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Life's That way
All Lights off
(Sounds, Crash , scream, sirens start loud soften a bit)
911 what’s your emergency
There’s been a car accident, there’s bodies everywhere
We’re dispatching emergency vehicles now,
(voices fade out with the operator saying: do you know how many victims there are, sirens become louder and play underneath everything, explosion glass breaks)
Off stage voice fades in:
We’re at the scene of a grisly crash , where (voice fades out)with sirens getting louder.
(Everything faded out except for the sirens as a slow and steady beep, like a hospital beep starts to fade in.)
A Phone rings
the sirens slowly fade out to with only a slow and steady beeping
Is this a Mr. Leo Paulmer
I’m calling from Southside general We’ve been trying to reach you for a few days now hospital we have an Elle Jacobs here she’s been in a car crash and-
I’ll be right there
Silence except for the beep.
Scene opens It’s night.
A hospital room is center stage. The bed is left to right you can only see the profile of Elle. There’s a two chairs one in back of the bed the other by a window which is just past the foot of the hospital bed on stage right, vertical blinds There’s no light coming through. There’s a medium sized table in the room, with a small pitcher and a glass next to it. There is a plant and lamp in opposite corners. and there is a sink, mirror with a stack of towels stage right with a small garbage can below it.
Elle Jacobs, lays silently, sleeping in the bed
The beep gets quieter through the scene and it eventually fade.
Stage right. Outside the room A nurse reading a clip board intensely stands as Leo runs on the stage disheveled and a bit out of breath. He’s wearing with a suit, a loosened tie and a rain coat. His hair is slicked back.
Excuse me I’m looking for Elle Jacobs’s room
Nurse 2 ( doesn’t look up from clipboard)
Right in there, ( points with her pen)
(Leo crosses the stage in front of the nurse, the nurse leaves the stage, never looking up from her clipboard. Leo stands in the entrance of the room for a moment , just looking at her, as if he sees a ghost. He turns his head an avoids looking at her . He walks further in, takes off his rain coat and neatly folds it down in the chair. He still avoids looking at her. He sits down on the chair. He can’t avoid looking at her anymore, he swallows hard. He looks at her again and then takes off his suit jacket without care and lets it fall behind him Leo stood there, he touched her face , moving her hair, he slightly smiled.
Dr. Sloan, a bright eyed cherry young doctor entered the room from stage right. He is wearing scrubs, he stands there for a moment)
Looks peaceful, doesn’t she.
Yea, (not noticing the Dr.)
Dr. Sloan (clears his throat, getting actual attention of Leo)
I’m Dr. Sloan. You must be
(Leo held out his hand)
Leo Paulmer (they said in unison. The Dr. Shook his hand)
The nurses are all talking about the famous Leo Paulmer outside.
( The Doctor cross in front of Leo, without a word as if he was a piece of furniture in the room. Leo takes a step back)
They’re huge fans.
( Leo smiles as this is said. Dr. Sloan takes a flashlight out of his chest pocket)
I for one don’t care for your movies (said while checking her eyes for pupil dilatation. The smile fades from Leo’s face)
Is she gunna be ok?
Well…. A few bumps, and bruises, broken ankle, and she does have a concussion-
But she’s ok ?.?
We just don’t know. Her brain functions and blood work are normal, he’s still breathing on her own so that’s a good sign, but she came in unconscious and hasn’t woken up. Right now we’re concerned about her slipping into a coma. How do you know her by the way ?
(rubbing his chin) Has anyone called her parents yet?
( the doctor is writing on her chart)
I have their number if-
Down Sta- So they’re here-
In the morgue Mr. Paulmer
Her parents and her older sister. (he stops writing)
Does she have anyone else?
No… (pauses) No, I’m all she’s got
You seem pretty young- no offense
but I’d rather another- a more experienced Doctor take a look at her-I doesn’t matter the cost I mean-
I assure you Mr. Paulmer She’s in the best care. ( Leo goes to protest)
I’m the head of intensive care. I promise you there’s nothing more you can do
( Dr. Sloan looks at his watch)
Visiting hours are over in 40 minutes. I wouldn’t expect any preferential treatment.
( Dr. Sloan walks out)
(Leo walks back to the chair where he was before. He sits)
( as he puts his head in his hands)
Lights fade to black.
(You hear birds, the Lights fade back in. it’s morning. There is light streaming through the shades. Leo is sleeping, he’s slumped against the same chair all night. His collar is unbuttoned and his sleeves are rolled up, his shirt looks a bit wrinkled. His tie is off and hanging on a chair. His hair is mussed. Elle is still lying in bed as she was before.)
(Max steps in the room, standing by the door with a good sized plant. He’s wearing slacks and a nice short sleeved shirt. He sees Leo asleep. Max shakes his head)
( Max walks further in the room, goes to the back wall by the corner and purposely drops the plant nosily on the ground. Leo jumps; waking up.)
Sorry, did I wake you?
No I was just…uh…- resting
( Leo runs his fingers through his hair gets up and walks over to the sink, leaning on it. Max walks over to Elle)
How is she?
Hasn’t woke up yet.
( Leo washes is face off with water Max shoots Leo a look)
You’ve been here all night?
(Silence As Leo grabs a paper towel and dries his face)
But I thought.
( Still leaning on the sink)
I don’t know.
(He swallows hard.)
I just walked out
Christ where’d you leave her- a premire?
Our engagement party
( Leo throws the paper towel in the trash, turns to face the back wall)
( Max Laughs)
God- you walked out on your engagement party.
( Leo Shoots Max a look and then starts pacing thoughtfully )
It’s not like I planned it. I mean, all of a sudden she just-
Gisett didn’t even tell me about it.
I though you got engaged Thursday,( Max leans the chair backwards, reclining) man that Gisett works fast. God I wish I was there she must have had hundreds of her half naked-Supermodel friends there –
That’s all who was there just models and agents and more models I mean it was like she had them on reserve. I don’t even know those people-
So what she’d say
(Max sits up)
I said nothing I just left.
( Max gets up and walks over to the window crossing behind Leo. Leo walks over to Elle, but stares at the floor.)
(Max Looks out the Window)
Phone’s in the car.
(Pauses. Leo breaks his eye contact with the floor and grabs the chair which he was sleeping in and swings it towards the end of the bed near the foot. He sits down )
Ya know The minute I heard she was in the hospital I just… I just felt like someone punched me. I mean really punched me in the chest. And I couldn’t breathe. My heart was pounding – the thought of losing her- I couldn’t think I just got in the car and-
( They both turned noticing a Nurse standing in the room eagerly listening to their conversation . She was holding a clip board with an envelope under it)
Just came in to take her pulse.
(The Nurse goes to Walk to Elle but stops.)
Would you mind? I’m huge fan.
(Leo pauses uncertain)
(He takes the clip board. He looks at Max for a moment , who returns it the look. The nurse still has the envelop in her stands staring at Leo as he scribbels his name quickly and hands it back to her. The nurse turns around and goes to walk out. By this time there are already two other nurses in the door way anxiously waiting to see his autograph.)
( The nurse turns around)
Aren’t you gunna take her pulse?
Oh – right.
(the nurse walks over to Elle, picks up her wrist and holds it for two seconds and drops it.)
(the nurse then walks out squealing with the other two nurses. Leo shakes his head. Max is still leaning on the window)
So what are you gunna do?
What do you mean what I’m going to do. I guess I’ll-
Take it from someone whose been married three times. Your girl will not like it when their fiancé sleeps with their ex-girlfirend.
I didn’t seep with her, ( he stands up)
I feel asleep in the chair
She’s still here
Unconscious (raising his voice)
( Max raises his arms in defense.)
Hey I’m just here as a friend, Besides that’s what the press will say
I don’t give a crap about the Press
Gisett does, or didn’t you wonder how I knew you were engaged. Her rep put out a statement Thursday night it’s all over E!
That all she freaking cares about.
You said it not me
You know I don’t watch that crap anyway.
No but you listen to it
So are you gunna go back to Gisett?
Let me get this straight. You left your surprise engagement party with a supermodel to spend the night in a hospital room waiting vigil over your nobody ex who you care nothing about because you panicked when you heard she was hurt
Ya know I’m no expert but-
(A knock on the wall by Nurse 1)
Excuse me. I’m sorry to interrupt. You’re Mr. Paulmer right? We spoke on the phone. This is for you. ( she holds out an envelope )
This was supposed to be given to you before, but apparently someone forgot(she shouts to the side turns back to Leo and smiles)
This was with her when she came in.
(She handed the envelope to Leo)
( Leo looks at the envelope)
Well, Are you gunna open it?
( Leo tinkers with the envelope in his hands)
Yes. What are you afraid of?
It’s just a letter.
( Leo nods his head in agreement. Leo opens it the envelope)
It’s a letter
No! I thought it was cookies form my aunt Margrire. What’s it say?
Are you gunna read it?
I don’t know I feel,
You said it yourself You don’t care for Elle anyway.
Right ( unconvincingly)
(Leo folds the letter open. )
It’s from Elle
( Max rubs his eyes in annoyance)
Leo, ( the lights dim down on Max and Leo but not Elle as she sits up)
I know you have ( Elle joins Leo in talking) a decision to make,
and I probably know who you’ll choose. But that’s ok
( Leo stop talking and Elle is alone in her speech. As she gets up off the hospital bed and stands on the stage facing the audience . She moves to down stage right. Through out this speech she is walking back and forth on the stage. )
I mean I understand. I guess I’ve always know that we could never be together, -I’ve always expected that it wouldn’t last or at least everyone else did. What would a college girl from New York and Movie star have in common anyway. Life’s not a fairy tale Leo, I wish it was…. I’m not going to lie and say I’m happy for the two of you. I’m not…. You know They all said I was crazy for not leaving you after pictures of you and Gisett were everywhere but everyone makes mistakes Leo and everyone has regrets- People deserve second chances Leo, you know, you asked ; I didn’t want to lose you- I still don’t. When you told me you needed time to think I- I knew, I’m guessing you did too After all it’s what they expect from you, I think it’s what you expect from you.
You’re probably wondering why I wrote a letter and not an email - I remember once you said there’s something that’s lost something heartless in an email besides I know you only pick up your mail every Saturday, and email is , is instantly- but maybe-maybe I’m wrong you’ll make a decision and choose me before you even get this and then I’ll throw this away. You won’t even see it. But maybe you will- I hope you will I hope you take time to think.
I don’t what this to be a pitch Leo I know how bad you are with those infomercials. I know you like to make everyone happy, I wish life was like a movie when everyone gets a happy ending but it’s not, and It’s not your fault. I don’t want to try an convince you one way or the other, you already have a publicist and an agent and a mother for that- I just, I wanted to remind you that you have your own mind Leo, it’s your choice. I hope you forget about the world and just ( pauses) I just hope that whatever decision you make it comes from the heart. But if I am right then- I’ll make this easy on both of us. ( she walks over to Leo putting her hand on his cheek sliding her hand down to his chin. She then goes back to the bed and sits, covering her legs with the hospital blanket still looking at Leo )
Goodbye……. ( Bye is said is said by Both actors as the lights come back onstage and Elle lays down.)
( he finishes the letter)
Wow- , understanding caring, feet planted firmly on the ground, wants you to be happy I can why you hate her.
(Leo rubs his face. And then shakes his head )
What am I gunna do?
What do you want to do?
I don’t want to make a decision
Can’t have your cake and eat it too.
(Smiles a bit and his smile gets bigger as he talks)
Elle used to say you could. She said that, all you have to do is buy two cakes, so you can have one and keep the other one on display
Well my friend, I think marriage, the kind you want anyway, is the exception to rule
( Max’s phone rings)
That’s my cue, I’ve got a meeting to get to-
Good luck( Max pats Leo on the back and walks out, leaving Leo alone in the room.)
(Leo sits is silence for a moment and then gets up.)
How could you do this to me. Every time. Every time that I make a decision you just do something stupid like this ( he throws the letter on the bed) making me think what I want and I second guess everything I don’t know what I want anymore. -I Gisett, it-it’s easy that way, it’s not complicated, she’ll have people do everything, just like the party….. (pauses) but you, you just I-. But I don’t have to explain anything to anyone, not to me- you know this you said this ( he picks up the letter from the bed) So it’s not a surprise , a Supermodel and a movie star - mean you said it’s what they expect from me. how can I not (pauses)-
Who the f*** is they anyway….
( he crumples the paper and throws it on the floor. He pauses)
You’re right, it’s so much easier- but (pauses) you just- ( he stops looking at Elle whose still unconscious he touches her face, and strokes her hair and then kisses her on the forehead. He sits down in the chair next to her again. He takes her hand in his resting his elbows on bed.) I just don’t want to lose you, everything just makes more sense when you’re around it’s just you and me I-
(Dr. Sloan walks in)
Ahem. I heard you were still here.
(Leo immediately stand up, dropping his hands to the side and letting go of Elle’s hands. But she doesn’t let go of his. The doctor cocks his head at Leo.)
I’m – I’m sorry I ( he goes to walk forward and tugs a bit on Elle’s arm. Elle groans. Leo Turns)
( The Doctor walks forward as Elle gasps as she shoots up, letting go of Leo’s arm at the same time as if waking from a bad dream, panting)
Relax, we’re not gunna hurt you, just breathe.( Elle slowly moves her feet around facing the audience) Get her some water
( Leo goes to the table with the pitcher and pours some water in to a cup. He sits down on the bed and hands it to the Elle)
( she takes from him and drink) (Leo strokes her hair and rubs her back).
Do you know what year it is, ( the Doctor takes out a light from his pickets shining it in her eyes)
2010-what? ( she winces her eyes at the light turning towards Leo)
Leo, what- where am I?
You’re in the hospital, you’re gunna be alright.shh…
I’ll give you two a moment.
(Turing to Leo) but then I need to see my patient alone ( Dr. Sloan walks out)
Leo what’s going on.
We have a lot to talk about my love.