Cabin Fever

 

(fade in): to a huge cabin in a patch of snow-covered woods on the side of a mountain. 

Music: Waiting for the Night to Fall by Depeche Mode

There are cars all around the cabin: NicholasÕ Jetta, ScoutÕs SUV and a light pink VW bus.  We can barely see a long, winding driveway leading to the cabin because it is nearly completely covered in snow.  There are no lights on in the cabin save a flickering light in one of the windows.  We slowly zoom in through this window.

(cut to): the cabinÕs den where a huge fireplace with a large stone mantel contains a deep orange cluster of flames that lick devilishly in all directions. 

Will (voice over): IÕm not quite sure how we all ended up here, like this.  Tainted.

(cut to): a small coat closet.   Stuffed between several coats, we find Hamilton, Jake and Scout.  Jake, of course, is in the middle, but none of them is focused on the obvious awkwardness of the situation.  They look terrified, afraid to even breathe.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Contaminated with fear.  Afraid.  Not of who is with us or who we are or who we may become.

(cut to): an upstairs bedroom where a neatly made king-sized, four-post bed sits among large pieces of wooden furniture.  The room is illuminated only by moonlight until a weak beam of light escapes from under the bed.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Not the typical emotional pollutionÉ.

(cut to): under the bed.  Tyson lies on one edge, Sean on the other.  Between them, Jill and Alyssa.  Alyssa holds the flashlight.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Éthat we normally spend our lives denying.

Sean (whispered hiss): Are you crazy?  Turn that damn thing off.

He reaches across Jill and snatches the flashlight from Alyssa, turning it off.

Alyssa (whisper): I wanted to see what time it is.

Jill (loud whisper): Time doesnÕt matter if youÕre dead!

Sean, Alyssa, Tyson: Shhhhhh!

A clunking noise from outside the door silences all of them.  They look back and forth, scared.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Tonight we are primordially afraid.

(cut to): a study.  There is a desk, surrounded by bookcases.  We focus on one of the bookcases.

(cut to): a bathroom which seems to have no door.  Will sits next to Grace on the edge of a pedestal bathtub.  A candle illuminates the space.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Fearful for our own lives.

Grace: Will anyone be able to see the light?

Will: This place is sealed up pretty well.  Who ever heard of having a secret door for a bathroom?

Grace shrugs, disconnected.

Will contÕd: You okay?

Grace: IÕm worried about Dexter.

Will nods.

Will: IÕm sure he found somewhere safe.

Grace doesnÕt look sure.  Will puts a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Frightened for the ones we love. 

(cut to): the dining room.  A long, wooden dining table sits in the middle of the room, cloaked with a tablecloth that reaches the floor.  A crystal chandelier hangs dark above the table. 

(cut to): below the table.  Dexter, Nicholas and Bella sit huddled together.  Dexter has his knees up to his chest and looks nervous and slightly annoyed.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Completely overtaken.

Nicholas has his arm around Bella, comforting and protecting her as she also looks frightened.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Tonight, we are all infected, and our fever is fear. 

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Fantasy Football.  Get as many Indianapolis Colts as you can and youÕll win.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of New Rawley.  At the bottom of the screen, the words Ņ32 Hours EarlierÓ appear then disappear.

Music: Stay by Curious

(cut to): the garage.  NicholasÕ Jetta is parked across the street.  Bella and Grace are outside working on a faded pink VW bus.  The back end is jacked up and the engine compartment open.  Bella is tightening something with a wrench.  Grace looks on.

Bella: I canÕt believe you bought the freaking mystery machine, Grace.

She laughs, wiping sweat from her forehead.

Grace: The guy was only charging three hundred bucks, and all this thing needs is a new battery.

Bella: IsnÕt three hundred bucks pretty much your entire savings?

Grace shrugs it off.

Grace contÕd: Admit it, itÕs in excellent condition.

Bella: It is in excellent condition.

Grace: Plus, itÕs pink.  How cute is that?

Bella rolls her eyes.

Bella: Yeah, itÕs adorable.  Can you get me that wrench?

Before she can indicate which wrench, they notice Nicholas and Charlie crossing from FriendlyÕs.

Grace: WhatÕs the deal with that?

Bella: He wants to take me up to his fatherÕs ski cabin this weekend.

Grace: I want to go skiing.

Nicholas: ThatÕs great because youÕre invited.

Grace looks up as Nicholas and Charlie appear next to the van.

Grace: Really?

Grace looks to Charlie for confirmation.

Charlie: DonÕt let Dexter break his neck.

Grace looks at Bella.  Bella smiles.

Grace: IÕm surprised you werenÕt trying to pull some sketchy plan to get Bella all aloneÉ

Bella shoves her, but Nicholas smiles.

Nicholas: I think your father knows that my, uh, intentions are completely honorable?

He looks at Charlie for confirmation.  Charlie nods.

Charlie: I do.

He gives Nicholas a wink then a handshake before heading inside. 

Grace: I hope you donÕt turn out to be some psycho killer.

Nicholas smirks.

(dissolve to): the garage. 

Music: 48 Hours by The Good Luck Joes

The words, ŅTwenty-Four Hours LaterÓ appear then disappear.  The Jetta and the bus are parked out front.  Nicholas is helping Bella pack her bag into the trunk.  Grace and Dexter walk out of the garage with bags of their own.

Grace: Dexter and I will take the bus.

Bella: YouÕre not driving that thing around the block much less a hundred miles to a remote location.

Grace: ItÕs perfectly safe.

Bella: We havenÕt finished the safety inspection.  ThereÕs plenty of room in NickÕs car.

Nicholas: ActuallyÉI had something else in mind.

Bella looks at him curiously just as ScoutÕs SUV pulls up.  Jake hops out.

Jake: I hope thereÕre going to be skis at this place because mine are in New York. 

Scout gets out and walks around to the passenger side.  Bella looks at Nicholas questioningly.

Nicholas: Do you mind?

She smiles genuinely.

Bella: Of course not.

Nicholas: Your sisterÉmy sister...this is going to beÉperfect.

Nicholas smiles.

Scout: Tell me weÕre not riding in that thing.

He nods toward the bus.

Grace: You got a problem with my new ride, Calhoun?

She takes a step toward him, but Dexter holds her back. 

Dexter: You have to admit that it looks a little unsafeÉ

She glares at him.

Dexter contÕd: To the untrained eye, I mean.

Grace: Whatever.  We can ride with themÉ

She nods toward Jake and Scout.

Grace contÕd: If I get to control the radio.

Scout: No way.  I brought my CDs.

Jake shakes her head.

Jake: You know sheÕs going to win.  Why fight it?

He protests and they get into a private, comical argument.  Grace and Dexter turn to Nicholas and Bella.

Grace: Speaking of unexpected guestsÉI guess I should mention that I invited someone.

Dexter: Who?

Grace: Ty.

Dexter: Ty?  Tyson?  Aw, GraceÉ

Grace: What?

Dexter: He doesnÕt know aboutÉthem. 

He nods toward Nicholas and Bella.  Scout and Jake try to escape the conversation by moving around to the back of ScoutÕs car to get their bags.

Grace: HeÕs trustworthy.  We can just tell him.

Nicholas and Bella look at each other.  She shrugs.

Nicholas: We can cross that bridge when we—

Tyson: Yo, Dex.

They look up as Tyson walks across the street accompanied by Alyssa and Jill.  They are all carrying bags except Alyssa who wheels a small, rolling suitcase.

Tyson contÕd: I invited some people.  Hope thatÕs cool.

Bella: And this bridge?

Nicholas (quietly to Bella): NoÉno, no, no.  They cannot come.

Bella: What are you going to tell them?  They didnÕt get their permission slips signed?

Nicholas looks at her like he thinks itÕs a good idea until he realizes sheÕs kidding.

Alyssa: Mr. Mann?  Are you chaperoning?  I totally told my mom there would be a chaperone, but I thought I was lying.  This is awesome.

Nicholas starts to speak, but then is baffled with what to say.  He hesitates a moment more then asks:

Nicholas (no confidence): Um, did you, uhÉbring yourÉpermission slip?

Alyssa is confused.  Jill scoffs.

Jill: Yeah, right.  I donÕt think this trip requires a permission slip. 

Nicholas: Um, yes it doesÉ

Jill: Well, you already talked to my dad about itÉremember?

Nicholas doesnÕt know what to say.

Alyssa: My mom really was fine with it, Mr. Mann.

Stumped, he nods waving them imaginary entrance.  Jake and Scout emerge from the back of the SUV, carrying their bags.

Jake: YouÕve got to be kidding.

She looks at Bella who shrugs.

Grace: Looks like IÕll be driving after all.

Nicholas massages his temples.  Everyone else looks around awkwardly.

Bella: I guess I should pack a few more snacks in the cooler.

Dexter: IÕll help.

(cut to): the kitchen.  Dexter and Bella walk in.  Bella carries a cooler.

Dexter: I wanted to tell youÉI invited Will.  I didnÕt know all these other people were coming.

Bella: Will?  HeÕll be a stabilizing influence.  DonÕt worry about it, Dexter. 

He nods as Bella opens some cabinets, pulling out a bag of chips and a box of Little Debbie Cakes.

(cut to): outside as Bella and Dexter emerge.  Will has joined the crowd, accompanied by Sean and Hamilton.

Will (to Dexter): I thought I would bring some other bachelors.  Clearly, I didnÕt think that through too well.

Grace: Oh, yeah, I am definitely driving.

Scout (to Bella): I think Jake and I will just head back to the dorms.

He looks at Jake who has inadvertently shot him a displeased look for speaking for her.

Scout: OrÉjust me.

Jake: NoÉuhÉthat actually sounds like a good idea.

Nicholas: DonÕt do that.  Please?

Jake is conflicted.  Scout is uncomfortable.

Scout (to Jake): What do you think?

Jake: IÕm willing to go.  You?

Scout looks torn between wanting to escape this and wanting to be with Jake.

Scout: Yeah, IÕll go.

Hamilton (to Scout): DonÕt worry about it.  IÕll head home.

Alyssa (to Hamilton): Yeah, me too.

Jill (to Alyssa): No way.  YouÕre going. (to Tyson): WeÕre going.

Tyson: Cool.

Dexter (to Tyson, aside): Not cool.  There is way too much potential conflict.

Sean (to Bella): IÕm taking off, Bel.

Bella: YouÕre welcome to stay.

Jill butts in.

Jill: If youÕre leaving because of me, IÕll leave. 

Sean looks at her sadly.

Sean: ThereÕs just a lot of people.  Too many for me right now.

He looks at Bella.

Sean: IÕm sorry.

Bella: Please?  I need some townie back up.

Sean sighs.  Jill looks on jealously at an intimacy she doesnÕt share.

Sean: OkayÉ

Bella smiles.  Nicholas approaches.

Nicholas: I guess weÕre all going to take off.  Ready?

Bella: IÕm sorry aboutÉall this.

He smiles lovingly at her.

Nicholas: ItÕs not your fault.

Bella:  Still.  IÕm sure this isnÕt exactly what you had in mind.

Nicholas shrugs.

Nicholas: Que sera, sera, right?

He walks away.  Jill has overheard the last part.

Jill: Did he just quote Doris Day?

Sean and Bella shrug and walk away.

Jill contÕd: Whatever will be will beÉthe futureÕs not oursÉto seeÉ

As she trails off, David Gray and Damien RiceÕs version of Que Sera, Sera begins to play.  We zoom out as all the kids get into various cars, including the bus.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Looking for music by the artists used in this episode?  Try creating a station at Pandora then adding all the artists.  Pandora is a great, free radio station that letÕs you listen to awesome artists you didnÕt even know existed.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of a road in the middle of nowhere.  The Jetta, bus and SUV caravan.

Music: People Are So Fickle by Kevin Devine

(cut to): inside ScoutÕs car.  Will is in the back.  Jake leans her seat completely back so that she is nearly horizontal and stares up at the ceiling of the car.

Jake: God, I just wanted a weekend where I could kick back and beÉmyself.

Will: YeahÉsorry about that.

Jake: ItÕs not you.

She turns over on her stomach, facing him.

Jake contÕd: At least the people you brought know my gender.

Scout: What about Hamilton?  Is this just going to be way too awkward? 

Will: If IÕd known you guys were going to be hereÉ

Jake: DonÕt worry about it.  HamiltonÕll be fine.

Scout: And IÕll try to control myself. 

Jake turns on her side, supporting her head with her arm.  She looks at Scout with a smile. 

Jake: YouÕll Ņtry?Ó

Scout sighs, looking guilty that she caught his specifically tailored wording.

Jake contÕd (light, but sincere): You knowÉyou have nothing to worry about.

She reaches over, taking ScoutÕs right hand as she eases back into a normal sitting position.  His apprehension is momentarily quelled.  Will watches with a bemusedly amused smile.

(cut to): the bus.  Grace is driving.  Dexter is in the passenger seat.  Jill sits on the middle bench while Tyson and Alyssa sit on opposite sides of the back bench.  Alyssa is looking through the back window.

Alyssa: Okay, I think theyÕre holding hands.  Hey, can you slow down a little? 

The speed doesnÕt change.

Alyssa contÕd: WhatÕs her name again?

Tyson: Grace.

Alyssa: Hey, Grace?   Slow down a little.

(cut to): Grace and Dexter.  They talk where the others cannot hear.

Grace: What the hell?  Does she think IÕm a freaking chauffer?

Dexter: YouÕre the one that invited her.

Grace: I didnÕt invite her.

Dexter: Basically you did.  You invitedÉ

He notices her glare.  He turns to the back of the bus.

Dexter contÕd: Sorry, weÕre trying to keep up with Mr. Mann.  We canÕt slow down.

(cut to): the back of the bus.  Alyssa sighs and sits back down.

Jill: You think Jake and Scout have something going on?

Alyssa shrugs.

Tyson: We think somethingÕs not right about Jake.

Jill: Like what?

Alyssa: Like heÕs a cross-dresser.

Jill almost chokes on a laugh.

Jill: You think that he is a cross-dresser.  WowÉ

Alyssa: Come on.  ŅJacquelineÓ is your best friendÉbut if Jacqueline is actually JakeÕs alter ego thenÉyou would know, right?  WhatÕs the deal?

Jill: Jacqueline.  Jake.  TheyÕre both gone from my life andÉI donÕt really want to talk about either of them anymore. 

Tyson (to Alyssa): You should have been more subtle.

Alyssa shrugs and turns around, trying to look out the window.

(cut to): NicholasÕ car.  Everyone is quiet.

Sean: Hope we arenÕt ruining your trip.

Bella turns around and smiles.

Bella: No.

Sean nods not really believing her.  He taps his hands on his knees as a beat passes.

Hamilton: MineÕs ruined.

They all look at him, Nicholas doing so through the rearview mirror.

Hamilton contÕd: IÕm just saying.

Sean: Yeah...itÕs not too cool having your ex-girlfriend around.  Especially whenÉ

He sighs, shaking his head, but not finishing.

Hamilton: Especially when what?  You still care about her?  At least sheÕs not on this trip with the guy she wants more than you.

Sean: No.  SheÕs here watching the guy she wants more than me be with the girl he wants more than her.

Hamilton sighs.

Hamilton: Man, Scout sucks.

Sean: Totally.

Hamilton: Maybe heÕll fall down the ski slope.

Sean chuckles, knowing he shouldnÕt.  Bella and Nicholas look at each other.  Nick rolls his eyes.

Bella: Guys, thatÕs not really fair to Scout.  I mean, Sean, he turned Jill down.  ItÕs not like he pursued her.

Hamilton: No, he saved that for Jake.

Bella: Yeah, the girl you dumped for Alyssa. 

Hamilton: You didnÕt have to point that out.

Bella: You sure about that?  I think you may need to re-administer that reality check several times this weekend.

Hamilton: IÕm not going to be rude to Scout to his face, if thatÕs what youÕre worried about.

Sean: I might be, though. 

Bella gives him a reprimanding smile.

Sean contÕd: You know IÕm just kidding.

Bella: You better be.  And you better not be.

She looks at Hamilton.

Hamilton: Patience is my new middle name.

She raises her eyebrows.

Hamilton contÕd: I swear.

She nods then turns back around.  A beat passes.

Nicholas: So, Bella, any further thoughts on the college thing?

Bella: Other than the fact that IÕm going somewhere in BostonÉnot really.

Nicholas nods.

Nicholas: You know, some schools do early decision.  You could get accepted before your last senior semester even begins.

Bella: God, you sound like my guidance counselor.  Are you going to tell me to start filling out scholarship applications?

Nicholas: You know what they say on that kind of thing: the earlier the better.

Bella looks slightly annoyed.  From the back, Sean and Hamilton share an amused look.

Nicholas contÕd: But, I can probably help you out with that kind of thing.

Bella: YouÕre so not going to pay my tuitionÉ

Nicholas: How about room and board?

She looks over at him curiously, but doesnÕt reply.

Nicholas contÕd: We can talk about it later.

She nods, interested in this possibility. 

Music: Tonight by Ace Troubleshooter

(dissolve to): a large cabin in the middle of the woods, the same one we saw in previous scenes.  The line of cars pulls up and parks randomly.  People start getting out and briefly mingling.

Grace: Oh my God, itÕs freezing.

Tyson: Feels like snow.

Hamilton: ItÕs not going to snow.

Scout: There is snow on the mountains, though, right?

Hamilton looks to the side, wanting to comment, but saying nothing.

Jake: Well, we did come to ski.

Hamilton smiles to himself: definitely what he was going to say.

Scout: Oh...right.

He smiles sheepishly.  Hamilton turns away and walks over to Alyssa and Tyson.

Hamilton: SoÉI didnÕt know you two wereÉfriends.

Alyssa shrugs. 

Alyssa: WeÕve hung out a few times in the past few weeks.  

Tyson: IÕm a very good listener.

He smirks.  Hamilton doesnÕt know what to say.

Alyssa: Excuse me.

Alyssa goes off to talk to Jill.

Tyson: If you hate me, I understand.  Scout does, too.

Hamilton considers this.

Hamilton: You know, itÕs cool.  I mean, sheÕs a great girl.  If I wasnÕt in love with someone else—

Tyson: Jacqueline, right?

Hamilton narrows his eyes, wondering about the motivation of the question.

Hamilton: Jacqueline.  Right.

Tyson: Good thing sheÕs not here, huh?

Hamilton nods, awkwardly putting his hands in his pockets while trying not to look at Jake.  Tyson notices.

Tyson contÕd: Anyway.  Alyssa and I are just friends.

Hamilton chuckles.

Hamilton: Okay.

Tyson: DonÕt get me wrong, I think sheÕs remarkably beautiful.  I always have.  From the moment I saw her, I was justÉlikeÉ

Hamilton: Drawn to her?

Tyson nods.

Tyson: Yeah.  She just has a certainÉje ne sais quoi.

Hamilton: Exactly.

Tyson: But.  Now that IÕve gotten to know her a little betterÉitÕs nice having her as a friend.

Hamilton nods, looking over at Alyssa and Jill as they giggle over something.

Tyson contÕd: If youÕll excuse me.

Tyson walks over to the girls, taking their bags for them.  Hamilton smiles, shaking his head.

Nicholas (loudly): Excuse me, everyone?

He is at the top step of the porch.  Everyone pauses to look up.

Nicholas: Okay, there are four bedrooms and a pullout bed in the study, which makes five places to sleep.  Being the only adult here, IÕm taking one of the rooms, but everything else is up for grabs. 

Everyone chatters as they take their belongings and move into the house.

Nicholas contÕd: Oh, andÉjust so you knowÉ

Everyone listens again.

Nicholas contÕd: There may be some unusual things that happen.

Everyone looks around, confused.

Nicholas contÕd: IÕve been coming here with my dad since I was a kid andÉIÕve seen some pretty weird stuff.

Scout: What kind of Ņweird stuff?Ó

Grace: Yeah, what exactly are you trying to say?  Is this place haunted or something?

Nicholas hesitates, his acting almost passing.  He just shrugs and heads into the house.  The kids look around, everyone a little nervous.

(cut to): the suite we saw before with the large king size, four post bed as Nicholas puts his stuff down.  Bella peaks her head in and looks around.  She nods approvingly and offers him a smile.

Nicholas (quiet): I love you.

Bella (more quiet): I love you, too.

Nicholas: Come in.

Bella: IÕve got to find a place to sleep.

He looks briefly pouty, but then nods for her to go.  She exits and walks on down the hallway.

(cut to): a childrenÕs room decorated with bright pink walls.  There are wooden bunk beds, the bottom bunk

set perpendicular to the top.  Additionally, there is a day bed under a window.  Jill and Alyssa walk in. 

Jill: Guess this is the girlsÕ room.

Alyssa nods.  As they look around, Bella walks in.

Bella: Can I room with you guys?

Jill and Alyssa look at each other.

Jill: Sure.  I mean, you probably wonÕt be in here much soÉ

Alyssa doesnÕt get it.  Bella doesnÕt like the comment, but doesnÕt say anything.
Bella:
Thanks.  I call the solo bed.

She walks past Jill and sets her belongings on the day bed.  She smiles at Jill.  Jill and Alyssa start to unpack.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: The Good Luck Joes.  Good band and you can listen to all their music online.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the house.

Music: Love in the Lies by Amos Lee

(cut to): the study we saw earlier.  Scout and Jake enter.

Jake: Do you think we should even room together?

Scout: Of course.  We room together normally.  Why wouldnÕt we room together here?

Scout walks over to the couch, trying to open it into a bed.

Jake: ItÕs just that thereÕs only one bed andÉ

Scout: You donÕt want to be that close?

He raises his eyebrows, opening the bed.

Jake: I have no problem with proximity.  You know that.

She takes a step closer to him.

Scout: Then whatÕs the problem?

Jake (clichˇd voice): What will people think?

Scout: Who?  Tyson?  Alyssa?  They shouldnÕt even be here.

Jake: I know, butÉthey are.

Scout: Okay, how about this?  IÕve got a sleeping bag in my car.  WeÕll throw it on the ground and tell everyone youÕre taking the floor.

Jake smiles, liking the plan.

(cut to): a room exactly like the girls, but decorated in blue.  Will, Sean and Hamilton walk in together.

Will: Perfect.  Sean, you can take that bed by the window if you want.  ItÕs got an awesome view.

Sean: Why do I get the view?

Will: Tradition.

Sean: Poorest kid gets the window?

Will laughs.

Will: Yeah, pretty much.

They all chuckle.

Hamilton: Can I have the bottom bunk?  IÕm not a fan of heights.

Will: Sure.  I enjoy the extra distance from reality. 

Sean: How do you do that?

Will: Do what?

Sean and Hamilton look at each other, amused.  Hamilton answers:

Hamilton: Make bunk beds into metaphoric poetry.

Sean nods.  Will shrugs, flattered.  Before anyone can move forward in the conversation, Tyson enters with his bag.

Music: Unfair by Curious

Tyson: BoysÕ room?

Will looks around, hesitantly.

Sean: No more beds, dude.  IÕm sorry.

Hamilton: Try Jake and Scout?

Will gives him a disapproving look.

Will: Or maybe Grace and Dexter found a room with an extra bed.

Sean: Or Jill and Alyssa. 

Tyson doesnÕt get the intended implications of any of the suggestions, but he nods and exits anyway.

Tyson: Thanks guys.

When heÕs gone they all look around at each other.

Will: Jake and Scout?

Hamilton: If the story is that JakeÕs a boyÉdoesnÕt it make sense?  YouÕre the one suggesting he move in with a couple.

Sean: I guess Grace is the one that invited him.

Hamilton: I suppose itÕs better than suggesting he room with two girls.

Sean: Reminder: he invited those two girls.  And one of them is the last person I wanted to see this weekend.

Will: And the other is probably the last person you wanted to see, Ham.

Hamilton: No, thatÕd be Scout.

Sean: We are so on the same page with that one.  I donÕt know why Bella was getting so defensive earlier.

Will: Can I remind you two that heÕs one of my best friends?

Hamilton: ThatÕs okay, we forgive you Krudski.

Will rolls his eyes, walking away as they continue their Scout-bash.

(cut to): the final bedroom.  Grace and Dexter have places their belonging on a queen size bed.  The furniture in this room is nice, but plain, and includes a love seat against one wall.  Grace and Dexter enter.

Grace: Man, if Dad knew I was sleeping in a room alone with you.

Dexter smiles, walking over to her.

Dexter: Thanks for driving. 

Grace: No problem.  I think I handled that thing beautifully up this mountain.

She smiles.  He nods in agreement with an adoring smile on his lips.

Dexter: Speaking of mountains and handling things beautifully and allÉI was thinking that maybe this weekend we couldÉ

Grace listens, allowing him to put this together, but before he can, the partially closed door opens and Tyson walks in.

Music: 21st Century Kid by Jamie Cullen

Tyson: Boo.

Dexter and Grace step apart.

Tyson contÕd: Oh, damn, was I interrupting?

Grace: Nothing important.
Dexter looks slightly hurt by that comment, but doesnÕt say anything.

Tyson: Good because I need a place to sleep and that love seat looks perfect.

Dexter: What?  CanÕt you just stay with Will and—

Tyson: No room.

Grace: What about those idiot girls you invited?

Tyson: TheyÕre not idiots.  And, I only invited Alyssa. 

Grace: I was vouching for you and then you show up with them.  How embarrassing.

Tyson sighs.

Tyson: AnywayÉI walked by, but there were three girls and three beds.

Dexter: Three?

Tyson: Alyssa.  Jill.  Bella.

Grace: OhÉthat freaking sucks.

A beat as she thinks.

Grace contÕd: Okay, get Bella down here and you can room with the idiots.

Tyson: ItÕs cool.  I donÕt want Bella to have to sleep on that thing.

He nods over to the love seat.

Dexter: I donÕt think sheÕll mind.

Tyson: I insist.

Dexter and Grace look at one another, defeated.

Grace: Fine, but if any ghosts come, weÕre sacrificing you to save ourselves.

Tyson rolls his eyes and takes his stuff over to the love seat.

Music: Less Yesterday, More Today by Kevin Devine

(cut to): the kitchen.  Jake is staring into the very empty refrigerator.  Scout walks in behind her, tapping her on the shoulder.  He has a sleeping bag tucked under one arm and a little Debbie in his other hand.  She turns around and he hands her a Swiss roll.

Jake: Oh, Little Debbie, I love you.

Scout smiles as she opens the package.  She offers him the first one, but he shakes his head.  She shrugs and takes a bite.

Jake: This is amazing.

She takes another bite.  He shifts the sleeping bag, holding it in both hands.

Scout: Kind of like you.

Jake smiles, but rolls her eyes.

Scout contÕd: What?

She shrugs.

Jake: Too sweet.  You want?

He smiles and takes the cake from her, finishing it in off in a few bites.

Scout: Tastes fine to me.

Jake: You have a little chocolateÉ

She points to the corner of his mouth.  He wipes his lips with his hand, but achieves nothing.

Jake contÕd: Still there.

He leans toward her.

Scout: Help me out?

Jake: Please, IÕm not going to lick chocolate off your face, Scout.

She laughs, gently pushing a little distance between them.  HeÕs more amused than offended.  She grabs a paper towel from a nearby dispenser, wiping away the chocolate.

Scout: Thanks.

He looks at her sheepishly.  She laughs, looking down and shaking her head. 

Scout: When you laugh at me like that I canÕt tell if you think IÕm a complete idiot orÉ

She looks up at him, in obvious disagreement.

Jake: ItÕs because I think youÕre trying way too hard to be charming whenÉyou already are.

He blushes, slightly embarrassed.  She takes the opportunity to move in and kiss him on the cheek.  She lingers, giving him the chance to give her the proper kiss heÕs been after.  From the doorway, someone clears their throat.  Scout and Jake break apart quickly and look over.  Hamilton leans on the doorframe.

Hamilton: I know youÕre going to take this wrong, but you guys have got to be more careful.  I mean, I could have been anybody.

Scout leans against the fridge, sighing.  Hamilton shifts awkwardly.

Hamilton: I thought about just walking by without saying anything.  God knows I wanted to avoid this confrontation, but I just figured—

Jake: You bring up a good point.  Thank you.

Scout: Oh, come on, he was obviously spying—

Jake: Scout!

Hamilton: Spying?  Are you joking?  I was coming to the kitchen to look for food.

Scout scoffs.  Jake gives him a reproachful glance.  Hamilton turns away, talking to himself.

Hamilton contÕd: I shouldnÕt have come here.  I donÕt know what I was thinking.  And now IÕm practically trapped here.  And IÕm starving, but God forbid I go to the kitchenÉ

He walks out.  Jake gives Scout another disapproving look then follows Hamilton out.  We follow.

Jake: Hey, hang on.

He turns around.

Hamilton: ItÕs fine, Jake.  IÕm fine.  Really.

Jake just stares at him.  He smiles convincingly.

Hamilton contÕd: IÕm not here to spy on you.  IÕm justÉhere, okay? 

Jake: I know that.

He nods.

Hamilton: And, whether itÕs my business or not, you should be careful.

Jake: I know that, too.

He stands, leaning away, but not leaving.

Jake contÕd: Here, take this.

She hands over the other Swiss Roll.

Hamilton: Oh, wow, thanks.

He offers her a charming smile.

Jake: No problem.

They look at each other for a moment more.  He starts to walk backward down the hall. 

Hamilton: Thanks.

Jake: You already said that.

Hamilton shrugs.

Hamilton: Thanks a lot?

She laughs and watches him turn around and walk down the hallway and up a flight of stairs.  Scout exits the kitchen, still carrying the sleeping bag.

Scout: Why is it so hard to control my temper around him?

Jake: You did fine.

Scout: Oh, really?  Is that why you said my name in that sharp, reprimanding way?

She smiles, rolling her eyes.

Jake: LetÕs go set up my bed.

She takes the sleeping bag from Scout.

Music: Glad by Tyler Hilton

Alyssa: You have to sleep on the floor?

They turn around to find Alyssa behind them.  They exchange a look, realizing how true HamiltonÕs warning was.

Jake: Yeah.  WeÕre about two beds short.

Scout looks over at her, wondering how pointed she meant the comment to be.

Alyssa: So, Scout, whereÕs Jacqueline this weekend?

Scout unintentionally looks over at Jake.

Scout: Um, Jacqueline isÉ.well, sheÉ

Jake: She couldnÕt make it.

Scout: Right.  She couldnÕt make it.

He looks back at Alyssa.

Scout contÕd: Jacqueline couldnÕt make it.

Alyssa: You must be bummed.

Scout: Oh yeah.  I am so bummed.

He shakes his head, trying to look Ņbummed.Ó  Jake gives him a subtle elbow in the side.

Scout: Ow!

Alyssa and Jake give him an odd look.

Scout contÕd: OwwÉI miss her so much it hurts.

Jake laughs despite an effort not to, but Alyssa just looks confused.

Jake: YouÕre such a pansy, Calhoun.  YouÕll get to see your girlfriend soon enough.

Scout: Girlfriend, huh?  I didnÕt know exactly what I was allowed to call Jacqueline.

Jake smiles, momentarily forgetting Alyssa.  She snaps out of it.

Jake: Anyways.  HowÕs it going, Alyssa?  I didnÕt know you and Tyson were friends.

Alyssa: Yeah.  We started talking one day andÉwe just hit it off. 

Jake: So is it likeÉa thing?

Alyssa: Nothing romantic, if thatÕs what you mean.

Jake: OhÉokay.

Jake doesnÕt buy it; Alyssa realizes this.

Alyssa: I mean, heÕs totally cute, butÉIÕm just notÉin that place right now, you know?

Jake nods, understanding. 

Jake: I hear ya, butÉyouÕll get there.  Even if itÕs not with him. 

Alyssa smiles.

Alyssa: Thanks.

Scout nudges Jake.  He gives her a Ņwhat are you doing?Ó look.  She snaps out of the obvious girl talk, shaking her head.

Jake: Uh, IÕve got to go take a leak.

She does an about face and walks away.  Alyssa watches her carefully for a minute.  Scout chuckles awkwardly.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: In case youÕre the one person in the world that didnÕt see Miss Teen South Carolina answer a question about American educationÉcheck it out.  IÕm embarrassed to be from S.C.

 

(fade in): an establishing shot of the cabin.

Music: I DonÕt Wanna Know by New Found Glory

(cut to): the back porch.  The porch itself is enclosed, but just outside there is a long set of stairs leading down the side of the mountain.  Alyssa and Tyson sit on the top step together.

Alyssa: It was so weird.  We were in the middle of this conversation that I could have been having with my best girl friend, which IÕve never actually had, by the way.

Tyson: YouÕve never had a best girl friend?

Alyssa shakes her head.

Alyssa: No, butÉwith Jake it was kind of what IÕd imagine talking to a best girl friend would be likeÉwhich is weird.  I mean, someone who pretends to be a girl is more of a girl thanÉany of the actual girls IÕve met at Rawley.  How is that possible?

Tyson: Maybe thatÕs what being gay is all about?

Alyssa considers this.

Alyssa: If so, then I want a gay best friend. 

Tyson: Man, two strikes. 

Alyssa: Huh?

Tyson: Well, IÕm not a girl.  IÕm not gay.

Alyssa: Seriously?  Damn, thatÕs totally why I started hanging with you, Ty.

She leans into him flirtatiously.

Tyson: Just donÕt tell me youÕre against having the Ņtoken black friendÓ because that would make three strikes.

Alyssa looks at him carefully.

Alyssa: Do you really feel like that?

Tyson: UhÉdo you mean with you or in general?

Alyssa: In general.  Do you really feel like the Ņtoken black guy?Ó 

Tyson: At Rawley?  Sure.  Yeah.

Alyssa doesnÕt like this.

Alyssa: IsnÕt that kind of thing pretty much over these days?

Tyson laughs.
Tyson:
Are you serious?  No, that kind of thing is most definitely not over these days.  People treat you different when youÕre different from them and, at Rawley, IÕm definitely not like most people.

Alyssa: True, but thatÕs because youÕre this uniquely hip pseudo-dork whose interested in everything from vintage vinyl, comic books and computer programming to club hopping, basketball and art history. 

Tyson loves the compliments.

Tyson: IÕm sorry, but did you call me a pseudo-dork? 

Alyssa smiles.

Alyssa: I did.  Do you take issue with that?

Tyson: NoÉI love that, actually.

He smiles, flattered by such positive attention from Alyssa.  They enjoy this moment.

(cut to): the room where Dexter, Grace and Tyson are staying.  Grace and Dexter watch from the window with a perfect view of Tyson and Alyssa.

Grace: Oh my God, are they going to kiss?

Dexter: No, I think theyÕre just talking.

Grace: Yeah, but look at how heÕs looking at her.

Dexter: Because he has a huge crush on her.

Grace: God, why?  Why, why, why?

Dexter: Because sheÕs gorgeous and smart and nice.

Grace: Oh, really? 

She tilts her head, looking at him.  He considers backing down, but he just shrugs and sits down on the bed.

Dexter: SoÉwhat I was saying earlier?  Maybe this weekend we couldÉ

Grace smiles, blushing.  She goes over and sits next to him on the bed.

Grace: Out of curiosityÉwhyÉI meanÉ.

Dexter contÕd: Because weÕre far enough away from your dad where I might actually be comfortable discussing something like that.

She smiles, leaning in to kiss him.

(cut to): NicholasÕ room.  Bella and Nicholas sit on the bed, making out.  The door is closed, but we hear someone walk by outside.  Bella and Nicholas break apart.  The noise moves past.

Nicholas: This is what I would imagine having about ten kids would be like.

Bella: Maybe we should just tell Tyson and Alyssa about us.

Nicholas: Tyson?  Maybe.  Alyssa, thoughÉher mom is a teacher at Rawley now.

Bella nods.

Bella: Secrecy it is.  IÕm just glad you got a room with a lock on the door.

She smiles and kisses him once again.  A brief beat as they break apart, looking at each other.

Nicholas: So I was thinking about all the colleges in Boston.  Of course, thereÕs BU.  We could get you set up in a nice little one bedroom somewhere.  Then again, Worthington is great, too.  They might require freshmen to live on campus, though—

Bella: Why are you so interested in this now?  I mean, I know itÕll be nice when you come and visit since weÕll actually have privacy, but IÕm not looking forward to being away from you for weeks at a time.  Every time you bring up college, thatÕs what I think aboutÉbeing away from you.

Nicholas smiles at this confession.

Nicholas: Listen, Bella, part of the reason—

Suddenly, several loud thumps sound on the door.  Someone tries to open the door then knocks again upon finding it locked.

Music: IÕm Afraid of Americans

Grace (outside): Nick, let us in.  Now.

She bangs again.  Nicholas gives Bella a confused look then gets up to open the door.   He opens it just slightly, but Grace pushes past him.  Dexter follows.  Nicholas closes the door.

Nicholas: What is it?  WeÕre in the middle of—

Grace: I donÕt care what youÕre in the middle of.  We were in the middle of stuff too.  ThenÉtell themÉ

She looks at Dexter.

Dexter: We heard banging at the door.  Then this weird moaning.

Grace: More like a screeching.  And clawing.

Nicholas looks amused.

Nicholas: I just had a similar experience.

Grace: Yeah, exceptÉ

She looks at Dexter.

Dexter: You should just come see this.

Grace nods.

(cut to): the door of the room they are staying in.  In what looks like black chalk, the words ŅGet out or dieÓ are scrawled in a messy hand.  Bella and Nicholas follow Grace and Dexter to the door. 

Bella: Oh my God.

Nicholas: This has got to be a joke. 

He walks off down the hallway and then the stairs.  The others look at each other, but then follow.

(cut to): the huge living room.  There is a fireplace and several large, comfy couches.   The picture windows reveal a gorgeous view of the mountainside.  Hamilton and Jill sit at a table by the window, setting up a game of checkers.  Will and Sean are attempting to start a fire in the fireplace.  Nicholas comes down the stairs.

Nicholas: Okay, kids, we have a problem.

They look up as Bella, Grace and Dexter also come down.

Will: WhatÕs up?

He notices that the others look shaken up.

Nicholas: Evidently, someone thought it would be funny to bring my little ghost story to life.  I was just joking about that, by the way.

He looks back at Bella.

Hamilton: What are you talking about?

(cut to): moments later as they all stare at the message.

Hamilton: That is messed up.

Sean: Yeah.  Who would do that?

Nicholas: Someone who thinks this weekend is going to suck? 

He looks at Hamilton and Sean.  Jill looks at Sean apologetically. 

Hamilton: Hey, we were both in the living room the whole time.

Grace: What whole time?

Sean: If we were going to do it, weÕd probably write it on ScoutÕs door. 

Hamilton: Speaking of Scout, where is he?

Grace: He might write ŅGet out or IÕll try to make fun of you in some way that is only funny to me,Ó but he wouldnÕt write Ņdie.Ó

Sean: And I would?  Come on, Gracie.

Grace: I didnÕt accuse you.  He did.

She points to Nicholas.

Sean: And where have you been?

He looks at Nicholas.

Bella: He was with me.  Why are we standing here accusing each other?

Nicholas: YouÕre right.  Maybe it was Tyson or Alyssa.  They werenÕt downstairs.

Grace: No, we saw them out the window.  They couldnÕt have.

Hamilton: And why are we accusing them?

Grace: You would defend her.

Will: Seriously, you guys, BellaÕs right.  Why would anyone in the house do anything like this?

Grace: Oh, please, with all the drama that you people have going onÉ

Nicholas nods in agreement with that, but doesnÕt say anything.

Dexter: I hate to point out the obvious, but if it wasnÕt someone we broughtÉ

Will looks unnerved by this.  He didnÕt think of that.  He looks at Bella.  She shrugs.

Jill: Maybe the place really is haunted.

They all look at her.

Nicholas: LetÕs just clean this up.  We wonÕt mention it to the others.  IÕm sure nothing else unusual will happen.

Everyone looks around then nods.  They disperse.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: As a teacher ŅStupid in AmericaÓ makes me a little sick.  In fact, it verges on anti-public school propaganda.  20/20 has issues.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the house. 

(cut to): the living room.  Outside, it is dusk and the sky looks ominous.  Everyone except Scout, Jake, Dexter and Tyson are sitting around.   Sean, Will, and Grace have a game of cards going.  Hamilton and Jill are playing that game of checkers they set up earlier.  Nicholas is in the corner chair, reading a book while Bella sits on a conspicuously faraway couch writing in a notebook.   Alyssa sits at the window, sketching.

Alyssa: Hey, guys, itÕs snowing. 

She turns around to face the room.  Everyone looks up.

Music: First Aid by Skinny Puppy

Bella (frightened): Oh my God.

Alyssa is confused by this reaction.  Slowly, everyone else sees what Bella saw out the window.  They abandon what they are doing and stare.  Alyssa turns around slowly.  In the woods, a shadowy figure moves between the trees.  It looks like a man, but itÕs hard to tell.  Everyone is freaked out.  All conversation is nervous.

Sean: Is that an axe?

Sure enough, the figure does seem to have an axe in its hand. 

Alyssa: What the hell is that?

She looks at Nicholas.

Nicholas: I have no idea. 

Alyssa: Earlier you said—

Grace: He was joking.

Alyssa: Joking?  Why would he joke about that?  And how do you know he was joking?  Has something else happened?

Hamilton: Hello?! 

Hamilton waves his arms around.

Hamilton contÕd: Axe-murder ghost thing outside.

He points out the window, but when they all look, the figure is gone.  Everyone looks at each other.

Will: Lock the doors.

They all race around, securing various doors and windows.  Tyson walks down the stairs carrying a video camera, followed by Dexter.  As Alyssa runs by Tyson, he grabs her arm.

Tyson: WhatÕs going on?

Alyssa: We saw someone in the woods.

Tyson: Someone?

Grace walks by.

Grace: Yeah, like an axe-murder.

She trades an anxious look with Dexter.  Jill walks by.

Jill: Really, it was more like a ghost.

Hamilton (from across the room): ThereÕs no such thing as—

A male scream from the study stops him. 

(cut to): the study.  Jake is sitting on the folded out couch.  Scout it standing, staring at the window. 

Jake: What?

Scout canÕt say anything.  Nicholas rushes in the room, everyone else follows quickly behind.  Jake stands now, everyone following ScoutÕs gaze to the window.  In the center of the bottom pane of glass, a dark red liquid forms a handprint.

Jill: Is that blood?

Grace: Ghosts donÕt leave blood.

She folds her arms as if itÕs a definitive opinion.

Will: We need to call the police.

He takes out his cell phone.  Nicholas thinks about stopping him, but doesnÕt say anything.

Will contÕd: No reception.

Others start to try their own phones.

Scout: No bars.

Jake: Ditto.

Hamilton looks up at her.  He clearly misses being the original to her Ņdittos.Ó

Tyson: I have one barÉoh, there it went.

Nicholas: Basically, thereÕs no cell reception out here.

Jill: Basically?

Nicholas: If you go outside, just at the edge of the woodsÉ

Sean: No, thanks.

Everyone agrees with him.

Nicholas: You know, didnÕt that thing out in the woods really just look like a bear?

They all look around.

Hamilton: No. 

Everyone agrees.

Sean: Not even close.

Jake: Wait, rewindÉ.thing in the woods?

Jill: Yeah, the Ņbear.Ó

Hamilton: A.k.a. the axe murder.

Scout: Did you say axe?

Will: Okay, this seriously cannot be happening.

Grace: LetÕs just get the hell out of here.

They all agree except Jill.

Jill: You mean go out there with him?

Jake: Is there really an axe murder?

Hamilton: There was really a thing with an axe, thatÕs for sure.

Nicholas: I really think it was a bear.

Jake looks comforted by this until she realizes that no one else believes him.

Bella: We got all the doors locked, though, right?

Grace: Unlock one and letÕs go home.

Will: That might be the smartest thing.

Dexter: And there are enough of us that we should be able to make it to the cars.

Hamilton: Most of us, anyway.  Survival of the fittest.

Alyssa: He might be right.  I mean, we canÕt leave anyone.

Tyson turns on his camera.

Tyson: Maybe it was Bigfoot.

He moves the camera around to film everyone.

Hamilton: Unless Bigfoot started carrying an axeÉ

He trails off, shaking his head.  Will is looking at the window.  He walks over to it.

Bella: What?

Will shakes off the question as he gets closer.

Will: I donÕt think this is blood.  ItÕs way too bright. 

Jill: ItÕs probably ectoplasm.  You know, from the ghost. 

Grace and Hamilton: ThereÕs no such thing as ghosts!

Will opens the window.

Music: Out the Window by Bowling for Soup

Jake: What the hell are you doing?

He sticks his fingers in the goo.  Scout rushes over and closes the window, locking it.

Scout: Are you insane?

Will sniffs the red slime.  He narrows his eyes and tastes it.  Everyone gasps.  Will smiles.

Jill: Oh my God, heÕs a vampire.

Jake looks at her like sheÕs an idiot, but refrains from saying it.

Jake: ItÕs not real?

Will: No.  Definitely something sweet.

Jill: I bet blood tastes like candy to a vampire.

Jake and Sean: HeÕs not a vampire!

They look at each other, amused.

Scout: More like Grisam. 

Will examines the substance.

Tyson: ŅCorn syrup.  Same stuff they used for pigÕs blood in Carrie.Ó

They all look at him in confusion except Nicholas who smiles.

Nicholas: Scream.  Very good.

Everyone is still confused.

Jill: Oh man, Skeet Ulrich was so hot in that.

Sean doesnÕt care for this comment.  Hamilton, standing next to him, pats him on the back.

Scout: OhÉyou mean the movie.

Jake: Scream.

Grace: What does that have to do with anything?

Dexter: Tyson quoted it.

Will: ButÉmaybe it is related.

Everyone struggles to comprehend this.

Scout: I told you: Grisam.  Do tell.

Will: Well, in Scream, the killer wasnÕt some random psycho like Freddy or Jason.  He wasnÕt even distantly related like Michael Myers.  He was right there the whole time, an integral main character.

He looks around at everyone, as they start to look around at each other.

Hamilton: So what youÕre saying isÉone of us is the axe murderer?

The reality of this statement scares everyone.  Bella, who has been quiet until now, speaks up:

Bella: ThatÕs ridiculous.

She looks at Nicholas to confirm this.  He shrugs.

Nicholas: Maybe one of you kids has been playing a joke on us?

They all look around, suspicious of each other.

Sean: In that case, letÕs just get in the car and go home.

Jill: What if itÕs not a joke and some of us end up in a car with the killer.

Bella: No oneÕs dead.   ThereÕs no killer.

Jill: Yet.

Bella rolls her eyes.

Jake: A minute ago you thought there were ghosts and vampires.  Now you think thereÕs a killer?

Jill: Shut up, Jake.

Jake: You shut up.  You have to make every situation a million times more dramaticÉ

Jill: Oh, right, IÕm the freaking queen of theatrics.

Tyson and Alyssa trade a look at the possible implications.

Scout: Please stop arguing.

Bella: Maybe we should just head back.

Nicholas: ItÕs too dangerous.  ItÕs hard enough to drive down the mountain at night, butÉin the snow? 

Bella: How about first thing in the morning?

Nicholas considers it.

Sean: We can see how things go tonight then decide in the morning.

Nicholas nods.

Nicholas: I guess thatÕs our best option.

Hamilton:  Alright.  Now that thatÕs decided, whatÕs for dinner?

They all look at him and groan.

Hamilton contÕd: What?  I know IÕm not the only one whoÕs hungry.

Grace: I could eat.

Tyson: Definitely.  What do we have?

Nicholas: ThereÕs a freezer downstairs.  Burgers, steak, fish, whatever you guys want.

Grace: Downstairs as inÉthe basement?

Tyson: Come on, IÕll go with you.

He puts an arm around her shoulder.  Grace takes a deep breath.

Grace: LetÕs do it.

Nicholas: WeÕll meet you in the kitchen.

He leads as the crew exits one way down the hall.   Tyson and Grace go the other way toward the basement stairs.  Alyssa stands alone, looking out the window.  Perhaps we have even forgotten her presence because she has been silent so long.  Just before Hamilton steps out, he notices this and stops in the doorway.  In the hallway, Jake sees Hamilton pause.  She watches just long enough to catch ScoutÕs attention.  He looks away, slightly jealous at even this miniscule attention given to Hamilton.  When everyone is gone, Hamilton speaks up.

Music: Middle of Me by The Good Luck Joes

Hamilton: Aly, you okay?

She turns around to look at him, still silent.

Hamilton contÕd: YouÕre freaking me out.

Alyssa: This place is freaking me out.

He steps up to her, giving a comforting, but brief touch to her arm.

Hamilton: You heard what Will said.  This stuff isnÕt real.  ItÕs just someone messing around.

Alyssa nods, not really comforted.

Hamilton contÕd: I bet Tyson will keep you safe.

She laughs, rolling her eyes.  He smiles.

Hamilton contÕd: He said you two were just friends, but he digs you, Aly.

She nods. 

Alyssa: I know.

He leans his shoulder into hers, following her gaze out the window.

Hamilton: HeÕs a nice guy.

Alyssa: I know.

Hamilton looks over at her, she looks down, tucking her hair behind her ear.

Alyssa contÕd: I knowÉ

Hamilton: Not interested?

She looks up at him, they are closer now than they have been.

Hamilton: UhÉin Tyson.  Are you not interested in Tyson?

Alyssa shrugs, looking out the window.

Alyssa: SomethingÕs not right.

Hamilton: I mean, maybe you should just go for itÉkiss him or somethingÉbefore you say itÕs not right.  I mean, unless, of course, youÕve already kissed him—

Alyssa: NoÉnotÉnot that.  That.

She points out the window.   At the edge of the woods, a figure paces.  It is too far away to identify and seems to be wearing a cloak and hood.  Its hand is under its hood.

Hamilton: Looks like heÕs talking on the phone.

They look at each other.

Alyssa: Like Mr. Mann saidÉ

Hamilton: Reception at the edge of the woods.

Alyssa:  WhoeverÕs out thereÉ

Hamilton: Éwas in here to hear that.

She nods.

Hamilton: So letÕs go see who it is.

Alyssa hesitates.

Alyssa: Why donÕt we just see whoÕs not inside?

He nods.

Hamilton: Yeah, good idea.

Alyssa: At least we know we can trust each other.

He smiles.

Hamilton: LetÕs go.

She nods and they exit the room.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Listen to a song I wrote several years ago.  I mixed it on my Mac.  Sorry I have bad rhythm.  ŅJen & Platonic

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the cabin.

Music: The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani

(cut to): dining room.  Jake, Scout, Jill and Sean sit at the table.  No one is saying anything.  We pan through the door into the kitchen where Nicholas and Bella are looking through the cabinets. 

Bella: IÕve got one can of green beans and one can ofÉ

She reads the label on the can in her hand.

Bella contÕd: Creamed corn?  Gross.

Nicholas: I donÕt get it.  My fatherÕs secretary assured me this place was stocked up.

Bella: Your fatherÕs secretary?

She looks at him with raised eyebrows.

Bella contÕd: You mean Linda?

Nicholas takes a deep breath.

Nicholas: Linda.  Yes.

Bella: You still talk to her?

Nicholas:

Bella folds her arms, but before the conversation can progress, Hamilton and Alyssa enter. 

Hamilton: Okay, where is everyone?

Nicholas: Dining room.

Alyssa: No, everyone else.

Tyson and Grace enter through a door that clearly leads to the basement. 

Hamilton: Where were you guys?

Grace: The basement.  Why?

Hamilton: WhereÕs the food?

Tyson: Is that all you think about?

Hamilton: If you were in the basement getting foodÉwhere is it?

Grace: Chill.  There was no food.

Alyssa and Hamilton look at each other doubtfully. 

Tyson: Seriously, the cupboard—or in this case, freezer—was bare.

Bella looks at Nicholas skeptically.

Bella: I thought you said that Linda said there was plenty here.

Despite the circumstance, Nicholas canÕt help smile at her obvious jealousy.

Nicholas: YeahÉshe hates me, though.

Alyssa: WhoÕs Linda and why does she hate you?

Nicholas keeps an eye on Bella as he speaks.

Nicholas: Linda is my dadÕs assistant.  She hates me because IÕm no longer her doormat.

Hamilton scoffs.  Alyssa looks confused by his reaction.

Nicholas contÕd: I spent about three years trying toÉ

He glances at Bella again.

Nicholas contÕd: Éwin her over. 

Grace: Who cares?

They all look over at her.  In the dining room, the others have started to listen.

Grace contÕd: Either way, thereÕs no food.

Alyssa: Well, if this Linda person said there was food and now there isnÕtÉit could be a clue.

Grace: Hang on there Daphne, when did this turn into a mystery?

Scout: Probably when you drove everyone up here in the Mystery Machine.

Everyone else from the dining room has joined the conversation.  Grace rolls her eyes.

Scout contÕd: Anyway, whoÕs this Linda chick?

Tyson: Mr. MannÕs ex.

Nicholas: No, we never dated.

Tyson: So she just had a thing for you?

Bella: He had a thing for her. 

Everyone looks at Bella now.

Bella contÕd: He just said he spent three years trying to Ņwin her over.Ó

They all nod, understanding.

Jake: Anyway, how is this related to the food shortage?

Hamilton: Or, more importantly, to the thing we just saw out by the woods.

Nicholas: The bear?

Hamilton: It wasnÕt a bear.  Not the first time.  And not just now when Alyssa and I saw itÉ

Everyone questions this.  Tyson and Jake look at Alyssa and Hamilton.

Jill: Why were you guys off by yourselves if youÕre so worried about a psycho?

Hamilton gives her a dirty look.

Hamilton: We were just talking.  Then we looked out the windowÉ

Alyssa: And there he—or she—was talking on the phone.

Sean: Just like you said.

Sean turns to Nicholas.

Alyssa: Exactly.  It was either someone that overheard Mr. Mann say thatÉ

Will: Or someone who already knew.

Alyssa nods.

Grace: Like the crazy ex-girlfriend.

Nicholas: ThereÕs no ex-girlfriend.

Grace: Really, youÕve never had a girlfriend?

Nicholas: I have a girlfriend right now who I love very much, and I really donÕt think sheÕd appreciate an extended conversation about Linda who, by the way, is way more concerned with her relationship with my father than with anything that did or didnÕt go on between us.

Alyssa listens skeptically.

Tyson: Well, either she lied about the food or someone took it.  Personally, IÕd rather she lied.

Everyone seems to agree.

Sean: So now weÕre saying itÕs either one of us or the crazy ex-girlfriend, but definitely no an axe murder.   I can live with that.

Mostly, they concur. 

Grace: Hey, whereÕs Dexter?

They look around.

Tyson: Last place I saw him was in the study.

Alyssa: He left when everyone else did.

After another beat of looking around, everyone starts saying his name.

Will (to Hamilton): Did it look like him by the woods?

Hamilton shrugs.

Hamilton: I could barely see. 

Grace: IÕm going to look upstairs.

Nicholas: Wait.  You shouldnÕt go by yourself.

Tyson: Yeah, IÕll go with you.

Hamilton looks suspicious of this.  He nods to Sean for him to also go.

Sean: IÕll go, too.

They three of them head upstairs.

Hamilton: I think some of us should go outside and look around.

Jake: Count meÉout.

Scout: Ditto.

Hamilton hates him and wants to say so, but swallows instead.  He turns to Will.

Hamilton: What do you think?

Will: I think itÕs a good idea.  If itÕs just some weirdo mountain man, I think a few of us could probably scare him off.

Bella: And if itÕs some crazy axe-killing psycho mountain man?

Hamilton: If there are more of us, we should have a pretty good chance.

Scout: Good chance at what?   Not dying?  Because weÕve got a one hundred percent chance of that if we just stay here.

Hamilton: God, are you that much of a—

Tyson (descending from upstairs): We canÕt find him.

They rejoin the others.  Grace looks nervous.

Sean: Checked every room.  No sign.

Bella puts a reassuring arm on her sisterÕs shoulder.

Jill: Maybe he got freaked and took off.

Dexter: Who?

Music: Curbside Prophet by Jason Mraz

They all turn to find Dexter walking from the direction of the study.

Sean: WhereÕve you been?

Dexter: Bathroom.  Did you know thereÕs a hidden door in that study?  It leads to a bathroom.

He points over his shoulder.

Grace: God, you scared the hell out of me.

She walks over to him, giving him a brief hug. 

Dexter: Sorry, I didnÕt mean to scare you.

He adjusts his glasses with all the naivety of Clark Kent fresh out of a phone booth.  Grace gives him a curious look.

Will: Okay, from now on, no one goes anywhere without a buddy.

Jill: Even to the bathroom?

Will: Even to the bathroom.

Jill: Well, IÕve got to go soÉwhose going with me?

A few people exchange looks, but no one offers.  Sean sighs.

Sean: LetÕs go.

He walks off down the hallway without another word.   Jill follows, slightly embarrassed.  We stay with the crowd.

Bella: Ni—um, Mr. Mann?

Nicholas: Yes?

Bella: Are you sure we canÕt get back down the mountain?

Dexter: Unless you brought snow tires, I donÕt think thatÕs an option.

Everyone looks out the window, noticing that the flurries they saw earlier have turned into a steady snowfall with several inches already accumulating on the ground.  Bella looks at Nicholas nervously.

Hamilton: This is terrible.  ThereÕs not even any food.  WeÕre going to starve.

Bella: I have a few snacks.  IÕm sure weÕll be fine until the morning.

Grace: And then what?  We ski home?

Scout: Well, we do have skis.  I mean, I was told thereÕd be skiing.

Tyson: I just came to chill by the fire.

Scout: You canÕt ŅchillÓ by a fire.

Tyson laughs.

Tyson: I guess you canÕtÉif youÕre under the mistaken impression that itÕs hip to be square.

Alyssa smiles at this.  Will, who has been leaning by the window, pipes up.

Will: Both of you need to Ņchill.Ó 

Tyson shrugs and backs off.  Scout is not happy with the admonishment, but doesnÕt say anything.  Jake gives him a subtle pat on the back, which seems to calm him.  A beat passes.

Hamilton: SoÉwhere are these Ņsnacks?Ó

Music: Not Over You Yet by Kevin Devine

(cut to): the hall where Sean waits outside the bathroom door.  He leans against the wall, facing the door.  Jill exits.  She lingers in the doorway.

Sean: What?

Jill: Do you think somethingÕs going to happen?

Sean shrugs.   She sighs as a beat passes.

Jill: Well, IÕm scared.

Sean (impatient): LetÕs just get back before they start thinking weÕre the ones screwing with everyone.

Jill stares.

Jill: Wow, you really hate me.

Sean quietly scoffs, folding his arms defensively.

Jill contÕd: I mean, I got that before, butÉsuddenlyÉI really, really, really get that.

Sean looks down at the floor.

Sean: I hate that you dumped me. 

He looks up at her.

Sean contÕd: Definitely hate that.

She smiles sadly.

Sean contÕd: I hate that ScoutÕs an idiot.  I mean, what a damn fool.

She tucks her hair behind her ear, flattered.

Sean contÕd: And, I hate being hereÉwith youÉnot being with you.

She takes a step toward him.

Sean contÕd: I hate hearing you say youÕre scared and having to just stand here.

He sticks his hands in his pockets.

Jill: You donÕt have to just stand there.

Sean: I hate thatÉI do.

He swallows, standing firm.

Sean contÕd: I do.

She nods.

Sean contÕd: Anyway, I hate a lot of things, Jill, butÉnot you.

He sighs.

Sean contÕd: Not you.

Jill: Sean, I—

She stops speaking as we hear a shuffling in the study.  The door is partially open.

Jill contÕd: What was that?

Sean: I donÕt know.

Jill: No one came by?

Sean shakes his head, putting his hands to his lips to shush her.  He takes a step toward the door.  Jill grabs his arm.

Jill: Are you crazy?

She pulls him back, close to her now.  He looks at her, momentarily trading his fear for enjoyment of being so close.  He shakes his head and steps toward the study door.

Sean: Hey, whoÕs there?

They hear a loud slam from inside the room. 

Jill (whispered): Oh my God, oh my God, oh my GodÉ.

Sean: Come out or weÕre coming in.

Jill (quietly to Sean): No.  No weÕre not.  Come on.

She tugs on his arm.  The door starts to open more.

Jill: Run.

They take off down the hallway as the door swings open with a crash into the wall.  Before we can see who is there weÉ

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Just a friendly reminder to email or post a message on the board when you get done reading.  Your feedback is important!

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the cabin.

Music: Harder to Breather by Maroon 5

(cut to): the kitchen where everyone except Nicholas, Will and Tyson sit around.  

Sean: IÕm telling you guys: someone was in that room.

Will: Well, you were right about that.

They look up as Nicholas, Tyson and Will walk into the kitchen, Tyson with a fat, black cat in his arms.

Scout: What the hell is that?

Tyson looks down at the cat then back up at Scout.

Tyson: Felis domesticus. 

Jake: I think what he means isÉwhere did it come from?

Will: The study.

Bella looks at Nicholas curiously.

Nicholas: I forgot about her.

Grace: When, like, on your last trip?

Nicholas: No, I mean I forgot she lives here.

Dexter: Who takes care of her?

Nicholas: The groundskeeper.

Alyssa: Wait, thereÕs a groundskeeper?

They all look at Nicholas.

Nicholas: He lives in a smaller cabin about a quarter mile from here.  He just checks in on the place once a day, feeds the cat, chops some firewood, dusts occasionally.

Will: Chops firewood?

Sean: Like with an axe?

Alyssa: Someone familiar with the place well enough to know where the cell reception is best?

The cat meows with an unusual voice so Tyson puts him down.

Dexter: You know that noise we heard outside our room earlierÉ

Grace: It could have been the cat.

Will: ItÕs starting to sound like everything weÕve experienced has a very logical explanation.

Nicholas: It does seem that way, doesnÕt it?

Nicholas sounds uneasy with this conclusion.

Bella: Well, thatÕs a relief.

Nicholas nods, as do some of the others.

Bella contÕd: ExceptÉ

She hesitates, but they all wait for her to continue.

Bella contÕd: What aboutÉthe message.

Alyssa: Message?

Grace (remembering): ŅGet out or die.Ó

Tyson: What?

He and Alyssa look at each other.

Scout: Did you say die?

Jake: No one told us about this.

She looks over at Scout.

Will: ItÕs just like the handprint.

Sean: ItÕs some kind of prank.

Alyssa: Which I doubt anyone would fess up to at this point.

They all agree.

Jake: SoÉweÕre completely safe?

Nicholas: It would seem so.

Hamilton: Basically, we were overreacting and our only problem now is food.

Will: Maybe the groundskeeper has some.

Nicholas: I donÕt knowÉthere are quite a few of us andÉheÕs not exactly the most social person in the world.

Alyssa: Explains why he didnÕt come in and say hello.

Hamilton: Still, though, IÕd like more than a Twinkie and some trail mix for dinnerÉ

Bella: If this man doesnÕt want to be disturbed, maybe we should just deal.

Dexter: Yeah, itÕs just one night.

Hamilton sighs, folding his arms.

Hamilton: All right.  Give me my damn Debbie Cake.

They all laugh.

Music: When I Die by New Found Glory

(dissolve to): about thirty minutes later, the living room.  Tyson is setting up a GameCube with a large TV in the corner.  Alyssa and Jill pull over some big, cushy pillows that used to be in front of the fireplace.  Across the room, Hamilton and Sean sit by the window, playing a game of checkers.  Will is working on some homework on one of the two large couches in the room.  On the other couch, Jake and Scout sit at opposite ends, each with a comic book.  While Jake actually reads hers, Scout only pretends to read, looking up at her periodically.

(cut to): the kitchen.  Dexter and Grace lean on the counter, talking.

Grace: Sorry this has been such a weird trip so far. 

Dexter: IÕm just glad to be here with you.

He takes her hand.

Dexter contÕd: But there is something I think I need to tell you.

Grace: What?

Before he can say, Nicholas comes down a set of stairs that lead into the kitchen.  He looks slightly disheveled.  Grace rolls her eyes at this.

Nicholas: Hey.  Bella wanted some water.

He opens the cooler sitting on the counter and takes out a bottled water.

Nicholas contÕd: SoÉwhat are you guys doing?

He glances at Dexter before Grace responds:

Grace: WeÕre playing lookout so you can have sex with my sister.

Nicholas is surprised by her candor.  He looks around, speaking quietly.

Nicholas: WeÕre not...I mean, thatÕs not whyÉ

He sighs.

Nicholas contÕd: Look, I love and respect your sister way more than youÕre giving me credit for here.

Grace: Whatever.  Take her the water and get back to loving and respecting her.  WeÕve got your back.

He looks at Dexter again who nods.  Nick smiles then heads back upstairs.

Grace: You were saying?

Dexter: Oh, umÉ

He pretends like he canÕt remember.

Grace: There was something you wanted to tell me?

Dexter: Oh, right, rightÉum, it was just thatÉIÉlove and respect you.

Grace laughs then leans into kiss him.

(cut to): the living room.  Tyson has the GameCube on now.  He hands out controllers to Jill and Alyssa. 

Tyson: Anyone else up for some Mario Party?

No one responds so he shrugs and turns back to the girls.

Tyson contÕd: Basically, this game is super-fun and super-easy.  ItÕs just a bunch of cute little mini-games.   And before either of you tell me that you suck at video games again, IÕm going to tell you that itÕs impossible to suck at this game.

Jill and Alyssa look at each other skeptically. 

Music: Make You Move by New Found Glory

We pan past Jake and Scout, who look up at each other momentarily then to Sean and Hamilton at the checkerboard.  Sean makes a move.

Sean: King me.

Hamilton forks over a checker. 

Hamilton: YouÕre pretty damn good at checkers.

Sean shrugs.

Sean: Wish I was as good at maneuvering through life.

He unintentionally glances toward Jill.  Hamilton shakes his head.

Hamilton: You knowÉitÕs cool to still be attracted to her. 

Sean looks out the window.  He doesnÕt say anything.

Hamilton contÕd: ItÕs also cool to still be in love with her.

Hamilton lets his own gaze drift over to Jake.

Sean: I think she wants to get back together.

Hamilton looks back at Sean.

Hamilton: Who?

Sean: Jill. 

Hamilton (disappointed): Oh.  So whatÕs the problem?  If you love her, take her back.

Sean: ItÕs not a matter of love.

He sighs.

Sean contÕd: ItÕs a matter of forgiveness.

Hamilton: Then forgive her.

Sean: I canÕt.  When she dumped me, I basically told her IÕd never take her back.

Hamilton: Then itÕs not about forgiveness.  ItÕs about pride.

Sean: Yeah, maybe.

Hamilton: Suck it up and take her back. 

Sean toys with a checker on the board.

Hamilton contÕd: I mean, I know what itÕs like to be in her position.  You know what you did was wrong.  You know you love the person.  You know the person loves you.  But, for some reason—in my case, a loser named Scout—you canÕt be together.  I mean, I walk around every day feeling terrible about what I did to Jake.  IÕm sure itÕs the same for Jill.

Sean considers this.

Hamilton: And IÕm sure she wonÕt be like, ŅYou took me back after you said you wouldnÕt.  I respect you way less now.Ó  SheÕll probably love you more than ever for the opportunity to redeem herself. 

Sean: Yeah, until next month when you get that kind of opportunity with JakeÉcausing Scout to realize maybe he turned down a pretty good thingÉ

Hamilton nods.

Hamilton: So, really, itÕs about trust.

Sean: TrustÉfear. 

Hamilton chuckles.

Hamilton: ItÕs funny how similar it is to be on different sides of the same coin. 

Sean raises his eyebrows.

Hamilton contÕd: I live in fear, too. 

He looks over at Jake who is in the midst of exchanging a furtive glance with Scout.

Hamilton contÕd: Fear that sheÕll never want to be with me again.

Sean understands.

Hamilton contÕd: But, you know, sheÕs barely even looked at Scout since weÕve been here.  You on the other hand?  She canÕt keep her eyes offÉ

He looks over to where Jill, Tyson and Alyssa are playing the video game.

(cut to): Tyson, Alyssa and Jill.  Tyson and Alyssa are frantically pressing their A buttons while their on screen characters stack dominoes.  Jill who was looking over at Sean, looks back at the game to avoid meeting SeanÕs gaze.  Eventually, a winner is declared.

Alyssa: Oh, no way.

Tyson: You win.

Jill: ManÉ

Alyssa: You were right, this is pretty fun.

Tyson nods and smiles knowingly.

Alyssa contÕd: Can we play again?

Jill sets her controller down.

Jill: You guys go ahead.

She gets up as the others start a new game.  We follow her as she approaches Sean and Hamilton.

Jill: Hey, Ham?  Want to trade out.

She nods over to the video game.

Hamilton: YeahÉno, thanks.

She gives him a pleading look.  Hamilton glances over at Sean who obviously doesnÕt want him to give up the seat. 

Hamilton contÕd (to Jill): Are you any good?

Jill smiles.

Jill: Not as good as him, butÉI can give him a run for his money.

Hamilton smiles.

Hamilton: Okay, heÕs all yours.

He glances at Sean.

Hamilton contÕd: No fear.

Sean half smiles and half sighs as Hamilton gets up.  Jill slides in to replace him.  Hamilton gives a disgruntled Sean an encouraging look before walking over to Scout and Jake.  He pulls a deck of cards from his pocket.

Music: Romeo and Juliet covered by Matt Nathanson

Hamilton: Uno?

Jake and Scout are confused until they realize his deck is an Uno deck.  Neither of them replies.

Hamilton contÕd: You guys want to play?

Jake: OhÉsure.

Scout stares at Hamilton for a moment before shaking his head.

Scout: No, thanks.

Jake gives Scout a displeased look.

Scout contÕd: I was going to go take a shower.

Hamilton: You know, thereÕs this sweet whirlpool upstairs.

Hamilton glances at Jake with a bitter smile on his lips.

Hamilton contÕd: Of course, that sounds more like a freshman year in college sort of thingÉ

HamiltonÕs joke, not at all malicious, is clearly only intended to make Jake laugh, which she does.

Scout: What the hell are you talking about?  What the hell is he talking about?

Jake doesnÕt exactly know what to say.  She starts several times then finally ends up with:

Jake: Just something dumb I said once about something really dumb I almost didÉ

Scout doesnÕt totally get it, but he doesnÕt pry further.

Scout: Okay, wellÉIÕm going to goÉupstairs.

Clearly, itÕs an invitation, but Jake plays dumb.  When itÕs clear sheÕs staying, Scout smiles with one last glance at Hamilton and his Uno cards.  He exits.  We follow Scout as he walks passed Tyson and Alyssa who are laughing over the new game they are playing.  We continue with Scout down the hallway leading to the study (where he grabs a change of clothes from his bag) then into an empty kitchen.  He notices a bag of trail mix on the counter so he takes a handful then continues up the stairs.  We follow him into a dark upstairs hallway.  A small amount of moonlight pours in from a circular window at the end of the hall.  Scout runs his hand along the wall, searching for a light switch.   Never finding one, he does reach the boysÕ room.  As he puts his hand on the doorknob, it opens abruptly and someone pulls him inside.  He tries to scream, but it is muffled as his trail mix is dropped onto the floor.

Music: Clumsy by Our Lady Peace

(cut to): the living room where we here the distant sound of the food hitting and rolling around on the floor above just above Jake and Hamilton.  They look at one another.

Jake: Did you hear that?

Hamilton: YeahÉwhat was it?

Jake shrugs.  They look around, but no one else seems to have heard.  She looks back at Hamilton.

Hamilton: DonÕt look at me.  IÕm not going to investigate a strange noise.  ThatÕs a major no-no in these situations.

Jake: Fine.

She gets up and starts to walk out.  Hamilton sets his Uno cards down and follows her. Caught up in their game, Tyson and Alyssa barely notice.  As they reach the still empty kitchen, Hamilton grabs JakeÕs arm.

Hamilton: Let me go first.

Jake rolls her eyes and starts up the stairs.  Hamilton quickly follows.  They reach the top of the stairs where Jake finds a light switch and turns it on.  On the floor, we see Scout picking up the spilled trail mix.

Hamilton: What the hell?

Scout: I spilled this stuff all over the floor.

Jake: Why didnÕt you turn on the light?
Scout:
CouldnÕt find it.

Hamilton: Well, that mysteryÕs solved.  Can we go finish our game now?

Jake looks at Scout more carefully.  His hair is slightly out of place and he looks a little odd.

Jake: Are you sure youÕre okay?

He smiles a little too convincingly.

Scout: Absolutely.  IÕm just going to pick this up then soak in that sweet tub.

Even Hamilton seems to sense somethingÕs up, but he is obviously not interested in delving into it.

Hamilton: Okay, well, see you downstairs when youÕre done.

Scout nods, but Jake doesnÕt budge.  She turns to Hamilton.

Jake: Give us a minute?

HamiltonÕs cheeks flush a little, but he nods and heads back down the stairs.  Scout doesnÕt look at Jake.  Instead he robotically picks up nuts from the floor.

Jake: Okay, whatÕs up?  Spill.

Scout: I already did.

He chuckles and indicates the mess on the floor.

Scout contÕd: Obviously.

She shakes off the bad joke, kneels down and starts helping him.

Jake: But, seriously.

She looks at him demandingly.  He fidgets, scratching his neck with the hand holding the trail mix.  In the process, several pieces fall to the floor.

Jake contÕd: ScoutÉ

Scout: What? 

As everything is more or less picked up, he stands.  Jake also stands so that she is right in front of him.

Jake: ScoutÉ

Scout: What?

She lifts an eyebrow in a way that he canÕt resist, making him all but cave.  He sighs.

Scout contÕd: JustÉdonÕt worry.  No matter what.  DonÕt worry.

He smiles, and again, Jake canÕt resist.  With a quick glance around, she leans into him, kissing him.  Not expecting this, Scout loses his nuts again, creating a clamor on the floor.  The pair ignores it for the moment as they continue to kiss.

(cut to): downstairs as Hamilton is in the process of repositioning himself on the couch.  He hears the upstairs spill, but looks around to find that, again, no one else has heard.  He shakes his head and sits down.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Why not become a Mac?  I mean, do you really like being the ŅPCÓ from the commercials?  If nothing else, get a new I-Touch or, better yet, send me one.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the cabin at night.

Music: Paranoia by Flagpole Sitter

(cut to): Dexter and GraceÕs room.  They are heavily making out on the bed with Dexter leaning over Grace.  Dexter pulls back, looking at the door.

Grace: What are you doing?

She pulls him into another kiss before letting him answer.

Dexter: Just making sure the door is locked.

Grace: You checked it about fifty times already.

He nods, kissing her again.  She pulls him closer and closer until his body is pressed against hers.  He seems to be enjoying this until she reaches down for his pants.  He jumps up, startling Grace.

Grace: What is it?

She looks around.  Dexter sits down on the bed, slumped with his head in his hands.

Dexter: Nothing.

He shakes his head, rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hands.  Finally, he looks over at her.  SheÕs sitting up now also, and she carefully inches toward him, placing a hand on his shoulder.  Even this gesture seems to startle him.

Grace: Are you okay?

Dexter: Yeah, itÕs justÉweÕre moving kind ofÉfast.

Grace: WeÕve been together for more than six months nowÉI wouldnÕt exactly say thatÕs fast.

Dexter: Well itÕs fast for me.

Grace narrows her eyes.

Grace: I canÕt be a virgin and a slut so I hope thatÕs not what youÕre implying.

Dexter: Of course not.

Grace: Because youÕre the one that wanted to take it to the next level.  YouÕre the one that brought the condoms.

Dexter: HowÕd youÉ.?

Grace: I saw them in your bag.  Bringing condoms doesnÕt exactly indicate that you think things are moving too fast.

Dexter: Will you quit saying condoms?  Please?

He glances around again, looking at the door.

Grace: Oh my God!

Dexter: What?

Dexter looks around nervously as Grace flops back on the bed.

Grace: Why now?  Why do you have to turn out to be crazy now?  Why canÕt you just have sex with me like any normal teenage boy would?  Just have sex with me, Dex!

Dexter: Stop saying sex.

Grace: Why?  I canÕt say condoms; I canÕt say sex.  Can I say penis?  Because I was kind of looking forward to seeing yours at some point this weekend.  UnlessÉ

She sits up again, gasping.

Grace contÕd: ItÕs not about that is it?

Mortified, Dexter looks at the door again.

Grace: Because I would never—I mean, that kind of thing—uh, I mean, itÕs not a big deal if—oh, God, IÕm just saying the stupidest stuff right now, but what IÕm trying to say is—

Dexter: I know.  I know what youÕre trying to say andÉI really appreciate it, Grace, I do, but thatÕs not it.

Grace: Then what is it?

Dexter: I love you so much.

Grace: And, I love you.

Dexter: But here and nowÉwe justÉcanÕt. 

Grace folds her arms and stares up at the ceiling.  Dexter puts his head back in his hands.

(cut to): the den where mostly the same groups are congregated: Alyssa and Tyson at the television, Jill and Sean at the checkerboard.  Will has abandoned his journal to join Hamilton in a game of Uno.

Music: Fall to Pieces by Matt Nathanson

(cut to): a medium-close shot of Sean and Jill.  They are playing without speaking and have presumably been at it for awhile.

Jill: You know, if you donÕt want to play, just get up and walk away.

Sean makes a move.

Sean: Oh, itÕs not that easy for all of us.

Jill: ZingÉ

She moves.  Sean doubleÉthen triple jumps her.

Jill contÕd: I probably deserved that.

Sean methodically takes each checker from the board.

Sean: Well, just what is it you expect when you come over here?  I mean, is this going to be the rest of my life?  You finding me and having this conversation over and over and over again?

Jill moves a checker and hangs her head.

Jill: Sorry.

Sean could jump her again, but instead moves away from her checker.

Sean: Let me ask you this: if you just met us today, Scout and me, who would you fall for?

Jill:

Sean: Think about it seriously.

She pauses, really thinking about it.  After a moment, Sean mistakes her consideration for indecision.

Sean: Every time you think you want to talk to me, ask yourself that question because the answerÕs never going to change.  You donÕt know.  You donÕt know if IÕm the oneÉand that should be enough to tell you thatÉIÕm not.

Jill: Do you really believe thatÉor are you just trying to convince yourself? 

Sean: Okay, I think IÕm going to take your initial advice.

Sean stands, ready to walk away.  Jill stands, too.

Jill: You told me to think about it seriously, so I did.  I thought about itÉjust like IÕve thought about it when IÕve asked myself that same question—

Sean looks as if he doesnÕt believe this.

Jill contÕd: Do you really think IÕm not creative enough to come up with that what-if scenario on my own? 

Sean stares at her.

Jill contÕd: Whether you believe me or not, I have andÉ

Sean: And what?

Jill: The answer isÉyou.  Of course, itÕs you or I wouldnÕt even bother trying to talk to you.  I wouldnÕt ask you to play freaking checkers if it wasnÕt you.

This has drawn Will and HamiltonÕs attention.  Sean looks down then back up at Jill.

Sean: I canÕt believe that.

Jill: CanÕt or wonÕt?
Sean:
YouÕre right.  WonÕt.  SoÉI guess weÕre back to me walking away.

He does it abruptly this time, leaving the room completely.  Jill sits down and stares out the window.

(cut to): Hamilton and Will who have been listening while pretending to play cards.  Their conversation is low:

Hamilton: HeÕs so afraid to get hurt by her again.

Will: Can you blame him?

Hamilton: People deserve second chances.

Will: Oh, yeah?  I pretty much walked in on Gwen having sex with some Northwestern professor. 

Hamilton: Yeah, I heard about that.  Sorry.

Will: Does she deserve a second chance?

Hamilton thinks about it.

Hamilton: Does she want one?

Will sighs then chuckles.

Will: Not with me.  Not right now.

Hamilton nods.

Hamilton: If she does some day, you should consider it.

Will: Now that youÕve been a cheater, you think all cheaters should be forgiven?

Hamilton: I didnÕt cheat.

Will: Oh.  Okay.

Hamilton: Seriously.  Well, basically.

Will: Basically?

Hamilton: If you count pulling out of a kissÉbutÉbasically I didnÕt cheat.  I didnÕt mean to, anyway.

Will: RightÉOops, I accidentally fell into her lips then pulled back just in time so that I could say I didnÕt cheat.  Basically.

Hamilton chuckles at the razzing. 

Hamilton: At any rate, IÕm in love with Jake.  No one else.

He sighs.

Hamilton contÕd: But who knows how she feels about me. 

Will doesnÕt know what to say.

Hamilton contÕd: The way she looks at Scout sometimesÉ

He shakes his head.

Hamilton contÕd: Anyway, itÕs different for Sean and Jill.  They love each other.  Definitely. 

Will nods.  A beat as Will seems to think of something.

Will: Do you ever feel kind ofÉboring in your own life?

Hamilton: What do you mean?

Will: Well, okay, IÕm supposed to be Ņthe writer,Ó right?

Hamilton: Right.

Will: Could you imagine if someone was reading my life story right now?

Hamilton imagines it.

Will: ItÕd be me talking to you about two other people and, while one of them is one of my best friends and his story is personally important to me, it isnÕt really all that important to my own individual progression as a protagonist. 

Hamilton: Well, when you write your life story, maybe you should leave this part out.

Will laughs.  Suddenly, a girlÕs scream from upstairs gets everyone in the room up on their feet.

Hamilton contÕd: OrÉmaybe not.

They all start toward the stairs.

Music: If I Was Your Vampire by Marilyn Manson

(cut to): the bathroom where Jake and Scout have been holed up.  They step out as Bella and Nicholas come out of his room.  They are all safely dispersed into the hallway when the others make it up the stairs.  Without speaking they all make their way to Dexter and GraceÕs room.  Grace is staring at the opened door. Everyone else stops to do the same.  There is an axe stuck in the door whose blade passes through to the other side.

Hamilton: Oh my God, whatÕs that?

Scout: ItÕs an axe.

Hamilton: I know, but—

Bella: I think what heÕs trying to say is, ŅWhat happened?Ó

Grace: Dexter and I were talking and we heard this scratching.  He thought it was the cat so he went to grab it, but he didnÕt come back and after a few minutesÉthat thing hit the door.

Tyson: SoÉwhereÕs Dexter?

Grace looks more freaked out than she did before.

Grace: I donÕt know.  IÉI donÕt know.

Bella wraps an arm around her.

Bella: WeÕll find him.

She gives Nicholas a very disconcerted look.

Nicholas: IÕll find him. 

Scout: IÕll go with you.

Nicholas looks at Scout suspiciously, but just nods. 

Nicholas: Everyone else, go in this room and stay there.

They all herd into the room.  Nicholas and Scout walk off, checking rooms along the hallway.

Scout: You know, I think I may know where to find him.

Nicholas: Where?

Scout: Follow me.

Nicholas does follow him down the stairs, but we stay upstairs.

(cut to): the room.  Alyssa, Jill, Tyson and Sean are sitting around on the bed.  Grace is nestled between Will and Bella on the couch, each of whom have a comforting arm around her.  Hamilton and Jake lean against a wall a little away from the group.  They talk quietly, and while the others can hear, they donÕt particularly act like it.

Hamilton: Remember that time the power went out at school?

Jake: Yeah.

Hamilton: That was pretty scary.

Jake nods.

Hamilton contÕd: Nothing compared to this, though.

Jake: That was actually kind ofÉromantic. 

She looks around at the others who donÕt seem to be listening.  Nonetheless, she adds:

Jake contÕd: For some people.

Hamilton smiles.

Hamilton: For some people it wasÉtotally hot.

Jake nods, smiling slightly.

Hamilton contÕd: Oh, and remember how Scout had his phone the whole time.

Jill is paying attention.

Jill: And all he could say was—

Hamilton and Jake: Sorry.

Jill, Hamilton and Jake laugh, but itÕs short-lived because the lights go out.

Alyssa: Oh my God.

Tyson: Please tell me that was just the bulb.

Sean: The hallway light is out, too.

Grace: Oh my God.

Will: This is not happening. 

With the small amount of moonlight, we see Will get up and walk toward the door.

Bella: Where are you going?

He opens the door and we see three shadowy figures in the hall. 

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Submit a question for the YouTube Republican Debate.

 

(fade in): to the hall where we left off. 

Music: Write Your Own Story Now by Kevin Devine

A few people in the room scream until we realize it is Nicholas and Scout, now accompanied by Dexter who are standing.

Grace: Dexter, thank God.

She runs over to him, wrapping her arms around him.

Grace: Where were you?

Dexter: I went to look for the cat.  It was in the study again, though, so that couldnÕt have been what we heard.

Tyson: Dude, what you heard was the precursor to an axe. 

Tyson points to the door where the axe remains.  Dexter looks over.

Dexter:  Oh my goodness.

Scout: Who says Ņoh my goodness?Ó

Nicholas: I really donÕt think this is the time to make fun of something like that, Scout.

Scout: Oh, right.

Jill: I think what he was getting at is a valid point.  You really donÕt seem that surprised by the axe, Dexter.

Grace: What are you trying to say?

Sean: SheÕs just making sure.

Grace: Sure of what?

Sean: Did you guys find him before or after the lights went out?

Tyson: Wait a secondÉDexter wouldnÕt do this.

Grace: Thank you.

Tyson: I mean, right, Dex?

Dexter looks around in the darkness.

Grace: He didnÕt do anything.

Nicholas: We found him before the lights went out.  He was with us the whole time.

Tyson: See.

Alyssa: Actually, we donÕt.  Literally.

Hamilton: Right, the lights.

Jake: WhereÕs the fuse box?

Nicholas: I think itÕs outside.

Will: You think?

Nicholas: The powerÕs never gone out before.

Hamilton: Which means it probably doesnÕt go out on its own.

Bella: The weather is getting bad.

They look out the window as wind whips the trees in various directions and the snow is falling even faster than before.

Scout: ItÕs freezing out there.

Alyssa: What do you mean ŅitÕs freezing out there?

Tyson: He means when he was outside cutting the powerÉit was freezing.

Jake: ThatÕs not what he meant.

Tyson: What did he mean?

Nicholas: He meant itÕs snowing.  Obviously, itÕs freezing.  And he was with me the whole time so he didnÕt go outside.

Alyssa: Unless you both went outside.

Dexter: They didnÕt go outside.  They came into the study and found me then we all came back up here.

Jill: And the power went out.  You forgot that part.

Dexter: While we were coming up the stairs, the lights went out.

Will: None of these guys would have had time to kill the lights and get here ten seconds later soÉletÕs just drop this.

Hamilton: Did you have to say kill?

Bella: I donÕt know why weÕre so focused on accusing each other of everything anyway.

Jake: I agree.  This is probably weather-related.  Like Scout said, it looks really bad out there.

Tyson: Actually, he didnÕt say it ŅlooksÓ bad.  He said it was freezing out thereÉprobably because he was out there.

Grace: Drop it, Tyson.  I trust Scout.

The others agree.  Tyson folds his arms.  Scout takes a step further in the room, touching Grace on the shoulder.

Scout: Thanks.

She shrugs.

Grace: I can put an embargo on the banter until we get out of here.

Will: Maybe we should all just put our differences aside until we get out of here.

Nicholas: Will, that sounds like a very mature and responsible plan.

Everyone sighs, but agrees.

Nicholas contÕd: I also think that we should head back down to the den.  WeÕll be more comfortable there.

Alyssa: And weÕll be able to see with the fire.

Nicholas: There are also some candles I can get from my room.

Tyson: Why do you have candles in your—owwÉ

Grace: Oh, sorry.

Tyson: Was that your elbow?

Everyone starts chattering randomly.

Nicholas: Hey, hey!

Everyone is quiet.

Nicholas: LetÕs go.

Music: The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most by Dashboard Confessional

(dissolve to): a few moments later, the den.  The furniture has been rearranged in a comforting circle around the fireplace.  The group is dispersed in an expected fashion: Alyssa sits in a plush chair.  Dexter sits on the floor between her chair and a couch where Grace and Dexter sit on one end.  Bella sits on the other end.  Nicholas sits on the floor next to her, but not perceivably close.  Next to him, Will, Scout and Jake share a couch with comfortable distance between them.  On around the circle, Hamilton and Sean sit in there own chairs.  Jill sits on a large pillow between Sean and Alyssa.  Candles are placed about the room, their fresh wicks providing small pops of illumination. We get quick pans around the circle as each person speaks.

Hamilton(bored): All right, BellaÉIs it an animal?

Bella: No.

No one says anything.

Hamilton: Scout, itÕs your turnÉ

Scout: Have I mentioned that I hate this game?

Everyone: Yes.

Bella: About a hundred times.

Sean: Actually, seventeenÉwhich averages out to about one complaint per minute.

Scout: Glad I tutored you in math so you could figure that one out.

Sean: That was geometry.  ThatÕs not real math.  I can do real math.

Scout: Real math? WhatÕs that?  Math you can do on your fingers and toes?

Sean: Just what are you implying?

Scout: IÕm implying that—

Will: Guys!  JustÉstopÉplease.

Will sits on the end of a couch with his hand on his temple.

Will contÕd: YouÕre giving me, like, the worst headache ever.

Jill: I second that headache.

Tyson: Maybe itÕs not a headache.  Maybe itÕs the impending death sinking in.

Nicholas: I know IÕm the drama teacher, but thatÕs a little dramatic even for me.

Tyson: Funny.  You know, ever since weÕve been stuck here with no leadership and no plan whatsoever, I kind of forgot you were a teacher.

Dexter: Well, he is so maybe you should be a little more respectful.

Hamilton scoffs.

Hamilton: I donÕt know what part of that is funnier.  The content or the person delivering it.

Jake: Leave him alone, Hamilton.

Hamilton: You donÕt get to tell me what to do anymore, Jake.

He regrets it the moment it leaves his mouth.  Alyssa and Tyson give each other a quizzical look.

Scout: Can you just not say stuff like that right now?

Hamilton: I just meantÉ

HeÕs at a lost.

Bella: He meant heÕs sorry.  Now letÕs drop it.

Nicholas: Good idea.

Nicholas smiles up at Bella affectionately.  Hamilton snarls, but doesnÕt say anything else.  Before anyone else can say something there are several loud thuds from upstairs.

Grace: What the hell was that?

Music:  Waiting for the Night to Fall by Depeche Mode

Everyone looks fairly mortified.  Bella inadvertently grabs NicholasÕ shoulder.

Bella: Could that have been the cat?

As if on cue, the cat walks around a nearby corner with a meow.  Jill lets out a gasp.

Jill: Totally not the cat.

The bumps turn to clunks as the sound moves to the stairs.

Jake: Oh my God.  WeÕve got to get out of here.

Alyssa: If we get out of here, we go into the woods.

Grace: Who cares?  The killerÕs in here.

Hamilton: Did you have to say Ņkiller?Ó

The clunks turn to heavy, slow thuds on the stairs.

Will: WeÕve got to do something.

He stands up.

Dexter: LetÕs hide.

Sean: LetÕs just fight the guy.  I mean, look around, thereÕs about ten people here.

Jill: What if itÕs a ghost?

Hamilton: ThereÕs no such thing as ghosts.

He looks around.

Hamilton contÕd: Right?

He looks to Grace, but she pretends like she canÕt hear him.  The footsteps are slower than ever, but also getting closer.

Alyssa: Okay, well, letÕs do something.

Tyson: Hide.

Everyone agrees.

Will: WeÕll have to split up, but everyone keep at least one buddy.

Hamilton: Where do we go?

Thump, clump, thud. The footsteps are yet closer.

Grace: Anywhere.  NowÉ

They all look around then scatter.  We stay in the room for a moment as the steps reach the bottom of the stairs then make their way through the kitchen.  A tall, looming shadow is cast upon the rustic wooden floor.  Another few steps and we would be able to see the intruder, but instead weÉ

(cut to): the kitchen as Sean, Tyson, Jill and Alyssa stealthily make their way through and up the stairs, keeping tabs on where Ņthe killerÓ has traveled.

(cut to): the front hallway.  Scout is followed by Jake and Hamilton as they frantically tip toe toward the door.  We hear a loud step from the den and they panic.  Scout throws open the coat closet, which is large enough for all of them.  No one hesitates: they enter, hide and close the door.

(cut to): the study where Will and Grace run in.  Grace looks behind her.

Grace (whispered): WhereÕs Dexter?

Will looks behind them.

Will (whispered): I thought he was with us.  HeÕs the one that said there was a hidden bathroom in here.

Grace looks back at the door as they hear some shuffling and grunting from the den.  She looks torn, but Will grabs her wrist and leads her toward the shelf/bathroom door.

(cut to): the dining room table. 

(cut to): beneath the long table cloth. 

Dexter: Do you think Grace saw me stop?

Bella nods, but holds her finger up to her mouth to shush him.  HeÕs not as sure, but doesnÕt say anything, drawing his knees to his chest.

(cut to): the upstairs bedroom where Nicholas is staying. 

(cut to): under the beds where Sean and Tyson are at the edges, flanking Alyssa and Jill.  They all look nervous.

(cut to): a shot of the house from the outside, the same shot we started the episode with.  We pan out, getting further and further away as the footsteps inside the house get louder and louder.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: The 50 Worst Cars of All Time.  Is your car on the list?

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the cabin.  We cut around to the groups in their previous locations, finally stopping on Grace and Will.

Music: Waiting on the Night to Fall by Depeche Mode

Grace: I havenÕt heard anything in awhile.

Will nods.

Grace contÕd: IÕm going to find Dex.

Will: No, youÕre not.  Bella would kill me.

Grace stands up and walks toward the door.

Grace: IÕll scream if I need you.

Will: Grace, no.

She continues forward.  Will sighs then goes with her.  They quietly open the door, walking cautiously out into the study.  Like the rest of the cabin, the study is engulfed in darkness, though light from the moon gives just enough for us to see what is happening.

(cut to): the dining room.  Still under the tablecloth, Bella and Nicholas are huddled at one end, Dexter sits alone at the other.  Footsteps can be heard entering the room, which causes the trio under the table to look at each other.  Two pairs of steps add extra alarm until Bella catches sight of the feet.

Bella (whispered): Grace? 

(cut to): Above the table where Grace walks with Will behind her.  She looks around, not knowing where BellaÕs voice came from.  Below her, Bella reaches out and grabs her leg.  Grace almost screams, but covers her mouth.  Bella peaks her head out and grabs GraceÕs hand, pulling her down and under the table.  Will kneels down, crawling under.

(cut to): underneath the table as Will and Grace crawl under.

Grace: Do you guys know where—

She spots Dexter.

Grace contÕd: There you are.

Bella: Shh.

Grace nods, but makes her way over to Dexter, wrapping her arms around him tenderly.  He hugs her back, a little surprised by her response to him.  Will watches a moment, shaking his head then settles in the middle of the small space, each couple a few feet from him in either direction.  He gives Bella a reassuring look then looks off into space, drawing his legs in close to himself.

(cut to): the coat closet.

Scout: I havenÕt heard anyone in awhile.

Hamilton leans past Jake and some jackets to address Scout in a loud whisper.

Hamilton: Probably because heÕs right out there, waiting for someone to give away their hiding spot.  And, now, weÕre the someone.

Scout: Maybe if you could show some control instead of freaking out everytime—

Hamilton: Me?  Did you hear yourself scream earlier?  Over fake blood, by the way.

Scout: If youÕve got a problem with me, youÕre more than welcome to go back out there.

They are practically in each otherÕs faces with Jake between.  She rolls her eyes and puts her hand across each of their chests, pushing them back.

Jake: Please, chill.

Hamilton glances at her, trying to muster up some of that ŅpatienceÓ heÕs been trying to exercise lately.  Scout also takes a deep breath, regaining the control he is supposed to be maintaining on this trip.

Hamilton: Sorry, Scout.  I donÕt have a problem with you.  I just think, seeing as how weÕre right by the front door, maybe nowÕs the time to make a run for it.  We can take your car, go find the police or someone, then come back for everyone else.

Scout looks at him suspiciously.  He glances at Jake who gives the plan an encouraging nod.

Scout: That is a pretty good ideaÉbut I donÕt have my car keys.

Hamilton sighs in frustration.

Hamilton: Okay, where are they?

Scout: In my backpack.  In the study.

Hamilton: Okay, IÕll go get them.

Scout: No.

Jake and Hamilton are both confused by his adamant protest.

Scout: ItÕs my car.  TheyÕre my keys.  I should go.

Hamilton looks at Jake who seems to think this makes sense.

Hamilton: Okay.  JustÉbe careful, Scout.  Seriously.

Scout nods.

Scout: You guys, too. 

He moves toward the door, stopping in front of Jake as he does.  He starts to lean in to kiss her, but seems to rethink it as he glances toward Hamilton.  During his hesitation, Jake leans to him and kisses his cheek.  He smiles, adoring her even in these difficult circumstances.  Hamilton dislikes the interaction, but leans back into the coats to hide rather than interrupt.  Scout hesitates one more second then exits the closet, quickly closing it behind him. 

(cut to): the hallway where Scout stands alone, facing the front door.  We can see him as light flows in from windows around the door.  He looks around then pulls something from his pocket.  We hear a jingle as the camera moves closer on his hand.  Finally, we see the source of the noiseÉScoutÕs car keys.  He looks at them a moment then gently, silently places them on a table by the front door.

(cut to): the bedroom upstairs.

(cut to): under the bed. 

Alyssa: This is ridiculous.  How long are we going to do this?

Sean: As long as it takes to make sure we donÕt die.

Tyson: Good point.  ThatÕs a good point.

Jill: Shh.

Tyson: Another good point.

Everyone: Shh!

Tyson says no more as creaks indicate someone is walking up the stairs.  Alyssa lets out a nearly inaudible gasp as they all tense up.  The footsteps, lighter than before walk up and down the hallway, opening then closing each door.  Everyone looks back and forth at each other, horrified.  The steps stop in front of their door.  Jill puts her hand over her mouth to silence a gasp.  Sean closes his eyes.  The door swings open but we, just like the four under the bed, canÕt see anything or anyone.  After a moment, another door opens, though no one can see which.  This new door starts to close.

(cut to): a shot of the room as a panel in the wall, actually a hidden door, closes.

(cut to): under the bed as the kids look back and forth in confusion.  Another set of footsteps is now coming up the stairs.  This person, stepping heavily, enters the room.  Taking the same route as the previous intruder, the clunking footsteps lead to the mystery door that opens then closes.  Like Sean, Jill, Alyssa and Tyson we can only hear this happen. 

(cut to): the dining room, under the table.  Everyone is just as we left them: Grace and Dexter at one end, Nicholas and Bella at the other, Will in the middle.  We pan to Nicholas and Bella.  He puts his arms around her, drawing her back against his chest.  She leans into him, comforted by this gesture.  She takes his hands in hers.

Nicholas (whispered): You know, this isnÕt exactly what I had in mind for this weekend.

(cut to): Grace and Dexter who sit side by side, holding hands.  Grace glances up at NicholasÕ words.

(cut to): Bella and Nicholas.

Nicholas (whispered): Actually, there were some things I wanted to talk over with you.  Big things.

Curious, Bella glances back at him.  He smiles sweetly.

(cut to): Grace and Dexter.  Grace is listening and seems to be forming some ideas.  Out of nowhere, a light set of footsteps enters the dining room.  From beneath the dining room table, Will looks carefully at the shoes.  He and Bella trade a look.  Another set of steps, the heavy set, enters the room, walking quickly to catch up with the first person.  It dawns on Will who the first person is.

Will: Scout!  Look out!  He rushes out from under the table.  Everyone else also emerges from beneath the tablecloth. 

(cut to): the dining room.  Everything happens in a blur.  Will tackles a man dressed in jumpsuit coveralls and a ski mask.  Everyone else, including Scout watches in horror as the two struggle for a moment.  Grace and Bella are shouting for everyone else to come help.  Will rolls on top then draws back to punch this stranger.  Nicholas and Scout look at one another before quickly jumping in so that Will doesnÕt have to throw the punch.  They pull the man up and into a chair.  Sean, Tyson, Jill and Alyssa come running in from upstairs.  Jake and Hamilton come in another door.  Frightened and confused, everyone looks around then at the man sitting in the chair.  He doesnÕt have to be restrained.  He makes no effort to escape.

Hamilton: Who the hell is that?

Jill: The killer.  Obviously.

Tyson: You guys caught the killer?

Bella: Will did. 

Grace: While you guys were just standing there.

She looks around at Dexter, Scout and Nicholas.

Scout: We helped.

Dexter: ScoutÉjustÉdonÕt.  ItÕs not going to matter.

Tyson: Someone take off the mask.

Sean: Someone call the cops.

Scout: I donÕt really think thatÕs a good idea.

Music: EverybodyÕs Changing by Keane

He steps in front of the man.  Jake is befuddled.  Scout nods for Dexter to join him.  Reluctantly, Dexter steps up and next to Scout, further blocking off the man from the others.  Grace folds her arms and looks at him angrily.

Jake: WhatÕs going on?

She looks at Scout searchingly.  Scout looks down.

Alyssa: Someone really needs to start explaining because I am very confused.

Jill chuckles at this.

Hamilton: Is no one freaked the hell out that thereÕs an axe murderer over there?

The Ņaxe murdererÓ lets out a guffaw.  At nearly the same time, the lights turn back on.  Everyone is confused.

Scout: Timer.

Bella: What?

Dexter: The lights are on a timer.

Grace: How do you know that?

Up until this point, Nicholas has stood quietly to the side.  The man sitting in the chair looks over to him.  This catches GraceÕs attention as she examines the man more carefully, taking a step forward.  Dexter puts his hands on her shoulders.

Dexter: Stop.

Grace: Make me.

She steps past him and over to the man.

Grace contÕd: I donÕt even believe this.  All of us freaking out andÉitÕs you.

Everyone is confused until Grace pulls off the ski mask, revealingÉCharlie.  With this Scooby-Doo style reveal, everyone steps back.  All talking at once, no one notices Nicholas backing into a corner.

Bella: Dad!  What are you doing here? 

Grace: WhatÕs going on?

Alyssa: Bella and GraceÕs dad?

Sean: Why would Charlie do this?

Jill: IÕm so confused.

Will: And, Scout, you knew about this?

Tyson: Dexter, why didnÕt you tell us?

Hamilton: I canÕt believe you guys were in on this.

Jake: This makes no sense.  Why would—

Scout: Okay, enough. (Shouting) Enough! 

Everyone is quiet.  Scout and Dexter look at each other.

Dexter: It was just a joke. 

Scout: Yeah, a joke.  We wanted to scare everyone, but it got slightly out of control.

Jake: Slightly?

Bella: Yeah, this is ridiculous, guys.

Everyone starts talking at once again.  Charlie stands up, raising his hands.  They look at him.

Charlie: Listen kids, these two are just trying to protect...

He sighs.  Nicholas shifts in his corner.

Charlie contÕd: Me.  

Bella: What are you talking about?

Charlie: I didnÕt really want you girls coming up here so I decided to come up and try to scare you back home.  I didnÕt count on this storm, though.  Guess I should have checked the weather.

He looks over at Nicholas pointedly as he makes this comment.

Charlie contÕd: Anyway, IÕm real sorry about this whole mess. 

Grace and Bella look at each other suspiciously.

Alyssa: So how come Dexter and Scout were in on it?

Will: Good question.

Bella glances at Will with a subtle indicator that he should cease involvement in the interrogation.  He takes notice.  Jake and Hamilton notice this interchange then look at each other in an attempt to try to figure out whatÕs going on.

Charlie: I needed some help.  I nabbed these two earlier.  Got them to pull a few pranks here and there so I could stay out of site.

Sean: Why didnÕt you just tell Grace and Bella they couldnÕt go in the first place?  ThatÕs what you usually do.

Grace gives Sean a look that tells him to back off.  He gets the message.  Jill notices this also.

Charlie: I should have, butÉumÉit was more of an afterthought.

Grace and Bella arenÕt buying a word of this, but they donÕt say so.

Tyson: But why wouldnÕt you want them to come?

Alyssa: Yeah, whatÕs the big deal?  ThereÕs a chaperone.

She indicated Nicholas.  Charlie looks over at him then looks back at Alyssa.

Charlie: A chaperone who was letting my daughter room with a boy.

He points out Grace then Dexter.

Charlie contÕd: LetÕs just say I donÕt trust him much.  DonÕt like him much either.

Something occurs to him.

Charlie contÕd: Which is why I didnÕt say anything earlier.  I didnÕt realize who the chaperone was until I was looking over the handout for this trip.

Nicholas: With all due respect, Sir, maybe you should have looked that over before they left.  We could have avoided scaring all these students.

Charlie gives him an impatient glare,

Tyson: WaitÉthere was a handout for this trip?

Charlie: Yeah, did you not get one?  That doesnÕt surprise meÉ

Tyson and Alyssa look at each other suspiciously as everyone else mumbles that they got one, turned it in, et cetera.

Alyssa: Are you guys sure we donÕt need to call the police or something?  I mean, whose dad pretends to be a serial killer to preserve his daughterÕs virginity.

Sean: What dad wouldnÕt?

A few people laugh at this.

Tyson: I donÕt know, though, I mean are you guys sure—

Will: It was a bad choice made by a good father.  I think we can forgive him for that, donÕt you?

Everyone else encourages this response.

Tyson: I guessÉ

He glances at Alyssa.  She shrugs, out-numbered.  Everyone stand around, not knowing what to say or do.

Tyson contÕd: You know, actually, none of this story is making any kind of sense. 

Alyssa: Yeah, it kind of seems like youÕre making it up as you go.

Charlie again glances at Nicholas.

Nicholas: Okay.  Okay, okay, okay.  If it seems like heÕs making it up as he goesÉthatÕs because he is.  Let me explain to all of you why youÕre really here.

They all turn to Nicholas, but before he can speak, weÉ

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: If you ever watch Colbert Nation, the WristStrong bracelet is a must have.

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the cabin.

Music: CanÕt Keep Running by Josh Holmes

(cut to): the dining room where the crowd stands around Nicholas, anxiously awaiting an explanation.

Nicholas contÕd: OkayÉumÉ

Bella: You donÕt have to do this.

Grace: You shouldnÕt do this.

Everyone else echoes the sentiment except Hamilton:

Hamilton: No, let him talk.  This should be good.

Jake gives Hamilton a look so dirty that he actually looks momentarily remorseful.  Alyssa looks at him questioningly.  He just shrugs and nods to Nicholas.  Alyssa looks at Nicholas once more.

Nicholas:  It seems like I look around these days and all I see is ever-present, angst-ridden teen drama.  WhoÕs dating who, who knows what secret, who hates who over who knows what. 

Grace: Welcome to adolescence.  Or did you never reside there?

Nicholas: Of course I did, maybe longer than most, but I learned how to survive and overcome.  And you guys did too.  You were actually able to pull together a little bit.  You momentarily forgot your grudges.  You cared about people you normally donÕt.  ThatÕs why I brought you here.  ThatÕs why I asked for CharlieÕs help.  He doesnÕt hate me, by the way.  WeÕre actually good friends.

Tyson: I thought IÕd seen you over at the gas station a few times.  I work right across the street.

Charlie: He comes by to see me all the time.

Nicholas nods.

Alyssa: SoÉyou were in on this, too?

Dexter: HeÕs the one that put it all together.

Nicholas: I wanted you guys to work together for a common purpose, to be successful and to talk about it afterward.

Will: CouldnÕt we have just done a ropes course or something?

Nicholas laughs.

Nicholas: What can I say?  IÕm a drama teacher.  I thought IÕd orchestrate an improvised play.  And this place is perfect with the remote location, the weird meowing cat, the timer for the lights, the secret passages—

Sean: Secret passages?

Scout: Yeah.  ThereÕs one that leads from the master bedroom upstairs to the bathroom study.  I used it a few times today.

Jake looks very displeased by this comment and by ScoutÕs involvement period.

Nicholas: So my plan was to scare you a little, let you catch the bad guy then have you talk about it, but you guys were way too hard on Charlie soÉI figured I better admit my involvement.

Bella still doesnÕt believe him.  Everyone else seems to be accepting this more than the previous story.

Hamilton: This is stupid.  I canÕt believe you conned us intoÉsome dumb teambuilding exercise.

Will: AlthoughÉyou and Scout managed to work pretty well together.  You had the best plan of anyone.

Hamilton: Yeah, except he was in on it.  I was actually working out of fear, you know, for my life.

Alyssa: I have to admit, thoughÉI kind of enjoyed playing detective.

Will: I thought that was pretty fun, too.

Sean: I canÕt believe I hid under a bed for an hour.

Sean laughs.

Jill: I donÕt think IÕve ever been so scaredÉbut I was glad you guys were there.

She looks around and Sean, Alyssa and Tyson.

Jill contÕd: I donÕt know.  I feel like I should be totally pissed, butÉ

Dexter: YouÕre not?

Jill: Not really.

Sean: Yeah, me either.  I kind of feel like if everything had been real, we still would have been okay.

Will: We could have worked together.  We can work together, and put everything else aside, if we need to.

Tyson: YouÕre a pretty good teacher, Mr. M.  I mean, this is totally insane and my parents would probably try to get you fired if they knew everything that went on here, butÉthis is a lesson IÕm not going to forget.

Alyssa, Will, Sean, and Jill agree.  Hamilton rolls his eyes and looks at Bella, wanting the ŅrealÓ explanation.  She doesnÕt know.  Jake looks at her brother, but he quickly looks away.  She shakes her head, angry at him.  Scout tries to catch her eye, but she looks away, also angry at him.

Alyssa: SoÉare we done with the debriefing?

Nicholas: I was thinking you could talk it over in small groups.

Tyson: Sounds like a plan.

(dissolve to): later, the dining room.  Alyssa, Tyson, Jill, Sean, Will and Hamilton sit around the dining room table.

Alyssa: SoÉwhat should we be talking about?

Tyson: I donÕt know.  How about how insane this nightÕs been?  What an adrenaline rush.

Sean: ItÕs like what you said, Jill, about never being that scared before.  Me either.

He smiles.

Will: What about you, Hamilton?  You havenÕt said much.

Hamilton: It just seems kind of ridiculous.  The whole thing.

Alyssa: Maybe, butÉit was fun.

Hamilton: IÕm not sure we have the same idea of Ņfun.Ó

Alyssa: Yeah, well, obviously.

Jill: Hey, hey, hey, youÕre slipping back into the drama he was talking about.

Hamilton: Like he doesnÕt have his own dramaÉ

Jill: Believe me, I know, butÉ

She sighs.

Jill contÕd: Just admit you were scared.  YouÕll feel better.

Hamilton: Yeah, I was scared, but—

Tyson: I was so scared.  But itÕs like that post-haunted house scared.  I want to do it again.

Sean: I donÕt know about that.

The others agree.

Hamilton: Anyway, does anyone have any food because I am starving.

They all laugh at him.  He sits back, pouting, as he glances toward the living room.

(cut to): the living room.  Scout, Jake, Grace, Dexter, Bella, Nicholas and Charlie have chairs and a couch arranged in a circle.  Nicholas sits in the middle of the couch with Charlie and Jake on either side.  Dexter sits on the arm of a couch where Grace is sitting, though she has scooted away from him, and sits with her arms folded.  Scout sits in a chair across from Jake.  Bella is next to him, across from Nicholas.  They sit all silently.

Music: Question by the Old 97s

Jake: Okay, can someone just tell me whatÕs really going on here?

Nicholas glances toward the dining room.

Nicholas: God, this all seems so childish now. 

Charlie: I tried to warn youÉ

Grace: Obviously that story you told in there is about twenty thousand miles from the truth considering you didnÕt know anyone was coming besides us.

She gestures around at Dexter, Scout, Jake and herself.

Charlie: Seems like they fell for it hook, line and sinker.  Hell, I almost believed it.

Nicholas: Oh, yeah, that in there was the pinnacle of my acting skill, believe me.

Grace: I know they all thought this whole thing was cute and cool andÉsomehow educational, but I really want to know whatÕs really going on. 

Jake: Ditto.  And I want to know what you guys were thinking participating in this without telling us.

She looks at Dexter and Scout who look at each other guiltily.

Scout: They said not to tell you.

Grace: Why?

Dexter: Because it would ruin the surprise.

Jake: What surprise?

She looks from Dexter to Scout, but they each look down so she turns to Nicholas.

Jake: What surprise?

Nicholas: This is badÉ

He looks at Charlie who nods in agreement.

Nicholas: Bad andÉbotched all to hell.

He looks at Bella who has been sitting quietly, yet listening intently.  She raises her eyebrows.  Nicholas looks to Charlie.

Nicholas contÕd: Should IÉI mean, should I even do this?

Charlie chuckles.

Charlie: You ainÕt got much to lose at this point, son.

Nicholas nods, running his hands over his face for a moment.  He takes them down and speaks:

Nicholas:  I thought if I could get rid of themÉ

He nods toward the dining room.

Nicholas contÕd: If I could have just you guys here—and believe me, I love that youÕre all here––I could do what I came here to do.

Bella: Which is what?

Her voice seems to snap him out of his hesitation.  He looks up at her genuinely.

Nicholas: Tell you that I love you. 

He looks at her

Nicholas contÕd: Bella, I told you there were some things I wanted to talk to you about.

Bella: Big things.

He nods.

Nicholas: IÕm so sorry it all turned out like this.  I envisionedÉyou and me by the fire.  Our respective siblings nearby so we could share this with them when the time was rightÉif the time was rightÉ

Bella: Share what?

He smiles, completely in love with her.

Nicholas: Like I said, I love you, Bella.  And, I want to be with you.  I want to be around you all the time.  Not like we are now.  DonÕt get me wrong, I can deal with it for the next eight months, but thenÉIÕm looking for a little more.  A lot more, actually.  IÕm looking for youÉnot when the moment is rightÉnot when we can sneak awayÉbut all the time.  You and me.  IÕll quit my job.  IÕll move to Boston.  If youÕll have me, that is.

He pauses, requiring a response.

Bella: YouÉwant to go with me to Boston when I start college next fall?

Nicholas: I want to go with youÉwhereverÉwheneverÉforever.

Jake and Grace glance at one another, seeing where this may be going.

Nicholas contÕd: What I really want, though, Bella.  What I brought you here to ask you isÉ

He stands up.

Nicholas contÕd: What I asked your fatherÕs permission to ask you isÉ

Bella glances back at her father who smiles reassuringly.  Nicholas reaches into his pocket, pulling out a small box.  Bella sees this then watches as Nicholas gets down on one knee. He opens the box, presenting it to her.  Inside is a diamond ring with a large, but not flashy diamond set in platinum.  Everyone watches with interest.

Nicholas: Bella, will you marry me?

The audience holds its collective breath as Bella looks down at Nicholas.

Bella: All thisÉjust to ask that?

He shrugs and continues to smile at her.  She looks around at everyone, each person giving her an encouraging, smile.  She, though, looks uncertain. 

Nicholas: Please?

Bella smiles at this, but still hesitates.

Grace: I think she wants to think about it. 

Nicholas nods, looking at Bella.
Nicholas:
Yeah?

Bella nods.

Bella: Yeah.

Nicholas: Okay.

He closes the box, stand up, put the box in his pocket, and sits back down on the couch.

Nicholas contÕd: WellÉthat was anti-climactic. 

Scout: YouÕre telling me.

He shakes his head.

Scout contÕd (to Jake): YouÕre going to be mad at me for awhile over tonight, arenÕt you?

She looks down at her hands.

Jake: You could have told me. 

Scout: Charlie was right there and—

Jake: ItÕs not like Charlie is actually a mass murderer.

Charlie: That is the gospel truth.

Scout: I know, butÉ

From the other room, the group erupts in laughter.

Scout contÕd: I like how they get to have fun while Charlie, Dex and I take the fall for all this.

Nicholas: I just proposed to a girl who turned me down.  IÕm falling plenty.

Bella, Grace and Jake look at one another.

Grace: I guess weÕre all just feeling like you could have included us in this.  We probably could have made things a little easier. 

Jake: Yeah, we could have just asked everyone to go home.

Grace: Before the snow.

Jake nods.

Nicholas: You guys are absolutely right.  Like I said before, this all seems crazy and extremely childish now.  I just wanted so badly to ask you what I asked you, Bella.  IÕve been wanting to ask you sinceÉI mean, you know IÕve felt this way since the first time we met.  You do something to me.  You make me happy.  You made me happy when no one had in so long. 

Scout and Jake look at each other, connected by the description of a scenario that applies to them as well.  Suddenly, Scout leaps on the floor so that he is kneeling in front of Jake.

Scout (faux whining): Pleeeease forgive me.  Please?  Pretty, pretty please, Jacqueline?  IÕm so, so, so sorry.  I should have told you and let you make your own decision instead of trying to protect you from the truth because I know you donÕt need to be protected.  ThatÕs what makes you so different from every other girlÉin the world.  Because youÕre strong and independent and, well, frankly stubborn to the point of obstinacy.

Jake opens her mouth so speak, but canÕt because Scout continues his rant:

Scout contÕd: And, yes, I do know a few big words.  You know why?  Because I actually have the time to read and educate myself because IÕm not so busy being totally miserable.  And, why?  Because I have you to make me happy.  And, even though I know how itÕs going to end, I really want a few moreÉanythings.  Minutes, hours, days, weeks, months.  Whatevers.  Whatever youÕll give me, but give me something.  Please? 

Everyone has watched this spectacle in silence until Jake finally does something.

Jake: God, okay.  Just stop.

She laughs despite herself as she grabs his shoulders, pulling him off the floor and onto the arm of the couch next to her.

Jake contÕd: Never do that again.

Scout: The hiding stuff from you or the begging for forgiveness? 

Jake: Both?

He smiles and she canÕt resist a smile back.

Jake contÕd: And, for the record, you owe me.

Scout: IÕll carry your books for a week.

Jake: So the other half of the school will think youÕre gay?

Scout shrugs.

Scout: Small price to pay.  Negligible really.

Grace scoffs.  Everyone looks at her.  She looks at Dexter.

Grace: SoÉwhat dÕyou got?

He swallows, not knowing what to say.

Dexter: IÕm really, really sorry?  AndÉI love you?

Grace: Are you asking me?

Dexter: No.  I am sorry.  And, I do love you. 

He smiles, not knowing what her reaction will be.

Dexter contÕd: A lot.

Grace smiles.

Grace: Fine, butÉlike Jake said, you owe me.

Dexter: IÕm aware.

He nods, looking off.  Charlie shakes his head.

Charlie (to Bella): So, after all this, youÕre still telling this boy youÕll think about it?

Bella: I never thought you would be NickÕs number one fan.

Charlie: Are you kidding me?  HeÕs rich.  Marry him tomorrow.

He laughs loudly as everyone looks at him.

Charlie contÕd: Come on, IÕm kidding.

He elbows Nicholas.

Charlie contÕd: Although, the station could always use a good investor.

Nicholas laughs.

Nicholas: I guess after tonight, I owe you.

Bella: Seems like you guys have accumulated a lot of debt tonight.

Grace: Just so he could propose to you.  I didnÕt see that one coming, by the way.

Bella: Me either.

Jake: Ditto.

Grace: I kind of think maybe you should accept, though.

Jake smiles.

Jake: Ditto.

Bella looks from Grace to Jake.

Bella: Are you serious? 

They both nod.

Bella: SoÉare we no longer pissed at them?

Jake: Well, we are.  I am, anyway.

Grace: Me too, butÉhe loves you and in twenty years IÕm sure weÕll all think this was sweet.

Jake: More like twenty-five.

Grace: Fifty.

Dexter: A hundred.

They all look at him and laugh.

Dexter contÕd: What?

A beat as Bella looks at Nicholas.

Bella: Do you want to try again?

He stands up without hesitation, fumbling to get the ring out of his pocket.  He gets down on one knee and opens the box.

Nicholas: Make me the happiest man in the world and say youÕll marry me, Bella. 

Bella: I will.

Nicholas: Yeah?

Bella: Yeah.  Yes.

Hands shaking, he pulls the ring out of the box and slides it onto her fingers.  The group looks genuinely happy for her as she kisses Nicholas softly.

(cut to): a shot of the cabin from outside as we hear the murmurs of various conversations.

(fade out)

 

Commercial Break: Random thought for the episode: Butch Rawks!

 

(fade in): to an establishing shot of the cabin, the next morning. 

Music: White Houses by Vanessa Carlton

Most the snow has melted away, leaving a bright, sunny and pleasant-looking morning.  In the background, we hear a bird or two singing.  In the foreground, we see the kids loading up into various cars.  Charlie walks to his truck, hidden slightly up the driveway.  He waves to the kids, gets in and drives away.

(dissolve to): the caravan of cars traveling down the road.  The road has obviously been cleared, though there is still snow in treetops here and there.

(cut to): inside NicholasÕ Jetta.

Will (voice over): Fear.  Sometimes itÕs not such a bad thing.

(cut to): a shot in the front where Nicholas and Bella silently, but happily hold hands.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: ItÕs nothing more than an anticipation of the unknown: an exciting future that is so completely different from current experiences that it ties our insides into anxious bunches.

(cut to): Hamilton and Sean in the back of the car.  They each sit silently, looking out their windows.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Sometimes, though, itÕs the past that haunts us.

(cut to): a close-up of Sean.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Fear of falling into a rerun of a previous nightmare.

(cut to): a close-up of Hamilton.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Fear of facing previous transgressions.

(cut to): inside ScoutÕs SUV.  Jake is driving.  Scout sits in the passenger seat.  Will is in the back.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Fear of what we might become.

Jake: Just because youÕre letting me drive this tank, donÕt think IÕll be turning over the keys to my bike anytime soon.

Scout: Oh, I knowÉ

Will shakes his head, looking out the window.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Fear that what we may become isÉabsolutely nothing.

(cut to): the bus.

(cut to): the back where Alyssa and Tyson sit on the very back bench. They chat indiscernibly.  Dexter sits alone on the middle bench. 

Will (v.o.) contÕd: Fear of what we find out.  Fear of what we already know.

(cut to): the front of the bus where Grace is driving.  Jill is in the passenger seat.

Will (v.o.) contÕd: With so much to be afraid of, we often forget the most frightening thing of all: the unexpected.

Grace: What theÉ

Jill looks over at Grace as she freaks out, pumping the brakes.  As they start to go around a turn, weÉ

(cut to): a wider shot of the bus as in uncontrollably goes around the turn and out of site.

(fade out)

In the blackness we hear a crash then see flashes of light, first white then red and blue as sirens sound.  The noise fades as the screen once again fades to darkness

 

THE END

 

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