His Name

Characters:

Joanna Crown princess

Emre Young noble, Joanna's oldest friend

Sigrid Aurora's (Emre's sister) maid

Setting:

Garden

Act I, Scene IV

(Scene is well-lit, indicating daytime. Some plants and a bench are scattered about the stage. JOANNA and EMRE enter Left. They stand close together, but seem to be making conscious effort to avoid physical contact)

JOANNA: So, how is your mare? I noticed she was limping when we rode to the creek the other morning. Was there… a stone caught in her hoof?

EMRE: No. Actually, she pulled a muscle in her leg. She shouldn't have been jumping that fence.

JOANNA: Doesn't she jump that fence almost every day?

EMRE: Turns out she was hauling some extra weight. The stable master discovered that she's with foal.

JOANNA: Ah, I see. Very interesting.

EMRE: So now I need to ride another horse until she's birthed and recovered and such.

JOANNA: Yes, I suppose you would.

EMRE: Yes.

JOANNA: Hmm.

(Their self-conscious conversation dwindles into an awkward silence)

EMRE: (Speaking loudly and suddenly, startling JOANNA, who turns to stare at him) So! (Stops, seeming to lose his nerve)

JOANNA: (Raises an eyebrow and puts a hand on her hip) So, what?

EMRE: (Uncomfortable) Well…I j-just thought that, er, that I-I, um…

JOANNA: (Looking at him sharply) That what?

EMRE: Uh, well, I…it's not simple, er…I'm… (He tries to look away, but JOANNA snaps her fingers at him impatiently. EMRE looks back and realizes she's not going to let the subject drop. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. His next statement is said in one breath) I heard about your betrothal and that it will happen in two months and you'll be married in three months and you don't even know who it is and, and, and I'm going to miss you! (Stops abruptly and is embarrassed)

JOANNA: (Surprised) Emre…what do you mean?

EMRE: (Sighs, shoulders sagging) Think about it, Joanna. Right now, we're together almost every single day. We go riding, we dance at balls, we just walk around and talk, like now. (Laughs slightly) I mean, we even had the same tutor as children. You see, once you've been wed, or even betrothed, you can't live like that anymore. (Hesitates, but presses on) People would see it as…improper for-for a married woman to spend so much time with a man who isn't her husband. So… I'm going to miss you. (Looks at JOANNA sadly)

JOANNA: (Holding EMRE's gaze) I suppose… I suppose I already knew that. That's a funny thing. I just didn't realize I knew it. (She glances down for a moment, then looks back at EMRE sharply) How did you find out?

EMRE: (Not meeting her eyes) Ah, well, you know. (Rubs the back of his neck) I just heard it…around. Like, (Coughs uncomfortably) like a rumor just… floating around.

JOANNA: (Staring at EMRE, she speaks disbelievingly) Just floating around? Emre, wh—

(SIGRID enters Right, her footsteps interrupting JOANNA. As SIGRID approaches EMRE and the princess, she keeps her head bowed respectfully)

EMRE: (Relieved) Yes, Sigrid, what is it?

SIGRID: Sir Emre, your sister, milady Aurora, requests that you come speak with her immediately. She says it is urgent.

(JOANNA folds her arms and frowns at EMRE)

EMRE: (To JOANNA) What? If she says it's urgent, then I better go.

JOANNA: (Sighs) Fine. Just hurry up, Emre.

EMRE: I'll be right back.

(EMRE and SIGRID exit Right. JOANNA wanders around, absent-mindedly inspecting the plants. After a minute, she speaks to herself)

JOANNA: All those years of friendship, boiling down to three months. Just three months… Did he mean what he said? That our friendship will be discouraged? Is that really true? (Sighs, trying to persuade herself) They can't just marry me off to a total stranger. Can they? (Sinking down onto the bench, she buries her face in her hands and groans) Oh, what a cruel world this is. I just want to know his name! (Begins crying into her hands. EMRE enters Right, looking irritated)

EMRE: That little prat! Urgent, my foot. (Sees JOANNA) Joanna! (Rushes over to her) What's wrong now?

JOANNA: Everything! Why couldn't I have been born a milkmaid or something like that? Of all people, a princess has the least freedom!

EMRE: (Perplexed) What are you talking about?

JOANNA: (Stops crying and wipes her eyes) Oh, how do I explain this? We've been friends since, well, forever. All my life, you were always there to make me laugh, and help me figure out my problems, and compliment me—(Stops abruptly and blushes) Well, I'm just not ready to lose that. But someone, probably a total stranger, has been chosen to-to replace you! And I can't even know his stupid name until we're officially betrothed! (Starts crying again)

EMRE: (Overwhelmed and slightly frantic) Hey, hey, there's no need to cry again. Please don't. (Hurriedly fishes a handkerchief out of his pocket and crouches down to give it to JOANNA) Two months, remember? And then some more time until the actual wedding. (His voice chokes on the word 'wedding', but he hides it with a cough. EMRE touches JOANNA's chin comfortingly, lightly tilting her head back as he stands up) We've still got time to spend together. (JOANNA continues to frown, and EMRE leans back down to speak to her) Joanna, I honestly would not have said anything earlier if I thought you would get this upset. How cheer up. (EMRE's voice is falsely confident) Everything will be all right. That's a promise.

JOANNA: (Smiles weakly up at EMRE, who grins back, relieved) You're right, I guess. (Stands and hiccups, and EMRE takes the handkerchief to wipe her tears away) I'm probably just being silly. (JOANNA hugs EMRE, who tentatively hugs her back. After a moment, JOANNA tilts her head back, looks EMRE in the eye, and says sincerely) Thank you, Emre.

(JOANNA and EMRE continue looking at each other and slowly come together in a kiss. One of EMRE's hands strokes JOANNA's hair. After a few moments, they pull apart and stare at each other. JOANNA begins sobbing again and exits Left, running. EMRE stares after her, then sinks to his knees)

EMRE: (Haunted) I lied to her. How did I not see that I was lying? (Puts his face in his hands. Scene fades to black)

Is your head spinning from the constant jumps between normal script and italics? Mine is, and I'm just typing it. I'm not too happy with the way this scene goes in a script form. However, it is my favorite scene from a narrative point of view. Update is a day late, but I'm going to call that a punishment for a COMPLETE and UTTER lack of reviews. Seriously? Was Scene III that bad?

Sigrid is from an unspecified Scandinavian country, so she has a Norse accent. Is it believable? What Aurora wanted was her brother's opinion on which dress Leopold would most likely notice her in. As if Emre would know. Was the Kiss too abrupt? Was it too long in coming? Is Joanna a little bratty? Yes to the last question. Is she entitled to be? I think so, but tell me what you think. Answer my questions! Review to save the romance!

Edit 12/13/12: Removed Sigrid's accent. She is not actually foreign.