Act One

Scene V

[The next day has passed within the novel world. The sounds of the set are heard again. KUMARI's voice is audible within the darkness of the stage and sounds.]

KUMARI: 'You know that feeling you get when you have a feeling that something weird was going to happen? Everyone seemed to have that feeling today. Regan was much more fazed than before, and Evan was oddly concerned about it. He one time came to me during the break and asked… [mimics his voice] 'Why isn't that stupid brat being rude to me? What's her deal?' And so on, so forth. At first, I didn't know what was going on. But as our first live-shooting progressed, things got even more crazy…'

[The lights come up, and shooting is taking place. REGAN and EVAN, now sporting different clothing, are once again on stage performing their scene.]

EVAN: 'My love, I am sorry… I truly am. I was hypnotized with desire. I was entranced with lust. I was blind to the fact I still had you with me. Please. Give me a chance, my love.'

REGAN: [blandly and almost without emotion] 'As if I'm supposed to believe the words of a scoundrel like you…'

EVAN: 'You're the world to me, you're my life. Please, do not turn me away after one mistake.'

REGAN: 'Your mistake was fatal…'

EVAN: [sighs and breaks character] So what do you plan on doing now? You've been locked away and distant ever since yesterday when I left. Your friends are concerned; your colleagues are concerned… [grumbles a bit] Even I'm concerned…

REGAN: 'No, I will not-' [stops and looks at him] What do you mean…?

EVAN: Whatever happened yesterday, get over it. It shouldn't affect you this much. You have a job to do, and I do as well. Just move on from whatever, okay? Even I managed to get past it… [rubs his neck]

REGAN: [frowns] It's not something I can get past. I'm sorry, but I have to stay away from you. [tries to exit]

EVAN: [catches her arm] What is your problem though? You keep ignoring me. You won't look at me. You won't even make a sarcastic remark whenever I do something. I don't like it, and it's making me even more angry just watching you continue do that. [pulls her back] Look at me and tell me what's wrong.

REGAN: Just get away from me! [shoves him away] I don't care about you, okay? I can't even be around you for long! …I'm not allowed to.

EVAN: What do you mean by that? [frowns and steps closer to her] You don't even care to look at me in the eye and tell me that? [REGAN remains silent] …I'm not asking you to tell me as a colleague, or an acquaintance, or even a person you hate… But I'm asking… [gulps down his pride] A friend… I am your friend, right?

REGAN: …Just stay away from me. Please… [exits]

DIRECTOR: And CUT! Fantastic! That definitely wasn't part of the script, but that was amazing! First live shooting was a success~

[The clapping is heard, but EVAN is left on stage alone. As the sounds empty out, he sits there on the couch silently, thinking to himself. Finally, JACE enters with a large sack on his shoulder. He's texting on his phone happily until he spots EVAN, looking curiously at him. He goes over and sits down next to him.]

EVAN: Hey… [JACE nods back.] What's up…? [JACE points up to the ceiling.] Right… [He runs a hand through his hair and leans back. JACE looks at him and shrugs.] Nothing, I guess… I have no idea anymore… That stupid brat is being moody, and I don't know why… Usually she's ready to punch my teeth out. But now, she's just… I don't know what's going on, but I don't like it. Yeah, I know I don't like quite a few different things. But this… It's making me so frustrated, and I don't know why…! I just want to-

[JACE suddenly pulls on EVAN's arm and point to where voices are coming from off stage. EVAN, for once, looks surprised and slightly panicked about his current state, so he pulls JACE behind the couch. Entering comes KUMARI and REGAN. REGAN's clothing is now more casual, and KUMARI is trailing behind her.]

KUMARI: You sure you're doing well? You didn't even want to get any cake from the table when you finished.

REGAN: I'm not doing well, but I'm well enough…

KUMARI: Come on, Rea… You're usually the most 'rock-em, sock-em' person I know. What's the matter today?

REGAN: I don't want to talk about it…

KUMARI: Rea…! Even Evan was concerned! You was how he was practically about to cry on stage.

REGAN: Those weren't tears. He was just getting red from frustration.

KUMARI: All the same! Rea, you're a strong person, and I find that awesome about you. But sometimes you try to be too strong to where you won't let anyone help you. I wanna help. The director would wanna help. Even Evan of all people wants to help, and you know how Evan never wants to help anyone except himself. We're all worried, and we all want you to be better. But you have to trust us. If not all of us, at least me?

[REGAN stops and looks away from her, about to tear up and cry again. KUMARI reaches out and hugs her, causing REGAN to hug back.]

REGAN: I'm such an idiot. I can't stop thinking about him. It's irritating and really pissing me off! He's an attractive guy, but his personality is terrible! He's rude, vile, arrogant, pompous…! [lets go and crosses away] Aggravating, antagonistic, egoistic, cynical, sarcastic, stubborn, rude…! [sits on the couch] I won't admit it though… I won't admit it… He has a girlfriend. He's happy. He's living the life. But I'm stuck here… I'm not going anywhere because I don't deserve anything. I earned my way here, but it'll all be taken away from me if I try taking what I deserve… All of it will be gone, and then I won't even see him again… I won't see any of this again! I'll just be back where I was in the beginning. Alone, unemployed, and in despair that I don't know what I'd do with my life anymore…!

[She lays down and cries into her arms.] So there… Now you can finally see just how pathetic I am… So please, just leave me alone!

[KUMARI reluctantly nods but grabs a prop blanket first, putting it over REGAN before leaving silently.

With REGAN not paying attention, EVAN and JACE stand up. EVAN The two stare until JACE pats EVAN on the shoulder and smiles reassuringly before exiting after KUMARI. EVAN remains on stage with REGAN. He stands there silently before crossing around the couch and carefully pulling her up and into his arms. REGAN hugs back unknowingly and cries into his shoulder.]

REGAN: My life will be in ruined… All because of some stupid guy…! It's stupid. He's stupid. This entire situation is stupid, and I… I… [lets go and wipes her eyes] I don't know how I can deal with this right now, Kumari…

EVAN: You can start by apologizing to me for the trash talk…

[REGAN suddenly looks up, seeing EVAN in front of her. There's awkward tension between the two before REGAN shoots up and tries exiting. EVAN catches her arm and pulls her back.]

EVAN: Why exactly do I cause you so much grief? [She is silent.] …Am I rude? Am I arrogant? Am I practically the scum of the earth that no one even likes? If you really think that lowly of me, you could quit. Hell, even I can quit if you want me-

REGAN: No! You don't need to quit your job. You're the star of the show-

EVAN: I'm not the star without you.

[There is a silence between the two until EVAN finally lets go. The two look away from each other awkwardly.]

EVAN: …Why have you been avoiding me, anyways?

REGAN: …No reason…

EVAN: Right… But whatever you do, stay… [mumbles] The show needs you…

REGAN: Yeah… I get that… Are we done now? [stands up and starts for the exit again]

EVAN: No, we aren't. [catches her arm again and pulls her back] The show doesn't need you. The crew doesn't need you. The actors don't need you. But I do, okay? [She looks at him.] I need you… You make things… Fun… Aria's never around, so I don't really have a person at all in this damn society. But then you showed up, starting making my life hell. I don't know why, but I can't help but love that! You and your big mouth is what gets me to wake up in the morning. 'What's she going to do today? How can I make her look like a moron? How will things play out now?' I ask myself all of that. But now you're all gloom and doom over what? A bad day at work? What's your deal? Your mood is really making me frustrated, and I don't like it at all.

REGAN: Who cares what you like? [shoves him away] You're the reason I'm so angry right now. I can't even eat or sleep or even think when I'm around you! You're so infuriating that I want to punch the wall so hard until my knuckles bleed. But you're…! You're the reason I'm in this mess. You and your stupid girlfriend are the reason why I'm fearing for my job. You and your stupid face are the reason why I'm hating going to work. You and your stupid personality is why I hate everything about you. You and everything about you is why I-

[REGAN gets cut off when EVAN pulls her close, kissing her to silence her. She pounds her fists on his chests a few times before finally relaxing and calming down. He pulls away and looks at her in surprise. She looks back at him in the same way. The two stay like that in an awkward silence before pulling away, looking away from each other.]

EVAN: So what where you saying…?

REGAN: I guess it's not important anymore… Sorry for going off like that…

EVAN: It's not an issue…

[The two look back at each other.]

REGAN: So what was that all about…?

EVAN: Well, I kissed you…

REGAN: I know that, but… [The two step towards each other again.] That was unexpected…

EVAN: Yeah… What happens on stage can be shocking after all…

REGAN: True… I don't really know what to think about that though…

EVAN: About what? The unexpectedness or the kiss?

REGAN: Both…

[Awkward silence.]

EVAN: …Do you want to try again and see what you think?

REGAN: [surprised look] Uh… Not right here. People might be filming us right now…

EVAN: Stupid paparazzi…

[He takes her hand and leads her off stage. The stage is quiet for a few moments until KUMARI and JACE peek out from the other direction.]

KUMARI: You think it worked? [JACE nods and grins] Fantastic~! [high fives] Now we just gotta keep the paparazzi away. You ready for that? [JACE gives a nod and ruffles her hair before going back off stage. KUMARI smiles and goes towards center stage.] 'So as Jace and I witnessed the shocking event that unraveled before us, we were left in almost complete shock. It was expected, of course, all that tension. But hopefully these two will be able to live happily ever after… If that's even possible in this industry…'

[BLACKOUT. End of Act I]