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An Unexpected Encounter
(The seniors are in English class at Lehman Boarding School. They are reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. LUCAS, JILLIAN, BROOKE and PAUL are all sitting at one round table in the middle of the classroom. LUCAS and JILLIAN are arguing, like always.)
JILLIAN, (Whispering angrily): What do you mean? If he truly loved her, don’t you think it wouldn’t have mattered if their families hated each other? The line between love and hate is very thin, Lucas.
LUCAS, (Whispering, Rolling his eyes): And you would know a lot about love? I’ve never seen you swooned by a guy that you thought you would be with for the rest of your life. You don’t even know what love is Jillian!
JILLIAN, (Louder): Well I sure know what it means to hate someone.
LUCAS: (Louder, trying to overpower her words) Oh, so you hate me?
JILLIAN: Since when have I made you feel any different? Ugh, this is so ridiculous.
BROOKE, (Interfering): Jill, Luke, stop. Mrs. Rains is coming and I will not have detention because I was caught up in an argument between the two of you…again!
PAUL: Seriously guys, (smiling) can’t we all just get along?
JILLIAN: Not hardly. I think it would be best if we never spoke again.
PAUL, (to BROOKE): We’ve got to do something about those two.
BROOKE: What do you mean?
PAUL: Can you not tell? They fight because they are so much alike. If they would just stop arguing they would see how much they actually care about each other. Well, Luke cares about Jill, I know that much.
BROOKE: How do you know that? What has he said?
PAUL: He feels bad after he cuts her down in a fight. He lets her have the last word so maybe she won’t hate him as much. To me, that means something.
BROOKE: You’re right. Think about it, if we got them to stop fighting our lives would be so much easier.
PAUL: We should talk to them. I’ll talk to Luke this afternoon. We should get them to “accidentally bump into each other” tonight.
BROOKE: I’ll have a heart-to-heart with Jill. Tell me what time and where she needs to be and I’ll make it happen.
PAUL: Let’s say seven at the fountain in the courtyard. Luke and I will be done with soccer practice by then, and that will give you girls time to talk.
BROOKE: Sounds good to me. (She smiles.)
(The bell rings to signal the end of the school day. JILLIAN and BROOKE head back to their dorm room to change out of their uniforms while PAUL and LUCAS change in the boys’ locker room for soccer practice. While changing, PAUL and LUCAS talk about what has just happened in class.)
PAUL (putting on his shorts): So how about Jillian?
LUCAS (looking up at him): I don’t know man. I feel so strange, so wrong after we fight. What’s wrong with me man?
PAUL: I think you like her. (LUCAS stands up to full height, looking angry.) I mean, nothing’s wrong with that: she’s a great girl, and you got to admit she’s easily the prettiest girl at Lehman.
LUCAS (now calm): I never really thought about it, but you’re right. We only fight because we’re so much alike. But who said being alike is a bad thing?
PAUL: It isn’t man. I think you guys could get along great if you weren’t always challenging each other.
LUCAS: You’re right. You’re right! I’m gonna talk to her, right after practice.
PAUL: Good. (He smiles.)
(LUCAS exits, leaving PAUL alone in the locker room. He retrieves his cell phone from his soccer bag and texts BROOKE. On the other side of campus, in BROOKE and JILLIAN’s dorm, BROOKE’s phone vibrates. She pulls it out of her pocket and sees a text from PAUL. She opens it and reads “Mission Accomplished.” She smiles.)
JILLIAN (seeing the smile): What are you smiling so hard for?
BROOKE: Nothing, just my mom. She sent me something my grandmother just said to her. (Laughs nervously.)
JILLIAN: Brooke, I’ve been thinking. Something is wrong with me.
BROOKE: What do you mean?
JILLIAN: I feel so strange, especially today after last class. I’m so tired of fighting with Lucas. Most days I just wish we could get along. If I knew that he liked me too, I would stop fighting with him. I just…
BROOKE, (interrupting): Wait, are you saying you like him?
JILLIAN: I do. I have…for a while now.
BROOKE: Jill this is great! You HAVE to tell him. Look, go for a run about seven tonight. He will be going back to his dorm from soccer practice and you can “bump” into him by the fountain in the courtyard. Then you can tell him.
JILLIAN: I don’t know. What if he doesn’t feel the same way? I’ll be so embarrassed!
BROOKE: I think he feels the same way. Paul has said something about it.
JILLIAN: You’re right. What’s the point of life if you aren’t gonna take risks? (They smile.)
(It is dark on Lehman campus except for the overhead lights on either side of the sidewalk. JILLIAN is running, coming in from the right. LUCAS is walking towards is dorm, coming in from the left, reading a book. JILLIAN has her iPod in her ears, so she is “unaware” of LUCAS coming up the walk. As soon as both get to the fountain, they collide, and JILLIAN falls to the ground.)
LUCAS (holding out a hand): Oh my God! Are you okay?
JILLIAN (taking his hand): I’m fine. It’s my fault. Sorry I ran into you. I wasn’t paying attention.
LUCAS: It’s alright.
JILLIAN: I have to tell you…
LUCAS (simultaneously): Listen, Jillian…
LUCAS: Oh, you go first.
JILLIAN: No you go first.
LUCAS: Okay. Look, Jillian, I’m sorry for the way I’ve been treating you. Fighting with you is not something I enjoy. To tell the truth, I hate arguing with you; it makes me feel sick afterwards. I guess what I’m trying to say is…I really like you Jillian; I’ve liked you for a while now.
JILLIAN: I can’t say I haven’t thought about us being together, especially over the last few weeks. I just, I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never been serious about someone the way I want to be serious with you. I know it sounds really stupid and it’s all so fast but… (she gets interrupted when LUCAS kisses her.) What was that for?
LUCAS: A new start.
JILLIAN (smiling): To a new start.
(He kisses her again.)