THE FILM SCRIPTS – 2. SOUTH OF LEFT BANK

SOUTH OF LEFT BANK

This Edition Copyright © 2011 by James Sapsard

First published in Great Britain in 2013
by James Sapsard

The right of James Sapsard to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher and the copyright owner, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

James Sapsard
London

SOUTH OF LEFT BANK

Cast List

Ruby Scarlet
Penny
Jakov
Cherry Scarlet
Mum
Dick
Jimmy
Mac
Inspector Johns
Girl
Dean
Student
WPC
Crown Counsel
Usher
Judge
Man

Voices

Announcer (Radio)

Non-Speaking

Students
Porter
Staff
Defence Counsel
Secretary

FADE IN:

EXT. UNIVERSITY CAMPUS – DAY

The 1970’s. Light evening. The last students are leaving campus.

RUBY hurries out of the main tower block and disappears into passing pedestrians. Her face is bruised and red.

Camera pans up the other side of the main tower block.

Long shot. In an outward explosion of glass, an indistinguishable male figure comes flying through a plate glass window on the tenth floor and hurtles groundward.

EXT. UNIVERSITY CAMPUS – DAY

Earlier. Spring morning.

Ruby and PENNY are strolling towards the main buildings carrying their books. They come into earshot chattering and laughing.

PENNY
(in a reverie, sighing)
He’s everything a girl, a woman could want and he’s been here all the time we have. Two years I could have spent with him.

RUBY
Two years ago you had a different bloke every night.

PENNY
No. I had every bloke on a different night.

RUBY
You’re sex mad.

PENNY
Me? What about you?

They walk up the steps of the building. Boys pass them.

What about the time you had four boys in one hour?

Boys look at Ruby.

RUBY
Five.

INT. LECTURE THEATRE – DAY

Full of students. Penny and Ruby sitting together. The lecturer, JAKOV finishes writing ‘synecdoche’ on the board under the words ‘ellipsis’, ‘syllepsis’ and ‘zeugma’.

JAKOV
What else do you want up?

RUBY
(Jakov catches her remark to Penny)
What have you got?

JAKOV
More than you can put a name to, Ruby. Do you care to try?

Students laugh and Ruby blushes.

PENNY
Metonymy.

JAKOV
Metonymy? I know that you all know the meanings of all of these words. Come on. This is A level stuff. You’re third year undergraduates. Penny, which two of these words are most commonly confused?

PENNY
Syllepsis and zeugma.

JAKOV
Ruby, which is which?

RUBY
Each one requires a missing word to be understood. In one case, it’s grammatically correct. In the other, it’s not but I don’t know which is which.

JAKOV
Penny?

PENNY
She went to see her new boyfriend in a daze and a sexy dress.

The other students laugh again.

The word ‘in’ is understood before a sexy dress but it has to be understood in a different sense. That’s syllepsis.

JAKOV
Ruby, zeugma?

RUBY
Wash your sexy dress and your shoes. The word wash is understood before ‘your shoes’ but isn’t strictly appropriate, like the word clean would be.

JAKOV
Is the fact your dress needs a wash anything to do with it being sexy? Or don’t you have any plain dresses?

The other students laugh more.

Alright. I’m going to write up a few more you must know by heart. Take ’em down. Look ’em up. Learn them. Test next time.

He turns and writes up ‘apopthegm’, ‘syllogism’ and begins ‘aphorism’. The students groan and start to copy the words.

RUBY
(to Penny)
Thank God it’s Friday.

PENNY
Are you coming to the gig tonight?

RUBY
Why? What’s happening?

PENNY
I’ll introduce you to my Dick.

They look away from each other to stop themselves from laughing out loud.

INT. CHERRY’S BEDROOM – DAY

CHERRY, Ruby’s twin sister, is in bed asleep.

Her clock radio changes from 7.29 to 7.30 and comes on to FM radio news.

ANNOUNCER
After the News Hound we got a new sound.

News theme music plays.

Cherry opens her eyes, tuts, turns off the radio and goes back to sleep.

INT. CHERRY’S BEDROOM – DAY

Later. Cherry opens her eyes. The clock radio says 10.08. Her MUM comes in.

MUM
Cherry? I thought you were getting up early today to go up to Ruby’s.

Cherry stretches like a cat.

CHERRY
I’ve got all day. We’re not going out until tonight anyway. Are my jeans washed?

MUM
It’s too bad if they’re not.

Cherry gets out of bed.

CHERRY
Mum?

MUM
Yes, they’re washed and so should you be.

Cherry puts her dressing gown on over her nightie.

CHERRY
And my party frock?

MUM
And your party frock and your skirts and your blouses and your fancy underwear. Thanks Mum. Anyone would think you were seeing a man.

CHERRY
I don’t know where we’re going tonight so I need to be ready.

MUM
There is such a thing as a telephone.

CHERRY
That’d spoil the fun.

MUM
Is that all you ever think about?

CHERRY
What else is there?

Mum looks at her hopelessly and Cherry sits on the bed.

Mum, I’m twenty-one. I got a great life but it might not last forever so I make the most of it.

MUM
When are you coming back?

CHERRY
I don’t know.

MUM
Cherry, you have a job.

CHERRY
Mum, don’t worry. Ricky’s gone to Geneva. He said as long as I pop my head in a couple of times a week there’s nothing to do.

MUM
Is he going to pay you?

CHERRY
Of course he is. He doesn’t care about money. He’s loaded and he’s a really nice guy.

MUM
No man gives anything for nothing.

CHERRY
Yes they do. And it’s not for nothing. When he wants me there, I’m there. It’s part of his image to have a pretty secretary.

MUM
You be careful.

CHERRY
He’s not after me. He’s got a fabulous girlfriend, Jutt. She’s so nice.

MUM
What sort of name is Jutt?

CHERRY
Jutt Thrust. She’s a model.

MUM
Jutt Thrust? Is that her real name?

CHERRY
No.
(laughing)
But it’s very, very apt.

MUM
Is she wasting her degree too?

INT. PENNY’S ROOM – DAY

Penny has a room in a shared house. Her alarm clock says 10.30.

She is lying in bed with DICK. The single sheet barely covers their glistening bodies.

PENNY
(half-asleep)
Again.

DICK
What time is it?

Penny turns her head to look at the clock.

PENNY
Ten thirty.

DICK
(groaning)
Oh no.

PENNY
It’s probably a bit fast. Do you have to be somewhere?

DICK
You’re a bit fast. I hoped it might be, like, one in the afternoon.

PENNY
I’m sorry. Come here.

He moves his head up onto the pillow next to hers.

(kissing his face)
Go back to sleep.

INT. RUBY’S ROOM – DAY

Ruby also has a room in a shared house. She looks as though she has been sat at her desk all night. She looks haggard and worried, verging on the panicky, suicidal type worry that all students experience.

She gets up and turns on the radio by her bed.

She makes a mug of coffee from an already boiled electric kettle and sits down with it on the bed. She starts to cry into it.

RUBY
I can’t do it. Oh, Cherry, I wish you were here.

She sips the coffee.

It’s too hard.

She stands up and puts the mug on her desk.

She starts to undress. Almost self-consciously she turns her back on the camera.

Camera tracks back and pans down as she removes her final garments.

Camera follows her bare legs into her curtained off shower.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CHERRY’S BEDROOM – DAY

Camera follows the back of Cherry’s legs as she walks to her dressing table.

Camera tracks back to full view. She has a towel wrapped around her and sits to dry her hair. The dressing table is smothered with cosmetics.

INT. CHERRY’S BEDROOM – DAY

Cherry’s hair is now dry and she starts to put on her make up. We watch her expertly and intricately transform her face into that of a goddess. As she applies the finishing touch she sits back to admire her creation.

Close up on her reflection.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. RUBY’S ROOM – DAY

Close up on Ruby’s reflection. Sat before a mirror propped up by books on her desk, she has created an equally glamorous but different effect.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Penny is preparing a meal. Dick comes in with damp hair and a towel around his waist.

DICK
Where is everybody?

PENNY
No idea.

DICK
What happened to your friend last night?

PENNY
I don’t know. She was dying to meet you.

The doorbell rings in the distance.

DICK
I’ll get it.

PENNY
You’ve got …

He’s gone.

… nothing on.

EXT. HALLWAY – DAY

From the caller’s point of view the front door begin to open.

INT. HALLWAY – DAY

Dick is opening the door. As he opens it wide his towel drops. We cannot see the caller because his body is in the way.

DICK
Damn.

EXT. FRONT DOOR – DAY

Dick doesn’t know whether to pick up the towel or greet the caller.

Close up on Ruby’s surprised face. We see her look down then up to his face as he bends and scoops up the towel.

RUBY
Dick, I presume.

Dick looks in awe at her beautiful face.

I suppose Penny’s home?

Dick nods and stands aside.

Shame.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Ruby comes in followed by Dick whose towel is firmly in place. He looks anxious.

PENNY
Rube. I thought it might be Jimmy. This is Dick. He didn’t frighten you did he?

RUBY
We made our introductions at the door. But I’d like a fuller introduction.

DICK
I’d better put some clothes on.

RUBY
Not on my account.

Dick wanders off.

PENNY
What happened to you last night?

RUBY
I couldn’t come. I’ve just got so much work to do before the exams. I’m sorry if I ruined your evening.

PENNY
You didn’t. Why are you all dolled up?

RUBY
I had to make myself feel better.

PENNY
You’ll be okay. We’ll go through what you’re stuck on. It’s only Jakov’s stuff isn’t it?

RUBY
Yeah, but it’s enough to stop me getting through. My sister did English at Newcastle last year. She must have done the same stuff. I’ll ask her.

PENNY
What do you think of Dick?

RUBY
You’re lucky. He’s really something.

She doesn’t see Dick come in behind her in a dressing gown.

I could do with someone to keep me warm at night. I’d love to be in love.

Dick coughs.

Oh, hi.

DICK
You didn’t say your name but you’re Ruby?

RUBY
Yeah. I’m sorry I didn’t make it last night.

DICK
You had an early night?

RUBY
I wish. No. I was up all night.

PENNY
(with a knowing grin)
So was Dick.

Dick raises an eyebrow. Ruby notices. Penny doesn’t.

Anyway, intros over. What are we doing tonight? Your sister’s still coming up today isn’t she?

RUBY
Yeah, I guess.

PENNY
(to Dick)
Rube’s got a twin sister.

RUBY
Identical.

DICK
I bet I could tell the difference.

RUBY
(laughing)
No, you couldn’t. We’re absolutely identical. No one can tell.

Dick gazes at Ruby fascinated by her. Penny notices.

DICK
(slowly and with absolute conviction)
Yes I could.

Ruby gazes back at Dick. Now Penny looks uneasy.

I’ll tell you how.

PENNY
Don’t be silly.

She links her arm in Dick’s.

Let’s make some coffee, darling. Ruby, sit down.

She turns to the electric kettle behind her.

RUBY
Dick, how do you think you could you tell the difference between my sister and me when you haven’t even seen her?

DICK
Penny, do you think I could tell the difference?

PENNY
I don’t know. I haven’t met her. Does it matter?

DICK
Ruby’s boyfriend could make a terrible mistake. Suppose he …

Penny glares at him.

Not one he’d regret, of course. Two bites of the cherry and that sort of thing.

Ruby laughs.

It’s not at all funny. Mind you, if Penny had an identical twin sister, I could see disadvantages.

Penny grabs his face with both hands and gives him a long, deep kiss to shut him up.

(muffled)
I mean advantages.

PENNY
(instantly regretting the remark)
Ruby hasn’t got a boyfriend.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Dick, Penny and Ruby are sat around the kitchen table finishing the meal Penny was preparing earlier.

DICK
That was great.

PENNY
Remember just how good it was ’cos I’m not cooking tonight.

DICK
Okay. Tonight’s my treat.

RUBY
I’ve got to meet Cherry.

Dick looks puzzled.

My sister and no, you don’t get two bites.

DICK
But we can all go somewhere?

He sees that Penny doesn’t look entirely happy.

Pen, there must be a couple of guys who can come with us, make up six.

PENNY
Ruby? I can’t think. Who’ll be around tonight?

They hear the front door open and close.

The three of them look at the kitchen door.

JIMMY comes in. He is about twenty-one. He looks preoccupied. He puts down his ex-US army rucksack and looks at them collectively.

JIMMY
(to Penny)
Hey, babe.

He sees Ruby and smiles.

Hey, Ruby Tuesday. The sun shines.

PENNY
(coldly)
Jimmy, this is my boyfriend, Dick.

JIMMY
Hey, man.

He looks at Ruby.

I got some, I got some, uh …

He searches for a word.

Oh man, I’m dog tired. In my bag there.

Ruby goes to his bag as he also turns back to it. She opens it and takes out a jar.

RUBY
Coffee. Thanks, Jimmy. I’ll make some and bring it up to you.

JIMMY
I gotta take in some sound.

He wanders out and Dick and Penny see his preoccupied expression.

DICK
You okay, man?

RUBY
He’ll be fine.

PENNY
He’s just a bit vacant.

DICK
He can’t be vacant if he’s on a degree course.

PENNY
Well, you know what I mean.

DICK
No, I don’t know what you mean at all.

PENNY
Then there’s a lot you don’t know.

DICK
I think there’s a lot I don’t know about you.

PENNY
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything. He may be clever but sometimes he just behaves like his brain’s gone.

RUBY
He’s a fucking genius. We could never be where he’s at.

DICK
Alright. Take it easy. I’m sure Jimmy would.

He and Ruby exchange understanding glances.

What about his coffee?

RUBY
I’ll take it up, then I have to go to the station to meet Cherry.

DICK
Do you need a lift?

PENNY
She’ll be alright.

DICK
(to Ruby despite Penny)
Let me take you.

PENNY
I’m coming too.

EXT. RAILWAY STATION – DAY

The station is busy. Dick, Penny and Ruby are waiting on the concourse for Cherry’s train to arrive.

Dick buys a coffee. Penny drinks first. He offers it to Ruby who shakes her head. He drinks and he offers it again to Ruby. She nods okay but Penny takes it. Dick buys Ruby a coffee and Penny cannot conceal her petulance.

There is a surge of people from a platform. The three move forward. The crowd subsides.

No sign of Cherry and the three look forlorn.

Then Cherry emerges from the stragglers with an adolescent porter struggling with her suitcase.

She and Ruby run to each other and embrace.

The exhausted porter leaves Cherry’s case beside her. Dick comes forward and straining, takes the case, with Penny at his heels.

Their voices drowned, Ruby introduces everyone.

Dick looks at Cherry and Ruby to compare them.

After this, whenever Penny is not looking, he cannot keep his eyes off Ruby, and she knows it and he knows she doesn’t mind at all.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Jimmy pours two mugs of coffee and sits alone at the kitchen table with them in front of him. He gets up and walks out of the room. He returns with his radio. He plugs it in. It comes on instantly.

He sits down and slowly drinks both mugs although they are clearly far too hot.

He leans back in his chair and stretches out his arms above his head. With closed eyes he lets out a sigh.

JIMMY
I miss you.

He brings his arms down.

Dick, Penny, Ruby and Cherry burst through the door. Jimmy turns to greet them and Dick drops the case he was struggling with. Jimmy stands and looks at Ruby.

Ruby Tuesday. You remind me of someone.

RUBY
Who?

JIMMY
This beautiful … clone.

Jimmy steps forward and takes Cherry’s hand. He raises it slightly then bows and kisses the back of her hand.

PENNY
Take no notice.

CHERRY
(to Penny)
Why? This could be interesting.

She and Jimmy stare unashamedly into each other’s eyes.

I’m Cherry, Ruby’s twin sister.

JIMMY
I know, babe.

RUBY
How do you know?

JIMMY
I know everything that’s said in this house.

Penny blushes.

Folks hereabouts call me Jimmy ’cos that’s my name. Are you free to be and will you be … mine … for as long as you want to be?

CHERRY
Surely you already have a girl.

Jimmy almost imperceptibly shakes his head.

Why me and not Ruby?

JIMMY
Time and place.

Penny snorts.

For you too Penelope.

PENNY
(to Cherry)
Nutcase. He’ll introduce you to imaginary friends next.

DICK
Imaginary friends?

JIMMY
Penny, I’m just one of a bunch of students sharing a house who’s put a great deal of effort into creating an enigmatic persona for myself, for the light-hearted amusement of all.

PENNY
No. I don’t believe you. There’s something unbalanced about you.

JIMMY
Apart from being a bit vacant and my behaving like my brain’s gone, I’m relatively stable.
(smiling at Ruby)
Ruby Tuesday was over-complimentary.

Cherry looks puzzled.

(to Cherry)
Penny secretly believes I’m special. Would you like to go out with me, at least until you know what music I like?

CHERRY
Beyond then if your taste needs changing.

DICK
Are we all gonna go out tonight?

Everyone looks at him.

On me.

The others speak simultaneously.

PENNY
Yes, darling.

RUBY
Great.

CHERRY
Please.

JIMMY
Far out, man.

Cherry puts her hand on the handle of her case.

CHERRY
I’ve got to get my case to Ruby’s.

JIMMY
(effortlessly lifting her case)
Stay here tonight. Everybody can stay. Marcia and Wiz won’t be back before Monday afternoon. Greta ’phoned. She’s gone somewhere. Lots of empty beds.

DICK
(to Penny)
Another night?

PENNY
(peevishly)
Not if Jimmy knows everything that’s said in this house.

INT. CLUB – NIGHT

Jimmy and Cherry are dancing very precisely together in perfect time to the beat.

Dick, Penny and Ruby are sat at a table with drinks in front of them.

DICK
They seem to’ve hit it off.

PENNY
(to Ruby)
Why don’t you tell her how weird he is?

RUBY
What he is was immediately apparent to her. He’s just a nice guy, giving her a good time.

PENNY
All that stuff he said about will you be mine for as long as you want to be. How can he be serious when he only met her today?

DICK
The whole point of all that was that he isn’t serious. Like, if you only want me for five minutes, that’s fine by me, sort of stuff.

RUBY
Cherry can look after herself, but she doesn’t need to with Jimmy.

DICK
(to Penny)
Why are you so concerned about her?

PENNY
Ruby’s too trusting. I don’t warm to him. I don’t trust him. He’s unnerving.

RUBY
Unnerving? He’s not unnerving.

PENNY
Not unnerving, but, you know, like you don’t know what he’s gonna do next or at all sometimes.

RUBY
That’s why he’s interesting. But he’s alright. He’ll be there when you need him.
(almost as an afterthought)
Even if he knows you won’t be there for him.

They look at Jimmy and Cherry. He is saying things that are making her laugh. She says something that makes him look in their direction and she laughs again.

They come over. Cherry is really having fun.

CHERRY
(laughing)
Dick, why don’t you dance with Ruby so Penny can dance with Jimmy?

She sits down.

I’ll sit out.

PENNY
No thanks. I’m too tired.

CHERRY
Dick, you’re not too tired to dance with Ruby, are you?

PENNY
(draining her glass)
Dick, get me another drink.

RUBY
(standing)
Come on, Dick.

She takes his hand and pulls him to his feet.

We can dance round by the bar and get Penny a drink afterwards.

Ruby and Dick disappear into the crowd. Penny looks after them jealously.

JIMMY
Penny, I’ll get you a drink.

PENNY
(looking venomous)
Dance with me.

She grabs Jimmy’s hand and pulls him behind her as she pushes roughly through the crowd after Dick and Ruby.

We come across them dancing slowly, their arms around each other’s waists. They are looking into each other’s eyes.

They see Penny advancing and break. Penny makes Jimmy dance with her next to them. The music finishes.

PENNY
(in Ruby’s ear)
You like Jimmy so much, you dance with him. I’ll dance with my lover.

She puts her arms around Dick and snogs him as the music starts again. Jimmy and Ruby hold each other closely and talk in each other’s ears while dancing.

JIMMY
It’s a bit obvious.

RUBY
What is?

JIMMY
Come on, babe.

RUBY
That I fancy Dick?

Jimmy holds her away momentarily and smiles.

It’s just a bit of fun.

JIMMY
You’re not just taking him; you’re making him not like her.

RUBY
Wait a minute. I’m not taking him. He’s hers. It’s just a wind up because she’s become so possessive.

JIMMY
A guy doesn’t mess with his friend’s girl. Isn’t it the same for girls?

RUBY
It’s his choice. If he goes off her, it’s not ’cos of what I am but because of what she is.

Jimmy looks pensive.

Do you see me in a different light now?

JIMMY
(smiling wistfully)
No. You’ve answered an old question.

RUBY
Which is?

JIMMY
If a girl goes off a guy, it’s not always because she’s got someone else but because of what he’s become.

RUBY
Not necessarily but whoever she was, you must have loved her very much.

JIMMY
Can’t get her out of my mind.

RUBY
You’re such a nice guy. I could do a lot worse than fall in love with you.

JIMMY
If it was gonna happen, it would have happened.

RUBY
And it hasn’t so it won’t but that doesn’t mean we can’t … you know, fuck.

JIMMY
(smiling)
Don’t fuck her exams.

RUBY
Hers? What about mine? I’m way behind.

JIMMY
Then don’t fuck your exams.

Ruby nods slowly.

RUBY
You’re right. Thanks, man.

Jimmy smiles.

I’ll tell Penny I’m sorry.

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

The door opens and Jimmy comes in supported by Cherry and Ruby either side of him.

Dick and Penny follow, his arm protectively around her.

The twins sit Jimmy at the table. His head slumps slowly forwards.

PENNY
He’s a disgrace. Don’t let him throw up in here.

JIMMY
(on the verge of vomiting)
I won’t throw up. Ruby Tuesday?

RUBY
Oh, Jimmy. If your mum could see you now.

JIMMY
Yeah. She’d make me some coffee.

CHERRY
I’ll make it. Where is it?

Penny shakes her head.

RUBY
(to Dick and Penny)
Why don’t you two go to bed? I’ll bring some coffee up if you want some.

DICK
He’s fallen asleep.

They all look at Jimmy.

I’d better carry him up.

JIMMY
(his eyes closed and his head on the table)
I’m not asleep. Leave me.

PENNY
(to Ruby and Cherry)
You’d better change the sheets on Wiz and Marcia’s bed if you’re going to sleep there. I’ll make the coffee.

Jimmy raises his head and focuses on an imaginary figure.

JIMMY
(almost incoherently)
I’m sorry.

Penny looks at Cherry.

PENNY
(quietly but coldly)
See what I mean?

CHERRY
We’ll sort him out and get him up to bed. Rube, do you want to sort out our bed? Jimmy?

Jimmy looks up slowly.

JIMMY
I just wanna go to bed. With somebody.

CHERRY
(kindly)
Not tonight, lover boy.

Jimmy stands up slowly and Penny and Ruby help him while Dick stands by.

JIMMY
I need some coffee man.

Cherry and Ruby help him out towards the stairs. Dick gives Penny a shrug and a smile.

Penny fills the kettle and switches it on. She gets some mugs from a cupboard. She turns to Dick when they are alone.

PENNY
I’m sorry about earlier.

DICK
(putting his arms round her)
It was entirely my fault. I’m sorry.

INT. STUDENT REFECTORY – DAY

Ruby and Penny are sitting at a corner table.

PENNY
I’m sorry, too. That I was silly over Dick.

RUBY
You had every right to be annoyed.

PENNY
Your sister’s really nice. Do you have extra sensory perception? I mean, do you feel the same things at the same time?

RUBY
(laughing)
No.

PENNY
You read about one twin knowing when the other one is in danger.

RUBY
She doesn’t know I’m in danger of failing my finals. That shows we’re not the same. She sailed through last year. I’ll see you later, Pen. I’m gonna see Jakov.

INT. JAKOV’S STUDY – DAY

Jakov hears a light tap on the door. He looks at his wall clock. It’s 4.30.

JAKOV
Come.

Ruby enters.

Is it important? It’s a bit late.

RUBY
I wanted to see you when everyone was gone.

Jakov looks at her short skirt. She doesn’t notice.

JAKOV
(kindly)
Sit down, Ruby.

He pulls a low armchair forward for her and she sits. He moves his chair to the side of his desk where he can look up her skirt.

What can I do you for?

She looks away and hesitates.

RUBY
I’m struggling.

JAKOV
With words or with work?

She smiles.

RUBY
Not with words.

She hesitates again.

JAKOV
Take your time.

He briefly touches her knee lightly and reassuringly. She looks out of the window and moves her legs. He watches her. As she looks back to him, his eyes flick back to her face.

I want you to see me as a friend.

RUBY
I shouldn’t have come.

JAKOV
You need some help?

RUBY
Yes.

JAKOV
Ruby?

He smiles comfortingly as she looks back at him.

You’re not sure you’ve done the right thing in coming to me.

He waits for a little smile from her.

Are you?

She shrugs lightly.

Can you confide in me as a friend?

She bites her lip.

You have to don’t you, or I can’t help, can I?

RUBY
I suppose not.

JAKOV
Do you trust me?

RUBY
Trust you?

JAKOV
Well, would you have come here if you didn’t trust me?

RUBY
No.

JAKOV
We’re going to have to trust each other, aren’t we, if I’m going to give you the sort of help you’d really like me to give you?

She nods.

Am I right that the sort of help you want from me is the sort of help you wouldn’t want anyone else to know about?

She looks at him unwilling to commit herself.

Do you have a boyfriend?

RUBY
What?

He raises his hands and shrugs.

JAKOV
Just wondering if you’ve got anyone at all to confide in.

RUBY
My sister, but she’s too far away.

JAKOV
Are you sleeping okay?

RUBY
No.

JAKOV
You need to be physically and mentally content to take your exams. You know that don’t you?

RUBY
Yes.

JAKOV
(leaning forward conspiratorially)
If I say I’ll help you, can I rely on you to keep certain things to ourselves?

RUBY
Yes, of course.

JAKOV
I know what you want and what you need. I can give them both to you.

She furrows her brow.

We can help each other.

RUBY
What do you mean?

JAKOV
Ruby, what’s your future worth to you?

RUBY
Everything.

JAKOV
What would you give right now to secure your degree?

RUBY
Anything.

JAKOV
What would I be risking if I gave you the exam questions?

She is silent.

My career? Everything?

She nods understandingly.

RUBY
You want me to sleep with you.

JAKOV
A few times. Discreetly.

RUBY
That’s blackmail.

JAKOV
No. It’s not. There’s no money involved. It’s a conspiracy in which we’d both be equally guilty. It’s also a bargain. Take it or leave it.

RUBY
What if I go to the Dean?

JAKOV
You’d look pretty silly. You wouldn’t be the first girl to offer sex to a lecturer for exam secrets and then falsely accuse him when he turned you down. Moreover, of course, you’d fail your finals.

RUBY
Have I any choice?

JAKOV
You’re the one who hasn’t done the work. I’m not forcing you. I’m doing you a favour. It’s your future. Think about it. You haven’t got long. If you’re not already on the pill, you’d better move even faster.

RUBY
I thought you wanted me to see you as a friend.

He leans forward and puts his hand firmly on her knee. When she does not react, he strokes her thigh.

JAKOV
Friends can have secrets. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

RUBY
Are you serious?

He smiles.

JAKOV
I’ll have to let you go now and get home. My wife is very demanding. You could take a page from her book. She finds it a very effective way of getting what she wants.

Ruby stands to leave and looks at him repugnantly.

I’m sure she’d like you too.

INT. STUDENT REFECTORY – DAY

The place is virtually empty.

Dick comes in and gets a coffee from one of the machines. He sees Ruby sitting in the shadows and joins her. She looks up but doesn’t smile.

INT. STUDENT REFECTORY – DAY

Later. There are a number of empty coffee cups on the table between Dick and Ruby.

RUBY
Would it be so bad if I slept with him?

DICK
What would it be for you?

She shrugs.

What would it be for him?

RUBY
I don’t know.

DICK
A trophy. He’d be taking, not giving.

RUBY
It wouldn’t mean anything.

DICK
Let me ask you this. If sex doesn’t mean anything to you, will you let me give you a good, long, hard shag now?

RUBY
Dick! That’s horrible.

DICK
Can I at least wet my finger?

RUBY
No!

DICK
Why not? ’Cause I’ve nothing you need to trade it for or ’cos it’s a violation?

RUBY
(tearful)
Because I’m not like that.

DICK
(putting a friendly arm round her)
I know. And there’s something you know. Selling yourself is worse than giving yourself for nothing, and you wouldn’t give yourself for nothing so why sell yourself?

RUBY
You’re right? I wish I always had you to talk to.

DICK
So do I.

Their heads move closer then Ruby pulls away.

RUBY
We’d better go. Cherry and I have to get her stuff together. She’s going home tomorrow.

INT. RUBY’S ROOM – DAY

Cherry is lying on Ruby’s bed with a face pack on. Ruby is sitting at her desk.

CHERRY
Why did you tell Dick?

RUBY
I just had to speak to someone. He turned up.

CHERRY
If you get a good pass, he’ll think you slept with the guy.

RUBY
Not if I don’t sleep with him and you help me get through.

CHERRY
I went through all your notes today. I didn’t do everything this guy’s teaching. I know less than you do …
(holding up a sheaf of notes)
… about this stuff.

RUBY
(her head in her hands)
What am I going to do? What would you do?

CHERRY
What would I do? I’d sleep with the guy and tell everybody my sister got me through. He’s not exactly gonna blab, is he? And you hadn’t better blab anymore either.

RUBY
You’d really do it?

CHERRY
Yeah. Saves a lot of work that has no guarantee anyway.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

The corridor is empty. Jimmy is wearing a tracksuit. He puts a bag in his locker and closes it.

He walks away past Jakov’s room.

Ruby appears coming from the opposite direction.

JIMMY
Hey Tuesday. Cherry get home okay?

RUBY
Yeah. You made her weekend.

JIMMY
Where you going, baby?

RUBY
Oh, I need to speak to one of my lecturers.

JIMMY
Want me to wait for you?

RUBY
No. You’re going to the gym. I’ve got a tutorial later. I might come round tonight. See how I feel.

JIMMY
Okay, babe.

He walks off. When he has gone, she walks on to Jakov’s room and knocks.

JAKOV
(from within)
Come.

She goes in.

INT. JAKOV’S STUDY – DAY

RUBY
When do I get the questions?

JAKOV
Not before you’ve kept your end of the bargain.

RUBY
I need the questions now.

JAKOV
Not before you’ve kept your end of the bargain.

RUBY
How do I know you’ll give them to me?

JAKOV
Oh, Ruby. I’m disappointed in you. You know I’m a man of honour and principle.

RUBY
Alright. Remember this. If you don’t give me the questions after, I’ll have nothing to lose, but you will.

JAKOV
You can have the questions tonight. It’s in your hands. Come down at a quarter past four. Security will lock the end doors at four-thirty and we won’t be interrupted. I’ve got keys to let us out.
(looking round his room)
I’ll make it quite comfortable for you.

Ruby walks out, her eyes welling with tears. Jakov sees this and smiles.

INT. GYMNASIUM – DAY

Jimmy is working out energetically in shorts and training shoes. He is fit.

INT. CHANGING ROOM – DAY

Jimmy is standing in his tracksuit bottoms towel drying his hair.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Jimmy opens his locker and takes out his bag. He reaches in again for his watch. It’s four o’clock. He shuts the locker and walks off with his bag.

INT. JAKOV’S STUDY – DAY

Jakov hears a light tap on the door.

Ruby pushes the door and comes in. Jakov smiles up at her and looks at his wall clock.

JAKOV
Four fifteen. Impeccable timing. I like a girl who knows when to come.

RUBY
How long will this take?

JAKOV
Depends how good you are.

RUBY
Then I get the questions?

JAKOV
Then you get one question. One each time until you have all eight.

She looks at him angrily then softens and walks round his desk. He pushes back his chair and she sits on his lap and kisses him. He is surprised at her suddenness.

RUBY
Can’t you take it?

He responds by kissing her feverishly and running his hands up and down her body.

INT. VARIOUS CORRIDORS – DAY

MAC, the security guard, is walking round the premises locking doors.

He plods slowly and methodically. Every room he looks into is empty. He reaches the entrance to the corridor Jakov’s room is in.

Without going further he pushes the swing doors shut and they lock themselves. Jimmy approaches him from behind. Mac turns.

MAC
It’s all locked up down there.

JIMMY
Hey, Mac. Can you let me in?

MAC
What for? There’s only Mr. Jakov working late. And I know yer ain’t in the English class.

JIMMY
(accurately mimicking Mac’s voice)
And I know yer ain’t an’ all.

Mac chuckles.

I left a jar of coffee in my locker. Please, Mac?

MAC
Well, I ain’t waiting for yer. Make sure yer push these doors shut.

INT. JAKOV’S STUDY – DAY

Jakov, his clothing undone, has hold of Ruby by the wrists over his desk. Her skirt is up. He is panting.

RUBY
I’m not ready. You’re hurting me.

JAKOV
Don’t spoil it all now. Open your legs, you stupid girl.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Jimmy has retrieved his coffee and shuts his locker. He turns away pensively.

INT. JAKOV’S STUDY – DAY

Ruby is resisting.

RUBY
I don’t want to do it. I’ve changed my mind.

Jakov becomes violent. He forces her legs apart.

(crying)
Noooaah.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Jimmy has stopped outside Jakov’s room. He can hear scuffling inside. Suddenly Ruby screams.

RUBY
Aaaaaahh. No, no, no. Please don’t. Ohhh. Ohhh, no, no. I don’t want you to.

INT. JAKOV’S STUDY – DAY

Jimmy stands in the doorframe. Neither Jakov nor Ruby sees him. Jakov is standing between her legs. She is whimpering. She has a red bruise on her face.

JIMMY
Ruby?

JAKOV
(bellowing)
Get out.

JIMMY
(quietly)
Get away from my sister.

Jakov stops instantly and rearranges his clothes.

JAKOV
It’s not what you think.

Jimmy steps forward.

JIMMY
It never is.

RUBY
(pulling down her skirt and trying not to cry)
Jimmy, it’s alright. Please go.

JAKOV
Yes. It’s a private matter. Ruby, I didn’t know you had a brother here. Perhaps you’d both better go now. You can explain to him.

Ruby stands up.

RUBY
Jimmy, I’ll explain.

JIMMY
Just go, Ruby. Mum’s waiting.

RUBY
(his quiet, intense look frightening her)
Jimmy?

JIMMY
Just go, Ruby. Home.

JAKOV
Goodnight Ruby. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.

Ruby leaves and Jakov turns coolly to face Jimmy.

JAKOV
You are?

JIMMY
A brother.

JAKOV
By name?

JIMMY
Jimmy.

JAKOV
Jakov.

He extends his hand to Jimmy who inspects it.

JIMMY
By nature.

JAKOV
As a pun, that’s poor. I’d know.

JIMMY
It’s not a pun.

JAKOV
Then it’s intended as an insult.

JIMMY
You would know.

JAKOV
What was going on here was private and I think you’ve got the wrong picture. It’s a matter between two consenting adults.

Jimmy slowly closes the door. Jakov sizes up the situation.

I think you’d be well advised to leave me alone and stop bothering me.

JIMMY
That’s tautology. I’d know.

JAKOV
Just what do you want?

JIMMY
You tried it on with Ruby. You more than tried it on.

JAKOV
It was a misunderstanding. That’s all.

JIMMY
Ergo, it was not a matter between two consenting adults.

JAKOV
Now listen to me for your own good. I’m not looking for trouble. I hope you’re not.

JIMMY
I don’t need to look for it. I know where it is.

JAKOV
This isn’t your business. It’s not a matter I intend to discuss with you.

JIMMY
(lifelessly)
It’s not a matter I intend to discuss with you.

JAKOV
Then I suggest you leave before you say or do something you’ll regret.

JIMMY
I won’t regret anything I say or do to you.

JAKOV
Then I suggest you leave before I do something you’d regret.

JIMMY
That’s exactly your problem, man. You can’t control your bodily functions.

JAKOV
This conversation is over. Leave or I’ll call security.

JIMMY
I’ll leave it for now ’cos that’s what she wants. I guess with you, it’s always what you want, huh? If you try it with Ruby again, or anyone else and it gets back to me, I’ll show you out of control bodily functions.

JAKOV
Your pathetic little schoolboy threats don’t scare me.

JIMMY
No, of course not.

JAKOV
No. I’m a black belt in karate.

JIMMY
If you hadn’t said that, I just might have believed you.

Jimmy turns away.

In future, jack off, Jakov. Get my drift?

JAKOV
(his face contorts)
I’m not taking that from you, you little shit.

JIMMY
Eat your words, Mr. Tossov, sir.

Jimmy saunters out of the room not bothering to close the door.

Jakov flips and comes after him picking up a baseball bat on the way. He comes up behind Jimmy in the corridor and swings the bat at the back of Jimmy’s head. Jimmy ducks and the bat kerrangs the wall.

They face each other and Jimmy backs off with his hands out in a placatory gesture shaking his head.

JAKOV
Had enough, little boy? Ready to apologise?

JIMMY
Tossov.

Jakov swings and misses as Jimmy jumps back.

(matter of factly)
Oh, you’re so big and hard.

They circle as Jimmy avoids Jakov’s swings and jabs.

Really worked up, huh?

JAKOV
(enraged)
I’ll beat the crap out of you.

They circle again.

JIMMY
(mocking)
Please, no. Why? Oh God.

Jakov slows as though his anger is fading. Jimmy taunts him again chanting.

Jack off, Jakov, Jack off, Jakov. Yeah, I’ll get a T shirt says that.

Jakov, bat raised, advances again. Jimmy backs towards the window.

You had the chance to be a man. When you started coming on with girls, you blew it. And now you’re dead meat.

Jakov launches himself through the air. Jimmy jumps up and grabs a pipe above his head. He swings his legs up. Jakov dives through the plate glass window under Jimmy’s legs.

(sardonically)
The ultimate toss.

EXT. UNIVERSITY CAMPUS – DAY

Repeat part opening scene.

Longshot. In an outward explosion of glass, an indistinguishable male figure comes flying through a plate glass window on the tenth floor and hurtles groundward.

INT. SMALL ROOM – DAY

A police inspector, JOHNS, is questioning Jimmy informally, in a small room at the university.

Jimmy chooses to stand while Johns sits.

JIMMY
A privilege and a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Johns. Promoted too.

JOHNS
For my sins.

JIMMY
Wicked.

JOHNS
Jimmy, we know what the security camera shows.

He turns to the monitor behind him and presses a button on a machine.

Close up on a black and white screen.

Onscreen in the distance, Jimmy opens the door to Jakov’s room and after a moment in the doorway, enters.

The screen flickers and after a few seconds Jimmy comes out casually and walks towards the camera.

Jakov pursues him and swings the bat. Jimmy ducks. They face and Jimmy backs off with his back to the camera. They circle. Jakov clearly mouths, “I’ll kill you.”

They circle again. Jimmy mouths, “Please, no. Why. Oh God.” They still circle and Jimmy backs off to the window. The camera cannot pick up that he is speaking. As Jimmy jumps up to the pipe, Jakov dives through the window with impeccable timing.

JIMMY
Cunning stunt. Where’d you get the tape?

JOHNS
Security guy. That’s the original. It’s a bit flickery because they use the same tape over and over.

JIMMY
May I have a copy?

Johns looks at him quizzically.

For my grandchildren, you understand.

JOHNS
What did you talk about before he apparently attacked you?

JIMMY
It was a matter he would have preferred I keep confidential.

JOHNS
(raising his voice)
I want an answer.

JIMMY
There comes a time when you realise you can’t have everything you want in life.

JOHNS
He had a wife and children. They deserve to know.

JIMMY
Alright. Because you tell me they deserve to know and because I care about their feelings and understand how important it is to you that they’re told. He was a rapist and I confronted him with it.

JOHNS
Girl Students?

Jimmy looks at him inscrutably.

Did you threaten to report him? Blackmail?

JIMMY
(gently smiling)
Up your arse, Mr. Investigator.
(matter of factly)
I don’t blackmail anyone and I don’t say anything behind a person’s back that I won’t say to his face.

JOHNS
Ever full of smart answers, aren’t you.

JIMMY
(lifting a hand indulgently)
Please. You know I went to a grammar school.

JOHNS
Do you have any evidence he was a rapist?

Jimmy nods.

Where?

JIMMY
In my brain.

JOHNS
Who was the girl or girls you confronted him about?

JIMMY
You don’t get that from me.

JOHNS
If any girl wants to make a complaint, it’ll be investigated.

JIMMY
That impersonally, huh?

JOHNS
If what you say is true, he’s already paid the price.

JIMMY
If what I say is true, he got away with it. Unless you know a way to unrape the chicks.

JOHNS
(considering his words)
I think this needn’t have happened.

Jimmy suddenly sits down and puts his head in his hands. He looks up, his face agonised.

JIMMY
You’re right.
(drawing breath)
I can’t live with this.

He gives a small, strangled sob.

JOHNS
What is it, son?

JIMMY
It wouldn’t have happened if, if …
(triumphantly)
… if the Faculty had listened to Student Union complaints about having lockers on the tenth floor.

He rocks with laughter.

JOHNS
(frustrated)
For Jesus Christ’s sake, there has to be a full and proper investigation. The man went out of a tenth floor window.

JIMMY
(shrugging languidly then rocking to imaginary music)
Then let him rest in pieces. Rest in pieces. Get it?

JOHNS
Get out of here. You simply don’t care, do you?

Jimmy stands laconically and makes for the door. He opens it, pauses and looks back.

JOHNS
What?

JIMMY
Do you think his wife would give me the baseball bat as a souvenir. Of course, I don’t want it if it’s scratched.

JOHNS
(losing it)
You bastard.

JIMMY
(softly)
Ouch. Where does that get you?

JOHNS
I’d like to know what you’re studying.

JIMMY
Manipulative psychology.

Jimmy smiles and is gone. He does not quite close the door. Johns closes it without thinking then realising what he has done opens it again. He shakes his head in self-reproach.

JOHNS
Shit!

INT. RUBY’S ROOM – NIGHT

Ruby is sitting back on her bed eating a huge plate of food.

There is a knock on her door.

JIMMY
(from outside)
Just Jimmy.

She lets him in and resumes eating. He takes the chair from her desk and sits on it back to front. He looks at her. She tries to ignore his gaze but is self-conscious.

RUBY
Say something.

JIMMY
You’ve got terrifically beautiful thighs.

At this, she cries uncontrollably into her food. He doesn’t move. She looks at him and shakes her head unable to speak. She composes herself.

RUBY
It was my fault.

JIMMY
(ambiguously)
You don’t have to tell me.

RUBY
Why did you say I was your sister?

JIMMY
You’re more than a friend, less than a lover. You put me to bed, but you ain’t my mother.

Ruby laughs a little.

RUBY
That’s good. Please don’t tell anyone what you saw.

JIMMY
It’s cool.

RUBY
Promise?

JIMMY
If I’m lying what would my promise be? But if you need it, yeah, I promise. Do you want to tell me about it?

RUBY
Don’t ask. What happened with Jakov? I didn’t want to hang around.

JIMMY
Don’t ask. I don’t want you to feel bad about any of it. As if you don’t already.

RUBY
(worried)
What happened?

JIMMY
We spoke and he regrets the events of the afternoon.

RUBY
That impersonally, huh?

JIMMY
(with a nod and a small smile)
Have a bath and go to bed.

He stands to go.

If you have to, remember what the Dormouse said.

She looks at him quizzically.

Feed your head.

RUBY
Look, I have him tomorrow. It’s alright isn’t it?

JIMMY
It’s totally cool.

He leaves.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Ruby and Penny approach the lecture theatre. The door is locked. Students are standing around talking in whispers.

RUBY
(to another girl)
What’s happening?

GIRL
The lecture’s cancelled. We’re just waiting to find out why.

The DEAN pushes his way through. He unlocks the door.

DEAN
Please make your way in quickly and take your seats. There’s something I have to tell you all.

Penny and Ruby go in with the rest.

INT. LECTURE THEATRE – DAY

The Dean is standing at the front and quietens the students.

DEAN
I have some rather distressing news for all of you. Today’s lectures and tutorials are cancelled and will be rescheduled. I’m afraid there’s been an accident. Mr. Jakov, whom I know you all respected …
(his voice cracking)
Mr. Jakov has been involved in an accident. I’m afraid he’s been killed.

Ruby gasps in horror. Penny puts her arm comfortingly around her and takes her head on her shoulder. Otherwise, there is shocked silence.

PENNY
It’s alright.

STUDENT
(to Dean)
How?

DEAN
Mr. Jakov, um, the police are satisfied that it was a freak accident. He fell from a tenth floor window.

Some girls cry, others inwardly reflect and some look relieved.

Mercifully, it would have been instantaneous. I’ll keep you informed as I receive more information. I’ll be available all day if any of you want to see me privately.

RUBY
(shocked)
Penny, I think I’ll go home for the weekend. D’you want to come and meet my folks?

INT. CHERRY’S BEDROOM – DAY

Cherry, Ruby and Penny are splashed around the room.

PENNY
I can’t believe Jakov is dead. He was such a …
(searching for a word)
… decent person.

Ruby and Cherry exchange glances.

PENNY
Don’t you think so?

CHERRY
I never met him.

RUBY
I was beginning to dislike him. I didn’t think those windows opened.

PENNY
That’s what’s so odd. Somebody said the window was smashed. Nobody was allowed in the corridor and the ground outside was covered by a police tent.

RUBY
(anxiously)
But they don’t suspect anybody?

PENNY
Why? What have you heard?

RUBY
Nothing.

PENNY
They have cameras up there. They must have it on tape. I bet old Mac knows what happened.

RUBY
So if someone else was involved, the police would have known straight away?

PENNY
What do you mean?

CHERRY
She read a lot of crime novels when she was a kid. I know you knew the guy, but I’m sorry, I’m getting a little fed up with it.

PENNY
What’s gonna happen about revision classes?

RUBY
Jesus! I’m gonna fail this paper. I know it.

PENNY
(to Cherry)
You did your finals last year didn’t you?

CHERRY
That doesn’t help Ruby.

PENNY
It’s a pity you can’t sit the paper for her. In fact, it’s not a bad idea. Who’d know?

RUBY
Cherry never did everything in that option.

CHERRY
It wouldn’t work anyway. I wouldn’t know anybody who spoke to me.

PENNY
Unless, unless I spoke to you as though you were Ruby. No one would suspect then.

CHERRY
But Ruby’s right. I didn’t do that option.

PENNY
Come on, guys. Think. There must be a way.

RUBY
If you can find one that’ll work, I’ll go for it. Cherry?

CHERRY
Yeah, okay.

RUBY
If I didn’t have to revise the other papers, I might just have time to catch up on Jakov’s stuff. It’ll be damn nigh impossible.

PENNY
(cutting in)
That’s it! I’ll help you on Jakov’s stuff. Cherry can sit the other papers for you.

CHERRY
Ruby?

RUBY
No. It’s too much of a risk. For both of us.

PENNY
I still think it’s a good idea. Just remember it was mine.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Mac is unscrewing Jakov’s nameplate from his room door. Jimmy approaches and stops. Mac looks up. For a moment neither speaks. Mac looks down.

MAC
Yer done the world a service when yer done ’im in.

JIMMY
You knew what he was doing?

MAC
(his eyes watering)
’E ’ad somethin’ on me. I ’ad light fingers. Jus’ the once. Yer done well. Fank you, sir.

JIMMY
Fank you, Mac.

MAC
Sir?

JIMMY
For taking the girl off the tape.

MAC
Don’t feel bad about ’im, sir. I was in the war. Sometimes yer ’ave to kill people.

JIMMY
Yeah. It gets easier, doesn’t it? And Mac, I’m not sir. I’m just Jimmy.

INT. STUDENT REFECTORY – DAY

Dick approaches Ruby’s table with a coffee for each of them.

DICK
Hi.

RUBY
I’ve been waiting for you.

Dick sits down opposite her.

Where’s Penny?

DICK
At home revising.

RUBY
You know what we said that we both wished we always had each other to talk to?

DICK
Yeah.

RUBY
Did you mean it?

Dick looks away and considers and then at her.

DICK
Yes, I did.

RUBY
Dick, I want you.

DICK
I want you too, but what about Penny, the exams?

RUBY
I don’t know. I just know I want you. I think about you day and night. I want you so much. All the time.

DICK
Oh Ruby, I’ve wanted you so much. I was too scared to tell you ’cos I can’t drop Penny before the exams and you might have said no.

RUBY
I’d never say no to you. Does that mean you will go out with me?

DICK
Oh yeah, but we can’t tell anyone.

RUBY
When can I see you?

DICK
I wish it could be all the time.

RUBY
Promise you’ll ditch her after the exams.

DICK
I promise but I’ll still have to see her before then or she’ll suspect something.

RUBY
I don’t mind if you still sleep with her if I know you’re mine.

DICK
(reluctantly)
She expects it.

RUBY
I know. It makes me want you even more. Can we go somewhere now?

INT. DICK’S BEDROOM – DAY

Dick and Ruby are in bed kissing.

RUBY
I’ll never stop wanting you.

DICK
Ruby, oh Ruby. It’s getting late. Penny is expecting me.

RUBY
Don’t go to her.

DICK
You know I have to, just for a few more weeks.

RUBY
Can’t you get her to give you up?

DICK
I’ll try but you know what she’s like.

RUBY
I love you.

DICK
I love you. I wish I’d met you first.

INT. LIBRARY – DAY

Penny and Ruby are sitting opposite each other revising. Jimmy is sitting a few tables away. Dick comes into view and on seeing Penny and Ruby tries to turn away unnoticed. Penny sees him and he has to come over. He leans to speak quietly to her and she pulls his head down and kisses him deeply. Ruby looks away.

DICK
(pulling away)
Not here.

PENNY
(to Ruby)
He can’t get enough of it really. You should have seen him last night.

RUBY
I wish I had.

PENNY
He’s too much for one woman.

DICK
(to Penny)
I’ll see you later.
(looking at Ruby)
Ruby.

Jimmy looks across. Both Dick and Ruby meet his eyes and look away.

PENNY
Darling, I’d better not see you tonight. I promised Ruby I’d help her revise some of Mr. Jakov’s stuff. His not being here for revision classes makes it harder.

DICK
I might go out. See some friends.

Dick walks away. After he has gone Ruby jumps as though something has just occurred to her.

RUBY
Oh God. I should have said. I can’t revise tonight. I promised to meet somebody.

PENNY
Who?

RUBY
Can’t you run after Dick and tell him you will see him?

PENNY
No. Leave it now. Who are you meeting?

RUBY
Nobody you know.

PENNY
Jimmy?

RUBY
No. I’m not going to tell you. What about Dick?

PENNY
I’ll stay in and do your revision notes. I don’t mind.

RUBY
You don’t have to.

PENNY
I know but that’s what friends are for.

RUBY
You make me feel guilty.

PENNY
You just go and see this secret love of yours and do what you wanna do with my blessing.

INT. DICK’S LIVING ROOM – DAY

Dick has just put on some music when there is a knock at the front door.

He goes to answer the door.

INT. DICK’S HALLWAY – NIGHT

Dick opens the front door. From Dick’s point of view we see Ruby. He glances around then pulls her in. She closes the door and kisses him passionately. He responds equally passionately.

RUBY
I told Penny I have a new date.
(shrugging)
She’s doing revision notes for me.

DICK
That makes me feel, no, what do I care?

RUBY
Turn off all the lights and give me your hand.

INT. CHERRY’S BEDROOM – DAY

Cherry and Ruby are sitting close together on Cherry’s bed.

RUBY
I won’t be home again before the exams.

CHERRY
I know. I told my boss, Ricky, I need a couple of weeks to help you revise. He said whatever I need.

RUBY
He sounds like a really decent bloke.

CHERRY
He is. If his girlfriend wasn’t so nice, I’d take him on a dirty weekend.

RUBY
You just have to work around girlfriends sometimes.

CHERRY
What do you think Jimmy would be like in bed?

RUBY
That would be kind of intelligent sex. I’m more animal. Although there’d be no limits with that guy.

CHERRY
I know what you mean, but right now I’m more turned on by guys who already have girlfriends. Like your friend, Penny. She’s a bit of a cow but I’d have her boyfriend, Dick, any day and I couldn’t care whether she knew or not.

RUBY
Do you fancy him?

CHERRY
Do I? I’d get into bed with both of them for a bit of that. Wouldn’t you?

RUBY
Yeah, I guess I would have done.

CHERRY
What do you mean, would have done?

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Jimmy is sitting at the table drinking soup and eating rolls. Penny comes down from her room. She is wearing a tight short skirt and radiates sexuality. Jimmy watches her as she makes coffee.

PENNY
What are you looking at?

JIMMY
I wouldn’t mind a taste of that.

PENNY
Jerk.

JIMMY
You’re some foxy chick, babe.

PENNY
You’ll never know.

JIMMY
It’s what you want to know.

PENNY
Don’t flatter yourself that you know what I want.

JIMMY
Do the things you say make you feel good?

PENNY
They do when I say them to you.

JIMMY
(softly)
Would you feel even better if you knew that the things you say to me really do hurt me.

PENNY
Don’t give me that. Since when have mere words been able to hurt you?

Jimmy pushes away his food. He stands up and turns to the door to go upstairs.

JIMMY
I guess they hurt me ’cos they’re said by you.

He leaves and Penny looks at the closing door. Her face softens a little then she shrugs, not knowing whether he was joking.

PENNY
No way.

She tastes his leftover soup.

Mmm, not bad.

INT. DICK’S BEDROOM – DAY

Dick and Ruby are asleep in bed. They look good together.

EXT. STREET – DAY

Penny, dressed as Jimmy last saw her, arrives at Dick’s house and walks up the garden path. At the front door she rummages through her handbag to find her key. She opens the door and goes in.

INT. DICK’S HALLWAY – DAY

Penny looks into the downstairs rooms and then smiling, she tiptoes upstairs.

INT. DICK’S BEDROOM – DAY

Ruby opens her eyes and sits up. She shakes Dick who opens his eyes.

DICK
What is it?

RUBY
I thought I heard a noise.

DICK
It’s an old house.

RUBY
God, it might be Penny.

DICK
Not unless she’s double-crossed you.

They laugh.

She said next time she sees me she has a treat for me.

The door opens and Penny stands framed in the doorway unable to take in the enormity of their betrayal.

RUBY
Oh God, Penny. I’m sorry.

DICK
I, I was going to tell you when the time was right. I didn’t want to hurt you.

PENNY
No, no, no.

She falls to the floor wailing then whimpering.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

Dick comes to her.

DICK
Penny?

PENNY
(screaming)
Don’t touch me.

She begins to sob hysterically and Dick begins to look worried. Ruby comes into frame and smacks Penny on the cheek harder than is necessary. Penny stops crying and looks at her in shocked silence.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Penny is making sandwiches and tea on a tray to take to her room. Her eyes are red from crying and she looks drained. Jimmy comes down from his room. Their eyes meet and she starts to cry again.

PENNY
Coffee?

JIMMY
(tenderly)
You can always make my coffee.

She makes a mug of coffee and holds it out, handle towards him.

PENNY
It’s very hot.

Jimmy takes it quickly.

JIMMY
Don’t burn yourself.

PENNY
Who cares?

JIMMY
Someone always cares.

PENNY
But not the right person.

JIMMY
You should care now because the right person might come along later.

PENNY
I thought the right person did come along.

JIMMY
I don’t think so. I think you were in love with being in love.

PENNY
What am I talking to you for?

JIMMY
(turning to go)
I’ll be in my room if you don’t want to be alone.

INT. STUDENT REFECTORY – DAY

Ruby is sitting on Dick’s lap in a corner. They are eating the same roll and drinking from the same cup of coffee.

Long shot. Penny comes into frame. She looks around and when she sees them, comes directly over.

She holds out a folder marked: Revision – English Appreciation

PENNY
(coldly to Ruby)
These are yours.

Ruby looks up both embarrassed and grateful.

RUBY
Penny, I don’t know what to say.

Penny tilts her head and waits for something more.

You’ve saved my life.

Penny looks at Dick who makes an awkward gesture.

PENNY
(to Dick)
Happy now? Got everything you want?

Dick half-nods. Penny slowly tilts the folder and the defaced, mutilated and torn revision notes fall onto the table. Ruby looks horrified and Dick looks stunned.

Ruby looks at Dick and shakes with panic. She looks back to Penny and the two speak in unison.

RUBY
You cow.

PENNY
You cow. I haven’t finished with you yet. I know about you and Jakov. Does your precious new boyfriend?

RUBY
Yes he does. We have no secrets.

Penny turns and walks away.

DICK
What about you and Jakov?

INT. DICK’S HALLWAY – DAY

Dick and Ruby are moving her belongings into his house.

INT. DICK’S KITCHEN – DAY

Tired, Dick and Ruby are sitting on his table drinking cokes.

RUBY
She’s going round the whole Uni saying really nasty things about me.

DICK
Ignore it.

RUBY
I’ve tried but it’s affecting my life and she knows it. People are giving me funny looks or avoiding me or whispering about me.

DICK
Sweetheart, you’re imagining it. I’m the one she’d do it to.

RUBY
No. She knows you’d ignore it because it won’t affect your exams but she’s gonna make me fail. And she wants to break us up.

DICK
She won’t succeed.

RUBY
(holding him)
I’m sorry.

DICK
About Jakov?

She holds him tighter.

Don’t let these bastards take advantage of you when you’re down. I don’t blame you. He manipulated you. Bloody odd business that.

INT. PENNY’S ROOM – NIGHT

Dick is sitting on Penny’s bed. She is standing over him.

PENNY
Did the whore send you?

DICK
(exasperated)
She’s not a whore.

PENNY
Does the whore know you’re here?

She pushes her body against his face.

I can be a whore if you want me to.

She kneels in front of him.

What can she give you that I can’t? I know she made you do it. She’s like that. She doesn’t love you. It doesn’t matter what she made you do.

DICK
(cutting in)
Penny, cut it out.

PENNY
The first time I told her how good you were she told me she had sex with five boys in one hour.

DICK
She told me you might say that. It’s an old joke.

PENNY
Baby, I know it’s just an infatuation. That’s why I haven’t been as nasty to her as I could be. But she’s evil. She has no respect for you or she wouldn’t have come between us. It’s me who loves you and you love me.

DICK
Penny, I’m so sorry. Sorry for you. I never realised the way your mind worked. You’re infatuated with me. You don’t love me or you couldn’t do this.

PENNY
She’s a loser. She’ll go down and she’ll drag you down with her.

Dick stands up and she moves against him.

DICK
Stop saying things about her behind her back. You know how desperately worried she is about the exams. She’s praying for a miracle.

PENNY
Make love to me now and I promise I won’t say anything else.

DICK
No.

PENNY
Then fuck off back to her while she’s still around and every time I see you I’ll jump on you.

DICK
I can’t take this. I’m going back to my parents to revise.

PENNY
It’s the best place. Keep away from the sex mad twins or have you already had three in a bed.

DICK
You are very, very sick.

Penny slaps his face with both hands until he grabs her wrists.

PENNY
You are very, very, very, very, very sick. You can tell the whore I’ll make sure she fails every exam she ever takes.

DICK
Penny, Penny, Penny.

She breaks down in tears.

It’s alright.

He clasps her to his chest. She surrenders to his arms.

PENNY
I can’t help wanting you and you’re hurting me so much. I just want to touch you again.

DICK
I have to go.

PENNY
No, I’ll never let you go.

His face sets hard as he thinks then softens. He kisses her long and lovingly and she relaxes and holds him closer.

DICK
(very softly)
Go into the bathroom and take off all your clothes. When you get back, I’ll be in bed in the dark waiting for you.

She still holds him tightly. He gently detaches her and starts to unbutton his shirt.

Go on.

She turns and goes to the bathroom as he undoes a couple more buttons. She closes the door behind her. He fastens his shirt and leaves quickly and silently.

INT. DICK’S KITCHEN – DAY

Cherry is at a table strewn with revision papers and books. Ruby is finishing a telephone call.

RUBY
(on the telephone)
Dick, I miss you too but if you were here I wouldn’t even open a book. Yeah, we’re okay. No, she hasn’t been round. I love you too. ’Bye darling.

She puts down the telephone.

CHERRY
Just one week to go.

RUBY
Don’t remind me. I hope it’s all worth it in the end.

Ruby returns to the table and opens a book.

CHERRY
Coffee?

Ruby nods and Cherry gets up to make coffee. Ruby puts a piece of paper over the page she is reading, switches on a small tape recorder and dictates part of a poem from memory, moving the paper down as she dictates each line and checking that she is correct.

RUBY

storm clouds gather, significant of what?
affinities of portent, temper, weather, hot.
violence in motion, sky of my mind.
loud thoughts clashing, rumbling thunder, blind.

She looks up at Cherry and smiles.

lightning, frightening, searing my eyes white.
darkness descending, fading into night.
rainfall, painful. wetness all around.
saturated remnants glistening on the ground.

She frowns and concentrates.

CHERRY
That’s the one you’re going to write your analysis on?

RUBY
(shaking her head and motioning Cherry to be quiet)

there lie my memories, the ones I threw away.
now my mind is empty, I start another day.
day into night time, meeting my wild love.
again she may taunt me and loose the wrath above.

(to Cherry)
I’m memorising three poems to illustrate traditional verse patterns.

CHERRY
It’s like some psychopathic description of uncontrolled rage as an allegory for sex. Who wrote it?

RUBY
The dead bastard.

CHERRY
Jesus! Jakov? What’s it called?

RUBY
hunger of the mind.

CHERRY
Let me see it.

She takes the book and scans the page, talking as she does so.

It gets worse. A psychologist would have a field day. Obsession, fixation, justification and transfer of blame. It could almost be an exoneration of rape.

RUBY
In your opinion.

CHERRY
Alright, in my opinion. Why are you using it?

RUBY
(coldly)
As a mark of respect to get a few more marks.

CHERRY
I like that. Poetic justice.
(grimacing)
I’m sorry, that’s not intended as a pun.

The doorbell sounds in the hallway.

INT. DICK’S HALLWAY – DAY

Ruby answers the door with Cherry standing behind her. From the twins point of view Penny stands there looking sallow, ill and trembling.

PENNY
(staring fixedly at Ruby)
Ruby, I want you to give Dick back to me.

CHERRY
(over Ruby’s shoulder)
You’d better come in so we can sort this out once and for all.

Penny comes into the hallway.

PENNY
If you don’t, I’ll tell the Dean that your twin sister is sitting exams for you.

She shivers uncontrollably and coughs spasmodically.

You’re responsible for this.

CHERRY
(nastily)
Why don’t you just …

RUBY
(cutting in)
Why don’t you just come in and explain what it is you want?

INT. DICK’S KITCHEN – DAY

Penny walks in ahead of the twins and glances round the room she knows. She turns to face them.

PENNY
I want some money. I think about a couple of hundred pounds would be nice.

RUBY
Penny, what are you talking about?

PENNY
When I suggested that your sister sit the exams for you, I didn’t think you’d take me up on it, but I can see you’re both working very hard.

CHERRY
You must be crazy.

RUBY
I think you’d better go.

PENNY
You don’t understand, do you? It’s up to you. You want your degree and I want Dick.

RUBY
No deal. You can forget the money too.

PENNY
Don’t forget, I’ll be sitting next to you in the exam room. If your sister turns up, and I can tell the difference, I’ll go straight to the Dean.

CHERRY
You look terrible. Goodbye.

PENNY
Ruby, what’s your future worth to you?

RUBY
You just absolutely said the wrong thing. Get out or do you want me to slap you again?

Ruby raises her hand and Penny shrinks back. She turns to go.

PENNY
It isn’t over yet.

INT. EXAMINATION HALL – DAY

Students are finding their places and sitting down. Penny is sat at an examination table. She sees Cherry approach and sit at the table next to her without looking at her.

PENNY
Why, hello Cherry. Did Ruby send you with some good news for me?

CHERRY
(inhaling deeply)
Please, please don’t say anything. We can’t make Dick come back to you.

Penny smiles cynically. At the front of the hall, the Dean addresses the examinees.

DEAN
Alright, settle down. I’m invigilating today. The examination paper is being distributed face down. When I tell you to turn over the paper, the examination will begin. You have three hours to complete the paper and every half-hour you’ll be told how much time is remaining. No candidate will be allowed to leave the exam room in the last fifteen minutes of the examination.

The room becomes quiet as the last papers are distributed.

If you want more paper or need anything at all, please raise a hand and wait for an invigilator. Are there any problems?

No hands are raised.

Alright.

The Dean turns and looks at the big wall clock above his head.

The time is ten oh five. Turn over the question paper and begin.

Time passes.

Every time Penny looks over at Cherry, Cherry is writing furiously. At 12.45 Penny finishes writing and raises her hand. An invigilator approaches. Penny whispers to her and is allowed to leave the hall. She sees Cherry, who has not finished writing, watching her anxiously.

INT. EXAMINATION HALL – DAY

The wall clock says 12.55. A member of staff comes in and whispers to the Dean. He looks at Cherry who averts her gaze. He speaks to the staff member who nods and hurries out.

INT. EXAMINATION HALL – DAY

The clock says 1.05.

DEAN
Stop writing.

Each student puts down his or her pen.

Stay seated. You’ll be told when to leave after all the papers have been collected. Then you are to leave in single file by the front exit.

The students all sit silently until the papers are collected.

You may now leave.

Everyone turns to their neighbour and all start talking at once except Cherry. She joins the others as they file out.

GIRL
(to Cherry)
Ruby, what did you think of it?

CHERRY
(smiling)
Tiring. What did you think?

GIRL
Fingers crossed.

As they approach the door, the Dean intercepts Cherry.

DEAN
Ruby, may I have a word?

CHERRY
Sure. What about?

GIRL
Catch you later.

CHERRY
Okay.

Cherry leaves the line and waits with the Dean until the other students have left. She is expressionless.

DEAN
Please come to my office.

CHERRY
May I just get my bag? It’s in the corridor.

INT. DEAN’S OFFICE – DAY

The Dean opens the door to his office and ushers Cherry in. Her bag is on her shoulder. Inspector Johns, a UNIFORMED POLICEWOMAN and Penny are waiting.

DEAN
(to Cherry)
You know Penny. This gentleman is Inspector Johns who investigated the unfortunate incident involving Mr. Jakov.

CHERRY
(extending her hand to Johns)
It’s a pleasure to meet you.

She turns to Penny.

Is everything alright? Penny, why are you here?

PENNY
You can stop the pretence.

CHERRY
(to the Dean)
I don’t understand.

The Dean looks embarrassed.

JOHNS
An allegation has been made that you’re the identical twin sister of the girl who should have sat the exam you’ve just taken.

CHERRY
That I’m Cherry?

JOHNS
If that’s the sister’s name, yes.

CHERRY
Penny knows me. Ask her. Penny?

DEAN
This is a bit difficult. Penny made the allegation. Penny, are you sure this isn’t a mistake.

PENNY
(with feigned angst)
I’m sorry Cherry. I know how important these exams are to Ruby but this isn’t the way. It’s not fair to everyone else.

CHERRY
Don’t be silly, Penny. You know it’s me. A joke’s a joke but I want to get home and revise for tomorrow.
(to Johns)
I’m sorry, Inspector, but your time’s been wasted. There’s an explanation behind all this. Penny hasn’t been well lately and the allegation is rubbish.

PENNY
(venomously)
Oh, you think you’re so convincing, so clever.

She looks from the Dean to Johns.

The only truth she’s telling is that I can tell her and her sister apart and this is not Ruby, it’s her sister Cherry, who sat this paper last year at Newcastle.

CHERRY
(to Penny)
Are you sure you want to continue with this accusation? We’ve all been so worried about you lately.

PENNY
You arrogant, patronising bitch.

JOHNS
(to the Dean)
Uh, we’d be happy to leave this as an internal matter with you.

PENNY
No. I called you here.
(to the Dean)
Ruby should be expelled for allowing this …
(to Johns)
… and charged with deception.

CHERRY
This is all rubbish. If Penny has the sense to drop the allegation I’ll forget it, otherwise there’ll be real trouble.

JOHNS
In the absence of proof, I think that might be sensible.

PENNY
Are you both stupid. She’s talking her way out of it.

CHERRY
(to Penny)
Drop it.

PENNY
Fuck you.

CHERRY
I didn’t want to do this. Penny, I’m so sorry because you were like a sister to me.
(to Johns)
Penny knows how worried I’ve been about these exams. A few months ago she met my twin sister, Cherry, who graduated last year. Penny said Cherry should impersonate me on the papers I was worried about. There was never any question of either of us getting involved in anything like that. She clearly believed we would because a week ago she demanded two hundred pounds from us otherwise she’d tell the Dean what she believed we were going to do.

PENNY
You liar.

JOHNS
(to Penny)
Wait a moment.
(to Cherry)
Why would she reveal it now?

CHERRY
(apologetically)
Because I took her boyfriend.

DEAN
(ruefully)
Everyone in the Faculty knew about Penny’s, um, bitterness over Dick. That’s his name.
(to Penny)
I’m afraid, Penny, that you rather vocally made your feelings known to everyone.

PENNY
She’s telling you a pack of lies. Ruby took Dick, so what. This still isn’t Ruby. Don’t you see what she’s doing? Aren’t you going to make her prove she’s Ruby? Ask her some questions.

CHERRY
(shrugging)
I can prove it. In my bag.

She delves into her bag and takes out an audiocassette.

Play it.

The Dean loads the cassette into the player on his desk and presses PLAY.

They hear on tape:

CHERRY
I like that. Poetic Justice. I’m sorry, That’s not intended as a pun.

Faint doorbell. Sound of the twins leaving the room. Muffled conversation. The twins and Penny coming into earshot.

PENNY
I want some money. I think about a couple of hundred pounds would be nice.

RUBY
Penny, what are you talking about?

PENNY
When I suggested that your sister sit the exams for you, I didn’t think you’d take me up on it, but I can see you’re both working very hard.

CHERRY
You must be crazy.

RUBY
I think you’d better go.

PENNY
You don’t understand, do you? It’s up to you. You want your degree and I want Dick.

RUBY
No deal. You can forget the money too.

PENNY
Don’t forget, I’ll be sitting next to you in the exam room. If your sister turns up, and I can tell the difference, I’ll go straight to the Dean.

CHERRY
You look terrible. Goodbye.

PENNY
Ruby, what’s your future worth to you?

RUBY
You just absolutely said the wrong thing. Get out or do you want me to slap you again?

PENNY
It isn’t over yet.

Cherry switches off the tape and looks at them. Penny is stunned.

JOHNS
May I have the tape?

Cherry hands it to him.

(to Penny)
I think you’d better come to the police station.

DEAN
She’s got an exam tomorrow.

JOHNS
She’ll get bail after she’s been charged.

CHERRY
I’m so sorry, Penny.

PENNY
(hysterically)
Make her prove she’s Ruby.

JOHNS
(tonelessly to Cherry)
I hope you can prove you’re Ruby?

CHERRY
Of course I can.
(to the Dean)
Dean, you’ve got my records here haven’t you?

DEAN
Yes.

He rummages through a filing cabinet.

Here. Ruby Scarlett.

CHERRY
What does it say under identifying features?

DEAN
Nothing.

CHERRY
And under scars?

DEAN
Under “Scars Injuries” it says ‘half-inch scar top of right thigh’.

CHERRY
It’s almost between my legs. Do you want to see it?

JOHNS
(reluctantly)
We have to. I’m sorry. Unless Penny accepts what you say.

Penny just stares at him.

We’d better see it. Clear this up once and for all.

CHERRY
(coldly)
I hope it gives you pleasure. You’d better have a gander too, Dean, every day of the exams.

The Dean looks away embarrassed.

Do I take it that won’t be necessary.

JOHNS
I’ll be satisfied if the WPC checks it.

The Dean nods thankfully.

PENNY
(to Cherry)
You set me up, you bitch.

She launches herself at Cherry but is held back by Johns and the WPC. She breaks down.

I’ll kill you. I hope you die. You scheming whore.

CHERRY
to Johns)
She’s not well. Can’t you let it just stop here?

JOHNS
I’m not qualified to assess her medical condition.

EXT. UNIVERSITY CAMPUS – DAY

Johns is walking towards a police car. Penny and the WPC, handcuffed together, are following him. Students look on. The party meets Jimmy. Penny looks at him with dead eyes.

JIMMY
What’s going on?

JOHNS
It’s nothing to do with you.

Jimmy stands in his way.

Don’t get in my way.

JIMMY
You got in my way once.

Johns turns to the WPC.

JOHNS
Take her to the car. This’ll only take a minute.

The WPC and Penny depart.

JIMMY
Well?

JOHNS
Every time there’s trouble round here, you’re involved.

JIMMY
I could say the same about you.

JOHNS
Don’t push me. I’m a fucking police officer. She’s under arrest and it’s nothing to do with you. You make it your business and I’ll arrest you too.

JIMMY
Well, Mister Fucking Police Officer, since when have I given a fuck.

JOHNS
You’re lucky it’s me, boy.

JIMMY
I’m not lucky and I’m not a boy and I know how to play your games.

Jimmy steps aside and waves indulgently.

Now go about your petty official business.

INT. POLICE CELL – DAY

Penny is sitting head down in a small, dingy cell.

Through the small, barred window, the sky is grey and it is raining outside.

Time passes.

The door is opened. A solemn police officer beckons her out.

INT. CHARGE ROOM – DAY

Penny is sat opposite Johns and the WPC.

WPC
(reading from a document)
You are charged that …
(looking up at Penny and then back to the document)
… with a view to gain for yourself, in a demand addressed to Cherry and Ruby Scarlett, you made an unwarranted demand of two hundred pounds from Cherry and Ruby Scarlett with menaces.

Johns nods briskly at the WPC and stands to go.

JOHNS
Fingerprint and bail her.

He looks sympathetically at Penny and leaves.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Penny comes in from outside. She sits at the table and cries her eyes out.

Jimmy comes downstairs and without speaking to her makes some coffee.

JIMMY
(gently but ambiguously)
You want some?

She ignores him. He makes her a coffee anyway. She sweeps it onto the floor smashing the mug.

He goes back to his room. We stay with Penny.

Jimmy returns with his radio and plays it softly.

He takes a dish from the ’fridge and puts it in the microwave then he cleans up the mess. He gently touches her leg to wipe away splashes of coffee. She does not react. He spoons the food from the microwave onto two plates, puts them on the table and sits down opposite her.

(gently)
If you don’t like macaroni cheese, throw it on the floor.

She looks up. She picks at the food. She eats it. She looks better.

Guess you wanna be alone?

She nods. He stands and picks up the empty plates. Thinking she has been insensitive she reaches out and holds his wrist. He looks at her hand and then at her.

PENNY
I’m sorry. That was okay.

JIMMY
You must really hurt?

PENNY
(softly)
What do you know?

JIMMY
I don’t feel pain anymore because I’ve been hurt too much which is kinda … sad.

She opens her mouth to speak because that’s not what she meant then shrugs.

PENNY
Then you don’t have any feelings?

JIMMY
Not many for myself. If you wanna talk about it, I’ll be upstairs.

He puts the plates on the side, unplugs his radio and takes it upstairs. She sits there.

INT. JIMMY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

The radio is on.

Jimmy is sitting bare-chested on his bed. The door opens and Penny, tearstained face, brings in a coffee for him on a tray with some biscuits on a plate. He smiles at her and she puts the tray on the small table beside him. She looks at his physique then turns to go when she sees the CD’s on the floor. She squats to look through them. He looks at her dress stretched over her thighs. He gets off the bed and locks the door. He walks to her and she stands to face him. Their arms still at their sides he kisses her. She takes his face in her hands and responds avidly. He reaches behind her, unzips her dress and walks her backwards to the bed.

INT. DICK’S KITCHEN – DAY

Ruby hands Jimmy a cup of coffee then turns and kisses Dick. They look as if they have just got out of bed.

JIMMY
She’s been through it man. That’s enough.

Cherry bursts in wearing a negligee and looking flushed. She is embarrassed on seeing Jimmy who looks her up and down. She looks at him defiantly.

CHERRY
Hi, man.

JIMMY
We’re talking about Penny. What’s the point of giving evidence against her?

RUBY
She brought it on herself. What do we owe her?

JIMMY
You have to owe to give?

They all look at him impassively.

If not for her then for me.

RUBY
What’s it to you after the way she’s treated you?

JIMMY
I spent some time with her last night. The way she treated me was never my problem. It was hers.

He ignores the raised eyebrows.

None of you know the real Penny.

DICK
I think I’m in a position to say I did.

CHERRY
(to Jimmy)
I suppose you saw her soul?

JIMMY
(to Dick)
She was infatuated with you. You didn’t love her.

DICK
I made love to her.

JIMMY
You made love to her body.

DICK
Spare me. You made love to her soul?

JIMMY
You never saw the emptiness inside her.

DICK
Don’t tell me. Last night you filled her void.

Cherry and Ruby laugh.

JIMMY
(shaking his head sadly)
Come round and talk to her about it, man.

RUBY
Yeah, let’s go round and enjoy some light-hearted entertainment.

Dick looks at Ruby who wipes the smile off her face.

DICK
(softening)
Okay. It’s up to Ruby. Penny better be careful what she says.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Jimmy brings Dick, Ruby and Cherry into the kitchen. Penny is tidying the place. Ignoring the others she turns on Jimmy and slaps him so hard in the face that he rocks on his feet but shows not a flicker on his face.

PENNY
You took advantage of me when I was vulnerable. You violated me.

JIMMY
Babe?

PENNY
I’m not your fucking babe. You locked the door and you raped me.

DICK
Man, I knew it. She is a screwed up, bitter, twisted bitch.

PENNY
(breaking down hysterically)
Why are they all here? Why are you all against me. Why are you all using me?

Jimmy tries to hold her.

(screaming)
Don’t touch me!

DICK
Man, what’s she complaining about? She opens her legs to anybody.

JIMMY
(to Dick)
Man, you’re saying a whole lot about yourself. Why’re you getting off in such a big way on this? She was in your arms, man.

DICK
What’s she to you …
(sarcastically)
… man?

JIMMY
(to Penny)
Penny, we made love last night.

DICK
She doesn’t know love, only shagging.

JIMMY
(to Dick)
I’ll drop you, man, where you stand.

DICK
Get real, man.

JIMMY
Penny, last night, I was vulnerable too.

He glances towards the others.

And this isn’t meant for them.

PENNY
So now you’re saying it’s my fault?

JIMMY
No. I’m saying that I needed you too and the way you held me, things you said that I needed to hear. I still need you and I want you.

PENNY
Even though I open my legs to anybody?

JIMMY
No you don’t. You just never found what you were looking for.
(looking pointedly at Dick)
And I guess you never found anyone you could trust.

DICK
(to Jimmy)
And you trust the treacherous little tramp?

Without looking at him, Jimmy knocks out Dick with a karate punch. He takes Penny’s hand.

JIMMY
(to Penny)
Last night it mattered because it was you.

Ruby is kneeling and tending to Dick who is regaining consciousness. She looks up at Penny.

RUBY
See you in court, shagbag.

JIMMY
(to Ruby, Cherry and Dick)
Enjoy your psychoses. We’re going for a pizza.

He puts out his arm for Penny and she snuggles under it, wanting to trust him.

(to Penny)
Have I ever told you how I like to eat black olives?

PENNY
Do I want to hear this?

Jimmy and Penny start to walk out. Jimmy looks back to the others.

JIMMY
Steal whatever you want.

INT. DICK’S KITCHEN – DAY

Dick is painfully eating breakfast with a bruised face. Ruby opens a letter. She looks disappointed.

DICK
Rube, what is it?

RUBY
Penny’s trial. It starts two days after we were going away.

DICK
So we’ll go away later.

RUBY
We’ll have to, but it won’t be the same.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Jimmy is eating breakfast. Penny opens a letter. She looks dismayed. Jimmy leans back and waits for her to speak.

PENNY
My court date. It’s so early. Before the results come out.

She looks at him imploringly.

Jimmy, can’t you make everything alright?

JIMMY
If you believe I can, I can.

INT. POLICE ROOM – DAY

Johns and Jimmy are alone in a room.

JOHNS
You’re pushing it. You’ve already asked them not to give evidence. That’s an offence but I let it ride.

JIMMY
I asked them what the point was of them giving evidence. Do make an effort to get your facts right. If you thought you should charge me, you would have and you haven’t so don’t play your petty little sawdust Caesar games with me.

JOHNS
What is it with you?

JIMMY
Forget it. Perhaps they won’t turn up.

JOHNS
You interfere and I’ll put you away. They’ll turn up. They’re putting off their holiday to be there.

Jimmy turns to leave.

Hey.

Jimmy turns back.

It feels good to have got the better of you.

JIMMY
You are some sad excuse for a dedicated public servant and warm human being, man.
(laughing)
Have a nice whatever it is you find nice.

INT. DICK’S KITCHEN – NIGHT

Dick answers the telephone.

DICK
Hi. Yeah, I recognised your voice. Hold on, I’ll get her.

He turns and shouts.

Ruby?

Ruby comes in.

It’s Inspector Johns.

RUBY
(taking the telephone)
Hello. No, no problems. Really? No, I guess it’s not too late. Thanks. Cherry’s gone home. Shall I ring her and tell her? Alright. I’ll ring her anyway ’cos she was coming with us. ’Bye.

She puts down the telephone.

EXT. CALL BOX – NIGHT

Jimmy puts down the telephone then picks it up again and dials.

INT. DICK’S KITCHEN – NIGHT

Dick looks at Ruby.

DICK
And?

RUBY
The trial’s been postponed ’cos Inspector Johns has a more serious court case on Monday.
(smiling)
So we can go away. You said we could always get standby.

Dick smiles.

He’s gonna ’phone Cherry. Great, we can all go away.

INT. COURTROOM – DAY

Jimmy and Penny are sitting with her barrister.

Johns is talking anxiously to CROWN COUNSEL.

JOHNS
I don’t know where they are. They’re not at home.

CROWN COUNSEL
They’ve had an hour. The judge won’t give us any more time. I’ll have to ask for an adjournment. We’ll get it but the judge won’t be pleased.

The JUDGE comes in and everyone stands before taking his or her seat.

USHER
The defendant in the dock please.

JUDGE
That won’t be necessary. I just want an update on the witnesses.

Crown Counsel rises to his feet.

CROWN COUNSEL
Your Honour, I don’t know where the two young ladies are.

JUDGE
Well, if they couldn’t be bothered to come or to let the police know that they weren’t bothered, there’s not much point in continuing the prosecution is there?

CROWN COUNSEL
My application, Your Honour, is for an adjournment until the reason for the witness’s non-attendance is known. They may have had an accident. It has been said that in the calendar of criminal offences blackmail is one of the ugliest and most vicious because it involves what one finds so often, attempted murder of the soul.

DEFENCE COUNSEL rises to his feet.

JUDGE
Sit down Mr. … um, sit down. I’ve had the opportunity of reading the papers at great length …
(looking at Crown Counsel)
… in the past hour. I’m not going to allow an adjournment. On the Crown’s own case, this is a dispute between, well, schoolgirls, where the defendant’s alleged threat may have been the sole reason why a criminal conspiracy to deceive, by the missing witnesses, did not take place. On that basis, I’m hardly surprised they’re not here. The defendant is young. I’ve no doubt she has suffered from this case hanging over her head and that her examination results may well have been affected. If there is a lesson for her to learn, she will have learned it. I cannot see how it could possibly be in the public interest to take this matter further.

EXT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

Johns runs to catch up with Penny and Jimmy.

JOHNS
(to Jimmy)
I don’t know how you did it, but I’ll find out. And when I do …

Jimmy and Penny wait for him to finish but he doesn’t.

JIMMY
When you do, you’ll what? Be decisive? Fake some evidence, push some vulnerable girl student around, fuck a nun? Who cares? Hey man, don’t let it bother you. It don’t bother us. We’re gonna shag each other senseless now so perhaps another time.
(turning to Penny)
The turn of the screwed.

Penny bursts out laughing. She looks at Johns.

PENNY
(glowing)
It’s so nice to see me happy, don’t you think?

Johns can think of nothing to say.

JIMMY
I guess he doesn’t, babe. Think, that is.
(gently to Johns)
If you want a better life, man, just give someone a chance. Give yourself a chance. Don’t be a slave to someone else’s principles. Sometimes it just don’t matter.

INT. DICK’S HALLWAY – DAY

Two months later. An Indian summer.

Ruby in a red bikini picks up an envelope from the doormat; she opens it, scans the university letterhead and shrieks with joy. She rushes out to the rear patio.

EXT. REAR PATIO – DAY

Ruby emerges through the open French window.

RUBY
I’ve passed.

She flops down onto a sun lounger next to Cherry who is wearing an identical bikini and cannot be told apart. She reaches out and squeezes Cherry’s hand.

Thank you.

Cherry smiles enigmatically.

Close up on the paper in Ruby’s hand, resting on her right thigh next to an identifying scar. She has been awarded a 2:2.

Pan over to Cherry’s right thigh with her birthmark removal scar in exactly the same place. The twins touch each other’s thighs lingering on the scars.

CHERRY
One for both.

Dick comes into frame.

DICK
Is this a private party or may anyone join in?

RUBY
And both for one.

Track away to peals of echoing laughter and squeals of pleasure from the two girls.

EXT. VILLA – DAY

Bright dawn sun.

A villa in Southern France. Silence broken by insects and distant birdsong.

Track towards and through open veranda doors.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

Track past a small wicker table with papers on it.

Jimmy and Penny are asleep on the bed. She is naked. He is face down in boxer shorts, covering her. They are beautiful people.

Penny opens her eyes. She looks at Jimmy’s face.

JIMMY
(softly with closed eyes)
Like what you see?

PENNY
(softly)
How d’you do that?

Eyes still closed, Jimmy smiles.

Look at me.

JIMMY
(his eyes still closed)
Close your eyes.

Penny closes her eyes. A second later, Jimmy opens his. She opens hers instantly and laughs like a delighted child.

PENNY
I heard your eyes open. Oh, man, you’ve taught me so much.

They look deeply and thoughtfully into each other’s eyes then relaxing back into sleep simultaneously close their eyes.

Track back to the wicker table.

Close up on two opened envelopes. One is face down. The address on the other, partially obscured by the folded document on top of it, reads:

Miss Penelope Serendipity
La Petite Chaumiere
Boulevard Jolibois

Pan to the folded document and read:

BA (Hons) English
Second Class Division One

Pan to the folded document lying by the face down envelope and we read:

Llb (Hons)
First Class

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

Close up on the bed where Penny is sleeping alone.

Track back to the wicker table.

Close up. Jimmy’s degree result has been replaced by a hand-written note to Penny, which reads:

You made it, babe.

Penny comes into frame in pants and T-shirt, rubs her bleary eyes and reads the note. She walks to the door and looks into the distance where Jimmy is walking into the rising sun, his ex-US army rucksack on one shoulder.

From Penny’s point of view he turns. They raise a hand to each other.

PENNY
(a lump in her throat)
I hope you find her, man. I packed your coffee. Take it easy. May you …
(her tears flowing)
… may you always walk to where the sky is brightest.

EXT. NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY – DAY

Johns drives into the university grounds.

INT. OFFICE – DAY

A SECRETARY shows Johns into the office. He is greeted by a MAN who takes a folder from the table in front of him.

Close up on the name CHERRY SCARLETT on the cover.

The man opens the folder and turns it to Johns who looks at Cherry’s university application form. Under the heading IDENTIFYING MARKS/SCARS we read UPPER INSIDE RIGHT THIGH – SCAR.

JOHNS
(under his breath)
Twin birthmark removal scars.

Johns closes his eyes in silent satisfaction and takes the folder. He walks to the window and gazes down for a while on all the students sitting on the grass outside anxiously studying their books.

The man joins Johns and looks down at the students.

JOHNS
I guess sometimes it just don’t matter.

MAN
Doesn’t matter.

JOHNS
No, man. It don’t matter.

He hands the folder back to the puzzled man and walks out of the office.

FADE OUT.

THE END