Three Little Words

by

Meagan Wiebler

EXT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - DAY A pleasant suburban neighborhood in the midst of a torrential downpour. LILA, dark-haired, thin, early 20s, runs up the driveway to take shelter under the porch. Lila is soaked to the bone, hair drenched, makeup ruined. She fishes in her purse for her keys, growing frustrated. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY Lila lets herself into a nice house, suburban, well decorated. Nothing special. FRAMED PHOTOS depicting Lila and a young man. A CAT sleeps quietly on the couch. Lila moves to pet the cat when she spots a NOTE on the fridge. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY She hurries over and plucks the NOTE from beneath a magnet. The fridge door also displays sentimental pictures and mementos. The NOTE reads: "CLASS, THEN WORKING LATE. ROBERT" BE HOME AROUND 8. LOVE YOU. -

Lila smiles, replaces the NOTE beneath the magnet. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - BATHROOM - DAY She starts a hot shower, peers at her running mascara in the mirror, and begins to undress. Focus on the running water of the shower. DISSOLVE TO FLASHBACK - INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY Local art hanging on the walls, mismatched furniture. Artsy-types talking and drinking lattes. Lila sits alone in an over-sized armchair. Her hair perfectly curled, makeup bordering on excessive. A book of legendary art sits open on her lap, depicting Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Lila copies a sketch in a lined notebook. Her drawing is juvenile, cartoonish, pathetic. She squints hard as she draws. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

2.

Enter ROBERT, early 20s, boy-next-door good looks. The young man from the photos. Boyishly handsome and confident. He glances around, grimaces, then bolts -- towards the restroom. On his way, he spots Lila drawing. She spots him, too. She smiles shyly. When Robert returns from the restroom, he lingers behind Lila’s chair, wanting to sit and talk. Hesitating. At last, he just plops himself into the chair adjacent and begins. ROBERT So... art, huh? I mean, um... I’ve seen you. We have a class together. Right? LILA Yeah. English, I think. Composition writing. ROBERT Yeah, that’s what I thought. LILA And Statistics, too. When she says this, she blushes, embarrassed. grins. ROBERT Statistics too, huh? Then how did I go this long without talking to you? LILA You have a lot of friends. I wouldn’t expect you to notice me. ROBERT Well, that’s stupid. I mean, not that you’re stupid, it’s just... He laughs. Lila laughs too. a handshake. Robert reaches towards her for Robert just

ROBERT I’m Robert. Noticing you. She takes his hand, smiling, smitten.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

3.

LILA I’m Lila. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - BATHROOM - DAY Lila emerges from the shower, refreshed. Her hair wet, face fresh and makeup-free. Much prettier without it. Her WET CLOTHES and PURSE lay in a sopping pile on the bathroom floor. Wrapped in a towel, she walks towards the bedroom, passing more FRAMED PHOTOS of her and Robert, each scene happier than the last. Smiling on the beach, feeding each other ice cream, a piggyback ride. The cat watches silently from the living room. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - BEDROOM - DAY The bedroom has obviously been decorated by a woman and then lived in by a man. The bedspread, curtains, and pillows match, yet remain surrounded by dirty male clothes, shoes, etc. A hamper sits neglected in the corner. Lila walks to the closet and looks through the rack of clothes, not finding what she’s looking for. Her gaze stops on a SWEATER in a striking blue, a male’s size. She smiles. FLASHBACK - INT. SUSHI RESTAURANT - NIGHT Robert and Lila sit at a table in a sushi restaurant. It’s contemporary, clean, chic. She is dressed for an opera. Her hair piled in a ridiculous updo, her makeup thick. Robert is wearing the BLUE SWEATER. They already have their food and Lila struggles with the CHOPSTICKS. Robert laughs lightheartedly. ROBERT You don’t have to use the chopsticks, you know. There’s a fork in your napkin. LILA I know. I want to figure these out. They’re fancy.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

4.

Robert laughs again and deftly picks up a piece of sushi with his own chopsticks. ROBERT They’re not fancy in Japan. Everybody uses them. Just like we use forks. Which I might encourage, if you’re ever planning to eat tonight. He is only joking, but Lila looks hurt and tries again. She only succeeds in unrolling a cucumber roll from its seaweed wrap, then looks displeased with what’s left over. ROBERT (CONT’D) Tell me about yourself. Lila looks up, surprised. LILA What? ROBERT Well, I don’t know anything about you, except that you go to coffee shops but don’t drink coffee. And you like art. And you’re really cute when you try to eat sushi. She blushes, busies herself with her mangled cucumber roll. LILA Okay... um... I like art. You said that though. And... I want to be an art teacher. I like kids. And... (giggles nervously) I don’t know, I don’t talk about myself much. (beat) I saw you in the fall play. You were so good. Are you going to be a movie star? Robert laughs. not. He thinks she’s joking, being cute. She’s

ROBERT Oh yeah. I heard my portrayal of Fast-Talking-Salesman #1 was Oscar-worthy. Lila smiles. His sarcasm goes over her head.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

5.

ROBERT (CONT’D) My dad wants me to be an engineer, but I’m gonna go for something more... enterprising. Something in business. LILA You should be a movie star. There’s an awkward pause. sushi and looks defeated. Lila stabs at another piece of

Robert looks at her, smiles, and picks up a piece of his own sushi. He extends it towards her, waving it in front of her face. Here. ROBERT Try this. You’ll like it.

Lila looks coy, then opens her mouth hesitantly. Robert feeds her the sushi. She chews, nods, smiles. She likes it. She likes Robert. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - BATHROOM - EVENING Lila wears nothing but Robert’s BLUE SWEATER. She stands brushing her wet hair in the bathroom, her mind elsewhere. She hums "I’ll Be Seeing You" by Billie Holiday. The storm intensifies outside. THUNDER. Lila’s lost in thought. A TELEPHONE rings. Startled, Lila drops the brush and bolts for the phone in the living room. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - EVENING The answering machine clicks and plays Robert’s voice. ROBERT (V.O.) Hey, we can’t get to the phone right now, so I hope you know what to do here. BEEP! Her hand almost touches the phone. stop. A FEMALE VOICE makes her

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

6.

FEMALE (V.O.) Hey Rob-O, it’s me. Lila’s face goes cold. FEMALE (V.O.) You’re not answering your cell phone because you’re a retard, so I thought you might be at home, guess not, this message is pointless. This week sucks, so I’ve decided tomorrow night you’re taking me out, buying me things, you know the process. Wear something slutty. Kisses. (beep) Lila is frozen. Horrified. THUNDER.

FLASHBACK - INT. TRENDY BAR - NIGHT More THUNDER. It’s storming. Robert and Lila sit in a corner booth with a GROUP OF FRIENDS. The atmosphere is trendy, edgy. Dim lights, well-dressed waiters, etc. The boys are drinking beer, Lila drinks a Cosmopolitan. She’s hardly touched it. Everyone laughs but Lila. She is uncomfortable, but eager to please. She pays strict attention to everything everyone says. ROBERT ... So we’re rehearsing, and Brendon decides, ’hey, time to be an idiot!’ Everyone else is singing just fine -BRENDON, Robert’s best friend, laughs and interrupts. BRENDON Hey, hold on -ROBERT -- and you’re just screaming as loud as you can -BRENDON I was in character, you fag. ROBERT As who, yourself? I’m surprised you didn’t just light up a joint (MORE) (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED:

7.

ROBERT (cont’d) and fail miserably with women, if that’s the way you were going to play it. Everyone laughs. Lila does too, but she’s trying too hard -- the joke is wasted on her. The group shifts, uncomfortable. BRENDON So, Lila, how’d a looker like you end up with a loser like him? Lila narrows her eyes. LILA Bobby isn’t a loser. man I’ve ever met. He’s the best

Robert’s friends laugh. Again, Lila misses their playful intent. She’s not sure what to do. ROBERT C’mon, guys, lay off. BRENDON Oh, but Bobby, I want to hear more! LILA He’s like my knight in shining armor. I feel like I’m in a fairy tale. No one knows what to say. Lila slumps down in her seat as the conversation begins again without her. Robert notices her crestfallen face and hooks an arm around her shoulder, pulling her close. ROBERT (quietly) Hey. Having fun? Her face says no. LILA Yes. ROBERT You’re doing fine.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: LILA (whisper) I want them to like me, Bobby. Robert presses a kiss on her forehead. They will. worrying. ROBERT They do. Stop

8.

She smiles up at him, warm from his attention, which promptly shifts. He looks over her head and grins. ROBERT (CONT’D) Oh Jesus, who invited you? STEPHANIE stands at the edge of the booth. She’s blond, short, spunky. She throws her large purse into the booth, hitting Robert with it. STEPHANIE What up, Rob-O? Scoot over, your fat ass is in my spot. Her voice -- she’s the girl who left the message. She glances at Lila, eyebrow arched, then at Robert: this is your new girlfriend? ROBERT Oh, Lila, this is Stephanie. be put off by her completely obnoxious personality. Don’t

STEPHANIE Please, you’re making me blush. She extends a hand to Lila, judgment gone. friends. Let’s be

STEPHANIE (CONT’D) Hey, nice to meet face to face. Rob won’t shut up about you. You’ve really got him wrapped around your finger. Lila eyes her. Hi. Awkward. The group shifts uncomfortably. Stephanie slides into the booth next to Robert, scooting everyone over a seat. Instant hatred. LILA She doesn’t take the hand.

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: STEPHANIE Soooo...

9.

Alrighty!

She punches Robert in the arm. unamused.

He bumps into Lila, who is

STEPHANIE (CONT’D) ... somebody order me a fuckin’ drink. BRENDON (playful sarcasm) Ooh, me first, me first. Stephanie gives him the finger. ROBERT Why are we buying your drinks, Steph? Just for the sheer pleasure of your company? STEPHANIE No, because you’re madly in love with me and desperately hope that I’ll put out. Hey, waiter -She holds up a hand to signal a waiter and -- SPLASH. Lila has thrown her Cosmo in Stephanie’s face. Everyone stares, shocked. Lila holds her empty martini glass, defiant. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Lila paces. She looks at the clock. It’s only 6 pm. paces. Looks again. Still only 6 pm. The answering machine light blinks. Lila approaches the sofa and tries to coax out the cat. stares at her, skittish. The storm rages on outside. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT Lila gets herself a glass of wine. Looks at Robert’s note. Their pictures. The clock again. A HUGE CRACK OF THUNDER shakes the house. Lila jumps and drops her wine. The glass falls and -It She

10.

FLASHBACK - INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT A glass shatters. the kitchen. Lila and Robert are at opposite ends of

She is red-faced, crying, hysterical. Robert makes a move towards her and she grabs a glass from the counter. He falters a moment -- you wouldn’t? -- then edges towards her again. Lila hurls the glass at him. Robert dodges, the glass shattering behind him, missing by only an inch. ROBERT What the hell is wrong with you?! LILA (sobbing) You think I’m stupid but I’m not! I know what’s going on! not stupid! ROBERT Stop throwing a tantrum like a four-year-old and listen to me! You can’t act like this! You’re completely out of control! Steph has never done anything to you -LILA (cold) Her name is Stephanie! ROBERT -- and you keep doing this, you completely lost it at the bar, you can barely be in the same room with her, you freak out whenever she calls me -LILA You’re my boyfriend! calling you?! Why is she

I’m

ROBERT -- someone told me you spit on her coat, did you do that? Lila glares at him, tears running down her face. his arms in the air. He throws

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: ROBERT (CONT’D) Jesus Christ! You fucking spit on her?! What is wrong with you?! LILA I love you! ROBERT That’s not love, Lila, it’s jealousy. It’s -- Jesus, I don’t think I can even explain this to you, I’m so completely floored right now. LILA You’re sleeping with her! Beat. ROBERT Wha -- what? LILA It’s so obvious, Bobby! The way you two talk, the way she looks at you -ROBERT We’re friends, Lila! You’d know how friends act around each other if you had any! And God knows how I’m supposed to have any time for a girl on the side, since you have a fucking seizure every time I try to leave the house without you!

11.

Lila reaches for something else to throw at him. Robert moves swiftly and grips her wrists firmly, gentle but forceful. ROBERT (CONT’D) Stop, just stop! LILA Let me go! ROBERT Lila, stop. She stops struggling. He loosens his grip on her wrists.

Lila hauls back and slaps him as hard as she can. Robert stares at her, his mouth hanging open. (CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: A long silence.

12.

He turns to leave. Lila’s face crumbles and she throws herself at him, wrapping her arms around him, sniveling. LILA Wait. Please don’t. Please don’t, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’ll never do it again, never ever, please. I love you. I love you. She keeps going but her words are unintelligible. slides to the floor, sobbing. Robert stares at her, torn. LILA (CONT’D) Please don’t leave me. I love you. He watches her cry for a moment more and then bends down. He takes her in his arms. Robert holds her tightly. Lila cries. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT Lila dumps a dustpan full of broken glass into the trash can. She looks at the clock, forlorn. It’s 7:30 pm. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT The cat sits on the couch. As Lila enters, it jumps to the floor and scurries under a chair to stare at her. Restless, Lila approaches a RECORD PLAYER. She thumbs through the albums nearby. She finds what she’s looking for; STEALING BEAUTY BY BILLIE HOLIDAY. Lila puts the album on and moves the needle, selecting a track. The same song she hummed earlier begins to play. BILLIE HOLIDAY (V.O.) I’ll be seeing you In all the old familiar places That this heart of mine embraces All day through... As the song plays, Lila settles down on the couch, pulling a throw blanket up to her chin. She stares at nothing. The cat stares at her. The last word of the verse echoes in the silence... She

13.

FLASHBACK - INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT ... and echoes through the bedroom. Robert and Lila sit on opposite sides of the bed, not facing, silent. After an awkward moment, Robert turns to her. turn to him, so he speaks to her back. ROBERT This isn’t how I wanted it to end. Lila says nothing. He looks at her plaintively and goes on. She doesn’t

ROBERT (CONT’D) Lila, look at me. (beat; he sighs) You know how much I care about you. But this isn’t working. It can’t be good for you either. All we ever do is fight, and you deserve better than -LILA Bobby, shut up. Robert looks surprised. around. Lila continues, but doesn’t turn

LILA (CONT’D) Just save your breath. All these words, I don’t want them. I want you. Meeting you... my whole life changed the day we met. Everything changed. The reason I’ve always been so unhappy, I figured it out. It’s because I hadn’t found you yet. You’re the answer to my prayers. You can’t leave me -- I need you. And whether you see it or not, you need me. Lila turns just barely and looks at him over her shoulder. She smiles. LILA (CONT’D) I will always be here --

14. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Lila’s eyes fly open. She fell asleep on the couch. Her eyes dart to the

She hears a car door slam outside. clock on the wall -- 8:15 pm. EXT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - NIGHT

Robert walks up the driveway, struggling with his keys and a bag of groceries. He spots something near the door. A POTTED PLANT sits a foot away from a WATER STAIN. It’s obvious the PLANT has been moved. A SPARE HOUSE KEY sits inside the WATER STAIN, not hidden beneath the PLANT as it should be. Robert frowns. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT Lila bolts down the hallway. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Robert enters through the front door. skips. The record player

BILLIE HOLIDAY (V.O.) I’ll find you -- I’ll find you -I’ll find you -He sets the groceries on the couch. ROBERT Hello? INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - DINING ROOM - NIGHT The cat hisses at something, its ears flat against its head. INT. ROBERT’S HOUSE - VARIOUS - NIGHT Robert explores his house, trying to find the intruder. LILA (V.O.) I will always be here. I could never find anyone else. You are the only person I could ever love. (CONTINUED) Something isn’t right.

CONTINUED:

15.

Robert passes through the hallway of framed photos. They are not of him and Lila -- rather, him and Stephanie -- on the beach, eating ice cream, a piggyback ride. He hears something BANG, loud and metallic. noise. LILA (V.O.) You’re the love of my life. could ever change that. He follows the

No one

He walks past the bathroom. Lila’s WET CLOTHES and PURSE are gone, leaving behind only a PUDDLE OF WATER. The noise keeps BANGING. LILA (V.O.) I mean it with all my heart and soul. I want to be with you forever. Robert approaches the back door. It’s hanging open, banging against the house with the wind and rain. LILA (V.O.) Fairy tales don’t end like this. The cat meows and runs to him, nearly jumping into his arms. Robert scratches it behind the ears; it purrs contentedly. They both stare at the open door. LILA (V.O.) You might think it’s over, but it’s not. We’re not. You’ll see soon enough. I love you, Robert. CUT TO BLACK. LILA (V.O.) I love you. ROLL CREDITS. SONG - THREE LITTLE WORDS BY NICK LUCAS.

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