I almost wanted to title this "Cousin Lovin'" because that's what it implies. Sort of. It's untitled for now.


(A 24-hour family restaurant, mostly empty. A clock above the counter shows that it's nearly midnight. CHRISTIAN, a pale, dark-haired teenager clad entirely in black, sits at a booth by himself, nursing a cup of coffee and frowning into a spiral notebook. Several books of various sizes are stacked on the table at his right-hand side. A middle-aged WAITRESS idles by the counter, a lurid romance novel held open in one hand as she wipes the counter rhythmically with her other.

CASSIDY, a blonde girl of about the same age, enters through the front door. She is wearing an expensive-looking coat and long boots that look out-of-place in the unassuming little diner. She pauses momentarily, craning her head around as if searching for someone, and upon spotting CHRISTIAN smiles and strides in his direction.)

CASSIDY

(Sweetly, after reaching the side of the table.)

Hello, cousin.

(CHRISTIAN looks up at her with a start before sighing and returning his attention to the notebook.)

CHRISTIAN

What the hell are you doing here?

CASSIDY

Well, I was at Annie Harry's party with my girlfriends, right? Not that I really like Annie Harry's parties, because they can be sooo juvenile, but I have these cute new boots, so thought… anyway, I saw Tom there and he looked like he was gonna like beg me to take him back or something, so I like left, and I was walking down Main Street wondering what to do, 'cause I didn't want to go home, and then I saw you in the window and—

CHRISTIAN

(Having become more and more irritated as her speech went on)

You thought you'd come in here and bore me to tears? Great. Excellent. Now leave.

CASSIDY

God, you can be so rude. I just thought I'd say "hi."

CHRISTIAN

It's never just "hi" with you.

(Beat.)

Obviously.

CASSIDY

Excuse you. I'm doing you a favor. It's not like anyone else is going to give you the time of day.

(Beat. More seriously.)

You never talk to anyone.

CHRISTIAN

(Gesturing wildly.)

If anyone in this podunk, white trash, inbred little town had something remotely interesting to say, I would talk to them. I would talk the hell out of them! If they tried to run away, I would tie them up in my basement and talk to them some more!

(He takes a swig of coffee and slams his cup back down on the table)

You think I want to be at this diner? Drinking this—this shitty coffee?

CASSIDY

Aren't you like always here?

CHRISTIAN

(Ignoring her.)

I was born into intellectual poverty! Every day I feel my soul choking on the shallow… vapid… filth that passes for thought in this place! I—I see my classmates watching NASCAR on the big-screen TVs at Wal-Mart and I die a little on the inside! The people of this town—they—they're ignorant, they don't care about anything but getting drunk and touching each other, they're—

WAITRESS

(Without looking up from her book.)

Presumptuous little turds.

CHRISTIAN

(Over his shoulder.)

Exactly!

(Turning back to CASSIDY.)

You can't know how it feels to—

(She slides into the seat across from him.)

Don't fucking sit down!

CASSIDY

(Flippantly)

Oh, I'm sorry. I guess you were boring me with that same speech you give me like every time I see you.

(Again, more seriously.)

Don't you get tired of being angry all the time?

CHRISTIAN

(Petulantly.)

My anger is proof that I'm thinking. That I'm feeling… something.

CASSIDY

Mm. Well.

(Beat. She examines her nails.)

I think I kinda get that.

(CHRISTIAN looks up at her sharply, almost warily, but she ignores this and picks up the book sitting on top of the pile to his right. The WAITRESS wanders over to their table, coffee pot in hand.)

CASSIDY

(Surprised.)

Oh, hi!

WAITRESS

(As she fills CHRISTIAN's cup.)

What'll you have?

CASSIDY

I'll have—um—do you have something with chocolate in it? Like a mocha? Ooh, or maybe some chai tea. Or—omigod, I don't know. I can't decide.

(She looks at CHRISTIAN.)

What did you get?

WAITRESS

Coffee. Great.

(She flips the mug over on CASSIDY's side of the table and pours her a cup before slouching away.)

CASSIDY

I—coffee? I don't know if I can drink coffee.

(She looks at CHRISTIAN.)

Christian, I don't know if I can drink coffee.

CHRISTIAN

You'll be fine.

(He holds his hand out for the book.)

Give that back, I was using it.

CASSIDY

(Holding it away from him.)

"Using" it?

CHRISTIAN

. Well… reading it. I'm working on a… project.

CASSIDY

(Not entirely unkindly.)

You and your projects.

(She looks at the book's cover.)

"How To Express Your Innermost Desires Through Poetry"?

CHRISTIAN

I'm—I'm writing some. Or trying to, at least.

(Beat.)

It's harder than I thought.

.

CASSIDY

(In a shriek.)

You're writing poetry?

(She dissolves into giggles.)

CHRISTIAN

(Over her laughter.)

I could be great at it, okay? I could be the next Allen Ginsberg! I'll never get out of this crappy little town if I don't try to—stop fucking laughing!

CASSIDY

(Still giggling a little.)

Weren't you going to be a surrealist painter?

CHRISTIAN

I… kind of sucked at surrealist painting. But I think I'm onto something this time! I'm almost done with my first poem, and—

CASSIDY

(Reaching for the notebook.)

Omigod you have to let me read it. Let me see.

CHRISTIAN

No!

CASSIDY

Oh, come on, let me see it! It'll be sooo great.

CHRISTIAN

No!

(He covers the notebook with his arms.)

You think I'm gonna let you read my stuff and then go back to your—your shrill bitchy friends and their idiot boyfriends and—and Tom the wonder goob so you can tell them how "retarded" you think it is?

(Nastily.)

Or do they even know you're related to me? Do you try to keep the fact that I'm your cousin from your bestest best friends?

CASSIDY

(Harshly.)

Like you wouldn't if you had any.

(Beat. More quietly.)

Besides, I broke up with Tom. Like a week ago. You know that, don't you? Do you at least care that much?

CHRISTIAN

I heard about it.

CASSIDY

Well… well, good. As long as you know.

(She takes a sip of coffee and makes a face.)

This is gross.

CHRISTIAN

(Sullenly)

There's creamer and sugar and stuff right there.

(They sit in silence for a moment as CASSIDY fixes her coffee.)

CASSIDY

(Vaguely.)

When was the last time we sat together like this?

CHRISTIAN

I don't know.

CASSIDY

Yeah, me neither.

(Beat.)

We were so close when we were kids.

CHRISTIAN

You sound like my mom.

CASSIDY

(Laughing a little.)

Mine, too.

(Reflectively.)

It would have to have been like… middle school?

CHRISTIAN

Seventh grade.

CASSIDY

Right, seventh grade. When my parents still had those god-awful family picnics every weekend.

CHRISTIAN

Before you started dating Tom.

CASSIDY

… Right.

(Long pause.)

CHRISTIAN

(Pulling the notebook towards him.)

I have to get back to working on my poem.

CASSIDY

(Sits up straighter. She looks a little hurt.)

So… you just want me to leave.

CHRISTIAN

Yes. If you would.

CASSIDY

You're always working on something. Working, working, working. And every time you… you fail you shut yourself up even more.

CHRISTIAN

(Staring hard at the notebook.)

I have to.

CASSIDY

Why?

CHRISTIAN

I'm getting out of this town, no matter what.

CASSIDY

So… so you sit here with your art and try to prove to yourself that you're better than the rest of us? God, just… go to college. Find yourself or whatever there. You don't have to shut yourself off from your family to—

CHRISTIAN

Okay, this? This is a… waste of my time; I shouldn't have to sit here and listen to you prattle on—where are your precious girlfriends? Why are you even here?

CASSIDY

(Shrilly.)

You want to know where my "girlfriends" are?

CHRISTIAN

(Interjecting.)

Yes. Sure. Why not? Talk some more.

CASSIDY

I left them at that stupid party because I'm sick of them asking about him! It never fucking stops, like it's the only thing about me that matters! I ask them where they want to go after school, they say, "Cass, why'd you break up with Tom?" I sit down at lunch, they're like, "Cass, he's like sooo heartbroken without you" "He's so sweet" "You guys were like so cute together" "He's on the football´team" "Why would you ever leave him?!" I just did, all right? If all you can see about him is how fucking great he is, do you really think I would tell you why I dumped him? You're my friends, not his! Why can't you just… understand

(She trails off.)

CHRISTIAN

… Jesus.

CASSIDY

… I'm sorry. I—

(She looks around at the WAITRESS.)

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell—

WAITRESS

(Waving her hand.)

No worries, hon.

CASSIDY

(Digging through her purse.)

Um, well—here's—here's money for the coffee, and I'll just—I'll leave you to your poetry—

CHRISTIAN

It's fine.

CASSIDY

(Beat.)

… Really?

CHRISTIAN

I think I kind of suck at poetry, too.

(Beat.)

So if you… stay here… that doesn't matter. To me.

CASSIDY

(Giggles uncomfortably.)

Oh. Um.

(Long pause.)

CHRISTIAN

So… why did you break up with Tom?

CASSIDY

That's not… I mean…

(Another uncomfortable giggle.)

You can't really be interested in that.

CHRISTIAN

(Deliberately making eye contact.)

Why did you break up with Tom?

CASSIDY

I… um…

(She looks down.)

I thought I was pregnant—

(CHRISTIAN stands up abruptly, his hands slamming into the table. The WAITRESS looks up from her book, surprised at his behavior. A beat as CASSIDY stares up at him)

CASSIDY

But I wasn't.

CHRISTIAN

(Sits down again abruptly. He crosses his arms over his chest and looks away, embarrassed.)

… You sure?

CASSIDY

(Seeming happier now for some reason.)

Yes! I mean, okay, like I took a pregnancy test and it was positive, and then later I took like a bunch more and they were all negative, so like I'm pretty sure it was just a false alarm, you know… but… I told Tom after I took the first one, and he kinda… flipped a little bit…

(Her face falls a little.)

First he kept yelling about some football scholarship, and then he was trying to, like, sweet-talk me, saying things like… like, "Please, sweetie, get an abortion," and "Come on, sugar-bear, do it for me." And I got… scared… and I said, "Tom, Tom, I don't know if I want an abortion," and he…

(She begins to cry.)

He hit me… it wasn't that hard, 'cause he—I don't think he meant to do it, but he hit me… he never did that before…

(Unable to continue, she buries her face in her hands, trying to hold back her tears. CHRISTIAN is leaning back in his seat, obviously uncomfortable, but after a couple of seconds he stands up again and moves around the table, settling into the seat next to her and patting her awkwardly on the back. CASSIDY grabs hold of him and begins to wail openly. CHRISTIAN is obviously perturbed by this, but he doesn't attempt to break away.)

WAITRESS

(Nodding at him from the counter.)

Good work, kid.

CHRISTIAN

(Grudgingly.)

Aww, shut up, Doris.

END