>> / My Best Friend's Wedding

/ My Best Friend's Wedding. .

: / My Best Friend's Wedding.

/ My Best Friend's Wedding

INT. MICHAEL'S ROOM - TWILIGHT

Julianne alone in his room, looking around frantically. No worries about this guy making his bed every day, stuff, clothes, strewn everywhere, the bathroom looks like a cherry bomb just detonated. She's tramping through a bachelor's debris, wearing only her towel, looking, looking...

There it is. The corner of his LAPTOP sticking out from beneath a discarded bedspread. She SNATCHES it up, OPENS it, sets it on the cluttered desk, and...

... stops. There are wallet-sized SNAPSHOTS of Kimmy. Some alone. Some as a little girl. Some with Michael. And next to them...

... the plastic fold-out wallet inset. That he has not yet quite rearranged. So she picks it up. Leafs through, until she finds what she was praying would be there...

... Julianne grinning. Michael's arm around her. On the deck of a boat. They have drinks in their hands. Happiness in their eyes.

And she stares at it. Jesus, God, how long has he carried this around? She flips through further, all the rest have her in them. Maybe half a dozen. Her heart is throbbing. Her eyes are damp.

Back to the one on the boat. She slips it from the plastic window. Holds it. Then, gently...

... puts it back where it belongs. PUNCHES up the goddamn laptop. This is it, girl! Do or die.

JULIANNE (murmurs) You wouldn't change your password, would you? You never change anything.

Those words make her bite her lip. Damn, I'm becoming a senti- mental slob. TYPES in...

JULIANNE (murmurs) Shoeless... Joe.

Yes! We're in! Punching keys. Letters flying across the screen. Okay, we're ready. Types...

JULIANNE (reads as she types) Mike. I hate this downsizing shit as much as you do. But I know this can't become as a complete surprise...

INT. BEACH CLUB CARD ROOM - EVENING

Through the window, the wedding party barbecue has extended into night. Lanterns, music, lots more food, lots more drinks. In the distance, on the sand, Michael is slowdancing with Kimmy. Some- where nearby, the soft CLICKING of keys. We PULL BACK to see...

... a small clubby room. Books, leather, polished woods. Only two people here. Walter, looking on stony-faced, as a determined Julianne grimly "struggles" to "find" what she's looking for in Michael's laptop. And then...

... she stops typing. Looks at the text on the screen. Her eyes sharpen as she "reads" what Walter can't see. It's an Oscar performance for our desperate girl. She turns the screen around...

WALTER (reads) Mike. I hate this downsizing...

He reads. Reads. Reads. All the air comes out of him.

WALTER (softly) And Kimmy doesn't know.

She shakes her head. Nope. No way.

WALTER (signs) I'll tell her I've reconsidered.

She nods, gravely. Right. He looks in her eyes.

WALTER You're a smart girl, Jules.

She forces up a fleeting smile of gratitude. But Walter isn't smiling at all.

WALTER Wish my daughter. Bad your guts.

INT. CHARLES TROTTER'S BAR - NIGHT

The hot saloon in Chinatown. Upscale, downscale, jammed, Michael and Kimmy at a small table in a far corner. CLOSE on them...

MICHAEL Sure you're okay?

She looks really scared. Turns her drink in her hand. Looking down at it.

MICHAEL It's not just a gag, huh?

KIMMY No, it's, uh... a real big favor.

He takes her hand, tenderly.

MICHAEL I wish you'd just... come out with it. I mean why are we waiting for Jules?

She smiles up at him. The best she can.

KIMMY Moral support.

She loves him so much, and she is sick with worry.

KIMMY What's good of having a big sister, if she...

Stops. Gestures with her eyes. Because her big sister has just entered...

... looking fabulous. Julianne wears a long sleek sarong, slightly see-through. Her hair is bound up with silver pins. As she moves through the room toward us, we can see that, for once, her make-up is flawless, understated. When she arrives at the table...

... Michael is beaming, admiringly. He stands up.

MICHAEL (softly) Wow and wow. You have a date, after this?

JULIANNE Never can tell.

He holds her chair. She exchanges an intimate smile with the anxious Kim.

MICHAEL You make me think of that song, we used to...

And he starts humming. The song is, "The Way You Look Tonight."

MICHAEL (singing) Someday. When I'm awfully low...

They sit. He looks from Julianne to his bride.

MICHAEL Okay, kid. You're on.

Kim's eyes flick to Julianne, who nods, supportively. The kid takes a breath.

KIMMY It's really my father. Who needs the favor.

His face sort of comes to a stop. Nothing she can read, yet. He nods, yeah...?

KIMMY He's... he's reorganizing some of the divisions of the company...

His eyes flick to Julianne. She looks down.

MICHAEL (quiet) He never mentioned that. Neither did y...

KIMMY (blurting) ... and public relations is a big problem area for him.

She can see it now. In his eyes. She just can't tell how bad.

KIMMY He needs someone incredible, someone really close, who he can trust...

MICHAEL Like family, huh?

So quiet. So cold. She is terrified.

KIMMY It would only be, maybe, six months? Or three or four? It would mean so much to him...

MICHAEL To him.

She swallows. Straightens her spine.

KIMMY And to m...

MICHAEL (sharp, to Julianne) ... and you knew about this.

Real quiet. Against the noise of this place.

JULIANNE I think you ought to listen to her, Michael. This is her life, too.

Just the thing. To bring that anger near the surface. He turns to Kim...

MICHAEL Well, which is it?

A demand. Sharp. Accusing. She doesn't like that...

MICHAEL You gonna tell me Daddy thought this one up? All of a sudden, I'm the only jerk alive who can help him deal with the press?

She's trapped. Angry, scared. A deer in headlights.

MICHAEL Why don't you start being honest for one fucking sec...

JULIANNE Michael!!

KIMMY (near tears) I am honest!

Silence.

KIMMY All of a sudden, I'm supposed to drop out of school, forget my family, forget my career, forget all the plans I had for my life...

MICHAEL Well, forgive me for screwing up your plans!

He can't even believe he's hearing this.

MICHAEL I'm sure glad I'm hearing all this now, before it's too late!

KIMMY What is that sup...

MICHAEL And what am I supposed to do with my life, huh? I am 28 years old! I work in a low-paying, low-status, zero-respect job which, unfortunately, I happen to fucking love. How inconvenient.

Shrugs.

MICHAEL No problem. A little bullshit about Daddy's "needs," and presto, I'm a lap dog in high society.

JULIANNE (softly) Michael, it sounds like a wonderful opportun...

MICHAEL (whips around) Does it, really? How come you never took some sell-out establishment job? You had plenty of chances!

Glares in her eyes.

MICHAEL I'll tell you why. Because that isn't you. And it isn't me, either! We're the same person!

Back to Kim...

MICHAEL What a sweet little picture. Mommy and Daddy aren't losing a daughter, they're gaining a eunuch!

KIMMY Well, if that's the way you f...

MICHAEL Damn straight, it's how I feel! What's their wedding gift, a little gold collar that says "Mikey-poo"? Or do I have to change my name to "Binky"?

She's crying now. Real tears on her face.

MICHAEL Great! Tears! The big equalizer. You wait till two days before the wedding to drop this on me, and I'm just supposed to roll over and drool!

She is sobbing now. She can't help herself. Which makes him totally crazy. He jumps up.

MICHAEL Fine. I'm an insensitive, chauvinist asshole, and you're well rid of m...

KIMMY MICHAEL!!

A wrenching cry from her heart. It stops him cold. And before Julianne's astonished eyes, Kimmy reaches out a trembling hand...

KIMMY Michael, you are so...

Choking back the sobs.

KIMMY ... so right. And I am so very wrong.

Michael blinks. Julianne blinks. For different reasons.

KIMMY We can't go down two roads. And still be together.

Her fingers stretch, beckoning.

JULIANNE Uh, Kimmy...?

KIMMY (ignores her) We settled this. And I reneged. That wasn't fair.

Please, please, take my hand.

KIMMY You have to forgive me, and forget this ever happened...

People are watching, staring. These two see only each other.

KIMMY ... or I'll die.

A frozen, forever moment. He steps to her...

... LIFTS her up in his arms. Into the deepest, most heartfelt KISS. And as she clings to him, people begins to APPLAUD, and whistle, and laugh.

Julianne. In her pretty dress. Closes her eyes.

INT.JULIANNE'S HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

Julianne in her nightshirt, her back to us, sobbing into her cellular as she paces the room...

JULIANNE ... see that's what I never counted on! I never heard of a brilliant moron before!

We CLOSE as she WHIPS around, startling us with her grotesque day- glo PURPLE face mask. The green was better.

JULIANNE I mean, the little twerp GROVELED!!

Losing it. We know the drill.

JULIANNE SHE IS SO WRONG FOR HIM!

Clutching the phone.

JULIANNE Michael and I are the same person! Self-absorbed and imperfect and vaguely loveable! We deserve each other!

Tears are flowing. Which, over this mask, is not a pretty sight.

JULIANNE I'm out of hope, I'm out of sneaky ideas, I'm at the end of my rapidly-fraying hysterical little rope! Help m...

She TRIPS over an open suitcase, and DISAPPEARS from frame. The THUD is slightly alarming.

JULIANNE (O.S.) God, I hate this hotel.

HOLD. On nothing is particular.

JULIANNE (O.S.) And I hate talking to your machine!

INT. JULIANNE'S ROOM - EARLY MORNING

REAR VIEW of Julianne asleep on the floor, sunlight streaming in. A soft knocking on a door, somewhere nearby. She barely stirs. The knock becomes a strong RAPPING, and she fights for conscious- ness. Her back still to us, she...

... rises, STUMBLES to the door, which is now pulsing with an insistent POUNDING, and THROWS it OPEN, as we SNAP to...

REVERSE ANGLE... CLOSE on Julianne's face, still encased in a now- decomposing PURPLE MASK, her eyes SPRINGING wide, she SCREAMS in shock, and we SNAP BACK to...

ORIGINAL ANGLE... Digger, watching impassively at the high-strung SHRIEK. In the silence that follows...

DIGGER You stole my line.

He touches his face, and she realizes!

JULIANNE Oh, shit!

Starts CLAWING at the overripe mask, but he grabs her wrists.

DIGGER Chill. We don't want your face coming off with it.

JULIANNE Chill? Since when do you say ch...

DIGGER When I'm talking to children.

She looks in his eyes. Realizing at last.

JULIANNE You flew all the way h...

DIGGER I noticed. I'm on the noon back. We have this thing with George's family in the Hamptons.

JULIANNE (soft) You're butting in.

He still holds her wrists. She brings one of his hands to her lips. Kisses his knuckles.

JULIANNE (softer) I really resent this.

INT. BATHROOM - MORNING

Julianne seated at the sink, staring into the mirror, as Digger gently applies soup, cloth and water to easing away the mask. A paleontologist restoring a Bronze Age artifact. By the side of the half-filled sink, rests her plugged-in curling iron.

JULIANNE What I mean, when I say annoyingly perfect, is that there is nothing annoying about her perfection. It is vulnerable and endearing. And that is annoying as shit.

DIGGER You like her.

JULIANNE If I didn't have to hate her, I'd adore her.

She looks up at him and WINCES, as the movement makes him scrape her face. He's sorry.

JULIANNE Last night, she was crying, these big, real tears, when she thought she'd lost him. It was like there was a knife in her heart...

Looking in his eyes. Needs him to hear.

JULIANNE ... and I put it there. I hated myself, I grieved for her, I couldn't enjoy one second of it! And then, when it didn't work...

Can you believe this?

JULIANNE I was devastated.

DIGGER (softly) Go figure you.

JULIANNE Because I realized. When I see him say "I do," that knife will be in my heart. And it will be there every...

She holds his wrists now. To stop him. To plead for understanding. Forgiveness.

JULIANNE ... every time I think of him, forever, which could be a lot.

She almost choked on that last part. So she composes herself.

JULIANNE You watch a guy caress his girlfriend's butt. You see an Old Spice commercial. Sentimental moments are everywhere, when you're in the right frame of mind.

She swallows hard. Fights for a grip on her determination.

JULIANNE There are 18,250 nights in the next 50 years...

DIGGER You've been working on this, huh?

JULIANNE ... and having "done the right thing" will only really be comforting, oh, maybe, five, six times.

She sets her jaw.

JULIANNE This is my whole life's happiness. I have to be ruthless.

DIGGER (quietly) And you believe that.

JULIANNE (unconvincing) Sure.

His eyes are gentle and merciless at once. No way she gets off this hook.

JULIANNE He was in love with me every day for nine years. I can make him happier than she can.

DIGGER It's not his happiness you're feeling guilty about...

JULIANNE (proudly) I don't know the meaning of the word guilt!

DIGGER Impressive.

JULIANNE I am breaking her heart in the short run, but doing her a gigantic favor! She would be miserable tagging along after this insensitive doofus!

DIGGER The man you love.

JULIANNE Beyond reason. The feminist warrior will rise up in this kid, and she'll be standing over his sleeping form with a butcher knife, selecting from a short list of body parts!

DIGGER Someday she'll thank you.

JULIANNE Let's not get carried away.

And the defenses drain from her clay-ravaged features. The real Julianne is glimpsed.

JULIANNE I'd settle for. Someday, I'll forgive myself.

For...?

JULIANNE For doing this terrible thing.

Her eyes tear up.

JULIANNE Which, by the way, I can't figure out how to do.

As the tears fall, he wipes at them, discovering...

DIGGER Jesus. You're supposed to take your make-up off before you apply the m...

JULIANNE I KNOW THAT! I WAS DISTRACTED BY GRIEF!

Oh.

JULIANNE Guess what I brushed my teeth with last night?

He thinks about this. Following her eyes to the toiletries kit, he browses for a moment...

DIGGER Zit cream?

JULIANNE I wish.

DIGGER Neosporin?

JULIANNE Try less appropriate.

DIGGER Ben Gay.

JULIANNE That was Thursday.

He stops on that note.

DIGGER Elmer's Glue?

JULIANNE DON'T BE RIDICULOUS, WE'RE HAVING A SERIOUS CONVERSATION!

She's hysterical.

DIGGER I give.

JULIANNE I can't even say it.

Now. He's curious.

JULIANNE A hint. The first word is "Preparation." Then comes a letter of the alphabet, perilously close to G.

She reaches to test her curling iron, BURNS her finger, SHIT! KNOCKING the appliance into the half-filled sink. She LUNGES for it, and a terrified Digger GRASPS her arm...

DIGGER Considering the circumstances, I'm not wholly against suicide...

Huh?

DIGGER Just not by electrocution in front of me!

Oh.

DIGGER I've got this noon flight.

He reaches to pull the plug from the wall, and now she LUNGES to grab his arm, slipping, her face falling forward, stopping an inch above the sink.

JULIANNE How do you know you can touch that plug? Are you a licensed contractor?

DIGGER What do you suggest?

She looks from the plug down the cord, to the submerged curling iron. And back.

JULIANNE Maybe they just seal off this room. They have others.

He's staring at her. Sweet, but intense.

DIGGER I didn't mean about that.

Oh. Again.

JULIANNE If I hear the words "tell the truth," or any paraphrase thereof, I dive into the sink and pull you with me.

Looking at her. Looking at her.

DIGGER Let's go meet Michael. I'll wait downstairs.

INT. ARMANI - MORNING

Julianne has cleaned up pretty good. She sits with Digger on a fashion-fabric sofa. They are side-by-side, studying something with equal concentration. And slight concern.

DIGGER I suppose it's too late to start over.

JULIANNE It's too late to start over.

PULL BACK to reveal Michael in his wedding tux, submitting to a final fitting from a stylish fitter.

MICHAEL You guys are heartless, my bride picked this out.

JULIANNE Like I said, dazzling.

DIGGER Is she going to dress you every day?

Michael smiles over. Digger smiles back. They live each other.

MICHAEL Yeah, it's in the contract.

DIGGER (softly) Well, then, I'll take it up with her.

Michael motions, okay, c'mon over. Digger rises, goes to Michael, the fitter steps back as Digger shows him...

DIGGER The cut here, here... this line...

Fingers lightly traveling over the lapel, the side-stitching, the cloth straight down the spine...

DIGGER ... trouser width, this is all classic. Which means safe, something I'd wear.

MICHAEL I should look different.

DIGGER You should look like you dressed yourself.

Yes? Michael's grin is back. Playful and friendly.

MICHAEL And I'm supposed to respect your fashion tips, because you're what, a New Yorker?

DIGGER (quiet smile) Something like that.

Julianne loves that the boy are getting on.

MICHAEL (means this) Long trip. Pretty nice of you to come.

DIGGER Well, I'm close to her. I wanted to meet the one that got away.

Said so naturally. That embarrasses Michael, who looks down, his smile suddenly awkward.

DIGGER What?

MICHAEL I'm just glad someone finally put this thing in its proper perspective.

Steals a glance at Julianne. She rolls her eyes. What a goofball, my outrageous friend.

MICHAEL (to Digger) Stay, huh?

DIGGER I honestly wish I could...

MICHAEL I'll call George's parents. Tell them I need a best man who actually looks after me.

Julianne comes over.

JULIANNE (softly) They'd say that's my job.

She runs her hands over his jacket, smoothing it everywhere. With tenderness that approaches transparency. Glances back at Digger...

JULIANNE I'll take it home from here.

Pinches Michael's ear. Looks in his eyes.

DIGGER Two words.

JULIANNE Major. Dish.

DIGGER Manicure...

She looks down. Michael's nails are unclipped, with layers of impacted dirt. She touches his fingertips, a little more softly than she may have intended.

DIGGER Fly.

Everyone looks down. She ZIPS Michael up.

MICHAEL (to Digger) You don't miss much.

DIGGER Part of being a New Yorker.

INT. HAIR SALON - MORNING

Cutting edge salon. Loud, PULSING MUSIC. Digger and Michael in adjacent chairs, heads back, each smoking impressive cigars as their hair is styled. Digger's stylist is a hot trashy female. Michael's is a tall, flamboyant male in a day-glo vest.

Each man has one hand soaking, the other being worked on by a manicurist, so Julianne goes from one to the other, removing their cigars so they can exhale. A seraglio feel to the way she does this.

Now she's arguing with Michael's stork-like stylist. We can't hear over the music, but she keeps tugging on Michael's hair, pretty passionate about her point of view. Suddenly, she GRABS the scissors to do it herself, and Michael...

... BOLTS out of the chair. WHOA!

EXT. O'HARA AIRPORT - DAY

Skycaps, guests of impatient travelers, a bus offloading forty Japanese tourists. A taxi cuts off a van to reach the curb. Out jumps...

Michael. Opening the door for Digger and Julianne. Digger says something, Michael gives him a strong HUG. Julianne raises one finger to Michael, back in a second. Leads Digger off by the hand.

CLOSE on them now. Alone in the throng.

JULIANNE Bye, handsome.

Digger just stares at her. Those maddening judgemental eyes.

JULIANNE You're going to say it, aren't you?

DIGGER Tell him you love him. With all your heart.

JULIANNE I'm taking my next book to Viking.

DIGGER Tell him you've loved him for nine years, but you were afraid to realize it.

JULIANNE I'm moving this book to Viking.

DIGGER Tell him you're afraid of love. Afraid of needing.

JULIANNE Needing.

DIGGER To belong to someone.

He touches her hair.

DIGGER We all do, beautiful. I'm sorry about that.

Staring in her eyes. Even Julianne has run out of words.

DIGGER Tell him you know this is the worst, dumbest, cruelest moment to do this to him. But there it is, and he has to choose.

JULIANNE And what will he do?

Digger isn't smiling. His voice low, beneath the crowd...

DIGGER He'll choose Kim. You'll stand by her at her wedding. You'll kiss him good-bye. And you'll go home.

He holds up one finger. Almost touching her nose.

DIGGER This is what you've come to do. Now do it.

Wow. She looks frightened and moved, all at the same time. She kisses him on the lips.

And walks away. He watches her go through the crowd. Take Michael's hand. Lead him back toward the taxi.

EXT. SKYLINE CRUISE BOAT - DAY

The skyline of Chicago moves past us. Slowly. The NBC Tower, Cityfront Center...

MICHAEL (O.S.) Big weddings are so strange.

JULIANNE (O.S.) You keep saying that.

Up ahead, the Wrigley Building draws closer...

MICHAEL (O.S.) Kim has all this stuff to do, I hardly see her.

JULIANNE (O.S.) Well, you've got the rest of your lives.

REVERSE ANGLE... they lean on the rail of a cruise boat, easing down the Chicago River. Wind-blown. Close together.

JULIANNE Getting your bed made. Every day.

They smile at each other. Seem so comfortable together.

JULIANNE You miss her, huh?

MICHAEL No. I've got you.

She nods. That you have. Staring in her eyes...

MICHAEL Don't you throw up on boat?

JULIANNE If you like.

And she LURCHES over the railing, emitting a BARRAGE of incredibly disgusting sounds, her feet FLAILING in mid-air. He laughs, as he pulls her back down to the deck. Of course, it was all a joke. He brushes back her hair. Sighs. Stares.

MICHAEL I've been thinking a lot the last couple days. About us, actually.

JULIANNE (casual) Have you.

He has.

JULIANNE Well. There's a lot of memories to choose from...

MICHAEL It's more than that.

That tightens her throat pretty good. When she tries to speak, out comes a dry CROAK that makes him laugh again. Softer, this time.

MICHAEL I mean, it's embarrassing to say it this way, but...

He stops. Her eyes WIDEN in a burlesque of anticipation. So he smiles. She knows how to put him at ease.

MICHAEL You've sort of been... y'know, the woman in my life.

JULIANNE (straight back) You've been the man in mine.

Passing under the Michigan Avenue Bridge. No one knows quite what to say.

MICHAEL And I was thinking this could be our last time. Alone. Together. You know?

JULIANNE Except for the hot affairs we'll have twice a year.

MICHAEL Except for that.

She's smiling so easily. Who would guess her stomach is double- knotted.

MICHAEL I can hardly wait for your wedding.

JULIANNE Me either.

She watches his surprise.

MICHAEL Boy, I never thought I'd hear you say that. Can I come?

She holds herself together. Real soft with...

JULIANNE I couldn't have it without you.

He's glad to hear that. And then...

MICHAEL It's normal to have... second thoughts, huh? To be scared.

Is this a change of direction? Or is it the direction she's been praying for.

JULIANNE I wouldn't know. I never had that many first thoughts.

MICHAEL I mean, you commit to a wedding. And then it seems like... this... momentum, you know? You forget you... chose it.

She nods. Understands.

MICHAEL You and I. I mean, in all our relationships with other people... We didn't use the word "love" a lot, did we?

We didn't.

MICHAEL Kimmy says. When you love someone. You say it, you say it out loud. Right now. Or the moment...

Long beat.

MICHAEL ... passes you by, yeah. She's a smart girl.

Off in distance, the Centennial Fountain SHOOTS an eight-foot JET of water across the river. For Michael and Julianne it goes unnoticed.

MICHAEL We don't have a song.

Hmm?

MICHAEL Kimmy and I. We don't have a song. Is that a bad sign?

All Julianne can do is shrug. Then...

MICHAEL (sings, softly) Someday, when I'm awfully low... And the world is cold...

She doesn't want to cry. So she puts all the strength she has into fighting it back.

MICHAEL (sings) I will feel a glow just Thinking of you... And the way you look. Tonight.

He stops. Smiles that sweet, boyish smile.

MICHAEL Dance card filled?

JULIANNE I'll check. I have it on powerbook, these days.

He holds up his arms. And she moves into them. He begins to dance with her, turning so slowly. And, yes, people are watching.

MICHAEL (sings in her ear) With each word, your tenderness grows, Tearing my fears apart...

She holds him closer. Bites her lip.

MICHAEL (sings) And that laugh That wrinkles your nose, Touches my foolish heart.

He stops. He looks at her. She's still in his arms.

MICHAEL Where did we first hear th...

JULIANNE (straight back) The night we met.

Right to his eyes...

JULIANNE The night we fell in love.

He doesn't know what to do with that.

MICHAEL So we heard it... like, right that... that first...

JULIANNE We danced to it. Just like this.

Just like this. A long beat. And he has to say...

MICHAEL I won't lose you, will I?

Her eyes close. Then open. Utterly lost in his.

JULIANNE No. Because I won't let you.

INT. WALLACE ENTERPRISES - DAY

Julianne in crisp chalk-stripe trousers and a buttoned-up dress shirt. Her coat slung over her shoulder, she wanders through the Saturday-deserted office space. Desks, cubicles, monitors, silent. A row of executive offices standing empty, waiting for the custodian. Turning a corner, we hear...

... life, at the end of the hallway. A grand conference room with a glass wall. Walter, in shirtsleeves, running a strategy meeting for five. DEIDRE, his personal secretary, clicking every word into her laptop at warp speed. Walter sees Julianne through the glass. A comic take of pleased surprise. He comes out to greet her...

WALTER I thought Michael was picking me up.

JULIANNE I told him, get the important stuff, Kim's ring. I'll collect the inconsequentials.

Meaning, you. They smile at each other. Then...

WALTER Kim said, when he turned down the job, there was no friction.

Julianne thinks back.

JULIANNE Friction. No.

He smiles at her line reading. But his mind is always probing.

WALTER I haven't caused... a problem, have I?

JULIANNE Nobody has. So far.

Her bright grin. His eyes linger on it.

WALTER Well, you're a little early...

JULIANNE I need to make some calls. Could I use... your office?

INT. WALTER'S OFFICE - DAY

Julianne enters the spacious corner office, high above the city. Closes the door, quietly, behind her. So anxious, she is practically hyperventilating. She goes, slowly to the vacant cherrywood desk. Its computer and monitor standing silent. She is stalking it, like a deadly animal. And then. She is there.

Talking to herself, her own desperate support network...

JULIANNE (softly) You can do this.

Sacred, filled with doubt and conflict. Her hands clutch at each other. Then, one flicks out. And the computer goes ON. The screen GLOWS. Waits for her. Her mouth is sand, her stomach water. She pulls the paper from her pocket...

... looks at it. Looks to the monitor. And begins. To type...

JULIANNE (mumbling to herself) E-mail address. To Ben Isaacson, Senior Editor, Sports Illustrated, from... Walter Wallace.

And stops. Her heart is thumping.

JULIANNE See, you can do it. It's easy.

Doesn't look easy. Licks her lips.

JULIANNE You do it fast, it's over. Like it never happened.

She sits. And recites as she types...

JULIANNE Ben. I need a favor.

Here we go. This is it. Types...

JULIANNE My daughter's every happiness. And my wife's. And, least of all, my own, are in your hands.

Nods, okay. Breathing hard. Types...

JULIANNE Knowing you value our friendship, and the... cooperative relationship between our companies... I am hopeful of your help.

Touch, that. Thinks. It has to be. Types...

JULIANNE I have offered Mike O'Neal, my new son-in-law, a great opportunity in my company. This would also enable my daughter to settle in Chicago, near us, and pursue her dreams and plans.

Almost there. Almost. Types...

JULIANNE To his own detriment, as well as ours, Michael will not accept our offer. While he works for you.

She stands up. Stares at the screen. Walks away. Walks back. Still standing, types...

JULIANNE My daughter joins me in this plea for your cooperation and discretion.

Is there a SOUND? Outside the door. She HOVERS over the ESCAPE key. Waits. Waits. Silence. Types...

JULIANNE With gratitude. For your understanding. Walter.

She hits a KEY. The screen goes BLANK. The computer asks... DO YOU WISH TO SEND? She tells the computer...

JULIANNE Are you crazy? Get him fired?

Types NO. The computer asks HOLD FOR LATER? And she types YES.

JULIANNE Just till tonight when I bring him back. To look for...

She glances to her huge bag. Rummages through, pulling out a manila folder. Lays it by the blank computer. Fans out a few pages in a natural, disorderly way. Takes a step back...

And stares. Struck to her gut. But when she has done.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

Walter alone with Deidre now, signing a stack of documents, as she efficiently places one after another before him. When he glances up, he sees Julianne wandering the halls. Stands, tells his secretary...

WALTER (going through stack) Off to rehearsal. Send out this, and this, not this, this, and... that's it.

Slips on his coat. Oh... and by the way...

WALTER I'm holding four or five E-mails I wrote over lunch...

On his way through the door...

WALTER Send 'em out.

INT. CHAPEL, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO - DAY

Julianne and Walter enter the rear of a striking Gothic CHAPEL, pastel light slanting in through stained glass windows. We now see the full effect of her outfit, a man's-style chalk stripe SUIT, tailored to fit her body, set off by a bold silk tie. Solid dynamite. She hangs back, while Walter proceeds down the vaulted nave toward...

... Michael, Kimmy, Isabelle and Joe, who stand casually joking by the altar. Scattered around are assorted groomsmen, ushers, an obvious flowergirl. Coming toward us, up the aisle...

... the MINISTER, early 40s, lean and quite attractive. Mandy is HANGING on his arm, pressing her body against him as they walk, murmuring urgent murmurs close to his ear. He's a really good sport, and really uncomfortable. Sammy is walking backwards, right in front of them, DROPS her bag, and BENDS to retrieve it, as if oblivious to major cleavage on immediate display.

Julianne is so lost in her own anxiety, she doesn't even notice, until...

MANDY Reverend Dyer, this is Kimberly's somewhat butch maid of honor...

SAMMY ... Mr. Julianne Potter, prominent New York drag queen.

Today, the girls' voices are charmingly musically Southern, with none of the extreme accents we heard at the shower. The minister extends his hand...

MINISTER Billy Dyer, Julianne. And I love the suit.

She shakes his hand, smiles graciously, but her eyes flick to Michael, now approaching up the aisle. The girls lead the minister away. Michael arrives. Looks her up and down.

MICHAEL (softly) Takes me back.

JULIANNE Well.

She smiles. One that glows a little.

JULIANNE You sang the song. Least I could do was wear the outfit.

He nods.

MICHAEL Except now you're better- looking.

Oh, yeah? Yes, ma'am. As she loses herself in his eyes...

MICHAEL I got the ring.

He pulls the box from his pocket. Somewhere, an ORGAN sounds. And as he is about to hand her the box...

MANDY/SAMMY (sing) Swi-i-ng low-ow-ow... Wee-ee-eet Char-i-ot...

Such exquisite two-part harmony, Michael stops to watch.

MANDY/SAMMY (sing) Comin', to car-ryyy Me ho-o-o-me...

It is amazing. Soulful vengeful sluts. He is enthralled. Julianne simply impatient. She wants his attention.

JULIANNE No accents today.

MICHAEL Yeah, Kim told me they were giving you their Dueling Scarlet's act. Actually, they're sophomores at Juilliard.

She takes the box from his hand. Opens it, as the singing CONTINUES throughout. The ring is delicate hammered gold. One of a kind.

MICHAEL Will she like it?

JULIANNE (whisper) Yes.

She's staring at the ring.

KIMMY (O.S.) My groom-person! Your family needs you!

His master's voice. He gives Julianne a smile. And goes. She's left with the box.

Gazes at the ring. Lifts it out.

MANDY/SAMMY (O.S., singing) Well, I look over yon-der, And what did I see-ee-ee?

Slips it on her left hand. Ring finger.

MANDY/SAMMY (O.S., singing) Comin too car-ryyy. Me ho-o-ome...

Touches it. Turns it on her finger. So many emotions.

MANDY/SAMMY (O.S., singing) It was a hand. Of a-a-angels. Coming' for me-e-ee...

Tries to pull it off.

MANDY/SAMMY (O.S., singing) Comin' for to carry me home.

It won't come. Not even close.

INT. CRAB HOUSE - NIGHT

CLOSE on a bowl filled with squares of butter. HEAR the butt of conversation from a rowdy, friendly joint. Julianne's right hand REACHES to the bowl, fingers trace the rim innocently, then...

... SLIDE the bowl into Julianne's lap beneath the table. Her right hand MASSAGES all the butter into a gooey revolving mess. We can pick out familiar voices now, family in distance, the twins closer. As, hidden from view, Julianne brings...

... her left hand from her pocket. Yep. The ring is still there. The finger already red and swollen from pacicky efforts to pull it off. And as APPLAUSE surrounds us, Julianne...

PLUNGES her ring finger into the morass of grease, frantically TEARING at the ring, butter SPLURGING on her pants, everywhere, as we PULL BACK to see...

... the long table covered with butcher paper, the family at the far end, the twins down here with us, a mug of beer for each place, as team of waiters with heaping platters of CRABS, which they...

... FLING across the butcher paper, as APPLAUSE continues from everyone but Julianne, who still struggles secretly. As the waiters set huge wooden MALLETS in front of each guest, Joe O'Neal rises, POUNDS the table with his mallet for attention.

JOE Like to welcome ever'body to our little rehearsal supper...

He COUGHS, unaccustomed to public speaking. Walter and Isabelle clap and call out support. So Joe lifts his mallet...

JOE Okay, everyone stand up!

And everyone does. With one exception. Trapped. She JAMS her left hand in her coat pocket, SMEARS her right palm sort of clean on the underside of the table, GRABS her mallet and JUMPS UP.

JOE To the bride, uh, goes the honor... of cracking the first crab!

Everyone applauses by banging their mallets. Joe RAISES his high. Everybody imitates.

KIMMY But first, a toast!

And everybody SNATCHES up their beers with their left hands, as Julianne DROPS her mallet with a HORRIFIC CRASH, grabbing her beer, looking up to...

JULIANNE (on the spot) I'm right-handed.

A hugely embarrassing half-second. Bailed out by...

KIMMY To our host, my cuddly Papa Joe.

All turns.

KIMMY Who taught me to play "Blue Hawaii." On my nose.

With a look at Julianne, Kim sets down her mallet gently, and performs a nasal HUM of the tropical standard, strikingly her nostril repeatedly for vibrato. It is charming, and everybody watches.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM - LATER

CLOSE on an actual, living, if geriatric, LION. He blinks from his cage, bored as hell. HEAR the surrounding noise, chatter, LOUD Sinatra music, of a very large party. PULL BACK to see...

... and overdecorated BALLROOM, in dim and dramatic lighting, dripping with the trappings of ANCIENT ROME. The mingling guests are the neatly one hundred females of the wedding party, most of them older women. They are served by wandering well-built ATHLETES in Roman togas or gladiator costumes. PAN TO...

... Julianne, still in her suit, hiding by a table piled with a carload of grapes. Her left hand still buried in her pocket. The eyes of a hunted animal. From nowhere...

MANDY/SAMMY (O.S.) Boo!!!

She JUMPS a foot, both hands FLYING UP, left one awkwardly slamming back into its pocket. The girls have snuck up behind her. They have changed into hot gowns that are really only wide ribbons wrapped around their bodies.

MANDY I know why you're scared of our party. It's too hip.

Sinatra singing "Stranger In The Night." Hugely-muscled, half-naked black and white studs, serving enchanted blue-haired ladies.

SAMMY Kimberly wanted to tickle the grandmas, so we figured, give 'em a cheap thrill. Walter supplied the decorative touches...

SAMMY (points out the jokes) Nose tackle from the Bears... power forward from the Bulls... defenseman from the Black Hawks... my personal favorite, the designated hitter...

MANDY ... I'm partial to the tight end.

SAMMY This is USDA Prime, largely available, beef. With no notice- able competition, present company excepted...

Now they stare at her. With identical, really odd, smiles.

SAMMY And yet here you are. All celibate and reclusive.

MANDY With those big, dark, haunted eyes. As if you were harborin' some... unspeakably... guilty... secret.

Oh.

JULIANNE Well, I'm worried about something.

Something. Their expressions are deliciously, identically expectant.

JULIANNE Oh. I left this really important file in Walter's office. I have to send my editor some...

Some...

JULIANNE ... figures. On territorial sales. To close my book deal.

Uh-huh...

JULIANNE So Kim gave me the key. And Michael's on his way, to drive me down to Wal...

SAMMY Oh. We thought it was the ring.

Julianne blinks. Ring...?

MANDY The one you better get the fuck off your third finger left hand.

Ah. That ring.

JULIANNE Well. See. That was a... reflex to see if it would...

MANDY (helpful) ... look good on Kimberly.

JULIANNE Right. And then it didn't want to come off. Exactly.

SAMMY Maybe it's happy there.

MANDY Oh the way out of the crab house? We asked Michael if we could see the ring?

SAMMY He said you told him. It'd be safer with you.

MANDY An so it is.

Julianne for once is speechless. To our amazement, the girls wear identical smiles of kindness and support.

MANDY Shut up, sugar, he's on his way. Let's get to work.

INT. HOTEL KITCHEN - NIGHT

Huge gleaming chaotic kitchen. Cooks, waiters, working at top speed. The three women RACE in, look around frantically, half the guys stop to ogle the twins. CUT TO...

ANGLES... and industrial-sized jar of peanut butter. Julianne's hand PLUNGES in, halfway to the rolled-up sleeve at her elbow. SMOOCHES it around, real good. PULL BACK to reveal...

... she is surrounded by the twins and six guys, all SHOUTING conflicting instructions. Julianne FLINGS off the excess SLOP. Tugs for all she's worth...

EIGHT PEOPLE TWIST IT! TWIST IT!

Nada. It won't budge. A sous chef WIPES her hand with a towel, a janitor CRASHES a tool kit onto the counter. THROWS it open, pulls out...

... a spray can of WD-40. Instantly, her hand is BLACK. The guy TUGS. No movement. He can't believe it.

JANITOR It's mental, lady, you ain't trying!

Sammy is rummaging through her handbag, pulling out...

SAMMY There is nothing so tight, this can't help it...

... a tube of jelly. The letter K-Y. Julianne just gives her a look. Mandy pushes through with a butcher's CLEAVER...

MANDY I saw this on Hard Copy. People cut off body parts and the hospital sew 'em back o...

The look has turned toward her.

JULIANNE (cold) I saw the show.

MANDY ... well, maybe it works on fingers, too.

FLOWER GIRL (O.S.) Aunt Mandy...?

Everybody turns. The little girl in the doorway. Southern accent...

FLOWER GIRL Mr. Michael's here.

Everything gets real quiet. Mandy takes charge. She rolls down Julianne's left sleeve, RIPS the hem out of the cuff, so that it flaps down over her hand, covering the ring. Sammy wipes the black stuff from Julianne's fingers.

MANDY Don't worry, baby. You could pick your nose with that finger and Michael would never notice. He's a man.

The twins lead her off. We're on their backs for...

MANDY (O.S.) Personally, I think Mr. Michael's marrying the wrong girl.

SAMMY (O.S.) You're much more his type.

EXT. DOWNTOWN STREET - NIGHT

VIEW through a heavy glass door of the empty, dimly-lit lobby. PULL BACK to see Julianne, just as she...

... KICKS the shit out of the glass! Almost breaks her foot.

JULIANNE I can't believe this!

PULL BACK farther to see Michael still trying keys from a large key ring in the heavy lock. Sign over the door says WALLACE ENTERPRISES. Traffic hustles by, oblivious to her suffering.

MICHAEL It's no big deal, she just gave you the wrong keys that's s...

JULIANNE ISN'T THERE A GUARD? A JANITOR? A FUCKING CLEANING WOMAN? I'LL TAKE A BURGLAR! SOMEBODY'S GOTTA BE IN TH...

And she SLAMS her whole BODY against the glass, making it rattle ominously.

JULIANNE WHERE'S A BRICK? FIND ME A GODDAMN BRICK!!

She looks around wildly, hysterical.

MICHAEL What is the big deal about getting this file tonight?

A good question. She needs a good answer.

JULIANNE I promised Digger I'd E-mail him those figures.

From his face, that wasn't it.

JULIANNE They are very important figures.

Apparently. He's just staring at her.

JULIANNE I'm up against a deadline.

MICHAEL Me, too. I'm getting married tomorrow.

JULIANNE That's my point!!

Now. He really doesn't get it.

JULIANNE I mean, tomorrow... we'll all be busy with more important things. So...

So?

JULIANNE ... tonight's my last chance.

He sighs.

MICHAEL I forgot how cute you look. When you get impossible.

JULIANNE It's just... up there... right in front of Walter's... y'know, computer. If memory serves.

Helpless.

JULIANNE We could use... his computer, to... just E-mail those suckers right ou...

MICHAEL Tomorrow is Sunday. Nobody's doing business. Crack of dawn, Monday, Walter'll take you up there...

Her eyes fill with tears. He is mystified. Smiles tenderly.

MICHAEL (softly) Give it up, kid.

Touches her hair.

MICHAEL You can't win 'em all.

And slowly, he takes her hand. Leads her way. She takes one backward glance at the locked door. Her last dream dies.

INT. LOBBY, RITZ CARLTON - NIGHT

Michael and a disconsolate Julianne board the elevator. He presses 15, she pushes 11. Michael carries a handful of messages slips and an envelope. As the car starts up, she folds her arms across her chest, at the edge of tears. He doesn't know what to do.

MICHAEL (gently) Listen up, huh? Even if you blow this deal, how big could it be?

JULIANNE (voice nearly cracking) You're right. Easy come, easy go.

He's really concerned, can't bear to see her so upset.

MICHAEL (softly) Jules?

She won't look at him. She wants to die. The bell RINGS, the doors open to her floor. She just walks out.

And he follows. They stand now, she with her arms crossed, lip trembling. She can't believe how close she is to losing it.

MICHAEL This thing means that much to y...

JULIANNE It means a lot.

He nods. Okay.

MICHAEL I'll call the house, Walter's probably not even asleep...

Her mouth drops. She can't believe this.

MICHAEL I'll drive you out there, we'll get the key, we'll go back to the office...

She THROWS her arms around his, HUGGING him so hard, so close. He laughs, she is so weird. She pulls back, beaming, glowing.

MICHAEL Come on, we'll call from your room.

She claps his hand. As they head down the hall...

MICHAEL If I fall asleep on the altar tomorrow...

He's trying to flip through the message slips in his free hand...

MICHAEL ... you better be there to... funny, these are all from Ben.

She's at her door, turning the key. He looks at the envelope.

MICHAEL The fax is from Ben, too. Man, it's my wedding, and my boss can't leave me alone...

JULIANNE (entering her room) ... maybe it's congratulations.

He follows her in, opening the envelope. Stops. Reads. And his face suddenly... freezes. To stone.

JULIANNE (turning to him) Michael? What ha...

MICHAEL (reading) Mike. I can't believe I'm doing this to you on the night before your wedding. But I think you need and deserve to know...

And he looks up to her.

MICHAEL ... what you're marrying into.

He hands it toward her. She takes it, hesitantly, and he walks past. Toward the phone.

JULIANNE (reading) I received the following E-mail this afternoon... "Ben, I need a favor. My daughter's every happiness... "

Her eyes BUG OUT of her head. Holy shit! We can hear him DIALING the phone. She keeps reading, it's all there. How did this happen?

MICHAEL (O.S.) Isabelle? I need to talk to Kim...

JULIANNE (reading) "Mike, the funny thing is, he's offering you a gig you'd be stupid to turn down..."

MICHAEL (O.S.) I'm just tired. Please put her on? Thanks.

JULIANNE (reading) "Maybe you should take the job. And dump the girl."

And when she turns...

MICHAEL Jules. Could you give me a minute?

He looks more sick than angry. As if the heart has just been cut out of him. She doesn't know what to say or do, so she just stands, staring dumbly.

MICHAEL Please?

She nods, stumbles out of her room, closing the door behind her. Now she's in the empty corridor, clutching her big jumbled bag, sinking down to sit on the carpet, her back against the door.

She doesn't look elated. She seems frightened, distraught, and most of all, confused. Because she can't understand why. She digs absently through her bag. Cigarettes. Box of matches.

She lights up. Draws deeply. Somehow, she seems near tears, and laughs bitterly at that. Shakes her head at how fucked-up she finds herself. Squeaking wheels approach, but she is too lost to hear them.

BELLMAN Miss, are you locked out, or something?

She looks up. A small, wiry man of nearly 60, in a slightly faded but neatly-kept uniform. On his cart, a ton of bags.

JULIANNE No, I just stepped out, because... it's a non-smoking room.

And inhales deeply. Leans back against the door, to look up at him more comfortably.

BELLMAN (politely) Well, it's non-smoking floor, too. Maybe you could go to the...

JULIANNE (seriously) Why don't you have me arrested?

That wasn't sarcastic. He doesn't know what to say.

JULIANNE I mean that. Arrested, convicted, put in solitary.

Another puff.

JULIANNE See, I'm a dangerous, criminal person. I do bad things to honest people. This, see, this smoking? Tip of the iceberg.

Waves her hand.

JULIANNE Make a citizen's arrest, I won't struggle. It'll be like getting Al Capone on tax evasion.

Now she seems angry. But not at him. Her eyes fill with tears.

BELLMAN Can I... Can I help you, miss?

She squints at his nameplate.

JULIANNE Do you smoke, Richard?

BELLMAN Yes, ma'am, I do, but it's...

JULIANNE ... a non-smoking floor, yeah. Well, you know what?

And she takes the cigarette from her lips. Turns it around, holds it out to him. Go ahead. He doesn't move. Please! And so...

... he reaches down, takes the cigarette from her hand. Staring in her eyes, he takes a deep drag. Savors an expert nostril-inhale of his exhaled smoke. Hands the cigarette back to her...

BELLMAN My grandmother always said, "This, too, shall pass."

She swallows. Wipes at her eyes. Finds a smile.

JULIANNE Thanks, Richard. If you weren't on duty, I'd buy you a drink.

He just nods. She waves. He waves back, pushes his cart down the hall. As she watches him go, the door behind her suddenly OPENS, and she...

... FALLS through it, flat on her back at Michael's feet. Staring up at him, seeing that he looks as bad as she feels, she takes raw, deep drag.

JULIANNE What happened?

MICHAEL (softly) It's over.

And crouches down. Close beside her. The cigarette drops from her hand, unnoticed on the carpet. So he lifts it, crushes it on the heel of his shoe.

MICHAEL I want you to quit this shit, it'll kill you.

She just nods, obediently. Okay, I will.

MICHAEL She denied it. Said I was crazy and paranoid.

JULIANNE A bad combination.

He tries to smile. It's really hard.

MICHAEL There's this big brunch tomorrow morning? At her place.

He lets the air out. Slow. So he won't cry.

MICHAEL She said "How can I call everything off, what do I tell everybody?"

Shakes his head. Can you imagine that?

JULIANNE Michael...

MICHAEL No, it's for the best, it really is. We were so wrong for each other.

JULIANNE Maybe tomorrow, you'll feel dif...

MICHAEL The job thing would have broken us up, eventually, anyway. She couldn't have lived with it. I know that now.

Julianne nods. Maybe that part is right. Maybe it would have ended anyway. Maybe she can pretend she's not a monster.

MICHAEL And she's right, I'm crazy to fall for someone. I hardly knew.

Looks deep in her eyes. He's so glad she's there.

MICHAEL Hey. You still got that ring?

She holds up her left hand, the flapping sleeve falls away. The ring is on a finger that is swollen and raw.

JULIANNE I tried it on. But it won't come off.

He smiles at that. A sad smile of friendship. Then takes her finger gently...

... into his mouth. It is something like a kiss. And when he removes her moistened finger...

... he pulls the ring OFF. Nothing to it. She blinks.

JULIANNE It's mental, you know.

He doesn't understand that.

JULIANNE Should we take a walk? Or maybe some food sent up, or something...

MICHAEL I just want to be alone. Is that okay?

She nods, sure. He kisses her cheek. Stands up.

MICHAEL Maybe I'll go back to New York. Hang with you for awhile, huh? Ben'll understand.

She nods again. Whatever you say. He steps into the open doorway...

MICHAEL Or we'll go somewhere. If you have the time.

JULIANNE If San Antonio sweeps Sacramento...

They smiles at each other. For real.

JULIANNE I've never been to Texas.

Imagine that. The look holds. Just above a whisper...

MICHAEL Thanks for coming to my wedding.

And then he's gone.

IN.JULIANNE'S BATHROOM - LATE NIGHT

Julianne brushing out her hair in the bathroom mirror, eyeing her image with evident dissatisfaction, as she listens to the receiver RINGING.

DIGGER (V.O. MACHINE) Digger and George are with family in the Hamptons until Monday morning. Brevity is even more in order than usual.

BEEP.

JULIANNE Hey, handsome. Brevity this...

Her eyes find the pack of cigarettes. Next to her toiletries kit.

JULIANNE (softly) I won.

Her fingers touch the pack. As if an object of significance. Takes it up.

JULIANNE Amazing, huh? I didn't do things quite your way. But... I got it down.

Cradling the phone against her shoulder, she carefully tears the top of the pack completely open.

JULIANNE And forty years and nine grand- children later, when I sit with Michael on some rustic porch, slogging through our sweet swamp of nostalgic memories...

Reaches the pack toward the toilet.

JULIANNE No one is going to sweet the details...

Turns it upside down, emptying a dozen cigarettes into the john.

JULIANNE Of one weekend in Chicago.

Drops the lid with a CLATTER. Hits the FLUSH.

JULIANNE Talk about celebration...

She lifts a tube from her toiletries kit. Stares at it, real close.

JULIANNE I'm gonna brush my teeth with actual toothpaste.

Turns it over, reads all the writing. Yep.

JULIANNE I guess I'm too exhausted to feel the elation I so richly undeserve...

Squeezes some paste onto her brush. Carefully.

JULIANNE So I'm gonna hold calls at the desk... while I get my...

Start brushing.

JULIANNE (around, her mouthful) God, it is toothpaste, they should sell this stuff commercially! Anyway, a girl does need her...

Squints at her image. Laughs, spewing a little foam.

JULIANNE ... well, we're a bit past worrying about beauty sleep. Let's just settle for not frightening small animals.

She SPITS. Tells Digger's machine...

JULIANNE Anyway, I couldn't have done it without you. Even though I did, if you follow that.

Wipes her mouth. Stares off. The eyes a little dreamy.

JULIANNE Three words: Happily. Ever. Well, you know.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - MORNING

Julianne sprawled all over the bed, mouth open like a carp, sleeping mask against the daylight. A sudden RAPPING at the door, and she...

... sits BOLT UPRIGHT. Utterly disoriented, until she pulls off the mask. Stumbles out of bed, walking toward the firm KNOCKING, when...

... it stops. A message slip SLIDES beneath her door. She lifts it, barely conscious. This wakes her up. In one.

JULIANNE (to the slip) You're going where?

EXT. WALLACE ESTATE - DAY

Julianne climbs from her taxi. Only slightly in awe, she sets off past the reflecting pool, which fronts a mansion of graceful stone and timber. It's a hike today, because the circular drives is clogged deep with Bentleys, Mercedes, and waiting limos, vying for space with a score of delivery vehicles of all kinds, maintenance trucks, catering and florist and food vans.

INT. GREAT ROOM - DAY

Julianne escorted into an enormous room, where brunch is in progress for more than a hundred. She looks from the vaulted ceilings, to the frescoed walls, the inlaid floors, the massive pipe organ above the stone staircase, the oil portraits of Scottish ancestors and their favorite dogs.

Isabelle has risen from the main table, and comes to her. All smiles. Julianne is in the Twilight Zone. What are these people laughing about? Do they still think there's a wedding?

ISABELLE Jules. We're so glad you slept in.

Takes her arm graciously. This woman would make Anne Bancroft look coarse. As they walk...

ISABELLE Now, you have a choice. The idea is bride and groom shouldn't see each other on the magic day...

Julianne looking all around. Magic day it seems to be. Where the bell is a bride or a groom?

ISABELLE So Michael stays put in the garden. Kimmy stays in here...

Pointing. THERE she is, obscured by a cluster of the appropriately fawning. She has the same hunted eyes and false, slightly manic smile Julianne wore yesterday. This, at least, makes sense.

ISABELLE (O.S.) ... and the guests go back and forth. Where will you start?

CLOSE on Julianne. Watching the brave, frightened bride.

JULIANNE She looks tense.

ISABELLE (O.S., calmly) Nerves. I would never have guessed.

EXT. ROSE GARDEN - DAAY

A steward leads Julianne to the edge of an expansive rose garden, altogether elegant and comfortable with its long white picnic tables, where nearly a hundred guests casually dine, served by rolling carts.

There, at the head table, Michael staring at us. He looks like a poor attempt to cover a hard night. She locks onto his eyes. What the hell is going on? He looks helpless, miserable. She gestures with her head, follow me. Stalks off.

EXT. SCULPTURE GARDEN - DAY

Bronze abstract pieces, some quite large, face a huge set of children's swings, regulation playground size. Julianne sits in one, moving slightly back and forth. Trying to hold on to her temper and her sanity.

In the distance, trucks are winding their way to and from the pond, where crews are setting up tents, lights, heaters for tonight. The circus has come to town. When she looks back...

Michael approaches. Before he can draw a breath...

JULIANNE I had the craziest dream last night? Walter and Kimmy had asked your boss to...

MICHAEL Look, I came down here to face everybody. I didn't want to slink away like some coward...

JULIANNE But the Scotch salmon was so fucking good, you decided to stay for brunch!

MICHAEL She hasn't told anybody, what am I supposed to do?

JULIANNE Get married, apparently.

She comes OFF the swing, PUSHES him back two feet.

JULIANNE What the hell are you thinking of, the goddamn wedding is SIX O'CLOCK!!

He swallows hard. Trapped.

MICHAEL This is her family and her fault.

JULIANNE And your point?

MICHAEL (ten years old) Well. How come she didn't...

JULIANNE BECAUSE SHE'S AS CHICKENSHIT AS YOU ARE, YOU MORONS ARE MADE FOR EACH OTHER.

He just blinks.

MICHAEL Hey. This is a serious matter.

Thank you. She POKES his chest, punctuating...

JULIANNE I'll be right back.

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

A modern take on the Medieval castle kitchen, towering ceilings, dark wood, copper pots hanging, a series of walk-in coolers and freezers. The place is a madhouse of activity, as prep cooks slice, chop, sort, every kind of food imaginable, and delivery teams bring more.

The girls walk through. Alone together in the eye of the hurricane. Kim choked with excess sentiment...

KIMMY Look at all this beautiful food, so lovingly prepared...

JULIANNE They'll eat it anyway, you ever been to a walk?

Kimmy's lip trembles. This is not how she thought of her wedding. The din is so horrific, Kimmy leads them into a walk-in meat locker. Even here, two BUTCHERS are dressing Eastern-fresh corn- fed carcasses.

JULIANNE You guys want to give us a minute?

The men blink at each other.

JULIANNE We'd like to be alone with our pork.

On that basis. They leave. Kimmy sits on a stack of packaged frozen fowl parts. Stares up with big, sweet, wet eyes.

KIMMY How's he doing?

Julianne cannot believe this.

JULIANNE Who? The jerk who's running your life?

KIMMY This must be... very, very, hard on him.

JULIANNE What with the psychosis and all, yeah.

Leans in. Listen...

JULIANNE When are you gonna come clean with your folks?

KIMMY Don't you see...

JULIANNE If you're waiting for "Do you take this man?", that's considered poor form.

KIMMY ... that this is all my fault?

Stops Julianne cold. Your fault.

KIMMY Whatever delusions I drove him to, there is truth at the heart of it. I want him to work for my father. I want to stay in school. I want a life of my own!

Harder and harder for Julianne to push. Her mouth is dry.

JULIANNE Yeah, well, lots of couples are imcompat...

KIMMY I love him.

Fragile and strong at once. A plea.

KIMMY Tell him it's my fault and that I love him.

A long beat.

JULIANNE I'll be right back.

EXT. TENNIS COURT - DAY

The court has become a giant holding pen for tonight's BALLOONS. There are maybe a billion in assorted colors already blowing in all directions, under clear plastic sheeting which has ben spread across the top of the court's chain-link fence.

Michael stands outside the court, clutching the chain link like a prisoner, as Julianne comes through the gate. From somewhere, we hear high, squeaky, alien voice-like SOUNDS. Incongruous against...

MICHAEL How is she?

Julianne absorbs this. As the bizarre SOUNDS continue, she WHIRLS around...

JULIANNE KNOCK IT OFF!!!

We now see three STONER COLLEGE GUYS, who have been filling the endless array of balloons from helium tanks at center court. Clearly, they've been inhaling their working materials.

STONER KID (Minnie Mouse) YES, SIR!

A Nazi salute. When she turns back...

MICHAEL I asked you...

JULIANNE She admits it's her fault.

He absorbs that. And then...

MICHAEL Do you think she still loves me?

We watch the struggle inside her. Her voice drops...

JULIANNE Sure, she does. She's crazy about you.

Now tears stand in both their eyes. The stoners are doing their Alvin and the Chipmuks impersonation festival in the B.G., singing in castrato harmony. But our two don't notice.

MICHAEL I keep asking, how can I explain what happened? And I keep getting that same answer all night long.

Which is...

MICHAEL I can't. And it doesn't matter. I drove her to it, because I want things my way. And even if she did something tricky and unfair... she was blinded by love, okay?

Julianne swallows. For obvious reasons.

JULIANNE Does that make it right...

MICHAEL Love doesn't have to be right. It just has to be love.

The stoner are now helium-crooning "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." Actually, they're getting better.

MICHAEL She's giving up half her life for me, and I'm bitching because it hurts her.

STONERS (singing) Sail on silver girl Sail on by...

MICHAEL She's a saint! And I'm a worthless ingrate!

STONERS (singing) Your time has come to shine, All your dreams are on their way...

MICHAEL Tell her. I'll marry her at six o'clock, if she'll still have me.

The stoners blend on the high note. It's pretty moving.

JULIANNE I'll be right back.

INT. ORGAN LOFT - DAY

PAN along a gigantic serpentine stack of wedding presents. Nearly twelve feet high, the pile curves along the balcony, high above the diners in the Great Room, extending al the way to...

... an organ loft. Alone, above the noise of the party, Julianne and Kimmy have just reached the top of the staircase. Trapped between ten tons of lavish gifts and the keyboard of the mammoth organ. Dwarfed by their surroundings, Kimmy draws the hardest breath of her life...

KIMMY (whispers) So. What did he say?

Julianne's eyes move over the young girl's face.

JULIANNE He said. Marry me.

Kimmy YELPS in her ecstasy, FLINGING herself against Julianne, and they go DOWN full length across the organ's pedals, BLASTING the room with a MONSTER CHORD of china-rattling volume and horrifying disharmony.

As grown men and women SCREAM in spontaneous terror below, Kimmy begins to...

... LAUGH. And KISS and hug her new sister. And holds her tight.

EXT. WILLOW POND - DAY

Julianne and Michael walk the gravel path beside a breathtaking POND, ringed with WILLOWS that dig heavy branches to the water's surface. He is relieved, reflective. Head down, he never notices that she is...

... dangerously freaked. Too petrified even to hyperventilate, we're lucky she's breathing at all. We watch her life unraveling before her glassy eyes.

MICHAEL (never looks up) Thank God you were here.

JULIANNE (mumbles to herself) Oh, yeah.

MICHAEL I was so confused, so conflicted, so... unstable.

JULIANNE Well, it happens.

They pass an expanse of lawn which has become the event parking area. Family vehicles, delivery trucks, service vans. Everything that couldn't fit on the circular front driveway.

MICHAEL I might have thrown away...

Searching for the right words.

JULIANNE ... your one chance for true happiness?

MICHAEL ... yeah, that.

JULIANNE You never want to do that, see, that's always a... costly turnover. As they say in the sport biz.

There's a vague Stepford Wife quality to her voice. He hears that now, and looks at her. Maybe he can't tell she's frightened. But he can tell she's something.

MICHAEL (softly) Are you okay?

She stops walking. She can't look at him, so she looks around. Across the lawn crews are moving equipment into the brightly- colored tents, unfolding and setting up stacks of tables and chairs, raising the poles between which all those balloons will be strung. At the center of it all...

.... a huge topiary White Sox batter, just completing a murderous swing. He's maybe fifteen feet tall. She points to it...

JULIANNE The Big Hurt, huh?

MICHAEL Nellie Fox. Walter likes the past. And he likes the little guys.

So Julianne nods. Because she does too. Squints up at Michael.

JULIANNE Got a minute?

He nods, you bet. Worried for her. What is this? She looks in another direction, and we now see that we have nearly reached...

... a stage that's been set up for the band. Chairs, music stands, sound equipment. A gleaming dance floor, already in place over the lawn. Next to it, a shimmering white GAZEBO. Like the centerpiece of a wedding cake.

JULIANNE Why is the dance floor by the gazebo?

She takes his hand. They walk toward it.

MICHAEL Kimmy's idea. She thought it would be such a romantic place. For our wedding dance.

Looking down at her.

MICHAEL What's up?

JULIANNE Shhh.

Up the white steps now. Together. The gazebo floor has been covered with hardwood. The perfect place. For a wedding dance. And Julianne...

... turns, suddenly. He almost runs into her. She is staring up at him, so strangely, their bodies only inches apart. He is caught, transfixed by the intensity in her eyes.

JULIANNE I have to say this quick, okay, or I'll have this massive coronary and you'll never have to hear it. Which you need to. Does that make any sense at all?

The coronary part does. We can feel her heart beating from here.

MICHAEL Jules, what's wrong...

JULIANNE This is the dumbest thing I will ever do. So dumb, in fact, that I can't. I don't think.

And then, she does. She puts her hands flat on his chest. Looks in his eyes.

JULIANNE Michael, I love you.

A heartbeat passes.

JULIANNE I've loved you for nine years, but I was too arrogant and scared to realize it. Now I'm just scared.

He stares at her, dumbstruck. She moves even closer.

JULIANNE I know this comes at an inopportune time, but I have to ask this one really gigantic favor, okay?

Holds her breath. And...

JULIANNE Choose me. Marry me. Let me make you happy.

And in a half beat of excruciating silence...

JULIANNE I know. It sounds like three favors.

His eyes are loving. They care for her. She swallows, lost in them.

JULIANNE But when you think about it...

Slides her arms around his neck, and raises her mouth...

... to his. The most beautiful kiss she will ever offer. All of her heart is in this, and as his hands touch her body...

... a SCREAM rips the world to pieces. They whirl to see...

... KIMMY, halfway up the path. Her hands across her mouth, as if to stem the horror that pours forth as she SHRIEKS from her soul, and...

... runs. Back Down the path. Michael BOLTING after her, SHOUTING her name. A frozen moment, and...

... Julianne TAKES OFF after him. All three running, SCREAMING their various emotions at the top of their lungs, as workmen stop to watch from neighboring countries.

Kimmy, staring from halfway there, has an insurmountable lead. LEAPS into her convertible and PEELS OUT, just TEARING up the gravel as she ROCKETS out of sight. No way to catch her. Still...

... Michael is racing for the cars. Julianne, sprinting her guts out, losing ground with every stride. Michael JUMPS into a Cherokee...

JULIANNE MICHAEL, DON'T, YOU'LL NEVER CATCH HER!!

He GRINDS the gears. She keeps RUNNING. His engine FIRES.

JULIANNE SHE HAS TOO BIG A LEAD AND SHE DRIVES LIKE A RABID ANIMAL!!!

He BLASTS OFF. She keeps going. Gasping for air, clutching her side, she's dying here. Slams into a florist's truck, looks inside, shit! Next, a butcher's van, looks inside, Jesus!

JULIANNE (to the world at large) DOESN'T ANYBODY LEAVE KEYS ANYMORE? WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TRUST??

Up ahead, Michael has STALLED the Cherokee. She still has a chance, DASHES to the next van. BORNSTEIN EXTERMINATION, a handsome rendering of a rat above the TOXIC MATERIALS warning FLINGS the door open. Stumbles in. Keys!

JULIANNE (O.S.) THANK GOD, A SAMARITAN!!

Michael SPEEDS away. She KICKS the ratmobile in gear.

LURCHES off.

INT. RATMOBILE, DOWNTOWN CHICAGO - DAY

Julianne tearing through traffic, desperately struggling to keep Michael's Cherokee in view, while she shrieks into her cellular...

JULIANNE IT IS NOT GOING WELL!

Down the block, Michael WHIPS around a corner. We follow suit to see his destination dead ahead. Union Station. The DISPATCHER RADIO intrudes...

DISPATCHER (O.S.) Uh, Unit Four Baker Charlie, how we cookin' on that Skokiie infestation?

Now she's steering the car, tearing at the radio controls, and screaming into the phone cradled on her shoulder...

JULIANNE THIS IS WHAT COMES OF TELLING THE TRUTH!

FIELD MAN (O.S.) Copy, dispatcher...

JULIANNE OR EVEN PART OF IT!

FIELD MAN (O.S.) Uh, what happens if you got that methyl-ethyl shit on your hands?

Michael RIPS into the train station's parking lot. We SWERVE around a taxi, CUT OFF Harley, CAREEN into the lot...

JULIANNE GETTING WHAT YOU DESERVE IS NOT FAIR!

DISPATCHER (O.S.) Uh, you got maybe thirty seconds before you're sterile. For God's sake don't touch yourself, or anything.

Up ahead, Michael is OUT of his jeep and running.

JULIANNE AND I HATE TALKING TO YOUR MACHINE!

She SLAMS on the brakes, THROWING herself against the wheel.

YOUNGER FIELD MAN (O.S.) Uh, this is One Monkey Zebra. It wasn't bees in the gal's wall, it was cats!

She TEARS the door open. SCRAMBLE OUT...

YOUNGER FIELD MAN (O.S.) She says gas 'em, anyway, she'll pay cash. Uh... how do I pay this?

WITH Julianne now, RACING through the lot, Michael vanishes INTO the Station, she PLUNGES in after him, BOUNCING off bystanders, apologizing, lunging on, gasping for breath, past exhaustion, threatening clumsily through the crowd like a staggering drunk, catching a lucky glimpse as he heads...

... DOWN a staircase to the TRACKS. My God, what's he doing? A second wind, fueled by panic, and she BOLTS after him, DANCING down the steep staircase somehow without killing herself, reaching the concourse to see him, running for...

... Track 29, a train already RUMBLING, ready to pull out, she SPRINTS after him.

JULIANNE MICHAEL!!

He DISAPPEARS behind the train, she FALLS, skids, springs up, pushes through gaping onlookers, almost there, the train PULLS AWAY...

JULIANNE NNNOOOO!!!

But he's just standing there. His back to us. Watching it go.

Her body nearly collapses with relief. She pushes herself on, but her legs aren't working right in their maxed-out fatigue, and she lopes and staggers until she comes up behind him. He's still lost in thought, staring after the train.

She tries to speak, but there's no breath. So she puts her hands on her knees and just GASPS for air like a dog. Wheezing, panting, trying once more to speak, but she can't yet, and then he casually turns and...

... JUMPS out of his skin! A heart attack seeing her.

JULIANNE (croaks) Don't speak!

He just blinks at this sweaty, ripped-up, maniacal figure.

MICHAEL Uh. I saw that moving...

JULIANNE DON'T SPEAK!

FLINGING both her hands across his mouth. A frozen beat. He nods, okay. Cautiously, she takes her hands away. At least she has made him smile, in spite of everything. At least she's done that.

JULIANNE I have to make a confession. Another confession. Besides that I love you. This is even worse.

This. He's waiting to hear.

JULIANNE The E-mail? You thought Walter sent your boss? I wrote that.

You. WHAT?! Synapse overload.

MICHAEL You're not saying you actually... you're saying that y...

JULIANNE (stricken with remorse) ... wrote it, yeah. I'm the bad guy.

MICHAEL ARE YOU CRAZY?

She nods her head wildly, hair flopping.

MICHAEL ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY INSANE??

Bigger nodding.

MICHAEL ARE YOU ON DRUGS???

Shakes her head, like a two-year-old.

MICHAEL (pacing in circles) I mean, do you realize what you've... well, of course you realize, that's why you're confessing, I mean... I mean... how could you do that?

JULIANNE I didn't know it would get sent. I just wanted you to... get mad at Kimmy... and...

And watching. As this begins to sink in.

JULIANNE I've done nothing but slimy, underhanded, despicable, not even terribly imaginative, things. Ever since I got here. Trying to...

Staring in his eyes. Eyes she can't read at this point.

JULIANNE ... to win you. To win you back.

Tears in her own eyes now. Big ones.

JULIANNE And I was blinded by love. Like you said.

Shaking her head...

JULIANNE But that doesn't excuse any part of it. I am pond scum.

No...

JULIANNE Actually. Lower. I am the fungus that feeds on pond scum. Lower. The layer of mucous that cruds up the fung...

MICHAEL Lower.

JULIANNE (agreeing) Lower.

MICHAEL The pus that infects the mucous that cruds up the fungus.

And to her amazement. The trace of a smile...

MICHAEL (softly) On the other hand, thank you.

She blinks at that. Which squeezes out a tear.

MICHAEL For loving me that much, that way.

He shrugs. Just above a whisper...

MICHEL It's pretty flattering.

JULIANNE Except it makes me fungus.

MICHAEL Well, that part I knew.

She's never loved him more.

JULIANNE So you have to marry Kim. Because she will actually make you happy. I, in contrast, am a shallow, neurotic psychopath, with relatively little to offer.

Okay?

JULIANNE Kim. Nod your head. Do as you're told.

He nods his head, still smiling. Her tears are running now. Maybe she doesn't notice.

JULIANNE Just promise you'll never tell me who you would have chosen. If I hadn't confessed.

She chokes back a sob.

JULIANNE Cos if you would have chosen me. Then I threw away a perfectly good life. Just to be a decent person. Which is a questionable trade-off. Right?

He nods, slowly. Because he's supposed to.

JULIANNE And if you would have chosen some 20-year-old punk over me. I'd have to kill myself.

Ah. His smile keeps getting smaller. More loving. More wonderful.

MICHAEL (whispers) I'll take it to my grave.

Good. She looks around.

JULIANNE I'm so glad you didn't jump on that train, before...

MICHAEL I came here, looking for her.

For her. The words leave a silence.

JULIANNE Why would she come here...

MICHAEL This is where I proposed.

Stares deep in her eyes. She needs to hear this.

MICHAEL I had to cover a game in Milwaukee. She saw me off. And when the train started to leave... I jumped up on the step, I help the handle, and without...

He grins. Has to admit...

MICHAEL ... without a thought in my head. I shouted, "Marry me."

I did. Now her eyes tear up again. And she doesn't know why.

MICHAEL And she gasped, and covered her mouth, and the train was pulling out, and suddenly she screamed YES! Just once. And blew me a kiss.

What a girl.

MICHAEL I never forgot that.

JULIANNE It's two weeks.

MICHAEL Almost three.

JULIANNE That is so romantic.

Which makes him reach and touch her hair.

MICHAEL I just wonder if you know why.

Do you?

MICHAEL It's because romance isn't mystery, and tricks, and doubts, and halting, unspoken longings. That's not the real romance.

Tears in his eyes now. First time.

MICHAEL The real romance is saying yes.

Does she know that now? He looks at his watch.

MICHAEL (sighs) Woulda been a nice wedding.

Oh. That.

JULIANNE (urgently) You can't believe you've lost her! Sooner or later, you'll find her, and you'll look in each other's eyes, and you'll see all that love...

JULIANNE Course, if it's later rather than sooner, I'd hate to be you at six o'clock. (beat) You've got a lot of explaining to...

MICHAEL I'm just thinking of how she's hurting. Lost. Alone. Like her life is over.

JULIANNE That's little egotistical.

He glares at her.

JULIANNE But, undoubtedly accurate.

She claps her hands, galvanized by the emergency.

JULIANNE Okay, we'll split up. You go to every romantic place you guys have, I'll go... someplace brilliant, and the first one who...

MICHAEL If you find her...

Strange tone. A gentle warning.

MICHAEL The kiss. May be hard. For you to explain. (beat) Because the only fear she really has, is...

JULIANNE ... me, yeah. And she likes Tommy Lasorda. Case closed.

Looks at her own watch. Shit!

MICHAEL But if you do get to her first...

She looks up.

MICHAEL There is something you are authorized to say.

EXT. TAXI STAND - DAY

Julianne sits on the fender of this guy's taxi. The driver smokes, paces, while she waits for a connection on her cellular. Then...

MANDY (V.O.) Wallace egregious residence, Mandy speaking.

JULIANNE It's Jules, you guys haven't had a call from, say, Kimberly, have you?

MANDY (V.O.) Oh, she's slipped out, the little monkey. Prob'ly with Michael, doin' the nasty.

A shallow laugh...

MANDY (V.O.) Or crying in her nachos, down at Comskey Park.

Julianne's face SNAPS to alert.

JULIANNE Ex-cuse me?

MANDY (V.O.) I had this crank call? From some guy who thinks he saw her? I said, what would a bride be doin', on her wedding...

JULIANNE You are <u<so right. What a nerve on that guy! Bring my dress to church, huh?

Signals the driver, let's GO!

JULIANNE I want to pick up a little something for the ceremony.

INT. LUXURY BOX, COMISKEY PARK - AFTERNOON

Game in progress. Julianne and the bodyguard stand in the doorway of the deserted skybox. Everyone Walter knows is going to a wedding. The box is empty except for one cardboard container of nachos, extra cheese, sitting alone before a pulled-back chair.

BODYGUARD She wouldn't confide in me, so I called the house.

He sighs. Feels terrible about all this.

BODYGUARD Luckily, I got her cousin.

Julianne nods. Yeah, big break, there.

JULIANNE Going to the john, she said?

BODYGUARD Could be there awhile.

INT. WOMEN'S RESTROOM - AFTERNOON

Julianne BURSTS into the enormous chaotic restroom. Looks around wildly, no sign of Kim.

JULIANNE YO! IMMIGRATION!

Everybody stops. Pays attention.

JULIANNE I GOT A WARRANT FOR MS. KIMBERLY WALLACE!

Silence. From the long line of stalls...

KIMMY (O.S., sobbing) In here, you bitch!

Now everybody's really interested. Julianne ignores them, strides to the stall. KNOCKS, like it's a door. No answer.

JULIANNE Let me in, baby, or I'll rip this damn thing off its non- code-compliant hinges...

WOMAN (O.S.) GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY FACE OR I'M GONNA MESS YOUR SHIT UP!!

Some scattered APPLAUSE. From down the line...

KIMMY (O.S., still sobbing) Over here, nitwit!

Oh. Scattered laughter. Julianne moves down the line. Stares at the door. We hear the soft, muted crying from within. Slowly, Julianne...

... drops to her knees. Bends her head low. PEERS under the door. What she sees, prompts a sad warning...

JULIANNE Incoming.

And she crawls UNDER the door, on her belly. We go WITH her to see...

... Kim fully dressed, perched on the closed toilet lid, her knees drawn up, her arms around them.

JULIANNE Pitiful.

And pulls herself up to her knees. Kimmy tries to glare, but it just isn't in her.

KIMMY Haven't you done enough?

The world gets real quiet. An entire bathroom is listening. Julianne cocks her head to one side.

JULIANNE In one minute. You are going to feel so foolish.

KIMMY WHY DON'T YOU JUST DRIVE A STAKE THROUGH MY HEART?

JULIANNE Have you ever heard of. Irony?

Irony? Kimmy sniffles.

JULIANNE I threw my arms around your husband. And kissed him with all my heart. Because I was so happy. For you. Nitwit.

And leans close. As Kimmy flinches.

JULIANNE (whispers) He's going to take... (big grin) The job!

A stunned pole-axed moment. And Kimmy's eyes SPRING open. You mean...?

JULIANNE (beaming) With your dad, yeah. Can you guess why? Bitch?

Everything inside Kimmy BURSTS free in a torrent of tears...

KIMMY HE LOVES ME!!

And DISSOLVES, sobbing, into Julianne's arms. A beat, for Julianne to reflect, and then she strokes her tenderly.

JULIANNE Well, of course, he loves you.

Kisses the top of Kimmy's head.

JULIANNE (very soft) Hell, even I love you.

Kimmy holds her tight. From her heart...

JULIANNE I never want to go through this again.

KIMMY That's entirely understandable.

ANGLES... outside the stall. Julianne's feet sticking out under the door.

KIMMY (O.S.) Shit! THE TIME!

The two BURST out of the stall, hand-in-hand, at a desperate DEAD RUN past us. HEAR them EXPLODE out the door, and...

... five stalls OPEN. Women exit, crying.

EXT. UNIVERSITY CHAPEL - TWILIGHT

A taxi pulls up in front of an ivy-covered CHAPEL, fronted by nearly a hundred souls, milling about in attitude ranging from overstimulated curiosity to clinical hyperanxiety. Our girls JUMP out of the cab, and half the crowd starts running toward us, twins in the lead...

SAMMY Whatever hap...

JULIANNE (cutting this short) We were bonding, we lost track, we're officially sorry, now let's put it behind us.

Kim WAVES at her mom by the chapel entrance. And takes Julianne's hand for support.

JULIANNE Believe me, we got a bride who's worth waiting for, yes?

Everybody nods.

JULIANNE Out of our way.

EXT. DRESSING ROOM - TWILIGHT

White. Pure blinding white. Across FRAME floats more white, this gauzy and ethereal. It settles, its roots planting deeply in the bride's hair. TILTS UP to...

... the face of the woman who placed it there. Julianne's eyes, appraising this bride we cannot see. And so softly...

JULIANNE Don't worry, sugar.

Don't worry.

JULIANNE When he looks at you, it will be as if...

The words stronger. Because there is no smile.

JULIANNE ... he's never seen a woman before.

PAN DOWN the white until we are...

CLOSE on the bride's perfect slippers. HOLD. And...

INT. CHAPEL - EVENING

Begins to slowly PAN BACK UP the length of an exquisite gown. We can tell from the organ, the nearby thrum of expectant voices, that we are nearing the moment. We reach...

... Kimmy's hand. Firmly clasping Walter's. Keep PANNING, the bodice, the lace, her throat, and finally, we are CLOSE on...

... the face of the bride. Now we understand the word radiant. We also understand scared senseless. Our perfect, unflappable Kimmy is in a trance of emotional overload where bliss and panic seamlessly blend.

The organ's noddling stops. Kimmy's eyes alerted, like a small animal bearing a predator approach her thicket. Suddenly, the CHORD. The Wedding March from Wagner's Lohengrin. Here. Comes. The bride. And we SNAP TO...

FULL ANGLE... Kim and Walter. This is it.

WALTER (whispers) Left foot.

REVERSE ANGLE... Kim's POV, the chapel, every pew packed, every neck craning this way, the white satin carpet down the endless aisle to where...

Michael waits. Also in a zone of pseudo-consciousness. From which he attempts a smile. Not comforting. Kim's POV WHIP PAN the groomsmen, the twins, LOCKING FOCUS on Julianne, standing strong and beautiful, a glow of her own in the daffodil dress. She sends her little sister a WINK across the trackless miles of aisle. You can do this, kid. So...

... Kimmy does. On her father's arm, she walks the gauntlet of the world's intrusive admiration. One step at a time. The most beautiful she will ever be. She is dazzling the crowd and managing to not throw up at the same time.

And she's there. At his side. She glances back to her maid of honor, just to make sure she's not working without a net. So Julianne...

... CROSSES her eyes. Which lets the kid smile and finally take a breath. Have a little fun, huh? Kim nods, got it, turns to...

The Minister. Who stands before them with a calming presence. Thank God someone has done this before. The crowd has hushed. The Minister's eyes are only for two. His words are for all...

MINISTER Michael and Kimmy wrote these words. She asked me to confide, mostly Michael.

A ripple of laughter. Gentle and fine. They are setting in.

MINISTER So he gets to say them.

A surprise. A pleasant one. The crowd adjust in its seats. As Michael begins...

MICHAEL Why do people get married anymore?

And on these words. We SNAP to Julianne. Share her interest in the bluntness, the simplicity, the unorthodoxy of this beginning.

MICHAEL (O.S.) Why not live together amicably, with no sense of obligation beyond the moment?

Her eyes. She's listening.

MICHAEL (O.S.) As long as the sex is good. As long as no one more interesting has wandered into view. As long as the thousand conflicts of two individual wills remain comfortably compromised.

PANNING now. Other faces. Isabelle. Proud to the bone.

MICHAEL (O.S.) And when one feels the urge to move on, to explore the new. No guilt, no disgrace, no promise broken.

Walter. His eyes damp. Against our expectation.

MICHAEL (O.S.) No agony of having dishonored a time. When our hearts. And the world were different.

Joe nods, as he hears...

MICHAEL (O.S.) Marriage is a lot to put up with.

Julianne once more. No breath. Rapt.

MICHAEL (O.S.) The answer must be. That there is some need basic to the human heart. That<u< embracing... the obligation of commitment... fulfills.

Her eyes have clouded. As if Michael is talking to her.

MICHAEL (O.S.) Some need to belong to one another in a way which rages against the notion... that all is impermanent. Against the notion of mortality.

And suddenly, ALL the feeling rises in her throat.

MICHAEL (O.S.) Our love is bigger. And longer. Than life itself.

And the tears come. They come freely, unhidden, unnoticed. As if they were needed.

Michael now. Looking at his bride.

MICHAEL That's what we want. And marriage. Is what we do about it.

Kimmy smiles at him. With love bigger than life itself.

MICHAEL We are fools in this. Thank God Almighty.

He is done. There is a silence.

MINISTER Boy, that was good!

People LAUGH. The Minister holds up a sheet of paper. For the crowd to see. Mostly paragraphs crossed out in red ink.

MINISTER Michael and Kim also edited what they want me to say...

More laughter.

MINISTER The idea was, we're only marrying once. We have to remember it forever. Let's keep to the good stuff. (squints at the sheet) You may kiss the bride.

Bigger LAUGHTER. The Minister waves this off, his little joke. Turns to the best man, pantomimes the ring. As the hammered gold circle is handed to Michael, Julianne absently scratches her still- swollen finger. Mandy taps Julianne on the arm, and produces...

... a matching ring. Take it! Gives it to her. So Julianne steps forward. Places the second ring into Kimmy's waiting hand. Their eyes meet, and hold throughout...

MINISTER (O.S.) If anyone here can show just cause why this man and woman should not be married, speak now. Or forever hold your peace.

Julianne CLEARS her throat. Kimmy's heart flutters. In the silence... Julianne's wonderful smile. Just kidding.

Michael reaches for Kim's hand, turns her gently to him. Places his ring on her finger. Holds her hands.

MICHAEL Kimberly. I promise to love. And respect and comfort you. To hear your voice and your heart. Until we are parted by death.

She swallows. Smiles a fleeting, beautiful smile. Fumbles slightly, putting the ring on his finger.

KIMMY Michael. I promise to love and respect and comfort you. To hear your voice and your heart. Until we are parted by death.

Staring in each other's eyes. A moment so fragile, the Minister waits an extra beat.

MINISTER For the record, you each agree to marry the other?

KIMMY (quickly) I do!

MICHAEL (smiling) I do.

The Minister joins their right hands.

MINISTER We haven't said much about God this evening, I know. But He is here. And He is happy. To bless His wonderful children.

CLOSE now on Julianne. For the inevitable moment.

MINISTER (O.S.) In that Michael and Kimberly have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, and the exchanging of rings...

Unnoticed by the world. Her eyes are close.

MINISTER (O.S.) I pronounce them husband and wife. Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder.

The eyes open. Wet, brave, ready for...

MINISTER (O.S.) Now. Kiss the bride.

Julianne watching. As Michael does.

EXT. WALLACE POND - NIGHT

This is what all the preparation was for. Tables, lights, balloons, the guests dancing on the hardwood floor, at the base of the gazebo. The bride and groom among them, relaxed and happy. Two who are one. PAN TO...

... the stage, the band playing. Julianne conferring with the twins and the band leader, clear that she's giving the instructions. Then, she takes her glass of champagne to the microphone...

... KLUNKS it, for silence. The band stops. The dancers follow. All eyes are comfortably turned to the maid of honor. She looks to the couple. Just below her. Then, to the crowd...

JULIANNE I'm a writer, too, not as good as Michael. But I do steal from quality.

She raises her glass. Everyone at the table does the same.

JULIANNE This is to my best friend. On the occasion of his wedding.

Shouts of support, a few whistles. Silence. She tells Michael...

JULIANNE If I have truly come to know your bride as my new sister. This is in her heart...

She has to stop. Swallows. Because she will not let herself cry.

JULIANNE "Understand. I'll slip quietly away from the noisy crowd when I see the pale stars rising, blooming, over the oaks."

Deep breath. Looks in his eyes.

JULIANNE "I'll pursue solitary pathways through the pale twilit meadows, with only this one dream: You come too."

A hush. SHARP applause. From four hundred hands. But not from his. He is too moved. Too understanding of what he has heard.

JULIANNE I don't have a wedding gift. But this is on loan. Until you two find your song...

And with that the band begins. The opening phrases of a song we have come to know. Michael seems overwhelmed. Julianne nods toward the gazebo...

... Michael takes his bride's hand, leads her up the stairs, into his arms, as the twins step to the microphone, and guests begin to applaud an unscheduled wedding dance...

MANDY/SAMMY (singing) Someday, when I'm awfully low, And the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you, And the way you look tonight.

Soft two-part harmony. As perfect as the words.

MANDY/SAMMY (singing) You're lovely. With your smile so warm, And your cheeks so soft, There is nothing for me but to love you, Just the way you look tonight.

Julianne can cry now. Because she's tied with half the place.

MANDY/SAMMY (singing) With each word, your tenderness grows, Tearing my fears apart... And the laugh that wrinkles your nose, Touches my foolish heart.

Julianne begins to sing. Unheard. Unseen. Even by the man she's singing to...

JULIANNE/MANDY/SAMMY (singing) You're lovely, please don't ever change, Keep that breathless charm, Darling, please arrange it, cos I love you... Just the way you look tonight.

The band keeps playing. The dance goes on. Two people lost in each other. The way it's supposed to be.

INT. GREAT ROOM - LATE NIGHT

Bedlam. Julianne caught in the middle of the throng. A young couple, dressed for travel, appear at the top of the staircase. The SHOUT are deafening. The bride has her bouquet...

... she spots Julianne far below. THROWS it her way, Julianne reflexively GOES FOR IT...

... not a fucking chance. The twins nearly TRAMPLE her in the stampede, Mandy WRESTING the prize from Sammy's grasp. Everyone CHEERS, and then the couple is...

... FLYING down the stairs, RACING through the crowd with a protective phalanx of groomsmen bodyguards, heading for the door, for freedom...

... Julianne, trapped in the crush, loses sight of the couple, struggles against the flow, suddenly panicked by the certainty that she will never see him before...

And then, he's THERE. He has Julianne in his arms. Holding her so tight. An embrace so wonderful, so terrible, she could go mad from the confusion alone. Against the din, he murmurs in her ear...

MICHAEL Wherever I go. However far...

She sobs. Holds him.

Deep, deep breath.

JULIANNE You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out.

And to her surprise...

DIGGER (V.O., very softly) You have a good time?

To her greater surprise. There are a few tears left, after all.

JULIANNE I did what I came to do.

DIGGER (V.O., even softer) Good girl.

She just can't speak now. So she doesn't.

DIGGER (V.O.) I was thinking. Maybe you might visit us for awhile. We've got the room made up.

This fucking guy. God, she loves him.

JULIANNE I'll think about it. I'm okay.

DIGGER (V.O.) Oh, you're more than okay.

Just above a whisper...

JULIANNE You, too.

And with the last of her strength...

JULIANNE If the sun comes up, I'll see you tomorrow, huh?

A chuckle. At the other end.

DIGGER (V.O.) I'll play those odds. You have sweet dreams.

We hear the CLICK. She turns her back on the stars. Shoulders straight. Chin up.

She walks from frame.

FADE TO BLACK. HOLD END CREDITS.

<<<

/ My Best Friend's Wedding.
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