#200 – And So It Goes… (part four)

Squall: “…This is all kinds of hell.”

Originally Published: 7/26/2007

Synopsis
Lark and the girls realize their means of getting to the ramble room is broken. Does this mean they have to leave for good?

Ramble Milestones
-Another FF8 character finally realizes Quistis is a kleptomaniac.

The ramble starts to get better here – parts 4 & 5 are definitely the best.

(the next morning, lark, Ashley and shell are nervously pacing outside the fix it shop, which is not yet open. Ashley is holding the playstation. lark looks the most nervous)

Shell: “He sees us out here. He’s just being a jerk.”

Ashley: “I didn’t even talk to Seifer last night. I went straight to bed.”

Lark: “…I didn’t talk to anybody either.” *pause* “And then I had one of those weird dreams again.”

Shell: “Those dreams where everybody’s in high school?”

Lark: “Yeah… I don’t know, but those dreams always seem to come before something big happens. …I’ve had two recently.”

Ashley: “Maybe you just can’t let go of high school or anything. That’s why you keep dreaming about it.”

Lark: “Yeah. Real helpful.”

Ashley: “I didn’t claim to be an expert.”

(the man finally comes over and unlocks the door and flicks on the open sign)

Shell: “Finally!”

(the girls hurry inside and follow the man to the counter. Ashley plops down the playstation)

Ashley: “We need this fixed.”

Lark: “As fast as possible.”

Man: “Never seen girls so interested in a video game system. And a regular Playstation? Why don’t you get yourself one of those new Playstation’s?”

Lark: “We don’t want a PS3, we want our old one fixed.”

Shell: “So can you fix it or what?”

(the guy picks it up and looks it over)

Man: “What’s wrong with it? Won’t play discs? Cover won’t close?”

Ashley: “Not exactly…”

(the man turns the playstation around until he’s looking at the weird button on the side)

Man: “What’s this?”

Lark: “Our problem.”

Ashley: “It keeps getting stuck.”

Man: “What does it do?”

Shell: “It does…stuff.”

Man: *mutters* “Never seen this before…”

Lark: “It’s just a little button! You can fix it! …Right?”

Man: *puts it down* “You know, I lied. I have seen one like this before. Just one. I remember because it was right around July fourth and it was really hot outside. The ice cream truck was coming around the corner and—“

Shell: “Can you get to the point, please?”

Man: “…That one had a stuck button too. Thought I’d be able to fix it. Opened the system up and it was like working on something from another planet. That may look like a normal button, but that’s no normal button. I can’t fix it. There’s nobody that can fix it.”

Lark: “What?! Are you kidding me!? Somebody had to have made this thing, somebody has to be able to repair it! We don’t care what it costs!”

Man: “Sorry. I even tried calling the number on the parts inside it. They said they didn’t even know what I was talking about, might have been some kind of factory defect. They said they wouldn’t recommend continuing to use the system if anything on it wasn’t working properly. Because all that means is that it’s going to break for good. …And then you’re trapped.”

Shell: “…Trapped?”

Man: “I think you know what I’m getting at.”

(the girls all exchange a look)

Ashley: “So that’s it? It’s broken? We…can’t use it anymore?”

Man: “I wouldn’t. Like I said…don’t wanna get trapped.”

Lark: *softly in shock* “…I don’t believe this…”

Ashley: *softly* “Me neither…”

Shell: *softly taking back the playstation* “Thanks anyway.”

(they leave the store and stand there looking at one another, obviously shocked)

Shell: “…So…this is it?”

Ashley: “How can they not fix it…?”

Shell: “That guy knew. He knew what the button does. Trapped? He means like trapped in this world? Forever?”

Girls: “…………………”

Ashley: “…What are we gonna do?”

(when lark speaks, it is with a determination she is struggling to keep)

Lark: “What can we do? We have to leave.”

Shell: “…Forever?”

Lark: “Of course forever! We can’t take the chance that we’ll get trapped here! This…we…this isn’t where we really belong. It’s not our world.”

Ashley: “…I can’t believe this is happening…”

Lark: “You think I can?” *puts a hand to her head* “This is like my worst nightmare. I can’t even begin to actually…” *she pauses for a long moment* “Let’s get out of here.”

(and so, with heavy hearts, the girls head back to the ramble room…)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(sephiroth is on the porch, petition in hand, pacing when vincent walks over)

Vincent: “There you are, angel. You left rather quickly this morning.”

Sephiroth: *hides clipboard behind his back* “What? Oh. Well I have important business! I’m waiting for Lark! Have you seen her?”

Vincent: “No, I haven’t.” *pause* “What’s that behind your back?”

Sephiroth: “What?”

Vincent: “You’re hiding something.”

Sephiroth: “I’m what?”

Vincent: “Angel, you’re clearly hiding something behind your back.”

Sephiroth: “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Vincent! I’m not hiding anything! I’m…just giving my back a scratch!”

Vincent: “Really? …Because your arms don’t seem to be moving.”

Sephiroth: “They are! I’m just too fast for human eyes!”

Vincent: “Is that the petition you were trying to get signatures for yesterday?”

Sephiroth: *frowns* “How did you know about it?”

Vincent: “Opal told me.”

Sephiroth: “Dammit, Twilight!”

Vincent: “Angel, please. Is this really worth your time?”

Sephiroth: “You bet! Whatever gets him the hell out of here! I hate him so much, every time I see his stupid face and I just want to punch him!”

Vincent: “That anger is not necessary. What has he ever really done to you?”

Sephiroth: “His existence alone is enough to torment me!”

(lark’s car pulls up, and the girls start to slowly get out of the car.)

Sephiroth: “There she is! Get out of here, Vincent! I don’t want your brainwashed opinion influencing her decision!”

Vincent: “I cannot let you do this, angel.”

Sephiroth: “I can’t make you leave, but I’m way louder than you!”

(Ashley and shell file past sephiroth and vincent, their heads down and looking sad. lark is still in the car)

Vincent: “Something seems wrong…”

Sephiroth: “Maybe Express wasn’t having a sale or something, who knows what makes girls upset. Where is Lark?”

(lark finally gets out of the car. she does not look well. her eyes are puffy, as though she has been crying. vincent frowns)

Vincent: “…I don’t think now is a good time, angel.”

Sephiroth: “What are you talking about, Vincent? It’s the best time! Lark!”

(and with that he goes striding up to her. she stiffens as he approaches, looking awkward)

Sephiroth: “Lark, I’m here to present to you the real petition!” *holds it out*

Lark: “…What?”

Sephiroth: “See? People really signed it this time! In their own handwriting! They all want Auron kicked out of the ramble room too!”

Vincent: “I don’t see how Mr. Jingles could have signed it.”

Sephiroth: “Stay outta this, Vincent!” *big smile* “So see? I’m not alone! Can we kick him out now?”

(lark just stares at him for a minute. then she reaches forward, snatches the petition and rips it into pieces, much to sephiroth’s horror)

Sephiroth: “Hey! What are you doing?! Do you know how many lies I had to tell to get those signatures?! Er…I mean—“

Lark: “I don’t believe you! This is what you do with your time?” *throws pieces to the ground* “Our Playstation, our portal to this world, is broken! And there’s nothing anyone can do about it! We have to leave and never come back! And you’re shoving your juvenile petitions in my face! This is hard enough to deal with!”

(with that she goes off, crying again as she goes into the ramble room. sephiroth just stands there, white in the face, in total shock. vincent looks shocked as well)

Vincent: “…Oh my goodness. No wonder she seemed so upset.”

(he turns to sephiroth, who is still frozen in place)

Vincent: “…Angel? Are you all right? Angel?”

Sephiroth: “…She couldn’t have said what I thought she said…”

(but before vincent can say another thing, sephiroth stalks away)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(just before this occurs, locke is outside, still trying to search for treasure with the metal detector)

Locke: *mutters* “Stupid store wouldn’t refund my deposit… Who’s stealing from whom now?”

(yuffie casually strolls around the corner. she freezes when she sees locke. he freezes as well)

Yuffie: “Oh…hey.”

Locke: “Hey.”

Yuffie: “I thought you were returning that thing?”

Locke: “Me too. Long story, I still have it.”

Yuffie: “Oh.”

Both: “…………………………”

Locke: *awkwardly* “…About yesterday…”

(but before he can continue they both hear lark yelling in the front yard. they both look at each other curiously)

Yuffie: “What’s that about?”

Locke: “Hope everything’s okay…”

(they hurry around to the front yard to find lark gone and sephiroth stalking off. vincent stands there looking confused)

Yuffie: “Vince! Was Lark just here? We heard her yelling or something!”

Vincent: “…She was rather upset.”

Locke: “Everything okay?”

Vincent: *cautiously* “…I do not know.” *pause* “She seemed to say that their means to travel here was broken, and that they would have to leave…for good.”

(locke and yuffie look shocked)

Yuffie: “What?”

Locke: “Are you serious?”

Vincent: “…I’m afraid so. Excuse me.”

(he leaves. locke and yuffie look at each other, still shocked)

Yuffie: “This can’t be good! Should we tell people?”

Locke: “Are you kidding? This is horrible! We gotta tell everybody!”

(and with that they run off in opposite directions.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(at the belmonts…tifa comes stomping in to find richter looking half passed out in front of the tv. he is watching yet another samuel l. jackson movie)

Tifa: “Richter! Have you been here all night?”

Richter: *sits up with a start* “Kill all vampires!”

Tifa: “You didn’t hear a thing I said to you yesterday, did you?”

Richter: “What?”

Tifa: *frowns* “That’s what I thought.”

(there’s a knocking at the window. tifa looks over to see yuffie waving at her. she goes over and opens the window)

Tifa: “Yuffie…?”

Yuffie: “Tifa! I had to tell you, but I’m scared of the weirdos who live here.”

Tifa: “Me too sometimes. What’s up?”

Yuffie: “Lark, Ashley and Shell…something’s wrong with their Playstation! They’re going to have to leave for good!”

Tifa: “What?!”

Yuffie: “Vincent just told me! He said Lark told it to him and Sephiroth. She was really upset!”

Tifa: “Oh my god!”

Yuffie: “Spread the word – I’ve gotta run.”

(and so she runs off. tifa shuts the window and turns to richter looking stunned)

Richter: “Oh no! This is horrible news! Even if they are vampire supporters, I’ve always found them to be good neighbors!”

(tifa doesn’t speak to him. she just runs upstairs into the kitchen where franswa, zell and hugh are gathered. franswa is serving pancakes. hugh is reading some kind of exercise magazine)

Zell: “Wait till you see who I got to work at your restaurant, Franswa! They’re real go getters!”

Franswa: “I hope so.”

Tifa: *runs in* “Zell! Did you hear?”

Zell: “Hear? Hear what?”

Tifa: “Lark and the others! They’re going to have to leave for good! Their Playstation is broken!”

Zell and Franswa: “WHAT?!”

Zell: “Who—what—when—“

Tifa: “I found out just now! Yuffie told me! She heard it from Vincent who said Lark told him and Sephiroth!”

Zell: “This is horrible!”

Tifa: “I know!” *looks a hugh* “…Why are you reading my magazine?”

Hugh: “…Cause I’m a MAN!” *slams it down and runs out*

Tifa: “…Anyway, spread the word!”

(She runs out. zell looks at franswa)

Zell: “No time for pancakes now! I’ve gotta tell Rufus!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(speaking of rufus, he and algus walk over to the trailer where the restaurant is being built and find lloyd, nightmare and nemesis standing outside…only they are very poorly disguised. lloyd is wearing a long black wig and a cape, nemesis is wearing a hood over his head and a long red dress, and nightmare is dressed as batman. rufus and algus stand off and stare at them)

Rufus: “…What the…?”

Algus: “Shall I dial the police?”

Rufus: “…That can’t possibly be…”

Algus: “I have them on speed dial.” *takes out phone*

Rufus: “I am gonna kill Zell.”

Algus: “I often see peasants loitering outside shops peering in the windows at the stuff they wish they could afford.”

Rufus: “Don’t call the police. I’ll deal with these idiots.”

(they go over to them)

Rufus: “So! You must be the new employees Zell told me about! What are your names?”

Lloyd: “Nelo—er…I mean Dante! Dante Stupidface!”

Nemesis: “STARS!”

Nightmare: “Nightmare’s name is Andrew Lloyd Webber!”

Rufus: “Uh huh. Nice try. Did you really think showing up in a Batman costume was going to fool me?”

Lloyd: “Dammit! I told you to get a different costume!”

Nightmare: “Not much fits Nightmare!”

Rufus: “Get off my property!”

Lloyd: “Come on! Give us jobs! We’ll be good employees! Honest!”

Rufus: “No! No one should tear so much of his own hair out!”

Lloyd: “It keeps getting in my face!”

(zell and franswa then run up)

Zell: “Rufus! Algus! I’ve gotta tell you guys something!”

Rufus: “If it’s about the rejects you wanted me to hire, I already know. And they’re NOT hired!”

Zell: “No! It’s about Lark! I just heard from Tifa who heard from Yuffie who heard from Vincent that Lark and the other girls are gonna have to leave forever! Their Playstation is broken!”

Rufus: *pales* “…What? Is this a joke?”

Zell: “No!! No joke!”

Rufus: *shocked* “…No! They can’t! There has to be something we can do!”

Algus: “That is horrible, horrible news. I’ll order Zidane to find out more information.”

(and with that he starts dialing his phone…)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, zidane is knocking on the door to bryatt’s room)

Zidane: “Bryatt! Come on! Open up!”

(bryatt does open the door, but he doesn’t look happy)

Bryatt: “What is it?”

Zidane: “Bryatt…come on. We gotta talk about this.”

Bryatt: “There’s nothing to talk about, Zidane. Either you quit, or it’s over. End of story.”

Zidane: “So you’re making me choose between me and my career? That’s not fair!”

Bryatt: “What career?! You are a *slave*?!”

Zidane: “I *told* you I prefer unpaid assistant!”

(his cell phone rings. bryatt rolls his eyes)

Bryatt: “There’s the slave driver now.”

Zidane: “Shush!” *answers* “Hello?” *puts algus on speaker*

Algus’ voice: “Ah, yes, Zidane. I’m afraid I have some rather disturbing news for you. I have just been informed by Zell, who heard it from Tifa, who seemed to have heard it from Yuffie, who heard it from Vincent that Lark and the other girls are having some trouble with their Playstation machine and won’t be able to return here any more.”

Zidane: “What?!”

Bryatt: “This a late April Fools trick or something…?”

Algus: “Needless to say, this is distressing information. I need you to find out more about it, please. And also fluff out my capes. They haven’t had a good fluffing in awhile.”

(algus hangs up. zidane and bryatt both stand there looking shocked)

Zidane: “I-I—“

Bryatt: “What are you doing standing there? That’s the only decent thing Algus ever told you to do – go find out more info!”

Zidane: “Right!” *runs off*

Bryatt: “I’ve gotta find Tseng…”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(speaking of tseng, he and reeve are talking in the hallway)

Tseng: “We need to talk.”

Reeve: “I don’t want to.”

Tseng: “Come on, Reeve! You’re being a child about this! You’re the one who called me selfish! If anyone doesn’t want to talk, it should be me!”

(before reeve can say anything, bryatt appears at the end of the hall)

Bryatt: *calls* “Tseng! Reeve!!”

Tseng: “…Kinda in the middle of something here…”

Bryatt: “Sorry. But this is bad news – Lark, Shell and Ashley – something’s wrong with their Playstation. They’re not going to be able to come back.”

Reeve and Tseng: “WHAT?!”

Tseng: “Who told you this?”

Bryatt: “Algus. He heard it from Zell, who said Tifa told him, and apparently Yuffie told her and Vincent told Yuffie.”

Tseng: “And this is *true*!?”

Bryatt: “Apparently! I thought you should know.”

Reeve: “This can’t possibly…”

Tseng: “Do a lot people know about this?”

Bryatt: “I don’t think so.”

(Tseng takes off down the hallway)

Reeve: “Where are you going?”

Tseng: “Are you kidding?? People have to know!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, sunshine goes and knocks on reno’s door. he answers and looks surprised to see her)

Sunshine: “Hi.”

Reno: “Uh, hi.”

Sunshine: “I think we need to talk about yesterday.”

Reno: *awkwardly* “Yeah…uh…that’s not really something I wanna do…”

Sunshine: “Why did you follow me there?”

(reno looks behind her, looking for any kind of distraction. that’s when he sees tseng)

Reno: “Whoa! Tseng! You look like you’re in a hurry! What’s on fire?”

Tseng: “Reno – you’ll never believe what I just heard. Bryatt told me that Algus said that Zell told him that Tifa heard from Yuffie who said Vincent said that Lark and the other girls won’t be able to come back here. Their Playstation is broken.”

Reno: “What?!”

Tseng: “I know! That’s what I said!”

Sunshine: “Oh my gosh!”

Reno: “Does Rude know?”

Tseng: “I don’t know.”

Reno: “I’ve gotta find him.”

(and with that he takes off.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(rude is once again in the ramble room on the phone)

Rude: “You are a sick, sick man paying anyone for that.” *hangs up*

Reno *running in* “Rude! Rude – did you hear?”

Rude: “Hear what? About the restaurant Rufus is running for Franswa? Yeah. And I’m not working there.”

Reno: “No…about Shell.”

Rude: “What?”

Reno: “Dude…have you talked to her lately?”

Rude: “No…she said she’s been busy. Something wrong?”

Reno: “…Well…I just heard from Tseng, who heard it from Bryatt, who heard it from Algus who heard it from Zell who heard it from Tifa who heard it from Yuffie who heard it from Vincent that Shell, Lark and Ashley…their Playstation’s broken. …They can’t come back.”

Rude: *eyes wide* “What?!”

(irvine and trini enter)

Irvine: *stubbornly* “So how was your date last night?”

Trini: “Great! Omg, and the sex. That was great too.”

Irvine: “You had *sex* with him?!”

Trini: “Yeah! So what?”

Irvine: “So what?! I—“

Rude: “Irvine! Did you hear about Lark?”

Irvine: “What about her?”

Rude: “Reno just told me. Tseng told him, Bryatt told him, Algus told him, Zell told him, Tifa told him, Yuffie told her, and Vincent told her. Their Playstation…broken. This is it.”

Irvine: “What?? What is it?”

Rude: “…They can’t come back.”

Irvine: “What?! No! That can’t be true!”

Reno: “It’s true, man.”

Irvine: “No! No way!”

(he goes out into the hallway where rinoa is yelling at squall. kiros, ward and laguna are also standing there)

Rinoa: “See! Even your dad thinks it’s time for us to get married!”

Laguna: “Hey hey! I want grandkids!”

Squall: “…This is all kinds of hell.”

Irvine: “Squall – you guys! I just heard about Lark!”

Rinoa: “Huh?”

Irvine: “You don’t know? Rude just told me that Reno said he heard from Tseng that Bryatt heard it from Algus who said Zell told him and he heard it from Tifa who heard it from Yuffie who heard it right from Vincent – their Playstation is broken. They can’t come back here anymore!”

Rinoa: *gasp*

Squall: “….*What*?”

Laguna: “Whoa! That’s not cool!”

Kiros: “Ward says you’re a master of the obvious.”

Laguna: “I’ve gotta tell my friends! This is bad stuff!”

Kiros: “Ward says what friends?”

(laguna runs outside to the porch swing where edgar and setzer are)

Setzer: “So I was thinking—“

Laguna: “Hey hey! Bad news fellow mafia members!”

Edgar: “Oh no. Did the oil rig collapse again?”

Setzer: “Knew we shouldn’t have gone with the cheap materials…”

Laguna: “Worse! Irvine just told me that Rude told him that Reno said that, uh, Tseng said, that uh, some other people…uh…I don’t remember. But Lark and the other girls won’t be able to come back anymore! The thing that gets them here is busted!”

Setzer: “What?? Is this true?”

Laguna: “Everybody’s talking about it!”

(cloud and zack walk over)

Zack: “Talking about what?”

Edgar: “Lark and the others having to leave the ramble room for good. Have you heard of this before?”

Cloud: “What?! No! Who said this?”

Laguna: “Irvine, Rude, Reno, Tseng and a bunch of other people whose names I forget.”

(cloud turns around and calls to barret, who is observing red on the lawn)

Cloud: “Barret! Did you hear about Lark and the girls not being able to come back here?!”

Barret: “What! No! That damn crazy talk!”

Red: “Is that really the truth?”

(dante walks over)

Dante: “What’s everybody yelling about?”

Barret: “Yo! Lark and them other girls gonna have to leave us!”

Dante: “What?!”

Barret: “I gotta tell Cid!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, cid and edward are standing outside the therapy center, glaring at each other. koudelka is inside getting things ready to open up)

Cid: “I bet she lets me in. She can’t be mad at me forever.”

Edward: “You don’t know Koudelka too well then.”

Cid: “What’s that supposed to mean?!”

Edward: “It means she can hold a grudge forever! And she doesn’t care if you’re sorry!”

Cid: “Well #$%^ you! Because I know she really likes me!”

Edward: “Really? ‘Cause I used to think the same thing.”

(before cid can mouth off more curses, his cell phone rings. he answers it quickly)

Cid: “@#$%#%@#%@%?” *listens then gasps* “#@$$%@^&*@#$%^&#@$!%^&!#?!?!” *long pause* “@#$%^#@$%^&*%#!%^!” *hangs up*

Edward: “Hope you don’t curse like that around my #$%@#$% kid!”

(cid just ignores him and starts to bang on the door)

Cid: “KOUDELKA!”

Edward: “Are you crazy? She’s not gonna listen to you! She’s probably gonna call the cops! And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some outstanding warrants I’d rather not deal with!”

Cid: “KOUDELKA! LOOK AT ME, PLEASE!”

Edward: “Told you. She’s good at pretending she can’t hear you.”

Cid: “KOUDELKA! It’s an emergency!”

(koudelka finally looks up at him. she then tilts her head to one side, indicating that it better be good)

Cid: “There’s a problem at the ramble room – the girls, a lotta people said that they’re gonna have to leave us. I gotta go see what’s going on – but I’m not done with this! I’ll be back! I’m not gonna give up on you!”

(with that he runs off. koudelka just stands there looking shocked. edward comes over and bangs on the window)

Edward: “Uh…you had me at hello!”

(koudelka looks at him, shakes her head, and walks away.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(cid arrives back at the ramble room and is heading inside when he runs into seifer. seifer is outside looking at the sky)

Seifer: “I guess it’s an okay day for a romantic picnic…”

Cid: “@#$%^&**@#^&*!”

Seifer: “…Heard about what?”

Cid: “@#$%@^&*@#$%@&^*#$@%^(*^#$%*@#%&!!”

Seifer: *eyes nearly pop out* “WHAT?! The girls are gonna leave us for good?! But—Ashley!!”

(cid runs inside, and seifer follows him. locke and yuffie then come running over)

Locke: “You spread the word?”

Yuffie: “Boy did I!”

(shadow comes around the corner with interceptor. interceptor is wagging his tail happily, a stick in his mouth. shadow looks depressed)

Locke: “Shadow! Where have you been??”

Shadow: “In my room watching Home Shopping Network.”

Locke: *blink blink* “…Really? I thought you were going to say you were hiding from ‘them’ or something. Did you hear about the ramble girls? Their Playstation is busted! They’re gonna have to leave us!”

Shadow: “Oh.”

Locke: “Come on! We’ve gotta go talk to Lark.”

(and so he, yuffie and shadow go inside and head to lark’s room. apparently this was everyone else’s idea as well. everyone from the ramble room is there. well, except one person… rufus seems to be leading the charge. he’s knocking on the door)

Rufus: “Lark! Lark!! There’s a few of us here…we need to talk to you!”

Tseng: “A few of us?”

Rufus: “I don’t wanna scare her!”

(a moment passes, and the door does indeed open. lark, shell and Ashley are all standing there. it looks as though they have been crying)

Lark: “…What?”

(at first no one says anything. it’s clear they are all wondering so much, but no one can bear to ask. finally…)

Reno: “…Is it true?”

(lark just stares at them all for a long moment)

Lark: “…I always knew news travelled fast around here.” *pause* “…Yeah. It’s true.”

Zell: *tiny voice* “…Really?”

Lark: “…Yeah. …The next time we leave…it’s gonna have to be for good.”

Rufus: “But I don’t understand! Can’t you get it fixed!? Surely there’s somewhere—“

Shell: “What do you think we’ve been doing the past few days? We’ve been everywhere.”

Ashley: “No one can fix it. Trust me. We *really* tried.”

Seifer: “You guys can’t leave! Ashley! What’s gonna happen?!”

Rude: “You can’t leave.”

Seifer: “Yeah! Forget leaving! You can stay here with us forever! That’ll be cool!”

Ashley: “Are you crazy? We can’t do that! …We love you guys, but…this isn’t our world. We’ve got families and lives elsewhere. That’s where we belong.”

Shell: “Not that it makes it easy.”

Zell: “So you’re just gonna leave? Today?”

Lark: “No! Not today! Are you nuts? I could never leave you guys like that!” *takes a deep steady breath* “I don’t think any of you can understand just how hard this is for me. I…I don’t think it’s even processed in my head yet.” *pause* “I wish we could stay awhile, a week at least, but…real life gets in the way. We’ll have to leave Saturday morning.”

Reno: “Saturday morning?! It’s Wednesday already!”

Ashley: “Staying longer…would probably only make this harder.”

Lark: “We’d love to stay and chat, but unfortunately we have packing to do.”

(and with that they just go back into the room and lark slams the door shut)

Zidane: “Wait! Lark!!” *goes to knock on the door*

Tseng: “Leave them alone. …I don’t really think this is something they want to talk about.”

Rufus: “Well I can understand that!! What are we going to do!? We can’t let them go!”

Seifer: “Yeah! I’m with Rufus!”

Vincent: “You’re being completely unsympathetic. You heard what the girls said. This is not their world. How would you feel to suddenly leave your family and whole life behind?”

Seifer: “But aren’t we important too? We’re people! People who love them!”

Vincent: “I’m afraid it’s just not the same. It’s not something we could ever compete with.”

Auron: “Vincent’s right. It’s not like this was a choice they wanted to make.”

Seifer: “That doesn’t mean we have to like it!”

(there’s a period of silence)

Reeve: “…This is strange.”

Setzer: “Yeah.”

Irvine: “…This sucks. This more than sucks.”

Reno: “…You know what we have to do at a time like this?”

Seifer: “Go and cry to our stuffed animals…uh…that we totally don’t have cuz we’re grown men.”

Squall: “…Whatever.”

Reno: “No. …We throw the longest, rockinest party the world has ever seen!”

Rufus: “Reno! Leave it to you to throw a party at a time like this!”

Vincent: “…A party certainly *would* lighten the mood.”

Reno: “Yeah! Look, I’m as upset about this as everybody else is! But there’s nothing we can do to stop it! We gotta show those girls a time they’ll never forget! Don’t they deserve it?”

Zell: “Yeah!” *pause* “You think they’re gonna wanna party?”

Reno: “They’re not gonna have a choice! Now where’s my portable party planning device?” *takes out blackberry*

Rufus: “Hey! You’re supposed to use that for work!”

Reno: “This is work!”

(meanwhile, inside the room, Ashley and shell are listening with their ears to the door. lark is sitting on the bed moping)

Ashley: “Reno’s trying to get everyone to plan a party for us.”

Shell: “Heh…never thought I’d get out of here without one more of those.”

Ashley: “I can’t believe this is the end.”

Shell: “…It’s been a weird…but fun ride. There are things around here that I’ll miss…a lot.”

Ashley: “Like Rude.”

Shell: *sigh* “Did you see his face?”

Ashley: “And what about Seifer? He’s probably crying to his stuffed animals right now.”

Lark: “…I didn’t see Sephiroth out there.”

Ashley: “Hmm…me neither.”

Shell: “But everybody was there. You probably just missed him in the crowd.”

Lark: “He doesn’t exactly blend in.” *shakes head* “I knew he’d take this badly…I shouldn’t have lost my temper…”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(the whole gang has moved on to the ramble room. reno is standing on a chair in the middle of the crowd)

Reno: “Now! Because this is gonna be a complicated party, everybody’s gonna have to pitch in and do their part!”

Rude: “…Dude…are you serious about this?”

Reno: “Dude, am I ever *not* serious when it comes to partying?”

Rude: “…I don’t think we should celebrate them leaving.”

Seifer: “Yeah! I still don’t want them to go!”

Reno: “You think I do? This isn’t a celebration of them leaving! It’s the best damn send off anyone’s ever had! There’s no point in whining about keeping them here – it’s just not gonna happen! Right, Vincent?”

Vincent: “He’s correct. This is difficult for everyone involved. It’s not something we’ll be able to accept immediately.”

Auron: “Speaking of acceptance…where is your Sephiroth?”

Vincent: *frowns* “…I haven’t seen him.”

Reno: “Anyway, like I was saying, this is gonna be a complicated party! So we’re gonna have to break people up into teams!”

Twilight: “I don’t work well with others!”

Opal: “I think everybody knows that, Twilight.”

Seifer: “There’s gotta be *some* chance of getting them to stay!”

Rufus: “Seifer, if you don’t shut up I will gladly pay someone to kill you.”

Seifer: “But you don’t want them to go? Do you?”

Rufus: “No! Of course not! But this isn’t their choice! It’s necessity!”

Seifer: “But—“

Squall: “Whatever…do we have to draw you a picture?”

Seifer: *frowns* “No.”

Reno: “Okay! Back to the party! First, we’ll need places to hold the party!”

Tifa: “Place*s*?”

Reno: “Yeah! You can’t have the best party ever at one place! We need a bunch! Where can we go besides the ramble room?”

Irvine: “Our bar!”

Algus: “Franswa’s new restaurant!”

Franswa: *softly* “…But we don’t have a staff…”

Dante: “My strip club!”

Reno: “Great! These are all great suggestions! Four places sounds like a pretty awesome party to me! Now what else do we need?”

Zell: “Food!”

Setzer: “Music!”

Trini: “Booze!”

Elena: “Decorations!”

Laguna: “Hey hey! Lots of people!”

Seifer: “…Presents?”

Reno: “Right! So those are the committees! Food, music, booze, decorations, guests and presents! Now everybody come up here and tell me what committee you want to be on!”

(everybody rushes up towards reno. vincent goes to join the crowd, but auron grabs his arm and holds him back a moment)

Auron: “He didn’t take the news well, did he.”

Vincent: “I have not seen him. I told you.”

Auron: “Somehow I don’t think he’ll be too excited to plan this party.”

Vincent: “I’ll talk to him. He’ll be fine.”

Auron: *looks skeptical* “Really? Well, I wish you luck.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back at loser land, it seems most of them have been out all night. kuja, seymour, lucretia, hojo, heidegger and stinky are just returning)

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! That was not all I could eat!”

Stinky: *snort*

Hojo: “Ugh…my bad back…”

Lucretia: “Stop complaining, Alexander! You had a great time star gazing!”

Hojo: “As I *repeatedly* told you, Lucretia. Star gazing isn’t really my area of science!” *sees kuja and seymour* “Where were you all night?”

Kuja: “Seymour sprang for a hotel room.”

Hojo: “A hotel room?”

Kuja: “Omg, nothing happened. Except for the fantastic bubble bath I took. And those towels! Oh! To die for!”

Seymour: *scowls*

Hojo: “Well, I hope Nida and Scarlet didn’t murder each other while we were gone.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I’m hungry!”

(they go inside and immediately gasp in shock. everyone’s jaw nearly hits the floor. that’s because who are lying naked on the floor still asleep? scarlet. and nida)

Kuja: “Ugh! My not so virgin eyes!!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Finally!”

Scarlet: *waking* “Huh…?” *sees everybody* “Omg!!” *scrambles for clothes*

Nida: *snores*

Scarlet: “Nothing happened! I swear!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Yeah, right!”

Scarlet: “I have to go!”

(she runs into the back. kuja and seymour are looking down at nida)

Kuja: “It really is tiny.”

Seymour: “No wonder it was his first time.”

Hojo: “Don’t wake him! I need to get my camera!” *runs out*

Lucretia: *mutters* “Not on my watch.” *goes over to nida* “Wake up, Nida!”

Nida: *stirs* “Huh…? What is it, Scarlet?”

Kuja: *snort* “You’re not in Scarlet anymore, honey.”

Nida: *sits up with a start* “Huh?” *sees everybody* “Ack! When did you all get here?”

Seymour: “Just now. Looks like you had a good night.”

Nida: “Did I ever! Scarlet and I totally did it!”

Kuja: “So we figured.”

Lucretia: “You might want to go put some pants on, dear.”

Nida: *covers himself* “Oops! Uh, good idea!”

(with that he rushes out. a second later, hojo enters, camera in hand)

Hojo: “You don’t get easy shots like this everyday!”

Lucretia: “Nida woke up and went to get dressed.”

Hojo: *face falls* “What?”

Lucretia: “Put the camera away, Alexander.”

Hojo: “You woke him on purpose!”

Lucretia: *ignores him* “Who wants pancakes?”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I do!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, dante has returned to the castle)

Dante: “Well that wasn’t the kind of mind clearing walk I had in mind…”

(d walks over to him)

D: “There you are. Is Alucard still upset?”

Dante: “Probably. I was just coming in to talk to him before I go to work.”

D: “What kind of work do you do?”

Dante: “I’m the best damn stripper anyone has ever seen. But I don’t have time to chat right now, I’ll catch ya later.”

(he jogs upstairs and knocks on the door to alucard’s room)

Dante: “Al?”

Alucard’s voice: “Go away!”

Dante: “Alucard, you can’t pout like a five year old forever.”

Alucard’s voice: “Go away! You don’t understand!”

Dante: “Oh, I understand all right. I understand that you’re being a baby! Your brother is a cool guy! It’s not his fault your dad likes him! And I don’t know why you pretend your dad annoys you when you’re the biggest daddy’s boy around! Now I’m going to work. Hopefully you’ll have your head out of your ass by the time I get back.” *he starts to walk away but then comes back* “Oh, and Lark, Ashley and Shell’s Playstation is busted so they’ve gotta leave us forever. There’s a party on Friday.”

(and then he walks away. a moment later, alucard opens the door looking confused)

Alucard: “…Wait…what?!?!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(and so dante heads to work, and he comes into the back looking a little surly. but he doesn’t look as surly as edward, or delita, who always looks surly)

Gippal: “There you are. What’s with the sourpuss?”

Dante: “Please. My boyfriend threw a fit at everybody last night and then locked himself in his room like a two year old, and then I find out my friends have to go back to their real world for good.”

Vaan: “You mean the girls across the street?”

Dante: “Yup. They use a Playstation to get here and it’s busted.”

Maxi: “That does suck.”

Dante: “Anyway, they’re having a huge party on Friday for them and we’re gonna be using the club for part of it. Will you guys be around?”

Gippal: “Party? Hello. That’s like my middle name.”

Maxi: “I love a good party.”

Vaan: “I’ll be there, and I’ll bring my friends.”

Chris: “If I’m not doing special tactics and rescue stuff.”

Edward: “Uh…there gonna be a lot of people at this party?”

Dante: “Oh yeah. Tons of people.”

Edward: “Um…yeah. I’m busy.”

Delita: “I have to work my day job at Starbucks! I don’t have the life of leisure everybody else has!”

Edward: “At least you don’t have to pay child support!”

Dante: “Knock it off. I get enough bullsh*t at home.”

(everyone leaves the room except dante and gippal)

Gippal: “Things not going good with Alucard?”

Dante: “Eh, there’s a bit of drama. But I don’t mind a little drama in my life. Keeps things exciting.”

Gippal: “Speaking of exciting, I totally got lucky the other night thanks to you.”

Dante: “I don’t remember doing anything. I remember a really drunk *you* kissing me.”

Gippal: “Exactly! And it was a lucky kiss! I’m gonna have to do it again next time I’m lookin’ to score.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, vincent goes into his and sephiroth’s room to find sephiroth just lying on the bed staring up at the ceiling)

Vincent: “There you are, angel. Everyone was wondering where you were.”

Sephiroth: “……………………………”

Vincent: “I know the news…was not exactly good. This isn’t something they wanted to happen.”

Sephiroth: “………………………”

Vincent: “…Lark said they will leave on Saturday morning. So Reno and everyone are planning to throw a big party on Friday. It’s turning into an all day affair.”

Sephiroth: “………………………………”

Vincent: “…Angel? Are you all right? You’re being…unusually quiet.”

(he goes over, sits on the bed, and looks at sephiroth)

Sephiroth: “…………How can she do this?”

Vincent: “She didn’t do anything on purpose, angel. Things break sometimes and can’t be replaced.”

Sephiroth: *sits up* “I’m not talking about the stupid Playstation! How can she just make a decision to leave? She can’t leave us! Everything is here because of her! And now she’s just going to abandon it?!”

Vincent: “She’s not abandoning it. She couldn’t possibly stay here forever—“

Sephiroth: “Why not? Are we not good enough for her or something!?”

Vincent: “I think you forget that the girls have lives outside of this world.”

Sephiroth: “So? They have it pretty damn good here, don’t you think? Why would they wanna leave?”

Vincent: “…Because this isn’t their world. This isn’t where they really belong.”

Sephiroth: “It is where she belongs! Screw that other world! She doesn’t *have* to go back there! That is her choice! And it’s WRONG! She can’t go! She can’t leave us like that!”

Vincent: “Angel…I think you are taking this a bit more personally than it was intended…”

Sephiroth: “It is personal, Vincent! After everything we’ve been through together, she’s just gonna leave us behind?! Doesn’t even consider our feelings?!”

Vincent: “Angel—“

Sephiroth: “Stop it, Vincent! Stop trying to placate me with your lame responses! The fact is Lark is leaving us because she *wants* to, not because she *has* to. She’s abandoning all of this. And nothing you say will convince me otherwise!”

(and with that, he stalks out of the room, slamming the door behind him)

Vincent: “…Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, Sephiroth.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(the next day is the day before the big party. the various groups have broken up to take care of their various tasks. everyone, it seems, is just trying to keep busy. the decorations committee is meeting in the ramble room. they are the largest committee. in the group are richter, tifa, locke, yuffie, shadow, quistis, selphie, vincent, auron, tidus, lulu, wakka and kimahri. it seems tifa has made herself head of the group)

Tifa: “Okay, we need to get decorations for four different places. That’s no easy task.”

Richter: “I know you’re up to the challenge, honey!”

Tifa: *ignores him* “Maybe we should split up.”

Selphie: “I think each place should have a theme! Like a kitties theme! Or a hearts theme!”

Quistis: “Ew! I don’t wanna steal that kinda crap!”

Locke: “Splitting up seems like a good idea.” *to shadow* “What do you think?”

Shadow: *lifelessly* “Yeah. Sure. Whatever.”

Yuffie: “Instead of a theme idea, why don’t we do color schemes instead? Like black and pink, and black and red! And black and green! And silver and black!”

Locke: “What’s with all the black?”

Yuffie: “What? Lark likes black!”

Tifa: “That sounds like a good idea. All in favor of splitting up and doing the color schemes?”

(everyone raises their hands)

Tifa: “Now to split into groups…”

Tidus: “We can go together.” *indicates himself, lulu, wakka and kimahri*

Tifa: “Okay, you guys are responsible for decorating the bar.”

Kimahri: “Kimahri no good with color schemes.”

Wakka: “Wow! Kimahri talked, ya?”

(they all leave)

Tifa: “Okay…who wants to do the strip club?”

Quistis: “Right here!”

Selphie: “I’ll help!”

Tifa: “You two will be okay by yourselves?”

Selphie: “Sure! I just love parties!”

Quistis: “And I love steal…er…stores. I love stores.”

Tifa: “All right, have fun.”

Selphie: “We will!”

(they leave)

Yuffie: “Locke, Shadow and I will tackle the decorations for the ramble room!”

Locke: “Do we have to get streamers? I’m not a big fan of streamers.”

Tifa: “Okay, you guys are group three.”

Yuffie: “Let’s go get streamers!!” *runs out*

Locke: “I said I *don’t* want streamers!”

(he and shadow leave. that leaves vincent, auron, richter and tifa)

Richter: “And we’ll be decorating my son’s restaurant! I don’t even know what it looks like!”

Tifa: *sigh* “Richter, maybe you should just go home.”

Richter: “Go home? I can’t go home! I’ve already committed myself to something! And a Belmont never backs out once he’s committed himself!”

Tifa: “Oh really? Could have fooled me!”

(she storms out of the room. richter frowns)

Richter: “…I have a feeling she’s mad at me…” *calls after her* “Darling??”

(he leaves. vincent and auron go to follow)

Auron: “So…how did Sephiroth take the news?”

Vincent: “………………He’ll get over it.”

Auron: “You had a long pause there, Vincent. And I don’t see him joining you in the committee.”

Vincent: *firmly* “He’ll be fine.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, the booze committee is meeting in the pool area…on this committee are reno, irvine, trini, barret, cid, red and sunshine. reno is leading the group)

Reno: “Welcome to the best group, the booze group! Our job is to make sure all of these places tomorrow are stocked with booze!”

Red: “Who signed me up for this? I wanted to be part of the music group.”

Barret: “I did, cow/moose! Nobody be likin’ yo’ whacked out music choices.”

Red: “Once again you’ve done nothing but make me completely miserable.”

Sunshine: “This party is an all day thing, right? Meaning it starts in the morning? What kind of drinks are we going to be having at 9 am?”

Trini: “Mimosas and bloody mary’s of course!”

Irvine: “Plus it’s always five o’clock somewhere!”

Trini: *laughs* “Good one, Irvine!”

Irvine: *beams*

Sunshine: *shrugs* “I guess you’re right.”

Reno: “Okay, so obviously the bar and the strip club are already stocked. But Franswa’s restaurant is brand new and the ramble room needs more booze than the few dented cans of Coors Lite left in the fridge.”

Cid: “#@$%#$%^&@#!”

Barret: “You right, Cid! That distributor is havin’ a sale this week!”

Reno: “You guys mind running down there and stocking up? Meanwhile the rest of us can make sure the bar and club are as stocked as they’re supposed to be!”

Cid: “#$%^@#$%^#$%!”

(he heads for the door. barret gives red a pat)

Barret: “Les go, pez dispenser! Yo’ slow ass always be draggin’ behind!”

Red: *sigh* “Why must I always be your third wheel?”

Reno: “All right! Who wants to count bottles of booze?”

Trini: “I do! I do!”

Reno: “Well let’s get going!”

(irvine and trini head out, and reno and sunshine follow)

Sunshine: “You must be surprised that I signed up for this group.”

Reno: “…Yeah, kinda, I guess.”

Sunshine: “I thought it might give us a chance to talk.”

Reno: *gulp* “Sure…” *mutters unhappily* “I’m looking forward to it.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, dante lets himself into the castle to get something before heading over to the ramble room. he’s heading for the stairs when all of the sudden dracula leaps out at him, brandishing a rubber ducky)

Dracula: “The cow will come again!”

Dante: “Hey there, ya old kook.”

Dracula: “Oh! It’s just you!” *to duck* “Never mind, Henry! Our pigeon juice is safe!”

(he runs off. dante shakes his head and is about to go up the stairs when d comes over)

D: “Oh, hello! Did dad attack you with his duck?”

Dante: “No, I was spared.”

D: “He’s not having a very good day today…he doesn’t really recognize me. He’s just been talking to the duck.”

Dante: “A day in the life of Dracula. Any sign of Alucard?”

D: *shakes head no*

Dante: “Didn’t think so. Well, I just came to get something. I’ll be in and out.”

(he goes upstairs, and grabs a comb out of the bathroom. he then goes to alucard’s room and bangs on the door)

Dante: “Alucard – you conscious?”

(no answer.)

Dante: “Anyway, we’re having an all day party tomorrow for the girls. Starts at 9 at Franswa’s restaurant. Then we’re heading to the club around noon. Hope you decide to show your face.” *he goes to walk away but comes back* “Oh, and your dad has forgotten about your brother and is talking to a rubber duck.”

(and that’s it. he goes away. alucard does not come out of the room, but a labored and sad sounding sigh is heard)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(and off dante goes to the tv room, where the music committee has gathered. this committee consists of dante, laguna, kiros, ward, squall and rinoa. as dante enters, everyone is looking at laguna.)

Laguna: “Hey hey! So who’s gonna lead this group?”

Squall: “You.”

Laguna: “Me?? Why me?”

Rinoa: “No one else wanted to be the leader.”

Squall: “ESPECIALLY me.”

Kiros: “Ward says Kiros should lead because he’s way smarter than stupid Laguna!” *looks at ward* “Why thank you, Ward!”

Ward: *glares*

Laguna: “So we gotta have music in like…” *counts off on his fingers* “Four places! How we gonna manage that?”

Dante: “I just put in a top of the line sound system at the club. You won’t have to worry about music there.”

Laguna: “Hey hey! That’s great! That only leaves three places then!”

Kiros: “Ward is shocked you can do simple math.”

Rinoa: “I’m shocked Squall can be in the same room with me, since he’s such a jerk!”

Squall: “Whatever…you signed up for the same committee as *me*.”

Rinoa: “Why won’t you look at rings with me!?”

Dante: *rolls eyes* “Oh my god, I’m so glad I like men.”

Laguna: “Hey hey now! We can’t be fighting! We’re supposed to be planning music for the big party!”

Rinoa: *pouts* “Fine.”

Laguna: “So I was thinking I could get my Mickey Mouse CD player and we could bring that everywhere! It gets great sound! Plus if you press certain buttons, you can make Disney characters say stuff! Goofy is my favorite!”

Kiros: “…Ward says you are goofy.”

Squall: “…Whatever. That idea sucks.”

Rinoa: “What a big surprise! Squall thinks something sucks!”

Squall: *sigh*

Rinoa: “You must really not care about me if you don’t care that I’m going to break up with you!”

Laguna: “Hey hey! Uh, maybe we should split up! Rinoa, why don’t you go find some rockin’ tunes we could play?”

Rinoa: “Gladly!” *she stomps out*

Kiros: “…Ward says that was the smartest idea you ever had. That bitch was giving me a headache.” *pause* “Uh…says Ward.”

Squall: “Whatever…I’m not ready for marriage.”

Dante: “Then stop saying whatever and just tell her that. If she really loves you, she’ll understand. And if she doesn’t, you’d be crazy for marrying her at all.”

Squall: “Hmm…”

Laguna: “Anyway! About my Mickey Mouse CD player…”

Dante: “Look, how about you let me handle the sound system. You guys can get some music the girls like.”

Laguna: “Okay! Ooh! And we can get karaoke! That’s always a big hit!”

Kiros: “Ward says he’d like to hit you!”

(ward glares at kiros and the three of them leave.)

Squall: “…It’s not that I don’t love her. I guess I wanna get married. Someday.”

Dante: “And why can you tell me this and not her?”

Squall: “Whatever…you saw her yelling.”

Dante: “Grow a set already! Don’t let her force you into something you don’t want.”

Squall: *nods* “You’re right. I’ll have to talk to her.” *pause* “Tomorrow.”

(he walks out of the room)

Dante: *rolls eyes* “Whatever happened to no time like the present?”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, the presents group is meeting. rufus, algus, edgar, setzer, elena, and rude are all meeting in the tv room. and it seems rufus has taken over as the leader)

Rufus: “Okay, okay! That’s enough chit chat! This group has to come to order! Now, we are here to discuss some presents for the girls.”

Edgar: “Like jewelry?”

Elena: “No! That’s not personal enough!”

Rude: “…Shell has enough jewelry.”

Algus: “I saw some items in Rich and Pompous Weekly that would be perfect for such an occasion…”

Setzer: “I hope it’s not the pure silk blow-up doll.”

Edgar: “Whoever approved that item should be fired.”

Elena: “No! You guys! Nothing out of Rich and Pompous Weekly is going to be good enough!”

Algus: “But…it’s Rich and Pompous Weekly! How can it not be good enough!?”

Elena: “We can’t give them a typical present! These girls have been our friends for how many years now? Seven? Heck, they’ve been like family! Right, Rude?”

Rude: *nods* “Right.”

Elena: “So Rude and I were thinking…we should give them more personal gifts. Like a scrapbook. And a photo album. Stuff like that! I’m sure people in the other groups will have ideas too. But I thought we could work on stuff like the photo album. There are tons of photos lying around here that I bet they’d love to have!”

Rude: “That way they’ll have things to really remember us by.”

Rufus: “…That…is a great idea. All for it?”

(everyone raises their hand)

Rufus: “Great! Okay, so we should be off finding pictures and other stuff we think the girls would like to see.”

Algus: “What exactly is a scrapbook? It sounds like something a beggar chooses his clothes from.”

Elena: “I’ll explain it to you.”

(so elena starts explaining it to algus, and edgar and setzer start looking for photos. rude turns to rufus)

Rude: “Shell still hasn’t talked to me.”

Rufus: “She’s probably really upset…why don’t you go talk to her?”

Rude: “…Tried. …Can’t find her.”

Rufus: “Oh.” *pause* “Well don’t worry, you’ll see her tomorrow at the party.”

Rude: *sad sigh*

Rufus: “How come you wanted to do presents and not booze anyway?”

Rude: “Because…Shell always liked presents.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, lark and the girls are sequestered in lark’s room. lark is sitting on the bed. Ashley is pacing. shell is filing her nails)

Ashley: “…Do you really think this is the best thing to do?”

Lark: “You wanna go out there and be asked why we have to leave five million times?”

Shell: *sigh* “I feel bad not saying anything to Rude.”

Lark: “And I don’t feel bad? I feel bad about everything! Like it’s my fault!”

Ashley: “I feel bad too… I don’t wanna go.”

Lark: “Please.” *flops back on the bed* “You have no idea.”

(there’s a knock at the door. Ashley goes over)

Ashley: “Who is it?”

?????: “It’s Brady.”

Ashley: “Oh.”

(she opens the door and Brady comes in. Ashley quickly shuts the door behind them. Brady stands there and looks at all of them)

Brady: “Still hiding out?”

Shell: “Uh huh.”

Brady: “Why?”

Ashley: “Because…if we go out there, we’re just gonna have to face all their questions.”

Brady: “So? Won’t you have to face them at the party anyway?”

Girls: “……………”

Brady: “You don’t have too much time left. Shouldn’t you enjoy what you do have?”

Shell: “…I really should talk to Rude.”

Ashley: “…I was surprised Seifer looked so crushed yesterday.”

Brady: *looks at lark* “Sweetie?”

Lark: “You guys can go if you want. I can’t.”

Shell: “Why?”

Lark: “…Because.” *pause* “I just can’t.”

(Brady opens the door. Ashley and shell both look back at lark before they silently leave. Brady closes the door behind them)

Brady: “Look. I know you’re more upset than I can possibly understand. But you have to go out there and be with your friends. You’ll regret it later if you don’t.”

Lark: “…I know. But I can’t do it. I just can’t face them. Yesterday was bad enough.”

Brady: “You think tomorrow will be any easier? It’s going to happen. There’s nothing you can do to stop it. So you might as well face it. I know it’s hard. But you gotta do it.”

(Brady leaves the room. with a sigh, lark rolls over onto her side)

Lark: “…I can’t even find the strength to stand up.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(we go next to the food committee, who is standing in franswa’s newly completed restaurant. it looks fantastic. they are all looking around in awe. the group consists of franswa, zell, hugh, seifer, zidane, bryatt, steiner and vivi)

Zidane: “Wow…this is some swanky place.”

Steiner: “Quite impressive!”

Zell: “It looks awesome!”

Franswa: *in awe* “…Wow. I can’t believe this is mine…”

Bryatt: “Who designed this place? It’s gorgeous!”

Franswa: “Hugh did.”

Hugh: “I did not!”

Franswa: “Yes you did! Suck it up and take credit!”

Hugh: “It was mostly your idea! You take credit!”

Steiner: “Whoever did it should be proud! Room design is no easy task!”

Zidane: “Like you would know. You don’t even dress yourself.”

Steiner: “My armor is for protection! And I refuse to be lectured on my wardrobe choices by a slave!”

Seifer: “Could we talk about the food now?”

Zell: “Sure! Now who wants to be in charge? Since he’s a great chef, I nominate Franswa!”

Franswa: “And I nominate you.”

Zell: “Me? Why me?”

Franswa: *looking around the place* “Because I have enough to worry about.”

Seifer: “You want chicken wuss to lead? He’s an idiot!”

Zell: “You’re an idiot!”

Bryatt: “We don’t have time to fight! Zell, just lead. Seifer, just shut up.”

Seifer: *frowns* “My girlfriend is leaving me forever! Don’t you see I’m upset?!”

Zell: “You were lucky to have a girlfriend at all.”

Seifer: “Hey! I—“

Bryatt: “Guys! Please!” *mutters* “…Zell’s right by the way…”

Zell: “Anyway, so I was looking at the times we set up for all the different places we’ll be going, and it looks like we’ll be having breakfast here, lunch at the club, dinner at the bar and then late night snacks back at the ramble room.”

Zidane: “That’s a lot of food.”

Hugh: “Can you manage all that, cousin?”

Franswa: “No! Are you kidding me? I can manage a breakfast for everybody, but that’s about it. The rest of it is going to have to be catered.”

Vivi: “Um, what about a cake?”

Steiner: “Master Vivi is right! There should be a cake as well!”

Zell: “Yeah! How could I forget dessert? That’s my favorite part!”

Franswa: “Well, if I start right now I can make the cake myself.”

Bryatt: “Maybe we should split up then.”

Zell: “Yeah! Franswa and I will deal with breakfast, Seifer and Hugh can deal with lunch, Zidane and Bryatt can do dinner, and Vivi and Steiner can handle the snacks!”

Zidane: “Sounds like a plan.”

Franswa: “I wonder if the kitchen is already stocked…”

Zell: “Let’s get started!”

(so everybody but zell and franswa leave. franswa practically runs to the kitchen, and zell follows. franswa is opening up the fridge and cabinets looking for ingredients)

Franswa: “Fully stocked! I don’t believe it!”

Zell: “Rufus and Algus think of everything!”

Franswa: “What should I make for breakfast? A little of everything, right? Pancakes, waffles, eggs, hash browns…”

Zell: “And a white cake with chocolate filling!”

Franswa: “Right! The cake!” *checks cabinet* “Wow. This is top of the line cookware!”

Zell: “’Course it is! You’re a top of the line kinda chef now!”

Franswa: *nervously* “I can’t believe this is all happening…what if I can’t pull it off?”

Zell: “What are you talking about? Of course you can pull it off!”

Franswa: “I’ve never run my own restaurant before…I’ll have other people cooking with me. What do I tell them? Do I tell them what to do?”

Zell: “Yeah!”

Franswa: “What if they don’t like me? What if the food’s bad? What if no one likes it? What if a critic comes and hates it, and then everybody reads about how bad it is and nobody comes??”

Zell: “Would you stop? That is not gonna happen! You’re a great cook!”

Franswa: “Yeah, at home in my own kitchen. But my own restaurant…?”

Zell: “You’ll be fine, okay? Trust me! Now let’s get to baking that cake!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(and finally we go to the last committee, the guest committee. there are only four people here, reeve, tseng, cloud and zack. looks like reeve has put himself in charge)

Reeve: “I’ve made laminated copies for everyone on who they’re calling. Each list contains a list of names and phone numbers. The details of the party are also printed there for your reference.”

Zack: “Where’d you find the time to do this?”

Reeve: “Last night.” *glares at tseng* “Not like I had anything else to do.”

Tseng: *rolls eyes*

Cloud: *uncomfortable* “I guess we should get on the phones then.”

Reeve: “This is last minute enough as it is.”

(so cloud and zack take their lists and sit down at the other end of the room to start calling. reeve sits down, looks at his list, and starts dialing. tseng just sits there and looks at reeve)

Tseng: “How long is this going to go on for?”

Reeve: “I’m sorry, I’m on the phone right now.”

Tseng: *whispers harshly* “What do you want me to say, Reeve? Okay! Let’s have another child right now? That would be a lie! You want me to not be honest with you?”

Reeve: *on the phone* “Bria! Hi! How are you? …………Great! Look, I don’t know if you already heard about what happened…”

Tseng: “Grr…”

(meanwhile, across the room…)

Zack: “I’ve been thinking…maybe the subjects we chose to focus on were abnormalities.”

Cloud: “*Obviously*.”

Zack: “I mean look at you! You were as bad as them, and you’re totally normal!”

Cloud: “But maybe I’m the exception.”

Zack: “Maybe Rudy and Serge need more help. More than Koudelka’s center can give them.”

Cloud: “I think they need more help than anyone can give them.”

Zack: “We need to do more research.”

Cloud: “I don’t know, Zack. Maybe there’s more luck involved in treating this problem than anything medical. There may be no help for Serge and Rudy.”

Zack: “They said the same thing about you. But I didn’t give up!”

Cloud: *pause* “…I know you’re really committed to this. …But I just don’t know.” *looks down at his list* “I better get calling. I’m glad Aeris isn’t invited.”

(he picks up the phone and starts dialing. zack sighs sadly, shakes his head, and then begins to do the same.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, yuffie, locke and shadow are at the party store getting decorations. shadow is standing there looking dead on his feet. yuffie is chasing locke around with some streamers)

Yuffie: “Haha! The streamers are gonna get you!”

Locke: “Come on! Get those things away from me!”

Yuffie: “What, the crepe paper streamers gonna kill you or something?”

Locke: “You could strangle someone with those! …Maybe. Yeah! Sure you could! Death by streamers!”

Yuffie: *laughs* “You’re ridiculous!”

Locke: “Don’t we need some balloons or something?”

Yuffie: “Yeah! Of course! I’ll get them. You stay right here! And don’t accidentally strangle yourself with the streamers!”

(she goes off to a different aisle. locke watches her go with an obviously smitten look on his face)

Locke: “…She’s just full of energy.”

Shadow: “…………………”

(locke turns to shadow looking confused)

Locke: “What’s the matter with you? You’re not being yourself at all! I mean the automatic doors opened for you at the front of the store and you didn’t say anything about how ‘they’ knew you were here! What’s up?”

Shadow: “…There is no ‘they’. I made all that up. I’m a total phony. I’m a fraud.”

Locke: “……Well I already knew all that, but what made you drop the act? Get hit on the head or something?”

Shadow: “I’m no mysterious ninja. And I’ll never be.”

Locke: “Aw, come on! Don’t say that! You…you’re good at fighting…and stuff.” *pause* “You got the outfits! You got plenty of those! Those scream mysterious ninja!”

Shadow: “Don’t try and make me feel better. You think I’m crazy!”

Locke: *looooooong pause* “I don’t think you’re crazy.”

Shadow: “Liar! I could’ve drove a truck through that pause!”

Locke: “Okay, so maybe a little. But I just don’t get it! You’re a talented ninja, why you gotta go and be all…weird?”

Shadow: “Because! That’s what makes me cool! No one wants to see a ninja who sits around on the couch watching TV!”

Locke: “Yuffie’s a ninja. And she watches TV.”

Shadow: “She’s a ninja? She doesn’t even wear a mask!”

Locke: “I don’t think that’s required or anything.”

Shadow: *distraught* “It’s all falling apart!”

(yuffie returns with the balloons in hand)

Yuffie: “Got ‘em! What’d I miss?”

Locke: “Not much. Just trying to help my friend through an identity crisis.”

Shadow: “This mask itches like you wouldn’t believe!”

Yuffie: “If we’re all set, let’s get out of here and go decorate!”

(she leads the way towards the register. locke and shadow both hang back a moment)

Locke: “…Do you think she likes me? Even just a little bit?”

Shadow: “And it makes you sweat like you wouldn’t believe!”

Locke: “So then take it off! Who says you need it?”

(shadow braces himself a moment, then he whips off the mask with a flourish)

Locke: “Oh. So that’s what you look like.”

Shadow: “Now what?”

Locke: “What am I, your mentor? I’ve got my own stuff to deal with! Now come on. Let’s get out of here.” *they start walking* “So you think she likes me?”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, cid, barret and red are walking by the therapy center)

Barret: “Yo! Dat damn distributer be back down the street in the other damn direction! We ain’t got time to visit yo’ mean ass girlfriend!”

Cid: “#$%@#$%^$#%@#$%%^!”

Barret and Red: *blink blink*

Red: *mutters* “That was harsh even for him.”

(they come up to the center where edward is waiting outside)

Edward: “About time you showed up! I’ve been here since 4 am!”

(cid ignores him and he, barret and red go inside)

Edward: “You can’t go in there!! She still won’t let us!!”

(but cid and the others go right up to the desk. koudelka is sitting there looking at him, tapping a pen)

Koudelka: “You’re still banned.”

Cid: “I know. I’m not here about me. I’m—“

Koudelka: “About the party? I already got a call about it.”

Cid: “That was fast.” *pause* “So…you gonna go?”

Koudelka: “I guess. Yuri’s coming too…and he’s bringing his date.”

Cid: *snort* “Oh. That is gonna be good.”

Koudelka: “You can leave now.”

Cid: “Koudelka…I’m really, really sorry.”

Koudelka: “I know you are.”

Cid: “I will never fight Edward again. No matter how much of an ass he is.”

Koudelka: “Easier said than done. I’m not going to forgive either of you until I see some kind of proof that you can get along.”

Cid: “Proof?”

Koudelka: “Why don’t you invite him to the party? They’ll be plenty of booze there, I’m sure—“

Barret: “Damn right! We goin’ to pick up the booze right now!”

Koudelka: “…I know. Anyway, if you two can control yourselves in that kind of environment, I’ll forgive you.”

Cid: “You’re on!”

(so he and the others go back outside. cid goes over to edward)

Cid: “Hey.”

Edward: “I’m not talking to you!”

Cid: “Koudelka says she’ll forgive us.”

Edward: “Really?”

Cid: “Once she can trust us not to fight each other anymore.”

Edward: “I knew it! Dammit! There’s always some kinda catch with her!”

Cid: “Anyway, we’re havin’ a big party tomorrow to honor some friends of mine. She said if we get through the party without killing each other, she’ll believe us.”

Edward: “Fine! When’s the party?”

Cid: “It’s an all day kinda thing. Why don’t you show up at the Hot Package around 12?”

Edward: *gulp* “The Hot Package?”

Cid: “…You know the joint?”

Edward: “Uh…I might have passed it once or twice.”

Cid: “Then I’ll see ya there.” *mutters to himself* “$#@#%^&$#.”

(they leave. edward looks really nervous)

Edward: “Oh, great. There’s gonna be a ton of people at this party! I can’t let them know I’m a stripper!!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, shell walks into her room to find rude going through a box of stuff)

Shell: “…Hi, Rude.”

(rude quickly shoves the box out of sight, turns around and stands up)

Rude: “Shell.”

Shell: *not looking at him* “Sorry I haven’t been… It’s been really hard.”

Rude: “…I know. Me too.”

Shell: “You…gonna get me a going away gift?”

Rude: “The best.”

(then shell just runs up to him and hugs him really tight. he hugs her right back)

Shell: “I didn’t even wanna come here, and now I don’t wanna go!”

Rude: “I wish you didn’t have to.”

Shell: “……I’m gonna miss you, Rude. Are you…are you going to miss me?”

Rude: *softly* “You have no idea.”

Shell: *small smile* “…That’s what I thought, Rude. …That’s what I thought.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, quistis and selphie are shopping. quistis is stealing stuff and putting it under the winter jacket she’s wearing)

Selphie: “Aw! Look at these kitty plates! Are you sure we can’t get them?”

Quistis: *sweating a lot* “Yes. Very.”

Selphie: “Aren’t you hot in here? Why are you wearing a coat?”

Quistis: “I get cold reaaaaaaaaaaaally easily.” *steals more stuff*

Selphie: “Hm…well what about kitty head glitter?”

Quistis: “No, that’s scary.”

Selphie: “You hate everything! You’re such a big meanie!”

(and with that selphie gives quistis a light hit in the chest area. and there’s a weird crunching sound)

Selphie: *frowns* “What was that?”

Quistis: *sweats more* “Nothing. I don’t have a piñata under my jacket or anything.”

(selphie looks skeptical. but then she turns away. quistis breathes a sigh of relief. but then selphie whirls around, grabs the zipper for quistis’ jacket and yanks it down. tons of stuff falls out of the jacket, several piñata’s included. selphie gasps in shock)

Selphie: “Omg! There really *is* a piñata under your jacket!”

Quistis: *fakely* “Omg! How did that get in there?”

Selphie: “You were trying to steal this stuff, weren’t you?”

Quistis: *shifty eyes* “Uh…”

Selphie: “I bet you’ve stolen other stuff too, haven’t you?! It would certainly explain why you wore a ski parka to the gift shop on the beach! Or why you wore a ten gallon hat to Target!”

Quistis: *struggling* “…………Okay, fine! I steal! I steal all the time! I steal everything! My room is full of stuff I stole! The chair, Garden! The sound system, some concert I went to! The towels – every hotel I’ve ever been to!”

Selphie: *gasp*

Quistis: “I don’t know what took you so long to catch on! They basically staged an intervention for me that one time! And then I got arrested with all of you for stealing that necklace!”

Selphie: “I thought that was an accident!”

Quistis: “No! I clearly have a problem! Now help me pick up this stuff and help me shove it back under my coat!”

(selphie goes to help her, but then she stops and looks stern)

Selphie: “I don’t think so! I’m not as dumb as I look, you know! We’re going to have to deal with this later! Now you go to the car and wait for me! I’ll get the rest of the stuff we need.”

Quistis: “Fine.” *leaves*

Selphie: *shakes her head* “I can’t believe it. There were just no signs…”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, reno, irvine, trini and sunshine are at the bar looking through the liquor and counting. trini and sunshine are on one side of the bar, and reno and irvine are at the opposite end)

Irvine: “…Dude…I gotta problem.”

Reno: “This the kinda problem you really should talk to a doctor about?”

Irvine: “No! Nothin’ like that!” *pause* “I really like this girl.”

Reno: “Okay… What’s the problem? She a nun or something?”

Irvine: “Hell no! No!” *softly* “I mean I *really* like her.”

Reno: “Okay…”

Irvine: “Like her as in I don’t wanna see anybody else kinda like her.”

Reno: *gasp* “Really?”

Irvine: *nods sheepishly*

Reno: “Why Irvine Columbus Kinneas! I thought I’d never see the day! Who is she?”

Irvine: *pause* “Your sister!”

Reno: *yells* “My sister?!”

Irvine: “Shush! Shut your damn mouth! I think the dead heard you!”

Reno: *quieter* “Sorry. But I just can’t believe that out of every girl on the planet you wanna commit to the only girl who doesn’t want commitment!”

Irvine: “I know. Now I know how the girl feels. What am I gonna do?”

Reno: “Have you tried talkin’ to her? Maybe she’s willing to give it a try.”

Irvine: “I can’t! I mean, I wanna be with only her, but…it’s kinda embarrassing! I’m Irvine! I can’t settle down with one girl! I got a reputation at stake here!”

Reno: “It’s not like you’re getting married! If you like her that much, go for it! Who cares what other people think? Life’s all about making yourself happy, right?”

Irvine: *nods* “You’re right. I’ve gotta get up the guts to tell her how I feel.”

Trini: *calls* “Irvine! Can you come help me move this box of tequila?”

Irvine: *gulp* “Just not now.” *to her* “Comin!”

(he goes over to trini. and then sunshine comes over to reno. he pretends to act really busy)

Sunshine: “Hey.”

Reno: “Oh, hey! How’s it going?”

Sunshine: “About the other day…”

Reno: “That? I forgot about that already! I’ve got a terrible memory. I’m still deciding if it’s the drugs or the booze.”

Sunshine: “Are you worried about me seeing other men or something?”

Reno: “No!” *pause* “…Well. Maybe kind of.”

Sunshine: “Why?”

Reno: “See! That’s the problem! I don’t know! I have no idea why I did that! I just couldn’t help myself!”

(sunshine frowns, thinking for a moment)

Sunshine: “There must be a way to solve this.”

(and with that she walks back over to where trini and irvine are. reno turns back to the liquor bottles)

Reno: “Solve this? What am I, some kinda puzzle?”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, tifa, richter, auron and vincent are in the tv room sorting out all the stuff they purchased to decorate)

Richter: “I know! I know why you’re mad at me! You’re mad about the wedding!”

Tifa: “Wow! And it only took you two hours to guess! And most of those guesses had to do with me being mad at you for not being dedicated enough to fighting vampires!”

Richter: “That’s a very valid reason to be angry.”

Tifa: “Yes I’m mad about the wedding! You refuse to compromise! Isn’t that the most important thing in a relationship? Compromise?”

Richter: “You mean after being protected from vampires?”

Tifa: “Argh!”

Richter: “Yes, yes! Of course it’s important! What are we not compromising on?”

Tifa: “The guest list? Remember?”

Richter: “Of course I remember! Those people are all special to me! I can’t possibly cut anyone!”

Tifa: “Oh really? Name them then.”

Richter: “All 800 of them?”

Tifa: “Yes. All of them.”

Richter: “Fine! Gladly! First my cousins! There’s Nicholas, Stacie, Floyd, Lydia, Daniel, Donald, David, Claudia, Alexander, Turner, Anderson, Jean, Mary, Wilma, Lisa, Mark, Bart, Tina, Stephen, Phillip, Roseanne, Paul, Brady, Eliot, Eric, Jasmine, Holly, Henry, Dylan and Denise! And my great aunts and uncles! Lynn, Jerome, Harry, Wilson, Sandra, Belinda, Aaron, Ashley, Alan, Susan, Andrew, Joshua…”

(he keeps going. vincent and auron exchange a look)

Vincent: “I think Tifa may be in for more than she bargained for.”

(Brady comes in. he goes over to vincent and auron)

Brady: “Hi.”

Auron: “Hello, Brady. How are you?”

Brady: “I’m okay. Lark’s a mess though.”

Vincent: “I thought she might be taking it especially hard.”

Brady: “I tried to convince her to come and spend time with everybody, but I don’t know if she’ll listen.”

Auron: “A heavy heart often controls the body.”

Vincent: “Hopefully she will find the strength.”

Brady: “I hope so. How’s the party coming?”

Vincent: “Well. We’re doing decorations.”

Brady: “…And what is Richter doing?”

Richter: “And now my grandfather’s cousins! Victoria, April, Elizabeth, Theodore, Edgar, Veronica, Quentin, Chloe, George, Bernice, Richard…”

Auron: “It’s best not to ask.”

Vincent: “If you speak to Lark again, please tell her we want to see her.”

Auron: “She must be worried we’ll give her a hard time. I cannot speak for everyone, but Vincent and I totally understand.”

Brady: “That’s part of the problem…” *looks around* “You-know-who not with you?”

Vincent: “You-know-who?”

Auron: “You must mean Sephiroth. No. He is not here. He has taken the news rather badly.”

Vincent: *frowns at auron* “I would have rather kept that information private.”

Auron: “Oh. My apologies.”

Brady: “I figured as much. Don’t worry, I won’t tell Lark.” *pause* “Will he be at the party?”

Auron: *goes to speak*

Vincent: “Of course he will.”

Brady: “Good.” *pause* “I know she’ll…wanna see him.” *sigh* “Okay, I’ve got stuff to do. See you later.”

Auron: “Good-bye.”

(Brady leaves. vincent looks rather cranky now. he goes back to sorting the decorations rather violently)

Auron: “So Sephiroth assured you he’d be at the party? Really?”

Vincent: “He’ll be there.”

Auron: “…I can’t wait to see him.”

Richter: “And now my great-grandfather’s cousins!”

Tifa: “Oh, come ON!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(and then there are hugh and seifer, who are coming out of a catering company)

Hugh: “That was simple enough. I think even my cousin will be quite happy with the food.”

Seifer: *sad sigh*

Hugh: “Troubles?”

Seifer: “Yeah, you could say that.”

Hugh: “Family? My family sent me away to live with my extended family. And I’m basically dirt to them.”

Seifer: “No, I’m an orphan.”

Hugh: “Oh.” *pause* “Girl troubles then? My girlfriend dumped me for the stupidest reason. She’ll be sorry when I slay Dracula!”

Seifer: “At least your girlfriend isn’t gone forever! Mine has to go back to the stupid world she comes from! And I’m never gonna see her again!”

Hugh: “Oh.” *pause* “That is bad.”

Seifer: “She’s the most beautiful girl in the world! We’ve been together for like seven years! That’s like almost forever! And I haven’t even done anything nice for her ever!”

Hugh: “I’m sorry for your loss. It must be hard.”

Seifer: “I don’t know what I’m gonna do without her!” *starts crying*

Hugh: *totally looks awkward* “Um…please don’t cry.”

Seifer: “If you still love your girlfriend you gotta fight for her! Tell her how you feel! Use the time you got! I wish I did!”

(he trails off crying again. hugh frowns and looks thoughtful)

Hugh: *sighs softly* “…Wiser words were never spoken.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, rufus and algus are outside on the porch taking a little break. lloyd is sneaking around in the bushes nearby listening)

Rufus: “Putting all these pictures together sure is bringing back a lot of memories…”

Algus: “And I’m quite enjoying putting the scrapbook together. Using scissors is rather fun!”

Rufus: *blink blink* “You’ve never used scissors before?”

Algus: “Why would I have to? I’ve always had someone to use them for me.”

Rufus: “What about glue?”

Algus: “Oh, a few times. We used to have ‘Leave Your Servant At Home Day’ at school. I always really hated that day.”

Rufus: “Oh! I’ve solved our restaurant staff problem! I forgot to tell you!”

Algus: “You’re on top of things as always, Rufus! What is the solution?”

Rufus: “I called the temp agency in town! I told them to get some people with restaurant experience for tomorrow. I don’t care who shows up at this point, as long as we have a staff! We’ll worry about permanent people later.”

Algus: “Excellent idea, Rufus!”

Rufus: “I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. And apparently the owner knows me, or something. I don’t know from where.”

Algus: “You are rather famous!”

Rufus: “I prefer that to infamous!”

(they both laugh. lloyd goes tearing back across the street to the condo. inside, nemesis and nightmare are playing mario party for gamecube)

Nightmare: “This game bores Nightmare! All you do is press this ‘A’ button!”

Nemesis: “STARS!”

Lloyd: “Guess what?? Unlike you losers I actually found out something during my spying time!”

Nightmare: “Nightmare is too large to hide in bushes!”

Nemesis: “STARS!”

Lloyd: “I’m gonna look in the phone book for the temp agency! Rufus said he was gonna use people from there for the restaurant! Once he sees how awesome we are, he’ll have to hire us!”

Nightmare: *looking at the tv* “Nightmare doesn’t understand how the computer racks up so many coins when it constantly loses at mini-games!”

Nemesis: *angry* “STARS!”

Lloyd: *whines* “You’re not listening to me!”

Nightmare: “And Bowser not really that mean in real life! This game exaggerates!”

Nemesis: *nods* “STARS!”

Lloyd: “Argh! I’m calling the agency!”

(so he pulls out the phone book and finds the only temp agency in town – Jake’s Quick Fixes. he dials the number)

????: “Jake’s Quick Fixes, for all your employment needs! This is Jake!”

Lloyd: “Hi! My friends and I are looking for some waiter jobs and we were hoping you could help us! We have a ton of experience!”

Jake’s voice: “Okay, so you’re looking for restaurant work?” *a dog barks in the background* “I might have something actually…when do you want to start?”

Lloyd: “As soon as possible!!”

Jake’s voice: “There’s this event tomorrow actually. This guy I used to know is throwing a party – he never could remember my name. Anyway, I wouldn’t normally assign people I didn’t get to interview, but I’m kinda in a bind here ‘cause he wants a lot of people. How many are you?”

Lloyd: “Three!”

Jake’s voice: “Okay, good…and your names?”

Lloyd: “Uh…is the guy who’s throwing the party going to know our names before we get there?”

Jake’s voice: “Um, yeah. I can’t send nameless people to a job. That wouldn’t make me look good.”

Lloyd: “Of course not! Just wondering! Um, my name is, uh, Sparta! Sparta…Jones! And my friends are…uh…” *looks at nemesis* “Stars McCoy and…uh…” *looks at nightmare* “Uh…Shiny…uh…Shiny Deshinyarmor!”

Jake’s voice: *long pause* “Uh……………………………okay. So that’s Sparta Jones, Stars McCoy and Shiny Deshinyarmor?”

Lloyd: “That’s us! We’re the best of friends!”

Jake’s voice: *mutters* “Weird. Okay, Sparta, show up tomorrow at 8 am. Give me your email and I’ll send you directions.”

Lloyd: “Sure! It’s Neloangelorulz at yahoo dot com. Rules is spelled with a z.”

Jake’s voice: “……Okay. I’ll be at the party too, so don’t make me look bad.”

Lloyd: “That’s unpossible!”

Jake’s voice: “…Oh boy.”

(he hangs up.)

Lloyd: “Awesome! I did it! I am awesome!”

(lloyd also hangs up, but he misses putting the phone back right and it falls to the floor and hits his foot.)

Lloyd: *picks up phone* “Ow! Stupid phone!” *throws the phone against the wall and breaks it* “Dammit!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back over at the castle, it seems alucard is still hiding in his room. d comes over holding the phone)

D: “Alucard? There’s a phone call for you. He says his name is Tseng…? Should I take a message for you?”

(there’s a pause. then alucard cracks the door open and sticks his hand out, gesturing that he wants the phone. d hands it to him and alucard shuts the door again.)

Alucard: “Hello?”

Tseng: “Hi, Alucard. Sorry I called your house. I tried your cell, but it just went straight to voicemail.”

Alucard: “It’s dead just like my father is to me!”

Tseng: “…Okay, um I was just calling to invite you to the party tomorrow. Did Dante tell you about it?”

Alucard: “…A little.”

Tseng: “Well its starts at 9 at Franswa’s new restaurant. I know the daytime isn’t the best time for you, so if you want to show up later that’s okay. We’ll be at your club starting at 12 and then Uncle Shenanigans after that. Or you can just come to the ramble room after 10 tomorrow night.”

Alucard: “…Thank you. I’ll certainly…try and make an appearance.”

Tseng: *pause* “…Everything okay? You sound kinda…down.”

Alucard: “I’m just fine, thanks for asking. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

(he hangs up and goes back over to the door. he cracks it open to find d still standing there. d smiles at him hopefully. alucard thrusts the phone out at him)

Alucard: “Here.” *goes to close the door*

D: “Alucard! I was hoping you could help me with dad! I can’t find him! Last I saw he was repeatedly walking into a door. Do you think he’s okay?”

Alucard: “I’m sure daddy’s favorite can handle it.”

(And with that he shuts the door again.)

D: *frowns* “I always wanted a brother. …I guess I just assumed you felt the same way.”

(he walks away sadly. and once again a painful sigh can be heard from inside alucard’s room)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back in loser land, scarlet is sitting alone in the kitchen, stirring a cup of tea. she looks uneasy. seymour comes in, sighs dramatically and joins her at the table. she doesn’t look at him.)

Seymour: “………So what happened?”

Scarlet: “Nothing! It was a mistake! I was drunk, really drunk!”

Seymour: “That’s not how Nida tells it.”

Scarlet: “Oh god.”

Seymour: “And he’s been telling *everyone*

Scarlet: “Oh god.”

Seymour: “And I mean *everyone*.”

Scarlet: “Okay, that’s enough! I don’t wanna hear about it anymore! What happened with you and your lover boy last night?”

Seymour *frowns* “Nothing.”

Scarlet: “Nothing?”

Seymour: “No! Not even a kiss! And I even sprang for a hotel room!”

Scarlet: “Well…did you try?”

Seymour: “Are you kidding! And he was dodging me left and right!”

Scarlet: “Why don’t you just tell him?”

Seymour: *mutters* “I can’t do that.”

Scarlet: “Because you’re scared.”

Seymour: “Do you blame me? I don’t think I’ve even gotten him to like me yet!”

Scarlet: “You can’t keep hiding it forever.”

Seymour: “It’s not that simple! I can’t just tell Kuja that I love him!

Scarlet: *looks past seymour with wide eyes* “…I think you just did.”

(horrified, seymour whips around to find kuja standing behind him looking shocked. seymour jumps to his feet)

Seymour: “Kuja!” *laughs weakly* “Heh heh, funny joke, right?”

Kuja: “…I have to inspect my pores.”

(he runs off. seymour looks like he’s at a loss)

Seymour: “What did I just do?!”

Scarlet: “Go after him!”

Seymour: “But—“

Scarlet: “Stop making excuses, and just do it!”

(seymour hesitates another moment, but he finally does do just that)

Scarlet: *sigh* “Wish I hadn’t told Nida that same thing last night.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to bryatt and zidane, they are leaving a catering place. zidane is smiling and looking upbeat. bryatt, however, does not look happy and is walking faster than zidane is.)

Zidane: “I think we picked a pretty good menu! Think the girls are gonna enjoy the party?”

Bryatt: “It’ll probably be kind of hard considering they’re not too happy about leaving.”

Zidane: *frowns* “Yeah…I’m pretty bummed about that myself. I remember the first time I came here. Algus wasn’t here yet. Life was pretty sweet.”

Bryatt: *rolls his eyes*

Zidane: “I saw that! Are you still pissed at me about my job?”

Bryatt: “It’s not a job, Zidane.” *pause* “You don’t even *like* working for Algus.”

Zidane: “Damn right I don’t!”

Bryatt: “Then *what* is the problem?!”

Zidane: *sigh* “You’re not gonna give up on this, are you.”

Bryatt: “No.” *stops and looks at him* “Even if you’ve given up on yourself.”

(he starts to walk away again. zidane just stands there a moment)

Zidane: *mutters* “I haven’t…………” *frown*

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to yuffie, locke and shadow, they are in the ramble room decorating and getting ready for the party. well, yuffie and locke are decorating. shadow is sitting on the couch moping. interceptor is sitting at his feet looking up at him and making sad noises)

Yuffie: “Aw! Why don’t you pet him? He’s so cute!”

Locke: “No he’s not. He’s deadly! Didn’t he win the meanest puppy contest or something, Shadow?”

Shadow: *dully* “No. It was the cutest puppy contest. Who could resist those eyes?” *sighs sadly and pets interceptor*

(yuffie and locke look at each other, shrug and keep decorating)

Locke: “I hope everybody likes the decorations!”

Yuffie: “They better! And if they don’t, they can deal with me!”

Locke: “Whoa there, tough girl! They’re just a couple of paper things and balloons!”

Yuffie: “Doesn’t matter! I picked it out! They should like it!”

(all of the sudden twilight enters the room. he looks annoyed. opal follows close behind him, wincing)

Twilight: “Ah ha! I knew it! They’re setting up for the party! You lied to me, Opal! You said the committees didn’t work out!”

Yuffie: “Sure they did! We’re the decorations committee!”

Twilight: *to opal* “So how come we didn’t join one?! I kinda sometimes like the girls! …Mostly ‘cause I have to.”

Opal: “Um…I did join a committee.”

Twilight: “You did?! Which one??”

Opal: “The…keep Twilight busy committee.”

Twilight: “What?! Keep me busy?! Opal! How could you?!”

Opal: “Oh, Twilight! No one wanted you to ruin anything! That’s all!”

Twilight: “Ruin anything? Well I’ll show them!”

(he grabs some balloons and starts blowing them up)

Twilight: “See! I’m doing! I’m a doer! I’m better than this guy!” *points to shadow*

Opal: “Okay, Twilight.”

Twilight: “What’s this loser doing? Sitting on his ass? He doesn’t look like a productive committee member!”

Opal: “Twilight, be nice…”

Twilight: “I don’t see him contributing to society! He looks like a bum to me! A no good bum!”

Shadow: *stands up and bursts into tears* “He’s right! He’s so right!”

(he runs out crying. interceptor barks and runs after him. everyone else in the room looks shocked, twilight included)

Twilight: “…Even I didn’t expect *that* to happen.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, Ashley enters seifer’s room to find him curled up on his bed, cuddling a stuffed animal)

Ashley: “…I thought I’d find you here.”

Seifer: “…Ashley?”

Ashley: “Hey.”

Seifer: “…Hi.”

(Ashley sighs and comes over to sit next to him)

Ashley: “…I’m sorry. I should have come to talk to you before. I just—“

Seifer: “What are you sorry about? I’m the one who should be sorry! In all the time we’ve been together I’ve never done anything really nice for you! I never did anything romantic, never gave you a nice gift, I never even really told you that I loved you! And no matter how hard I try I still suck in bed!”

Ashley: “Well…you’re enthusiastic!”

Seifer: “Now you’re going away forever! And I’ll never see you again! And I’ll never get to do any of the things I should have done! Like buy you flowers! Or candy! Or jewelry! Or one of those stuffed animals that has ‘I love you’ printed on it! Or one of those stupid talking bears that used to be popular! Or some kind of pet! Or—“

(he goes on and on. Ashley just puts her arms around him and rests her head on his shoulder, smiling and listening…)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back to loser land, scarlet is moping on the couch now. heidegger and stinky are playing tiddly winks)

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! My fat fingers make playing difficult!”

(seymour enters in a huff)

Seymour: “Great! He won’t talk to me now! I’ve ruined it! I’ve ruined everything!”

Scarlet: “Calm down. It could be worse.”

Nida: *enters* “I just got off the phone with my mom! I told her everything, Scarlet! She said she’s so proud of me!”

Scarlet: *to seymour* “…See?”

(seymour leaves. there’s a knock at the door. of course, no one notices)

Nida: “Let’s go to the movies tonight, Scarlet!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I’m banned from the movies! I’m too fat to sit in the chair! Gya haa haa!”

Nida: “Was I inviting you, fat ass? No! I was inviting Scarlet!”

(there’s another knock at the door.)

Scarlet: *hand to her head* “Look, Nida…”

(before she can continue lucretia enters, looking rather annoyed)

Lucretia: “Does anyone ever hear the door in this place?”

(she opens the door. it’s tseng. both of them freeze)

Tseng: “…Lucretia?”

Lucretia: “Oh. Um, hello, Tseng.”

Tseng: “You…uh…you’re…here, huh.”

Lucretia: “Yes…yes…just, you know, what brings you here?”

Tseng: “Um, bad news actually. I came to invite you guys to a party.”

Nida: “A party! That’s not bad news! That’s great news!”

Tseng: “The bad news is what the party’s for.” *big sigh* “It’s a long story, but basically the ramble girls have to leave and they won’t be able to come back. So it’s basically a good-bye party.”

(everyone gasps in shock)

Lucretia: “Oh no! How awful!”

Nida: “Awesome! I thought they’d never leave!”

Tseng: *glares at him* “Anyway, not all of you are *really* invited to the party, but we knew you’d show up anyway. As you always do.”

Heidegger: “We’re good at that! Gya haa haa!”

Tseng: “Oh, and there’s gonna be food, so you’ll have to keep Heidegger in check.”

Scarlet: “I knew that muzzle we bought at the pet store would come in handy.”

Tseng: “Party starts at 9 am at Franswa’s new restaurant.”

Lucretia: “I will see you there.”

Tseng: “Good.” *pause* “…Guess I’ll see you then.”

(he leaves. lucretia shuts the door.)

Scarlet: “I can’t believe they’re leaving forever…”

Heidegger: “Wait till Hojo finds out! Gya haa haa!”

Nida: “Well I’m happy! The girls who hate me are leaving, *and* I had sex with Scarlet!”

Scarlet: *hand to her head* “Ugh…”

(lucretia starts to walk away, but there is another knock on the door. looking confused she turns around and answers it again. she’s blocking the door so no one else can see who it is)

Lucretia: “Um, hello.”

?????: “Hello, ma’am…does Scarlet still live here?”

Lucretia: “Yes…she’s right over there.” *points to scarlet*

Scarlet: *stands up in confusion* “Huh? Is that a cop? Because I paid that fine!”

(lucretia then steps aside, and scarlet can’t help but gasp. it’s not a cop. it’s trent varsity.)

Scarlet: *jaw drops* “Trent?!”

Nida: *frowns*

Trent: “Scarlet!” *runs over and hugs her* “I’ve missed you so much! I came all the way here to tell you something! Something very important!”

Scarlet: “Did you make your fortune back?”

Trent: “No! I’ve been living with the penguins, actually. It’s been fascinating! But in all that lonely, frozen time I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about how I still love you, Scarlet.”

Scarlet: *eyes widen* “What?!”

Nida: *glares*

Trent: “I’ve missed you so much!” *hugs her again*

(scarlet just stands there, kind of hugging him back, but mostly looking shocked. nida is glaring at trent, looking more hurt than anything else.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, over at dante’s place, it seems the rest of triple N incorporated has gone home. lloyd is sitting watching tv by himself when dante comes in, a cell phone to his ear. as he slams the door behind him he hangs up in disgust)

Dante: “Dammit, Al.”

Lloyd: “Hey, Dante! Guess what?” *jumps up and walks over to dante*

Dante: “I’m not in the mood, Needo Lifealo.”

Lloyd: “Hey! That’s not my name! It’s Nelo Angelo!”

Dante: “Uh huh. Whatever, Nerdo Stupido.”

Lloyd: “Nelo Angelo! And I got a job for tomorrow! See I’m not totally useless!”

Dante: “Yes you are, Necklo Angleo, or whatever you’re calling yourself now.” *pauses and smiles* “I kind of like this new name. I didn’t think it was possible, but there are even *more* ways to make fun of you now.”

(he walks off whistling happily. lloyd frowns)

Lloyd: “Oh *yeah*! Well there’s always been plenty of ways to make fun of your name, Dante! Dante…! Dante, stupid idiot!”

(dante doesn’t respond. his happy whistling can still be heard)

Lloyd: *pouts* “We’ll see who’s cool tomorrow at the party! Everybody’s gonna love Nelo Angelo! You’ll see!”

Dante’s voice: “Dammit! Newty Angletoad! Did you break the #$%@#$% phone?!”

Lloyd: “Grr…”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, the door to lark’s room finally opens, and she emerges. the hallway is still. she can hear voices in some of the rooms, but walks quietly down the hallway, avoiding those. she goes over to the tv room, which is silent. she walks in to find tseng alone in there. he is just hanging up the phone and notices her immediately)

Tseng: “Lark!”

Lark: “Oh…hey.”

Tseng: *sad smile* “It’s really good to see you.”

(lark then bursts into tears. she runs over and hugs tseng)

Lark: “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!”

Tseng: “What are you sorry about? It’s not like you broke the Playstation!”

Lark: “I know! But I still feel like all of this is somehow my fault!”

Tseng: “That’s silly. It’s no one’s fault, Lark. It broke. That’s it. Nothing we can do. You’re making the only choice you can.”

(lark draws away a bit, wiping her eyes)

Lark: “Are people mad?”

Tseng: “No!” *pause* “Well, some people were upset at first. Not at you! They were just mad…about the situation. No one wants to see you guys go. But everybody’s helping to plan the party.”

Lark: “Really? Everybody?”

Tseng: *nods*

Lark: *smiles a little* “I’m glad… I didn’t want… Well, I’m gonna miss this place so much. You have no idea. It’s like, while I know I have to go, part of me still doesn’t believe it. I don’t believe that I won’t be able to see you guys anymore.” *shakes head* “It just doesn’t seem real.”

Tseng: “I know. It’s not much easier for us.”

Lark: “I didn’t even want to get up. …But then I finally realized I wasn’t doing anything but wasting time. And I don’t have much of that left.”

Tseng: “Try not to dwell on it.”

Lark: “I’ll try…but I’m not making any promises.” *pause* “You’re alone? Where’s Reeve?”

Tseng: *sigh* “I don’t know…”

Lark: *frowns* “Everything okay?”

Tseng: “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it. I’ve gotta finish up some phone calls. You should go say hi to everybody.”

Lark: “What’s wrong? You two fighting again?”

Tseng: “Lark… I really don’t think—“

Lark: “It’s okay, Tseng. I wanna hear about your problems. It makes everything feel normal!”

Tseng: *sigh* “He wants to have another kid. I said not right now. He called me selfish and isn’t talking to me.”

Lark:” Ouch.”

Tseng: “I know. I’ve tried to talk to him about it, but he’s just being difficult and I don’t know why! I was honest with him! I didn’t say it could never happen! I actually would like it to happen – someday! Am I wrong?”

Lark: “No! It sounds like he’s just being difficult for the sake of being difficult.”

Tseng: “You think?”

Lark: “Knowing Reeve? Please. He may be smart, but he can pout with the best of them.”

Tseng: *small smile* “That’s true.”

Lark: “Just talk to him. Tell him what a baby he’s being. He’ll come around. Life’s too short, you know?”

Tseng: “Yeah…I know.”

Lark: “Well, I’ll leave you to your phone calls. See you later?”

Tseng: “You know it.”

(she gives him another quick hug and then heads back into the hallway. she walks down the hall, hearing voices behind the closed doors and just taking it all in. she stops in the middle of the hallway and sighs sadly)

?????????: “Well. Look who decided to show her face.”

(lark would know that voice anywhere. she turns around to come face to face with sephiroth)

Lark: “Sephiroth.”

Sephiroth: “That’s all you have to say to me?”

Lark: “I’m sorry, I’ve been avoiding everyone. I just wasn’t—“

Sephiroth: “Avoiding everyone!? What a shock! I’d be avoiding everyone too if I decided to dump all my friends forever!”

Lark: *blink blink* “What?”

Sephiroth: “Guess we’re not good enough for you, huh? After all we’ve done for you? Way to show gratitude!”

Lark: “What are you talking about??”

Sephiroth: “You’re leaving us! Just like that after *seven* years! And I thought we were *friends*!”

Lark: “I am your friend! Why are you mad at me?? I knew I shouldn’t have lost my temper with you before—“

Sephiroth: “Friend?? You’re my friend?? Friends don’t abandon each other!”

Lark: “You’re acting like this was my *choice*!”

Sephiroth: “Not your choice? Not your *choice*?! Of course it’s your choice! You don’t have to go back to your world! You’re *choosing* to! You could *choose* to stay here! With us! But no, Lark! You don’t care about us! You’ve made your choice all right!”

(it seems everyone has gathered in the hallway around lark and sephiroth, watching with shocked eyes. lark looks at them all, her eyes filling with tears. sephiroth’s eyes are burning with anger)

Lark: “I should have known it would be too much for you to understand that the whole world does not revolve around you!”

(with those words, she just runs off in tears. everyone else just stands there, looking at sephiroth. he looks back at them, suddenly getting defensive)

Sephiroth: “All I did was say what everybody else was thinking, but nobody had the guts to say! You’re pathetic! All of you are pathetic! Enjoy your stupid party tomorrow. I won’t be mourning that bitch!”

(And then he stalks away, leaving a stunned crowd behind him.)

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

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