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The Journey of Change
by Elena Torres (ele.montse@yahoo.com)

Rated: PG   Genre: Teen Movies   User Review: ***

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.


Emily is LISTENING to music with earphones in her room
looking very bored. Her parents (Alyssa and Paul) COME IN.
                       ALYSSA (mother)
Emily, sweetheart, what did you
eat today?
                       EMILY (daughter)
A salad.
Alyssa looks disappointed and SAD.
      (looks at Paul)
Honey, we have something to tell
                       PAUL (father)
      (in a demanding
We are going on a road trip to the
Grand Canyon during Spring Break.
It will be good for you; it will
be good for all of us.
      (in a loud tone)
I'm not going. I have to try my
new diet and workout routine. You
can't make me/
      (interrupts at /)
It was not a question; it was an
order. You are coming with us and
you will not complain.


Emily gives her mom a PLEADING look. Alyssa feels like she's
caving in but then REMEMBERS what happened to Emily last
Alyssa CLEANS up around the house when she gets a phone call
from Emily's High School. SIGHS and picks up the phone
looking disappointed expecting her daughter to be in
                       SCHOOL NURSE
Good morning, is this Mrs. Howard?
Yes, this is she.
                       SCHOOL NURSE
Mrs. Howard, Your daughter passed
out this morning. She's on her way
to Foster Hospital.
Thank you m'am.
Alyssa immediately puts down the phone and RUSHES TO THE
Alyssa RUNS to the front desk of the hospital.
I'm Mrs. Howard. My daughter
arrived here earlier today. Can I
go see her? What room is she in?


                       HOSPITAL NURSE
Emily Howard?
Yes, Emily.
                       HOSPITAL NURSE
She's in room 707.
Thank you.
Alyssa LOOKS for room 707.
ROOM 707
Emily SLEEPS on the hospital bed. Alyssa GHASPS in fear to
see her because Emily LOOKS ILL and debilitated. The doctor
approaches Alyssa.
Hello doctor. I am Emily's mother.
Will she be okay?
Hello Mrs. Howard, we ran some
tests. Your daughter's diet has a
serious lack of nutrients and
caused her to pass out . . . Your
daughter has anemia.
      (to herself)
How could this happen?
Based on our diagnosis, Emily
could be anorexic. I recommend
keeping her in the hospital for a
couple of weeks under our nurses'
supervision so she can regain the
strength she has lost because of
malnutrition. After a she has
regained some strength, I would
strongly recommend hospitalizing


                       DOCTOR (cont'd)
Emily until she reaches a less
critical weight.
      (the doctor's
       dialogue becomes
       muted to Alyssa)
Counseling would be extremely
beneficial, I would even say
required, given her state.
      (Voice breaking,
Can I . . . have a moment with
her, please?
Doctor NODS and LEAVES the room. Alyssa APPROACHES Emily
slowly and strokes her hair. Alyssa sees Emily's clothes
next to her bed and GRABS them. She FEELS something inside
Emily's jeans. She PULLS OUT a razor blade.
Alyssa can't contain her tears and cries unconsolably.
                                         END FLASHBACK.
Emily and her mom EXCHANGE a glance. Emily trying to
convince Alyssa to let her stay home instead of going with
them to the road trip.
You need to understand that we are
doing this to help you.
FINE! Just leave me alone please!
Alyssa and Paul WALK toward the door to EXIT Emily's room.
Pack your things for a week. We
are leaving in the morning. Get
some rest . . . Good night.


Good night honey . . . I love you.
Alyssa closes the door slowly.
Alyssa and Paul PACKING UP. Emily STANDING outside trying to
IGNORE her parents and not attract attention to herself.
      (sarcastic, to
Thanks for helping. Don't tire
yourself out.
Emily ROLLS HER EYES and GRABS her backpack and GETS IN the
RV they rented for the road trip.
Marie (the next-door neighbor) LOOKS out the window and
OBSERVES the Howard family packing up.
I wonder where they're going? Paul
didn't tell me anything about
Paul and Alyssa finish packing.
We have everything we need?
I think so.
      (Quietly to Alyssa)
Is Emily inside the RV?


Paul and Alyssa GET IN the RV. The RV STARTS at the second
try. They DRIVE OFF.
Paul has been driving for hours. They don't talk to each
other. The atmosphere is uncomfortable but nobody breaks the

-Paul CONCENTRATING on the highway

-Emily LOOKING out the window

-Alyssa PRETENDING to READ a book


-Paul SIGHS loudly and deeply

-A drop of sweat RUNS DOWN Alyssa's

Why am I even forced to do this? I
shouldn't have to do things I
don't want to. Not even THEY want
to do this. They're wasting my
time and they're wasting their
time too because a stupid road
trip will not make me change. My
life is already miserable as it
is. I don't need them to nag at
me. I never needed them. I never


                       EMILY (cont'd)
needed anybody; it won't change
now. What are they thinking? That
a week of pretending to love me
and faking paying attention to me
will make up for all the years
they have ignored me. I'll just
pretend to be happy like they
pretend to love me so they leave
me alone. This better go by fast.
Emily LOOKS at her parents in a spiteful way. They don't
This is the right thing to do.
This road trip is going to have
fun and Emily will like it; I bet
she will. If we keep a positive
attitude everything will be fine.
Why did things have to change so
much? Why can't I just have my
sweet little girl back? Who am I
kidding? She hates us. where did
we go wrong? I hope we are doing
the right thing.
      (V.O., looking at
       the highway and
       at Emily in the
       review mirror)
We are doing this for her own
good. Emily's attitude has gotten
severely out of hand. What is her
problem. We gave her everything
she wanted. Why does she need to
fake depression or whatever she's
attempting to do to get attention.
It's just a phase; she'll get over
it and she'll be the healthy,
happy girl she was before. But if
she wants attention, I'll give her
attention. Nonstop attention for a
whole week. Let's see how you like


                       PAUL (cont'd)
it Emily.
Paul's phone VIBRATES. The caller ID READS "Marie," his
lover. He IGNORES it.
I hope Marie is not mad. Maybe I
should have told her about this.
No, she will be fine. I should
give her a call before her calls
make Alyssa suspicious.
They keep DRIVING. They PASS a sing that says "Welcome to
      (trying to sound
All right! How's everyone doing?
Alyssa and Emily GLANCE at him but don't answer.
Okay . . . We are going to stop to
pump gas and probably get
something to eat so get ready; put
shoes on or whatever you need to
Paul PUMPS gas; Alyssa and Emily STAY in the RV. Alyssa
TURNS AROUND to face Emily.
Hi Emily, how are you doing? Do
you need anything?
Emily LOOKS OUT THE WINDOW and answers without facing


I'm fine. I don't need anything.
Okay . . .
Paul FINISHES pumping gas and GETS IN the RV.
Okay. We are going to get
something to eat. I see . . . a
Burger King near us. Anyone
objects? speak now or forever hold
your peace.
Paul TURNS TO Alyssa. Alyssa LAUGHS a little. Paul TURNS
AROUND from the steering wheel to see what Emily says. Emily
PRETENDS she didn't hear anything.
Nobody against? Burger King it is!
Paul DRIVES to the other side of the street and PARKS in the
the Burger King parking lot. Paul and Alyssa EXCHANGE a
worried look because anything related with food causes Emily
Okay. Everyone, lets go.
No, thank you. I'm . . . not
Well, I'm so sorry to hear that
but it wasn't a suggestion. It was
a question. Now get out of the RV
and come with us.


Emily DOESN"T MOVE for ten seconds. Finally, Emily gets up
and EXITS the RV sluggishly letting out an ANNOYED SIGH.
There we go!
The family WALKS toward the entrance of the fast food
restaurant. Paul WRAPS HIS ARM around Emily. Emily PULLS
AWAY almost in disgust. Paul STOPS walking for a second
      (to Alyssa)
What do you want to order, hun?
Oh, doesn't matter. Whatever you
want to order.
Paul is CONFUSED and HURT because of Alyssa's apathy; tries
not to let it show but FAILS. Paul GETS IN LINE to order
their meal.
I'm going to the restroom. I'll be
right back.
Emily also GOES to the restroom.
Alyssa WAITS in a short line to go to the restroom. Emily
WASHES her hands and LOOKS in the mirror.

-Emily WASHES her extremely thin, red hands

-A woman EXITS the restroom so Alyssa and Emily are the only
ones left


-Emily SPLASHES water on her bony face

-Emily feels the bones in her face but LOOKS DISGUSTED by

-The mirror SHOWS an obese reflection of Emily, how Emily
sees herself, sad and in the verge of tears.

-Alyssa GETS OUT of the restroom stall and the mirror
CHANGES to show Emily as she really is.

Alyssa WASHES her hands as Emily FIXES her hair.
I know you think this is a waste
of your time and you must be bored
out of your mind. Just try to
enjoy it . . . for your father. He
really loves you and wants to help
you, so do I.
Emily lets out a small SIGH and NODS slowly and SMILES a
thin smile ATTEMPTING to looking understanding.
Alyssa HOLDS Emily's arm and HUGS her softly. Emily just
STANDS there and doesn't hug her back. They GET OUT of the
Paul UNWRAPS his hamburger and takes a SIP from his soda as
Emily and Alyssa sit down.
      (To Alyssa first
       and then to Emily)
A Whopper and fries for you, a


                       PAUL (cont'd)
chicken sandwich and fries for you
and a delicious Double Whopper
with bacon and fries for me. Bon
Whoa, I did not order anything.
I'm not hungry. I'll wait in the
Emily TRIES TO GET UP but Paul GRABS Emily's arm and PULLS
her down.
Ow! Le me go!
That's enough. We are NOT making a
scene here. We are going to eat as
a family and nobody will leave
this table until all of us are
finished eating; that includes
Emily's eyes WIDEN and she CLENCHES her teeth.
      (calm but serious;
       looking at Emily
       directly in the
Emily, what did we just talk
about? Now, eat your meal please.
Emily LOOKS at the meal in disgust but begins to UNRAP her
sandwich slowly. Emily takes a tiny BITE and her eyes WATER
a little.
I can't do this. I am so fat,
can't they see? I am disgusting.


Can't I eat . . . something else?
They serve salad here.
Paul shoots Emily an impatient and angry look but speaks as
if he was calm.
No . . . honey. You can't do that
because I already paid for your
food and you can't just waste food
like we're rich. Now, if you would
just . . . eat it.
Emily gets scared because she knows her father is angry when
he looks like that. Emily takes a medium bite but keeps it
in her mouth without swallowing it.
Why won't she just eat? It's
ridiculous. How ungrateful. After
all the things we do for her.
Emily swallows the bite she took and makes a disgusted face.
Paul's nostrils flare. Alyssa realizes how angry Paul looks
and grabs his hand softly. Paul calms down.

- Emily looking and picking at her food in repugnance.

- Through Emily's P.O.V.: Her fingers are chubby. The
hamburger in front of her is three times its real size and
grease oozes out of it.

- Emily takes a bite.

- Emily wipes off the grease of the french fries with a
napkin and takes a small bite.


- Paul is finished eating and rests his head on his hands.

- Paul looks at Emily's hamburger. There is still 3/4 of it

- A digital clock on the wall shows an hour went by. From
3:54 to 4:57

- Emily is eating the last french fry in her plate and grabs
her stomach in pain.

You did it!
Emily rolls her eyes.
I can't . . . move.
It's okay. Take deep breaths and
lets walk to the car slowly.
I think I have to go to the
Alyssa helps Emily get to the RV and Paul give Emily a stern
look. Emily walks as if she was in great pain.
No way. No, no, no. I know what
you're thinking. You've played
that trick on us before. It's not
happening. Not today.
      (slightly puzzled)
What are you talking about?


      (quietly to Emily)
You are not throwing up.
I wasn't going to/
      (interrupts at /)
Whatever you say. You'll go to the
bathroom in the R.V. We lost too
much time already and we still
have a long way to go. We're not
even halfway there.
      (to herself)
I wasn't going to . . .
Emily stands up slowly as if she was in great pain. Alyssa
helps her get to the RV. Paul gives Emily a stern and
impatient look because he thinks she is exaggerating.
Alyssa sits with Emily on the couch on the back of the RV.
Paul sits on the driver's seat. As Paul adjusts his
seatbelt, he gets a phone call from Marie but he ignores it.
Alyssa sees that but doesn't say anything.
Everyone ready?
Paul stops because he realizes the sadness in Alyssa's voice
but decides to keep quiet. Paul starts the RV and they drive

- The R.V. being passed by sports cars racing on the


- Emily looks at them in excitement wishing she was in one
of those cars.

- Emily reading teen magazines with a small pile of them on
the floor next to her.

- Paul looking at Emily as if trying to read her thoughts
through the rearview mirror.

- Paul's phone vibrates again. It shows (10) missed calls by

- The R.V. passes a sign that reads "Welcome to Alabama."

- The R.V. passes 10 mile markers.

- The R.V. comes to a sudden, complete stop behind a
mile-long line of cars on the highway.

Alyssa and Emily wake up because they realize something is
wrong. Paul is saying bad words under his breath.
What happened?
I don't know. There's probably
been an accident. We have moved
maybe ten feet in the last twenty
minutes. At this rate, we'll get
to the Grand Canyon in five years.
I cannot believe this!


Paul is visibly agitated and irritated and starts to hit the
steering wheel. Alyssa sits in the seat next to him.
Okay. Let's calm down. It will be
fine. We'll get there in time.
Paul breaths deeply but starts to calm down and relax. Emily
looks upset and somewhat disappointed. All of them let out a
deep breath. They remain silent for a while.
      (to Paul)
I guess we just have stay here and
wait to find out what happened.
Why don't you come to the back and
get some rest? Stretch out a
little bit?
Paul nods and looks defeated. Paul slowly moves to the back
of the R.V. and lies on the couch next to Emily.
      (to Emily)
What do you say? We watch a movie
or play cards or something? This
vacation hasn't been as good as I
planned but we can make it better.
I guess we could watch a movie. We
A police officer walks outside by the R.V.
      (interrupts at /)
Hold on. Sorry. There's a police
officer. I'm going to ask him what
happened. I'll be right back.
Paul gets up quickly and leaves the R.V. Alyssa looks at
Emily and shrugs.


Paul runs toward the police officer.
Excuse me, officer, officer!
Police officer turns around startled
Yes, can I help you sir?
Sorry, sorry. Yes, do you know
what happened? Or how long we'll
have to stay here?
There was a car crash. Horrible.
Two cars involved, three deaths. A
man using his cellphone crashed
into a family of four. Killed the
mother and two children. Simply
Oh my. What a tragedy.
Yes, innocent people suffering the
consequences of the neglectfulness
of others. And that includes you.
You'll be stuck here for about
five hours until all the rubbish
from the accident is removed from
the highway.
Paul runs his hands through his hair.
Oh no. One more question. Where
would I find a public phone around


Police officer thinks for a little while.
      (pointing to the
Hmm . . . I believe that about a
fourth of a mile from here, there
is a convenience store where you
can use a public phone.
Thank you, officer.
At your service.
Paul walks back to the RV
The cop says that we're going to
be stuck here for about five
Emily covers her face with a pillow.
Five hours! Just shoot me now.
And what happened?
And what happened?
A car accident. Three dead. Two of
them children. Lamentable.
Oh my God. That's terrible.
They remain quiet for a while.


The police officer said there's a
convenience store nearby. I'm
going to . . . grab a snack or
something to eat. Do you want
We'll go with you.
NO, no, no. It's not as close as
you think. It's about a mile from
Oh, it's fine. I like walking.
NO, no. Really, you'll get tired.
And, and . . . it's really hot
outside. . . . I'll just bring you
anything you want. Really
Alyssa is confused and suspects something is wrong but
doesn't say anything.
Okay. Well, I would just like some
apple juice and maybe a large bag
of chips so we can share. Any
flavor is fine.
Paul looks at Emily who is still covering her face with a
pillow. Paul clears his throat.
And you Emily?
Nothing. I'm fine.
Paul and Alyssa look at each other worried about Emily.


All righty. I'll be back in about
thirty minutes.
Paul takes his wallet, his cell phone and leaves to the
convenience store. Alyssa looks at Emily.
Was it just me or was your father
acting a little strange?
Paul arrives from work and Alyssa is not home. Paul he finds
a note on the kitchen table that says: "I went to the store
to get milk and I'm taking the car to the carwash. I'll be
back in a couple of hours. -Alyssa." Emily is home from
school; she's in the attic, but Paul doesn't know.
Emily? Are you home?
Emily hears him but doesn't answer. Paul walks upstairs and
knocks on Emily's room. Emily keeps quiet.
      (knocking on door)
Paul walks in. Paul looks for Emily but doesn't find her. He
walks back downstairs. Paul starts making himself a sandwich
and calls the next door neighbor, Marie.
      (into phone)
Hi, Marie. How's everything?
Emily carefully picks up the phone in the attic and listens
in to the conversation.


It's fine. I'm just finishing
fixing dinner. Isn't your wife
Emily is confused and shocked by the question.
      (into phone)
No, she's at the carwash; she
won't be home for a couple of
hours. How about I come over?
I would like that. I have nothing
to do for today since my
ex-husband is taking care of Lori
I'll be there in two minutes. Get
I'll be waiting, tiger.
Okay, see you.
Paul hangs up the phone but Emily doesn't.
Hello? Paul?
Emily hangs up the phone. Emily, face is red and she's angry
as she hears her father walk out the door.
                                         END FLASHBACK.
Emily? Did you hear me?


Emily snaps out of the flashback and looks at her mother.
I'm sorry. Could you repeat . . .
what you said?
Yes. I said, don't you think your
father has been acting strange
What do you mean? Like angry? He's
always angry at me so it's normal.
      (smiles slightly)
No, I mean like secretive. I don't
know what's up with him . . . I
don't think I want to find out.
Emily shrugs.
Should I tell her about that time
Marie called. I don't want to
cause trouble. The last thing we
need is a fight.
Emily clenches her fists.
      (forcing calmness)
No, I haven't noticed anything
      (Screaming V.O.)
Emily cracks her knuckles.
Well, maybe I'm just being
paranoid. But something really
strange is all the phone calls


                       ALYSSA (cont'd)
he's been ignoring. Why would
Marie be calling us right now?
      (Screaming V.O.)
I don't know. I think I want to
walk outside for a little while.
You know, explore and whatnot.
I'll be back in about an hour and
a half. Bye mom.
Emily storms off. Alyssa tries to take her sunscreen out of
her purse to put on Emily but Emily is already gone.
      (sad, to herself)
Emily, be careful . . . I love
Emily walks quickly away from the R.V. to avoid having to
talk to her mother and telling her about the possibility
that her father is cheating on her. She walks angrily and
kicks rocks as she walks.
Why did I have to pick up the
phone and listen to the
conversation? That's what I get
for being nosy. I'm too weak to
handle secrets so big. What am I
even doing, blaming myself? It's
not my fault my father doesn't
love my mom anymore . . . is it?

- Emily walks next to many parked cars


- People pull out chairs and umbrellas

- Emily takes off her jacket

- Emily sees a group of teenagers off the side of the road
but doesn't stop or goes near them

- One of the boys from the group spots her

Christian, one of the boys in the group of teenagers sees
Emily walking around and calls her to join them.
                       CHRISTIAN (friendly cousin)
      (shouting to get
       Emily's attention)
Hey, kid. You look lost. Are you
looking for something?
Emily looks around her to make sure they're talking to her.
Emily shakes her head without saying anything. Megan stares
at her and gives her a dirty look but Emily doesn't notice.
                       DESTINY (older sister)
If you have nothing to do, join
Megan makes a subdued disappointed face at Destiny.
Emily walks toward them slowly and somewhat reluctantly.
      (to Emily)
We were just talking about the
accident. I heard two children
died. It was a guy using his
cellphone who caused the accident.
That is so sad and it also make me


I can't even imagine how the
parents would feel like.
Oh. How rude of us. My name is
Christian, this is my cousin Jake.
      (pointing at Jake)
He's more like my brother. We're
both our parents' only children so
we're the closest we have to a
Hi, I'm Megan. I go by Meg. I'm
also a member of the only child
Megan, Christian and Jake fist bump and laugh.
I'm Dylan.
And I'm Sebastian. We're twins.
Dylan and Sebastian look at each other at the same time.
Emily smiles softly.
I'm Emily. I'm their big sister.
Everyone looks at Emily waiting for her to introduce
. . . Oh. I'm Emily. I'm an only
child too. So, are you guys all
together or did you just meet?
Oh, no, no. We just met because we
were all bored together, stuck
here because of the accident.
We've actually been here for about
one hour.


Christian and I are on a road trip
to California to meet some
friends. We're throwing a big
goodbye party before we both go
off to college.
I'm going to college in New York
but Jake is staying in California.
This would be the first time we're
going to be so far apart. We lived
in the same neighborhood our whole
      (patting Christian
       on the back)
I'm gonna miss my bro.
That's very cool. I wish I had
someone I was that close with.
Being an only child has its ups
and downs; for me, it's been
mostly downs.
Agreed! It's the worst.
Well, I beg to differ. You know,
as someone with a twin brother, I
can tell you that it is WAY worse
than being an only child.
Sebastian elbows Dylan jokingly. Dylan elbows Sebastian in
That is completely true. You don't
understand. We are ultra
competitive. We fight over almost
anything. Sports, grades, video
games, hobbies . . . girls.


They all laugh.
Oh my God. Please tell me you are
not the kind of twins that do the
switching thing to mess with girls
or cheat on tests and stuff.
I can't lie. I would totally do
that if I had a twin.
We only tried it once. We wanted
to see if we could pass as each
other so we invited this girl
over. She didn't know I had a twin
so we kept taking turns at talking
with her.
Destiny rolls her eyes and shakes her head and laughs
Oh god. That's hilarious. And did
it work?
No. She noticed.
They all laugh.
She did!? How?
She said that, since we were
wearing the same clothes, it was
pretty confusing but she noticed
slight changes every time we
switched. Like, before I went to
get her something to drink, I
didn't have a small hole in my
shirt and my shoes were cleaner.
Just tiny details that I never
thought she would notice, but she


                       DYLAN (cont'd)
And how did it end? Was she mad?
Yes! She was pissed. It was not a
good end of a relationship. She
found out the next day, I don't
know how. Then she broke up with .
. . both of us. Ha ha ha.
They all laugh loudly
But if you dummies think being a
twin is hard, you should try being
the older sister of twins. I
basically have to be your mother.
I have to take care of you and
make sure you don't kill each
Sebastian and Dylan pretend to fight.
That's basically why we're in this
road trip, to get these two to
get along like BROTHERS!
Where are you guys headed?
To Chicago.
And how's the experiment going?
It's going better than we thought.
We love road trips so it's been
great. Even this mishap has been
pretty cool since we met you guys.


Aw, you're so nice.
      (to Megan)
And what's your story, what are
you doing for your Spring Break?
Well, my parents suck. They are
going on vacation to the Bahamas;
they bought a house there but
they're too selfish to take me so
I have to stay at my grandmother's
house in Virginia.
Your parents own a house in the
Bahamas? So are you super rich?
Well . . . I guess.
What do they do for a living? So I
know what to become in the future.
A house in the Bahamas sounds
Dylan and Sebastian laugh.
My mom's a neurologist; my dad's a
They must be really busy all the
They are. They are always really
stressed and they never have time
to be with me. They try to buy my
love. They just buy me whatever I


                       MEGAN (cont'd)
want and I stay out of their way.
They don't even have time to be
with each other. That's why
they're going on vacation alone. I
think they're in the brink of
getting a divorce but they're
making an effort to avoid it. For
my sake, I guess?
Would you rather be poor but have
a closer relationship with your
parents or be rich but almost
never see them or talk to them?
Everyone is quiet for a moment. They are surprised to hear
Emily speak because she didn't participate much in the
. . . Well, that's an odd question
but, I would say. Hmm, I would
rather stay like I am. If I can
keep my nanny then, I'm fine.
She's basically my mother. She's
worked for us since I was two.
She's the person I love the most
in this pathetic world.
The group stays quiet for a while reflecting on the
Honestly, If I had your life, I
wouldn't even complain. As someone
who's gonna have to pay thousands
of dollars of debt for college, I
would be so relieved that my
parents pay for everything even if
I never see them.


How dare you say that? Shut up,
everybody has problems. Being rich
doesn't instantly make you happy.
Well, being rich would make me
pretty happy but I guess I see
your point.
      (Ashamed to Megan)
I'm sorry, Megan. I guess I would
have to be you to understand
better your situation.
Don't worry. It's fine. I get that
a lot.
Hey, I just realized something.
We've all shared stuff about us
but Emily hasn't told us much
about herself.
Yeah, tell us about you? What's
your story?
Emily blushes because all the attention is on her.
Well, I'm an only child too. I was
forced into coming in this road
trip with my parents to the Grand
Canyon. They're worried about me
and they think that this will help
me . . . get better.
What do you mean? Get better from
Emily looks down.


Well, I had been getting in a lot
of trouble lately. I'm anorexic
and I wanted to end my life. My
dad doesn't really believe in
mental disorders; he thinks that
I'm "faking" my problems to get
attention. Now, he wants to
pretend to care about me for a
week and force me to eat to "cure
Nobody knows what to say so they stay quiet for a while.
Christian looks at all of them. After a quiet, uncomfortable
half a minute, Christian speaks.
What do you guys say we get away
from here for a little while?
To where?
I don't know yet. Let's explore.
What if we get lost?
We won't; trust me.

- Christian starts walking toward the woods with confidence

- Reluctantly but excitedly, the others follow

- Emily looks at them go but stays still

- Sebastian grabs her hand and takes her with them

- Emily smiles slightly and follows Christian who is inside
the woods


It is slightly breezy and under the shadows of trees, the
hot sun isn't as strong. They are illuminated by small rays
of the sun that filters through the thick forest. It looks
like late in the afternoon even though it's only around
three in the evening. The group of teenagers walks around
led by Christian. They joke around and laugh but the sounds
they make are muted and all that is heard are the sounds of
nature and birds chirping and the wind blowing on the leaves
of the trees. After walking for some minutes, they find an
old abandoned tree house.
Whoa. I didn't even plan this.
What is that?
It looks like an abandoned tree
house. We should go inside.
How could you know it's abandoned?
What if the owner comes?
I doubt they will. The ladder
looks like it's been broken for a
while. They haven't bothered to
fix it. ANd if anyone comes, we'll
just apologize and leave. No harm
Who wants to go first?


                       EMILY (cont'd)
I will.

- Christian holds his hands out to make a step so Emily can
clim the tree. She does so with ease

- Christian and Sebastian then help Destiny

- Jake helps Megan climb to the tree house

- Jake climbs the tree

-Sebastian climbs the tree

- Christian climbs at last

- They are all inside, laughing and talking (muted)

- They look around the forest from the tree house

- They sit around in a circle with their legs crossed

I don't mean to be intrusive but
you sort of left us, or at least
left me, apprehensive. You don't
have to talk about it if you don't
want to; just tell me to shut up
whenever. Do you still think about
. . . you know, killing yourself?


The happy, lively atmosphere slowly dies off. They all get
serious again and attentive to what Emily responds.
It's fine. I guess talking about
it could be . . . therapeutic? I .
. . no longer think about offing
as much as I used to about a year
ago. Sometimes it comes back
slowly, then, like an avalanche,
it drowns me and I'm helpless.
Everything is absolutely silent but Emily's voice. The whole
group leans in, listening to her talk.
I have always felt self-conscious.
I was a good kid. Never got in
trouble. A normal kid, on the
outside. But since I was small, I
had an internal struggle to feel
adequate. I never felt like I was
enough for anyone.
Emily's voice becomes shaky. She clears her throat and looks
at her hands and keeps looking down at the floor.
Okay, I don't want to sound like a
bitch but I sort of don't . . .
believe you.
Everyone, except Emily, looks at Megan in shock.
How could you say that? What is
wrong with you? You don't even/
      (interrupts at /)
Okay, calm down. Chill for a
second. I'm just saying that
because I know a bunch of girls,
I'm talking about more than twenty
girls that fake mental illnesses
to get attention from their


                       MEGAN (cont'd)
parents or people around them.
Destiny frowns.
And besides, why would she be
telling us all this if she doesn't
even know us. That's some deep
crap that not everyone shares as
easily as she did. A bunch of
girls I know that have rich
parents have said they are bulimic
and say that they cut themselves
but they never got diagnosed or
anything. The fade passes in a
little while and they go back to
being their ignorant, happy selves
in a couple of months.
I hate to say this, but she's
right. Many girls do that. That's
not cool.
Emily, I know you could say
whatever you want and we would
believe because we don't know you
but if you're faking it to get
attention, I don't think it's a
good idea to keep it going. It
could lead to serious trouble.
I wish I was faking it. I can't
make you believe anything you
don't want to believe but I can
say that I told you all the truth
about me because you asked. I
don't talk about it with my
parents but I had to tell someone
soon. I, foolishly, thought that
telling a bunch of strangers about
it would be a good idea since you
seemed supportive and couldn't


                       EMILY (cont'd)
confront me about it or tell my
parents, which would be way worse.
I just had to ventilate. I'm so
sorry that I ruined the evening. I
think I . . . better leave.
Emily starts to stand up but Christian holds her down by her
hand. Emily looks at him surprised.
      (looking at Emily
       straight in the
I want you to stay, but if you
want to leave, I guess I can't
stop you. But first, I have to
tell you, I need to tell all of
you, something I wish someone told
me when I was your age . . . Some
people get good parents who love
them and teach them manners and
teach them how to love. Some get .
. . shitty parents that make them
think they've been cursed by some
cruel joke of Destiny or Life or
God. And you ask yourself, why me?
Why did I have to get this family?
The truth is, I don't know. Nobody
knows why, it just happens. But
what I do know is that you should
not let things that are beyond
your control, like your parents,
like the weather, time, or how
others perceive you, define your
life, who you are or who you
become. Some people never get over
the misery that being born into
their family causes them but only
the most remarkable ones look
beyond that and use it as a
motivation to become good people,
good wives or husbands, good
friends, good parents.
Everyone in the group nods in agreement.


Sorry for preaching to you guys
but I just felt like I had to say
No, thank you so much for that. I
needed that.
Christian smiles at them. They smile back.
      (looking at his
I think we should go back. It's
getting late.
They all get up slowly and jump out of the tree house or
climb out.
Now let's see if I remember how to
get back.
They all laugh nervously.
Paul is paying for an apple juice and chips at the register.
He is sweating and taps his fingers nervously on the
It's four dollars and sixty seven
Paul pulls out a ten dollar bill.
Does your public phone work?
Yes sir. It's right next to the


Could you give me a dollar of
change in quarters, please?
Yes, sir.
The cashier gets Paul's change. Paul takes the things he
bought and heads toward the phone. Paul inserts two quarters
in to the phone and dials Marie's number which he copies
from his cellphone. The phone rings twice and Marie
Marie, this is Paul. You need to
stop calling me. What is wrong
with you?
                       MARIE (O.S.)
What is wrong with ME!? I should
be the one asking that question.
I've called you a million times,
you should at least answer me.
I couldn't. I'm with my wife and
my daughter.
Where in the world are you? Why
didn't you tell me anything? You
just left.
Well, I answered your calls; you
got me. What do you want now? Why
are you calling so desperately?
Paul gets anxious and he frowns.


Paul, it is something very serious
and now, I'm not even sure if I
should just tell you over the
Well, now you have to tell me.
Marie doesn't speak and she breathes deeply and heavily; she
sounds like she's crying.
Marie, what happened?
I can't . . . Paul, I'm pregnant.
Before Paul can respond, the time for the call runs out and
the call ends. Paul runs his hands through his hair. He
doesn't call her back. Paul leaves the convenience store
absentmindedly with a permanent expression of shock on his
The group is close to reaching the highway, they are tired
and want to rest.
We finally made it. I think I can
see the cars.
Yes, but, aren't they moving?
They're moving! Let's go! Get to
your cars!
They all run fanatically toward the slow moving line of


      (screaming while
It's been . . . fun to . . . meet
. . . all of you . . . guys.
      (while running)
You too. You're all . . . cool
They keep running and laugh when they reach the highway.
They hug and say goodbye and run to their cars.
      (to everyone)
Thank you guys.
      (shaking hands
       with Emily)
No problem. Remember what I told
you. I promise it will help. Good
Christian and Jake run to their van and start it. They wave
back at them.
Bye Emily, bye Meg. You've been
really cool to hang out with.
You too. Have fun!
Destiny, Dylan and Sebastian run to their minivan.
      (to Emily)
I'm sorry if I offended you. I
actually think you're a very
honest person. Hope everything
works out for you.


No worries. And thank you. Have a
nice spring break.
Emily and Megan walk away in opposite directions toward
their cars. Megan gets in a rolls and waves at Emily. Emily
waves back and keeps running to the R.V. Alyssa and Paul are
starting the R.V. when Emily gets in.
Oh my God! Emily! Where were you?
We were worried sick for you. You
left for two hours and a half! I'm
so glad you're all right. I
thought you were lost.
Alyssa holds Emily tight close to her and strokes her hair.
      (serious but
       distracted by the
       conversation with
Don't ever do that again Emily.
How were we supposed to look for
you? You didn't even take your
cell phone.
Emily pulls away carefully from Alyssa.
I was all right. I met some nice
people and we hung out, that's
all. It's just that time went by
so fast. I'm sorry.
Alyssa is surprised by Emily's apology and the lack of her
usual negative attitude.
It's . . . okay Emily. Just be
more careful next time.



- They move slowly for 50 feet.

- The R.V. starts accelerating and the traffic moves faster.

- The R.V moves a mile and they pass the zone of the car

- There are pieces of broken glass next to the road.

- The R.V accelerates and they drive off into the sunset.

They are inside the R.V. driving through Mississippi when
they see a sing that says there is a state fair and Paul
suggest that they go. They have all been in a good mood.
Emily is really trying and succeeding at getting along.
Hey, there is a fair nearby. We
should go check it out. I'm sure
it will be fun.
I say we go. What do you think
Paul takes the exit that leads to the fair. They drive
around for a while and find a sign that leads them to the
entrance. It's a small fair. They find a small carnival and
they get out of the R.V. and walk in.


This looks fun.
Yes, this was a lucky turn to our

- They walk around and look at look at kid play games.

- Paul wraps an arm around Alyssa.

- Emily walks in front of them looking at the kids play
Can I get some so money to go buy
cotton candy?
      (hiding excitement)
Yes, sure. Here, take twenty
dollars. You can walk around
wherever you want. I we get
separated, we'll meet each other
in the R.V. in an hour and a half.
Did you bring your cell phone?
Yes, I'll set an alarm so I know
when to go back.
Emily leaves to buy cotton candy. Alyssa and Paul look at
each other in disbelief. They are amazed at how happy and
enthusiastic Emily looked like.
Did that just happen or am I


It definitely happened. I think
this crazy road trip idea is
working. Since after the accident
on the road, we have gotten along
better and she's not as grumpy as
she was before.
I noticed that too. I'm glad we
can have this time together. We
should have done this earlier.
I think this was a good time. I'm
really happy right now.
Paul gives Alyssa a kiss on the cheek and they keep walking

- Emily eats cotton candy

- Paul and Alyssa ride a ferris wheel

- Emily plays duck shoot and wins a small stuffed animal

- Emily 's cellphone alarm goes off and she heads back to
the R.V.

- Alyssa and Paul buy a hot dog for themselves and one for

- They meet back at the R.V.

- Emily eats the hot dog


They keep driving after the fair in Mississippi. They are
close to reaching Arkansas. They are comfortably talking
and sharing how much they enjoy the road trip. They feel
generally optimistic. Paul and Alyssa notice a real change
in Emily since the accident on the highway. They hope that
the whole trip stays like it has.
That carnival was fun, wasn't it?
I loved it. Thanks dad.
Paul smiles to Alyssa; she smiles back.
We have to stop to pump gas. Get
ready if you want to go buy
something from the seven-eleven or
whatever we find at the gas
Emily puts on her shoes as they stop at the gas station.
I'm going to buy some water. Do
you want anything mom?
No, thanks honey. I'm okay.
Paul steps out of the R.V. and pumps gas. He gives Alyssa
money so she can buy something at the seven-eleven.
Alyssa walks around the store and before buying, she goes to
the rest room.



- A woman washing her hands.

- Emily gets into a stall.

- A woman drying her hands and leaving the restroom. Emily
is by herself.

- Emily unlocks the bathroom stall and steps out

- Emily washes her hands. Her reflection shows a healthy

- Emily fixes her hair and washes her face. Her hands don't
look as bony in her reflection than they look in real life.

- Emily smiles at her reflection.

- Emily looks to her left where the door to exit the
restroom is.

- Emily looks to her right where there's a scale. The scale
appears to get closer to her.

- Emily's face reflects worry and she stands in between for
a moment.

- Top view, Emily chooses to go toward the scale.

- Emily inserts two quarters into the scale.

- The scale shows 110.


- Emily is in shock.
What!? I gained 7 pounds in this
trip? I've let myself go. I can't
deal with this. This is a
nightmare. I am so fat. I can't be
like this. I have to stop eating
like such a pig. How was I trying
to deceive? I can't lie to myself.
I need to have a perfect body.
Tears run down Emily's face. She washes her face again and
her reflection and her hands look overweight; more than how
she was when they were eating at Burger King. Emily storms
out of the restroom, buys a gallon of water and walks
angrily to the R.V. Alyssa is confused.
Paul and Alyssa were waiting for Emily to buy her water.
They look confused at her sudden change in mood.
What happened Emily?
Nothing,lets just go.
Paul and Alyssa prefer not to say anything else. Paul starts
the R.V. and they leave the gas station.

- Emily falls asleep reading teen fashion magazines.

- Alyssa looks out the window

- Paul drives without taking his eyes from the highway


What do you think happened to
Emily? She was fine before we
stopped for gas.
I'm not sure. I just hope she was
just tired. She'll be fine when
she wakes up.
Paul's cellphone vibrates. It's Marie. Since he's driving,
Alyssa grabs it before him and sees that Marie is calling.
She gives it to him. Paul nervously takes it from her and
hangs up. Alyssa looks at Paul waiting for him to explain.
Paul avoids eye contact.
      (clears throat)
Am I going to have to ask you or
are you going to tell me?
Tell you what?
Don't make me get it out of you.
Why has Marie been calling you
nonstop since we started the trip.
You never answer but you always
tense up when she calls. What's
Paul stays quiet.
Did you hear me?
Yes, I heard you. I don't know
what you're thinking exactly but
there's nothing going on. I don't
know why she's calling.


Then why don't you answer? Let's
find out what she wants. Am I'm
calling her or are you?
I don't care. You can do whatever
you want. Call her, you'll se it's
Alyssa extends her hand so that Paul gives her his
cellphone. Paul gives it up reluctantly. At this point,
Emily has woken up but doesn't move so that her parents
don't notice she's awake. Alyssa starts calling Marie. Marie
picks up the phone.
Paul how dare you hang up on me
like that? You are such a coward.
Be a man and face the
consequences; we're in this
      (O.S.; interrupts
       at /)
Hello, Marie. This is Alyssa. May
I know what this is about?
Marie freezes. Her face turns pale and she panics and hangs
up the phone.
      (faking being calm)
You're right. It was nothing.
Paul is noticeably relieved.


See, I told you it was nothing.
Yes, I'm glad. Oh and one more
thing, she's furious and wants you
to be a man and face the
consequences of something you both
did . . . I wonder what it is that
you both did. Should I call her
again and ask her or would you
prefer to CUT. IT. OUT. right when
we get home. I am not letting you
ruin our family and ruin our
daughter's life with your
carelessness. I don't what what
you did or what happened between
you and that . . . woman, but it
will stop now.
Paul can't say anything back. He looks ashamed and guilty.
He nods.

- They reach Texas

- They stop at a rest area in Texas

- Emily is still mad and even sadder because she overheard
the fight.

- They keep driving

- They pass a sign that says "welcome to New Mexico"

- Emily listens to music on her iPod

- Alyssa reads a book. Still looks mad.


- Paul keeps driving avoiding eye contact with Alyssa

- Emily looks at the sun set through the window. She looks

- They pass another sign that says "welcome to Arizona"

- The R.V. parks in an R.V. park and they get out to walk
around the Grand Canyon touristic zones.

- They don't talk to each other. They walk together but look
like strangers

- They get back to the R.V. they go to sleep.

- The R.V. leaves the Grand Canyon.

- They go back home; every scene they pass a different
state, every time closer to Florida.

- Paul and Alyssa stop to eat something at a fast food
restaurant. Emily stays in the R.V.

- They keep driving. They are in Florida.

- They are in their neighborhood.



They are unpacking. They all look very unhappy and
disappointed by the road trip. Emily grabs her suit case and
goes to her room. Paul and Alyssa stay in the living room.
Alyssa stares at Paul hatefully. Paul faces her for the
first time in days. Before they can get their bags to their
bedrooms, the doorbell rings. They can see the silhouette of
Marie thorough the stained glass. Alyssa breathes deeply and
walks toward the door and opens it.
What do you want?
Alyssa, I need to speak to Paul.
Alyssa signals Marie to step inside. Marie comes in. Paul
runs his hands through his head and exhales deeply.
I am really embarrassed that this
has to happen like this but I have
to confess . . . Paul has been
cheating on you with me for the
las two years. Alyssa, I am really
Alyssa doesn't look surprised, she expected to hear that
since they started the road trip.
      (trying not to
       break down)
Is there anything else that you
have to say for yourself?
Alyssa, I was calling Paul so many
times because I had to tell him
that . . . I'm pregnant with his
Alyssa breaks down and slaps Paul.


How dare you?! How could you be so
irresponsible?1 You lie to me all
this time . . . I trusted you. I
dedicated my life to you. I loved
Emily can clearly hear their screams from her bedroom. She
lies on her bed with tears running down her cheeks but with
an emotionless face.
      (to Alyssa)
I am sorry. I didn't want it to
get to this. I wanted to end it. I
don't expect you to forgive me.
But just consider that I will
become a changed man. Please.
Remember what we talked about in
the road trip.
I trusted you. But you didn't tell
me she was pregnant. You continued
to lie to me. I can't forgive you.
You better pack your things. I
want you out of here.
Emily gets up quietly and walks into the bathroom.
Alyssa, we have to stay together,
for Emily.
I can't do that. You've hurt me
Emily opens the medicine cabinet and grabs analgesics.
      (angry to the
       point of crying)
And besides, what are you going to
do about her and your . . . future


                       ALYSSA (cont'd)
child? Are you going to leave her?
I can't just leave her. I can't
deny my own blood.
Emily walks slowly and quietly back to her bedroom with the
analgesics in her hand.
And what do you expect me to say?
To just, forgive you? To say,
everything's fine? Don't worry if
you're having children all around,
it's fine with me. Is that what
you want me to say?
. . . Well no. Just give me one
more chance. I can change.
Emily sits on her bed and opens the analgesics.
This is for you, dad.
Emily swallows one analgesic.
      (screaming at
Well, you seem to think this is
only MY fault!
      (screaming at Paul)
I would like to hear how any of
this is my fault! Go ahead, I'm
This one's for you, mom.


Emily swallows another analgesic.
These are for my old friend,
Emily takes another analgesic.
These are for a hopeless future.
Emily takes two analgesics.
This is for pretending to be okay.
Emily swallows another analgesic.
Emily looks at herself in the mirror. Her reflection is
morbidly obese and she examines her face in disgust.

This is for my ugly body.
Emily takes another analgesic.
This one is for the endless pain.
Emily takes another analgesic.
This one's for this sick world.
Emily takes another analgesic.


Then what about Emily? Are just
going to leave her and forget her?
Exchange her for your new baby now
that you're getting a new one?
Your daughter is suicidal and
anorexic because of our fault. we
have caused her enough harm for
you to come up with this nonsense!
What do you mean she's suicidal?
You never told me anything about
that! How could you even know?!
This one's for you, poor Emily.
May you rest in peace.
Emily takes another analgesic. Emily closes the analgesic
container and lies on her bed facing the roof. Her eyes are
looking up, she patiently waits for the pills to work and
she holds the bottle of medicine between her hands. She
positions herself and she resembles someone in a casket.
Emily's breathing gets more profound every time.

- Alyssa and Paul keep screaming at each other.

- Alyssa throws Paul's suitcase in the front porch.

- Paul screams louder at Alyssa.

- They both cry from anger.

- Alyssa points at Marie who's sobbing sitting on the couch


- The sun is setting and Alyssa cries alone on the kitchen

- Emily's eyes close; her face is calm and relieved. Emily
stops breathing.



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From steve kincaid Date 3/12/2014 ***

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