Icy Roads • A Screenplay by David Phalen and W.T. Pfefferle

1 INT. BEDROOM EARLY MORNING 1

ERIC and CELIA are in bed together, sleeping. ERIC is 23, but looks even younger. There is, perhaps, the hint of a childish grin on his face as he sleeps. At the very least there is a child-like openness and even helplessness about him. CELIA is the same age as ERIC, but something about the way she sleeps makes her look older. She is beautiful, with a short haircut that keeps her hair out of her eyes. The two are close to each other, ERIC's back to CELIA, whose arm is draped loosely across him. We see them in total silence from above for what should seem like almost forever, then the RADIO ALARM CLOCK turns on softly to the opening strains of some way cool song. ERIC and CELIA open their eyes at the same time and look straight ahead at the clock. They both stare at it in a tired way for a few seconds without moving. Then ERIC moves his hand up to his face to scratch his nose, in the process knocking CELIA's arm away from him. Again, a pause for a couple of beats.

ERIC
Want to get married?

Neither ERIC nor CELIA show any reaction to this as the MUSIC comes up.

2 EXT. PARKING LOT DAY 2

ERIC and CELIA come running out of a typical-looking APARTMENT BUILDING and sprint toward the parking lot. ERIC heads for a mid-seventies type BUICK, while CELIA goes for a late model CONVERTIBLE parked right next to it. CELIA reaches hers a second before ERIC reaches his. As the MUSIC continues to play, ERIC protests briefly, then gives in. CELIA gets into the driver's side of the CONVERTIBLE and unlocks the passenger side door for ERIC.

3 EXT. HIGHWAY DAY 3

As CREDITS ROLL, we see a helicopter shot of ERIC and CELIA driving along a coastal highway in the CONVERTIBLE. The shot follows the car as the MUSIC continues to play.

4 EXT. CITY HALL DAY 4

As CREDITS and MUSIC continue, the CAR pulls up to a building that is an unmistakable small town city hall. ERIC and CELIA leap out of the car almost before it has stopped and run up a wide set of stairs, scattering bystanders as they go. They disappear into the building.

5 INT. CITY HALL DAY 5

As CREDITS and MUSIC continue, we see ERIC and CELIA standing outside a door with a frosted glass window. Etched on the window are the words “JUSTICE OF THE PEACE.” ERIC reaches for the doorknob, but then seems to think better of it and, smiling, motions for CELIA to go in first. CELIA reaches for the door, pauses, then motions for ERIC to open it. ERIC reaches for it again and is about to pull away and re-enact the previous stunt, but CELIA takes his hand, puts it on the knob, and they open the door together.

6 INT. JUSTICE OF THE PEACE'S OFFICE DAY 6

AS CREDITS and MUSIC continue, through a frosted glass window we can see the silhouetted figures of ERIC and CELIA standing in front of the JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, who is reading from a book. At the end of this, we see ERIC and CELIA kiss.

7 EXT. SIDEWALK DAY 7

AS CREDITS and MUSIC continue, ERIC and CELIA stand next to a CONCESSION STAND on a BEACH. The MAN inside the stand pushes TWO HOT DOGS and TWO SOFT DRINK CUPS across the counter and CELIA gives him some MONEY. ERIC and CELIA each take one hot dog and one cup. CELIA is about to walk toward a table, but ERIC says something and she turns back, smiling. ERIC lifts his cup in the air and says something. CELIA's smile melts into something that could almost turn into tears. They touch cups together, then each take a drink. CELIA leans forward and kisses ERIC on the cheek.

8 INT. CAR EVENING 8

As CREDITS and MUSIC continue, ERIC and CELIA drive in the other direction down the coastal highway. CELIA is driving; ERIC sits very close to her on the seat. They are both smiling and enjoying the wind blowing through their hair. The shot pulls slowly back as the CREDITS and MUSIC end.

9 INT. BEDROOM EARLY MORNING 9

ERIC and CELIA are in bed, sleeping. ERIC is on his back. CELIA is on her stomach next to him, her face turned in his direction. It is very quiet for a few seconds; then the RADIO comes on again, and ERIC slowly opens his eyes, while CELIA puts her arm over her head. ERIC reaches over and turns off the RADIO. He puts his arm around her and leans his face in close to her ear. CELIA smiles and sits up, the blanket falling from her. ERIC reaches to her and pulls her back. When they are lying beside each other again, ERIC curls up beside her, his arms around her, his face nuzzled into her neck.

10 INT. KITCHEN MORNING 10

ERIC stands at a counter, making a lunch and putting it into a BRIGHT PINK VINYL BAG. When he finishes this, he reaches into a counter and pulls out a MUG. He fills the MUG with COFFEE from a GLASS POT, and holds it out as CELIA walks into the kitchen, wearing a white bathrobe. She has showered, and her hair is still wet. She smiles at ERIC and takes the MUG.
CELIA
Thanks.
ERIC
(glances at clock)
Tick tock.
CELIA
I'm going.

ERIC
(smiles)
You're late.
CELIA
(smiles back)
Your fault.

Smiling, CELIA turns and walks from the room.

11 INT. LIVING ROOM DAY 11

ERIC lies on a SOFA, watching television. Something like “Ellen” or “Dr. Phil” is on. Every couple of seconds, ERIC pushes a button on the REMOTE CONTROL and another, similar program appears on the screen. After going through a half a dozen channels, we come back to the show at which we started. ERIC keeps pushing the button so that the channels fly by faster and faster. Finally, he pushes a button which turns the TV off. He stares at the blank screen for a little while, then looks at his watch.

12 INT. KITCHEN DAY 12

ERIC is standing at the refrigerator, holding the door open with one hand. The refrigerator is almost empty, but he doesn't seem to be looking for anything so much as he is staring at the interior absent-mindedly. He is nodding his head almost imperceptibly. After a few seconds, he seems to snap out of it, reaches in, and pulls an opened, half-empty COKE out. He closes the door and looks at a DIGITAL CLOCK on the counter, picks up some keys from the table and leaves.

13 EXT. STREET DAY 13

ERIC pauses at the curbside while typical city cabs rush past the narrow street outside their apartment. The area is devoid of people, but ERIC keeps his head down anyway. When there is a break in the traffic he scurries across and stands in front of a two-story white convenience store--not some chain, but a family owned one--GIANT ELMO'S FOOD & STUFF. He pauses at the door, sort of rocking on his heels. As he reaches one hand out toward the handle, a LARGE WOMAN blusters past him out of the store and into the street.

LARGE WOMAN
(hollering back in the half-opened door.)
You're a goddamned crooked son of a bitch, Elmo. I'll get my lottery tickets with the Chinaman. Then you can eat those damn things.

The WOMAN pushes the door closed and then comes face to face with ERIC who is standing, hands in pockets still, befuddled.
LARGE WOMAN
In or out?
ERIC
(waits a beat)
Out.

14 EXT. BALCONY DAY 14

ERIC bends down to pick up a BALL OF SOCKS from beneath a LAWN CHAIR. When he straightens up again, he remains standing where he is, looking out over the city. He has a far-away look in his eyes. He stares, unblinking, for several seconds. As he breathes deeply we hear SFX: SOUND OF SCRAPING METAL, SCREECHING TIRES, all in a very deep reverb. At this sound Eric's face freezes. Finally, he blinks three or four times and touches his forehead for a second. He looks straight down at the street below, holds for a beat, tosses the SOCKS onto the lawn chair and retreats into the apartment.

15 EXT. PARKING LOT DAY 15

ERIC opens the door on the mid-nineties BUICK and throws a small OVERNIGHT BAG into the back seat. He puts one foot into the car, then stops and looks back up at the building. He gets into the car, closes the door, and starts the engine.

16 EXT. HIGHWAY DAY 16

The BUICK makes its way through fairly heavy traffic as it drives away from the skyline of the city.

17 INT. CAR DAY 17

ERIC drives. He reaches down and turns on the radio. We get snatches of song amidst static for a few seconds until he settles on a clear signal.
RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
Outbound traffic is picking up and should really get messy in about an hour. There's a stalled car on the Beltway at 360, and there's construction just finishing up down at the Harbor. Otherwise Baltimore is moving fine.

ERIC reaches down and changes the station again, this time to a SONG.

18 INT APARTMENT EVENING 18

CELIA enters the apartment and puts down a BRIEFCASE.
CELIA
Eric?

When she gets no answer, she starts walking toward the living room, glancing in the kitchen first to make sure he is not there. On the COFFEE TABLE, she notices a WHITE ENVELOPE. CELIA crosses to the SOFA and sits down. She picks up the envelope, shakes it, and then squeezes it. Finally, she tears it open and pulls a folded sheet of paper out. She looks at it for a beat, and then opens it. It's blank.

CELIA
Eric?

19 INT. ERIC'S CAR NIGHT 19

As a BITTERSWEET SONG plays on the radio, we have a close-up of ERIC, staring straight ahead. Across his face we see shards of white light from passing cars. As SONG ends, we see his hands on the wheel, locked, and then shaking.

20 EXT HIGHWAY NIGHT 20

ERIC's car hurries into the gravel shoulder and comes to a stop, the car pointing not straight, but nose first towards the downsloping culvert. The ENGINE NOISE can be heard as cars move past. The brake lights burn.

21 EXT. HIGHWAY NIGHT 21

ERIC'S CAR drives along. There is very little traffic on the road. The car passes the camera and we see its taillights as its blinker turns on and it takes an exit ramp off the interstate.

22 INT. MOTEL ROOM NIGHT 22

ERIC lies in bed in a small motel room. The furnishings are nothing special, though they aren't as bland as you might find in a Motel 6. What we can make out in the darkness might be some kind of nautical motif: maybe a headboard in the shape of a ship's wheel, perhaps a painting of a stormy sea. ERIC is lying on his back. Though he looks tired, his eyes are wide open.

23 INT. CELIA'S APARTMENT NIGHT 23

From the same ceiling angle we had in scenes 1 and 9, we see CELIA laying on her side of the bed, her back toward the middle of the bed. After a few seconds, she rolls over so that she faces Eric's side of the bed.

24 INT. ERIC'S CAR EVENING 24

ERIC drives along. He has the shadow of a beard now. Occasionally he reaches into a BAG OF FRITOS on the dashboard and pulls out a handful of chips, which he pops into his mouth. On the radio is the voice of some recognizable Chicago-area broadcast personality.
RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
Do you love him?
FEMALE RADIO CALLER (V.O.)
Yeah. But I'm not ready for his kind of commitment, yet.
RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
Then tell him to wait. If he loves you, he'll wait, right?
FEMALE RADIO CALLER (V.O.)
I guess so.
RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
I'm sure he will. Remember, you have to love yourself...first. We'll be right back.

ERIC listens to this with the only expression on his face the dull glaze of someone who has been driving for a long time.

25 INT. CELIA'S APARTMENT EVENING 25

As in scene 18, CELIA enters the apartment. Very casually, she looks around as she does other things like setting down her briefcase and hanging her keys on a hook in the KITCHEN. She seems determined not to expect anything. She walks into the BEDROOM, slips her shoes off, and begins to remove her watch. When she holds it in her hand, she suddenly stops. Very slowly, she sits down on the edge of the bed.

26 EXT. HIGHWAY NIGHT 26

ERIC'S CAR crosses a bridge over a very WIDE RIVER.

27 INT. CELIA'S BEDROOM NIGHT 27

CELIA, wearing a WHITE ROBE, stands next to the sliding glass door to the balcony. There is a slight play of the city lights on her face as she stares out into the night.

28 INT. ERIC'S CAR NIGHT 28

ERIC drives along a SUBURBAN STREET. His face looks very tired, but his eyes are wide open. HE turns the car into a DRIVEWAY, stops, and lets the engine idle for a few seconds. Then he turns off the ignition and the lights, sits for another couple of seconds.

29 INT. HOUSE NIGHT 29

ERIC lets himself in the front door of a darkened house. He keeps one hand on a wall as he makes his way through the dark from the entryway into some type of LIVING ROOM. Taking small steps, he walks over to a chair and sits down. After a pause he begins to rock the chair. He leans his head back and closes his eyes. A closeup of his face in the dark shows a certain peacefulness. A LIGHT comes on from somewhere just outside of the room, and ERIC's eyes open as his face is illuminated. He sits up straight and looks toward the light.
ERIC
(whispers)
Speedo.

KAREN, ERIC'S younger sister stands in a doorway leading to the kitchen. She's sixteen, pretty in a tomboyish way. Her hair is cut short. She's wearing long socks and an oversized t-shirt that says, “IOWA HAWKEYES.” She walks into the room and sits in a chair facing ERIC. Then she gets up, walks over to him and leans down to hug him. She kisses him on the cheek. The conversation that follows is held in low tones.
KAREN
What are you doing here?

ERIC
(smiles)
I don't know. Nothing.
KAREN
Where's Celie?

ERIC doesn't respond right away. He looks toward the picture window, which is covered by long drapes. He seems to be drifting off.
KAREN (cont.)
Did you drop her off at home?

ERIC doesn’t answer right away. KAREN has a quizzical look. She moves away from him and sits on the couch, her legs curled up under her. She watches ERIC as he looks at the window.
ERIC
What's with the haircut?

KAREN
The youth of America...
ERIC
...this country is going to hell.
KAREN
(smiling)
Earl had to work for a living. Did you know that? Did you ever hear him talk about the old days?

ERIC returns her smile with a very relaxed smile of his own. Slightly more weary than some of the smiles we've seen earlier with Celia, it is, nonetheless, very winning. ERIC stands and stretches.
ERIC
Don't little kids like you have bed times?

KAREN stands up and walks over to him. She puts her arms around him and squeezes him tight. The top of her head comes to just below his chin.
KAREN
Hi.
ERIC
Hi.

They stand there a bit longer, very still.

30 INT. KITCHEN EARLY MORNING 30

EARL SWANSON, ERIC'S father is standing by the sink, drinking coffee out of a mug that says, “World's Worst Dad.” He's built like a fire hydrant, short and a little pudgy, although there is a solidness about him which makes you think his weight may be mostly muscle. He's wearing a shirt and a tie, but he looks very blue collar. KATHLEEN SWANSON, EARL'S wife and ERIC'S mother, comes over and reaches for a washcloth, gently pushing EARL out of her way as she does it. She looks younger than EARL, but they seem to fit well together. She is dressed in a blue bathrobe and slippers. As EARL steps out of her way, he points down the hallway.
EARL
Did you hear him come in?
KATHLEEN
When was it?

EARL
About three-thirty. I almost got up.
KATHLEEN
(looking over at him)
Celie with him?
EARL
I imagine. Would he drive himself?

EARL puts his cup in the sink and kisses KATHLEEN on the cheek.
EARL (cont.)
Gotta go.
KATHLEEN
You coming home for lunch?
EARL
Don't think so.
KATHLEEN
Okay. Bye.

EARL leaves the kitchen and KATHLEEN splashes around a bit in the sink. Her face is thoughtful. A door is heard closing. KATHLEEN smiles a little, pours herself a cup of coffee and sits down at the kitchen table with the morning paper.

31 INT. KITCHEN DAY 31

KATHLEEN sits at the table reading the paper. KAREN is at the counter, looking through a bread box. KATHLEEN looks much the same as in the previous scene. KAREN is dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt.

KAREN
Wasn't there a cinnamon raisin bagel in here?
KATHLEEN
You ate the last one yesterday morning. (pause) Did you hear your brother come in?
KAREN
Yeah. I was talking with him for a little while.

KATHLEEN closes her paper at this bit of news and turns her attention fully to KAREN.

KATHLEEN
Is Celie with him?

KAREN finishes her juice and puts the empty glass in the sink. She picks up her books and starts walking out of the kitchen.

KAREN
(shrugging)
You better ask him.

KATHLEEN watches her as she leaves, a slightly puzzled look on her face.

32 INT. KITCHEN DAY 32

KATHLEEN has changed into some clothes by this time. She is emptying the dishwasher when ERIC walks in, looking maximum dishevelled. They smile at each other warmly.
ERIC
Morning?
KATHLEEN
(looks at her watch)
Just barely.
ERIC
Got in a little late.

KATHLEEN walks over to him and gives him a hug.
KATHLEEN
So I gather. Nice to have you.
ERIC
Got any food?
KATHLEEN
It's not that nice to have you. You know where we keep things.

They both smile again. ERIC opens a cupboard door and chooses a box of cereal from several that are there. KATHLEEN takes a gallon jug of milk and the carton of orange juice from the refrigerator and puts it on the table. ERIC opens another door and gets a bowl. He sits at the table, fills the bowl with cereal, and pours on milk. He looks around, then starts to get up.
ERIC
Spoon.
KATHLEEN
I'll get it.

KATHLEEN opens a drawer and pulls out a spoon. She opens a cupboard door and brings down a juice glass. She hands the spoon to ERIC, fills the glass with juice and sets it on the table.
ERIC
Thanks.

KATHLEEN sits down as ERIC begins to eat.
KATHLEEN
You look good. How have you been?
ERIC
(nodding head, with full mouth)
Good.

There is a slight pause while KATHLEEN, smiling, watches ERIC eat.
KATHLEEN
How's Celia?

ERIC'S look freezes on his face. He stops chewing for a second, and when he begins again it is slow and deliberate, as if he doesn't like the taste of what's in his mouth. Finally, he swallows hard.
ERIC
We're not together anymore.

When he finishes saying this, ERIC quickly puts a spoonful of cereal in his mouth, as if to stop himself from saying anything more. KATHLEEN waits for him to chew and to take another spoonful before she speaks.
KATHLEEN
Can I get you anything else?
ERIC
(too quickly)
No. I'm fine.

He holds his spoon up a little and smiles. KATHLEEN smiles, too, and the tension eases a little. KATHLEEN gets up and heads toward the counter.
KATHLEEN
If you need anything, just let me know.

KATHLEEN stands behind him and watches him eat. She does the washrag on the counter thing for a minute, and then comes back to the table.

33 INT. KITCHEN EVENING 33

EARL is now home, and the four family members sit around the table. EARL is dressed the same as earlier, except now the tie is gone, his collar is unbuttoned and his sleeves are rolled up. KATHLEEN is to EARL'S left, ERIC is across from him, and KAREN is to EARL's right. The mood around the table is light, with much smiling and horseplay. KAREN takes her fork and spears a meatball from EARL'S plate of spaghetti.
EARL
Hey, that's mine.
KATHLEEN
There are plenty more.
KAREN
(pops meatball into her mouth)
I'm growing. Did I tell you? I got measured. You know what I am? Five foot four. Really.
(to ERIC)
How tall are you?
ERIC
Five-ten? Something like that.
KAREN
No way. You're a shrimp.
KATHLEEN
Karen.
EARL
(stands)
She's right; he is a shrimp.
(to ERIC)
Stand up a second.
KATHLEEN
Supper? Are we eating supper?
ERIC
Five-nine?
EARL
(walks around table)
Like hell. If you're taller than I am, I'll eat your mother's cooking.

EARL takes ERIC'S arm and pulls him up.
KATHLEEN
Very nice.
EARL
Stand up. Karen, you judge.

ERIC stands and he and EARL stand back-to-back. ERIC is clearly three to four inches taller than EARL.
KAREN
Meatball city, Dad.
EARL
No way.
(he puts a hand on his head)
When did this happen?
ERIC
Sometime around eighth grade, I think.

EARL shakes his head as he walks back to his chair. ERIC sits down.
EARL
It's your mother's fault. Damn freak show she calls a family.
KATHLEEN
That'll do.

EARL sits and puts a forkful of spaghetti in his mouth.
ERIC
You've still got me by twenty pounds, though.
EARL
Muscle, mister. Don't make me show you.

EARL points a finger at KAREN, whose mouth is just starting to open.
EARL (cont.)
You don't want to say it, whatever it is.
KAREN
Pretty soon I'll be bigger than you, and you won't be able to push me around anymore.
KATHLEEN
(shakes her head)
More bread, Eric?
EARL
Yeah, why are you so skinny, anyway? Celie doesn't feed you?

The mood at the table suddenly shifts. KATHLEEN shoots EARL a dirty look. KAREN glances at ERIC to see his reaction. ERIC looks down at his plate.
ERIC
Celie left me.

There is a pause as everyone tries to catch up with this sudden shift. EARL seems genuinely uncomfortable. Finally, KAREN points a fork at ERIC'S plate.
KAREN
You going to eat that meatball, shrimp?
ERIC
(picks it up with his fork)
This one?
KAREN
Uh-huh.

ERIC takes it all in one bite. KAREN squeals in playful surprise and reaches over and grabs his neck with both hands. Still squealing, she shakes him. ERIC laughs, his mouth full of meat, as EARL and KATHLEEN watch, smiling somewhat nervously.

34 INT. ERIC'S ROOM NIGHT 34

ERIC sits on the corner of his bed. The only light comes from a reading lamp hung on the headboard of his bed. The room is very neat. On the walls are posters of athletes and bands, about five years removed from being current. ERIC looks at his reflection in the mirror on the dresser. The gaze is so introverted as to be practically blank. With the light behind him, his face is darker than what surrounds it, increasing the feeling of blankness. After a few seconds, he slowly seems to come back to life. He focuses on some photographs tucked into the frame of the mirror: one of EARL and KATHLEEN, one of KAREN with an inflatable raft on her head, a high school prom type picture of ERIC and CELIA. ERIC picks up this last and looks at it. His lips tighten. Holding the photo by one corner, he taps it a couple of times on the surface of the dresser.

35 INT. ERIC'S ROOM MORNING 35

ERIC lies sleeping in his bed. There is a light knock on the door, but he doesn't move. KAREN opens the door and peeks her head in. Seeing him asleep, she smiles and enters the room. She walks quietly over to the bed and leans over to whisper in ERIC'S ear.
KAREN
You were great last night, big boy.

ERIC moves a little, brushing a hand across his face. KAREN smiles and puts a hand over her mouth to keep from giggling. ERIC tries to burrow deeper into the covers.
ERIC
That the way you talk to your boyfriend?
KAREN
He's still in prison.

KAREN picks up a pillow and hits ERIC on the head. ERIC laughs and begins hitting KAREN with a pillow.
KAREN (cont.)
Hey. Stop. Stop. I've got to go to school. You know. School.

KAREN runs toward the door and ERIC throws a pillow at her, hitting the wall just as she leaves. After a second, she pokes her head back in.

KAREN
Later, gator?
ERIC
Yo.

36 INT. KITCHEN MORNING 36

ERIC and KATHLEEN sit at the kitchen table, reading different sections of the newspaper. They both drink from mugs of coffee. After a few seconds, ERIC glances through the last couple of pages of his section, then looks over to KATHLEEN's section.
ERIC
Have you got the classifieds?

KATHLEEN looks up and smiles. She hands the section over to him.
KATHLEEN
You looking for a job?

ERIC flips through the paper, distracted from the conversation.
ERIC
I thought I might see what there is.

KATHLEEN is surprised by this news. She looks at ERIC with concern for several seconds. ERIC looks up from the paper at his mother. He tries to smile, but it comes off slightly false.

ERIC (cont.)
I'm fine, Mom. Really.

KATHLEEN seems slightly less concerned, but appears unconvinced in some way that makes ERIC feel he should continue, though he avoids eye contact with her as he does so.
ERIC (cont.)
I mean, it's been tough. Celie and I were together a long time, but I feel pretty good. Not perfect, but I sort of want to get on with it, you know?
KATHLEEN
I'm not just talking about Celie.
ERIC
(jumping in.)
I know. I know you guys are here. Not yet, okay?

KATHLEEN reaches over and touches ERIC's hand. They look at each other for a second, until ERIC breaks eye contact by looking down at the paper.

ERIC (cont.)
I'd like something a little mindless, you know?

KATHLEEN smiles and gets up to get herself another cup of coffee.
KATHLEEN
You should have no trouble finding something like that around here.

37 INT. McDONALD'S KITCHEN DAY 37

As MUSIC plays (something like Rush's “Working Man” or BTO's “Taking Care of Business”?), we see ERIC at a McDonald's, talking to an EARNEST-FACED MAN about ERIC's age. The man's name tag says something like ASSISTANT MANAGER on it. He is pointing out some of the fine points of his establishment: the rayon uniforms, the splattering deep fry bins, a long conveyer belt through which the hamburgers are fed to be cooked. ERIC seems very disinterested, wishing he were almost anyplace else. The MAN hands ERIC a job application; ERIC smiles and leaves.

38 INT. TELEMARKETING ROOM DAY 38

As MUSIC continues, ERIC is in a large room with many people speaking into headset telephones. A WOMAN, about his age, is pointing to things and saying something to him. ERIC nods occasionally, once again appearing very distracted. Now and then we have close-ups of some of the people talking on the telephones, sticking pencils up their noses, making zany faces, or some such hijinks. The WOMAN hands ERIC an application, and we get one more shot of a MAN screaming at one of the workers angrily through glass, then a close-up of ERIC smiling and nodding.

39 INT. DOMINOS PIZZA DAY 39

As MUSIC continues, ERIC sits watching a videotape of pizza delivery men in action on the small screen of a tape viewing machine. In his hands he holds an application form and a pencil, which he taps absent-mindedly on the form, making small dots.

SONG ENDS

40 INT. BOOKSTORE DAY 40

ERIC is moving through the aisles of a bookstore, occasionally picking something up but mostly looking over at the cashier. LOUIS, early 20's, is swearing as he tries to put paper in the cash register. Now and then there is a RIPPING sound, followed by louder swearing from LOUIS. He looks out of place here. He's wearing a long dagger earring in one ear and a diamond stud in the other. His clothes are all black, and his hair is jet black, very greasy. The only thing that distinguishes him from a neo-nazi is his name tag. It says “BAD LOU...ASSISTANT MGR.” ERIC finally walks over to the cashier stand, which is raised above the level of the rest of the store.

ERIC
I'd like to apply for the job.

LOUIS suddenly slams his hand against the side of the register. He leans over the machine.
LOUIS
You can be replaced, you know. The computer age has peaked. Mankind will reign again.

ERIC takes one step back.

LOUIS (cont.)
What is it you want?
ERIC
(a little unsteady)
The job?

He points to a sign hanging in the store's front window. LOUIS looks toward the sign, then at ERIC, then to the store's back room.
LOUIS
Yardley.
(yelling)
Yardley! Is the job still open?

LOUIS looks straight at ERIC for what seems like a long time while there is no response.
ERIC
If it's not open...
LOUIS
I didn't say it wasn't open. I'm only the assistant M-G-R. I don't make this kind of high-level decision.
YARDLEY
It's not open.

ERIC turns and sees YARDLEY. She is instantly unforgettable. In some ways, she's an older version of KAREN, but the similarities should be subtle: the tomboy grown up. She has long, strawberry blonde hair and is wearing a long-sleeved red men’s shirt tucked into blue jeans. She's a once-in-a-lifetime vision, about twenty years old.
LOUIS
The ad-ver-tize-ment is still out there.
YARDLEY
Spare me.
ERIC
(to YARDLEY)
I'm sorry. Thanks, anyway.
YARDLEY
Don't worry about Louis. He just uses the neo-nazi, Marxist, revolutionary approach to pick up chicks.
LOUIS
While we're all here, did you talk to Daddy about my raise?
YARDLEY
He said something about firing your jackboot ass.
ERIC
Thanks again.

YARDLEY and LOUIS look at him: LOUIS as if he is surprised ERIC is still there, YARDLEY with a sweet smile.
YARDLEY
(quick glance at LOUIS)
You want an application? I just hired someone but he hasn’t even started. I can call you if it doesn’t work out.

ERIC
Yeah, okay.
YARDLEY
Fix him up, Bad Lou.
LOUIS
Anything for you, dear.
YARDLEY
I'm Yardley. My dad owns this place.

She extends her hand and ERIC reaches for it.
ERIC
Eric Swanson. Thanks.

LOUIS pushes an application between them.
LOUIS
I hate to break up such a sweet moment...

ERIC takes the application and looks at it hurriedly, not wanting to meet YARDLEY's eyes.
LOUIS (cont.)
Please fill out all sections in blue or black ink.

ERIC looks down at the form, but it is obvious he is also looking at YARDLEY.
YARDLEY
Just leave it with Lou when you're done. I'll give you a call if we need you.
ERIC
Thanks again.

YARDLEY smiles, then turns and walks to the back room. She straightens some books on their shelves along the way. ERIC watches her until she disappears.
LOUIS
You know what Aristotle would have said about her, don't you?

LOUIS pauses and holds out his hands, one clenched in a fist and the other open, palm-upward. He makes a show of slowly turning the open hand over onto the fist.
LOUIS (cont.)
Paper covers rock.

ERIC doesn't respond. LOUIS goes back to the cash register problem. ERIC begins filling out the form.

41 EXT. SWANSON YARD EARLY EVENING 41

EARL, wearing old work pants, a red sweatshirt, and some light gloves, has a tube of some type of sealing caulk which he is applying to the foundation of the house. He looks up from his work as ERIC drives up and gets out of his car.
EARL
Now he shows up.
ERIC
You got something you want me to do?
EARL
(smiling)
Too late. I'm almost done. You haven't lost your sense of timing, I'll give you that. Your mother's been after me all summer to do something about the water coming in the basement. Figured if I put it off much longer I'd be shoveling snow to get to it.
ERIC
Don't you do this every year?

EARL goes back to his work, not so much as a dismissal of ERIC as to have something to do with his hands as he talks.
EARL
One of these days they're going to come up with something that really works.
ERIC
One of these days.

Smiling, ERIC makes a move to go into the house, but he is stopped by EARL.
EARL
Stick around. This will only take a minute. Your mother tells me you went out looking for jobs.
ERIC
I put my name in a couple of places. Not too much around right now.
EARL
Listen, if you want me to talk to Slim Peterson...
ERIC
Maybe if nothing else turns up.

EARL goes back to his sealing once again.
EARL (cont.)
Planning to stay around for a little while, then?
ERIC
If it's okay.
EARL
Of course it's okay. Give me a break from having to do some of this garbage. Hold this a second, will you?

He hands the caulking gun up to ERIC, who gets some sealant on his hand. EARL stands up and reaches out for the gun. When ERIC hands it to him, EARL notices the sealant-covered fingers. EARL reaches down and pulls a rag out of his pocket.

EARL (cont.)
Here, you'd better wipe that off.
ERIC
Thanks.

ERIC takes the rag from EARL and tries to wipe off his hand to little avail. The rag just spreads the sealant until it more fully covers the original hand, and a small amount has come from the rag to ERIC's other hand. While ERIC tries to clean himself off, EARL is reading the sealant container.
EARL
Says here it's a completely moisture-resistant space-age polymer.

Slight pause as EARL looks from the container to ERIC's hands.
EARL (cont.)
I'm glad it's not on me.

ERIC and EARL look at each other with deadpan expressions for a second, then they both break out in smiles.

ERIC
(raising his voice)
Mom?

42 INT. ERIC'S CAR EVENING 42

KAREN drives while ERIC rubs his hands, picking small pieces of sealant off of them.

KAREN
How do they feel?

ERIC puts his hands out and bends his fingers, which seem to move quite freely.

ERIC
They kind of sting.

KAREN looks over and smiles, and when she does, the CAR drifts to one side, kicking up SAND and DIRT alongside thes shoulder. ERIC grips the car door, and appears a bit more shook up than would be normal.

ERIC (cont.)
Hey. Watch it. Keep your eyes on the road.

KAREN gets the car under control easily, looks with concern over at ERIC. They are back on the road

ERIC
Pull over here, could you?

KAREN takes a quick glance forward.

KAREN
Where?
ERIC
Anywhere. I don't care.

KAREN once again scans forward, seems to spot someplace, and turns on her blinker.

43 EXT. PARK EVENING 43

ERIC'S car pulls to the side of the road at the entrance to a small city park. Before the car has even come to a complete stop, ERIC is out of the passenger side door. He moves a few feet away into the grass, and then takes a seat on a PICNIC BENCH. KAREN comes over and puts one hand tentatively on his shoulder.

KAREN
Listen, Eric, I'm sorry. I wasn't watching close enough.

ERIC reaches a hand up to pat hers.

ERIC
It's okay. It was nothing. I just get shook up sometime.

KAREN
I'm just a kid, you know. I don't think a lot of the time.

ERIC stands up unsteadily. He turns toward KAREN and puts a hand on her shoulder. He tries a weak smile to reassure her.

ERIC
Look. All better. I don't know what all that was about.

KAREN looks at him doubtfully. There is a real concern in her expression.

44 INT. ERIC'S CAR NIGHT 44

In a FLASHBACK we see ERIC and CELIA driving at night, laughing. Out of the car's windows we can see there is snow in the air. The flurries appear light, but have been whipped into a frenzy by a strong wind. Through the front windshield we see the car approach a stoplight, which is green.

45 EXT. PARK BACK TO THE PRESENT 45

ERIC gets up and walks over toward a children’s PLAY AREA. Karen follows and hops in a swing in front of him, tricking him into pushing her.

KAREN
What's it like out East?

ERIC
Okay. Big. Bigger than here.

KAREN
What did you do. While Celie was at school?

ERIC
Had about ten good jobs.

KAREN
Yeah?

ERIC
Yeah. I answered the phone at this travel place. I delivered newspapers. Celie got me a job on campus for a while. That was okay.

KAREN
That's it?

ERIC
You think I was mayor or
something?

ERIC stops pushing the swing, and walks off a bit. KAREN follows and they walk together slowly.

ERIC (cont.)
It just wasn't working. The school thing. She just keeps on going and getting smarter and smarter. What did we have to talk about?

KAREN
I thought you were going to take some classes, too.

ERIC
That didn't quite work out.

KAREN
Are you going back?

ERIC
Maybe. I haven't decided, yet.

KAREN
Does Celie know you've come back home?

46 INT. ERIC'S CAR RETURN TO FLASHBACK 46

As ERIC'S car continues toward the intersection, we hear the earlier SFX from scene 14--SCREECHING TIRES. Another car comes through the other way. There is no time to think; the cars strike each other violently. The cars lock, and spin; there is complete silence.

47 EXT. PARK BACK TO THE PRESENT 47

ERIC stares straight ahead, not even looking at KAREN anymore.
ERIC
It's quiet tonight, isn't it? It's nice here. You can see all the stars here. I really like it here. I like being here.

48 EXT. SNOWY INTERSECTION RETURN TO FLASHBACK 48

There is an ambulance and a couple of police cars present. The two crumpled cars have been pulled over to the side, and a POLICEMAN is directing traffic through the intersection. There is a great deal of blood smeared around the car which ERIC ran into. ERIC is sitting on the curb, a green blanket thrown over his shoulders. CELIA stands just behind him. A POLICEWOMAN is standing nearby, holding a notebook. At the ambulance, TWO PARAMEDICS are loading a stretcher whose occupant has been completely covered with a white blanket. CELIA reaches a hand down and touches the side of ERIC'S head. From behind ERIC we see that alongside the ambulance are three more stretchers, all draped in white sheets.

49 EXT. SWANSON'S FRONT YARD NIGHT 49

KAREN and ERIC walk up the driveway away from the car and toward the house. They both seem slightly calmer than when we last saw them, though ERIC does stop at the top of the driveway to take a deep breath. KAREN waits for him.
KAREN
Better?
ERIC
Sorry.
KAREN
Just say you're better.
ERIC
(slightest smile)
You're better.

KAREN smiles cautiously. ERIC rubs his eyes with his hands.
ERIC
Sometimes I can still feel it, the car, the sliding. It’s like I don’t even know I’m losing control of it.

ERIC puts a hand in KAREN'S hair as he holds her close for a few seconds. Finally, he pushes her gently away. The two exchange a smile as ERIC opens the front door.

50 INT. SWANSON'S LIVING ROOM NIGHT 50

As ERIC and KAREN walk in the front door, we hear laughter coming from the people in the room. The two of them quickly scan the room, and then stop with surprised expressions on their faces. EARL and KATHLEEN are sitting next to each other on the couch, very happy looks on their faces. In the easy chair across from them sits CELIA. If anything, she looks even more beautiful than when we last saw her, comfortable and relaxed, smiling. She is looking only at ERIC.
CELIA
Hi.

ERIC recovers quickly. He smiles and crosses the room toward her.
ERIC
Hi, Celie. I didn't see your car.

CELIA reaches up, and there is a nice moment when they take each other's hands.
CELIA
I walked from my folks place. It's nice coming back and being able to walk where I want to go.

Through this exchange, there is only the slightest bit of uneasiness evident. All of these people act like what they are: old friends who think they know virtually everything about each other.
ERIC
How have you been? How's school?
CELIA
Okay. Since I'm done with my course work, they gave my some time for research and writing my thesis. A little break seemed like a good way to start.

EARL can't let this small talk go on for long. He gets up from the couch and walks over to ERIC and CELIA.
EARL
Eric hasn't eaten. Are you hungry? Why don't you go out and get something to eat. I'm buying.

EARL reaches into his back pocket for his wallet and takes out a couple of bills, which he holds out to ERIC.
KAREN
I haven't eaten, either. Am I going?

KATHLEEN gives her a look that let’s her know she’s not.

51 INT. PIZZA HUT RESTAURANT NIGHT 51

ERIC and CELIA sit across from each other in a small, red-upholstered booth. ERIC makes very little eye contact with CELIA, who is looking a little bit disgusted with him.
ERIC
So your research is going pretty well?
CELIA
I don't want to talk about school anymore.
ERIC
How are your folks?
CELIA
We're not going to talk about my family.

ERIC seems to sink back in his seat, repentant almost. Seeing him like this causes CELIA to soften almost immediately.
CELIA (cont.)
(very assured)
It doesn't have to be anything like you think. We can do things differently. We can get a divorce.
ERIC
You didn't tell my folks.
CELIA
I had hoped maybe you did.

ERIC plays with a pepper shaker as he thinks about his response to this.
ERIC
Sorry.
CELIA
Don't start that. I'm not looking for apologies.
ERIC
Sorry.

There is a slight pause, then ERIC'S small smile clues in CELIA. She smiles a little, too. The tension is somewhat eased.
ERIC (cont.)
I don't know. I thought it would mean I was giving you something. I don't know what I was thinking.
CELIA
Have I asked for anything? Don't you think that might mean you've given me everything I need?

ERIC shakes his head.
ERIC
No. I don't buy it. School gives you what you need. You've just got me along for the ride. I never knew why I was there. What was I supposed to be?
CELIA
You don't have to be anything.
ERIC
I don't know what to say. I don't have any idea what you want me to say. If I knew...
CELIA
Tell me about you and me.

ERIC doesn't say anything and CELIA shakes her head.
CELIA (cont.)
I didn't come here to get you, you know. In a lot of ways, life would be easier without you.
ERIC
Why are you here, then?
CELIA
I feel...responsible. You weren't like this before...
ERIC
Before I killed them?

CELIA gets stumped by this and we see ERIC's eyes averted, staring out the window hard, as cars pass through an intersection outside. CELIA takes it in, and shares his view for a second. Some kind of realization comes to her.
CELIA
It wasn't your fault. It was an accident.

ERIC'S expression is very hard.
ERIC
Everything's an accident. Why can't something ever be somebody's fault?

CELIA has nothing to say to this, so they sit in silence for a couple of seconds, ERIC looking down at the table, CELIA looking at ERIC.
CELIA
Is that what this all about? Is this why you left?
ERIC
I don't know why I left. I don't know.

A WAITRESS comes with a pizza and goes through the standard procedure. ERIC continues looking out the window while CELIA deals with the food.
CELIA
What is it that I can do?

ERIC shrugs. CELIA reaches over and grabs his arm hard.
CELIA (cont.)
Look at me. Look. Where do you think I am? Where did you leave me? You think I have any part in this? Don't shut me out.

ERIC is unresponsive. CELIA lets go of his hand for a second, and almost apologetically pats it as she lets go. They make some moves around the pizza.
ERIC
How long are you staying?
CELIA
(resigned somehow)
A couple of weeks maybe. It seems crazy to drive all this way just to turn around and head back.
ERIC
Yeah.

They hold their positions for a second, then ERIC reaches up, takes CELIA'S hand and kisses it. Then he leans forward and gives her a soft, dry kiss on the lips.
ERIC (cont.)
This doesn't seem like the end, does it?
CELIA
It seems a lot like the end to me.

CELIA looks down at her hands. ERIC picks at the crust of pizza. Silent.

52 INT. MORNING ERIC'S ROOM 52

ERIC is asleep. His face has the same childlike expression we saw in the opening scene. We can hear BIRDS SINGING softly in the background. Amidst this sound comes the sound of a TELEPHONE RINGING in another part of the house. We look for several seconds at ERIC's sleeping form, and then we hear a SOFT KNOCKING. ERIC acknowledges this knocking in no way whatsoever. He simply continues sleeping. Another knock, slightly louder, comes, followed by EARL'S whispered voice.
EARL (O.S.)
Eric?

Still, ERIC shows no sign of responding. There is an even louder knock, and the door opens very slowly. EARL peeks in.
EARL (cont.)
Eric? You awake?

ERIC makes no move, but EARL, noting that his son is alone, comes in further and raises his voice to normal, conversational tone.
EARL
Eric, wake up. You've got a phone call.

ERIC startles awake, the peaceful look gone from his face. He sits halfway up.

53 INT. BOOKSTORE AFTERNOON 53

YARDLEY is just finishing showing the store to ERIC. She looks as casually beautiful as we remember her from the earlier scene. ERIC is much more cleaned-up than we have seen him. He has on a nice shirt and a pair of dress slacks. His hair is neatly combed. He appears to be listening attentively for the most part, but every once in a while, YARDLEY'S beauty will strike him and he will find himself simply staring at her. The tour of the store ends at the cash register, where LOUIS is just finishing with a customer.

LOUIS
Did you show him where we keep all the soft core porn?
YARDLEY
(to LOUIS)
Be quiet.
(to ERIC)
So, do you have any questions?

LOUIS rolls his eyes. ERIC glances around the store.
ERIC
I don't think so. I won't be on my own, will I?
LOUIS
We're all on our own. Meaningful human connection is a myth.

YARDLEY gives LOUIS a look. Not mean, exactly. More a request to give it a rest for a while.
YARDLEY
Either my soon-to-be ex-assistant manager or I work all evenings, so one of us will be here with you.
ERIC
That sounds good.

A CUSTOMER comes to the register with a purchase. LOUIS reaches out for it.
YARDLEY
If you can stay a couple more minutes Louis can show you how to work the register.
LOUIS
The I Ching tells a different tale.
ERIC
(looks at Yardley)
That's fine.

YARDLEY smiles and holds out her hand. ERIC looks at it for a second as if it's something too holy to be touched. Finally, he takes it carefully. YARDLEY shakes firmly.
YARDLEY
Great. I think you'll like it here. The pay stinks, but you can't beat the company.

YARDLEY looks over at LOUIS and smiles sarcastically. LOUIS gives it back to her in spades. ERIC doesn't seem to even notice the exchange.
ERIC
I'm looking forward to it.
YARDLEY
See you tomorrow.

ERIC
Yeah. See you tomorrow.

YARDLEY makes her way to the back room, ERIC watching her go. LOUIS watches her for a few seconds, then notices ERIC'S interest.
LOUIS
You know what Saint Augustine would have said about her, don't you?

There is a brief pause. ERIC looks away from where YARDLEY has retreated and over at LOUIS.
LOUIS (cont.)
Had a hunch, got a bunch.

54 INT. SWANSON'S LIVING ROOM AFTERNOON 54

KATHLEEN sits in a chair, reading a magazine, as ERIC enters through the front door. She looks up and smiles at him.
KATHLEEN
How did it go?
ERIC
Great. It looks really good.

ERIC makes his way over to the couch and sits. There is a moment of silence.

KATHLEEN
It looks like you'll be staying around, then?
ERIC
Yeah. It's only part-time to start, but I think it'll go up to full time before long.

KATHLEEN puts down her magazine and hesitates only very briefly.
KATHLEEN
What are Celia's plans?

ERIC gives her a look, but it is almost as if he has expected this.
ERIC
I'm not sure. She's got some time off from school, so I guess she's
planning to stay around for a while.
KATHLEEN
(with a very small smile)
It was nice seeing you two together again last night.

ERIC returns her smile with a slightly larger one of his own.
ERIC
Is that so?

KATHLEEN'S smile widens and she shakes her head.
KATHLEEN
Look, you don't have to tell me anything. I'm only your mother.

A certain amount of sadness creeps into ERIC'S smile, but the tone of the conversation stays relatively light.
ERIC
What do you want me to tell you?
KATHLEEN
It's just that the two of you were always so close. She wouldn't have come here if she didn't want to work it out.
ERIC
Is that how these things are done? You work them out?

This might be going a bit too far. KATHLEEN stiffens a little and her manner, while not exactly angry, is slightly less friendly.
KATHLEEN
I gave up telling you what to do a long time ago.

ERIC
I'm sorry. I don't know what we're going to do. I don't think it's that simple.

This eases KATHLEEN a bit, but there is still a distance between them that has not been completely bridged.
KATHLEEN
I don't know what the problem is. I do know that a lot of mistakes are made by making things more complicated than they need to be.
ERIC
(sincerely)
Do you think I'm making a mistake?

For a moment they exchange a glance like they might have exchanged any number of times while ERIC was growing up. ERIC is the child looking for all the answers; KATHLEEN is the mother who knows she doesn't have them, no matter how much she might want to help.

KATHLEEN
All you can do is decide what you need for yourself. I just don't want you to throw something away without really knowing why.

ERIC thinks about this for a second, then he looks over at KATHLEEN with a completely sincere expression.
ERIC
Aren't you suppose to give me a cookie and a glass of milk, now?

All trace of anger now gone, KATHLEEN smiles and rises.

KATHLEEN
Let's see what we've got in the kitchen.

55 INT. BOOKSTORE DAY 55

ERIC and LOUIS stand next to a cart full of books. LOUIS is dressed in typical LOUIS fashion. ERIC is wearing a tie. A neat label on his nametag says, “ERIC SWANSON.”
LOUIS
Okay, run it by me.
ERIC
I take the old crap off the shelf?
LOUIS
Right.
ERIC
And I put the new crap on the shelf.
LOUIS
Letter fucking perfect.
ERIC
(looking around)
Where?
LOUIS
(waves a hand vaguely)
Wherever. Any book with dust on it needs to come off the shelves.
ERIC
(picks up a book from cart)
Isn't there some kind of order?
LOUIS
Yardley comes through and straightens all that shit out later. Think you can handle it?
ERIC
(doubtful)
I guess so.

LOUIS notices an OVERWEIGHT, MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN making her way to the cash register.
LOUIS
Want to try the machine?

ERIC looks up, shrugs.
ERIC
Why not?

ERIC and LOUIS walk over to the cash register. LOUIS gives an obviously fake smile to the WOMAN and takes the book from her.
LOUIS
(to woman, sweetly)
Ah, the new Candace Bushnell. She is such a dear, isn’t she? She makes me sound so swell to be a woman.
WOMAN
(briefly startled)
I just love her writing.
LOUIS
I'm sure you do.
(to ERIC)
Okay, what comes first?

ERIC stands behind the cash register, looking at its buttons for inspiration.
ERIC
I put in the sales code?

LOUIS makes a very loud, obnoxious noise, like the wrong answer buzzer from a game show.
LOUIS
No luggage today, mister.
ERIC
Clear the last sale?
LOUIS
Now we're cooking with gas.

ERIC punches some buttons on the cash register and it starts to beep steadily, continuously, obnoxiously. LOUIS nods his head.
LOUIS (cont.)
I was afraid this might happen. Any ideas what to do next?

ERIC looks at the cash register helplessly. He smiles apologetically at the WOMAN, who is grimacing at the noise. Finally, YARDLEY comes out from the back room. She shoots LOUIS a look as she walks to the cash register. Once there, she hits a couple of buttons and the noise stops.
YARDLEY
(to ERIC)
I see he's taught you everything he knows about the cash register.

LOUIS hands the WOMAN'S BOOK to YARDLEY.
LOUIS
Once again, you've championed the cause of our oppressor in the struggle against dehumanizing machinery.

YARDLEY starts to punch in the proper codes to ring up the book purchase. ERIC watches anxiously, as if trying to memorize the routine. YARDLEY notices this hardly at all, her attention mostly on LOUIS.

YARDLEY
Isn't it time for you to leave?
LOUIS
I'm waiting for my date.
YARDLEY
She's not coming here, is she?

YARDLEY puts the book into a plastic bag and looks at the woman.
YARDLEY (cont.)
That'll be twenty-one-fifteen.

The WOMAN hands her some crumbled bills and YARDLEY punches a button to open the cash register drawer. She takes out some change and hands it to the WOMAN with her book.
YARDLEY (cont.)
Thank you.

The WOMAN takes the book, glances at LOUIS and leaves somewhat hurriedly.
LOUIS
You don't even know this date.
YARDLEY
(smiles)
You mean she's different?
LOUIS
We will have test-tube babies together.

ERIC watches this exchange curiously, not sure what to make of it. About this time a YOUNG WOMAN enters the store. She is instantly recognizable as LOUIS' date by the fact that one side of her head is shaved. The hair on the other side is dyed a black that is usually reserved for boot polish. Her clothes are also black, and are so baggy as to give virtually no definition to her form beneath them. In the ear on the shaved side of her head is an ankh-shaped earring. In the other ear is one shaped like a swastika. ERIC tries his hardest not to stare at her. YARDLEY looks amused. LOUIS seems maybe just the slightest uncomfortable with her presence here. The YOUNG WOMAN walks over to the cash register, the look on her face pretty much straight defiance, for some reason.
LOUIS
(to YOUNG WOMAN)
Hey, Glow.

GLOW
Hi, Bad. Are we out of here?
LOUIS
We're gone.

LOUIS gives a last look at YARDLEY and ERIC, then walks around the cash register to GLOW. He kisses her hard on the mouth, plenty of tongue involved. It’s a spectacularly inappropriate kiss for the daylight hours. Lots of movement, groaning, legs raising up, LOUIS pushing GLOW nearly over the counter. When LOUIS finishes, GLOW has a sneer on her face.
GLOW
Is that the best you can do?

LOUIS and GLOW walk out of the bookstore. YARDLEY and ERIC watch them until they are out of sight, then look at each other and laugh.

56 EXT. BOOKSTORE NIGHT 56

YARDLEY is closing and locking the bookstore door as ERIC waits on the sidewalk beside her. They both have light coats on, and the wind is blowing slightly, messing their hair so that neither looks anything but natural. When YARDLEY finishes locking up, she turns and looks at ERIC.
YARDLEY
See you tomorrow?
ERIC
Yeah. Want me to walk you to your car?
YARDLEY
I'm just around the corner.
ERIC
Want me to walk you just around the corner?
YARDLEY
(smiles)
If you want to.

They walk a very short distance to the car, a nice, but not especially flashy late-model foreign job, something like a Toyota Celica. Neither says anything. ERIC seems about to come out with something a couple of times, but he closes his mouth again without saying anything. When they reach the car, YARDLEY unlocks it and opens the door, which she stands leaning on.
ERIC
We're here.
YARDLEY
Yeah. Thanks.
ERIC
See you tomorrow, then.

YARDLEY smiles wider and shakes her head.
YARDLEY
See you tomorrow.

She gets into the car and ERIC turns to walk away. When he is no longer facing her, he makes a face and begins muttering to himself, feeling incredibly stupid and inept. He has only gone a few steps when we hear YARDLEY turn the ignition. The car doesn't catch the first or the second try and ERIC slows down, a hopeful look on his face. When it fails to turn over on the third try he stops completely. After the fourth try, he turns around and begins to walk back to the car.
ERIC
Some kind of problem?

YARDLEY tries again, but again the engine refuses to turn over. The cranking sounds noticeably weaker by this time. YARDLEY opens the door and pokes her head out of the car.
YARDLEY
It's never done this before.

ERIC walks up like he knows what he's doing.
ERIC
Open the hood. Let's have a look.

YARDLEY pops the hood release, and ERIC tries to lift the hood. A second catch holds it down and ERIC fumbles around for a few seconds trying to find it. Finally, he leans down and looks into the crack until he spots the second release and opens the hood the rest of the way. He holds the hood up with one hand.
ERIC (cont.)
Try it again.

YARDLEY pulls her head back inside the car and tries the starter once more. There is even less cranking power this time. YARDLEY stops after a couple of seconds and pokes her head out of the car again.
YARDLEY
Can you see anything?
ERIC
Hmm.

ERIC reaches into the engine and jiggles a couple of wires and hoses. Curious, YARDLEY gets out and looks under the hood.
ERIC (cont.)
I think I know what the problem is. Watch your fingers.

YARDLEY steps back and ERIC lets the hood fall.
YARDLEY
What is it?
ERIC
It won't start.

His face is so serious that YARDLEY looks confused at first. Then ERIC smiles, and she smiles as well.
ERIC (cont.)
So, you want to go for a walk?

57 EXT CITY STREETS NIGHT 57

ERIC and YARDLEY walk side by side. They are a comfortable distance away from each other. Both are smiling. The words we come in on should sound like something from the middle of a conversation, without the uncomfortable pauses of people who are just getting used to talking to one another.
YARDLEY
So when I came back I asked him what he did with all the new books, and he looked at me in that way of his--you've seen how he can look at you--and he says:
(imitating LOUIS)
“New is such a relative term that I don't even know what it means.”

ERIC laughs a little and shakes his head.

ERIC
Why does your dad put up with him?
YARDLEY
Dad doesn't really pay any attention to the place. He only bought it because it was what I wanted to do.
ERIC
You run it by yourself? You’re pretty young, aren’t you? Younger than me?
YARDLEY
I went to college for a year and got sick of it. I thought it was time to grow up. I wanted to do something on my own.
ERIC
So you just started your own business.
YARDLEY
(rolls her eyes)
It's just a bookstore. I've always wanted to run a bookstore. I can't remember a time when I wasn't surrounded by books. My first memory is of sitting on my mother's lap while she read to me. I used to make her read the same books over and over, hundreds of times.
ERIC
So what does she think of you now?

YARDLEY'S far-away, nostalgic expression is replaced by a slight frown.
YARDLEY
My mother's not alive anymore.

ERIC loses his smile and there is the expected, embarrassed pause at this piece of news.
ERIC
I'm sorry.

YARDLEY waves her hand, as if trying to brush away this portion of the conversation.
YARDLEY
It's okay. She died a long time ago. When I was nine.
ERIC
That must have been rough.

YARDLEY
(with pauses while walking)
I smelled the gas upstairs. There were towels under the door, and I had to pull them out before I could open it.
She was so beautiful.

YARDLEY stops walking and looks into a store window with three SKIING FIGURES. ERIC reaches one gentle hand over and touches her arm. They keep walking out of the business district while another way cool SONG comes up. They come to a large house with a brick wall and wrought iron gate in front of it. A long, curved driveway leads up to the well-lit front door.
YARDLEY
This is it.

58 INT BOOKSTORE AFTERNOON 58

LOUIS is standing behind the cash register as ERIC and KAREN walk in. KAREN is smiling slightly, as if ready to tease ERIC about anything she can find. ERIC has an almost embarrassed look on his face. He really wants KAREN to be impressed. LOUIS nods to ERIC, raises an eyebrow when he sees KAREN.
LOUIS
This your squeeze?

ERIC'S embarrassment increases greatly. KAREN laughs.
KAREN
In his dreams.
ERIC
This is my sister, Karen.

LOUIS appears even more interested. Though he speaks to ERIC, he keeps his eyes on KAREN.
LOUIS
I didn't know you had a sister.
KAREN
We don’t tell people about him, either.

LOUIS looks at ERIC, apparently taking this news seriously.
LOUIS
That would explain some things.

KAREN laughs, but ERIC, while smiling, appears less than fully amused.
ERIC
So this is where I work.

KAREN glances around very quickly.

KAREN
Not bad.
(looks at LOUIS)
This your boss?

ERIC laughs more fully this time. LOUIS keeps a deadpan expression on KAREN.
LOUIS
I'm not interested in obtaining power for myself. Only in studying its effects upon others.
ERIC
Yardley around?
LOUIS
Her car's in the garage, so she took the day off.
KAREN
(looking around)
Well, boys. This isn’t quite as exciting as I hoped. I think I better go or I’ll miss my bus.

ERIC pulls his keys out of his pocket and holds them out for KAREN.
ERIC
You can take my car.
KAREN
How will you get home?
ERIC
I'd rather walk.

KAREN looks at him a little strangely, but takes the keys.

KAREN
(to LOUIS)
Nice meeting you.
LOUIS
You can come back sometime if you want. You should know that this is something I don’t even say to customers. (He winks.)

KAREN leaves and both ERIC and LOUIS watch her through the window as she walks away.
LOUIS
You know what Descartes would say about her, don't you?
(pause)
ERIC
A good cigar's a smoke?

Louis nods approvingly, though he doesn't smile.

59 EXT BOOKSTORE NIGHT 59

ERIC leaves through the front door of the bookstore, waving inside to LOUIS as he goes. As another hit single type song plays, we get a montage of shots showing ERIC walking through the city. He walks down suburban streets. He walks past a cemetery. He ends up at the intersection where the accident occurred. He is making a feeble attempt to piece his life back together by walking around to the various pieces. He stands at the intersection for a while, but it is clear no major revelation will be forthcoming.

60 EXT SWANSON'S HOUSE NIGHT 60

At the very end of the montage, ERIC walks up the street toward his own house. He pauses for a second at the bottom of the driveway, just looking at the darkened structure. He has a slight smile on his face, as if he has come to some type of peace with himself. He walks up the driveway and enters through the front door.

61 INT ERIC'S ROOM NIGHT 61

ERIC sits at a small writing desk, felt-tip pen in hand. A school notebook is open to the first page on the desk in front of him. He seems hesitant to begin writing. He strikes one of those artificial writer-looking-for-inspiration poses. Finally, he puts pen to paper and begins to write. Cut to a shot over his shoulder, where we can read “Day 1.” The rest of the sheet is blank.

62 EXT SWANSON'S MORNING 62

KATHLEEN rakes some leaves in the front yard. It is a very bright fall day. All colors seem somehow exaggerated, incredibly bright and distinct. KATHLEEN wears a bright yellow sweatshirt to emphasize this point. The red convertible that CELIA drives up in seems much brighter than we remember it from before. CELIA parks in front of the house, and KATHLEEN stops raking, a smile on her face. CELIA gets out of the car and then reaches back in and pulls out a box. She carries the box up to where KATHLEEN is standing.
KATHLEEN
Hi, Celie. It's good to see you.

Though she appears somewhat unhappy about the task at hand, CELIA returns the warm smile with a genuine one of her own.
CELIA
It's nice to see you, too.
KATHLEEN
I'm afraid Eric's still in bed. Do you want me to get him up?

The mention of ERIC immediately brings back CELIA'S discomfort. She shifts the box to her other arm.
CELIA
You don't have to. I just found some of his stuff around. I thought he might want it back.

It's KATHLEEN'S turn to lose her smile. She glances at the box, then looks back at CELIA'S face.
KATHLEEN
He should get up, anyway. Maybe you want to talk to him?
CELIA
(shakes her head)
No. No, I don't think so. Maybe you can just give him this stuff.

CELIA holds the box out to KATHLEEN, who takes it with some reluctance.
KATHLEEN
You're sure you don't want to talk to him?

This is almost more than CELIA can stand. Very near tears, she turns and starts heading back toward her car.
CELIA
No. No. That's fine.

KATHLEEN follows after her and catches up near the street.
KATHLEEN
I wish you wouldn't go.
CELIA
I know. It's just I don't know what's best right now.
KATHLEEN
I don't understand it, either. But if it means anything, I think he's making a mistake.

CELIA smiles a little sadly.
CELIA
I love him very much.
KATHLEEN
He loves you, too. He's too confused right now to know it, but I'm sure he does.
CELIA
Yeah. Well, that doesn't seem to be enough.

CELIA starts to get into the car, but KATHLEEN puts one hand on hers.
KATHLEEN
It's enough. It's always enough if you want it to be.

The two pause there for a second, looking at each other. Finally, CELIA gets into the car and drives away, leaving KATHLEEN standing on the curb, holding the box with ERIC's stuff.

63 INT BOOKSTORE STOCKROOM EARLY EVENING 63

LOUIS comes through the door, carrying an empty box, into the back room of the bookstore. It is a fairly long, narrow room with cartons of books lying around. YARDLEY is doing some paperwork at a small desk, but she looks up as LOUIS comes in.

LOUIS
I'm taking off now.
YARDLEY
Another hot date?
LOUIS
We'll probably smoke some French cigarettes and practice our Esperanto.

YARDLEY shakes her head and looks back to her paperwork.
YARDLEY
Make sure you tear down the box before you take it to the dumpster.

LOUIS begins tearing the box apart. The noise he makes is startlingly loud in the small room.
LOUIS
The physical exertion will bring me closer to you.

Some combination of the noise and LOUIS'S words seems to effect YARDLEY. She closes her eyes, squeezing them shut as if she has a headache. She puts one hand up to her forehead and starts to rub. LOUIS is oblivious to this reaction and continues to tear the box down while he talks. YARDLEY sits up straight in her chair, hand still to her forehead. She tries to get up, but simply continues beyond the point of no return and falls forward. At last, LOUIS notices, and he drops the box and rushes over.
LOUIS (cont.)
Hey, Yard. Take it easy, now.

He gently rolls her over onto her back and lightly holds her face between his hands. He pats one cheek softly.
LOUIS (cont.)
Are you still breathing for me?

YARDLEY blinks her eyes, then opens them fully. Her gaze is rather dull at first, but gradually she seems to realize where she is, and she struggles to sit up. LOUIS helps her.
YARDLEY
It happened again.

LOUIS leaves YARDLEY sitting there and gets up and walks to a small, white sink in the far corner of the room. He runs some water into a cup and brings it back to YARDLEY.
LOUIS
It happened again. Did you go to the doctor like I told you?

YARDLEY drinks the water shakily. She has to hold the cup with both hands.
YARDLEY
He didn't find anything.

LOUIS gives her a raised-eyebrow LOUIS look.
YARDLEY (cont.)
Really. He ran a scan and everything. He couldn't find anything wrong.

YARDLEY takes another drink, refuses to make eye contact.
LOUIS
That's all?

YARDLEY gets up off the floor and sits once again at the desk.
YARDLEY
He gave me the name of a psychiatrist.

LOUIS stands there looking at her for a moment. She still refuses to meet his eyes. Outside in the store a BUZZER announces an incoming customer. LOUIS makes a brief motion to get up, but YARDLEY tugs on his arm.
YARDLEY (cont.)
Hold on.
LOUIS
(letting Yardley's head fall on his shoulder as the BUZZER goes again.)
You know what Spinoza would have said about you, don't you?
(pause)
Everywhere you are...it's Shangri-La.

64 EXT CITY NIGHT 64

YARDLEY and ERIC stand in front of the closed bookstore. There is an awkwardness in their attitudes toward each other. Each appears as if they want the other to speak first. Naturally, they speak simultaneously.
ERIC
So...
YARDLEY
Well...

There is another moment of silence as they both smile. Again, they speak at the same time.
YARDLEY
Go ahead.
ERIC
Go ahead.

They laugh a little at this, before ERIC takes the lead.
ERIC
I wondered if you wanted to go for another walk?
YARDLEY
Sure.

Then they walk together, a comfortable distance separating them.
YARDLEY (cont.)
I'm sorry I got so weird about my mother the other night.
ERIC
It must have been tough on you.
YARDLEY
I really don't remember her that well. I think that's the worst thing.
ERIC
Families are strange. My family is perfect, you know what I mean? Dad pulled himself up by his bootstraps into solid, respectable middle-class guy. Mom devoted to husband and kids. The boy came first, the girl a few years later. We all joke around.
smiles as he thinks of it)
We all like each other. Karen, my sister, is one of my best friends in the world.

YARDLEY takes this in approvingly. She smiles over at ERIC as he continues.
ERIC (cont.)
My parents always try to understand me. Everyone's perfect. Everyone's there for me. Sometimes it drives me nuts.
YARDLEY
(gentle mocking)
That can really be rough.

ERIC doesn't seem to notice her attempt at humor. His expression has taken on a more introspective look.
ERIC
It leaves me with no one to blame when my life gets all screwed up.

YARDLEY appears ready to make a joke, but she notices ERIC'S expression just before she speaks. She holds herself back and waits for ERIC to continue.
ERIC (cont.)
I had an accident. Last winter. Except it wasn't my fault. That's what everyone tells me. So it wasn't my fault, but they're still dead. That doesn't change just because it wasn't my fault.

They have reached a section of the sidewalk underneath a big bank clock, which flashes the time and temperature.
YARDLEY
I don't think there are answers.
ERIC
Then what's the point?

YARDLEY stops and ERIC continues a couple of steps before he notices. When he turns and looks at her, he sees tears on her cheeks.
YARDLEY
Sometimes I think everything we do in life is for the purpose of self-destruction.

ERIC walks the couple of steps back to her.
ERIC
It would be better to have someone to blame things on.

YARDLEY
No, it wouldn't.

Very quickly, she stretches up and kisses ERIC on the lips. The kiss lingers for a few seconds before they break it off. Still standing close together, they look at each other's faces for a bit. When they speak, it is simultaneous.
ERIC
Maybe we should start heading back.
YARDLEY
Maybe we should start heading back.

This is just the right thing, and they pull away from each other, smiling.

65 EXT. SWANSON'S YARD LATE AFTERNOON 65

The Swanson family is cooking out. EARL stands next to a black grill, spatula in hand, watching over some cooking burgers. On the apron he wears it says “World's Greatest Kook.” KATHLEEN is putting some paper plates and plastic cups on a picnic table. ERIC and KAREN are bringing out chips, pickles, ketchup, etc. and putting them on the table as well. This is an idyllic, perfect family scene featuring our idyllic, perfect family. At some point, a flame shoots up on the grill.
EARL
Squirt bottle. Where's my squirt bottle?
KATHLEEN
(without looking)
On the ground, next to your feet.

EARL looks down and sees a plastic dishwashing soap bottle on the ground beneath him. The label is torn off and it is full of water. He bends down to pick it up.
EARL
Thanks.

EARL squirts some water on the coals and a large puff of smoke rises to the accompaniment of a sizzling sound. KAREN and ERIC, their jobs done, come over to inspect the burgers. KAREN looks at them with obvious distaste.
KAREN
They look great, Dad.
EARL
You think you're ready to wear this apron? Do you? Do you think so? Because let me tell you something. Other people have thought they were ready to take on the champ.
(looks pointedly at ERIC)
You know what happened to them?

KAREN looks over at ERIC.

KAREN
Brain-dead?

EARL shakes the spatula in front of him to emphasize his point.
EARL
I was king around here long before you were princess, lady. In my yard, my burgers rule.
ERIC
When are they going to be done?

EARL
Does this look like a microwave? Real food takes a little time.
KAREN
Could you make mine really black and hard, again? Like a hockey puck?
EARL
(to KATHLEEN)
Don't you have something for them to do?
KATHLEEN
They can pour drinks.

KAREN takes a last look at the burgers as she and ERIC return to the picnic table.
KAREN
I think we're going to need them.

ERIC hands KAREN plastic cups and she pours Diet Coke out of a two-liter bottle. As ERIC notices there is one too many cups, CELIA comes walking around the corner of the house.
EARL
(notices CELIA)
Hey, you made it. Pull up a bench. The burgers are almost done.

ERIC notices CELIA for the first time. He looks around at the others, uncomfortable that he seems to be the only one surprised by her presence.
CELIA
I've heard that one before.
KAREN
Come on over. Dufus here is no help at all.

CELIA walks over to the table. She seems almost as uncomfortable as ERIC, but they each try tentative smiles.
CELIA
Hi, Eric.
ERIC
What a surprise.

CELIA looks confused at this and is about to say something until KATHLEEN cuts in.

KATHLEEN
Isn't the weather perfect? I'll bet we won't get another chance to eat out like this.
EARL
(taking a cue from her)
You got that right. I'm putting the grill into the shed as soon as it cools down tonight.
CELIA
(to ERIC)
How are you?

ERIC'S smile has been on his face too long. It is starting to look very odd.
ERIC
Good. Good. You?
CELIA
Fine.

Seeing the continued awkwardness, KATHLEEN looks around for a pretense to cut in.

KATHLEEN
I forgot that onion I sliced.

ERIC reacts quickly and is already heading toward the door into the house before KATHLEEN even starts to move.
ERIC
I'll get it.

ERIC waves her back as he reaches the door.


66 INT KITCHEN LATE AFTERNOON 66

ERIC walks to the refrigerator and takes out a cellophane-wrapped plate with sliced onions on it. He walks back over to the door and looks out. The awkwardness that was there when he was outside appears to be gone. EARL has a big grin on his face, and KATHLEEN, KAREN, and CELIA are laughing. As ERIC watches, we get the sense that CELIA is as much a part of this family as ERIC is. ERIC'S expression, neutral to happy at first, gradually sinks down into something like sadness, something like uncertainty. He sets the onions on the counter and heads toward the front door of the house, which he leaves through.

67 EXT STREETS LATE AFTERNOON TO NIGHT 67

ERIC once again walks through the streets of the city to the accident intersection. A newspaper drifts by his feet. He keeps moving.

68 EXT YARDLEY'S HOUSE NIGHT 68

It is fully dark as ERIC approaches the front gate of YARDLEY'S house. The music has gone down and there are noises of an argument of some sort. At least, we can hear a man's voice shouting something. As ERIC nears the gate, there is a crash, like the breaking of a bottle. A car door slams; a motor starts up. ERIC, curious, steps into the long drive and is almost run over by an expensive foreign car of some sort driven by a LATE MIDDLE-AGED MAN. The MAN appears not to notice ERIC, who watches the car until it drives out of sight down the street. When the car is gone, ERIC turns toward the house and begins to walk up the driveway. The front of the house is well-lit, and as he draws closer, we can clearly make out YARDLEY, sitting on the ground by the front door. She is crying softly. ERIC pauses a short distance away from her, uncertain of whether or not to continue. She notices him before he can turn away, though, taking the decision out of his hands. She seems only slightly surprised to see him. She wipes at her eyes with her hand.
YARDLEY
Now you've met Daddy.

ERIC is still hesitant to move forward, so he stands awkwardly where he is. He glances back down the driveway.
ERIC
Not really. Just missed each other, I'd say.

YARDLEY smiles a little at this through her tears.

YARDLEY
Would you come over here?

ERIC walks over and sits down beside her. Their shoulders are not quite touching. ERIC looks just about everywhere except at YARDLEY.
ERIC
This happen often?
YARDLEY
Why are you here?

ERIC squirms a little at the force of her voice.

ERIC
Just out walking.

With ERIC to concentrate on, YARDLEY has begun to get a pretty good handle on herself. Her tone of voice is accusatory.
YARDLEY
How much did you hear?

Though unsure of the situation, ERIC seems to have a natural feeling for what YARDLEY needs to hear from him.
ERIC
Nothing. How much do you want to tell me?

The aggression in YARDLEY'S manner toward him seems to seep out of her as she thinks about this. Finally, she shakes her head.
YARDLEY
Nothing. Not yet.

The two of them sit side by side, looking forward.

69 INT ERIC'S ROOM MORNING 69

ERIC lies in bed, sleeping, as just the slightest hint of daylight comes in through the window. The door opens quietly and EARL comes in. He walks quietly over to the bed and puts a hand on ERIC's shoulder. ERIC starts awake and tries to sit up, but EARL holds him down.
EARL
(whispers)
Shh. The others aren't up, yet.

ERIC looks at his father, confused. Though there is no anger in his face, something about his manner shows that EARL is very serious.
EARL (cont.)
Put some clothes on. I think we should take a walk.

70 EXT SIDEWALK MORNING 70

ERIC and EARL walk side by side in the dim light of early morning. Neither one carries anything, and EARL's hands swing freely at his sides, while ERIC's are stuffed deep into the pockets of his light jacket. Now and again, ERIC glances over at him expectantly, but EARL doesn't say anything for a pretty good distance. When he finally does speak, it is in the soft, carefully-modulated voice of someone who has told himself he isn't going to show how upset he is.

EARL
Didn't think much of you leaving like that, last night. Your mother and Celia were upset. I imagine you'll hear something about that today.

They walk a little farther in silence. As they near an old, gnarled tree, EARL comes to a stop. ERIC stops beside him.
EARL (cont.)
(nods toward tree)
This is it. I wanted to show you this.

ERIC looks at the tree. Its trunk is incredibly twisted and bent, almost giving the impression of an anguished face. Its leaves are bright yellow, and they stand out clearly in the morning light.
EARL (cont.)
I first saw that tree over twenty years ago, not too long after we found out that your mother was pregnant with you. We didn't have the house, yet. We lived in an apartment a couple of blocks over. We've shown you the place before.

EARL looks over at ERIC, as if expecting some type of response.

EARL (cont.)
We had just had a fight. Probably about money. Before you have kids, the only thing there is to fight about is money. Anyway, we had a fight and I just walked out. If we had had a car, I probably would have just driven away. Hell, when I left the house that day, I figured I was walking away from it all. Your mother, the money problems, you. I didn't think I was ever going back.

ERIC shows a real interest in this. It is obviously not a story he has heard before. Probably not a story he has ever even suspected.
ERIC
Why didn't you?

EARL ignores the question and keeps his eyes on the tree.
EARL
Look at that thing. It looks like it's seen more than it could tell us in twenty lifetimes. But it's not talking. You look at it, and you think maybe you can understand something, but who knows? Who could ever really know?

ERIC looks away from EARL and back at the tree. They stand there, father and son, for a little while.
EARL (cont.)
I've never tried to tell you anything, and maybe that's been a mistake. You've been a good son, easy to raise. If I haven't given you much advice, it's because I've always thought you knew what you were doing. I haven't agreed with everything you've done, but I felt they were your decisions to make.

ERIC opens his mouth as if to speak, but he doesn't know what to say, so he closes it again silently.
EARL (cont.)
I don't think anyone can ever know what's going on between two other people. I've got friends who have been married longer than your mother and me, and they fight all the time. I know other people who looked like they were perfect with each other right up until their divorce. Whatever has gone on between you and Celie is none of my business, but I don’t think
I have to tell you that you should treat people like human beings.

ERIC looks down to the ground.
ERIC
I know. I'm sorry.

EARL puts a hand on ERIC's shoulder and moves him along as they start to walk back.
EARL
I'm easy. I'm about as sensitive as a cinder block. It's your mother and Celie you need to talk to.

ERIC takes a deep breath and then gives a very small smile, and they walk down the sidewalk, the father with one hand on his son's shoulder.

71 INT BOOKSTORE DAY 71

ERIC and LOUIS stand behind the cash register counter. It appears to be a slow day, with no customers in sight. LOUIS seems very excited about the conversation they are having; ERIC looks a little confused.

LOUIS
Okay, this is your soul. It starts on the ground. Nothing. No potential to achieve the energy force that is higher being. But everything you do in life raises or lowers this book. You do the
right things, you can raise it to the top of the Sears Tower. From there, it's got enough potential energy to break through any plane into any other existence. Right?

ERIC shrugs his shoulder. LOUIS shrugs his and the two lean against the counter.
ERIC
Is it always this slow on Friday?
LOUIS
I don't know. Yardley usually works.

ERIC finally shows some interest.
ERIC
Why isn't she in today?

Though he is generally accomplished at conversational misdirection, LOUIS is visibly uncomfortable with this question. He seems to be wondering how much he should tell ERIC.
LOUIS
Some kind of problem. Said she'd try to stop in later.
ERIC
Something with her father?

LOUIS thinks about it for a second, then decides to go a little ways for ERIC.
LOUIS
Her old man's a problem.
ERIC
So I figured.
LOUIS
Look. I don't know what she told you or how much I should tell you. He drinks sometimes.

ERIC nods, but he seems to know that if he keeps quiet, LOUIS will continue.
LOUIS (cont.)
I don't think it's a regular thing. Sometimes things get bad, is all. The only reason I'm telling you this is because sometimes Yardley will call and want you to work on short notice. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I think it might be nice to tell her okay without asking any questions.

LOUIS seems a little embarrassed that he is showing genuine human compassion for another person. He is saved from further embarrassment by the entrance of a CHUBBY GIRL. She walks up to the two of them angrily.

CHUBBY GIRL
I thought we had a date this afternoon.

LOUIS gives a gesture that encompasses the entire bookstore.
LOUIS
The physical world beckoned. Spiritual matters were cast aside.

CHUBBY GIRL
Why didn't you call?
LOUIS
(looks disappointed)
I've been calling all afternoon.
(touches his forehead)
Maybe we aren't as in tune as I thought.

The CHUBBY GIRL turns to leave, still angry.
CHUBBY GIRL
Fuck you.

She storms out, leaving ERIC and LOUIS alone in the store once again.
LOUIS
You know what Nietzsche would have said about her, don't you?
(pause)
She's the dot on the “i” in the word “love.”

72 EXT CELIA'S HOUSE NIGHT 72

ERIC comes across the wet grass of CELIA's front yard. He moves with purpose to a first floor bedroom window of an ordinary suburban house. If there could be aluminum siding--there would be. He gets right up to the open window, and in the singular light of one streetlamp he talks, from time to time touching his palm to the screen lightly.
ERIC
I guess you know why I'm here.
(pause) I have something to say, I guess. I'm not going to apologize because I know you don't like that. I'm sorry. (Smiles) This isn't easy for me. You mean something to me. I want to say this isn't about you.
(pause a beat, slight frown)
Maybe it is about you. It's about something. I know it's about something.

73 INT CELIA'S HOUSE SAME TIME 73

CELIA is sitting up in her bed, covers drawn around her. We can hear ERIC's voice very softly through the partially open window. CELIA gets of bed quietly and moves to the window, but crouches below it, her back against the outer wall, listening, arms around her knees.

74 EXT CELIA'S HOUSE SAME TIME 74
ERIC
(looking up)
It's not about stars. I like it that you know about stars. Remember when you told me that Orion interprets the galaxy. I still don't know what you mean by that. I liked it when you showed me the moon and the planets.

ERIC has moved out to the middle of the yard and now comes back to the screen and rests his head up against the facing.
ERIC (cont.)
We lost that in the city. When I was driving home. When I was leaving. I stopped in some town. I don't know. It doesn't matter. I thought about something you said when we first moved to Baltimore. You said, “This is our town.” I thought it was funny. You know, I still sort of do.

75 INT CELIA'S ROOM SAME TIME 75

CELIA sits up some and begins to turn to the window, slowly raising her head. She looks out and ERIC has moved away from the window and his voice is grown fainter. She is straining to hear.

76 EXT CELIA'S HOUSE SAME TIME 76
ERIC (cont.)
But you were right. It was our chance. I've lived in this town my whole life. And I guess I always thought I would. But you knew you were going somewhere. And that's why I never figured it out there. I just didn't want to. I never wanted anything.

77 INT CELIA'S HOUSE SAME TIME 77

CELIA is still listening. A single tear rolls down her face. She reaches a hand up to touch the window with her fingertips.

78 EXT CELIA'S HOUSE SAME TIME 78

ERIC moves back to the window, leans his head against the screen.
ERIC
I wish this was as easy as Orion. I wish you could tell me.
(pause)
But the thing is, I still don't know the planets. I still have trouble finding the moon.


79 INT BOOKSTORE NIGHT 79

ERIC and YARDLEY are shelving some books near each other. If there was any residual discomfort following their last scene together, neither is showing its effects at this time. They seem very comfortable with each other, like two very old friends.
YARDLEY
(holds up book)
Did you put David Hume in the middle of the Stephen King section? Why am I asking? Of course you didn't.
ERIC
Didn't he write “An Enquiry Concerning
Human Mutilation?”
YARDLEY
Great. You've joined the enemy.

ERIC smiles at this.
ERIC
Guilty.

YARDLEY gives him a warm smile in return.

YARDLEY
He's hard to resist.

As they go back to work, the door BUZZER sounds in the front of the store. ERIC and YARDLEY both go toward the counter and are both facing the front of the store when YARDLEY'S FATHER enters. He is the same man who nearly ran ERIC down in the earlier scene. He is of average build, very well dressed. His hair is graying slightly at the temples, but otherwise he looks almost too young to be who he is. He has been drinking, but he doesn't stumble around in a drunken manner. Instead, his movements and speech are very careful, as if to compensate for his state. He looks around the store in a very slow way, pausing briefly on ERIC before moving on. He stops when his eyes get to YARDLEY.
YARDLEY'S FATHER
He's not a customer, is he?
YARDLEY
Daddy, this is Eric. The new guy.

YARDLEY'S FATHER looks at ERIC.
YARDLEY'S FATHER
You know how I knew you weren't a customer?
ERIC
No, sir.
YARDLEY'S FATHER
Because as near as I can figure out, this money pit never has any customers.

He smiles widely at his joke, but seems to check himself before that smile turns into a full-blown laugh.
YARDLEY
Did you want something, Daddy?

Her FATHER turns back to her. The slow, studied manner with which he delivers his words makes them seem all the more harsh.
YARDLEY'S FATHER
Do I need an appointment to visit my store?

YARDLEY is obviously angry and impatient, but she is also very much cowed by this man. The reactions seem to battle across her face for a few seconds, before intimidation wins out.
YARDLEY
No, Daddy. It's good to see you.

She walks over to him and tries to give him a quick kiss and hug. Instead, he puts an arm around her and holds her close.
YARDLEY'S FATHER
That's better. How's my princess?

YARDLEY glances at ERIC, then closes her eyes in embarrassment.
YARDLEY
I'm fine, Daddy.
YARDLEY'S FATHER
How's the book biz?
YARDLEY
Fine. We've been busy.

ERIC takes a step toward them, trying to be helpful.
ERIC
Things have really been moving today.

YARDLEY'S FATHER
Don't you have some work to do?

YARDLEY's expression when she looks at ERIC is almost one of pain. She thinks for a second before speaking.
YARDLEY
There's a box of paperback returns in the storeroom. Could you tear the covers off and put them on the desk. Then take the books to the dumpster.

ERIC glances quickly from daughter to father.
ERIC
It was nice meeting you.
YARDLEY'S FATHER
Yeah. Yeah, we'll have to sit down and talk sometime.

After one more quick glance at YARDLEY, who will not meet his eyes, ERIC retreats through the door to the back room.

80 EXT BOOKSTORE LATER 80

ERIC and YARDLEY stand on the sidewalk in front of the store. She looks down to the ground; he looks at her. YARDLEY doesn't speak at once, but ERIC knows enough to be quiet until she is ready to begin.
YARDLEY
After my mother, it was just Daddy and me. He did everything for me. He stopped traveling for business unless he could take me along. He only worked when I was at school or sleeping. He was there when I had a problem; when I wanted something, anything, he would get it for me. I don't know whether he felt guilty about Mom or was afraid I felt guilty, but whatever it was he made sure I had anything he knew how to give me.

Unconsciously, YARDLEY reaches over and takes ERIC'S hand. They continue walking like this for awhile.
YARDLEY (cont.)
I don't remember the first time I realized he had started to drink. He only did it at night, after I went to bed, and if he left clues about it, I didn't notice them.
By the time I was twelve or thirteen, though, I knew. A couple of times I had seen him really drunk, but it wasn't something that happened every night. It still isn't. Back then I didn't pay much attention to it because it seemed to help him. He was sad, just like me.

There is another pause as YARDLEY gathers her thoughts. Though he perhaps wants to ask questions, ERIC knows enough to stay silent.
YARDLEY (cont.)
It's hard to explain. You have to remember we were together all the time. He was my best friend, but it felt like I had done something wrong. I did everything I could think of make him happy. And it worked, most of the time. We were really happy. But once in a while, I would see that sadness again, and I kept wondering what I had done to cause it, or what I could do to stop it.

YARDLEY stops walking. She is shaking a little, from the cold or from the thoughts going through her head. ERIC stops, too. He stands there for a second, then puts an arm around her shoulder.
ERIC
Stop, if you want.

YARDLEY looks up at him. There are tears in her eyes. She sniffles and runs a finger under her nose. They are stopped right in the middle of a block, the area is quiet, but scatterings of people move back and forth. ERIC and YARDLEY are unaware of them.
YARDLEY (cont.)
A few weeks after my thirteenth birthday, I dreamed about my mother. I was too old to be scared by dreams, but I wanted my Daddy, so I went down the hall to his room. The reading light over his bed was on, and he was sitting up against a pillow, an empty glass in his hand. He made no sound at all, but he was crying.
(pause)
I was still thinking about the dream, and for the first time I connected Daddy's sadness with my mother. I realized it wasn't anything I had done. God, if you could have seen him. I wanted to do anything to make him feel better. I started walking over to him, and he noticed me. I went to him and he held me close. I held him as tightly as I could, wanting to make him happy.

The pause is very short this time. When YARDLEY begins speaking again, it is barely a whisper.
YARDLEY (cont.)
I knew what it was. I knew what was happening. For a while I pretended that I didn't, that I didn't know what he was doing.

YARDLEY breaks into a cry. ERIC gently pats her back, a look of concern on his face. In a very short time, the crying subsides enough for her to continue.
YARDLEY
That first morning when he woke up and saw me in bed next to him and remembered. I'll never forget his face. There was panic and anger. He didn't say anything. He got ready for work and I got ready for school and we didn't talk. When I got home, I found out he had left on a business trip, the first he'd taken without me in years. When he got back, he was distant, and I knew it was my fault. I didn't know what to do. I had lost my best friend and my daddy all at once. I just wanted Daddy to love me again. That's why, when he got drunk a couple of months later, I let him into my room, into my bed. That's why I kept letting him in, kept going to him.

She clings fiercely to ERIC by this time. YARDLEY lets go completely and really starts to cry. ERIC stands holding her.

81 EXT NIGHT YARDLEY'S HOUSE 81

ERIC and YARDLEY stand in front of her door. The crying has passed, and there is a certain unease in their approach to one another. They both realize that their relationship has moved to someplace new; neither is quite certain as to what this means. They keep trying to make eye contact and avoid it at the same time. She turns and goes into the house, leaving ERIC at the front door, looking in after her. He stands there for a bit, unsure of what to do next. Finally, he turns and begins to walk away.

82 INT ERIC'S ROOM NIGHT 82

ERIC is at his desk. Like before, he has an open notebook, but he is not writing anything. Instead, there is a look of deep confusion on his face. He wants to write something useful about YARDLEY's situation, and he becomes increasingly frustrated as he can't come up with anything. Finally, he puts his pen down, closes the notebook, pauses for a beat, thinking, then turns off the light.

83 INT ERIC'S ROOM MORNING 83

ERIC is awake in bed, looking at the ceiling. KAREN knocks and enters at the same time.
KAREN
Are you awake?

ERIC is surprised to be brought out of his thoughts so suddenly, but he quickly recovers and smiles.
ERIC
Tough to sleep in this house.
KAREN
I need a ride to school.
ERIC
What happened to the bus?
KAREN
A big bully keeps stealing my lunch money. Come on. Get up. I need a ride.
ERIC
You're the boss.

84 INT ERIC'S CAR MORNING 84

ERIC drives while KAREN rides. They are both smiling slightly as the scene opens, as if they have just shared a joke. When ERIC makes a turn, KAREN frowns.
KAREN
Where are you going?
ERIC
Did they move the school?
KAREN
Jeez, you really are a dweeb. Why would we want to go to the school?

ERIC considers this for a second.
ERIC
Because it's a school day?
KAREN
Thanks, Dad. If I wanted to go to school, I would have ridden the bus.
ERIC
You don't want to go school?

KAREN
My, you're bright.
ERIC
Where do you plan to go?

KAREN sits back in her seat and relaxes.
KAREN
You're driving.

ERIC looks over at her. He shakes his head a little and smiles as he drives past the school.

85 INT A&W LATER 85

ERIC and KAREN sit across from one another in a booth. Each has a soft drink from which to take the occasional sip. They speak as if we have come in on the middle of a conversation.

KAREN
So you like this job?
ERIC
Yeah. I think I really do.
KAREN
So what do you do?

ERIC gives her a quizzical look.
ERIC
Books, you know. Stack 'em, pack 'em.
(pause)
What's the deal?

KAREN plays around with her straw, unable to meet his eyes.
KAREN
No deal. I just wondered if you were going to be sticking around.
ERIC
Yeah. Yeah I think I will.

KAREN nods, though she doesn't seem especially happy about the news.
KAREN
I guess Celie's going back the day after tomorrow.

ERIC frowns a little at this news, as if he's not quite sure what to make of it. KAREN studies his reaction for a few seconds before looking away again. She thinks about it, then decides to push on.
KAREN (cont.)
I like having you around. Mom and Dad probably
already told you this, but when you and Celie first went East, I cried every night. Stupid.

ERIC smiles a little.
ERIC
No. They never told me. It's kind of nice.

KAREN shrugs and makes a face, careful not to look at him for too long.
KAREN
I used to be mad at Celie because she took you away from me. I thought I would always have my big brother all to myself. I knew better, but I couldn't help the way I felt. Then, last winter, when everything got so crazy, I guess I saw her in a different light. I wanted to say something to you. Make you feel all better. But I couldn't think of anything. Everything I tried came out stupid or made things worse. I thought at first it was because I was too young to know what to say, but Mom and Dad couldn't seem to help, either. Only Celie knew what to say. When I noticed that I started thinking about her in a whole new way. I guess I started to really like her.

Now it's ERIC's turn to avoid eye contact.
ERIC
Yeah. Celie's really great.

KAREN frowns and shakes her head.

KAREN
I don't know. Something's different now. Since she's been back, she doesn't seem so special. The other night at the cookout, I started to get a little sick of her.

ERIC
I shouldn't have left like that.
KAREN
No. It was more than that. I don't know. She's just different since you broke up.

ERIC smiles a little at the description, but his mind is obviously far away. KAREN notices this, and tries to make up for the serious mood she has put on their outing.
KAREN (cont.)
So, are you going to take me to see that cute guy you work with, or what?

ERIC snaps out of it and looks at KAREN, slightly concerned. When he realizes she is joking, he smiles.
ERIC
You know what he'd say about you, don't you?
(pause)
Not to be removed under penalty of law.

KAREN smiles, but it is a confused smile. When ERIC sees it, he begins to laugh.

86 EXT BOOKSTORE AFTERNOON 86

As ERIC and KAREN get out of his car, a police car pulls up in front of the bookstore. A few bystanders start to move toward the store as TWO POLICEMEN get out of the car and go inside. ERIC, a worried look on his face, rushes to follow them, KAREN right behind him. An AMBULANCE pulls up to the store as ERIC and KAREN run in.

87 INT BOOKSTORE AFTERNOON 87

As ERIC and KAREN enter, LOUIS is confronting the two POLICEMEN just beyond the cash register. A few CUSTOMERS are milling about.
LOUIS
Get out of here. I will get it under control.

The POLICEMEN react in the calm, professional manner with which policemen are supposed to react in such a situation.
FIRST POLICEMAN
Where is she now, sir?
LOUIS
It doesn't matter where she is, because you don't need to be involved. I don't know who called you or why you're here, but go away.
SECOND POLICEMAN
We're trained to handle this kind of situation, sir. If you'd just let us talk to her...
LOUIS
No one can be trained to handle this kind of situation. There's never been a situation involving this person and these circumstances.

ERIC has reached the group by this time, and LOUIS notices him.
LOUIS (cont.)
Could you tell these assholes to get out of here? They're just going to make things worse. I can handle it.
ERIC
What's going on?
FIRST POLICEMAN
We got a call from her father.
LOUIS
(to POLICE)
Well, you would listen to him, wouldn’t you?
ERIC
What's going on?

The POLICEMEN glance at each other.

LOUIS
(to ERIC)
Talk to them, will you?

LOUIS leaves the group and takes the few steps over to the door of the storeroom. ERIC and the POLICEMEN look at each other, then move over to stand behind LOUIS.
LOUIS (cont.)
(to closed door)
Are you still in the land of the living?

88 INT STOREROOM DAY 88

YARDLEY sits on the floor, her back against the door. In her hand she holds a prescription bottle of pills. The bottle is more than half empty, and, as the scene progresses, YARDLEY continues to dump one pill out at a time, deliberately examine it for a couple of seconds, then place it in her mouth. Her eyes are red and glazed, as if she has been crying, but she is not crying now. Instead, she acts with a sort of grim, fatalistic determination.
YARDLEY
Still here.

LOUIS (O.S.)
How's the supply holding up?
YARDLEY
(glances at bottle)
Not bad.
LOUIS (O.S.)

You know what Immanuel Kant would say about this, don't you?
YARDLEY
(slight smile)
No.
LOUIS (O.S.)
It's a stupid, fucking asshole thing to do.

YARDLEY smiles a little wider at this, takes another pill.
YARDLEY
Given the context, any rational being would behave in this manner. Kant would be on my side.

89 INT BOOKSTORE SAME TIME 89

LOUIS looks at the closed door. ERIC and KAREN and the POLICEMEN look on. Though his tone is calm, there is a fierce determination in his expression. He is exploring all options before he makes any decisions on what to say next. Throughout the process, ERIC looks on helpless, fascinated.
LOUIS
Forget Kant. He saw angels, didn't he?

He pauses for a response, but doesn't wait long when none appears forthcoming.
LOUIS (cont.)
This is not a rational solution to any situation, and you know it.
YARDLEY (O.S.)
Do I know that?
LOUIS
You think this will punish him?
YARDLEY (O.S.)
Is that what I think?

LOUIS takes a deep breath. A POLICEMAN takes a step forward, but LOUIS holds up a hand to keep him back.
LOUIS
This is the way your mom punished him, and you think that worked pretty well.

90 INT STOREROOM SAME TIME 90

YARDLEY closes her eyes, fighting off LOUIS' words.
YARDLEY
I'm doing this because I can.
LOUIS (O.S.)
He won't be the only one you punish, you know.

YARDLEY clenches more tightly at this, not wanting to hear. She takes another pill.
YARDLEY
It's between me and him.
LOUIS (O.S.)
That's probably what your mother thought.

YARDLEY loosens a little at this. She dumps another pill into her hand and looks at it.

91 INT BOOKSTORE SAME TIME 91

LOUIS looks almost angry. ERIC still watches on in fascination.
LOUIS
The stupid routine doesn't work with me. I know too many really stupid people. You saw how miserable she made him and you think you can do the same.

92 INT STOREROOM SAME TIME 92

YARDLEY is still looking at the pill in her hand. There is anger behind her words by now, too.
YARDLEY
He deserves it. He deserved it then, and he deserves more of it now.
LOUIS (O.S)
And he's the only one you'll hurt with this.
YARDLEY
I don't count. He's ruined my life.
LOUIS (O.S.)
Just like he's the only one your mom hurt.
YARDLEY
(fiercely)
That's right.
LOUIS (O.S.)
She didn't hurt you at all.

YARDLEY still looks at the same pill in her hand. In a moment, her anger and determination seem to melt from her. For the first time, she looks vulnerable, as if she might start to cry.
YARDLEY
Why are you saying this? Why can't you leave me alone?

93 INT BOOKSTORE SAME TIME 93

The look of concentration on LOUIS' face drops for a second, and we get a glimpse of the real depth of his feelings toward YARDLEY.
LOUIS
I'm not going to let you hurt me! I will not let you leave me here!

KAREN and the POLICEMEN look at the closed door, but ERIC's eyes are glued to LOUIS. An understanding of the depth of the relationship between LOUIS and YARDLEY is beginning to dawn on him.

100 INT STOREROOM SAME TIME 100

YARDLEY looks at the pill in her hand for a second longer, then drops it on the floor. She is very close to tears now.
YARDLEY
(softly)
I'm sorry.

She drops the pill bottle as well. Her look is becoming more and more glazed over as the pills start to take effect.
LOUIS (O.S.)
Open the door, please.

YARDLEY tries clumsily to stand up. She reaches up against the door, but it takes her some fumbling until her hand finds the doorknob.
YARDLEY
I'm sorry.

She pulls herself part way up, but then loses her balance and falls over. As her hand slips from the knob, it turns slightly, and the door comes open. LOUIS is the first in, carefully opening the door far enough so that he can get through. The POLICEMEN are right behind him along with a PARAMEDIC. ERIC looks in the open door from a distance, as LOUIS holds her head while the PARAMEDIC shines a light into her eyes.
LOUIS
It's okay now. You're okay.
YARDLEY
I'm sorry.

94 EXT BOOKSTORE AFTERNOON 94

As ERIC, and KAREN look on, LOUIS walks beside YARDLEY's stretcher, his hand holding hers. He's leaning over her and she's talking to him. Her eyes are open, and she's holding onto him. When they get to the ambulance LOUIS and the TWO ATTENDANTS lift the stretcher into the back of the ambulance. One of the POLICEMEN stands near them, in the process of closing a notebook and putting his pen in his pocket.
POLICEMEN
She'll be in I.C.U. for a couple of hours, but after that you'll be able to see her.
ERIC
Thanks.
LOUIS
(coming over)
I'm going with her. Close up for me, would you?

LOUIS hands ERIC the keys, then turns toward the ambulance. ERIC stops him with a hand on the shoulder. KAREN remains behind, looking into the window of the BOOKSTORE.
ERIC
You know about her father.
LOUIS
Yeah. I know.
ERIC
Everything?
LOUIS
Everything.
ERIC
She tell you?

LOUIS doesn’t say anything. He just keeps watching the PARAMEDIC get YARDLEY situated inside the AMBULANCE.

ERIC (cont.)
You were great in there.

LOUIS shrugs it off. ERIC shakes his head. He won't let LOUIS off that easily.
ERIC (cont.)
I tried to think of what to do, and I didn't come up with anything. If it had been me, she'd be dead now.

LOUIS shrugs his shoulders.
LOUIS
What have I got to offer her?

The ambulance, which has been hustling with activity getting ready for departure is now ready to go.
LOUIS (cont.)
(moving toward the closing back door)
I've gotta go.

ERIC watches the ambulance leave, one last shot of YARDLEY and LOU through the hazy ambulance window. KAREN comes up from behind ERIC and takes his hand.

They turn and go back into the bookstore.

95 INT BOOKSTORE AFTERNOON 95

ERIC walks back to the earlier scene and closes the office door. The place is empty now, but there are some books that have been knocked off shelves and ERIC picks them up, replacing them thoughtfully. KAREN shoots a concerned glance or two in his direction, but neither say anything for a little while.

KAREN
Are we going to the hospital?

ERIC seems to reach a decision. He shakes his head.
ERIC
I don't want to go there.

KAREN'S look turns into something just short of disgust.
KAREN
Where are you going to run to this time?

ERIC is surprised by the strength of this reaction. He pauses. He opens his mouth once to speak but nothing comes out.
KAREN (cont.)
If you're just going to keep running, I wish you wouldn't come back.
ERIC
I'm not running.

KAREN looks away from him.
KAREN
What do you call it, then?

KAREN turns fully away from ERIC and looks out the front window. This is the piece that makes everything else fit together. We see a gradual understanding come across ERIC'S face as it sinks in to him how KAREN--and others--see his actions. He takes a quiet step toward her and puts a hand on her shoulder.
ERIC
I need to go see Celie.

96 EXT CELIA'S HOUSE AFTERNOON 96

As KAREN waits in his car, ERIC stands on the sidewalk in front of CELIA's house. He has to work himself up to approach. His manner is less reluctant than it is almost frightened. At this point in time, he has no idea what he is about to say. When he gets to the front door, he pauses a second before he knocks. When he lifts his hand, the door opens, and CELIA appears.

CELIA
You looked like you were walking your last mile.

ERIC smiles a little, only slightly embarrassed by the knowledge that she has been watching him.

ERIC
That bad?
CELIA
Worse.

ERIC shuffles his feet a little, as he tries to think of what he should say next.
ERIC
Speedo says you're heading back.
CELIA
Yeah. Day after tomorrow.

ERIC looks away. He seems to realize that he won't be able to say what he has to say indirectly, so he looks back at her. Their eyes hold for a second.
ERIC
I'd like to come with you.

There is the briefest glimmer of hope in CELIA's eyes before it is replaced by suspicion.
CELIA
What if I don't want you to come?
ERIC
I wouldn't like that.

CELIA looks away uncomfortably.
CELIA
I don't think I can take something like this happening again.
ERIC
Something like this isn't going to happen again.
CELIA
I'm sorry for what happened. The accident. I think about it a lot, too, but I didn't know what it meant to you before.
ERIC
I'm okay. I wish I could tell you everything that's happened.

ERIC opens his arms wide, at a loss for a way to explain it.

CELIA
What about your folks? Speedo? Your job?
ERIC
They're okay. It's not that much of a job.
CELIA
What about us?
ERIC
I can't think of a reason why you should trust me.
CELIA
Who said I wouldn't though?

ERIC reaches out and touches her hand lightly.

CELIA (cont.)
Why don't we stick around a couple of days.

CELIA motions over ERIC's shoulder to KAREN hanging out of the car window.
KAREN
Does love always make you feel this sick?

ERIC looks back at CELIA, who is smiling, with tears in her eyes. He smiles back at her
ERIC
I think we need to go back home.

97 EXT ERIC'S HOUSE MORNING 97

All of the main characters are milling about the Swanson's driveway. EARL puts a SUITCASE into the trunk of CELIA'S car. CELIA is talking to KATHLEEN and KAREN on the passenger side of the car. ERIC is with LOUIS and YARDLEY on the driver's side. Everyone is very happy.

LOUIS
You're not irreplaceable, you know. The book business eats up a dozen guys like you an hour.
YARDLEY
(ignores this)
I’m making him the manager. He’s just too good. He just knows too much.

ERIC
(smiling)
He taught me a lot, I know that.
LOUIS
My role was always underestimated.

ERIC suddenly hugs YARDLEY, and reaches out a free hand to LOUIS. LOUIS is surprised at first, but then slaps ERIC on the back.

LOUIS (cont.)
Ah well, but I’ll keep your position open. If you ever want to come back.

CELIA comes over, she smiles at all of them, and it’s clear in her manner that she’s been told everything. She hugs YARDLEY quickly.

CELIA
You two take care. (then to ERIC)
We'll never get there if we don't get started.

There is a slight flurry of activity as his family members run over to ERIC and give him the appropriate hugs and kisses and handshakes. Finally, ERIC pulls away and gets into the car. Smiling and waving, he starts it, and the two of them drive away, leaving everyone else in the driveway, looking after them happily, perhaps even wistfully.

LOUIS
You know what Jacques Derrida would say about them, don't you?
(pause)
Neither do I.

98 EXT HIGHWAY MORNING 98

From an aerial view, we see CELIA'S car as the MUSIC COMES UP and the CLOSING CREDITS begin to roll.