighten themselves and stand up to find Sharon and Delia waiting there. Sharon looks impatient, but Delia looks suitably embarrassed and gives Rayanne a little "sorry" shrug, which Rayanne merely scowls at.

SHARON: I'm glad we found you before school started. We sort of had a proposition for you.

RAYANNE: "We"? (beat) Kinky.

SHARON: (shoots Rayanne a "be serious" look) Anyway, we were wondering if you wanted to be on the paper. The first meeting is today after school. And after the three of us worked so closely on the Yearbook, (smiles) I just thought, why break up the team (gestures at Corey and Delia at this point) , y'know? We work great together. (pause) And your pictures are amazing.

DELIA: (taking her cue) That's true. We could really use you.

SHARON: (VO) "[I]t is necessary for a prince to possess the friendship of the people; otherwise he has no resource in times of adversity."

Visual--Sharon smiles broadly at Corey and keeps her body language open. Rayanne looks bored with the whole conversation, but seems unwilling to leave.

COREY: (confused) Doesn't the newspaper already have a photographer?

SHARON: There are bunches. But only one can be in charge. The Editor-in-Chief makes those assignments. We won't know until the meeting tonight who that will be. (coy) But if it's me, I want *you* as my Photographs Editor.

COREY: (thinking) Well, we did work pretty well together. (pause) But I don't know . . .

SHARON: (her smile fades) Why not?

COREY: (pause, sheepish look) I guess I'm not all that interested. In the paper.

RAYANNE: (snorting) That's politeness talking. (getting in Sharon's face) I'll tell you the real reason. (superior face) The paper is lame. *No* one reads it.

SHARON: (she slowly smiles at them) You're completely right. That's why I think Mr. Russo is going to be open to my ideas for making it more accessible. (she looks around, then points at Corey) Listen, I have this whole plan to revamp the paper. Just give me 15 minutes at lunch. And if you like what you hear, great. You throw in with me and Delia and the rest of the crew, and you get me elected as Editor-in-Chief. (pause) Together we can make the paper worth reading again. I *know* it. (shakes her head) But I need your help.

COREY: (nodding) Okay. I'll see you at lunch then?

SHARON: Count on it. (she nudges Delia and they exit)

RAYANNE: What was all that about? You're not really thinking of it, are you?

COREY: Sure. (shrug) It can't hurt to see what she has to say, right? And I liked working with them on the yearbook.

RAYANNE: I thought you were gonna help out with the play again?

COREY: I probably will, but that's not that big a commitment. Besides, you'll be at play practice when I'm working on the paper anyway.

RAYANNE: I thought maybe you'd try *out* for the musical. They always need guys.

COREY: (smiling) But I can't act. (beat) Or sing. (beat) Or dance. (pause, looking at her expression) And I don't crave the same kind of attention you do, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: (makes a “feh” noise, annoyed) No, you just paint your shoes.

COREY: You know what I mean. I wouldn't want to be up there in front of everyone like that. I'm amazed that you can do it. That's cool. (pause) But that's not me.

RAYANNE: Okay, okay. Just don't be taken in by Cherski's snow job. (dramatic) I beg of you. I thought I'd need a shovel.

COREY: For snow? (smiling) I actually thought of a different four letter word for what I'd have to shovel up. (chuckles) Still starts with "s" though.

RAYANNE: (impressed) So you aren't going to listen to her spiel?

COREY: No. I am. I just know to separate the facts from fiction where Sharon is concerned. (she gives him a questioning look) Just because she lays it on thick doesn't mean she doesn't have good ideas. The yearbook was the best one yet. You'll see when we get them.

RAYANNE: You don't even *have* any of the other ones.

COREY: I know. But Sharon is actually pretty inventive. Give her a little credit.

RAYANNE: If you say so. Just don't expect me to read the damn thing, okay? Corey laughs and nods.

The bell rings. They both jump.

COREY: Homeroom! She plants a quick kiss on his cheek and they rush up the stairs together.
 

EXT.MIDDLE SCHOOL GROUNDS--Morning

Danielle gets off the bus and looks around. She gives a small nod to herself. She sees different groups of kids gathered in clumps on the grounds. She barely scans them, and keeps walking up to the school. As she passes a smallish clump of kids, one of them tries to catch her eye. A boy with black hair, who we saw briefly once before. He runs up to her.

RYAN: Hey! Danielle! (she stops) Hi. My Mom drove me today. Normally I'll take the same bus as you, though. Cool, huh?

DANIELLE: (shrugging) Sure, I guess.

RYAN: Everyone from Mrs. Cavendish's class is over here. (pulling her arm) C'mon.

DANIELLE: (pulling free) Why?

RYAN: So you can see everyone. We thought we'd all go in together.

DANIELLE: Why? We're not *in* Mrs. Cavendish's anymore. Most of us probably won't even have class together.

RYAN: (confused) What's wrong with you? You're acting weird.

DANIELLE: Nothing. I just don't need to hide in a pack of the same people I've been in class with since Kindergarten. (sagely) This is Middle School. (superior) This is a whole new beginning.

RYAN: Oh. (eyeing the streak in her hair) I like your hair.

DANIELLE: (impatiently) Thanks. (she begins to wander away from him)

RYAN: (seems confused or disappointed) I'll see you later, right?

DANIELLE: (brightly) Sure. Later. (she attempts a Sharon head-bob and walks away, as she does so she rolls her eyes and under her breath mutters) Much.
 

INT.HALLWAY--Morning

Zack stands at Rickie’s locker, chatting. They stand quite close to one another. When Rickie turns around to shut his locker, we see the tag on his vest is sticking up. Zack, seemingly without thinking, reaches up and pushes it back in. Rickie stiffens when he is touched.

RICKIE: (insistent whisper) Zack!

ZACK: (taken aback) What?

RICKIE: What are you doing?

ZACK: (puzzled look, pointing) Your tag was sticking out.

RICKIE: Fine. Then tell me that. (looks around at all the other kids) It’s not summer anymore. We aren’t alone anymore. You can’t be *doing* things like that. (more mildly) Not here.

ZACK: (hurt) Sorry.

RICKIE: (sighing) It’s okay. I’ll see you later. (pause) Have a good day.

ZACK: (softly) Sure. You too.

Zack turns and begins to walk away, but clips an open locker with his backpack, causing it to close on someone’s hand, causing a brief yelp of surprise more than pain.

JOCK: Watch it! (glaring at Zack) Fudge-packing faggot!

Zack’s embarrassed and apologetic look fades and he just sort of stares at the jock for a moment.

JOCK: What the hell are you looking at?

ZACK: Nothing. (snidely) At least nothing *important*. (he turns to walk away)

JOCK: (reaches out and grabs his arm) What’d you say? (he wheels Zack along in an arc and slams his back against the metal lockers) You got something smart to say?

ZACK: (wincing and bringing a hand up to the back of his head) No. (glaring with a look of impotent hate) Anything *smart* I said would be lost on an idiot like you. Now let go.

JOCK: (grabs hold of Zack’s long hair and smashes his head into the locker again) Make me.

They stand like that for several moments. Zack’s face straining because of the pull on his hair. Most people still in the halls walk by as if nothing is happening. Jordan Catalano rounds the corner and walks toward the twosome. As he approaches, he sees that it is Zack and walks up behind the jock.

JORDAN: (leans on the locker near them, gives the jock a somewhat menacing look and then turns to Zack) Hey. Zack, right? We gotta get going. We’re gonna be late for homeroom. (he turns back to glower at the jock, matter-of-factly) You don’t wanna be late, either, do ya?

The jock stares Jordan down for a moment, but then loosens his grip on Zack’s hair.

JORDAN: (evenly) You’d better get going.

The jock lets go of Zack and exits as the bell begins to ring. Zack sighs deeply, and is red-faced and embarrassed. Jordan hears the bell and moves quickly into a nearby room. Zack slowly follows. When Zack gets into the room, most of the seats are taken. Jordan has slipped into one in the back row near the door. The teacher can be heard in the background greeting the class.

ZACK: (walks over to Jordan) Thanks for what you did out there.

JORDAN: (yawning, he looks tired) What?

ZACK: You know. Scaring that guy off.

JORDAN: That guy’s just a sophomore. Sophomores picking on seniors is just . . . *wrong*. (pause) You shouldn’t let him treat you that way.

ZACK: (looks at Jordan’s broad shoulders and chest and then at his spindly arms) I guess.

TEACHER: (OS) You there, take a seat please.

ZACK: (as he walks down the aisle, shaking his head) *Let* him?

Zack finds the only seat left, in the very front row, one seat away from the corner. The girl in the corner seat, who everyone seems to be avoiding, has bright orange hair, obviously dyed. Zack glances at her as the teacher begins to take roll, which continues in the background.

TEACHER: (OS) Adams? Zack fiddles with his backpack while the teacher calls roll and kids respond.

TEACHER: (OS) Barsh?

JODY: (OS) (listlessly) Here.

Zack looks up when he hears the name, with a puzzled look on his face. And looks to his right to observe Jody Barsh, with bright orange hair, lowering her hand. Zack takes a moment to look at her. She is wearing really faded jeans with huge rips in them all over, which would be obscene if it were not for the black unitard that she wears underneath. Her hair is short and straight, in a modified bob, with the back shaved, making it look fuzzy, like a squirrel-butt. The longer top sections partially cover this. From Zack’s angle he can also see her heavy eye make-up and deep purple lipstick. She seems to have a small rubber bat hanging from the lowest piercing in her multi-pierced left ear. She feels Zack’s gaze and slowly turns to look at him. Her hand comes up to the collar of her jacket to check and see that it is turned down. When she does so, Zack sees a ring on her left hand that looks exactly like an eyeball, complete with eyelashes. She does not smile at him.

JODY: What?

ZACK: (taken aback) Umm, cool bat. She looks him over, trying to decide whether or not he is making fun. Whatever she decides, she grants Zack a small smirk and turns her attention back to the teacher.

TEACHER: (OS) Catalano?

JORDAN: (his head is in his arms on the desk, he perks up) What?
 

INT.MIDDLE SCHOOL HALLWAY--Morning

Danielle is holding some books and trying to read something off of her printed schedule. She turns the corner and tries to go up the stairs, only the be turned back by the deluge of people coming down them. Many of them glare at her. A teacher, coming down the stairs, grabs her shoulder and physically turns her around and marches her back down the few stairs she has climbed. The teacher is shaking her head, but is smiling.

TEACHER: This is the "Down" staircase only. "Up" is at the other end of the hall.

DANIELLE: (embarrassed) Sorry. I forgot. (she just stands there) TEACHER: You better get going, you'll be late. Just as she finishes the line, the bell rings. Danielle turns with her books and bag and runs down the hallway, eerily reminiscent of Angela in the Pilot.
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Morning

Rayanne, Rickie, Delia, Sharon, and Angela all sit near one another prior to their speech class. They all stop talking and turn and look as a twenty-something blonde woman enters the room. She has a large bookbag, funky boots, and a smile a mile wide plastered on her face. She goes and sets her bag down next to her desk and turns around. Her outfit is perfectly coordinated and she wears a puffy sewn vest with cats on it. She also has a cat pin displayed proudly over her heart. She smiles winningly, seemingly without any effort at all. Delia and Sharon do not react in any way except for returning the teachers broad smile in kind. Angela is focusing curiously on the out of place looking boots, which are vaguely cowboyish. Perhaps for some sort of cat rodeo. Rayanne’s mouth drops open and she slowly turns her head to look at Rickie who looks appalled at the teachers garish affront to vest-dom.

RICKIE: (softly) Oh. My. God.

RAYANNE: (a very loud whisper) Rickie, our new teacher is a total Bev.

RICKIE: (staring at her as if she is an exotic animal) She’s like the youngest Bev I’ve ever seen.

ANGELA: (confused look) Excuse me, *what* is a Bev?

RAYANNE: (gesturing, shushing her) Shh. The Bev’s about to speak.

KLINE: (small wave) Hi there, everyone. I’m the new speech teacher, Ms. Kline. And I plan to get to know your names as soon as I can. But since this *is* speech class, and we want to encourage a lot of class participation I think we should go around the room and introduce ourselves. (the class groans) Now, now. I’ll start. (mimes thinking before launching into an obviously rehearsed speech) Now I want to admit up front that this is my *first* real teaching job and I’m very excited. And I’m sure that means that I’ll learn just as much from you as you will from me.

RAYANNE: (under her breath) And maybe more.

KLINE: And I don’t want to run this class like a dictatorship. So if there’s something on your mind, or you have some sort of constructive criticism about the way class is run, I want you to feel free . . .

Rayanne shoots her hand up quickly.

KLINE: (smiling) Enthusiasm. (pause) I *like* that. And your name is?

RAYANNE: Rayanne Graff. (pause) About this whole introducing ourselves thing, I mean, I really think we all know each other pretty well at this point.

KLINE: (nodding) That’s true. I’m the new one here. (snaps) I’ve got a *great* idea, why don’t you introduce each other? (moving to a boy in the front of the room) Rayanne, what can you tell me about your fellow student?

RAYANNE: (shaking her head) I don’t know *him*. (sighs) What I meant was, I think we all know each other as much as we, like *want* to. At this point.

KLINE: (thin smile) Oh. (saccharine sweet) Well why don’t we try it my way then, okay? And why don’t we start with you. (points to Sharon) Just tell us your name and activities and such.

Sharon smiles as Rayanne buries her head in her hands.

RAYANNE: We’ll be here all week.
 

INT.MIDDLE SCHOOL HALLWAY--Morning

Danielle looks a little haggard as she approaches her locker. She seems to be surprised to see someone at her locker working the combination. The girl busy at Danielle's locker is large, an eighth grader, and she looks unfriendly, to put it mildly. Another girl stands next to her.

DANIELLE: (sounding like Patty) Excuse me. That's *my* locker.

GIRL1: (chewing her gum in an obscene manner) Not anymore. (she opens the locker, having finished the combination) That's Ariel's locker (pointing to her friend) and she's my best friend, so *this* locker is mine. (she reaches in and grabs Danielle's stuff and shoves it into her arms)

DANIELLE: How did you even know the combination?

GIRL1: Like that matters? (she laughs)

DANIELLE: What am I supposed to do for a locker?

GIRL1: You can have my old one. Number 113.

DANIELLE: (incredulous) On the first floor? All my classes are on the third floor.

GIRL1: That's a tragic story. But not my problem. (she stuffs her stuff into the locker) Don't let me catch you around here again. (she slams the locker and starts to go)

DANIELLE: Wait! You can't do this! I’ll . . . (thinking) I'll go to the office.

GIRL1: (turns around, her eyes narrow threateningly) I wouldn't do that if I were you.

DANIELLE: (still defiant) Why not?

GIRL1: Cause we're always looking for a few sixth graders to pick on. It's the ones that make waves in the first week that get noticed. You act like you *want* to get noticed. (getting close to Danielle) Prancing around. Don't make *me* notice you again. (she turns to go)

DANIELLE: (her defiance has all but disappeared now, she actually looks nervous, glancing around as if for help) Wait! (the two girls wheel around to look at her, steely eyed, very territorial) It's just, (she looks down) I mean, I'll go . . .but, what's the combination to 113?

GIRL1: (knowing she has won, fakely sweet) Oh, is that all?

She pulls a small piece of paper out of her pocket and holds it out to Danielle, but before Danielle can grab it, she pulls it away, pulls her gum out of her mouth and folds the paper around it. Then she throws it on the ground near Danielle. Danielle, still carrying the contents of her locker, bends over to pick it up, but manages only to drop some of the things she is holding. The two girls laugh and walk away. Danielle lets the rest of her things drop as she sinks to her knees to pick up the piece of paper. As she opens the paper, with the gum stretching between the folds like taffy, the bell rings. Danielle sighs deeply and looks close to tears.
 

INT.HALLWAY--Morning

Brian Krakow comes out of Principal Foster’s office and moves slowly down the hall. Jordan Catalano shambles out of the cross hall and they both stop and look at each other.

JORDAN: Hey.

BRIAN: (looks flabbergasted) Hi . . . hey. (pause, he stares at Jordan intently, confused)

JORDAN: (crinkles his brow in thought) What?

BRIAN: You’re talking to me. And I guess I thought . . . that you wouldn’t want to. Talk to me.

JORDAN: (thoroughly confused) Why?

BRIAN: (long pause) I don’t know.

JORDAN: What are you doing here? I thought you didn’t have to come to school.

BRIAN: (pointing over his shoulder) I had a meeting with Foster. (looks down) It’s over now.

JORDAN: Oh. (pause, scowling) I hate that guy.

BRIAN: (nodding) Me too. (pause) So why aren’t you in class?

JORDAN: Oh. Free period.

BRIAN: (frowning) I don’t think free period means you’re like, actually free to roam the halls.

JORDAN: (smirks) They have to catch me first. (pause) So. How’s Angela?

BRIAN: (his eyes tighten) Why? Did she say something to you?

JORDAN: No. I haven’t seen her.

BRIAN: (blase) Oh, I mean, she’s fine I guess.

JORDAN: ‘Cause Tino is having this party Friday, kind of a last blowout. (looks away) You two could, y’know, come if you wanted to.

BRIAN: I really don’t get to leave the hospital. (Jordan gets a confused look again) At least not to do anything fun. (pause, bites his lip) You should ask Angela though.

JORDAN: Maybe. They just stare at each other uncomfortably.

BRIAN: (can’t stand the silence, grasping) So, how’s the band? Residue.

JORDAN: (frowns a bit, shrugs) Pretty good. (pause) So how are you, you know, sick-wise?

BRIAN: (grimaces, shrugs) Pretty good.

They continue to stare. Brian clasps his hands in front of him. Jordan’s hand heads for his back pocket, and he shuffles his feet.

JORDAN: I’d better go, y’know, before they figure out just how free this period has been.

BRIAN: I have to get back to the hospital for treatment anyway. So.

Jordan nods once and they pass each other. The camera pulls back as they walk in opposite directions. After going a few feet Jordan stops.

JORDAN: Hey. (Brian stops) Good luck, Brain.

BRIAN: (his voice is low) Thanks. (pause) You too.

They turn from one another and continue to walk in opposite directions. They don’t look back.
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Noontime

Ms. Kline’s first class with Angela and crew is just coming to an end. Rayanne has adopted a permanent scowl. The bell rings.

KLINE: Okay! Well this was a *great* start. See you all tomorrow. (little wave) Happy day!

RAYANNE: “Happy day?” She can’t be serious. What’s wrong with “get out?”

RICKIE: Leave her alone Rayanne. (staying upbeat) She’s nice.

ANGELA: And she didn’t assign homework on the first day. You should see all the college algebra I have to do.

SHARON: (gathering her things) Are you coming, Delia? We have to meet Corey.

DELIA: I’ll be right there, okay? (pokes Rickie) C’mon!

Delia edges up to Ms. Kline, dragging Rickie along, with a big smile on her face. Rayanne saunters up behind them.

DELIA: (little giggle) I just wanted to say that I totally love your vest. It’s so cute.

KLINE: Really? Thank you. Delia, isn’t it? Well, I made it myself.

RAYANNE: (with only a whiff of sarcasm, nodding) You can really tell.

KLINE: Thank you. I got the pattern at The Calico Press.

RICKIE: So, you’re the new drama person, right?

KLINE: That’s right! Rickie, isn’t it? Are you three interested in Drama?

DELIA: (giggles) *Totally*. Rickie is the one who stepped in to direct last year.

KLINE: (very interested) Really? I’m going to want to talk to you then. You know, pick your brain about every little thing.

RICKIE: (pleased) Sure. Anytime.

RAYANNE: (proud) So you heard about “Our Town”, then?

KLINE: Of course. (pause) What was your name again?

RAYANNE: Rayanne.

KLINE: Well, Rayanne, I heard it was wonderful. But I really think that Wilder is a bit, (gesturing) you know, *heavy* for High School. And attendance wasn’t the highest either. I’m planning on going a different direction. A fun one. Fun shows really draw crowds.

RAYANNE: What do we need crowds for?

KLINE: (condescending) Well, if the drama department wants to be taken seriously, it really needs to be making money, not losing it. We could learn a little something from the athletics department.

RAYANNE: Like what? (acidly) Wear a cup?

KLINE: Money making activities are favored come budget time. That’s a reality that this Mr. Kermitski didn’t seem to acknowledge.

RICKIE: (his smile fades) *Katimski*.

KLINE: (smiling) That’s what I said.

DELIA: (trying to salvage her schmoozing) So can you tell us what the musical is going to be?

KLINE: (overdone sad face) Not yet. It still has to be approved by Principal Foster. But I have to have the check off to Samuel French by Friday, so I should be able to announce it then. (looks at her watch) Ohmigosh! I’ve got to get going. I have study hall duty. And I have no idea where Concourse B even is.

DELIA: I’ll show you.

KLINE: Thank you, Delia. See you all tomorrow. (she and Delia exit)

RAYANNE: (watching them go) Rickie, will you hold my hair?

RICKIE: Why?

RAYANNE: I’m going to retch.
 

INT.CAFETERIA--Noontime

Angela sits with Rayanne and Rickie.

ANGELA: So what is this “Bev” business?

RICKIE: (laughing) It’s just this term that Rayanne and I have.

RAYANNE: We were at the little ice cream shop in “historic” downtown.

ANGELA: I love that place. Brian and I used to ride our bikes there all the time.

RAYANNE: (rolls eyes) Yeah, he took me there too. (Angela gives her a quizzical look) Anyway, this summer me and Rickie would meet there after he got off work.

RICKIE: And even though it was the middle of the day, it was always filled with all these very proper women, ordering finger sandwiches and carrot soup.

RAYANNE: And they all basically have *nothing* better to do all day than to shop at all the chichi stores with stupid names. Like Sticks and Wicks.

RICKIE: And The Little Traveler.

RAYANNE: And whatever else. And they sit around comparing jewelry and face lifts.

RICKIE: Anyway there were two of them behind us talking in these really loud . . .

RAYANNE: (imitating them) And *very* refined voices.

RICKIE: And their names were apparently Bev and Trish.

RAYANNE: (fully adopting another persona) “Trish my dear, didn’t I tell you this was the most precious place of all time?”

RICKIE: (as Trish) “You did, and of course you were right, it’s *darling*.”

RAYANNE: (as Bev, pointing) “We should buy a cute little place like this and fix it up.”

RICKIE: (as Trish, shocked) “And work in it?”

RAYANNE: (as Bev) “Of *course* not. Are you mental?”

Rickie and Rayanne then break off into tittering laughter, soon replaced by their own brand of guffaws, as they lean on each other in remembrance. Angela looks amused.

RICKIE: So, whenever we see a woman like that we just call her “Bev”. It’s like shorthand.

RAYANNE: Only insulting. (claps) Yay!

ANGELA: (looks worried) So, is my Mom a Bev?

RAYANNE: (clucking) She does seem very knick-knacky.

RICKIE: And she does sew.

RAYANNE: Does she have any cat vests? Cat vests are very Bev.

RICKIE: Any woman who still uses full service gas pumps and calls the employee “boy”. . .

RAYANNE: *That’s* a Bev.

RICKIE: Does she shop at stores where she can still say, “Put that on my account?”

ANGELA: No. Besides, she has a job.

RAYANNE: True. Bev’s like leisure time so they can hang by the pool. (she slaps her forehead) My god, Rickie, I think *Zack* is a Bev! The very name “Sticks and Wicks” reminds me of him.

RICKIE: (laughing) I won’t touch that one. But I think he has shopped at the Little Traveler.

Sharon comes over with her tray.

RAYANNE: (looking up) What’d you do with Corey?

SHARON: Nothing. He was just so enthused about my plan, he went to sign up for the paper. (Rayanne makes a face) Were you guys talking about shopping?

ANGELA: (smiling) They were telling me about the Little Traveler.

SHARON: (eyes bright) I *love* that store. They have this teapot that is shaped like a cow. (pause) I think I’m getting my Mom one for Christmas. (pause) They’re really expensive though.

ANGELA &

RAYANNE &

RICKIE (they look at each other and shout together) Bev!

Sharon just looks confused as they burst into laughter.
 

INT.MIDDLE SCHOOL CAFETERIA--Lunchtime

Danielle waits in line to pay for her milk. She holds her lunch bag tightly. She no longer looks excited. Her face is puffy. She pays and then wades into the chaos to look for a place to sit. Many of the tables seem full of larger kids. As she walks down the middle aisle, she passes a table where the mean girl who took her locker is sitting. Danielle studiously avoids eye contact, but the girl glares at her nonetheless. The next table has a smallish group at it, and Ryan is in this group. He is quite noticeable and there is an empty seat next to him where his books are stacked, indicating "savesies" for someone. Danielle looks that way, but steels herself and moves further into the lunchroom. She sees an empty seat amongst some girls her age and heads over.

DANIELLE: (smiling a Patty/Sharon "charm" smile) Hi. Is anyone sitting here?

GIRL2: (glancing over, annoyed with the interruption, she looks Danielle up and down) Well, (glancing at her friends for a sign) we were kind of saving it for someone else.

GIRL3: (OS) (a nebulous girl in the group) Yeah, like *anyone* else.

DANIELLE: (her face crumbles fast as she pretends not to have heard) Oh. Okay. No problem.

She retreats a few steps away from that particular table. Her eyes are glassy, and her bravado of earlier is no where to be found. She slouches in a pouty and very childlike manner. Then she flips her hair a bit and walks back the way she came toward the table with her former elementary school classmates. She walks up next to Ryan and the book-laden chair.

DANIELLE: (sad smile) Hi. Could I sit with you?

RYAN: Hey! We were looking for you. (he removes his books from the chair and unceremoniously dumps them on the floor, he seems excited) You were right, this isn't as bad as I thought. Everyone seems pretty cool.

DANIELLE: (her voice is thick) Yeah. (she sits) So, are you taking the bus home?

RYAN: (munching on something) Yeah.

DANIELLE: (she just looks down at her food, defeated) So do you think we could sit together?

RYAN: (pleased, with a toothy smile) Sure.

DANIELLE: (nodding, but still looking down, she seems relieved) Good.
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Afternoon

Mr. Demitri paces the front of the classroom, blathering. Shots of the students reveal boredom. Off to one side, sitting near each other, are Angela, Sharon, and Corey.

DEMITRI: And so as our introduction to concepts of “Government,” we’re going to spend this first week comparing and contrasting Plato’s “Republic” and Machiavelli’s “The Prince”.

The class groans.

DEMITRI: (looks irritated) They are short books, people. Essays, really. (he holds a couple of books) See how thin they are? I’m sorry, but they just don’t come in pop-up format. So on your way out today pick up both of these and read the first 40 pages of the “Republic” for tomorrow.(more groans) I know this is your last class of the day, people, but we can’t get behind the other sections of the government class, okay? (the bell rings) Pick them up! Read! Dismissed!

SHARON: (to Corey and Angela as they pick up books) So are you two ready? I’m going straight to the meeting, I don’t want anyone to beat me there.

COREY: I just have to go to my locker.

ANGELA: Me too. (smiling) But I’ll be right there.

SHARON: Okay. (she smiles and gives a little shiver) This is *so* exciting. (she exits)

COREY: I’ll see you there in a few minutes.

Angela nods and gives a little wave as she moves towards her locker. As she approaches it, she sees Jordan Catalano standing there, waiting. She draws in a breath and holds it as she moves forward at a somewhat quicker pace.

ANGELA: (smiling up at him) Hi.

JORDAN: Hey. (a bit flustered) I saw you at this locker earlier. So I figured it was, like, *yours*.

ANGELA: It is. (pause, hair flip) So, how are you? I haven’t seen you for awhile.

JORDAN: Y’know. (pause) I’m good.

ANGELA: (as she opens her locker) I thought, you know, I might hear from you. (VO) Which since you never actually called when we were together was pretty stupid of me, but. . . .(aloud) About when Residue is going to play. I thought you wanted to pack the house?

JORDAN: We do. Our first gig got pushed back cause Stan was at the hospital.

ANGELA: (surprised) Oh. Is he okay?

JORDAN: (smiles, sheepish) Yeah. He’s working construction now and they dropped a board on his foot. Broke two toes. (shrugs) I’m not supposed to tell people that.

ANGELA: (laughs) Well, I won’t spread it around.

JORDAN: But we do have a gig next month sometime. (pause) If you want to come.

ANGELA: Definitely. Sign me up. I’ll be there, as long as I’m old enough to get in.

JORDAN: You are. It’s at Vertigo again. But real this time.

ANGELA: Wow. That’s great.

JORDAN: So. (drawing the word out) I wanted to tell you. Tino’s having this party Friday. Sort of a back to school thing, which is weird since Tino’s not *in* school. But I guess a lot of his . . .

ANGELA: (together) Friends?

JORDAN: (together) . . . customers are.

JORDAN: (barreling on) Anyway, I know Graff will be invited, so I was wondering if you wanted to come.

ANGELA: (VO) (her face is wide and receptive) Yes.

JORDAN: And I know that Brain can’t come cause he’s sick, but he said I should ask you anyway.

ANGELA: (her face falls and she looks guilty) Wait. You saw Brian?

JORDAN: Yeah. Talking to Foster. He . . . ahh, he doesn’t look so good. Is he doing okay?

ANGELA: (nodding) As well as can be expected, I guess.

JORDAN: So what’s happening with him?

ANGELA: He’s going to have a bone marrow transplant. (she looks at him expectantly)

JORDAN: That’s rough.

ANGELA: (VO) Quit talking about it. Instantly. I think about it enough. And Brian is not the *only* thing in my life of interest. I have *tons* of other things going on in my life.

JORDAN: So, what have you been doing lately?

ANGELA: (VO) I just can’t seem to remember any of them at the moment. (looks down in defeat, aloud) Mostly visiting Brian.

JORDAN: Oh.
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Afternoon

Sharon, Delia, & Corey mill about a classroom filled with many other Juniors and Seniors. A rather bouncy girl comes up to Sharon.

LAURA: Hey Sharon, I know we’re competing, but I just wanted to wish you luck.

SHARON: Thanks. You too. (pause) It’s sort of a shame that we’re both running though. We’re bound to split the Junior vote. (sigh) That means a Senior will win again.

LAURA: So have you signed anyone’s petition for student council yet? You were such a great help last year. You’re one of the main reasons I won.

SHARON: (fake smile) Really? Well you’re a great president. (VO) “[W]hoever is the cause of another becoming powerful, is ruined himself.” (aloud) I don’t know if I’ll be able to help this year. I was thinking of getting a petition myself. (pause) If I don’t get the Editor-in-Chief position that is.

LAURA: Really? That’s great. What position? Secretary?

SHARON: (innocent look) Actually I was thinking about President. (VO) “[O]ne ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two has to be wanting.” (visual--Sharon watches Laura’s reaction to this piece of news) (aloud) I never would have thought of it, but I was talking to Ali and she thought that if she and I were to run together as President and V-P, we’d probably be able to get enough votes. I kind of doubt it myself. (VO) “[M]en love at their own free will, but fear at the will of the prince, and a wise prince must rely on what is in his power and not what is in the power of others.” (aloud) What do *you* think? Is it hopeless?

LAURA: (her face is tight) Ali’s well liked too. You probably *could* win.

SHARON: (her smile is still warm and friendly) It’s just something we’re talking about. (VO) “Still, a prince should make himself feared in such a way that if he does not gain love, he at any rate avoids hatred; for fear and the absence of hatred may well go together.” (aloud) So, I can’t *promise* anything at this point. But if I get this editor job my plate will be *totally* full. Then I’d *love* to work on your campaign again. It was such a blast last year. So, I’ll let you know. Okay?

LAURA: (thinking intensely) Sure. Good luck again.

SHARON: You too.
 

INT.CHASE LIVING ROOM--Afternoon

Danielle opens the front door with her key and enters. She looks exhausted and unhappy. She throws her book bag onto the floor and flops down onto the couch, flipping on the TV. A shot of the TV reveals some afternoon cartoon line-up. She watches the TV absently, her mind clearly working over some turmoil. The rather loud cheesy music of a commercial comes on. The camera catches Danielle peering intently at a commercial for some type of doll. Her head slowly tilts and she reaches for the remote and clicks the TV off. She stands slowly and walks down the hall towards the back door. She stops in front of what is apparently the basement door. She opens it up and peers for a moment down the dark stairway. Then she flips on the light and begins to descend.
 

INT.HALLWAY--Afternoon

Angela and Jordan are still talking. The hallway has cleared of students. They don’t seem to notice.

JORDAN: . . . and he just looked like he was gonna punch him or something.

ANGELA: Seriously? I’m glad you were there, then. I’ll have to tell Rickie.

JORDAN: (puzzled) Why?

ANGELA: (carefully) Oh. Well, you know, they’re friends and all. (flustered) That’s all.

JORDAN: (looks around) So. Do you want a ride or something? I think you missed the bus.

ANGELA: (shaking head) No, I’m getting a ride with Sharon . . . .(she looks at her watch) Ohmigod. (giving Jordan a panicked look) I *have* to go. The meeting.

JORDAN: (looks vaguely disappointed) Oh. What about the party?

ANGELA: (trotting down the hall) Yes! (she stops short) I mean, I’ll talk to Rayanne. And I’ll let you know, okay? I *really* have to go. (she turns, hefts her pack and runs down the hall)
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Afternoon

Angela rushes in, breathless, and grabs a seat behind Delia and Corey. A panning shot of the room reveals a teacher (male) sitting off to one side of a podium, with three chairs on the opposite side. A student (female) stands at the podium speaking. In the other two chairs are Sharon and a male student. Delia turns around when Angela taps her shoulder.

DELIA: *There* you are! Is everything okay?

ANGELA: (sheepish) Yes. What’s going on? I thought there were four candidates?

DELIA: (whispering, gossipy) It was the strangest thing. Laura backed out at the last minute and, like, pledged her support for Sharon. You missed the senior guy’s speech. It wasn’t great. (pointing to the podium) Sharon thinks *she* is our only competition. (giggle) *I* think unless Sharon becomes mute in the next few minutes, she’s a shoo-in.

People start to clap as Candidate2 shuffles a couple of note cards and re-takes her seat. Delia turns around and claps, Angela manages a few half-hearted claps. The Teacher (Mr. Russo) stands, and moves to the podium.

RUSSO: And now we’ll hear from our last candidate, Sharon Cherski.

Sharon rises and crosses to the podium. She smiles brightly. She has no notes. During her speech she is both enthusiastic and engaging, maintaining eye contract throughout.

SHARON: Hi. (head-tilt) Like Mr. Russo said, I’m Sharon Cherski. Everyone else has talked about their qualifications. Well, as a Junior, this is my first chance to be on the paper, so I don’t have the experience the other candidates have. I was the primary editor for the yearbook last year, and some of you know how Ms. Mayhew flaked on us and we kept getting different advisors. Well, despite that fact, I think we did a pretty great job. And I helped with that. No one else has talked about their editorial style, but here’s mine. I’m not a great writer, or photographer. I can’t draw cartoons like Galen or anything that creative. Luckily that’s your department. An Editor-in-Chief keeps things organized so you have time to do the creative things you love. That’s what I do. If you ask people I worked with in yearbook, I think they’ll say that I do it pretty well.

A shot of the audience reveals nods from several people including Delia. Angela’s expression is one of pride, or perhaps even admiration.

SHARON: But that’s not my most important qualification. To prepare for today I went out and asked some of the other students what they thought of the Liberty Ledger. (pause) I heard “boring” a lot. And worthless. Several people did like the movie coupons though, until I told them we weren’t actually responsible for the ad content. (several people laugh) And as much as I want this job, I’d have to agree with a lot of that. That’s *not* the paper I want to be in charge of. A glorified coupon booklet that announces the schedule of extra-curricular activities. My most important qualification is my plan for the paper we *could* put out. (gesturing) For one thing, I want to see stories with a little more substance. And give our reporters a chance to do some actual journalism, which I *know* they’re all capable of. And Galen has all these ideas about providing an entertainment supplement with each issue, with things that we really care about. Like CD and movie reviews and who’s going to be playing at which clubs. The paper I want to be in charge of also comes out a little more frequently than once a month. I want to try bi-weekly and if that works out, move to weekly. I want to be in charge of a paper whose copies disappear as fast as last years Liberty Lit. (more laughs, deep breath, broad smile) If what I just described sounds like the paper *you* want to be a part of, I hope that you’ll vote for me. (pause as she scans the audience one last time) Thank you.

As Sharon moves to sit down, the applause starts and her face gets a little flushed. It sounds a little too enthusiastic to be just polite applause. Sharon sits, and bows her head for a moment as her hand comes up to cover her heart. Her hand shakes a bit as it moves. Finally she smiles. It is clear, because she is not looking at anyone, that she is granting the smile to herself.
 

EXT.SCHOOL GROUNDS--Afternoon

Rickie and Zack walk the grounds near the scrimmaging soccer players.

ZACK: (staring at the running players) Soccer is the *best* sport of all time. Y’know why?

He and Rickie look at each other with raised eyebrows and then speak together.

ZACK & RICKIE: The *shorts*.

ZACK: (laughing) This is a decent way to end a perfectly horrid day.

RICKIE: It can’t have been *that* bad. It was only the first day.

ZACK: I guess not *every* second sucked. Physics was actually kind of interesting. (pause, remembering something) And you’ll never guess who I sit next to in English.

RICKIE: (thinking) Jordan? (Zack shakes his head and looks smug, Rickie gets a disapproving look on his face) Not Suzy Smith?

ZACK: (laughs, and shakes his head) No. Not someone *I* know that well. Someone that Rayanne knows. Or at least used to know. (beat) Jody Barsh.

RICKIE: (his face goes neutral) Really? (looks away) Did you talk to her?

ZACK: A little. She seems okay. (mischievous look) I want to know what happened between her and Rayanne.

RICKIE: (casually) Then I guess you’ll have to ask her. (pause) I wouldn’t advise asking Rayanne.

ZACK: C’mon Rickie, dish the dirt! I know you hung out with them then.

RICKIE: I really didn’t know Rayanne as well then.

ZACK: But you know what happened.

RICKIE: Not exactly. But even if I did, it’s not my story to tell. (pause) And it’s none of your business. Or mine.

ZACK: (pouty) Fine. I guess I’ll just have to ask Jody then.

RICKIE: (exasperated) Why do you even care?

ZACK: Because you won’t tell me. So, it must be something good. (shrugging) And I need some ammo. I’m tired of “stick-boy” never getting in any shots of his own.

RICKIE: (sighs) That’s mature. Are you *sure* you’re older than me?

ZACK: (irritated) Hey! I’m not just gonna sit there and take that off her.

RICKIE: There’s such a thing as picking your battles, you know.

ZACK: (glowering, but not at Rickie, his thoughts seem far away) That’s *exactly* what I’m doing. (looks away) I better get going. Seeya. (he walks off toward the parking lot)

RICKIE: (with a little wave) Bye. (he sighs and keeps on walking)
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Afternoon

Sharon stands near the podium and people crowd around her. Everyone seems excited.

DELIA: (giving her a little hug) Congratulations!

COREY: You did it!

ANGELA: (touches her arm) You were great.

SHARON: Thank you. (looking around) Thank you, everyone.

CANDIDATE1: (holding out her hand) Congratulations. I think this is a first. A Junior in charge.

SHARON: (kindly) Thanks. I loved your ideas about the opinions page. I definitely think we should do that. And I want you to be Opinions Editor, for sure.

CANDIDATE1: (shrugging) Well, the Chief usually edits those pages.

SHARON: I know, but if we’re going to step up production, the logistics are going to be pretty full time job for me all on their own. So, I’m going to have to delegate a lot. I was thinking there should really be an Opinions Editor.

CANDIDATE1: I think that’s a great idea. But you still have to choose a second in command too.

SHARON: That’s right. I hadn’t really thought about that. (VO) “Mercenary Captains are either very capable men or not; if they are, you cannot rely upon them, for they will always aspire to their own greatness. . .; but if the Captain is not an able man, he will generally ruin you.” (Visual--Sharon looks around her from Delia to Corey to Angela to Candidate2, to Laura, who approaches) (aloud) I guess I’ll have to make sure that job is filled before doing any other assigning.

LAURA: (nodding) Nice speech. (laughs) Now I’m glad I got out of the running when I did.

SHARON: I couldn’t believe you did that. (smile) Thanks for your support. (she gives Laura a little squeeze) I guess I’m part of your campaign for sure now. (while still close in embrace) And I can probably guess who the paper will end up endorsing for Student Council.

Laura smiles as Sharon’s attention is captured by a spindly energetic guy with a goatee.

GALEN: So Sharon? This supplement is a go then?

SHARON: It sure looks that way. But that’s your baby. GALEN: What about my photo essay idea?

SHARON: (laughs) I’ve only had the job for a few minutes and you’re already pestering me? (VO) “Benefits should be granted little by little, so that they may be better enjoyed.” (Visual--slow motion of them laughing a bit) (aloud) Honestly, I’ll have to run it by Mr. Russo, but I’ll get back to you on that. We won’t have room in the “Back to School” edition anyway.

GALEN: True. Thanks again, Sharon! Or should I say, “Chief”? (he exits)

ANGELA: (VO) It was weird watching Sharon deal with all those people. I would have felt claustrophobic to have that many people, like, *wanting* something from me. The only thing I could think of was how the Wood & Jones employees act around my Mom. Like she has all the answers. And it seemed like Mom always *does* have the answers. (pause) At least at work. It seems like Sharon does too. It’s weird enough to think of my Mom as this *leader*. It’s even weirder to think that about Sharon. (Visual--Angela watching Sharon deal with her well-wishers, as they slowly begin to break up and head out, Sharon turns, apparently looking for Angela)

SHARON: (coming over to her) *There* you are! (concerned) Are you okay? Is it Brian?

ANGELA: What? (furrowed brow) No.

SHARON: (a look of realization comes over her) Oh. So then *where* were you?

ANGELA: (guilty) I got hung up. I’m sorry. I couldn’t believe that Mr. Russo wouldn’t let me vote since I hadn’t heard all the speeches.

SHARON: Well, that’s only fair. (clucking) I guess it doesn’t matter. (turning away) I mean, it wasn’t like I needed you anyway. (pause, softly) I mean, your vote.

ANGELA: (looks a bit stung, but recovers quickly) Yeah, talk about a landslide.

SHARON: (turning back to her) So, wait. Where did you get “hung up”? What happened?

ANGELA: (looks down) I was talking to Jordan. And I lost track of time.

SHARON: (her face goes stone cold) Oh. (looks at watch) Well, this took way longer than I thought. My Mom is probably waiting for us outside right now. We should go.

ANGELA: Okay. (as they gather their things) So you have to choose an assistant?

SHARON: (absently) Yeah. I have until Friday to choose. I can’t believe I thought everything through, but neglected to think about that. (looks at Angela) I guess I have to think about it.

ANGELA: (attempts a charming smile) I guess so.
 

INT.CHASE UPSTAIRS HALLWAY--Afternoon

Angela comes pounding up the stairs hefting her bag. Danielle’s door is shut, but we can clearly hear the strains of her saxophone as she practices. Angela grimaces and crosses to her door, opening it without knocking once again.

ANGELA: (as she opens the door) Danielle, aren’t you supposed to practice in the garage . . .

Angela trails off as she peers inside. A shot of the room reveals that all the “kiddie” paraphernalia, including the dolls and mountains of Hello Kitty, have been returned to their proper places.

DANIELLE: (shoots Angela a dirty look) Could you *knock*?

ANGELA: (perplexed) You brought it all back up?

DANIELLE: (venomous) Yes. (she sets down her sax and moves toward the door) So?

ANGELA: (working through something in her mind) So, how was school?

DANIELLE: It sucked. But you can save the “I told you so”. (she reaches the door and grabs it) Because I’m in *no* mood for it. (she slams the door shut in Angela’s face) Angela stands on the other side of the door looking shocked and angry at the same time.
 

INT.HOSPITAL--Afternoon

Sharon perches on Brian’s bed, chatting with him. They sit right next to each other, each facing forward. Except where noted they speak without turning to look at one another.

BRIAN: So Angela couldn’t come, huh?

SHARON: (reassuring) She wanted to, but her parents wanted her home with Danielle, since they’re not going to be home until late. (pause) So, how was the meeting with Foster?

BRIAN: (shrugging) It was okay. It was kind of nice to get out of here though. Even for that.

SHARON: So you dropped a lot of classes, huh?

BRIAN: (nodding) Yeah. Luckily all the extra stuff I’ve taken will make up for it. I can just take the minimum requirements and still graduate.

SHARON: That’s good. Which minor did you keep?

BRIAN: Computer. Because I’ve pretty much finished it already. (pause) I saw Jordan when I was there. He was like, *nice* to me. He invited me and Angela to a party.

SHARON: (clucking) I know. Angela told me. She didn’t invite me along, however. Maybe Rayanne will.

BRIAN: (he turns to look at her) So she talked to Jordan?

SHARON: (exasperated) Yes. While she was *supposed* to be at the meeting for the paper. I cannot understand her obsession with him. It’s beyond me. (she looks at Brian’s falling face) I never *understood* it. Past tense. When she still *had* an obsession for him. That’s what I meant.

BRIAN: (turning away again) I know. (pause) I mean, *you* would never date someone like him.

SHARON: (glaring at him) What do you mean by that, Krakow?

BRIAN: (shrugs) Just that you don’t like that type.

SHARON: It’s not that I don’t *like* Jordan. I tutored him all summer for god’s sake.

BRIAN: You’d never date him, though. (looks at her) You *do* know why, don’t you?

SHARON: (sarcastic) No. But if you’re so masterfully insightful, Krakow, why don’t you tell me?

BRIAN: (looks away) Fine. You’d never date someone like Jordan Catalano because he’s someone that you can’t control. (pause) Because you want that, Sharon. To be in control. You always have.

SHARON: (is silent for a moment but then rolls her eyes) If that were true, I’d be fighting Angela for you. You’re the *ultimate* spineless jellyfish. Why aren’t I doing that--if you’re so right?

BRIAN: (looks at her with a smirk) Because you like popular, athletic, spineless jellyfish?

SHARON: (her scowl breaks and she gives a little chuckle) Shut up, Krakow.

BRIAN: (amiably) Okay. New subject. How was the meeting? About the paper?

SHARON: (smiles) Well, you are looking at the *first* Editor-in-Chief in the history of the Liberty Ledger to come from the Junior class. (she looks very proud)

BRIAN: (smiles) You’re kidding. That’s great, Sharon. I can’t believe that you won. (pause) I’m sort of sorry I can’t help. (pause) You’ll bring me copies, right?

SHARON: Of course. That way you can keep up with everything that’s happening. It’ll be almost as good as being there. Of course, if you point out grammatical errors in it, I *will* have you killed.

BRIAN: That’s fair. I just can’t believe you won. That’s amazing.

SHARON: (irritated) Of course I won. It’s not *that* amazing Krakow. (she thinks for a minute) You do know why I won, don’t you?

BRIAN: (imitating her) No. But if you’re so masterfully insightful, why don’t you tell me?

SHARON: I will. I won because I actually thought about it. (pause) The other candidates just knew that they wanted it. They didn't know why. They had no idea why they wanted to be in charge. Maybe out of habit. Or maybe just because they think they deserve it. (she looks at him, significantly) A *lot* of people I know are like that. They just want something. But they never really examine *why* they want it. And a lot of them have no idea what to do with it once they get it.

Brian simply looks down, lost in thought.

SHARON: And that feeling of not knowing what to do with your heart’s desire, once you’ve got it . . . (pause) Well, I imagine that must be almost as bad as never getting it at all.

They both just sit there, facing forward. After a long silence, Brian speaks.

BRIAN: (very softly) Have you talked to Angela? About what we talked about the other day?

SHARON: (shakes her head) No. (pause) Do you still want me to?

BRIAN: I think maybe you should.

SHARON: I think . . . (pause) I think maybe you’re right. Black Screen-- “Four Days Later”
 

INT.CHASE KITCHEN--Morning

Patty sits with Ethan at the breakfast nook, sipping coffee. Ethan is pouring over the massive requirements contract documents. He throws the papers down with a heavy sigh.

ETHAN: Well, Enselmo’s lawyers are certainly thorough. I’ll give them that. That’s enough paper to choke a yak. (Patty raises her eyebrows, he shrugs) That’s a technical legal term.

PATTY: (suppressing a smile) Your arcane jargon dazzles me.

ETHAN: Well, I try. (smiling) So, the upshot here is that you’re going to be rich. Congrats!

PATTY: (holding up her hands) Well, “rich” is a relative term.

ETHAN: True. And you’re my rich relative. Want to pay off my student loan?

PATTY: (laughs) Not exactly. (pauses, thinking) Why? Are you having money problems?

ETHAN: No. Unless spending more than you make is a problem. It never has been for me before.

He laughs but she doesn’t.

ETHAN: Jeez. I’m kidding Patty. (shrugs) I mean, I just went on a shopping spree with Hallie. Would I do that if I didn’t have any money?

PATTY: I suppose not. Angela and Danielle enter, Danielle is subdued, Angela smiling.

ETHAN: Hey girls. So, Danielle, are you ready for our “night out” tonight?

DANIELLE: (shrugging) Sure. I guess.

ETHAN: (with false pride) Well, it’s good to know that my charisma underwhelms women of all ages. It means I’m consistent.

DANIELLE: I just don’t think I need a baby-sitter just because no one else will be home.

ETHAN: I don’t think you do either. But I feel funny going to the arcade by myself, so I *need* you there, for like camouflage.

DANIELLE: (not smiling) Okay. See you tonight.

Danielle grabs her bag and exits through the back door.

ANGELA: (gulping down a glass of juice) Ignore her. She’s just had a bad week.

PATTY: (surprised) Oh? Did she finally tell you what’s wrong?

ANGELA: (gives Patty a “duh” look) No. But she can’t have had a *good* week.

PATTY: I suppose not.

ANGELA: (acidly) So why don’t you do something about it?

PATTY: I don’t need to. All the Hello Kitty will go back downstairs in time. (wiping the counter) You did that yourself a few times, you know, running back to the trappings of childhood. (she throws the rag into the sink) It always ends eventually. (pause) In it’s own time. (she turns, and begins focusing her attention on Angela) So, Angela . . .

ANGELA: (VO) Here it comes, the daily salvo. Little does she know that I have a surprise counter-attack prepared. (aloud, scowling at Patty’s scrutiny) What?

PATTY: What time are you planning on getting home from this party?

ANGELA: (VO) Draw her in, but subtly. (nonchalant) Probably about midnight.

PATTY: (raised eyebrow) *Probably*?

ANGELA: (VO) Got her. Open fire. (aloud, caustic) Well, I *could* be more sure about my arrival and departure times if I didn’t have to depend on others for a ride.

PATTY: (just as snappish) Well perhaps *I* could have found another way to my dinner meeting if you had mentioned the party before last night.

ANGELA: (fake little smile) Well, I’m sure I’ll find a ride.

PATTY: (with a fake smile of her own) And *I’m* sure that you’ll be home on time. So sure, in fact, that I *may* not even call to check.

ANGELA: (her smile fades a notch or two) (VO) Impasse. Strategic retreat. (aloud) Well, I have to get to school. (turning away from Patty) See you later, Ethan.

Angela moves to the back door, and as she exits, gives Patty one last look of death.

PATTY: Angela, don’t slam the door, you’ll (the door slams) . . . .wake your father.

Patty takes a deep breath and gets that “I’m a tree, I can bend” look on her face, but neither she nor Ethan really buy that. She looks over at him and he screws his face up into an animal-like expression, puts his hand up in the shape of a claw, and hisses.

ETHAN: Remind me not to have kids.

PATTY: Okay. (she snatches up the glass Angela just left sitting on the counter) Remind me to sell mine to the gypsies.

Again, he laughs, but she doesn’t.
 

INT.BATHROOM--Morning

Rickie washes his hands while Angela messes with her hair and Rayanne bounces around excitedly.

RAYANNE: It’ll be wicked! Just the three of us, like old times.

ANGELA: What about Corey? And Zack?

RAYANNE: Please. We can go out one night without the insignificant others, right? You’re lucky Krakow’s quarantined or whatever. (pause) You have it easy. And what Corey and Zack don’t know won’t hurt *us*.

RICKIE: (sheepish) Zack already knows. Jordan invited him.

RAYANNE: (makes a face) Ugh. You’re kidding. If Zack knows, then I bet Fisher knows. And anything you tell her you might as well be telling Cherski.

ANGELA: Actually, *I* told Sharon.

RAYANNE: Then Corey knows for sure. (shaking her head) Sorry, Angelika. Looks like you’ll be the only one going solo, then. (she pulls out her perfume, spritzes it into the air, and does a little goose-like head bob into it)

ANGELA: Maybe I just shouldn’t go, then. I don’t have a ride anyway.

RICKIE: (poking her) You can always ride with us.

RAYANNE: You are *not* backing out on this. We haven’t done anything fun for ages. We’re upperclassmen now, so we are expected to party. (innocent face) I think it’s a requirement for graduation. Seriously. (pause) And you can only blow us off a certain amount of times before we start to take it personally.

ANGELA: I just don’t want to spend the whole evening alone.

RAYANNE: That’s *not* going to happen. Besides, you know Corey will only want to dance like the most minimal amount of times possible, and I *won’t* be drinking, so I’ll have tons of time for you. In fact, (smiling) your job can be keeping me entertained.

RICKIE: (smiling) Besides, Jordan invited you, so he’ll probably want to hang out with you a bit.

ANGELA: He also invited Zack, do you think he wants to have a deep intimate talk with Zack too?

RICKIE: (worried look) He’d *better* not. Zack’ll jump him.

RAYANNE: Hmm. Jump Jordan? (devilish smile, musing) Wouldn’t we all?

She slowly looks from Rickie to Angela and back, both of them are blushing.

RAYANNE: Just checking.
 

INT.HALLWAY--Morning

Rickie and Zack stand at his locker after a class.

RICKIE: So, I guess we’re all going together after all.

ZACK: Actually, we’re not. I already made other plans.

RICKIE: You did?

ZACK: You were the one who wanted to go separately, not me.

RICKIE: Actually that was Rayanne’s idea.

ZACK: Whatever. (head shake) Same thing. (pause) Anyway, I’m bringing Jody Barsh.

RICKIE: You’re kidding.

ZACK: (a little too pleased with himself) Nope. But I’m sure I’ll see you there. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee it. (gives a little salute) Later.

Rickie sighs and shakes his head in thought. Rayanne bounds up.

RAYANNE: Hey, Vasquez! I found out what the musical is going to be.

RICKIE: (smiles) I heard too. “Grease” should be pretty fun.

RAYANNE: Pretty fun? (smirking) It should be a blast. Just picture me in the lead. Another little Angela part. That’ll become like, my specialty.

RICKIE: (snorts) I really can’t picture you as Sandy, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: Bet you couldn’t picture me as Emily in “Our Town” either.

RICKIE: I guess that’s true. (he shuts his locker and they walk down the hall)

RAYANNE: That’s why *you* have to try out! You can be Danny! (nudging him) We would get to make-out! Now there’s a draw for you.

RICKIE: (bubbles over with laughter) We tried that already, Rayanne. We didn’t exactly “sizzle” as I recall.

RAYANNE: I know. But what great proof we can act. I’ll act like you’re *hot* and you act like you like girls. (poking him) Admit it, it’s a *great* idea.

RICKIE: I sort of promised Kline I would be assistant director again. I’ll probably just help fill out the chorus or something.

RAYANNE: (sighing) You’re no fun. Now who is the Bev going to cast as my Danny?

RICKIE: I can’t even believe you want to play Sandy.

RAYANNE: Hello. It’s the *lead*. Who else would she get? I mean, I can definitely act, and you *know* I can sing. (pause) If you mention Frozen Embryos, you’d better start running.

RICKIE: (carefully) I know you’d be good, but Ms. Kline is new. And she’s no Katimski. She won’t show you any favoritism like Katimski might have. You shouldn’t just expect a certain part. Maybe she wants someone, who is, like, actually perky.

RAYANNE: Please. What did Katimski say about the perils of type-casting?

RICKIE: (nodding) I know. (pause) I just don’t think he ever said it to Kline.

RAYANNE: Well, maybe *you* should. Mr. Assistant Director. The bell rings.

RAYANNE: Oops. Gotta go. See you at lunch.
 

INT.RESTAURANT KITCHEN--Late Morning

Graham stands at the stove, keeping an eye on various dishes. There is general restaurant chaos all about with seemingly random numbers being shouted out intermittently. Everyone treats these numbers as if they have some meaning. Graham is placing some sort of chicken dish artfully on a plate, as Hallie enters from the dining area, her face ashen. She waddles up behind Graham and starts tugging on the back of his apron for attention.

HALLIE: Graham . . .

GRAHAM: (placating) We’re just about caught up, Hallie. This early lunch rush just caught us off guard or something.

HALLIE: No, Graham . . .

GRAHAM: (chuckling) It’ll be fine. (shaking his head) And you say *I* worry too much.

HALLIE: (grasps his shoulder and spins him around) Graham, listen. I could care less if the people out there *never* eat again. My water just broke. (aside) I *knew* the car would do the trick.

GRAHAM: (confused by the car thing) What? (looks alarmed) Where?

HALLIE: (absently gesturing) Out by the bar.

GRAHAM: (turning to a dishwasher) Okay, Kent, get out there and get that mopped up.

HALLIE: Graham! Could you forget about the restaurant for a second. I need to get to the hospital.

GRAHAM: (getting it) Oh! Of course. (explaining) I sort of missed this part with Angela and Danielle. Where are your keys?

HALLIE: (holding them out) Here. Why are we taking my car?

GRAHAM: (sheepish) Umm. Because if you’re going to do any more. . . ahh. . .*leaking,* I don’t want it all over the Bronco.

HALLIE: (sighing) Fine. But as soon as I’m up and about I’m keying the Bronco for that remark.
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Noontime

Kline’s class with Angela and crew is letting out. Rayanne is sprung for action, and takes off the minute the bell rings. Sharon and Angela move slowly to the door, while Delia and Rickie linger.

ANGELA: (hair tuck) So, have you decided on an assistant yet?

SHARON: (she looks put upon) I’m still thinking. I have to tell Russo by seventh period, though.

The two girls exit with much of the rest of the class. Delia comes up to Rickie.

DELIA: This is pretty exciting, isn’t it? “Grease”? (she starts to hand-jive a little in enthusiasm)

RICKIE: (laughing) I asked Sharon if she’d try out, but she said she’s too busy. (grabbing his books and standing) It’s too bad, she’s the original “Pink Lady” in my book.

DELIA: (laughs) So is Zack going to try out?

RICKIE: (looks down) I don’t know. He’s acting so strange. He loves the music though.

DELIA: I know! Who doesn’t? (singing, but Danny’s part) “Summer lovin’ had me a blast”

RICKIE: (taking his cue, as Sandy) “Summer lovin’ happens so fast.”

DELIA: (shimmying) “I met a girl crazy for me.”

RICKIE: (with no trace of irony) “I met a boy, cute as can be.”

RICKIE &

DELIA: (together) “Summer days, driftin’ away to o-ho those summer nights.”

They laugh, and Rickie puts his arm around her. Someone claps briefly. They look embarrassed.

KLINE: (walking towards them) That was great you two. That’s exactly the type of energy I’m looking for. You two have *got* to try out. (smiles) But maybe you should reverse the parts. They look even more embarrassed.

RICKIE: I thought you wanted me to be assistant director?

KLINE: I’d be a fool to waste that talent. Try out first. Please.

DELIA: Yeah! You really should.

KLINE: There. It’s unanimous. (aside) By the way Delia, thank you for helping me with the copier. (gives a little fearful look) That thing is bigger than my car.

DELIA: Sure. Anytime. I was a library aide last year, but the first time I saw it I thought it belonged at NASA myself. So. No problem.

KLINE: (big smile) There’s just so much to get used to. Have a good weekend. And I fully expect to see the both of you at tryouts in a couple of weeks.

She exits, as they nod to each other.

RICKIE: (overblown sigh) I guess I’ll have to learn the guy’s part now. Delia laughs, and drags him towards the door.
 

INT.HOSPITAL--Afternoon

Hallie sits up in bed in a pretty pale blue room. Graham shuffles around uncomfortably.

GRAHAM: (lifting the edge of a gauzy curtain) This room doesn’t look very sterile.

HALLIE: (with short puffy breaths) It’s the pre-birthing room, Graham. I stay in here until I’m fully dilated. (looks around) It’s supposed to relax me for the big event.

GRAHAM: Oh. (nodding) Kind of like the “Green Room” on Letterman. She gives him a weird look.

GRAHAM: Except there’s no nachos. (beat) Or drinks. (beat) Or Teri Garr. (pause) So, should I go back to the restaurant, do you think?

HALLIE: Graham, please just stay until Ethan gets here. Or Brad.

GRAHAM: Brad’s coming here?

HALLIE: (sighs) Yes. It *is* his kid. Ethan and the lawyers have convinced me to play nice with Brad. We’re trying to just come to an agreement without using the courts. (pause) *I* suggested a cage match, but Brad was too chicken. So we’re going to settle the suit. At least that’s the plan.

GRAHAM: So you’ll share custody?

HALLIE: I guess. I’ll have primary custody. There’s no way I’m budging on that. If he still wants a fight then we’ll have to go to court. (pause) But neither one of us wants to put such an important decision in the hands of some judge. It’s too much to lose.

GRAHAM: And how does Ethan fit into all this?

HALLIE: *I* get sole custody of Ethan. (laughs) Brad doesn’t want him.

GRAHAM: (embarrassed) No. I meant why is he coming here?

HALLIE: He’s the one going in with me when I have the baby. (she notices his shocked look) Who else was I going to ask? You?

GRAHAM: (gulps) No. Definitely not. (pause) I was thinking about Brad.

HALLIE: (titters) Well, Brad *is* sort of responsible. (pause) But trust me when I say that Brad *won’t* be seeing my vagina ever again, especially not when it’s in *use*.

Graham looks mortified, and blushes furiously, stammering incoherent syllables.

HALLIE: (devilish smile, shrugs) *Ethan* would have laughed.
 

INT.BATHROOM--Afternoon

Sharon stands in the bathroom staring intensely at her reflection and thinking. She looks a little upset, but then sighs and squares her shoulders for the job ahead. She hears the door open and wheels to look at who is coming in. It is Angela. Sharon attempts a small smile.

ANGELA: Rickie said you were looking for me.

SHARON: I am. I have something that I want to talk to you about.

ANGELA: (smiling) Well, we *do* have study hall together this period. We could be talking there.

SHARON: No. I want this to be private.

ANGELA: (an idea hits her) Oh. Is this about the assistant editor position?

SHARON: (caught off guard) Umm. No. Not exactly. I have chosen someone though. (VO) “For injuries should be done all together, so that being less tasted, they will give less offense.” (visual--Sharon tilts her head, deciding whether or not to launch into two different topics) But I guess I should tell you about that first.

ANGELA: (smiling) So who did you end up picking?

SHARON: Well, for awhile I was going to choose that other candidate, you know, the Senior? Because she really is the most qualified.

Angela sort of nods along with this.

SHARON: But then I thought that other things mattered just as much as who’s the most qualified. Things like friendship and trust, and *loyalty*. Maybe they even matter more.

Angela smiles rather smugly at this point.

SHARON: So . . . *that’s* why I’m going with Delia.

ANGELA: (shocked) Delia?

SHARON: (nodding) Yes. Who did you think I was talking about?

ANGELA: (embarrassed) I don’t know. For a minute I thought you were talking about me.

SHARON: (guilty) Oh. Well, you are a great friend. (scathing) But you’ve also been a total flake.

ANGELA: (taken aback) Excuse me?

SHARON: How you just blew off yearbook last year? And Delia came in and picked up the slack. (pursed lips) Not to *mention* the fact that you barely showed up for the meeting the other night.

ANGELA: I explained about that.

SHARON: I know. Jordan. That’s fine. But I’m not going to give you an important job and depend on you, just so when you break out of your haze again, you’ll blow me off.

ANGELA: What are you talking about?

SHARON: Your strange little absence from life for the last few months. (Angela still doesn’t appear to be getting the point) I mean, Angela, come *on*. It’s just like what Danielle is doing.

ANGELA: What do you know about what’s going on with Danielle?

SHARON: I saw her at the hospital yesterday, and Brian was completely zoned out, so we were talking all about her first week of school. And how horrible it was.

ANGELA: I’d gathered that it was *horrible* all on my own. What makes you think you have some insight into Danielle that *I* don’t have?

SHARON: (sarcastic) Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because I actually, like, *listen* when she speaks?

ANGELA: (angry) I listen to my sister!

SHARON: Okay. Then you know all about how terrible kids have been to her, and how she’s feeling completely overwhelmed by everything. And how she’s totally retreated back to her old group of friends. Ryan especially. And of course you’ve noticed the resurrection of the Hello Kitty collection from the basement.

ANGELA: (more subdued) Yeah, so?

SHARON: Well, I asked her why she felt that retreating was the answer, but she didn’t even know. (pause) But I think I do. She’s just copying her big sister.

ANGELA: (dully) I have no idea what you’re talking about.

SHARON: You’re doing the exact same thing. Ever since the prom. You’ve retreated too. But instead of toys, you’ve confined yourself to certain activities. And instead of Ryan, you have Brian.(pause) And you’re avoiding the adventure, (flailing) the *risk* that you sought out before.

ANGELA: (confused and hurt) *Why* are we discussing this? Where did this *come* from?

SHARON: (confused now) What did Rickie say to you? What did you *think* I wanted to discuss?

ANGELA: Rickie just said something about you wanting to talk to me. And earlier he mentioned that you were thinking of doing an advice column in the paper. (pause) I guess I thought you were going to ask me about that.

SHARON: (covers her mouth to stifle a laugh) Well, we are going to do an advice column, but I asked *Rickie* to do it. I wouldn’t ask *you* to do it. (clucking) Let’s face it Angela, you’re not exactly the world’s most decisive person. We don’t have enough space on the page for all your endless debates with yourself. (pause) And even when you do decide something, it generally doesn’t *stay* decided, now does it?

ANGELA: (flustered) Oh, like your decision about Kyle?

SHARON: That’s not the same. I was never back with Kyle in the same way. (pause) But I will admit the way I handled it was a mistake. My mistake was that I didn’t make it clear to Kyle what I was and wasn’t feeling. My decision was always the same. (pause) Don’t make this about me.

ANGELA: It *is* about you. (irritated) Where do you get off talking to me this way?

SHARON: Because I’m your friend. (pause) And because no one else will. (pause, looks down) Angela, you punish people who tell you what you don’t want to hear. But I’ve lived through punishment from you before, and I’m sure I will again. What you’re doing with Brian . . .

ANGELA: (defensive) I am *not* using Brian!

SHARON: I didn’t say you were. (pause) At least not in the way you mean. But you have been hiding away from the world. Or at least from a certain part of the world. (pause) And if you’re going to this party tonight, it’s like maybe you’re ready to come out of hiding, and that’s great. But only if you’ve actually dealt with the reasons you started hiding in the first place. (pause) Because if you haven’t, then it’s going to be a disaster. (gently) Do you know why you did it?

ANGELA: (tearing up) No. (slowly shakes her head and her lip trembles) I guess, maybe it had something to do with the fact that everyone stopped needing me the most.

SHARON: (nodding) You mean Rayanne and Rickie, and their new friends.

ANGELA: (her voice trembles) And *you*. You just pushed us all away for awhile there. And you *never* even told me what was wrong. And I know for a fact that you told Rayanne. And my Mom knows. (short laugh) Everyone knows. But me and Brian.

SHARON: (guilty) Brian knows. And so does Rayanne. (quickly) But I never said a word to your Mother. I guess I have *my* Mom to thank for that. (slowly) But if I tell you, will you listen to what I have to say?

ANGELA: (nodding grudgingly) I suppose.

SHARON: Fine. (deep breath, but then matter-of-factly) I was pregnant. (Angela’s eyes go wide) And I had an abortion. (she looks away, her voice breaks) And I was so *lost*. I didn’t know what to do, or how to be. It was like I didn’t know who I was anymore. And so I stayed away from everyone. From everything that would upset me. And just allowed myself to be a child again. To let Mom and Dad take care of me. (looks at her again, with tears flowing) And that’s why I’m telling you this, Angela. Because what you’re doing is normal. Being a child again. It’s not a *bad* thing. But it will end. (pause) And eventually I had to own my mistakes and my hurt.

ANGELA: (less angry now, almost teary, moving towards her) So what’s your point?

SHARON: My point is that my retreat hurt people, like you. And I didn’t even know it. And when I stopped retreating, I hurt someone too. That night at the prom with Scott. And I didn’t even mean for it to happen. But it did. And your little hideaway will end too. You’ll want to break back out of your shell and go adventuring again. (slowly) And there’s a huge potential for someone to get hurt.

ANGELA: (her face is furrowed) You mean Brian? (her hand comes up to her face) Don’t say things like that. That would never happen. I *love* Brian.

SHARON: I know. I love Brian too.

ANGELA: (surly) That’s not the same.

SHARON: Are you *sure* about that? Because I’ve heard you say you “care” about him, and that you “love” him. (pause) But never that you were “in love” with him.

ANGELA: (annoyed) Semantics! Is there even a difference?

SHARON: (shrugs) I have no idea. I know you *used* to think so, though. (pause) Are you going to stand there and honestly say that you feel the same way about Brian as you did for Jordan?

ANGELA: (her face hardens and her body pulls away from Sharon) Stop it. This is pointless.

SHARON: And yet you didn’t answer my question.

ANGELA: That’s because you’re being idiotic. We’re having this discussion because you’re worried about some party that I might not even go to? Why bring this up at all? Just to give me something new to obsess about? (pause, meanly) Or just something new for you to meddle in?

SHARON: (pause, counts to five, trying to take the high road) I did it because I think it’s important for you to face reality. And if you’re warned about this, then maybe you won’t hurt people blindly. (pause) Because if your little retreat is going to end, you have to think about what that means for your relationship. And maybe, just maybe, you can do the right thing, even if *I* don’t really know what that is.

ANGELA: (shaking her head) I’m not going to *do* anything. There’s nothing to do. I’m with Brian and we’re happy, and if you don’t believe that for whatever weird reason, it’s not my problem.

SHARON: (placating) Angela . . .

ANGELA: (shortly) No! I mean you can compare me to Danielle all you want, but I’m not pulling back into my shell, or whatever. That’s just . . . *not* the situation, in my humble opinion.

SHARON: I’m telling you that it *is* the situation, at least a little. From someone outside of it looking in. You need to recognize the fact that you are totally *using* Brian as place to retreat to. A shell to *hide* your head in. But you have to come out again sometime. So it *has* to end.

ANGELA: (stepping away from Sharon towards the door) I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but maybe it hasn’t sunk in. I didn’t ask for your sage advice. Butt out! Get a life of your own, or something, and quit meddling in mine.

SHARON: (angry now) Fine. But, don’t mind me if I start taking bets about who’ll last longer, before being cast aside again, Hello Kitty or Brian Krakow. (snidely) It should be quite the race.

ANGELA: (stops short on her way out the door, turns back to glare at Sharon) Go to hell, Sharon.

Angela exits, succeeding again in getting the final word. Sharon runs her hand through her hair, and sighing deeply, allows her forehead to fall into her hand. After a moment, she moves to the ledge to pick up her purse, all the while shaking her head. Once near the radiator, she gives it a kick.

SHARON: Dammit!
 

INT.DELIVERY ROOM--Afternoon

Hallie is in the stirrups. Her hair is a mess, her face is red, and she is covered in sweat. To say she looks unhappy and exhausted would be an understatement. Ethan is by her side, looking ridiculous in scrubs. He leans near her ear, speaking soft words of encouragement.

HALLIE: (her voice is strained, her energy is low) Isn’t this over yet?

OB/GYN: (OS) We’re almost there Hallie. Just three more big pushes and you’ll be done.

HALLIE: (shaking her head slowly) No. No more pushes. (pause) Can’t you pull?

ETHAN: (very high energy) I really don’t think that’s an option Hallie.

HALLIE: (turns to glare at him) Why are you here, again? Go die.

ETHAN: (nodding quickly) I’m sure I will one day. Just not today. (cajoling) C’mon, Hallie, just a couple more pushes and it will be all over. And I can’t wait to see your daughter. I’m sure she’ll be just as beautiful as you.

Hallie looks over, just glaring at him for a second, then she rolls her eyes and turns her head away. A nurse walks up behind Ethan and pulls him aside.

NURSE: We really need for her to push, okay? And whatever it is you’re saying to her, to be blunt, does *not* seem to be helping. Try something else, okay?

ETHAN: (this is clearly too much pressure) I’ll see what I can do.

Ethan returns to Hallie’s side.

HALLIE: Where’d you go?

ETHAN: (thinking quickly, leaning down to speak softly, so only she can hear) Just getting that cute nurse’s phone number. Y’know, since you’ll be stuck here tonight. I thought, (shrugging comically) “why not?”

HALLIE: (growling low in her throat) I’ll *tell* you why not!

OB/GYN: (OS) That’s it Hallie, a couple more like that and we’re home free.

ETHAN: (evil smile, still right at her ear) I just can’t believe it’s taking so long. (he looks at his watch) I have to pick up Danielle in a little bit. (gesturing) And with hips like *that*, you’d think anything short of a Mack Truck would slide right on out.

Hallie’s face contorts into a look of pure hate and she bears down.

OB/GYN: (OS) I can see the baby’s head, Hallie, you’re almost there.

ETHAN: I can see why you’re worried though. (glancing towards Hallie’s spread legs) I mean, I know you haven’t been able to see down there lately, but your leg hair has really gotten out of hand. The baby’s gonna get rug burn on the way out. (no response from Hallie) Seriously. It’s long enough to braid. I’m gonna ask the doctor if he knows how to do a French twist. (standing upright, he turns to look at the doctor and speaks loudly) Doctor?

HALLIE: (biting her lip viciously, screaming) Noooooo!

OB/GYN: (OS) That’s it Hallie, you’ve done it, you can relax.

Hallie flops back, exhausted. The medical personnel rush to clean off the baby. Ethan shoots his hands up like a referee in football when a kick is good.

ETHAN: (still in referee stance, loudly) Elvis’ love child has left the womb!

Hallie motions for Ethan to come closer. Reluctantly he does.

HALLIE: (she is shaking her head) If I didn’t love you so much, I think I’d kill you.

ETHAN: (looks shocked and pleased) Really?

HALLIE: Yes. (looks at him) But me threatening your life is nothing new, so why the weird look?

ETHAN: (blushing) You said you loved me. (looks down) I don’t think you’ve ever used that word before. To me.

HALLIE: (smiling) Well, I guess it’s about time someone did.

ETHAN: (runs his hand along her red face) I love you too.

He leans in and kisses her and we hear the baby crying in the background.
 

INT.CLASSROOM--Late Afternoon

Angela, Sharon and Corey sit in Demitri’s class. Corey looks bored. Angela alternates between giving Sharon the evil eye when Sharon is not looking, and studiously ignoring her when Sharon looks her way. Sharon, for her part seems sorry the whole discussion took place. Demitri blathers on about “The Prince” and the “Republic” and tries to engage the class in discussion.

ANGELA: (VO) I cannot believe Sharon sometimes. Like I don’t have enough problems without her little theories to worry about. She’s completely off-base, of course. But knowing Sharon, her goal wasn’t to convince me she was right, anyway. It was to get me to think about it. (pause) And here I am, kneading it over and over in my mind. (pause) I should listen to Demitri just to spite her.

DEMITRI: (to the class) So what would Machiavelli have thought of today’s politicians?

No one leaps to answer the question, so Demitri scans the class to find someone actually paying some semblance of attention.

DEMITRI: What do you think, Sharon?

SHARON: (slowly) I think he would find them ineffective.

DEMITRI: (nodding, focusing on Sharon) Why do you say that?

SHARON: Because the virtues he talked about were intelligence and strength. Machiavelli liked princes who got the job done. He would see today’s leaders as too hesitant and uncertain. And too unwilling to use all the tools in their arsenal.

DEMITRI: (still speaking directly to Sharon) Like which tools?

SHARON: Like fear. (pause) And forgiveness. Sometimes leaders need to hug. But sometimes they need to hurt and intimidate as well.

ANGELA: (VO) And Sharon should know. DEMITRI: (to the whole class) But wouldn’t Plato call that cruel? Wouldn’t most people?

SHARON: (she speaks out regardless, on a roll) Maybe they would. But “The Prince” points out that it’s not cruelty for cruelties sake. It’s all for the benefit of the institution. Whatever it is that you’re trying to run. A country, or whatever. (pause) That’s what leaders do. At least the good ones. They put the state first. Plato envisioned an ideal prince and an ideal state. But for that to work you need like, ideal subjects and ideal situations. (softly) Not much in life lives up to that.

DEMITRI: And Machiavelli was different?

SHARON: Yes. Machiavelli looked at things in the cold light of day. He dealt with how things *are*, not with how they should be. And maybe that’s the only way you can succeed, and, like, *help* things grow into what you want them to be.

DEMITRI: (nodding slowly as the bell rings) Thank you.

As the class rises and moves to exit, Sharon turns and looks at Angela. Angela’s face is impassive, and she only returns Sharon’s gaze for a moment before turning away and exiting.
 

INT.HOSPITAL HALLWAY--Late Afternoon

Ethan walks toward Graham, he seems to be walking on air. Graham stands as he approaches.

ETHAN: (slapping a cigar into Graham’s hand) Hey! Congratulate me! I’m a . . . (he trails off) Well actually, I’m a guy whose girlfriend just had another man’s baby. (he laughs) But it feels way better than it sounds!

GRAHAM: That’s great! So everything went okay?

ETHAN: Everything’s fine. (looks at his watch) Don’t you have to meet Patty for the dinner with the bigwigs?

GRAHAM: (frazzled) Yes. I just wanted to make sure you could still take Danielle.

ETHAN: Sure. (makes a face) *Brad’s* here anyway. They’re talking about things. I think he thinks he should have a say in naming her. (snorts) Fat chance. I’m going to come back later. I’m on my way to get Danielle right now. So don’t worry.

GRAHAM: (sighs) That’s great. Okay, we’ll see you later.
 

INT.HOSPITAL--Late Afternoon

Brian dozes fitfully in his hospital bed. Angela sits at his bedside, with her arms up on the railing, supporting her head, as she silently watches him sleep. It is obvious she has been crying. After a few moments, he wakes up and seems startled to find her perched there.

BRIAN: (he rubs at his eyes) Hi.

ANGELA: (smiles, sits up more) Hi there. Did I wake you? (she sniffles) I didn’t mean to.

BRIAN: (reassuring) You didn’t. But I don’t mind it when you do. (pause) What are you doing here? (he looks over at his clock) Don’t you have that party tonight? I thought I wouldn’t see you until tomorrow afternoon.

ANGELA: I just . . . I had to see you. (pause) I missed you. (she stands) I wish you were still at school. (she walks toward the window, absently) If you were there, it would be so much easier.

BRIAN: (lowering the railing) What would?

ANGELA: (after a long pause, shrugging) Everything.

BRIAN: (walking to her) I’m sorry. (pause) This has to be hard on you. And I make it harder.

ANGELA: (shaking her head) No. I’m fine. (she reaches down to touch his hand, and links her fingers inside the wrist-tag he must wear) *We’re* fine. (VO) No matter what Sharon says.

BRIAN: (gives her a dubious look) Well, *I* have cancer. But I think I get what you mean.(he curls his hand around her fingers) So when is this party of yours?

ANGELA: (shrugs) No one will even start to show up until nine. But I don’t think I’m going.

BRIAN: Why not? I thought you were excited?

ANGELA: Not really. I mean everyone else will be *with* someone.

BRIAN: (guilty) Oh. (thinking) Well, you could hang out with Rickie, Zack and Delia. They always have that extra person to go around.

ANGELA: I guess. But I couldn’t get the car, and I don’t want to be stuck there if I’m not having a good time, or whatever.

BRIAN: (brightening) Is that all? (pulling away from her) That problem is easily solved. (he moves to a small dresser in the corner and grabs a set of keys, he turns back and holds them out to her) Here. Take my car. (shrugging) Actually it’s stupid that I never offered before. It’s not like *I’m* using it, and my parents never drive it.

ANGELA: Your car? (pause) Now I officially feel like you’re trying to get rid of me.

BRIAN: (frowning) No I’m not. I’m trying to get you to go have fun, that’s all. (pause) You *need* this Angela. You’re beginning to get that same look my Mom has. She’s so burnt out of being here. That’s no good for anyone.

ANGELA: But me taking your car?

BRIAN: My parents won’t care, since it’s *you*. They love you. (looking away) And they haven’t seen you drive . . .

ANGELA: Brian! (she crosses to him, and in a mock-effort to protect himself, he embraces her)

BRIAN: (sheepish smile) I’m just teasing. I’ll call them and tell them you’re going to take it.

ANGELA: (looking up at him) Are you *sure*?

BRIAN: (without hesitation) Of course. I trust you. (smirk) And it’s insured.

ANGELA: (she doesn’t smile) No. I don’t mean the car. I mean the whole party thing. Are you really sure?

BRIAN: I know what you meant. (pause) Like I said, I *trust* you.

ANGELA: (full-fledged smile) Thank you.
 

EXT.BACKYARD--Evening

Rayanne, Corey, Rickie, and Angela stand in what is presumably Tino’s backyard, with the sound of a loud and thrashy song making it difficult to talk.

RICKIE: (shouting to be heard) So what did Sharon talk with you about?

ANGELA: (frowning) Nothing. Can we just forget about it?

RICKIE: I just wondered if she mentioned the advice column thing to you.

ANGELA: Sort of. In passing.

RICKIE: So, do you think I should do it?

ANGELA: Only if you want to work with Sharon.

Corey and Rayanne perk up, noticing the venom in her voice.

RICKIE: Well, aren’t *you* working with her?

ANGELA: (shaking her head) I don’t think so. I think I’m going to flake out on her. Like immediately. (turning to glare at Corey) And when you see your boss, you can quote me on that.

RICKIE: Angela . . . if you want the advice column, I’ll just say no.

ANGELA: It’s not you, Rickie. (smiling) You should do it if you want to. I bet you’d be great.(moving away from the group) I have to get something to drink.

RAYANNE: (annoyed) Good luck finding something non-alcoholic in this crowd. (after Angela is gone, she turns to Corey) What the hell did Cherski say to her?

COREY: I have no idea. Why are you asking me?

RAYANNE: Fine. (poking Rickie) Bachelor number two, same question.

RICKIE: No clue. (pause) But we should find out. She seems really upset.

COREY: So are you really going to do the advice column?

RICKIE: I’ve been thinking about it. What do you think?

COREY: I think it’ll be a lot of work for whoever does it. Are you going to have time if you get a good part in the play?

RAYANNE: (knowing) Rickie’s not trying out for “Grease”.

COREY: Oh. Well, Delia said he was.

RICKIE: Actually I think I am, Rayanne. You all convinced me.

RAYANNE: We *all*? (her eyes narrow) Yeah, you seemed real persuaded the last time we talked about it. (she shakes her head in disgust) Whatever.

RICKIE: Well, the bottom line is that I’m doing what you wanted, right?

RAYANNE: (shrugs) If you say so. (nudges Corey) C’mon, wanna dance?

COREY: (looks skeptical) To this?

RAYANNE: (huffy) Fine. I’ll dance by myself. (to Corey) Make yourself useful and find something I can drink around here.

She spins off into the crowd. The camera weaves through the thrashing, slam-dancing teens. Across to where Angela is kneeling down by the side of the house, trying to turn on the faucet to get some water. She twists it again, but her hand keeps slipping. Finally, with a look of fury, and a grunt of frustration she gives the handle a Herculean twist and water spurts out wildly, drenching the front of her blouse completely. She grimaces and throws down the cup as she stands and shakes her arms dry. Out of nowhere, Jordan Catalano comes up behind her.

JORDAN: Hey. (looking her over) You’re all wet.

ANGELA: Really? (shaking some more) Thank you. I hadn’t noticed.

JORDAN: (stung by her tone) Oh, okay. (turning away) I’ll leave you alone.

ANGELA: Wait. (he stops) I’m not mad at you. I’m sorry. It’s just . . . it’s just that this day has been one thing after another. And none of it makes any sense.

JORDAN: (a charming smile) You want me to get some water for you?

ANGELA: (finally laughs at how she must look) No. I’ll just wring out my sleeve or something. He laughs a bit and so does she.

JORDAN: I looked for you earlier. (pause) When I saw Graff get here and you weren’t with her, I figured you weren’t coming.

ANGELA: I was a little late, I guess.

JORDAN: Who’d you come here with?

ANGELA: No one. I drove myself.

JORDAN: Oh? How’s your driving?

ANGELA: (small smile) Well, to hear Sharon tell it, I’m a hazard to myself and everyone on the road, but I do pretty well. (pause) My Dad was really surprised about how much I already knew.

JORDAN: (smiles proudly) So did they get you your own car?

ANGELA: (rolls her eyes) Are you kidding? I drove Brian’s car.

JORDAN: (surprised) He lets you drive his car?

ANGELA: Well, just this once, or whatever, because my Mom and Dad are being totally unreasonable about letting me use the car. (pause) But you know how that is. Your parents must drive you crazy all the time, too.

JORDAN: (nodding slowly) Parent. But yeah, he does.

ANGELA: (confused look) What?

JORDAN: It’s just me and my Dad. My Mom is gone. (he looks down) Y’know, dead.

ANGELA: Oh my god. I’m sorry. I mean, I didn’t know. . . .(VO) I can’t believe we had spent so much time together and I never knew that. (pause) How could I not know that? (aloud) I’m sorry.

JORDAN: (shrugging) It’s no big deal or anything. It happened a long time ago. (he looks over his shoulder at the crowd) You wanna walk around the block or something? Tino has the worst taste in music. The louder he plays it the worse it sounds.

ANGELA: Sure. Maybe a brisk walk will dry me off. Or something.

They round the corner and disappear out of sight, the camera rotates around the pulsing crowd to where we see Rickie talking to Zack.

RICKIE: I can’t believe you actually brought her here.

ZACK: Why? I said I was going to. I’m not allowed to have friends of my own?

RICKIE: Of course you can. But you know about Jody and Rayanne . . .

ZACK: No I don’t. You never told me what happened. And I haven’t asked Jody. (shrugs) I don’t even care anymore, she’s just fun.

RICKIE: But you know that something happened.

ZACK: That doesn’t mean they can’t get along.

RICKIE: (watching over Zack’s shoulder) Well I guess we’re going to find out. Here they come.

Zack turns to look and watches alongside Rickie as Rayanne drags Corey toward them from one direction, and Jody Barsh approaches at an angle bearing two drinks. Jody reaches Zack and Rickie first and hands one of the drinks to Zack. Rayanne keeps coming, her attention more focused on pulling Corey than on where she’s headed. When she finally does turn around to look, she notices Jody instantly, and her mouth drops open in shock, but she is too close to turn around or veer away. When Jody notices Rayanne, she maintains her smile, but it tightens slightly.

RAYANNE: Hey, Rickie. (glaring at Zack) Stick-Boy. (pause) Hi, Jody.

JODY: (swallowing hard) Hi, Rayanne. How are you?

RAYANNE: (in that low and quick voice she saves for authority figures or when she is actually embarrassed or uncomfortable) Oh. Y’know. Okay. (pause, looks up) You?

JODY: I’m doing better.

RAYANNE: Hey. I’m glad. (turning to Rickie) We just came to tell you that we’re going to go.

COREY: (his obvious confusion deepening) We did?

RICKIE: (helpful) Oh, okay. Zack, you can give me a ride home, right?

ZACK: (actually looks guilty) Sure. Of course.

RAYANNE: (brightly) So. I’ll see you all later. (under her breath) C’mon Corey.

JODY: (her expression is neutral) It was . . . *good* to see you again, Rayanne.

RAYANNE: (she is closed off as well, unreadable) You too.

Rayanne turns and walks toward the front of the house, with Corey following.

COREY: Rayanne! Slow down. Who was that? What’s wrong?

RAYANNE: Nothing. It’s nothing. (pause) Can you go get the car?

COREY: (nodding) Sure. What are you going to do?

RAYANNE: I have to see if I can find Angela. (absently) I have to talk about this with *someone*.

Without another word, she moves off down the sidewalk. Corey stands there, his face set into an expression that is some combination of hurt and anger.
 

INT.HOSPITAL--Evening

Hallie dozes quietly in her hospital bed. She stirs briefly and rolls over to see Ethan sitting there in the pale lamplight, reading. He looks up when she stirs.

HALLIE: Hey, you. How long have you been here?

ETHAN: Not long. How are you?

HALLIE: Fine. How was your “date” with Danielle?

ETHAN: Pretty good. She kicked my butt at almost every game. But I won a few right at the end.

HALLIE: (weak smile) I think she let you win.

ETHAN: Probably. Which is pretty nice. (sad look) I couldn’t get through to her, though. I know something is bothering her, but I didn’t have a clue about how to talk to her. (pause) I guess it’s a good thing that you and Patty are the parents, and not me. (shakes those thoughts away) So, did you pick a name?

HALLIE: Yes. I named her Katie.

ETHAN: (thinking) Hmm. “Katie”. Katie Lowenthal. (nodding) It sounds nice.

A Nurse comes in and flips on the light. She is holding Katie.

NURSE: I see you’re up again. So is the baby. She’s hungry. I thought you’d want to feed her.

HALLIE: (sits up in bed and holds out her arms) Hey, Katie. I owe you a car, don’t I?

NURSE: I’ll be back in a bit. (she exits)

ETHAN: (stands up and heads for the door) I should get going too. You need some family time.

HALLIE: (softly) Don’t go. (pause) I mean, you should stay.

ETHAN: Are you sure?

HALLIE: Of course I am. (shrugs) Maybe you could sing to her.

ETHAN: Won’t that scare her back into the womb?

HALLIE: No. My womb is officially closed for business. Besides, even if your singing *is* bad, and believe me, it *really* is, she should probably, you know, get used to it. (pause) Like I did.

She smiles up at him, and he down at her.

ETHAN: (clearing his throat, choking back tears) So how does “Muskrat Love” start again?

Hallie laughs and then he laughs, and their ruckus causes Katie to cry. As he pulls a chair alongside the bed, their faces give the impression that they have never heard a more joyous noise.
 

INT.CHASE LIVING ROOM--Evening

Patty and Graham sit on the couch, still in their “dress-up” clothes. They are chatting a bit, with the TV turned on low. They are obviously waiting for Angela.

PATTY: That Dan Enselmo is sure a riot isn’t he?

GRAHAM: (snorts) At least *he* thinks so. I think I would have found him much less amusing if he wasn’t making us rich.

PATTY: (she gets her “you’re making me be bad” look on her face) Me too.

The door opens and Angela comes in, breathless. The stain on her blouse is noticeable.

GRAHAM: (pleased smile) I win. She made it just under the wire.

PATTY: (annoyed) Rub it in, why don’t you? (she gets up and heads toward the stairs)

ANGELA: You were betting on whether I’d be on time or not?

PATTY: Not for money. (mock sternly) We don’t condone gambling.

GRAHAM: Just a friendly wager. (getting up too) And I win. Again. (pause) As it should be.

ANGELA: (suspicious) Aren’t you going to say something about my blouse?

PATTY: You really should take better care of your clothes. (sighs) But you’re here, you’re healthy, and you *actually* seem to be smiling. That’s the best I can ask for most weeks.

ANGELA: (bark laugh) Since when?

PATTY: Since reality took hold. (pause) I’m glad you had fun.

GRAHAM: (giving Angela a quick squeeze) Good-night, honey.

Patty and Graham move slowly up the stairs. Angela watches them suspiciously.

ANGELA: (VO) This is obviously some sort of trick.
 

INT.CHASE UPSTAIRS HALLWAY--Evening

Angela moves past Danielle’s door toward her own. Then she notices a light still shining from under Danielle’s door. She walks back to the door and reaches for the knob, but then thinks better of it and gives a small knock.

DANIELLE: (OS) (muffled through the door) Come in.

Angela opens the door and walks in, shutting it behind her. Danielle is sitting up in bed reading. Danielle’s expression when she sees who it is indicates she expected her Mom or Dad.

ANGELA: Hey.

DANIELLE: Hi. (suspicious) What do you want?

ANGELA: Do you have a second? (pause) You know, to talk?

DANIELLE: (noncommittal) I guess so.

ANGELA: Thanks. (she sits on Danielle’s bed) So how was your night with Ethan?

DANIELLE: Fine. (she finally smiles a bit) He really sucks at video games.

ANGELA: (laughs a bit) Me too. So did you have fun?

DANIELLE: It was okay. He talked about Hallie Lowenthal a lot. She had her baby, you know?

ANGELA: I didn’t know. (perturbed) I’m always the last one to know everything. A girl, right?

DANIELLE: Yeah. Ethan was there for the birth. (pause, crinkled brow) He said it was the grossest *and* most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. (shrugs) Adults make *no* sense.

ANGELA: I’m with you on that one.

DANIELLE: So, how was your party?

ANGELA: It was pretty fun actually.

DANIELLE: Are you drunk?

ANGELA: (looking at her blouse) You mean because of this?

DANIELLE: Partly. (pause) Mostly because you’re talking to me voluntarily.

ANGELA: Danielle. (shaking her head) I’m not drunk. I don’t drink. (pause) I just wanted to see how your room ended up, after all the recent renovations.

DANIELLE: Well, it’s back to normal. Everything’s back to normal.

ANGELA: And that’s good, huh?

DANIELLE: Yes. (looks down and grabs a stuffed cat) It was too much change all at once.

ANGELA: You’re probably right. (pause) I know you must have had a pretty bad week.

DANIELLE: (gesturing to her room) Because of this?

ANGELA: Partly. Mostly because you hid in your room. I haven’t really seen you do that before.

DANIELLE: (little smile) Well, all the *cool* kids are doing it.

ANGELA: Don’t do it for too long, or I’m going to start pestering *you*. (looks around) I don’t know if you remember, but I did something like this when I started at the Middle School. (softly) I sort of regret it now.

DANIELLE: Why?

ANGELA: Because I hid for too long. (fingering the plush cat) Behind toys. And maybe behind Sharon a bit too. I sort of let her be the outgoing one and make all these new friends. And she basically, like forced them to be friends with me too. (pause) And it wasn’t until last year, all those years later, that I ventured out to make some friends on my own. And that’s late. (pause) And I know it’s not exactly the same. But I hope you’re not making the same mistake.

DANIELLE: But why was it a mistake?

ANGELA: Because, at least in my case, Sharon got too used to the role of leader. And she really didn’t like it very much once I finally stopped living in her shadow. I gave her too much power.

DANIELLE: (sadly) I tried to act like Sharon, but it didn’t work.

ANGELA: (snorts) It never has for me either. Not everyone can make friends in an instant, like Sharon does. You should just be yourself. I mean, *I* think you’re a complete pest, but someone out there is bound to like you. (smiles) Unlikely as that sounds.

DANIELLE: (smacks her with Hello Kitty) Shut up! (looks at the animal) So do I have to give all this stuff up?

ANGELA: (shaking head) No. (defensive) *No*. (pause) But you can’t just . . . *hide* behind them either. At least not all the time. It’s okay to still need them now. But someday, you’ll discover that you don’t need them anymore, and then, back to the basement they’ll go.

DANIELLE: (smiles) And then Mom will weep over them?

ANGELA: (laughs) Quite possibly.

DANIELLE: (in a very small voice) So it’s not always going to be this horrible?

ANGELA: Well, school is *always* going to be horrible, but it will get better. Slowly. You just can’t predict which way anything is going to go. You know what they say: “whatever happens, happens.”

DANIELLE: (raised eyebrow) “In bed?”

ANGELA: Danielle!

DANIELLE: (giggling) Well, it sounds like a fortune cookie message to me.

ANGELA: (smiling) I guess it does in a way. But it’s “in love,” okay? *That* is the game you should play with fortune cookies, no matter what Rayanne says.

DANIELLE: Okay. (pause) Angela?

ANGELA: What?

DANIELLE: Thanks.

ANGELA: (rising to leave) Anytime.

DANIELLE: (as Angela walks toward the door) Really?

ANGELA: Well, duh! No! (giving her a mischievous smile) That’s just a figure of speech. Next time, make an appointment.

Angela ducks for cover as the Hello Kitty is launched at her head.
 

INT.ANGELA’S BEDROOM--Evening

Angela finishes changing for bed, her face scrunched up in thought.

ANGELA: (VO) Well Sharon was right. (pause) At least about Danielle. And maybe about me too. (she pulls on a t-shirt) And if she is right, then my retreat *will* come to an end. Just like Danielle’s retreat will. (recalling what Patty said) In it’s own time. (pause) But I have no idea where to put that. What to do about that. My first inclination is to try and guard against it. To make sure it doesn’t happen. But how can you stop yourself from growing up? And should you even want to? Or is wanting to, like, *part* of the shell you’re hiding in?

She exits her room and enters the bathroom to brush her teeth.

ANGELA: (VO) And is there a way to grow up when you’re with someone who doesn’t want you to? Because what I said to Danielle about Sharon getting all *invested* in her role with me, well that just as easily applies to Brian when he’s with me. (pause) And possibly *me* when I’m with Brian. (she leans over to spit) Can you let someone grow up without automatically growing apart?

She flips out the light and walks back to her room, shutting the door behind her.

ANGELA: (VO) Because I don’t have the faintest idea what to do about this. There’s really nothing I can do without hurting Brian. And I wonder if he’d be mad about how much time I spent with Jordan Catalano tonight? Even though nothing happened. I wonder if I should even bother telling him about it? (pause) Maybe if he asks. But the bottom line is that I don’t *want* to do anything about this. Because Brian needs me. (pause) And in a weird way, I need him, too. And maybe Sharon is just *wrong*. Maybe something good can come out of hiding. So. (pause) That’s it, then. Whatever happens, happens. Even if that does sound like a fortune cookie.

At the thought of it, her eyes automatically go to her dressing table and the keepsake box. She crosses to it and sees the wrapped cookie that has been sitting there for over a week. There is a small trail of ants on the napkin. She makes a face and grabs it by one corner, heading for the garbage with it. On the way there, the napkin unravels and the cookie falls to the floor. A close-up of it shows that it breaks open, the small slip of paper coming free. Angela frowns and bends down to scoop it up. Instead of just tossing the lot of it into the garbage, she reaches first for the fortune.

ANGELA: (VO) (reading the fortune) "The lies you tell yourself are the easiest to believe." (her face falls even more) In love.

THE END


AUTHOR’S NOTE
-- There are many translations of Machiavelli’s The Prince, but the specific quotations I use are from the 1950 Random House version, translated by Luigi Ricci. I have always thought, even since High School itself, that the High School environment pays unwitting homage to Machiavelli in it’s primer as to the uses of power, influence, and popularity in our society.

[ An online version of Machiavelli’s The Prince is available for free (translated by W. K. Marriott) at the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University as part of the ILT Digital Classics series. http://daemon.ilt.columbia.edu/academic/digitexts/machiavelli/the_prince/title.html
Sascha.]

-- Jody Barsh was mentioned in the Pilot episode of MSCL as being someone that Rayanne “did something” to. When Angela asked what Rayanne did to Jody Barsh, Sharon responded with the now infamous, “that is like so *known*.” Stick around, and we might find out together what actually happened and how close that is to the explanation Sharon heard.


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Average: 4.3/5   4.3/5 (42 votes)
  • IR commented on 28 Dec 1999:
    Well Done. Clever use of Machiavelli to Juxtapose Sharon and Angela's personalities. I cannot wait to find out what Rayanne did to Jody Barsch, even though it is like so known.
  • apollyonx@aol.com commented on 31 Dec 1999:
    The debut of Jody Barsch is very interesting. decent story, good n long. one problem, everyone seems very out of character. especially jordan.
  • lita commented on 11 Jun 2001:
    shobi is fabulous!!!! i SOOO want to know what happens next. i want to know about jody barsh and what rayanne did to her. i want to know what happens with jordan and brian and rickie and everyone. PLEASE write more!!!!!!!!
  • Elizabeth Wrigley-Field commented on 14 Aug 2001:
    I'm so curious about Jodi Barsch!! I like the references to other episodes (Angela's equivalent of the day being one long thing that makes no sense, the contrast between what happens in the Pilot and in this episode when Angela returns home from a party with dirty clothes, etc etc etc). Do you really think moments after giving birth, instead of reaching for her baby, Hallie would be chatting with her boyfriend? I think that's a moment for a one-track maternal instinct.
  • What? commented on 28 Jun 2002:
    No more? Why isn't there more? I need more.
  • anonymous author commented on 12 Jul 2002:
    WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????? DOes Brian overcome cancer? Do angela and he stay together? Does she go back to Jordan? (by the way, when did jordan start talking in complete sentances??)
  • dana commented on 17 Jul 2002:
    Shobi, please please please write more :)
  • Kelly commented on 16 Nov 2002:
    Ok, well I've just read all of these stories in one go. Now I think it's only fair that you repay the favour and write at least the next four to keep me going. Please???
  • Amanda Claire commented on 04 Jan 2003:
    Come on... I really feel like this series of fanfic is getting good.....WRITE ANOTHER STORY!
  • somebody commented on 19 Feb 2003:
    Look your stories are so far fetched.I don't know everybody's out of character, especially Jordan.When did he become this eloquent, charming guy?
    This is how he would normally invite Angela to that party:
    "Okay, so there's like...this thing at Tino's, you know?
    So, I don't know,maybe if you like , you know, wanna come or whatever, not that I ,like, (pregnant pause)...I mean, you know,whatever...
  • Saria commented on 24 Jul 2003:
    I cannot believe you just stopped in '99! Come on, you must have more stories in you, i'm intrigued as to where this goes, don't leave us hanging, please.
  • Loz commented on 20 Oct 2003:
    Thank you so much for sharing your stories! I love them, at some points I had a hard time stopping myself from crying - which would have been embarrassing since I've been reading them all at work. Please write more soon!
  • anonymous author commented on 18 Aug 2004:
    I really like the whole protective shell thing. It makes sence to me. I've always wondered how to get around the Brian situation- to me, them together is too awkward. The shell part makes it become more realistic for me. Please write more. I really like where it is headed.
  • val commented on 04 Sep 2004:
    i just need to know, will angela and jordan end up together?
  • cms commented on 13 Dec 2004:
    I have read all of your stories and even though some of the characters might be out of character - it is still written very well and the story lines are great! We all need to know what happens next so give us more please!!
  • Crystal commented on 09 Sep 2005:
    I'm going crazy wanting to know what happened with jody barsh but what's with Delia being number one everybody's list one other thing yuo really don't use angela as the main character she's sorta lost in the background why?
  • Carina gave this story a 4.0/5 4.0/5 rating and commented on 26 Feb 2008:
    erg!!!
    write another episode
    PLEASE
    I'M BEGGING YOU!!
  • naomi Lazar gave this story a 5.0/5 5.0/5 rating and commented on 10 Feb 2009:
    PLEASE write more!! i love your ideas, and u follow exactly wat was like supposed to happen in the nxt season (yes i have the complete season :D)
    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write more!!!
  • aracelum78 gave this story a 5.0/5 5.0/5 rating and commented on 05 Nov 2017:
    POR FAVOR SIEMPRE PASA LO MISMO...TERMINEN LA HISTORIA PORFAVOR
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“And, you know, with your hair like that? It hurts to look at you.”

Rayanne Graff, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"