The Illusion of Sincerity

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FADE IN.
INT. ALLISON’S HO– USE – DAY
SERIES OF SHOTS

A.) A delicate, feminine hand slowly draws a razor up a half shaved, glistening calf that is perched on the edge of a sparkling white tub.

B.) A comb is slightly dragged through breast length half-dry-and-half-wet brunette tresses.

C.) A fairly new pair of skinny blue jeans is wrestled to fit a curvaceous form.

D.) Close up shot of  right eye paying very close attention to plucking the right eyebrow.

E.) An average looking woman, ALLISON, stands in front of the full length mirror, wearing a pair of blue jeans, black knee-high boots and a silky black vest over a lightweight black sweater.

F.) ALLISON’S POV: a picture frame on a wooden nightstand of her with a young Vietnamese man, smiling with his arms wrapped tightly around her in some smoky bar.

INT. SMALL COFFEE SHOP – DAY

ALLISON enters a dimly lit, mostly deserted coffee shop. She scans the room once, and then breathes deep as she approaches a table in the farthest corner. She takes her vest off and places it around the chair before ordering her drink.

At that moment, in enters RENATO. He is Italian with short curly brown hair, a natural tan and wearing a gold chain necklace, nice black sweater and blue jeans. He is very handsome, but looks a little exhausted. He walks up behind ALLISON and leans in.

RENATO

(Whispers)

Miss me?

ALLISON jerks a little and spills some of her drink. RENATO’s smile widens. The barista, who is a plump, ruddy-faced, disheveled middle-aged woman, is captivated by his looks. ALLISON barely manages to smile his way before going back to the table. RENATO joins her a little later with his own drink.

RENATO

May I join you?

ALLISON tenses, but then shrugs.

RENATO sits down and places a hand over her own to stead her fidgeting. He sips his tea with the other and stares her, even though she refuses to look at him.

ALLISON’S face had gone red.

ALLISON

So.

RENATO

Hmm?

ALLISON

What did you want to tell me that you couldn’t over the phone?

RENATO

Ally- I wanted to see you and catch up! So? What’s new with you? How are things going with SEAN?

ALLISON

Good. Now, tell me what’s the catch?

RENATO

Good? That sounds kinda boring dontcha think? I know that’s now what you’d describe our last time together as.

ALLISON

I am fine with how things are turning out with SEAN.

RENATO

(Rolls eyes)

Mmm, I bet.

ALLISON

(Sighing)

Don’t you ever get tired of this?

RENATO

Excuse me for enjoying being the one always on top.

ALLISION

Yeah, well it’s wasting my time today.

RENATO

What could you possibly have planned on a Saturday afternoon?

ALLISON

You’d be surprised

RENATO

Oh yeah?

ALLISON

I do. As a matter of fact, I have a ton of things I’ve got going on today.

RENATO

Mmmmhhhhmmmmm.

ALLISON looks like she’s about to answer back, but stops and snorts unladylike.

RENATO looks at her with a predatory smile.

ALLISON looks down as her cell phone lights up to display that SEAN is calling. She presses the ignore button, but closes her eyes as she rubs her face.

ALLISON

(Quietly)

Look… his parents are coming over tonight and I have to start making dinner early.

RENATO’s relaxed, happy continence changes in that instant and he is angry.

RENATO

Well then, I won’t keep you any longer than I need to.

ALLISON

(Breathes a sigh of relief)

Finally.

RENATO

I… learned something pretty awful about myself recently… And, unfortunately it might affect you.

RENATO begins to choke up a little, but ALLISON does not take the bait.

ALLISON

(Sarcastically)

I’m sure

RENATO

(Coldly)

I’m glad you give so much of a damn.

ALLISON

Oh! I’m sorry that my life doesn’t revolve around you anymore. I’m done dropping everything just for you.

RENATO

Screw you too,Ally.

ALLISON

If memory serves me right, you’ve already done that… more than enough literally and figuratively.

Silence ensues.

(CONTINUED)

ALLISON

I d0-

RENATO

I’m HIV positive.

ALLISON’S jaw drops and she doesn’t blink for a bit while RENATO leaves.

FADE IN.

INT. ALLISON’S APARTMENT – EVENING

SERIES OF SHOTS

A.) ALLISON, SEAN and his family are seen through a window eating dinner. ALLISON is staring off into space while everyone else is talking and laughing.

B.) ALLISON is sitting at the edge of the bed in pajamas with her face i her hands. SEAN walks out of the bathroom, and puts his arms around her.

C.) ALLISON is at her job staring off into space. Her eyes are blood shot, her face splotchy and her hair a little bit of a mess. Her clothes are slightly wrinkled.

D.) ALLISON and SEAN are seen through a window fighting. He walks out and slams the door. She falls to her knees crying hysterically.

E.) ALLISON waits at her gynecologists, looking more withdrawn.

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE – MID-AFTERNOON

ALLISON is back in the office, sitting on a pristine grey table top, waiting for her doctor. She appears a little more put together,but her eyes have bags underneath them. She repeatedly wrings her hands.

DR. SALARIO knocks on the door,and then walks in. She is a beautiful, middle-aged woman with flawless ivory skin, shiny black hair, and startling blue eyes behind a pair of sharp-rimmed glasses. She smiles at ALLISON and sits down on the stool next to the medical equipment.

DR. SALARIO

So…? How are we doing today?

ALLISON

As good as anyone can be in my position.

DR. SALARIO

That is understandable. Well, I come bearing nothing, but good news today. Everything came back normal.

ALLISON

I don’t understand… How is that possible if I was exposed?

DR. SALARIO

According to the results, you weren’t. Unless you had sex with someone within the three month time frame who came forward recently about having it. Then I’d be concerned, because the testing that we just did for you would mean nothing. Have you had inter-

ALLISON

Not in the last fourth months.

DR. SALARIO

Okay, when were you made aware that he has contracted it?

ALLISON

About a few weeks ago.

DR. SALARIO

Hmm… well… there is a chance he may have contracted it after yo two were together. But, in your case, if you have not slept with him since your last time, then you’re in the clear. Is this someone that you see yourself in a long-term relationship with?

ALLISON

God no!… I’m engaged to someone else.

DR.SALARIO

Ah… does your fiancee know?

ALLISON

No, and he doesn’t need to now. Thank you.

As she is leaving, ALLISON pulls out her cell phone and fumbles through her recent call history. When she finds the number she is looking for, she dials it.

A MALE VOICE

Hutchins Psychiatric Center, JOHN BLAYNE speaking?

ALLISON stops, confused and staring at the phone. The voice continues to inquire about who is calling. She says nothing and hangs up.

FADE IN.

EXT. HUTCHINS PSYCHIATRIC WARD – MID-DAY

ALLISON stands outside the gates, looking into the court yard where patients are doing random activities. RENATO is nowhere to be seen, but she continues to look until a nurse monitor walks over to where she is standing.

NURSE

Can I help you?

ALLISON

Oh no, I’m fine.

NURSE

So, you just feel like watchin’ my patients?

ALLISON

Uh…

NURSE

Don’t you have a job or something?

ALLISON

Uh… yeah… yeah you’re right I should go.

ALLISON steals one last glance as she turns to leave.

NURSE

Who yah lookin’ for?

ALLISON turns back and looks back at the patients in the court yard.

(CONTINUED)

NURSE

It’s okay, you can tell me.. it’s not like I’m going to think you’re crazy or anything.

They smile at each other.

ALLISON

Well.. honestly, I’m not quite sure if I’m in the right place really…I mean someone I know mighta called me from a pay phone here… maybe by mistake I don’t know.

NURSE gives ALLISON a look that says she knows she is not being totally honest.

NURSE

What’s this someone that you knows name?

ALLISON

RENATO GO-

NURSE shows signs of recognition, and ALLISON’s shoulders slump a little.

NURSE

Would you like me to tell him he has a visitor? He’s –

ALLISON

No, no, no, no, no thanks, but no.

ALLISON turns and runs, clutching her purse close to her body.

FADE IN.

INT. ALLISON’S PARENT’S HO– USE – AFTERNOON

ALLISON is visiting her parents, and she is sitting on her old bed, calling her old best friend LOE.

LOE

Sup, girly?

ALLISON

Not much… in Syracuse for the weekend, what are you doing?

LOE

Same, waiting for the boyfriend to get outta work. His mom and sister are out shopping so I finally have the apartment to myself. Soooo…. why are you in Syracuse? Is SEAN with you?

ALLISON

No, he’s back in Worcester… Okay, so I have a confession.

LOE

If it’s about RENATO I seriously will fly up there and beat you. No, I really mean it, because how many years has it been?! Seven? Eight? It’s time to move on, especially after what he put you through with the fake STD. Not to mention, i’m kinda sick of hearing about him. You have a boyfriend who wants to marry you and have kids, why is that not enough?

ALLISON

I know, I know! It’s wrong, and pathetic, and ridiculous and… pathetic. But, I found out something really… weird.

LOE

Oh my god… fine, I’ll bite, what now?

ALLISON

I called that number back that he phoned at.

LOE

What the hell! ALLY!

ALLISON

I know, I know! God… he called me from Hutchins.

LOE

What…

ALLISON

Yeah, I know… so I… kinda went there.

LOE

Holy shit, you have problems. No, you’re mental you really, really are. Maybe you should check yourself in, too, with that asshole. Why can’t you just let it all go!? You’re in the clear! You cheated and you didn’t get pregnant and by some miracle you didn’t catch anything. Let. It. Go.

ALLISON

I can’t, though. I want to know why he lied.

LOE

No, you shoulda let it go after finding out you’re clean. You actually shoulda let it go a long time ago. But, now that we know he’s in a crazy house, you NEED to let it go. For your own sanity. But, I know you won’t so. Whatever, Ally, I’m sick of this. Call me when you got something ORIGINAL to say.

LOE hangs up before ALLISON can respond, and she sighs tossing her phone on the bed.

FADE IN

INT. HUTCHINSON’S PSYCH WARD – DAY

ALLISON walks to the receptionist desk to talk to someone, but then spots RENATO sitting on a windowsill writing. She is about to walk over to him until he looks up. Their eyes lock, and fear is etched on his face. RENATO closes his notebook and leaves in the opposite direction. ALLISON looks like a deer caught in headlights.

NURSE

You’re back again.

The same NURSE from the day before walks over to her.

ALLISON

Oh, hello.

NURSE

It might have been a little more appropriate for you to call beforehand.

ALLISON

Why? It’s visiting hours, I thought people simply come in to see their friends or relatives.

NURSE

(Raises an eyebrow)

When was the last time you spoke with RENATO?

ALLISON

Recently- a few weeks ago. We met for coffee.

NURSE

Any reason in particular/

ALLISON

That is none of your business. Why is he here?

NURSE

That is none of YOUR business.

The two women stare each other down.

(CONTINUED)

NURSE

You know, a cup of coffee sounds nice right about now. How’s about you join me?

ALLISON looks in the direction RENATO went.

(CONTINUED)

NURSE

Don’t worry, he ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.

FADE IN

INT. DUNKIN’ DOUGHNUTS – MID-DAY

ALLISON sits at a table eating a muffin and drinking chocolate milk, while NURSE is sipping black coffee.

NURSE

You know, for someone who doesn’t seem too uncomfortable visiting a psych ward, you aren’t exactly making any real progress with seeing him. What’s stoppin’ you?

ALLISON

I shouldn’t be here.

NURSE

Isn’t stopping you from at least comin’, and doesn’t explain why you’re only window shoppin’.

ALLISON

I’m doing no su-

(Stops at the look NURSE gives her)

It’s complicated.

NURSE

Nothing’s complicated. You’re happy or you’re sad. You’re crazy or you’re sane. You’re in love of you’re not. Either way, it’s pretty cut and dry to me.

ALLISON

There is so much history between him and I. I guess I’m shocked that he’s in.

NURSE

Are you really?

ALLISON

(Leans in)

Can’t you give me a hint, at least?

NURSE

Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

ALLISON

Fine. I’ll give you the synopsis. Met him when I was too young, fell in love with him when I was too naive, and let hm pretty much run me until recently.

NURSE

And?

ALLISON

(Sighs)

He lied to me about being HIV positive.

NURSE

Ah… there it is.. his continuous obsession with death.

ALLISON

What the hell is that supposed to mean!

NURSE

I think you know… He’s never talked to you about it?

ALLISON looks out the front window watching the people walk by and laughing. The sun is shining, and everything outside looks like a perfect world.

ALLISON

I remember when his friend purposely OD’d on something heavy, he told me he was jealous of him. Said that his friend finally achieved  peace that none of us would know until it was our time to go. Then… he admitted to me that he had been trying to strangle himself in the shower, but couldn’t get past that part when he realized he really was about to die. I never told anyone before, because I believed him when he said he’d never actually go through with it since he loved his body so much… If that were true, then why put himself through it?

ALLISON aimlessly wipes tears that had formed around her eyes. NURSE gets up to wrap her arms around ALLISON and then sits back down.

NURSE

Do yourself a favor. Go back to your man and forget about RENATO. You won’t find any relief from anything I tell you.

ALLISON

You’re probably right… but I need to know.

NURSE

Technically, I am not allowed to discuss this kind of information, due to patient confidentiality. But, I’m going back on that this once, because I think you’re sweet.

ALLISON

Thank you so much. I know that this could-

NURSE

Have me lose my job? ‘Course, not a big deal or anything. Anyways, RENATO had a psychotic break some time ago, due to his narcissistic sociopathic personality. He created an alternate version of reality to feed his ego. But, something shook that alternate reality and drove him to extreme measures. It triggered a new low for his bi-polar

ALLISON

What happened?

NURSE

From what I remember of that night, when they brought him in covered in blood, he was flying pretty high on Molly and delusional. He doesn’t remember anything, and it’s important that it stays that way until the doc feels he’s ready to.

ALLISON

Oh god… whose blood?

NURSE

A mixture of his parents, sister’s and his own… I’m sorry, honey.

ALLISON

But… that doesn’t make any sense.

NURSE

I don’t think you’d want to make sense of something like that.

ALLISON

But… why did he lie to me?

NURSE

Like I said… you won’t find any relief here, or answers for that matter. I’m not sure why he did that, coulda been a part of his alternate reality, who knows.

ALLISON

I’m sorry, but whe- when did all that happen?

NURSE

Saturday, March 10th. Why?

ALLISON opens her purse to grab her date book. She slips through it, and when she turns onto that weekend, there is a  red circle around that day. There is a time scribbled in for when she was to meet RENATO. She breaks down, and NURSE looks at her confused, until she looks at ALLISON’s date book.

(CONTINUED)

NURSE

Oh… oh, honey

NURSE wraps her arms around ALLISON, again, while she cries.

FADE IN.

EXT. ALLISON’S PARENT’S HO– USE – AFTERNOON

By the time ALLISON pulls up to her parent’s house, it has begun raining heavy. There is a blue 2011 Matrix sitting in the driveway, and the sight of it brings on more tears. Her head falls into her hands, and she shakes violently. Then, the driver side door is being opened and a pair of masculine arms helps her out of her seat-belt and out of the car. ALLISON immediately buries her face in the crook of SEAN’s neck. They stand there in the rain saying nothing, but holding onto each other tightly.

FADE IN

INT. HOLIDAY INN – EVENING

ALLISON is finishing up a shower while SEAN is spread out on the bed, flipping through the channels. She comes out with a towel on her head to mask her wet hair, but lets the other towel drop after drying herself off to lay down with him. SEAN sighs as ALLISON snuggles into him. He caresses her back with the tips of his fingers slowly, causing her to have goose bumps.

ALLISON

Mmmmmmm.

SEAN

Hmm? You tired?

ALLISON nods, and SEAN kisses her forehead.

(CONTINUED)

SEAN

Did you find what you were looking for?

ALLISON

I don’t know.

She props her head on his chest to stare into his eyes. He smiles at her.

SEAN

You musta.

ALLISON

Why’s that?

SEAN

Because you ended up back where you started; with me.

They make love for a while, and SEAN passes out first. His head is resting on ALLISON’s chest, and she has a look of peace on her face. She stares down at him, and then takes his hand to rest it on her lower abdomen before kissing the top of his head and drifting off.

FADE OUT.

THE END

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