Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #23

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Episode #23
Same Day as #22, Later

SHANNON sits on the bed of her large, well-decorated room. She tosses the magazine she had been reading onto the floor.
SHANNON: I can’t believe this is finally working! Courtney is already going insane ... soon she’ll be out of the way. She’s already too much of a threat to any chances I have with Jason ... I just hope that he doesn’t have any sudden revelations about his feelings for her.
In the empty living room, the phone begins to ring. MOLLY rushes into the room and answers it.
MOLLY: Hello?
She receives no response, just silence.
MOLLY: Hello??
There is no answer.
MOLLY: (annoyed) Who is there?!?
This is followed by a click. She hangs up the phone and then quickly picks it up again, and the dial tone is intact. She replaces it on the receiver.
MOLLY (THINKING): Oh, God, what if it was him? What if he’s coming to get me? What if-
Her thought is interrupted by the jarring ring of the phone.
She casts a frightened glance towards it and waits.
TIM and CLAIRE have just stepped out of a small trail in the midst of a heavily wooded area. They are faced with a large clearing and stare upwards at an estate, fenced with barbed wire.
TIM: Do you think this is it?
CLAIRE: I’m almost positive. How many normal people would build this kinda place in the middle of a jungle?
TIM: Good point.
He deliberates for a moment.
TIM (CONT’D): Well, what do we do now?
Out on Claire, considering her plan of action.
JASON stands in the middle of his room, buttoning up his Polo shirt. He is dressed nicer than usual, obviously to go out.
There comes a quick knock on the door.
JASON: Come in!
The door opens and Paula bursts in.
PAULA: So, where are you off to tonight, Jason?
JASON: Hard as it may be to believe, I’ve got a date.
PAULA: Oh, good, good. With whom, may I ask?
JASON: This girl Lauren. She’s one of Courtney’s friends.
PAULA: Oh ... that’s nice to hear.
Paula begins to think.
										FADE TO:
COURTNEY lays in the hospital bed, her leg in a cast. PAULA stands over the bed, speaking to her.
PAULA: I personally always thought you and Jason would end up together.
COURTNEY: It’s never too late, Mrs. Fisher.
PAULA: What do you mean, Courtney?
COURTNEY: Lately ... Well, I guess I’ve just been seeing Jason in a different light.
										FADE TO:
PAULA (THINKING): I wonder just how serious Courtney is about Jason. And I wonder if he has any idea about how she feels ...
TIM and CLAIRE stand before the menacing gates of the jungle estate, in various degrees of awe and confusion.
TIM: So, what now?
CLAIRE: I don’t know. I mean obviously, we need to get in there. But how?
TIM: I’m sure as hell not just gonna climb the fence!
CLAIRE: Seeing as how there’s barbed wire on top, I wouldn’t consider that a wise idea.
TIM: See? I’m not as dumb as I look.
CLAIRE: (laughing) I wouldn’t go that far, mister ...
TIM: (laughing) Shut your face, woman! Now come on!
He takes her by the hand and pulls her up to the fence. They stare inside, straight at the stately front doors.
TIM: Your dad certainly has nice taste.
CLAIRE: Not to mention expensive taste, which he pays for through illegal activities!
TIM: That too. (pause) Maybe it’s not such a hot idea to stand right in front of the doors.
CLAIRE: You’ve got a point there, Tim.
They move over behind the brick wall.
JAMES walks into the foyer and stops.
JAMES: (sotto voce) I really hate to do this to you, my precious Claire, but it’s the only way. You betrayed me by getting the police involved. (pause) The only reason I even had Tim threatened was to make him listen to you ... if only Alan hadn’t shot him! But it’s too late now ... you did what you felt was necessary, and I did the same -- take the baby and run away!
He makes a move for the doorknob of the front door and begins to open the door.
MOLLY stands, frightened, next to the table that holds the telephone. It continues to ring.
MOLLY: Shut up!!!
Frustrated, she picks it up.
MOLLY: (meekly) H-hello?
MOLLY: Go away!!
She slams down the phone and pulls the cord out of the wall.
She reaches into her purse, which is sitting on the couch, and pulls out her cellular phone. Just as she flips it open and turns it on, it begins to ring.
MOLLY: (frantic) Oh, God, maybe it’s Craig! I need him to get over here now!
She answers it.
MOLLY: Craig?!?
DISGUISED VOICE (OS): Guess again, Molly!
She hits the OFF button quickly and throws the phone on the couch, screaming.
MOLLY: (screaming) Somebody help me! Help!!!
As she continues to wail, she sinks to the ground, clutching her head in her hands and babbling incoherently.
SHANNON steps up onto the porch and rings the doorbell. After a short wait, PAULA opens the door.
PAULA: Oh, Shannon, hi!
SHANNON: Hi, Mrs. Fisher. Is Jason around, by any chance?
PAULA: He is, Shannon, but he’s getting ready for a date, actually.
Shannon seems shocked but quickly recovers.
SHANNON: Oh, really? Well, would you just tell him I came by? Nothing urgent, just wanted to see if he was busy.
PAULA: No problem, Shannon. Bye, dear.
SHANNON: Bye, Mrs. Fisher.
Paula closes the front door and is gone. Shannon faces away from the door but remains on the porch, confused.
SHANNON: (sotto voce) A date? I thought I was making some progress. Hmm ... who could he have a date with?
Just as Shannon looks down the street, she sees COURTNEY heading towards the house.
SHANNON: (sotto voce) Oh, no -- it can’t be her! Of all people!
Through the front gates of the compound, the front doors can be seen opening. Out steps JAMES.
TIM, who is hiding with CLAIRE behind the brick fence, sees him.
TIM: (whispering) Claire! It’s your dad!
CLAIRE: (whispering) Where?
Tim points, and Claire quickly sticks her head in a spot where she can see James. She pulls it back just as quickly.
CLAIRE: (whispering) Let’s go!
They run off to the side of the compound, making detectable noise as they go.
Back on the porch, James seems to have heard this. He raises an ear suspiciously.
JAMES: What was that?
He continues briskly to the front of the yard.
MOLLY is still sitting on the floor, looking exhausted. She has tear stains on her face and is breathing deeply as if trying to calm down.
MOLLY: I can’t stay here alone. I need to call someone ... I should call Brent. He can send someone over to guard me.
She picks up the phone and dials.
BRENT answers the ringing phone.
BRENT: Hello?
MOLLY: Oh, Brent, it’s Molly! Send someone over here quick!
BRENT: What’s wrong?
MOLLY: I got more phone calls ... first a hang-up and then some from a voice that threatened me.
BRENT: Hang on. I’ll be right over.
He hangs up the phone and walks out of the office, closing the door behind him.
MOLLY sits on the couch, looking drained, when there is a knock at the door. She goes over and looks through the peep- hole before undoing the several locks on the door. As soon as the door is opened, BRENT steps into the apartment. He leaves the door open behind him.
MOLLY: What are you doing here??
BRENT: I, uh, I wanted to make sure everything was okay.
MOLLY: I’m fine ... I just disconnected the phone.
BRENT: Okay, good. The cops are waiting outside, remember, so no one should be able to get in here.
MOLLY: I know, I know. I just wanted to tell you about the phone call.
He looks at her and notices the tearstains.
BRENT: Have you been crying?
MOLLY: What? Uh, no ... I, uh ...
BRENT: It’s okay, Molly. It really is. But we’ll keep you safe, we’ll catch this guy. (beat) I’ve handled a lot of stalkings, but never one with a victim I cared about so much.
Just as he says this, CRAIG appears in the open doorway. Upon hearing this he develops a shocked look on his face.
SHANNON descends the steps of the front porch as COURTNEY approaches.
SHANNON: Well, what have we here?
COURTNEY: What do you want, Shannon?
SHANNON: Apparently the same thing you’ve got ... Jason.
COURTNEY: What are you talking about?
SHANNON: You’re his date, aren’t you?
COURTNEY: Actually--
SHANNON: (interrupting) Listen to me, Courtney. You don’t deserve Jason. I do! (muttering) I can’t believe this, after all the work I’ve done ...
COURTNEY: What "work," Shannon? It’s plain and simple -- he’s not attracted to you!
SHANNON: Shut the hell up, you bimbo! (beat) Oh, and I hear you’re going crazy, huh?
COURTNEY: No, Shannon, I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately. But wouldn’t you like that? Wouldn’t you like it if I just got locked up in a nuthouse somewhere and was never seen again? Well, it ain’t gonna happen! If Jason and I do end up together, it’ll be because of our feelings for one another, not me manipulating everyone on the planet.
SHANNON: It’s not gonna happen, Courtney.
COURTNEY: Time will tell, won’t it? Above all, he’s my best friend, and I refuse to let him be manipulated by someone like you!
SHANNON: Go to hell.
COURTNEY: Right back at ‘cha.
She turns and walks up the front steps of the porch and rings the doorbell as Shannon begins to walk away from the house. After ringing the doorbell, Courtney turns back.
COURTNEY: Oh, and by the way, Shannon, I’m not his date! I’m here to do something with Paula!
Shannon flashes her an angry glare at her and continues walking. As she walks, she thinks:
SHANNON (THINKING): At least I avoided a temporary crisis. But still, I need to keep them apart. Courtney’s too uppity; I wouldn’t be surprised if she told Jason about all my threats to her right now. I’ve got do some damage control -- I need to shut her up.
JAMES stands at the front gates, his face pressed against them, looking around for signs of intruders.
JAMES: (sotto voce) Who was there? I -- Maybe I’m just getting paranoid. But it can’t hurt to have the guards check it out.
He walks back up the walkway and reenters the compound.
JAMES walks in through the front door and presses a button on a keypad next to the door.
JAMES: That should alert the guards ... I only hope I’m not found here.
About six GUARDS, dressed casually but carrying weapons, exit the building through a back door. They exit by punching a code on a keypad that opens up a gate. Once in the open jungle, they split up.
TIM and CLAIRE hide in a well-covered area of shubbery.
TIM: (whispering low, almost mouthing) We need to stay quiet. Don’t move.
Claire nods in silent agreement.
The focus pans out to a wider area. Their hiding spot can still be seen, in the back of the small clearing. Tim and Claire, however, are not visible. A GUARD enters the clearing.
GUARD: (shouting) Who’s there? Come out! Come out!
PAULA and COURTNEY are in the kitchen, baking. They are in a mild state of messiness. Cooking utensils cover the kitchen. Enter JASON, dressed for his date.
JASON: How do I look?
PAULA: Oh, Jason, you look great!
She straightens the collar of his shirt.
PAULA (CONT’D): Just wonderful!
JASON: I look okay, Court?
Courtney has been staring at him with more interest than necessary. She snaps out of it quickly.
COURTNEY: Oh, you, uh, you look terrific.
JASON: Thanks, both of you. And Court, I hafta thank you for setting me up with Lauren. She’s a great girl.
COURTNEY: I know. She’s one of my best friends.
JASON: Well, I’ve gotta go. See ya later.
Jason heads out of the kitchen and, shortly after, the front door is heard opening and closing as he leaves.
PAULA: I sure hope everything works out on his date tonight.
Paula resumes stirring a bowl of batter and looks away.
COURTNEY: (distracted) Yeah, me too.
She gazes longingly towards the front door.
BRENT hugs MOLLY, who has resumed crying. CRAIG looks on through the open doorway for a silent moment.
BRENT: (soothingly) It’s gonna be okay, Molly ... we’re going to catch this guy.
Craig backs out of the doorway, unseen, and then steps back in and knocks. Brent and Molly break apart almost instant-
aneously, a little suspiciously.
CRAIG: Brent? Why are you here?
BRENT: Molly called me for help. She--
MOLLY: (interrupting) I got some more phone calls.
CRAIG: Oh no.
BRENT: Yeah. So I came over and brought some men down. They’re gonna keep watch over the apartment and you.
CRAIG: (rushed) Yeah, uh, thanks, Brent. You probably need to get back to the station now, right?
BRENT: Well, yeah, actually, I’m taking Sarah out to dinner.
CRAIG: (rushing) Oh, nice to hear. You guys have a great time. Bye. Thanks again.
He practically shoves Brent out the door and closes it.
MOLLY: Oh, Craig, thank God you’re home!
She falls into his arms, but he pushes her away.
CRAIG: (angry) What the hell is going on here??
SHANNON enters the room and plops down on the bed.
SHANNON: At least they’re not going out tonight. I need to keep Jason and Courtney apart! But who is this girl that he’s going out with? Could she be another obstacle? God, I hope not. The real problem is Courtney. I know he’s starting to look at her as more than a friend ... and I’m sure she feels the same way about him. The key is to keep them each from finding out how the other feels ...
PAULA and COURTNEY continue baking in the kitchen.
PAULA: It was so nice of you to introduce Jason and Lauren, Courtney.
COURTNEY: (uncomfortably) Yeah, well, I do what I can.
The oven timer rings, and Paula goes over to remove a tray from the oven. As she does this, she speaks:
PAULA: You seem a little uneasy, dear.
COURTNEY: No, I’m fine.
PAULA: Come on, Courtney, you can talk to me.
COURTNEY: Okay, you got me. I’m just not having a great day.
PAULA: Does this have to do with Jason’s date tonight?
Courtney shrugs off the question.
PAULA (CONT’D): Because I remember, when you were in the hospital, you told me that you might be interested in Jason yourself. Is that still true?
COURTNEY: (meekly) Yeah, I guess.
PAULA: Then why don’t you do something, Courtney? Why don’t you tell him how you feel?
CRAIG and MOLLY stand in the middle of the room.
CRAIG: (angry) What the hell is going on here??
Molly, taken aback, doesn’t answer.
CRAIG: (shouting) Answer the question, Molly! What is going on?
MOLLY: (nervously) What do you mean, Craig?
CRAIG: What I mean is, why did you call Brent to come over instead of me?
MOLLY: Oh, that’s real mature, Craig. Get jealous at a time like this. (beat) He’s a cop. I needed protection. So I called him. I didn’t tell him to personally come over ... I just asked him to send people over.
CRAIG: Are you sure that’s all it was, Molly?
MOLLY: I’m positive.
CRAIG: (angry but calming down) Look, you should have called me to tell me to come home. I need to know when things like that happen to you.
He storms out of the room. Molly remains, looking confused and terrified.
MOLLY (THINKING): What was that all about?
TIM and CLAIRE hide in some well-guarded shrubbery. In the adjacent clearing, two GUARDS search around.
GUARD #1: We’ve got to find whoever’s out here.
GUARD #2: Yeah, I know. The boss says that he can’t be found here ...
Tim and Claire, overhearing this, exchange a knowing glance.
As the guards continue searching, Claire shifts her position in the hiding spot. She is able to do this silently, but once repositioned, her nose brushes against a plant. She sneezes suddenly and loudly.
GUARD #1: What was that?
Guard #2 points to Tim and Claire’s hiding place. They creep over to it and pull the shrubs apart, revealing the hiding couple.
Out on the ominous faces of the guards.

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