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Pariah Movie Script

Writer(s) : Dee Rees

Genres : Drama

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                                PARIAH



                              Written by

                               Dee Rees


                                                        SUPER:
    "WHEREVER THE BIRD WITH NO FEET FLEW, SHE FOUND TREES WITH NO
    LIMBS." --- AUDRE LORDE

                                                      FADE IN:


1   EXT/INT. NIGHTCLUB- EVENING                                   1

    A disembodied gaggle of jersey clad shoulders, jeans, and
    hats crosses a narrow street. Lights flare, hands are
    stamped, torsos are patted down. Money exchanges hands. We
    descend into a black, throbbing tunnel.

    Explicit music booms from bassy club speakers.   Hips, legs
    feet dancing.

    A GO-GO DANCER struts and wiggles around a brass pole.   Hoots
    and cheers.

    The dancer marches in place, rolling her thonged bottom.
    More cheers, greedy hands stuff dollars into her waistband.

                        FEMALE DJ (O.S.)
              Let's go! Where all my sexy
              Sagittarian ladies at?

    Arms go up.   A collection of whoops ripple the crowd.

    The dancer wraps her legs around the pole and oozes upward
    headfirst. The CAMERA ROTATES as she stretches her booted
    heels into the crowd. We realize that she has been dancing
    on the ceiling.

                           FEMALE DJ (O.S.)
              Oh my God!

    ALIKE (pronounced AH-LEE-KAY), 17, covers her mouth, laughing
    and wide-eyed. She tries to back away from the stage, but is
    pushed forward by a torrent of eager arms waving dollar
    bills. Among them is LAURA, 18, worldly and smooth.

                        LAURA
              Where your singles at?!! Where your
              singles at?!! Yeah, baby!

    Laura strains over Alike's shoulder to tuck a bill into the
    dancer's boot. Alike drops her beer in all the jostling.

                        FEMALE DJ
              Goddamn I love my job!

    Laura stuffs a bill into Alike's now empty hand and forcibly
    waves Alike's wrist in the air.
                                                             2.


    Alike pulls free just as the dancer takes notice and begins
    to direct her attention at her.

                        ALIKE
              Stop! Chill!!

                        LAURA
              Whatchu' come here for?!

    Alike shoves the dollar bill into Laura's chest and shoulders
    her way past the wall of onlookers surrounding the stage.
    Laura shrugs, puts the bill in her teeth and lays her head at
    the edge of the stage. Alike looks away and breaks through a
    snarl of clubgoers just as the dancer begins to descend.

                        ALIKE
              Excuse me. Sorry. Excuse me. Oof,
              sorry ladies.

    Finally free of the throng, Alike takes a breath and looks at
    the clock on her cell phone.

                          ALIKE (CONT'D)
              Shit!

    She rolls her eyes back to the stage where Laura is no longer
    visible. Not daring to risk another plunge into the throbbing
    crowd, she retreats for the bar.

                          FEMALE DJ
              Let's go!


2   INT. NIGHTCLUB BAR- NIGHT                                     2

    Alike beaches at an empty spot at the bar. Her gaze settles
    on a CUTE GIRL a little ways down, staring out at the dance
    floor. Alike jerks her eyes away and smooths the front of her
    shirt and adjusts her hat as she edges toward the girl.

                          ALIKE
              Hi.

    The girl ignores her. Alike clears her throat and speaks a
    little too loudly.

                        ALIKE (CONT'D)
              Umm... Hey! How are you?!

    The girl jerks around and frowns at Alike, looking her up and
    down.

                          CUTE GIRL
              What?!
                                                                3.


                        ALIKE
              Umm...sorry. I was just sayin'
              Umm...hi.

                        CUTE GIRL
              Oh.

    The girl dismisses Alike and turns back toward the floor.

                        ALIKE
              Oh. You wanna drink or something?
              Hey! Hey! Over here!

    Alike strains, snapping at the bartender. A CONFIDENT WOMAN
    swaggers up close to the girl and extends her hand. The cute
    girl takes it and allows herself to be lead to the dance
    floor. Alike looks around just in time to see her leaving.
    The bartender finally materializes, and Alike slinks away.


3   INT. NIGHTCLUB BATHROOM - NIGHT                                  3

    Alike slumps into a long line of women waiting to squeeze the
    cramped, 2 stall bathroom. A COUPLE in front of her makes out
    vigorously, and she folds her arms and looks away.

    A buff 30-SOMETHING WOMAN with locs smiles and winks at
    Alike. Alike smiles and fidgets with her eyebrows and looks
    away. The line inches forward. Alike glances around
    searching for the woman. The 30-something has already lost
    interest, her attention now fully directed at a much more
    FEMININE WOMAN strutting out of the restroom. Embarrassed,
    Alike faces front again. Two androgynous gangsters (AGs) who
    have witnessed the whole thing nudge each other and sneer.
    Alike squares her shoulders and widens her stance. One of
    the AG's breaks out in laughter and they turn around as the
    line inches forward again. Alike pretends not to notice and
    slumps out of line and retreats for a lonely oasis of couch
    along the wall.


4   INT. NIGHTCLUB COUCH - LATER                                     4

    Alike dozes on the couch.

                        FEMALE DJ
              Give it up for Sin-A-Min ladies!!

    Alike wakes with a start. She checks the time on her cell
    phone. Cursing, she scrambles up from the couch.
                                                             4.


5   INT. NIGHTCLUB BAR - EVENING                                  5

    Laura dances with a cute SHORT HAIRED GIRL.

    Alike spots the pair from afar and heads in their direction.

                        ALIKE
              C'mon, we're late.

                        LAURA
              Huh?

                        ALIKE
              I gotta go!

                        LAURA
              Hold on a minute.

                        ALIKE
              C'mon, why you trippin'?

                        LAURA
              What?

                        ALIKE
              Why are you trippin', you know I
              gotta go!

                        LAURA
              What?

                        ALIKE
              You know I gotta go.   I'ma get in
              trouble.

                        LAURA
              Lemme dance with shortie first,
              then I'll be ready.

                        ALIKE
              What?

    Laura spins the short haired on the dance floor and the pair
    continue their wobbling, uneven groove. Alike endures several
    moments of invisibility as a sea of women, both "feminine"
    and "butch" push past her without a second glance. Alike tugs
    at Laura's jersey. Laura, happily tangled in her dance
    partner's embrace rolls her eyes.

                        LAURA
              Stop pulling on my clothes!
                                                                5.


6   EXT. BUS STOP- NIGHT                                             6

    Laura sulks, frowning out at the night. Alike extends the
    olive branch.

                        ALIKE
              How many numbers you get? One?

                        LAURA
              I could've gotten more, but your
              moms was holding me up.

                         ALIKE
              Oooh.   That's jacked up.

                        LAURA
              How many you get?

                        ALIKE
              Tonya, Denise, Shelley. No wait
              that's old, I can delete that one.
              Tonya...

    Laura snatches the phone from Alike. Alike swipes at it but
    misses. Laura fends her off with one hand and scrolls through
    the numbers with the other.

                        LAURA
              Ain't Shelley that chick from your
              math class?! Denise... What?
              These are your damn study group
              numbers! Why you frontin'?!

    Alike snatches the phone and wipes the screen with her
    sleeve.

                        ALIKE
              I don't see you with no list of
              numbers.

                        LAURA
              I'm not the one looking for a
              girlfriend, man. You the one still
              a virgin!

                           ALIKE
              Shut up!

                        LAURA
              Trying to help your ass. I'm
              sayin', whatchu waitin' for?!

    Alike shrugs it off, her smile fading a little. Laura elbows
    her and sneers.
                                                             6.


                        LAURA
              Kickin' that same `ol quiet shit
              since 6th grade. I don't need to
              press, I gets plenty. Shit.

                           ALIKE
              Wah-wah.

                        LAURA
              I get more pussy than your daddy,
              nigga, what?!

                        ALIKE
              Oh shit!! Yeah, you got me with
              that one.


7   INT. BUS - NIGHT                                              7

    Alike becomes more quiet and less playful as the ride wears
    on. A middle-class Bronx landscape, well-lit with a newly
    constructed Starbucks and renovated condos flits by the
    window. Alike reaches over and presses the tape. Laura elbows
    Alike.

                        LAURA
              Quit playing.

                           ALIKE
              Your stop.

                           LAURA
              Huh?

                        ALIKE
              Your stop-- you're getting off
              here, right?

                        LAURA
              Nah, I'll roll with you a few more
              stops.

                        ALIKE
              Why you gon' walk all the way back
              down for? That's stupid.

                        LAURA
              Make sure you get home okay.

    The bus pulls to the curb. The light flicks on over the back
    door.
                                                             7.


                        ALIKE
              You ain't big, nigga. Trying to
              protect somebody. Hurry up, man,
              get off!

                        LAURA
                  (to bus driver)
              That's alright man--next stop. Next
              stop!

    Alike elbows Laura sharply. The bus driver frowns in the rear
    view.

                        LAURA
              You ain't gotta push me, why're you
              beastin'?

                        ALIKE
              I'm not beastin'.

    Laura climbs over Alike and swings toward the door.

                        LAURA
              You got a problem. Call me.

                        ALIKE
              I'ma call you.

    Alike turns and watches Laura stroll away. Laura drums a
    little beat on Alike's window as the bus pulls off. Alike
    waves and faces forward again. An OLD LADY sitting nearby
    shoots her a disapproving look. Alike rolls her eyes and
    moves to a seat farther away.


8   INT. BUS - CONTINUOUS                                         8

    Alike studies her reflection in the window, and takes a
    breath. She unbuttons her bulky men's shirt to reveal a
    fitting baby doll shirt that reads "Princess." She stuffs
    her baseball cap and durag into her backpack and jabs a pair
    of small gold hoop earrings into her ears. She slumps back
    against the seat and stares into the night.

    The bus stops at a lonely island of curb. Alike is a dark
    silhouette sprinting around the corner and into the night.


9   INT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT                                9

    Alike cracks open the front door just wide enough to slip
    through. The house is dark except for the flashing microwave
    clock.
                                                               8.


Alike takes off her sneakers and pads down the hallway. Her
younger sister, SHARONDA's door cracks open as she passes.

                      SHARONDA
          You late.

                    ALIKE
              (whispering)
          Be quiet.

                    SHARONDA
          Where you been this late?

                    ALIKE
              (whispering)
          Movies.

                    SHARONDA
          Movie ended at midnight.

                    ALIKE
              (whispering)
          Shhh. Shut up.

Alike shoves her sister and tries to close the door. Sharonda
yanks the door open wider.

                    SHARONDA
              (whispering)
          Don't push me.

                     ALIKE
              (whispering)
          Go to bed.

                    SHARONDA
          I know what stays open past
          midnight.

Sharonda puts a hand to her head and does a little dance.

                      ALIKE
          Shut up!

Alike eases Sharonda's door shut.     Sharonda swings the door
open wide.

                    SHARONDA
          Good night Lee!

Sharonda slams her door.      The light clicks on underneath
Alike's parent's door.
                                                                  9.


                            AUDREY (O.S.)
               Lee? Lee?!

     Alike rolls her eyes at her sister's closed door and shrugs
     into her room.


10   INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                                     10

     Alike rushes to shove her stuffed backpack under the bed.
     She tosses her shoes in the closet just as her mother, AUDREY
     appears in the doorway.

                         AUDREY
               Nice to know you still live here.

     Alike peels off her socks and slumps on the bed.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               What're you doing home so late,
               anyway?

                         ALIKE
               Lost track of time.

                         AUDREY
               You know what time your curfew is.
               Where were you?

                            ALIKE
               Movies.

                         AUDREY
               The show ended at midnight. And
               your curfew is twelve thirty.

                         ALIKE
               I lost track of time.

     Audrey gets cozy in the doorjamb.      Alike turns her back on
     her and slumps into pajamas.

                         AUDREY
               At least you were cute. Where'd you
               get that shirt? `Princess'. I like
               that.

     Alike winds the princess shirt around her fist and launches
     to the top of the closet.

                            ALIKE
               It's old.
                                                             10.


                         AUDREY
               Compliments your figure. I saw
               something just like it on sale,
               maybe we could go shopping--

                            ALIKE
               Goodnight.

     Audrey stiffens and pulls her robe tighter. Vinegar replaces
     honey in her demeanor as the warmth drains out of her voice.

                         AUDREY
               I really don't care for that young
               lady you run around with anyway.

                         ALIKE
               Yeah, okay!

                         AUDREY
               And tie your head up.

     Alike snags a satin headscarf from the nightstand and slaps
     it around her head.

                         AUDREY(CONT'D)
               It's your head. And you really
               should wash your face, too.

                         ALIKE
               I don't have on make-up.

                         AUDREY
               Wash your face anyway.

                         ALIKE
               Mom. I'm seventeen years old,
               please don't talk to me like--

                          AUDREY
               Watch your tone.
                   (Beat)
               Well, it's your skin.

     Audrey leaves. Alike is still. She listens for the door to
     her parent's room to shut before snatching off the scarf and
     storming to the bathroom.


11   INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT                                     11

     Alike turns on the faucet, wets the soap and puts it back in
     the dish, wets her wash cloth and puts it back on the rack.
     She plops down on the toilet and looks up. A crucifix frowns
     down at her from the wall.
                                                             11.


     She averts her eyes and stands to leave.

                         AUDREY (O.S.)
               Did you brush your teeth?

     Alike wets her toothbrush and throws it back into the holder.

                           AUDREY (O.S.)
               Lee?

     Alike squeezes out a dollop of toothpaste and smears a little
     around the sink. She stares at her reflection.

                           AUDREY (O.S.)
               Lee?

     Alike flicks water droplets at the mirror for good measure.

                           ALIKE
               Yes, mom.


12   EXT. SCHOOL - MORNING                                     12

     Alike, bundled in an oversized hoodie edges up to the
     perimeter of campus and waits against a bus shelter. STUDENTS
     horseplay and mill about the entrance in groups, chugging
     their morning Fantas and munching on snack cakes. The school
     bell rings and the lawn slowly empties into the building.
     Alike shifts her weight and checks her watch as the last
     STRAGGLERS finally trickle in. She yanks her hoodie tighter
     and launches across the lawn and into the building.


13   INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - MORNING                             13

     A second school bell sounds and the din of slamming lockers
     and jubilant chatter dies to a hush as students shuffle into
     classrooms. Alike cracks the back stairwell door and peeks
     out into the mostly empty hallway before tearing for the
     bathroom. One last straggler BINA, a 17 year-old girl with
     mature, but down-to-earth good looks rushes past Alike. The
     two exchange a brief, confused look then mutually dismiss
     each other as they hurry in opposite directions.


14   INT. SCHOOL BATHROOM - MORNING                            14

     Alike hurtles into the handicapped stall and snaps it shut
     behind her. She rips off her hoodie and the "girly" shirt
     beneath and flings them to the floor. She pulls out a pair of
     wife-beaters from her bag and pulls them over her head. She
     unwads a polo shirt and yanks it over her head.
                                                             12.


     She stares at her reflection in the window and tries
     unsuccessfully to smooth her shirt. Her eyes scour her
     reflection again and again for any imperfections. She spots
     the earrings and yanks them out of her ears. The late bell
     beckons and Alike stuffs her "feminine" clothes into her
     backpack and bolts.


15   INT. MATH CLASSROOM - DAY                                    15

     The MATH TEACHER glides up and down the aisles passing out
     graded tests. A chorus of groans follows in her wake.

                         MATH TEACHER
               As promised, I will be grading
               these on a curve.

     Alike is folded into the backmost corner of the classroom.
     The desks in front her and beside her are empty. She is
     ignored as the rest of the class chatters and passes notes.

                         MATH TEACHER (CONT'D)
               But the highest grade on the test
               was a 98.

     The math teacher puts Alike's test on her desk and gives her
     a little smile. Alike doesn't smile back.

     The lunch bell rings and the class is a tornado, clearing the
     room in a rush of limbs, shouts, and backpacks. Alike jabs
     her headphones into her ears and packs her bag very
     deliberately, letting the eye of the storm pass over her
     before heading toward the door.


16   INT. SCHOOL CAFETERIA - DAY                                  16

     The cafeteria is a whirl of activity and social jockeying.
     Clusters of girls and boys loud-talk, flirt, fight and
     horseplay at tables and in tight little groups against the
     walls. Alike walks alone, staying at the fringes of the crowd
     and shrugs through the cafeteria line.


17   INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY                                    17

     Alike flees the cafeteria, tray laden with rubbery cuisine of
     dubious nutritional value. She raps on the door of a
     classroom and slips in.

                            MRS. ALVARADO (O.S.)
               Hey there!
                                                             13.


18   INT. AP ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY                             18

                          ALIKE
               Hey!

     MRS. ALVARADO, a middle aged Californian ex-hippie type
     reclines with her feet on her desk, munching on celery sticks
     and sunflower seed paste. Her small desk radio plays
     alternative rock. Sun beams into the empty classroom and
     Alike squints as she yanks the headphones out of her ears and
     pulls up a chair next to her desk.

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               Whaddja bring me?

                         ALIKE
               Nothin' you can eat.

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               You shouldn't be eatin' that crap,
               either.

                         ALIKE
                   (over a mouthful of pizza)
               I know.

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               Sooo, where's the new stuff?

     Alike hands over her purple and white composition book. Mrs.
     Alvarado thumbs the pages, reading silently.

                          MRS. ALVARADO
               Hmmm.

                         ALIKE
               Did you see the one in the back?

     Mrs. Alvarado flips to the back of the book and her mouth
     moves silently as she reads.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               I'll probably do it in class.

     Mrs. Alvarado hands the book back to Alike and digs in to
     another celery stick.

                          ALIKE
               So?

                          MRS. ALVARADO
               So what?
                                                                14.


                         ALIKE
               What do you think?

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               They're okay.

                           ALIKE
               Okay?

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               They're lovely. Of course your
               descriptiveness and use of
               alliteration is beautiful and all,
               you know that. But...I don't know.
               Is it your best? No.

     Alike frowns through the pages of the composition book.

                         ALIKE
               I thought it was good.

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               It's good. Not great.

     Alike slumps back into her seat and considers the book's
     cover.

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               I believe you can go deeper.


19   INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - AFTERNOON                           19

     Audrey is a heat-seeking missile, whipping through the sparse
     hallways of the trauma wing, her clipboard and pen in
     constant motion. NURSES and AIDES scatter in her wake,
     suddenly busying themselves with little bits of chore work to
     avoid her caustic gaze. She barks at a cluster of CLERKS chit-
     chatting in the elevator bank and all but one manage to
     escape. Audrey drills her.

                         AUDREY
               Oh, so your log is all up to date?

                           CLERK
               No I--

                          AUDREY
               And you've checked the round for
               any calls?

                           CLERK
               Well I --
                                                             15.


                         AUDREY
               Do you even know which doctors are
               on the floor?

                         CLERK
               No ma'am I--

                         AUDREY
               Then I suggest you get busy.

     The clerk skitters off red-faced, and Audrey looks daggers
     into her back before storming the break room.


20   INT. HOSPITAL BREAK ROOM - CONTINUOUS                        20

     Audrey whisks her lunch bag out of the fridge and heads
     toward a table. A few lounging AIDES wad up their garbage and
     flee the break room. Audrey settles down at the table and
     pulls a fashion magazine from her work tote, pretending not
     to be hurt. She peels open a cup of vanilla yogurt and begins
     reading. A big red department store bag sits next to her work
     tote. The television suspended over the table mumbles
     corporate healthcare infomercials. MRS. SINGLETARY, one of
     Audrey's co-workers swoops in and plops a plastic grocery bag
     on the table across from her.

                         MRS. SINGLETARY
               Hey girl! Mind if I sit here?

                         AUDREY
               No, not at all. Help yourself.

                         MRS. SINGLETARY
               Whatchu got there? You been
               shopping?

                         AUDREY
               Oh, no. Just some yogurt. Some
               vanilla yogurt.

                          MRS. SINGLETARY
               No I meant in the bag. What do you
               have in the shopping bag--the big
               red thing?

                         AUDREY
               Oh I'm...I don't know where my mind
               is...Yeah, this is just uh--well
               let me get your opinion.

     Audrey's steely exterior melts away and suddenly she is all
     butterflies and giggles. She rifles through the bag and
     hoists out a pink ribbed v-neck sweater.
                                                          16.


                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Oh that's nice.

                    AUDREY
          Yeah see isn't this cute?

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Umm-hmm. That's for your daughter?

                    AUDREY
          Yeah, this is for Alike.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          The youngest one.

                    AUDREY
          No she's the oldest one.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Oh, the other one. Okay.

                    AUDREY
          What, you think it's too young?

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          No, no. For whatever reason the
          youngest one popped in my mind
          first. But I think it should be
          fine. It's really cute.

                       AUDREY
          Thank you.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          It'll compliment her figure.

                    AUDREY
          Now see that's what I thought...
          But Lee doesn't like anything I
          pick out for her anymore.

Mrs. Singletary takes a bite of her lunch and takes the
sweater from Audrey.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Girl, please. My oldest, 17 going
          on 27 mind you, banned me from
          buying her any more clothes. We
          have two completely different
          tastes. I just give her gift cards
          now and trust me, we're both
          happier for it. Is it her birthday?
                                                        17.


Mrs. Singletary hands the sweater back to Audrey who smooths
it carefully back into the tissue paper.

                    AUDREY
          No, no. I just wanted to get her
          something nice. You know.

Three ROWDY CO-WORKERS burst into the room chattering and
finger popping.

                    ROWDY CO-WORKER #1
          Hey, Brenda!

      ROWDY CO-WORKER #2              ROWDY CO-WORKER #3
Oooooh Audrey, you got me a     What'chall in here talking
present?                        about?

                    AUDREY
          Well, no we--

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          None of yo' damn business!!

The co-workers hoot in unison and descend upon the various
parts of the breakroom. Audrey shoves the sweater back in the
bag and nestles it between her feet. Somebody cranks on a
small radio and a frisky R&B beat invades the air. Mrs.
Singletary pats Audrey on the arm.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Let me know how it goes.

                    AUDREY
          Oh I will. I'll call you when--

                    ROWDY CO-WORKER #3
          Hey Bren' this is what I was
          telling you about!!

Co-worker #3 shoves a tabloid in Mrs. Singletary's face,
tapping an angry orange fingernail in the middle of the page.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Is that her?!

      ROWDY CO-WORKER #3              ROWDY CO-WORKER #2
Told you!                       Look how big she done got!

The center of the room shifts and Audrey is once again alone
at the fringes. She collects her shopping bag and looks
around to say goodbye, but no one notices her leave.
                                                             18.


21   INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - EVENING                            21

     Audrey, Sharonda, Alike, and their father, ARTHUR, 40-
     something with a used-to-be athletic build, are all gathered
     around the dinner table for a rare family dinner. Everyone
     takes half-hearted nibbles at their food avoiding eye contact
     with each other. Sharonda picks at her food.

                         SHARONDA
               I don't see why we can't just watch
               TV like usual.

     Alike elbows Sharonda.

                          SHARONDA
               Quit it!

                          ALIKE
               Shut up.

                         SHARONDA
               You don't tell me what to do!

                          AUDREY
               Girls.

     The phone rings and Arthur beats a path to bedroom to get it.
     Audrey wilts.

                         ARTHUR
               I'm expecting a call.

     Audrey stares after him then glares back at Alike and
     Sharonda.

                         AUDREY
               This is your father's night off.

     Alike casts a glance in the direction of the bedroom, where
     Arthur can be heard talking in hushed tones. She rolls her
     eyes and slinks down into her seat.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               So straighten up.

     Arthur settles back into his chair, his mood a little
     brighter. Seeing an opportunity for brownie points, Sharonda
     pitches in.

                         SHARONDA
               Homecoming got moved this year.
               It's gonna be in September instead
               of October.
                                                           19.


                       AUDREY
          Oh really?

                    SHARONDA
          Yeah. Which means I'll be able to
          go to Autumn Ball and the
          Homecoming Dance.

                    AUDREY
          Who are you going with?

                    SHARONDA
          I don't know. Maybe Derek. If he
          asks me. Maybe Parrish. I haven't
          decided yet. But for homecoming, I
          definitely want to go with Craig.

                    AUDREY
          Oooh, I see. Lee, who are you
          going with?

                    ALIKE
          Umm. I'm not going.

Arthur gives Alike an approving Daddy's girl wink. Alike
beams back.

                    AUDREY
          Not going? This is your junior
          year. How can you not go?

                    ARTHUR
          Leave her alone Audrey, if doesn't
          want to go, she doesn't have to go.

                    AUDREY
          But it's her junior year, she's not
          gonna have any memories.

                    ARTHUR
          I don't like all those boys buzzing
          around my daughters anyway.

                    SHARONDA
          Nobody buzzes around Alike.

                    ARTHUR
          That's right and it better stay
          that way. Matter of fact, I don't
          know if I'ma let you go.

                       SHARONDA
          Daaa-aad?!
                                                             20.


     Alike smirks and takes her plate to the sink. Arthur jabs her
     on the arm as she walks by. Audrey tears into a dinner roll
     shooting daggers at anyone who dares to make eye contact.


22   INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - NIGHT                                 22

     Laura brings a steaming cup of Ramen noodles to a worn
     kitchen table splayed with bills. Her older sister CANDACE,
     a stout 30 something with pleasant but hard-working looks
     scribbles notes on the back of an envelope while soaking her
     feet. Laura takes a sip of her soup and starts sifting
     through a pile of envelopes.

                         LAURA
               How much we paid him last time?

                         CANDACE
               Six twenty-five.

                         LAURA
               So that makes--we owe another two
               seventy-five for the rest of the
               month.

     Candace pecks on a calculator and scribbles on the envelope.
     Laura flips through more bills.

                           LAURA (CONT'D)
               Electric?

                           CANDACE
               Half.

                           LAURA
               Phone?

                         CANDACE
               Let it ride.

                           LAURA
               Gas?

                           CANDACE
               How much?

                         LAURA
               Eighty-five.

                         CANDACE
               Half. No let it ride.

     Laura locks her hands on top of her head and leans back in
     her chair, surveying the financial carnage.
                                                        21.


Candace reaches inside a CERAMIC HEN on the table and pulls
out a wad of money. She counts out several hundred dollars
into an envelope.

                    LAURA
          I can get some more hours--

                    CANDACE
          No. You know what you need to do.

                    LAURA
          Nah Candy, I can't just dip out on
          you like that--

                    CANDACE
          I was doing just fine before you
          moved in, remember? I can handle
          it.

Laura sucks her teeth.

                    CANDACE (CONT'D)
          You working was only supposed to be
          temporary. Mom would've wanted--

                    LAURA
          Who?! Man, don't even--

                    CANDACE
          She would've--

                    LAURA
          Stop.

Laura pushes up from the table and glares at Candace, a
showdown. Candace stares back, unfazed. Laura caves first.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          I'll get the money orders in the
          morning.

Laura tugs at the envelope but Candace doesn't let go right
away.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          I'll look into it alright?

Candace relinquishes the envelope and Laura stalks off down
the hallway to her room.

                    CANDACE
          The next test is coming up soon!
                                                             22.


                         LAURA (O.S.)
               I said I'll look into it!

     Candace smiles wanly and sips her soup. She takes a foot out
     of the water and kneads it.


23   INT. SCHOOL BATHROOM - MORNING                            23

     Alike slams into her usual stall and launches into her
     `Superman' changing routine. She unrolls pulls a jersey from
     her backpack and yanks it over her head.


24   EXT. SCHOOL LAWN - AFTERNOON                              24

     Alike sits off to one side of the stairs, headphoned into
     oblivion and scribbling into her composition book. A group of
     FAST GIRLS strut by and encamp on the opposite wall, giggling
     and yakking on cell phones. One of the girls, MIKA cuts a
     flirty smile at Alike. Alike turns away and buries herself in
     her book, but cranks down the volume on her iPod.

                         MIKA'S FRIEND
               It was like seven of us--Me,
               Khalil, Misha, Tamara....

                         FAST GIRL #2
               Tamara Marks?

                         MIKA'S FRIEND
               Heeeell no--Fat Tamara.

                         MIKA
               Oh I was about to say, Tamara Marks
               is a ughh--I can't stand her.

                         MIKA'S FRIEND
               Anyway, it was all of us and oh
               Laura, you know that girl from the
               restaurant? She was there with one
               of her friends.

     Alike's ears prick up.

                          MIKA
               That gay chick? Ya'll be hanging
               like that?

                         MIKA'S FRIEND
               Yeah, well it's a couple of them.
               She's mad cool though, so sometime
               she come out with us every now and
               then, anyway--
                                                        23.


                    MIKA
          Man, y'all be doin' it on it
          weekends, let me find out!

                    FAST GIRL #2
          I told your butt to come.

                    MIKA'S FRIEND
          But anyway--

                    MIKA
          Some of them AG's are kinda cute--
          I'm not saying I would, but I would
          holla.

                    FAST GIRL #2
          I don't know about all that.

                    MIKA
          Isn't that one of them over there?
          What's her name? Amika?--Alisha?

The pack directs their attention at Alike. Alike profiles and
attempts to look casual.

                    MIKA'S FRIEND
          Alike.

                    MIKA
          Yeah, Alike--she's cute too.

                    FAST GIRL #2
          Uugh. I don't be looking at them
          all like that.

Mika smiles as her eyes travel down Alike's physique. Alike,
aware of the admiring gaze tugs and smooths at her shirt
unnecessarily. She licks her lips and readjusts the book in
her lap, fighting hard to keep the grin off her face.

                    MIKA
          Look, I'm not gay--but if I was gay
          I might talk to her.

                    MIKA'S FRIEND
          She's in the middle anyway.

                    MIKA
          Yeah, but if she was just a little
          more harder--

Alike looks over and starts to nod when a CUTE BOY with locs
swaggers up to the girls, drawing their rapt attention.
                                                                24.


                         CUTE BOY
               `Sup ladies?

                 MIKA                           FAST GIRL #2
     Heeeey.                           What's up?

     The girls erupt into titters, and they melt into
     conversation. Alike deflates, watching them over the top of
     her book. She observes every little moment between the girls
     and the boy, every wink. Another BOY joins the group and they
     stroll off down the sidewalk.

     Alike plucks the headphones out of her ears, watching them
     leave. Mika casts a parting glance over her shoulder at
     Alike. Remnant's of Alike's grin return reflexively. Mika's
     friend jerks her elbow around.

                         MIKA'S FRIEND
               Oooh--let me find out, Mika. You
               act like you bi- or something.

                         MIKA
               I like girls but I love boys.

              FAST GIRL #2                      FAST GIRL #1
     Umm hmm !                         I can't tell!

     Alike waits for them to disappear from view before snatching
     up her bag and bolting in the opposite direction.


25   EXT./INT. - RESTAURANT STOCKROOM - DAY                       25

     Laura hoists a box of french fries onto her shoulder and
     moves inside the restaurant.

                         LAURA
               Watch out, it's slippery.

                         ALIKE
               So what do you think?

                         LAURA
               I already told you what I think.

                         ALIKE
               But you know her, right?

                         LAURA
               I said I know of her, I don't know
               her know her.

     Alike hefts up a box and follows Laura back into the
     restaurant.
                                                        25.


                    ALIKE
          I'm saying, you know her friend,
          right? You gonna introduce us?

                    LAURA
          Just put those on that stack right
          there. Yeah, thank you.

                    ALIKE
          You listening?

                    LAURA
          I'm listening--all I'm saying is--
          pass me that milkshake mix right
          there.

Alike tosses Laura a bladder of milkshake mix. Laura catches
it.

                     LAURA
          All I'm saying is that I don't
          think you should put yourself out
          there like that. Especially if you
          don't even know if she likes you
          like that.

                      ALIKE
          She does.

                    LAURA
          How do you know she does?

                    ALIKE
          I just know she does.

                    LAURA
          Hmmph. We'll see.

Laura holds out her hand as if checking for rain and scans
the ceiling.

                    ALIKE
          What're you doing?

                    LAURA
          I thought I felt a drop of pig
          shit.

                      ALIKE
          Shut up.
                                                        26.


                    LAURA
          All I know is I been trying to get
          you to holla at girls in the club
          for the longest.

                    ALIKE
          I don't want to holla at girls in
          the club.

                    LAURA
          Obviously. Why you pressed about
          this chick?

Alike shrugs.

                    ALIKE
          I wanted to ask you about something
          else too.

                    LAURA
          Oh God, what now?

                    ALIKE
          I need you to get something for me.

                    LAURA
          What?!

Alike cocks her head at Laura. Laura frowns back.

                    LAURA
          What?!

                    ALIKE
          Just for my image.

Alike raises her eyebrow. Laura shakes her head. The light
bulb goes off. She roars in disbelief.

                    LAURA
          WHAAAAAT???!! You trying to
          strap!!?? Whaaatt?!! Oh my God,
          what are you going through...

                    ALIKE
          Please.

                    LAURA
          What difference you think having a
          bulge in your pants gon' make?

                    ALIKE
          Pleeeeease. By next Friday.
                                                             27.


                         LAURA
               Next Friday?! Okay-- Whatever. Oh
               my God I can't believe you !
               Alright. Yeah. She better be cute
               for all of this...


26   INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON                            26

     Alike stares at herself in a floor length bedroom mirror in
     her underwear.

                         LAURA
               I think it looks natural.

     A peach-colored dildo dangles stiffly from Alike's waist.
     The harness bunches her boxers in clumsy tufts. Alike
     appraises the racially inappropriate apparatus and shoots
     Laura a look.

                         LAURA
               I'm serious, I mean it doesn't look
               that bad.

                         ALIKE
               I can't believe you.

     Alike frowns at the dildo in profile.

                         LAURA
               What?!

                         ALIKE
               Laura, this doesn't look right.
               I'ma look stupid.

                         LAURA
               Well, first of all-- I don't think
               its supposed to be on top of your
               underwear like that.

                         ALIKE
               I'm not putting this thing next to
               my skin, it pinches already.

     Alike yanks at the harness and her boxers trying to pull it
     out of her bottom.

                         LAURA
               It's supposed to fit like that.

                         ALIKE
               They didn't have any brown?
                                                       28.


                    LAURA
          I didn't have time for all of that.
          The brown ones were too big,
          anyway.

Alike struggling with the apparatus.   Laura smiles.

                    ALIKE
          Ugh! You gotta take it back.

                    LAURA
          I can't take it back.

                    ALIKE
          Here's the receipt!

                   LAURA
          Unh-unh. I'm not going back in
          there. One time was embarrassing
          enough.

                       ALIKE
          You grown!

                     LAURA
          Still what if somebody would see me
          in there? I'm not going back,
          that's it.

                    ALIKE
          Then where's my change?

Sharonda bursts into the room.

                    SHARONDA
          Lee, where'd you put my make-up
          case...AHHH I'M GON' TELL. OOH LEE,
          I'MA TELL DADDY!

Laura leaps from the bed and blocks Sharonda's path to the
doorway. Alike tackles Sharonda and wrestles her down to the
floor. Laura slams the door, shuts and locks it.

                    SHARONDA
          Eeew get that thing, off a me! Get
          it off me it's nasty! I'm tellin'!

                       LAURA
          Shhh!!

                    ALIKE
          Shut up!!! Thought you locked the
          door?!
                                                        29.


                      SHARONDA
          Eeew.    Get it offa me!

                      LAURA
          I did!

                    ALIKE
          OK, look I'm offa you.     Just be
          quiet and calm down.

                    SHARONDA
          I'm tellin' that you got that
          thing.

                    LAURA
          You can't tell.

                    SHARONDA
          I'm telling.

                      ALIKE
          Shut up.

                    SHARONDA
          It looks nasty.

                    ALIKE
              (to Laura)
          See, I told you so.

                    SHARONDA
          Where's my make up case?    I know
          you got it.

                    ALIKE
          I just borrowed it.

Alike pulls off the dildo and harness.

                    SHARONDA
          Give it back.

Alike fishes the make-up case out of her backpack. She holds
it out to Sharonda. Sharonda reaches for it. Alike jerks it
back.

                    ALIKE
          Promise you won't tell.

                    SHARONDA
          Give it back.

Alike flips open the make up case and jabs the dildo at it,
stopping short of the surface of the make up.
                                                        30.


                    SHARONDA
          LEE, STOP IT EEEW!!! I just got
          that one.

                       LAURA
          Shhh!!

                    SHARONDA
          Don't touch it with that... eeww
          that's so nasty. C'mon Lee give it
          back.

                    LAURA
          Then promise you won't tell.

                       ALIKE
          Promise...

                    SHARONDA
          Ughh, I hate you.

Alike jabs the dildo closer to the make-up.

                    SHARONDA
          OK, OK I won't tell.   Daag!

Alike tosses the case at Sharonda who scrambles to catch it.
Alike wraps the dildo back up in the bag and hides it behind
her headboard. Sharonda saunters out into the hallway.

                    SHARONDA
          I'm still tellin'

                    AUDREY
          Tellin' what?

Audrey peers into the bedroom from the hallway, still dressed
for work, shoulder stooped from the weight of her tote bag.

            ALIKE                           SHARONDA
Noth--                           She took my makeup again.

                    AUDREY
          Lee...
              (notices Laura)
          Oh. Hello Laura, I didn't see you
          standing there.

                    LAURA
          Hi Mrs. Freeman.

                    AUDREY
          How's your mother?
                                                                31.


                         LAURA
               I haven't spoken to her in awhile.
               She's fine.

                         AUDREY
               Well I hope so. And I'm so glad to
               hear your sisters finally getting
               back on her feet. Wasn't she--

                         LAURA
               She's good.

                         ALIKE
               Mom?!

     Audrey fixes Laura with another hard glance and shoos
     Sharonda down the hallway. Laura starts to shut the door, but
     Audrey stops it with her arm.

                         AUDREY
               I think we'll just leave this open.
               Let some air circulate in here.

                         LAURA
               I was just about to leave, anyway.
               So...

     Audrey lingers, looking back and forth between Laura and
     Alike. Alike frowns at her mother.

     Satisfied that the conversation is over, Audrey moves off
     toward her room. Laura checks to make sure she's gone and
     whispers to Alike.

                         LAURA
               Just try it.


27   INT. NIGHTCLUB COUCH - EVENING                               27

     Alike squirms in her seat.

                         LAURA
               Will you chill? You just gotta get
               used to it.

     Alike tugs at her crotch and attempts to cross her legs.

                         ALIKE
               Owwww!

     Alike uncrosses her legs and yanks at her jeans. Laura bats
     her hand away.
                                                             32.


                         LAURA
               Sit still, people gon' think you
               got something.

                         ALIKE
               This joint hurts, man. I'ma go take
               it off.

                         LAURA
               You not gon' take it off.

                         ALIKE
               I'm gonna take it off.

                         LAURA
               Where you gonna take it off at?

                         ALIKE
               In the bathroom.

                         LAURA
               Then where you gon' put it? You
               gonna walk around the club with a
               dick in your hand? Chill. I knew we
               shouldn't have done this. You
               blowin' me right now.

                         ALIKE
               Then I'm out.

                         LAURA
               Nah, you're `bout to stay and go
               through this. You're the one who
               wanted to meet her, not me.

                         ALIKE
               Then you come on, too. Hurry up--

     A group of girls approaches, one of them we recognize as
     Mika, the girl that likes Alike, from the bathroom. Laura
     stands to greet them. Nervous introductions all around. Laura
     shoots Alike a warning glance.


28   INT. NIGHTCLUB COUCH - LATER                              28

     Laura is hugged up with two girls at the end of the couch.
     Alike fidgets in her seat and keeps pulling at the knees of
     her jeans. Mika hand in chin, stares into space. Alike does
     another pull-fidget combo. Mika rolls her eyes at her.

                         MIKA
               You alright?
                                                             33.


                         ALIKE
               Yeah, no, yeah it's just--there's a
               spring in the cushion or something.

                         MIKA
               You wanna switch seats?

                         ALIKE
               No, I'm good.

                         MIKA
               And you don't wanna dance?

                         LAURA
               Hey ya'll we're about to go dance!

                         ALIKE
               No, no not really. I'm not really
               feeling the music.

     Mika sighs and looks around at the other dancing couples.
     Alike gives her jeans another tortured tug. Agonized minutes
     of awkward booming silence.

                         MIKA
               Well you don't mind right? I mean
               you don't mind if I go dance with
               somebody else?

                         ALIKE
               No, do your thing.

                         MIKA
               If you change your mind--

                         ALIKE
               No, no it's cool.

     Mika escapes the couch and disappears into the crowd.


29   INT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT                               29

     Alike slips off her shoes and eases through the kitchen.
     Audrey flicks on the light, blocking the hallway entrance.

                         AUDREY
               I hope it was worth it.

                         ALIKE
               Mom I lost--

                          AUDREY
               Save it.
                                                              34.


                         ALIKE
               It won't happen--

                         AUDREY
               Oh I know it won't.


30   INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                                 30

     Alike peels off her jeans and lobs them into the top of her
     closet. She unharnesses the dildo and wads the tangled mess
     up in an old t-shirt. She stuffs the wad in back of the
     closet and slams the closet door shut, staring at her
     reflection in the mirror.

     Alike reconsiders and yanks the wad back from the closet.


31   EXT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT                               31

     Alike stuffs the wad into a trash bag and plunges it deep
     into a neighbor's garbage can. She scurries back into her
     building and doesn't look back.


32   INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - MORNING                           32

     Alike skulks on the couch in wrinkled khaki pants and a
     cotton button down shirt. An obnoxious R&B video plays on the
     TV. Sounds of bustling and the drone of a hair dryer fill the
     room.

                         AUDREY (O.S.)
               Turn that mess off!!

     Alike turns the television volume to low and continues
     watching.

                         AUDREY (O.S.)
               Sharonda?! Sharonda are you ready?!
               Stop lollygagging!

                         SHARONDA (O.S.)
               I'm coming!

                         AUDREY
               Lee are you ready?! Lee?!

     Audrey hobbles out with one high heel on. She snatches the
     remote from Alike and snaps the TV off.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               I said off. Thought you were ready?
                                                             35.


                         ALIKE
               I am ready.

                         AUDREY
               You're not going to church looking
               like that. Where's the blouse I
               bought you?

                         ALIKE
               What's wrong with this?

     The front door bursts open, and Arthur tromps in, his police
     uniform hanging open over a white undershirt. He slings a
     heavy F.O.P tote bag on the floor and strips off his shirt as
     he crosses to the kitchen. Audrey rushes over and buzzes
     around him.


33   INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS                         33

                         AUDREY
               Hey there, you're home early--well
               actually late. I thought you would
               have called--

                         ALIKE
               Dad--

                         ARTHUR
               Do what your mom says.

     Audrey scuttles over to where Arthur is now digging through
     the open fridge. He pulls out a foil covered plate, tears
     open one corner, sniffs it.

                         AUDREY
               Are you hungry? Let me heat it up
               for you.

     Arthur heads toward the microwave with the plate. Audrey
     intercepts the plate from him and dumps the contents into a
     skillet.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               I'll heat it up on the stove for
               you. Tastes better.

                         ALIKE
               Dad--

                         AUDREY
               Lee!
                                                        36.


                    ARTHUR
          Leave me out of it.

                    AUDREY
          Go get changed.

                    ALIKE
          Dad, what's wrong with this outfit?

                     ARTHUR
          Nothing.

                     ALIKE
          See?

                    AUDREY
          I'm not gonna argue with you.

                    ARTHUR
          Do what she says.

                     ALIKE
          Dad--

                    ARTHUR
              (speaking bad Tarzan
               Swahili)
          Umgowa!

                    AUDREY
          And put on a skirt!

Alike stalks off to her bedroom. Sharonda bounces into the
kitchen.

                     SHARONDA
          Hey Dad!

                    AUDREY
          Too much lipstick.

                    SHARONDA
          It's lipgloss.

Audrey wheels on Sharonda with a death glare.

                    SHARONDA (CONT'D)
          Okay, okay.

                    ARTHUR
          Gimmie kiss.

Sharonda pecks dad on the cheek. Dad wipes his cheek and rubs
his fingers together.
                                                        37.


Sharonda giggles and bounds back into her bedroom. Audrey
slides a steaming plate in front of Arthur.

                    AUDREY
          Did you talk to her?

                    ARTHUR
          Get me a beer, please. Sharonda's
          fine.

                    AUDREY
          I'm talking about Lee.

                     ARTHUR
          Alike. And I don't see that there's
          a problem.

                    AUDREY
          I'm tired of this tomboy thing
          she's got going on. And Laura. You
          said you were going to handle it.

                     ARTHUR
          Umm-hmm.

                    AUDREY
          She needs a male point of view.

                    ARTHUR
          I said okay, dammit! Now can I
          please have a beer please?

                    AUDREY
          It's Sunday morning.

                    ARTHUR
          It goes with the spaghetti.

Audrey lifts a beer out of the fridge and slides it in front
of Arthur. She pulls up a chair as he plows through the meal,
her expression softening as she caresses his forearm.

                    AUDREY
          Do you have to work tonight?

                    ARTHUR
          To put food on the table and
          clothes on our backs, no. To go out
          to restaurants and keep designer
          sneakers in the closet, yes.

                    AUDREY
          Are you forever gonna be mad?
                                                        38.


                      ARTHUR
          Are you forever going to be happy?
               (beat)
          You made that decision a long time
          ago.

                    AUDREY
          We both made sacrifices.

Alike stomps back into the kitchen wearing the pink v-neck
that Audrey bought her and an unflattering pleat-front skirt.
Arthur stifles a giggle behind his beer can.

                    ARTHUR
          You look beautiful, baby.

                    AUDREY
          Tuck your blouse in.

                    ALIKE
          This isn't me.

                    AUDREY
          Tuck your blouse in.

                    ARTHUR
          Leave it out.

Audrey frowns at Arthur. Arthur stands his ground.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          I think it's fine out. What's the
          deal with you and Laura?

                       ALIKE
          What deal?

                    AUDREY
          Comin' in late...

                    ALIKE
          Dad, I hardly ever--

                    ARTHUR
          Why don't you give that a break for
          a little while?

                    ALIKE
          Dad, come on...

                    AUDREY
              (to Alike)
          You heard him!
                    (MORE)
                                                             39.


                   (to Sharonda)
               Sharonda! You done?!

     Alike spins into the living room defeated.

                            SHARONDA (O.S.)
               Coming!

                         AUDREY
               You coming with us?

                         ARTHUR
               Nope. Sleep.

                         AUDREY
               We could go to a later service. The
               one o'clock--

                         ARTHUR
               I said NO!!

     Arthur slams his fork on the plate. Audrey flinches. Alike
     looks up. Sharonda appears in the doorway, looking from
     Audrey to Arthur.

                            SHARONDA
               I'm ready.

     Arthur pushes up from the table.

                         ARTHUR
               Alike, you look beautiful.
               Everybody looks beautiful, okay?

     Arthur disappears into the bedroom. Alike snatches up her
     bible and launches out the door, Sharonda follows. Audrey
     pulls on her sunglasses and hat and slams the door behind
     her.


34   EXT. CHURCH - DAY                                            34

     Alike sits in the passenger seat of the car as Audrey chit
     chats with other churchgoers. Sharonda sits in the back
     seat, flipping through a CD case and occasionally passing
     CD's to Alike to play. Alike faces stonily forward except to
     cast impatient glances in Audrey's direction. Audrey raps on
     the window.

                         AUDREY
               Lee! Lee! Here's someone I want you
               to meet.

     Alike cracks the window an inch.
                                                          40.


                     ALIKE
          Huh?

Audrey motions to Bina standing by with her mother, Ms.
Singletary. Alike cracks the window a little wider and
acknowledges them with a half-hearted wave.

                     ALIKE (CONT'D)
          Oh. Hey.

                    AUDREY
          Get down out the car and come
          speak.

Laboriously, Alike rolls the window back up, turns off the
car radio, and climbs down out of the car.

                    AUDREY (CONT'D)
          What's wrong with you?

                    ALIKE
          Alright, Mom.

                    AUDREY
          You'll have to excuse her, she's
          been feeling rude lately.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Oh don't worry, Audrey, I
          understand how it is. Hormones.
          It's just a phase.

                     AUDREY
          Alike, this is Mrs. Singletary, one
          of my co-workers and her daughter,
          Bina. Sylvia, Bina, this is my
          daughter Alike, we call her "Lee"
          for short.

Alike shakes both of their hands in turn.

                     ALIKE
          Hi.

                     MRS. SINGLETARY
          Hello.

                    ALIKE
          Nice to meet you.

                     BINA
          Hi.
                                                    41.


                    AUDREY
          And this is my youngest daughter,
          Sharonda.

                    SHARONDA
          Hi.

                    BINA
          Hi.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Hi there, nice to meet you.

                    AUDREY
          Lee, Bina goes to the same school
          as you.

                    ALIKE
          Cool.

                    BINA
          Yeah, I think I've seen you around.
          Mrs. Alvarado's class right? AP
          English?

                    ALIKE
          Yup.

Audrey looks pleased with herself. Alike squirms.

                    AUDREY
          So. Now that we're all acquainted,
          don't be a stranger.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          Oh no, we won't.

                    AUDREY
          Bina I think you and Lee may even
          go to school the same way. Don't
          you live off of St. James Place?

                    MRS. SINGLETARY
          There is something to be said for
          safety in numbers.

Bina nods. Alike squirms.

                     MRS. SINGLETARY (CONT'D)
          Well, we need to be pushing off --
          I'll call you about those VBS
          workbooks.
                                                             42.


     Alike retreats into the car, Sharonda hops in behind her.
     Alike reaches over and turns the key in the ignition.

                         AUDREY
               Alrighty, I'll be around. Take
               care.

     Alike toots the horn. Audrey circles and gets in the driver's
     side.


35   INT. FAMILY CAR - CONTINUOUS                                35

                         ALIKE
               You're funny.

                         AUDREY
               I don't know what your problem is.

                         SHARONDA
               Can somebody put in this CD please?

     Audrey cranks the ignition and starts to back out.

                         ALIKE
               I don't know what you think is
               going to change.

                         AUDREY
               I know God doesn't make mistakes. I
               know that much.

     An invisible scab is ripped open in Alike and the fire dies
     in her eyes. Satisfied, Audrey slips the car into gear.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               You may not like Bina, but you're
               certainly gonna be spending much
               less time with that Laura person, I
               guarantee you that much.

                         SHARONDA
               Moooom, can you--

                         AUDREY
               Be quiet. Nobody's putting in
               anything. I'm gonna listen to what
               I want to listen to for a change.

     Alike wilts against the window and tacky zydeco music leaks
     from the car as it jerks away from the curb and into traffic.
                                                              43.


36   EXT. STREET - DAY                                          36

     Alike strides down the sidewalk.   Bina speedwalks to keep up.

                         BINA
               Look, I don't like lying to my
               mother, that's all.

                         ALIKE
               Then don't, she doesn't have to
               know.

                           BINA
               She does.    She asks me everyday.

                         ALIKE
               So tell her yeah.

                         BINA
               No, I'm sick of lying to cover for
               you.

                           ALIKE
               So don't.

     Bina stops short.   Alike keeps walking.

                         BINA
               Look Alike, Lee. Whatever it is you
               wanna be called. I'm not trying to
               hang out with you, either, but I'm
               not about to take an L for it. So
               stop dodging me, let's just go to
               school together and be done with
               it. We don't have to see each
               other any other time than that.

     Alike doesn't miss a step.    Bina yells after her.

                         BINA (CONT'D)
               Whatever, my mother asks me again,
               I'm telling her. Then she can tell
               your mother, then it's whatever for
               you.

     Alike stops short. Bina crosses the street and continues in
     the direction away from school. Alike spins around scanning
     the street, then catches sight of her on the opposite
     sidewalk.

                           ALIKE
               Hey!

     Bina keeps on pushing, the school now in sight.
                                                        44.


                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          Hey!

Alike checks for traffic then dashes across the street to
catch up with her.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          Hey look, I'm sorry.

                    BINA
          Yeah, you sorry your mom is gonna
          bug out.

                    ALIKE
          No for real, I'm sorry. I didn't
          mean to be that way. It's just...
          OK, I am concerned that my, my mom
          will find out, but...

                    BINA
          But?

                    ALIKE
          It's not like that. It's just--
          she's just. If you knew her, you'd
          understand. She's like, I don't
          know.

The girls walk in silence for a moment.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          So what's your favorite class?

                    BINA
          You don't have to make small talk.
          Let's just walk.

                    ALIKE
          I said I'm sorry. It's not you,
          it's just that my mom is like,
          she's like...

                    BINA
          Overprotective?

Alike relaxes her shoulders, both relieved and surprised.

                    ALIKE
          Yeah.

                    BINA
          I can tell. I've seen--I mean, a
          lot of people's parents are like
          that.
                                                                 45.


                            ALIKE
               Yeah?

                            BINA
               Yeah.

                         ALIKE
               Yeah. But probably not like mine.
               But anyway...

                         BINA
               Anyway, like I said, we don't have
               to talk. Just walk.

     Alike's cell phone chirps--it's Laura.    Alike sighs and
     stuffs the phone back into her pocket.


37   INT. LAURA'S BEDROOM - DAY                                    37

                         ALIKE (V.O.)
               Hi! This is Lee, I'm not able to
               answer my phone right now--

     Laura snaps her cell phone shut. A GED study book still
     glossy and uncreased is propped open on the bed in front of
     her. She opens her cell phone again and pulls up Alike's
     number. Her thumb hovers over the `talk' button. She snaps
     the phone shut and tosses it aside before turning the radio
     down and dragging the book closer. The cell phone rings and
     she snatches it up. A picture of a girl making a kissy face
     with the name "Tasha" underneath blinks onto the screen and
     Laura snaps the phone shut and tosses it aside. She hoists
     the GED book into her lap and lets her head hit the wall.
     There is a knock at her bedroom door and Candace peeks in.

                         CANDACE
               How's it comin'?

                            LAURA
               It's good.

     Candace smiles at Laura and hesitates before closing the
     door. Candace turns the radio off before ducking back out.
     Laura sighs and flips back to the beginning of the book.


38   INT. SPORTS CLUB BASKETBALL COURT - DAY                       38

     Alike and Arthur cavort in a sloppy half-court game in the
     fluorescent glare of the gym. Well-heeled clientele cross to
     and fro munching power bars and sipping Gatorade. Arthur has
     an awful shot, but Alike's is worse. Alike heaves a huge
     airball past the basket.
                                                                46.


                         ARTHUR
               Oh my God!!

     Alike cracks up as Arthur chases down the ball.

                         ARTHUR (CONT'D)
               That's just embarrassing!

                         ALIKE
               You ain't got no range, either.

                         ARTHUR
               Yeah but at least I hit the
               backboard. Damn.

     Alike rushes to guard Arthur who dribbles clumsily around the
     key. He tries a crossover move and lobs an ugly shot toward
     the basket.

                         ALIKE
               Brick!!

     Laughing, they tussle over the rebound. Arthur recovers.

                         ARTHUR
               What's the score?

                         ALIKE
               One up.

                         ARTHUR
               One?

                         ALIKE
               Yup!

                         ARTHUR
               One? Nah, I definitely have like
               three. At least three.

     Giggling, the pair rollick in another squeaky-shoed play.


39   INT. LIQUOR STORE - NIGHT                                    39

     MACK, the store proprietor leans against the counter flipping
     through a newspaper. Arthur, in uniform mulls through the
     sports section. A ratty looking man, SOCK sips from a red
     plastic cup.

     Mack cranks the volume on the tiny television above the
     counter.
                                                           47.


                    MACK
          It's on again... Check it out Free.
          Channel 5 and Channel 2.

Arthur appears on the TV screen, dressed in suit, tie,
sunglasses and looking impressive. He is talking to a news
reporter and a bad news graphic reading "East Side Drug Bust--
Detective Arthur Freeman" blots out the bottom of the screen.

                    SOCK
          Look who's big time.

                    MACK
          Brother was looking clean though.
          Looked just like, look like...uh--
          Danny Glover!

Arthur and Mack laugh and slap hands. Sock sneers at their
revelry.

The bell over the door tinkles and a heavyset BUTCH WOMAN
strolls in. Her head is shaved and a thick wallet chain
clinks against her ample carpenter pants. All three men turn
to stare.

                    MACK (CONT'D)
          Been more of that since they opened
          up that new club `cross the way.

Arthur grunts and returns to his paper.

                    SOCK
              (to Butch Woman)
          Excuse me Miss??!! Miiiiissss??!!

                    MACK
          Certain Friday nights they got, you
          know special parties going on.

                    SOCK
          Or should I say Sir??!! Siiiir??!!
          Hello?!!

                    ARTHUR
          Chill out, Sock.

                    SOCK
          Hey, my man! You hear me talkin' to
          you?!

Mack snatches Sock's cup. Sock pivots around to protest.

                    SOCK
          Hey!!
                                                        48.


                    MACK
          Mind your business.

Sock yanks his cup back and turns to resume his taunts. He's
caught off guard and stumbles backward as the woman pushes up
to the counter with a case of liquor. Arthur steps out of the
way and observes.

                    BUTCH WOMAN
          And a pack of Kools.

Mack nods and fishes under the counter.

                    SOCK
          Say, I been trying to get your
          attention. Do you go by Sir or
          Miss?

                    MACK
          That'll be all ma'am?

                     BUTCH WOMAN
          Yeah.

                    SOCK
          Look I just had a simple question I
          wanted to ask. See, I just want to
          know how does pussy taste?

The woman directs her full attention at Sock for the first
time. Mack watches as he quickly punches in the sale. Arthur
stiffens.

                    SOCK (CONT'D)
          You know, I just wanna know if you
          go with women for the taste, or is
          it just you're too big, black, and
          ugly so don't no man want you?

Sock laughs at his own nasty joke and takes a sip from his
cup.

                    MACK
          $65.07 ma'am.

The woman counts out the money and smiles at Sock.

                    BUTCH WOMAN
          I can't lie, pussy do taste good.

                     SOCK
          Oh yeah?

The woman takes her time putting away her change.
                                                           49.


                    BUTCH WOMAN (CONT'D)
          Maybe you should try it yourself
          sometime. Or better yet--

The woman picks up her case.

                    BUTCH WOMAN (CONT'D)
          --ask yo' wife how she likes me!

The woman winks at Sock. Arthur chokes back a guffaw. As soon
as the woman clears the door, Arthur and Mack explode in
laughter. Sock is livid and screams after her.

                    SOCK
          Fuckin' Bulldagger! He-She! Dyke!

                    MACK
          Ask your wife!

                    ARTHUR
          She told you.

                    SOCK
          She ain't tell me shit! I don't
          know what the fuck y'all niggas are
          laughing for!

                    MACK
          Awww shut up. Your big mouth got
          you in trouble as usual.

                    SOCK
          Thought you was my friend, Mack.
          But I guess I ain't expect you to
          defend me Free, the way your
          daughter is--

Arthur slams Sock against the counter before he can finish
his sentence.

                       ARTHUR
          Say what?!

                    MACK
          He don't mean nothin'! He don't
          know what he's talking about!

Arthur grinds Sock's collar tighter around his trembling
fist. Sock glares back, clearly punked.

                    MACK (CONT'D)
          He ain't moved outside a two-mile
          radius of where he crawled out his
          mammy's pussy. He don't know shit.
                                                             50.


                         SOCK
                   (to MACK)
               I been to Poughkeepsie!

     Arthur snorts and flings Sock loose.

                         MACK
               Carry your Poughkeepsie ass on out
               of my store!

     Mack sweeps Sock's plastic cup off the counter and into a
     garbage can. Sock tromps to the door.

                         SOCK
               Fuck y'all!

                         ARTHUR
               I should arrest your ass.

                         SOCK
               Man, fuck y'all!!

                         MACK
               Free, don't pay him no mind. Just
               talkin' trash.

     Mack playfully jabs him in the shoulder and bustles
     underneath the counter. Arthur's eyes linger on the door and
     his jaw tightens.


40   INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - DAY                                  40

     Laura swings through the front door of her apartment, Alike
     close behind. She slides two twenty dollar bills underneath
     the ceramic hen on the table and breezes into her bedroom.


41   INT. LAURA'S BEDROOM - LATER                                41

     Alike is a paper doll in Laura's floor length mirror, dressed
     only in boxers and a wife beater. Laura holds a bright orange
     polo shirt up in front of Alike's torso. Alike cocks her head
     to the side and considers.

                         LAURA
               Damn, this is your color. So what's
               the deal incog-negro?

                         ALIKE
               Mom has me hemmed up.
                                                        51.


                    LAURA
          Your phone ain't broke. You coulda
          called a nigga. Put this on.

Laura pulls away the orange polo shirt and hands Alike a
turquoise one instead. Alike hoists the oversized shirt over
her head.

                    ALIKE
          My bad. She's making me hang out
          with this chick from church. It's
          crazy.

                    LAURA
          Makin' you?! You a grown-ass woman,
          bruh!

Laura shakes her head as she plucks a brand new baseball cap
from the wall rack and drops it onto Alike's head. Alike
considers and takes it off. Laura puts another cap in its
place. Before Alike can object, Laura tosses her a pair of
denim shorts.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          Try these with it. So I guess the
          piers is out for Saturday, huh?

                    ALIKE
          I don't even know if that's me
          anymore.

Alike struggles into the jean shorts, widening her stance so
they don't fall down. Laura tosses her a belt and admires
Alike's reflection.

                     LAURA
          Yeah, that's hot, yo. You should
          rock that.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          I was gonna see if you wanna do
          something different?

Alike strips off the baseball cap and hangs it back on the
rack.

                    LAURA
          Different like what?

Alike peels out of the polo shirt.

                    ALIKE
          I don't know--maybe like a open mic
          or something.
                                                             52.


                         LAURA
               Open mic? Nah, man. It's plenty
               chicks at the piers, you just gotta
               be more confident.

     Laura crosses to her closet and scans its inventory. The
     jeans are arranged crisply on hangers from light to dark and
     some still have store tags. Most of the shirts are still
     enclosed in protective plastic covers from the dry cleaners.
     Laura passes Alike a perfectly folded button down shirt.

                         LAURA (CONT'D)
               You can rock this. I haven't even
               worn it yet. But I understand if
               you got better things to do.

     Alike holds the shirt against her torso and stares at her
     reflection. She catches Laura's eager look in the mirror and
     wilts.

                         ALIKE
               Nah, I'm down.

                          LAURA
               You sure? I don't want you getting
               hemmed up.

                         ALIKE
               Nah seriously, I'm down for
               whatever.

                          LAURA
               Real?

                          ALIKE
               Promise.

                         LAURA
               That's what's up! I'ma take the
               whole day off. It's gonna be tight
               watch... we gon' do it up!

     Laura holds a new pair of jeans against her body and does a
     little dance. Alike laughs wanly.


42   INT. ALIKE'S PARENT'S BEDROOM - EVENING                   42

     Audrey sits between Alike's knees as Alike oils her scalp.
     Alike takes her time, massaging each braid between her hands
     before moving to the next. Audrey reads an Essence magazine,
     the cover of which reads "101 Ways to Please Your Man."
                                                             53.


                          ALIKE
               You should wear your hair down
               sometimes.

                         AUDREY
               Your father likes it up.

                         ALIKE
               It looks nice down.

     Alike catches her mother's eye in the mirror's reflection,
     they share a sad moment. Audrey closes the magazine and
     tosses it back onto the bed.

                         AUDREY
               Maybe. Anyway give this back to
               Bina's mom when you go over
               tomorrow night.

                         ALIKE
               Saturday night?!

                         AUDREY
               We talked about this.

                         ALIKE
               No we didn't.

                            AUDREY
               Lee--

                         ALIKE
               I had plans for this weekend.

                         AUDREY
               Well, you don't have to go to
               Bina's on Saturday night, you can
               always stay home with me.

                            ALIKE
               Oh my God!


43   INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - EVENING                                43

     Bina sits on the floor, flipping through CD's. Alike sits in
     a chair, head in hand, completely disinterested.

                         BINA
               You like Destiny's Child?

                            ALIKE
               Uhh-uhh.
                                                54.


                      BINA
          Jay-Z?

                      ALIKE
          Nope.

                      BINA
          Fifty?

                    ALIKE
          No, I don't really like any of that
          commercial bullshit.

Bina looks up, off balanced.

                    BINA
          Oh. Who do you like?

Alike checks the time on her phone.

                      ALIKE
          Shit!

Alike starts packing her backpack.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          Just more underground stuff. None
          of that crap they play on the
          radio.

                      BINA
          Like who?

                    ALIKE
          People you probably haven't heard
          of. Conscious stuff.

                      BINA
          Like who?

                    ALIKE
          Roots. Black Star. Asheru and Blue
          Black. Pharcyde.

                    BINA
          Pharcyde? I heard of Pharcyde.

                    ALIKE
          Ah--for real?

                    BINA
          Yep. Tribe? J-Rawls? Bahamadia?
                                                        55.


Alike perks up, looking genuinely interested for the first
time.

                    ALIKE
          Uh-oh, whatchu know about
          Bahamadia? Let me find out....

                    BINA
          I'm not as generic as you think.

The phone rings. Mrs. Singletary answers from another room.
Alike and Bina freeze, listening.

                    MRS. SINGLETARY (O.S.)
          Hello? Hi Audrey. Yes. Yeah she's
          here. I understand--

Alike sulks. Bina flips to the back of the CD book.

                    BINA
          Alright, how about Rock?

                       ALIKE
          It's cool.

                    BINA
          Whatchu know about Santogold? Since
          you all underground and stuff.

                    ALIKE
          She's tight.

                    BINA
          Tamar-kali?

                    ALIKE
          I haven't heard of her, I heard of
          Res.

Alike hoists the backpack onto her shoulder and stands to
leave.

                    BINA
          Oh no this is way better, you gotta
          check her out.

Bina jams her iPod onto the stereo adapter. The thick, fierce
guitar rhythms of Tamar-kali's "Boot" consume the room. Bina
chants the lyrics along with the music.

                    BINA (CONT'D)
          "Her hair is short. Her legs are
          brown. Her lips are full. Her head
          hangs down."
                                                              56.


     Alike plops back down in her chair.

                            ALIKE
               Wow.


44   INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - SAME TIME INTERCUT                    44

     Audrey smooths a pink sticky note onto a foil covered plate
     and shoves it into the fridge. The doorbell rings and she
     rushes across the room and opens the door in her most sing-
     song voice.

                            AUDREY
               He-llooo.

                         LAURA
               Hello Mrs. Freeman. Is Lee home
               please?

                         AUDREY
               She's out with her friend right
               now, Laura. You take care.

     Audrey starts to close the door.   Laura stops it with her
     hand.

                         LAURA
               Oh. Umm do you know when she'll be
               back?

                         AUDREY
               No, I believe she's out for the
               evening.

                         LAURA
               Oh, because we had umm... alright
               then... Thank you.

                            AUDREY
               Goodnight.

     Audrey shuts the door harder than necessary. Laura checks her
     phone and shakes her head.


45   INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - SAME TIME INTERCUT                     45

                         BINA
               "Twist a virgin `round your dirty
               little finger!
                         (MORE)
                                                             57.


               Blood is gone but the memory
               lingers...twist a virgin `round
               your bloody little finger, love is
               gone, but the memory lingers!"

     Alike is bobbing her head, backpack forgotten on her
     shoulder. Bina cranks the volume down.

                         ALIKE
               Yo, this shit is hot!

                         BINA
               Told you. Don't you have to go?
               I'll cover. It's cool.

                         ALIKE
               Nah, I wanna stay.

     Alike slings her backpack to the floor and pulls the CD book
     into her lap. Her cell phone rings and she ignores it.


46   EXT. THE PIERS - LATER                                    46

     The pier is a parade of mohawks, curly weaves, tight jeans,
     and rainbow belts as groups of baby dykes, young queens, and
     gender queer youth of all shades of brown stroll cavort, and
     strut seeing and wanting to be seen. Equally bedecked
     observers hoot and yell from bench and rail perches on both
     sides. Laura jabs numbers into her cell phone. Competing
     threads of house music throb across the boardwalk in muffled
     bursts as groups of ballers vogue and prance behind her.

                         ALIKE (V.O.)
               Leave a message and I'll call you
               back. BEEP.

     Laura yanks her phone away from her ear and looks at the
     screen. She starts to hang up but pulls it back to her ear.

                         LAURA
               Where you at? Hit me up when you
               get here.


47   INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - LATER                               47

     Alike and Bina are sprawled in the floor. Bina DJ's from her
     laptop.

                         ALIKE
               Mrs. Alvarado was trying to get me
               to check out this one place.
                                                             58.


     Alike hands her the flyer. Bina laughs and tosses it back.

                         BINA
               Oh hell, no. That's for old people--
               I'll write down some places you
               should check out. Maybe you could
               read some of my stuff, too.

                         ALIKE
               Definitely.


48   EXT. THE PIERS - SAME TIME INTERCUT                          48

     Laura scowls at her cell phone screen. She shoves the phone
     in her pocket and pulls her hoodie up against the chill of
     the evening. Brake lights bathe Laura and her circle of AG's
     in red as late-night predators cruise the strip for fresh
     meat. Laura catches sight of shady sexual encounters in an
     alley across the street and looks away. One of the entourage
     passes Laura a joint and she inhales deeply. A few of the
     girls have backpacks and the group is pensive as they break
     off and scatter into the night one by one.

                         PIER GIRL #1
               `Member when we used to stay out
               here all night?

                         PIER GIRL #2
               Shit, used to?

                         PIER GIRL #1
               You stay with your sister now, huh?

     Laura nods and spits.

                         PIER GIRL #2
               Lucky as hell.


49   INT. AP ENGLISH CLASSROOM - AFTERNOON                        49

     AP English class is a safe haven. The desks are pulled
     together in a rough circle and are filled with heavily
     pierced, dyed hair, and vintage clothes types. Mrs. Alvarado
     sits cross-legged atop her desk taking notes. Alike stands at
     the center of the circle reciting an original poem.

                          ALIKE
               A butterfly, briefly
               Suffocated
               On the mucous of its own change
               Imprisoned
                          (MORE)
                                                             59.


               By the membranous chaff of its own
               underdeveloped
               Wings
               And
               Cramped
               In the darkness of the too-tight
               cocoon of its own creation
               Pauses
               Thinking death inevitable
               Prepares to die in the absolute
               solitude
               Of Swollen Husk.
               A c r a c k appears
               A thin jagged light connecting
               The inner to the outer world
               A butterfly, briefly
               Paralyzed by the imminence of death
               Discovers life is possible.

     The class claps.

                         MRS. ALVARADO
               Comments? Critiques? Julie, tell me
               what you think.

     A forest of hands go up as Alike winds her way back to her
     seat. A few classmates whisper brief encouragements. Bina
     nods and smiles at Alike. Unguarded, Alike smiles back.


50   EXT. STREET - DAY                                            50

     Bina and Alike troop home at a more leisurely pace. Alike
     breaks the silence for once.

                         ALIKE
               I liked your story, though. It was
               tight.

                         BINA
               Yeah? Which one? The one about the--

                         ALIKE
               The one about karma, how things
               come back to you. That one, I
               thought it was tight.

                         BINA
               For real? Thanks. I wasn't gonna
               say anything, but I liked yours
               too.

                         ALIKE
               Why?
                                    60.


          BINA
Why did I like it or why wasn't I
gonna say anything?

          ALIKE
Why did you like it?

          BINA
I don't know. I guess because it
felt honest.

             ALIKE
Oh.

          BINA
Didn't you have on a different
shirt earlier?

             ALIKE
What?

             BINA
Nothin'.

          ALIKE
No, what'd you say?

             BINA
Nothin'.

          ALIKE
Yeah, I had on a different shirt.

          BINA
Oh... Well, that's cool.

          ALIKE
So why weren't you gonna say
anything about it?

          BINA
About your shirt?

          ALIKE
About the poem.

          BINA
Cause you're moody.

             ALIKE
Moody?

             BINA
And quiet.
                                                               61.


                         ALIKE
               Man, I'm not moody.

                         BINA
               Yeah, right.

     Bina stops.

                           ALIKE
               What?

                         BINA
               This is me.

     Alike looks up at the stoop, surprised.

                         BINA (CONT'D)
               It's not so bad when there's some
               conversation, huh?

     Alike looks away.

                         BINA (CONT'D)
               You wanna come up?


51   INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON                             51

     Alike sits on Bina's twin bed, looking around and really
     taking in the room for the first time. She reaches over and
     picks up a little molded soldier figure off of the shelf.
     Bina fishes around in a rack of CDs.

                         ALIKE
               Who gave you this?

                         BINA
               What the bear? My dad.

                           ALIKE
               No, this.

     Alike holds the figurine out, Bina looks at it over her
     shoulder.

                         BINA
               Oh that. Girl, my stupid ex-
               boyfriend gave me that.

                           ALIKE
               Oh. Cute.

     Bina opens a CD case and pulls the booklet out.
                                                        62.


                    BINA
          Not really. I mean I guess it was
          at the time.

Bina lobs the little army man into a trash can across the
room and hands Alike the booklet.

                    BINA (CONT'D)
          Anyway, this is the other artist I
          was telling you about. Her stuff is
          like, bouncier.

A buoyant Afropunk beat wafts through the bedroom. Bina plops
down on the bed next to Alike.

                    ALIKE
          This is straight. You'll burn me a
          copy?

                     BINA
          Yeah, I have a bunch of other
          stuff, too.
              (beat)
          So who do you hang out with? I
          don't really see you with anybody.

Alike shrugs and rifles through her backpack. She pulls out
her composition book. Awkward silence.

                    BINA (CONT'D)
          I didn't mean it like that. I was
          just asking because I was curious.
          I don't really like anybody that
          goes there either.

                    ALIKE
          My friend Laura used to go there.
          Not now, but she's going back.

                    BINA
          Oh because, I was just gonna say--
          I'm going to this house party and
          you can come if you want to.

Bina waves her hand at the radio.

                    BINA (CONT'D)
          They play this kind of music.

                    ALIKE
          Sure. How'm I supposed to dress?
                                                           63.


                    BINA
          You don't dress. You just come
          however. Come as you are.

Alike nods.

                       BINA (CONT'D)
          Can I see?

Bina snatches the book from Alike's hands and starts flipping
through pages before Alike can answer.

                    ALIKE
          Yeah...But that's mainly old stuff,
          though.

                    BINA
          This is the one you did today?

                       ALIKE
          Yeah.

                       BINA
          Nice.

Bina offers the journal back to Alike. Alike reaches for it.
Bina pulls it away at the last second--an impromptu game of
keep away.

                       BINA (CONT'D)
          Take it.

Alike misses again. The girls crack up.

                    BINA (CONT'D)
          Sorry, here.

Bina yanks it away again. Alike gives up, still smiling.

                    ALIKE
          You play too much.

                    BINA
          Seriously, it's right here.     Just
          take it.

Alike summons the courage for one last swipe. She manages to
grab it but Bina doesn't let go right away. The girls lock
eyes during the extemporaneous tug-of-war.

                    ALIKE
          Thank you...
                                                             64.


                         BINA
               You're welcome...

     Beaming with her victory, Alike busies herself with the
     journal. Bina recruits a small stuffed moose for her next
     foray. She dances the moose up Alike's arm and plants an
     exaggerated peck on her cheek with it.

                            BINA (CONT'D)
               Mmmwaahhh!

     The girls erupt into renewed giggles. Bina tosses the stuffed
     animal aside and scoots closer to read over Alike's shoulder.

                         BINA (CONT'D)
               What's so private?

                         ALIKE
               Nothin', just my writings...

     Bina studies Alike's profile. She leans in and pecks Alike on
     the cheek. Alike lets the kiss soak in, glancing at Bina
     sidelong. Bina leans in again, this time planting a long kiss
     on Alike's lips. Alike pulls away. Bina tenses for the
     verdict.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               Why'd you do that for?

                            BINA
               Sorry---

                         ALIKE
               No, I'm sorry. I just umm...I gotta
               go.

                         BINA
               I thought--

                            ALIKE
               Sorry.

     Alike blindly grabs up her things and rushes the door, Bina
     flounders in her wake.


52   INT. LAURA'S LIVING ROOM - EVENING                          52

     Laura and a group of friends play a rowdy game of spades. A
     cute Puerto Rican girl is draped around Laura's neck like a
     PERSONAL CHEERLEADER. Music blasts from the TV but doesn't
     drown out the hoots and banter of the rollicking entourage.
     There is a knock at the door.
                                                        65.


                    LAURA
          You'll get that for me?

One of the friends breaks away from the pack, opens the door
without greeting and walks away. Alike is left alone to
escort herself in. Laura hardly looks up as Alike stops at
the fringes of the pack.

                    ALIKE
          Wassup man.

A collective grumble of greeting goes up around the table
although no one addresses Alike directly. Laura slams the
table and raises her hands in triumph.

                    LAURA
          Board, goddammit!! I told you!

                    PIER GIRL #1
          Awww, we shoulda been done set you!

Laura slaps hands with her partner. The unlucky pair of
partners argue. The personal cheerleader kisses Laura on the
neck. Alike looks away.

                    PERSONAL CHEERLEADER
          Good game, baby!

                    LAURA
          What's good, Lee?

                    ALIKE
          Just came to say wassup.

                    LAURA
          Whatchu got, Ty?

                    PIER GIRL #2
          Three, maybe four.

                    LAURA
          We goin' eight!!

Roars of disbelief from around the table. Alike is quickly
forgotten in the ruckus. Alike circles to Laura's side. The
personal cheerleader looks her up and down.

                    ALIKE
          Can I talk to you for a second?

                    LAURA
          Now I got to cut you!! Grab `em
          partner. We gonna run a Boston on
          that ass!
                    (MORE)
                                                               66.


                   (to Alike)
               Yo, I'm busy right now.

     More raucous laughter from the table. Alike endures another
     few moments of card slapping, table pounding dejection before
     leaning into Laura's ear.

                         ALIKE
               I really need to talk to you--

                         LAURA
               I said later!

     Wide-eyed silence and scattered snickers around the table.
     Laura resumes her hand and the game banter cranks back up.
     Alike picks up her face and slips away.

                         PIER GIRL #3
               Thought that was your girl?

                         LAURA
               Mind your business. Bam! That's
               what I thought!

     Laura slaps another card on the table and takes a deep swig
     of water.


53   INT. ALIKE'S PARENT'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                        53

     Audrey lies awake in bed. The clock on the nightstand
     indicates a little past two in the morning. She looks at the
     sliver of light underneath the bedroom door, the sound of
     Arthur's key in the door breaks the silence. Arthur's voice
     in hushed tones. Audrey rolls over and faces the wall.


54   INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                                 54

     Alike watches her father's footsteps break up the light
     beneath her door. She tosses off her blankets and springs
     into the hallway.

                         ALIKE
                   (loud whisper)
               Hey Dad!

     She is talking to empty air. She eases down the hallway
     toward the kitchen and the sound of his muffled voice.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               Dad?
                                                              67.


                         ARTHUR (O.S.)
               Come on now, you know that's not
               what I want. That's not what I'm
               saying. That's not--listen to me.
               Are you gonna listen to me?

                         ALIKE
               Mom?

     Alike stops short outside the kitchen door, confused.

                         ARTHUR (O.S.)
               Lee? Hold on.


55   INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS                           55

     Alike swings around the corner.

                         ALIKE
               Huh?

                         ARTHUR
               No, not you.
                   (into phone)
               Hey, I'll talk to you later,
               alright? My daughter's up.

     Arthur flips his cell phone shut and tucks it into his
     pocket. He fishes a beer out of the fridge.

                         ALIKE
               Who was that?

     Arthur sips his beer and walks over to the kitchen table. A
     foil covered plate with a little pink sticky note waits.

                         ARTHUR
               What you doing up?

                         ALIKE
               Just wanted to talk.

     Arthur crumples the sticky note and tosses it into the trash
     without reading it. He peels up one side of the foil, peeks
     at the food underneath, and launches it into the trash, too.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               Dad, the plate--don't trash the
               plate.

     Arthur strips off his dress shirt and tie and flings them
     into the living room.
                                                        68.


Alike rescues the plate from the garbage and carefully lays
it in the sink so it doesn't clatter.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          Aren't you hungry?

                    ARTHUR
          Ate already.

                    ALIKE
          You ate at work?

                    ARTHUR
          No, just grabbed some take out.

                       ALIKE
          Oh. Where?

Arthur explodes.

                    ARTHUR
          Why you asking me all these goddamn
          questions, girl? What's wrong with
          you? You don't question me.

                       ALIKE
          Sorry.

Alike starts to head back to her room.

                    ARTHUR
          Hold up. I'm sorry, Alike come on
          back. Look-- I got patties...

Arthur tosses a greasy bag onto the table and pulls out a
chair for her.

                       ALIKE
          Beef?

                    ARTHUR
          And chicken. C'mon.

Alike sits happily and the two munch in silence for awhile.

                    ARTHUR
          Listen uh...Your momma's worried
          that uh...How's school? Straight
          A's?

                       ALIKE
          Probably.
                                                          69.


                    ARTHUR
          That's right. Want a sip?

Arthur offers her the beer. Alike takes it to the head.

                    ARTHUR
          I said a sip. A sip!

Arthur snatches the beer from her. They laugh. Alike picks at
her patty, eating little pieces of crust.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          What's on you your mind?

                     ALIKE
          Nothin'.

Arthur snorts.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          What if--what if...say somebody
          liked you right?

                    ARTHUR
          They like you? Or they like you,
          like you?

                    ALIKE
          Say they like you, like you.

                     ARTHUR
          Uh-huh.

                    ALIKE
          I mean, they haven't said anything
          yet. But what if... so what if the
          person is kinda like a friend, but
          you know they like you more than
          that?

                    ARTHUR
          Well, I think that's the best way
          to start--as friends.

                    ALIKE
          But then what if...What if the
          person is --

Arthur scents the heavy news packed in Alike's expressive
pause and scrambles to intercept her at the pass.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          What's his name? What grade is he
          in?
                    (MORE)
                                                        70.


          I'ma look his ass up in the system.
          Ha-ha! Wait `till your mama finds
          out. She'll be so goddamn happy.

Alike plays along, swallowing her disappointment.

                    ALIKE
          Yeah.

Arthur pushes back from the table and pulls a fresh police
uniform out the hall closet. He lays it across the back of
the couch and unzips his pants. Alike turns her back to give
him privacy.

                    ARTHUR
          Say uh--there's this new--uh
          women's club up there by the liquor
          store--have you--do you--you
          haven't heard anything about it,
          right?

Alike shakes her head no. Arthur tucks his undershirt into
his pants.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          Called the Kitty Litter, the
          Catbox, something like that?

                    ALIKE
          Nah, I never even heard of it.

                    ARTHUR
          Good. `Cause you know that's a
          uh...it's a rough neighborhood. You
          know that right? I had a case over
          there. You wanna be careful--stay
          away from that element. Just in
          case it ever comes up?

                    ALIKE
          I'll be careful.

                    ARTHUR
          Good. I know you will.

Alike glances back at Arthur and sees that he's decent. She
scoots back around to face him. Arthur smooths his uniform
shirt into his pants.

                    ALIKE
          Dad, when you were on the phone
          earlier? It sounded like...I
          mean...I guess you're headed back
          to work, huh?
                                                             71.


                         ARTHUR
               Yep. Your mama still up?

                           ALIKE
               Probably.

                         ARTHUR
               Tell her I had to work.

     Arthur picks up his work tote and kisses Alike on the
     forehead.

                           ARTHUR (CONT'D)
               Love you.


56   INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - MORNING                            56

     Laura jams a pillow into a t-shirt as a makeshift pillowcase
     as she escorts one of the pier girls to the couch. The pier
     girl looks slightly unkempt and is relieved to plop her
     knapsack on the floor. Laura tosses the pillow onto the
     couch.

                         LAURA
               My sister gets home at six so, you
               gotta be gone by then.

                         PIER GIRL #2
               Good looking.

                         LAURA
               There's some lunchmeat in there
               too, help yourself.

                         PIER GIRL #2
               `Preciate ya.

     Laura pulls up close to the kitchen table. The GED test prep
     book, now dog-eared and worn is on the table in front of her.

     She finds her place and copies notes and multiple choice
     answers into a spiral notebook. A stack of old Math and
     English textbooks are in a chair next to her and the room is
     peaceful and still save for the scratching of her pencil.


57   INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - AFTERNOON                           57

     Alike spies on Bina stuffing books into her locker. She draws
     her breath and approaches.

                           ALIKE
               Hey.
                                                          72.


                       BINA
          Hey.

A long awkward silence. Alike leans against the bank of
lockers, not daring to make eye contact.

                    ALIKE
          I'm sorry about the other day.

                       BINA
          It's cool.

Bina pretends to rearrange books in her locker.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          Things have been crazy. But look,
          I'm sorry I bugged out. It's
          just...I didn't know that you...I
          wasn't expecting that.

                    BINA
          You still coming to the party?

                    ALIKE
          I don't know--I need to try and
          catch up with Laura.

                       BINA
          Oh.

                    ALIKE
          But I do wanna hang out...I
          mean...maybe we could do both.

Bina smiles and shuts the locker door.

                     BINA
          Cool.
              (beat)
          You could spend the night if want
          to. Avoid the whole curfew thing.

                       ALIKE
          Yeah...

                       BINA
          You sure?

                       ALIKE
          Yeah.
                                                             73.


58   INT. FAMILY CAR - DAY                                        58

     Arthur coaches Alike as she navigates the car to a jerky stop
     in front of Mack's liquor store.

                          ARTHUR
               Easy, easy now. Watch your right
               hand side.

                            ALIKE
               I am.

                         ARTHUR
               Don't ride the brakes though. Good.

                         ALIKE
               See? I'm getting better!! Can I
               drive back?

     Arthur rubs his chest in mock heart-attack.

                         ARTHUR
               I don't about that. You're shaky
               girl, you're shaky. Get us some
               chips and I'll think about it.

     Arthur hands Alike a five dollar bill and she bounces down
     out of the car.


59   EXT. LIQUOR STORE - CONTINUOUS                               59

     Arthur shouts a greeting to Mack who lounges on a plastic
     chair outside his door. Sock and TWO OTHER MEN chit chat
     nearby. Their chatter lowers as Arthur approaches. Alike bops
     into the store.

                            MACK
               Hey, baby!

                         ALIKE
               Hey Mr. Ferguson!

                         MACK
               I see Alike's been running circles
               around you again!

                          ARTHUR
               Little bit, little bit. I still got
               it though.


     Arthur claps Mack on the shoulder and glimpses Sock
     whispering to one of the men.
                                                             74.


     Arthur follows the men's gazes over to Alike at the potato
     chip rack. She twirls the string of her basketball shorts
     round and round her finger and idly hikes the collar of her t-
     shirt up over her nose. The smile evaporates from Arthur's
     face.


     Sock peers back at him, smirking. Arthur starts toward him,
     when Alike saunters out between them.

                         ARTHUR
               We better get going.

                         MACK (CONT'D)
               Gone already?

                         ARTHUR
               I'll holler at you later.

     Arthur crosses the lot in a bound, snatches the car keys from
     Alike's hand, and hustles her into the car.

                         ARTHUR (CONT'D)
               Get in the car.

                         ALIKE
               But you said I could drive--

                         ARTHUR
               I said get in the car!

     Alike frowns, then catches sight of the men in front of the
     store. She slumps into the car and slams the door. Arthur
     piles into the driver's seat. They sit in silence for a
     moment, Alike traces the lines in her hands.


60   INT. ARTHUR'S CAR - CONTINUOUS                               60

                         ARTHUR
               Look...umm...you know you're
               daddy's girl, right?

     Alike avoids eye contact, staring out her window. Arthur
     searches her face a moment longer, then starts the car and
     pulls away in silence.


61   INT. ALIKE'S APARTMENT LIVING ROOM - NIGHT                   61

     Audrey reclines on the couch reading a book. The doorknob
     jiggles and Audrey folds the book against her chest,
     pretending to be asleep.
                                                           75.


Arthur slips in and lays his holster on an armchair, not even
bothering to approach Audrey's sleeping form.

Arthur peeks inside the fridge and inspects one of Audrey's
foil covered plates. He tosses it aside and gathers sandwich
ingredients instead. Audrey yawns and props herself up on one
elbow.

                    AUDREY
          Oh you're home?

                       ARTHUR
          Hey.

                    AUDREY
          I must've dozed off. How long have
          you been in?

                       ARTHUR
          Hour.

Dad takes a bite of his sandwich and shoves the ingredients
back into the fridge.

                    AUDREY
          Did you see the plate in there?

                    ARTHUR
          This is fine.

Arthur plops down on an armchair and flips the TV channel to
sports highlights. Mom scoots over on the couch.

                    AUDREY
          There's room over here. You can see
          the TV better.

                    ARTHUR
          This is fine.

Arthur props his feet up on the coffee table and catches
Audrey's hurt expression. He winks at her.

                       ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          Thank you.

                    AUDREY
          Just alike.

                       ARTHUR
          Say what?
                                                        76.


                    AUDREY
          You and your daughter. Have you
          talked to Lee yet? I told you she--

                    ARTHUR
          I talked to Alike.

                       AUDREY
          You did?

                    ARTHUR
          Everything's fine. Like I told you.
          Matter fact, she's got a boyfriend.

                       AUDREY
          Boyfriend?

                    ARTHUR
          Just give her some space.

                    AUDREY
          Space? She's hardly ever home in
          the first place and you're just
          like her, creeping in all hours of
          the night. Both of you. Running
          around like you got something to
          hide, like I'm the big, bad witch
          and what about me? I'm home by
          myself all the time and Sharonda's
          getting older and starting to go
          out and pretty soon--

                    ARTHUR
          I don't have anything to hide. Look
          I told you I talked to Alike and
          everything is fine.

                    AUDREY
          Did you ask her?

Dad slams down his half-eaten sandwich and stands up.

                    ARTHUR
          No, because I didn't have to.
          Besides,I would know okay? If
          anybody would know, it would be me.
          I know my daughter--

                    AUDREY
          Your daughter?!!

                    ARTHUR
          --better than anyone else and--
                                                             77.


                         AUDREY
               So now all of a sudden she's just
               your daughter?!

                 ARTHUR                          AUDREY
     --I'm telling you she's just    Well I guess I better not
     fine!!                          have nothing else to say
                                     then, huh?!

                         ARTHUR
               That's your damn problem, you're
               too much of a damn worry wart.

                         AUDREY
               Let's hope you're right, Detective.

                         ARTHUR
               Will you shut the fuck up?!

     Audrey jerks to her feet and flings the book aside.

                         AUDREY
               An hour? Really? I'm not your dumb
               damn floozy in the street. And you
               will not talk to me that way.

     Audrey slaps the sandwich off Arthur's plate and storms to
     the bedroom. Arthur sees Sharonda peeking from her bedroom
     door but can't summon any words. Sharonda skitters into
     Alike's bedroom.


62   INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT                                 62

     Alike is awake, hands folded behind her head. Sharonda curls
     up on top of the covers next to her.

                         ALIKE
               I know you're not scared.

                          SHARONDA
               I'm not.

     The girls lay silently as they listen to Arthur bang around
     in the kitchen.

                          SHARONDA (CONT'D)
               Lee?

                          ALIKE
               Hmm?
                                                             78.


                          SHARONDA
                I hope you know it doesn't matter
                to me.

     Alike rubs Sharonda's head and gives her a little squeeze.

                          ALIKE
                I know.


63   INT. HOUSE PARTY/POETRY SLAM - NIGHT                         63

     A MOHAWKED WOMAN yowls into a microphone atop a coffee table
     turned stage. Kids roam from room to room nursing plastic
     cups. Some in elaborate ensembles, some in thrift store duds,
     others in plain old jeans, but no two people the same. Alike
     clad in simple shirt and jeans looks especially comfortable
     as she and Bina ease their way through the crowd. In between
     performers, guitar riffs rock the large loft apartment and
     render their voices practically inaudible.

     MONTAGE:

     --Bina introduces Alike to different people, Alike is
     welcomed

     --Alike & Bina point out different performers, they laugh and
     talk in each other's ears

     --Alike and Bina dance wildly in the middle of the crowd,
     surrounded by dozens of other clamorous bodies

     --One performer beckons Alike up onto the table, Alike demurs
     at first, then leaps on top of the table. Bina cheers.

     --Alike drags a giggling Bina out of the party and they crash
     into the open night


64   EXT. THE PIERS - NIGHT                                       64

     Lights glisten across the Hudson River--distant orbs
     reflected in a thousand shimmering faux stars in weak
     defiance against the night sky. A sodium vapor glow veils
     everything in generous haloes, making the night more
     beautiful than it really is.

     Dancing silhouettes, laughing, playing, yelling, flying,
     always dancing silhouettes punctuate the summer breeze with
     clapping set to the rhythm of soulful house. Like Puck on a
     midsummer's night, like Peter Pan and his lost boys. Among
     the silhouettes is Laura, enthroned atop a railing. Laura,
     smoking a joint grandly, surrounded by an adoring circle, a
     sycophantic harem of four.
                                                             79.


     Laura, completely miserable as she watches two other
     silhouettes drawing closer, spinning, collapsing, now
     righting, always connected. Alike and Bina. Bina smiles and
     snakes her arms around Alike's neck. Alike too shy to react,
     giggles and folds. Laura watches the pair spin and passes to
     the left before stalking off toward the connected shadows.


65   EXT. THE PIERS- CONTINUOUS                                65

     Laura cuffs Alike on the neck, pulling Alike's hoodie up over
     her face. Alike's laugh is tentative at first, not sure
     whether this is play or for real. Laura chuckles, breaking
     the ice. The pair slapbox and rough house, both missing with
     wild arcing blows. Laura aims a mini charge at Alike that
     lifts her off the ground and deposits her a short distance
     away. Alike swipes Laura's hat. Laura claps Alike on the
     shoulder and Alike waves to Bina. Bina waves and smiles.

                         ALIKE
               So whatchu you think? She's cool
               right?

     Laura looks around and shrugs. Laura plucks a fresh joint out
     of her coat and lights it.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               She's hot right? I told you. It was
               so tight. I'm tellin' you, you
               shoulda been there tonight!

     Laura takes a puff and offers it to Alike.

                         LAURA
               This one's just for me and you.

     Alike waves it off, oblivious and intoxicated with the night.

                         ALIKE
               And she's smart, too. She does
               poetry, you should hear it. It's
               like, it's good, you know?

     Laura stops walking and Alike skips ahead, still chattering.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               I was thinking next weekend the
               three of us could--

                         LAURA
               Look, I'm right here.

     Alike snaps out of it.
                                                        80.


                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          Oh my bad, I thought you were
          beside me. Anyway, I was thinking--

                    LAURA
          Look, I'm sorry for all the drama.

                    ALIKE
          No, it's cool. I shoulda--

                     LAURA
          What I'm saying is, I probably
          overreacted.
              (beat)
          And then...I don't know. Seeing you
          two together or whatever. I'm glad
          to see you're finally happy.

                    ALIKE
          C'mon man, you know you're my best
          friend. Nobody's gonna --

                    LAURA
          You don't need to say anything. I
          just wanted to get it off my chest.
          I'm happy for you, that's all.

Alike shakes her head. Her mouth moves but nothing comes out.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          Because I love you, alright? And
          I'm sayin'...I'm right here.

Alike is stopped cold, as the light bulb finally goes off.
Laura takes a long drag on the joint. Bina and Mika stumble
over giggling. Bina hooks Alike's arm. Mika kisses Laura on
the neck. Laura snaps out of her gaze, her familiar smirk
creeping back.

                    MIKA
          We goin' to get something to eat?

                    LAURA
          That's what's up.

                    ALIKE
          Listen, umm--

Laura pinches out the joint and hands it to Mika who tucks it
away.

                    LAURA
          That's for later. Bina, nice to
          meet you.
                                                                81.


                          BINA
                You too. We had fun.

     Laura gives Bina a polite hug, pounds Alike on the shoulder
     and starts to lead Mika away.

                  MIKA                                 ALIKE
     Byyeee!!                           Hey hold up!

     Laura pumps a lazy    fist in the air in acknowledgement. Bina
     takes Alike's hand    and slowly drags her away. Alike keeps
     looking back, then    finally gives up. Laura looks back just as
     Alike turns around    and disappears around the corner.

                          BINA (CONT'D)
                I like your friends. They're cool.


66   INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - LATER                                  66

     Music videos play on the TV. Alike and Bina lay stretched out
     on pillows, a plate of brownie crumbs between them. Alike
     dozes. Bina smacks her with a pillow.

                          ALIKE
                I'm not sleep.

                          BINA
                Yes you are.

     Alike rubs sleep out of her eyes and props herself up on one
     elbow.

                          ALIKE
                Any brownies left?

                            BINA
                Nope.

     Bina flicks off the TV and stares at Alike.

                            ALIKE
                What?

                            BINA
                Nothing.

     Alike looks away.

                            BINA (CONT'D)
                What?

                            ALIKE
                Nothing.
                                                             82.


     Alike folds her arms behind her head. Bina strokes Alike's
     stomach. Her finger's dance at the top of Alike's pajama
     bottoms. Their eyes meet. Alike sits bolt upright.

                         BINA
               What're you doing? What's wrong?

                         ALIKE
               This is uh... I never... I'm sorry,
               I'm trippin' out.

                         BINA
               It's okay. We don't have to.

     Alike leans in and kisses Bina on the lips. Bina considers
     and takes Alike's chin in her hand and kisses her back. Bina
     places Alike's hand on her chest. Alike lets her hand linger,
     then traces Bina's shoulders.


67   INT. LAURA'S KITCHEN - MORNING                               67

     Laura stands over the kitchen table shuffling through the
     mail. She pauses at a stiff envelope with her name on it. The
     return address reads "NYS Educational & Testing Services".
     She flips the envelope over and looks around, she rips the
     top off and eases the top of a slip out of the envelope. The
     top of the slip reads "'Campbell, Laura' GED TESTING
     RESULTS."


68   EXT. BRONX HOME - MORNING                                    68

     Laura shifts her weight on a painted concrete porch outside a
     small wooden frame home. The paint is peeling and the flowers
     in the window-box are dead. A rusted metal mailbox next to
     the door overflows with circulars. Laura lifts the circulars
     out of the box and trashes them. She picks up a discarded
     fast food bag and tosses it too. A dog barks from a
     neighboring yard. Laura pulls open the screen door and tries
     to peer in through the diamond shaped window in the main
     door, but it's covered over in aluminum foil. More barking.
     Laura surveys the street and bangs hard on the door. She
     snaps the screen door back and takes a big step backward.
     Laura shifts her weight and smooths her shirt. LAURA'S
     MOTHER, 54, and no-nonsense opens the door and frowns down at
     Laura through the screen.

                         LAURA
               Oh.

     Laura's mother crosses her arms and looks at Laura up and
     down.
                                                        83.


                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          Thought you might've stepped out or
          something? How've you been?

Laura's mother frowns up and down the block before refocusing
on Laura. Laura takes a step closer to the door.

                     LAURA (CONT'D)
          Me and Candy, you know we're doing
          real good.

Laura's mother puts her hand on the doorknob.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          We might even be moving to a bigger
          place soon. You know she's workin'
          at the hospital now, yeah you'd be
          real proud of her. She might even
          go back and get her RN--

Laura takes another step forward.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          How--? How's Pops? You look good.
          You look healthy, yeah you look
          real good. You know uh, we miss you
          and everything--

Laura's mother starts to close the door. Laura backs away.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          I don't wanna take too much of your
          time. I just stopped by--you know I
          uh--I'm getting my stuff together
          too--I uh--

Laura fishes the stiff envelope out of her pocket and
advances on the screen door again, holding it out.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          So, I did it. I took the test and--

Laura's mother slams the door. Laura stands on her tiptoes
and yells at the diamond shaped window.

                    LAURA (CONT'D)
          I got my GED!

The lock on the door snaps into place. Renewed barking from
across the street. Silence from the door. Laura brushes a
fist across her eyes and stuffs the envelope into the
mailbox.
                                                             84.


                         LAURA (CONT'D)
               But listen I--I gotta go. I gotta
               get to work but I'ma leave it for
               you to see. It was nice talking to
               you.

     Laura backs off the porch and starts down the walkway. She
     stops halfway and bounds back onto the porch. She yanks the
     envelope out of the mailbox and jams it into her pocket.
     Laura storms off the porch and out of yard, never looking
     back.


69   INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - MORNING                                69

     Alike is asleep on the bed. Bina cleans up feverishly,
     "accidentally" bumping Alike awake. Alike yawns and rolls
     over, a huge grin spreading across her face as she remembers
     her surroundings.

                         ALIKE
               Hey.

                         BINA
               Hey.

     Bina bolts to the dresser and crams clothes in.

                         ALIKE
               You up already?

                         BINA
               It's after one o'clock, actually.

     Bina deposits an armful of clothes into the dirty clothes
     hamper, and then begins making the bed with Alike still in
     it. Alike pulls Bina down beside her.

                         ALIKE
               What's wrong?

                         BINA
               Nothin's wrong, I'm just cleaning
               up. Don't worry about it.

                         ALIKE
               Okay then, I'll help you.

                         BINA
               No, I got it.

     Bina snatches a pillow from behind Alike and fluffs it.
     Alike, still oblivious, grins and traces Bina's shoulder.
                                                         85.


                    ALIKE
          Look um--I just wanted to say that
          last night...last night was
          amazing...thank you for--

                    BINA
          Last night we were just playin'
          around, that's all.

Bina flinches away from Alike's touch. Alike shoots a glance
at the door and drops her voice to a choked whisper.

                    ALIKE
          Look... We can slow things down...
          Nobody has to know that we're
          together.

                    BINA
          "Together"? Whoa, no...

                    ALIKE
          Huh?! I thought... Look if you
          don't want to call it that, that's
          fine, but don't act like nothing
          happened.

Bina moves away and levels her gaze at Alike for the first
time. Alike touches Bina's elbow, Bina flinches away.

                    BINA
          Look, I'm not gay okay? This isn't
          me--I wasn't--I'm not ready for all
          this...

Alike recruits the discarded stuffed moose and dances it
around on the bed. Bina recoils and snatches it away.
Recognition seeps across Alike's pained face. Bina moves away
from the bed and turns her back on Alike.

Alike finds her pajama pants on the floor and yanks them on.
She pulls on jeans over her pajama bottoms and hauls a
sweatshirt down over her nightie. She flings her backpack
open on the bed and hunts around the room wildly gathering
her things. Alike goes in the bathroom and reappears with an
armful of toiletries, dumping them in the bag. Bina watches
her, arms folded. Alike takes one last look around the room
and heads for the door, running a sleeve across her face.

                    BINA (CONT'D)
          Lee?

Alike ignores her and launches into the hallway.   Bina runs
to her bedroom doorway.
                                                             86.


                         BINA (CONT'D)
               Wait--Lee?!

     Alike beelines for the front door. Bina chases Alike across
     the room.

                         BINA (CONT'D)
               Lee, stop please?

     Alike wipes a sleeve across her swelling eyes and running
     nose and turns to face her. Bina takes several steps toward
     her. Alike lets go of the doorhandle, her voice cracks.

                         ALIKE
               What?

                         BINA
               You promise you won't tell anybody?


70   EXT. BINA'S HOUSE/STREET - DAY                            70

     Alike rages outside, weaving blind fury down the sidewalk.
     She kicks over a cluster of garbage cans and cyclones out
     into the street, narrowly missing getting hit by a car. She
     continues her zag to the other sidewalk, her pace quickening.
     She rips open her backpack and launches a baseball cap into
     the air. She tears a handful of wifebeaters from the bag and
     flings them into the street. Spinning and thrashing she
     wrenches out a football jersey and jams it into another
     garbage can. She circles back and kicks the can over. She
     hurtles her backpack into the trees like a discus and sheds
     her hoodie like a skin before disappearing into the scream of
     a subway station.


71   INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - EVENING                        71

     Lee bursts into the living room and charges to her bedroom.
     Audrey, who has been waiting in the living room storms in
     after her.

                         AUDREY
               Where in the hell have you been?!

     Alike kicks off her shoes and paces the room.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               You hear me talking to you ?! Where
               you been? You left Bina's hours
               ago!!!! Lee--

                         ALIKE
               I'M NOT YOUR HUSBAND!!!!
                                                             87.


     Audrey gasps in stunned silence.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               I'm not your husband so stop comin'
               at me like I am. I'm not your
               companion, I'm not your friend --
               you made that abundantly clear--I'm
               your daughter and I have my own
               shit to deal with!!

                         AUDREY
               LEE--don't you dare--Alike--I am
               your Mother--

     Audrey melts back against the doorjamb. Alike slings off her
     shirt and slams the door in Audrey's face. A livid Audrey
     bangs on the door and jiggles the handle.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               You must have lost your damn mind!
               Wait until your father gets home!


72   INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS                         72

     Alike attacks her closet, ripping all the "girly" shirts from
     the hangers and hurling them toward a small vanity trashcan.
     She plunges back in and slams an armful of blouses to the
     floor. She launches a pair of pumps into the wall, followed
     by a chunky pair of Timberlands. Silent sobs rack her body as
     she tears off her own shirt and slings it at the mirror. She
     strips off her jeans and kicks them brutally into a corner.
     Alike considers her unclothed form in the mirror before
     collapsing onto the bed. She writhes against the pillows and
     covers her eyes with her elbow as darts of grief twist
     through her body. Blackout.


73   INT. ALIKE'S BEDROOM - LATER                              73

     Alike jerks awake in her bed, a pillow pulled down around her
     ears. The sound of a muffled argument leaks from her
     parents's bedroom. The shouting gets louder, and Alike sits
     upright in her bed as her father's footsteps boom past her
     doorway and into the living room. Audrey's voice trails him
     down the hallway, and Alike scrambles into a t-shirt and
     shorts.


74   INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - EVENING                        74

     Arthur's hand is on the doorknob, a small tote flung over his
     shoulder. Audrey blocks the door, her hands on her hips. They
     both look up as Alike edges into the living room.
                                                         88.


                    AUDREY
          You see, that's exactly what I'm
          talking about?! Get over here!

                    ARTHUR
          Go back to bed!

                    AUDREY
          No, you come tell your father what
          you told me!

                    ARTHUR
          Don't drag her into this, Audrey!
              (to Alike)
          Go to your room, Alike. Your mom
          and I are having a discussion.

                    AUDREY
          We are not discussing!! I wanna
          know right now--

                    ARTHUR
          Go to your room!

                    AUDREY
          Your father's leaving us!!

                    ARTHUR
          I am not leaving you!!

                    AUDREY
          Sharonda, wake up!! Come see your
          father leaving us!!

                    ARTHUR
          I'm not fucking leaving!! Will you
          stop saying that?!

                    AUDREY
          Come say goodbyeeee!!

Audrey shoves Arthur toward the door. Reflexively, Arthur
raises his hand at Audrey. Audrey puffs up.

                    AUDREY (CONT'D)
          Oh, what?! I wish you would!! Go
          ahead!! Look girls, your daddy's
          going to beat me!!

Sharonda bursts into tears behind Alike. Alike hurries
Sharonda back down the hallway.
                                                             89.


                         ALIKE
               Shhh. It's okay. Go in my room and
               lock the door. Don't come out,
               `kay?

     Sharonda bawls harder. Alike gently closes the door on her.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               It's gonna be okay.


75   INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS                     75

     Arthur and Audrey argue viciously.

                         ARTHUR (O.S.)
               No! Dammit, that's not true! Look,
               will you stop sayin' that?!

                         AUDREY (O.S.)
               It's the truth!!

     Alike edges back into the living room, Audrey wheels on her.
     Arthur is beaten and cornered.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               Your daddy's got a new girlfriend!
               Or did you already know that?! You
               know, I bet you did!!

                         ARTHUR
               Audrey, stop it!! Alike go back to
               bed!

                         AUDREY
               Meanwhile, your daughter's turning
               into a damn man right before your
               very eyes, and you can't even see
               it!!

     Arthur drops his tote and advances toward Audrey, leveling a
     stiff finger at her face.

                         ARTHUR
               No you take that back.! You shut
               the fuck up about that, Audrey!

     Arthur gets in Audrey's face. Audrey leers back at him. Alike
     jumps between them.

                         ALIKE
               Dad?! Stop!
                                                        90.


                    ARTHUR
          Go back to bed, Alike!!

                    AUDREY
          Tell him, Lee!

                    ARTHUR
          Don't call her Lee!

                    ALIKE
          Mom, stoppit please!?

                    AUDREY
          Tell your Dad where you hang out!
          Tell him about your butch-ass
          girlfriend--

                    ALIKE
          Laura's NOT my girlfriend!!

                    ARTHUR
          What the hell are you talking
          about?! You don't know what the
          hell are you talking about. Alike,
          please just go to your room, baby!

Alike drops her gaze and backs away.

                      AUDREY
          Tell him!

Arthur's expression cracks and he tears his focus from Audrey
to Alike.

                    ARTHUR
          Tell me what?!

                    ALIKE
          I'm not tellin' you nothin'.

                    AUDREY
          Tell him you're a dyke! You tell
          him you're a nasty ass dyke!!

                    ARTHUR
          No she's not gay. Alike we didn't
          raise you that way, baby.

Eyes still downcast, Alike just shakes her head and backs
away.

                    AUDREY
          There!! You see!!
                                                        91.


                    ARTHUR
          You shut the hell up Audrey!!

Arthur extends his arms toward Alike, his voice trembling.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          I know that's not true. You tell
          your mother right now, Alike. You
          tell her it isn't true!!

Alike meets her father's eyes.

                    ALIKE
          Dad--

                    ARTHUR
          Don't you lie now, you tell the
          truth!!

                    ALIKE
          You already know.

                    ARTHUR
          No, I don't know. You tell your
          mother it's just a phase.

                    ALIKE
          It's not a phase!

Arthur is stopped cold, his shoulders slump.

                    AUDREY
          See, if you would've DONE
          SOMETHING!!

                    ARTHUR
              (to Alike)
          What's wrong with you?

                    ALIKE
          There's nothing wrong with me!

                    AUDREY
          This is your fault!! If you had--

Arthur tears into Audrey, spittle flying.

                    ARTHUR
          AUDREY WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!
                                                           92.


            AUDREY                          ARTHUR
DON'T YOU SCREAM AT ME!! You    This is NOT my fault!! Just
should've been at home more     shut up and lemme talk! I'm
often!! Why don't you DO        trying to fuckin' talk--
SOMETHING!!!

                    ALIKE
          YEAH I'M GAY!!

Arthur spasms as though he's been stabbed. Out of nowhere,
Audrey's backhand pistons Alike to the ground. She raises her
hand high and slaps it down hard on Alike's shoulders and
arms. Alike yells. Arthur turns to stone.

                    AUDREY
          Say it again! Say it again!

Alike fends off Audrey's blows with her hands. She kicks
angrily as Audrey towers over her.

                    ALIKE
          I'm a lesbian! Yeah, I'm a dyke.

                    AUDREY
          No you're not!!!!!

Audrey's blows become more manic and vicious. Arthur wakes
from his trance and tries to wrestle Audrey off of Alike.

                    ARTHUR
          That's enough! Stop it!

                    AUDREY
          Don't you say that! Let go! Don't
          you say that!

                    ALIKE
          Get offa me!!

                    AUDREY
          What? You a man now? YOU GON' FIGHT
          ME LIKE A MAN??!!

Audrey swings and hits Alike with a nasty hook to the jaw,
Alike's head snaps back and hits the floor.

                    ARTHUR
          AUDREY STOP!!!!

Arthur yanks Audrey off of Alike. Audrey directs her rage at
him, pummeling his face and chest.
                                                              93.


                         AUDREY
               AND YOU TOO! YOU TOO! YOU TOO! OH
               GOD!!

     Tears stream down Arthur's face as Audrey shakes free and
     aims one last blow at his face.

                         AUDREY (CONT'D)
               YOU SAY IT'S NOT TRUE!!!


76   INT. LAURA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT                              76

     Click-clack. Click-clack. The rattle of circuit breakers echo
     through the bare darkness of Laura's small apartment.

                           LAURA
               Anything?

                           ALIKE
               No.

     Click-clack. Click-clack.

                         LAURA
               How about now?

                         ALIKE
               No. Nothing.

                         LAURA
               Shit. Fucking building.

     Laura bangs into something in the darkness.

                         LAURA (CONT'D)
               Owww. Shit!

     A small light flicks to life and grows larger. In its dim
     glow, Laura spots Alike leaning against a worn couch. The
     lights become two as Laura hands Alike a candle.

                         LAURA
               Here. Good thing I keep some these
               around.

     Alike snorts thickly. Her words are slurred and nasal.

                         ALIKE
               Yeah, for your many women.

                         LAURA
               Hey, you thanking `em now.
                                                             94.


     Laura holds her candle up to Alike's grim face.

                           LAURA
               You okay?

     Alike wipes at already dried tear streaks on her puffy face
     and looks down. Laura slides an arm around her waist and
     guides her into the small bedroom.

                         LAURA
               You bring clothes?

                         ALIKE
               Huh-uh. I stopped by the house--I
               stopped by---

                         LAURA
               That's alright, man. You can wear
               some of mine. It's okay, c'mon.
               Lets get some sleep. My sister'll
               be home in a little bit, too.


77   INT. LAURA'S BEDROOM - LATER                                 77

     Overturned Ramen noodle cups litter the floor. Laura sips a
     beer and strokes Alike's head who sleeps fitfully in her lap.


78   INT. ALIKE'S LIVING ROOM - MORNING                           78

     Arthur is frozen in the middle of the living room with a
     contractor trash bag. He stoops and piles the shards of a
     broken lamp into the bag one by one. Sharonda peeks out at
     him from her bedroom door. Arthur looks up at her and
     Sharonda pushes the door shut.


79   INT. ALIKE'S PARENT'S BEDROOM - DAY                          79

     Audrey sits at the edge of her bed in a housecoat. Her hair
     is ruffled and flyaway. Her ankles are crossed and her hands
     are dead birds in her lap. Her work clothes are laid out in a
     neat line beside her: shirt, pants, socks, and shoes on the
     floor right underneath. The telephone begins to ring, but
     Audrey does not hear it.


80   INT. BINA'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON                              80

     Bina and a HIGH SCHOOL BOY sit on the floor, their backs
     propped against the bed, books spread on the floor. The boy
     puts his arm around Bina, launching numerous passionate
     advances, but Bina pushes him away.
                                                              95.


     The clueless boy continues his clumsy attempts. Bina stares
     out the window, completely detached.


81   INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - AFTERNOON                              81

     Audrey, still in her housecoat, stares into the refrigerator,
     transfixed by the mountain of foil-covered plates. Her eyes
     are cried-out buttons. Suddenly she remembers to breathe, and
     her breaths come raggedly tearing out fresh tears. She yanks
     a foil-covered plate, dumps its contents into the trash can
     and tosses the plate into the sink. She dumps another and
     another, her composure returning with each plate tossed. By
     the time she gets to the last one, her breathing slows and
     returns to normal. She disappears into the bedroom and
     reappears with the red shopping bag. She calmly lifts out the
     pink blouse and stuffs it into the garbage. She wads up the
     shopping bag and stuffs it in too. She takes a deep breath
     and wipes her sleeve across her nose.

                         AUDREY
               Okay.


82   INT. ALIKE'S KITCHEN - LATE AFTERNOON                         82

     Arthur, Audrey and Sharonda are pegged around the dinner
     table. Audrey's make-up fails to cover the dark circles
     beneath her eyes and Arthur has a week's worth of stubble.
     There is a jagged hole where Alike usually sits. Noticing
     the asymmetry, Audrey bundles up Alike's place setting and
     sweeps it onto the floor. Sharonda looks from Audrey to
     Arthur then into her plate.

                         AUDREY
               You want to say grace?

     Arthur clears his throat.

                         ARTHUR
               Heavenly Father...

     Audrey thrusts her hands out to Arthur and Sharonda.   They
     each take her hand and Arthur begins again.

                         ARTHUR (CONT'D)
               Dear Heavenly Father we pray... we
               pray thank you for this food and we
               pray... we pray for your continued
               blessing...

     Arthur stops talking but his head remains bowed. An awkward
     silence ensues. Audrey and Sharonda look up at him still
     holding hands.
                                                              96.


                         AUDREY
               Amen!

                         ARTHUR
               Amen.

     Audrey switches to an overly cheery auto-pilot mode, babbling
     to no one in particular.

                         AUDREY
               I got this recipe from a magazine.
               Supposed to be very good. And you
               see I made those green beans you
               like. Sharonda pass the rice
               please.

     Sharonda, staring at her father doesn't reach for the bowl.

                         SHARONDA
               Dad. You know where she is.


83   EXT. LAURA'S ROOFTOP - WEEKS LATER                         83

     Alike and Laura sit at the edge of the roof sharing a quart
     of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Sunset paints the cityscape
     pink and orange. The faint cadence of children playing drifts
     in and out on a fickle breeze. Alike's wounds are healing and
     she seems happy. The friends exchange wordless smiles and
     soak in the peacefulness around them.

     Laura hears a noise at the door and gets up to investigate.
     Arthur is standing in the doorway. Laura calls out to Alike.
     Alike looks up and the smile fades from her face. Arthur
     tries to move around Laura, but Laura stares him down. Laura
     looks back at Alike. Alike considers, then carefully nods.
     Laura steps out of the way and watches Arthur pass.

     Alike rises to face her father. She stands tall, her weight
     is centered. Arthur struggles to find her eyes, and she turns
     away from him. Distant playground voices fill the pause.


     EXT. LAURA'S ROOFTOP - WEEKS LATER

     Alike sits at the edge of the roof writing in her notebook.
     Laura swings open the door and Alike looks back in greeting,
     her smile fading as Arthur appears behind her. Laura motions
     to Alike. Alike considers, then carefully nods. Laura steps
     aside and watches Arthur pass.

     Alike wanders to the edge of the roof, Arthur follows.
     Distant playground voices fill the pause.
                                                           97.


                    ALIKE
          Where's Mom?

                    ARTHUR
          She...your mother couldn't make it.

Alike shakes her head and peers into the rusty skyline.
Arthur slumps his hands in his pockets and edges closer.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          Remember our old place? Waaay out
          in Queens? It was our first
          apartment, we were so proud. Had
          all those trees around it? In
          October, the whooole block would be
          covered with leaves. You remember.

Alike makes no sign.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          You couldnt've been more than 2
          years old. And when the wind would
          blow, all those leaves would come
          rushing down the street at us and
          you thought they were alive. You'd
          get so scared. You'd cry and you'd
          scream and beg for us to pick you
          up. I would try and tell you
          "they're only leaves, baby" and
          make you stay on the ground. But
          you were so afraid and you cried so
          hard, your mother would always pick
          you up. She always picked you up.

Arthur is silent beneath the weight of his memory. He dares a
glance over at Alike.

                    ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          `Member how we used to--

                    ALIKE
          I've been accepted into a early
          college program. Starts in the
          Spring. Berkeley.

                    ARTHUR
          California's a long way away--

                    ALIKE
          Ten weeks writing boot camp,
          workshops. Then I can start summer
          semester.
                                                        98.


                    ARTHUR
          We can talk about that. Okay?

                    ALIKE
          I need you to meet with my guidance
          counselor. Sign the paperwork so I
          can graduate early.

                    ARTHUR
          I'm sorry, alright? I'm sorry I let
          her hurt you--

                    ALIKE
          I need to know now if you'll sign
          the papers. Yes or no?

                    ARTHUR
          Can you forgive me?

                       ALIKE
          Yes or no?

                    ARTHUR
          You can always come back home.
          Things are gonna be different, I
          promise you--

Alike holds Arthur's hand, stopping him.

                    ALIKE
          Dad, I'm not running. I'm choosing.

Arthur's heart breaks, he gasps back a sob.

                    ALIKE (CONT'D)
          I'm not going back home.

                       ARTHUR
          I know.
              (beat)
          Okay.

Alike nods, squeezes Arthur's hand. Arthur breathes deeply,
composing himself. He starts to pull away.

                       ARTHUR (CONT'D)
          I better--

                    ALIKE
          Tell Mom that she was right.

                    ARTHUR
          Right about what?
                                                             99.


                         ALIKE
               God doesn't make mistakes.

                         ARTHUR
               You should tell her yourself.

     Arthur squeezes Alike's hand and drifts away. Alike inhales
     the sunset.


84   INT. HOSPITAL BREAK ROOM - AFTERNOON                         84

     Audrey is cleaned up, well-dressed and freshly put together.
     She sits alone at the lunch table, crunching an apple. A
     bible and a daily devotional guide are spread open in front
     of her. Alike knocks on the glass, and Audrey looks up
     stunned. Alike comes in and sits across from her. Audrey
     glances around, concerned about passing coworkers.

                         ALIKE
               Mom.

                         AUDREY
               Lee--Alike. How've you been?

                         ALIKE
               Fine. Did Dad tell you?

                         AUDREY
               He told me, yes.

                         ALIKE
               How are you?

     Audrey gathers her lunch garbage and pushes back from the
     table.

                         AUDREY
               I just hope you're keeping yourself
               safe.

                         ALIKE
               I love you, Mom.

     Audrey stacks her devotional guide on top of her bible and
     stands. She starts to speak, then crosses to the door
     instead.

                         ALIKE (CONT'D)
               I said I love you.

                         AUDREY
               I'll be praying for you.
                                                             100.


      Audrey disappears into the hallway.


84A   EXT. ROOFTOP - DAY                                         84A

      Alike writes in her notebook, mouthing the words to a poem.
      She looks up and studies the horizon from time to time.


84B   INT. CLASSROOM - DAY                                       84B

      Alike relaxes at a desk, reading from her notebook. Mrs.
      Alvarado sits cross-legged on her desk listening.

                           ALIKE (V.O.)
                Heartbreak opens onto the sunrise
                For even breaking is opening
                And I am broken
                I am open
                Broken to the new light without
                pushing in
                Open to the possibilities within
                pushing out
                See the love shine in through my
                cracks
                See the light shine out through me?
                I am broken
                I am open
                I am Broken Open
                See the love-light shining through
                me
                Shining through my cracks
                Through the gaps
                My Spirit takes journey
                My Spirit takes flight
                Could not have risen otherwise
                And I am not Running
                I am Choosing
                Running is not a Choice
                From the Breaking
                Breaking is freeing
                Broken is freedom
                I am not broken
                I am free.

      Alike closes her book. The pair reflect in easy silence. Mrs.
      Alvarado nods.

                             MRS. ALVARADO
                Yeah.
                    (beat)
                Yeah.
                                                            101.


85   INT. ARTHUR'S CAR - DAY                                      85

     The downtown Brooklyn landscape hums against the windshield
     as Arthur and Alike ride in complete silence. Sharonda chews
     a thumbnail, peering over the backseat. Laura slumps against
     the window, a smirk hiding at the corner of her lips.


86   EXT. REGIONAL BUS STOP - DAY                                 86

     Laura and Sharonda fumble a suitcase out of the trunk of the
     car. Alike shrugs into her backpack. Arthur nudges them aside
     and hefts out the rest of the luggage.

                            ARTHUR
               I got it.

     Arthur slams the trunk shut.

                            ALIKE
               Thank you.

                         ARTHUR
               You want me to come in with you?

     Alike shakes her head. Arthur starts to back away.

                            ARTHUR
               Well--

     Alike pounces on Arthur in a surprise hug. Arthur squeezes
     her back.

                         ARTHUR
               You can always come back home.

                         ALIKE
               I love you.

                         ARTHUR
               I love you too.


87   EXT. REGIONAL BUS STOP - CONTINUOUS                          87

     General chaos as passengers, and well-wishes scramble for
     position.

                         LAURA
               Let me get a hug or somethin',
               damn.

     Laura squeezes Alike first with one arm then pulls her hand
     out of her pocket to wrap both arms around her friend.
                                                            102.


                         SHARONDA
               Call us when you get there.

                         ALIKE
               You know I will.

     Laura backs away and wipes a sleeve at her eye.

                         LAURA
               You just better fuckin' call.

     Alike disappears through the bus doors. Laura slouches on a
     hydrant and Sharonda paces, scanning the windows for Alike.


88   INT. BUS - DAY                                              88

     Sharonda waves maniacally. Alike musters a smile and puts a
     hand on the window. Laura raises a fist. The bus sails away
     from the curb.

     Alike leans forward to keep Laura and Sharonda in sight as
     long as possible. As she faces front again, she glimpses
     Arthur, standing in the doorway of the terminal. A passing
     van blots him from view and she leans back in her seat. An
     OLD KOREAN WOMAN next to her offers her a piece of ginger
     candy. Alike pops the candy into her mouth and takes a deep
     breath.

     Reflections of the retreating city landscape replay across
     Alike's face and she is able to hold back neither the smile
     nor the tears that come.

                                                FADE TO BLACK.