Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #43

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Episode #43
A Few Days After #42



JASON is lying on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.

JASON: (sotto voce) How did everything get so screwed up? All I wanted was to be happy … I thought I could have that with Courtney. But then this whole clubbing mess happened. I’ll be lucky if she ever talks to me again. (beat) Maybe she is right about Shannon – maybe Shannon’s behind this whole thing. I just find it so hard to believe. Why would she do that? To get me? She can’t be that crazy! (beat) And then look at what I did to her. She obviously thought that my sleeping with her meant more than it did. I never should have gotten drunk! If I had just been aware of what I was doing … I never would’ve slept with her. I never would’ve gotten in that car crash. (beat) But I still wouldn’t have a chance with Courtney.



DANIELLE is putting stacks of folded clothing into the dresser drawers. Upon putting away the last stack, she sees the DIARY and RED WIG sitting atop the dresser.

DANIELLE: I can’t believe all the secrets that this diary holds. If only we could find out who this “Lisa” was, we could get a criminal off the streets. But how can we ever find her? She didn’t leave any trace of where she went – she was probably using an alias to begin with.

She holds the wig in her hands and examines it for the thousandth time. Intrigued, she begins to put it on. A small OBJECT drops out of the wig and onto the floor.

Danielle looks down at the carpet and sees that the object is a single KEY.



TIM is reading a magazine on the bed. DIANE enters, looking playful.

DIANE: What do you say about a little “fun” before I go to the store?

TIM: You know what I told you, Diane. No more of that until we’re married.

DIANE: But I’m having your baby! It’s not like we’re virgins or anything. This is your second kid!

TIM: I know. It’s just – I want that first night of marriage to be really special for us. A new beginning.

DIANE: Oh, all right. If you say so …

She picks up her purse from the nightstand.

DIANE (CONT’D): I’ll be back in a little while. I’ve got some grocery shopping to do.

TIM: Are you sure you’re gonna be okay?

DIANE: I’ve functioned alone my whole life. I’m sure I can manage a trip to the store.

TIM: I’m just a little nervous about the baby.

DIANE: I can see why you would be, after Claire got you and the baby locked up in that jungle. Well, I can assure you there won’t be any monkey business goin’ on here – at least not outside this apartment.

She flashes him a sly smile.

TIM: Diane …

DIANE: I’m going, I’m going. (beat) See you later. I love you.

TIM: I—(he swallows) I love you too.


Waving, she flits out of the bedroom. Moments later, the front door is heard opening and closing.

TIM: (sotto voce) Ah! She’s finally gone! This gives me a chance to search this apartment for that letter – it’s the only chance I have of proving what she’s tried to do to Claire and me.

Out on Tim’s determination.



SHANNON paces around the living room. Frustration is visible in her eyes as she recalls a scene from her visit to the hospital.

          FADE TO:



SHANNON speaks to JASON, who is lying in the hospital bed.

SHANNON: Listen, about last night--

JASON: Let’s not get into that again, Shannon. It was a mistake.

SHANNON: How can you say that? Even if we were drunk -- it felt so right.

JASON: I-- We could never make that work. Just believe me: It was a mistake.

Shannon is unable to breathe at hearing these words.

          FADE TO:


SHANNON snaps out of her flashback. She shudders and picks up a framed PHOTO of herself and Jason, obviously taken as a publicity picture for skating, off of the mantle.

SHANNON: We’re gonna make it work ... we have to. I won’t let Courtney get in the way any longer!



DANIELLE picks the KEY up off of the carpet and studies it.

DANIELLE: I wonder what this could be for ...

There is a knock on the door.

DANIELLE (CONT’D): Come on in!

The door opens. ANDY enters, looking amused.

ANDY: Hello.

DANIELLE: Hey. How’s it going?

ANDY: Pretty good, I must say. And you?

DANIELLE: Boring, boring, boring ... until, like, a minute ago. Look what I found inside the wig.

She shows him the key. He stares at it silently.

DANIELLE (CONT’D): What? What is it?

ANDY: I don’t believe it.


ANDY: I know exactly what that key is for.



TIM enters. He quickly locks the front door and then looks around the room. Spying a bookshelf, he moves toward it.

TIM: (sotto voce) This might be a good place to start.

He begins looking in-between the books, removing them from the shelves, and holding them open upside-down. This searching produces no hint of the letter.

TIM: Damn! Where could she have hidden it?

He continues going through the bookshelf.



COURTNEY is flipping through a magazine when HELEN enters, carrying two grocery bags. She promptly places them on the floor.

HELEN: Why didn’t you tell me about Jason?

Courtney drops the magazine and looks up.

COURTNEY: What about him?

HELEN: The car accident! Hello!

Courtney looks confused.

COURTNEY: What car accident? What are you talking about, Mom?

HELEN: You mean you didn’t know either?

COURTNEY: Apparently not. What happened?

HELEN: Don’t worry – he’s fine. I guess a few days ago – when we had all that snow – his car ran off the road. Luckily someone found him in time and called 911. They let him out of the hospital that same day.

Courtney breathes a sigh of relief.

COURTNEY: At least he’s okay.

HELEN: I wonder why no one called to tell us.

COURTNEY: I’m sure he didn’t want to be embarrassed, Mom. How’d you find out?

HELEN: I ran into Sarah at the grocery store. She told me all about it … I guess she thought we knew about it,  from the way she talked. I had to ask what she was talking about.

COURTNEY: That’s really strange …

HELEN: I know, but you’re probably right about his not wanting to be embarrassed. I’m sure they’d have called if – Heaven forbid – anything serious had happened. (beat) I should go unpack this stuff.

She picks up the grocery bags and heads for the kitchen.

Courtney lays back on the couch, confusion spreading over her face.

COURTNEY (THINKING): Why didn’t Jason have them call me about his accident? I know we had a fight and everything, but I didn’t think he was at the point of not speaking to me at all. I must’ve been wrong …

She leaps up from the couch and, tears welling up in her eyes, heads upstairs.



TIM stands in the middle of the room, hands on his hips. He surveys the room and sighs in annoyance before going over to the phone and dialing a number.


CLAIRE is walking down the corridor when her cell phone rings. She answers it.

CLAIRE: Hello?

TIM (OS): Hey, it’s me.

CLAIRE: Oh, hi! Are you alone?

TIM (OS): Yeah, she’s gone.


TIM is speaking on the phone.

TIM: Unfortunately, I pretty much tore the living room apart and found no sign of that letter whatsoever.

CLAIRE (OS): You put everything back, right?

TIM: I cleaned up completely. I don’t want her to be at all suspicious.


CLAIRE is talking on her cell phone.

CLAIRE: Well, keep up the hard work.

TIM (OS): What if it’s not here, Claire? What if she destroyed it?

CLAIRE: Then she destroyed it. But if we want to move onto the next part of this plan, that letter is going to be really important.

TIM (OS): You’re right – I need to find it. It has to be here.

CLAIRE: Just keep looking. I should probably go ... I go on duty in a couple of minutes. I’m sorry you have to go through this.

TIM (OS): It’ll all be worth it. Don’t worry about me.

CLAIRE: Okay, then. I’ll talk to you later. I love you.


TIM is talking on the phone.

TIM: Okay, I love you too. I’ll call you if anything happens over here ... Bye.

He hangs up the phone. Staring down at it, he sighs and then leaves the room.



ANDY and DANIELLE enter the crowded station.

DANIELLE: How do you know this is the place?

ANDY: I recognized the key. My dad kept some stuff in a locker here right before he died.

DANIELLE: How long did he have it here?

ANDY: Actually, it’s kind of complicated. (beat) I-- I was engaged to this girl, Melissa. My dad had this ring that he wanted me to give her, but he was scared to keep it in the house after we had a robbery attempt -- it was an heirloom, that came from his father and his grandfather before him.

DANIELLE: Why hadn’t he given it to your mother?

ANDY: My dad was married before, for a brief time. He had given that ring to his first wife, and he thought it was in bad taste to give it to my mother also.

DANIELLE: Makes sense. (beat) So what happened with this engagement?

ANDY: Shortly after he died we broke up. Luckily we recovered the ring -- he mentioned it in his will. I guess it was just because we’d just lost him or something, but the whole experience of coming here to get the ring out of the locker just sticks out in my mind. I guess it was just luck.

DANIELLE: Tell me about it. Now let’s find that locker.

ANDY: What number is it?

Danielle pauses to read the number off the key.

DANIELLE: Number 274. Let’s go.

They move into the aisles of lockers, searching for #274.



JASON is sitting at the desk, trying to concentrate on his schoolwork. Unfortunately, his thoughts are elsewhere.

JASON: (sotto voce) Why am I having so much trouble getting my mind off this mess?

          FADE TO:



JASON has his ear pressed to the bedroom door, listening to the girls’ conversation.

LAUREN (OS): It’s not a matter of believing Shannon. It’s--

COURTNEY (OS): (interrupting, upset) It doesn’t matter. At this point, I don’t care if I ever see him again.

Jason, having overheard Courtney’s last comment, steps back from the door, obviously hurt.

          FADE TO:


Frustrated and distracted, JASON slams his pencil down onto the desk.

JASON: (angry) I can’t go on like this. I need to figure out a way to make things right with both Shannon and Courtney.



COURTNEY is lying on her back on the bed. The radio is on; “Dreaming of You” by Selena is playing.

COURTNEY (THINKING): Why didn’t Jason tell me about the accident? He hasn’t even spoken to me in almost two weeks ... What is going on? Just when I figure out what I want, everything gets all screwed up.

She covers her face with her hands in exasperation.

COURTNEY: This whole thing just sucks!

          FADE TO:



JASON and COURTNEY skate across the ice. They do side-by-side jumps and then some footwork together, followed by a dramatic lift.

“Dreaming of You” continues to play over the scene:

 “‘Cause I’m dreaming
  Of you tonight
  ‘Till tomorrow
  And for all of my life
  And there’s nowhere in the world
  That I’d rather be ...
  Than here in my room,
  Dreaming about
  You and me ...”

Jason sets Courtney down off the lift and they glide into a beautiful ending pose. As they stand posing, their eyes meet with great intensity.

          CUT TO:


COURTNEY quickly snaps out of her flashback and rolls over, crying into her blanket as the song plays on.



Looking exhausted, TIM drops down backwards onto the bed.

TIM: (sotto voce) I’m never gonna find that damn thing ... I bet it’s not even here.

He closes his eyes, imagining for a moment how things might turn out if he can’t find the letter.

TIM (CONT’D): (sotto voce) Damn her! She’s caused so much trouble for Claire and I already -- she’s almost as bad as James! (beat) I need to find that thing ...



CLAIRE pauses by the nurses’ station for a moment. DR. SMITH approaches.

DR. SMITH: (sounding crazed, as usual) Well, well, Nurse ...

Claire raises an eyebrow at her odd coworker.

CLAIRE: Hi, Dr. Smith.

DR. SMITH: Good day. Jolly good day, don’t you think?

CLAIRE: You got that right.

They stand in silence for a moment.

DR. SMITH: (blurting it out) So, what’s going on with that woman who’s having your husband’s baby?

He speaks hurriedly and leans in very close.

CLAIRE: Not that it’s really your business--

She moves him back gently.

CLAIRE (CONT’D): --but Tim and I realized that Diane tricked him into everything. Do you remember when he was here in the hospital with amnesia?

DR. SMITH: (suddenly talking like a pirate) Aye, I does.

CLAIRE: Yeah. (beat) Anyway, she pretended she was me ... one thing led to another. You get the picture.

DR. SMITH: So what ‘r’ ye gon’ do with the wench now?

CLAIRE: Oh, we’ve got plans for her. Big plans.

Dr. Smith jumps back into a normal standing position from his hunched-over, inquisitive pose.

DR. SMITH: (his voice back to normal) Oh, okay. See ya later, alligator.

He departs.

CLAIRE: (sotto voce) Why that man is still allowed to practice medicine is beyond me ...

She walks away with a smile on her face.



Within the crowded station, ANDY and DANIELLE stand before a locker. They turn the key and open the door.

DANIELLE: (playfully) Can’t ya just feel the excitement?

Andy grins at her.

Inside the open door they find a VIDEOTAPE.

DANIELLE: (surprised) A video?

ANDY: What’s wrong?

DANIELLE: No, I just expected this to kinda be something that would blow this whole little mystery wide open.

ANDY: Maybe it is.

DANIELLE: You think so?

ANDY: There’s only one way to find out.

He closes the locker, then takes the video from her and leads her out of the station by the hand.



SHANNON pours liquor into a shot glass.

SHANNON: Damn you, Courtney! This was gonna be the best Christmas ever. I was gonna get exactly what I wanted: Jason. But no -- you had to just keep on screwing things up.

She downs the contents of the shot glass and pours another.

SHANNON (CONT’D): I am gonna have Jason if it’s the last thing I do! (beat) And if I can’t, then I’ll make you pay, Courtney -- I’ll make you pay.

She chugs the liquor and slams the shot glass down on the counter.



ANDY and DANIELLE enter the spacious room. Danielle, having cleaned the room before, is still awe-stricken by the enormous billiard table and big-screen television, along with the expansive entertainment system lined up along one wall.

DANIELLE: I still can’t get over this room.

ANDY: It’s definitely my favorite in the house. It’s sort of my place to hang out ... Mother hardly ever sets foot in here. (beat) Have a seat.

He points to a large plush sofa along another wall. Danielle sits down on it.

DANIELLE: So let’s that video goin’, huh?

ANDY: We certainly should.

He pops the video in the VCR and then sits down on the sofa, keeping an appropriate distance between himself and Danielle. Picking up a remote control, he begins to rewind the tape.

DANIELLE: I wonder why this tape was hidden in that locker ... How important could it be?

ANDY: We’re about to find out.

He pushes “play” and the video begins to unfold on the enormous screen. At first little happens at all; it is simply a steady shot of a large suburban home.

ANDY (CONT’D): Should I skip through some of this?

DANIELLE: Might as well.

As he fast-forwards through more of the same footage, Danielle begins to look discouraged.

DANIELLE (CONT’D): Maybe this tape is useless. But why would someone tape this?

ANDY: I think I know why.

He hits “play” again and their attention shifts to the screen, where the house begins to erupt in flames.

Andy and Danielle stare at the screen, and then each other, in shock.



TIM stands in the middle of the living room, arms folded. He seems to be waiting for something. Suddenly the jingle of keys is heard and the doorknob turns. DIANE enters, carrying two grocery bags.

DIANE: Oh, hey! Sorry that took so long.

She puts the grocery bags down.

DIANE (CONT’D): I just ran to the store, and then I had a few more errands to run ... It just keeps going and going, I’ll tell ya.

She picks up the grocery bags.

TIM: Whoa, whoa ... hold on.

She pauses.

DIANE: What?

TIM: Before you take care of those, there’s a little something we need to discuss.

DIANE: (worried) What do you mean?

TIM: Well, you know, it’s actually pretty funny. I was just sitting around, getting organized, when ... well, I ran across somethin’.

DIANE: What would that be?

He pulls the folded LETTER out of his pocket and waves it in front of her face.

TIM: Just this.

Diane realizes she may have been caught, but knows she may still have a chance if she plays dumb.

DIANE: W-what is it?!?

TIM: I would assume you’d know, Diane.

DIANE: No, I have no idea what it is.

CLAIRE: Of course you don’t, Diane. You never do.

Diane turns and is shocked to see CLAIRE standing at the entrance to the small kitchen.

DIANE: What are you doing here?

CLAIRE: Give it up, Diane. You’re busted.


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