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OVER BLACK-- CHARLIE (V.O.) This is what we're gonna do... INT. DARK ROOM - NIGHT You can see nothing but a chair, and the man strapped to it. That man, CHARLIE BRIGHT, is not looking so good. His face is streaked in blood. One eye puffy. This is not how he's used to introducing himself. But this is how we meet him. Somewhere just north of thirty, he has striking good looks. That is, when the blood and bruises aren't getting in the way. He speaks to SOMEONE UNSEEN, but appears to be speaking directly to us. And as he speaks we creep closer and closer to him. CHARLIE You're going to admit you did it. That's the most important thing. But then you're going to explain why you did it. And you're going to apologize. And I'm going to tell you how to do it. INT. NIGHTCLUB - NIGHT 18 Year old BRITNEY ANDREWS, (Miss California 2006) is hammered, nearly topless, making out on the dance floor with ANOTHER WOMAN. Flash bulbs POP. CHARLIE (V.O.) Because...when it comes to that... there has never been anyone better than me. INT. HOTEL - CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY Britney now stands at a podium. Camera bulbs FLASH as tears streak her face. She speaks into a microphone, shaky voice, trembling lips. BRITNEY I know you won't believe it... but there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of what happened. And how I messed it all up. Words can not adequately express how deep my regret goes. To her right, A DONALD TRUMP looking figure. To her left, a much cleaner, sharper looking Charlie Bright. He adjusts the five thousand dollar Rolex on his wrist and the lapels on his thousand dollar Armani suit. CHARLIE (V.O.) There are rules you must follow. They are the necessary steps to getting people to forgive you. Britney wipes tears from her face. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule One: Know what you are apologizing for. BRITNEY But you have to know... that I am so sorry for what my outrageous, and some might argue pornographic behavior... Britney takes a tissue offered by Charlie. He sets his hand on her shoulder. INT. BATHROOM - MORNING STEVE HOLBROOK, home run champion for the Oakland A's shoves a needle in his arm. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule Two: Know who you are apologizing to. INT. LOCKER ROOM - DAY Steve Holbrook now speaks into a throng of microphones. There's Charlie, tucked away behind him. STEVE I apologize to my teammates... for letting them down. It is true that I used... certain performance enhancing substances... INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT BRAD WALLACE, movie star, vigorously fucks a TWENTY SOMETHING STARLET. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule Three: Shift the blame. EXT. MOVIE THEATER - DAY Brad Wallace, weeps openly. Speaks to another throng of REPORTERS. BRAD I understand now, after speaking to my doctors, that I carry a genetic addiction to sex. My wife and I are seeking counseling. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule Four: Don't want to apologize. Just do it. EXT. REHAB CLINIC - DAY A limo pulls up and out pops Miss California followed by sunglass wearing Charlie Bright. BRITNEY Do I really have to do this? CHARLIE It's all about follow through at this point, baby. BRITNEY But you said I didn't mean it. CHARLIE There's a difference between not meaning it and not doing it. Look, sweetheart, its 28 days and then we're back in business. Britney sulks. CHARLIE (V.O.) An addendum to the rules: always seek counseling. It doesn't matter what you've done, they have rehab for anything. Drugs, booze, anti Semitic remarks, racism, homophobia... it doesn't matter. There's a clinic somewhere that will take you. Britney stares at Charlie. Pouts. BRITNEY You'll be here for me when I'm done? CHARLIE (V.O.) Follow these rules and we're golden. Depart from them and you're looking at twenty-five to life. Are we clear? Charlie smiles. CHARLIE Absolutely. SMASH TO BLACK. Sorry Charlie INT. ELEVATOR - DAY SIMON SIMMONS wears a red basketball jumpsuit and what looks like half-a ton of gold around his neck. Sunglasses. Diamond studs, BIG ONES, shoved through each earlobe. SUPER THE LEGEND Last Week Simon is flanked by a POSSE OF HANDLERS. Five of them at least. He looks pissed. The door opens. He's the first out. INT. LOBBY - CONTINUOUS Simon leads the group to tweaked out looking RECEPTIONIST; dark hair, pale skin, and... are those track marks? She seems to recognize Simon. Nods. RECEPTIONIST Hello, Simon. SIMON I fucked up again. Is Charlie here? RECEPTIONIST He's always here. INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY Charlie is sitting across from star Dallas Cowboys Quarterback HANK WILKES. CHARLIE This isn't going to work, Hank. Unless you understand what you said is wrong. Hank's LAWYER pops in-- HANK'S LAWYER Mister Wilkes was not, legally in arrears. Charlie, we realize, talks fast. It's mesmerizing. CHARLIE (to Hank's lawyer) Okay, first off, if you open your mouth again I'm going to shove his hourly fee down your mouth and send your arrear right out the window. Are we on the same page, Perry Mason? Hank's Lawyer is dumbfounded. HANK I don't think it was wrong. CHARLIE No. Of course you don't. And, personally, I don't think it was wrong either. But that's not the point. That's not why you're here. Charlie stands. CHARLIE Who hasn't hired a hooker now and again? I get that. You have needs. HANK Exactly. CHARLIE But some people might think your wife would be the best one to tend to those needs. HANK Spoiled bitch. CHARLIE Right. She's a spoiled bitch. A frigid, spoiled bitch. I get it. HANK Don't call my wife a bitch. Charlie isn't fazed. He crosses around the table and lays his hands on Hank's shoulders. CHARLIE You're a big man. She was afraid you'd crush her, lets say. Closed up her legs and took up knitting. That works too. But the hooker is not the problem. HANK It's not? CHARLIE No. The problem is what you called the cop that busted you. Hank's Lawyer takes a breath. Charlie shoots his eyes over to him. CHARLIE (to Hank's Lawyer, again) You know what happens to the human body when they hit the pavement from forty stories up? (slaps his hands) Picasso. (beat) Or... what's his name? The guy who splattered the paint. Anyway... (to Hank) The cop. Asian. HANK I called him a Chinese Prick. CHARLIE Exactly. Hank's Lawyer sheepishly raises his hand. Charlie glares at him a moment. Then, tilts his head and points. CHARLIE Okay. You. HANK'S LAWYER It's... um, in my mind.... not a racist statement. It's like calling someone... an American Asshole. Charlie nods. CHARLIE Good point. Unfortunately the man was Korean and not a North Korean but a South which, to them, is a big deal. But here's the real problem: you remember the whole politically correct thing back in the '90's? Couldn't call anyone a "Chairman"... it was "Chairperson". Or "Chair". They nod. CHARLIE Then, it got better. The pendulum swung the other way. Clinton was getting hummers in the Oval Office and all of a sudden you could say "black" again instead of "African American", and the short skirts were back and some clever guy came up with the thong. Everyone sort of came to their senses. They nod. CHARLIE (swings his hand) Well... that time is gone. The pendulum... (swoops his hand to the other side) ...its back. They slump. Charlie leans into Hank. CHARLIE But don't worry. Once I'm done with you... you're gonna go in front of those TV cameras. And you're gonna be the sorriest sonofabitch they've ever seen. Hank looks back at him, a little confused. CHARLIE It's a good thing, Hank. The phone blares out. Charlie snatches it up. CHARLIE Charlie here. INT. LOBBY - DAY The Receptionist looks at Simon. Talks into the receiver. RECEPTIONIST Simon Simmons is back. INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - INTERCUT Charlie stands. CHARLIE Again? Why? (beat) Put him on. A moment goes by. Hank and Hank's Lawyer stare at Charlie: he's so cool. Their eyes will widen as this conversation... well, you'll see. CHARLIE Hey, my African American man! (beat) What do you mean you shot someone? (beat) Are they dead? (beat) How long have they been dead? Tell me you called the cops. (beat) No, no, it's fine. Clearly they deserved it. Don't worry about it. I'll be right there. Charlie hangs up the phone. Smiles to Hank. CHARLIE Hank, can we continue this tomorrow? Watch Hank and Hank's Lawyer's jaws drop. INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT Charlie rolls off a BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD. He rubs his face and looks distressed. BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD It's okay. CHARLIE No. No it's not. I've just been working so hard. BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD You have? Charlie covers his face. Is that a sob? CHARLIE The pressure is killing me. My boss is suck a prick. He treats me like... like I'm stupid. Charlie looks at her. The face, so goddamn earnest. CHARLIE You don't think I'm stupid, do you? She melts. BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD Oh, no! You're the smartest, sexiest man I've ever met. CHARLIE Oh, stop. BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD No, I mean it! Your boss sounds like an ass! CHARLIE He is. A big ass. I just feel so... worthless sometimes. She gets up on her knees. BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD I am going to make this happen, Rupert. CHARLIE You are? BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD Whatever it takes. All night if it takes that long. You will feel good about yourself. I promise. CHARLIE Really? BEAUTIFUL REDHEAD Really good. She dips her head down. Below the covers. Makes Charlie, as he folds his arms behind his head, feel really good. EXT. NEW YORK CITY STREET - MORNING Charlie Bright is dressed in a thousand dollar suit and heads down 52nd street. He's focused. A HOMELESS GUY, beard, gray, dirty clothes, the whole nine yards, sits against a building. Reaches out as he sees Charlie approach. Moans a little. The guy looks desperate. HOMELESS GUY Dalla? Charlie barely notices the guy as he passes. HOMELESS GUY Hey! The Homeless Guy reaches out and GRABS Charlie's leg. Catches just the pants. Charlie stops. Shakes the guy's grip loose. Stops. Turns. Bends down. CHARLIE What the hell was that? Homeless Guy looks surprised. HOMELESS GUY I juss... wanned a dalla. Charlie looks the man over. CHARLIE So you grab my seven hundred dalla pants staining them with whiskey and pee and you think that's a good idea? You think that's going to make me think, gee, I should pay that guy? The Homeless Man shrugs. Charlie looks him over again. CHARLIE What's your name? HOMELESS GUY Barney. CHARLIE You're kidding me, right? That's like, I could have guessed "Barney the Bum". What is it really? BARNEY It's Bernard! Barney, okay! CHARLIE Okay, Barney. So what's your deal? Drugs? Booze? You just get outta jail? BARNEY Pick. CHARLIE You like this suit, huh? Lots of people walking down this street and you grab mine? BARNEY It's nice fabric. I like the burgundy. Reminds me of wine. And shoes. Charlie smiles. CHARLIE I'll tell you what. You tell me what you did to get here. And I'll help you get out of it. BARNEY Bullshit. CHARLIE You've had better offers today? INT. SALON - LATER Barney the bum sits in the chair getting the full treatment. He's being transformed. Charlie stands behind him. They match eyes through the mirror. BARNEY They laid everyone off. I started drinkin'. I got no family. No one gonna send me a Christmas check. CHARLIE You want to change, Barney? Barney nods. INT. SAX FIFTH AVENUE - LATER Barney's dressed to the nines. Damn near a ten, I tell ya. He's clean shaven. A different man it seems. CHARLIE You look good, Barney. Now... you need a job. You can work for me. You can start as an assistant. It's okay if you can't type. We can teach you that. (beat) You can read though, right? Barney turns to him. Genuine disbelief. Tears form in his eyes. BARNEY Why are you doing this for me? Charlie places his hands on Barney's shoulders. CHARLIE Everybody deserves a second chance. INT. BRIGHT CRISIS MANAGEMENT - SCREENING ROOM - EVENING Six people, Charlie among them, are watching a "mock apology" from one of their clients, Senator of the great state of Wisconsin, JIM KIPLING. ON THE SCREEN-- Kipling does his best to look sad. KIPLING I want to apologize for... Charlie shoots up from his seat. CHARLIE Stop the tape! The image of Kipling freezes. Charlie spins to the room. CHARLIE Are you kidding me, people? I want to apologize? We all want a lot of things! World peace. A drunken night with Cameron Diaz; just you, her and a bottle of cognac and some KY warming liquid. Doesn't mean its going to happen! (beat) Well, it might happen. But definitely not world peace. No matter how much I want it. The Group squirms in their seats. CHARLIE Prep him again. This is about quality control, people! We can't control the reaction but we can control the delivery! Are we getting this? More silence. CHARLIE Raise your hand, who wants to work here? They all raise their hands. CHARLIE Okay, who wants to work for Burger King? All the hands drop. CHARLIE Everyone put your goddamn hands back up! They... slowly do. CHARLIE Okay. You want to work for Burger King? Really? That guy is pretty creepy, but that's just me. (beat, hard) Keep it up. I'll see what I can do. INT. BRIGHT CRISIS MANAGEMENT - HALLWAY Charlie marches back toward his office. RICK GARCIA, Charlie's Staff Director catches step. RICK Harsh, Charlie. Charlie stops. CHARLIE Really, Rick? Charlie gently pulls Rick into an empty nearby office. INT. OFFICE - CONTINUOUS Charlie shuts the door. CHARLIE You know what we do here, right? Rick nods. CHARLIE What is it we do here, then? RICK We represent clients in their involvement with-- CHARLIE --Wrong. Rick, we play on people's emotions. Their willingness to forgive. Everybody wants to be happy, Rick. (beat) I pay those people in there very well so they can be happy. But when they don't live up to my expectations, I have to play on another emotion. A moment. It comes to him: RICK Fear. Charlie smiles. Lays a hand on Rick's shoulder. Nods. Opens the office door and leads Rick back out into the hall. CHARLIE Get your team together and go through it again. I don't want to attend a strategy session like that ever again. Charlie leans slowly into Rick. CHARLIE I love ya, Rick. We've been friends a long time. (beat) Don't make me scare you. Rick turns a shade of pale. INT. CHARLIE'S CONDO - NIGHT The door opens. Closes. The lights come on and we see how very successful Charlie really is; he lives in a material world of gleaming black and chrome. Modern furniture acts as dressing to the skyline out his floor to ceiling windows fifty floors up. Charlie flings his coat over a couch and heads to the kitchen. Grabs a beer and heads back into the living room. Collapses on the couch. Takes a sip and snaps on the TV. ON THE TELEVISION-- Hank Wilkes stands at a podium. Addresses a large group of REPORTERS. He looks quite contrite. HANK (on the television) I was poorly educated by my stepfather, who grew up in the south... Charlie holds out his beer to the TV. CHARLIE There ya go, Hank. Rule three: Shift the Blame. Good kid. Charlie smiles as a SHADOWY FIGURE suddenly approaches from behind and SMACKS him with something. We-- SMASH TO BLACK. INT. CHARLIE'S CONDO - LATER Our view is clouded for a moment. Slowly... they come back into focus: a HITMAN in a black ski mask, dressed all in black blends into the Italian black leather sofa chair five feet away. The Hitman holds a METAL DEVICE in front of his face; it changes his voice as he speaks, to an electronic "Steven Hawking" type computer sound. (He will use this through the entire scene). HITMAN Sorry, Charlie. He holds a silenced Glock 9 trained at Charlie, still on the couch, who shakes lose the cobwebs. Notices his HANDS ARE BOUND BY A SET OF HANDCUFFS. Blood drains from his face. CHARLIE What is going on? HITMAN You're in some trouble. Charlie tries to break free of the cuffs. CHARLIE I don't know what you want... but I'm a very wealthy-- HITMAN I don't want money, Charlie. CHARLIE Please just take what you want. HITMAN I don't think you have what I want, Charlie. Charlie starts to bring forth the tears. CHARLIE I don't want to die. Please, don't kill me. I'm sorry. Whatever I did to you... I'm so sorry. HITMAN Yeah, right. Good one. CHARLIE Why are you doing this to me?! HITMAN You've been a bad boy. You need to apologize. CHARLIE I'm sorry! HITMAN Not to me. The Hitman stands. HITMAN You've hurt someone badly. In your past. And now you're going to apologize to her. You have one week. Five days. You're going to apologize and mean it. No B.S. Really mean it. And if you don't... I'm coming back. And next time... we won't have such a pleasant conversation. The Hitman stands. Heads for the door. CHARLIE Who?! Who am I supposed to apologize to?! HITMAN You're a bright boy, now. I'm sure you can figure that out. But if not... The Hitman makes a "creaking" sound as he drags a finger across his own throat. HITMAN Only I won't use my finger and make a "creaking" sound. I'll shoot you. (beat) And don't bother with cops, or bodyguards. I always know how to get to you. The Hitman reaches for the doorknob. CHARLIE Wait! HITMAN Yes? CHARLIE The key. I need to get free... if I'm going to do what you want me to do. HITMAN It's around here somewhere. I could tell you. But what fun would that be? The Hitman opens the door. Turns back. HITMAN Might want to check the toilet. The Hitman leaves. Charlie exhales. Hard. Catches his breath. INT. BATHROOM - LATER Charlie crawls best he can... to the toilet. Lifts the lid. Gags. So bad, we just can't show you. The stink rises and sticks to his face. Charlie gags again and holds his breath. Shoves his hand into the toilet. Feels around. INT. LIVING ROOM - LATER Cops swarm the room, marking evidence, taking notes, admiring the view, and scratching their balls. Rick is here. He sits with a showered and exhausted Charlie on the couch. RICK Some nut, probably. CHARLIE No. This guy knew me. He said... (hushed voice) He said I had to-- DETECTIVE Excuse me, Mr. Bright. I need you to give me a description of the assailant. Charlie looks to him, annoyed. CHARLIE Hmm. Lets see. Well, he was wearing a black ski mask. He had a nose. Eyes. Not sure about the ears, I couldn't see those. DETECTIVE Easy, Mary. No need to get snippy. CHARLIE You know, why don't you gather up your guys and go see a movie. That way you can feel like you caught something tonight. Detective holds up his hands. DETECTIVE Your funeral. Charlie turns back to Rick, hushed voice again. CHARLIE He said I had to apologize to someone from my past. RICK Who? CHARLIE I don't know. But he said I had three days to do it or he's coming back. RICK Did you tell them? CHARLIE The cops? Please. You know these guys. They couldn't protect me if I had donuts taped to my ass. Call Senator Kipling. Call in a favor. We need S.S. RICK Germans? CHARLIE Secret Service, dumbass. INT. CHARLIE'S OFFICE - THE NEXT DAY Two steely eyed, crew cut SECRET SERVICE AGENT'S (GROVER and QUINN) stand before Charlie's desk. AGENT GROVER We'll be right outside. If any emergency should arise just call out "Hawk" and we'll be in here in point-two seconds. AGENT QUINN Point three at the latest. CHARLIE Why "Hawk"? A moment. AGENT QUINN Would you prefer another code word, sir? CHARLIE I'm just wondering. AGENT QUINN It's cool, sir. Better than "Sparrow". CHARLIE Okay. But that door is the only way in. AGENT GROVER Someone could scale the building, sir. AGENT QUINN Or a sniper. AGENT GROVER There's no taking chances. CHARLIE Hawk it is, then. They open the office door. Rick is there, smiles "hi" and starts moving in. Bad idea. The Agents grab him and SLAM him against the door. CHARLIE (causally) Nah, he's okay. AGENT QUINN Sorry, sir. The Agent's leave. Rick tries to catch his breath. CHARLIE They're good. RICK They're psychotic. CHARLIE Psychotic is good for now. We need to figure out who I'm supposed to apologize to. RICK Why bother? You have the Wonder Twins. CHARLIE I want to know who it is so I can use that to figure out who the hell broke into my place, nearly put a bullet in my head and made me dig through shit so I free my hands to make a phone call. If that's okay with you, of course. RICK Of course. Rick takes a seat. RICK What about Hugh Grant? He had that Tonight Show bump but his career 's been in the dumps ever since. CHARLIE No way. Too soft. RICK Oh! Bill O'Reiley! From that thing. CHARLIE No way. One, Bill's chicken shit. Two, he and I are friends. We get together every year at his place in Connecticut, get drunk and make prank phone calls. No way. (beat) I'm pretty sure he said it was a she. A woman. RICK Oh. Well, that narrorws it. CHARLIE I never give them my real name. Plus, he said it was in my past. A moment. RICK How far in the past? CHARLIE I don't know. Rick nods. RICK Well. Lets do what we always do. CHARLIE And what's that? RICK Start at the beginning. SMASH TO BLACK. INT. HOSPITAL DELIVERY ROOM - NIGHT A MOTHER sweats, pushes. Gives birth. CHARLIE (V.O.) Mom. She always loved me. Mom holds beautiful BABY CHARLIE. INT. KINDERGARDEN CLASSROOM - DAY Five year old CHARLIE tugs on another five year old GIRL's pigtails. CHARLIE (V.O.) Is it really necessary to start this far back? RICK (V.O.) These are your rules. Not mine. The PIGTAILED GIRL runs off screaming. CHARLIE (V.O.) I don't even remember. Next. INT. HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - DAY A fifteen year old CHARLIE is backstage with equally aged EMILY. Hidden behind the curtains from the rest of the troupe. They are kissing. CHARLIE (V.O.) Emily Warcowski. We did "Our Town" together. She wouldn't let me touch her boobs. Charlie slides his hand up to her chest. Emily bats it down. FIFTEEN YEAR OLD CHARLIE Sorry, Emily. EMILY I'm not that kind of girl. She pouts. CHARLIE (V.O.) She wouldn't even look at me after that. Even quit the play. I don't think that's it, trying to cop a feel. FIFTEEN YEAR OLD CHARLIE I'm really sorry. Emily walks off in a huff. RICK (V.O.) Drama club, huh? CHARLIE (V.O.) Knock it off. Next. Fifteen year old Charlie frowns. INT. FORD ESCORT - NIGHT Parked in a secluded spot. A seventeen year old CHARLIE and SUZANNE are fooling around in the back seat. Her head is in his lap and he's wincing. SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD CHARLIE Ouch! Teeth, teeth, teeth! CHARLIE (V.O.) Suzanne DeFritas. She should apologize to me. RICK (V.O.) Only two girls in high school?! CHARLIE (V.O.) I was in the drama club. It got better. INT. COLLEGE DORM - NIGHT Nineteen year old Charlie is getting laid on a top bunk. It looks awkward and slightly painful. CHARLIE (V.O.) This is pointless. Nineteen years of pent up hormones when I get to college. I couldn't begin to remember... who... They finish. We see the young woman's face. Meet LILLY QUELLS at age twenty. A beautiful blonde, pale skin, flush cheeks. Eyes? They're a little... off. INT. CHARLIE'S OFFICE - DAY It hits him. CHARLIE Shit. RICK What? CHARLIE It's Lilly. RICK Lilly? CHARLIE Lilly Quells. Don't you remember? Sophomore year? I dated her for a year. We broke up right after you and I met. I used to tell you about her. A little... insane. Remember? INT. DORM ROOM - FLASHBACK Lilly sits on a bed crying. Bawling, actually. LILLY It's gone! And it was my favorite pen! College age Charlie tries to comfort her. CHARLIE I don't want to say "its just a pen" baby. But... She cries louder now, if that's possible. INT. CHARLIE'S OFFICE - BACK TO SCENE Rick nods. RICK Oh, yeah. CHARLIE Threw a tantrum after I dropped a fork at her parent's Thanksgiving. The whole night they spent trying to console her. RICK What the hell do you have to apologize to her for? Charlie stands. Paces. CHARLIE It ended badly. She was a virgin when we met. By that point I was eating whatever didn't taste right. (beat) I led her on for... gosh, a couple of years. Even promised to marry her at one point. I got bored. She was the first woman I ever really... RICK Ever really what? CHARLIE Used. Rick nods again. CHARLIE That's got to be it. (beat) I broke her heart. And I owed her an apology. RICK So you find her. Apologize. CHARLIE Oh, no. I find out who she sent. Feed him barbed wire 'till he shits nails. Charlie thinks. CHARLIE She had an older brother. Real nutball that guy was too. Uh... Lance. Gotta be him. This is too easy. RICK Fine. What next? CHARLIE Google him. Lance Quells. Find the sonofabitch. INT. MERCEDES - EVENING (DRIVING) Cruising (crawling really) down Fifth Avenue, Charlie stares in his rear view. SEES-- Agents Quinn and Grover following in a dark Sedan. INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT The Agent's follow Charlie as he heads to his front door. Keys it open and turns to them. AGENT QUINN We'll be right out here. CHARLIE All night? AGENT GROVER Yes, sir. A moment. CHARLIE You guys want something to eat? AGENT QUINN We're good, sir. CHARLIE You do eat, right? AGENT GROVER We have two packets of beef jerky, sir. We're good. Charlie shakes his head: okay, then. INT. CHARLIE'S CONDO - CONTINUOUS Charlie walks slowly through his place. Nervously checking around every corner. After a moment he settles. Thinks. INT. CHARLIE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Charlie digs through boxes stored in a utility closet... finds what he's looking for: a college yearbook. He flips through the pages. Finds her: LILLY QUELLS-- sweet, young, pretty. Eyes... a little off. Charlie smiles. Reads the handwritten inscription below her picture: "To Charlie: Wise men say, only fools rush in, but I can't help falling in love with you. Love, Lilly" Charlie closes the book. INT. CHARLIE'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Charlie flips through CDs gathered by his stereo. Finds what he's looking for. Elvis. He slips it in, hits play, and settles on the couch as Elvis Presley sings their song: ELVIS Wise men say only fools rush in... But I cant help falling in love with you... Shall I stay... Would it be a sin... If I cant help falling in love with you... Charlie closes his eyes and drifts. FADE TO BLACK. INT. LOBBY - MORNING Charlie heads to the exit. Wonder Twins in tow. He spins back to them. CHARLIE Can you guys give me a little lead time? I feel like Paris Hilton, here. AGENT QUINN Sorry, sir. INT. BRIGHT CRISIS MANAGEMENT - HALLWAY - MORNING Charlie keys his way into his office. AGENT QUINN Well be right outside, sir. CHARLIE (annoyed) Yeah, yeah. INT. CHARLIE'S OFFICE - LATER A knock. CHARLIE Come in. The door opens. Agent Grover holds Rick's arm. RICK Seriously? CHARLIE Guys, let him go. I told you. Rick is released. The door closes. RICK What the hell? CHARLIE I know. They're driving me crazy too. Whatta you got? RICK Nothing on Lance. Can't find a thing. But I found Lilly's address. It's an apartment in Chicago, Illinois. CHARLIE Illinois? Probably living that suburban mom thing she always dreamed about. Cute house. White picket fence. God that stuff makes me sick. RICK Want some Tums? CHARLIE Lets keep looking. Try one of our Private Eyes. Unless the kid is dead he's out there somewhere. Probably right here in New York. RICK We still on for lunch? CHARLIE Yeah. RICK Table for four? CHARLIE They can eat their beef jerky in the parking lot. EXT. DAMON'S JOINT - LATER Midtown. A front; despite the name, its a nice place for a chicken Cesar salad of a cappuccino. Agents Grover and Quinn stand dutifully by the door. INT. DAMON'S JOINT - CONTINUOUS Charlie and Rick munch and sip. CHARLIE Lilly was a piece of work, you know? RICK I barely remember the chick. CHARLIE She was nuts. Literally cookoo. One time-- this is hilarious... We knock it out and fall asleep, right? 'Bout three in the morning... I hear this moaning. I wake up and she's not there next to me. And there's this muffled moaning coming from somewhere. RICK Jesus... CHARLIE Exactly. So I call out, "Lilly! Lilly?" Nothing. Then, all of a sudden, the mattress starts lifting up. There's something kicking my mattress under the bed. So I jump out of bed. And I'm freaked out. This is some weird shit. So I call out again, "Lilly?" Nothing. And I bend down all scared and stuff and look down under the bed. I see pillows all lined up. Reach in, pull out the pillows. There she is. Moaning. RICK Under the bed? CHARLIE She decided... (starts chuckling) She wanted to know what it was like if she died. Got buried. Then woke up... like a... zombie. Stuffed pillows around her like she was in a coffin. Seriously. RICK Unbelievable. CHARLIE And get this. She said it wasn't that bad. They both break out in laughter. Charlie downs his drink. CHARLIE Funny. At the time... I actually thought it was... adorable. Charlie gets lost a moment in the memory. Snaps back to now. CHARLIE I gotta piss. Be right back. INT. BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS To a urinal. Unzips. Unloads. Sighs. The door opens. Someone unseen heads to a stall. Closes the door. Clicks the lock. A moment. Charlie whistles. The stall opens again. Charlie closes his eyes. Suddenly... SLAMED-! Against the wall, dick in hand. Our Hitman, ski mask and all, pins Charlie against the urinal. Charlie hyperventilates. Hitman flashes a stack of index cards in Charlie's flushed face. It reads "Dickhead". CHARLIE (a squeak) Hawk. Hawk. Hawk. The Hitman jabs Charlie. HITMAN (gruff) Read. Charlie hesitates. Enough for Hitman to PUNCH Charlie in the solar plexus. CHARLIE Fine! (reading) Dickhead. The Hitman changes the card. CHARLIE (reading) Yeah, you, Dickhead. Hitman changes the card again CHARLIE (reading) You think you know me. Changes again. CHARLIE (reading) You don't know shit. (terrified) Please... I'll apologize to whoever you want. Just... don't hurt me... WHACK-! This time to the side of the head. The Hitman changes the card. "Encourages" Charlie to keep going. CHARLIE (reading) But you're on the right track. The Hitman JABS him in the side again. CHARLIE No... please... Again. This one, a little more crippling. Tears well in Charlie's eyes as the Hitman turns one last card, the letters in thick, bold, black print. CHARLIE (choked, reading) You have four days left. WHACK-! SMASH to the head again. SMASH... TO BLACK. As we FADE BACK IN, Charlie is lying unconscious on the floor. A CROWD of people, men, women, restaurant employees, the two Secret Service Agents are gathered around. Rick in kneeling beside him. Coaxing him back to life. RICK Charlie? Wake up, buddy. Charlie suddenly jerks awake. Breathing heavily. He's defensive, then gets his bearings. Masks the terror he was feeling. Charlie scans his eyes over the gathered crowd: what the fuck? Settles his eyes on the embarrassed Secret Service Agents Quinn and Grover. RICK Are you okay? CHARLIE Sure. I love taking naps on the bathroom floors, right? RICK Yeah. You're fine. Charlie reaches out and GRABS Rick's shirt. Yanks him close. Real close. Whispers into his ear. CHARLIE Fire the Wonder Twins. Rick nods. CHARLIE Rick, I have to go to Chicago. Rick nods again. EXT. AIRPORT - AFTERNOON A passenger jet floats to the runway. Touchdown. INT. CAR RENTAL COUNTER - AFTERNOON A very pretty young CLERK hands him a set of keys. CLERK (flirty) Enjoy your stay in Chicago. Charlie raises an eyebrow. Starts to speak. Stops. Focus, Charlie... CHARLIE Maybe next time. INT. BMW - LATE AFTERNOON (DRIVING) Only the best for our boy Charlie; even though its a rental, he's at home in this luxury ride, cigarette between his lips and a bluetooth in his ear... But as the surroundings grow darker... and the neighborhoods slowly deteriorate... Charlie's face sours. He picks out a piece or paper... a map. With an address. Says to himself, "This can't be right." Fishes out his cell phone and presses a button. After a moment... RICK (V.O.) Hey, Charlie. CHARLIE So I have a little question for you. RICK (V.O.) Go for it. CHARLIE When you printed out this map for me... did you use Google, Yahoo or "Take-a-Tour-Of-The-Shittiest-Part Of-Chicago-dot-com?" RICK (V.O.) Not everyone can afford to live on the 42nd floor, Charlie. CHARLIE No shit, dickhead. But I'd settle for a one level walk up someplace where I'm not ninty-five percent sure I'm going to get shot when I get out of the car. RICK (V.O.) Everyone knows you're bullet proof, chief. CHARLIE Gee, thanks. How does my ass smell, Rick? RICK (V.O.) It's the right address. CHARLIE You better be right. Charlie hits the "end" button. EXT. SOUTH CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD - NIGHT The BMW slows to a stop outside a run down duplex. Considers driving away, whether the person behind the wheel like it or not; yeah, even the car seems scared. Charlie lights another cigarette. Mutters to himself as he exits... CHARLIE Charlie Bright, 34, found mutilated outside a run down... In the distance, a POLICE SIREN. Charlie flinches. Then heads up the steps, his eyes scanning the adjoining buildings. Ears, taking in the rattling urban sounds that he's only heard in movies. Hesitating for a moment, he raises his hand to knock when-- The DOOR SWINGS OPEN. And there she is... Lilly Quells. A little older. A little beaten down. But her eyes are still clear. CHARLIE Hello, Lilly. It takes a moment. But then... she nods. Smiles. Charlie's eyes wash over her. Skin smooth. Hair, still golden blonde. Her hands... WHAP-! smack Charlie across the face. He stumbles back. LILLY You... are a piece of shit. Charlie rubs his burning cheek. LILLY Part of me didn't believe it. Some strange guy walking up to my door. Then, oh my God. It can't be. Am I seriously going to get a chance to smack Charlie Bright across the face like I have been dreaming about for years? Really? CHARLIE I think we know the answer. LILLY I'd tell you to go to hell but I'm sure you already run the place. CHARLIE I really only vacation there. Can I come in? She laughs. Slams the door in his face. CHARLIE I'll take that as a maybe. He knocks again. The door swings back open and-- WHAP-! Lilly smacks him again. Again he falls back and again she slams the door shut. CHARLIE (nursing his face again) Sonofa-- A moment. He knocks again. Again the door swings open. Again, her hand sweeps toward him face... but this time he ducks, swoops down and pivots right through the front door. INT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS He holds up his hands. LILLY Get the hell out of my place or I'm calling the cops. CHARLIE Lilly, I just-- LILLY I will start screaming rape. And you know what happens when I yell rape in this part of town? CHARLIE They sell tickets? LILLY Get the hell out. CHARLIE Lilly, I know you hate me. I know I was a bastard to you. I just need five minutes and I will be out of your life. And trust me... you are gonna want to hear what I have to say. Lilly says nothing. After a moment, she closes the door. LILLY Five minutes. INT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - LATER Oh, how to describe this decor; think Sears garage sale chic. Charlie sits on a questionable couch. A little worried maybe about the mites he's picking up from the fabric. LILLY I'm gonna get a beer. CHARLIE Okay. LILLY Well. Do you want one? CHARLIE Sure. Lilly disappears into the kitchen. Returns with two cans of Milwaukee's Best. Cracks one open and hands it to Charlie. CHARLIE Oh, thanks. LILLY Sorry, I'm sure you're into all that high end liquor. CHARLIE Are you kidding? Only the "best" for me. LILLY Ah, Charlie. Still full of it. (beat) Damnit. I forgot the straw. CHARLIE The straw? She disappears back into the kitchen. Charlie stares at the can. Takes a sip-- yuck. LILLY (O.C.) Crazy straws, crazy straws. Where are the damn crazy straws? CHARLIE (softly, to himself) Pretty much any straw you pick is gonna work, lady. She reappears carrying two bendable "Crazy Straws". Sticks one into Charlie's beer. Then her own. Starts sucking. CHARLIE This is a... very nice place, Lilly. LILLY You're gonna waste your five minutes B.S.ing about my Sanford and Son furniture, go right ahead. CHARLIE Well, lets be honest. We both know why I'm here. LILLY Honestly, Chuck, I really don't care. CHARLIE No one calls me that anymore. It's Charlie. LILLY Well, you'll always be Chuck to me. Chuck the Fu-- CHARLIE --all right, all right, you know what? If that's how you want to do this. LILLY Do what? CHARLIE Right, like you don't-- LILLY GET OFF THE GODDAMN COUCH! Charlie leaps to his feet as Lilly THROWS her beer can at a CAT that springs off the couch and scampers away. LILLY Not you, Charlie. You can sit. Wide eyed Charlie slowly sits again. LILLY You were saying. CHARLIE Right... Charlie takes a moment. He's getting into character. Eyes appear to well with tears. He looks up to Lilly, ashen faced. CHARLIE I... I know what I did to you was wrong. I hurt you Lilly and you have every right to hate me. I will not begrudge you that. But you have to know... that I am so sorry for what I did. LILLY Are you kidding me? CHARLIE I know you won't believe it... but there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. Of us. And how special it was. And how I messed it all up. Words can not-- LILLY --adequately express how deep my regret goes. Yeah, yeah. CHARLIE What? LILLY Miss California. I saw it. I saw you there with her. On TV. You're screwing her aren't you? I could tell by the way you touched her shoulder. Jesus, you think you could mix up the speech a little. CHARLIE I mean it, Lilly. LILLY You're a bullshit artist, Charlie. I know what you do for a living. CHARLIE That doesn't mean I can't apologize. LILLY That doesn't mean I have to accept it. And I don't. CHARLIE This is what you asked for. LILLY Five minutes are up. CHARLIE Great. So now, what? You're just going to let him kill me? That's what you really wanted in the first place, right? This whole "sorry" bit was just to get me here so he could kill me, right? Lilly stands. LILLY Charlie, I really don't know what you're talking about. It's time for you to go. CHARLIE Sure you don't. Charlie gets up and Lilly pulls him over to the front door. Opens it. LILLY Have a good life, Charlie. I take that back. Have a crumby life. CHARLIE You forgot to add "what little time you have left". Didn't you? Lilly rolls her eyes. LILLY Goodbye, Charlie. She shuts the door in his face. Again. EXT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS Charlie shakes his head. Turns and sees-- Nothing: the BMW is gone. Charlie's face goes white. Looks to the heavens. CHARLIE Are you kidding me?! It was a rental! Charlie's eyes scan the neighborhood... MENACING SHADOWS seem to creep closer. Charlie spins back to the door. Knocks hard. The door swings open. Again. This time Charlie is ready, both arms up, protecting his face. LILLY What's wrong, you forget you conscience? Check your college dorm, circa 1993. I think you left it there. CHARLIE Someone stole my car. Lilly smiles. LILLY That tends to happen to nice cars around here. CHARLIE Please, Lilly. Just... call me a cab. LILLY Cabs won't come around here this time of night. CHARLIE Well... how the hell am I going to-- LILLY That's your problem. Chuck. She swings the door shut. Again. Charlie, at a complete loss as to what to do, feels the neighborhood closing in on him. He sits by her door. Pulls his legs up close. Looks around, on the off chance a hero might be close. The door opens. Again. Lilly has a coat on. Keys in hand. LILLY Looks like if I want you out of my life again I'm going to have to drive you there. CHARLIE Thank you, Lilly. LILLY Save it. Not that the idea of you trying to survive out here by yourself didn't bring a smile to my lips. I want you gone. This is purely selfish. CHARLIE Whatever. She leads him to the curb. He stops. Looks at her ride. LILLY What? CHARLIE You have a... K Car? LILLY A nice reliant automobile. Get in. INT. LILLY'S K CAR - NIGHT (DRIVING) Silence. Just the overbearing roar of the aging engine. Charlie picks his teeth. Looks to Lilly. She does not look back. CHARLIE Smooth ride. LILLY I know you lie for a living, Charlie. But does it ever bother you to not be physically able to tell the truth? CHARLIE Not really. Lilly sighs and shakes her head. CHARLIE I do appreciate this. LILLY I don't care. More silence. CHARLIE So... what are you doing these days? For work? Back in college I remember you were all charged up about law school but I'm guessing that... probably didn't happen. LILLY You think? CHARLIE So... what do you do? LILLY I'm not going to tell you. CHARLIE Why not? LILLY You don't need any more ammunition. CHARLIE I'm not as bad as you think I am, you know. LILLY Yes. Yes you are. CHARLIE I'm really not. Pause. LILLY I work at Dunkin' Donuts. CHARLIE Oh. Charlie fights back the grin. She notices it. LILLY Go ahead. CHARLIE I wasn't gonna say anything. LILLY It pays the bills. And I can look at myself in the mirror in the morning. CHARLIE So can I. LILLY Vampires don't have a reflection, Charlie. Everybody knows that. EXT. MOTEL 6 - NIGHT On the edge of sketchy-town, near nowheresville. The El tracks stretch above. Lilly's K Car parks. INT. LILLY'S K CAR Charlie furrows his brow... CHARLIE I don't need a five star hotel, of course. But I was thinking... I dunno, one star. Half a star, maybe. LILLY This is as far as I'm taking you. CHARLIE No, don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for the ride. You should let me... buy you lunch sometime. LILLY Sure. How about never? Does never work for you? CHARLIE I'll be getting out then. He gets out. CHARLIE Thanks again. Lilly doesn't register a thing. Hits the gas. EXT. MOTEL 6 - NIGHT Charlie slopes over to a half-sleeping DESK CLERK. Taps on the window and 'bout near gives the poor guy a heart attack. DESK CLERK What can I get you? CHARLIE Yes, I'll have the filet mignon. A side of roasted garlic green beans and-- DESK CLERK Huh? CHARLIE People come up here, they usually need more than just a room? DESK CLERK You don't need to be a smart ass, son. CHARLIE I know I don't need to. I like to. One room. Just for tonight. The Clerk punches it out. DESK CLERK Forty-seven dollars. Charlie takes out his wallet. Hands over a gold American Express. DESK CLERK We don't take American Express. CHARLIE What do you mean you don't take American Express? Everyone takes American Express. That's why they tell you not to leave home without it. DESK CLERK Well I don't take it. CHARLIE It's the only card I have. DESK CLERK Well, in this particular case, I believe they should say "American Express. Don't leave home." CHARLIE I will give you five hundred dollars tomorrow for one room. One night. I am a very rich man and-- DESK CLERK You're a smart ass. CHARLIE Fine, I'm a very rich smart ass. Please. I'll go to an ATM tomorrow. Please... (beat) ...I need your help. Help me. Charlie's so goddamn genuine again. The Desk Clerk considers the offer. DESK CLERK You promise? Charlie smiles. CHARLIE You have my word. INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT Down to his underwear, the TV on (Letterman) and the bluetooth in his ear, Charlie scratches an itchy part. CHARLIE I'm telling you. She's cookoo. INT. OFFICE - NIGHT Rick Garcia has phone pressed to his ear, legs up on his desk. RICK That bad, huh? INT. MOTEL ROOM DIRECTOR: INTERCUT as you like. CHARLIE Nuts as ever. I kept waiting her to walk back into the room in a clown suit trying to convince me to follow her into the basement. RICK So she wouldn't accept the apology. CHARLIE Not yet. RICK Yet? CHARLIE When's the last time you saw me give up? I'm on a mission, pal. It's time to make the doughnuts. RICK Huh? CHARLIE I'll call you tomorrow. Charlie ends the call. Settles into his bed and turns up the volume. CHARLIE Time to make the doughnuts. FADE TO BLACK. A FINGER slides down an open phone book. To "D". Stops at the ten listings for "Dunkin' Donuts" INT. MOTEL ROOM - MORNING Charlie is up and back on the phone. CHARLIE (on the phone) Hi, yes, I'm looking for a Lilly Quells? No? Okay, thank you. Hangs up. Dials again. CHARLIE Hi, is there a Lilly Quells that works there? INT. CAB - MORNING The DRIVER has taken Charlie's destination request to engage in a free-flowing conversation about the importance of doughnuts in the diet. DRIVER Glazed are good. And jelly, of course. I like jelly. They put all sorts of things in doughnuts now. I tried one with cream cheese in it once. Cream cheese ones give me diarrhea. CHARLIE Can you just... please stop talking. Charlie's cell phone chimes in. Charlie checks the number. Sighs. CHARLIE (into phone) Hi, baby. How's the treatment going? INT. REHAB CLINIC Britney, in a gown, looks terrible. Ashen faced, puffy eyes. Trembling. She weeps into the pay phone receiver. BRITNEY You gotta get me outta here, Charlie! I am dying. INT. CAB CHARLIE You're not dying, baby. BRITNEY It's awful here. They won't even let me have aspirin! And I have bad cramps right now, Charlie. CHARLIE You'll be fine. Only 25 more days to go. BRITNEY I swear to God, Charlie, you get me outta here or you are fired. This is not what I signed up for. You promised this was going to be easy. CHARLIE Look, sunshine, I wasn't the one who got caught high on mushrooms french kissing Paris Hilton at Sky Bar, okay? You did this to yourself. BRITNEY I swear to God-- CHARLIE Okay, baby, goin' into a tunnel. Talk to you later. He hangs up as the cab stops outside Dunkin' Donuts. DRIVER Girl, trouble, huh? Boy, I know what that's like. CHARLIE Tell you what, Ahmed. Why don't you come inside and I'll buy you a cream cheese filled doughnut. Would you like that? The Driver, apparently, does not appreciate sarcasm. DRIVER Six bucks. CHARLIE Here's ten. Buy yourself a sense of humor. Charlie splits. EXT. DUNKIN' DONUTS - MORNING The cab peels away and Charlie settles himself. Hair? Check. Clothes? Check. Teeth? He gives them a rub with his finger and heads inside... INT. DUNKIN' DONUTS - CONTINUOUS A vomitus explosion of orange and pink with a thick, sugary taste to the air. Charlie immediately spots Lilly, working the counter. Smiles. Glides over and stands in line behind two OTHER PEOPLE. After a moment, its his turn. Lilly looks up. Sees him. Shakes her head. LILLY Charlie, what part of go crawl into a deep dark hole and die didn't you understand? CHARLIE Can't very well do that on an empty stomach, now can I? Had a hankering for some bear claws. LILLY You're stalking me. CHARLIE No, I just need to talk to you. LILLY We're done talking. Zeus! Charlie looks perplexed; why has Lilly invoked the name of the god and ruler of Mount Olympus? ZEUS JACKSON, store manager, and frightening tower of a man with arms thick as his neck, chest nearly bursting out of his Dunkin' Donuts uniform, appears from the back. He scowls at Charlie. ZEUS What's the problem? LILLY This customer is being rude. CHARLIE Rude? I'm not being-- LILLY And he won't leave. I've asked him several times. ZEUS (menacing) Is that so? CHARLIE Zeus, huh? You don't look Greek. ZEUS (even more menacing) Get outta my store. Now. LILLY You better do it, Charlie. Zeus likes to break thinks. And people. With that, Zeus crushes a cruller in his hand. CHARLIE No need to take your anger out on the pastry, Zeus. I'll leave. I'll be right outside, Lilly. Let me know when you're available. Charlie backs slowly away to the door. Lilly watches him go. Stares as he stands outside, in the cold, pacing. ZEUS You know him? LILLY Ex-boyfriend. ZEUS Want me to cripple him? LILLY Not yet. EXT. DUNKIN' DONUTS - LATER Hours pass, but Charlie is still pacing outside the store. Finally, Lilly steps outside. LILLY You're not going to give up, are you? Charlie smiles. CHARLIE Just lunch, Lilly. Please. INT. BURGER KING - DAY A look of abject terror on Charlie's face as he stares... at a picture of "the" Burger King. He and Lilly are in line at the counter. LILLY What's wrong? CHARLIE Nothing. It's... nothing. Are you sure you want to eat here? I can take you wherever-- LILLY Not swanky enough for you, I realize that, Charlie. But this is what I can afford and you're not going to get the satisfaction of buying me anything. (to Clerk) I'll have a number four. INT. BURGER KING - LATER Charlie and Lilly sit across from one another at a thin table near the center of the dining room. He stares wide-eyed as she pulls french fry after french fry and lines them up on her tray, end to end, in a train that surrounds the rest of her meal. Lilly next opens up four catsup packets and places them in each corner of the tray. Next she opens her purse and produces a "Crazy Straw", replacing the sane straight straw that's currently in her diet soda. CHARLIE Everything okay, Lilly? LILLY Yes. Why? CHARLIE I thought maybe you were doing some sort of art project there. LILLY I have routines. You know that. CHARLIE Guess I forgot. LILLY You seem to have forgotten a lot of things, Charlie. CHARLIE Such as? LILLY When I told you I never wanted to see you again. Twelve years ago. Last night. CHARLIE But, I know. That's why I'm here. LILLY That makes sense. I tell you I never want to see you again, so I keep seeing you. Do you like living in opposite land? Do I have to tell you that I want to see you? Will that make you go away? CHARLIE Right. I'm the crazy one. (beat) Lilly... I know. LILLY You know what? CHARLIE I know. LILLY (slowly) You... know... what? Charlie furrows his brow. Cocks his head. CHARLIE You don't know. LILLY Is this some sort of game? CHARLIE Lilly... I can't tell you why. But I need you to listen to me. I am sorry. Truly. And I need you to accept my apology. LILLY Why? CHARLIE I just need you to do it. Then I will be outta your life so fast you'll think I had a jet rocket stuffed up my ass. Lilly smiles. LILLY Now that's something I'd pay to see. EXT. SIDEWALK - LATER You don't so much stroll down this street as walk quick and don't make eye contact with strangers. Even so, you could say that Charlie and Lilly are strolling. Walking her back to work. LILLY Fine, Charlie. I give up. CHARLIE You give up? LILLY I accept your apology. Charlie stops. Excites. CHARLIE Really?! LILLY Yes. If that means you will leave me alone. For real. Forever. CHARLIE I will. I promise. LILLY Your promises mean nothing. All the same, I accept your apology. CHARLIE And you'll tell that to... anyone who asks? LILLY Who's going to ask? CHARLIE I don't know. But if anyone did, you'd say-- LILLY Yes. I forgive you. He looks at her. For the first time so far, really looks at her. It's a moment suspended. She really is truly lovely. His heart skips a beat, maybe. Back to reality-- CHARLIE One last question. Your brother Lance. Where is he living nowadays? LILLY Why? CHARLIE Just curious. Lilly squints her eyes. LILLY He lives in the apartment above me. Charlie nods. CHARLIE Oh course he does. Thank you, Lilly. You'll never see me again. She smiles. LILLY One can dream. She leaves him... heads back inside the Dunkin' Donuts. He is frozen, watching her. Nods. Sees Zeus inside the store flip him the bird. Charlie waves to Zeus. Bye bye. FADE TO BLACK. INT. CAB - AFTERNOON Charlie, back in the backseat of a cab, on his way back to the motel, back on the phone. CHARLIE It wasn't her idea, I don't think. I know people, Rick. I looked in her eyes and she had no idea. RICK (V.O.) But she accepted the apology. CHARLIE Yeah. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I almost... kind of wish it was. I forgot how much... how much I enjoyed her. Weird as she is. Charlie's mind drifts. Catches himself. Shakes it off. RICK (V.O.) So what's the plan now? The cab stops. Charlie shoves some cash into the Drivers hand and gets out. EXT. MOTEL 6 - CONTINUOUS Charlie head to the Desk Clerk. CHARLIE The plan is, I'm gonna check out of this crappy motel, get on a plane and head back to my warm comfortable life. RICK (V.O.) What about Lance? CHARLIE I'll deal with that loser later. I know where he is. I can bide my time. Come up with something especially weird to have someone do to him. Rick, I gotta go. Call you when I'm back in New York. Charlie ends the call and raps on the Desk Clerk's window, startling the guy again. CHARLIE You sleep a lot, don't you? DESK CLERK What can I get you? CHARLIE I'm checking out. Just need to get some stuff out of my room. The Desk Clerk scribbles on some papers. DESK CLERK Okay, that'll be five-hundred forty seven dollars. Charlie peels out... just a few bills from his wallet. CHARLIE Here's forty-seven. DESK CLERK You promised me five hundred! CHARLIE I do that sometime. Sorry. Charlie slides away. EXT. MOTEL ROOM - MOMENTS LATER Charlie keys open the door and swings it open to see-- The room is TRASHED! His jaw drops as he steps inside... INT. MOTEL ROOM He scans the walls. On one, written in red spray paint, the words: NOT GOOD ENOUGH! CHARLIE What the-- WHACK-! a pipe slams against the back of his head. SMASH TO BLACK. INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT A familiar scene for poor Charlie: he's tied to a chair, arms now bound by sheets behind his back. Feet tied together with pillow cases. He slowly comes to. There, on the edge of the bed, is the HITMAN. Wearing his familiar uniform of black. Ski mask over his head. Metal voice-altering machine in hand. HITMAN Hello, Charlie. CHARLIE No cards this time? I liked the cards better. The Hitman shakes his head. CHARLIE I apologized. Like you asked. And she accepted it, Lance. HITMAN I'm not who you think I am, Charlie. CHARLIE I've done what you asked! I apologized! She accepted! The Hitman shakes his head again. CHARLIE What?! HITMAN You can't apologize for something, bright boy. Unless you know what you're apologizing for. The Hitman takes out another index card. Shows it to Charlie. Without having to be encouraged, Charlie reads it aloud. CHARLIE Three days. The Hitman nods. Stands. Leaves. Charlie waits a moment. Then starts shouting! CHARLIE Help! Someone help me! Help! A few more moments pass. Then, someone comes to the door. Slides in a key and opens it... It's the Desk Clerk. He stares at Charlie for a moment. DESK CLERK This not surprise me. CHARLIE Please, help me! Untie these sheets. DESK CLERK I don't think so. The Desk Clerk closes the door. Charlie settles. CHARLIE Damnit. INT. MOTEL ROOM - LATER Charlie keeps working his hands, trying to undo the knots. He's having no luck. He leans back farther. The chair tips as his hands reach down. Suddenly loses his balance! The chair tips over. And Charlie cries out as he crashes to the ground... yes, breaking the chair and setting him free. CHARLIE Of course it did. EXT. MOTEL 6 - LATER Charlie approaches the Desk Clerk's booth, wallet out. The Clerk smiles. DESK CLERK Got outta your prediciment, I see. Charlie pulls out a stack of hundred dollar bills. Five of them. Pushes the money at the Clerk. CHARLIE There. Five hundred dollars. Just like I promised. Charlie starts to walk away. Spins back and wags a finger at the Clerk. CHARLIE You know, the next time you see me in a situation like that... I expect some help. The Clerk just counts his bonus. INT. BAR - NIGHT A dive by all dive standards-- Charlie is one of only two customers in the place, each perched at the counter sipping away their sorrows. Charlie... we can start to tell... is a little drunk. And he's muttering to himself. CHARLIE ...said to apologize to her and I did... now stupid... what am I apologizing for... ridiculous... The BARTENDER approaches. BARTENDER You say somethin', pal? Charlie looks up from his shot. CHARLIE I am sorry, okay! BARTENDER Okay, buddy. CHARLIE Don't I look sorry?! BARTENDER I think you look hammered. CHARLIE Well I am! And I am sorry! I am the king of sorry! Let me tell you what, you cheat on your wife? BARTENDER Don't have a wife. CHARLIE Girlfriend? Or are you gay? BARTENDER Hey, watch it, pal. I don't wanna have to hit you. CHARLIE Doesn't matter. Point is... if you did cheat... or you got caught shoplifting... or you, uh, you shot someone... and you needed to apologize about it? I'm your man! I am the man. Got it? Don't tell me I don't know how to apologize. BARTENDER Settle down, buddy. No one's telling you anything. CHARLIE I'll give you an example... what's your boyfriend's name? WHAP-! The bartender decks Charlie. Sends him crashing to the ground. CHARLIE... flat on his back, nods. CHARLIE I'm sensing a theme today. EXT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT A drunk Charlie stumbles up the front steps, to Lilly's door. Burps. Knocks. CHARLIE (slurring) Lilly... guess whoooo... Keeps rapping. Finally, the door opens. LILLY I knew it was too good to be true. CHARLIE I know. I know. But guess what? When I apologized before... it turns out... I didn't know what I was apologizing for. So it doesn't count. Can you believe that? So now I have to know why I am such a bastard that you want me dead. LILLY You're drunk, Charlie. CHARLIE Clearly. And you are pretty. Lilly is not amused. LILLY How did you get here, Charlie? CHARLIE I... walked. LILLY You walked here? Through this neighborhood? By yourself? CHARLIE Yeah, it's really not that bad. I bumped into these two guys and, for a moment, I thought, oh no, I'm dead. But... it turned out they just wanted my wallet. Which was cool. Lilly sighs. LILLY Come inside. He smiles, nods and heads inside. CHARLIE Okeydokey. Lilly shuts the door. INT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Charlie collapses on the couch. CHARLIE If it's so bad... why do you live here then? Lilly crosses into the kitchen to pour Charlie a glass of water. LILLY (O.C.) I'm poor, Charlie. Or hadn't you noticed. CHARLIE No. I noticed. Believe me, I noticed. You are one broke lady. Lilly appears and hand him the glass of water. He stares at it. CHARLIE No crazy straw? LILLY I'm all out. CHARLIE You're all out of crazy? LILLY Drink the water. Then I'll give you a ride back to the motel. Charlie takes a sip then sets the water down. Lilly starts to pace the room. CHARLIE No! No, I need to know what I did to you that was so bad. LILLY You don't need to know anything. CHARLIE You're wrong. I do. I need to know why you hate me so much because somebody out there, and I'm pretty sure I know who it is, wants me to know. And now, to be honest, with all the fuss that's been put up around it, I think I kind-a want to know too. LILLY No you don't, Charlie. No Charlie stands. A little wobbly, but stands nonetheless. CHARLIE Yes! I want to know. I broke your heart. Fine. People get over that. Normal people. But there's something else, isn't there? What did I do that makes you hate me so much? LILLY ...Charlie... CHARLIE What is it?! LILLY I was pregnant! Sudden silence. LILLY Yeah, Charlie. You knocked me up. Charlie slowly lowers himself back into the couch. Sobers up, but fast. CHARLIE Mine? LILLY C'mon, Charlie. You know you were my first. My only. (beat) I found out right after we broke up. Tried to tell you but... you won't answer when I called. I would come by but you'd, what, hide in the closet? Wasn't that it? CHARLIE I'm sorry. LILLY Sure you are. Lilly is know back in that place. The words fall out of her mouth. LILLY I didn't know what to do. You were gone. My parents were gone. I couldn't tell my brother. I couldn't tell anyone. So as much as I couldn't stand the thought... CHARLIE You had a... LILLY I had an abortion, yes. But things got fucked up. And when it was over... the doctors told me I never had to worry about something like this happening again. Charlie buries his face in his hands. CHARLIE Oh my God... Tears start to well in Lilly's eyes. LILLY Wait, Charlie. It gets better. (beat) You see after something like that happens... you don't feel so good. Sometimes you think about doing things. Like sitting in a car... with the engine on... parked in a garage. Or taking medicine. Lots and lots of medicine. Charlie's face is pale. LILLY Three years, Charlie. Three years in the hospital before they decided I was fit to walk among the rest of human kind. And every day you know what I thought about? CHARLIE I can guess. LILLY Don't you dare. (beat) I thought... what color his eyes would have been. Would they be blue like yours? Or green like mine. Would his hair have been curly... or straight? What would he have looked like, Charlie? When he smiled. Charlie, too, starts to cry. CHARLIE I had no idea. LILLY How could you? You never stopped long enough to see what the rest of us were doing. You weren't the only one with dreams, Charlie. (beat) You're just the only one whose dreams came true. (beat) And that's why I'm mad at you. Because every time I see you... I know I still... care about you. I guess. Lilly breaks down now. Charlie slowly rises to his feet. He crosses to Lilly. Hesitates. Reaches a hands down. To her face. Her hand reaches up. Takes his. He pulls her to her feet. They embrace. Begin... to kiss. Slowly at first. The passion rises. Suddenly, Charlie breaks away. CHARLIE I can't... LILLY Can't what? CHARLIE I can't hurt you again. LILLY You will hurt me more... if you leave. Charlie, numb, crosses to her again. Pauses a moment. Then, they lock. Animal like. The noises, sights. Clothes shred. Naked bodies... kids, cover your eyes... Naked bodies entangle. Charlie and Lilly collapse to the ground. And though we might like to see what happens next, the screen fades TO BLACK. INT. LILLY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Charlie and Lilly lie side by side. Post-coital amazement. CHARLIE Don't disappear under the bed, now. Lilly breaks out in contagious laughter. LILLY That was silly. I know that now, you know? CHARLIE Sure you do. They both smile. LILLY I've missed you. Charlie nods. CHARLIE It's strange. LILLY What is? CHARLIE I couldn't have come here with the intention of finding myself where I am now. And still, I'm pretty happy about how it worked out. LILLY This is a foreign concept to you? CHARLIE Pretty much. LILLY You plan too much. You know how to make God laugh, right? Charlie nods. CHARLIE Knock-knock joke. Lilly laughs. LILLY Have a plan, silly. Life is random. Happiness can come from unexpected places. CHARLIE Not in my experience. LILLY Only fools rush in, right? CHARLIE Stop. LILLY Sing it. Please! It was our song-- CHARLIE I know. LILLY I never had a "song" with anyone. You used to make me melt when you sang that to me. You sang it to me on our first date. CHARLIE I have a horrible voice. I don't even know why you would want that. LILLY Please... CHARLIE No. I will give you something else. Something I hardly ever give. LILLY What's that? His head disappears under the covers. Lilly laughs. Then starts to squirm. LILLY Oh, Charlie... INT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - MORNING Sunlight peeks through windows unseen lighting the path from the front door to the back hall leading to the kitchen. Silence. In the back, in the hallway, Lilly appears wearing nothing but a long tee shirt. She disappears into the kitchen. We hear the water run. A glass of water drunk. A door knock. Lilly crosses back into our sight to the front door. Opens. LANCE Hey, cutie. LANCE QUELLS steps into the apartment. Notice: a strong man, slightly overweight. Bit of a brick, both downstairs and up. Steps a little too deliberately. Almost on tip-toes. He carries a bunched up paper bag. LILLY Hey, hansome. At the end of the hall, Charlie appears, in underwear only. Rubs sleep from his eyes as he heads toward Lilly. CHARLIE Morning, sunshine. Charlie's eyes clear. Sees Lance. He freezes. I mean, locks up! Then stumbles back over his own feet. To the kitchen. LANCE Who is that? Lilly rushes off to the kitchen. INT. LILLY'S KITCHENM - CONTINUOUS Charlie stands prepared: a spatula in one hand. A large spoon in the other. He looks terrified. LILLY What's wrong?! CHARLIE He's come to kill me. Lance appears in the doorway and cocks his head. LANCE Hey. CHARLIE Stay the fuck away from me you psycho! LILLY Charlie! LANCE Who is this? LILLY Charlie Bright. An ex-boyfriend from college. Lance takes a moment to think. LANCE Oh. CHARLIE You see?! He's gonna kill me! LILLY Charlie, no! LANCE What are you gonna do, Charlie? Spoon me? LILLY Lance, wait in the living room! Lance shrugs his shoulders. Disappears. Lilly crosses to Charlie. Leans close. They speak only in whispers. LILLY What the hell was that? What are you talking about someone's going to kill you? CHARLIE I was scared. LILLY Who are you afraid of? Ever since you came here you've been talking about-- CHARLIE Nothing. I'll... LILLY I know you, Charlie, don't lie to me. Charlie covers. CHARLIE He saw me with his sister, clearly. He knows we... (beat) And with everything that's happened to you... LILLY He doesn't know. Even more hushed than before... CHARLIE Doesn't know what? LILLY He doesn't know what happened to me. The thing. The everything I told you. CHARLIE You were in a hospital for three years! How does he not know what happened to you for three years!? Beat. LILLY I told him I was on vacation. CHARLIE For three years!? LILLY He's not very smart. Okay, Charlie nods. Looks at the crumpled paper bag. Still whispering. CHARLIE What's that? LILLY Birth control pills. CHARLIE (angry, still hushed) I thought you said-- LILLY I told you. He doesn't know. CHARLIE What kind of brother picks up his sister's birth control pills? That's sick. LILLY He's concerned. He still thinks I'm sexually active. CHARLIE Ew! He's your brother! LILLY He's very concerned. And this incident probably makes all his concerns justified. He worries about these things. CHARLIE Ew! Lance calls out from the living room. LANCE Everything okay? LILLY Fine! We'll be right there. (to Charlie, hushed) Be cool. And you owe me a big explanation. Charlie slowly nods. INT. LILLY'S KITCHEN - MORNING An uncomfortable silence as the three of them sit and eat breakfast at a small Formica table. Lance takes a bite of eggs and cheese. Smiles halfheartedly at Charlie. Charlie, disearnestly, smiles back. Lilly looks uncomfortably at the whole scene. Finally, Charlie, between bites, suspiciously, speaks: CHARLIE So... Lance. Where are you working these days? Lance seems a bit dim. Talks with his mouth full. LANCE Fosters. In the warehouse. CHARLIE Chicken? Lance takes offense. LANCE Screw you, I ain't chicken 'bout anything! CHARLIE I mean where you work. Fosters Chicken? LANCE Beef. CHARLIE Sorry. I haven't heard of Foster's Beef. LANCE That's probably why they goin' outta business. Silence. Charlie gets back to his breakfast. CHARLIE Sorry. LILLY He'll find something else, won't you? Charlie cringes a little: why do they keep calling each other "babe"? LANCE So... you dating my sister again? CHARLIE Huh? LILLY Lance, that's not appropriate. CHARLIE Well, I don't-- LANCE Why not?! Lance starts to get agitated, it seems. Charlie gets uncomfortable. LANCE You live here now? In Chicago? LILLY No, Lance-- LANCE You just usin' her? CHARLIE No! Charlie's cell phone rings. He snaps it up without looking at the number calling. Probably should have... INT. REHAB CLINIC - MORNING Britney is back on the pay phone. BRITNEY Hey, baby... INT. LILLY'S KITCHEN Charlie tenses up. CHARLIE Hey? INTERCUT: BRITNEY I'm so sorry I got mad at you, baby. CHARLIE Not a good time, Rick. Can I call you back? LILLY Who is it? Charlie looks to Lilly. Shakes his head: no one. Charlie moves into the other room. INT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM Hushed into the receiver: CHARLIE This is a bad time. INTERCUT: Britney tugs on the cord. BRITNEY And this is easy?! I'm talkin' on some sort of ancient device. They took my cell phone, Charlie! My link to the outside world! I don't even know what this is I'm talkin' on! CHARLIE Settle down. LILLY (O.S.) Is everything okay? CHARLIE It's fine! BRITNEY Who's that?! Charlie settles on the couch. CHARLIE You know, Britney. I think it's time we see other people. BRITNEY What?! Charlie hangs up the phone. He heads back into the kitchen. INT. LILLY'S KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS LILLY Is everything okay? CHARLIE Yeah. It was just Rick, my managing partner. We have a client in rehab who's freakin' out a little. LANCE How long you stayin' in Chicago? CHARLIE Well, you really are Mister Question Man aren't you? (beat, settles) I'm sorry. I have to go back to New York tomorrow. My business... Lilly sulks. CHARLIE But I'll be back, Lilly. In a few days. I think... He looks at Lance; guys an oaf. Whoever the Hitman is... it can't be Lance. CHARLIE ...I think everything is going to be fine now. Lilly nods. A smile grows. CHARLIE Let me take you out tonight, Lilly. A real date. We can talk about... LILLY Okay. CHARLIE First... we need to go shopping. EXT. DOWNTOWN CHICAGO - DAY The SOUNDS of a city alive. Over there, camera; settle on Michigan Avenue. That department store. Neiman Marcus. INT. NEIMAN MARCUS - DAY Lilly calls out from a dressing room. LILLY (O.S.) It's too expensive. Charlie sits in a chair and smiles. He can spot her ankles and for a moment that's all he needs in the world. CHARLIE Just come out here. A moment. The dressing room curtain parts and there she is. To call her just stunning would be like calling the Eifel Tower an oversized salt shaker; Lilly is a vision. In the truest sense of the word. She glows in the white sparkling Christian Dior evening dress. We have not seen her like this before. She... has not seen herself like this before. Face flush. Charlie, breathless. LILLY Say something. He tries. CHARLIE You are... perfect. LILLY It's two thousand dollars, Charlie. CHARLIE I... don't... care. She smiles at him. LILLY Be careful. A girl could get used to this, Charlie. He smiles back. INT. TRES ARTIST - EVENING An intimate, dark restaurant with floor to ceiling windows. Beyond them, headlights moves silently. Charlie and Lilly are seated near the back. They sip Pinot Noir, the bottle set to the side, and Charlie can't keep his eyes locked anywhere but to hers. LILLY It's been a long time since someone treated me so nice. CHARLIE That's a crime. LILLY Why, Charlie? CHARLIE Why what? LILLY Why are you here? Why did you come to Chicago to find me? You didn't wake up one morning and decide you had to see me again. Charlie shifts, a little uncomfortably. Covers it with his brilliant smile. CHARLIE Is that so hard to believe? LILLY Yes. You've been saying from the moment you showed up at my door that someone forced you to come here. CHARLIE Forced is such a strong word. LILLY That you had to apologize to me. You were afraid for your life. What happened, Charlie? Don't lie. Not anymore. Charlie takes another sip. Considers the possibilities. Chews his bottom lip a moment more. CHARLIE It doesn't matter, Lilly. Someone just reminded me that I had been a stupid fool. And that I needed to make things right. LILLY Who? CHARLIE I don't know. He downs the rest of his wine. Pours another glass. LILLY Oh, Charlie. You haven't always been a fool. I remember when I first met you. You were this shy, quiet freshman. So sensitive. You barely spoke. CHARLIE I talked. LILLY Barely. But you meant every word you said. Now, look at you. A line for everything. Does money and success change people that much? CHARLIE It helps. LILLY See? That's what I mean. CHARLIE I'd been that person my whole life. Money doesn't change you. It just gives you the ability to tell people to piss off and not worry what's going to happen next. Do that enough and... I guess... this is what you get. LILLY Do you ever miss that other person? CHARLIE One day you realize that it doesn't matter how honest you are, Lilly. People hear what they want to hear. They believe what they want to believe. I just figured out how to make them believe what I wanted them to believe. LILLY Is that what this is tonight, Charlie? An illusion? Charlie smiles. Shakes his head. CHARLIE I couldn't have dreamed this,, Lilly. In my wildest imagination. (takes her hand) This is so very real. EXT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT The SOUNDS that once terrified him in this neighborhood drown away as he leads Lilly to her door. They stop before the door. Lilly turns to Charlie. LILLY I understand if you don't come back. CHARLIE I'm coming back. She opens the door and they both slip inside. INT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS Charlie shuts the door behind them. He takes Lilly's hand and spins her back to him. Kisses her softly. They break. He stares again deep into her eyes. CHARLIE Or... you could come with me. Lilly's eyes go wide. LILLY What? CHARLIE I want you to come to New York with me. LILLY That's crazy. CHARLIE So what? I like a little crazy. It's not like we don't know each other. This isn't a whirlwind romance. It's fifteen years in the making. I see it now, Lilly. You've helped me realize what's been missing in my life. I... think I love you. She's speechless. CHARLIE What do you say? Will you come with me? LILLY I... okay. He smiles and kisses her again. LILLY Lance. I can't leave him in-- CHARLIE Tell him to come to. I can set him up in an apartment... in Brooklyn. I can help him get a job. LILLY You mean it?! CHARLIE Absolutely. She SHRIEKS! Bounces around excitedly. LILLY I'll go pack! Lilly races to the back bedroom. Charlie smiles. Wide. There is a knock at the door. LILLY (O.S.) Can you get that? It's probably Lance. He likes to check on me after I go on a date. Charlie rolls his eyes. A little. Spins back and swing open the door revealing-- RICK GARCIA CHARLIE Rick? What the hell are you doing here? RICK I haven't heard from you in two days. I thought you were in trouble. And, where the hell does this chick live? CHARLIE I know. It's bad. But not for long. RICK Huh? CHARLIE C'mon in. INT. LILLY'S LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS Charlie leads him into the living room, his back to Rick. CHARLIE You could have called, you know? You didn't have to fly out-- RICK Hey, I didn't know what was up. Figured at the very least I could be some back up. CHARLIE I have it handled. RICK Sure you do... bright-boy. Boom. Charlie freezes. Slowly spins back to Rick. CHARLIE What did you call me? Rick nods. Shrugs his shoulders. Charlie turns to see-- Lilly, standing in the doorway to the kitchen, looking contrite. CHARLIE Lilly? LILLY Sorry, Charlie. Charlie turns back to Rick just as the pipe in Rick's hand slams into his head, knocking everything-- TO BLACK. INT. DARK ROOM - NIGHT The picture DISSOLVES in and we are back where we started. A dark room. Charlie, in the ever familiar position of being bound to a chair. Nothing else in the room is visible. At first. Then slowly we begin to spot things. Pictures plastered on the walls. Of Charlie. Some from newspapers. Some candid, surveillance type. Its a stalkers scrapbook. Charlie's face is a bloody map of the world. Lilly stands shyly back against a wall. Rick grabs another chair and sits directly across from Charlie. RICK You're a mess, Charlie. Charlie looks up at Rick. CHARLIE You were supposed to be my friend. RICK Friend? Is that what I was? Really? I'd say you treated me more like a... lap dog. Charlie's eyes wander over to Lilly. She smiles back at him. Rick SMACKS Charlie's face back to him. RICK Hey. We're still talking. Charlie is panicked. CHARLIE Rick... we can forget this. I get it. I treated you badly. It won't happen again. I know now that I was... thinking wrong about the people that matter in my life. The people... Charlie looks to Lilly. Then... Rick looks to Lilly. Back to Charlie. RICK She's amazing, isn't she? One of a kind. You're wondering how I know her, right? See, after you broke her heart in college, Charlie, she'd show up at our dorm room late at night, you'd be off with some other women or... hiding in a closet somewhere. But I was always there, covering for you. We would talk for hours. And then... one night... it just happened. Charlie drops his head. RICK We did it on your bed, too. Lots of times. All sorts of ways. One time we did it doggy-- LILLY T-M-I, Rick. Rick glances at Lilly and snickers. Charlie looks back up at Lilly. CHARLIE That story you told me. About being pregnant... She shakes her head. RICK She was in the hospital for a few years but that wasn't because she was a danger to herself as... well, you know. LILLY (ashamed) Acute sociopathic behavior. There's medicine for it now. RICK Are you not having as much fun as I am, babe? LILLY I'm fine. Charlie's world is crushed and the pieces are strapped to his shoulders. CHARLIE Why now? After all this time? RICK It was a college fling, Charlie. We lost touch. Until one day-- She saw you on TV. With Miss Kentucky. Your thousand dollar watch. Smug, self righteous-- LILLY I saw you on TV and I was so mad. I found out where you worked... and I was just going to call. Give you a piece of my mind. RICK But you had already left that day. Remember that day, Charlie? Let me refresh your memory... INT. BRIGHT CRISIS MANAGEMNT - HALLWAY (FLASHBACK) Charlie smiles. Lays a hand on Rick's shoulder. Nods. Opens the office door and leads Rick back out into the hall. CHARLIE Get your team together and go through it again. I don't want to attend a strategy session like that ever again. Charlie leans slowly into Rick. CHARLIE I love ya, Rick. We've been friends a long time. (beat) Don't make me scare you. Rick turns a shade of pale. INT. RICK'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER Rick slams his door shut, muttering to himself. RICK (V.O.) I was so pissed, I could have killed you... Rick's phone rings. He snaps it up. RICK What? INTERCUT WITH LILLY'S APARTMENT LILLY Yeah, I need to talk to that sonofabitch Charlie Bright! RICK He's gone. Who is this? LILLY Lilly Quells. RICK Lilly? Rick settles back into his chair. RICK (V.O.) We must have talked for an hour. Sharing our mutual hatred for you and everything you stand for. INT. DARK ROOM - RESUME SCENE Rick smiles at Charlie. RICK Then it just came to me. Exactly how to teach you a lesson. They were your words, Charlie. We play on people's emotions. Their willingness to forgive. But when they don't live up to expectations, you have to play on another emotion. CHARLIE Fear. FLASH TO-- A shot of Rick at the New York restaurant, putting on the skimask and heading into the men's room... FLASH TO-- A shot of Rick, dressed as the Hitman, breaking into Charlie's motel room... INT. DARK ROOM - RESUME SCENE CHARLIE So what's next? You're gonna kill me? RICK Oh, yeah. You've taught me everything I need to know. I can take it from here. You'll be missed. But not too much. Rick stands from his chair. Steps back. Lilly stares at the floor. LILLY (softly) Part of me never thought you'd fall for it, Charlie. But like you said, people believe what they want to believe. RICK Yeah they do. Clearly they do. Suckers. Charlie lifts his broken face to Rick and Lilly. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule One: Know what you are apologizing for. CHARLIE I didn't mean to hurt you. RICK Sure you didn't. Rick produces a gun from his waist. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule Two: Know who you are apologizing to. Charlie pleads with his eyes to Lilly. She looks away. Then to Rick. He just smiles. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule Three: Shift the blame. Charlie looks to Lilly. CHARLIE Please don't kill me. The person I was... its not who I am. Rick snickers. CHARLIE (V.O.) Rule Four: Don't want to apologize, just do it. CHARLIE I'm sorry. RICK It's too late for sorries, Charlie. Rick lowers the gun at Charlie's head. He closes his eyes. CHARLIE (V.O.) And when all else fails... and nothing is working... close your eyes... and forgive yourself... Lilly steps forward. LILLY Let me do it. Rick turns to her... considers it a moment. Then-- RICK Okay. He hands her the gun. She looks at Charlie. Then turns the gun on Rick and pulls the trigger. BAM! SMASH TO BLACK. CHARLIE (V.O.) ...then maybe, just maybe, they'll finally believe you. Beat. Another beat. LILLY (V.O.) AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! INT. DARK ROOM - MOMENTS LATER Lilly SCREAMS hard as she can. Charlie recoils. Slowly opens his eyes. Sees Rick dead on the ground, legs twitching awfully. Blood pooling on the ground. CHARLIE Lilly. She keeps screaming. CHARLIE Lilly! She stops. Hyperventilates. LILLY What have I done, what have I done, what have I done, what have I done? CHARLIE Lilly!!! She stops. Turns to Charlie. CHARLIE (lying) He'll be okay. Rick's final twitch settles; Charlie notices out of the corner of his eye. LILLY (wanting to believe) Really? Charlie... goes into Crisis Control. CHARLIE We'll call an ambulance in a minute. He'll be fine. Lilly looks at Rick. LILLY I don't know... CHARLIE Lilly, this is very important... who knows about your plan? LILLY Huh? CHARLIE Your plan to kill me? Who knew about it? Does Lance know? Does anyone know? Lilly is dizzy. LILLY N... No. It was just me and Rick. CHARLIE Okay. Okay. Here's what we're going to do. Untie me first and-- LILLY I killed him, Charlie. She starts to cry. CHARLIE No, no. Don't cry. Emotion... real emotion is a bad thing right now. I can fix this. You need to stay focused. LILLY (still crying) I'm gonna go to jail for the rest of my life. CHARLIE No you're not. Lilly? Lilly, listen to me. Look at me! Focus! No you are not! I won't let that happen, okay? Lilly settles. Sets the gun down on the ground and loosens Charlie's bindings. He wiggles out as she picks the gun back up. Charlie stands free. CHARLIE Lilly? Give me the gun. She looks at him sadly. Shakes her head. CHARLIE Lilly? LILLY No. CHARLIE Give me the gun. He suspects what will happen next. It does. She puts the gun to her head. LILLY I killed him. CHARLIE Please, Lilly... LILLY I can't go to jail. CHARLIE You won't. LILLY You can't save me. CHARLIE I can. LILLY Goodbye, Charlie. She closes her eyes. In the same moment, Charlie drops to his knees. Sings. CHARLIE Wise men say, only fools rush in... but I can't help... fa-ah-ling in love with youuuuuu.... She opens her eyes again. CHARLIE ...As the river flow-oh-s. Gently to the sea-ee. Darling so it go ohs... somethings were meant to beeeee... She lowers the gun. LILLY Stop. CHARLIE I can fix this. LILLY You always know what to say, Charlie. Charlie smiles. CHARLIE It's what I do. EXT. LILLY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT A body. Covered in black. Wheeled out on a gurney. Flashing red and blue lights scatted the sky. CHARLIE (V.O.) There are four words in the entire world that matter. The body is lofted into an ambulance. But there's little point. It's a one way ticket to the morgue. CHARLIE (V.O.) Two of them, everyone believes. The other two, nobody buys. Lilly stands at the front door giving a statement to a COP. LILLY (to Cop) ...an ex-boyfriend from college. He was stalking me. I'm just glad I'm a registered gun owner. Would you like to see my license? I'm so scared right now... She reaches out and hugs the Cop. He pats her back. CHARLIE (V.O.) The first two. The one that everyone believes: Help me. Can't turn it down. The ambulance takes off. CHARLIE (V.O.) The other two: I'm sorry. The Cop leaves Lilly. She quietly slips back inside. INT. BRIGHT CRISIS MANAGEMENT - DAY Moving like a ghost toward the front desk from the elevator. The day has just begun though we hear not a sound. CHARLIE (V.O.) Everybody makes mistakes. That's life. Everyone needs help sometimes. We NOTICE at the front desk, LANCE QUELLS, in shirt and tie, is now the RECEPTIONIST. He speaks into a phone but we hear nothing. CHARLIE (V.O.) That is why we exist, you and I. We are fellow people, here to help each other when we need it. We glide silently down the hallways of Bright Crisis Management. Past BUSY PEOPLE going busy places. Holding papers. CHARLIE (V.O.) Because we do need it. Someone there to tell us that it's going to be okay... We SWEEP down the hall to one office. The placard outside reads: LILLY QUELLS, MANAGING PARTNER. Lilly signs a piece of paper and leaves the office, crossing into the one adjoining... CHARLIE (V.O.) ...someone to tell us that we aren't as bad as we think we are. ...Lilly moves into Charlie's office. She plants hands him the paper and plants a kiss on his cheek. CHARLIE Thanks. LILLY You're welcome. But no time for that. We have a meeting. Kokodova is in the conference room. CHARLIE The pop star? LILLY She got hammered and drover over a Shiztzu on Beverly Boulevard. CHARLIE On purpose? LILLY Probably. Charlie nods. CHARLIE I like her music. LILLY She's not bad. Charlie smiles. Lilly smiles back. CHARLIE Lets get to work. They kiss. CHARLIE (V.O.) ...and sometimes everyone needs a second chance. Charlie and Lilly leave the office, hands locked. He starts... FADE TO BLACK. ...and finishes: CHARLIE (V.O.) Even you. the end
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