On Your Mark

 

(fade in): to Finn and Johanna’s house.

Will (voice over): I’ve always been a firm believer that life is nothing more than a series of new beginnings.

(cut to): the living room.  Johanna sits on the couch with a photo album propped up on her pregnant stomach.

Will (v.o.) cont’d: With each new beginning comes a first.

(cut to): the photo album over Johanna’s shoulder.  There are several pictures of a female toddler walking unsteadily.  Written next to one are the words “Meagan’s first steps.”

Will (v.o.) cont’d: Life as we know it really begins with our first steps.  They lead us to our first day of school, which eventually becomes our first day of high school.

(cut to): Edmund High School.

(cut to): the cafeteria.  Bella and Sean walk into frame carrying trays.

Music: It’s Undeniable by MxPx

Sean: I can’t believe Ms. Ryan’s already gone for the year.  She isn’t even due for another month, right?

Bella: Three weeks, I think.  Her doctor ordered her to stay home, though.

Sean: Well, substitutes suck…at least that one did.

Bella: Think we should go back and wake her up?

Sean laughs as he and Bella find seats at an empty table.

Will (v.o.) cont’d: In high school we find our first crush…

Bella glances at Sean as he looks around.

Will (v.o.) cont’d: …and sometimes, our first love.

Sean looks up at Bella.  He smiles when he meets her gaze.

Will (v.o.) cont’d: And then there is a whole other set of firsts at the center of which is…

Bella: So, are you excited about prom?

Will (v.o.) cont’d: …prom.

Sean shrugs.

Sean: A formal dance?  Not exactly my first choice of how to spend a Friday night, but…I guess it’ll be fun.

Bella: Is Jill psyched?

Sean: Yeah…she’s really into school dances apparently.

Bella: Yeah…I think it’s more like she’s into you, Sean.

Sean shrugs again.

Sean: Hey, you’re going, right?

Bella is about to speak when Grace sits down at the table with them.

Grace: Yes.  She is.

Bella: No.  I’m not.

Grace: You have to.

Bella looks at Sean who is trying to follow.

Bella: Grace thinks I’m wasting a privilege since only juniors and seniors are allowed to go to prom.

Sean nods to express his understanding.

Bella: But….there’s no way I’m going.

Grace rolls her eyes and takes a bite of her lunch.

Will (v.o.) cont’d: For some, prom is a rite of passage filled with first dances and first kisses.

(cut to): Will and Gwen as they sit outside also having lunch.  Will is inspecting an order form.

Will: We do want pictures, right?

Gwen smiles.

Gwen: I think it will be a night I want to remember.

Will nods, looking back at the order from.  Gwen glances over at it.

Gwen cont’d: Go for package B.  I mean, unless you want the key ring picture holder that comes with package A.

Will laughs.

Will: Package B is it.

Will goes back to the order form, looking sad.

Will (v.o.) cont’d: For me, though, it’s the first step toward an inevitable end.  First prom…then the end of classes…then graduation.  And then…she’ll be gone

Gwen looks up at Will again. She puts her hand on top of his.  He looks up at her, smiling but still sad.

Will (v.o.) cont’d: And this will be over.  So, right now, prom is a first that scares the hell out of me…

(fade out)

 

Opening Credits

 

Commercial Break: Okay, first things first.  Have you read Either Way by Mae and Estee yet?  If you answered “no”…well…then…we think you should J.  It takes place right after Fast Forward and has the beginnings of a few of your favorite Open Uppers.  Plus…Sam Banks.  And, it’s got a kickass soundtrack.  Trust us, if you like New Beginnings (and, if you don’t…why would you be reading this?), then you’ll like Either Way.  Really J.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of Sean’s house.

Music: Stay (Wasting Time) by The Dave Matthews Band

(cut to): a shoebox.  We pan away past two other shoeboxes then stop on a pair of female feet in strappy silver pumps.

Jill: What do you think?

Sean: I think they make you taller than me.

A pair of sock-clad boy’s feet step into the frame.

(cut to): a shot of Jill and Sean standing in front of each other.  Jill’s got on a pair of jeans which she’s rolled up to her calf.  Much to Sean’s dismay, Jill is in fact, slightly taller than him in the heels.

Jill: It’s because you’re in your socks.  Once you have dress shoes on, we’ll be even.  And anyway, who cares if I’m taller?

Sean: Height is one of my only advantages over you.  Don’t take that away from me.  Wear the flats?

Jill laughs.

Jill: So, how was your meeting?

Sean: Oh, terrible.

Jill looks concerned.

Sean cont’d: I’ve got this last minute prom crisis to deal with, but I’ve got a few ideas.

Jill: Anything I could help with?

Sean: Hm.  Can you twirl fire batons?

Jill gives him a confused look.

Jill: In other words…no?

Sean laughs.

Sean: In other words, I’d rather talk about your shoes than my student government dilemmas.

Jill smiles.

Jill: Okay then…back to my shoes…

Sean: My vote is still with the flats.

Jill: Actually, the flats are a lot more comfortable.

She kicks off the heels and opens another box, pulling out a similar pair of flats.  She sits down on the bed, strapping them on.

Jill cont’d: I definitely need a shoe that will be comfortable after hours of dancing.

Sean stands there watching her. 

Jill cont’d: I mean, I really love high school dances.  The cheesy decorations, the dressing up, the boys…the dancing.

Sean smiles down at her as she rambles and works on the shoes.  He’s been quiet and Jill just notices this.  She glances up at him, catching him watching her.  He starts to look away, but looks back when she speaks to him:

Jill cont’d: You can dance, right?

He smiles to himself then looks serious.

Sean: Would it be a problem if I couldn’t?

Jill has finishes strapping on the shoes.  She stands up.

Jill: Tell me you’re joking?

Sean shrugs.

Sean: You’d teach me if I couldn’t, right?

He puts out his left hand and holds up his right hand.  Jill looks at him disbelievingly.

Jill: Sean…I can’t believe you can’t dance.

She switches the positions of his hands into proper leading position, putting his right arm around her waist.  She takes his left hand and puts her other hand on his shoulder.

Sean: Maybe I wanted you to lead.

Jill: Yeah, right.  Okay, now, you can probably just pick this up.

She glances over at his stereo, which is providing the Dave Matthews song.  She slips away from him for a second and goes over to his stereo.  She picks up the CD and flips it over..

Jill cont’d: Let’s see, old school Dave Matthews…this could work.

She switches the song to Crush.  Sean smiles.

Sean: I love this song.

Jill goes back to join him.

Jill: Okay, just…follow me first then…I’ll follow you, okay?

Sean nods, enjoying this.  Jill takes a step back and Sean follows.  He follows the next few steps, but then steps on her feet.  She looks down at their feet.

Sean: Sorry.

He’s clearly not too sorry as he can’t help smiling.

Jill: It’s okay.  Just…

She looks up at him.  She smiles back.

Jill cont’d: Come on, dancing is serious.  Focus.

Sean: Be the ball…

Jill laughs.

Jill: Shh.  No puns.

Sean steps on her feet again.

Jill cont’d (matter of fact): Ow.

Sean: Maybe you should let me lead.

Jill: I don’t think you’re ready for that yet.

Sean: Oh, I’m ready.

He smiles.

Sean cont’d: Except…you’re too far away.

He lightly pulls her closer, putting his cheek next to hers.  Then Sean gently leads her slowly around the room as they dance.  It’s much smoother than before.  Jill glances over at him suspiciously, but closes her eyes and enjoys the dancing for a moment.  Sean leans a little closer to her and speaks softly into her ear:

Sean cont’d: Is this working for you?

Jill smiles, opening her eyes.  She doesn’t answer him, though.  He talks even more softly:

Sean cont’d: Confession: I know how to dance.

She turns her head to face him, causing his lips to brush her cheek just slightly.  He reflexively leans back a little.  They both try to ignore the closeness.

Jill: You’re pretty good…you lying jerk.

Sean: Thanks…you presumptuous know-it-all.

She laughs, but his arrogant smile has been replaced by a nervous one.  Aware of this, he faces forward again.  She looks at him a moment more then puts her head on his shoulder.  We pull out as they continue to dance to the song.

(cut to): Friendly’s.  Bella, Jake and Hamilton sit at a table together.  Jake and Hamilton are sharing a milkshake as Bella eats a meal.

Music: Mayor of Your Town by Leona Naess

Bella: So, anyway, Grace is heartbroken because sophomores can’t go to the prom.

Jake: That’s weird.  I’m pretty sure everyone can go to our prom. 

Jake looks to Hamilton for confirmation.  He shrugs.

Hamilton: I’m proud to say that the Rawley Academy prom is not my area of expertise.

A beat as Jake looks down then decides to shift the conversation a little.

Jake (to Bella): So you’re not going?

Bella: Nah…I don’t have a date.

This comment interests Hamilton.

Hamilton: Why not?

Bella: Um…

Bella shifts uncomfortably.

Jake: Hamilton, God…what kind of question is that?

Hamilton shrugs and looks at Bella.  Jake looks from Hamilton to Bella, but can’t say anything before her cell phone beeps.  She pulls it out of her pocket and looks at it.

Jake: A message?  It didn’t even ring.  The service around here is so weird.

Hamilton glances at the phone.

Hamilton: The ringer is turned off, Dear.

Hamilton smiles proudly.  Jake blushes a little.

Jake: Oh.

She works at turning the ring back on.

Hamilton: The wonders of the digital age…

He laughs.  Jake rolls her eyes as she dials up her voice mail and listens.  Hamilton glances at Bella again who looks at him curiously.  Jake looks concerned.

Jake: I have to go.  Dexter just left some freaked out message.

Hamilton: Want me to go?  Can I stay?

Jake tilts her head and glances at Bella.

Jake: Yeah, whatever.  I’ll see you later.

She gets up, but Hamilton grabs her and kisses her briefly and gives her an apologetic look.  She nods and smiles.  They’re cool.  She exits.

Bella: God, the two of you can say more without words than most people can with a whole dictionary full of them.

Hamilton: Yeah, well, I guess we just connect like that since I’m not, like, twice her…

He looks at Bella a moment more then shakes his head, looking away.

Hamilton cont’d: …never mind.

Bella: What’s wrong with you today?

He takes a deep breath and looks at her again.

Hamilton: Why can’t you go to the prom with your boyfriend?

Bella: What boyfriend?  What are you talking about?

Hamilton: Bella, I saw you one day…sneaking out of the dorms.

Bella’s jaw drops a little.

Hamilton cont’d: And, I know that you’re seeing—

Bella: Okay, you caught me…I’m seeing a Rawley guy.  So what?

Hamilton cont’d: What kind of “Rawley guy” makes his girlfriend sneak around…and can’t even take her to the prom?

Bella: I think I’m looking at one.

Hamilton scoffs.

Hamilton: That is so not the same thing.

Bella gets smug.

Bella: Oh, really?  How is it different?

Hamilton: Because Nicholas Mann is twenty-three and he’s taking advantage of you.

Bella goes pale.  He really does know.

Bella: I…I don’t know what you’re talking about…

Hamilton: Look, you don’t have to lie to me.  I’m not going to tell anyone.  I just want you to know that I know and that…I don’t like it.

She puts her head in her hands for a moment then looks up at Hamilton.  He sighs.

Hamilton cont’d: I know you have enough people that want to tell you how to run your life—

Bella: Yeah, I do.

Hamilton: I just think that you deserve better than to have your head screwed around with by some jerk-off like Nicholas Mann.  The guy’s a total loser—

Bella: …because why else would he be with me, right?

Hamilton: No, God…not at all.  You’re awesome.  That’s what I’m saying.  He’s the one that’s jacked up.

Bella: I don’t know why you have a problem with Nick, but—

Hamilton: Nick?

Bella: He’s trying really hard to connect with Jake and you just can’t be supportive. 

Hamilton: Wait…you know about that?

Bella nods.

Bella: He told me because…he trusts me.  And…I trust him.  He’s not screwing with my head.  He’s…he’s so wonderful, Hamilton.

Hamilton: A teacher that picks up a student is not wonderful.  Pedophile?  Maybe.  Wonderful?  No.

Bella: It wasn’t like that when we met.  I mean, he didn’t, like, lure me into his Jetta with candy or anything.

Hamilton: Oh, and what did he do?

Bella shrugs.

Bella: He bought me a Coke, okay?

Hamilton: Did you know that you can use Coke to eat corroded acid off your car battery?

Bella: Fine, you don’t want to listen…

She starts to get up.

Hamilton: Okay, I’m sorry.  He bought you a Coke…

She sits back down.

Hamilton cont’d: …and once the GHB wore off…

Bella gives him a dirty look, but the comment makes her smile.

Bella: It’s funny you should say that because when he tried to give me the Coke, I said…

We pull out of the Friendly’s window as Bella continues her story.

(fade out)


Commercial Break: One of Estee’s latest obsessions is California oranges.  No, that isn’t some new punk band.  It’s the fruit, and it’s good.  So, next time you’re at your local grocery store, skip the Florida oranges and hunt down the ones from Cali.  Or, order online.

 

(fade in): to Dexter’s room.  He’s pacing around frantically.  Jake walks in.

Music: Anything by Leona Naess

Jake: Dexter, what’s wrong?

Dexter: I need a makeover.

Jake squints wondering if she heard him correctly.

Jake: Excuse me?

Dexter: I need a makeover.  I have a tux, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough.  Can you help me?

Jake: Dexter…what the hell are you talking about?

Dexter: Prom.  I want to ask someone to our prom.  I want to impress her.  Granted, she told me to be myself, but she would not want to go with myself…I mean, with me to the prom.  I mean, would she?  No…no, definitely not.  I…I’m panicking…

He really is about to hyperventilate.  Jake walks over to him and gets him to sit down on the bed.

Jake: Why don’t I call Jill?

Dexter: Jill…Jill would be perfect.

Jake: Okay…

Jake gives him an amused glance then pulls her cell phone out.

(cut to): Johanna and Finn’s house.

(cut to): Meagan’s bedroom.  Meagan and Mark sit next to each other on the floor, each reading a book.

Mark: So, when’s she having it anyway?

Meagan looks up and over at Mark who continues to read.

Meagan: In a few weeks.  Right now she’s just supposed to stay off her feet.

Mark: Cool.  Am I invited?

Meagan: To what?  The birth?

Mark shrugs.

Mark: Yeah…to the hospital…

Meagan: I don’t know.  Why?  Do you want to come?

Mark: Yeah.

Meagan: Okay…

Mark: I’ve just been thinking about it, you know?

Meagan looks slightly grossed out.

Meagan: Thinking about what?

Mark laughs and looks up at her.

Mark: Babies…the whole thing.  I mean, think about it, two people have sex and nine months later, they have a baby.  Nature is so totally weird.

Meagan: Nature is totally gross.  Didn’t you see that video in science?

Mark smiles.

Mark: Yeah, I thought it was pretty freaking cool.

Meagan rolls her eyes.

Meagan: You’re gross.

Mark: So, like, you don’t want to have kids then.

Mark goes back to his book.  Meagan looks at him with narrowed eyes.

Meagan: I…I didn’t say that.

Mark: Can you imagine us having kids?

Meagan: Us?

Mark looks up at her.  He smiles.

Mark: You know…you having your kids…me having mine…

Meagan laughs.

Meagan: Are you sure you watched that video?

He laughs.  He shakes his head and goes back to his book.

Mark: Dork.

Meagan smiles and continues reading hers.

(cut to): the garage.  Hamilton washes the windows on an unoccupied car while Bella works under the hood.

Hamilton: I totally should have gone with you to New York.

Bella: Well, to be honest, I’m glad you didn’t.

Hamilton: I can’t believe you just lied to him like that.

Bella: I never expected to see him again.  I mean…I can’t believe he’s Jake’s brother.  It’s like…it’s meant to be.

Hamilton looks up at Bella.  She genuinely believes what she’s saying.  Hamilton smiles.

Hamilton: Well, I guess five years really isn’t that many. 

She looks surprised by the comment.

Hamilton cont’d: And the guy has inspired some pretty damn good music.

Bella blushes looking down.  After a moment she looks back up.

Bella: Thank you, Hamilton.

Hamilton: I still don’t think it’s exactly right, but…I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite so...I’m behind you…whatever you need.

Bella smiles.

Bella: Good.  I need some washer fluid.

He laughs and turns to get it, but he turns back.

Hamilton: Didn’t I get off work like…five minutes ago?

Bella: Get me the washer fluid and you can go be with Jake.

Hamilton remembers something.

Hamilton: I wonder what Dexter wanted…

(cut to): Dexter and Hamilton’s room.  Dexter stands in his boxers, a t shirt and socks as Jill paces in front of him and looking him over.  Jake sits on Hamilton’s bed, watching the whole thing.

Dexter: So…what do you think?

Jill: I think you’ve got a lot of potential, Dexter.

He smiles.

Jill: As for improvements…first…the glasses.  Do you have contacts?

Dexter: Yes.

Jill takes the glasses off his face.  She glances over at Jake for approval.  Jake shrugs, but nods. 

Jill: Next, hair.  I mean, parts were nice…in the fifties.

Dexter glances up though he obviously can’t see his own hair.

Jill cont’d: I’m thinking we’ll need gel.

Jake: I have some. 

Jill looks over at Jake the boy.

Jill: You know, “Jake” could use a bit of a makeover too.

Jake: Don’t even think about it.  Jake likes to blend in, not stand out.  Now, focus.

Jake nods over to Dexter.  Jill looks back at him, rubbing her hands together.

(cut to): the newspaper room.  Will and Gwen sit at the table, working on the next and final issue of The Row.

Music: Lift by Flickerstick

Gwen: This is our last Second Opinion column for the year.

Will: It’s our last column together period.

Gwen: What do you think we should write about?

Will: Whatever you want.

Gwen: Are you okay? 

He nods unconvincingly.

Gwen cont’d: Lately, you’ve been so…distant.

Will: I’ve been having trouble thinking about anything except how much I’m going to miss you next year.  What am I going to do without you?

Gwen: I’m going to college, not dying.  We’ll still talk.  We’ll still see each other.

Will: You’ll be in Chicago.  That’s so far away.

Gwen: I know.

She looks down.

Will: I…you know I’m happy for you, right?  I mean, I’m proud of you and impressed by you and…

He trails off.  She smiles.

Gwen: I know.

Will: I guess that’s why I’ve been distant.  I don’t want to make you feel guilty about leaving.

He looks down.

Gwen: Well, I do.

He looks up.

Gwen cont’d: These past few months have been so wonderful, Will.  You have been so wonderful.  I feel guilty about leaving…and even guiltier because…I’ve actually entertained the idea of sticking around New Rawley after I graduate…just to wait for you.

Will (concerned): But, you can’t do that.

Gwen: I know.  I guess I’m just trying to say that I’m going to miss you too and that I’m dreading the proverbial end. 

She reaches out and takes his hand.  Will smiles.

Will: Me too. 

He shakes his head.

Will cont’d: Prom.  It’s like the beginning of the end.

Gwen laughs.

Gwen: Well…I’m kind of looking forward to prom actually.

She runs her thumb over his hand.

Gwen cont’d: I’ve never seen you in a tux.

He blushes.

Will: You know…I’m kind of starting to look forward to it too.

Gwen smiles.

Gwen: Good.  Now…Second Opinion…

(cut to): Dexter and Hamilton’s room.  Jill and Jake sit on Hamilton’s bed, facing the bathroom.

Music: There’s a Fire by Ok Go

Jill: Ready?

Dexter (from bathroom): Um…almost.  I’m putting my contacts in.

Hamilton walks in, pausing to look at Jill and Jake in his room and on his bed.  He closes the door.

Hamilton: Ladies…

Jill: Good.  We need a guy’s opinion on this.

Hamilton: On…what?

He looks at Jake who smiles and shrugs.  Then, the bathroom door opens.  Jake, Jill and Hamilton look over.  Dexter walks out.  His glasses are gone.  His hair is gelled and spiky.  He’s wearing a tuxedo.  He’s a shadow of the dork he used to be. 

Hamilton: This was the emergency?  A dork makeover?

Dexter’s face falls slightly.  Jake and Jill give him a dirty look.

Hamilton cont’d: Hey, come on, I’m just kidding.  You look smooth, Dex.

Dexter: Really?

He’s serious and Hamilton’s opinion seems to mean a lot to him.  He glances and Jill and Jake.

Hamilton: You know what?  I think your work here is done, girls.

They look up at him, a little annoyed.  He raises his eyebrows and nods to the door.  Jake raises her eyebrows back, but he gives her a reassuring nod.  Jake stands up.  Jill sighs and does the same.  Jake talks to Hamilton while Jill walks over to Dexter.

Jill: Knock ‘em dead, tiger.

Dexter laughs.

Dexter: Thank you, Jill.

Jill: Anytime.  I love makeovers.

Hamilton (to Jake): I’m having a late dinner at home.

Jake smiles.

Jake: I’m going to bed early.

Hamilton: I’ll see you tomorrow then?

Jake nods.  They kiss briefly.  Jill sighs and drags Jake out of the room.  Hamilton folds his arms and looks Dexter over.

Hamilton: I can’t believe you went to the women on this.  I could have helped you out.

Dexter: Yeah, well, you don’t have a cell phone.

Hamilton plops down on the bed.

Hamilton: Good point.  So…do they know?

Dexter: Just that there’s a girl I want to ask out. 

Dexter takes a deep breath.

Dexter cont’d: Hamilton, I’m so freaked out.

Hamilton: Yeah, I can see that.  What are you so afraid of?

Dexter: That she’ll say no.  That she’s all ready lost interest in me.  That she’ll laugh in my face. 

Hamilton: First of all, inside scoop, the girl is dying to go to a dance. 

Dexter: But, I want her to go for me.  I mean, I want her to want to go…with me, you know?

Hamilton: Well aren’t you picky?

Hamilton shakes his head.

Hamilton cont’d: You should have asked her a long time ago.  That’s how these things are done, you know?  You and your date decide to go, like, months before.  You don’t ask her two nights before.

Dexter: So…you think it’s too late?

Hamilton: I didn’t say that.  I’m just saying it doesn’t work like it does on TV.  People don’t scramble around at the last minute for a dress, tux or date.  These things are pre-ordered and pre-arranged.  Where’d you get that one, by the way?

He nods toward Dexter’s outfit.

Dexter: My dad gave it to me as a Christmas gift.  He said…

Dexter laughs.

Dexter cont’d: …he said it belonged to an agent.

Hamilton: Like James Bond or something?

Dexter: Well, James Bond isn’t in the CIA, but…yeah, like that.

Hamilton laughs.

Hamilton: You’re weird.

Dexter turns toward the bathroom.

Hamilton cont’d: Hey, wait.  I got rid of the girls so we could talk.  You know, man to man.

Dexter smiles.

Dexter: Okay…

Hamilton walks over and puts an arm over Dexter’s shoulder.

Hamilton: When you like a girl the way you like Grace…

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Remember when Ian was on that Extra segment as one of their picks as most eligible bachelors?  No?  Well, you can check out the article and video over at extratv.com.

 

(fade in): to the Fleming house, later.

Music: One Day by Simple Plan

(cut to): the dining room.  Hamilton, Kate and Steven sit around the table eating one of Steven’s well-prepared meals.  Hamilton eats hurriedly.

Steven: So…Hamilton…the prom is coming up in a few days.

Hamilton looks up at his mom then over at his dad.  He doesn’t know what to say.

Steven cont’d: Your mother tells me she doesn’t think you plan on attending.

Hamilton glances up at her.  He doesn’t like where this might be going.  She sympathizes, but can’t help him out.

Steven cont’d: I had just assumed you would be attending or I would have discussed this with you early.

Hamilton: Discussed what, Dad?  Prom really…isn’t my…thing.

Steven: You haven’t been to a school social event all year, Son.  If prom isn’t your “thing,” what is?

Hamilton: I don’t know, but…

Steven: I picked up a tuxedo for you today.  You will be going.

Hamilton: Wait…what?

He looks at his mom for help.

Kate: Some important people are going to be chaperoning this year.

Steven: Members of the Board of Trustees, to be exact.  These are people that want to see how their money is being spent…and appreciated. 

Hamilton: What does that have to do with me?

Steven: How would it look if my own son didn’t attend the most extravagant—and expensive—social event of the year?  They expect to see you there, Hamilton…and so do I.

Hamilton: No, but, Dad…I…

Steven: No buts.

Hamilton sighs.

Kate: It won’t be that bad, Sweetie.

Hamilton looks up at her again.  She smiles.  Hamilton rolls his eyes and looks back at his dad.

Hamilton: Whatever.

A beat as Steven glances at Kate.  Hamilton thinks of something.

Hamilton cont’d: I can go by myself, right? 

Steven gives him a look that says he expects exactly the opposite.

Hamilton cont’d: Tell me you’re joking…

Steven smiles.

Steven: It doesn’t have to be a Rawley girl.  It can be any girl.

Hamilton glances at his mom.  She shrugs apologetically.

Hamilton: You know, Dad, I thought you said that I’m not a child anymore.  I thought you said I could make my own decisions from now on.

Steven closes his eyes and sighs.  He looks at Hamilton again.

Steven: I’m sorry.  Let me explain things a little differently.  I’ve been under a lot pressure from the Board lately.  I’m trying to make a good impression in every way that I can.  So, Son, I am asking you…please…put on the tux, find a date and stop by for a little while.  Talk to the board members. 

Hamilton: Dad…

Steven: You have a way with important people, Hamilton.  I’ve never introduced you to anyone whom you didn’t win over. 

Kate: And these people really need to be won over.

Hamilton takes a deep breath.

Hamilton: No pressure, right?

Steven: I suppose that’s a “no”?

Hamilton: No…of course it’s not a no, Dad.

Steven smiles.  He’s surprised.  He glances at Kate who nods like she knew Hamilton would comply.  Steven smiles at Hamilton who has gone back to his dinner, only able to pick at it now.

(cut to): the garage.  Bella sits on the bench, playing chords from and working on “I’m With You.”  Sean walks up, but she doesn’t notice.  He smiles, watching her for a second.

Sean: You play the guitar now?

Bella looks up, startled.  She blushes.

Bella: Not really. 

She sets the guitar down.

Sean: Hey, don’t let me stop you.

Bella: You’re not.  What’s up?

Sean: Well…I’ve come on official student government business.

Bella looks at him suspiciously.

Sean cont’d: I’m dealing with a small prom-related crisis.

Bella: Uh-huh…

Sean: As you know, Rebecca Johnson was crowned Miss Edmund High this year.

Bella: I handed her the crown, didn’t I?  Quite happily, I might add.

Sean: Well, the members of student government came up with a brilliant, money saving idea.

Bella raises her eyebrows.

Sean cont’d: Hire a D.J. who would be willing to play for two hours, take an hour off then play for one more hour.  Then…use Becky Johnson as entertainment to fill the time in between.  That way, we only pay for three hours of D.J.

Bella: And people get to watch baton twirling for an hour.  Now, there’s a bargain.

Sean: Yeah…I wasn’t too crazy about the idea either, but—as most things in my life have tended to do lately—it gets worse.

Bella looks concerned about this comment, but Sean doesn’t skip a beat.

Sean cont’d: Becky was doing her dress rehearsal and…

Sean hesitates.

Bella: Oh God.  What happened?

Sean cont’d: Let’s just say she caught the wrong end of one of those fire batons.

Bella: Ooh…

Sean: The doctors say it’ll be six months before she can twirl again.

Bella: That’s…terrible?

She doesn’t really think so and he knows it.

Sean: Yes, it is terrible because we’ve spent our entire budget.  We can’t pay the D.J. for another hour so we can either have no music for an hour or end the prom an hour early, which no one wants to do.  As president, the council has decided that I’m in charge of finding some back-up entertainment.

He shifts his glance to the guitar with purpose.

Bella: Sean, no.

Sean: Come on.  Ten until Eleven.  One hour.  Please, Bella?  For your school.

She laughs.

Sean cont’d: For me then?

This makes her decision harder.

Sean cont’d: I’ll get you a free ticket.  One for Hamilton too…if you’re afraid to go solo.

He again glances at the guitar.

Bella: I can’t go to prom, Sean.  I don’t even have a dress.

Sean: Rita’s Formalwear in Carson.  Jill and I are going there tomorrow to pick up her dress and my tux.  I hear they’ve got a ton of dresses on sale and…I think I can probably work out an extra discount with the owner.

Bella: You’re going to have an answer like that to every excuse I have, right?  There’s no way out at all?

Sean shakes his head and smiles.  Bella sighs.

Sean: So…that’s a yes?

Bella: Yes…of course.

Sean smiles, pleased with his persuasion.

(cut to): Finn and Johanna’s house.

(cut to): the living room.  Johanna and Finn sit looking through the photo albums from before.

Finn: You know, you keep very good records.

Johanna: Well, picture albums aren’t exactly records, but—

Finn: Says who?  Come on; look at this.  First steps.  First day of school. 

He flips through the album, stopping on a page to look at some more pictures.  Johanna looks too.

Johanna: First word.

Finn smiles.

Finn: Which was?  Book?  Genius?  Enigmatic?

Johanna laughs.

Johanna: Actually, it was “kitty.”

Finn laughs.

Johanna cont’d: The neighbors had a cat and they moved away and she missed that cat so much it was…all she could talk about…literally.

Finn smiles.

Finn: They grow up so fast. 

Johanna: Speaking of, did Mark leave?

Finn: A while ago. 

Johanna doesn’t say anything, but seems concerned about something.

Finn cont’d: I checked in on them earlier.

Johanna: Were they reading?

Finn nods.

Johanna cont’d: You don’t think we’re missing anything there, do you?

Finn: No.  I don’t think so.

Johanna: Meagan likes him; I know that.

Finn: Yes she does.

Johanna: And, what do you think about Mark?  Do you think he likes her?

Finn: I think she’s his best friend…beyond that…

Finn shrugs.

Finn cont’d: He’s a wild card. 

Johanna: Let’s just be sure to watch, okay?

Finn laughs.

Finn: Well, Sweetheart…what’s the worst that could happen? 

Johanna: They could…

She searches.

Finn: …kiss?

Johanna: You say it like it’s no big deal.  They’re too young.

Finn: Mm-hm.  You know, she’s allowed a few firsts that don’t make it into the family photo album, Dear.

Johanna smiles as Finn leans in.  He closes the album and kisses her softly.

Finn cont’d: …I can’t wait to witness all the firsts that are waiting for us in here.

He touches her stomach.  Johanna smiles.

Johanna: Then you’ll know why I worry.

Finn nods, smiling as they kiss again.

(dissolve to): the moon over New Rawley.  It’s obviously much later now. 

Music: Mexico by Leona Naess

(cut to): the garage.  All the lights are off.  The door opens slowly as Bella sneaks out.

Grace: Where are you going?

Bella stops dead in her tracks.

Bella: I…thought you were asleep.

Grace sits on the bench in her pajamas.

Grace: I couldn’t sleep.  I was worried about you not going to prom and how you’re already becoming an old maid, but I guess that clearly isn’t the case…

Bella: Yeah, well, latest update: I’m going to prom.  Sean came by tonight and—

Grace: So…you’re going to see Sean?

Bella: Look, Grace…I could have ratted you out a million times to Dad and I didn’t so you better just return the favor, okay?

Grace: God, whatever.  I never said I was telling on you.  Go.  Have fun.  I’ll even cover for you if Dad wakes up.

Bella is surprised.  As she is about to get into the truck, she turns to her sister.

Bella: Thanks, Gracie.

Grace: Yeah…sure.

Bella gets into the truck and pulls off.  Grace watches.

Grace: Hope he’s worth it.

(dissolve to): to an establishing shot of the cabin in the woods.  Even more time has assed and it’s nearly dawn.

(cut to): inside the cabin, the fireplace.  Several logs are burning and have been doing so for so long there isn’t much of them left.   We pull out from the fire to reveal a cozier cabin than we saw previously.  The lights are off and the fire illuminates a room that reflects straightening and cleaning.  It looks almost…inviting.  As the pull continues, we find Bella and Nicholas.  They’ve set up a pallet in front of the fireplace with blankets and pillows.  They lie there now, together, under the covers.  They’ve recently made love.

(cut to): a closer shot of them.  Bella lies on her back with her head on a pillow and her eyes closed.  Nicholas lies next to her, his head on the same pillow, very close to her, watching her sleep.  He’s on his side and, though we can’t see it, he has his arm wrapped around her.  He moves his face into her neck, gently nuzzling her.

Nicholas: Bella?

She opens her eyes slowly then turns her head.

Nicholas cont’d: Hey.

She smiles.

Bella: Hey…

She brings her arm to touch his face with the back of her hand.  He smiles.  They kiss briefly.  Nicholas puts his head back down on the pillow then takes his hand from under the covers, using his fingers to trace her shoulder then her neck.  She closes her eyes again.

Nicholas: We have to get going.

Bella: Why?

Nicholas: It’s almost five.  You’ve got to get home and get a few hours of sleep in a real bed.

She opens her eyes again and looks at him.

Bella: No bed is complete without you.

She turns on her side and moves closer to him.

Nicholas: You’ve got school tomorrow.  I don’t want this to start affecting your grades.  I’ve been keeping you up way to late.

Bella smiles.

Bella: I did my homework before I came, Mister Mann.

He smiles.

Bella cont’d: Your pillow talk sucks, by the way.

Nicholas: Maybe you should try to shut me up…

Bella: I thought we had to “get going.”

Nicholas: Yeah, we need to get to work on that…

He kisses her again, pushing himself up a little so that he supports himself over her.  Their kiss deepens.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Leona Naess.  The girl seriously rocks.  Check out her official site.  You can sample all the songs on her CDs, read her biography (or watch it, if you prefer), or talk about her on the MCA Records message boards.

 

(fade in): to Will and Scout’s room, the next morning.  They get ready for class and talk.

Music: Latest Disaster by Stroke 9

Scout: So, tomorrow’s the big night, huh?

Will: Prom.  Yep.  You’re sure you don’t want to tag along with Gwen and me?

Scout laughs.

Scout: Quite sure, thanks.

A beat.

Will: Can I ask you something?

Scout: Yeah.  What’s up?

Will: Do you think prom night…implies…sex?

Scout laughs.

Scout: What?

Will: It’s just that…Gwen’s going away and we haven’t, you know and—

Scout: You haven’t?

Will: No.

Scout: Really?  I kind of thought you had.

Will: Unless I missed something…

They both laugh.  There’s a knock at the door.  Hamilton and Dexter, still wearing the tuxedo, enter the room.

Hamilton: Morning gentleman…how goes it?

Scout: It goes…

Scout and Will look at Dexter then at each other, amused.

Scout cont’d: …what’s with the outfit, Dexter?

Will: Yeah, I mean, did we miss the first period formal wear announcement?

Hamilton shakes his head.

Hamilton: He’s been wearing that since last night.  It used to belong to James Bond.

Dexter: Not James Bond…just a spy.

Will: Does the cummerbund double as a two-way radio?

Dexter: No.

Hamilton: Apparently, it just doesn’t wrinkle.

Scout: Hm.  Some spy suit.

Hamilton cont’d: Anyway, did you guys notice my roommate’s new look?

Scout: He’s wearing a tuxedo at 7 a.m.  How could we miss it?

Hamilton: He’s also not wearing his glasses and the girls did some spiky thing to his hair which, granted, lost some of it’s spike overnight, but…just…tell the man he looks good so he can ditch the suit before we go to class.

Scout: Oh, yeah, Dexter…you look great.

Will: Very sharp.

Scout: Why don’t you guys come on in and sit down.  We’re having an important prom-related discussion and we need some more feedback.

Will looks at Scout nervously.  Hamilton shuts the door and he and Dexter sit down on the couch.

Scout cont’d: Will wants to know if he’s going to get laid on prom night.

Will: Scout…

Scout: Look, Will, it’s cool.  They’re not going to say anything to Gwen.  This conversation won’t leave this room.

Hamilton: What’s the big deal?  You guys have already—

Scout: They haven’t.

Hamilton: Really?

Will laughs.

Will: Do we give off that vibe?

He looks around.  Scout and Hamilton nod.  Will looks at Dexter.

Dexter: Yeah…I thought you had too.

Will laughs again.

Will: Well, we haven’t.  And, I don’t want to know if I’m going to “get laid.”  I was just wondering if prom night somehow implies sex because, if so…I wanted to be ready and…I wanted to set something up…make it special.

Hamilton: You can’t just assume she wants to sleep with you, though.

Will: Maybe I should just talk to her about it.

Scout: Yeah, that sounds like a good idea…”Hey, Gwen…are you putting out or what?”

Hamilton and Dexter laugh.

Will: What am I supposed to do then?

Hamilton: Wait it out.

Will sighs and looks frustrated.

Hamilton: Come on, Will.  Your biggest prom night dilemma is that you might have sex with your girlfriend…you’re doing fine. 

Scout: Yeah, I’m not even going to prom.

Dexter: Well, at least youd have the nerve to ask the girl you like to go with you.

Scout looks at him suspiciously and then looks down.

Scout: Don’t be so sure…

Hamilton: I can’t even believe you guys want to go to the prom.  I don’t have a date and I don’t want a date…but my dad is forcing me to go and to take someone.  I don’t even know what or how I’m going to tell Jake.

Scout: So…take Jake.

Hamilton: Yeah, good plan…I’m sure no one will recognize her.

Will: Too bad we don’t have masquerade balls here at Rawley…then you’d be good to go.

Scout: I think masquerade balls, much like underage drinking, are restricted to the city limits of New Orleans.

Hamilton: Hey, seriously, though…do you guys know anyone I could take at the last minute like this?

Will: Scout doesn’t have a date.

Scout: Shut up, Will.

Hamilton: If my date has to wear a tux…I’m taking Jake.

Scout: Hey, what about Mary Beth Barlow?

Will: Oh, yeah…she’s totally into you, Ham.

Dexter: I heard her talking to her friends the other day.  They’re all just going together as a group…she doesn’t have a date.

Scout: She’s been checking you out all year.  She definitely wants you.  Everyone knows that.  Plus…she’s hot.

Dexter and Will agree.  Hamilton looks around at them all like they’re dumb.

Hamilton: Okay, guys…we’re going for a combination different from “hot and into me.”  Someone, say, my girlfriend might approve of…

Everyone thinks.

Scout (matter-of-fact): Bella.

Will: Yeah, yeah…that’s good.  Bella can definitely come through on last minutes dance invitations.

Scout: Plus, she’s not into you.

Will: And you’re not into her.

Hamilton nods.

Will cont’d: Unless there’s something we don’t know.

Scout: Yeah, you have been spending a lot of time at the garage.

Hamilton laughs.

Hamilton: Unlike you three…I can resist the charms of the Banks women.

Scout: Hey, what about Grace? 

Will: Wait, wait…three?

Scout considers this.

Scout: Yeah, Dexter hasn’t fallen victim yet.

Hamilton looks over at Dexter with a smirk.

Hamilton: Is it cool?

Dexter nods.

Hamilton cont’d: The reason I can’t take Grace, aside from the obvious, is that Dex is asking her to our prom.  If he ever gets the nerve.

Will: Grace?

Scout: Isn’t she a bit…much for you, Dexter?

Dexter: She’s actually the sweetest, smartest girl I’ve met around here.

Scout and Will look at each other doubtfully.

Scout: Just be careful, okay?  Grace can be…

Will: …reckless.

Scout nods in agreement.

Dexter: From what I’ve seen, she can also be considerate and kind and…amazing.

Hamilton smiles, shaking his head.  He thinks it’s sweet.

Hamilton: Okay, okay…can we get back to me?  Date?

Dexter looks glad for the rescue.

Dexter: What was wrong with Bella again?

Hamilton: She’s busy that night.  She’s playing at the Edmund High prom.

Scout: Jill and Sean are going to that.

They all look at him.

Scout cont’d: And, I’m perfectly fine with that.

Will: Why do I always feel like there’s more going on with that?  With you and her?

Scout shrugs.

Scout: There isn’t…believe me…not even…

Hamilton and Will glance at each other.

Hamilton: She, uh…she and Sean really seem into each other.

Will watches Scout, worried about his reaction.

Scout: Yes, they do seem into each other.  No arguments.

Will and Hamilton look at each other again, but Hamilton shrugs it off.

Hamilton: You guys…what am I going to do?

Will: Sorry, Ham…I’m tapped, but you’re welcome to come along with Gwen and me.

Hamilton: Thanks, but…I don’t want to get in the way of you getting some.

Will laughs.

Will: If it does happen…it’s not going to be on the dance floor.

They all laugh.

Hamilton: Anyway, let’s finish this over breakfast.

Will: Cool.  Where’s Jake?

Hamilton: Um…

Scout: Oh, you’re avoiding her.

Hamilton nods.

Scout cont’d: Pathetic.  Let’s go.

Will and Dexter all laugh and the quartet gets ready to go.

(cut to): Jill and Gwen’s room.  Gwen is packing her backpack.  Jill is by her closet.

Gwen: Are you going to breakfast with me or not?

We tilt down to Jill’s feet.  She has on one flat and one high heel.  We tilt back up.

Jill: Seriously, do you think the flats are cute?

Gwen: Yes, I do.

Jill: Think they’ll match the dress?

Gwen: From the picture?  Yes, I think so.  And, besides, look at them…they’ll go with anything. 

Jill: But are the heels, like, sexier?

She holds up the flat-clad shoe to show off the pump on her other foot.

Gwen: Are you going to dance?  Because those shoes were not made for walking let alone dancing.

Jill laughs.

Jill: Sean doesn’t like them either.  They make me taller than him.

Gwen laughs.  Jill smiles to herself.

Jill cont’d: Yesterday, he did the cutest thing.  I asked him if he could dance and he acted like he couldn’t so…I was showing him.  Then he just started doing it perfectly.

Gwen: So he really can dance?  He was lying?

Jill: Yeah…but it wasn’t in a bad way, really.  It was just…

Jill looks off not knowing how to finish the sentence.  Gwen smiles.  Jill sighs.

Jill cont’d: It was…he was…really…charming.

Gwen laughs.

Gwen: I’m not sure I’ve seen you this smitten when he hasn’t been around.

Jill’s smile falls a little as a beat passes.

Jill: So…did you decide about—

Gwen: Yes.

She puts her bag over her shoulder, clearly in a hurry.

Jill: Well?

Gwen looks at her mysteriously, ready to avoid the question.

Gwen: It’s a surprise.

Jill: Well, I don’t think I’ll be around at the time so…just tell me now.

Gwen: There’s…there’s nothing to tell.

Jill: You disappoint me.

Gwen: Are you and Sean rushing off to sleep together after your prom?

The comment makes Jill uncomfortable, but not for the reasons Gwen probably thinks.

Gwen: Exactly…so…stop interrogating me.

Jill: You’re right.  Sorry.

Gwen looks at her like it’s a strange concession, but she happily accepts it and gives Jill a “let’s go” look. 

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Get Fuzzy.  This is a pretty funny comic.  The human is likable.  The dog just wants to be liked.  And, the cat?  Well, let’s just say…he’s a cat.  You can go back through the back issues for hours of laughs and entertainment.  For example, December 22nd and 29th were pretty funny days.  And, any guy that calls his cat “dude” is okay with us.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of a shop in Carson, early that afternoon. A large sign with cursive writing informs us that this is “Rita’s Formalwear” store. 

Music: Storybook Life by Blessid Union of Souls

(cut to): inside.  There are several dresses on display: prom, wedding and various other formal gowns.  There are also several tuxedo-clad mannequins.  The shop owner, a blonde woman of about 40, is working on dress alterations.  We pan around the shop and stop on the entranceway to another room.

(cut to): that room.  It’s actually a dressing area with two smaller dressing room stalls and an open space with one mirror-covered wall.  We find Sean standing in front of the mirror and examining the tuxedo he wears.  The shop owner, Rita, walks into the room.  He notices her reflection in the mirror.

Rita: It looks lovely.

Sean laughs.

Sean: I’m not sure “lovely” is the look I’m going for.

Rita: You know, you’ve turned into a real smart ass since the last time I saw you.

Sean smiles.

Sean: I’ve missed you too, Aunt Rita.

She laughs then calls into the dressing room.

Rita: How’s that dress coming, Jill?

Jill: Um...it’s…hang on…

Rita smiles then turns to Sean.
Rita (whispered): I like her.  Is she your girlfriend?

Sean smiles.

Sean: Not exactly.

Rita: Well, now, that doesn’t sound very honorable.

Sean laughs.

Sean (whispered): We’re just friends.

Rita (disbelieving): Uh huh.

Jill walks out wearing a melon-colored prom dress.  It could be worse, but it’s not the most flattering dress either.

Jill: Um…this is…nice.

Rita laughs.

Rita: Don’t humor me.  It’s horrible.

Jill: I picked it out…I can deal with it.

Rita: Well, I can’t.

Jill looks at Sean who offers her a smile.

Sean: Do you want to get something else?

Jill smiles and looks back at Rita.

Jill: Is it really okay?

Rita smiles warmly.

Rita: Let me see what I have in the back.

Jill: Thank you.

Rita smiles at Sean then exits.

Jill cont’d: She seems cool.

Sean: She is.

A beat as Jill walks over to the open entryway leading to the shop.  She looks around.

Jill: I love dress shopping.  I love stuff like this.  Prom.  This is so exciting.

Sean: Yeah…if you’re into school dances.

Jill: Which I am.

She leans in the entryway.

Sean: You told me.

Jill: I didn’t tell you my favorite part, though.

Sean raises his eyebrows.

Jill cont’d: The punch.

Sean laughs.

Sean: Why are you always proving your insanity to me?

Jill: No, wait, listen…it’s like, the rest of the dance is nice.  The decorations…the dancing…the music…the boy.  I like all that stuff, but…it’s just not quite complete without the punch.  Because, even if the decorations are tacky, the music is lame and the boy is a jerk…the punch will just automatically be there waiting for you, tasting good.

Sean laughs.

Sean: Well, I have to agree that I’ve never really had a punch I didn’t like, but…my favorite part of a dance is probably…the girl.

Jill laughs.

Jill: Naturally.

A beat as Jill takes in the image of Sean in the tux as if she’s just noticed it.

Jill cont’d: You look really good, Sean.

A smile slowly spreads across his face as he blushes a little.  Jill watches him for a few seconds, but snaps out of it.

Jill cont’d: Bella’s going to want you bad.

His smile fades slightly.

Sean: Well, I guess that’s the point…

Jill nods, but it’s without her usual certainty.  He tilts his head; he wants to say something, but before either of them can say anything else, Rita returns with a new dress.  It’s pink, but we can’t tell too much else yet.

Rita: I think this one will do nicely.

She hands it to Jill who glances at Sean before heading to the fitting room.

(cut to): outside on a nearby street.  Nicholas’ Jetta and Bella’s truck are parked in adjacent parking spots. 

(cut to): the sidewalk.  Bella leans against the truck.  Nicholas leans on the truck with one arm as he kisses her.   She pulls back slightly.

Bella: Do you think anyone will see us here?

Nicholas: Who would be here?

Bella: Sean and Jill are here.

Nicholas shrugs.

Nicholas: We could keep them quiet.

She raises her eyebrows.  He backs up and lets his arms fall to his sides.

Nicholas cont’d: Okay.  Have fun finding a dress. 

He smiles sadly.

Nicholas cont’d: I wish I could go with you.

Bella: Yeah…I’m sure dress shopping is right up your alley.

Nicholas: Sitting around watching you get dressed and undressed…is most definitely “up my alley.”

Bella bites her lip, smiling.

Bella: Well, that doesn’t exactly require a dress shop.

Nicholas grins.

Nicholas: So, listen, I’m going to take care of some of my own shopping, but…I’ll see you again tonight, right?

Bella: It might be kind of late.

Nicholas: I thought your dad’s been going to bed early.

Bella: He has, but Grace was up last night and…she definitely knows something is up.

Nicholas holds his grin.

Nicholas: Well, I’ll be waiting.

Bella smiles.  She kisses him briefly and starts to walk away.

Nicholas cont’d: Hey, and Bella?

Bella stops and looks at him.

Nicholas cont’d: I’m really sorry that you have to do the prom thing by yourself.  I mean, if I could, you know I’d—

Bella: I know.  It’s okay.

Nicholas nods, putting a hand in his pocket.

Nicholas: I’ll see you tonight.

She nods and walks off down the street.

(cut to): the dress shop.

Music: Need to Be Next to You by Leigh Nash (Sixpence None the Richer)

(cut to): the dressing area.  Sean sits in a chair, waiting on Jill. 

Jill (from the dressing room): Okay…I think this one is a lot better.

Sean: Okay…I’m ready.

The door opens and Jill walks out, looking much better and, in fact, extremely beautiful in this light pink dress.  Sean, clearly thinking the same thing, stands up.

Jill: I don’t know…what do you think?

Sean nods.

Sean: Yeah…

He doesn’t offer anything else.  Jill stares at him for a moment until Rita walks back into the area.

Rita: Oh, now that’s much better.  Jill, that looks simply exquisite.

Jill blushes slightly and glances at Sean again.  He’s taken aback.  She looks great.

Rita cont’d: Okay, come on, Sean…she’s waiting for you to tell her she looks beautiful.

Sean: She does…

He shakes his head trying to play it a little cooler.

Sean cont’d: …you do.  You look…you’re incredibly beautiful.

He and Jill share a look.  There’s a certain attraction building here.

Rita: You know what?  Let me go get the Polaroid.

She shuffles quickly out of the room.  Sean and Jill don’t move nor do they drop the shared look.  When Rita gets back she looks back and forth between them.

Rita: Well, come on then.  Get together.

They look over at her.  She holds up the camera.

Rita cont’d: For the picture.

They slowly walk to each other.

Rita cont’d: Come on, classic prom pose.  Face each other then turn this way.

They follow her instructions and it puts them really close.  Rita looks at Sean.

Rita cont’d: Why don’t you give her a kiss on the cheek?

Sean: Just…take the picture.

Sean gives her a warning look.  Jill looks over at him with a smile.  She reaches up and gently turns his face as she turns hers back to the camera, leaving him practically kissing her cheek.  He closes his eyes and does it as she leans into the kiss.  Just as Rita snaps the picture, the bell on the shop door rings. 

Rita: Oh!  I’ll be right back.

She rushes out of the room.  Sean and Jill don’t move.  Sean swallows as he realizes Jill makes no effort to step away.  Slowly and timidly, he kisses her cheek again.  He leans back slightly.  She makes no effort to move away.  In fact, she leans slightly more toward him.  He moves in slowly, kissing her cheek again then her jaw.  He looks at her hesitantly as she still faces forward, her eyes closed now.  He looks at her in total disbelief.  Uncertain, he kisses her neck.  She tilts her head away, exposing more of her neck to him.  He kisses down nearly to her shoulder, but then moves back to her cheek.  As he is about to kiss her again, she opens her eyes and slowly turns her head so that their lips nearly touch.  They look at each other just a moment before closing their eyes as the kiss in completed.  Jill moves her hand up to his neck and Sean puts his hands on her waist.  They’re both deep into this kiss when:

Rita: Look who wandered into my shop: the lovely, little Bella B—oh!

She stops at the door.  Sean and Jill break quickly and guiltily apart.  Bella stands right behind her. 

Rita cont’d: Sorry kids.

They’re both embarrassed and blushing.  Bella thinks it’s sweet, but does note the embarrassment.  Jill and Sean don’t look at Rita and Bella or at each other.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: In case you didn’t check out Simple Plan last episode, you need to now.  These cute little Canadian punk boys have a song where they reference “GC, Sum and Blink and MxPx rockin’ ” their room.  Right on, guys J.

 

(fade in): to Finn and Johanna’s house. It is later, nearly dusk.

Music: I’m a Fool by American Hi-Fi

(cut to): the living room.  Mark and Meagan watch Runaway Bride on television.

Mark: Why do we always have to watch movies you pick out?  Romantic comedies are so stupid.

Meagan: You’re stupid.  This movie is the best.  Look, they’re about to kiss.

Mark: Big deal…

Meagan: Well, have you ever kissed anyone?

Mark: Yeah. 

Meagan looks over at him.

Meagan: Really?

Mark: Yeah.  Of course.  Haven’t you?

Meagan looks back at the movie.  Mark is about to say more, but Johanna walks in.

Johanna: Hi, kids.

Meagan: Shh, Mom.  They’re about to kiss.

Johanna watches Mark and Meagan watch the on-screen kiss.

(cut to): the kitchen, later.

Johanna: I’m just saying that I’m concerned.

Finn: Meagan has seen every romantic comedy available to rent. 

Johanna: Well, what if she gets it in her head to try it out?

Finn: So what if—

He cuts himself off as Meagan walks into the room.  She notices.

Meagan: What?

Johanna: Nothing.  Sweetie, is Mark still here?

Meagan: Nope.  He had homework.

Meagan walks over to the refrigerator and looks inside.

Johanna: Can we talk to you a minute, Meag?

Finn sighs.  Meagan closes the fridge and gives her mom a confused look.

Meagan: Okay…

Johanna: You and Mark are…friends, right?

Meagan furrows her brow.

Meagan: Um, yes?

Finn: She means, he’s not your boyfriend or anything?

Meagan blushes.
Meagan: No.  You guys know he isn’t.

Johanna: Sometimes we want our friends to be more than friends.

Meagan: Oh my God…Mom

Johanna: I’m serious.  Sometimes we might feel like kissing our friends.

Finn: That’s how we hooked up.

Johanna gives him a silencing look.  He gives Meagan a light, “bear with her” look.

Johanna: I know we’ve talked about sex and—

Meagan: God…can you just stop?  Mark and I—

Johanna: We’ve never talked about kissing before.

Meagan: Yeah, because it’s weird for us to talk about it.

Johanna: I just wanted to tell you that I personally think kissing is just as much an expression of love as anything else.  It can be very intense.  It should be reserved for someone you really, really care about.  Do you understand what I mean?

Meagan nods.

Meagan: Sure, Mom.

She glances at Finn who offers her another reassuring smile.  She then quickly makes her escape from the kitchen.  Johanna looks relieved.

(cut to): the garage.  Bella and Hamilton work on a car together.

Music: Coke by Flickerstick

Hamilton: So…you agreed?

Bella shrugs.

Bella: Sean’s puppy dogface comes second only to a certain co-worker’s.

She smiles.  Hamilton laughs.

Hamilton: Right…

He pauses.

Hamilton cont’d: …too bad I couldn’t get it to work on my dad.

Bella: Yeah…what are you going to do about that?

Hamilton: I don’t know.

Bella: What’s Jake think?

He looks down.

Hamilton: I don’t know…

Bella: Hamilton…

Hamilton: I’m going to tell her.

Bella: Oh, when? 

Hamilton: When…I figure out what to tell her.  I mean, right now all I’ve got is “hey, Jake…I know we don’t care about stuff like prom, but my dad is making me go and seeing as how it would be impossible to take you…want to help me pick out a girl?”

Bella laughs.

Bella: Yeah…guess that wouldn’t go over too well.

Hamilton sighs.

Hamilton: Prom is tomorrow.  What am I going to do? 

Bella: You?  I’m the one that’s stuck playing a gig alone…in front of my peers…at my school.

Hamilton sighs.

Hamilton: What time do you go on?

Bella: Ten.

Hamilton: Okay, our prom starts at seven so…I should be able to get away by ten.

Bella: Really?

Hamilton: Yes…if you want.

Bella: Yes…yes, I want.

Hamilton smiles.

Bella cont’d: Thank you.

He sighs.

Hamilton: Sure.

Bella looks a little more relieved.

Hamilton cont’d: So…you look tired.

Bella shrugs it off and concentrates on the car.

Hamilton: When do you see him?

Bella: That’s really none of your business.

Hamilton: Well, considering that I’m your only confidant and that I’m being pretty reasonable about the whole thing, it seems like you would want to share.

Bella: Things aren’t always what they seem.

Hamilton: You sneak out and see him at night, don’t you? 

Bella doesn’t respond.

Hamilton cont’d: That’s what I used to do.  There’s something about that time when everyone else is asleep.  It’s like your own private, safe little world.

Bella looks up at him.

Bella: Yes…we see each other at night…some nights. 

Hamilton nods.  He tries not to show his distaste for the situation.  Bella hesitates, but decides to share more:

Bella: It makes me feel like I’m leading this double life, you know?  Like, at night I’m this grown-up person in this amazing, intense relationship.  Then during the day, I’m a regular high school girl…struggling with my latest crisis: no date to the prom.

Hamilton: Wait a second…

Bella looks concerned.

Bella: What?

Hamilton: Are you getting a prom dress? 

Bella: Um…yeah.  I picked it up earlier over in Carson.

Hamilton: I mean, so you’re actually going to the prom? 

Bella: Sean’s getting me a free ticket…and he got his aunt to give me a great discount on a prom dress…how could I resist?

Hamilton: But, you don’t go on until ten…

Bella: What’s your point?

Hamilton: You could be my date. 

Bella: Oh, Hamilton…I don’t know…

Hamilton raises his eyebrows and gives her that puppy dog look she was referring to before.  Bella laughs in disbelief of what she is about to say.

Bella cont’d: Okay, fine. 

Hamilton is surprised.

Hamilton: Really?  Okay?

Bella: Really.  Okay.

Hamilton: Excellent.  This is perfect.

Bella looks suddenly concerned.

Bella: You’re sure Jake’ll be cool with this?

Hamilton: Oh, yeah, totally.  Jake does not care about prom.  And, now that I’m going with you…everything’ll definitely be cool.

Bella nods, not quite so sure.

(cut to): Jill and Gwen’s room.  Jake, dressed like a boy, but with her corset off, and Jill sit on Jill’s bed looking through prom magazines.

Music: Blue Eyed Baby by Leona Naess

Jake: Look at this dress; it’s amazing.

Jill glances over.

Jill: Oh, yeah…mine is kind of like that, but it’s pink.  Do you want to see it?

Jake: Pink?

Jill: I know what you’re thinking, but…hang on…

Jill hops up and goes over to her closet.  She pulls out the dress.  Jake lights up.

Jake: Oh, wow, Jill…it’s beautiful. 

Jill smiles.

Jill: It’s not even the one I ordered.

Jake: What happened to that one?

Jill: It looked awful.  Sean’s aunt, the one that owns the dress shop, she made this one and…she let me take it instead of that other hideous fashion disaster.  She was so nice.

Jake: Well, I’m glad you’re getting along with your future fake in-laws.

Jill: Look, don’t give me any crap about that, okay?  Prom is the last big thing then he’ll be able to make his move.

Jake: But the question is…make his move on who?

Jill: Wouldn’t it be whom?

Jake shakes her head and laughs, checking out the dress. 

Jill cont’d: And, anyway, the answer is Bella, okay?  We’re both very committed to our goal.

Jake: Ten-four.

Jake is still examining the dress.

Jake cont’d: Hey, what’s this?

She touches a Polaroid picture, pinned to the inside of the dress.  Jill notices it for the first time.

Jill: Oh, Rita made us take this picture together…it’s nothing…

Jill tries to play it off and remove the picture before Jake sees, but Jake is too quick and she gets it. 

(cut to): a shot over her shoulder of the picture.  Sean is kissing Jill on the cheek.  They both look great…and happy. 

(cut to): Jake and Jill.  Jake gives the picture back to Jill.

Jake: Sean looks hot in that tux.

Jill: I hadn’t noticed.

Jill hangs the dress in her closet then tosses the picture onto her dresser.

Jake: Anyway…I’m sure you’ll have a blast at the dance.

Jill looks back at Jake who looks longingly at the dress.

Jill: I’m sorry things are the way they are for you right now.

Jake sighs and sits back down on Jill’s bed.

Jake: It’s so weird.  I keep trying to convince myself that the prom is no big deal to me.  And, for all practical purposes, it isn’t.  I mean, I hate dances, right?  Haven’t I always?

Jill nods in agreement and sits down next to Jake.

Jake cont’d: Except this one time, my first summer here, there was the freshman cotillion.  I really wanted to go to that.

Jill: Isn’t that where you, um, enlightened Hamilton about your gender?  Seventeen, Sarah McLaughlin and such?

Jake smiles.

Jake: Yeah, that would be the location.

Jake pauses.

Jake cont’d: He looked so cute in that white tux.

Jill: Yeah…I bet you both did.

This cracks Jill up for a moment.

Jake: Anyway…I don’t know what my problem is. 

Jill: You’re supposed to want to go to prom, Jacqueline.  There’s nothing weird about that.

Jake considers this.

Jake: I’m going to go see Hamilton.  Maybe we can do something together prom night.  Dinner in Carson or something.

Jill: Sounds like a good plan.

Jake hops up and heads out the door.  Jill glances over at her dress then at the dresser where she tosses the picture.  She lies back on the bed with a sigh.

Jill cont’d: Good plan…

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Did you know that the definition of “zephyr” is “a gentle breeze.”  This knowledge causes that Red Hot Chili Peppers song to make so much more sense.

 

(fade in): to the newspaper room, dusk.  Gwen leans against the table and Will stands talking to her.

Music: The Zephyr Song by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Will: So…tomorrow’s the big night.

Gwen looks at him suspiciously, but smiles.

Gwen: Which reminds me…you didn’t make plans for us after, did you?

Will raises his eyebrows.

Will: Um…not really.  There’s this party in town after the Edmund High prom if you wanted to do something like—

Gwen: “Party in town” and me…previous experience would indicate this is a bad blend.

Will recalls the last party they were both at.

Will: Right.

A beat.

Will cont’d: So…

Gwen: I was just making sure you didn’t plan anything after prom, that’s all.

Will seems to understand. He smiles.

Will: I wasn’t sure if that’s what you…wanted.  So…I didn’t.

Gwen nods.

Gwen: Good.

Will smiles.

Will: I’m really glad we had this conversation because I was starting to feel a little stressed out over the whole thing.

Gwen smiles at him curiously, but lets it slide as Will moves in to quickly kiss her.

(cut to): Mark’s front steps.  He’s sitting on the steps with a math book and a notebook opened on his lap.

Meagan: Kissing.

Mark looks up.

Mark: What?  What are you doing here?

Meagan: Is it really a big deal?

Mark: I guess not.  You come over all the time without—

Meagan: Kissing.  Is kissing a big deal?

Mark: Oh…

He looks at her a minute.

Mark cont’d: No; it’s not.

He looks back at his book, shrugging off Meagan’s presence. 

Meagan: Seriously?

She sits down next to him.  She’s really serious.

Meagan: Because my mom was giving me this lecture about how even kissing is a big deal.  I mean, she was making it sound like…worse than sex or something.

Mark laughs.

Mark: Does “worse than sex” to a mom actually mean “better than sex” to a normal person? 

Meagan: Look, just stop joking around.  She said kissing was really special and…basically…a really big deal.

Mark: That’s dumb.

Meagan: Well, my mom isn’t dumb.

Mark: No, she’s over-protective and she doesn’t like me that much.

Meagan looks away.

Meagan: She was asking if you were…never mind.

Mark: What?  Your boyfriend or something?

Meagan nods and blushes.  Mark smiles.

Mark: What’d you tell her?

Meagan rolls her eyes.

Meagan: That we’re getting married next week.  What do you think I told her?

Mark shrugs.

Mark: Just checking.

Meagan: Don’t worry.  I don’t have any misguided conceptions about our relationship.

Mark laughs.

Mark: How do you do that?

Meagan: What?

Mark: Sound like such a baby one minute and such a grown-up the next?

Meagan doesn’t know what to say.

Mark: It was a compliment.

He looks back at his math book.

Mark cont’d: Anyway, don’t get freaked out about kissing, okay?  You’ll give yourself a complex or something.

Meagan smiles.  Now who sounds like a grown-up?  She looks over his shoulder.

Meagan: You’re doing that problem all wrong.

Mark: It wouldn’t be the first time.

He looks up at her.

Mark cont’d: Think you can help me with this?

Meagan: Yeah, okay…

Meagan looks over at the book to give some assistance.

(cut to): Hamilton and Dexter’s room.  Hamilton is examining some music and playing his guitar.  There’s a light knock then Jake enters.  Hamilton looks up.

Music: Unpredictable by BBMak

Hamilton: Hey.

He sets the guitar down and gets up as she closes the door.  He stands awkwardly in front of her a moment.  She raises her eyebrows.

Jake: Hi.

Hamilton: Hi.

He opens his mouth to say more, but changes his mind.

Jake: You know, I thought you were avoiding me…

He smiles at her perceptiveness, but goes back to looking concerned.

Jake cont’d: What?

He still doesn’t say anything.  She looks at him searchingly until he looks down.

Jake: Okay…running through my mind right now…his dad found out about us…he’s breaking up with me…he bought the new BBMak C.D. and…he likes it…

Hamilton smiles.

Hamilton: Worse.

He pauses.  She tilts her head.

Hamilton cont’d: I’m going to the prom.

He braces for her reaction.

Jake: Oh…

She tries to look at him, but he’s trying too hard to figure her out.  She has to look away.

Hamilton: Yeah…that’s what I thought.

Jake tries to play it off.

Jake: Hamilton, what are you talking about?

She walks away from him and sits down next to his guitar.  He walks over to the bed and sits down next to her. 

Hamilton: You’re mad…right?

Jake: That you’re going to the prom?  Why would I care, Hamilton?

Hamilton: My dad’s making me.  He wants me to, like, meet these board members and tell them they’re spending their money wisely.  I don’t know.  It’s totally dumb, but—

Jake: …you have to.  I know.  Son of the dean.  Your work is never done. 

Hamilton: Yeah…

An awkward beat.

Jake cont’d: So…are you…going…solo?

Hamilton: Well, that’s the other thing…

He looks down.  She gets it.

Jake: You have to take a date.

He looks up, nodding just slightly.

Hamilton: I’m taking Bella.

Jake nods, looking down at an imaginary spot on her jeans.

Jake: Cool.

Hamilton: Hey…

She doesn’t look up at him.

Hamilton cont’d: I knew you’d be—

Jake: I’m not, Hamilton.  It’s fine.

Hamilton hesitates guiltily.

Hamilton: We’re also going to her prom after.

Jake (sarcastic): Oh like…tour de proms?

Hamilton laughs cautiously. 

Hamilton: Actually, Sean asked Bella to play for an hour because the girl who was supposed to entertain got hurt.

Jake raises her eyebrows.

Hamilton cont’d (with satisfaction): Fire baton accident.

Jake nods, not nearly as entertained as she should be.  Hamilton notes this.

Hamilton cont’d: Anyway, Bella was a little freaked out about having to play alone so I enlisted her as my prom date in exchange for my accompaniment on the stage.  It’s just…a gig, you know?

Jake nods.

Jake: Sounds like an even trade.  She needed backup.  You needed…a hot date.

Hamilton smiles.

Hamilton: Well, personally…I prefer hot brunettes.

She laughs like she’s humoring him then looks around the room.  Hamilton watches her carefully before speaking:

Hamilton cont’d: Bella was worried that you’d be upset and so I told her that you and I don’t care about prom, but…if you—

Jake: No, I mean…prom?  What a stupid tradition.  You have to get all dressed up to…do what exactly?  Dance?  Ridiculous.

He looks at her steadily trying to gauge her reaction.  She laughs, shaking her head.

Jake cont’d: Hamilton, seriously, it’s no big deal.

She smiles.  Hamilton looks at her carefully.

Hamilton cont’d: Are you sure you’re—

Jake: Yes, Hamilton.

Hamilton: Because I told Bella it wouldn’t matter to you, but, seriously, Jake…if it does then—

Jake: Hamilton.  It doesn’t, okay?  Just…shut up about it. 

Hamilton: You know, you’re saying my name a lot.

Jake: So?  What does that mean?

Hamilton: It means…that…you’re being short tempered because you’re pissed off at me and not saying it.

He looks down for a second, feeling bad.  She sighs apologetically as he looks up at her again.  She gives her best real smile.

Jake cont’d: Look, you have to go and it’s not like you could take me, right?

Hamilton: Right…

Jake: So, whatever…it’s cool…because…it has to be.

He looks at her, still not entirely certain.

Jake cont’d: And, I’m glad you’re taking Bella and not some…Rawley bimbo.

He laughs and leans in a little.

Hamilton: Well, I’d rather go with you…just…for the record.

Jake smiles as they kiss.  She doesn’t let it last too long, though.  She pulls back and stands up.  Hamilton looks at her questioningly.

Jake: I just remembered that…I haven’t seen Jill in awhile.

Hamilton: Oh…

Jake: So…I’ll be over at the girls’ school…

She backs out of the room. 

Hamilton: Okay, well…I’ll see you later then.

Jake: Yeah…later…

She exits quickly.  Hamilton takes a deep breath and lies back on his bed.

Music: I’m Just a Kid by Simple Plan

(cut to): Friendly’s.  Scout wipes down the main counter.  There are a few customers in the back.  Dexter walks in.  He is again (or still) wearing the tuxedo.  He isn’t wearing his glasses and he has his hair styled like Jill did it before.  Scout glances up at him and laughs.

Scout: You are so strange.

Dexter sits down at the counter, looking glum.

Scout: Have you been over to talk to Grace yet?

Dexter shakes his head.

Scout: Prom is tomorrow night.  You realize that?

Dexter nods.

Scout: Why are you still wearing that tuxedo?

Dexter shrugs.

Dexter: I just want to feel cool and confident, you know?  Like all of you guys.  You and Will and Hamilton.  Everything is so easy for you guys.  You can get what you want just like that.

Dexter snaps his fingers to emphasize “like that.”  Scout laughs.

Scout: Oh yeah…

Dexter: It’s true.

Scout: Dexter, dude…Will’s girlfriend is leaving in a couple of months and there isn’t a damn thing he can do about it.  Hamilton’s girlfriend is, well, Jake.  Do you think that’s an ideal situation?  He can’t even take her to the prom.  And me?  What I want seems to be slipping further and further out of my hands.

Dexter pays attention.

Scout cont’d: You’re more in control than any of us.  Take advantage.

Dexter nods.

Dexter: All right.  Okay.  I’m going over there.

Dexter gets up and walks out the door.  Scout watches, amused.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Just Married.  No, you want to see this movie.  No, really, you want to see this movie.  You do.  You really want to see this movie.  It’s funny and sweet and funny.  Ashton and Brittany are hilarious.  Just…check out the official site.  You’ll be convinced.

 

Music: No Lie by Fenix TX

(fade in): The garage.  Dexter approaches slowly and tentatively.  He knocks on the door.  After a moment, Bella answers.  She gives him a perplexed look.

Bella: Hi, Dexter.

Dexter: Hi, Bella.  Is Grace home?

Bella: Grace?  Um, no…I think she’s over at…Ben Hudson’s maybe.  I’m not sure.

Dexter: Ben Hudson?

Bella: But, I’ll tell her you—

Dexter: No!  I mean…no, don’t worry about it.  No…

He turns around and starts to walk away.  Bella looks as though she may stop him, but shrugs is off and goes back inside. 

Music: On a Bad Day by Kasey Chambers

(cut to): Jill’s room.  She’s wearing her dress and standing in front of the mirror.  She picks her hair up to try to get an idea of the hair up look.  She sets it back down then picks it up again.  There is a quick knock at her door.

Jill: Come on in.

Jake walks in and pauses when she sees Jill at the mirror in the dress.  Jill only glances at Jake then looks back at the mirror.

Jill: Hey, Jacqueline…hair up or down?  What do you…

She’s turned to face Jake and stops talking when she sees her. 

Jill cont’d: What’s wrong?

Jake opens her mouth to speak, but closes it.  She closes her eyes and swallows.  She’s fighting back tears and Jill knows it.  She rushes over to Jake’s side and puts her hands on her shoulders.

Jill cont’d: What happened?

Jake shakes her head and walks over to Jill’s bed.

(dissolve to): several minutes later.  Jill and Jake both sit on the bed as Jake relates the story.  She’s been crying.

Jill: Hamilton is such an oblivious jackass.

Jake: No, he’s not.  He asked me about ten times if I was okay with it.

Jill: And you said yes?

Jake: I didn’t want to make him feel guilty. 

Jill rolls her eyes.

Jake cont’d: He has to go, Jill.  It’s not his fault. 

Jake wipes the remaining tears from her face.

Jill: Yeah, you’re right.  It’s Bella’s fault.  She’s such a selfish—

Jake: It’s not Bella’s fault either.

Jill: Well, it’s not your fault, okay?

Jake nods.

Jake: I know.  I just wish things were different. 

Jake looks at Jill’s dress.

Jake cont’d: Most of the time, I can deal.  But…this is…it’s like…it’s…

Jill: …prom.  It’s prom.  Prom is huge.

Jake nods in agreement.

Jake: We’ve never even danced together, you know…

Jake looks off.  Jill looks at her, thinking.

Jake cont’d: Well, we did go to this club in Carson once, but—

Jill: …clubbing is not dancing.

Jake: No…

A slight beat.

Jill: Give me until tomorrow and I’ll have this figured out.

Jake: There’s nothing to figure out.  It has to be the way it has to be.  I just…kind of needed a shoulder, you know?

Jill nods.  Jake looks down at her hands, looking upset again.  Jill puts an arm around her.

Jill: Give me until tomorrow.

Jake doesn’t argue this time as Jill sits comfortingly with her arm around her friend.

Music: If I Were You by Kasey Chambers

(cut to): the garage.  Bella sits on a bench writing in a notebook.  A townie SUV pulls up and Grace hops out. 

Grace: Thanks for the ride, Ben.  Bye…

The car peels out.

Grace cont’d: Geez, learn to drive, loser…

She turns to see Bella sitting there.

Grace: Oh, hey.  Writing another song?

Bella: Why do you hang out with guys like Ben?

Grace laughs.

Grace: In this case, it’s because he’s my partner for our geography project.

Bella: Oh.

Grace smiles.

Grace: I know…it’s like…wonders never cease.

Bella smiles.

Bella: Which reminds me…Dexter Darcy was here earlier.

Grace (casual): He was?  What did he say?

Bella: Nothing.  He told me not to tell you he came by.

Grace: Well, duh…you told him I was with Ben, didn’t you?

Bella:  Well, you were.  And…I didn’t know that you and Dexter were—

Grace: …we’re not.  I mean, he’s just a friend, but…I don’t know, he’s really sweet, don’t you think?

Bella: Yeah, in that spastic kind of way.

Grace: You’re so judgmental.  He happens to be very cool under that geek exterior.

Bella: Oh, well he actually looked like he got a de-geek makeover.

Grace raises his eyebrows.

Bella cont’d: …and he was wearing a tuxedo.  It was very strange.

Grace: That is strange.  I haven’t talked to him in awhile.  Maybe I should give him a call…

Bella nods as Grace wanders into the office.  Bella goes back to her notebook when Nicholas’ Jetta pulls up.  Bella smiles, but pretends not to notice and doesn’t look up.  Grace peaks her head out the office door. 

Grace: You want him?

Bella looks up at her.

Bella: Huh?

Grace cont’d: The customer.  Do you want him?

Grace smiles over at Nicholas and gives him a little wave as he gets out of his car.  Nicholas looks up.  He nods to Grace and tries not to glance at Bella.

Bella: Not in the mood to flirt?

Grace: Come on, I’m not that bad of a sister…

Bella looks up at her questioningly.  Grace smiles and goes back inside.  Bella gets up and walks over to Nicholas.

Bella: Hi.

He grins.

Nicholas: Hi.

He leans against the car, trying to appear casual as Bella starts to pump his gas.

Nicholas cont’d: So…we’re still…on for tonight?

Bella glances around then looks at him apologetically.

Bella: I have to rehearse for tomorrow.

Nicholas nods.

Bella cont’d: And…I think Grace definitely knows something is up with us.

Nicholas glances toward the office.  Grace is sitting at the desk, watching the two of them.  She looks away when Nicholas catches her.

Bella cont’d: I need a few days to throw her off.

Nicholas nods then thinks of something.

Nicholas: You know, the dean of my school or your dad is one thing, but…I don’t want you to feel like you can’t tell anyone about this…about us.

Bella: What about Hamilton?  Can I tell him?

Nicholas looks at her curiously.

Nicholas: If that’s what you want…

Bella cont’d: Well, he’s not exactly my first choice for confidant in this matter since Jake would probably hate me if she found out, but—

Nicholas: Jake would hate you?  Why?

Bella: For a million reasons…all of which should be obvious.

Nicholas narrows his eyes.

Nicholas: You do know that you’re not doing anything wrong?  I mean, I’m the one that’s at fault here…morally…and legally.

The gas pump clicks off and Bella replaces the nozzle. 

Bella: Morally, I don’t think either of us is doing anything wrong, and legally is just a technicality.  However, Jake will still hate me.  That’ll be seventeen dollars and thirty-seven cents.

Nicholas takes a moment to catch up with what she’s said then slowly pulls his wallet out.

Nicholas: I disagree, but…if you’re worried about it then…don’t tell Hamilton.

Bella: The point is…he already knows.  He saw me taking your tapes back that day and…somehow…he just…he figured it out.

Nicholas: Oh man…he asked me about that box.  I think I said it was a package from my mom.  He’s devious, that kid.

Nicholas hands Bella some bills, slowly counting out the exact change.

Bella: He wasn’t exactly supportive, but…he promised not to tell anyone.

Nicholas nods.

Nicholas: Look, don’t worry about it, okay? 

Bella: This is a distant cry from the paranoid Nick I once knew.

Nicholas: Well, you know, you just reach a point when you realize that what you’re hiding is far more important to you than the act of hiding it.

Bella smiles and looks down, but looks up at him a little uncertainly.

Nicholas cont’d: Everything’ll be fine.

Bella nods.

Nicholas cont’d: And, I won’t see you tonight.  We can both get some sleep.

He gives her a wink.

Nicholas cont’d: …and you’ll go to the prom tomorrow night and have fun without me.  Then…I’ll see you the next night.  Sound okay?

Bella nods.

Nicholas cont’d: And stop looking so stressed out.

He smiles and discreetly gives her a hand a quick squeeze before getting into his car.  She smiles.

Bella: I’ll see you soon.

Nicholas nods, closing his car door.  He pulls off as Grace walks back out of the office.

Grace: Man, he’s hot, huh?

Bella: Um…for a teacher, I guess.

Grace: I’m not stupid, you know.  Are you sleeping with him?

Bella looks totally shocked and caught.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."  John F. Kennedy said that then he established the Peace Corps.  If you want to know what you can do for your country (and you’re not all about conquering the world Bush-style), you might want to check out the Peace Corps official website.

 

Music: Spiderwebs by No Doubt

(fade in): to Gwen and Jill’s room, later that evening.  Gwen is putting her prom dress back in its bag.  Jill sits on the bed, watching.

Jill: That dress looked totally cute on you.

Gwen smiles.

Gwen: Do you think it’s sexy?

Jill: What do you care, Ms. I’m-not-having-sex-on-prom-night?

Gwen shrugs.

Gwen: Why’d Jake take off so fast when I got here?

Jill: I think she was kind of…prommed out.  Not in the mood to see another dress.

Gwen: I suppose it would be frustrating to be in her position…not being able to attend your own prom.

Jill: Yeah, especially when your boyfriend is attending.

Gwen: Hamilton’s going?

Jill: With Bella.  It’s like, he was the one guy she hadn’t gotten to.

Gwen (confused): So…Bella and Hamilton are…

Jill:supposedly, it’s just a friends-helping-each-other-out thing, but…I don’t buy it.  She probably has ulterior motives.

Gwen laughs.

Gwen: Oh, now don’t be so catty, Jill.

Jill: I don’t know why you like her so much.  You know that she and Will slept together, right?

Gwen: Yes, as a matter of fact, I do know that.  And I also know that…he essentially blew her off after that and…honestly, it scares me a little bit so…thanks for bringing it up.

Gwen gets the dress all squared away, but doesn’t turn back to Jill.

Jill: I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to…I mean…Will loves you.  He would never—

Gwen: Let’s just drop it, okay?

Jill sighs, wanting to say more.  The phone rings.  Jill glances over at it.

Jill: Can you get that?

Gwen (annoyed): Sure.

She walks over to the phone.

Jill: If it’s Sean…I’m not here.  Just tell him to get here early tomorrow.

Gwen gives her a confused look, but answers the phone.

Gwen: Hello?…Oh, hi Sean…

She looks over at Jill suspiciously.

Gwen cont’d: …Jill isn’t here…Seven?…Actually, I think she wanted you to come a little earlier if you could…

Jill nods like Gwen is saying the right thing.

Gwen cont’d: …You know, I’m not really sure why…

(cut to): Sean pacing around his room.

Sean: Okay, well thanks, Gwen…Oh, and hey, can you ask her to please call me or come over or something because we really need to talk and…not just about prom stuff…Okay, great, thanks…One more thing?…Is she sitting there avoiding me right now?…

(cut to): Gwen and Jill’s room.  Gwen looks over at Jill, not sure how to answers Sean’s question.

(cut to): Sean.

Sean cont’d: …I’ll take your silence as a yes.  Just tell her she doesn’t have to do that…Thank you.  Bye.

He hangs up the phone and tosses it down on his bed.  He is a little frustrated.  He continues pacing as he runs his hands through his hair.

(cut to): Gwen and Jill.  Gwen hangs up the phone.

Jill (nervously): What did he say?

Gwen: That he has some non-prom “stuff” to discuss with you…and that you don’t have to avoid him.  He knew you were here.

Jill: What?  How did he know?  I could have been not here.  He’s so…

Gwen: …right?

Jill looks at her then off.  Gwen shrugs.  Jill sighs looking confused.  Gwen looks back at her dress, recalling her own nervousness.

(cut to): Hamilton and Dexter’s room.  Dexter is lying on his bed, still in the tuxedo.  Hamilton is at his desk attempting to work on homework, but looking distracted.  Dexter’s cell phone rings from his desk.  He doesn’t move.  It rings again.

Hamilton (annoyed): Can you get that?

Dexter: You can.

Hamilton: But…it’s your phone.

Dexter: Exactly.

Hamilton gives him an irritated look, but gets up and picks up the phone as it rings again.

Hamilton: It says “Grace.”

Dexter: Don’t answer it.

It rings again.  It’s annoyed Hamilton enough.  He answers it.

Hamilton: Dexter’s phone.  This is Hamilton…Oh, Grace…hi…nope, he won’t come to the phone right now…huh?…I said he can’t come to the phone right now…uh-huh…I sure will…okay…bye, Grace.

Dexter looks up at him.  Hamilton sets the phone back down and goes back to his desk without looking at Dexter who has picked his head up to look at Hamilton curiously.

Dexter: Well?

Hamilton: What am I?  Your secretary?

Dexter doesn’t react before Hamilton turns to him and smiles slightly.

Hamilton: She said come by tomorrow…she wants to explain some stuff to you.

Dexter: Tomorrow?

Hamilton: Tomorrow.

Dexter nods and lays his head back down.

Dexter: Tomorrow…okay…

Hamilton shakes his head at Dexter then tries to go back to his work, remembering his own plans for tomorrow.

(cut to): Will and Scout’s room.  Will is wearing his tuxedo and checking himself out in the mirror.  Scout, in his Friendly’s uniform, walks in.

Scout: Looking good, Krudski.

Will: Thanks.

He laughs.

Will cont’d: How was work?

Scout: Lonely, thanks.  Dexter stopped by…he was still wearing that damn tuxedo.

Will: He’s so weird.

Scout: Agreed. 

A beat as Scout tosses his stuff down and pulls off his work polo shirt.  He un-tucks his white t shirt and sits down on his bed.

Scout cont’d: Make any progress in trying to figure out your prom night fate?

Will: Yeah, actually.  I talked to Gwen about it and…she isn’t ready.

Scout: Bummer.

Will laughs.  He shrugs.

Will: We’re going to have an awesome time, though.  Nothing like twirling around the dance floor with the girl you love.

Scout smiles half-heartedly.  Will feels bad for him.

Music: Saints and Sailors by Dashboard Confessional

Will cont’d: You know, Scout…it’s not over ‘til it’s over.

Scout: Brilliant observation, Will.

Will: I just mean that maybe—

Scout: Maybe what?  She’ll realize that she’s not in love with him?  That she’s in love with me?

Will looks at him like it’s not as implausible as Scout is making it sound.

Scout cont’d: When it goes down…it’s not going to go down like that.

A beat as Will looks at him curiously.

Will: When what goes down?

Scout hesitates.

Scout: Look, um…you can’t tell anyone, but…Jill and Sean aren’t really together.

Will: They broke up?

Scout: No…they were never…it’s all an act. 

Will tilts his head.  He’s very confused.

Will: An act?  For whose benefit?

Scout: Bella’s.

Will: Wait…what?

Scout: It’s to make her jealous so she’ll like Sean…so Sean and Bella can…be together.

Will: And who the hell thought of that?

Scout shrugs.

Scout: Jill mostly.  And then she told me and…then…

He pauses.

Scout cont’d: We were almost there, Will.  We almost had it back.

Will: You and Jill?

Scout nods.

Scout: But I couldn’t do it.  She was sneaking around so she could see me.  It was like she was cheating…on Sean.  It just felt…it was all wrong.  Except being with her.  That could never…that was…I love her so much, Will.

Scout puts his head in his hands.  He’s upset and stressed out.

Will: Why didn’t she just tell Sean that you guys were back together?

Scout: Exactly.  That’s the point.  Why didn’t she?  Why haven’t I seen her at all in the past couple of weeks?

Will obviously doesn’t have an answer he wants to offer.

Scout: It’s over, you know?  It’s just…it’s over.

He looks off and shakes his head.

Scout cont’d: I don’t even think I realized that until this exact moment.  And now I do.  She’s never going to be with me again. 

This realization hits him hard.  Will walks over and sits next to him on the bed.

Will: God, Scout…you should have…told me about this before, buddy. 

Scout doesn’t say anything.  Will pats him on the back, not really knowing what else to say.  Scout sighs.  He really hates this situation.  Will thinks a moment then says:

Will cont’d: Well, my initial comment still stands.  It’s not really over until it is…and…it doesn’t seem like it is just yet.  Maybe you shouldn’t give up until you really have to…

Scout takes a deep breath and considers this.

Scout: Okay.

He gets up, grabs a towel and heads for the bathroom.  He stops short and turns back to Will.

Scout cont’d: And, thanks.

Will nods.  Scout goes into the bathroom. Will shakes his head in disbelief over the situation.

(cut to): Finn and Johanna’s house.  Finn, Johanna and Meagan sit on the couch watching Runaway Bride.  Meagan is in the middle and Finn has his arm draped over the back of the couch.

Finn: Didn’t you all ready watch this today, Meag?

Meagan: Yep.  Shh.  It’s my favorite part.

On the screen, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts stand facing each other at the alter of a church.  They’re about to kiss.  Johanna glances at Finn who only smiles at her and runs his fingertips across her shoulder.  She smiles and reaches up, squeezing his hand.  Meagan watches the movie intently.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Ian Somerhalder.  Just can’t get enough?  Don’t worry, there’s plenty at Ian Then Some.  And remember to stop by and sign the guestbook and show Debi some appreciation for putting together and keeping together such a comprehensive and kickass site.

 

(fade in): to the hallway in front of  Nicholas’ apartment door. 

Music: Praise Chorus by Jimmy Eat World

(cut to): inside the apartment.  Jake sits on the couch.  She is wearing a Jake outfit, but looks pretty vulnerable and girly.  She notices a book on his coffee table.  She picks it up and we see the title.  “Auto Repair for Dummies.”  She thinks it’s curious, but not too much as she tosses it back down.  Nicholas walks in the room carrying two coffee mugs.  He hands one over to Jake and sits down next to her.

Nicholas: So, prom’s got you down, huh?

Jake laughs.

Jake: Something like that.

Nicholas: I know it sucks that you can’t go and that…the one person you would even want to go with is not only going, but…going with someone else.

Jake: Yeah…with Bella, by the way.

Nicholas all ready knows this.  He smiles slightly at the mention of her name, but tries not to show it.

Nicholas: Bella…from…the garage?

Jake laughs.

Jake: The one and only.

Jake looks down into her coffee.

Jake cont’d: She’s so perfect.  I mean…if he was with her…his life would be…so much more…normal.  Dating her would be like…so easy compared to dating me.

Nicholas smiles to himself.

Nicholas: Don’t be so sure about that.

Jake looks up at him.

Nicholas cont’d: It’s like this: life isn’t really about the situations; it’s about the people.  I mean, prom?  It’s just a stupid dance.  Screw tradition.  You wanted to go because you wanted to be with Hamilton.  Right?

Jake: Yeah, pretty much.

Nicholas: So, dance with him somewhere else, some other time.  The first chance you get.

Jake nods, taking a sip of her coffee.

Nicholas cont’d: And don’t sit around tomorrow night worrying about Hamilton and Bella because…I don’t really think that’s…something to worry about.  Okay?

Jake: I know…

Nicholas smiles.

Nicholas: Good.

Nicholas finally has a sip of his own coffee.

Nicholas cont’d: Well, I think this is our first genuine brother/sister conversation.

Jake: It turned out well.

Nicholas: Oh, wait…I just need to add “and if he does happen to hurt you, I’ll break his legs.”

Jake laughs.  A slight beat.

Jake: Thank you, Nicholas.

Nicholas starts to comment…

Jake cont’d: For the conversation…not for hypothetically breaking his legs.

Nicholas: Anytime, Jake.

Jake tilts her head.

Jake: It’s funny that you call me that.  Jill won’t.

Nicholas shrugs.

Nicholas: I guess I just picked it up from…everyone.

Jake nods, looking momentarily suspicious.  It passes, though, as she takes another sip of her coffee.  Nicholas watches her then has a sip of his own.

(cut to): Sean’s room.  He’s in his boxers, a t shirt and his socks, pacing around the room.   He hit play on his stereo.  Crush starts to play.  He walks over to the garment bag, which hangs on his closet door.  He unzips it and exams his tuxedo then pulls the jacket out.  He slips it on.  He closes his eyes and sits back down on his bed.  The song continues as he places his head in his hands.  He’s not as stressed out about Jill as he has been.  He’s just…meditating over the whole confusing situation.  He slowly lies back on his bed.

Will (voice over): The first time anything happens to us, it hits us pretty hard.  Especially if we haven’t prepared for it…or if we didn’t see it coming.  The key is to just take everything as it comes and…make the best of it.  Big things are going to happen tomorrow night.  All of our lives will be just a little different.  But, hey, I guess it won’t be the first time…

We pull out of Sean’s bedroom window and then tilt up to the night sky…

(fade out)

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Feedback

Or

Junior Year