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After The Summer
SCENE 1: INT. The HOLDENS’ kitchen.
KATY is cleaning feverishly. TESS enters the room and walks purposefully to the fridge, extracts a carton of milk and is just about to pour herself a glass when chaos ensues.
KATY: Put that glass down!!!
TESS looks reproachfully at her mother. She does as she is told, though, and places the glass on the counter.
KATY: Thank you. Now would you just put away the clean dishes?
KATY turns back to scrubbing a counter as TESS begins to put away the dishes. She gets bored with this, and sits on the counter next to the milk which she has left out. She takes a swig from the carton just as KATY turns around.
KATY: Tess!!! Can you puh-lease put away the dishes! We just don’t have all day.
TESS: Mom, what’s the big deal? I mean it’s just Celia…she still LIVES here. She’s seen our house when it’s way messier than this.
KATY: I just want it--our house to look nice for your sister, that’s all.
KATY goes back to cleaning. TESS reluctantly puts away more dishes.
TESS: I don’t understand why you’re so stressed about this.
KATY (Practically yelling): I’m not stressed! Honey, make sure those bowls are stacked like this.
KATY restacks the bowls that TESS has just put away.
TESS (exasperated): I don’t know what’s been going on with you and Celia lately, but I am sick and tired of getting yelled at, and not knowing why.
TESS storms out of the room, and KATY sighs as she begins to clean again.
The scene has quiet music playing throughout this scene, as it switches locations. We can hear the sounds of them moving around, although there is no dialogue.
INT. CELIA’S dorm.
There is an open suitcase on CELIA’S bed--it is full, almost overflowing. CELIA is sitting next to the suitcase looking at the cover of a photo album. On the cover is a picture of TESS and CELIA together. CELIA slowly ties a ribbon around the photo album. On the ribbon is a tag that says “For Tessie. Love always, Celia”. She slowly places the album in the suitcase and closes it.
INT. TESS’S room.
The room is far from tidy, but not overly messy, either. TESS is standing on her unmade bed, hanging a photo of CELIA on her wall. She bends down and picks up two more photographs--one of COLIN and one of her and CELIA together. She hangs them next to the first picture.
INT. COLIN’S bedroom.
COLIN is sitting on his bed with a math book open on his lap.
Next to him on a small shelf is a phone, and a photograph of TESS and COLIN together. In the photo COLIN is smiling while TESS gives him bunny ears and sticks her tongue out. The phone vibrates, and he picks it up and presses a button or two. We see that the screen has a text message from “Tessie<3” it reads: “I love u 2. :P”. COLIN smiles as he puts his phone back down and glances at the photo before continuing his homework.
SCENE 3: INT. The HOLDENS’ kitchen.
KATY and ALAN are sitting next to each other, across from CELIA and TESS. TESS stares down at her food, while the rest of her family tries to have a normal conversation.
CELIA (cheerfully): The house really does look spectacular, Mom. I’m sure Tess was very helpful.
She playfully punches TESS in the arm, and TESS looks up from her food for a moment. There is an awkward silence before KATY interjects--
KATY (almost forced): Well, I am glad you noticed. Your father just never notices when I spend all day cleaning.
KATY touches ALAN’S hand and he smiles at her, and KATY smiles sadly back at him. There is another silence. TESS has had enough of her family keeping secrets from her.
ALAN (clears his throat): So…how is school going? You’re…surviving the college life still?
ALAN winces as soon as he has said this last sentence. TESS stands up from the table.
TESS (her voice is raised and angry, but she is not quite yelling): Look, you guys I know something is going on and you clearly don’t want to tell me what it is, but you’re terrible at pretending everything is fine. So maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I just knew what it was?
KATY, ALAN and CELIA share a look. CELIA pushes back her chair.
CELIA: Let’s go talk, Tessie.
SCENE 4: EXT. The porch of the HOLDENS’ house.
It is an early summer evening. TESS and CELIA stand a few feet apart.
CELIA (cautiously): I should probably have told you this a while ago. I just wanted things to be normal for you a little longer. Mom tried to convince me I should tell you right away…but I thought it would be better to wait.
TESS (sad and a little angry): You used to tell me everything, Celia. I loved that.
CELIA: I love telling you everything…I just didn’t want to have to tell you this. I’m sorry. But I’ll tell you now, if that’s okay?
TESS (a little more hostile): Fine.
CELIA (quietly): About six months ago…I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Doctors say it will kill me within the year.
TESS looks shocked. She is silent for a moment, then she tries to find words to voice the impossibility of what CELIA has just said.
TESS looks at CELIA as if hoping she will admit it’s not true. CELIA just looks sadly at TESS. Tears start running down TESS’S face, and she wipes them angrily away.
TESS: That’s not true. It’s not.
CELIA waits a moment and goes over to TESS. She just holds her before saying anything. Tears are still running down TESS’S face, but she no longer bothers to try to stop them. It’s almost as if she is unaware she is crying. CELIA brings them over to the step and they sit there together with their arms around each other.
CELIA: You know how stubborn I am, Tess. If anyone can beat this thing it’s me. Come on, we’ll make this the best summer ever. It will be the summer of you and me.
TESS doesn’t say anything for a moment and they sit there quietly listening to the peepers and crickets.
TESS (almost whispering): I just love you…so much.
SCENE 5: INT. TESS’S room.
TESS has just come in from outside. She sits on the edge of her bed, hugging a pillow to her chest. Tears run down her face as she hugs a pillow to her. She sits like this for a moment, before lying down, still hugging the pillow to her chest.
It is now light outside, which we can see through TESS’S window. Someone knocks at the door and speaks through it.
KATY: Honey, it’s almost three o’ clock. Why don’t you come downstairs?
TESS opens her eyes and sits up before she replies. Her voice is hoarse and a little angry.
KATY: Can I come in and see you?
We hear KATY sigh as her footsteps fade away. TESS puts her head in her hands, and falls back on the bed.
It is nearly dark outside. TESS is asleep on her bed. There is a soft knock on the door, but TESS does not move. The door opens to reveal CELIA standing there, illuminated by the hall light. She is holding the photo album that she tied the ribbon around earlier. CELIA walks over to TESS’S bed and quietly lays the photo album on the bed next to TESS. CELIA runs her hand over TESS’S head and TESS rolls over. As CELIA stands up her eye catches on the photographs TESS has hung on her wall. A pained expression comes over CELIA’S face. She runs her hands through her hair and stares out the window. She is lost deep in thought, when TESS rolls over and grumbles in her sleep. CELIA looks at TESS and a sad smile plays across her face, as she turns around to leave TESS to her dreams. We hear her footsteps recede in the hall as we
TESS is sitting on the floor looking at the photo album CELIA has left for her. The ribbon and tag lie on the floor next to her. She pauses every so often on certain photos of her and CELIA together. She is particularly deep in thought when there is another knock on the door.
CELIA: Do you want to talk, Tessie?
CELIA: I love you.
CELIA’S footsteps recede into silence.
TESS is sitting in bed. Her hair is a mess. She is writing in a journal. Someone knocks on the door.
KATY: Colin is here, sweetie. He says you won’t answer his calls or texts. He’s worried you’re mad at him.
TESS: Tell him to leave.
KATY: He thinks you’re mad at him.
There is a pause and then TESS leans over and opens the door. COLIN comes into the room.
SCENE 6: INT. TESS’S room.
COLIN walks over and kisses TESS on the forehead. She half smiles at him as he goes to sit on the foot of her bed, but the smile does not reach her eyes.
COLIN: So…are you ever going to tell me what’s going on?
TESS: I’m not mad at you.
COLIN reaches over to hold TESS’S hand that TESS has been staring intensely at.
COLIN (half smiling): I believe you. If you were mad at me, I wouldn’t still be sitting here, intact.
COLIN can see this is not the time to joke, and quickly adds.
COLIN: Do you want to talk?
COLIN: Well…can I ask you one thing?
TESS does not answer but glares at him for a moment before looking at their hands again. COLIN takes this to mean it’s okay for him to keep talking.
COLIN: Are you okay?
He has said this in a way that does not call for an answer, but is more of a reassurance.
TESS (sharply): I’m fine. Everything’s fine, alright?
COLIN looks at TESS and she looks up from their hands for a moment.
COLIN: It’s just that…from what I can gather, you’ve been in your room for the last two days. Ever since Celia came home, you haven’t eaten or let anyone in to your room. So, I will go away if you want, but it seems like you should maybe talk to someone?
TESS plays with his hand for a moment before answering.
TESS: Don’t go.
TESS’S voice breaks and suddenly she is crying.
COLIN: What is it, Tessie? Did you and Celia get into a fight?
TESS shakes her head.
TESS (speaks slowly, as if by saying it out loud she can try to understand): She’s…she’s dying, Colin. Celia. She’s going to die.
COLIN’S expression changes as he comprehends what TESS has said. He shakes his head, disbelievingly. TESS looks at him, and then looks out the window. COLIN realizes that she was being completely serious. He doesn’t fully understand the situation, but he knows that it must be harder for TESS than she will want to admit. He slides up the bed and pulls TESS into his arms where he strokes her hair.
COLIN: So…what are you going to do?
TESS: What do you mean? I can’t fix her. I can’t make this all go away. I wish I could, but I can’t! I just can’t.
COLIN: I meant, are you going to ignore her, or are you going to go spend time with her.
TESS: How can I spend time with her? Every time I even think about her it hurts so much. I don’t know what I will do without her.
COLIN: I’m so sorry.
There is a pause in which only the sound of TESS’S tears can be heard. They slow down and she says—
TESS: What…what do you think I should do?
COLIN: You really want to know?
There is a pause and COLIN continues—
COLIN: I think you should spend as much time as you can with her. She’s…your best friend, not to mention big sister. So spend as much time as you can, soaking up as much Celia as you can.
TESS giggles, accidentally. She covers her mouth.
TESS: Sorry…that just sounded funny! …I guess you’re right. I just…don’t want to imagine losing her, you know?
COLIN: I know. But maybe she’ll be okay. She’s a tough girl, that sister of yours. Not at all like you.
TESS giggles again.
TESS: I could kick your ass if I wanted to!
COLIN: Sure you could.
COLIN winks at her.
COLIN: Now go take a shower and eat something and then have some fun.
TESS (More cheerfully): What? Are you saying I stink?
COLIN (also cheerfully): Yes.
TESS shoves herself away from him playfully: Well, you’re one to talk.
COLIN stands up and leans down to kiss her on the lips.
COLIN: I love you, stinky. Call me some time, okay?
TESS shoves him away again, but she is smiling for real now.
SCENE 7: INT. A restaurant
CELIA and TESS are sitting across from each other at a table near a large window. The restaurant is not empty, though far from crowded. It is a sunny afternoon.
CELIA: Thanks for coming to lunch with me. I missed you.
TESS: I missed you too.
TESS smiles as though she really is happy to be there.
CELIA: So…what’s been happening here? I hear you and Colin finally started dating?
TESS: God…why does everyone always say “finally”. It’s like everyone but us just planned that ten years after we met we’d fall in love.
CELIA: Well, you were always so cute together…it was bound to happen sooner or later.
TESS: Fine. Well…how’s Mark?
CELIA (quietly): I broke up with him.
TESS (bluntly): Really? How come?
CELIA: I just thought it would be better to…leave him now, rather than…later.
TESS has stopped smiling now. It looks as though for a couple minutes she had forgotten about CELIA’S condition, but now it all comes rushing back. She tries to remain strong, but we can tell she is not holding together well. CELIA is aware of this also and tries to help.
CELIA: So…when did you and Colin become official?
TESS tries to answer but her voice breaks and a tear rolls down her cheek. She tries to cover it and continues—
TESS: About a…a month and half ago.
Now more tears are streaming down her face. Celia gets up out of her chair and walks around to TESS’S to comfort her. She wraps her arms around TESS.
CELIA: Oh, honey. I’m so sorry.
TESS (is almost angry): It’s not your fault.
CELIA: I’m still sorry. I love you so much. I don’t want you to feel like this.
TESS (sad now): I just…can’t…I can’t imagine a life without you. You’re my best friend.
CELIA: I know. But hopefully you won’t ever have to imagine a life without me. Can you do me a favor though?
TESS nods, unable to speak.
CELIA: Try not to worry about what will come after the summer. I’m not worried. Whatever happens will happen. Just enjoy the moment. And you know that I will try my very best to stay here just as long as I can. Okay?
TESS nods, and looks up at CELIA. CELIA smiles a beautiful smile, and TESS can’t help but smile back.
SCENE 8: EXT. Summer time
This scene has quick, successive shots. This is the summer of TESS and CELIA. Throughout these shots we can see that CELIA is getting weaker, however TESS is choosing to ignore the signs. Music plays throughout. Soft at first--
Day 1: TESS and CELIA have gone swimming. They are far out in a lake—at a buoy. They are both laughing.
CELIA: Race you back!
TESS: I don’t want to—
CELIA is already underwater, swimming quickly to the shore.
TESS dives under to catch up to CELIA.
Now the scenes move faster, the music is louder, but we can see clearly what is happening. Over the music we can hear small bits of laughter and voices calling, but less and less of CELIA.
DAY 2: TESS, CELIA and COLIN are at the lake. CELIA and TESS run and jump immediately into the water. COLIN stays on the beach, and TESS turns to call him. CELIA has kept swimming and as COLIN dives into the water, CELIA swims back to TESS and dunks her.
DAY 3: TESS and CELIA are at the lake again. TESS dives into the water, and for the first time CELIA does not immediately follow. TESS turns back and CELIA goes under, but swims slowly.
DAY 4: TESS, CELIA and COLIN are back at the lake. This time CELIA is lying on a towel, tanning. She is smiling, but looks paler and more thin than usual. TESS is absentmindedly drawing in the sand with a stick, and COLIN is sitting next to her, watching her. TESS notices COLIN is looking at her and throws a handful of sand at him. He throws some back, and before long they are covered in sand. TESS and COLIN rush into the water to wash.
TESS and COLIN stand up in the water and look back at CELIA. The music fades out as the dialogue comes in.
COLIN: She’s not looking so good today, is she?
TESS glares at COLIN before answering: She looks great.
COLIN: Tess…she’s lost like twenty pounds, and she’s practically transparent.
TESS: She’s fine, okay?
He lets it go, but still looks concerned. TESS splashes him, and they are laughing, though the smile is no longer in TESS’S eyes.
SCENE 9: INT. the HOLDENS’ kitchen.
TESS and CELIA are in the kitchen baking. Both of them are smiling and laughing, and getting ingredients out and setting them on the table. CELIA gets out a bag of flour and throws some at TESS. TESS is at the sink and immediately gets her hands wet and flicks the water at CELIA. CELIA begins to sing loudly, and TESS joins in. CELIA opens a cabinet above the counter and looks up at a shelf above her head.
CELIA: We need the baking powder…it’s on the top shelf, though.
TESS turns around to grab a chair to stand on she is picking it up—
CELIA has started singing again, and TESS has not stopped. We can see CELIA has tried to climb onto the counter to get closer to the shelf. TESS has not noticed. Suddenly, CELIA’S voice stops and as TESS turns around she sees CELIA falling off of the counter. TESS stops singing and drops the chair and rushes to CELIA. CELIA is unconscious. TESS picks up the phone off the counter and dials 911.
TESS: Hello? Yes…my name is Tess Holden. I think my sister just had a seizure.
For the rest of the scene we can hear nothing but slow, sad music. We see TESS finish talking, hang up the phone and kneel down by CELIA’S side. EMT’s come in and rush CELIA out on a stretcher. TESS follows slowly, looking dazed.
The scene is silent. CELIA lies with her eyes closed on a hospital bed. KATY and ALAN stand on one side of the bed holding each other’s hands and crying, looking down at their eldest daughter. TESS is on the other side of the bed, holding onto CELIA’S hand. There are tears running down her face. A nurse comes in and says something to KATY. KATY nods her head. The nurse leaves. TESS does not look away from CELIA.
CELIA opens her eyes and smiles at TESS.
Fade to black.