Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #26

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Episode #26
The Day After #25

TIM and CLAIRE sit in their cage, suspended over a vat of boiling acid. Boredom has completely overtaken them.
TIM: This really sucks.
CLAIRE: Tell me about it.
TIM: I don’t even know why we’re here. How did this happen?
CLAIRE: Because the cops didn’t do anything about it -- we had to take it into our own hands.
TIM: Well, we’re really screwed now.
CLAIRE: I know ... I know. The question is, how do we get out of this now?
MOLLY is sitting on the couch reading when JASON comes down the stairs.
JASON: Hey, what’re you doing here?
MOLLY: Oh, hi, Jase! Craig’s out of town on business, and Dad thought it would be better if I stayed here.
JASON: It probably is safer than staying alone in the apartment.
MOLLY: Exactly. (beat) So how’s everything going?
JASON: Okay, I guess.
MOLLY: How about skating? How’s Courtney?
COURTNEY sits in a booth, perusing a menu. Across from her is her friend LAUREN, also trying to decide what to order.
COURTNEY: I don’t know what to get.
LAUREN: This looks good ...
She points to an item on Courtney’s menu.
COURTNEY: Yeah, actually, it does. Doesn’t it have a lot of fat, though?
Lauren shrugs.
LAUREN: I’m too hungry to worry about fat content.
COURTNEY: That’s a good point. (beat) So hey, you never told me how your date with Jason went the other night.
LAUREN: I really, really enjoyed it. A lot.
Courtney appears almost disappointed at hearing these words.
Diane’s assistant, BRIAN, works in his cubicle at his computer. DIANE quietly stalks up behind him and places her hands over his eyes.
DIANE: Guess who?
BRIAN: (sarcastic) Gee, I wonder.
She removes her hands and he swivels around in his chair.
BRIAN: You’re back? I thought you’d just head home. It’s almost time to leave anyway.
DIANE: I’m too excited to be by myself ... I had to get over here and tell you the good news.
BRIAN: You’re this excited after a doctor’s appointment? So, what’s this good news?
Diane pauses and then takes a deep breath.
DIANE: I’m pregnant!
CLAIRE and TIM sit in their cage, bored senseless.
CLAIRE: How do we get ourselves out of this now?
Tim deliberates for a moment.
TIM: We could always do what we did to escape from the basement -- assault the guy who brings us our food.
CLAIRE: That might work. (beat) But we need to plan out an escape route first. I don’t wanna end up running blindly around this building ... we’d get caught again.
TIM: I know.
The door can be heard opening. ALAN enters the room.
ALAN: So, are you two having fun in there?
CLAIRE: Shut up.
ALAN: Why, whatever could be wrong?
CLAIRE: When do we get some food? I’m starving.
ALAN: Not so fast, little lady. Your daddy is gonna serve you your meals personally from now on, after that stunt you pulled in the basement. And I’ll be right here, so if you try to pull anything --
He motions as if pulling the lever that is mounted on the wall by the door.
ALAN (CONT’D): -- it’s over. I pull this thing and that cage drops into that acid like that.
He snaps his fingers.
MOLLY sits on the couch. JASON plops down in an armchair.
MOLLY: So how’s Courtney doing?
JASON: Her recovery is really coming along. Sandy said she’s ready to start skating heavy-duty again.
MOLLY: That’s great! (beat) How does Shannon feel about this?
JASON: She doesn’t know. Neither of them really know that Sandy asked me to make this decision.
MOLLY: What decision?
JASON: I have to decide whether to skate with Courtney again or stick with Shannon. I have no idea what to do.
Molly looks confused, as if the answer should be obvious to him.
MOLLY: The plan all along was for you to go back to Court.
JASON: I know. But if I skate with Shannon this season, we’ll probably make Nationals. If I go back to Courtney, it’ll be a rebuilding season.
MOLLY: So you don’t know whether you can wait to get your big break.
JASON: Exactly. And I’ve put in so much time with Shannon; I don’t want to feel like these last eight months have been a waste.
MOLLY: She’s known all along that this was only a temporary arrangement.
Jason nods but still appears unsure.
MOLLY (CONT’D): Is that all there is to this, or is there something else that’s complicating the decision for you?
BRIAN sits in his chair and DIANE stands before him. He appears completely shocked.
BRIAN: You’re what?!?
DIANE: Pregnant. Two months pregnant.
BRIAN: I don’t believe this … how?
DIANE: Why don’t you ask your dad about that, Brian?
BRIAN: I know how, Diane! But I mean – who? Who’s the father?
DIANE: Tim Fisher.
BRIAN: From when you tricked him in the hospital?
Diane nods, a satisfied smile spread across her face.
BRIAN (CONT’D): I don’t believe this! (beat) Well, what do we do next?
COURTNEY and LAUREN sit across from each other in a booth, scanning over the menus as they talk.
COURTNEY: So what did you and Jason do?
LAUREN: We went out to dinner and then to the mall.
COURTNEY: So you had fun?
LAUREN: Yeah! It was really cool ... he’s such a nice guy! And he’s so cute, too ...
COURTNEY (THINKING): Tell me about it.
LAUREN: But I just got the feeling that his mind was some-
where else half the time.
COURTNEY: What do you mean?
LAUREN: No, it just seemed like he wasn’t totally into me. (beat) Did he just break up with a girlfriend or something? Maybe he was thinking about her.
COURTNEY: No, he hasn’t seriously gone out with someone for like a year.
LAUREN: I wonder who it could’ve been, then.
COURTNEY: I sure as hell hope it wasn’t Shannon.
Lauren looks puzzled.
JASON and MOLLY talk.
JASON: What do you mean, something else?
MOLLY: I mean, are you falling for Shannon or something?
Jason is caught off guard by this comment, but also relieved that Molly is headed in the wrong direction.
JASON: What makes you think that?
MOLLY: Because my brother, in a normal state of mind, would automatically pick Courtney.
JASON: Well, it’s not quite that easy.
MOLLY: Then what is it?
She studies his face for a moment and then gasps.
MOLLY (CONT’D): You don’t mean--?
JASON: What?
MOLLY: It’s not Courtney, is it?
Jason tries to shake his head "no," but he’s smiling widely. Molly sees right through him.
MOLLY (CONT’D): I don’t believe this! I mean, I’ve been saying it since you two were little kids, but I never really thought it might happen! (beat) Does she know?
JASON: I didn’t even know until a few days ago. I wasn’t sure if it was just friendship or what, but I think it’s definitely a little deeper than that.
Molly is amazed.
MOLLY: So then what’s the decision you have to make?
JASON: Well, if I pick Shannon, then Courtney will probably get a new partner. She might even move away to train ... I need to decide between fame with Shannon or a real relationship with Courtney.
DIANE and BRIAN are in the midst of a discussion.
BRIAN: So what do we do next?
DIANE: I’m not quite sure about that. (beat) I know this is my ticket to getting Tim, but I can’t quite figure out how to use it yet.
BRIAN: You could always just tell him the truth and guilt him into supporting you and the baby.
DIANE: Nah, too boring. Besides, Claire has a baby too. Not enough leverage on my side.
Brian seems to agree with her rationalization and continues thinking. Suddenly he has an idea.
BRIAN: Why don’t we just say he slept with you by his own accord?
DIANE: That’s the route I wanna take ... but how? After all, he had amnesia for quite a while, and if I admit that it happened then, it makes me look like the bad guy.
BRIAN: (laughing) You are the bad guy!
DIANE: No, I’m just trying to lure him away from a wife who gives him way too much trouble and make him realize that I’m the right woman for him.
BRIAN: That’s one way to put it. (beat) I guess the trick is to break apart their marriage from the outside and make it seem like you’re the victim, pregnant with the child of a married man who can’t choose a woman. Then you can make him come to you.
DIANE: Exactly. But how do we go about breaking them up?
TIM and CLAIRE remain in their cage.
CLAIRE: What are we gonna do?
TIM: Honestly, I don’t know … it doesn’t seem like there’s any way out of here.
CLAIRE: I know – the trick is just to get out of the cage. But we can’t open up this door, even if we could get over to the walkway. It’s all so risky.
TIM: And it’ll require perfect timing. We can’t afford to mess up.
CLAIRE: There has to be some way that we could get in touch with the authorities.
TIM: We’d need to steal a phone from a guard, and I doubt your father would be that lax with the security at this point. I mean, he’s literally got everything to lose if we escape.
CLAIRE: I know. (beat) For now, why don’t we try to focus on figuring out a route that we could take if we managed to get out of this room?
Tim considers this for a moment.
TIM: I think I’ve got an idea.
COURTNEY and LAUREN continue their conversation.
LAUREN: Isn’t Shannon the girl he’s skating with now?
LAUREN: What’s wrong with her?
COURTNEY: She’s a freakin’ lunatic! She’s obsessed with Jason … she threatens me about "staying away from him."
LAUREN: Why? Aren’t you guys just friends?
COURTNEY: Apparently she thinks that I’m some sort of threat to her having a relationship with him.
LAUREN: Are you?
Courtney looks both embarrassed and confused.
COURTNEY: What do you mean?
LAUREN: I mean, does Shannon have any reason to believe that there could be something between you and Jason?
COURTNEY: No … I – I don’t know why she’d think …
She trails off.
LAUREN: I think I know exactly what’s going on here, Court.
Courtney casts her a baffled look.
LAUREN (CONT’D): You’re falling for Jason, aren’t you?
COURTNEY: What? Me? No! That – that’s ridiculous!
LAUREN: (excited) I don’t think it is. Come on, you’ve been friends with him forever. You’ve obviously got this great chemistry together.
COURTNEY: What about you and Jason?
LAUREN: We went on one date! If you do really like him, I wouldn’t dream of standing in the way of that! You guys have a much deeper relationship -- you just need to build on the friendship. In fact, I’ll even help you get together, if you want.
LAUREN: I will! I’d love to help you!
COURTNEY: I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, Lauren.
MOLLY and JASON continue their conversation.
MOLLY: I personally would choose to skate with Courtney, if I were you.
JASON: I’d love to, but … I just don’t know. It’s not that I feel I owe Shannon something – I feel I owe it to myself to take advantage of something that could advance my career.
MOLLY: I completely and totally understand that. But think about it – you could have that same stuff a year from now with Courtney, plus so much more.
JASON: That’s true. (beat) But I still don’t know.
MOLLY: Look, it’s your decision to make. And whatever you choose, I’ll stand behind you. But please, please listen to me – if you feel like you could have something really special with Courtney, don’t throw that chance away.
Molly begins to look distant.
										FADE TO:
MOLLY and BRENT kiss.
										CUT TO:
BRENT and MOLLY sit on the couch, obviously very involved in their conversation.
										FADE TO:
MOLLY is daydreaming as JASON waits.
JASON: Molly? What’s going on?
She snaps out of it.
MOLLY: Oh, sorry, Jay – what were you saying?
JASON: Actually, you were telling me not to pass up any great opportunities.
MOLLY: Oh yeah. All I’m saying is this: Don’t let anyone important to you slip through your fingers. You might regret it for the rest of your life.
She sighs as she says this; Brent is obviously on her mind.
DIANE and BRIAN discuss their plans.
DIANE: So how do we go about breaking them up?
Brian considers this for a moment.
BRIAN: Why don’t we go in your office? I don’t want anyone to hear this.
DIANE: Good idea.
They exit the cubicle.
DIANE and BRIAN enter. She takes a seat behind her desk while he pulls up a chair and sits across from her.
BRIAN: I think the key to splitting them up is for you to play innocent. She needs to get rid of Tim on her own, and then he’ll be desperate and you can take advantage of that.
DIANE: (sarcastic) Gee, that does wonders for my ego.
BRIAN: You know what I mean! Anyway, you should probably keep this pregnancy quiet for a while. This could turn into a scandal for the company if we don’t play it safe.
DIANE: I know. It’s just -- it’s not fair! Why does Claire get him? Her life is pretty damn screwed up ... I’m sick of never getting what I deserve.
BRIAN: What do you mean?
DIANE: Like when I was a kid -- My younger sister was this perfect little gymnast. My parents, my father especially, refused to find any fault in her whatsoever. So anything that went wrong was always my fault! She got all the attention, everything ...
She trails off, looking as if she wishes she hadn’t made this confession.
BRIAN: Diane, you can’t let a disappointing childhood ruin your entire life.
DIANE: I know I can’t. But I can sure as hell use it to make me stronger. I’m gonna get Tim no matter what -- I refuse to settle for second place again!
COURTNEY and LAUREN continue their conversation.
LAUREN: Why isn’t it a good idea, Courtney?
COURTNEY: Because--
She pauses as the WAITER brings their food. He sets it down and leaves.
COURTNEY (CONT’D): Because I don’t know how Jason feels about me. I don’t wanna ruin our friendship over this.
LAUREN: But what if he does feel the same way about you and you never do anything about it? Won’t you regret that for the rest of your life?
COURTNEY: Yes ... but it’s so complicated.
LAUREN: Relationships are like that.
COURTNEY: Boy, I thought this was difficult in high school. Look at me now.
LAUREN: Well, we’re adults now. It’s gonna get harder. But it’ll all pay off when you find Mr. Right ...
She takes a sip of her drink.
LAUREN (CONT’D): Unless you’ve found him already.
TIM and CLAIRE are in their cage. Claire finally appears animated as she questions Tim.
CLAIRE: So what’s this idea?
TIM: It’s actually pretty simple. We just need to get Alan in here.
CLAIRE: And ...?
TIM: Somehow we need to con him into bringing us a map -- a blueprint of the building.
CLAIRE: I see what you mean. That way we could plan an escape route before we get out.
TIM: We could also find where the nursery is and get Travis back.
CLAIRE: I miss my baby so much.
TIM: I know you do. So do I, believe me. (beat) But it won’t be long before we’re back together with him.
DIANE and BRIAN sit across the desk from each other, a drink in Brian’s hand.
BRIAN: So we’ve kinda figured out what we’re gonna do.
DIANE: Yep. (beat) We can’t get caught, Brian. I’d lose everything -- including Tim.
BRIAN: It wouldn’t exactly make me look good either.
DIANE: I know, I know. (beat) If we’re done, I’m going home. I’m exhausted. And I’ve got a baby to look out for now.
They both rise from their chairs.
BRIAN: Take care of yourself. I’ll see you tomorrow.
He exits the office, leaving Diane by herself. She addresses her stomach.
DIANE: (sotto voce) Baby, you are gonna be my ticket to happiness. I won’t let you grow up without your real daddy as part of your life -- as part of my life.
Her SECRETARY (BETTY) enters holding a sealed envelope.
BETTY: Diane, this letter came for you while you were out. There’s no return address.
DIANE: Hmm ... let me see it.
Betty hands her the letter.
DIANE: Thanks, Betty.
Betty leaves the room. Diane grabs a letter opener and slices the letter open anxiously.
DIANE (THINKING): Who could this be from? Maybe Tim -- I wonder if it’s about his adventures trying to find the baby.
She pulls the letter out and unfolds it. She scans down to the signature and gasps, covering her mouth with one hand.
LAUREN and COURTNEY emerge from the restaurant and head into the parking lot.
LAUREN: Where’d we park?
COURTNEY: (laughing) I don’t remember!
LAUREN: Wait -- we’re over there!
She points in the direction of the car and they begin to walk towards it.
LAUREN (CONT’D): I wouldn’t have guessed what you told me tonight. I knew you and Jason were really close, but I had no idea about this ...
COURTNEY: I hardly did either. It just hit me one day that I was falling in love with him. And now it’s so hard, because I don’t know how he feels about me.
LAUREN: You’ve gotta go for it, Courtney.
COURTNEY: I know I should, but I’m so scared. I mean, I’ve got a lot to lose -- including my friendship with him.
ALAN enters the room and approaches the cage that holds TIM and CLAIRE. He stops in the middle of the walkway and faces them.
ALAN: I just came to check up on our favorite prisoners.
CLAIRE: Well, we’re doing just fine, okay?
Tim nudges her and gives her a "Here’s our chance" look.
CLAIRE (CONT’D): It’s just incredibly boring.
ALAN: You should have thought of that before you turned your dad in to the cops.
CLAIRE: Look, I don’t wanna get into this again.
TIM: This building is huge. How big is the lot?
ALAN: I dunno, a couple of acres. He pretty much just built on the jungle -- the land didn’t cost a penny.
TIM: Do you have a blueprint of the building around? I’d love to see it.
ALAN: Actually, we probably have a couple of them ... but why should I give one to you?
CLAIRE: Because we just want to see what’s in this building. It’s amazing.
TIM: Come on -- we have nothing else to do.
Alan considers their request for a moment.
ALAN: Okay, fine. I guess you can’t do any harm with some paper. I’ll go get one for you.
CLAIRE: Thanks, Alan.
Alan begins to exit but turns towards them again.
ALAN: Just don’t think that I’m gonna start doing favors for you two. I’m loyal to my boss.
TIM: That’s fine. This is our only request.
Alan leaves the room.
CLAIRE: (hushed but excited) We did it, Tim! We tricked him into getting a blueprint for us!
TIM: I know! I just hope that once we figure out an escape route that we can actually get out of this cage.
SHANNON walks onto the porch and goes to ring the doorbell. Since the door is open and only the screen door is closed, she spies JASON and MOLLY talking in the living room.
SHANNON (THINKING): This might be worth a listen ...
MOLLY and JASON continue to talk.
MOLLY: I just hope you choose whatever you feel is best for you.
JASON: I just don’t know. It’s so hard to make a decision.
MOLLY: Well, I’m gonna go help Mom with dinner. I promised I would.
JASON: Go ahead. Thanks for the talk.
MOLLY: No problem, little bro.
Molly walks out of the room.
JASON (CONT’D): Hang on, Molly.
Molly walks back into the room.
JASON (CONT’D): I know exactly what I’m gonna do.
Molly waits for an answer, trying to read his face.
JASON (CONT’D): When I go to the rink tomorrow, I’m gonna tell Sandy that I’m picking Courtney.
Molly looks pleased. Jason appears proud of his decision.
SHANNON stands on the porch, peering in through the screen door. She has just overheard Jason’s decision.
SHANNON: (sotto voce) Crap! No! He can’t pick Courtney! But it looks like he will -- or at least he’ll try. (beat) There’s only one thing left for me to do now.
She walks down the steps of the porch and heads away from the house, pulling her cell phone out of her pocket. She begins to dial a number as she walks.

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