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Cooking Lessons
by Anthony Hindle (Dizzytea3@hotmail.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Drama   User Review: ****
What began as an innocent wager leads a disillusioned wife to question how she lives and who she loves.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



The employees of Optiquest Mortgage sit in small groups,
waiting impatiently for a meeting to begin. In one group,
CHELSEA OAKTON, pretty and modestly dressed is talking to a
slender, provocatively dressed woman, PAULA LEIGH.
These things are bullshit, but at
least they get us off the phones.
What is this again?
Diversity Day. We have 'em every
quarter. It's supposed to help us
work better with all the idiots
and freaks around us.
Seems to be working well.
STEPHANIE MAYNE, a fortyish woman, stands in front of the
crowd and begins to speak with forced enthusiasm.
Hello everyone, I'm Stephanie
Mayne and I'll be your facilitator
for the Diversity Day workshop.
      (whispering to
They always have really old, out
of touch people lead these things.
In the past we've discussed topics
such as tolerance toward people of
differing races and religions but
today we're going to discuss
another aspect of tolerance. Today
we'll be discussing differing


                       STEPHANIE (cont'd)
perspectives or world views.
      (still whispering)
My head hurts already!
Shut up!
First, let's start with an
exercise. I want you to think of
two words, risk and security and
we'll divide into two groups based
on which you prefer.
The group divides. Paula chooses the risk group while
Chelsea begins to move toward security but is stopped by
No, they're all losers over there!
Chelsea rolls her eyes but joins the risk group. The two
groups chat for a moment, settle down and then all begin to
stare in one direction.
Church, is there a problem?
Standing alone is REED CHURCHMAN, known, to his few friends
simply as Church. Of just better than average height and
looks, he is the type of man easily overlooked in life.
Well, sort of. It seems to me
that choosing one over the other
is impossible because one can't
exist without the other.
Chelsea looks questioningly at Paula, who shakes her head,
rolls her eyes and mouths the word "freak".
Okay but for the purposes...
You see, the comfort and safety we
seek in those things that offer
security would be meaningless
without the knowledge that risk,


                       CHURCH (cont'd)
with it's uncertainty and danger,
is all around us.
That's an interesting point but...
It's been written that being and
non being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each
other. Long and short define each
other. So to choose one over the
other would be to deny the unity
of the two.
Silence. Then a snicker is heard. Some in the group share
smirks until Paula begins to laugh out loud. In seconds the
entire group is laughing at Church...

Except Chelsea. Shocked at the rudeness of her co-workers,
she stares sympathetically at Church, who looks as though he
just realized his fly is down.
Maybe we should try another
Chelsea and Paula leave the conference room to break for
lunch. They are accompanied by two of Paula's friends. WALLY
God, that was the funniest
workshop I've ever been to.
You were all so mean! I couldn't
believe how rude you were!
Oh come on! Didn't you think that
was weird.
      (imitating Church)
The comfort of security would
be...what did he say again?
I sort of liked what he said.


Who would've thought we had Buddha
right here at Optiquest Mortgage.
Hey, that's it! Why don't we do
Chinese for lunch?
Actually, The Buddha was from
      (to Paula)
Oh, like you knew!
Chinese sounds good, though,
they'll have something vegetarian.
Oh, that's right we have a tree
hugger amongst us.
Shut up! Do you have to be a dick
all the time? So, where do we
want to go, Peking Garden?
Chelsea pauses to sniff the air.
Something smells really good right
now. Where is that coming from?
Chelsea and Paula poke their heads into the company lunch
room where Church is warming up his lunch.
It's the freak.
Buddha boy?
What's his name again?
I don't know. He works in quality
control. Last bastion of losers.


I'm going to say hi to him.
Don't! If you're nice to him he'll
probably start stalking you or
Chelsea enters the lunch room. The others remain behind,
watching with a mix of amusement and apprehension.
Chelsea walks quietly up to Church, who is spooning a
colorful mix of vegetables over a bowl of bright green rice,
and doing so with great flair.
Excuse me.
Church turns toward Chelsea and then looks behind him. No
one there. She must be talking him.
Hi. I just wanted to say that I
really liked what you had to say
at the diversity workshop.
Is this a joke?
No, really. It really made me
think outside the box.
Church squirms a bit. He isn't used to compliments.
Thanks I can't really take credit
for it, though. It's mostly from
the Tao Te Ching.
The what?
It's sort of the bible of Taoism.
It's weird. When I read those
words at home they're so moving


                       CHURCH (cont'd)
and profound, but when I say them
here, they just don't seem to fit.
I guess everything, even words,
need a place to belong.
Are you always so philosophical?
Actually I try not to be. It
really seems to get on people's
Paula peeks into the lunchroom.
Chelsea, are you coming?
Just another minute.
      (looking at
       Church's food)
Whatever you have there smells
Thank you. Would you like some?
I've got way more than I can eat.
I don't mean to boast but it's
pretty good. As long as you don't
mind vegetarian.
Chels, come on, we're running out
of time.
I'll be right there.
      (To Church)
You're vegetarian?
Me too!


      (to Church)
I better go. Maybe I could take a
rain check.
Any time. Nice to meet you...
Chelsea. Nice to meet you too...
Church...well, Reed Churchman, but
I just go by Church.
Still smiling, Chelsea returns to Paula and the others. They
rush her away as though fearing for her safety.
Chelsea, Paula, Melanie, and Wally move quickly down a
hallway on the way back to the conference room when Paula
stops dead in her tracks.
Oh, God!
The other three follow Paula's gaze and their expressions
turn from pleasure to fear and concern. At the far end of
floor, a small group of workers are packing their boxes as
security guards stand by uncomfortably.
What's happening?
Cold, hard reality is happening.
It looks like most of finance got
the axe.
But we just got an email saying we
had record earnings last quarter.
That's for stockholders, not for


Chelsea watches the scene unfold. Some workers cry, some
are angry and lash out at the security guards. One middle
aged man leans on the edge of his desk cradling his box of
It's like looking at a traffic
A security guard gently touches the middle aged man who
returns from his state of shock. He looks at Chelsea with
eyes that seem barely alive. Embarrassed, Chelsea quickly
looks away.
JAKE OAKTON, the classic tall, dark and handsome man and
Chelsea sit in a five star restaurant, Jake stares across
the table at Chelsea, just a hint of concern casts wrinkles
across his face.
Chels, is something wrong?
Chelsea stares at her menu oblivious to the sound of Jake's
Chelsea starts as though being jostled from a nap.
I'm sorry. What did you say?
Is something wrong? I usually
can't get you to stop talking but
you've hardly said a word since we
got here.
Not really it's just...
Chelsea pauses and studies Jake, unsure if she should
Just what?


Chelsea raises her menu a little, almost hiding behind it,
but continues.
I saw the people in finance that
were let go. It was horrible.
This one poor man...he looked
Oh, Jesus.
Is that what's got you down? I
knew taking that job was a bad
idea. Why don't you let me get
you a better position or just
quit. I know plenty of guys whose
wives stay home. You could make
friends with some of them. Go to
yoga or Pilates or...I somebody
said something about Piloxing
being big...whatever that is.
Chelsea looks as though she's been asked to eat an insect.
No! I'd rather go to Gitmo than
endure those self indulgent, self
absorbed, self righteous...
Okay, okay, I get it. You don't
want to go back to staying at
home. You're job though...working
in a call center is as bad as it
gets at Optiquest. I could set
you up...
No! I don't want anyone knowing
I'm married to the Senior VP of
Securitized Portfolio Risk


Yes, that. That's a really
important position and if people
know I'm married to you they won't
treat me the same.
Yeah, they'd treat you better!
What's wrong with that?
Chelsea closes her eyes and raises her hand to her head as
though she has a headache. .
It would be because of you not
because of me.
That doesn't even make sense!
I'm sure it doesn't to you but it
makes sense to me. I just...I
don't know...I can't explain it
but it's important to me.
A pretty young SERVER approaches the table cautiously. Jake
smiles as he glances at her breasts which come to eye level.
Chelsea frowns as she watches Jake's demeanor change
Are you ready to order or should I
come back?
No, don't move we only need a
minute more.
His eyes don't move from the server.
You'll have to actually look at
your menu if you want to order.
Jake and Chelsea are riding in Jake's Lexus. They are both
silent as Jake drives. Chelsea stares out the window as she


Jake, I'm sorry. I don't know
what's wrong with me. Maybe I
should see a counselor.
I really don't think that shit
works. One of our admins has been
seeing a shrink for a couple of
decades and she's just as messed
up as the day she walked through
their door. But if you want to
that's fine.
They fall silent for a moment then Chelsea's face brightens.
A baby!
Chelsea turns to face Jake. Her face is alive with hope.
Let's have a baby Jake! I'd have
a purpose, an identity! I feel
like I don't know who I am
Chels there's no way you're ready
to be a mother. Especially if you
aren't even sure...you know...like
you said, who you are.
But Jake...
And frankly you're ...I'm sorry to
be so blunt...but you're kind of a
disaster. There's always sinks in
the dishes, laundry on the dining
room table and you don't even know
how to cook. I've never heard of
a vegetarian that can't cook.
The mood turns icy as Chelsea turns from Jake and stares out
the window.
So if I learn to cook we can have
a baby?


It'd be a step in the right
They fall silent again. Jake concentrates on the road ahead
of him. Chelsea continues to stare out the window. They
pass a book store.
Can we stop at the book store?
Mom's sick and I promised to bring
her something to read tonight.
And you want to make sure she
isn't passed out with something on
the stove?
Well, sort of.
Okay, but make it quick.
Chelsea walks through the bookstore with an armload of
magazines. She walks past the religion section and stops at
the section marked eastern philosophy.
What did he say that book was?
She comes across a thin little book titled "The Tao Te
Ching". She takes it from the shelf and frowns,
disappointed by it's size.
That's it?
Chelsea opens the book and skims through it. After a moment
she adds the book to her stack of magazines and heads for
the checkout.
Chelsea enters an aging Victorian home. She finds her
mother, EILEEN MATHEO, laying face down on a thread bare
sofa. On the coffee table beside her sits a box of tissues,
a half empty bottle of vodka and, an empty glass.


Oh Mom!
Chelsea takes off her coat and begins to pull Eileen into an
upright position. The movement rouses Eileen in to a low
level stupor.
It's my baby girl! How was dinner
It was fine mom.
As Eileen struggles to sit up.
What's wrong baby girl?
Something's wrong? What's wrong?
Really Mom, I'm fine. Come on,
let's get you to bed.
Eileen places her hand heavily on Chelsea's shoulder and
pushes her self to her feet. She sways as though blown by a
stiff breeze.
Come on Chels. What's wrong.
I'm depressed Mom. I don't know
who I am or why I'm here. I asked
Jake if we could start on a family
and he basically said I'm too much
of a fuck up!
He said that?
Well, sweetie, you are kind of a
Chelsea takes a step back, hands on hips, and mouth wide
open in disbelief. Without Chelsea's support Eileen wobbles
and crashes back to the couch.


I can't believe you said that!
If I apologize will you help me
back up?
Chelsea and Paula walk together through the halls of
Optiquest. They are a study in contrasts: Paula is wearing
a low cut blouse, mini skirt and 4 inch heels, Chelsea is in
boots, an ankle length skirt, and sweater.
Let's go to the Harvest Moon. They
have lots of vegetarian entrees.
I hate that place! It's so
peaceful and serene with all that
new agey music. It drives me
They pass the lunch room and once again, Chelsea is stopped
by the aroma. Inside Church is again assembling his meal.
Chelsea watches and smiles. Paula continues on and then
You comin'?
That stuff he makes smells so
good. I wish I could do that.
Chelsea and Paula watch for a moment as Church spoons a
bright red sauce over a bed of equally bright, yellow rice,
humming to himself all the time.
What a loser.
Awww! I think he's cute! Look
how much he's enjoying himself.
Chelsea steps into the lunch room. Paula takes a fearful
step backward.


I'm gonna say hi again. I'll be
just a second.
Chelsea stops behind Church who is adding a garnish to his
lunch, oblivious to her presence.
Hi, I was on my way to lunch and I
just...well...wanted to say hi.

      (turning and
Hey! Coming to redeem that rain
I don't know. It does smell good.
Jamaican red beans over coconut
rice and a little side salad.
                       PAULA (o.s.)
Okay, you said hi now let's go!
      (To Paula)
Just another minute.
      (To Church)
Are you sure you don't mind?
I'm sure.
                       PAULA (o.s.)
Are you coming or what?
      (to Paula)
You go on. I'll see you after
                       PAULA (o.s.)
Are you crazy?


      (To Paula)
I have plenty. Would you like to
join us?
Chelsea, if I don't see you in an
hour I'm calling the police.
Chelsea and Church are sitting at a table in the far corner
of the break room. Chelsea leans back in her chair, her
plate cleaned.
That was so good. I'd ask for the
recipe but I know I could never do
Maybe not right away but after
some practice you would. Success
is the child of failure, not the
other way around.
Is that from the Tao Te Ching?
No, just me.
You know, I bought a copy of the
Tao Te Ching over the weekend. I
don't understand all of it but
what I can...I don't know...it's
different from anything I've ever
read. I don't think I could
explain it but I really like the
way it makes me feel.
Actually that's a pretty taoist
reaction. It's a pretty amazing
book. Changed my life anyway.
Would you like anything else?
Church gets up from the table and opens the large commercial
lunchroom refrigerator. Inside are two large boxes of food.


What do you mean by a
Taoist...wow, that's a lot of
Oh, a friend has been sick. I'm
just doing a little cooking for
her family.
That's so nice of you.
Church shrugs and looks a little uncomfortable at the
What made you become vegetarian?
It's cheap. You could probably
feed a whole family with the grain
that it takes to make your average
steak house steak. And it just
feels good knowing that I can make
a meal and nothing really suffers
to feed me. How about you?
I just love animals. I can't bear
the thought of eating one. Not
very profound is it?
Actually, I can't think of
anything profound than love?
Chelsea rushes through the maze of cubicles. She reaches
her desk, rapidly punches some numbers into her phone and
puts her headset on. Paula smiles smugly and taps her
Three minutes late! You're in big
Chelsea looks across the floor at an elevated cubicle in the
middle of the floor. A middle aged man is scowling at her.


Oh shit! Am I really in trouble?
Just tell him you were tied and
gagged in the trunk of Buddha
boy's car.
Stop it! He's really a nice guy.
That's what people said about Ted
The office clock turns 6:00 and the office bursts into a
storm of movement. Workers gather their belongings and rush
for the doors. Paula and Chelsea both rise from their cubes
and remove their heads sets.
So are you heading home to wrap
your legs around hubby, or are you
going to spend some more quality
time with your new, weird friend?
No, Jake's probably at the
airport. He's going on a business
trip and then some conference on
the west coast.
Chelsea pulls out her cell phone and hits the auto dial.
I hope I can catch him before he
gets on the plane.
Have a good night Chels. Tell
Jake I love him.
Chelsea gives Paula the finger as she leaves. Off screen we
hear Jake pick up.
                       JAKE (v.o.)
Hey Chels. What's up?


Hi honey! I just wanted to say
goodbye and I love you. I hope
you have a safe trip.
Jake is standing in line, waiting to board the plane.
I only have a minute. I'm boarding
right now. You doing okay?
I'm fine. Did I tell you I met a
guy that cooks amazing vegetarian
I had lunch him today and you
wouldn't believe how good his food
Maybe he can teach you how to
Maybe so, I could make dinner for
you when you get back from the
If you do that I'll buy you a fur
That's not funny. How about we
start a family?
Baby steps Chels. Prove to me you
can learn to make a decent meal
and we can talk.
I hate it when you take that
condescending tone with me!
Don't do this Chels, not here. I
don't what's gotten into you but
it'll have to wait until I get
back. Can we agree to that?


Don't talk to me like I'm a child!
I can't do this right now. I have
to go. Love you.
Jake hangs up before Chelsea can get another syllable out.
Chelsea snaps her phone shut, stung by Jake's words. She
looks across the nearly deserted office and sees Church
talking to his boss MATT BELLAMY and coworker NATI BORMAN.
Church, Matt and Nati are gathering their things but seem to
be more interested in talking to each other than leaving.
Chelsea cautiously approaches the cozy scene. Matt is the
first to notice Chelsea approaching.
      (too friendly)
Well, hello there! I'm Matt. And
you are?
Chelsea smiles warmly toward Church...and ignores Matt.
Hi Chelsea. This is a nice
surprise. Here, let me introduce
you to the guys. You've already
met my boss, the inappropriately
enthusiastic, Matt Bellamy. Matt
this is Chelsea...um...actually, I
don't know your last name.
Oakton, Chelsea Oakton.
Very nice to meet you, Chelsea.
Matt offers his hand. Chelsea accepts but has to
practically pry herself away from his grasp.


This is my cube neighbor and best
friend Natalie Borman.
Nati, please. It's a pleasure to
meet you Chelsea.
      (now pleasant
Thank you and likewise.
So, what can I do for you?
Could I talk to you privately? I
have a proposition of sorts.
      (elbowing Matt)
Shut up!
Chelsea and Church walk away while Nati and Matt watch with
interest. Chelsea stops only when she is safely out of ear
shot. Church looks over his shoulder. Nati and Matt are
inching closer to eaves drop.
Maybe we should go into one of the
training rooms.
Church looks down both ends of the hallway. Satisfied that
they are alone he closes the door and turns toward Chelsea.
She's about to burst with nervous energy.
I feel a little awkward asking
this of you. You're probably busy
and don't have the time to do
this, and it's okay if you can't
but I'm so angry at my husband,
he's such a jerk and I really want
to prove him wrong and God I can't
believe I'm asking you this...


Church stops her and speaks in a voice of such reassurance,
it would stop a leaf from trembling.
It's okay. Just ask.
Okay...I'm sorry. I know this
must sound weird because we just
met but I really need to prove
myself to my husband but I can't
do it alone. Can you help me?
I'm not sure that I....
Will you teach me to cook? It's
too embarrassing to explain why
but it's really important that I
learn to cook and you're
vegetarian and what you made for
lunch today was delicious and I
would love to be able to cook like
that so...
Chelsea pauses to look and sound her sweetest and most
Will you give me cooking lessons?
For just moment Church is hypnotized by Chelsea's pretty
face and her silky voice. Only for a moment though. Then
Church literally shakes himself back into reality.
Well, I don't know, I'm mostly
self taught. I mean, like I said,
I do a little catering on the side
but it's not like I'm Wolfgang
Puck. I'm probably not really all
that good.
You're good enough for me! Will
you do it?
Church hesitates, puzzled by the request, but he looks into
Chelsea's beautiful, earnest face and can't say no.


Sure, why not.
Chelsea breaks into a brilliant smile and gives Church a
heartfelt hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Thank you so much. I can't tell
you how much I appreciate this!
Chelsea breaks her hug, still smiling. Church stands and
smiles awkwardly, unsure what to do next.
Well, then. When do we start?
My husband's away on business. Is
tonight too soon? It's too soon
isn't it? How about tomorrow
Tomorrow night would be good.
This is great! Thank you!
Chelsea pauses to take a scrap of paper out of her purse.
Here's my email address. Just
send me directions and I'll see
you tomorrow night!
Chelsea almost floats out of the room . Church stands
smiling as he watches her go. She stops and turns to see
Church watching her. She smiles sweetly, waves, and
disappears down the hall.
Chelsea is driving slowly and uncertainly. She stops at a
gravel road, pulls over and studies the directions Church
has emailed her. Satisfied, she turns onto the road and
drives past a large sign which reads WALDEN VISTAS.


Chelsea continues down the gravel road which is thickly
wooded on both sides. She rounds a bend in the road and the
forest opens up to a small valley.
Oh my God!
The valley is beautiful. Low rolling mountains surround the
valley on all sides. A large, well kept farmhouse and an
even better kept barn stand in the distance. The road
continues beyond the house but becomes little more than a
This can't be right.
Chelsea drives to the farmhouse and parks in front. She
stops a moment to admire the house and notices signs
pointing in different directions. The signs read DANCE
Chelsea walks uncertainly up the front porch and knocks on
the door. After a moment, the door opens and TOM WALDEN,
owner of Walden Vistas, steps out. A large, friendly man in
his sixties, he sports a smile as large as his ample belly.
Well, aren't you a pretty little
thing. What can I do for you
young lady?
I think I'm lost. I'm trying to
find a friend named Reed
Churchman. Do you happen to know
where he lives?
Tom's expression changes from curious to pleased.
So you're a friend of Church's.
Isn't that something? Come inside,


Chelsea follows Tom into a home deserving of a spread in
Country Living magazine. It feels welcoming yet refined.
Oh my! You have a beautiful home!
      (picking up a
       phone and dialing)
Thank you. The missus has worked
long and hard on it. You wouldn't
recognize it from when we first
bought it. I'm Tom Walden,
pleased to meet you.
Tom extends a large weathered hand which envelopes Chelsea's
as they shake.
Chelsea Oakton, likewise, and
thank you. I tried calling too.
He's not answering.
Yeah, Church can be hard to get a
hold of. He only has a cell phone
and he forgets to turn it on half
the time and the battery's dead
the other half.
Tom puts down the phone.
So how do you know Church?
He works with one of my daughters
and rents the cabin at the far end
of our farm.
Oh, are you Nati's father?
Sure am. Pardon me.
Tom opens a door in the back of the room and calls out.


Can one of you girls run and fetch
Church? A young lady is here to
see him.
There is a short pause followed by a burst of footsteps,
whispers, and laughter.
Oh, it's okay, really. I can just
drive down there, if you tell me
where it is.
Well, problem is Church could be
anywhere. He might at the cabin,
but he could be up on the
mountain. He goes up there a lot.
Four women enter the room looking at Chelsea with great
Chelsea, this is my family. My
wife Meg.
MEG WALDEN appears to be the earth mother incarnate. Grey
haired, warm, and nurturing, she bypasses Chelsea's
outstretched hand and gives her a long embrace.
Welcome to our home, dear.
And these are my daughters, Nati,
Sami and Brandi.
Nati, much like her mother, greets Chelsea with a hug.
We've met actually. It's so nice
to see you've made it here. Daddy,
I'll go get Church.
Thank you, dear.
Nati hurries out the front door, grinning every step of the
BRANDI WALDEN, the youngest of the three, as pretty and spry
as a spring colt bounces into Chelsea's arms.


We're all so glad Church finally
has a girlfriend! You just
wouldn't believe how long...
SAMANTHA WIACS, eyes wide with disbelief, moves toward
Brandi and pry's her away from Chelsea. Shocked as she is,
she moves with grace and confidence.
That might be a little
presumptuous, Brandi.
      (turning to
I hope you'll forgive me if I
don't hug you. I've been fighting
a bug forever.
Chelsea's face brightens with recognition.
Oh! You're the person Church was
cooking all that food for! That's
why I'm here. Church is going to
teach me to cook.
Well, if you're vegetarian you've
picked the right guy.
While the introductions are being made Meg has been studying
Chelsea carefully, as an artist would study their subject.
Chelsea, dear, could you do me a
I suppose.
I think you'll like this. Come,
Church enters first, followed by Nati who is scolding Church
as she walks.


I can't believe you stopped to
load some furniture you found on
the side of the road into your
pickup! She's waiting for you!
It's not just some furniture! It's
a mission desk. Someone was
actually was throwing out a
mission desk. Rich people have
the most amazing junk.
Nati lowers her head in frustration as she and Church walk
through the front door. Without warning Church stops in his
tracks. Her head still down, Nati walks nose first into his
Ow! What are you...
Chelsea stands in the center of the living room. She is
modeling a long black dress for Meg. She is stunning in her
simple elegance.
Chelsea was kind enough to model a
new dress we're selling in the
gift shop. I think you've just
given us our first bit of positive
feed back.
There is an awkward silence as Chelsea and Church both
Girls, can you help me clean up in
the sewing room?
Sure, Mom.
Tom, Meg and their daughters leave Church and Chelsea alone,
both of them searching for something to say.
I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said
that. You just look so pretty in
that dress, that I...I don't
know...I'm sure you hear that from


                       CHURCH (cont'd)
your husband all the time.
Actually I don't.
You would if you were my...I'm
sorry that was really
inappropriate. I'll just stop
talking now.
That's actually the nicest thing
I've heard in a while. Thank you.
Chelsea and Church ride in his well worn pickup, bouncing
along the rutted dirt road that leads to a small log cabin
by the edge of the woods. The pickup lurches and coughs to
a stop. Chelsea gets out holding her back.
I think you dislodged my kidney.
Well you've got two, right?
A beautiful Irish Setter bounds around the corner of the
cabin and gives a loud welcoming bark.
Chelsea, this is my best girl
Kate. Kate, can you say hello?
Almost on cue, Kate sits and strikes a regal pose then
offers a paw to Chelsea. Chelsea gracefully lowers herself
to Kate's level and begins petting her.
I'm pleased to make your
acquaintance, Kate.
      (to Church)
She's beautiful.
Properly introduced, Kate bounds toward Church's cabin.
Chelsea follows Kate, studying the cabin as she moves toward


This is cute!
Tom had it built as a sort of
wedding night cabin, but it was a
little too rustic for most brides.
So he decided to rent it out.
Why would someone come here for
their wedding night?
See the barn beside Tom and Meg's
farm house?
Chelsea turns to look at the perfectly restored barn sitting
in the distance.
That barn is what keeps the farm
going. Inside it has a dance
hall, kitchen, banquet facilities,
bridal suite. It's really nice.
So, after the reception the bride
and groom would come down here for
the night?
For a fee, of course. But when it
became obvious it wasn't working,
Tom decided to rent it out. Nati
told me about it. I saw it and
fell in love with it. So, if
you're ready, I'll give you the
grand tour.
Chelsea, Church, and Kate enter the cabin. It is small,
essentially a large great room divided into living and
dining areas. The kitchen is in the back of the cabin. A
small set of stairs leads to a loft overhead.


Well, here it is.
Chelsea looks over the cabin, smiling all the time. Church
jams his hands in his pockets and studies his boots,
uncomfortable with her scrutiny, realizing for the first
time how tiny and modest it must seem to her.
Nothing special, really. But it's
just me and Kate, so it suits us
well enough.
No. I like it. It's...I don't
know...kind of like an old flannel
shirt, just comfortable.
Chelsea pauses and tilts her head, trying to listen.
Is there a stream nearby?
Hmmm? Oh, that.
Church leads Chelsea to the far corner of the living area.
Behind a room divider is a small zen garden, several
paintings, a picture on the wall, and a fountain made only
of bamboo and a simple clay bowl.
It's sort of my meditation corner.
It's so peaceful.
Kate breaks the mood by casually walking over to the
fountain and taking a drink from the bowl.
Kate likes it too.
Chelsea leans forward and to look closer at a picture on the
wall. It is a picture of Church and a small Asian man. Both
of them are wearing Kung Fu fu uniforms.
Who's that in the picture with


Oh, that's my old Kung fu teacher.
He's the one who introduced me to
Do you still take lessons?
No, I dropped out when he died. It
wasn't the same without him.
You were close?
We were, but listen, we're not
here to talk about my past. We're
here to prove your husband wrong.
So we're off to the kitchen?
My favorite room.
Church walks with Chelsea and Kate to the kitchen. It is
small but well equipped and well used, as natural and rustic
as the rest of the cabin.
Oh, my!
Something wrong?
Chelsea stares at the wall behind Church. From floor to
ceiling it's lined with glass canisters, each one filled
with grains, dried beans, along with smaller canisters of
dried herbs. It has an earthy, comforting look.
It looks so healthy and natural. I
feel good just looking at it.
Wait til you see how it can taste.
Okay, first things first.


Church stops suddenly. His eyes turn downward, lost in
Is something wrong?
Maybe. Here's the thing.
Uh-oh, there's a thing?
Church looks at Chelsea. The concerned and earnest
expression on her face warms the frown on his until he bears
a subdued smile.
Well, it's just that...and I don't
know why it didn't occur to me
before...but I've never taught
anybody anything, so the only way
I know how to teach is how I
taught myself, which is a little
different from what you might have
Chelsea smiles and rolls her eyes in relief.
Different is exactly what I
A small, surprised smile crosses Church's face. Acceptance
isn't something he is used to.
Okay then, well, I find that
understanding Ming really helps
when cooking, especially cooking
something new.
Yes, Ming.
I'm lost already.
Ming means name. To a Taoist it's
very important to realize that
names, and words in general, are


                       CHURCH (cont'd)
only labels and can't really
express what something, or
someone, is.
And how do I do that?
Church turns and reaches for a small herb garden growing in
his window. He plucks a Sage leaf and hands it to Chelsea.
Feel it. That textured, kind of
bubbly feel and how it's smoother
on the other side. Look at it.
See how the veins are always at
the same angle. And the smell...
Chelsea holds the leaf close to her nose. She closes her
eyes and smiles.
Nothing else in the world smells
like it. You could read every
article every written or watch The
Food Channel until your ears leak
out of your head and it's
meaningless unless you experience
it yourself.Eventually what you're
sensing will take on meaning. What
it means to you will probably be
different from what it means to
me, which is as it should be since
each of us is a unique part of the
What does it mean to you?
Well, to me, food is a gift from
the Tao. So when we cook, we
cook with a sense of gratitude and
appreciation for what food means
to us. We've been given this
wonderful gift that not only
sustains us gives us a means to
express with it is to be human. We
can use food to celebrate or to
comfort. We can use food to show
love or even to seduce.
Church catches himself and blushes a little.


I probably shouldn't have said
that last one.
It's okay. I liked what you had
to say, even that last part. It
made me feel like this can't go
Church stands in front of the kitchen sink, water is running
and he is scrubbing intensely. In the background, the
windows are open and a fan is running full tilt.
You know Chelsea, you really
shouldn't be so hard on yourself.
                       CHELSEA (o.s.)
Have you ever melted a frying pan
Church raises a misshapen pan to eye level and inspects it.
Well, actually, I can't say that I
have but I'm sure lots of other
people have done it.
Church walks to the dining area and sits across the table
from Chelsea. Her head is bowed and buried in her hands.
Actually, this is really a good
thing. I was thinking about
getting some new pots and pans
anyway. This just gives me an
Chelsea raises her head from her hands. Her face is equal
parts discouragement and drunkenness. She reaches for one
of several opened wine bottles sitting next to her and fills
her glass to the rim.
You better go easy on that.
Chelsea ignores Church and drains half the glass.


I'm hopeless. Jake is right, I
could never be a good mother.
Chelsea tries to focus on Church and judge whether or not
she is in any shape to explain.
If I can't do something as simple
as cook how can I be trusted to
raise a child?
So that's what you're trying to
prove? That you can be a good
Chelsea takes another long drink and nods yes.
That's kind of messed up. Hope
you don't mind me being so blunt,
but it's not a fair comparison.
I'm not a parent but I see Nati
and her sister and I've seen how
the love for that child changes
them. I bet that same love would
change you.
Chelsea frowns as she tries to comprehend what Church is
Why don't I make something to eat
real quick?
That would be nice.
Chelsea and Church are finishing a small meal. Chinese
music is playing in the background. Hot tea has replaced
the the wine. Chelsea, no longer despondent, but still
drunk, leans back, satisfied.


That was so good. What do you
call it?
I just threw a few things
together. Tofu, some honey, some
ginger, it's good for your
stomach, a few other things. I
never really came up with a name
for it, though.
You have a thing with names don't
I have a thing with labels.
They're easy and they're usually
Chelsea falls silent and looks down at her lap. She speaks
without raising her head.
Like how some people label you?
Yeah, like that.
Chelsea looks Church in the eyes and leans toward him.
Doesn't it bother you?
No. Well, actually that's not
true. It bothers me but not
enough to change.
And not enough to tell those
people they're wrong?
Church looks at Chelsea and smiles the warm smile of an
adult who has heard a child say something cute and naive?
People believe what they want to
Chelsea slumps back in her chair. Her shoulders sag from
the weight of alcohol and Church's words.


I hope you're wrong because
sometimes I think my husband wants
to see me as this pretty, helpless
little fuck up.
I doubt that.
You don't know him. He isn't a
bad person but he excels at
everything he does. I think it
makes him feel better knowing that
I just don't compare to him.
Kate, who has been laying beside Church, groans loudly.
Church and Chelsea both chuckle at the sound.
Kate's not buying it. Neither am
Chelsea smiles appreciatively at Church's vote of
Thanks. You're a really nice guy.
Chelsea stretches, yawns and rubs her eyes.
I need to get myself fit to drive
home. Do you happen to have
Church rises from the the table and begins making coffee.
Here, let me help.
Chelsea struggles to her feet. She grabs onto whatever she
can to steady herself. She wavers as she enters the
kitchen, doesn't see Kate now laying on the kitchen floor
beside Church and steps on her tail.
Oh,God! I'm sorry Kate!


Kate lets out a yelp and hurries away. Chelsea now loses
her balance completely.
Whoa there!
Church catches Chelsea before she hits the floor, but knocks
over the coffee maker in the process. Water, coffee, and
the coffee maker scatter across the floor. The coffee pot
hits the floor and shatters.
Church, I'm sorry! I'm destroying
your place and I almost killed
your dog!
Church hoists Chelsea to her feet. They stand face to face,
toe to toe.
Kate's fine and I was...
Thinking about getting a new
coffee maker?
I really was.
They fall into an awkward silence as they realize how close
they are to each other.
Excuse me, Church.
Chelsea clamps her hand over her mouth and rushes from the
Church looks self conscious as he cups his hand over his
mouth and tests his breath.
Chelsea is kneeling in front of Church's toilet, vomiting
violently. Each time she heaves her long hair falls forward
splattering her hair with vomit and toilet water.
Church stands in the doorway, concerned, but unsure what to
do. Finally he enters, kneels beside Chelsea, and pulls her
hair back.


      (in between heaves)
Thank you.
The heaves subside and Chelsea regains a small measure of
composure. She flushes but keeps her face lowered, hiding
it from Church.
I'll get a wash cloth, maybe some
Chelsea nods but says nothing.
Chelsea emerges from the bathroom, stopping to steady
herself against the door frame. Immediately Church is by
her side.
I can't believe I did that. You
must think I'm a complete ass.
Stop it. Do you want to lay down
for a little while?
Maybe just for a little while.
Church settles Chelsea onto his couch.
Just rest. Let me know if you
need anything.
Church climbs the stairs to his loft. He returns a moment
later with a comforter and begins to tuck Chelsea in but
then stops. Church leans closer and smiles. Chelsea is
softly snoring.
Damn. You even snore pretty.


Church carries Chelsea up the stairs to his bed. The
combination of the narrow stairs, Chelsea's dead weight, and
his own slightly drunken state prove to be quite a
Holy shit, she's heavy!
Church gently places Chelsea in his bed. In doing so,
Chelsea's dress rides very high up on her thighs. Church
can't help but notice that they are very lovely thighs and
blushes at the sight.
Trying not to look, he pulls the hem of her dress below her
knees and tucks her in. Satisfied that she is comfortable,
Church makes his way down stairs, grabs his phone, and
begins dialing.
Nati, I need your help!
A knock at the door. Kate begins to bark but is quickly
silenced by Church. He answers the door and Nati enters,
carrying a change of clothes and toiletries. She stops to
sniff the air.
Is something burning?
Just a few pots and pans.
Never mind. This is great,
Not a problem. So, how is she?


Okay, I think. She's in the loft
She's the same size as Brandi so I
just brought blue jeans, a tee
shirt, a sweat shirt. I also
brought body wash, lotion...
Nati stops, smiles, and winks at Church.
In case you two want to take a
shower together.
You're not funny!
Nati takes a step back and throws her hands up. She's not
used to seeing such spirit from Church.
Okay, okay, okay, I'm sorry. You
two are just so cute together. I
couldn't help myself.
Nati walks over to the kitchen table and tries to pour
herself a glass of wine. The bottle is bone dry.
So, what's she like?
Well, she likes her wine.
Nati tries another bottle. This one's empty too.
She's smart, she's fun, a little
quirky. Kate likes her.
And vegetarian, sounds like a
match made in heaven. And don't
forget she's gorgeous.


And there's that. That marriage
thing though. Presents a
challenge of sorts, doesn't it?
Trying a third bottle. Empty.
Jesus! What must her blood
alcohol level be!
I had a couple of glasses too.
But three bottles! What, did you
give some to Kate?
      (shanking his head)
Doesn't like Rieslings.
Nati shoots Church a WTF look but decides to stay on task.
Maybe she's not happy in her
marriage. Don't you think it's
strange that she feels the need to
prove herself to him?
Maybe, but he doesn't sound like a
bad guy. Maybe a bit of a douche.
If he's sounds like a douche when
she talks about him he's probably
a complete asshole and you're
awesome. We both know it's true.
You might be right but...she's
still married, even if it's to an
asshole. I tried that once before
and it didn't go so well.
Nati lowers her head as though straining under the weight of
his words.
That wasn't the same.


No, but still, when it's right it
should be effortless, like water
So, she didn't take to the cooking
very well?
She will.
Maybe she can help you with Sami's
surprise party. It could be her
final exam.
That could work. God knows I
could use a hand. The last person
who helped was useless.
Nati unleashes a wicked right at Church's shoulder but
Church steps neatly out of the way.
You're getting better.
      (also smiling)
They fall silent. Nati smiles, shakes her head slowly and
kisses Church on the cheek and hands him her bundle.
Goodnight Church.
Nati sees herself out but stops at the doorway.
Things aren't always what they
seem Church. You of all people
should know that.
Chelsea begins to stir. Slowly, through the fog of her
hangover, she realizes this is not her bed. She sits up
quickly, unsure of were she is and then falls back into bed.


Oh, my God!
Chelsea then realizes that she is fully clothed, completely
disheveled, has nothing to change into, and reeks of vomit.
Church? Are you here?
Church, please tell me I'm at
least waking up in a nice guy's
Chelsea sees Nati's basket of toiletries and cloths on
Church's nightstand. Beside it there is also a tea pot and
cup along with a note from Church. It reads "Gone for a
walk. Thought you might need a little privacy. See you in a
little while. - Church."
You are a nice guy.
The muffled sound of a cell phone is heard. Chelsea
struggles out of bed and with one hand on the wall the
entire time makes her shaky way down stairs.
Wobbling as she goes and clutching her stomach Chelsea makes
her way to her purse and begins searching for her cell
phone. Unable to find it she turns the purse upside down,
dumping the contents on the floor.
Chelsea then realizes the ringing isn't even coming from her
purse. Chelsea manages to pull herself up from the floor
and weave her way to the couch she had fallen asleep on. The
phone still rings.
You really want to talk to me
don't you.
Chelsea pulls the cushions off the couch and onto the floor.
Finally she finds the cell phone.


Where the hell have you been? Are
you alright? I've been trying to
reach you all morning long!
I'm fine. I just had a little too
much to drink last night.
Chels, don't go turning into your
      (raising her voice)
I'm not turning into my mother!
Maybe not yet. Is this supposed
to convince me you're ready to be
a mother? How'd the cooking
lesson go by the way?
Chelsea's jaw clenches. Between her anger and her hangover
she looks truly dangerous. She takes a deep breath and
speaks in artificially even tones.
It went great Jake. Church says
I'm a natural. I'm gonna cook you
an amazing meal when you get back.
Jake speaks in such condescending tones a five year old
could tell they were being talked down to.
I'm sure you will, honey. I can't
wait to try it.
      (almost shouting)
Don't talk to me like that!
The front door of the cabin opens. Church, Kate, and a
blinding stream of sunlight enters the room. It takes a
moment for Chelsea to realize the state Church is seeing her


Oh my God!
Chelsea! Are you okay?
Everything's fine. It's just
my...um...tofu's burning. Gotta
go, bye.
Chelsea grabs a pillow from Church's couch and hides her
face and, as quickly as her hangover will allow hurries
I don't smell anything burning.
Chelsea wiggles into the blue jeans provided by Nati and
looks out the loft's single window. Below Church and Kate
seem to be playing a game of tag. Kate is winning easily.
      (opening the
Hey! Sorry I took off like that
but I looked awful.
No worries. Just for the record
though, you still looked really
Chelsea can't help but smile at a compliment given with such
sincerity. There isn't a hint of lecherous intent in
Church's words.
Well thanks but I sure didn't feel
that way.
Hey would you like me to make you
something to eat?
Chelsea clutches her stomach at the thought of eating.


I don't think I'm up for that just
Some fresh air? Maybe a walk in
the woods?
Chelsea, Church, and Kate walk along a wide path through the
woods surrounding Walden Vistas. To side of the road the
woods rise sharply toward the mountains behind Church's
So, where does this path go?
I don't know. Tom tells me it
used to be a through road years
before he owned the farm, but he's
not sure where it ends. In the
spring I'm planning on taking a
few days and backpacking with Kate
until we come to the end.
What if you don't like what you
I don't really concern myself with
the destination. To me it's the
journey that counts.
Church stops and studies Kate. She is standing regally in
the path ahead of them. Her head is raised, sniffing the
air, listening to the sounds of the woods. Church tilts his
head to one side and begins to listen intently.
What is it?
Church raises his head and looks at Chelsea. There is
excitement in his eyes.
Something wonderful. You game?


I think so.
We have to move fast. Are you up
to it?
      (even more
I think so.
Church grabs Chelsea by the hand and begins running up the
mountain. Kate seems to know exactly what Church has in
mind and sprints ahead of them.
Church and Chelsea reach the top of the mountain gasping for
air. Chelsea bends over resting her hands on her knee, her
shoulders rising and falling to catch her breath.
I think I'm going to throw up.
Church squats down and looks into Chelsea's eyes and gently
puts his hands on her shoulder.
If you can hang in there with me I
promise you this will be worth it.
Chelsea lifts her gaze from the ground to Church's face, a
face that seems hypnotic in its sureness that something
wonderful is about to happen. Like magic her breath slows
and her strength returns.
Okay. I think I'm alright.
They both straighten up and Church offers his hand to
Chelsea as he takes a step toward a clearing in the woods.
Chelsea looks at his outstretched hand but hesitates.
If I was gonna bite I would have
done it by now.


Reassured, Chelsea takes Church's hand. Together they hurry
into the middle of the clearing. Church takes off his coat
and tosses it aside.
Should I do that?
You'll feel more.
Feel more what?
Just more.
With this Chelsea takes her coat off and stands by Church's
side. Kate enters the clearing and gives Chelsea an
approving nudge.
Now what?
Church does an about face, spreads his arms, closes his eyes
and lifts his face to the sky. Chelsea copies Church.
Okay, now what?
Just wait, it won't be long.
Soft as a whisper, a rushing sound begins and slowly builds.
Then the sound of drumming, wood against wood, not to any
tune but still rhythmic and hypnotic.
What is that?
Something wonderful.
As they stand back to back, the wind begins to pick up. Snow
begins to lift and swirl around them. The barren trees
begin to sway in unison, their bare branches beating against
one another in a hypnotic cadence.
Is this it?
This is it!


Chelsea closes her eyes and gives herself over to the wind
and the woods. The rhythm of the beating branches increases
until it is mesmerizing. The wind now floods into the
clearing creating a vortex around Church and Chelsea. The
look on Chelsea's face is one of pure bliss.
Oh, my!
Gradually the wind softens and leaves as gently as a sigh.
Chelsea and Church open their eyes and turn to face each
other. Chelsea studies Church's face, as though seeing him
after a long separation.
That was magical! It was like ...
She stops not searching for the right words but trying to
believe the words she has chosen.
It sounds so silly.
If you said it to the wind and the
trees would they judge you?
No, I suppose not.
Neither will I.
Okay, then. It was like life was
breathed into me!
It's the Breath of God. It's only
happened one other time that I
know of. A couple of years ago I
was about as far down as you could
get. I came up here...sort of to
be alone but...to be honest was
was thinking about jumping off the
cliffs over at Wolf Rock.
Oh my God, why?
Loved someone who didn't love me
back.. Anyway, the snow that year


                       CHURCH (cont'd)
was so deep. I thought I might
die just getting up here. But I
came to this clearing and I heard
it. The rush of the wind, the
drumming of the branches and when
the wind hit me, it was like I got
just a glimpse of The Tao. It was
only a moment but sometimes,
that's all it takes to change a
person forever. That was my
Chelsea considers Church's words as she looks about the
forest and the stark beauty of the barren trees posses.
Beauty she had never seen before.
I want to see if I'm changed. Even
a little. Let's take another shot
at those cooking lessons.
Sure! We'll just have to stop
someplace an get some new pans.
Chelsea laughs and give Church a playful punch in the
Shut up!
Chelsea and Eileen are sitting at the kitchen table. Eileen
is slumped over. Her hand shakes as she raises a spoonful
of soup to her mouth. Her eyes, red rimmed and blood shot,
widen as the taste registers in her mouth.
Did you really do this yourself?
Chelsea is staring proudly at the meal she has made, like a
child admiring a straight A report card.
Yes, well, with a little help. A
friend at is teaching me to cook.
You mean that slutty girl in the
cube next to you?


Paula? No, I don't think Paula
cooks very often. His name is
Church and he's vegetarian. He's
really nice and very patient.
Eileen stops short of taking another spoonful and looks
directly at Chelsea.
What the hell kind of name is
Church and why is he teaching you
to cook?
It's just a nickname Mom. And I
want to make a point to Jake. I
just asked Church to help me.
Chelsea stops to stab a piece of glazed eggplant from her
own plate and pops it in her mouth for emphasis.
Is this about that baby thing?
No! Well yes, but it's not just
about the baby. If you could have
seen the look on his face. It was
so dismissive, like I was a child
that just said something cute and
ridiculous. I wanted to slap him.
Be careful Chels.
Of what?
Of this Church person. Most men
won't do something like that
without expecting something in
Mom, if you met Church you'd
understand. I couldn't be be any
Is he gay?


No! At least, I don't think so.
What difference would it make
Unless a man is gay, comatose, or
dead for at least two weeks you
have to worry about them trying to
hit on you.
Mom, trust me, I feel very safe
around him. I feel respected and
Chelsea looks down at her plate again.
I wish I felt that way around
Now you really have me worried.
Chels, sweetie, Have you
forgotten what it was like when it
was just you and me?
If you mean being hungry on
Thursday nights before pay day
because the money never seemed to
go quite far enough and wearing
two sweaters and thermal underwear
in the house because we couldn't
afford oil for the furnace until
the end of November? I remember.
That was only part of it. I lost
sleep at night trying to figure
out how to pay the bills. I must
have prayed a million prayers that
you wouldn't get sick because the
doctor might not see you because I
owed him so much money. I held my
breath every time I turned the
ignition on the car because I knew
if it didn't start I wouldn't have


                       EILEEN (cont'd)
the money to get it fixed.
Mother, why are you telling me
Because you'll never have to worry
about those things with Jake. He
may not be the most affectionate
man in the world, but for the
things that money can buy, you'll
never want for anything.
What about the things money can't
Like what?
Chelsea stares at her mother in open mouthed disbelief. She
starts to answer and then thinks better of it.
Just eat your soup, Mom.
Church enters his cube to begin his day. He sees a small
envelope at his desk, opens it and begins reading. A smile
spreads across his face.
Church sits at his desk and turns on his computer. He opens
his email, pauses for a moment then types in a message and
sends it.
Chelsea is sitting at her desk while speaking into her
headset. She sees that she has received a new email and
opens it. It is from Church and reads :


Chelsea smiles and types a response.
Church is typing a report when he receives an email. He
opens it and likewise smiles at the two word reply:


Chelsea and Church eating lunch together.
Chelsea with Church at his cabin slicing vegetables.
Slightly more comfortable this time.
Chelsea and Church looking at each other across the honey
comb of cubicles at work. Chelsea gives a very friendly
wave. Paula looks on with disapproval, Nati with delight.
Chelsea and Church are in the kitchen of Church's cabin. She
is making ratatouille they draw close and touch as Chelsea
offers him a taste.
Eileen opens her door to Chelsea, who breezes in with an arm
load of food she has cooked. Eileen frowns and follows
Chelsea into the kitchen.
Chelsea writes a note on her calendar. It reads "Sami's
Party, Walden Vistas".
Chelsea stops in front of Church's cabin and smiles as warm
and sweet as hot chocolate. Church and Kate sit on his
front porch waiting to greet her. Church moves as toward
Chelsea, as easy as a breeze. They hug, a little longer
than a friendly hug, and enter the cabin together.
Chelsea, Church and Kate enter the cabin. Chelsea goes
straight to the kitchen and turns to Church. She is smiling
in expectation.
So what are you going to teach me


Nothing. I think a dress
rehearsal might be in order.
A what?
Well, since tomorrow's the big
night...opening night so to speak,
I thought it might be a good idea
to get a feel for making a meal by
yourself. Just to test your
Chelsea is pulling a large pan of vegetarian Paella from the
oven. She places it on the the counter to cool and and test
tastes it.
Not half bad.
She begins to set Church's small table
Chelsea turns to the sound of a loud thump. Outside Church
is chopping fire wood. His movements are fluid, graceful
and powerful. Chelsea smiles sighs deeply.
Church finishes chopping wood and is beginning to stack the
pieces when Chelsea steps onto the cabin's small back porch.
Whatchya doin'?
I thought it might be nice to
start a fire. Sort of make our
last night special.
Sounds nice.
Chelsea looks into the woods behind Church's cabin and then
into the night sky.


I don't think I've ever seen so
many stars.
When I moved in here, we got a
late start and we were still
working into the night. I guess
it was just after the last glow of
the sunset had faded when I
noticed the stars. I just
couldn't get over how many of them
were in the sky. The rest of the
night, I couldn't do anything
without looking up at them. Nati
was really getting pissed but I
just couldn't help myself. That's
when I started to think this might
be the place where I belong. This
just might be home.
      (turning to
       Chelsea, smiling)
So far it looks like I was right.
Church looks back to the night sky and then at Kate, who
seems to be hanging on his every word. He shrugs suddenly
embarrassed by his words.
Sorry, I didn't mean to get all
preachy on you.
I don't mind. I like it when you
talk about those things.
Well...I could blather on some
more, but you'll have to feed me
Well you're in luck because now I
can do that.
Church is starting the fire as Chelsea lights candles on the
dining table.


That looks really nice.
My contribution to making the
night a little bit special. It's
been a good week.
Chelsea pauses, considering her words, considering the
meaning of them. When she speaks again it's almost to
A really good week. I think we
deserve something special.
Wait! We should capture the
Church climbs the stairs to his loft and descends a moment
later, camera in hand.
Have a seat and say cheese!
This is so corny.
No it's not. This is an important
moment. This could be THE moment.
Yeah, right.
Just smile and let me take the
damn picture.
Church snaps a picture and peers at the small screen on the
camera. Chelsea is radiant. It's a picture any model would
be proud of.
      (under his breath)
God, she's pretty.
What's that?


What...oh, nothing...nice picture.
Wanna see?
Chelsea draws close to Church as he shows her the picture. A
surprised smile jumps across her face as she looks at the
Oh my God! I look really...
She pauses as though searching for the right word. After a
moment Church tries to help.
Chelsea smiles an embarrassed smile and turns her head to
hide the blush in her cheeks.
Happy. I look happy.
They approach the table. Church steps behind Chelsea and
pulls her chair out for her. Chelsea smiles at gesture.
Jake would never have thought of this.
Thank you.
Church joins Chelsea at the table. They begin serving
themselves. Church takes a forkful of the Paella first. He
chews for a moment and begins to smile
This is really good. You're a
quick study.
I don't know about that but...I'm
happy with it.
That's all that should really
The cabin creaks as the wind flows past. Chelsea pauses to
listen to the wind and then to the crackling fire. Kate
pads over to Chelsea and rests her head in Chelsea's lap.
She sighs as Chelsea strokes her head.


You've really made a comfortable
little world for yourself. It's
not at all what I would have
What did you think?
I didn't really know what to think
but some people warned me that...
oh...I don't know...that you...
Might be a serial killer?
Well, something like that, yes.
Church stares down at the the table and shifts uneasily in
his chair. It's hard to tell if he's hurt or angry or some
of both.
Things aren't always what they
I see that now.
They are silent again. A bit more awkward now.
Do you ever get lonely?
Not for about the past week.
Thanks, but... do you?
I'm not sure I why I want to know.
Maybe because I like you and I
feel bad that people say mean
things about you when they don't
even know you. I guess I wouldn't


                       CHELSEA (cont'd)
feel so bad if I knew you weren't
Church puts his knife and fork down and looks into Chelsea's
eyes. His tone is soft and strong, as though trying to
teach a lesson.
Don't feel bad. I made a choice
to live my life this way and I
understood that it means I might
end up being alone. But this is
my Tao. I'd love to share it with
someone but if no one ever wants
to...then I'm okay with that.
Maybe I feel bad because I'm going
to miss this. I really don't want
it to end. I hope this doesn't
sound too weird but this past week
I felt like...
She stops. There is no confusion on her face. She knows
what she wants to say but chooses not to.
I don't know...you're easy to be
with. I like that feeling.
It doesn't have to end.
Chelsea's face shifts from sadness to uncertainty and
We could keep doing the cooking
lessons. A couple times a month,
once a week, something like that.
And Im cooking for Sami's party at
the end of this week. I could
really use some help.
Are you sure? You aren't doing
this out of pity?
No. I'm suggesting it because I
enjoy cooking and I enjoy your
company and when you combine the
two it makes for a pretty nice


                       CHURCH (cont'd)
Smiling,Church leans forward and whispers, as though he
doesn't realize they are alone.
You were getting a little pitiful
Church is helping Chelsea load containers of left overs into
her car. Once finished they stand awkwardly, silently, in
front of each other.
Call me if you have any problems.
When is dinner again?
Jake's flight comes in at 4:00, He
should be home by 7:00.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for
Without warning Chelsea gives Church a long hug, clinging to
him, reluctant to let go.
I'm so glad this won't be ending.
Are you sure your husband will be
okay with the cooking lessons? He
won't be jealous or anything?
Chelsea draws close again and gives Church a playful kiss on
the cheek.
I don't know. You're awfully
cute...but... I think I can
control myself.
Chelsea gets into her car, gives a final, flirty wave and
drives away. Church is as motionless as a tree on a calm
day as he watches her drive out of sight. When her tail
lights disappear he turns to Kate.


So...I'm cute. This must be how
Rudolph felt.
Kate listens and then, almost in disgust, turns and pads
The sound of a locked door knob being unsuccessfully turned
and of Jake's cursing can be heard.
Chelsea rushes from the dining room to the kitchen. She is
dressed in a simple, elegant dress which shows off her
lovely figure. Before opening the door she takes a deep
breath as though plunging into an icy river.
What's the door locked for?
      (playfully, mostly)
Hiding something from me?
Chelsea kisses Jake deeply and steps back. She is shaking
with excitement and nerves.
As a matter of fact I am. I have
a surprise for you.
Jake pauses to sniff the air.
Something smells really good. Did
you order out?
That's the surprise. I made a
romantic dinner to welcome you
You? Made dinner?
Yep! All by myself.
Chelsea pauses and strikes a seductive pose.
And if you're a good boy, there's
dessert later.


Jake takes a step toward the dining room to investigate the
aroma, stops and takes a step toward Chelsea, who is
magnetic in her beauty. He stops again, trying to make
sense out of what is happening.
How is this possible? You need
help with Lean Cuisine.
Chelsea takes Jake by the hand and pulls him toward the
dining room.
I've been taking cooking lessons.
Come. See what I can do!
Jake and Chelsea are in mid meal. Jake is enjoying is food,
coming as close to wolfing it down as his good upbringing
will allow.
Well, I must say this was
wonderful. I never would have
thought you could do it but bravo!
Jake begins to clap. Chelsea rises from her chair and does
her best curtsey.
So who taught you to do this and,
more importantly, how much did it
set us back.
Just the cost of the food. A
friend at work has been teaching
That slut you sit next to?
No! Why does everyone think that
Paula is the only friend I have?
His name's Church. I met him at
the diversity workshop. He rents
a cabin on this farm. They have
this beautiful barn that they hold
weddings and other events in. I
took one of their brochures, it's


                       CHELSEA (cont'd)
really pretty.
Sounds nice. What did you say his
name was?
Odd name.
Kind of. He's a really
interesting guy though. I
probably never would have noticed
him if he hadn't sort of made a
fool of himself at the Diversity
What'd he do?
Oh, he started talking about
Taoist philosophy and how seeming
opposite feelings or thoughts or
concepts sustain each other. I
thought it was pretty interesting
but everyone else just laughed. He
was pretty embarrassed. I really
felt bad for him.
They fall silent. Jake studies Chelsea as she drifts into
thought. I muted smile crosses her face.
It's funny. Meeting him has sort
of made me wonder.
Jake rolls his eyes but feigns listening. .
Wonder what?
Well, he's really interesting. At
first glance he's nothing special.
I mean he's cute and intelligent
but not so much that he jumps out
at you. He looks like he'd just
get pushed aside in the rush of


                       CHELSEA (cont'd)
everyday life. And I guess he
sort of does. But he's also
managed to carve out this quirky
little world that's just perfect
for him.
Okay, so?
Well, I don't know...I guess I
kind of admire him. He's almost
Chelsea pauses searching for the right words. Her smile
broadens as she reflects.
I just like the idea that everyone
has their own path to be followed.
I just haven't found mine yet.
Jake's face darkens as he speaks.
You sound like you have a crush on
Oh, Jake, no! He's just
interesting. He's very different
from anyone I've met before.
It sounds like more than that.
What is this stuff about your own
path? Your path is to be my wife
and to be there to support my
career which, in turn, is our
      (raising her voice)
What?! My life is supporting your
Jake rises from the table and spreads his arms as though he
were showing a king surveying his kingdom.


How much of this do you think you
would have if it weren't for me?
You'd be lucky to be living in a
cabin in the woods!
Jake, where is this coming from?
And what does this guy want out of
you? He's probably been thinking
about you and jerking off every
night for the past week.
Jake, that's disgusting! Church
is a really nice guy but you are
my husband and I love you. I did
this for you. I wanted to impress
you. I wanted to be able to say
that I surprised you.
Jake leans back in his chair. His face seems to lighten just
a shade.
Okay, you proved me wrong this
once. I hope you enjoyed it
because this is the end of the
cooking lessons.
But I enjoy them and there's so
much more I can learn.
Not from him. You can buy as many
vegetarian cook books as you want.
You can take some cooking lessons
somewhere else but you're done
with him.
It wouldn't be the same. It's
hard to explain, but he's really
unique in the way he teaches. It
wouldn't be the same with anyone
Chelsea pauses, trying to think of a better reason to


No, you're done with him. That's
You go out and what ever you want,
when ever you want and I don't say
a word. Why couldn't this be my
night out?
This discussion is over just like
your lessons with this guy.
      (raising her voice)
That's crazy! Church would
Jake takes his steak knife and plunges it point first into
the center of his dinner plate. Shards fly across the room
as though from an explosion. Chelsea recoils in shock and
Not another word. Do you
Terrified, Chelsea can only manage a shaking nod.
Jake pushes his chair away from the table and stands. He
towers over Chelsea and lingers a moment to emphasize the
fact. He sees she is sufficiently afraid and moves toward
the stairs.
Church walks quietly toward his desk to begin his work day.
He has the distant look of someone whose mind is a million
miles away from work. Until he reaches his desk.
Hey guys. What's up?
Standing at the entrance to Church's cubicle are two overly
serious looking security guards. Inside his cubicle, a
nondescript HR consultant empties Church's belongings into a
cardboard box.


I guess this means I didn't get
that promotion.
Chelsea looks miserable as she makes her way to her cubicle
when she is stopped by Paula.
Chelsea, what happened to zen boy?
You mean Church?
Whatever, they walked him out of
here a few minutes ago. What
Chelsea hurries to Church's now empty desk. She looks to
Nati, who has been crying but can still manage an icy glare,
and at Matt who folds his arms across his chest as though
defending his turf.
You've got some nerve coming here
after what just happened.
What are you talking about? I
don't even know what happened.
Nati speaks now, in a tone so acidic it could burn through
Why don't you ask your husband?
Nati's words hit Chelsea like a slap across the face. She
stands open mouthed for a moment then turns crisply and
marches out of sight.
An elevator door opens. Chelsea steps out and marches down
the hall only to be cut off by Jake's admin, GRACE STEELE, a
woman whose manner matches her name.


Mrs. Oakton, I'm sorry but he
can't see you right now.
This is important! This is an
emergency! I need to talk to him
right now!
I'm sorry Mrs. Oakton he's in a
meeting right now.
Chelsea looks past Grace through the glass walls of a
conference room. Jake is sitting dozing off in the middle
of a Power Point presentation.
I can see he's in a meeting but he
isn't doing anything that I can
see so can you please tell him his
wife needs to see him?
Mrs. Oakton...
It's MS Oakton, thank you.
Ms. Oakton...Mr. Oakton told me
you might be coming and what it
was about and this is no
That's easy for you to say because
you aren't the person who was
fired by a petty, controlling,
jealous asshole!
A small group of junior executives sit feigning attention to
a power point presentation being given. Jake sits at the
head to the table equally disinterested until he begins to
hear a familiar voice.
      (to himself)
What the hell?


                       JR. EXEC
Who is that crazy bitch?
As if on cue Chelsea forces her way past the admin and
begins pounding on the glass walls of the conference room.
      (yelling through
       the glass)
God damn it Jake! Don't ignore
                       JR. EXEC
She's a lovely woman. Very
Excuse me. I have a situation to
Jake rises and leaves the room. Through the glass he can be
seen nodding to his admin who turns crisply and disappears.
The second Jake turns toward Chelsea she is toe to toe with
him arguing loudly but unintelligibly.
Eileen sits on the couch finishing a drink and pouring
herself another. In front of her Chelsea is pacing wildly in
front of her. Her arms flail in anger as she speaks.
I can't believe he had security
remove me from the building.
Chels, sweetie, it does sound like
you were being a little, you know,
Mom, Church was fired by my
asshole husband just because we
were becoming friends and Jake
wouldn't even talk to me about it.
Are you really sure Jake had him
fired? I mean, how well do you
really know this Church person?


I know he did. If you could have
seen the look on his face when I
was talking about Church and then
two days later he's been fired.
That doesn't just happen unless
someone powerful is involved.
Eileen drains her glass and pours herself another.
Sweetie, you need to talk to him
about what you're feeling.
There isn't anything to talk
about! The way I feel right now I
don't ever want to see him again.
How can I live with someone like
that? How can I have children
with someone like that?
Eileen rises from the couch to stop Chelsea's pacing. She
reaches for Chelsea and takes her in her arms.
Don't talk like that baby. You're
scaring me. You could lose
I'm not sure that I really had
anything except for things.
Baby, I think I understand what
you're feeling but don't do
anything rash. Give yourself some
time to sort things out.
Knocking is heard at the front door, not light, polite
knocking but loud and forceful, demanding to he answered.
                       JAKE (o.s.)
Chelsea! Let me in! We have to
Eileen moves to the front door and begins to unlock it.
Seeing this Chelsea throws herself at the door, slamming it
shut just as Eileen begins to open it. She quickly re-locks
the door.


Are you crazy? I'm not talking to
him! Ever!
Chelsea this is ridiculous! What
happened to your friend had
nothing to do with me.
Don't lie to me! I saw how
jealous you were! Is that what the
rest of my life is supposed to be
like? And then you didn't even
have the balls to come out of a
meeting you were falling asleep in
when you could see how upset I
You were making a fool of me! I
can't have that from anyone, not
even my wife.
So how you appear to your
coworkers is more important than
your wife?
Chelsea please come out and we can
talk about this over dinner.
Jake, maybe it would be a good
idea to give Chelsea some time to
process this.
Jake takes a step back and kicks the door. It shudders from
the force.
I don't need advice from you old
Jake kicks the door again. The sound of splintering wood is


Jake if you don't leave I'm going
to call the police! How will that
look make you look at work?
Jake takes a step back, seething as he considers Eileen's
You're bluffing!
Try me!
Jake is silent. He takes several deep breaths to regain his
All I want is to talk to my wife.
Well your wife doesn't want to
talk to you...not now. I need
time Jake.
Jake turns to walk away then stops and pivots on his heels.
He delivers one final kick to the door. The frame cracks
and gives way but the chain lock on the other side holds
leaving Chelsea and Eileen, terrified and holding each other
visible through the opening in the door frame.
Don't fuck with me Chelsea.
Church and Nati are in a gleaming, professional grade
kitchen, standing among mounds of chopped and sliced
vegetables. Nati is awkwardly slicing eggplants. Church
stops to check on Nati. His voice is tense.
No! I need them sliced thicker!
They'll be nothing but mush if we
bake them that thin. And I need
you to move faster, we're way
If I go any faster I'll be leaving
pieces of my fingers in the food!


                       CHELSEA (o.s.)
Can I help?
Church and Nati turn to see Chelsea standing in the doorway
of the kitchen. Nati smiles warmly. Church looks as though
he has suffered a heavy blow to the head.
What are you...I thought that
I'm not sure and I thought so too.
I'll just be leaving. I need some
band aids anyway.
Nati leaves the kitchen. Chelsea and Church stand across
the room from each other, unsure of what to say, unsure of
what to do, unsure of how they feel. Finally...
This is a lot of food.
Sure is. I didn't realize what I
was getting myself into.
I got the picture you sent me. It
reminded me how much you did for
me. I couldn't let you down.
--Chelsea chops herbs and adds it to a pan of olive oil. She
stops to enjoy the aroma. Church watches smiling. Nati
watches Church, smirking. Church quickly busies himself
when he notices her watching.
--Church stirs a large pot of sauce. He offers a taste to
Chelsea. She tastes, closes her eyes and tilts her head
back in pleasure.
--Chelsea removes an enormous tray of ratatouille from the
oven. She savors the smell and admires the sight.
-- With the Grove girls watching more than helping, Chelsea
and Church move back and forth in the kitchen without
awkwardness or hesitation, they are in sync and in tune with
each other.


Chelsea and Church continue to work smoothly together.
Chelsea's cell phone begins to ring. She pauses from her
work and checks the number. The cell phone display reads
It's Jake. Probably calling to
tell me all about how brilliant
today's presentation was.
She unceremoniously tosses the cell phone back into her
I can do without that right now.
A crowd is gathered in the darkened banquet hall. Sami, her
husband, IAN, and daughter EMMA, enter the banquet hall.
Sami is fuming until the lights come on and the crowd
                       EVERY ONE
Sami's anger turns to shock, then to embarrassment and
finally to tears. She hugs her laughing husband and
giggling daughter.
I love you!
Tom and Meg are standing on the stage. Tom addresses the
family and friends gathered.
Sami, sweetie, you know we are
always looking for an excuse to
have a party and your mother and I
couldn't think of a better reason,
than to celebrate the wonderful
news that you are cancer free.
The crowd applauds and cheers.


So let's get the food going and
the booze flowing and let's make
it a night that none of us will
With that another cheer goes up, champagne bottles are
popped open, and drinks are poured.
--Chelsea, Church,Nati and Brandi serving food, smiling as
people file through the buffet line, intrigued by what they
--The guests sitting down and enjoying the food.
--Later in the party the guests are becoming more
comfortable, thanks to the food, and less inhibited, thanks
to an ample supply of beer and wine.
--Sami dances slowly with her husband, Emma cuts in and
begins a giddy upbeat dance with Sami.
Jake opens the kitchen door and slams it shut.
No answer.
      (to himself)
You better have a good reason for
not picking up.
Jake searches throughout the house, becoming almost
uncontrollably angry. Finding nothing, he returns to the
kitchen. He notices the calendar and Chelsea's note on
today's date which reads "Sami's Party Walden Vistas"
You little cunt!


Jake grabs his smart phone and searches for the name and
address of Walden Vistas. He saves the page and storms out
the door.
Chelsea and Church stand side by side, watching Sami and
Emma dance. They glance at each other and share a sad
We were a good team tonight.
We were.
Church opens his mouth to speak, thinks better of it and
looks back out to the dance floor. Ian has now cut in on
Emma and is dancing slowly and closely with Sami.
      (nodding toward
       the dance floor)
I should learn to do that some
Learn to do what?
Dance. I always thought it would
be kind of cool to be able to
dance. Never had the need though.
How about your prom?
Didn't go.
Church looks at Chelsea, chuckles, and shakes his head. He
can't believe she has to ask.


People thought I was weird back
then too.
Silence again. Gradually a sly smile begins to spread
across Chelsea's face. She takes Church's hand and moves
toward the dance floor.
What're you doing?
It may be a little late but I'm
giving you you're prom night slow
Jake's car comes speeding into the Walden's parking area.
Jake parks beside Chelsea's car, slams the door shut and
storms toward the barn.
Chelsea and Church begin to dance. Church is awkward,
unsure of how close to be or what to do with his hands.
Chelsea takes his hand and places it on her waist.
Sorry, didn't want you to think I
was groping you.
I don't mind. Still though...
it's nice to feel respected.
They fall silent as they dance, each looking into the others
I don't know what it is but things
just feel right when I'm with you.
Church says nothing.
I wish that...


Chelsea looks around the hall as though the rafters might be
hiding the right words. Words don't come, though.
She falls silent and lays her head on Church's shoulder.
I don't know what I wish.
No matter, they don't come true
very often.
Jake enters the hall and scans the crowd, looking for
Chelsea. Finding her, he storms across the dance floor and
pulls Chelsea away from Church.
What the hell's going on here!?
      (trying to act
Jake this my friend Church. Church
this ...
I can see how friendly you are!
      (also trying to
       act innocent)
Hi Jake. Nice to meet you. Like
to cut in?
Jake punches Church hard across the jaw. Church stumbles
backward into several other people. They all fall to the
floor. Fists and jaw clenched, Jake moves toward Church.
Jake! Stop it!
Chelsea grabs Jake by the arm but he pushes her back as
though she were a child. Chelsea loses her feet and lands
hard on the dance floor. She cries out in pain.
Church is on his feet and rushing to Chelsea's side. Jake
grabs Church by his shirt, ready to punch him again.
Not so fast, Zen boy!


Church grabs Jakes thumb and pulls it back with a dull snap.
Jake cries out but again strikes out with his other hand.
Church, who parries the blow and snaps Jake's other thumb.
Jake drops to his knees. Church releases Jake and turns to
Are you okay?
I'm fine.
Church turns back to Jake but doesn't move toward him.
Are you fuckin' insane? How could
you do that to her? Do you have
any idea what you have? I'd give
anything to be with her, just once
and you just ...and you...
Church stops and realizes what he is saying in front the
Oh, Jesus.
Church hurries out of the banquet hall.
      (struggling to his
I think he broke my thumbs. Son
of a bitch!
      (turning to
Come on Chels, let's go.
I'm not going anywhere with you.
I said come on!
I said no! The only person who
should be leaving is you.
Tom Walden approaches Jake in a kind but firm manner.
Several large men stand behind him as back up.


I think it would be best. There's
nothing you can say now that can't
be said another time. Do you need
a ride to the emergency room?
I don't need a fuckin' thing from
you people.
Jake turns and stomps off into the night.
Church is sitting on a stainless steel counter, slumped over
and dejected. He is holding a large knife in each hand,
examining them closely.
Nati comes down the steps and stops in the doorway of the
Knock, knock.
Church looks up quickly, startled, but relaxes when he sees
Are you okay?
      (holding the
       knives up)
What do you think, chef's knife or
filleting knife?
For what?
To slit my throat.
Nati enters the kitchen.
Don't you think you're being
overly dramatic?
Did I just, more or less, tell
everyone in that banquet hall that
I'm in love with Chelsea?


Pretty much.
Then no, I don't think I'm being
overly dramatic.
And one of those people was her
You know, you're really not
helping that much.
Unseen by Church and Nati, Chelsea descends the stairs but
stops and stays hidden in the stairwell.
Is she alright?
She'll have a bruise on that cute
little butt of hers. Other than
that, she'll be okay.
Church places the knives back in the butcher block and
begins to pace the floor. His head hangs low as he walks.
You know, I guess I really should
laugh at the irony.
How's that?
When I see her, I see my Tao.
I call it the Tao, but it doesn't
really matter what you call it:
Heaven, Paradise, Nirvana they're
all really the same thing...don't
you think?


Sure. I guess. Actually... I
have no idea what you're talking
All of them are places where
there's no longing. If you yearn
for kindness, or acceptance or
love you find them. Whatever you
ache for is given. That's what we
all hope for.
Church's pacing takes him within inches of the stairwell
where Chelsea hides. She tries to make herself as small as
possible. Church turns and paces in the other direction. He
doesn't see her.
I feel that way with her. Just
being with her, just seeing her, I
think to myself "What else could I
ever want for?".
And the irony is?
That she belongs to someone who
embodies everything I hate. And I
don't see how anyone can say no to
the things he can give her.
What would you say to me if I were
to say something like that?
No one belongs to anyone. You can
only give yourself to someone.
Maybe you're not giving her enough
I don't know. You saw what he
looks like. The guy's an Adonis!
Who could see past that?


He is gorgeous you're right about
that! And Dad said he drove off
in a Lexus.
Church stops and takes a questioning look at Nati.
When you're kids have an owie do
you sprinkle salt on it? I'm just
trying to figure this out.
I'm sorry, Church. Did I mention
that he drove home alone in that
Really. Maybe she feels the same
way about you. Maybe you're her
It's hard to imagine.
Nati walks over to Church an playfully elbows him.
She noticed you in the first place
didn't she. Most people don't
even do that. If anyone could see
past all that money and the good
looks she could.
Chelsea remains hidden in the stairwell listening to
Church's words. She brushes a tear from her cheek and turns
back up the stairs.
Chelsea is staring out the window of a young woman's
bedroom. Walden's barn is in the distance. From her point
of view we can see Church's solitary figure moving back and
forth, putting away tables and chairs. Kate is by his side
as though trying to provide comfort.
      (entering the room)
Here we go. Clean sheets weren't
a problem but finding something


                       NATI (cont'd)
for you to sleep in was a bit of a
challenge. I found some of
Brandi's old sweats. I happen to
know you two are the same size.
Chelsea hasn't moved, hasn't heard a word Nati said.
      (turning quickly)
I'm sorry. What did you say?
Nati crosses the room and follows Chelsea's gaze. Outside
Church is locking up the barn and begins the walk back to
his cabin with Kate still by his side.
We would've helped him but he
asked to be alone.
      (stating the
I don't think he had a very good
Do you know Church very well?
Pretty well.
I don't know much about him. But
I feel like I know him. Doesn't
that sound ridiculous?
Actually, it sounds like something
Church would say.
Nati is silent for a long moment. She looks directly at
Chelsea before speaking again. Her words are candid and
Things are hard for Church. It's
easy to let the things he can
never be blind you to what he is.
Chelsea remains silent her eyes follow Church until he fades
into the night.


It takes a special person to see
      (to Nati,almost
All I wanted were cooking lessons.
I didn't want my whole world to
You, um...you asked me if I knew
Church very well. Actually, I
know him about as well as you can
know anyone. We were lovers for
quite a while. Until about two
years ago.
Chelsea spins toward Nati, shocked. Now Nati has her full
What? And you're still friends?
What happened?
Please don't ever breath a word of
this to anyone, especially Church.
No, of course not.
But...what...and why aren't
You know, one of things that I
learned about Church ...and that I
love about him... is that he
doesn't make demands. He accepts
what life gives him, treats it as
a gift, and doesn't ask for more.
Being with someone like that can
really clarify what's important to
Understood. Thank you.
Chelsea turns from Nati and again stares out the window. In
the far distance, the lights of Church's cabin are now on.


Well, let me change these sheets
for you. I'll leave this stuff
here. Mom and Dad are pretty
sound sleepers but Brandi is just
down the hall, if you need
Nati begins to change the sheets.
You wouldn't happen to have an
overnight bag, would you?
I'll see what I can find.
Chelsea approaches Church's cabin. She stops at the bottom
of the porch steps, takes a deep breath, and climbs the
steps. Trembling, she knocks on the door.
Church sits on his back porch, staring at the stars, lost in
thought. Kate hears Chelsea's knocking and begins to bark.
Sorry Nati, I'm not in the mood to
talk anymore.
Chelsea cautiously peeks around the corner of the cabin.
It's me Church.
Church quickly rises from his chair and almost falls over.
I didn't think I'd ever see you
again. I'm sorry. I am really,
truly sorry about...


Don't be, you didn't do anything
wrong. I should probably be the
one to apologize.
For what?
I don't know. For eavesdropping,
I guess. I came downstairs to see
if you were okay and I heard what
you said to Nati.
This night just keeps getting more
Chelsea draws near Church.
Church, stop. Please. It's okay.
Are we okay? You and me? Will we
see each other again? Are we
still friends?
Not tonight.
I don't...I don't understand.
No one has ever said things like
that about me. I guess that goes
without saying...I mean, how many
girls can say they've compared to
the Tao? But in a weird, Zen-like
kind of way, it was the most
romantic thing anyone has ever
So, what do we do now?


What would the Tao do?
The Tao doesn't do. It just is.
Then let's just be. No promises
of tomorrow, or next week, or next
year. But for one night, I would
love it if we could just give
ourselves to each other.
Are you sure? I mean...Jake's a
pretty impressive guy. I might
be...I might not...I don't
know...I might be kind of...you
know... different.
God, I hope so.
They both laugh. Church looks into Chelsea's eyes, looks
away, and then back into her eyes.
Well, I've never kissed the Tao
before so... here goes.
Church kisses Chelsea. A kiss that couldn't be more
different than Jake's. It is tender,caring, and loving.
Church lingers, then pulls slowly away, Chelsea leans into
him, reluctant to let go.
      (short of breath)
Yep, pretty different.
Chelsea returns Church's kiss. Church then takes Chelsea's
hand and the two go inside, followed closely by Kate.
Church is three steps in before he realizes that Chelsea is
still just inside the doorway. He turns and smiles, deeply
touched, at what he sees.


Chelsea has taken off her coat to reveal the same black
dress she modeled for Meg Walden on the night of their first
cooking lesson.
Nati let me borrow it. I didn't
have anything of my own that
was...I don't know...pretty...I
wanted to be pretty for you.
I've seen sunrises and sunsets,
clear, starry nights and full
moons shining off of fresh snow.
But none of those things compare
to you.
I guess that means you like it.
Church walks back toward Chelsea and stops when they are toe
to toe. They kiss again.
I do.
Without warning Church sweeps Chelsea off her feet and
carries her upstairs to the loft.
This is a lot easier when you're
not passed out.
Shut up!
Church and Chelsea stand before one another holding hands.
They look as though they are standing at an alter.
Tell me what you like.
Chelsea is silent. She lowers her head, embarrassed.
I don't know what I like.


Church tilts his head toward Chelsea's until they touch. A
moment passes in silence before Church lifts his head and
kisses Chelsea on the forehead. He then kisses her on the
Then on the chin.
Then on the neck.
Church smoothly moves behind her and gently gathers
Chelsea's thick hair in one hand and sweeps it aside. With
passion buffered by gentleness he begins to kiss the nape of
her neck.
That I like.
      (in between kisses)
I've wanted to do this since our
first night together.
      (laughing softly)
Ever since I saw you throwing up
in my bathroom.
I remember that. You were so
I thought there couldn't be
anything more lovely than the nape
of this neck.
Church falls silent as Chelsea turns to face him. He begins
to undress her, pausing to cover her body with kisses as he
does so. He continues from her neck and then to her
breasts. He kneels before her and begins kissing her
stomach. Chelsea falls backward into Church's bed.
Oh my God, Church.
Abruptly, Church stops and raises his head. Chelsea
struggles to pull herself back from her foreplay induced
daze. They both turn their heads toward the foot of the
This'll never do.


Sitting at the foot of the bed, her head tilted to one side,
Kate is studying Chelsea and Church with great interest.
The front door of Church's cabin opens and Kate is quickly
pushed on to the front porch. She scratches at the door
once and waits. No response. Kate lays down, curls into a
ball and, heaves a sigh of resignation.
Chelsea slowly awakens and, remembering where she is, begins
to smile. She rolls over in bed. Church is gone.
                       CHURCH (o.s.)
I'm here. I wanted to make
something for you. I'll be right
Church comes up the stairs, smiling broadly and holding a
tray of warm cookies and two glasses of milk.
Milk and cookies?
Don't you love the paradox?
Something so sweet and innocent
after something so decadent and
Church sits on the edge of the bed and the two begin to feed
each other. Chelsea is blissful but deep in thought.
Do you do anything like normal
Church pauses, seriously considering the question.
Not much. Is that a bad thing?
No, I think it's a pretty terrific


A muffled ringing is heard. Chelsea gets up digs through
her purse until she finds her cell phone. The screen reads
"Jake". Chelsea turns the phone off and throws it back into
her purse. There is a look of dread on her face.
It's Jake. Tell me what to do
I can't do that.
Then tell me what YOU want me to
Church rises from the bed and walks to the other side of
the loft. He stares out the window as though the answer is
somewhere in the woods beyond. After a moment he turns back
to Chelsea.
Choose him.
Or choose me.
Church don't be...
Church walks back to Chelsea's side. He stops her with a
Or choose no one at all. But
whatever you do, choose because
that's what brings you to your Tao
without thought and without
Church, I need you to talk so that
I can understand you!
I'll do better. I'll show you.


Chelsea and Church walk hand in hand through the woods. Kate
is close at their side. They stop at the banks of a stream.
The stream splits and then joins again downstream, forming
a small island.
When I want to get away I go to
the mountain. When I want
direction I go to the stream.
Church leads Chelsea across a fallen tree which forms a
bridge from the bank to the island. Kate nimbly follows.
What are we doing?
They reach a large flat rock in the middle of the island and
stop at the edge. Church looks as though he has seen an old
friend. Chelsea simply looks baffled.
Church and Kate walk into the middle of the rock. They turn
in unison and look expectantly at Chelsea who smiles, shakes
her head and follows.
This is going to help?
I hope so. Let's sit back to
back. We'll support each other.
Chelsea sits with her back toward Church and rests against
him. Kate lays beside Chelsea and lays her head in
Chelsea's lap.
Close your eyes and concentrate on
the sound of the stream.
Chelsea and Church both close their eyes.
The greatest good is like water.
It gives life to all things and
asks for nothing in return...
...It seeks the lowest places that
men disdain. And so it is like
the Tao


They both smile as they quote from the same verse of the Tao
Te Ching
Listen to the stream. Then become
the stream. Let your spirit move
as naturally as the stream and
you'll know what to do. Just let
your spirit flow.
As Church is speaking Chelsea's expression changes from
concentration, to realization and then to tranquility. She
opens her eyes and looks as though she is seeing the world
around her for the first time. She has her answer.
Chelsea enters her mother's house and goes into the living
room. Empty.
Mom! I need to talk to you!
                       EILEEN (o.s.)
I'm coming Chels.
Eileen comes down stairs. She is well dressed and sober.
There is a businesslike air about her.
We need to talk, sweetie. I know
all about what happened yesterday.
So you've been talking to Jake.
You need to forgive him and you
need to go back to him. He feels
terrible about what he has done.
Chelsea pauses to compose herself. Still, anger and fear can
be heard in her voice.
He should feel terrible. He
humiliated me and he hurt me. I
think that warrants a little


                       CHELSEA (cont'd)
                       JAKE (o.s.)
It does Chelsea. It warrants
a lot more than that.
Jake comes in from another room. He is unshaven and
unkempt,red eyed and shaking. He holds his arms out to
Chelsea as though to embrace her. The gesture reveals there
are large metal splints on each of his thumbs.
I'm so sorry for what I did.
Please forgive me. Tell me what I
can do to make it up to you.
You can't do anything to make it
Jake walks toward Chelsea, slowly and deliberately, almost
as though stalking her.
Please Chelsea, I was an ass. I
don't deserve your forgiveness. I
don't deserve you. I know that.
But please, please, somehow, can
you please forgive me?
Chelsea backs away. Jake continues to advance.
Stay away from me, Jake.
Jake stops walking, but continues to speak. His voice
begins to break.
Never again. I won't hurt you.
Never, ever again. I am so, so,
so sorry. Please let me show you.
I'll prove it to you. I swear to
God I will.
It's more than that Jake. You
don't respect me! You never did!
I don't know why I didn't see it
before, but I do now!


It's him isn't it, Chelsea? He's
confusing you. He's like some
sort of Svengali.
      (Turning toward
Church? Are you insane? I've
never met anyone kinder. He wants
me to be who I really am. No one
else has ever let me do that.
While Chelsea has been facing Eileen, Jake has moved closer,
now only feet away from her.
It is him. I could see it when
you looked at him and when he
looked at you.
      (To Jake)
Stay away from me!
      (To Eileen)
I can't believe you let him in,
you bitch!
Chelsea takes another step backward. She bumps into a chair
pushed against a wall and almost falls into it. Jake takes
another step toward Chelsea but then drops to his knees. He
breaks down and begins to weep.
I don't know where you were last
night or if you were with him and
I don't care. Nothing matters
except that you take me back. Tell
me what you see in him. Tell me
what he is to you and I'll be
that. Just please let me be that.
He buries his face in Chelsea's lap and cries all the
harder. Chelsea closes her eyes and she too begins to cry
silent tears. She wraps her arms around Jake's neck and
kisses him on the top of the head.
Church and Matt are carrying boxes and loading them into a
large moving van. They are both sweating and tired. Behind
them Nati and Sami are taping and labeling boxes.


Are we done?
Almost, I think Chels is going
through the house one last time.
I can't believe you're really
doing this.
Church is silent. He looks at Chelsea's house. The windows
are bare, the house empty. The front door of the house
opens and Chelsea, followed by Paula, walks out. She sees
Church, smiles, and begins walking toward him.
I think I'll go see if Nati and
Sami need any help.
Chelsea, dirty, tired and still pretty stops a pace further
away from Church than one would expect.
Mom's packing up the last box and
Paula found the rhinestones that
came off of her nails. I think
we're all done.
I'm glad they're back together. I
know they mean a lot to each
Thanks for your help. It was
really nice of you.
Well I did break your husband's
thumbs. It was t