INT. CAR- DAY

Neil's mom is driving, Neil is in the passenger's seat. His mom is wearing her tennis outfit and handing Neil a large envelope.

NEIL'S MOM

Okay Neil? Here- take this, and make sure your father signs it and gives it back.

NEIL

(annoyed)

Mom, I know! I was trying to tell you what happened today at lunch.

NEIL'S MOM

OK. Just make sure he signs it.

NEIL

(under his breath)

Forget it!

NEIL'S MOM

What's that?

She pulls into an apartment complex and puts the car in park. Neil is grabbing all his stuff

NEIL'S MOM

I will see you tomorrow, okay hon? Love you! Have fun!

She begins to put on lipstick, not paying any attention to Neil at all who rolls his eyes and shuts the door. He walks up to the condo complex and knocks on the door as she drives away.

NEIL

Hello? Dad?

There is no answer. He knocks again, annoyed and begins to look though his backpack for a key. He opens the door and closes it behind him.

NEIL

Hello? Hello?

He sighs and wanders around the condo until he reaches the kitchen table where there is a note and a $20 bill.

CUT TO- NOTE

We will be home at seven, order a pizza! Dad

Neil puts the $20 in his pocket and slumps down on the couch. He turns on the tv, grabs the phone, and mid-dial hangs up, suddenly wanting to go out. He stands up, turns off the tv, grabs his backpack, and leaves.

INT: DAY, SCHOOL

School has let out already, Lindsay wanders down the hallway, holding some books. Music is flowing down the hallway, and she follows curiously. She comes to the auditorium and is pleasantly surprised to find Kim on stage with the drama club, rehearsing. She wanders down the isles, where there a few people sitting here and there, and takes a seat on the asile, watching Kim.

VOICE

(hushed)

Hey, Lindsay!

Lindsay looks a few seats down to her right and is surprised to see Nick sitting there, slumped casually in a seat.

LINDSAY

(shock)

Nick! Hi! What are you doing here?

She moves a few seats down so she is sitting directly next to him.

NICK

I come here sometimes.

LINDSAY

Um, Why?

NICK

(shrugs)

I don't know. Ever since Sarah and I broke up, Ken's MIA and you and Daniel studying all the time... and you know, the drums aren't exactly panning out…

LINDSAY

So now you want to be in musical theater?

NICK

(laughs)

No. But these people LOVE what they are doing. I mean it's sometimes just nice to watch people enjoying something.

They watch as Kim helps another student change something in the script.

LINDSAY

Yeah Kim really loves this. Does she know you come watch her?

NICK

I don't know. If she does, she doesn't say anything.

LINDSAY

How often are you here?

NICK

(Shrugs)

I don't know, I've been a few times.

Lindsay nods, still surprised. She suddenly feels bad.

LINDSAY

I've been a bad friend Nick, I'm sorry.

NICK

What? What are you talking about Lindsay? You are a great friend!

LINDSAY

(Shaking her head)

No, no I'm not. I've let you hang out all alone for weeks, and I've never even been to one of Kim's rehearsals..

NICK

No, you've been busy, you've been helping Daniel!

As he says this, Daniel appears in the open auditorium door and spots Lindsay. She sees him but ignores his wave.

LINDSAY

Nick, you can always hang out with Daniel and I- I mean we aren't studying every second!

NICK

You aren't?

LINDSAY

(uncomfortable)

Well, I mean, no one can study all the time. Sometimes when our work is done we hang out.

Daniel wanders down the isles and Lindsay looks over at him. He mouths "lets go" to her.

LINDSAY

(gesturing behind her)

Speaking of, I gotta go.

Nick turns around to see Daniel.

LINDSAY

(To Nick)

Do you want to come?

NICK

Nah, I'm cool. Another time. I may take you up on that.

LINDSAY

(standing up)

good

NICK

See you later!

Lindsay waves and walks up the isle to meet Daniel, who is clearly annoyed. He heads to the auditorium door and she follows.

DANIEL

(annoyed)

Come on! Who were you talking to in there?

They start to walk down the hall together

LINDSAY

Nick. Can you believe it? He was watching drama rehearsal.

DANIEL

(Laughs)

What a loser!

LINDSAY

He's not a loser! I think he is lonely.

DANIEL

(unconcerned)

Agh! He will find another girl soon!

Lindsay looks at him as they walk though the front doors.

LINDSAY

No, not that, I mean really Sarah's gone, Kim's doing the play, Ken's off the map, and you and I are hanging out alone all the time. I think we should invite him to hang out with us more.

DANIEL

(makes a face)

I don't think he wants to be doing what we are doing.

LINDSAY

(laughs)

So? I think we can hold off on doing that for one day.

DANIEL

(pouting)

Maybe YOU can

They walk to Daniels car and get in.

LINDSAY

Daniel, I'm serious. Nick has always been there for me. And you. He's even supporting Kim- KIM! Why should he be hanging out every day after school alone? I feel bad.

Daniel shrugs and starts the car.

DANIEL

He needs to get a girlfriend so he can have SEX after school. And I can tell you one thing, he is not going to find one hanging out at drama rehearsal.

Lindsay rolls her eyes as they back out of the space.

INT- DINER- DAY

Neil enters the diner, looking bored and slides into a seat. As he grabs a menu, he spots Ken sitting across the asile alone. He is drinking coffee and listening to headphones. Ken doesn't see him, but Neil looks uncomfortable. He starts to get out of the booth, but the waitress approaches.

WAITRESS

Hey, can I get you something to drink?

Neil shrinks back in his seat

NEIL

Sure, can I get a coke?

WAITRESS

No problem.

She walks away and Neil sinks down behind his menu. He peaks out the side to watch Ken light a cigarette. He looks mournful, and unaware Neil is watching him. The waitress returns with a coke.

WAITRESS

What can I get ya?

NEIL

Can I have a hamburger please. Fries extra crispy?

WAITRESS

Coming right up.

She walks away and Neil sheepishly digs though his backpack, pulling out a comic. Kens eyes shift up and he laughs when he sees the cover, Swamp Thing. Neil ignores him.

KEN

Did you see the movie?

Neil looks up and realizes Ken is talking to him

KEN

The movie, the Swamp Thing?

Neil realizes what he is asking

NEIL

Um, no, no I didn't see it.

KEN

(Smiles)

Good. Because it. Was. horrible.

There is an awkward pause as Neil thinks of what to say next.

KEN

The effects were terrible

KEN

It was rated R, you probably wouldn't have been able to see it anyway. It should have been rated S for stupid.

Ken lights up a little as Neil laughs. The waitress comes and puts Neil's food in front of him. Ken leans over to Neil

KEN

(Hushed)

Where you nice to the waitress?

NEIL

Yeah, why?

A waitress walks by and eyes Ken

KEN

I'm in here almost every day and Edna, she HATES me.

NEIL

(Stunned, almost interrupting)

Do you have any idea who I am? We are neighbors you know! Neil? I'm friends with Lindsay's brother, Sam?

Ken looks thoughtful for a moment, and smiles.

KEN

Oh yes, Neil, hey! Sorry!

Neil nods awkwardly, he is unsure if Ken really recognizes him. The waitress comes by and fills up Ken's coffee, Neil begins to eat, watching Ken out of the corner of his eye. Ken is moving the dial on his radio to find a song. The silence is uncomfortable.

NEIL

Why are you talking to me?

KEN

I just felt like talking, I guess

NEIL

What are you doing here every day?

Ken looks up and shrugs

KEN

Not much of anything. They fill up my coffee and let me sit here and smoke.

NEIL

Oh.

Ken is staring at Neil's food.

NEIL

Do you want a fry?

Ken shrugs and gets up and sits across from Neil

KEN

Sure, thanks.

He takes a fry and chews on it.

KEN

(to Neil)

Go ahead, you can ask me. I know you want to.

Neil looks very confused

NEIL

Ask you what?

Ken suddenly goes very dark

KEN

(sarcastic)

You think I think you offered me a fry for fun? You want information!

This is so absurd Neil laughs out loud which only makes Ken angrier. Neil covers his mouth.

KEN

(quietly angry)

Now you are laughing at me- I'm the town joke

NEIL

I swear, I have no idea what are you talking about!

KEN

(sarcastic)

Sure, you had no idea my father went in prison? He was haled off by the cops in the middle of the day a block from your house.

(to himself)

I should pound you!

He starts to stand up aggressively.

NEIL

(in a panic)

Wait! No! Seriously? The cops? Really?

Ken finally notices the confusion on Neil's face and sinks down, his head in his hands.

KEN

I'm sorry

Embarrassed, he gets up to leave the booth

NEIL

Wait. I don't know what happened, but now I want to know. Tell me!

Ken rolls his eyes and throws his head back, sitting down once again.

NEIL

Look- I'm sorry, I didn't know. I haven't been at my house every night, my parents have been distracted, they they

He pauses

NEIL

They are getting divorced. My dad doesn't live there anymore, his condo is over here, on Oak Street.

There is a long silence again.

KEN

Ah, sorry man. About your parents and stuff.

NEIL

(annoyed)

It's fine. Whatever. What happened to your dad?

KEN

He was arrested.

NEIL

(shocked)

Really?

KEN

They searched our house, everything.

NEIL

What did he do?

KEN

(sighs)

I'm not sure

NEIL

What do you mean you aren't sure?

KEN

It's embezzlement. Something with his company and money and I don't understand any of it.

NEIL

(looks awkward)

Oh. I know what that is.

KEN

Yeah I know, he was stealing money and stuff. I just don't understand how. Or from who. He says he didn't do it, he says it was his partner. My mom believes him.

NEIL

Do you?

KEN

I don't know. My parents don't exactly share information with me very often, especially these days.

NEIL

Mine either.

KEN

(gesturing towards the half eaten burger)

Are you going to eat that?

Neil shakes his head

NEIL

You can have it.

KEN

Thanks!

INT- LINSDAYS HOUSE

Lindsay and Daniel are standing by the door kissing. She quickly pulls away.

LINDSAY

Shhh, stop it, my parents are in the kitchen!

Daniel pulls her towards him and they kiss again.

LINDSAY

(hushed whisper)

Seriously, you have to go.

Daniel smiles at her leaning against the open doorframe. She launches forward suddenly and kisses him.

JEANE (OS)

Lindsay! Come to the table, dinner is ready!

Lindsay pulls away, her and Daniel both laughing.

LINDSAY

Go!

He grabs her hand for a moment before slipping away and smiles to herself, closing the door. She practically skips to the dinner table where Sam, and her parents are sitting. Her hair is a mess from making out with Daniel.

SAM

What's up with your hair, Lindsay? Ever heard of a brush?

She sits down, flattening her hair.

LINDSAY

(to Sam)

Shut up Sam

JEANE

Don't talk to your bother like that!

Lindsay grabs a bowl of mashed potatoes and begins spooning it on to her plate.

LINDSAY

(half-heartedly)

Sorry.

HOWARD

So Sam, I saw Neil's dad today, he was with that new girlfriend. How is he doing?

Sam shrugs

SAM

Okay I guess

INT-DINER

Ken is still in Neil's both. He reaches to his old table and grabs his cigarettes, lighting one as Neil flinches

KEN

Sorry, does this bother you?

NEIL

(lying)

No, not really. My dad's girlfriend smokes, I don't really care. I know it's bad for you but I know if you smoke it's not going to like, kill you instantly or anything.

Ken laughs

KEN

It's just something to do.

Neil nods

KEN

So your dad has a girlfriend already? That was fast!

Neil doesn't say anything. He is contemplating. Finally..

NEIL

I think they started seeing each other before the divorce. She was his secretary.

KEN

Oh. OH.

He screws up his face as Enda comes by and puts the check on the table. Neil pulls out the $20 bill.

NEIL

Yeah, we were supposed to have dinner tonight, but instead he left me this.

He shakes the bill.

NEIL

(sarcastic)

Thanks Dad.

He places the bill down on the table and Ken looks around the quiet restaurant. There is only one other person there, an old man sitting alone. The waitresses are gathered around a TV near the bar, watching a game show.

KEN

(leaning in and whispering)

Hey. Why don't you keep this $20, and get something for yourself, like some more of those comic book thingies?

He slides the $20 back across the table to Neil who looks very confused.

NEIL

(laughs)

You want to pay for me? Thanks but I-

KEN

No, no I'm not going to pay for you. WE are going to dine and dash.

NEIL

Dine and what?

Ken reaches over to his old booth, grabbing his jacket and collecting his things.

KEN

And Dash. Meaning we aren't going to pay.

Neil shakes his head.

NEIL

No- no I can't do that. I don't care, my dad gave me money for dinner-

KEN

Screw dinner, screw your dad! He didn't even show up, right?

Neil looks down as this sinks in.

NEIL

Right.

KEN

Come on, I do it all the time. I mean, I'm getting sick of this place anyway, I need a new hang.

Neil looks up, excitement in his eyes. He wants to do this.

NEIL

(speaking out of the side of this mouth)

So we just like, run out of here?

KEN

No No! That would be too obvious. We walk out of here, the same way we would if we had paid. The waitress won't even know until she comes up to the table after we leave.

NEIL

What she DOES come up to the table before we leave?

KEN

Then we run. Or pretend we forgot. Let me take the lead okay?

Neil puts on his jacket, swallows hard, and nods.

KEN

Ready?

Ken gets up from the table and Neil follows, looking back at the waitresses by the bar. They are talking and not even looking over at them. Ken stops by the front counter and picks a toothpick out of the dispenser casually as Neil stands by the front door nervously. Ken turns and opens the door, and they booth walk out.

EXT- OUTSIDE

Neil exhales and puts his hands on his knees

NEIL

Oh my god! I can't believe how easy that was!

Ken laughs and picks his teeth, walking away.

KEN

Okay buddy come on lets go!

Neil glances though the restaurant to see the waitress heading to the table and takes off running past Ken.

KEN

Where are you going?

NEIL

(yelling back at Ken)

She's walking towards our table!

KEN

Oh Shh-

He begins to run also, and they both stop, panting, on the edge of a nearby parking lot.

NEIL

(paranoid)

I think they saw us, did they see us?

KEN

No, no it's fine.

NEIL

Oh my god they are going to call the cops, I'm so dead.

He begins to pace

NEIL

Oh my god!

Ken puts his hands on Neil's shoulders.

KEN

Calm down. It's not a big deal. It was a $5 meal at a POS diner. No one is calling the cops. We are fine. I do this all the time.

Neil exhales again and smiles.

NEIL

I can't believe we just did that! Dine and Dash Wooo!

He jumps up and down with Glee.

KEN

Okay okay. That's enough, I gotta go I'll see you later!

He begins to walk away but stops, Neil watching him.

NEIL

What's wrong?

KEN

I just realized my car is in the parking lot. I gotta wait until they close.

He rolls his eyes and sits down on a parking bumper.

KEN

Well this blows!

Neil walks towards him.

NEIL

I will wait with you.

KEN

No no- don't, I don't want you to get in trouble with your dad, right?

Neil smiles

NEIL

Right. Okay then. Sorry. See you later.

Neil turns and walks away. After a few moments of walking, he pulls the $20 out of his pocket and looks at it, laughing to himself.

INT. SCHOOL, DAY

Lindsay walks down the hallway with Kim.

KIM

So she like didn't care at all that I didn't have time to study because I've been up so late going over lines for the play- I mean what a bitch!

LINDSAY

(nodding)

Yeah, Kim- I've been meaning to ask you- are you okay? Like are you nervous for the play? Do you think its going to go well?

Kim looks at her strangely.

KIM

What? Why? Why would it not go well?

LINDSAY

No reason, I just wanted to ask. Because it's your first show in front of a lot of people.

KIM

I know my lines, and I don't GET nervous.

LINDSAY

Okay, but if you need help, like going over scenes or something, or if you just want to talk, I have some time after school.

KIM

(stern)

I said I'm fine, I got it.

LINDSAY

(throws her hands up)

I'm just trying to help, be there for you

KIM

(smiling)

And I'm saying I don't need you too, but thank you.

LINDSAY

(looking at the ceiling)

Ok then.

INT- SCHOOL HALLWAY

Sam, Neil, and Bill are walking to Bill's locker.

BILL

Cool watch Neil!

Neil looks down at his watch

NEIL

Do you like it? I got it yesterday. My mom dropped me off at the mall because she had an appointment.

He rolls his eyes

SAM

I thought you were at your dad's yesterday?

NEIL

Yeah, I was, but when I got there, he wasn't. My mom called from the club around seven and when I answered and told her he wasn't there, she was furious.

BILL

Wow. Did she yell at him?

NEIL

I don't know, probably. I mean he did leave a note. Anyway, I don't care, because I got this cool watch! It has a calculator

SAM

Cool! I heard if someone else has one, you can send messages to each other.

BILL

I wonder if Ms. Gresky will take it away for the geometry test. You could look up all the answers.

They reach Bill's locker and Vicki walks by, stopping to talk to some cheerleaders behind them.

SAM

(smiles)

And send them to Vicki!

They laugh

NEIL

Shut up.

Vicki pops her head in the circle

VICKI

Did I just hear my name? Are you guys studying for the geometry quiz tonight?

SAM

Yeah, Stacy and I are.

VICKI

Good, because I'm going to the mall with Stacy after school to pick out T-shirts for the fundraiser. Then we can all study after.

NEIL

Yeah, sure.

Vicki looks at Bill, almost pitying him

VICKI

(To Bill)

You can come too, it's not like it's a date or anything

BILL

Thanks. But I have practice.

VICKI

Oh Yeah. Okay well, see you guys later.

She walks away and Bill rolls his eyes

BILL

(mimicking Vicki to himself)

"See you guys later"

Neil and Sam smirk.

Montage: Otis Redding version of "Satisfaction": A few scenes play out over the music

Lindsay opens her locker at school to find a note from Daniel that says "back hallway, 3 o'clock- ". She shakes her head and laughs, but then quickly shoves the note in her pocket

CUT TO

Later that day at school Lindsay approaches the deserted back hallway looking around, suddenly Daniel appears and grabs her hand. He pulls her into a nearby closet and begins to kiss her.

CUT TO

Lindsay exiting the broom closet sheepishly

The music fades as the bell rings and people fill the hallway, Daniel exits the closet, smirking at Lindsay before they walk off in opposite directions.

INT- School day

Lindsay nearly walks into Nick, she is still flushed from her encounter with Daniel.

LINDSAY

Oh hey Nick sorry!

NICK

No, it's cool, sorry! I wasn't paying attention.

They stop under the stairs to chat.

LINDSAY

So what's going on?

NICK

(shrugs)

Not much. I have a test tomorrow in History and Geometry- I'm pretty stressed out. You know if I don't keep a C average, my dad will trap me in the house forever.

LINDSAY

Yeah, are you going to study?

NICK

(laughs)

I don't know, maybe.

LINDSAY

What are you doing after school?

NICK

(shrugs)

Nothing. I guess I should hit the books, but I probably won't..

LINDSAY

Well why don't you hang out with Daniel and I?

Nick lights up

NICK

(excited)

Really? I mean I don't want to interrupt your study sessions, but I could use one right about now.

LINDSAY

No, not at all, it will be fun, I can help you. I was in Williamsons history class last year. I'll see if I can find my notes at home!

NICK

(nods and smiles)

Oh yeah, okay great!

INT-MALL

Girls are browsing jewelry in a store. Sam and Neil stand nearby, very bored.

SAM

No one ever told me about this part

NEIL

What?

SAM

That being in a relationship means a lot of waiting around and going to the mall.

NEIL

Even I knew that.

SAM

I mean, it's not as bad as Cindy. God that was awful. At least Stacy likes to watch movies and do other stuff, but still, here I am, at the mall again.

Neil nods.

NEIL

Yeah. Even my dad waits for his girlfriend at the mall.

Vicki approaches them and shows Neil an ugly turquoise ring.

VICKI

Isn't it amazing?

Neil nods and Stacy walks up.

VICKI

Ugh. Any guy that could buy me this would make an excellent boyfriend!

STACY

Who cares? Buy it for yourself!

Vicki's face drops.

VICKI

It's three weeks allowance, I only wish.

They walk back to the rack and put the ring back.

SAM

(teasing)

Why don't you buy Vicki that ring, then she will be your girlfriend.

NEIL

Ha ha. I told you we are just friends. Besides, do you think I want a girlfriend so I can just sit and wait at the mall like you?

Sam laughs.

SAM

Well you don't have a girlfriend and you already do.

The girls come walking towards them

VICKI

Come on lets go.

EXT PARK-DAY

Lindsay, Daniel and Nick are sitting under a tree in the park, Nick is holding a joint and he is laughing with Lindsay. Daniel, his back against the tree, is pissed off and staring off to the side, not engaging them.

NICK

(laughing)

Oh man, if I could have just you know, stepped outside myself- seen that awful audition and man- what those guys must have thought..

He passes the joint to Lindsay, who surprisingly takes a hit. Daniel rolls his eyes.

LINDSAY

The bass player hit on me!

NICK

(shock)

No! When? We were only there for two minutes before they kicked me out!

(laughs)

When would there be time?

LINDSAY

(laughing)

During the audition! He winked at me!

She passes the joint to Daniel who shakes his head. She passes it back to Nick.

NICK

You mean like this?

He attempts to wink, but contorts his face strangely. Lindsay doubles over in hysterics.

NICK

What?

LINDSAY

(laughing)

That's how you wink?

NICK

Yeah! What?

He makes the face again and Lindsay laughs again. Nick starts to laugh too.

NICK

I'm winking right?

LINDSAY

(laughing)

No! You look like you are having a seizure!

They both laugh again, and Lindsay lays down in the grass.

LINDSAY

Ah, I miss this.

NICK

I know! I know! Right man?

He gestures to Daniel

NICK

We don't do this enough anymore, right?

Daniel nods and kind of grunts.

LINDSAY

No! We don't.

NICK

(sadly)

When did everything change?

LINDSAY

(thoughtful)

I don't know. Everyone just kind of went their own way..

Daniel shifts and leans his head back, annoyed.

NICK

Yeah, but why can't we all still be friends?

LINDSAY

We ARE friends, we will always be friends.

She sits up

LINDSAY

I mean, you go to Kim's rehearsals. That's a true friend. I haven't been to a single one. And Amy told me you have been trying to call Ken. You keep it going, you keep us all together!

NICK

I do?

LINDSAY

Yes, and we don't deserve you.

Daniel raises his eyebrows and Nick looks at her quizzically.

NICK

What do you mean?

LINDSAY

You and Sarah broke up, and we abandoned you.

She looks over at Daniel

LINDSAY

We all abandoned you. I'm sorry.

Nick hangs his head. Lindsay looks at Daniel and stares him down until finally…

DANIEL

(robotic)

Yeah man, sorry.

Nick looks at both of them, he is almost at the point of tears

NICK

I know you didn't mean to, like Lindsay said, everyone just went their own way. But it seems like everybody went somewhere but me.

Lindsay puts her hand on Nicks shoulder.

LINDSAY

No matter where we go, what we are doing, we will always be friends.

Nick and Lindsay smile at each other. When they look over at Daniel, he offers a quick fake smile, his face falls as they look away.

NICK

Thanks guys.

INT- MALL FOOD COURT

The four of them have their books out and are studying. Sam and Stacy are holding hands. Everyone is looking down at their books. Neil notices Stacy and Sam's hands and then looks at Vicki, as a stray blond hair falls in her face.

NEIL

(getting up)

I will be right back, I'm going to go to the bathroom.

No one responds as he gets up. He quickly walks into the jewelry shop from earlier. He looks around, it is dead quiet, and no one is around. He spots the ring Vicki had before and takes it off the rack.

SALESPERSON (OS)

Oh! Very beautiful ring right?

Neil looks up, panicked and nods.

SALESPERSON

It was made out on the west coast, on an Indian reservation called the ah ah

He is trying to remember when the phone rings.

SALESPERSON

I'll be right back

He answers the phone and starts having a heated argument with the person on the other end.

SALESPERSON

No, no! I told you tomorrow I will pick it up, I'm not here on Saturday!

The salesperson's back is to Neil and he quickly looks at the ring, back at the salesperson and then pockets it. He quietly speed walks out. By the time he approaches the table in the food court, he is out of breath.

NEIL

Hey

VICKI

Hey, we were just going over number six on the practice quiz? Did you finish it yet?

NEIL

Yeah, hold on.

VICKI

What's wrong with you?

NEIL

Nothing, nothing.

He looks at his paper.

NEIL

Yeah, I got number six.

Vicki starts to talk but Neil isn't listening. Relief flows over him as he sticks his hand in his pocket making sure the ring is still there.

INT- NIGHT WEIR HOUSE- DINNER TABLE

Stacey is there.

JEANE

Oh Stacey, we are so glad you and Sammy worked things out

Sam is horrified

SAM

Mom!

JEANE

Sorry. I'm just glad to have her back at the dinner table again.

Stacey smiles

STACEY

No, No, I'm so glad to be back. I miss your chicken!

Jeane and Stacey giggle. The phone rings and Jeane stands up to get it.

HOWARD

You kids going to the school play this year? I saw a flyer, it's for Annie.

LINDSAY

I'm going! Kim is the star!

HOWARD

Kim? That deadbeat friend of yours?

LINDSAY

(smiles)

She is different now, I told you, She's really great, very talented! I told you, all my fr- I mean. Those people have really changed.

HOWARD

Not that Ken fellow, his father was just arrested you know!

Jeane walks back into the room.

JEANE

Lindsay, Daniel is on the phone.

She sits down as Lindsay gets up and walks around the corner.

JEANE

(yelling after her)

Don't be long, it's dinnertime!

Lindsay picks up the phone

LINDSAY

Hey

CUT TO- NIGHT PAYPHONE

Daniel is standing outside talking on a payphone

DANIEL

Heeey

LINDSAY

What's up?

DANIEL

Nothing. What are you doing right now?

LINDSAY

(slowly)

Eating dinner. With my family.

DANIEL

I'm coming to pick you up in an hour.

LINDSAY

I can't, it's too late

(lowering her voice)

There is no way my parents will let me. Just come over to study.

Daniel smirks

DANIEL

Yeah, that's not what I want to do.

Lindsay smiles.

LINDSAY

Sorry.

Daniel leans against the phone booth.

DANIEL

Come on, I already miss you Lindsay, I haven't kissed you in like three hours.

Lindsay soaks in this moment, smiling.

DANIEL

Just tell your parents you have an emergency study session or something.

LINDSAY

(smile on her face)

I'm sorry, I can't. I will see you tomorrow though, okay?

Daniel lets out a huge sigh

DANIEL

(annoyed)

Alright, fine.

LINDSAY

(lowers her voice)

Daniel, you know if I could, I would have you pick me up right now.

DANIEL

(softening slightly)

I know.

LINDSAY

Okay, I'll see you tomorrow.

DANIEL

Bye

He hangs up quickly and Lindsay is taken aback slightly, but she collects herself and walks back to the table. Suddenly the doorbell rings, and Howard throws down his fork.

HOWARD

Enough with this already! We are in the middle of dinner!

JEANE

Who could that be?

Jeane gets up to go to the door. Everyone quietly eats.

CUT TO

Jeane opening the door and Kim is standing there, looking nervous and distraught.

JEANE

(uncomfortable)

Kim! Oh hi there. How? How are you?

KIM

You don't have to do that- I know you don't like me.

Jeane looks horrified

JEANE

Of course I like you! It sounds like things are going well for you these days, Lindsay told me you are in the school play.

KIM

Yeah, I don't know if I'm doing that anymore

JEANE

Why?

KIM

(panicked)

The play is in two days and suddenly I'm forgetting my lines, missing cues, it's like I freeze up and go blank. I've been studying for months, I know this stuff!

JEANE

Oh honey, you are probably just nervous, do you want to come in?

KIM

(sheepish)

No, no I don't want to intrude, not if you are having dinner. I just thought- Lindsay offered to help me with my lines..

JEANE

(pushing Kim inside)

Of course, come in! Please! It's going to be okay Kim, Lindsay will help you and you will get it all together.

KIM

I don't want to-

JEANE

Oh please Kim, come on, follow me.

She follows Jeane into the kitchen, Lindsay stands up right away upon seeing her.

LINDSAY

Kim!

Kim bursts into tears. Sam, and Stacey look awkward and Howard rolls his eyes.

HOWARD

(irritated)

This again? I thought we have been though this!

Jeane and Lindsay rush to Kim's side.

JEANE

(to Howard)

Oh Howard, have a heart! The poor girl is under a lot of stress, she is the lead in the school play!

LINDSAY

Kim, what happened?

KIM

I can't- can't. I can't remember my lines! The show is in two days! Everyone is counting on me! And you said you would help and then I came here and I don't know!

JEANE

Lindsay, why don't you take Kim into your room, you can finish dinner in there.

Lindsay looks shocked.

KIM

But all my things, my music, the script- it's all at my house!

Howard and Jeane look at each other.

HOWARD

Oh alright Lindsay go over to Kim's, and you can help her there. But I want you home by nine.

KIM

(to Howard)

Thank You!

(to Lindsay)

Thank You!

JEANE

It's going to be alright honey, I'm sure you will do great!

Lindsay grabs her coat and ushers Kim out of the house.

INT: Kim's house. It is just shy of a trailer. Kim is sitting at the kitchen table looking over her lines. Lindsay is arranging chairs in the living room. Kim's mom and step dad are sitting on the couch watching Wheel of Fortune and her older brother is sleeping on another couch. Lindsay looks nervous but approaches her mom.

LINDSAY

Okay so can you guys sit here?

STEPDAD

Why we gotta sit there? We are fine on the couch!

LINDSAY

Well the idea is to make Kim feel like she is performing to an audience, so she isn't as nervous when she does the real thing.

KIM'S MOM

(to step dad)

Yeah, you idiot! We are Kim's audience!

She stands up and plops down in the chair and lights a cigarette.

STEPDAD

I'm staying right here

KIM

(from the kitchen)

Fine with me!

KIM'S MOM

Don't talk to him like that, Kim!

KIM

I can talk how ever I want!

STEPDAD

(to Kim's mom)

I told you, she always gives me the smart mouth!

He scratches his behind and then inspects his fingernails, Kim's mom looks at him in disgust

KIM'S MOM

(to Step dad)
You're gross, you know that?

STEPDAD

I'm gross? You're the one smoking all over the house, you are going to make the cats sick!

KIM'S MOM

(raising her voice)

The cats? You are thinking about the cats? What about me?

The brother on the couch starts to move

MIKE

Hummmmphhhh?

STEPDAD

The cats are innocent!

KIM'S MOM

(yelling)

What? You saying you want me to get sick?

STEPDAD

(yelling)

You are an insane woman!

Kim stands up

KIM

(yelling)

HEY! Everyone! Can you please stop screaming and sit down and pretend to be normal for just one second? I've never done anything in my life worth anything and I care about this play. I need practice and you idiots are the only audience I have right now. Either sit down or don't but make a decision because Lindsay needs to be home by nine o'clock. OKAY?

There is silence as Mike pulls himself off the couch, taking the blanket with him and sits down in a chair. The Step dad doesn't make it to a chair but he slides down to the end of the couch to get a better view.

LINDSAY

Okay. Kim is going to sing this song for you. It's one of the most important parts of the play. All you have to do in sit and watch.

Lindsay takes a seat next to Mike and Kim walks in front of everyone, and takes a deep breath, shaking her head.

LINDSAY

(to Kim)

You can do this, you have done it a hundred times!

KIM'S MOM

Yeah Kimmie! That's my girl!

Kim laughs at her mom and loosens up a little. Lindsay inches away from Mikes blanket, which is starting to push up on her chair.

KIM

(Singing)

Maybe far away, or maybe real nearby, she may be pouring her coffee, he may be straightening his tie.

Lindsay looks down at her notes, puzzled. Kim stop abruptly and stomps her foot.

KIM

ARGH! That's not right!

LINDSAY

It's "HE is pouring her coffee, SHE is straightening his tie."

Kim is walking in circles.

KIM

I know, I know! I can't get it right.

MIKE

(to Lindsay)

Why don't you just give her the words, you have them right there!

KIM

Because Mike, I can't stand in front of the whole school holding the music! The play is in two days! It needs to be memorized!

STEPDAD

Then go memorize it! Study!

KIM

(yelling)

I did! You don't understand! ARGH!

LINDSAY

(to family)

Kim has really worked really hard on this, just a few days ago she had it- it's just jitters.

KIM'S MOM

You got stage fright Kimmy?

KIM

NO! Lets do it again!

She closes her eyes and starts.

KIM

(singing)

Maybe far away, or maybe real nearby, he may be pouring her coffee, she be straightening his tie. Maybe in a house, or maybe on a hill..

Kim smiles and nods at Lindsay, she is getting it right. Mike starts to pick his nose, and Kim's step dad's attention shifts back to the TV.

KIM

(singing)

He's maybe playing piano, she may be paying a bill. Betcha they're young, betcha they're smart..

Lindsay gives her a quizzical look.

KIM

What?

LINDSAY

It's "SHE'S maybe playing piano, HE'S maybe paying a bill"

Kim stares at Lindsay for a second, then Mike picking his nose, and her step dad watching tv, and her mom watching her step dad watching tv.

KIM

(throwing her hands up)

That's it, I can't do this! I'm going to have to tell Mrs. Losser to put Julie in instead.

KIM'S MOM

Really? You are just going to quit?

Kim sits down at the kitchen table, deflated. Lindsay walks over to her.

LINDSAY

(quietly)

No Kim. You can do this. You are good at it, remember? Ms. Losser saw something in you and I know she was right. You are just nervous.

KIM

If I can't even perform in front of my dumbass family, how can I do it in front of the school?

KIM'S MOM

Hey! I heard that!

LINDSAY

You can, you can perform in front of them. Listen. Just focus on me. They are in the room, but pretend it's just us. Sing the song right to me, let everyone else fade into the background.

KIM
What's that going to do? You saw me- I can't do this!

LINDSAY

Just try it once for me. Look right at me. No one else is here.

Kim gets up

KIM

Fine.

LINDSAY

Ok, Kim is going to try this one more time.

Kim looks at her mom, smacking her gum, her step dad drinking a beer, Mike pulling threads out of the blanket he has wrapped around him.

LINDSAY

(To Kim)

At me!

Kim takes a deep breath and looks right at Lindsay

KIM

(singing)

Maybe far away, or maybe real nearby, he may be pouring her coffee, she be straightening his tie. Maybe in a house, maybe on a hill.

She isn't looking anywhere else, she is smiling and singing with confidence and only to Lindsay.

KIM

(singing)

She may be playing piano, he may be paying a bill. Betcha their young, betcha their smart, bet they collect things like ashtrays and art, betcha their good, why shouldn't they be.. Their one mistake was giving up me!

Lindsay interrupts and claps loudly, Kim's mom and brother follow. Kim smiles and snaps out of a haze.

KIM

Oh my god I did it! I can do it!

LINDSAY

(rushing up to her)

I told you, I knew you could!

KIM

(smiling)

I looked at you the whole time, it's like no one else was here! It totally worked! Thank you so much!

Lindsay smiles at her.

KIM

(warning)

So you better be there, Friday night, in the front row where I can see you. I'll be looking at you the whole time!

LINDSAY

Of course!

KIM

Good!

(nodding)

Ok, alright! I'm back! Thanks to you!

INT-SCHOOL DAY

Neil is walking into the lunchroom, looking for someone. He spots Vicki, talking to a table full of jocks and approaches her.

JOCK 1

Well look who is, the coaches little son

NEIL

I'm not his son, that Bill. Actually it's not his son it's-

VICKI

(interrupts so this does not start a fight)

Hey.

(speaking quickly as if a little embarrassed)

What's up?

NEIL

Um, nothing, I wanted to give you something.

Vicki looks at him expectantly.

VICKI

Well, what is it?

NEIL

Not here, not in front of them.

He motions to the jocks.

VICKI

Ok.

She sighs and begins to walk towards the back of the lunchroom to the doors that lead outside. Neil follows, and we move to Lindsay who they pass as she carries her lunch away from the counter. Daniel approaches her.

DANIEL

(quietly, serious)

Hey

Lindsay looks up, and smirks at his serious face

LINDSAY

What's wrong?

DANIEL

Nothing, just wanted to see what you were up to.

Lindsay walks towards a table and Daniel follows her.

LINDSAY

I'm having lunch.

Daniel leans in close as he walks beside her, as Lindsay approaches the table.

DANIEL

How about we ditch lunch and go to my car?

Lindsay doesn't flinch and sits down at the table, smiling at Nick and Amy. Daniel is less suave, and suddenly stands upright.

LINDSAY

Hey

NICK

Hi

Amy says nothing. Daniel rolls his eyes and slumps down in the seat across from Lindsay, disappointed. Amy picks at her shoe and Nick is eating slowly. Daniel stares at them in silence as Lindsay arranges everything on her plate and opens her soda.

DANIEL

(annoyed)

Alright, what's wrong with everyone?

Lindsay looks up and smiles

LINDSAY

(cheery)

Nothing

Amy gives Daniel a stare before grabbing her stuff and walking away from the table without a word.

DANIEL

(to Nick)

Still hasn't heard from Ken yet?

NICK

I guess not. Hey what are you guys up to tonight? I though Daniel you could bring over your guitar, we could jam?

Lindsay opens her mouth to speak, but her and Daniels eyes meet

DANIEL

I-I-can't. We can't. We have a lot of lit studying to do. Like a lot. Biiiiiig test tomorrow.

Nick shrugs

NICK

Oh, yeah that's alright, another time. Maybe this weekend?

DANIEL

(nods)

Yeah, sure

Nick looks at the clock and stands up suddenly

NICK

Oh! I forgot, I said I would meet Stroker outside like five minutes ago. See ya!

He walks away

LINSDAY

Bye!

She watches him walk away

LINDSAY

Daniel, I can't hang out tonight

DANIEL

Come on! Why?

LINDSAY

It's the dress rehearsal for the play, I promised Kim I would be there.

DANIEL

Oh, who cares! Kim won't care if you don't show up!

LINDSAY

Yes she will

DANIEL

No she won't

LINDSAY

(firmly)

Yes she will. She needs me there.

Daniel leans back in his seat

DANIEL

Why do you want to hang out with everyone else but me?

LINDSAY

(shocked)

What are you talking about Daniel? Kim has stage fright. It calms her down to have me there. I was working with her last night-

DANIEL

Last night? When you said you couldn't go out?

LINDSAY

Are you jealous?

DANIEL

No! I'm not jealous!

LINDSAY

Listen Daniel. Since I've been with you I've kind of um, neglected people like Kim and Nick. I haven't been that great of a friend.

DANIEL

Oh, come on Lindsay, don't try and change the subject. I wanted to pick you up and you would rather go out with Kim?

LINDSAY

I'm not changing the subject. Right after you called, Kim came over, crying. She was very upset and needed help going over lines. And yes, I did help her.

Daniel shakes his head.

DANIEL

Whatever. I don't care.

LINDSAY

(matter of fact)

Obviously you do. I want to help Kim, weather you like it or not. I also want to see you. So after rehearsal, I'm going to sneak over to your house because my parents have no idea how long rehearsal is.

She smiles at him. He is pleasantly surprised.

EXT-SCHOOL LUNCHTIME

Neil follows Vicki outside, she turns around and looks at him.

VICKI

So what did you want to give me?

Neil shifts his weight uncomfortable

NEIL

Well um yesterday when we were at the mall- I mean- I wanted you to..well.

VICKI

(confused)

What?

Neil reaches into his pocket and drops the ring into her hand.

VICKI

What is this?

She turns the ring over in her hand and smiles big for a fraction of a second, and then turns serious and steps away from him.

VICKI

I know what I said about if a guy bought me this ring they would be my boyfriend, but you and I have been over this a million times and I don't-

NEIL

No, Vicki! Listen. I don't want to be your boyfriend, so you can stop worrying about that.

Vicki's face falls. She is not used to this treatment.

NEIL

We are friends. I understand that. I have enough going on in my life right now with my parents. I just saw how much you wanted that ring and I just wanted you to have it. That's all.

VICKI

But!

NEIL

I can take it back if you want.

He holds out his palm. She looks at him quizzically.

VICKI

This is a friendship gift right? Just friends.

Neil nods. And Vicki slips the ring on her finger admiring it.

VICKI

(meanly)

You can't tell anyone you gave this to me. I will deny it.

Neil is smiling

NEIL

Never.

Vicky leans forward awkwardly and pats Neil on the back in an attempt to hug.

VICKI

That was really nice of you. I love it. Thank You.

She gives him a genuine smile before walking away. Bill and Sam approach at that moment.

BILL

What was that? We saw her hugging you!

NEIL

It was nothing!

SAM

Come on Neil, that wasn't nothing.

Neil sits down on a nearby bench.

NEIL

Fine. I got her a ring.

SAM

(shocked)

What?

BILL

No!

NEIL

Yeah, the one from yesterday. I went back and got it for her.

SAM

Wow.

BILL

I guess she liked it.

NEIL

It's not what you think. It's a friendship ring.

(to Bill)

Also, by the way, those jocks think your mom and coach are married, because they called me the "coaches son".

BILL

(exasperated)

Argh! I told them they aren't married! He's just her boyfriend!

He stomps off

SAM

So, are you going to ask Vicki out? At least we can double date now.

NEIL

I'm not trying to be Vicki's boyfriend.

SAM

You bought her a ring! That's a lot of money to spend on someone who is just a friend.

NEIL

(annoyed)

I didn't-

He lowers his voice

NEIL

Sam, we have been best friends since 2nd grade right?

SAM

Yeah?

NEIL

So if I tell you something, you gotta promise not to tell anyone. Not Stacy, your mom, Bill, anyone!

SAM

(unsure)

OK..

NEIL

I stole the ring.

Sam blinks

SAM

What?

NEIL

I took it from the store. Without paying for it.

Neil exhales

NEIL

Oh wow. It felt good to tell someone that, it was killing me keeping it inside.

SAM

Wha wha- Why?

Neil shrugs

NEIL

I don't know. I wanted Vicki to have it. And I didn't have the money, and it probably only cost like two cents to make it so I'm not really hurting anybody.

SAM

Neil, you can't steal things. If people do that in my dads store he gets them arrested!

NEIL

I'm not going to get arrested, I know what I am doing.

SAM

You know what you are doing?

Neil is now trying to act cool

NEIL

Yeah, the other night, I did a dine and dash.

SAM

A what and what? I don't even know what that is!

Neil laughs condescend

NEIL

It's where you leave a restaurant without paying.

Sam looks horrified.

NEIL

I'm not saying I make a habit of it, but once in a while never hurt anybody. Ken does it all the time

SAM

Ken Miller? What?

NEIL

Yeah, so?

SAM

(starting to freak out)

You are hanging out with Ken Miller, you know his dad is in jail? That entire family are criminals!

NEIL

Ken is not a criminal, he wasn't the one who got arrested!

SAM

You just said you didn't pay for the ring, you are a criminal!

Bill starts walking back towards them holding a box of candy.

NEIL

Shhhhhhhhh. Bill's coming. You can't tell anyone. You promised.

SAM

Okay okay I won't.

NEIL

I'm serious!

SAM

I said I won't!

Bill approaches, candy all in his mouth.

BILL

You guys want a jellybean?

Neil puts his hand out as Sam gives him a sideways glance.

INT SCHOOL.

Amy walks towards the library and stalks down the hall as if she is on a mission. She passes by Daniel, who is sitting at a table talking with some other freaks. He looks up as she walks by.

She walks to a row of books labeled, "Law" and begins pulling out books. She slams them down on the table next to Daniel, causing him to jump.

DANIEL

Jesus!

AMY

Sorry.

She begins to tear open a book, flipping though the pages. He is watching her.

DANIEL

What are you doing there?

He glances at a book title.

DANIEL

Law?

AMY

Don't worry about it.

She barely looks at him, grabbing another book and flipping though the pages.

DANIEL

(he laughs, obnoxious)

I'm not worried.

Amy pauses, and then turns to him.

AMY

No, you aren't, you aren't worried at all Daniel. That your best friend has gone MIA!

She lowers her voice

AMY

His dad is in jail, and he family is a mess. And no one cares.

DANIEL

Come on Amy we don't know that for sure!

AMY

Right! All the more reason to be worried. I'm sick of finding out about my boyfriend on the news!

DANIEL

What are you trying to do with all those books?

Amy pulls out a chair and sits down.

AMY

So, I have read all these articles about what they think his dad did and it's really confusing.

Daniel nods.

AMY

Something with forged pay stubs, and fake social security numbers, check routing numbers. One paper even mentioned that Ken's name was used as an employee. Like his dad pretended he worked there, but collected his salary.

Daniel looks genuinely surprised.

DANIEL

Wow.

AMY

I'm just trying to make sense of it all. Like can he get in trouble, and what if his dad forces him to lie to the court? That's perjury! and-

DANIEL

Whoa whoa whoa, lets not get carried away.

AMY

(sadly)

You don't understand the gravity of this, do you? This could really affect his future. College.

DANIEL

(laughs)

Ken's not going to college.

Amy stares at him for a second and then stands up and begins to gather up her things.

AMY

(terse hushed)

Fine. It's obvious that you don't care. None of you do. You are so busy with your head up your own ass.

DANIEL

That's not true!

AMY

Whatever.

She walks away and Daniel is left there looking frustrated and feeling bad.

INT. DANIELS ROOM

Daniel and Lindsay are sitting on the floor close together with their backs against the bed. There are different colored jellybeans on the floor. Lindsay is separating them into piles by color, they are laughing.

DANIEL

Look how insane you are, you can't even eat these unless they are grouped in the right color?

Daniel picks a jelly bean and pops it in his mouth. Lindsay gasps

LINDSAY

No!

DANIEL

(joking)

Oh no! I messed up the system!

Lindsay giggles as he begins grabbing jelly beans and half hazard putting them in his mouth.

DANIEL

Here goes another one! And another!

LINDSAY

(laughing)

No, Daniel, stop!

His mouth is full of jelly beans

DANIEL

(with his mouthful)

mmmmgfh mmgh mmm?

LINDSAY

I can't hear you.

They both start to laugh as she smashes his cheeks together and a few jellybeans fall out. He pushes her away and she jumps on top of him, pushing him on the ground. He swallows as they come face to face.

LINDSAY

(serious now)

Sorry I got here so late

DANIEL

That's okay, you bought a good gift

LINDSAY

You liked it?

Daniel nods, and pulls her hair away from her face. Lindsay waves a jelly bean in front of his mouth. He lifts his head and takes it. She leans in and gives him a warm tender kiss. Pulling away Daniel whispers in her ear.

DANIEL

That flavor was really gross.

They both laugh, and Lindsay rests her head on his shoulder.

LINDSAY

I have to go.

Daniel lifts her head and kisses her.

INT-NIGHT NEIL'S HOUSE.

Neil is sitting in the dining room with schoolbooks in front of him. He is staring out the window. He looks back at his paper. It says "The Vietnam War". He sighs and gets up to pick up the phone.

NEIL'S MOM (OS)

Really? That's not what I heard!

Pause

NEIL'S MOM (OS)

Neil! I'm on the phone.

NEIL

(into the phone)

Sorry!

He hangs up the phone and walks to the window, putting on his jacket. He steps out the front door. He walks quickly across the street and down a few houses.

CUT TO

Neil's mom talking and laughing on the phone, she seems to be talking to a friend.

CUT TO

Neil arrives at Ken's house. He sees the front window lit up and a woman standing there. He puts his hands in his pockets and kicks the ground. He is about to walk away.

KEN (OS)

What are you doing here?

Neil jumps as Ken comes out of the shadows. He is outside smoking.

NEIL

(flustered)

S-Sorry. Hi.

KEN

(casual)

What's going on?

NEIL

So you got back to your car the other night?

KEN

Oh yeah it was fine. What are you up to?

NEIL

Writing a report on the Vietnam War. My mom was supposed to help me, but she has been on the phone all night.

His voice trails off.

KEN

I know a guy that can get you term papers for like $50 if you need one. He has them on every subject. It's legit.

NEIL

No, no thanks though. I noticed you haven't been in school- were you sick?

Ken laughs bitterly

KEN

Do I look sick?

NEIL

No. Then why-

KEN

(uncomfortable)

I just don't feel like –like dealing with people.

NEIL

What about your girlfriend- Amy something?

Ken hangs his head, suddenly sad

KEN

I don't know if she is my girlfriend anymore

NEIL

Oh.

KEN

(rushing this out painfully)

I've been kinda a dick. I haven't called her.

NEIL

Why?

KEN

I don't know. My family. This situation. It's just really really messed up.

NEIL

I told my friend Sam what we did the other night

Kens eyes go wide

KEN

Why? Why would you do that? If someone does find out then we will really get what you call trouble.

NEIL

No, no, don't worry, Sam's cool. I can trust him. He would never tell anybody. I'm sure your friends and your girlfriend would do the same if you told them what's happening.

KEN

(sarcastic)

They don't need me to tell them, it's on the news every day.

Awkward silence hangs between them again.

KEN

Anyway, see you later.

He turns and walks back to the house and Neil walks away.

INT. SCHOOL DAY

Neil is standing at his locker alone. He opens a folder and looks at the blank piece of paper from last night. He has not completed the assignment. He takes a deep breath and stares at the paper for another second before collecting his things.

He stands awkwardly in the near empty hallway. He walks towards the classroom door, pausing at the entrance. In the distance, a teacher is heard telling students to get to class. Neil glances at the double doors leading outside and then back at the classroom door. Checking to make sure there is no one in sight, he quickly slips outside.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL-DAY

Neil speed walks though the parking lot. Suddenly he bumps into someone. He gasps.

MR ROSSO

Neil- where do you think you are going?

NEIL

(panic)

Nothing, um no where, I- um, I just needed some air! I have a note! I have a doctors appointment.

MR ROSSO

Lets see it then

NEIL

See what?

MR ROSSO

The note. You said you have a doctors note?

Neil begins searching though his pockets but slowly gives up, just looking at the floor.

MR ROSSO

You don't have a note, do you?

Neil shakes his head

MR ROSSO

Alright, come with me.

Neil follows him inside the school.

EXT UNDER THE STAIRS- DAY

Lindsay, Daniel and Amy are talking, Kim walks by deep in thought, not noticing them.

LINDSAY

(To the others)

There's Kim

(yelling out)

Hey Kim!

Kim doesn't look up or hear her. Lindsay gets up and runs to catch up with her

LINDSAY

Kim! Hey!

Kim turns around.

KIM

Hey

LINDSAY

So. Big night tonight, you ready?

Kim swallows hard.

KIM

I think so.

LINDSAY

(insisting)

You are ready.

KIM

I will be if you'll be there.

LINDSAY

I will! I will be there.

Kim exhales and collects herself.

KIM

Thanks Lindsay. I mean it. I gotta go, we have one more run-though before the show.

Lindsay smiles and nods but as Kim runs off she looks very guilty. Turning around, she spots Ken approaching Amy and Daniel. She quickly walks back to the group.

LINDSAY

Ken! Hi! Are-is everything ok?

Ken shifts awkwardly and looks at Amy.

DANIEL

Hey man, where have you been?

KEN

(to everyone)

No, things are not okay. My father was arrested for embezzlement, and I may have to testify in court.

They all look horrified, Amy especially.

KEN

That's all I know, so everything you read in the papers, see on TV, it's not true. Or if it is, I don't know about it. Nothing has really changed, my parents are still assholes.

(looks at Amy)

Can I talk to you?

Amy stands up and nods, following Ken down the hall, Lindsay walks up to Daniel.

LINDSAY

Wow. I'm glad he came back

DANIEL

Yeah, I thought he had fallen off for good.

LINDSAY

Really? I know it's Ken, but him and Amy, they are the real deal.

DANIEL

Yeah, I saw her in the library. Even though he blew her off she was reading law books, researching for his dad's case and stuff.

Lindsay turns around and looks at Ken and Amy from a distance. He is talking to her, and reaches for her hand.

LINDSAY

It's really sweet.

Daniel smiles and attempts to grab Lindsay's hand. She is to quick for him and pulls away.

LINDSAY

(laughing)

What are you doing? Someone could see us!

DANIEL

You know I don't care

LINDSAY

Well I do.

DANIEL

Fine. Tonight, my car, six pack of beer and some Otis.

Lindsay rolls her eyes

LINDSAY

(sarcastic)

How romantic!

DANIEL

Ok, fine fine you are right. We can go to dinner first, my car second.

LINDSAY

I can't. The play is tonight. I promised Kim.

Daniel rolls his eyes.

DANIEL

Oh come on! You promised you would help her practice, practice is over!

LINDSAY

No. She needs me there and I want to be there.

DANIEL

You know Lindsay, I'm starting to wonder if you even want to be with me at all.

LINDSAY

What?

DANIEL

You are always making excuses.

LINDSAY

(defensive)

I told you, These aren't excuses! I can't just drop everything and ignore all my friends for you!

DANIEL

Why not? It wasn't a problem before!

LINDSAY

(shakes her head)

You are so selfish. The whole world doesn't revolve around you. And your penis!

DANIEL

(angry)

I'M SELFISH? What about you? You force me to hide our relationship, and I can't even hold my girlfriends hand?

LINDSAY

(in a hushed voice)

Lower. Your. Voice.

DANIEL

(loudly)

No!

A few people in the hallway look over at them. He leans in close to her.

DANIEL

(quietly)

This whole thing, Lindsay? Really what is the point?

He turns and walks away into the busy hallway

DANIEL

(yelling loudly to no one in particular, but looking at her)

What's the point?

She turns away, her eyes filling with tears as Nick approaches.

NICK

Hey, what was that?

Lindsay collects herself and wipes her eyes. She turns around

LINDSAY

No idea, I think he's high or something.

NICK

No way. Hey so I heard Ken's back, is it true?

LINDSAY

Yeah, we just saw him, he and Amy were over-

She looks over at the spot where Amy and Ken where moments before but they aren't there anymore.

LINDSAY

They were just right over there!

NICK

Okay, I'm going to go find him.

He starts to walk away and comes back

NICK

You will be at the play tonight, right?

Lindsay nods, and lets out a huge sigh as he dashes off.

INT. SCHOOL MR ROSSO'S OFFICE

Neil is sitting next to his father across from Rosso just as his mom walks in, flustered.

NEIL'S MOM

Oh! I'm so sorry I'm late, I came as soon as I got the call. What's going on here?

NEIL'S DAD

Neil was caught skipping class

NEIL'S MOM

(shock)

What? No. This must be some kind of mistake!

NEIL

(sullen)

It's not a mistake.

MR ROSSO

I caught Neil walking across the parking lot during 5th period.

NEIL'S MOM

(to Neil)

Where were you going?

NEIL

(defensive)

No where. No where.

MR ROSSO

Do you know that skipping school, even once, results in suspension?

Neil's mom gasps

NEIL'S DAD

Neil, do you understand the severity of this?

NEIL

Sure.

NEIL'S MOM

Sure? That's all you have to say for yourself? Mr. Rosso, I don't understand, Neil is a good kid.

MR ROSSO

I know.

NEIL'S DAD

(to Neil)

Why did you do this?

NEIL'S MOM

It's obvious why he did this, I've read about this in one of my books. It's because of the divorce.

(to Rosso)

My husband- my ex husband and me are currently going though a divorce.

Neil's dad rolls his eyes

ROSSO

(uncomfortable)

Oh. I'm- I'm sorry about that

NEIL

This has nothing to do with the divorce!

ROSSO

(to Neil)

So you aren't angry about it?

NEIL

(angry)

What? No! I'm not talking about this with you. I'm fine! I- I, I just didn't finish my homework, ok? The paper on the Vietnam War!

NEIL'S DAD

Why didn't you finish your paper? You know if you ever need help you can come to us.

NEIL

I guess I can't! Because mom said she would help me but she was on the phone all night!

(to his mom)

I guess you were too busy!

Neil folds his arms across his chest and his mother looks guilty

NEIL'S MOM

Neil honey I do remember I said I would help you and I'm so so sorry. But that is still no excuse to skip class.

Neil's dad lets out an audible sigh.

NEIL'S MOM

(to Neil's dad)

What?

NEIL'S DAD

Really? You were too busy chatting and gossiping with all your friends to help our son with his homework?

NEIL'S MOM

Well at least I show up.

NEIL'S DAD

That's not fair! That was an emergency!

NEIL'S MOM

Right! Nothing is ever your fault.

NEIL

(yells)

Hey! Hey, Mr. Rosso, what is my punishment, just tell me.

Mr. Rosso leans forward in his seat.

MR ROSSO

I'm going to let you off, no punishment this time. You are a good kid, and I want to give you a chance to prove that to me. You made a mistake. But if I ever catch you doing this again, you will be suspended, three days, no exceptions. Do you understand me?

Neil nods

NEIL

Yes, I won't. Thank You Mr. Rosso.

MR ROSSO

OK. Now why don't you head back to class, I need to talk to your parents.

Neil gets up and walks out, ignoring his parents.

MR ROSSO

So. As I'm sure you know, sometimes in a divorce, children can feel sidelined or ignored. As you were saying, sometimes they may act out for attention in order to get parents back together, maybe for a common cause, ect.

NEIL'S DAD

Oh. No no no, I'm not doing this with YOU.

NEIL'S MOM

Doing what? He is trying to help!

NEIL'S DAD

(standing up)

No, no offense, but I don't need to hear any of your psychobabble. I've been though enough. This divorce is almost done with and I can't discuss it anymore.

He reaches out across the desk and shakes Mr. Rosso's hand.

NEIL'S DAD

Thank you Mr. Rosso, for giving Neil a second chance. I hope we don't have to see each other again.

He offers a weak smile and exits. Neil's mom is left there alone with Rosso.

INT SCHOOL DRESSING ROOM- NIGHT

Kim is putting on lipstick by herself in the dressing room. She is wearing her Annie costume and her hair is in big, long curls. She looks nervous and stares at herself in the mirror. Suddenly, the door files open, Julie Arst is standing there. Kim whips around.

KIM

What are you doing? Every heard of knocking?

JULIE

(defensive)

Nothing. Mrs. Losser wanted me to let you know that we are on in 20 minutes.

KIM

Yeah right. You were just checking to make sure I showed up. Well I did, and I am going on tonight.

JULIE

(Acting innocent)

I know.

KIM

Did you see Lindsay out there?

JULIE

Who?

KIM

Lindsay, my friend?

JULIE

I wasn't aware you had any friends Kim.

They stare at each other for a moment.

KIM

Get lost Julie!

Julie walks away and Kim walks towards the door, looking out into the hallway for Lindsay. She shuts the door behind her and lets out a huge sigh. There is suddenly a knock on the door and she jumps into the air in surprise. Opening the door, Lindsay is standing there.

KIM

Oh my god Lindsay, thank god!

She pushes her inside and shuts the door.

LINDSAY

Hey!

KIM

That bitch Julie Arst is just dying for me to chicken out, or get sick or something.

Kim is pacing

KIM

Which I think I might do.

Lindsay sits down on a nearby chair.

LINDSAY

No, you won't. I'm here now. And you are going to do the show just for me. I can't wait.

They smile at each other.

INT-SCHOOL HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE AUDITORUM

Nick and Daniel enter the school, it is crowded with people. Daniel is looking for Lindsay.

DANIEL

Wow. There are a lot of people!

NICK

I'm telling you, it's kind of a big deal. People want to see the former freak girl be a drama geek for the night.

NICK

Have you seen Lindsay by the way? We have a plan to sit together.

DANIEL

You do? That's kind of weird.

NICK

Not really, we are friends. She has been really reaching out to me lately.

Daniel's face falls.

INT-KIM'S DRESSING ROOM

Lindsay is helping Kim, adjusting her costume.

LINDSAY

This is going to be great, I know you will do great!

Kim smiles and nods as the door flies open.

JULIE

Come on Kim, it's time.

KIM

That's right Julie, I'm going on. Which means that you, are not.

JULIE

(threatening)

Not yet anyway.

Kim takes one last look at Lindsay

KIM

Front row, right?

LINDSAY

I'll be right there.

KIM

(to Julie)

Lets go!

They exit. Lindsay begins walking down the hallway and runs into Daniel

LINDSAY

Daniel! What are you doing here?

DANIEL

I need to talk to you.

LINDSAY

(annoyed)

This isn't a good time

She starts walking and he follows her.

DANIEL

Look I just-

The orchestra music begins and Lindsay goes into a trot.

LINDSAY

Not now, okay? The play is about to start!

They run into the auditorium. Nick has saved Lindsay's seat in the front row, but there is not a seat for Daniel. He is forced to sit in a single seat far far away from them.

LINDSAY

(whispering to Nick)

Thanks!

NICK

No problem, I wasn't sure you were going to make it.

LINDSAY

Me either.

They laugh. Seeing Lindsay so happy and smiling with Nick makes Daniel very jealous, but he waits, watching them. The curtains open and Lindsay and Nick clap vigorously. Nick whistles loudly. The actor launch into "It's a Hard knock Life", Kim front and center. During a short dance sequence, she spots Lindsay and smiles. Lindsay smiles back.

FADE TO:

Kim begins the "Maybe" song perfectly, singing directly to Lindsay. When she finishes her song the crowd goes wild. Lindsay is beyond proud.

FADE TO: Intermission. Nick and Lindsay are drinking punch and eating cookies talking and laughing. Daniel approaches them.

DANIEL

(to Lindsay)

I need to talk to you. Now.

NICK

What's going on Daniel?

LINDSAY

(challenging)

Yeah, what do you want?

DANIEL

Can I talk to you?

NICK

What's the problem?

DANIEL

(to Nick)

Nothing.

(to Lindsay)

Come on.

The lights flicker, and people start to filter back into the auditorium.

LINDSAY

(to Daniel)

You have like 1 minute.

NICK

(awkward)

uhhh, I'm going back to our seats.

He walks away

LINDSAY

(to Daniel)

What?

He tries to grab her hand again and she pulls away.

LINDSAY

(anger and panic)

What are you doing?

Daniel seizes her arm, but this time she isn't ready, and she lets him guide her outside. They stop in front of a side door.

LINDSAY

I have to go.

DANIEL

(pleading)

Wait. Just let me talk, one second.

She raises her eyebrows at him. He takes a deep breath. This does not come easy to him.

DANIEL

What you said today, do you really think I haven't changed at all? That I'm selfish?

LINDSAY

Honestly, I don't know. Sometimes it feels like this whole relationship is about you. I have other friends and responsibilities, you should understand that. I mean this is supposed to be Kim's night.

INT-AUDITOURM

The second act has begun and Kim nervously glances at Lindsay's empty seat.

EXT- OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL-NIGHT

LINDSAY

(angry)

What? So I'm just expected to be at your beck and call?

DANIEL

(earnest)

No! But I wish you were.

Lindsay kicks at the ground.

LINDSAY

Well you should be more realistic.

DANIEL

Why?- Is it wrong to want to be with you?

LINDSAY

No, no! I love being with you. Being.. this close to you.

She moves close to him and rests her hands on his waist.

DANIEL

(Quietly)

I think I love you

Lindsay is taken aback. She drops her hands and swallows hard.

DANIEL

I've never said that before to anyone else and really meant it. That's what I came here to tell you.

Lindsay shakes her head in frustration.

LINDSAY

Don't say that. Not today. I feel bad enough.

DANIEL

(exasperated)

Why? Why do you feel bad?

Lindsay looks up at him with sad eyes.

LINDSAY

(sadly)

I can't believe this is happening. How did we get here? I can never tell Kim.

DANIEL

(angry)

You know what Lindsay? None of it matters. I just told you I loved you. If you feel it too, then you will tell her, you will tell her everything.

CUT TO:

Kim onstage, suddenly terrified.

ACTOR

Now Annie what would you like to do first?

Kim stands there in shocked silence. She glances over to Lindsay's empty chair.

ACTOR

(urgently)

Now Annie what would you like to do first?

Kim swallows hard

KIM

Um..

She looks over at Lindsay's empty seat again, Nick sinks low in his seat.

CUT TO:

LINDSAY AND DANIEL OUTSIDE

LINDSAY

I told you, I can't.

DANIEL

(angry)

Why? Why? Because you are afraid to loose your best friend? You can't have it all! Now who is selfish?

LINDSAY

(voice wavering)

Grow up! I'm not afraid to loose her, I'm afraid to hurt her.

(pauses)

This will really hurt her.

DANIEL

(very angry)

Oh please. Your poor "best friend Kim" Ya know, I gotta finally just say; if Kim is your best friend, then why are you screwing her ex boyfriend?

Daniel's cold words sting Lindsay

LINDSAY

Wow.

She turns away and pulls the door open leading to the auditorium. Daniel grabs her hand.

DANIEL

Lindsay, wait I'm sorry!

Lindsay turns to Daniel.

CUT TO: Kim's perspective from the stage. She sees Lindsay and Daniel in the doorframe, holding hands and having an intense conversation.

CUT TO: Lindsay and Daniel in the doorway

LINDSAY

(furious)

I was right. You are just as selfish as before. You will never understand. I'm so sick of all of this. I'm done.

DANIEL

(more angry then hurt)

You are breaking up with me?

She nods, wiggles her hand free and shuts the door in his face. It makes a sound loud enough for a few people nearby to turn. On stage, Kim is staring at Lindsay, her eyes blazing. It's silent.

Lindsay looks like a deer in headlights. She knows.