The One Who Almost Got Away
By: J.T. Evergreen
The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates.
(© 2018 by the author)

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

jtevergreen@tickiestories.us

Russ Martin sits on a park bench in front of a blank stucco wall.
He sees the person he is waiting for and quickly looks away.

RUSS -vo

I donít know why I did that. Itís a public place. I guess I can look at anyone or anything I choose to look at.

ANGEL - vo

Guilt.

RUSS  

What? Who said that?

ANGEL   .

I did Ö you looked away because you felt guilt for what you were doing.

RUSS  

I didnít do anything. I was just looking.

ANGEL

No, you were lusting. Thatís why you felt guilty.

russ. 

Who the hell are you, and where the hell are you?

ANGEL

Iím your guardian Angel,my clueless friend, and I know why youíve been stalking him.

russ.  

I havenít been stalking him.

ANGEL  

Sure you have. Loitering in the same place for over two weeks to watch him pass by Ö is called stalking.

RUSS  

Itís not stalking. Itís coincidence.

ANGEL

Pish posh. You want him.

RUSS  

I do not.

ANGEL  

Yes, you do. Admit it.

RUSS  

Thatís crazy. Thatís really crazy. But, I must admit, he is attractive. And, maybe I was lusting Ö just a little.

ANGEL  

You were doing a lot more than lusting Ö just a little.

RUSS  

No, I was not.

ANGEL

Hey, I have access to your imagination which has been working overtime on this dude. Youíve been very naughty.

RUSS  

Okay, so heís drop-dead gorgeous. And I suppose Iíve been naughty. So what? Handsome is as handsome does.

ANGEL

What does that mean?

RUSS  

I donít know. Itís a clichť.

ANGEL  

Do you even know what a clichť is?

RUSS  

Itís a Ö

ANGEL

I thought so. It means lacking original thought. Thatís you, all right.

RUSS  

Thatís not true, Iím very creative Ö and sensitive.

ANGEL

So you say Ö with tongue in check. So, why not just say something creative to him. Whatís the worst that can happen?

RUSS  

I donít know. He might laugh at me or even worse Ö ignore me all together. Just get off of my case. I know itís a fantasy. But, itís my fantasy and Iím enjoying it. So leave me alone. But, maybe youíre right.

ANGEL  

About what?

RUSS  

Me wanting him. Iím so fucking lonely I could scream.

ANGEL

Gee, what a surprise.

RUSS  

Little good Ďwantingí will do me. Look at him. He must be seven feet tall and built like a brick shit house.

ANGEL

With every brick in place. Oh, yum.

RUSS  

Hey, watch it! Heís my fantasy Ö not yours.

ANGEL

But, heís not that tall. Maybe 6-1 or 6-2 tops.

RUSS  

And me at 5-10.

ANGEL  

5-9

RUSS  

With my lifts, Iím 5-10. But, still and all, standing next to him would get a good laugh. Weíd be like Mutt and Jeff. Iíll be lucky if he even notices me. Oh, Jesus. He just turned around and is coming back. Heís never done that before. Now what do I do?

ANGEL  

Why donít you say something to him? Something a tall person would say.

RUSS  

Come on, give me a break. Like what?

ANGEL

Be nonchalant. And stop staring at that blank wall. Itís a dead giveaway thereís something wrong with you.

RUSS  

Too late. Here he comes.

ANGEL

Tilt your head a little like youíve just discovered the secret of life in that stucco.

RUSS  

ZIP IT!

ANGEL  

Forget about saying anything. Looks like heís about to say something to you.

RUSS  

Oh, God.

CHARLIE

Hi.

RUSS  

Shit. Now what do I do?

ANGEL  

How about saying hi back?

RUSS

Oh, hi.

ANGEL  

Ask him to sit down.

RUSS  

I canít do that.

ANGEL

Yes, you can. Yes, you must. Iím getting sick of your Ė nobody loves me Ė crap. And keep breathing for goodness sake.

RUSS

Iím Russ Martin; would you care to sit down?

ANGEL  

Good boy.

RUSS  

Heís much bigger than I thought

ANGEL

Yeah, he sure is. Way bigger.

RUSS  

Whaddaya mean by that?

ANGEL

Whaddaya think I mean?Ē

CHARLIE

Thanks. Iím Charlie Costa. And youíre not fooling me.

RUSS

What?

CHARLIE

I walk this way every afternoon and youíre always here Ö loitering.

RUSS

Iím not loitering.

CHARLIE

Of course you are, but thatís okay.

RUSS

So?

CHARLIE

So, whatís so interesting about that wall you keep staring at when I walk by?

ANGEL

Heís got ya. Better fess up.

RUSS

I  Ö

CHARLIE

Come on, fess up.

ANGEL

I told you. When are you gonna start listening to me, egghead?

RUSS

I Ö

CHARLIE

Sorry. Guess I must be mistaken.

ANGEL

Say something, moron, before he gets up and goes away forever.

RUSS

No, you arenít Ö

CHARLIE

Arenít what?  [He grins]

RUSS

Mistaken.  [He laughs nervously]

CHARLIE

Iím assuming youíre as interested in me, as I am in you.

RUSS

Thatís  direct. Are you always this way?

CHARLIE

No, but I know what I want and I usually get it.

ANGEL

Heís self-confident. Perfect.

RUSS  

Will you shut up?

ANGEL

Ok, ok, but his hormones are oozing all over the place.

RUSS  

Hormones donít ooze.

RUSS

Yes, Iím interested, but I have to warn you.  [Grins]

CHARLIE

About what?

RUSS

I never do anything on my first date.

CHARLIE

Neither do I.  [Laughs]

RUSS

So, now what do we do?

CHARLIE

Get the first date out of the way, I guess.

RUSS  

I like this guy.

angel

So do I. Heís definitely a catch... unless you screw it up.

RUSS  

I think youíre right.

ANGEL

About?

RUSS  

Hormones oozing. I know mine are Ö big time.

RUSS

Any ideas on how we go about getting past the first date?

CHARLIE

As a matter of fact, I do.

RUSS

And that would be?

CHARLIE

Thereís a French restaurant over on Clement. Join me for dinner?

RUSS

Ok, but only if we go Dutch. Just in case you turn out to be a frog.

CHARLIE

Fair enough. Me a frog? Never. [Grins]

RUSS  

He has such a beautiful smile, I may fall in love before the evening is over. [Smiling]

ANGEL

I wouldnít push my luck if I were you.

CHARLIE

Whatís the smile for?

RUSS

Thereís an angel on my shoulder whispering in my ear.

CHARLIE

Thatís cool. Is it a boy or girl angel?

RUSS

I donít know. Do angels have a sex?

CHARLIE

Probably not, but if they do, Iíd prefer a boy angel.

ANGEL

Iím a boy.

RUSS

[Laughs] He just said heís a boy.

CHARLIE

What else is he whispering?

RUSS

Little nothings.

CHARLIE

About?

RUSS

You.

ANGEL

Oh, jeez. Can you get any cornier than that?

CHARLIE

Naughty or nice?

RUSS

How about ... none of your business?

CHARLIE

Ok, but Iíll eventually find out. Shall we?

RUSS

Yes, letís.

Charlie gets up, puts out his hand and pulls Russ to a standing position. The difference in their height is evident. Russ looks up. They begin walking toward the restaurant.

RUSS  

His hand felt so warm and comfortable.

ANGEL

There will be no hand holding until after the first date.

RUSS  

Killjoy. Why does he keep bumping into me?

aNGEL

Do you like it?

RUSS  

Yes, but isnít it a bit presumptuous on his part?

ANGEL

He obviously wants to touch you. Enjoy it.

CHARLIE

You have a boyfriend?

RUSS  

Now what do I say?

ANGEL

Well, donít play hard to get like you usually do.

RUSS

No, I donít.

CHARLIE

Would you like one?

RUSS

Well . . .

ANGEL

Be careful.

RUSS  

What?

ANGEL

I know what youíre about to say.

RUSS  

Screw you.

RUSS

As a matter of fact, I am looking for a husband.

ANGEL

Oh jeez. That is not being careful you knucklehead.

CHARLIE

Wow. You donít beat around the bush, do you?

RUSS

Look whoís talking. How long have I known you Ö a whole nine minutes and you ask a question like that?

CHARLIE

Do you think Iím husband material?

RUSS

Play your cards right and weíll find out.

ANGEL

Good answer. Thereís hope for you after all.

CHARLIE

To be honest, so am I.

RUSS

So am you what?

CHARLIE

So am you what? Where did you learn English?

RUSS

Hey, Iím a product of the American educational system Ö such as it is.

CHARLIE

Yes, of course. Iím also looking for a husband.

RUSS

Fair enough. Glad we got that out of the way. Iím not very good at guessing or dodging issues.

CHARLIE

Neither am I. There it is. What do you think?

EXT. FRENCH RESTAURANT. TWILIGHT.

Charlie points to the restaurant across the street.

RUSS

Looks very French.

CHARLIE

They have an outdoor dining garden in the back. Itís a perfect evening for dining al fresco.

RUSS

Humm, sounds good. Do you speak French?

ANGEL

Watch it, boy.

RUSS  

Mind you own business. I want to know.

CHARLIE

Oui.

RUSS

Fluently?

CHARLIE

Yes, and you?

RUSS

Are you kidding? I can barely speak English.

CHARLIE

Ah, yes. The American educational system. I almost forgot.

RUSS

I wish I could forget. So, where were you educated? Donít answer that.

CHARLIE

Why not?

RUSS

Itís obviously in Europe somewhere, and youíre probably a hell of a lot smarter than I am.

CHARLIE

Do you want me to tell you or not?

ANGEL

I donít believe you cornered him like this. Have you lost your mind?Ē

RUSS  

I know. I didnít mean this to happen.

ANGEL

Try keeping your big mouth shut for a change.

RUSS

Yeah, you may as well.

CHARLIE

Itís not that big of a deal.

RUSS

Maybe to you it isnít.

CHARLIE

Why donít we just enjoy a meal together?

RUSS

No, I want to know.

ANGEL

Please kick yourself in the rear end with my compliments.

CHARLIE

Ok, I was schooled in Switzerland.

ANGEL

Schooled in Switzerland. What a classy way of saying it.

RUSS  

Yeah, I know. Itís his classiness that bothers me.

ANGEL

Youíre becoming discouraged. Stop asking questions.

RUSS  

I canít help it.

RUSS

And how many languages do you speak Ö fluently?

CHARLIE

Russ, come on.

RUSS

No. Tell me.

CHARLIE

Five.

RUSS

And, pray tell, what do you do for a living?

ANGEL

Oh boy, I can hardly wait for this answer.

CHARLIE

Iím an international lawyer.

RUSS

Thatís swell. Iím very happy for you. I just lost my appetite. Have a nice life.

Russ turns and walks away from Charlie.

CHARLIE

Wait a minute, Russ. Thatís not fair.

RUSS

Oh, yes it is. Good-bye. Donít call me; Iíll call you.

CHARLIE

You donít have my number.

RUSS

Oh, yes I do.

CHARLIE

Jesus, Russ. Iím so fucking lonely it hurts. Give me a chance, please.

Russ stops dead in his tracks and turns around.

RUSS

Ok. Just dinner. And you pay. Youíre obviously richer than I am.

CHARLIE

Deal!

Charlie takes Russí arm and steers him to the restaurant entrance.

 

INT. FRENCH RESTAURANT. EVENING.

CHARLIE

Bonsoir, Maurice, une table pour deuxdansun coin tranquillesíilvous plait.

RUSS

Maurice?Youíve been here before?

CHARLIE

No, I havenít. All head waiters are called Maurice.

Russ relaxes and laughs.

An eight course meal is served. Russ is not accustomed to elegant dining. He is uncomfortable not knowing which utensil to use. He watches Charlieís every move and copies it. Russ stops Charlie when ordering champagne.Maurice approaches.

RUSS

Charlie. I donít like champagne. Gives me a headache.

CHARLIE

How about some wine?

RUSS

Something light, please.

CHARLIE

Puis-je a  ir la liste des vinssíilvous plait.

The meal comes to an end. Coffee with chocolate is served.

RUSS

Whatís this?

CHARLIE

Chocolate.

RUSS

In my coffee?

CHARLIE

Yes, try it. I think youíll like it.Ē

RUSS

Everyone here speaks so softly.

CHARLIE

Itís the way of the French.

RUSS

Not loud like most Americans. Right?

CHARLIE

Right. [Laughs]

The evening comes to a close.

Russ waits for Charlie outside the restaurant.

Charlie realizes Russ was out of his element.

 

EXT. FRENCH RESTAURANT. EVENING.

CHARLIE

Iím sorry. I shouldnít have taken you there.

RUSS

No, you shouldnít have, but it was enjoyable. Thank you.

CHARLIE

Iíd like to see you again.

RUSS

Why for heavenís sake. Charlie, you outclass me a hundred to one just in case you havenít noticed.

CHARLIE

Thatís not fair.

RUSS

Perhaps not, but itís honest and you know it as well as I do. Iím hoi polloi and youíre not and never will be.

CHARLIE

So, you wonít give me your phone number?

RUSS

No, you may have it, but think carefully before you use it. I meant what I said about looking for a husband and itís a big deal with me. You make a marriage together. No one hands it to you. And it requires 24/7 attention to make it work.

CHARLIE

Thatís what I want also.

RUSS

No, Charlie. You may think thatís what you want, but I donít think someone like you is up to it. Youíre jet set and probably have jet fuel in your veins.

CHARLIE

Youíre wrong, Russ. I need to love and be loved like everyone else.

RUSS

Charlie, how much time do you spend overseas with your work?

CHARLIE

[No response.]

RUSS

My point exactly. Hereís my card. All the information you need is on it. If you give it some thought youíll agree that using it would be a mistake. And Iím in no mood to be fucked with intellectually or emotionally. Iíll kick your ass if you screw with me.

CHARLIE

Is that a promise?

RUSS

Metaphorically speaking, yes.

CHARLIE

Iíll keep that in mind. [Contains smile]

They walk together several blocks. Charlie keeps bumping into Russ.

RUSS

Will you please stop doing that?

CHARLIE

Sorry. Itís just that I want to touch you Ö hold you Ö pet you.

RUSS

I never should have said it.

CHARLIE

Said what?

RUSS

About not doing anything on my first date. I should have taken you home and fucked your brains out. I certainly wanted to.

CHARLIE

We could still do that.

RUSS

Too late. I know too much about you now. You wonít be around for long.

CHARLIE

If you think you can get rid of me that easily, youíve got another think coming.

RUSS

By morning youíll see Iím right.

EXT. CORNER WHERE THEY PART.

They shake hands but Charlie doesnít let go.

RUSS

What?

CHARLIE

May I kiss you?

ANGEL

Oh, honey. I think you have this guy hooked.

RUSS

Ok, but no French kissing.  [They kiss.]

RUSS

If you ever do that again, please keep your eyes open.

CHARLIE

I will, I promise.

RUSS

You can let go of my hand.

ANGEL

I think he wants another kiss.

RUSS  

No.

ANGEL

Youíre not a tease, Russ. If you donít let him kiss you again thatís what heíll think.

RUSS

Charlie ... my hand.

CHARLIE

May I kiss you again?

RUSS

Oh, all right, but remember what I said.

ANGEL

Unclench your teeth you fool. Let him in. Do it!

RUSS  

Ok, but I may not be able to control myself. When I got close before I could smell him. My hormones Ö remember?

ANGEL

And?

RUSS  

I liked it.

ANGEL

Here he comes. Now be generous. Good boy. Now wasnít that nice?

RUSS  

His eyes are really beautiful and heís not forcing his tongue. Heís very gentle.

ANGEL

OK, thatís enough. Pull away! RUSS!

CHARLIE

Thank you.

RUSS

Youíre welcome. My hand, please?

CHARLIE

Oh, yeah.

 

INT. RUSSí APARTMENT.  DAY.

Two weeks go by Ė no call from Charlie.

ANGEL

Itís your own fault.

RUSS  

But, I was right.

ANGEL

About what?

RUSS  

Heís just a hit and run kind of guy.

ANGEL

Maybe.

RUSS  

It was better to end it before it turned into a disaster.

ANGEL

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.

RUSS  

Oh, shut up! Do you think heíll come back?Ē

ANGEL

Not very likely. Would you?

RUSS  

Probably not. Now, what the fuck do I do?Ē

ANGEL

Take two valium and donít call me in the morning.

RUSS  

Very funny.

ANGEL

Your phone is about to ring.

RUSS  

What? Oh, my God.  [Phone rings]

RUSS

Hello.

CHARLIE

Russ?

RUSS

Charlie?

CHARLIE

How are you?

RUSS

Iím okay. How are you? Where are you? Iím getting feedback. Sounds like youíre in a tunnel.

CHARLIE

Iím in Prague.

RUSS

Prague? Thatís cool. Howís the weather.

ANGEL

Iím waiting to see how stupid this conversation gets. Howís the weather Ö give me a break?

RUSS  

Fuck off.

CHARLIE

Itís very nice here. Itís midnight and Iím about to retire.

RUSS

Ah, itís noon here Ö time difference. So, why are you calling?

CHARLIE

Iím flying back tomorrow.

RUSS

I donít envy you. Itís a long trip. I donít care for flying that much.

CHARLIE

Iím stopping off in New York for a day, then heading back to L.A. the day after.

RUSS

Charlie, you didnít call to explain your itinerary. Whatís going on?

CHARLIE

[Pause]

RUSS

Charlie ... This is your dime. Talk to me.

CHARLIE

Can you meet me in L.A? We can drive back to San Francisco along the coast. I have a small place in Shell Beach. We could stop there.

RUSS  

Heís got to be kidding.

ANGEL

I donít think so. He sounds sad and not very sure of himself.

RUSS  

No way am I going to LA. What is he Ė nuts?

ANGEL

Why donít you give him a chance, idiot?

RUSS  

A chance for what?

ANGEL

To do what you said you wanted to do to him.

RUSS  

That isnít funny.

CHARLIE

Russ?

RUSS

Yeah, Iím here. Charlie, thatís a real nice offer but I canít get away. Iím hoi polloi, remember. I work 9-5 and I canít afford such a luxury right now.

ANGEL

Youíre such a liar. You can afford it. Do it, you lame brained idiot. This may be your last chance for love.

CHARLIE

I can arrange for your passage.

RUSS

Whatís in L.A.?

CHARLIE

We have an office there and I have to stop for a partner meeting.

RUSS

Just out of curiosity, who do you work for?

CHARLIE

Winston and Strawn.

RUSS

A law firm, no doubt?

CHARLIE

Yes.

RUSS

Are you a partner?

CHARLIE

Iím going to be. Thatís what the meeting is about.

RUSS

So, it will be Winston, Strawn, and Costa.

CHARLIE

No, thatís not how it works.

RUSS

Do they know youíre gay?

CHARLIE

Well, yeah.  Sort of.

RUSS

What does that mean?

CHARLIE

Itís never been discussed.

RUSS  

Why am I even talking to him?

ANGEL

Because youíre lonely Ö and desperate. Hello.

RUSS

Charlie, thanks for the offer, but I donít think so. As I said the last time we met. You outclass me. Makes me uncomfortable. Iíd always be fighting with myself to live up to your standards. I donít want to do that. Iím very comfortable with who I am.

CHARLIE

Russ...

RUSS

No, Charlie. I donít understand why youíre so persistent. Youíve got the world by the tail.  Youíre drop-dead gorgeous, smart, well-educated and probably moneyed. You could have anyone you wanted. Why me for Godís sake? And besides, you donít know anything about me. I could be your next frog. Then what? Youíd dump me and move on? No thanks.

ANGEL

Brilliant maestro. Dig that hole a little deeper and youíll disappear altogether.

CHARLIE

Thatís not true, Russ. I know more about you than you think.

RUSS

One dinner does not constitute knowing me better.

CHARLIE

Iím friends with Hank and Jerry.

RUSS

Oh, my God. I donít believe it. Did they put you up to this?

CHARLIE

No, itís not like that. Theyíre just trying to help.

RUSS

Help? What do you mean, Ďhelpí?

CHARLIE

They told me all about you Ö how lonely you are. It seemed like a good match.

RUSS

For who? Goddamit! I donít believe they did this.

CHARLIE

Youíre angry. I shouldnít have told you. Iím sorry.

RUSS

Go fuck yourself!

He disconnects.

ANGEL

Beautiful. You can go to the head of the class of unbelievable bozos. Hope youíre proud of yourself you pathetic fool.

RUSS

Oh, God. I canít believe I just did that.

ANGEL

Well, you did. So you can cross that prince charming off of your list of potential husbands.

RUSS

What list? My card is empty. No one wants to dance with me.

ANGEL

Gee, what a surprise. If you have any widowís weeds, I suggest you put them on.

RUSS muses

I was cruel to Charlie and thatís not like me. How do I apologize?

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING. DAY.

Russ walksupstairs to entrance.

INT. APARTMENT OF HANK AND JERRY. DAY.

HANK

Jerry, look whoís here, Mr. Smooth.

RUSS

Hi, Hank.

HANK

Come on in.

RUSS

Hi, Jerry.

JERRY

I just got off the phone with Charlie.

RUSS

Oh, God.

JERRY

What happened between the two of you?

RUSS

I donít know. I got scared and blew it.

JERRY

Scared of what?

RUSS

Everything. He took me to that French restaurant on Clement.

JERRY

The Chapeau?

RUSS

You know about that place?

JERRY

Yes, we eat there quite often.

RUSS

Jesus, I felt so out of place.

JERRY

Why for heavenís sake?

RUSS

It was Charlie. He was so comfortable, spoke French so beautifully. I felt like a foreigner sitting with him.

JERRY

I got the feeling from our conversation a few minutes ago that heís really hurting.

RUSS

I told him to go fuck himself.

JERRY

Well, that may have something to do with it. Why for heavenís sake?

RUSS

I was afraid Iíd turn out to be his frog and heíd dump me.

JERRY

Thatís the most incredible reason for dumping someone Iíve ever heard. Hank and I can fix this. Whenís he coming back?

RUSS

Tomorrow. Heís stopping in New York and then heading to LA for a meeting. He wanted me to meet him there and drive back. He mentioned Shell Beach.

JERRY

Thatís right. He has a cottage there.

RUSS

What am I going to do? I feel like such an idiot.

JERRY

Well, you got that right. But I think we can fix that.

RUSS

How? I donít think saying ĎIím sorryí will do it.

JERRY

Thatís true, but ... if you show up in LA, you may still have a chance.

RUSS

I donít know where heís going. He mentioned his law firm. Iíve forgotten the name.

JERRY

Winston and Strawn.

RUSS

Thatís it!

JERRY

I know where itís located. Wait a minute. Iíll be right back.

RUSS

Whereís he going?

HANK

Probably to make a phone call

RUSS

For what?

HANK

To help fix it, jerk.

JERRY returns.

JERRY

OK, hereís the scoop. Heís arriving in LA on Wednesday, is staying at the Sheridan. The meeting is Thursday morning and he should be through by noon.

RUSS

What am I supposed to do?

JERRY

God, Russ, you really can be clueless sometimes.

ANGEL

I thought I was the only one who figured that out.

RUSS  

Shut up!

JERRY

Get a plane ticket and stand in front of the law office like the pathetic fool you are and hope he doesnít deck you when he comes out.

RUSS

I donít know.

JERRY

Russ, weíve known Charlie for a long time. Heís perfect for you.

RUSS

Why didnít you tell me about him?

JERRY

I donít know. Hank, why did we decide not to tell him?

HANK

When we found out you were stalking him.

RUSS

I wasnít stalking him.

ANGEL

See, I was right after all.

HANK

The day we were in the park and you pointed him out, you said you were stalking him.

RUSS

Well, I didnít mean that.

HANK

Anyway, once we knew you were on to him, we thought it would be more romantic if you discovered him on your own.

RUSS

Well, that didnít work out very well.

JERRY

Sorry. But this will fix it. Now ... make a plane reservation.

Hands Russ a phone.

After the reservation is made, they tell Russ everything about Charlieís past and present. His schooling and immigration to the U.S.A. How they met him and decided Russ was the perfect match for Charlie.

EXT. LAAIRPORT. DAY.

The plane arrives in morning.

EXT. LAW OFFICES, BUNKER HILL. DAY.

A little after 11 a.m., Russ steps out of a cab in front of Charlieís law office. Standing outside is awkward so he enters the building and speaks with the receptionist.

INT. LAW OFFICES.RECEPTION.

RUSS

Good morning. My name is Martin and Iím looking for Mr. Costa.

RECEPTIONIST

Yes, Mr. Martin. I gave the message to Mr. Costa. Heís expecting you.

RUSS

Message?Ē

RECEPTIONIST

It was here when I came in this morning. I passed it on to him when he arrived. He should be finished with his meeting very soon. Why donít you make yourself comfortable Ö would you like a coffee?

RUSS

No, no, Iím fine. Thank you.

RUSS  

The message had to be from Hank and Jerry, trying to Ö fix it.

ANGEL

That was good of them.

RUSS  

God only knows what his reaction was.

ANGEL

Youíre about to find out Ö here they come.

A group of well-dressed men move down the stairs to reception. They are in good mood, laughing, shaking hands, patting Charlie on the back. Charlie sees Russ, excuses himself and walks up to Russ.

CHARLIE

Russ, Iím so happy to see you.

Russ senses tears in Charlieís eyes.

RUSS

Hank and Jerry set me straight about everything. Can you forgive me?

CHARLIE

You bet your sweet ass I can. Come on, letís go. Whereís your bag?

ANGEL

Sweet ass? That sounds encouraging.

RUSS

Right here.

CHARLIE

Wait just a sec. I have a couple of farewells I have to make and then weíll be on our way. You are going back with me, right?

angel

Please donít say - you bet your sweet ass I am.

RUSS

Thank you. I was just about to say that.

RUSS

Yes, Charlie, I am.

ANGEL

Listen to me and Iíll have you married before you know it.

EXT. DRIVING ALONG ROUTE 1 TO SHELL BEACH. DAY.

Russ and Charlie chat, putting the broken pieces together.

EXT. SHELL BEACH COTTAGE. DAY.

Sound of the roaring ocean as the pull into drive way. Cottage is bright yellow with purple trim.  Old growth flowering bushes are well placed, adding charm. They approach the front door.

RUSS

Charlie.

CHARLIE

Yes.

RUSS

Please remember, I donít do anything on my first date.

CHARLIE

Russ, weíve already had our first date, remember.

RUSS

Oh, yeah. Right. [Grins]

CHARLIE

Come on in. Put your stuff down and weíll go for a walk along the ocean.

EXT. BEACH. TWILIGHT.

They hold hands as they walk, watching the sun disappear over the horizon of the ocean.

CHARLIE

I was right, wasnít I?

RUSS

About what?

CHARLIE

Knowing what I want and getting it.

Russ grips Charlieís hand tighter.

RUSS

Yes, you were right.

RUSS  

Thank you.

angel

For what?

RUSS  

Being my guardian angel.

angel

My pleasure. Never a dull moment with you.

RUSS

[Chuckles]

CHARLIE

Whatís so funny?

RUSS

My angel.

CHARLIE

I almost forgot about him.

RUSS

He thinks youíre an okay guy.

ANGEL

I didnít say that.

                           RUSS

Hush!

CHARLIE

Is that right? Well, I am. Here, give this to him with my thanks.

Charlie kisses Russ on the cheek.

RUSS

No, I donít think I will.

CHARLIE

Why not?

RUSS

Iím keeping that kiss all to myself, thank you.

CHARLIE

OK, [laughs]

Charlie bumps Russ.

RUSS

Again, please.

Charlie does it again.

CHARLIE

Tell me.

RUSS

Tell you what?

CHARLIE

Do you think Iím husband material?

RUSS

What do you think?

CHARLIE

I know what I think. I want to know what you think.

RUSS

Yeah, I think you are.

CHARLIE

Letís go back to the cottage.

RUSS

Brilliant idea. Iíll race you.

CHARLIE

Youíre on.

INT. COTTAGE KITCHEN. NIGHT.

They make coffee and sandwiches in the kitchen in silence, enjoyingeach otherís company.

Angel

Do you think he likes to cuddle?

RUSS  

I donít know. Guess weíll have to wait and see. [Smiles]

CHARLIE

What are you smiling about, now, Mr. Martin?

RUSS

My angel asked me if you like to cuddle.

CHARLIE

What did you say?

RUSS

I said weíd have to wait and see.

CHARLIE

You can tell him itís one of my all-time favorite things to do.

RUSS  

Did you hear that?

angel

I did indeed. Are you going to ask him?

RUSS  

Ask him what?

angel

To marry you, silly.

RUSS  

Oh, my God. Am I supposed to do that?

angel

Why not. For goodness sake, donít panic. Iím sorry I mentioned it.

RUSS

Charlie.

CHARLIE

Yes.

RUSS

I want to know something.

CHARLIE

Sure.

RUSS

Do you think Iím husband material?

Charlie stops dead in his tracks, comes around the counter, grabs Russ and wraps his arms around him so tight Russ gasps. He looks into Russí eyes with intensity, then kisses him tenderly with his eyes open.

CHARLIE

Does that answer your question?

RUSS

Yeah, it does.

They settle at the kitchen table enjoying their first meal together since the French restaurant.

RUSS

Will you do me a favor?

CHARLIE

Sure, anything.

RUSS

When we make love, will you speak only French?

ANGEL

My, my Ö you are such a romantic. I can hardly believe it.

CHARLIE

Je peusdifficilementattendre. [Breaks into wide grin.]

[I can hardly wait.]

RUSS

Is that a yes?

CHARLIE

[Laughs] You bet it is. Would you like me to teach you French?

RUSS

No, but Iíd like to learn.

CHARLIE

I can help find the right tutor.

RUSS

Really?

CHARLIE

You donít get it, do you?

RUSS

Iím not sure what you mean.

CHARLIE

I want to be there for you in every way possible.

RUSS  

I donít know what to say.

angel

Thank God. Now, keep quiet. He knows what heís doing.

CHARLIE

Hey, about those little nothings your Angel whispers in your ear.

RUSS

What about them?

CHARLIE

Are they naughty or nice?

RUSS

[Laughs out loud] Naughty. Very naughty.

 

the end

 

Posted: 02/16/18