The Date – Short Form Screenplay

The Date By Jordan-Ashley Barney
Date: 10/12/2015
Genre: Comedy
FADE IN:
INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT
RAYANNE(late 20s) is bending over in her walk-in closet
looking at a collection of high heeled shoes.
She grabs a pair of the highest and pointiest heels. She
holds them in her hand and stares at them intently.
She sets them down and her hand glides to and hovers over a
pair of more conservative heels.
Hesitating, she picks up the higher heels and puts them on.
She walks over to her vanity mirror to finish applying
makeup. Putting on a pair of fake eyelashes.
She walks over to full body mirror and turns around several
times with a look of apprehension on her face.
A cellphone starts RINGING. She wobbles over to pick it up.
                    RAYANNE
               (beat)
          Any minute. I’m nervous. It’s been
          years since I had a first date.
Apartment BUZZER goes off.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh, shit! He’s here..gotta go. Bye.
She walks over to the intercom and presses the button.
                    RAYANNE
          Be right down!
INT. RAYANNE’S FRONT DOOR - NIGHT
Rayanne opens the door of the apartment building and sees
MATT(late 20s), dark hair, tall and very well dressed.
                    RAYANNE
          Hello Matt!
                    MATT
          Hey Rayanne! I got us a reservation at this 
          great French restaurant.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh..that’s great. I’ve never been to a French restaurant.
EXT. CITY - NIGHT
They start walking towards the car as their conversation
continues. He opens the door for her and she gets in.
                    MATT
          Seriously? I lived in Paris for a year before I came back to
          Northwestern.
                    RAYANNE
          Really? Wow..that’s..um..that’s amazing.
                    MATT
          Yeah! I wanted to have some foreign experience 
         before getting my PhD. I thought it would broaden 
         my mind. Have you done much traveling?
                    RAYANNE
          Uh, no not really. 
                 (sarcastically)
          No broadening for me...HA..HA..HA.
Matt does not laugh. Rayanne nervously fidgets.
                    MATT
          So what did you think of Dr. Hodgen’s class on Wednesday?
                    RAYANNE
          He was so tough on that poor Donald kid. What an ass!
                  Am I right??!!
                    MATT
          Hodgens is my favorite professor.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh, god! I am so sorry...
They are silent as they pull up to the French restaurant.
INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
They are sitting at a small table for two with a tall candle
in the middle. They are each holding menus.
She looks up and down from the menu to Matt and back to the
menu. She opens her mouth and closes it again.
A waiter comes by the table.
                    MATT
          Bonsoir Monsieur, je voudrais un verre de vin rouge 
          et le Blanquette de veau.
                    WAITER
          Et pour vous madame?
                    RAYANNE
               (Looking extremely worried)
          Uh...can I get the Tripes à la mode de Caen.
              (said with a horrible accent)
Rayanne takes a sip of water and looks towards the front
door.
She sees a man there with a tall and thin woman. Her eyes
start to widen and she starts breathing heavily.
                    MATT
          Are you alright, Rayanne?
He starts to turn his head to look back at the door. But she
jumps slightly out of her seat and grabs his arm.
                    RAYANNE
          No! No, don’t turn around...it’s my ex...
 W-we didn’t end well. I don’t want to run into him. I might-
She starts to get up while Matt is still looking bewildered.
But the man is already too close for her to make a run for
it. She proceeds to duck down right underneath the table.
Matt’s eyes widen as he realizes what she is doing. He tries
to act nonchalantly as Rayanne’s ex and his date pass by.
When they have passed the table cloth starts to rustle and
there is suddenly a big BOOM. The sound of Rayanne’s head
hitting the table.
She gets back into her seat. While still rubbing her head.
Her hair ruffled.
Matt looks worriedly over at her.
                    MATT
          What was that all about?
                    RAYANNE
          Oh..uhm..it’s a long story.

(beat)

                    RAYANNE
          So..what kind of movies do ya like?
Rayanne perks up. He looks slightly baffled.
                    MATT
          Well, I don’t have much time for 
            films with school and work.
                    RAYANNE
          That’s too bad! I love movies. I always 
              watch Dirty Dancing when I
             am having a bad day. Patrick 
          Swayze always makes me feel better.
                    MATT
          Oh, I haven’t seen that. I guess I
           never really got into watching
          films. I have always been more
          focused on academia.
                    RAYANNE
          Right of course. Very good of you..
A moment of time passes as they sit in silence, Rayanne
visibly uncomfortable and Matt perturbed.
                    RAYANNE
          Oh! Great! Look our food is here.
The waiter sets down both plates. Matt’s veal and a plate
set in front of Rayanne that is covered with what looks a
bit like intestines.
                    RAYANNE
               (Whispering)
             What is this exactly?
                    MATT
          Tripe..you ordered the tripe.
                    RAYANNE
          Of course I did..of course I did..
            Can I try a bit of your’s?
                    MATT
               (awkwardly)
                   Sure..
She leans over to take a bite of Matt’s food with her fork.
As she leans, her right fake eyelash comes loose and falls
into his wine.
She gasps. Matt’s eyes widen and he sits frozen.
                   RAYANNE
          Oh jesus, that is so incredibly
            embarrassing! I am so sorry.
Matt is still just sitting there, stunned. She leans over
again to try and grab the eyelash out of the glass.
                    RAYANNE
          Here I can get it..
Her hair touches the candle on table and catches fire.
                    RAYANNE
          HOLY SHIT!!!
Matt jumps up and frantically grabs her glass of water and
throws it over her head.
Rayanne is squatting over her chair at the table with
singed, smoking, and damp hair.
The water has caused her make up to run and her left fake
eyelash is hanging slightly sideways only half attached.
                    RAYANNE
          I think I’d like to go home now.
INT. CAR - NIGHT
Rayanne is still slightly damp and Matt is straight
faced. It is dead silent.
INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT
Rayanne’s apartment door SLAMS as she closes it behind
her. She hobbles to her closet.
She closes the door for a second and then comes out wearing
a pair of baggy sweatpants and an over sized t-shirt.
She walks straight to the kitchen, grabs a box of Oreos and
a bottle of vodka.
She puts in a DVD and lies on her couch.
She curls up with a blanket on the couch as the beginning
credits of DIRTY DANCING play on her television screen.
THE END

The Persian Rug

I’m driving my beat-up, taupe 1990 Chevy station wagon on the I-355 towards downtown Chicago. The October chill is leaking through the cracks of my dilapidated car doors; so I use my fist to bang on the dashboard, hoping it will make the heater work even though I already know it won’t. As I take the exit for I-294, the nerves begin to kick in.

His house is on the North side of Chicago in the Lakeview district. Miraculously, I find parking on the street right across from his small and rather shitty-looking house. Taking the key out of the ignition, I turn my head before stepping out of my car to stare out at the peeling yellow paint and dirty, darkened windows of number eleven.

Unwilling to move, I sit in my parked car as anger bubbles up making my cheeks hot.

Why did I come here? If I knew it would just dredge up my unreciprocated feelings, why would I come? I haven’t seen him in months; I was starting to move on until I received his invitation. Honestly, it was masochistic enough to love him at all. Why would I voluntarily put myself through something like this?

I yank myself from my reverie of nauseatingly harsh introspection before taking a deep breath and stepping out of my car. I don’t lock my car doors. I never do. No one would want to steal my car and if they did; good riddance. Man, would I love if someone stole my car. But my happiness probably wouldn’t last for long as they would likely return it in less than twenty-four hours once they realize what a piece of junk it is.

I walk up the front steps and stand on the seemingly precarious floor boards of the porch. The nerves feel more like ants crawling throughout my veins; the friendly butterflies which once inhabited my stomach seem foreign to me.

I knock on the door and wait as I hear the soft chattering of voices and the clinking of glasses. He opens the door and his eyes light up when he sees me. And I relax completely as I forget about those pesky ants.

“Oh my god, you came,” he roars jovially.

He pulls me in for a hug and the embrace does that same damn magic it always used to, nearly making me forget my own name this time. Jesus, I suppose that’s a bit cheesy, isn’t it? I tend to be like that.

“Happy birthday!” I say as I try to dull the overzealous look in my eyes so he won’t suspect the nature of my affection.

I nearly climb over the splintered doorframe and pull off my overlarge wool coat. I look around for a coat rack before resentfully laying it on the large pile of other party-goers’ coats crumpled on the floor

Turning to look at me, he exclaims “I need another drink. Want one?”

He leads me past a few other people I probably should know from college but don’t and into the kitchen, where countertops are filled with an assortment of liquor and mixers along with beer and the like. He grabs a dirty glass with a half melted ice cube in it and pours in some generic brand coke before adding probably double the amount of rum which is typical. I watch him as he does this, both admiring the way his brow furrows in concentration and hoping to God that drink is not for me. I sigh with relief as he takes a swig before turning to ask what I’d like.

“I’ll have a rum and coke too.”

I only say this because it’s what he’s having. I am such an ass sometimes. After he hands me my drink, he starts talking animatedly with one of his housemates so I make my way towards the living room. Tasting my drink as I walk, I would bet all my student loan debt that he put at least three shots in it.

I sip my drink as I attempt to make small talk with another girl who graduated from our college. She seems affable and even mildly interesting but I am still unnervingly aware of where he is in the room. It feels as if I have some sort of weird detection device in my brain; throughout the night it would go off like an alarm, shrieking ‘where is he…oh there he is, five feet and two centimeters to the Northwest.’

As the evening continues, I contemplate my resurfacing feelings. I knew I still cared for him but this is a lot worse than I imagined. When we were in school together, he had been in a relationship with a girl named Emily. I always remember that name. It’s the most annoying name in the world.

I down the next drink, hoping I might either gain more hutzpah or just forget my goddamn feelings entirely. The hour becomes later and inhibitions grow smaller and the music reverberates louder. Before I know it, every single one of us is dancing in the middle of the living room with the couches pushed aside.

As the base shakes my chest, the floor feels like it has fallen out from underneath my feet though everyone is somehow still standing. The sensation invigorates, rather than scares, me. I look down. There is a large and intricate Persian rug beneath my feet, whether there was a floor below that rug, I didn’t know.

Eventually, the music becomes softer. I drop to the floor, still breathing heavily, and grab a half empty glass of something from the side table. A few people walk to the kitchen for more drinks, a few went out onto the deck, and a few went to the basement to smoke some pot. The girl who plopped down next to me suddenly springs to her feet and, covering her mouth, runs to the bathroom. I take a sip from the drink in my hand, which is likely not mine, to find him sitting cross-legged in front of me.

I revert my eyes, looking down at the Persian rug concentrating on the pattern as if there might be a secret message for me in the design. There wasn’t one. A few moments pass in silence as the knowledge that we are completely alone sinks in. I, then, evaluate my state of mind. I’ve had around three or four drinks, I can’t quite remember how many. But it isn’t so bad; isn’t so bad that I can’t talk to him. But talk to him about what? What do I really want to say?

I look up at him and he looks directly at me. That is one of the things I really like about him: the way he looks at me. Hell, he probably looks at everybody like that. He looks at you as if, in that moment, he could think of nothing he would like to do better than to listen to you talk for hours. He does it just as well as he always did even though I can tell from his disposition that he’s drunk. After a time, I open my mouth to speak.

“You were saying earlier that you had a really tough summer. What happened?” I whisper, my voice sounding strangely loud after the silence.

His eyes flash with sadness before he answers, “Oh, that. You remember Emily, right?”

Oh boy, do I ever! But I just nod my head.

“We broke up and it was a bit of a mess. It ended rather badly.”

I see on his face that it still causes him agony to think about it. Suddenly, neither my contempt for Emily nor the returned affection I wanted from him seem important anymore. In that moment, I care only for him and his hurt. Of course, it won’t last very long, just like all my moments of selflessness that I constantly build up into grand gestures that don’t actually play out.

I attempt to draw his slightly unfocused eyes back to me before saying, “I’m so sorry that happened. I really am, I wish there was something I could do to help.”

We sit there in silence a bit longer. I start fiddling with the white fringe, yellowed with age, on the edge of the Persian.

“I really miss seeing you around since graduation” he confides.

I raise my head slowly as it feels all foggy for the rush of emotion; or perhaps the alcohol.

“I-I miss you too” I breathe.

Something inside me snaps then and I just don’t care about the consequences anymore. I don’t know if it’s the liquor or the dancing or the simple fact that I know what the response will be and I’m at peace with it.

“I never told you this but…all last semester…you know, while you were with…Emily, um…I had feelings for you. I really care about you.”

I look away from his face, down to my hands which are clasped together in my lap and wait in the silence. I want a moment to myself before I look up at him again. In that moment I expect everything yet nothing at all.

“Wow, really? Thanks!”

I look up at him, confused. His unfocused eyes come into focus as he smiles sluggishly.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Thanks. Thanks. I keep repeating it over and over again in my head until it doesn’t even sound like a real word anymore. He’s drunk. I should have known better. I mean, I knew he wasn’t going to suddenly fall deeply in love with me or anything. But I thought I might get more than three words. I expected something more along the lines of ‘I’m so sorry, I care about you so much but as a friend.’ Yeah, that would be shitty but it would be clear and sad.  Then I could’ve gone home to cry over my tragedy-stricken broken heart. But Thanks?

I force a half smile and pick myself up off the floor as a few of his friends come back in from the deck. I retreat into my mind for the remainder of the party. You know, it really is amazing how one word can undermine everything you feel. In one swift instant, my opinion of my affection towards him transformed according to his disregard. That affection was not worthy of a response and therefore has become, even to me, foolish.

After a time, the party began to quiet down and at about 1 a.m., I grab my coat to leave. He must see me doing this since he walks over to hug me goodbye. I grip his back tightly trying to remind myself that he is real and what I feel for him isn’t completely made up. I decide at that moment I won’t see him again and my chest begins to feel heavy as I turn to leave.

I climb into my Chevy and make my way towards the highway. I drive considerably slower than the speed limit and consider how perfunctorily he brushed off my vulnerability and how suddenly I allowed my feelings to be invalidated. I would never do something like that. I believe in the importance of loving someone. That might be foolish. But, in all honesty, I’d rather be foolish than say thanks.