Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #27

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Episode #27
The Day After #26

PAULA is seated at the kitchen table, which is covered in bridal magazines and such. She leafs through them as she waits for someone.
PAULA: I can’t believe both of my daughters are planning weddings ... I’ve been waiting so long for Sarah and Brent to renew their vows after they eloped. And I hope that once she marries Craig, Molly will feel a little more stable. This stalker business has her whole life shaken up.
She interrupts herself as she finds something of note in a magazine. She marks the page.
PAULA (CONT’D): I just hope that nothing messes up either of their big days.
The doorbell rings. Paula leaves the kitchen to unlock the door. Zoom in on one of the bridal magazines; on its cover are the words: "Special Quiz: Is Your Groom-To-Be the Right Man For You?"
BRENT sits at his desk, trying to concentrate on his work. Obviously something is bothering him. He sits back to gather his thoughts.
BRENT (THINKING): Why can’t I get my mind off Molly? Could I actually be falling in love with her? No -- it won’t work. It never could. She’s marrying Craig and I’m married to Sarah already. I’m gonna go through with this renewal of our vows to prove to myself and to Sarah how much I love her. I owe her at least that much.
JASON is getting on the ice when COURTNEY approaches him from behind. She covers his eyes with her hands.
COURTNEY: Guess who?
JASON: Gee, I wonder ... Courtney?
COURTNEY: How’d ya guess?
JASON: (sarcastic) I got lucky, I guess. (beat) So, how do you feel?
COURTNEY: Really great! I can’t wait to get back on the ice. This is my first serious practice since I got hurt.
JASON: I know. Just be careful.
COURTNEY: What do you mean?
JASON: Just take it easy. I don’t want you to get hurt again.
SHANNON watches their conversation from afar. She appears jealous.
SHANNON: Look at her, flirting with Jason like a little tramp ... it makes me sick. (beat) I just hope that Jason doesn’t say anything to her about his decision to skate with her before he talks to Sandy about it. Otherwise my plan would be ruined.
PAULA and SARAH enter the room talking.
SARAH: Mom, you don’t know how grateful I am to you for helping me plan the ceremony and the reception!
PAULA: It’s the least I could do, Sarah -- your father and I have been waiting for this since you and Brent got married.
SARAH: I can’t believe we’ve been married for almost five months now!
PAULA: The time flies, let me tell you ... but if you’re with someone you genuinely love, it’s worth every second.
They pause a moment to it down. Sarah glances at a few of the magazines.
PAULA: Why don’t we get to work? We’ve got a lot to do.
SARAH: I know, I know. (beat) Mom, can I ask you a question?
PAULA: Go ahead, dear.
SARAH: Okay. How did you and Dad make your marriage last all these years? You still seem as happy today as you ever have.
PAULA: Like I said, it’s a matter of being madly in love with the person you marry.
SARAH: I feel like I’ve found that with Brent.
PAULA: That’s a good first step. But you also need to work at it -- compromise and understanding are very important. You can’t have a successful marriage if both people aren’t open to total communication.
SARAH: Of course. (beat) I would’ve expected you to say something like honesty, too.
Paula considers her response for a moment.
PAULA: Honesty is definitely important -- it’s important to have trust in a relationship. But sometimes there are things that might be better left unsaid.
Sarah listens to her mother’s advice.
										FADE TO:
MOLLY and BRENT kiss while sitting on the couch.
										FADE TO:
SARAH and PAULA are seated at the kitchen table.
SARAH: Yeah, I see what you mean. No matter how honest you are about some things, they can only hurt the relationship.
BRENT sits at his desk, deep in thought.
BRENT (THINKING): When I married Sarah I committed myself to her for life. What happened between Molly and I -- when we kissed -- was a fluke thing. Maybe there could have been a relationship between us. But there isn’t, and there never will be.
There is a knock on the door.
BRENT: Come in!
The door opens and MOLLY enters.
BRENT: Hey! What’re you doing here?
MOLLY: I came by to drop this off as evidence.
She pulls out of her purse a PAPER HEART and hands it to Brent.
BRENT: What’s this?
MOLLY: Craig and I found it on the doorstep yesterday morning.
BRENT: From the stalker?
MOLLY: I would tend to think so.
BRENT: Me too. (beat) I just wish this would end!
MOLLY: This whole thing with the stalker?
Brent nods.
MOLLY (CONT’D): So do I ... it would be such a relief. My life is so busy right now; I can’t spend half my time worrying about some psycho coming to kill me.
BRENT: I just find it incredibly strange that he hasn’t made a move for you yet.
MOLLY: Let’s hope he doesn’t.
BRENT: I’m just getting very suspicious about this whole business.
MOLLY: What do you mean?
BRENT: What I mean is, Could this all just be some sick kind
of practical joke? Could someone be doing this for a reason that’s completely beyond our guessing?
SHANNON watches JASON and COURTNEY from afar as they talk. Disgusted, she pulls out her cell phone and dials a number.
SHANNON: (on phone) Hey, are you ready? (beat) So then it’s all set. (beat) Okay, good. Bye.
She smiles evilly as she puts the phone away.
BRENT and MOLLY are discussing her situation. He holds the PAPER HEART that she found.
MOLLY: Do you seriously think this could just be a cruel trick?
BRENT: The thought crossed my mind when all this began, but now it seems like it’s just intended to bother you -- if any harm were intended, I’m almost positive he would’ve tried to get you by now.
MOLLY: I - I don’t know what to think.
BRENT: Just think of this as a serious matter until we get it resolved. You need to be on guard at all times.
MOLLY: (sarcastic) Of course, master.
They exchange humorous glances.
BRENT: So, how’s everything going with the wedding plans?
MOLLY: Pretty good. My mom and dad are helping out. It’s such a huge load of work.
BRENT: Tell me about it. Sarah and I are going crazy trying to get everything together.
MOLLY: Yeah, she told me about the renewal of your vows.
BRENT: We’ve been wanting to do it since we got married. My dad and my brother and sister are flying in for it, and they’re helping out a little. As a matter of fact, Sarah’s at your mom’s house right now planning it.
MOLLY: Really? I’m going back there to plan stuff with her a little later.
BRENT: Is Craig’s family coming out for it?
MOLLY: He doesn’t really have much family left. His parents are dead. He has some cousins in Chicago who are coming, though.
BRENT: Hmm. (beat) So you’re going over to your mom’s after this?
MOLLY: Back there, actually -- I’m staying with my mom and dad for a few days. Craig’s out of town -- he gets back tomorrow.
BRENT: Oh, good. It’s nice to see you’re taking care of yourself.
Molly looks at him questioningly.
BRENT (CONT’D): I’d hate to see anything bad happen to you.
They share a warm smile in silence.
PAULA and SARAH are still seated. Some time has obviously expired, as both look worn out.
SARAH: I had no idea how much work this would be!
PAULA: Don’t complain -- I’ve got Molly coming over later to work on her wedding!
SARAH: Wow! You’re gonna be exhausted.
Paula responds with an exaggerated nod.
SARAH (CONT’D): (inquisitively) Are she and Craig doing well?
PAULA: Yeah, I think so. I hope that this marriage will add some stability to her life -- she’s been so off-kilter since she began being stalked.
SARAH: I know ... I really hope that she and Craig are happy together.
PAULA: That’s nice to hear, dear.
SARAH (THINKING): That way she’ll keep her hands off of my husband!
JASON skates over to the boards and takes a drink of water.
JASON (THINKING): I’ve gotta get Sandy alone so I can talk to her about my decision ... at least Shannon and I are practicing separately today. If I was skating with her I’d probably drop her or something out of guilt.
SANDY skates over to him.
SANDY: So, Jason, have you given any thought to what I asked you to think about the other day?
JASON: I have--
COURTNEY (OS): (interrupting) Aaaaaggghhh!
Jason turns around quickly and sees COURTNEY lying on the ice. He begins to rush over to her.
JASON: (panicked) Courtney!
COURTNEY is lying on the ice, surrounded by several SKATERS, including JASON and SANDY.
SHANNON stands to the side and slowly approaches the huddle.
SHANNON (THINKING): This is too good ... could she actually be hurt again? That would make my life so much easier.
JASON: Courtney, are you okay?
An unhurt Courtney sits up.
COURTNEY: I’m fine, everyone ... go back to skating.
The crowd breaks up and Shannon approaches.
SHANNON: Are you alright, Courtney?
COURTNEY: I’m fine. I was just trying some of my double jumps again and I came down really weird. That’s why I screamed.
JASON: I’m glad you’re okay -- I thought you’d been hurt again.
SHANNON (THINKING): (sarcastic) Yeah, that would’ve been a shame.
COURTNEY: No, I’m fine. Go back to work, guys.
Sandy pulls Jason aside as he skates away.
SANDY: Listen, I’ve gotta give a lesson now. I’ll talk to you about this later.
JASON: Okay, no problem.
Sandy skates away.
JASON (THINKING): I’m glad Courtney’s alright. If anything happened to her, I don’t know what I’d do with myself.
PAULA looks through some magazines at the kitchen table.
PAULA (THINKING): Sarah sure seems thrilled about renewing her vows to Brent ... but she also seems almost obsessed with the idea of making this marriage work. Where could she have gotten this complex about failed marriages? Her father and I certainly never had any major trouble.
MOLLY enters the room.
MOLLY: I see you’re all ready to go.
PAULA: As a matter of fact, I am. Sarah was just here planning her ceremony and reception with me.
MOLLY: Yeah, that’s what Brent told me. At least his family is helping out a little.
PAULA: I know. It makes a difference, believe me.
MOLLY: Craig offered to help out, so he’ll do some of this stuff with us when he gets back.
PAULA: Oh, good -- it’s nice that he wants to be so involved in this process.
MOLLY: Yeah, he’s really looking forward to this wedding.
PAULA: And you are too, of course?
MOLLY: (without much enthusiasm) Yeah.
PAULA: Is something wrong, honey? You don’t seem too excited about this wedding.
Molly is stunned that her mother has picked up on this.
BRENT is still trying to work, but Molly’s visit obviously has him thinking.
BRENT (THINKING): This is absolutely ridiculous. I vowed to Sarah that I’d love her and only her for the rest of my life. Now I find myself practically obsessing over Molly ... what is wrong with me? Why am I -- how can I be -- in love with both of them? I’m a complete jerk ...
SARAH enters without knocking.
SARAH: (cheerfully) Hey, honey!
BRENT: Oh, hey. What’s up?
SARAH: Nothing much. I just finished up over at my mom’s.
He rises to give her a greeting kiss.
SARAH (CONT’D): I missed you.
BRENT: I missed you too. (beat) So how’d it go?
SARAH: It was fine. A lot of work, but fine.
BRENT: Molly’s over there right now doing the same thing, I think.
SARAH: (caught off guard) Molly was here?
COURTNEY is by the boards, getting a drink of water. She watches SHANNON, who enters a jump and sags to the ground without much determination.
COURTNEY (THINKING): I wonder what’s going on with her. She seems incredibly nervous -- she’s been falling on her jumps all day. Maybe it’s just that I’m back here skating again. I hope she’s at least a little intimidated ... maybe she’ll back off from this ridiculous quest to get Jason.
Shannon hoists herself up off the ice and goes over to the boards for a breather.
SHANNON (THINKING): I’ve gotta calm down -- I’m way too nervous. I think it’s showing, too. I have nothing to worry about; everything I’m doing is completely necessary.
										FADE TO:
A close-up of a frantic MAN and WOMAN appears.
WOMAN: Let us out! Please! Let us go!
MAN: What are you doing? What’s wrong with you? Let us out of here!
WOMAN: Let us go -- please!
										FADE TO:
SHANNON stands by the boards, looking disturbed as she pulls herself out of the awful flashback.
SHANNON (THINKING): Why do I even think about that? It’s not gonna get any less painful. (beat) What’s done is done -- I need to get on with my life, with my future. And my future is definitely with Jason Fisher.
She eyes JASON as he moves down the ice.
PAULA questions MOLLY as they sit at the kitchen table.
MOLLY: No, Mom, it’s not that I’m not excited about this wedding. But I’m so nervous about the stalker ... I just need to relax.
PAULA: Don’t stress yourself out, Molly. If you don’t feel like the timing is right with this wedding, don’t do it.
MOLLY: No, it’s not that -- really, it’s not.
PAULA: Okay, then. We’ve got a lot of work to do. (beat) But I’m just telling you, Molly: If you don’t feel ready for this marriage, don’t rush into it. You could regret it for the rest of your life.
BRENT eyes SARAH strangely after her latest remark.
BRENT: Yes, Molly was here – what’s wrong with that?
SARAH: No, nothing. It’s just that –
She stalls to think.
SARAH (CONT’D): It’s just that my mom had sent her out to get some stuff. I wasn’t expecting that she’d have been here.
BRENT: Oh. Well, she brought over something else that she found outside her apartment. Another little "gift."
SARAH: What was it this time?
BRENT: Just a paper heart with some message on it … nothing threatening.
SARAH: I really wonder what the hell is going on with all this. Something just seems out of place.
BRENT: I know – something very odd is going on here.
PAULA and MOLLY sit at the kitchen table.
MOLLY: Mom, I wouldn’t rush into something like marriage if I wasn’t ready.
PAULA: I’m just making sure you’re doing what you feel is right, honey. Wouldn’t it be unfair to both you and Craig if you married him, if you took those vows, without your whole heart? You can’t just suddenly say, "Oh well, I guess this won’t work" and erase the whole thing. You could ruin his life – and yours.
MOLLY: Don’t worry about me, Mom. I’ll be fine.
PAULA: Alright then.
They look through some of the magazines in silence for a moment.
MOLLY: I’m gonna go out to the freezer in the garage and get some ice cream. I’m starving. Want anything?
PAULA: No, I’m fine.
Molly leaves the kitchen.
PAULA (THINKING): I’d like to trust Molly, but I get the distinct impression that something isn’t as it should be. This is so unlike her – normally she has things well planned out. For that matter, I wonder why she’d be uncomfortable going into this marriage. It certainly can’t be Craig. Could it be someone else? (beat) Maybe I should just trust Molly. She probably knows what’s best at this point in her life.
MOLLY enters the garage and heads for the freezer. She pulls it open and rummages for ice cream as she silently considers her predicament.
MOLLY (THINKING): Maybe Mom is right … maybe I am making a big mistake. I shouldn’t go into this marriage halfhearted. I do love Craig, but not – I just don’t feel the same way about him as I do about Brent. (beat) But then again, it’s not an option to just call off my wedding and tell Brent how I feel. After all, he’s married to Sarah – I’d ruin not only Craig’s life, but Sarah’s. Why does this have to be so hard?
Why does love have to be this painful?
She stands considering this for a moment before she finds the ice cream in the freezer and heads back to the kitchen.
A skate lands on the ice and glides backward. It stops next to the boards and it is seen to belong to COURTNEY, who is catching her breath. SANDY approaches her.
SANDY: How does this feel?
COURTNEY: Pretty good. I’ve been waiting to be able to do this for so many months … all the times I could get back on the ice but not do anything were so frustrating. But I’m finally ready to get back into things.
SANDY: That’s nice to hear. Why don’t you get off the ice now? You’ve been skating for quite a while.
COURTNEY: I was just thinking the same thing. I’m kinda tired.
SANDY: Go ahead. I’ll talk to you later.
Courtney leaves the ice and Sandy skates over to JASON. Meanwhile, SHANNON stands nearby, watching them talk.
SHANNON: (sotto voce) This better work. I can’t afford to have Jason pick Courtney. If they skate together, I’ll have no connection to him – I’ll have no chance at a relationship with him.
SANDY: So, you were starting to say something about your decision, Jason. What is it?
JASON: I did a lot of thinking. I weighed all my options … it was hard to make a choice. But in the end, I managed to come to a decision. I—
He is interrupted by the sound of Courtney screaming. Both he and Sandy look around. She continues to wail, unseen.
JASON: What’s going on?
Sandy points and Jason looks in that direction. Lying on the floor next to the ice is a sobbing Courtney, clutching her knee. Jason immediately gets off the ice as the rest of the skaters form a crowd. Random shouts of inquiry are heard. Jason bends down over Courtney.
JASON: Courtney, what happened?
COURTNEY: (weeping) My knee—
JASON: What’s wrong with it?
COURTNEY: (weeping) I was— I was just walking. All of a sudden I felt something hit me in the back of the knee.
As Courtney spills out these details, Shannon stands at the back of the crowd. She grins happily.

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