By: Tim Stevens
Song: Stop the Wedding
Artist: Etta James
Album: Her Best
(Picture taken from www.collegefashion.net)
A man sits towards the edge of hill looking out over a town below. The sun is just peeking onto the scene, casting a hazy pink light over the landscape. A woman walks into frame and sits down next to him, nudging his shoulder with her before laying her head atop it. Her hand intertwines with his.
Away from them, GRANT watches the proceedings with a furrowed brow, confused. RICK approaches from a path that winds up the hill, tossing a bottle of water to Grant. As they both open and take a long pull from their respective bottles, Rick notices the two figures looking out towards the town and the sunrise.
RICK (angry, spit take)
Son of a bitch!
He turns and shoves Grant glancingly.
What the hell are you doing, letting her get to him?!
GRANT (rubbing his arm, confusion deepening)
What do you mean? What was I supposed to do about it?
Maybe stop her, for starters. Damn it! All night. ALL NIGHT! And we basically serve him up to her on a silver platter.
What are you—who is she?
RICK (emphasizing, annoyed)
She. Is. Brenda!
Like Billy’s ex?
Not “like.” She is Billy’s ex. Now stop talking! I need a sec.
RICK paces for a moment, running his hands through his hair and kicking a clod of dirt. He seems to be debating action. He makes a motion towards the duo, restrains himself, walks away, turns around, and so on. Finally, his grips his hands in fists about chest high in frustration.
Can I just ask what she’s doing here? Or what the big deal is?
RICK (slaps his head in recognition, talking to himself)
Of course! You’re the new guy. You don’t even know.
RICK (back to GRANT)
Fine. Have to wait to see how this plays out now anyway. Might as well fill you in.
Takes a deep breathe and a moment to collect himself before beginning.
So long before you met Billy he, as you know, dated Brenda. They, or at least he, were head over heels in love. Teenagers, true, but unquestionably in love. College was coming though and they wanted to be practical. They talked about an open relationship, about rules that allowed for kissing but nothing else or random hooks but no dates. In the end, our boy decided it was dumb. She loved him, he loved her, they could survive a little distance.
She, however, felt differently. She dumped him.
I remember him telling me about that.
Yeah, well, I’m betting he left out the eight months after of constant getting back together only to break up again, trying to be friends with benefits with disastrous results, and generally unhealthy romantic behaviors. It all got to be too much so one day they sat down and agreed to just leave each other alone. It was the only way it could work for them if they weren’t going to be together, exclusively and seriously, and there was no chance of Brenda agreeing to that. So they broke up. For real this time. And for good.
GRANT (still confused)
Except she’s here now...
Right. Because of the exception.
You know Grant, I really like your enthusiasm, I do. But this will all go much easier if you just save your questions for the end, ok?
So, the exception goes, essentially like this: as Brenda and Billy were meant to be together but couldn’t be because of the misfortune of being too young when they first started dating, they would remove themselves from each other’s lives now. However, at the time when either party is considering marriage, the other has a right to show up, any time up to 24 hours before the ceremony, and try to persuade their true love to run away with them rather than go through with it.
And that’s why she’s here?
RICK (rolling his eyes)
Yes, of course it is! Billy should be a week before her wedding—
Wait a second—
No. Stop interrupting. Billy showed up a week before her wedding and the two ran away together. In the end though, she told him she couldn’t commit to anyone, not even the love of her life, at that time. So, a month after he swept her off her feet and took her away from her nuptials, she dumped him and went off to Europe on some kind of wonderful trip. And, until now, he never heard from here. But there she is.
So Billy broke her wedding and now she’s here to do the same?
I wouldn’t put it like that. I don’t think it’s a revenge thing. They really did think they were soulmates for a very long time. Maybe she still does.
And this why you and Rob and Hank were weird all night?
Yeah…we figured if we kept him busy and moving all night, we could prevent her from catching up with him.
You knew this was going to happen?!
We didn’t know for sure. Of course not. We just knew if she was going to do it, this would be her last chance. We just didn’t expect that she would strike at 5 in the morning. We figured get past the night the rest is smooth sailing. But we were wrong. We relaxed. We screwed up. Now it’s up to him.
Both lapse into silence, taking long drinks and looking at Billy and Brenda at the edge of the hill.
RICK (talking mostly to himself)
So damn obvious in retrospect...this is the first place they ever kissed.
Grant shrugs sympathetically. They go quiet again.
GRANT (breaking the silence)
Will—will he really leave Nicole for her?
RICK (sighing hard)
I don’t know. I wish I could say no, that he’s an adult, that he’s smartened up. But…
GRANT (picking up on Rick’s trailing thought)
Yeah. Maybe. And if they are, or they think they are, at least…
Right. Either way, this is gonna hurt.
Yes...yes it will.