INT. PARTY HOUSE – KITCHEN – NIGHT

 

A cramped kitchen overflows with drunk, preppy college kids. Music throbs from the basement. People filter in and out, bottles and red cups in hand. A Christmas tree leans haphazardly against the wall.

 

In the corner stand AVI and TEE, both 19. Avi is handsome and scruffy, Tee is petite and adorable. Tee sways in place as they talk, taking generous gulps from her cup. Avi gestures enthusiastically with his hands, paying no mind to his drink sloshing onto the floor.

 

AVI

 

I hate that I feel like I have to play games, you know? Like if a guy takes an hour to text me back I have to wait two hours. That’s not right, you know?

 

TEE

Totally, totally.

 

She waves and mouths a greeting to someone over his shoulder.

 

AVI

 

And I’m so bad at playing hard to get. It’s not all fucking coy and cute, it just ends up coming off as mean. Like, why can’t I just be real and actually say “I like you” to someone, right?

 

TEE

I know, totally.

 

NATE, a posh, well-groomed 19-year old, throws his arm around Tee’s shoulder. She squeals in excitement.

 

NATE

Hey hey.

 

TEE

 

Hey, you! Where have you been all night?

 

Nate nods a greeting in Avi’s general direction. He offers a beer to Tee.

 

NATE

Dunno, around. You want this?

 

TEE

 

No, I don’t like beer. I usually just mix vodka with a bunch of soda until it doesn’t taste like poison anymore.

 

NATE

I don’t want it either.

 

He peers into Avi’s cup.

 

NATE (cont’d)

Where’d you get that?

 

AVI

 

Ariel, but she ran out. I think I have some stuff back in my room, if you want.

 

NATE

Yeah, alright.

 

AVI (to Tee)

I’ll be back in a minute.

 

Nate and Avi weave their way through the crowded room. Tee, suddenly abandoned, watches with sad eyes as they go.

 

TEE

I’ll wait here for you!

 

 

EXT. STREET – NIGHT

 

There are a surprising amount of people out, going to and from parties. Shouts and laughs ring through the street. Most houses have Christmas lights blinking in the windows.

 

Avi looks up to the black sky. No stars tonight. He and Nate pass a blunt between them.

 

NATE

I had a dream the other night that

Kevin Spacey kissed me.

 

 

 

 

 

AVI (laughing)

 

Like Seven Kevin Spacey? All bald and murder-y?

 

NATE

 

No, I think it was more AmericanBeauty Kevin Spacey. Hot,depressed dad.

 

Avi nods seriously.

 

AVI

I can totally see that.

 

 

INT. AVI’S DORM – NIGHT

 

A twin bed is pushed into the corner and black-and-white posters hang on the walls. Avi closes the door behind them. Nate stands near the bed, uncertain if he should sit or not.

 

Avi picks up a glass from his desk, sniffs it.

 

AVI

Do you want this?

 

NATE

What is it?

 

AVI

 

Tang-ka. Tang and vodka. It’s awful.

 

Nate takes the glass from his hand.

 

NATE

 

They stand on opposite sides of the room. People pass outside the door, laughing.

 

AVI

Do you want to go back?

 

NATE

In a little bit, maybe.

 

He sits on the edge of the bed. Avi lies on his stomach next to him.

 

NATE (cont’d)

Do you care if I finish this?

 

Avi waves his hand dismissively. Nate places the empty glass on the floor. Silence falls over the room.

 

AVI

So…doing anything for Christmas?

NATE

 

Let’s not do small talk. That’s boring.

 

CUT TO:

 

 

INT. AVI’S DORM – LATER

 

Nate and Avi stand in the middle of the room, shot glasses in hand. They’ve both taken their coats off and thrown them in a heap on the floor.

 

AVI

One, two, three…go!

 

They knock the shots back in unison. Nate winces and coughs as it hits the back of his throat. Avi picks up an almost empty bottle of vodka.

 

AVI (cont’d)

One more?

 

NATE

 

God no. I have a long trip tomorrow that I kind of need to be alive for.

 

AVI

Oh, right.

 

Nate flops down on the bed and Avi joins him. Nate pulls a blue lighter out of his pocket and clicks it on a few times.

 

AVI (cont’d)

Have you ever burned your hair?

 

NATE

On purpose?

 

AVI

Yeah, it’s fun. Do me.

 

He leans his head towards Nate. Nate reaches out, hesitates.

 

NATE

I don’t want to hurt you.

 

 

Avi pushes his head into Nate’s shoulder. Nate lights a strand of hair on fire. A quick sizzle and the room fills with the stench of burning hair. Nate laughs.

 

NATE (cont’d)

Shit, that is weirdly fun.

 

AVI

I told you. Let me do you.

 

Avi sits up and clicks the lighter on. The front of Nate’s hair ignites fast. Avi smacks him on the head to put out the flame. They burst into drunken giggles.

 

AVI (cont’d)

 

NATE

Nah, I don’t care.

 

He runs his fingers through his singed hair. Avi looks at him intensely. There is frantic knocking at the door. Avi springs up to answer. Tee stumbles in and slumps onto the bed.

 

TEE

 

You didn’t come back, you fucking liar. It smells gross in here.

 

NATE

Do you need some water?

 

TEE

No, I don’t need water.

 

She pulls him into a hug.

 

TEE (cont’d)

 

I’m going to miss you so much next semester. Don’t go to England, stay here forever.

 

NATE

I’ll be back next year-

Tee squeezes him tighter and kisses him on the cheek.

 

TEE

No, I’m not letting you go ever.

 

NATE

 

Well, I’m not leaving until tomorrow.

 

 

Tee kisses him again slowly, this time closer to his lips. Avi pretends to be distracted with his phone.

 

 

TEE

 

Do you want to come hang out in my room?

 

NATE

(gently)

Not right now, Tee.

 

He untangles himself from her embrace. The three sit in silence on the bed. Tee studies them.

 

TEE

Can I ask you something personal?

Did you guys make out?

 

AVI

 

TEE

Are you going to?

 

Avi stares daggers at her. Nate refuses to make eye contact with either of them.

 

TEE (cont’d)

What?

 

AVI

Okay, let’s go get you some water.

 

He yanks Tee towards the door and forces her into the hall.

 

 

INT. COLLEGE DORM – HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS

 

TEE

I said I don’t need water-

 

The door slams shut behind them. Avi hisses in her ear.

 

AVI

I need you to leave.

 

TEE

 

He instantly regrets his harsh tone.

 

 

AVI

Why don’t you go lie down?

 

Tee slinks down the hall.

 

AVI (cont’d) (calling after her)

Drink lots of water!

 

 

INT. AVI’S DORM – NIGHT

 

Avi locks the door behind him. Nate has kicked off his shoes and is lying on the bed, staring at the childish glow-in-the-dark star stickers on the ceiling.

 

AVI

Well, she’s drunk.

 

NATE

You think?

 

Avi lies down next to Nate. He nuzzles his head into Avi’s shoulder.

 

AVI

What’s your sign?

 

NATE

Like my star sign? Capricorn.

 

AVI

Libra. We should hate each other.

 

Nate looks deep into Avi’s eyes, their faces mere inches apart.

 

NATE

 

Do you really believe in all that horoscope stuff?

 

AVI

 

I don’t know. It’s nice to think that if someone isn’t into you, it’s not personal. It’s written in the stars. Or if two people don’t end up together, it’s predestined. It’s meant to be.

 

NATE

Why should we hate each other?

 

 

 

AVI

 

Capricorn is supposed to be my total opposite. They clash.

 

NATE

We’ve never clashed.

 

AVI

 

I know, I’m just saying that’s the way it’s meant to be.

 

NATE

 

Come on, man. Nothing’s meant to be. You have to make things happen instead of waiting for the stars to align.

 

Avi takes this in, examining Nate’s expression, feeling his heart race with each hot breath between them. Avi pulls Nate close and kisses him gingerly, grazing the fine blonde stubble on his jawline with his thumb.

 

NATE (cont’d)

 

Wait, wait. Are you still dating that guy?

 

AVI

No. I don’t do that.

 

NATE

Okay. I just wanted to make sure.

 

Nate dives back into the kiss. Avi hits the lights.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. AVI’S DORM – MORNING

 

A beam of early morning sun shines onto Avi’s face. His eyes creak open, red with exhaustion. He looks around the room, disoriented. The space beside him is empty. A single honey blonde hair clings to the pillowcase.

 

He gets up and pulls a shirt over his head.

 

 

INT. COLLEGE DORM – STAIRWAY

 

Avi hustles up the stairs to the third floor. No one else seems to be awake yet.

 

 

INT. COLLEGE DORM – HALLWAY

 

A sign outside room 305 reads “Nate.” The door is ajar. Avi peeks his head inside. The room is completely bare. No sheets on the bed, no clutter on the desk – an empty water bottle on the floor is the only evidence that anyone has ever lived here.

 

He races down the hall to Tee’s room and bangs on the door. She answers, her voice still groggy with sleep.

 

TEE

For fuck’s sake, Avi, it’s 8:00.

 

AVI

Have you seen Nate?

 

TEE

 

He just left. He knocked on my door to say bye.

 

AVI

 

He sprints down the hall towards the stairs.

 

TEE

 

(calling after him) Avi! He’ll be back next year!

 

 

EXT. COLLEGE DORM – MORNING

 

Goosebumps cover Avi’s skin as soon as he steps out into the frosty morning air. His eyes scan the grounds frantically. A sleek black car with diplomatic plates disappears around the corner. He raises his hand to wave, but it’s too late.

 

INT. AVI’S DORM – MORNING

 

Avi sinks onto his bed. All is quiet. His hands tremble, partly from the cold, partly from a surge of frustrated energy. He picks up the blue lighter from his nightstand and clicks it on.

 

Audrey Romano’s script won third prize in 2014 in the Second Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. She is a third-year Screenwriting major at SVA. You can find more of her writing at aisforaudrey.tumblr.com.