>> / My Best Friend's Wedding

/ My Best Friend's Wedding. .

: / My Best Friend's Wedding.

/ My Best Friend's Wedding

INT. BOULEY RESTAURANT, NEW YORK - NIGHT

Dim lighting, crowd buzz, a long line of the rich, the celebrated, the congenitally impatient. Everyone in this queue holds a reservation at least an hour overdue. Tourists can't even make the line. PAN ahead to...

... the burnished dining room, the tables of power, the elegant service. Covertly, many eyes are drawn to the one table receiving by far the most lavish service of all. Captains hover, presenting delicacies, pouring wines, murmuring obsequiously to a guest whose person they screen from our view. We can see, however...

... the honored guest's companion. Ignored, bemused, across the table. This is DIGGER DOWNES, 36, darkly attractive. Kind eyes, an intellectual's mouth, Saville Row's most unobtrusive and conservative chalk-stripe suit. He is gay, but you wouldn't guess it. Loyal and wise and generous, and you might. He watches with a quiet twinkle, as the Captains now step back, revealing to us...

... their most unlikely icon. JULIANNE POTTER, almost 28, wears her favorite bulky sweater over a bunch of other stuff she pulled together in fifteen seconds. She is unkempt, quick, volatile, scattered, and beneath it all, perhaps because of it all, an original beauty. Dark liquid eyes, a cynical mouth, slender expressive fingers, which point to...

CAPTAIN A variation on our squid ink risotto. Trace of Moselle, to sweeten the stock.

She doesn't like that idea at all. Shoots him a sharp look of doubt that makes him smile. Murmur...

CAPTAIN Don't kill us on this one, it's a long shot.

Places the moist lump of black rice before her. She takes a surprisingly small amount, rolls it over her tongue. Makes dead flat eye contact with Digger. And nods, it's actually quite nice. The Captain breathes with relief. She turns her dark eyes to him. The tone says they're pals...

JULIANNE I'm writing it up as inventive and confident. Which it is. Off the record, I'll need an extra boat of the ink. Or a salt shaker.

CAPTAIN I'll toss a coin.

As the Captain splits, Digger looks around at the other tables, which makes many pairs of eyes awkwardly glace away.

DIGGER Is it ever embarrassing, having your bum kissed in public?

JULIANNE If your ass isn't chapped, you are not a good-writer of note.

She glances at her two remaining waiters, who shamelessly fawn nearby.

JULIANNE Is it sad to be an editor, and bask only in reflected insincerity?

DIGGER I've adjusted, and thanks for asking.

She leans forward, as if sharing something conspiratorial.

JULIANNE See the pull of a book like Twenty Chefs, is not who I put in. It's who I leave out.

DIGGER Which is everyone you couldn't get in.

JULIANNE Plus some guys whose food I don't like.

Pushes the risotte across to him. He lifts a fork.

DIGGER This fellow from Newsday ever call?

She shrugs. Pulls a cellular out of a large, jumbled bag.

JULIANNE I'll buzz my machine. Inventive and confident, yeh?

She dials. He tastes.

DIGGER Needs salt.

JULIANNE Is Newsday a real interview, or just some cute guy you're setting me up w...

DIGGER ... I don't send you men, anymore. You don't know what to do with them.

She's punching in her code.

JULIANNE Sometimes I do. Like for two months.

DIGGER ... weeks.

Over the phone, we hear her answering machine...

MAN'S VOICE (V.O., soft) Hey. It's Michael.

And her face changes. Warms. Just to hear the guileless voice.

MICHAEL (V.O.) God, it must be, what, months, huh? I can't wait to talk to you. I'm in Chicago at the Ritz Carlton...

She looks impressed and surprised. Fancy place for this guy.

MICHAEL (V.O.) Call me four in the morning, whatever, we gotta talk.

As she hangs up. She still has that look in her eye. Digger has never seen that, and he likes it very much.

DIGGER Who called? The man of the moment?

She smiles. A sweet, natural smile that makes us like her, too. The Bohemian sophisticate has vanished.

JULIANNE No, no, the opposite. That's my best friend, Michael O'Neal. He sounds desperate to talk.

DIGGER The wandering sportswriter.

He pushes the risotto back her way.

DIGGER I didn't know you two had a past.

Her gaze sharpens. Hmmn?

DIGGER The look in your eye.

She blushes. Shakes her head, no way.

JULIANNE Sophomore year at Yale we had this one hot month. And, you know me, I got restless...

He knows her. She got restless.

JULIANNE So I get up the nerve to break his heart. I tell him there's this dreamy exchange student from Pakistan who wants to, you know...

He knows.

JULIANNE And he gets this... look. He says, "I knew I couldn't hold your interest", which, of course, makes me feel like the shallow bitch I've always been...

He nods, yeah.

JULIANNE Then he says, "But what makes me want to cry. Is I'm losing the best friend I ever had."

Hears the feeling. In her voice.

JULIANNE And when he said it, I knew. I felt the same.

Silence now. She covers with a smile.

JULIANNE So I cried. For maybe the third time in my life. And I kissed him. And we've been best friends ever since.

Ever since. Fingers turning her wine glass...

JULIANNE Nine years, we've seen each other through everything. Losing jobs, losing parents, losing lovers... travelled all over, we've had the best times. The best times of my life, maybe. Just drinking and talking. Even over a phone.

DIGGER Kindred spirits.

JULIANNE No, he's nothing like me. He's like you. Only straight.

No offense taken.

JULIANNE He's the salt of the earth. Kind and loyal and generous. The one constant thing in my life, is he'll always be there.

DIGGER He's still in love with you.

That stops her. She has to say...

JULIANNE Maybe. But it never gets in the way.

Something she probably hasn't confessed out loud before. Digger understands.

DIGGER Well, he has a true friend in you.

He wants her to know he sees that.

DIGGER Whenever George tells someone how steadfast I am, he always makes me sound boring.

JULIANNE Solid and genuine is not boring. Michael can be completely insane...

A young waiter arrives. Sets a boat of black squid ink beside her plate.

JULIANNE There was this one night in Tucson, like six years ago... we got amazingly drunk, I mean, Keith Richards time...

The kid tops off her glass of meursault. Looking at her.

JULIANNE God, I haven't thought of this in so long...

The waiter hanging now. Openly listening.

JULIANNE I can even believe we did this...

Digger sees the guy listening, gestures to her with his eyes. So she looks up.

JULIANNE Could you give us a minute?

The kid stunned, speechless. People lose jobs for a lot less.

JULIANNE You won't miss much, I promise there was no sex.

He reddens and disappears.

DIGGER I've lost interest.

JULIANNE He takes a razor from his dinky little dopp kit, cuts his fingertip, takes my hand, does the same to me...

She places the tips of her index fingers together.

DIGGER Blood oath.

JULIANNE He says, "Swear. When we're both 28, if we've never been married... we marry each other!"

And laughs again. Can you believe that? But Digger isn't smiling. She wonders why. Begins to spoon black squid ink onto her risotto.

JULIANNE See, he figured that would be a sign from God, or someone of comparable authority, that we'd misunderstood our destinies.

He still has this real serious look. She's still spooning ink.

JULIANNE We never talked about it again. I don't know what made me think of...

DIGGER (quietly) I do.

And everything. Stops. She lifts her spoon, mesmerized by the gravity of his tone.

DIGGER You'll be 28 in three weeks. How old is he?

Holy. Fucking. Shit. It hits her like a ton of lead bricks. She shovels some swampy risotto into her mouth, without looking.

JULIANNE You think...

DIGGER Desperate. To talk.

She shovels in more drippy black goop. It is really disgusting.

JULIANNE He's not proposing marriage, there's no way I'm buying one word of th...

DIGGER Then why are you compulsively eating? If you're not hysterical?

More goes in. Her lips and mouth completely black. Like a circus clown.

JULIANNE He can't do that to me!

DIGGER We're about to find out.

Ink is now dribbling out of the black hole of her mouth and down her face. She absently dabs a napkin, keeping some of it from reaching her sweater.

JULIANNE When I turn him down...

She realizes the full weight of the truth.

JULIANNE We'll never be the same.

DIGGER I have a suggestion...

JULIANNE I'll have to kill myself before I call him.

Staring in each other's eyes.

DIGGER (sadly) That was it.

INT. JULIANNE'S BATHROOM - LATE NIGHT

Julianne furiously scrubs her blackened tongue with a toothbrush. Gray foam pours from her mouth, spattering the oversized basketball jersey she wears as a nightshirt. In the mirror, her troubled eyes dwell on Michael, flick to the cordless phone standing ominously on the closed toilet lid.

She spits, sticks her tongue way out. Incredibly black. Great. Depressed, terrified, and disfigured for life. She snatches up the hated phone, and wanders aimlessly into...

... her bedroom. West Village view. Defiantly jumbled, aggres- sively eclectic. Traces of wonderful taste mixed with I-like-it- you-got-a-problem-with-that? She stumbles around, rehearsing...

JULIANNE This is awkward timing, Michael, I just joined this convent, and they never give your deposit ba...

Stops. Full-length mirror. She straightens her hair, to look her best.

JULIANNE Michael, I'm married.

Not enough.

JULIANNE ... and I have two weeks to live.

Changes tone...

JULIANNE Michael, I'm trying to be gay, don't confuse me.

She turns to continue pacing, and walks straight INTO a dresser. Stuns her, momentarily. Enough, already! She punches up the number, primping absently in the mirror. When it connects...

JULIANNE I was calling Michael O'Neal, but seeing it's so late, I could just leave a mes...

No such luck. Cut off. Waits. And then...

JULIANNE (soft) Good evening, sir. You've been enrolled in the Obscene Call Of The Month Club, and th...

MICHAEL (V.O.) Hey! God, it's so good to hear your voice.

She forgets herself. Because it's good to hear his, too.

MICHAEL (V.O.) I've been calling for days!

JULIANNE Yeh, well my old machine kept eating messages. I tried constructively ignoring it in hopes of improvement, but finally...

MICHAEL (V.O., urgent) Look, I have to ask you something.

She swallows.

MICHAEL (V.O.) Something so incredibly important, that if you turn me down, I don't know what I'll d...

JULIANNE (bright) I just have to tell you this one thing first, okay? I mean this will hand you the biggest laugh of your adult life...

Silence. Come on girl, suck it up.

JULIANNE I was thinking about you, and I remembered this unbelievably insane night we spent together in Tucson, like a thousand years ago?

More silence. Really quiet.

JULIANNE I mean, there's no way you could possibly remember the...

MICHAEL (V.O., soft) Are you kidding?

Stops her. Like a brick wall. The sweetness in his voice.

MICHAEL (V.O.) I think about that night all the time.

She's going to have a heart attack.

MICHAEL (V.O.) But it's not why I called.

She blinks. It's not. And just as a tsunami of relief begins to sweep away...

MICHAEL (V.O.) I called because I met someone.

And her smiles breaks off. Like a spine snapping. Because there is something in his voice.

JULIANNE Well, that's great. You haven't really had anybody since Dingbat Jennylee...

MICHAEL (V.O.) You don't understand. I've never felt this way about anybody!

Never. She sits down, hard. Right on the floor.

MICHAEL (V.O.) And she's all wrong for me!

JULIANNE Well, somet...

MICHAEL (V.O.) I mean she's a junior at Chicago University, she's twenty years old! Like when I first met you.

Like when. Julianne's mouth is suddenly dry.

MICHAEL (V.O.) And her dad is like this billionaire who owns the White Sox and some cable empire, and you know how I've always been miserably awkward around those kinda stuffed suits...

She's finally making her mouth work...

JULIANNE Well, sure.

MICHAEL (V.O.) But they're so down to earth, such wonderful people...

JULIANNE You've met her parents.

MICHAEL (V.O., quiet) Well. Sure.

Wow.

MICHAEL (V.O.) See. We're getting married. This Sunday.

There's a knife in her heart. She can scarcely breathe.

JULIANNE Michael, it's Wednesday night, you can't possibly be getting married on Su...

MICHAEL (V.O.) Actually, it all starts tomorrow. It's one of those four-day weddings, with all the traditional events, and ten million people flying in from Madagascar such.

JULIANNE (incredibly lame) Aren't you... working this weekend? I mean, is that responsible?

MICHAEL (V.O.) Well, the Sox are at home. SI's letting me do a profile on the Big Hurt. That's Frank...

JULIANNE (barely audible) ... Thomas, yeh.

She's staring at herself in the mirror.

MICHAEL (V.O.) Jules. I'm scared.

A straw to lunge at.

JULIANNE Well, maybe we should talk ab...

MICHAEL (V.O.) I need you.

So heartfelt. A lifetime of emotion welling in her eyes.

MICHAEL (V.O.) If you can't come. And hold my hand. I'll never get through this.

Oh.

MICHAEL (V.O.) Please come, please.

JULIANNE W...

MICHAEL (V.O.) I can't wait for you to meet her!

HOLD ON Julianne. Staring in the mirror. Like watching the end of her life.

INT. BEDROOM - LATER

The closet, the armoire, all the drawers are wide open. Two huge suitcases open on the bed, into which Julianne is flinging clothes, as she fumbles to smoke and dial at the same time. Over the phone, now...

DIGGER (V.O., machine) You've reached Digger and George. Brevity will be appreciated.

BEEP.

JULIANNE (in a rage) IT'S ME AGAIN, WHY AREN'T YOU GUYS UP HAVING SAFE SEX??

SNATCHES up a tiny, clingy, sexy dress. Pouts at it.

JULIANNE OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, WHY AREN'T YOU INTERRUPTING IT TO ANSWER THE PHONE??

She holds the dress against her body. It's hot.

JULIANNE YOU, YOU, YOU! IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU, ISN'T IT??

She clicks OFF. Checks the dress in the mirror. Raises the short skirt a little higher.

INT. DIGGER'S CHEROKEE, JFK AIRPORT - EARLY MORNING

Digger driving the open-air Cherokee up the ramp to United Airlines departures. Julianne, wind-whipped, trying to light a fresh cigarette from the butt of the last one. He glances over. Hates to see this...

DIGGER You can't get lung cancer and die in four days. Go to Plan B.

She sucks deep. Really deep.

JULIANNE You have no appropriate sense of emergency. My best friend is ruining his life.

DIGGER No, he's ruining yours.

JULIANNE Same difference. If you love someone, it's your duty to save them from themselves.

DIGGER You have a real philosophy of life.

JULIANNE It's called the Law of Love, asshole.

She is tight enough to snap. And at the edge of tears. Staring out at the skycaps, clinging to her cigarette, as he eases to the curb.

DIGGER (gently) Why don't we have a drink? You could catch a later fl...

JULIANNE I'm a busy girl. I've got four days to break up a wedding, and steal the bride's fella.

She finally looks at him. He doesn't say anything.

JULIANNE He's adored me for nine goddamn years.

DIGGER I can see why.

JULIANNE She knows him maybe five seconds, plus she has billions of dollars, plus she's perfect, so don't go feeling sorry for Miss Pre-Teen Illinois!

He's not. So her voice softens. Which shows the hurt.

JULIANNE And don't go feeling sorry for me, you don't know me that well. We're only friends.

DIGGER (softly) I stand corrected.

Tears now. Stand in her eyes.

JULIANNE I'm making a big mistake, huh?

DIGGER (shrugs) Maybe you'll learn something.

He wraps his hand over hers. She looks down at it.

JULIANNE I'm gonna bring him back, man. Against all odds, y'know. Cos if I don't...

She wraps her fingers around his.

JULIANNE ... I gotta live with it forever.

Looks in his eyes.

JULIANNE And at my wedding. I'll be the only bride with her own best man.

And she kisses his cheek.

Jumps out of his car. Before she cries. Yanks her bags from the back. Brave smile.

They trade small salutes. And then she's gone.

INT. O'HARA AIRPORT, CHICAGO - MORNING

The jetway disgorging passengers into the swarming ant colony called O'Hare. Julianne lugging multiple carry-ons, trying to pull fly-away strands of hair into place, nervous as a schoolgirl, looking all around, and...

... there he is. MICHAEL is tall and square-shouldered, a boyish grin, an unruly shock of hair. He looks gorgeous, sweet, and just dangerous enough to be irresistible. Worthwhile stakes. His face lights to see her, and she...

... RUNS to his arms, shedding bags along the way, slamming off heedless civilians, to be...

... SWEPT OFF the earth in strong arms, spun around, laughing like crazy, their cheeks tight together. When he sets her down...

... he kisses her nose. His arms are still around her.

MICHAEL (murmurs) Can you believe it? Can you believe I'm actually gonna do this?

JULIANNE (lost in his eyes) Not hardly.

He beams. Turns. She follows his gaze, and...

... there she is. KIMBERLY WALLACE is 20, small and slender, but it is a body to die for. The face is striking, not at all perky and vapid, but lovely and interesting. Worst of all, intelligent.

She walks toward them purposefully, her eyes locked to the woman in her fiancee's arms. At the last moment, Michael releases Julianne and Kimmy...

... THROWS her arms around the startled visitor. HOLDS her tight, with such genuine warmth that Julianne can only, slowly, hug back. As Michael beams.

KIMMY This just makes everything so perfect.

Her arms stay around the slightly dazed Julianne. The younger girl leans close, confides...

KIMMY All I've heard, from the day I met Michael, is Julianne this, and Julianne that...

JULIANNE Well, we're...

KIMMY I think the best part of marrying this guy is finding you.

Pale gray eyes. Alive with joy and intimacy.

KIMMY I've never had a sister.

INT. KIMMY'S CONVERTIBLE - DAY

Kimmy TEARING down the throughway in her Mercedes 500 SL, a dashing, confident driver. Julianne riding shotgun, hair flying, a total wreck, in the open convertible. Michael is happily crouched on the little platform behind their seats, hugging his knees. The roar of the wind makes it impossible for him to hear them.

KIMMY My heart's in my throat, here. Right off, I have to ask this monstrous favor...

JULIANNE You need a few dollars.

Kim glances over. At eighty miles an hour. A bittersweet look.

KIMMY Dry. Just like he said.

Her eyes at once admiring and regretful.

JULIANNE Excuse me?

KIMMY I can be quick. I can even be funny.

Shakes her head. An endearing youngster.

KIMMY But I can't be dry.

JULIANNE Can you watch the road?

KIMMY See. Dry. It's in the delivery.

She looks back to the highway.

KIMMY This is a very presumptuous and burdensome fav...

JULIANNE ... you want a menage on your wedding night.

KIMMY (straight back) No, that wouldn't be burdensome.

Julianne studying the delicate, angular profile. Hard not to like this kid.

KIMMY My classmate Angelique shattered her pelvis line dancing in Abeline on Spring Break.

Looks over. The sweetest smile.

KIMMY Be my maid of honor.

Julianne just blinks.

KIMMY You can't believe what it'd cost to bring in a temp.

JULIANNE Uh. How about promoting a bridesmaid? Someone you know for at least forty-five minutes.

We CUT OFF a huge SEMI who BLASTS his horn. Kimmy fearless, oblivious, and analytical...

KIMMY The bridesmaids are my only two female relatives under forty. Identical twin debutantes from Nashville, who are basically vengeful sluts. With amazing bodies!

JULIANNE Which was the disqualifying factor?

KIMMY The twin part. I like to remain impartial in my contempt.

Sees the off-ramp, and SLICES across FOUR LANES of speeding bullets in a heart-stopping nanosecond. This kid could drive for Penske. Julianne has to pound her chest to get her heart started. Looks back to see if Michael fell out...

... he is absurdly wind-blown. Gives her a beautiful grinning thumbs-up. Loves this stuff.

KIMMY This means I have four days to make you my new best friend...

Brings Julianne's eyes back...

KIMMY And since I already know everything about you. Including intimate facts I'm mortified to have heard, but too envious to forget. It's time for you to learn about me...

Easing off the freeway. She meets Julianne's glance...

KIMMY Force yourself. To get personal.

JULIANNE (smiles) Sounds like a plan.

INT. DRESS SHOP, NORTH MICHIGAN AVENUE - MORNING

The place is stunning. High-ceiling, soft light, large rococo mirrors, Louis Quatorze sofas and chairs. Michael wanders rest- lessly, fish out of water among designer displays and stylish female patrons.

Takes a look at his watch.

INT. DRESSING ROOM - MORNING

A period sitting room, ringed with mirrors along its tapestried walls. Kimmy sits on a Louis Treize loveseat next to a stack of costly gowns. Watching with an expertise beyond her years, as...

... Julianne stands on a platform. A seamstress fitting her into a sleek pale daffodil-colored gown. There are pins everywhere, as the seamstress struggles toward a perfect fit. Continuously looking to Kim for approval.

KIMMY If you'd rather the lilac...

Julianne shakes her head. This one is beautiful.

JULIANNE I thought bridesmaids had to wear the same dress.

KIMMY Not you. You won't be comfortable unless you're distinctive.

Julianne glances over.

JULIANNE What else did he tell you...

KIMMY ... you hate weddings, you never go.

Oh. Well, yeah.

KIMMY You're not up for anything conventional, or popularly assumed to be female priorities. Including marriage. Or romance. Or even...

And she stops. Not wanting to offend.

JULIANNE (quietly) ... not even love.

The look holds. The seamstress keeps working, as if she's deaf.

JULIANNE That's why Michael and I were the wrong fit. Right from the start.

KIMMY He said that, too.

She stands up. Walks to the platform. Smooths her hand over the fabric down Julianne's back, along her hips. Communicating to the seamstress with her irritated expression.

KIMMY Well, I thought I was like you. And proud to be. Until I met rumpled, smelly old Michael...

Pins start to come out. Kimmy points, these, too!

KIMMY And then I found I was just a sentimental schmuck. Like all those flighty nitwits I'd always pitied.

She leans forward. So they can look at each other.

KIMMY Funny world, huh?

Julianne swallows. It is that.

JULIANNE I need a smoke.

And before anyone can breathe, she steps OFF the platform RIPPING the living shit out of the gown, right down the side. The seam- stress' eyes FLASH OPEN in abject horror. Julianne, a deer in headlights, looks quickly around at the evidence of her screw-up in six different mirrors.

Kimberly just steps to her, fingers the tear...

KIMMY It's mostly the seam. Let's get this to Carlos.

And UNZIPS Julianne down the back. In her rush to step out, Julianne STUMBLES, but her arms are pinned by the pulled-down dress and she just...

... TOPPLES like a felled oak, THUDDING on her face, the gown RIPPING some more, the seamstress SCREAMING like an idiot.

Then. Silence. Julianne looking up helplessly, a trussed hog, bound in her dress.

KIMMY (firm) Just. Don't. Move.

Like you talk to a three-year-old. Deftly, Kimmy pulls the dress free, leaving Julianne in her underwear. Signals to the seamstress, let's go.

JULIANNE Don't you have to be somewh...

KIMMY ... just my bridal shower. And Michael has to meet our dads and the groomsmen at Comiskey for a one-thirty game.

Opens the door...

KIMMY Other than that...

Closed SOLID. Gone.

INT. DRESSING ROOM - LATER

Julianne sits on the loveseat in her bra and panties, lighting one cigarette from the butt of another. Suddenly, she hears...

... an ARGUMENT outside the door. Strains to listen. It does sound like Michael and Kim. We can't make out the words. She jumps up, dashes for the door, STUBBING her toe on the platform, SHIT!, falls heavily AGAINST the door with a THUD that makes her wince, and...

... the argument stops. Damn. She opens the door a crack. Sees nothing. Opens it wider to reveal...

... a teenaged BOY looking right at her. He sends a true shit- eating grin and she SLAMS the door hard enough to RATTLE walls.

She PACES furiously, helplessly, arms around her half-naked self, until...

... soft knock. The door opens a crack, and her daffodil gown comes through it.

JULIANNE Come in, and shut the...

Stops. Because it's Michael who has entered. With the dress.

JULIANNE ... door.

So he does. She flushes and SNATCHES up her own clothes, which were characteristically tangled in a heap, and tries desperately to untangle them enough to cover herself. He is amazed and amused by her embarrassment.

MICHAEL (laughing) Should I turn around, or someth...

JULIANNE Michael, I'm in my underwear!

She's TEARING at her clothes, only making more of a mess.

MICHAEL We've seen each other a lot more naked than this.

She seems ready to rip her clothes apart, so he gently takes them from her hands. She tries to stand unselfconsciously as he easily untangles them.

MICHAEL I mean, we were skinny-dipping in Greece, just as pals, less than two years ago.

She GRABS the clothes and covers the front of herself. Looking at him with a mix of emotions she couldn't begin to sort out.

JULIANNE Things are different now.

He looks in her eyes. And nods, a little sadly. Guess they are.

MICHAEL (softly) Well. I leave with two thoughts in my mind.

He walks to the door. Puts his hand on the latch. Looks back...

MICHAEL (even softer) You're still a very pretty girl.

The look holds. And holds. There is such feeling on both sides, she doesn't know what to make of it. She swallows.

JULIANNE What's the sec...

MICHAEL Mirrors.

And he's gone. She looks around at six different VIEWS of her uncovered backside. Hmm.

INT. HOTEL UNDERGROUND GARAGE - DAY

The parking valets wait by their stand as the convertible pulls up. These girls must be late for something, the way they're jumping out of the car.

JULIANNE ... luckiest guy in the Northern Fucking Hemisphere, is all I'm s...

KIMMY What? Because I'm a little understand...

JULIANNE ... most sentimental schmucks I pity want a honeymoon after their wedding. Just to top it off.

The valet gives Kimmy her ticket.

KIMMY I can't expect the NBA to hold up the playoffs...

They're walking fast toward the garage elevators...

KIMMY I'm excited Sports Illustrated gave him this kind of shot, he's only there a ye...

JULIANNE So your honeymoon is exactly where?

Well...

KIMMY It depends. If San Antonio sweeps Sacramento, we could start there. Or Phoenix. Or depending on Indiana- Clevel...

JULIANNE ... garden sports, all. Little swing of maybe fifty degrees Fahrenheit, represents a packing challenge, but there's fine food and cocktails at a choice of Embassy Suit...

At the elevator. Kimmy SLAMS the button.

KIMMY It's his career, I'm supportive. Look, I've been everywhere, I've seen the world, I've laid on a beach. I want to be with the man I love. That's what makes it a honeymoon.

End of story. Okay?

JULIANNE I'm just saying he's lucky.

An empty elevator arrives. They get in.

JULIANNE Takes one woman in a billion to put up with his array of shit. The guy is a one-man festival of idiosync...

Kimmy SLAMS the penthouse button. Looks at her calmly. Go on.

JULIANNE Well. You've been introduced to the symphonic range of...

KIMMY ... his snoring, yeah. He says it's worse than ever. That snaffle one...?

Julianne imitates an incredibly annoying high-pitched SNARL. Three times. Kimmy nods.

KIMMY Well now it has this sorta phlegm rattle behind it...

Stopped at the lobby. A family of four gets in. Oblivious, Kimmy DEMONSTRATES the phlegm rattle. Really gets into it. As the family watches, Julianne tries her own version. Like that? No. More like this. The family is looking at each other.

KIMMY Guess what? Earplugs work.

Oh.

JULIANNE How about...

KIMMY ... cigars in bed? I broke him on that. But the bathroom's a swamp, he wears Reeboks to dinner, tells the same, admittedly funny, jokes three hundred times...

Sucks in a breath...

KIMMY ... loves action movies, subscribes to Playboy for godsake, reads over my shoulder, can't keep track of the checks he writes...

Ninth floor. The family gets out. The door closes.

KIMMY He sucks soup through his front teeth.

JULIANNE A trademark move, don't touch it.

KIMMY But he sure can kiss.

JULIANNE It's been awhile. I'll take your word.

KIMMY After two weeks of cataloguing all his faults, I made a command decision that changed my life.

She SLAMS the EMERGENCY STOP button. We JOLT to a halt.

KIMMY I threw the list away.

Shakes her head.

KIMMY He's not a balance sheet, so many wonderful qualities, so many faults. He's Michael.

From her heart.

KIMMY And loving him means loving all of this.

JULIANNE Do you get nervous in small confined spaces?

KIMMY So it's sweet of you to be protective...

JULIANNE Let me rephrase that...

KIMMY But nothing ever could, ever did, give me a moment's pause about this marriage...

JULIANNE Do you get hysterical in small confined spa...

KIMMY ... except one.

Julianne's face. Stops.

JULIANNE Oh, yeah?

Kimmy nods. Confides...

KIMMY You.

A stopper.

KIMMY You'll always be there. In his mind. The perfect creature he loved for all those y...

JULIANNE Well, perfection can get wearing after whi...

KIMMY I'm not joking. I had to face up to all my competitive drives, and believe me, I've got 'em.

JULIANNE No.

KIMMY And the answer was so simple.

JULIANNE I was gonna predict that.

KIMMY You win.

Julianne blinks. Excuse me?

KIMMY You're enshrined in his heart and memory. Unassailable. Which works out great.

JULIANNE I've missed a step.

KIMMY He has you on a pedestal. And me in his arms.

Oh. Julianne smiles. LUNGES for the EMERGENCY button, YANKING it so hard it comes OFF in her hand. A terrifying BUZZER ensures.

JULIANNE Jesus, we're trapped!

KIMMY Ju...

JULIANNE No, this happened to me once, almost, it was excruciating!

Begins BANGING random buttons, out of control. Kimmy watching this. Julianne looks WILDLY up...

JULIANNE There's a panel up there, you could boost me...

RIPPING off her platform shoes.

JULIANNE You know how little air is in these things? I've seen statistics! Once you're trapped between floors...

Kimmy taps her. Points to the lighted panel. It says PH, they've reached the Penthouse.

JULIANNE God! Then the door is jammed!

Takes a heavy platform and begins BANGING the metal door with all her strength, sending resounding BOOMS throughout the area, as Kimmy reaches and...

... presses DOOR OPEN. The metal doors part, opening directly onto the banquet room, just as a mighty blow comes down, and the platform FLIES from Julianne's hand straight BETWEEN...

... two identical stunning YOUNG WOMEN, serving as twin hostesses for the shower. A beat of mutually-stupefied looks, and we hear the shoe CRASH somewhere, to a small spattering of SHRIEKS.

MANDY Mah Gawd, it's the bride, and the woman she'll nevah live up to!

KIMMY (mutters to Julianne) That would be us.

SAMMY Did she say th' wrong thang agin? It is so in character!

AMANDA and SAMANTHA NEWHOUSE, 19-year-old twins. True Southern belles, with the faces of angels and bodies made for hot oil wrestling. Mandy's hair is dyed ash blonde, Sammy's is amber. Otherwise, the experience is similar.

JULIANNE (thrusts out her hand) I'm Julianne Potter, and...

SAMMY ... we'd be the vengeful sluts. We came in complementary colors.

MANDY Have you sized up the groomsmen, Jules? As M. of H., you get first fuck. Don't pick the short, hairy, rich one.

JULIANNE ... unless he has a hump.

The girls cast identical blank looks at Kimberly.

KIMMY (to the sluts) Dry. I told you.

WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.) Is this Michael's Julianne?

All eyes turn to an elegant woman of barely 40. She has her daughter's hair and eyes and slender form. But the bearing rules half an empire. Fonda would envy.

ISABELLE I'm Isabelle Wallace, and my handsome new son scarcely did you justice, girl.

She takes both of Julianne's hands, and our heroine is sort of magically charmed. As if touched by Glinda the Good Witch of the North.

ISABELLE Now, my husband says to scoot you over to the ballpark, so you can hang with Michael. But first, you have to meet a lot of really old women.

Looking warmly in her eyes...

ISABELLE That is, if you've absorbed enough profanity.

Flicks a glance at the twins. Leads Julianne off...

MANDY (O.S., pouting) We sayed one fuck.

INT. TAXI, SOUTH SIDE - DAY

Cab crawling toward COMISKEY PARK through stifling traffic. Julianne oblivious, cellular to her ear...

JULIANNE Desperate measures! Do you hear me? Digger, are you the...

SQUAWK. Static. Then...

JULIANNE I don't know, hit men, whoopee cushions, saltpeter, something! The girl is impossibly impregnable. Even I want her to get the guy!!

Listens.

JULIANNE Tell him the what? The truth...??

She shakes her head. What a guy.

JULIANNE That desperate. May I never get.

INT. LUXURY BOX, COMISKEY PARK - AFTERNOON

Game in progress. Watched by Michael, three groomsmen his age, two middle-aged men, and one bodyguard. Suddenly, a dull THUMPING at the door. It keeps up. They finally all look over. The bodyguard gets the door, revealing...

JULIANNE Which of you gents ordered two beers?

One single tray. Holding fourteen beers. Balancing on one hand. Michael JUMPS UP, terrified at the impending mayhem this sight suggests...

MICHAEL Wow! Lemme give you a ha...

JULIANNE (sweetly) Michael. You'll unwittingly imply that I'm clumsy.

He stops in his tracks. The guys whistle.

MICHAEL Think of that. And as well as I know you.

She goes first to the bodyguard.

BODYGUARD Sorry, ma'am, I'm on duty.

JULIANNE (lovely smile) It's Miss. And thanks. That leaves two for me.

Heads down the row...

MICHAEL Julianne Potter, this is Hank and Gerry from SI, and you know Daniel...

She's nodding, flawlessly plucking two beers each from perimeter of the tray, keeping the rest perfectly balanced in the center. Michael is flat dumbstruck. Next, a tall patrician gentleman with rolled-up sleeves on his hand-stitched silk shirt...

MICHAEL Oh. This is my father-in-law, Walter.

Once again, she gracefully plucks two beers for the distinguished father-in-law...

MICHAEL How are you doing this? You're on drugs.

Sets them down. The man has a smile wonderful in its ease. Murmurs...

WALTER If he gives you grief, I'll have him skillfully beaten, where the wounds won't show.

JULIANNE I guess getting him whacked would be politically out of the question.

WALTER Under the circumstances. Charmed to know you, Jules.

JULIANNE Nice meeting you, too, Walt.

A nod between equals. She moves on...

MICHAEL And, this guy, you know...

She sure does, and effortlessly balancing her one-hand load, she dips to kiss a porky, balding guy with big-time shoulders. Straight on the lips.

JULIANNE Papa Joe.

They go way back. He is uncomfortable at this rich man's wedding, even as gracious as everyone has been. His watering eyes twinkle at her, and the voice has a trace of Boston...

JOE You gonna be my boy's best man?

Despite SHOUTS from the others...

JULIANNE Best everything, Joe. But I'm going to dance with you.

MICHAEL Dance? You don't dance! You learn to dance??

Her innocent smile.

JULIANNE Moves. You've never seen.

BIG reaction from the guys, as she heads toward Michael with the last of the beers, not looking down at the FIELDER'S MITT which lies right in her path, and as his lips part to scream a warning, she skips...

... neatly AROUND it. He's in shock.

MICHAEL You're an impostor! What have you done with my best friend?

As he takes away the remaining beers...

MICHAEL And how was the hot dog?

Hot dog? His eyes fix on her left breast. HUGE mustard stain. She can't believe it.

MICHAEL Cheap and unnecessary. We were looking anyway.

EXT. LUXURY BOX ROOF - DAY

Michael and Julianne sit with their beers on the edge of the luxury box roof. The game, the stadium, spread out beneath them. Yet they are alone in the world. She dangles her legs, and we can hear her kicking the glass below.

JULIANNE I just admire your maturity, that's all. I mean, there are people who would find that kind of perfection boring. Day after day, year after year...

MICHAEL ... see, that's what I thought at first. How can you like someone that perfect? No potential for long-range livability.

Drinking their beers. Side by side. Both stare only at the game.

MICHAEL Luckily. The closer I watched, the more the fault came into focus. Each imperfection its own adorable slice of vulnerability.

JULIANNE Such as.

MICHAEL She's too genuine.

JULIANNE Hate that.

MICHAEL How can you trust someone you can never mistrust?

JULIANNE What's next?

Keep sipping. Never look at each other.

MICHAEL No matter how many times I leave the toilet seat up, she forgets and puts it down.

JULIANNE Endearingly absent-minded.

MICHAEL My very point. Here's another one...

Shakes his head. This one really gets him.

MICHAEL Every day. She makes the bed.

JULIANNE Quite the little eccentric.

MICHAEL At first, I thought it was a gag, but she's always done it!

This is not the ammunition Julianne was hoping for.

JULIANNE Is there a coup de grace in here, somewh...

MICHAEL She admires. Tommy Lasorda.

JULIANNE Waiter! Check, please!

MICHAEL She finds him "personable."

JULIANNE Can that kind of defect be passed on genetically?

She looks over now. And Michael is looking back. Smiling the most wonderful smile. Her reaction shows that she thinks it's for her, until...

MICHAEL Then again. She has a few good traits.

Hating herself for asking, but seeing no way out...

JULIANNE Gimme like, eight and nine off the top ten list...

MICHAEL First girl I ever knew. Who lets me give her a bath.

The look in his eyes. She can hardly bear it.

MICHAEL And when I hug her, even in public. I don't have to let go right away. She lets me hold her as long as I want.

He seems so deeply in love.

MICHAEL Nice kid, don't you think?

A beat. A slow nod. A quiet...

JULIANNE Looks like, from here.

INT. SOUTH SIDE CLUB - NIGHT

A slender black woman sings a SOARING Gospel number, backed by three ladies who could each solo in any church choir. It is mesmerizing, stirring, transcendent. The unseen audience CLAPPING FIERCELY in rhythm, SHOUTING support. SLOW PAN now...

... every face is black. We aren't in church at all, but a venerable blue club. One of those places you'd swear everybody's played, from Robert Johnson to Bessie Smith and back again. As the song ends, there is APPLAUSE, some RAPPING on tables with their knuckles or their drunks. We keep PANNING to a far corner. Three faces.

Julianne leans across her beer to Kimmy...

JULIANNE How'd you find this pl...

Kim shaking her head. Looks admiringly to Michael...

KIMMY Lived here my whole life, never heard of it. Until our first date.

She reaches slender fingers. Traces one back along his hair.

KIMMY He finds all these spots, everywhere he goes, it's a mystical gift.

MICHAEL (shy) Jesus, one d-back from the Bears knows a place...

KIMMY It's not just clubs. This guy always knows the best everything. The best guitar store, the best beef ribs, the best Horowitz record, was he always like the...

JULIANNE ... always. The best dim sum, the best camping stuff...

KIMMY Stop, we're embarrassing h...

JULIANNE ... best valley in New Zealand, best... women's shoes...

MICHAEL I tried those on. When you weren't looking.

Now he's grinning at Julianne. And she likes that a lot.

JULIANNE Where was that, Florence, huh?

MICHAEL Firenze.

Together in the memory. As Kimmy watches.

JULIANNE The Vespa? Me hanging on behind in the rain all night?

MICHAEL Till the gas ran out.

And, the first sniff of left-out...

KIMMY I love Florence.

Julianne's eyes flicker. Could this be a teensy opening? Keeps her eyes, her easy smile, and her killer instincts trained on Michael.

JULIANNE Take her there.

He nods, okay.

JULIANNE I mean, now. She's perky, she deserves a honeymoon.

He draws a breath...

JULIANNE I heard. If San Antone sweeps Sacramento. What is this shit? You gotta get off the road by September anyway, when does Fall Quarter start?

And the happy couple look at each other. They are awkward. Julianne's heart soar like eagle.

KIMMY Uh. I'm not coming back. For senior year.

Could this be. The Mother Lode?

JULIANNE Don't architects find a degree, sort of... an asset?

The couple still staring in each other's eyes.

KIMMY Well, the school will be here. Architecture will still be around. Right now...

MICHAEL I travel every week. College ball, motor sports, training camps...

KIMMY The most important thing. Is being together.

And she smiles. Beautifully.

KIMMY I'm just a baby. I've got all... the time... in the world.

EXT. CLUB - NIGHT

Michael putting Kim in the back of a cab. As Julianne watches.

MICHAEL Because I could come...

KIMMY To the twins' soiree? So they can paw you and drool...?

JULIANNE (calls out, helpful) They're gonna drool anyway!

Kim smiles. He kisses her, tenderly, through the open window. She waves past him at Julianne.

KIMMY (to both) Enjoy each other.

And drives off. As he watches after, Julianne comes up behind him. Slips her hand up onto his shoulder muscle. Starts giving a little massage.

JULIANNE Should I whistle down a cab?

MICHAEL Hey, cabs are expensive. I'm cheap, remember?

Turns his head, to see her. She's still rubbing his shoulder.

JULIANNE Sometimes. About the dumbest things.

Share a smile. As always, it covers a lot of years.

MICHAEL The El's right down the street. Unless you're afraid of the neighborhood.

She looks around. It is an issue. But she remembers...

JULIANNE No. I'm always safe with you.

She means that. He takes her by the hand. They begin walking...

JULIANNE Pretty amazing girl, you've got. Make that kind of sacrifice.

MICHAEL What, leaving school...

JULIANNE ... all of it. She's leaving her family, her friends, everything she knows. She's putting her career on hold, and she seems a pretty ambitious, driven, kind of pers...

MICHAEL (quietly) In her way.

JULIANNE All to follow you in this dumb job, where you travel 52 weeks a year to College Station, Texas, and such. It's not a job for a grown man, Michael, Peter Pan never married.

He's let go of her hand now. Looking down at the pavement before him, fists in his jacket pockets.

JULIANNE (softly) I don't think she's naturally the... submissive type. Aren't you afraid she's gonna choke on this stand-by-your-man shit after awhi...

MICHAEL (real quiet) No.

Hit a nerve. This is promising.

JULIANNE I mean Walter owns the Sox, cable sports... most girls in her spot would be angling to get Daddy to offer you some juicy gig right here in t...

MICHAEL She would never. Never. Even think of that.

Paydirt. Julianne's Geiger Counter is going berserk.

JULIANNE I guess you're right. That would be deceitful... manipulative... controlling... emascula...

MICHAEL I got the point.

He looks over at her. No smile on his face. An edge we haven't seen. She shrugs...

JULIANNE Still. All's fair in love and w...

MICHAEL That would be a girl. I don't even know.

They've reached the stairs to the El. A rickety train RATTLES above them. As they start up, she slips her arm around his waist...

JULIANNE (murmurs) Forgive me, okay? I was talkin' crazy.

He slides his arm around her shoulder. Pals. They climb out of frame.

INT. HOTEL BATHROOM - LATE NIGHT

CLOSE on a shallow pool of water in a bathroom sink. Green powder pouring in, a hand SWIRLING it around, until...

JULIANNE (O.S.) It's Albanian, I think. Or Mongolian. Or Canadian. One of those. I bought it downstairs...

... it becomes truly disgusting lumpy green mud.

JULIANNE (O.S.) I figure, what the hell. Can it make me look worse?

Follow the hand up as it SLATHERS the shit across her face in great green dripping gobs. She's juggling the wall phone, trying to keep it mudless, as she assures Digger...

JULIANNE Dig, of course. Of course, of course, of course, of course I have a plan. Certainment!

More green slime. The Julianne we know disappears.

JULIANNE How? I ask myself, what would Lucy Ricardo do in this situa...

Desecrates three hotel towels, wiping her hand.

JULIANNE Well, one worked, once.

THROWS them in the bathtub. Fastidiousness a short suit.

JULIANNE Ricky wouldn't let her in the show.

Reaches for her toothbrush, absently. All her attention is on the conversation and the hideous green face in the mirror.

JULIANNE I recall it differently, but we digress.

Without looking, picks up a tube of hotel shampoo...

JULIANNE So in the version, you're Ethel, with better fashion instincts.

Squeezes it all over the toothbrush.

JULIANNE This puts you in charge of Plan B, the unprincipled and insanely dangerous back-up plan...

Lifts it toward her mouth, liquid shampoo dripping from the bristles.

JULIANNE In case simple lying doesn't work.

At the last second. She stops. We don't know why, because she's still never looked at the brush.

JULIANNE Question. What happens if you brush your teeth with shampoo?

Turns on the tap. Tries to scrub the toothbrush clean, and DROPS the phone into the green swamp, which SPATTERS all over her front. Euucch. She's stymied, agitated, circling the sink, leaning down to it...

JULIANNE HOLD ON. I'M COMING IN FOR YOU!

She sets the toothbrush down in her toiletries kit. Decides to YANK on the phone's cord, and the receiver SPRINGS out, BOPPING her in the face. She's so filthy at this point, she just wipes it clean on her nightshirt. Tells Digger...

JULIANNE You okay? This is one of those problem phones.

Lifts the toothbrush and tube of paste from her kit.

JULIANNE Right. Your role. You know guys from Sports Illustrated, yes? I mean, you can walk right in there...

Squeezes on the paste, lifts the brush to her mouth...

JULIANNE You could get access to letterhead, for example.

JAMS it in her mouth, brushing as...

JULIANNE (mouthful) ... or even, maybe, their fax.

Stops. The funniest look on her face. Down to the toothpaste tube...

Which says BEN GAY.

Oh.

INT. TIFFANY'S - MORNING

Julianne and Kimmy cruise the stately display cases. Everywhere, the Tiffany logo, the silent, watchful staff in morning coats. As they browse, Julianne takes a blueberry Danish from a paper sack, and begins to eat.

The staff notices. So does Kim.

JULIANNE It's an homage thing.

Hmm?

JULIANNE Awkward girls grow up on Audrey Hepburn movies. You wouldn't understand.

Kimmy doesn't. But wipes a blue glob from Julianne's face.

KIMMY Anyway, I think you're wrong.

Wrong?

KIMMY What you were saying before.

Before?

KIMMY About Michael's job.

JULIANNE Oh, that. I forgot I even said th...

KIMMY I just think you're wrong, is all.

JULIANNE Probably am. Forget I brought it up.

Points to some jade pins. Kimmy wrinkles her nose.

KIMMY I mean, he loves his job.

JULIANNE Bad games, bad towns, bad pay, bad flights, bad hotels, real bad food. Homeless, rootless, lonely, maybe your copy gets into one issue out of four...

Smiles.

JULIANNE What's not to love?

None of this is lost on Kimmy. She's wondered the same.

KIMMY But he always says...

JULIANNE ... whatever is manly and independent.

Kim nods slowly. Way ahead of her.

JULIANNE Why would he trade that for running, say, a big piece of the PR at a powerful, complex, challenging conglomerate like your dad's?

Kim stares back. A strange look.

KIMMY That's just the sort of thing my father and I discussed.

Julianne just blinks. Amazed.

JULIANNE I'm not stupid. Say, how about this?

Pointing to tiny golden scissors in the novelty case. Kim so absorbed by the main topic, she has to force herself to focus on...

KIMMY For the twins? What in the world is th...

JULIANNE Gold nose hair clippers.

Points to the tiny hand-lettered sign. Indeed. Kimmy shrugs, not quite it.

KIMMY So you don't think Michael's as happy with his job as...

Julianne points to a matched pair of large...

KIMMY Gold dog collars? They don't have dogs.

JULIANNE Hello.

Kim nods, oh. But can't keep her mind off...

KIMMY You think he'd accept?

Hmm?

KIMMY Michael. A job like that.

Oh, well...

JULIANNE By any yardstick that involves sanity, it would be the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Present company excepted.

Kimmy nodding slowly. Her yearing achingly apparent.

JULIANNE On the other hand, he's proud. Last thing a man wants to admit, is being trapped in a dispiriting dead-end job that can never support a family.

A very sweet smile.

JULIANNE Throw a man a life preserver. He'll say, "Thanks, anyway, I'd rather drown."

Kim nods again. Right. They are so bonded at this moment.

KIMMY So... one almost has to...

JULIANNE Exactly.

KIMMY Exactly what?

JULIANNE What you said. Make it appear that he's doing you the favor.

Kimmy bites her lip. Her eyes go down. Self-conscious to admit...

JULIANNE I couldn't really... do that. After, you know...

Her voice trails off.

JULIANNE (kind, but wise) ... lying. All the time.

That brings the gray eyes up. Julianne bats her dark ones...

JULIANNE Oh, darling, my pitiful desires and ambitions are dirt beneath the manly boots of your priorities!

Kimmy has to smile small. A self-awe gal.

JULIANNE (pouring it on) Two hundred seedy motels a year? Dinners out of vending machines? Waiting for you in vermin-infested corridors of dark crotch-rot locker rooms? This stuff makes me hot!!

KIMMY The very words I've used.

Julianne 'thinks it over.' Kimmy waits for guidance.

JULIANNE We make Dad your co-conspirator. Michael does a favor for Walter.

Simple.

JULIANNE Walter's reorganizing his public relations, needs a brilliant guy who's close to him, who he can completely trust.

Kimmy nodding. Hope overriding reason.

JULIANNE So you beg. Michael, please do this for Daddy, please, please, please, blah, blah, blah... it's only for six months... it would mean so much to me to help him out...

Turns up her palms. Viola!

KIMMY He'll see right through it.

JULIANNE Only. If he wants to.

They share a smile.

JULIANNE In six months, he'll be happy, settled, successful...

KIMMY He won't get mad, huh?

MR. MOONEY (O.S.) May I be of any help, whatsoever?

Mr. Mooney is the most gracious Brit salesperson ever to offer kindness, intelligence and thoughtfulness to a customer. He is large, sixty, with disappearing hair, watering eyes, and a manner that makes you think of immediately hiring a butler.

JULIANNE Bridesmaid gifts for two, well, assertive, outspoken, Tennessee debutantes.

KIMMY (still focused) He won't be mad?

JULIANNE (to Mooney) Nothing here seems to quite capture their distinctive personalities.

MR. MOONEY Something customized, perhaps? We can fashion most any item from gold.

Ah. Julianne nodding. Reflecting.

MR. MOONEY An object that might represent what is closest. To their heart.

KIMMY (under her breath) Don't even think dildo.

Julianne digs through her jumbled bag...

JULIANNE Could you do this...

Tossing an object on the counter...

JULIANNE In 24 carat?

It is a MASTERCARD. A gold one.

KIMMY (softly) Bingo.

They smile at each other. More bonded than ever.

KIMMY You don't think he'll be mad.

A beat. Can Julianne even make herself do this?

JULIANNE Your call. You can live a lie. In a fabulous selection of Red Roof Inns. Or you can make one desperate stab at hap...

KIMMY I just don't want to freak him out.

What do you think? Julianne stares into the soft gray eyes. It's now or never. The smile of a dear sister...

JULIANNE How mad could he get?

INT. FASHION RESTAURANT - LUNCH HOUR

Julianne enters with a really nervous Kimberly in tow. Approaches the maitre d'. We CLOSE to hear...

MAITRE D' Oh, Mr. Wallace and his guests have retired to the humidor.

Points to an escalator, leading to the mezzanine. Behind a glass wall, what looks like a British men's club. Thirty guys and a billion cigars. As Julianne starts toward it...

MAITRE D' Oh. Mademoiselle.

She turns back. Loves this shit.

MAITRE D' It's unofficial, of course. But, traditionally, the humidor is for gentlemen, only...

JULIANNE Great. I've got this girlfriend at the Justice Department? With all this time on her hands?

Her look is every bit as hard as his. He gestures to the escalator. She takes Kimmy's hand, and up they go. We can see Walter in a big leather chair, enjoying a major stogie. Kimmy licks her lips.

They enter. Every head turns. A nice range of reactions, from offended to attracted and points in between.

JULIANNE (murmurs) Piece of cake. I'll hang, and think happy thoughts...

Kimmy nods. Heads over toward her father. Julianne walks, confidently, even provocatively, to the wall lined with bins of cigars. Every eye in the place is on her butt.

She runs her fingers over a few contenders. Plucks one out, examines it, puts it back. Walks a little farther. Selects another, big and black. Rolls it expertly in her fingers. Sniffs along its length.

A guy comes over. Could be 40, successful, a broker's pin-stripe. Nearly as attractive as he thinks he is.

GUY Know what you're looking for, little lady?

Little lady, huh? She glances at his coven of buddies, who pretend not to notice. Then, straight to the guy's blue eyes.

JULIANNE Yeah. Do you?

GUY I asked first.

Ah. Wit. She holds up her cigar...

JULIANNE I like 'em long and hard. Kind of... big around.

Runs it under her nose.

JULIANNE Smell is important, I'm a believer in that.

Takes a match from a cut crystal bowl.

JULIANNE But you never know what you've got. Till you run your tongue over it.

And she does. Moistening the full length of the cigar. The boys are laughing openly. She STRIKES the match. As she lights up...

GUY I meant. What you're looking for in a man.

She glances at his wedding ring. Then, straight into his eyes.

JULIANNE Actually, I'm partial to married gentlemen.

The way she says that. The guy swallows. We can see some of the air has been sucked from the room.

GUY Why is that?

JULIANNE It's so much time. When I phone the wives.

Explosive LAUGHTER from the peanut gallery. As she jams the big Clemente Churchill into her mouth, she sees Kimmy waving her over from across the room. Without even looking at the guy she's just put away...

... she crosses the room, Walter stands politely, looking very dapper, very powerful, and focusing on her with considerable interest. He waits until she sits on the edge of a costly leather hassock.

WALTER (simply) Your idea?

She can't read this guy. Maybe that's how he built an empire. She nods, yeah.

WALTER You're a woman of insight.

He sits on the arm of his chair. Close enough to speak quietly.

WALTER My wife and I love this marriage, and deplore its circumstances.

He puffs his cigar. Julianne puffs her. Kimmy looks on, a kid watching the grown-ups...

WALTER As you guessed, my daughter is unhappy about giving up her life. And, in my opinion, cowardly in avoiding the necessary confrontation.

Then he stops. As if reading Julianne's eyes.

WALTER Mike has a world of ability. I'd do anything to have him in my company.

One more puff.

WALTER Except ask him.

Julianne is a little stunned. Kimmy looks helpless.

WALTER He'd resent it. And me. And, most important, Kim.

No smile on his lips. Straight talk.

WALTER He's a great kid, but he's still a kid. Instead of recognizing that his resistance comes from insecurity, he'd turn it to anger. To protect himself...

Spreads his hands...

WALTER ... from realizing that he's ignoring my daughter's needs, despite how very much he loves her.

He looks to his daughter now.

WALTER They both have some growing up to do. But they're good people, they're starting with love. They've got time.

JULIANNE (softly) I think you're making a mistake, sir.

His eyes come back to her. A little sharply.

WALTER And that interests me. How someone who knows him so well could be so wrong.

A formidable guy. She meets his gaze.

JULIANNE See, I love him, too, as much as anyone here. And for a whole lot longer.

From her heart.

JULIANNE I think I know best what would make him happy.

INT. TOILET STALL - DAY

Julianne, fully dressed, sits on the closed lid of a toilet seat. The stall is tiny enough to arouse claustrophobia in an astronaut. Her cellular phone pressed to her ear, she is listening angrily, smoking ferociously, every call in her body running at red-line.

JULIANNE Okay, okay, okay, okay, I hear you, all right?

She closes her eyes.

JULIANNE It is stupid, dishonest, desperate beyond belief, and can't possibly ever work. It can only end in humiliation and disgrace. Now can I say two words?

Deep drag on the cigarette. For strength.

JULIANNE Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!

She's striped her gears. COUGHS horribly.

JULIANNE All right, twelve words.

INT. PUBLIC RESTROOM - DAY

Julianne exits the stall. To face three BLACK TEENAGE GIRLS. Just staring at her.

TEENAGER (supportive) You do it, girl.

Julianne nods to the kids. They nod back. Damn straight. She exits the restroom, into...

... glaring sunlight. We are in the middle of the BROOKFIELD ZOO. And sitting on a bench, eating popcorn from a bag...

MICHAEL Wow. What was going on in there?

She shudders.

JULIANNE Some crazy person.

EXT. ZOO - DAY

Michael and Julianne walking together. He's eating his popcorn. She carries a cardboard container with nachos, a gooey fudge waffle cone, and a large drink.

MICHAEL You're not eating.

JULIANNE I never eat when I'm serene.

MICHAEL You never eat when you're despondent.

JULIANNE I switched that around when you weren't looking.

She swirls a single nacho chip in cheese. But her heart isn't in it.

MICHAEL Last zoo we were in was... Beijing, yeah? Sure. The rhinos were fucking.

JULIANNE Boy, those were the days.

And when she looks over. His eyes are waiting.

MICHAEL (softly) Yeah, they were.

They're passing the hippo pen. But they don't notice.

JULIANNE That was nice. The way you said that.

So was that. He's feeling restless, something. Doesn't know quite what to say.

MICHAEL It's weird being the groom. All these things Kimmy has to take care of...

JULIANNE You need a baby-sitter. That's what I'm here for.

He holds her eyes. Then looks down. Awkward. And the way he's doing it begins to excite her.

JULIANNE Say it.

He looks up, neither one of them noticing that as they walk, she is about to...

... CRASH into a chest-high metal stand that displays animal facts. We have followed him as she is WIPED from frame. His face from shock... to amusement.

MICHAEL Now, there's my girl.

... to tenderness. PAN back to see her wearing everything from her cardboard container. Nachos, fudge sauce, Diet Coke, the works. It is really awful. Kids, bystanders, laughing cruelly. Her eyes fill with tears, and she tries bravely to smile against it...

JULIANNE See, I can only do it with beer.

He takes out his handkerchief. And with that and his hands, gently scoops the worst of the mess off her. The fact that he's touching her breasts and her body is something they pretend not to notice. She laughs softly, and a few tears fall, even though she doesn't know why. Such an odd, raw, confusing moment. To the world looking on, they are lovers.

MICHAEL (murmurs) See, better already.

And he kisses her face. Not quite her lips. But only an inch away. We can feel her heart pounding. He strips off his shirt, only a tank top underneath.

MICHAEL We'll go back to the bathroom, you'll put this on...

Okay? She sniffles, okay. Swallows.

JULIANNE Bet you're glad I'm here to take care of you.

He puts his arm around her.

MICHAEL Bet I am.

Holds her close, as they start toward the restroom...

MICHAEL Hope that crazy person's not still there.

We're on their backs...

JULIANNE (O.S.) She doesn't scare me.

EXT. BEACH CLUB, LAKE MICHIGAN - SUNSET

Julianne in T-shirt and shorts, rushes onto the deck of a sprawling beach club. Clutching her bag, she quickly surveys the scene...

... the entire beach has been taken over by the wedding party. Young folks, old folks, little kids, maybe 200 people. We SCAN with her to find a crowd around...

... a three-on-three volleyball game. Kimmy and two groomsmen on one side, facing Michael and the Tennessee debs. The twins wear spectacular bikinis and are surprisingly athletic, as well as predictably uninhabited. As the next point begins, Kimmy serves...

... Sammy in back makes a nice dig, lobbing to Mandy who sets for Michael's vicious SPIKE straight THROUGH his best man's hapless defense. The crowd cheers Michael, and as he turns, Mandy gives him a savage...

... CHEST BUMP of congratulation, that any NFL linebacker would be proud of. It puts the surprised Michael straight on his butt. Laughter, applause. The twins pull him up and Sammy gives him a hot kiss on his ear that makes the crowd react. Kim plays good sport. Julianne watches Michael's body for a beat, then...

... dashes off. Down the beach, several barbecue grills have been set up. Manned by beach club staff and family alike. Michael's pop, Joe, is dispensing beers from a keg. Kim's mom, Isabelle, is coordinating the beans, potato salad and corn-on-the-cob table. Julianne races across the sand to...

... a huge smoky grill where Walter is basting baby back ribs, clearly enjoying himself. Julianne runs up to him, says something into his ear. He looks at her. Then turns his station over to a club steward, and follows Julianne down toward the lakeside.

CLOSE now. As they stroll together, she's a little breathless. He's watching her profile, curious, silent. At the water's edge...

JULIANNE (whispers) Is anybody watching?

WALTER I hope so. This is all too mysterious to waste on just me.

She reaches into her big bag. Pulls out a single folded sheet of paper.

JULIANNE I picked up Michael's messages for him, at our hotel. I stole one...

His face darkens. The easy smile fades. He holds up his palms...

WALTER Julianne, reading my son-in-law's mail, is not something...

JULIANNE Sir, this is important! Haven't you ever in your life cut one corner, to make something important turn out right?

His smile returns. Just a little.

WALTER Matter of fact, that's how I got married.

The look holds. She thrusts the paper out. He still doesn't take it.

JULIANNE It's a fax from Sports Illustrated from Ben Isaacson, Michael's boss.

WALTER (quickly) I know Ben.

She opens the paper.

JULIANNE "Mike. We still have no answer to our E-mail of Wednesday. Which option do you select? I don't mean to rush you, but Personnel needs to tie up the loose ends."

He takes the paper. We see it now. Looks authentic.

JULIANNE I think he's been fired.

WALTER It doesn't say th...

JULIANNE He's said some things over the past few weeks. Look, this is why I came up with the idea of you offering him a job.

He looks up. He's listening. Closely.

JULIANNE And why I couldn't say anything before in front of Kim.

She bites her lip. Seems so earnest.

JULIANNE I just think of how... desperate he must be feeling. He's marrying a rich man's daughter, and he's about to become destitute. You know the kind of job market he'll be facing?

He does.

WALTER And you think he's kept this to himself.

JULIANNE He's too proud to beg for help. And if you wait till this comes out, your offer will be like charity. Completely humiliating.

He's staring at her. But his mind is working behind his eyes.

JULIANNE If you do it now, it's like he's helping you. He can accept with dignity.

He taps the paper with the back of his knuckles.

WALTER This fax could mean... any number of things...

She nods. She knows that.

WALTER (softly) Maybe. I should call Ben.

JULIANNE Then it could all come out, sooner or later. Nobody should be in on this. Just you and me. Or, more correctly, I.

She takes the paper back.

JULIANNE What if, what if I could find that E-mail?

The long straight look. Maybe he's hooked.

JULIANNE I never noticed. Kimmy has your eyes.

INT. LOBBY, RITZ CARLTON HOTEL - TWILIGHT

Tall, gangly, young DESK CLERK. Lank hair, pimples. He looks up, beams to see...

JULIANNE Hello, again.

She's flirting her ass off.

JULIANNE You still haven't straightened that tie.

And she reaches across the desk with her lovely, slender hands. Does it for him. Her fingers brush his chest on the way back. We can assume a woody.

JULIANNE You know, my friend, the one whose message I picked up... ?

He does. His eyes flick toward his stately female SUPERVISOR, helping another guest across the way.

JULIANNE Well, he's still with the wedding party. And he asked me to get something he needs real badly from his room... ?

The boy swallows hard.

JULIANNE He's in 1526. If you could just let me ha...

BOY See that woman?

Not only does Julianne see her. The woman is looking back, while she's talking to her customer. Not a pleasant look.

BOY She said, if I ever pull a stunt like that again...

JULIANNE You'll lose your job...

BOY ... tear my pecker off. Is what she said.

INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR - TWILIGHT

An elevator OPENS, revealing Julianne, carrying a gym bag. She looks down the long hallway, sees a maid's cart. Heads the other way, briskly, to...

... a small ALCOVE. Opens the gym bag, pulling out a bath towel. Begins to yank her top up OVER her head...

ANGLE... the young MAID now pushing her cart down the hall, wheels SQUEAKING, and from nowhere...

... Julianne DARTS into her path, barely covered by the towel held tight across her, she is grinning, blushing.

JULIANNE Help me!

The maid can only blink.

JULIANNE I locked myself out, 1526, please hurry!!

And looks frantically up the hall, mortified that any moment a stranger could happen upon her predicament. Her eyes dart back to the maid. PLEASE. The maid just stares. Stares.

JULIANNE Uno-cinco-does-ses.

Oh.

>>>

/ My Best Friend's Wedding.
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