Young American Beauty
(fade in) Will and Scout’s room. It’s late afternoon on Thursday. Will is alone in the room, but the door is opened. He’s sitting at his desk with some paper in front of him and a pen in his hand. He looks out the window, then back down at his paper. Some people walk by his door and he looks over at them. He starts to write.
Will (voice over): It’s easy to simply watch other people and make assumptions about life, but—
Will stops writing. He contemplates what he has written. He shakes his head. He erases what he has. He looks back out the hall door as Hamilton walks by and waves. He starts again.
Will (v.o.) cont’d: Why is it easy to get to know others, but so difficult to—
Will stops again. This time he looks frustrated. He scratches out what he has and balls up the piece of paper, shoving it to one side of the desk. He looks over at a dictionary that is sitting on the corner of his desk. He starts writing again.
Will (v.o.) cont’d: Introspection. Only thirteen letters, but when given as a task—
Will stops again and looks up shaking his head in disgust as he re-reads what he just wrote.
Will: Wow, that’s bad.
He rubs his eyes with his thumb and index finger. Then he puts his head down on his desk. There is a knock. Will lifts his head and looks at the door.
(cut to): Finn who has just finished knocking on the door frame of the opened door.
Finn: Well, you’re looking like a tortured soul this afternoon.
Will looks up at him with a somewhat pained expression.
Will: I think I have writer’s block or something.
Finn walks further into the room and sits down on the couch.
Finn: There’s no such thing as writer’s block, Will. The only thing that can stop a writer is himself.
Will: See, that’s the problem. I’m having trouble with myself.
Will: It’s-it’s easy to watch other people and judge their lives or even make generalizations about life itself, but I—I can’t judge myself, Finn.
Finn: Or maybe you’re afraid to…
Will looks up at Finn. When their eyes meet, Finn looks away.
Finn: I know I sure am.
Will raises his eyebrows. Finn looks back up to meet Will’s questioning stare.
Finn: It’s a long story, Will.
Will: Yeah, I kind of have one of those too…
They look at each other knowingly. We aren’t sure if they are about to speak or not.
(fade to): Finn’s classroom. It’s Wednesday. This class is right before lunch (not to be confused with “lunch”). It’s a shot from the side so you can see the class and Finn. The desks are in rows...classic classroom configuration. Finn is sitting on his desk. All the “guys” are in the class…Will, Scout, Hamilton, Ryder and Jake. Will is in the front row. Scout is one seat behind and over. Hamilton and Jake are sitting next to each other a few rows from the front. Ryder is up and over one from Jake.
(cut to): Finn.
Finn: Catcher in the Rye. Aside from being the reading material of potential presidential assassins, a pretty decent piece of literature. Holden Cauffield leaves his private boarding school...and then what? Mr. Fleming?
(cut to): Hamilton. He was writing in his notebook, but he stops and looks up.
Hamilton: Um, he embarks on a journey…
(cut to): Finn who nods. He looks around as if indicating that a discussion has started and anyone can speak.
Finn: Okay, what kind of journey?
(cut to): Scout
Scout: Well, it’s a trip--an adventure--to the city.
(pan to): a smirking Ryder
Ryder: Yeah, where he goes around drinking and then accidentally hires a prostitute, but can’t—
(cut to): Finn. Finn starts to cut him off, but looks over to Jake when she starts to speak:
(cut to): Jake
Jake: Is it maybe a mental journey too?
(cut to): Finn
Finn: That’s an interesting thought…what do you guys think?
(cut to): A medium shot with both Scout and Will.
Scout: I don’t buy it. He’s pretty much the same person on the first page as he is on the last.
Will: Yeah, throughout the whole thing he thinks he has it all figured out. He thinks he knows and understands everything, including himself. Like, he knows he’s a liar, he says so...but he never gets that he’s lying to himself too.
(cut to): Finn. He does that thing were he closes his eyes and opens them slowly.
Finn: So Holden Cauffield, then, in most respects is a static character.
He looks around and everyone seems to agree.
Finn: Okay, so we’re going to keep talking about this novel. You’re writing assignment, though, is going to be a little different. Forget the book. I want each of you to do a little introspection, call it soul searching, and write me an essay about what you find.
(cut to): A medium long shot of the whole class. Everyone looks around at each other, except Ryder who rolls his eyes.
Ryder: Think about yourself and write and essay about it. That’s a bit vague, don’t you think?
Will: We’re complex individuals.
Ryder: Don’t kid yourself, William.
(cut to): Finn
Finn: Enough. I’m not being specific on purpose...this is a pretty open writing topic. Think of it as an opportunity for personal betterment rather than something potentially detrimental to your grade.
(cut to): Ryder
Ryder: What if one wasn’t too concerned with either?
(cut to): Finn
Finn: Then “one” could receive his usual sub par grade on this assignment and put himself that much closer to taking this class a third time.
(cut to): a medium shot of Will and Scout who snicker.
(cut to): Jake and Hamilton who trade amused glances.
(cut to): Finn. He looks around at all the guys. He looks at Will a bit longer.
Finn: Anyway, just remember...this one’s all about you. Now, get out of here and go enjoy lunch. Ryder is the first to get up and walk out. The rest of the class packs up their stuff.
Finn straightens up papers on his desk. Will, Scout, Ham and Jake remain. They stand in a semi-circle.
Will: You guys all going to lunch?
Scout: I’m going to stop by the room and get the rest of my books then I’ll meet you guys in the dining hall.
Jake: I have to go by my room too, then I’m meeting Jill.
Hamilton: Okay, I’ll--
Finn coughs, as if to remind everyone--especially Hamilton--of his presence.
Hamilton: I’ll go with Will to the dining hall. Later.
Hamilton pulls Will out of the room. Scout looks over at Jake who laughs. Then they walk out together.
(cut to): The hall outside Finn’s classroom as Jake and Scout walk out. They start walking down the hall.
Jake: So, this assignment is a little weird.
Scout: Yeah...so, you’re meeting Jill for lunch, huh?
Jake looks at him, then looks down, smiling.
(cut to): Scout and Jake as they turn a corner, now in the boys’ dorms.
Scout: So, does she ever...talk about me?
Scout looks at her.
Jake: Oh, you mean Jill? Scout, you’re so cute.
She punches him soflty on the arm. They get to Jake’s room and she unlocks the door and goes in. Scout stands alone in the hall.
Scout: (to himself) What does that mean? (Loud enough for Jake to hear him) What does that mean?
(fade to): Jill sitting on a couch in the common room at Rawley Boys’. She looks around, bored.
(cut to): The door as Ryder walks by and looks in. He comes back to the doorway. He squints his eyes and grins sneakily.
Ryder: Well, hi there.
(cut to): Jill who looks up and smiles.
Ryder rolls his eyes. He walks in and sits next to her on the couch.
Ryder: So, what are you doing here?
Jill: Do I know you?
Ryder: You wouldn’t have to ask if you did, doll.
Jill: I’m sorry, did you just refer to me as “doll”?
Ryder: You never answered my question: what are you doing here?
Jill: God, what are you like a hall monitor or something? Do you want to see my pass? I’m allowed to be here…it’s lunch time, ok?
Ryder: Well, aren’t you the spunky one?
Jill: Only when I encounter a person who is clearly a jerk and doesn’t even bother to introduce himself.
Ryder looks at her smugly, purposefully not going on to introduce himself.
Jill: God, whatever.
Jill gets up from the couch. She turns to face him.
Jill: My name is Jillian. I’m here to meet my friend…Jake…for lunch.
Ryder gets up. His sarcastic look and tone fade. For the rest of the scene he is more teasing than his usual taunting.
Ryder (almost sweetly): Look, love, I didn’t mean to be discourteous.
Jill rolls her eyes and turns to walk out. Ryder runs around in front of her, stopping her. He tilts his head.
Ryder: I’m Ryder. Forgive me for the dreadful first impression?
(cut to): Jill who looks uncertain, but then smiles. Ryder looks at her mischievously.
Ryder: I’m just wondering-I mean, what are you? Jake’s girlfriend or something?
Jill: So, you know Jake?
Ryder: Yeah, sure…Jake…and Ham, of course. Sweet kids, those too.
Jill: Yeah, they are.
Ryder: So, I’m assuming you not his girlfriend.
Jill: Nah. I’ve known Jake forever. We’re like best friends.
Ryder: Around here, you rarely get Jake without Hamilton.
Jill: Yeah, I’ve noticed, but it’s cool, though. They’re good for each other.
Ryder gives her an “oh really?” look.
Jill: Whatever you’re thinking, you’re way off.
Ryder: Hmm, that’s too bad because I was just thinking that I’d love to quit talking about Jake and Hamilton so that I might get to know the lovely Jillian a little better.
Jill smiles. Her look is nice enough, but she’s not fooled by his false charm.
(cut to ): The dining hall. It’s fairly busy as guys carry trays and sit at various tables. It looks like your typical private school dining hall...long tables...classy decor. Hamilton and Will sit down at an empty table.
Will: This is different.
Hamilton: What? The Pot Roast? It looks the same as last week...not too tasty.
Will laughs and looks down.
Will: No, I meant Hamilton without Jake.
Hamilton laughs. He looks around before talking in a low whisper.
Hamilton: My mom knows, you know...
Will: Really? And...she didn’t tell your dad?
Hamilton: No. Like, I think Finn kind of told her. He’s been so cool. I love that guy.
Will looks at Hamilton and then looks down. He looks up at Hamilton and smiles.
Will: He’s a great teacher...unlike Mr. Gordon...could anyone make trigonometry more boring? Having it last period just kills all my classes...the dread builds and builds.
Hamilton: Makes you want to just cut all your classes, doesn’t it?
(cut to): Hamilton. He looks inspired.
Commercial Break: Ben Affleck is such a god. Check out his site by clicking on his name.
(cut to): Jake leaving her room. She’s locking the door when Hamilton runs up behind her.
Hamilton: Hey, where’re you going?
Jake: Meeting Jill for lunch...like I said earlier.
Hamilton: Want to cut out for the rest of the day? We can go to my house…you can come see my room.
Jake: Cut out? Like, skip class?
Hamilton smiles and raises his eyebrows.
Jake: ..I have to go meet Jill. She’s probably waiting in the common room right now.
Scout walks out of his room. Hamilton looks over at him.
Hamilton: Hey, Scout…
Scout looks up.
Scout: Hey guys, what’s up?
Hamilton: Want to do us a favor?
Scout looks from Jake to Hamilton, a little confused.
Hamilton: Just stop by the common room and tell Jill that Jake can’t make it for lunch.
Hamilton looks over at Jake who is already looking at him.
Hamilton: …if that’s ok, I mean.
Jake smiles. She looks at Ham when she talks:
Jake: Yeah…yeah, ok.
She turns back to Scout. Scout looks confused.
Jake cont’d: Can you tell Jill I can’t make it for lunch today?
Scout looks back and forth between them again.
Jake and Hamilton start to walk off. Jake turns around.
Jake: Tell her I’m really sorry. And, you can thank me later.
Scout: Ok…have fun.
Scout shakes his head, amused. He walks off down the hall.
(cut to): The common room. Jill and Ryder are sitting on the couch. Ryder has his arm on the back of the couch and is sitting pretty close to Jill. She is laughing hysterically.
Ryder: So then they shoved me out into the hall.
Jill: This was on moving in day?
Ryder nods and chuckles.
Jill cont’d: I can’t believe they did that to you.
Ryder: Yeah, so needless to say, I’ve been laying low. Really, I don’t know why they hate me so much.
Jill: Oh, I’m sure they don’t hate you.
Scout: I wouldn’t be so sure…
(cut to) the doorway. Scout walks in.
Scout: Hey guys…
Ryder rolls his eyes and hops up.
Ryder: You’ve got impeccable timing, Calhoun.
Scout: Yeah, I think I do.
Jill gives him a questioning look. She gets up, standing next to Ryder.
Jill: What’s up Scout?
Scout looks at Ryder who isn’t quite smiling, but who looks smug nonetheless.
Scout: Uh, I’m just a messenger actually.
Ryder: What’s the message?
Scout: It’s for Jill.
He turns to her.
Scout cont’d: Jake can’t make it for lunch. He’s really sorry. I was, um, going to see if you wanted to join me instead, but looks like you’re covered so…
Jill: Actually, I’m starving.
She steps away from Ryder and stands next to Scout. Ryder and Scout look at each other. Ryder looks perplexed and Scout looks pleasantly surprised.
Jill: It was great to meet you Ryder. I’m sure we’ll see each other again.
Ryder smiles and nods. Jill looks over at Scout.
Jill: You ready?
Scout still looks a little confused, but nods.
(cut to): Scout and Jill walking down the hall toward the dining hall.
Jill: So, hey, thanks for the save back there.
Scout (apologetically): Yeah, I know I can have a tendency to like try and ride in on a white horse when it’s not necessary. Sorry if I—
Jill: No, Scout I wasn’t being sarcastic …something’s up with that Ryder guy.
Scout: Yeah, he can be a real jerk.
Jill: I got that vibe and he was a jerk to me at first then he just started being really nice.
Scout: Wow, that sounds scary. Are you sure that was Ryder and not some pod person?
Jill: I think he was trying to get some kind of inside scoop on “Jake and Hamilton.”
Scout: He’s so mean to them. He said he saw them making out before. He’s the only person that won’t let the whole gay thing die. Everyone else is so over that rumor.
Jill: Hmm…think he’s gay? His behavior is of the classic homo-repressed variety. He could be a total closet case bent on making life miserable for the kids who he thinks are daring to do what he’s afraid to.
Scout: That’d be an interesting twist…
Jill: I’m not sure I buy it, though.
They get to the door of the dining hall.
Jill cont’d: Anyway, enough about all that. Let’s eat.
Scout smiles as he opens the door for her. Before she can walk in, Will walks out.
Will cont’d: You completely missed lunch.
Will: We have to be in class in 5 minutes.
Jill: What? That means I’m going to be late. Great. Well, I’ll see you guys later. If you see Jake...tell her she owes me big for this.
Will: I don’t think we’ll be seeing her. Hamilton was going to try and talk her into skipping classes for the rest of the day.
Scout: Does inconspicuous mean nothing to that guy?
Will: I guess he doesn’t care...his mom knows.
Scout and Jill trade surprised glances.
(cut to): Finn sitting at his desk reading over some papers. Hamilton’s mom walks in and shuts the door. Finn looks up.
Kate: Hey. I’ve been meaning to talk to you.
Finn: Yeah, me too.
Finn gets up and walks over to her.
Kate: About Hamilton…and Jake.
She walks over and sits at a student desk. He watches her, but doesn’t speak. He walks over and leans on his desk.
Kate: You knew.
Finn: I—yeah, I did…
Kate: And, you didn’t say anything…to the dean or...to me.
Finn looks up at her and takes off his glasses, rubbing his eyes.
Finn: I think it’s odd that you refer to him as “the dean.”
Kate ignores him.
Kate: What were you thinking? You allowed them to remain in a situation that is obviously inappropriate. I mean, they were explaining it all to me and they talked like…like it is a perfectly healthy teen relationship…which it clearly is not. You made them think it was ok.
Finn: Yeah, maybe I did. It’s not like I didn’t consider all of that Kate.
He runs his hand through his hair and looks at her.
Finn: Did you say anything to the dean? I mean, Jake is still here. Certainly he didn’t condone any sort of non-conformist behavior so—
Kate: It’s a little beyond being non-conformist. It’s being deceptive. It’s—
Finn: And yet, you didn’t say anything either.
Kate: Because I thought—I thought that maybe if you hadn’t said anything that there was probably a good reason behind the decision to let them work through it. Obviously, though, you just saw this as a way to undermine Steve’s authority. You hate him so much…
Finn: Whoa, whoa, Kate…hold on. Yes, I left it up to them, but not because I hate the dean...although that certainly isn’t entirely false. It’s just…who am I to decide how anyone should--or shouldn’t--get to be together? I don’t get to do that in my own life…
She looks up and him thoughtfully.
Finn cont’d: Also, as far as Hamilton is concerned…I mean, I have some major guilt where that kid is concerned, ok?
Kate gets up and stands in front of him. She speaks quietly.
Kate: What we did—that’s in the past.
Finn: It’s not in the past for me, ok? I’d like it to be. I try to put it there. I’m trying desperately to get over the fact that I am in love with this kid’s mother, but until I can--
Finn: Until I can get over that, I can’t tell Hamilton how to do what’s right. When I face him, I’m forced to face myself, Kate. I’m really not capable of that yet...I’m scared to do it.
Finn looks away. Kate walks up to him and brushes his check with her hand. He looks at her again.
Finn: Besides, I couldn’t be the one to rip them apart.
Finn cont’d: …and, they’re so innocent, Kate. Anyone can see that.
She kisses him softly.
Kate: They are innocent...
He kisses her and pulls her closer to him.
Commercial Break: If for some weird reason you haven’t been to fanforum…go.
(cut to): Hamilton’s kitchen. Jake and Hamilton are kissing after just walking in the door. Hamilton pulls back, steps back, smiles and takes her hand.
Hamilton: Come see my room.
Jake: Do you use that line on all the girls?
Hamilton: All what girls?
Jake: Like, other than me.
Hamilton: There are no other girls.
Jake: I didn’t even intend for that to be a trick question…and still he answers beautifully.
Hamilton: Uh-huh….come see my room.
Jake: Well, so, is that code for “let’s go make out?”
Hamilton: No…it’s code for “you’ve never seen my room before and I kind of doubt my mom’s going to let you up there while she’d here so while no one is here…come see my room.”
Hamilton pulls her gently and with a playful pleading, but she resists.
Jake: We’re skipping school…in the dean’s house.
Hamilton: It’s no big deal. We go to all those stupid class like almost every day.
Jake: Is that supposed to be logic?
Slightly offended, he drops her hand and looks almost angry.
Hamilton: Is that supposed to be an insult?
Jake gives him an apologetic look. She shakes her head.
Jake: I’m sorry Hamilton.
Hamilton: So…you’re cool with not going back to class?
Jake nods her head.
Hamilton cont’d: Good because I was so not in the mood to deal with Mr. Gordon this afternoon.
They look at one another for a moment.
Hamilton cont’d: So…you going to come see my room?
Jake: Hamilton, God, If you say that phrase one more time I—
Hamilton: Why are you being weird about this? We hang out in your room like all the time.
Jake looks down. She shakes her head as if to suggest he’s off base. He won’t drop his questioning look, though. She sighs and smiles, slightly embarrassed… as if finally deciding to tell him why she’s hesitant.
Jake: I-I’ve never been in a guy’s room.
Hamilton: Are you kidding me? You live in a guy’s room.
Jake: I mean…I’ve never been with a guy alone in his room. It’s got to be ascending to the next level.
Jake smiles at him, but still looks a little scared.
Hamilton: Look, Jacqueline…going to a guy’s room doesn’t like equal sex…I mean, if that’s what you’re worried about.
She looks down and smiles.
Hamilton: Unless of course….
Hamilton: What? I was kidding. You know that was a joke. It’s not like I want to have sex with you…
Jake: God, let me see your room. I want to go see your room.
He raises his eyebrows and smirks. He takes her hand and leads her out of the kitchen.
(cut to): Hamilton’s room. The door opens and Hamilton walks in. He’s still holding Jake’s hand and he leads her in. He lets go of her hand and steps out of her way. He closes the door half way as Jake looks around.
Jake (approvingly): Nice room.
She walks around and checks everything out. She runs her finger along his dresser as she walks by it and picks up or touches various things as she walks around. He watches her the whole time. She pulls out his swivel desk chair and sits down. Then she turns around to face him. He eases onto the bed and lies down on his side, supporting his head with his hand. They look at each other briefly, but Jake looks away at his Fender electric guitar which is on a stand between the end of his bed and the door. She nods toward it.
Jake: So, do you actually play that thing or do you just use it to impress the ladies?
Ham smiles mischievously as he hops up and goes over to the guitar. He picks it up and puts the strap around his neck. He flips on the amp while at the same time grabbing a pick that is laying on top of the amp. He sits down on the edge of his bed, facing Jake. He plays a few chords and adjusts a few strings. He looks up smiling at Jake. He starts playing Got You Where I Want You by The Flys…he sings too. Who knew?
(cut to): Jake. At first she laughs because she recognizes the song and that he finally does have her where he wants her…ha ha ha. As she realizes that he does have some talent, she looks pleasantly surprised. Then, she then looks up and looks worried.
(cut to): The door as Hamilton’s dad reaches down and turns off the amp. Hamilton stops playing.
He looks back and sees his dad who looks really mad.
(dissolve to): The trig classroom. Mr. Gordon is going over some problem on the board. The shot starts the same as the one in Finn’s class...from the side.
(cut to): A shot of the class. Several people have their heads on their desks and seem to be sleeping. Will and Scout sit next to one another on the second row.
Will (whispered): Hey, you still want to study for history tonight?
Scout (whispered): Yeah, I could use your help on that Andrew Jackson stuff.
Will (whispered): Cool. Just come by Friendly’s when my shift gets over tonight.
Scout (whispered): Okay. Hey, do you think--
(cut to): Mr. Gordon.
Mr. Gordon: Scout, Will...something more exciting than this thrilling lecture on the sin curve?
Several people snicker.
Scout shakes his head.
Will: No, sir. Sorry.
Mr. Gordon: Good, then I suppose I may continue.
There’s a knock at the door.
Mr. Gordon: Or, perhaps not.
The dean walks in, escorting Jake and Hamilton. Mr. Gordon walks over and talks to Dean Fleming, but we don’t hear what they say. Mr. Gordon nods his head and gives Jake and Ham a dirty look as they take their seats behind Scout and Will.
When they all talk, it’s in whispers...no one else hears them. The dean and the teacher are still at the front of the room talking.
Scout: Got busted, huh?
Jake: And then we got lectured and lectured and...just when I thought it was over...we got lectured some more. We missed more class due to time spent telling us why cutting class was bad than we would have if we just cut class.
Hamilton looks over at her.
Hamilton: I feel long term grounding coming.
Scout: You just skipped a few classes, man.
Will: Yeah, it’s pretty mild considering what you could have been caught doing.
Hamilton: You don’t understand...it’s like he rarely separates the role of dean and the role of dad. I’ve been following school rules my whole life.
Jake looks at him. He looks at her for a second, but puts his head down on his desk. Scout and Will look at each other then at Jake. They all look at Hamilton sympathetically, but then Ham’s dad leaves and Mr. Gordon starts lecturing again.
(cut to): Edmund High. We get an establishing shot to know where we are.
(cut to): inside Edmund High. Everyone is leaving for the day. Sean and Bella walk out of a classroom together. Bella opens a locker near the classroom door. Sean looks upset. He slides down to the floor and leans against another locker. He puts his head back and closes his eyes.
Bella: It’s going to be fine, Sean.
Sean: No, it’s not. If I mess up on this test then my grade goes into the unrecoverable zone. I don’t want to be inelligible for baseball in the Spring because of geometry.
Bella closes her locker and puts on her bookbag. Sean gets up. They start walking down the hall together.
Bella: Think you’d want to study together? I mean, I think I get this stuff.
Sean: That’d be really awesome, Bella.
Bella: Okay...so wanna come by the garage tonight and we’ll work on it?
Sean: Sure. I can make it at about six if that works for you.
Bella: Sounds good.
They reach the door and walk out together.
Commercial Break: So, did you know that Wheatus sings more that Teenage Dirtbag? You would if you checked out there site already!
(fade to): Will riding his bike. He looks thoughtful...like maybe he’s contemplating Finn’s assignment.
(cut to): the garage office. Bella sits at the desk working on homework (like, same place she was sitting when she was writing that letter to Scout’s dad). She has several books opened and is attempting to write something. She erases what she has just written and looks up as Will rides his bike up to Friendly’s. He hops off and parks and then looks over. When he sees Bella, he waves. She waves and then motions for him to come over. He jogs over and comes inside.
Will: You look like you’re working hard.
Bella looks up at him hopelessly, but with a smile.
Will: What are you working on? What class?
Bella: Creative writing. I signed up for the class because I figured, “hey, Krudski does it all the time, how hard could it be?”
Bella cont’d: Then I remembered “Krudski’s a writer”…and I’m a townie girl who works on cars. I’m probably the least creative person I know. How much imagination could it possibly take to change a tire?
Will: Hey, first of all, you have a wonderful imagination…we used to play make believe together, remember?
Will: Your world of pretend was always more elaborate, beautiful and creative than mine.
Bella: Well, I wish I could conjure up some of that creativity right now. I mean listen to this:
She picks up a half sheet of paper that contains her assignment.
Bella cont’d: “What is beauty?” That’s all it says.
Will takes the paper from her and looks at it. He looks up at her (the look is key…it’s like he reads the question and looks up at her like she’s the answer. It’s really one of the first glimpses of a romantic tension that we’re trying to build between them. It’s subtle, though. Bella doesn’t pick up on it, but Will does. This look has to convey that he realizes it, but is surprised by it. When he starts speaking, it’s almost an attempt to push the thought out of his head).
Will: Bella, it’s not even necessarily about imagination. It’s more about understanding what you’re writing about…the creativity’s just going to come from that.
Bella (feigning unappreciative-ness): Thanks, Will. Abstract advice. Thanks.
Will: It’s kind of an abstract assignment…
Bella: Yeah, maybe that’s the problem.
Will: Hey, you know what? I’ve got to go to work now…
He starts to back out the room.
Will: But I’m going to think about this and I’ll be back when my shift is over, ok? About six?
Bella: Will, you don’t have to—
Will: Yeah, I know. I’ll see you later. I’m off to ponder beauty as I serve burgers and bus tables.
He waves as he walks backwards out the door.
(cut to): Bella who shakes her head and smiles.
(cut to): Jake who is at her computer typing. There is a knock. Jake looks around her room quickly as if to make sure there’s nothing revealing around then looks back at her screen.
Jake: Come in.
Jill walks in and shuts the door.
Jill (pleasantly): Hey bitch.
She turns around and finishes reading what’s on her screen.
Jake: My mom says hi. She hopes you’re enjoying Rawley Girls’ as much as me.
Jill: Tell her hi back when you write her.
Jill sits down on Jake’s bed.
Jill: Well, gee, I was going to come in here and act pissed that you stood me up today...
Jake turns around in her chair so that she’s facing Jill.
Jake: Hey, Jill, I’m really sorry.
Jill: Nah, it’s ok. I mean, sure I had to be subjected to the ambiguously nice Ryder...and then Scout and I missed lunch...I’m still starving by the way, but--
Jake: Wait...did you just use Ryder and nice in the same sentence?
Jake gets up and goes over to her dresser and opens a few drawers, looking for something.
Jill: Well, he was doing this whole school bully routine and then we started talking about you and Hamilton...suddenly he turned into Prince Charming.
Jake pulls a bag of Oreos out of her dresser drawer. She walks over and hands it to Jill then sits back down at her desk.
Jake: That does sound suspicious.
Jill: Scout said that too.
She pulls out an oreo and twists it opened, she offers half to Jake who takes it. They eat a couple of the cookies throughout the scene with the same ritual.
Jake: Scout, huh? He really likes you.
Jill: God, don’t say stuff like that. Like, he smiles and I want to melt.
Jake: Well, quit torturing the boy and tell him.
Jake gets up and straightens up her room while they talk.
Jill: No way. I mean, he’s so cute.
Jake gives her a “uh-huh…” look (this business about him being cute…they’re referring mostly to his personality).
Jill: I’m afraid it would only end in a huge heap of...heartache and hurt feelings.
Jake: What if it didn’t?
Jill looks like she’s thinking about it. She kind of changes the subject:
Jill: He opened a door for me today.
Jake: I can’t believe you fall for stuff like that. It’s so old-fashioned and arc--
Jill: Arcane...I’ve heard your little spiel before. I still think your misusing that word...arcane means--
Jake: I know what it means.
Jill: How is it that you’re such a femi-nazi anyway? Aside from this recent...
She gestures up and down at Jake’s “boy” costume.
Jill: ...whatever, you’re a pampered princess who still has pink bedroom walls back home.
Jake: I am a bit of a contradiction, I guess.
Jill: Just a bit. Anyway, have fun with Hamilton?
Jake stops cleaning up. She lays down on the bed.
Jake: We got caught skipping...at the dean’s house...by the dean...It was not pretty. Hamilton’s grounded forever and my mom was this close to getting a call from the dean about her “son.”
They are both quiet for a moment as Jill looks around. Suddenly, she hands Jake the bag of Oreos.
(cut to): Will at Friendly’s. No one is there. He wipes down the counter and looks through the window toward the garage.
(cut to): Will’s point of view. Bella is still sitting at the desk, doing homework.
(cut to): Will. He continues to look at her for a few seconds then looks away quickly. He pulls a pen out of his pocket and grabs a napkin. He jots something down...a few sentences, but we don’t see it. A customer walks in and he puts it into his pocket. He looks back briefly at Bella before greeting the customer.
(cut to): Finn’s place. We’re assuming that he lives on campus... in the dorms. His place is actually an apartment. The decor is much like that of the rest of the school, except that there are various indications that it’s definitely Finn’s place. There are several book shelves and an old desk in the corner with an old type writer on it. There’s a laptop on the coffee table. Scattered about the apartment are cd’s although most are piled around a pretty nice stereo system. Oh yeah, Finn and Kate are on the couch. Kate is lying down and Finn is leaning over her kissing her.
Finn: Tell me why we haven’t been doing this for the past 4 months?
Kate: ..I have a husband and a son...who are probably wondering where the hell I’m am.
She tucks her shirt in and tries to fix her hair. Finn lies down on the couch and watches her.
Finn: If you say stop...if you say you can’t do this...I’ll understand.
Kate: I know.
She bends down and kisses him.
Kate cont’d: I have to go now.
Finn: I know. Go home.
Kate nods and opens the door. She leaves, shutting the door behind her.
Finn: Why do I have to be the one to make everything wrong?
(dissolve to): Will as he leaves Friendly’s and picks up his bike. He walks it over to the garage and lets it fall to the ground. He walks up to the door and knocks. After a moment, Bella opens the door.
Bella: Hey. Come in.
Will: Hey. Come out. We’re getting out of here.
Will walks over and climbs on his bike. He nods for her to come over.
Bella: I’m guessing I should get my bike?
Will: What, my handlebars aren’t good enough for you?
Bella: Ok, let me get my notebook.
She starts to turn to go back inside.
Will: Huh-uh. Just come on.
Bella shakes her head and laughs, but walks over to the bike.
Bella: What have I gotten myself into?
(fade in): Sean at the garage. He is wearing his backpack. He knocks on the door. After a minute, Grace comes to the door.
Sean: Hi Gracie, can I come in?
Grace steps back and holds the door. Sean starts to walk in, but stops and looks over at Grace.
Sean: Bella’s here right?
Grace: Oh, you wanted to see her? She’s not here.
Sean steps back out the door.
Sean: Well, is she going to be right back?
Grace: I don’t know. I just got here.
Sean looks confused. He looks at his watch then looks around.
Sean: Thanks Grace.
She shuts the door. Sean looks a little mad, more upset. He turns around, facing toward Friendly’s and looks up.
(cut to): A shot from Sean’s point of view. Scout walks out of Friendly’s and looks around, shaking his head. He looks up and sees Sean.
Scout: Hey, Sean.
Scout jogs across the street.
(cut to): Sean as Scout walks up.
Scout: Have you seen Will?
Sean shakes his head.
Sean: Have you seen Bella?
Scout raises his eyebrows.
Scout: No, I haven’t…
They both avoid eye contact, but are silent.
Sean: Well, bye.
He starts to walk over to his bike. The rest of their conversation is friendly, pleasant banter. Something you’d expect to hear between Sean and Will.
Scout: Sean. I think I’m behind, are we still trying to hate each other, for the sake of masculinity and all?
Sean turns around. He smiles.
Sean: I think…I think last we met, you were mad because that girl Jill, the one you have that crush on, was into me.
Scout: In--into you? Please…like Jill would ever go for you.
Sean: I don’t know, kid, you better hope she would.
Scout: And, why’s that?
Sean: ‘Cause…a girl that likes me would actually be secretly pining over you.
Scout looks at Sean apologetically.
Sean cont’d: So, did you and Will have big plans tonight?
Scout: Hardly. We were going to study for history. Mostly, he was going to clue me in on Andrew Jackson. I don’t get that guy.
Sean: Andrew Jackson? We just had a test in history and there was a lot about him. I made an A on that…(he pauses)…Bella was going to help me study for this geometry test we have tomorrow. Sine…cosine...tangent…who cares?
Scout: Are you kidding? I love that stuff.
They look at each other like they may have found solutions to their respective problems.
(cut to): Bella and Will. They’re riding on Will’s bike…Bella’s on the handlebars.
Will: Okay, right there.
(cut to): a group of kids playing tag on a lawn.
Will cont’d: Youth, filled with innocence, together in jubilee. It’s just a game of tag, but it’s beautiful. Go.
Bella looks around. She nods over to something.
(cut to): an old oak tree.
Bella: Nature. Most anything in nature is beautiful in some respect.
Will: Well, all right, Thoreau. Now, look over there.
He points to a house on the opposite side of the street.
(cut to): An elderly couple sitting on a porch swing. They’re holding hands and talking.
Will cont’d: That’s pretty beautiful. They’ve probably been in love for like 50 years. As trite as it sounds, love is pretty darn beautiful. You’re turn.
Bella: Let me think…
(cut to): Friendly’s. Sean and Scout are at a table.
Scout: So, basically, he made a lot of people mad?
Sean: Yeah. Probably the worst was the Indian Removal Act of 1930. He basically wanted to get rid of all the Native Americans in Florida.
Scout: Right. The Trail of Tears. I know about that.
Sean: Cool. I think you’re set, man.
Scout: Well, what about you?
Sean: I think me and geometry are a lost cause, man.
Scout: No, no way. Look, ever hear of that great chief of that lost tribe?
Scout: See, it’s like this acronym to remember how to find the sine, cosine and tangent.
Scout picks up a pencil and starts writing on a piece of paper. Sean watches.
Scout: See, Sine equals the length of the opposite side over the length of the adjacent side. And Cosine equals the length of the adjacent side over the hypotenuse. And Tan—
Sean (excited): Tangent equals the length of the opposite over the length of the adjacent. Okay, that’s pretty cool.
(cut to): The lake by the docks. It’s dusk as they pull up. Bella hops off the bike. Will nods for her to follow as he walks down the dock and takes a seat at the end. She comes and sits next to him. Neither of them speaks for a few seconds. Will looks over at Bella.
Will: Come on, it’s still your turn.
Bella looks at him and smiles as if she’s finally got an answer.
Bella: Ok. You, Will Krudski, you are beautiful.
Will smiles shyly.
Bella: Because you’re a good friend.
She kind of pats him on the head in a friendly gesture.
Bella cont’d: Friendship is beauty.
Will looks down, almost disappointed. He quickly perks up, though.
Will: Ok, now, I have something for you.
Will reaches into his pocket and pulls out the napkin. He hands it to her.
Will: I remembered this today at work. It’s Emerson.
Bella (reading aloud): “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”
She looks up at him.
Will: See, all that beauty you found today…
He picks up her hand and puts it over her heart. He holds his hand over hers.
Will cont’d: It really came from in here.
Bella looks at him, understanding and appreciating the connection. Will is still holding her hand over her heart. They look at each other for more than a brief second. Then, at the same time, they both look down. Will seems to realize he’s still touching her. He drops his hand. She watches it fall then tucks her hair behind her ear. Will watches her until she looks up at him again, then he looks off across the lake. Bella looks at him until he looks back, then she looks away. They look at each other and laugh. The moment is still a little awkward.
Bella: Thanks, Will.
Will: Sure. I hope this really helped with your essay. I have to write one for Finn. It is on a topic I was pretty sure I understood, but suddenly I’m not so sure.
She squints at him and gives him a questioning look. He smiles at her and then turns toward the sun which is setting. She looks too. They sit there for another few seconds without saying anything. Bella runs her hand up Will’s arm and across his shoulders, placing her hand on his other shoulder. She puts her head on his shoulder.
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(cut to): Hamilton in his room. He’s at his desk, working on homework. We hear Hamilton’s parents down stairs.
(cut to): Hamilton’s kitchen. His parents are both there. Kate’s just come in.
Steve: You can’t just leave campus for the day.
Kate: All my classes are in the morning. I taught my classes then went up to Carson to pick up some much needed supplies. I think you’re over-reacting a little bit, honey.
Steve: Really? And do you think I might have also over-reacted when I came home to look for you and found our son skipping class. He was up in his room playing some unbearable song on that guitar you insisted on getting him. He had some friend with him too. Guess he thought he’d be some big man on campus…cutting class and going to the dean’s house.
Kate: It’s his house too. What friend was it?
Steve: Uh, Jake Pratt. I find him rather odd. I don’t know that I want Hamilton hanging around him anyway.
Kate: Jake is a bit unusual, but he’s also Hamilton’s best friend.
Steve: Best friend? Didn’t he get kicked off the crew team? I’d think Hamilton would choose his friends more wisely.
Kate (condescendingly): I think he chose very carefully, dear.
Steve (loudly): You think you can come home and play the good parent while I have to be the tough guy? Is that it?
Kate: God, do you always have to over-react?
Steve: If you didn’t under-react all the time I wouldn’t have to be the only one setting rules.
Kate: Where is this coming from? Why are you picking a fight?
(cut to): Hamilton’s room. He’s sitting at his desk doing homework. He looks up as he hears them yelling.
Steve: I don’t know, in one day my wife and my son completely disregard the fact that there are important—
(cut to): the kitchen
Kate: Rules?! Is that life? Regarding a series of rules? Are you living well if you follow the rules? Is your life bad if for once you break a rule? God, Steve, drop the dean act for just half a second.
Steve: I’m not going to continue this discussion with you. Hamilton cuts class, he gets punished like any other student.
Kate (she lowers her voice): Maybe you should try being a father instead of a dictator. You’d be surprised what a wonderful person he’s turning into…and he’s not doing it by following “the rules.”
(cut to): Jake’s room. Jill’s still there. Jake’s still lying on her bed, but Jill is sitting at the computer.
Jill (excitedly): Oh my God, this says that Liz is going to be an alien too.
Jake sits up and tries to read over her shoulder.
Jake: God, so are she and Max going to get back together already?
Jill: Um, it says--
The door opens and Ryder walks in. Jake turns her head and gives him a dirty look.
Jake: God, can you knock?
Ryder sits down on her bed, leaning against her headboard. He smiles.
Jake: Have you lost it?
Ryder: Nice to see you too, Jake. Hello again, Jillian.
The phone rings. Jake abandons her efforts to get rid of Ryder to answer the phone.
Hamilton: Hey Jacqueline.
Jake: Hey...what’s up?
(cut to): Hamilton. He’s kind of pacing around as he talks.
Hamilton: My parents are arguing…what’s going on?
(cut to): Jake.
Jake: Oh, the usual. Jill is on my computer trying to find Roswell spoilers and Ryder is on my bed.
(cut to): Hamilton
(cut to): Jake’s room. Ryder smiles smugly up at her from the bed then looks over at Jill and smiles nicely.
Jake: Yeah he just barged in and now refuses to leave.
Jill: I knew that charming wasn’t a common personality trait.
Ryder feigns being hurt and offended.
(cut to): Hamilton
Hamilton: Well, I’m coming over there right now.
(cut to): Jake’s room. Ryder gets up. Jake watches him as she talks:
Jake: Don’t you think we managed to break enough school rules today without—
Ryder takes the phone from her.
Ryder: Ham, is that you, love?
(cut to): Hamilton. He stops pacing.
Hamilton: Ryder, I swear, if I was there…
He looks up as his dad raises his voice again.
Ryder: We’re all just trying to have a good time, (away from the phone) right Jake?…what’s this need to be threatening?
Steve: Obviously there’s a lot going on that I don’t know about.
Hamilton walks over to the door to hear better, but has no luck.
Hamilton (distracted): Just leave her alone.
(cut to): Jake’s room. Ryder has turned away from Jake and Jill. He raises his eyebrows. He turns back around to face Jill. Jill quickly grabs the phone from Ryder and gives it back to Jake. Ryder looks at Jill, as if he is wondering if Hamilton meant her. He then looks over at Jake who is talking to Hamilton. He doesn’t look convinced. He turns back to Jill.
Ryder: I didn’t mean any harm…someone has to create conflict.
He turns around and leaves.
Jake: No, no it’s under control. He’s gone anyway. I’ll just see you tomorrow.
(cut to): Hamilton
Hamilton: Okay. I love you.
(cut to): Jake.
Jake: I love you too.
Jake presses the button to disconnect. Jill shakes her head.
Jill: Gross display of affection…and yet, I’m still inclined to say “aww…”
Jake smiles and looks embarrassed.
Jill: Anyway…is Ryder always—
Jake: Such a total jerk? Yes. He hates me.
Jill raises her eyebrows and shakes her head.
Jill: I don’t know…there’s something going on there.
Jake shakes her head and laughs.
Jake: You’re crazy…
(cut to): Friendly’s. Sean and Scout walk out together.
Sean: Scout, man, I cannot thank you enough. I can’t believe that I actually feel ready for this test tomorrow, and we didn’t even spend all that long on it. You just helped me with those connections that I wasn’t making.
Scout: Awesome. And thank you for helping me out. I mean, aren’t we just the unlikely, but efficient pair?
Sean: So, think we should be worried about Will and Bella?
Scout looks over at him, maybe about to ask for clarification of the question when he looks up.
(cut to): A long shot of Will and Bella as they pull up in front of the garage.
(cut to): Sean and Scout. Sean and Scout trade a similar, kind of jokingly suspicious look.
(cut to): A medium shot of Bella and Will. Bella looks across the street.
Bella: Oh no.
Will looks over at them.
Bella: I was supposed to meet Sean at 6:30 and help him study for geometry.
Will: Uh oh. I was supposed to study history with Scout.
(cut to): Sean and Scout
Scout: Think we should go over and tell them we don’t need them?
Sean: As long as we have each other, bro…
(cut to): Bella and Will.
Bella: Oh, man, those two are going to kill us.
Will: Wait, they’re hanging out now?
Bella: Yeah, Sean and Scout hang time is rarely witnessed.
Will: That’s because it rarely occurs…actually, it never occurs.
(cut to): Scout and Sean as they start to walk over.
Bella: This has got to be an interesting story.
Will: I’m kind of scared…
(dissolve to): Jake’s room. It’s obviously much later. She’s alone now, in her pajamas. She’s about to climb into bed. She’s pulling the covers back when there is a knock. Jake is startled.
Jake: Who—(she lowers her voice a bit) who is it?
Hamilton (whispered): Hey, it’s me.
She walks over and unlocks it. She opens the door just enough for him to get in then shuts it and locks it. As she does that she speaks:
Jake: You shouldn’t be here. Did you sneak out?
She turns around to face Hamilton. He’s wearing sweat pants and a hooded sweatshirt. His cheeks are flushed because it was cold outside. He looks noticeably upset…maybe even like he’s been crying.
Jake: Whoa, what’s wrong?
He sits down on the edge of her bed. She sits next to him.
Jake: You don’t have to talk about it. You don’t have to shut me out either, though…
She takes his hand. He looks over at her and touches her cheek. He leans toward her and kisses her briefly.
(cut to): A close-up. When he stops kissing her, he doesn’t pull away at all. He remains very close and holds eye contact. He licks his lips and swallows.
Hamilton: I don’t ever want to shut you out.
Jake gives a small nod. He kisses her again. This time Hamilton does pull back.
Hamilton: I was trying to go to sleep and my parents were arguing.
He takes her hand, but doesn’t look at her as he speaks.
Hamilton cont’d: And, it scares me, you know? I mean, maybe this is just a little bump in the road or maybe it’s the start of something more severe.
Jake: I’m sure they’ll work it out.
Hamilton: It just shows that something like love can be so beautiful…but it can get ugly really fast. It seems so unstable.
He looks up at her.
Hamilton: Anyway, I had to get out of there. They’ll never notice I’m gone.
Jake: Do you want to stay here?
He gives her a teasing half smile.
Jake: Sleep here, I mean.
He looks at her seriously and nods. He stands up and pulls off his sweatshirt (it was the only shirt he had on). Jake gets under the covers and lies down. Hamilton gets in, facing her. He runs his fingers along her cheek and through her hair. As they talk, they’re sort of falling asleep.
Hamilton: You sure this is ok? I know we’ve slept together…next to each other…before, but…I mean, I know how you feel about taking this to another…level.
Instead of responding, she moves a little closer to him. She closes her eyes. He closes his eyes too.
Hamilton: Thank you.
Jake: For what?
Hamilton: For being here…just for being.
(cut to): The beginning scene. Right where we left off. They haven’t spoken. Will looks like maybe he’s about to. Scout and Hamilton walk in. Hamilton is carrying a football. They see Finn and look a little surprised. Will and Finn trade knowing glances. Finn gets up.
Finn: I’ll see you all in class tomorrow. I expect wonderful essays.
He walks out.
Scout: Why’s he always hanging out in our room?
Hamilton: Give him a break, he’s like the only teacher who lives on campus.
Will looks up at Hamilton, then back down almost shaking his head. He picks up a notebook, sticks his pencil behind his ear and gets up.
Will: I’ll see you guys later. I have to get this thing written.
They look at each other and shrug.
(cut to): Will on the dock. He sits there with the notebook in his lap. He looks around. Suddenly, he takes the pencil from behind his ear. He starts writing. He smiles, nodding his head.
(cut to): Hamilton in Jake’s room. He’s lying on the bed, tossing the football into the air. Jake is standing next to the bed watching.
Jake: Been home yet?
Hamilton: Well, not since this morning. My mom made me some eggs and told me I’m not grounded. That she and my dad decided they’d let me slip by this time.
Hamilton tosses the ball again and Jake grabs it. He gets up and tries to take it back. She turns away from him and he wraps his arms around her to try and reach it. She laughs and keeps it from him. He gives up and lets go of her.
Hamilton: Want to go outside and toss it around? Scout declined when I asked him…something about his eye.
Jake: I was your second choice, huh?
She grabs his chin and kisses him then starts to go outside. Hamilton smiles, but doesn’t follow her. She turns around.
Hamilton: We could stay here instead.
Jake grabs his hand and pulls him toward the door.
Jake: Come on….
(cut to): Scout sitting at his desk working.
(cut to): The opened door as Jill walks in.
Jill: Hi Scout.
Scout looks up. He smiles at her (one of the ones that makes her want to melt).
(cut to) A long shot of the room so we can see them both.
Scout: What’s up?
She smiles nervously.
Jill: I…you’re busy.
Scout closes his book and stands up.
Scout: Not really.
She looks away. She opens her mouth as if she’s about to speak, but closes it again.
She looks at him again. She tucks her hair behind her ears. She smiles and takes a deep breath. She walks over quickly and kisses him. He is taken aback, but starts to kiss her back. After a few seconds, they stop and Jill takes a step back. Scout looks pleasantly shocked. Jill smiles. She kind of nods to herself.
She turns around and walks out.
(cut to): Scout. He tilts his head and exhales. He stands there smiling in disbelief.
(cut to): The Rawley Academy lawn. Ryder is under a tree reading a car magazine. He has his headphones on. He happens to look up.
(cut to): Jake and Ham as they start throwing the ball back and forth.
(cut to): Ryder. He just watches.
(cut to): Jake as she catches the ball, almost awkwardly.
(cut to): Ryder. Jill pulls off his headphones and sits next to him.
Jill: Take a picture.
He looks at her like she’s crazy.
Jill: Take a picture…it’ll last longer…it’s just an expression we have here.
Ryder: I’ve heard it.
They don’t say anything for a minute.
Jill: God, it’s such a beautiful day.
Ryder: That’s not what’s beautiful from where I’m sitting, doll.
He leans over like he might kiss her. She pushes him back hard and rolls her eyes.
(fade to black)
(fade to): A classroom at Edmund High on Friday. Bella stands in front of her class. She’s midway through her essay. She’s been giving various examples of beauty.
Bella: And that’s why friendship is beautiful. As you can see, beauty comes in many forms. If you think in only one dimension then maybe you perceive beauty as something physical. Add a second dimension and beauty becomes something like pure emotion or harmonious interaction.
(cut to): Finn’s classroom. Everyone is leaving to go to lunch. As they walk out they hand in their papers. Will is last.
Bella (voice over) cont’d: But, a complete perception of beauty isn’t attainable unless you have and can find beauty in yourself. You see the third dimension comes from within you.
Finn sits down at his desk and starts reading.
Will (voice over): Understanding life and understanding myself are two completely different types of comprehension.
It’s easy to understand other people, or at least to make judgments. But, when it’s me, it’s harder. It’s so difficult to understand what’s going on within myself. Sometimes, there are just so many conflicting emotions.
(cut to): Bella. The class is clapping as she sits down.
Will (v.o.) cont’d: Feelings that cannot be articulated. Feelings that, no matter how hard you try, can’t be translated into words. (cut to): Will. Walking down the hall, all by himself.
Will (v.o.) cont’d: Unfortunately, you can’t truly understand life until you understand yourself. A newspaper man, Horace Greeley, once said “The height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment.” So, I charge on and plunge into…my soul. The journey is not an easy one and the obstacles shift with every thought I have. In the end, I know I’ll be able to find my “self.” And I’m hoping to find a little beauty too.
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