Hidden Portraits

by Toni Holm

TEASER

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - EARLY SUNDAY MORNING

ROBERT COLE (45), a brilliant, devoted family man, jogs

in place at a crosswalk while waiting for the light to

change.

He shoots a look at the sign posted above the bakery

shop door across the street: Annona's Pastry & Coffee

Shop - Family owned since 1950 - PETREL & ALBERT

EVONOVITCH - Proprietors. Robert enters the bakery.

ROBERT COLE

Morning.

PETREL EVONOVITCH (52)wears a white T-shirt and a flour

dusted baker's apron. He appears more youthful because

of his contagious happiness.

PETREL EVONOVITCH

(heavily accented)

My friend, you're here so early --

and alone. Where's Catherine

and Owen?

(He studies Robert's

face.)

Is anything wrong?

ROBERT

No, they're home -- sleeping.

Owen had a fever -- nothing

serious. I'm going to surprise

them.

(smiling)

Everyone's favorites to go.

Petrel shoots his son a look. ALBERT EVONOVITCH (24)

is a younger version of his father with a broad smiling

face. He steps into the main coffee shop with a tray of

small bread loaves.

ALBERT EVONOVITCH

(to Robert)

Morning, Mr. Cole.

ROBERT

I know your Papa teaches you

respect for your elders, but

to you, I'm Robert, okay?

2.

He doesn't wait for a response, but lingers a bit at

each glass case eyeing the assortment of delicate, fresh

pastries. A couple of other CUSTOMERS are sitting at

tables drinking coffee, engaging in conversation or

reading the New York Sunday Times, enjoying the morning's

goods.

ROBERT (CONT'D)

They'll forgive me, when I

return home with -- two bags

of pastries!

They all chuckle. Petrel walks up to Robert in a teasing

familiarity and slaps him gently on the back.

PETREL

Okay -- I will forgive you for

leaving your family.

Petrel shoots a look at Albert.

PETREL (CONT'D)

Check on the almond croissants

and get a hot coffee, black

for our friend.

CUT TO:

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - CONTINUOUS

Outside the shop, we see an Asian woman, in her thirties,

walking her dog as she talks on her cell phone. Robert

steps out of the pastry shop with two tall pastry bags

in hand and nearly gets tangled up in FU's (a one-yearold

Pug) leash.

ASIAN WOMAN

Excuse me. So sorry. Fu,

stop that! So sorry. He's so

bad. Not trained yet.

Robert gives her a smile and leans down to untangle the

leash from his legs.

ROBERT

(smiling)

No problem. We have a dog at

home, too.

Robert gives her another smile and a quick wave and

starts to trot off. Asian woman unabashedly eyes Robert

as he jogs to the corner. The light turns green, Robert

steps off the curb and starts to cross -- and WHAM! --

suddenly there's A SCREECH OF BRAKES.

3.

We stay on Asian woman's face as she reacts in horror.

Robert FLIES up into the air in a sickening slow motion

somersault. Pastries EXPLODE out of their bags, thrown

into the air with Robert. TIME STOPS.

Time SEEMS TO resume in a fast forward motion. Tiny

PLOPS and THUDS and a HEAVY WHOOSHING SIRENS the scene.

The Asian woman dials 911 as she races out of frame,

into the street. A BLACK SUV tears off, vanishing into

the distance.

We see A CHOCOLATE CROISSANT SMASHED in the middle of

the road, before we,

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

INT. NYC - BROWNSTONE - MASTER BEDROOM - SAME TIME

CATHERINE COLE (39), an attractive woman, confident,

modern, but with Old World tastes. She struggles with

a foreboding.

GUIDE (VO)

I'm keeping my eye on Her.

Don't worry. Others are

standing with her.

She stretches out lazily, pushing the comforter off the

bed as she tosses and turns. All of this viewing happens

as if we are observing Catherine through someone else's

eyes.

INTERCUT WITH...

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - MINUTES LATER

Deeply shaken, the Asian woman is talking to the police

on her cell phone. Crying now and cupping her mouth

with her free hand as she gasps for breath and control.

GUIDE (VO)

Oh, yes, regarding Robert . .

. we've got some cleaning up

to do . . . all these WITNESSES.

More on that later. Robert is

standing over his body now.

That's my cue.

CUT TO:

4.

INT. NYC - MASTER BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Catherine continues to sleep, softly, her eyelids moving

rapidly as if she is watching a scene playing out behind

them.

GUIDE (VO)

It is all right. Catherine and

Owen are safe. Come away. We

have things to do.

ANGLE:

We are now able to follow Robert's blurred, ghostly

image as he makes his way through the upstairs floor of

his Brownstone home.

His pace quickens, gliding through the master bedroom

and into the open hallway. An assortment of framed

photos line both walls.

We pause at a partially closed door. Posted: RESISTANCE

IS FUTILE. The door does not open, but we are inside

OWEN'S bedroom, anyway.

INT. OWEN'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

OWEN COLE (10), studious, brighter than his classmates,

clowns around, has close relationship with parents.

TRENT, a three-year-old, neutered male Portuguese Water

dog, faithful, and attentive. He LIFTS his head in a

sudden fashion. He WHINES. He adds a WHIMPER. Next,

he tilts his head making soft, GROWLING GURGLES

Owen stirs attempting to turn over from a lying position

on his stomach. He's stopped by a mountain of jumbled

blankets.

We see what Robert sees as he scans the room: space

posters litter the walls, a microscope, lap top, and

books occupy a wall-length built-in desk; a telescope

stands on a tripod beyond closed French doors revealing

a small balcony off the bedroom. Trent WAGS his tail.

ROBERT (VO)

Can Trent see us?

GUIDE (VO)

Yes, most animals see us or

sense our presence.

Robert continues to watch Owen. Owen is breathing

heavily, unevenly, but deeply sleeping.

5.

ROBERT (VO)

(shaky voice)

Why are you here? Why is this

happening to me? Am I dead?

How could I be? I see

everything, hear every sound.

Why don't I feel dead? It

feels like an elephant is

sitting on my chest, like I

can't breathe . . .

GUIDE (VO)

Robert, it's time . . .

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - MINUTES LATER

Robert's ghost is now standing in the middle of the

intersection watching the PARAMEDICS load his dead body

into the ambulance. Uniformed and plain clothes POLICE

are cloistered in teams of 2-3 interviewing WITNESSES

as the ambulance leaves the scene.

GUIDE (VO)

Your time here is over. You

need to rest now. I know you

want to stay, but this is no

longer possible.

Robert's ghost stares at the bakery shop, then in a

flash he's gone.

CUT TO:

EXT. NYC - BROWNSTONE - LATER THAT SAME MORNING

GREG MCGRAW (40), a plain-dressed officer with a visible

gold police shield. He is attended by one male and one

female uniformed officer. McGraw RINGS the doorbell.

INT. NYC - BROWNSTONE - SAME TIME

Catherine dreams . . . watching . . .

Robert stands in front of the bakery, alone . . .

Albert hands Robert a steaming cup of coffee . . .

A doorbell RINGS, RINGS, RINGS, RINGS, . . .

An Asian woman . . . Robert smiles . . . turns and walks

away . . .

A bell RINGSSSSSSSSSS, RINGS, RINGS.

6.

CATHERINE

(struggling to wake up)

Who is it?

Catherine reaches for her cell phone on her bedside

table. We see something register in her posture as she

pulls herself together. Oh, damn, it's her doorbell!

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Coming . . . I'm coming.

She slips on her robe as she heads downstairs. Catherine

smells coffee brewing . . .

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Wait -- is it Saturday?

Catherine leans over the staircase's winding banister

spying into the kitchen.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Robert?

Just as she reaches the front door, she visibly shakes --

we see it in her questioning face that something's not

right. We see a second disruption in her questioning

face as she whispers:

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Today's Sunday. Who made

coffee?

Trent catches up to Catherine prancing excitedly on the

tiled foyer behind her.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Trent, settle down, boy. Go

on. Sit. I'm okay.

Trent steps back, but stays closer than usual. Catherine

peers through the peep hole. Greg McGraw stands in

front of the TWO UNIFORMED OFFICERS revealing his badge.

Catherine opens the door.

DETECTIVE MCGRAW

Mrs. Cole? Are you Catherine

Cole?

CATHERINE

---- Yes.

CUT TO:

7.

INT. BROWNSTONE - LIVING ROOM - SECONDS LATER

CATHERINE

It's unimaginable -- not Robert.

Dear God, not Robert. He's

kind, brilliant, loves people --

Oh, God, please, Robert --

Owen's only ten. It can't be

Robert. I would have known --

No . . . no one could have

hurt Robert deliberately -- no

one.

DETECTIVE MCGRAW

What do you mean, Mrs. Cole,

when you say you would have

known?

We see in Catherine's face uneasiness.

CATHERINE

This is where I tell you what

almost always elicits

disbelief, patronizing remarks,

or awkward silence --

(takes a deep breath

and continues)

I'm a Clinical Psychologist --

I use what you might call ESP,

intuition, and past life

regression.

(eyeing the Detective's

face)

Part of a unique protocol in

my practice. I know things

about others. I can see future

events. So, you see, it can't

be my Robert -- I would have

seen it.

Catherine waits for the detective to respond, but McGraw

stays mute, as he studies her.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Why was Robert at the bakery?

DETECTIVE MCGRAW

You didn't know? We know from

his attire and witnesses that

he went out for an early morning

jog. The bakery owner told us

that it was unusual for your

husband to show up by himself.

In fact, he never had before.

8.

Trent leads Owen back into the living room, crowded

tray of half'n half and a sugar bowl in hand. Officer

Tiedemann follows with another tray of cups, saucers,

spoons, and a small carafe of steaming coffee. Detective

McGraw watches Owen as he timidly holds out his cup for

some coffee. Catherine pours him a quarter cup, then

fills the rest with milk. Detective McGraw accepts a

black cup of coffee from Officer Tiedemann.

DETECTIVE MCGRAW (CONT'D)

You'll need to go with us.

Officer Tiedemann can stay

here with Owen. Is that all

right?

Owen looks instantly petrified by the thought of his

mother leaving him, but before he can utter a word of

protest, Catherine responds:

CATHERINE

No. Owen and I need to be

together. Owen, go upstairs

and get dressed. We'll go

together with Detective McGraw.

Catherine stands to leave to get dressed, but turns

back around to OFFICER BRADEN who has stayed quiet all

this time.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Officer Braden, is it? This

is your first day on the job,

right?

Officer Braden looks absolutely shocked and stares

straight at Catherine. He then looks to his superior

for permission to speak. McGraw nods and Officer Braden

responds.

OFFICER BRADEN

Yes, ma'am.

CATHERINE

You'll make a fine officer.

You have a long and decorated

career ahead of you.

And with that declaration, Catherine retreats to the

master bedroom.

9.

INT. MASTER BEDROOM SUITE - MOMENTS LATER

We are observing Catherine AS IF THROUGH SOMEONE'S EYES

as she opens drawers and pulls clothes off of hangers,

eyeing items, then dropping them to the floor.

Catherine's face tells us that she does not see what we

see: the ghostly image of Robert and an opalescent-lit

image of a man, the Guide, who are standing in the closet

watching her. (This is the point going forward that

Robert's ghost and the Guide take quasi visible forms.)

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BROWNSTONE - LIVING ROOM - TWO WEEKS LATER

Friends and colleagues, most dressed in black, attend

Robert's wake. There's a large ornate table filled

with food platters and dishes. Another table with large

silver urns of coffee and tea.

HUGH ANTHONY MCKINSEY (40), a handsome man with a kind

face; Robert's best friend and secretly in love with

Catherine.

With a cup of Earl Grey tea in hand, Hugh walks over to

Catherine who is standing with a small circle of friends

offering small talk, advice, and condolences. Hugh

openly shows deep concern and sincere affection for

her.

MILENA MORAVIA (72), Catherine's mother, dressed in

very chic black, holds court in most social settings.

A widow who wears a large gold cross around her neck.

She's not quite throwing a party, but it's close. Hugh

overhears her.

MILENA MORAVIA

He didn't suffer. God took

him quickly, that's some

consolation. Now have another

cannoli . . .

EXT. BROWNSTONE - BACKYARD - CONTINUOUS ACTION

Hugh smiles ruefully. As long as Milena has an audience,

Catherine's safe. He looks for Owen in the backyard.

He finds him half-heartedly playing with Trent. Not

even Uncle Hugh can draw Owen out. Owen is listless;

he answers in monosyllables.

HUGH

How about a cannoli? Your

grandmother has a tray full.

Owen simply shrugs and Hugh takes that as a yes.

10.

HUGH (CONT'D)

When you're ready, bring Trent

and meet me inside.

With a caring look on his face, Hugh leaves Owen and

steps back inside.

INT. BROWNSTONE - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Hugh sees Catherine, but before he can reach her, HETTY

GOLDBERG (24), considered one of the family and

Catherine's office manager, corners Catherine.

Hugh commandeers a comfortable chair waiting for the

right moment with Catherine.

HETTY

(deeply upset)

In my family there's a Jewish

tradition of "sitting shiva."

Others take care of the family.

Catherine reaches for Hetty.

CATHERINE

I feel so utterly lost -- you're

my strength and my comfort

today.

Sobbing now, Catherine doesn't finish her thought. She

takes a deep breath.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

I'm afraid for us. Why didn't

I see it? I should have. I

feel like I've gone instantly

blind and deaf! How can I

trust myself? Hetty, if I can't

help myself, how can I help

Owen? I have no compass! How

can I make it through this

without -- without Robert?

Catherine turns away holding a handkerchief over her

mouth catching sight of Hugh.

As Hugh steps in closer, Hetty excuses herself to attend

to greeting mourners just entering the house.

HUGH

Please let me get you something

to eat.

Catherine spies the cup of tea Hugh is holding and

reaches for it.

11.

CATHERINE

This is perfect.

Hugh lingers, holding her hands for a few seconds as

Catherine takes the teacup.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Have you seen Owen?

Before Hugh can answer, Catherine catches sight of

Trent's tail. Her dark eyes follow the WAGGING tail

sticking out from under the draped tablecloth hanging

to the floor. She bends down lifting the tablecloth

just enough to see Owen's leg.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

(softly)

There he is -- I wish I were

that brave today -- who really

cares if I crawl under the

table with you -- hold you

until our hearts stop breaking --

even if it takes forever.

Trent's tail completely disappears under the cloth.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

(almost whispers)

Please, please let us hold on

to this honest moment -- help

me hold back the emptiness for

him for a little while longer.

My sweet son -- please, please,

please, Hugh, help us fill

this empty ache.

Off of Catherine's solemn face . . .

FADE OUT.

END OF TEASER

TEASER

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - EARLY SUNDAY MORNING

ROBERT COLE (45), a brilliant, devoted family man, jogs

in place at a crosswalk while waiting for the light to

change.

He shoots a look at the sign posted above the bakery

shop door across the street: Annona's Pastry & Coffee

Shop - Family owned since 1950 - PETREL & ALBERT

EVONOVITCH - Proprietors. Robert enters the bakery.

ROBERT COLE

Morning.

PETREL EVONOVITCH (52)wears a white T-shirt and a flour

dusted baker's apron. He appears more youthful because

of his contagious happiness.

PETREL EVONOVITCH

(heavily accented)

My friend, you're here so early --

and alone. Where's Catherine

and Owen?

(He studies Robert's

face.)

Is anything wrong?

ROBERT

No, they're home -- sleeping.

Owen had a fever -- nothing

serious. I'm going to surprise

them.

(smiling)

Everyone's favorites to go.

Petrel shoots his son a look. ALBERT EVONOVITCH (24)

is a younger version of his father with a broad smiling

face. He steps into the main coffee shop with a tray of

small bread loaves.

ALBERT EVONOVITCH

(to Robert)

Morning, Mr. Cole.

ROBERT

I know your Papa teaches you

respect for your elders, but

to you, I'm Robert, okay?

2.

He doesn't wait for a response, but lingers a bit at

each glass case eyeing the assortment of delicate, fresh

pastries. A couple of other CUSTOMERS are sitting at

tables drinking coffee, engaging in conversation or

reading the New York Sunday Times, enjoying the morning's

goods.

ROBERT (CONT'D)

They'll forgive me, when I

return home with -- two bags

of pastries!

They all chuckle. Petrel walks up to Robert in a teasing

familiarity and slaps him gently on the back.

PETREL

Okay -- I will forgive you for

leaving your family.

Petrel shoots a look at Albert.

PETREL (CONT'D)

Check on the almond croissants

and get a hot coffee, black

for our friend.

CUT TO:

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - CONTINUOUS

Outside the shop, we see an Asian woman, in her thirties,

walking her dog as she talks on her cell phone. Robert

steps out of the pastry shop with two tall pastry bags

in hand and nearly gets tangled up in FU's (a one-yearold

Pug) leash.

ASIAN WOMAN

Excuse me. So sorry. Fu,

stop that! So sorry. He's so

bad. Not trained yet.

Robert gives her a smile and leans down to untangle the

leash from his legs.

ROBERT

(smiling)

No problem. We have a dog at

home, too.

Robert gives her another smile and a quick wave and

starts to trot off. Asian woman unabashedly eyes Robert

as he jogs to the corner. The light turns green, Robert

steps off the curb and starts to cross -- and WHAM! --

suddenly there's A SCREECH OF BRAKES.

3.

We stay on Asian woman's face as she reacts in horror.

Robert FLIES up into the air in a sickening slow motion

somersault. Pastries EXPLODE out of their bags, thrown

into the air with Robert. TIME STOPS.

Time SEEMS TO resume in a fast forward motion. Tiny

PLOPS and THUDS and a HEAVY WHOOSHING SIRENS the scene.

The Asian woman dials 911 as she races out of frame,

into the street. A BLACK SUV tears off, vanishing into

the distance.

We see A CHOCOLATE CROISSANT SMASHED in the middle of

the road, before we,

FADE OUT.

FADE IN:

INT. NYC - BROWNSTONE - MASTER BEDROOM - SAME TIME

CATHERINE COLE (39), an attractive woman, confident,

modern, but with Old World tastes. She struggles with

a foreboding.

GUIDE (VO)

I'm keeping my eye on Her.

Don't worry. Others are

standing with her.

She stretches out lazily, pushing the comforter off the

bed as she tosses and turns. All of this viewing happens

as if we are observing Catherine through someone else's

eyes.

INTERCUT WITH...

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - MINUTES LATER

Deeply shaken, the Asian woman is talking to the police

on her cell phone. Crying now and cupping her mouth

with her free hand as she gasps for breath and control.

GUIDE (VO)

Oh, yes, regarding Robert . .

. we've got some cleaning up

to do . . . all these WITNESSES.

More on that later. Robert is

standing over his body now.

That's my cue.

CUT TO:

4.

INT. NYC - MASTER BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Catherine continues to sleep, softly, her eyelids moving

rapidly as if she is watching a scene playing out behind

them.

GUIDE (VO)

It is all right. Catherine and

Owen are safe. Come away. We

have things to do.

ANGLE:

We are now able to follow Robert's blurred, ghostly

image as he makes his way through the upstairs floor of

his Brownstone home.

His pace quickens, gliding through the master bedroom

and into the open hallway. An assortment of framed

photos line both walls.

We pause at a partially closed door. Posted: RESISTANCE

IS FUTILE. The door does not open, but we are inside

OWEN'S bedroom, anyway.

INT. OWEN'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

OWEN COLE (10), studious, brighter than his classmates,

clowns around, has close relationship with parents.

TRENT, a three-year-old, neutered male Portuguese Water

dog, faithful, and attentive. He LIFTS his head in a

sudden fashion. He WHINES. He adds a WHIMPER. Next,

he tilts his head making soft, GROWLING GURGLES

Owen stirs attempting to turn over from a lying position

on his stomach. He's stopped by a mountain of jumbled

blankets.

We see what Robert sees as he scans the room: space

posters litter the walls, a microscope, lap top, and

books occupy a wall-length built-in desk; a telescope

stands on a tripod beyond closed French doors revealing

a small balcony off the bedroom. Trent WAGS his tail.

ROBERT (VO)

Can Trent see us?

GUIDE (VO)

Yes, most animals see us or

sense our presence.

Robert continues to watch Owen. Owen is breathing

heavily, unevenly, but deeply sleeping.

5.

ROBERT (VO)

(shaky voice)

Why are you here? Why is this

happening to me? Am I dead?

How could I be? I see

everything, hear every sound.

Why don't I feel dead? It

feels like an elephant is

sitting on my chest, like I

can't breathe . . .

GUIDE (VO)

Robert, it's time . . .

EXT. NYC - ANNONA'S PASTRY SHOP - MINUTES LATER

Robert's ghost is now standing in the middle of the

intersection watching the PARAMEDICS load his dead body

into the ambulance. Uniformed and plain clothes POLICE

are cloistered in teams of 2-3 interviewing WITNESSES

as the ambulance leaves the scene.

GUIDE (VO)

Your time here is over. You

need to rest now. I know you

want to stay, but this is no

longer possible.

Robert's ghost stares at the bakery shop, then in a

flash he's gone.

CUT TO:

EXT. NYC - BROWNSTONE - LATER THAT SAME MORNING

GREG MCGRAW (40), a plain-dressed officer with a visible

gold police shield. He is attended by one male and one

female uniformed officer. McGraw RINGS the doorbell.

INT. NYC - BROWNSTONE - SAME TIME

Catherine dreams . . . watching . . .

Robert stands in front of the bakery, alone . . .

Albert hands Robert a steaming cup of coffee . . .

A doorbell RINGS, RINGS, RINGS, RINGS, . . .

An Asian woman . . . Robert smiles . . . turns and walks

away . . .

A bell RINGSSSSSSSSSS, RINGS, RINGS.

6.

CATHERINE

(struggling to wake up)

Who is it?

Catherine reaches for her cell phone on her bedside

table. We see something register in her posture as she

pulls herself together. Oh, damn, it's her doorbell!

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Coming . . . I'm coming.

She slips on her robe as she heads downstairs. Catherine

smells coffee brewing . . .

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Wait -- is it Saturday?

Catherine leans over the staircase's winding banister

spying into the kitchen.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Robert?

Just as she reaches the front door, she visibly shakes --

we see it in her questioning face that something's not

right. We see a second disruption in her questioning

face as she whispers:

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Today's Sunday. Who made

coffee?

Trent catches up to Catherine prancing excitedly on the

tiled foyer behind her.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Trent, settle down, boy. Go

on. Sit. I'm okay.

Trent steps back, but stays closer than usual. Catherine

peers through the peep hole. Greg McGraw stands in

front of the TWO UNIFORMED OFFICERS revealing his badge.

Catherine opens the door.

DETECTIVE MCGRAW

Mrs. Cole? Are you Catherine

Cole?

CATHERINE

---- Yes.

CUT TO:

7.

INT. BROWNSTONE - LIVING ROOM - SECONDS LATER

CATHERINE

It's unimaginable -- not Robert.

Dear God, not Robert. He's

kind, brilliant, loves people --

Oh, God, please, Robert --

Owen's only ten. It can't be

Robert. I would have known --

No . . . no one could have

hurt Robert deliberately -- no

one.

DETECTIVE MCGRAW

What do you mean, Mrs. Cole,

when you say you would have

known?

We see in Catherine's face uneasiness.

CATHERINE

This is where I tell you what

almost always elicits

disbelief, patronizing remarks,

or awkward silence --

(takes a deep breath

and continues)

I'm a Clinical Psychologist --

I use what you might call ESP,

intuition, and past life

regression.

(eyeing the Detective's

face)

Part of a unique protocol in

my practice. I know things

about others. I can see future

events. So, you see, it can't

be my Robert -- I would have

seen it.

Catherine waits for the detective to respond, but McGraw

stays mute, as he studies her.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Why was Robert at the bakery?

DETECTIVE MCGRAW

You didn't know? We know from

his attire and witnesses that

he went out for an early morning

jog. The bakery owner told us

that it was unusual for your

husband to show up by himself.

In fact, he never had before.

8.

Trent leads Owen back into the living room, crowded

tray of half'n half and a sugar bowl in hand. Officer

Tiedemann follows with another tray of cups, saucers,

spoons, and a small carafe of steaming coffee. Detective

McGraw watches Owen as he timidly holds out his cup for

some coffee. Catherine pours him a quarter cup, then

fills the rest with milk. Detective McGraw accepts a

black cup of coffee from Officer Tiedemann.

DETECTIVE MCGRAW (CONT'D)

You'll need to go with us.

Officer Tiedemann can stay

here with Owen. Is that all

right?

Owen looks instantly petrified by the thought of his

mother leaving him, but before he can utter a word of

protest, Catherine responds:

CATHERINE

No. Owen and I need to be

together. Owen, go upstairs

and get dressed. We'll go

together with Detective McGraw.

Catherine stands to leave to get dressed, but turns

back around to OFFICER BRADEN who has stayed quiet all

this time.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Officer Braden, is it? This

is your first day on the job,

right?

Officer Braden looks absolutely shocked and stares

straight at Catherine. He then looks to his superior

for permission to speak. McGraw nods and Officer Braden

responds.

OFFICER BRADEN

Yes, ma'am.

CATHERINE

You'll make a fine officer.

You have a long and decorated

career ahead of you.

And with that declaration, Catherine retreats to the

master bedroom.

9.

INT. MASTER BEDROOM SUITE - MOMENTS LATER

We are observing Catherine AS IF THROUGH SOMEONE'S EYES

as she opens drawers and pulls clothes off of hangers,

eyeing items, then dropping them to the floor.

Catherine's face tells us that she does not see what we

see: the ghostly image of Robert and an opalescent-lit

image of a man, the Guide, who are standing in the closet

watching her. (This is the point going forward that

Robert's ghost and the Guide take quasi visible forms.)

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BROWNSTONE - LIVING ROOM - TWO WEEKS LATER

Friends and colleagues, most dressed in black, attend

Robert's wake. There's a large ornate table filled

with food platters and dishes. Another table with large

silver urns of coffee and tea.

HUGH ANTHONY MCKINSEY (40), a handsome man with a kind

face; Robert's best friend and secretly in love with

Catherine.

With a cup of Earl Grey tea in hand, Hugh walks over to

Catherine who is standing with a small circle of friends

offering small talk, advice, and condolences. Hugh

openly shows deep concern and sincere affection for

her.

MILENA MORAVIA (72), Catherine's mother, dressed in

very chic black, holds court in most social settings.

A widow who wears a large gold cross around her neck.

She's not quite throwing a party, but it's close. Hugh

overhears her.

MILENA MORAVIA

He didn't suffer. God took

him quickly, that's some

consolation. Now have another

cannoli . . .

EXT. BROWNSTONE - BACKYARD - CONTINUOUS ACTION

Hugh smiles ruefully. As long as Milena has an audience,

Catherine's safe. He looks for Owen in the backyard.

He finds him half-heartedly playing with Trent. Not

even Uncle Hugh can draw Owen out. Owen is listless;

he answers in monosyllables.

HUGH

How about a cannoli? Your

grandmother has a tray full.

Owen simply shrugs and Hugh takes that as a yes.

10.

HUGH (CONT'D)

When you're ready, bring Trent

and meet me inside.

With a caring look on his face, Hugh leaves Owen and

steps back inside.

INT. BROWNSTONE - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Hugh sees Catherine, but before he can reach her, HETTY

GOLDBERG (24), considered one of the family and

Catherine's office manager, corners Catherine.

Hugh commandeers a comfortable chair waiting for the

right moment with Catherine.

HETTY

(deeply upset)

In my family there's a Jewish

tradition of "sitting shiva."

Others take care of the family.

Catherine reaches for Hetty.

CATHERINE

I feel so utterly lost -- you're

my strength and my comfort

today.

Sobbing now, Catherine doesn't finish her thought. She

takes a deep breath.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

I'm afraid for us. Why didn't

I see it? I should have. I

feel like I've gone instantly

blind and deaf! How can I

trust myself? Hetty, if I can't

help myself, how can I help

Owen? I have no compass! How

can I make it through this

without -- without Robert?

Catherine turns away holding a handkerchief over her

mouth catching sight of Hugh.

As Hugh steps in closer, Hetty excuses herself to attend

to greeting mourners just entering the house.

HUGH

Please let me get you something

to eat.

Catherine spies the cup of tea Hugh is holding and

reaches for it.

11.

CATHERINE

This is perfect.

Hugh lingers, holding her hands for a few seconds as

Catherine takes the teacup.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

Have you seen Owen?

Before Hugh can answer, Catherine catches sight of

Trent's tail. Her dark eyes follow the WAGGING tail

sticking out from under the draped tablecloth hanging

to the floor. She bends down lifting the tablecloth

just enough to see Owen's leg.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

(softly)

There he is -- I wish I were

that brave today -- who really

cares if I crawl under the

table with you -- hold you

until our hearts stop breaking --

even if it takes forever.

Trent's tail completely disappears under the cloth.

CATHERINE (CONT'D)

(almost whispers)

Please, please let us hold on

to this honest moment -- help

me hold back the emptiness for

him for a little while longer.

My sweet son -- please, please,

please, Hugh, help us fill

this empty ache.

Off of Catherine's solemn face . . .

FADE OUT.

END OF TEASER


Writer's excerpt courtesy NYWIFT (NYWIFT.ORG)