Diane stood staring at downtown LA. Bright blue sky, cottony clouds, and glossy palm leaves waved in the cool breeze as soaring ocean birds held her gaze. She wasn't really seeing, just looking. Honking cars, distant sirens, screeching brakes, and an occasional shout blurred together as background noise penetrated annoyingly through the thick glass. Diane was a million miles away. She'd been the acting president of her mother's company for more than twenty-five years now. Importing and exporting fine coffees and teas from exotic locations had proven to be a goldmine investment for the Chambers' women, and Boggs. too, of course. Diane and her mother created their company together. Boggs, Mrs. Chambers's chauffeur, had married and cared for her until his death two years ago. Helen had gone to be with her sweet beau in the great beyond just last week. A single tear trickled down her face as she stood still as a statue. Her mother's last words still resonated in Diane's head. "Take care of our baby girl, and above all else, enjoy every moment!" The funeral over and the reading of the will complete, Diane prepared herself for a new journey. Well, a new journey to a familiar place. She turned seventy this year and wondered to herself why she was embarking on such a monumental life change. Her mother lived into her nineties, so, naturally, Diane chose to pick up the torch and resume the marathon. She was a healthy person, overall. If she, too, lived to be ninety plus, she wanted to continue to be active and involved in the parts of the business she loved. Her mother had sold most of the stock, keeping only the coffee house in Boston that she and Boggs had run in their later years. Diane remained on the board of directors…for now. That way, she could help the newbies with any issues, and, best of all, travel to investigate new products. She'd run the little coffee shop in Boston while Shea was in school and together they'd travel during her breaks.
Well, today was the day. Moving day had come and it was time to face the music. She carried one small box with her down the hallway. Diane smiled and said a few more soft goodbyes, turning around only once more. She committed the sight to memory. The sight of the door with her name on it and the number 836. Yes, the eighth floor of this lovely building had been her home away from home for a quarter of a century. In all honesty, she really wasn't sad. It had been a grand place to work and live. Sweet, caring people, beautiful weather, great food and entertainment around every corner. The west coast years had been a lovely chapter in her life and she had a great deal to be proud of. A beautiful daughter, a successful business, and precious friends she loved dearly. Truly, she had lived the American dream. Diane was bound and determined to continue that dream, only this time, on the east coast. Boston to be exact. Boston. She'd traveled back many times after leaving Cheers, on business mostly. Never once did she even contemplate going back to the bar. Okay, she smiled to herself, maybe once. Tossing the box in the back of the limo, she stopped a moment and looked up. The all-glass building still held its grandeur, sparkly with a rose gold tint. It had been built to withstand a magnitude 7 earthquake and all the glass was manufactured to spider web, but not shatter. She'd always thought it to be beautiful. Sliding onto the cool leather of the air conditioned, behemoth of a car, Diane closed her eyes and lay her head back on the seat. Joe, her driver from the beginning, closed the door.
She hoped Shea was home. Her daughter had just celebrated her 27th birthday. Wow! Was she really 27? It seemed just yesterday, the tall, gangly creature was still a teenager with braces on her teeth and a duffel bag of stinky clothes and shoes in the backseat of her car. Who would ever believe Diane Chambers and Sumner Sloan would produce an athlete?! Sumner would just shake his head in disbelief during his ever-so-seldom appearances at his daughter's games and performances. It was just as well. When his untimely death came about 13 years ago, it wasn't as if Shea really knew him anyway. Diane wanted to say her relationship with Sumner had been a horrible mistake, if it could even be called a relationship at all, however, she never felt that way. The pairing of two people, strangers really, that created such a beautiful, angelic child, could never be considered a mistake. Shea was a miracle to Diane. She loved her daughter clear through to her soul. Thinking about her sweet girl as the tires droned a soft rhythm down the street brought tears to her eyes. My precious darling. How you've made my life so happy and full. She couldn't help but crack a half-smile at the thought of the day she found out she was pregnant.
Wow. What a day that had been. She'd thought she'd contracted some sort of flu. Vomiting uncontrollably - even through her nose - for hours on end, had been the case at the beginning. It had been the most emotionally draining time of Diane's entire life. First, leaving Sam Malone, the only man she'd ever truly loved, devastated her beyond which she thought there was virtually no repair. She recalled how many times she'd almost gotten in a car and driven to Boston, to live, just to be near him. She never should have answered his invitation to come back to Cheers for a visit. It had been like ripping the scab off a wound that refused to ever fully heal. Next came Sumner. The opportunistic ass weaseled his way into her life, spouting his love for her and taking full advantage of a fragile, broken, human being for his own selfish needs. Diane had been so careful to steer clear of intimacy with him. He followed her around like a puppy. Then, one night, after she'd only been back from Boston a couple weeks, he'd succeeded in finding a gap in her armor. They'd gone to dinner and she'd had way too much to drink. He'd talked about Sam and his women. Tearing at her soul, shredding away any happy memories, relentlessly pelting her for being naïve when it came to men. He'd breathe into her face telling her that Sam had never loved her and she was too blind to see the way she was being used. His manipulation insistently barraging her, she caved. One night. One single night. Two weeks later, she'd been hospitalized for dehydration. The onslaught of nausea continued. Back to the hospital she went. Her doctor delivered the news, "you will soon be feeding and burping this flu." She lay alone and weak in her cold, drab room on the second floor. Diane called Sumner to let him know. He'd laughed and hung up on her. Her mother came and scooped her up, metaphorically speaking, getting her back on her feet and lovingly embracing the idea of becoming a grandmother. Helen had said, "This is our sign. We have someone to care for now other than ourselves. It is the opportunity of a lifetime!" She was right. Shea came bouncing into our lives and they never looked back!
Shea was so excited about the move. Diane recalled how she could barely calm down long enough to eat her dinner the night before. Talking of the new adventure they'd be going on. Skiing, sightseeing, climbing and making day trips to all of the historical sights clustered in the Boston area and beyond. Shea had been accepted to the university on full scholarship for the research she'd done on artificial intelligence. She planned on completing her doctorate in the field of AI, particularly the benefits it is proving to have on everything from sports medicine to uses in the private sector. Yes, she definitely had been born with her father's discipline for academics.
Diane had enjoyed school very much but never had the ability to choose one subject and go. She remembered how exciting it was to discover a new realm of study and explore. The responsibility of owning a company had been the driving force behind her masters. She had to have a business degree. That go around, school was not fun. It was torture and ever-so boring, however, proved to be the smartest thing she'd ever done. She'd traveled to many countries to investigate new items for their product line. This, she enjoyed immensely. The two women charged into uncharted territory. The business world could be intimidating…to say the least. Having a head for business was a must, for it was a man's world and the women of business needed to be on their toes at every juncture. They had done it and done it well.
The limo pulled in front of the condo with the crunch of fine gravel, rudely yanking Diane back into present time. She watched as people carried her furniture into the moving trucks. Shea and Mary would be waiting inside. Her suitcase was ready to go and the plane would leave in four hours. Mary, one of Diane's closest friends and housekeeper, would be joining them in Boston as well as Betty, her personal assistant from the office. Those two women were the cream of the crop when it came to loyalty, integrity, and confidence. Diane and Shea loved them like family.
Once in Boston, they'd hotel it until the house was ready. The coffee shop had a small apartment on the upper floor. Her mother rented it out years ago to an older gentleman that Diane had yet to meet.
Joe opened the door for her. As he pulled away, she followed the car until it turned out of sight. He'd be back to take them to the airport, but refused to stay until then. Sweet, sentimental, old soul. He reminded her so much of the Coach. Once again, tears burned in her eyes. The door to the condo swung open with a bang. There she was, the core of Diane's existence.
Shea Elizabeth Chambers-Sloan came bounding down the stairs to take the box from her mother's arms.
Shea: Hey, mama! We've been watching for you!
Diane: Where's my hug baby girl?
Shea gives her mother a squeeze.
Shea: What time is Joe coming back for us?
Diane: In about an hour and a half.
Shea: He's gonna be a mess ma. How many years has he been cruising us chicks around California?
Diane: "Cruising us chicks?" Shea, that boyfriend of yours is altering your vocabulary through osmosis. And not admirably, I might add.
Shea" (laughs at her mother's comment) Awe, you love Luke and you know it!
Diane: You can love someone and still wish they spoke correct English.
Shea: I'm going to give Joe a huge hug at the airport, no matter how much he resists it!
Facial expressions as Diane once again looks down the street.
Diane: Come on, Shea. We gotta pull it together if we're gonna make that flight. We may weep on the plane.
The women continue inside…
Camera moves to the kitchen where Mary is still packing cooking items. She sings in Spanish as she dances around the kitchen.
Shea sneaks around the corner, jumping in front of Mary.
Mary:(grabs her heart) Dios, ten piedad! Shea Elizabeth! (snaps at Shea with a towel)
Shea: Mom! Mary is cursing at me in Spanish again!
Mary: You lucky I still alive the way you pop around like jack in box!
Diane enters the kitchen.
Diane: Shea my darling, since you have so much free time in the face of all this chaos, would you mind bringing down our suitcases?
Shea: (creeps up, once again, on the unsuspecting Mary, kissing her quick on the cheek, runs from the room)
Mary: (once again, jumps, startled) Nina! You gonna kill me one day! Then you be sorry! (raises her fist at the scampering Shea)
Diane: Thank you so much for preparing the kitchen for the move, Mary. I didn't realize we had so much in this one room.
Mary: That because you no cook anymore. I miss tripping over you in the kitchen.
Diane: Well that will change in Boston. You will have a kitchen twice this size, Mary! It is amazing. All updated with lots of storage. I will probably drive you crazy, being home so much.
Mary: (holds Diane's hands) Oh Miss Diane, this day I much look forward to. You work so hard. Finally a fun job!
Diane: (gives Mary a hug) It is going to be a grand adventure Mary! I can feel it in my gut! (Diane holds her stomach)
Mary: (startle expression) What is wrong with guts?
Diane: (laughs) Just an expression. I'm fine. Just anxious to get there and get started.
Mary: You be there soon enough. By the way, (Mary says while holding a rolling pin) when will Betty be coming?
Diane: You think Betty needs a rolling pin?
Mary: Betty may get a rolling pin. (said sarcastically)
Diane rolls her eyes walking away.
Diane: You two fight like siblings, Mary! Just try to love each other like sisters! It's that simple.
Mary: I make her simple, BANG! (hits the rolling pin in her palm with a playful smile on her face)
Camera changes to the airport in Boston
The three women and their luggage are loaded into a limo. Conversation begins inside the car.
Shea: (claps her hands together) Oh mother I'm beyond excited! What shall we do first?
Diane: Well, I thought we'd grab a bite, unpack a bit and get to bed. We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow and need an early start.
Shea: Oh mom. Mary and I are much too pumped to sleep!
Diane: Well "un-pump" yourself and (in finger quotes) "chill!"
Shea: No, mom. Do not do that.
Diane: What's wrong with "chill"? That's not cool anymore? How bout kick back and take a load off? (Brooklyn accent)
Shea: Lord, (eyes pointing at ceiling) who is this woman and what have you done with my mother?
Mary: (laughing at the mother and daughter's exchange. Diane and Shea stare at her) I say we eat at hotel. Two birds, boom boom.
Shea: Alright! You guys win. To the Hyatt, Joe! (Shea grabs her mouth, then places her face in her hands).
Diane: Diane holds her daughter gently. Awe, sweet girl, it is going to take us all a while to adjust.
Limo driver: My name is David, miss. Happy to be at your service. The Hyatt it is.
The limo pulls away.
Camera changes to the coffee shop. A large, yet delicate sign with 'Chambers Inc. Fine Coffees and Teas' is on the front of the old brownstone with an awning and large front windows. Plants hung in the front of the quaint little shop. An alleyway ran in back so there were two entrances. To the right of the front entrance, there was a side door leading upstairs to the apartment and a back staircase leading from the apartment to the kitchen of the shop. A large swinging door separated the kitchen from the counter and showcase in the front of the shop. There were tables and chairs for customers to enjoy their selections while watching the world pass by the window.
Diane stands in the middle of the customer section, hands on her hips, taking a slow look around the room. The plants, mostly philodendron, cascaded down and around the windows, some delicately growing along highly hung shelves. They were beautiful! Diane remembered her mother mentioning how the man in the apartment watered the plants and kept an eye on the place when it was closed. They had become friends, of a sort, over the years. This struck Diane as strange, at first. Sometimes the shop was closed for a month at a time.
In walks Betty from the back.
Diane: (walks over to give Betty a hug) I'm so glad you came! I think you're really going to like Boston Betty!
Betty: (hugs Diane back, smirks) The jury is still out on that one, honey. I'll let you know after surviving my first winter.
Diane: (laughs) Yes, it gets cold and quite a bit of snowfall. It can be so magical, though. The change of seasons is quite remarkable.
Betty: My ancestors were the warm climate type. Morphing into a human Popsicle, just to go to the grocery store, is not my idea of appealing.
Diane: Oh, Betty. Where's your sense of adventure?
Betty: It is sitting on the shoulder, on the interstate, just outside LAX, as we speak. What happens you break down hear, in the winter? I'll tell ya. First it will be months before they find ya in the trees. Then when they do find ya, you'll be frozen stiff.
Diane: I don't know Betty. I think I'd rather freeze than get hit by a speeding limo. (Diane chuckles)
Shea walks through the swinging doors. She runs over and wraps Betty in a huge hug.
Betty: Well look at you! You're bouncing like a little kid.
Shea: Oh, Betty! I feel like a kid again! A new adventure is just what we needed! Hey mom, I'm going over to school to meet up with Luke. He's talking with one of the coaches and then we are going to check out where I'll be working this Fall.
Diane is staring at the plants and out the window. The large, adjustable, shades were pulled half way down, shielding the window seats from the piercing sun. The silhouette of an old-fashioned Open/Closed sign showed through the shade pulled over the window on the door.
Shea: Mom? Hello?
Diane: Okay sweetie. I'm going to go pack my things at the hotel and head back here for a while. I kind of need to see where mummy left off and where I begin. Chelsea, the realtor, is going to come by later with the keys to the house. Everything is in, at least. I think I may stay the night there tonight and meet up with you for breakfast, at the hotel in the morning.
Betty: Shea, I'll meet up with you for dinner at the hotel, around 8, when you kids get back tonight. Mary won't stop babbling about the chicken! That woman. She just never stops babbling.
Shea: ( giggles) You two would be lost without each other. You're both just too stubborn to admit it.
Betty: Speaking of lost. You wanna help guarantee my safety and drop me back at the hotel on your way to the University? I think I'll wait a few days before testing out my mad navigational skills.
Shea: No problem! Lets go now though. It's getting late and Luke will be waiting. Sure you'll be alright on your own mama?
Diane: Of course I'll be alright! See you gals in the morning. Opening day is just around the corner and we have a lot to do.
Betty and Shea head through the swinging door. Betty pops her head back in.
Betty: Your mother left the tenant information and other things pertaining to the shop in the safe. The combo is in the...
Diane: I know the combo Betty, it is my birthday, for heaven's sake. I'll check it out right away. You two be safe!
Diane busies herself around the shop. She washes pans, sweeps, dusts the shelves, stopping only to make a cup of tea and plug her phone into the speaker system. She pages through the list of texts on her phone. Smiling, Diane sighs loudly.
Diane: (talking out loud to the air) How fun! A visitor already, from LA! (claps her hands) But why does it have to be at 6am! (shakes her head)
Suddenly, a large thudding sound came from upstairs. Startled, Diane stared up at the ceiling. Again, there are more noises, like the creaking of soft footsteps on old boards. Was that a meow? She follows the sound through the swinging door, all the while staring up. The footsteps seemed to stop just at the top of the landing. The door, at the top of the landing, closes the apartment off to the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, there is a door to the kitchen, and another door leading out back, to the alleyway. Diane stood, frozen in place, listening. The door at the top of the stairs had been closed earlier. She had stolen a quick glance at it when bringing things in from the car. Diane moved back from the door, pulling up a stool and sitting next to the prep table, folding her hands. How awkward could it be? Her mother liked him, and she'd always considered her mother to be an excellent judge of character. The door to the apartment opens, sucking the kitchen door in. It closes, followed by louder, descending footsteps. Diane focuses on the doorknob, watching for it to turn. Instead, there is a gentle knock.
Diane: (timidly) Hello? Come in?
The door opens. In walks a white-haired Sam Malone.
Sam: Hello, Diane.
Diane: (brow creased in utter disbelief) SSSSSSSam? You were...are...my mother's...my...tenant?
Diane: But...how? Why? When.
Sam: (laughs) Diane, sit down. Take a load off. (uses his finger to push her chin up, thus closing her gaping mouth)
Diane: (pulls slightly back, tilting her head inquisitively) Wow. Did NOT see this one coming.
Sam raises his eyebrows, staying silent, allowing her time to process.
Sam: You gonna be alright?
Diane: Why didn't she tell me? I don't understand?
Sam: I asked her not to. (eyebrows, smirk)
Diane: Sam, why did you move here? What ever motivated you to...
Sam: I came here almost every day for coffee. Boggs and I got to be pretty close. Your mother took longer to come around, but when they started to travel more, they needed someone to look after things while they were gone. The previous tenant had moved on, I was at the end of my lease, and, well, things just seemed to work out for everyone.
Diane: So, you ran the shop?
Sam: No, nothing like that. They just closed it until they came home. I just checked the mail, dusted, watered the plants and made sure the alarm was armed. (he moves closer to her)
Diane: (her eyes remain trained on his, unblinking) Sam, I really don't even know what to say. Why? Why didn't you want me to know you were here?
Sam: Well, because, I figured, and was reminded repeatedly by your mother, that I had caused you enough heartache for one lifetime...
Diane: Oh Sam!
Sam: No Diane! Hear me out! I made it a stipulation. When you came into town, I made myself scarce. If you ever found out I was here or that I conversed with your mother and Boggs regularly, the contract was void.
Diane: I see. But why? Why here? How long have you been, here?
Sam: More than seven years.
Diane: Sam! Seven years! (she stands up, wrapping her arms around herself, turning away from him)
Sam: (stands and followers her, raising his hands as if to hold her shoulders from behind, then letting them drop to his sides) So many times I wanted to see you when you were in town. I held up my part of the bargain. I just knew, if I remained patient, one day, well a situation like this would happen. I just always held out hope, that someday, I'd get to see you again, well, that you'd want to see me again.
Diane: (turns to face him) Can I get you a cup of coffee? (said with a sad smile and a choke of emotion)
Sam: Sure. Will you have one with me?
Diane: Of course, I have a feeling we may need the whole pot. (teary)
Sam: While you're doing that, there is something I need to get from upstairs.
Diane: Okay. You still take cream in your coffee?
Sam: (opening the door to the stairs, peering back to steal another glance at her, smiling) Yep. Same as it ever was. (continues up the stairs)
Diane scurries around, preparing coffee, getting out the cream. She goes to the computer and looks up pizza places. Making a decision, she pulls out her credit card and types in the information. The door from upstairs opens once again to Sam, this time carrying two white boxes.
Diane: Whatcha got there?
Sam: a coffee shop warming present.
Diane: Oh? What kind of present? I ordered pizza by the way. Hope that's okay? I'm all of the sudden starving.
Sam: (smiles) You? Pizza? Since when do you order pizza?
Diane: Since about twenty-seven years ago.
Sam: (inquisitive look) Okayyyyyyy?
Diane: I'm dying of curiosity! What's in the boxes. (he moves them toward her)
Sam: Go ahead, open them.
In the first box was a beautiful, ornate book stand. In the second was a pristine copy, in the original dust jacket, of The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. Diane looks up into his eyes.
Diane: I don't understand? Is this the book you bought from me all those years ago?
Sam: Nope. Completely different copy. That one I literally loved, to its death. (laughs) This one also is an inscribed, first edition.
Diane: Sam, I don't know what to say? Thank you! I'll display it right here, in the shop. It's a beautiful copy!
Sam: Diane, when the pizza gets here, would you mind if we ate upstairs in the apartment? I'd like to show you the place and maybe catch up a bit?
Diane: (long pause, her eyes never leaving his) Yes, Sam. I think that would be lovely.
Diane's phone rings. She excuses herself, taking the call in the front room. The pizza arrives at the back door. Sam tips the delivery gal and takes the pizza upstairs. Diane continues talking on the phone. She walks through the swinging door, notices the door to the apartment is standing open. Her stomach growls loudly as she breathes in the smell of warm pizza.
Diane: It's okay Chels. I understand. Tomorrow will be fine. I have a lot I can do here.
Chelsea: Oh Di! The house is so beautiful! You're going to just love it. The mailman is a friendly guy, too! He must have kept me in the driveway for twenty minutes talking about the most random facts.
Diane: (thoughtful expression) Cliff is still a mailman?
Chelsea: Yes! That's it, Cliff! Wait, how did you know that?
Diane: Long story, Chels. Remind me to fill you in someday. Okay, love! Thanks again and I'll see you in the morning.
Diane walks around, shutting the lights off in the front of the shop. She grasps the doorknob to the apartment, stopping only briefly, smiling and resting her head on the edge of the door.
Diane: Well, here we go again! (walks up the stairs, pulling the door closed behind her)
Camera changes to Shea, Luke, Mary and Betty having dinner at the hotel. Luke is holding Shea's hand and looking into her eyes.
Luke: I missed you so much. Do you feel like going for a swim and a hot tub later, since we have the pool for one more night?
Shea: Most definitely, my darling. (stares lovingly back at him)
Betty: I'd say get a room, but you already got one.
Mary: I think it's romantic. Young love, so magical.
Shea: Thank you Mary. (casts a pout at Betty)
Luke: Does it bother you Betty, when we get all mushy and stuff? (makes kissing noises to Shea)
Betty: No it doesn't bother me. IDK bout PDA in the world today, umhmmm. I'm headed upstairs before y'all move onto second base at the dinner table.
Mary: Well I best be on my way as well. I'm meeting your mother at the house in the morning. She text that she won't be at breakfast. See you kids there for lunch?
Shea: It's a plan Miss Mary, my love. Sleep well.
Mary gives Shea a hug and leaves the table. Shea and Luke put their heads together.
Scene changes to Sam's apartment. Diane's phone buzzes. She lazily opens her eyes and focuses on the annoying phone. At the same time, she remembed in an instant where she was. She and Sam had eaten pizza and talked deep into the night. They danced slowly, noting the changes the years had imposed on them, body and soul. They'd made love. Not like when they were young and hungry for instant gratification. It was easy, gentle and refined. In some respects, they were complete strangers, in other ways, they fit each other like a comfortable sweater. She smiled to herself and gently touched his fingers. Sam stirred next to her. She remained still until his breathing became even again. Sliding out of the bed, she dressed quietly. Sitting in the chair next to the bed, she stared at him while he slept. One arm under the pillow, the other in front of his body. Her heart began to beat faster as she thought about that arm holding her close during the night. She couldn't remember when she'd last slept that well. Smiling to herself, Diane stood to go downstairs.
Sam: (sleepily) Where are you going?
Diane: Shoot! I'm sorry I woke you. Did you sleep well?
Sam: Yes. Better than I have in a long time.
Diane: Remember? I told you a friend of mine from LA was stopping by this morning.
Sam: Ah yeah. I meant to ask why at 6am, but forgot.
Diane: Well, she's a celebrity, you see, and sometimes has a hard time getting around without a crowd.
Sam: Really? Who is it?
Diane: Nope. You have to come down if you want to meet her. She'll want to meet you in person, actually, so you have to come down. (smirks and moves out of the way of his grasp)
Sam: Wait, what do you mean by that?
Scene changes to the kitchen. Diane plugs her phone into the computer and starts playing "The Shoop, Shoop Song". She is heating muffins and putting on a pot of tea when there is a gentle knock at the back door. Diane opens the door for her friend Cher from LA. (Yep, that Cher. The women became friends through the tea business. Cher was a huge fan of CHAMBERS Tea and Diane was a huge fan of the elephant sanctuary charity Cher sponsored. Together, they created thousands of dollars of new revenue for the elephants habitat through different fundraisers.) The women hug each other.
Cher: Wait a minute. Are you playing "The Shoop Shoop Song"? Oh boy, what's going on? (tilts her head with a smile)
Diane: Well, what ever do you mean?
Cher: Di? You do not do Coy well.
Diane: My god, is it really that noticeable?
Cher: Well? Spill! Everything.
The door from the stairway opens. Cher looks up, startled. Sam strolls in, stopping dead in his tracks.
Sam: Well I'll be darned. Diane, you said a celebrity. This is Cher! Like, Cher! She's not a celebrity, she's...well an icon. (reaches his hand out to shake Cher's hand)
Cher: And you must be Sam (creases her brow). Charmed, I'm sure. (Cher laugh, shakes his hand)
Sam: That would be me. I'm actually to frightened to ask why you know that.
Diane: Yes, this is Sam Malone. Her shoes are also very expensive, darling, so stop drooling on them. (laughs, rolls her eyes, turning to Cher) So what brings you east, my love.
Cher: (keeping an eye on Sam) I have a few meetings in New York this week. (turns toward Diane) The LA office told me you had made the move so I had to come see where my new Boston hang out would be. (refocuses on Sam) Diane, does Shea know about this.
Diane: Oh boy, a, no she doesn't. (trying to change the subject) Well, what do you think? Mom really did a great job on the remodel. Just giving the place a good cleaning and reinstating the pastry deliveries should have us up and running within a week or so.
Cher: Uh, yep, it looks amazing. The woman had a knack for decor. Just like her daughter. She really loved this place.
Diane: I'm so glad she kept it. I feel like she is around when I'm here. The apartment is so cute. I hadn't seen it since we painted it years ago.
Cher: (turns to look at Sam again) Speaking of apartment, why were you coming from it?
Diane: Oh that was another one of mummy's ideas. When she and Boggs traveled, they had Sam watch over the place.
Cher: (skeptical look at Sam) How convenient. Funny she never mentioned it.
Diane: It was actually Sam that wouldn't allow her to.
Sam: Am I missing something here? Who is Shea? (awkward silence) Well, I'm sure you ladies have a lot to talk about, so, I'll take my coffee upstairs. Cher, always been a huge fan, pleasure. (gives a little wave as he heads to the stairs, stops, puts his arm around Diane and gives her a soft kiss on the cheek, looks into her eyes) I think the song we should be playing is "If I Could Turn Back Time".
Cher: (chuckles) From here it resembles "I Got You Babe"
Scene changes to the apartment. Sam is in the shower and Diane enters from the stairway. She sits on the loveseat, her legs tucked under her body. She had told Sam many things about her life during their purging the night before, but she had purposely left out Shea and especially Sumner. Before leaving, Cher had told her she better come clean before the water became too muddy. So, she'd do it. It was obvious Sam wasn't going anywhere and neither was she. Shea was the best part of her life and Diane knew, in time, Sam would love her too. She'd invite him for dinner Friday. Shea knew all about Sam. Diane had always been honest with her daughter about her past.
The shower water shut off. The butterflies in Diane's stomach became flailing birds . Sam walked out in his towel, seeing her on the loveseat, he stopped.
Diane: I'm sorry for imposing. I really need to talk to you.
Sam: Diane, it's really not necessary...
Diane: Sam, please. Just get dressed and come sit with me, huh?
Sam: I could always sit with you undressed.
Sam: Okay,okay. I'll be out in a minute.
Diane's phone buzzes with a text. It was Chelsea. Thank goodness she was running late so she had left the lock box with the keys in it. Diane needed this conversation with Sam to happen sooner rather than later. She sent a quick text back, as well as one to Shea letting her know she'd be there for lunch and gave her the combo to the lock box in case she and Mary got there first. She turned her phone off just as Sam was coming out of the bedroom. She allowed herself a good look at the sight of him. Even at seventy, he was still gorgeous. Making eye contact, she softly patted the cushion next to her.
Sam walked over and stood looking down at her upturned face. He searched her eyes for a hint at what was coming. He sat next to her, reached over and pulled her hand into his.
Sam: (swallowing hard) What is it, sweetheart.
Diane: (hearing the familiar term of endearment visibly brought tears to her eyes) Sam, I have a daughter. Her name is Shea.
Diane, methodically poured out her past, hesitating only for brief seconds before plunging on. She tried desperately to read his thoughts, his emotions. But she didn't dare stop for fear of what he might say, or worse, that he might say nothing. When she finished, she pulled her hand from his and pressed her fingers together into her lap. They sat very still for what seemed like forever. Softly, he took both of her hands in his. He turned to face her, leaning forward, he gently kissed her.
Sam: Diane, I love you. I love you more than anyone I have ever known in my life. I have two things to say in response to what you have just shared with me. First, if your daughter is anything like her mother, I already love her and second...Sumner Sloan is very lucky that he is already dead.
The scene changes to the house. Everyone bustled around preparing food and setting the table for dinner. Shea and Luke started dancing in the living room, Betty and Mary are arguing in the kitchen. Diane stopped to look around. She smiled, placed the napkins on the table and lit the candles. Fresh flowers adorned the centerpiece, their fragrance danced through the room. It was a beautiful day. The windows were wide open, sunlight flickered off the crystal water glasses as they spread little fairies of color onto the walls and ceiling.
Shea: Mom, we are going to the cellar to grab some wine. Anything else I can bring up from the frig down there? What will Sam want to drink?
Diane: Just the wine for you guys is fine, lovie. I have soda up here already.
Shea: Okay, back in a jiffy.
Mary: We already have salad! We don't need greens!
Betty: Shea loves my greens! We don't need your boring salad!
Diane: Ladies! We can have both! Now would you two behave.
Mary: So sorry, Miss Diane. Some people just crabby all the time. (glares at Betty)
Betty: You best be keepin them nasty looks to yourself if you know whats good for you tamale breath!
Diane: (clasps her hands together looking up) Good Lord! What am I to do with these two?
Mary: See you, you big mouth. Now she pray!
Betty: That's cause she know we need it. (Betty giggles, giving Mary a squeeze)
The doorbell rings. Diane opens the door. Sam stands there staring first at her, then at the house. He slowly walks in.
Sam: Diane, when you said house, I didn't know you meant our...(clears his throat) this house.
Diane: Surprise! I've had my realtor watching it for years, just in case it came back on the market. Do you like what I've had done to it?
Sam: (looking past Diane, only half hearing her question) Yeah...sure. (he freezes in place)
Diane turns to see what has stolen his attention. It was Shea and Luke. She turns back to Sam. His face is as white as snow. He looks visibly ill.
Diane: Sam! What is it? You don't look so good.
Sam: (still staring at Shea, walks toward the stairs) Sweetheart? (he turns to Diane) Is the bedroom still in the same place? I think I need to lie down a moment.
Diane: Yes, top of the stairs, to the left. I'll be up in a moment.
Shea: What's the matter mama? Is he okay?
Diane: Of course he's fine. I'll go see what's up, you guys go ahead and get started on lunch.
Diane slowly walks up the stairs to her bedroom. Sam is seated on the bed with his face in his hands.
Diane: Sam, you're scaring me. What's the matter.
Sam: (stands up, taking his wallet from his pocket, he removes a photograph and hands it to her) Do you mind telling me how you and Sumner managed to create a child who looks identical to MY mother?
Diane: (sitting softly on the bed next to him) I...don't know what to say.
Sam: I do. (as he gently takes her hand) Thank God for ice cream and warm raspberry sauce.
She could feel it coming. Her lips were going numb and the black started to close in at the corners of her eyes. She was going to throw up or pass out. Sam held onto her and laid her back on the bed. When she opened her eyes again, Shea was there, Sam was gone.
Diane: Oh, god. How long was I out?
Shea: Just a few minutes. What the heck is going on mother?
Diane: Uh oh, she called me mother.
Shea: Mom! I'm serious! Sam won't tell us anything!
Diane: Where is he? Can you call him up here,
Shea: Sure. There is some water on the table. (Shea steps outside the door and calls for Sam)
Sam: Hey, you're back. Your protector here kicked me out.
Shea: I didn't kick you out...exactly.
Diane: Sam, how, what are we...
Sam: Well, I thought first, I'd like to show her the picture. From there, assuming we are all on the same page as to what must have happened, it is really up to Shea. I mean don't you agree?
Shea: What is up to me?
Sam pulls the picture out of his wallet again. He hands it to Shea.
Shea: Okay, I don't get it. Who is the strange man I'm standing next to and why don't I remember those clothes.
Sam: Shea, that's not you, that is my mother.
Shea: Your mother? You mean? So what you're saying here is? Sumner?
Diane: Of course we will have the testing done, I mean, if you want to be sure?
Shea: Oh I think we are sure. Mother do you know what this means? (she stands with excitement) this means that I am not the daughter of that lousy piece of...(she turns to Sam, eye contact) So how does it feel to be the proud daddy of a twenty-seven year old baby girl?
Sam: It's the proudest moment of my life! (he hugs her tight)
The doorbell rings. Luke goes to open it.
Luke: Hey, a Sam? Couple guys here to see ya? A Norm and Cliff?
Sam: (laughs) Okay Luke, I'll be right down.
The end…for now.
Julie – Shelley's Number One Fan!