Peggy: Come on, Jen, you mean youíre actually not going to the party? I mean everyone whoís anyone is going to be there, even Ray. (At this point, Peggy elbows Jen with a wink and a smile, knowing Jen Likes Ray) You know you want to go, come on, donít be a party pooper!
Jen: Of course Iíd love to go, but my parents already told me no and I gotta respect them. Maybe next time, all right? (Feeling a little frustrated because Peggy keeps asking) Besides, you know what goes on at those kinds of parties; Iím just not in to that.
Peggy: I know you say youíre not into that, but arenít you ďin toĒ talking to Ray? I told you heís going to be there, and if you donít show up, whatís he gonna think, huh? You may miss your chance if you skip out on tonight. And then you canít say that I didnít warn you! Itíll be your loss, girl!
Jen: Come on, donít make me feel bad; you know youíre my best friend and hanging out with you is so much fun and all that butÖ*(hesitating, taking a breath)* I just canít go. If I keep bothering my parents about it, theyíll just get upset with me, and thereís just been too much going on at home, that I donít want to make matters worse, Pegs. You know what I mean; weíve talked about this before.
Peggy: Well, what if you donít tell your parents. What if you like, sneak out? The party starts at 10 oíclock so your parents will probably be sleeping already, right?
Jen: Oh I could never do that.
Peggy: Ok, thatís all you ever say, ďI could never do that!Ē (Mocking Jen) Well, itís time for you to start ďDoing thatĒ and start living. Girl, you gotta stand up for yourself. Youíre 18 and an adult on your way to college in a few months. And you wonít know what youíre missing unless you go. And the party wonít be the same without you. Who would I have to talk to? I wonít know too many people there anyway. Please, just come for me, for like a half hour. If you donít like it, weíll both leave together and go get a late night pizza, okay? What do you say, huh? You gonna let me down again or you gonna be a friend? I wonít take no for an answer.
Jen: (Thinking about it, she hesitates)ÖWellÖI donít knowÖMaybe Iíll go. (She emphasizes the maybe)
Jen: Yeah, Maybe.
Peggy: Jen, you canít let me know, the party is tonight, miss thing, I need to know now, so I know if weíre going together or not. And like I said, if you donít go, Iíll have nobody so, come on, Jen, letís hang out tonight and do the ďgirl thing.Ē You need some chillaxin anyway, tell me you donít.
Jen: Oh, all right, all right, stop bugging me, Iíll go; but only for 30 minutes and no more, deal?
Peggy: You know it! (Peggy and Jen High five each other) So, Iíll catch ya tonight then! Just wait and see, girlfriend, youíre gonna have a blast! And maybe Ray may even ask you out. (As she giggles, she gives Jen a quick hug and walks away.) Later, girl.
(Jen thinks sheíll ask her parents one more time if itís okay to go to the party, in a meek, little voice)
(Her parents are on the couch. They rarely seem to have any time for Jen lately, but she figured sheíd give it one more try. Her Dad is reading and her Mom is catching up on missed episodes of her favorite soap on the soap cable network)
Jen: Hi, Umm, Mom, Dad, can I talk to you for a minute?
Mom: Sure, honey, but make it quick! I gotta know what happens with Jack and Amy on Barnegat County. I missed this show today and thank goodness they replay the episodes at night on cable. (Mom raises her hand up) There is a God! (Momís eyes are still glued to the TV; she doesnít even look at Jen)
Dad: What is it, Jen? Mom and I are just beat, thatís all, weíve had a heck of a day, sweetheart. (*Dad doesnít even look at Jen either or lower his book*)
Jen: Iím sorry to bother you. Itís just thatÖWellÖSeeÖUmmÖ*(she hesitates, looking at the floor)*
Dad: Just ask whatever youíre going to ask, Jen, we donít have all night now.
Jen: (*sighing begins) Well, okay, ummÖRemember that party by Franís house that I asked you if I could go to? Well, Peggy keeps asking me if I want to go and says sheíll have no one to talk to if I donít, soÖ
(Mom finally looks at Jen, but only quick enough to interrupt her by saying)
Mom: Absolutely not! Your Father and I already told you no! Didnít you hear us the first time? When we say no, we mean just that, ďNo!Ē So donít ask again, cuz youíll get the same answer.
Jen: But why, Mom? I just turned 18 and you already know you can trust me! How can I learn how to be independent for college in the fall if I donít start now, huh?
Dad: (He too quickly glances at Jen) Jen, donít argue with your Mom, come on, now; we were having a quiet evening before you came in, and we really would like it to continue to be just that, quiet and relaxing. If your Mom said No, itís No. End of story. (He looks back in his book)
Jen: But Dad!
Dad: No butts, Jen! This conversation is over.
Jen: But canít you even tell me why I canít go?
Mom: Itís simple Jenny. Itís because we said so. (Swatting her hand in the air towards Jen now) Now, go watch TV in your room or call Peggy on the phone, I donít want to miss any more of my soap than I have to. And thanks to this little conversation Iíve already missed enough.
Jen: Oh Fine, Whatever! Thanks for your undivided attention, wardens! (Jen walks of, salutes them with an angry attitude and slams to the door to her room behind her.)
(Jen now in her room, puts on the radio, looks in the mirror and starts putting on makeup)
Jen (to herself): Maybe Peggyís right. Maybe I need to stand up for myself and start to live my own life. Iím going to that party. (Frustrated, she starts brushing her hair as scene goes blank.)
*(Jen realizes itís 10PM, stuffs pillows under her blanket and sneaks quietly out of the houseís back door while everyone is asleep).
*(Jen then is startled by a familiar face, unexpectedly there, behind a tree in the backyard waiting for her) *(Jen gasps!)
Peggy: *(In a loud whisper Peggy begins): Psst, over here, Jen! (Waves to Jen, motioning her over to her.)
Jen: Pegs, is that you? You startled me half to death! (She touches her heart and pants, catching her breath)
Peggy: Sorry, but I wasnít gonna let you ditch me this time. Besides, I know how much Ray means to you, and as your friend I was not about to let you miss out on what could be the biggest night of your life.
Jen: All right, thanks, but letís just go, I have a bad feeling about sneaking out, Iíve never done this before, ever!
Peggy: yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, letís go!
(Peggy grabs Jenís hand as they, on tippy-toes run off towards Franís House)
*(Halfway down Franís block, Peggy and Jen already hear the loud music jamming from the house. They look at each other and start to giggle.)
*(Peggy rings the doorbell)
*(Their other friend, Josh, Franís brother, answers the door)
Josh: hey, Pegs, Jen, itís about time you got here! This party just started about a half hour ago, and already itís the social event of the season. (He motions them in) Go get yourselves a drink.
Peggy: Donít mind if we do, J.
(Jen and Peggy see some other friends they know)
Jen: (Jen waves high in the air calling) Hey, Adam, Liz, I didnít know you two would be here! This is my friend, Peggy. (Jen goes towards them and gives them a big, tight hug) Oh man, I canít believe it; I havenít seen you guys in like, years!
Adam and Liz: (almost in unison) We know! (They look at each other and laugh)
Adam: man it seems like ages ago!
Liz: Hey well with this friendship reunion underway, what do you say we go celebrate with a drink or two?
Adam: Sounds good to me, Lizzy.
Jen: (As sheís walking, she kind of hesitates and says) Donít laugh at me for asking, but, is there only alcohol to drink or is there soda too? Cuz I really donít drink. I actually never have. Iíve heard too many stories.
Adam: Oh those stories, theyíre still going around? Look, those stories are just a false doctrine that parents make up just to scare us out of having a good time. They know when they were young they did the same thing, and maybe even worse, so itís no big deal.
Liz: Yeah, Jen, just try one. You might like it. No one says you have to get drunk or anything.
Peggy: Yeah, donít be silly, Jen. Loosen up, have a good time. *(Peggy whispers in Jenís ear): Besides, I hear Ray will be here any minute, so, a nice, ice cold drink will make you feel better okay chica?
Jen: (Hesitating, getting almost stiff in her walking now) Well, okay. One is probably okay.
Do they have something sweet?
Liz: They sure do! Fran sure knows how to throw a bash!
Peggy: (looking around) (They all suddenly stop with Peggy) Hey, where is Fran anyway, isnít this like her party and sheís nowhere to be found! Whatís up with that?
Josh: Oh well, we were running out of brewskies all too soon, what with extra people showing up and all, bringing friends with them, so she jumped in the beamer and said sheíd be back in like ten minutes, or so.
Jen: Oh cool! Iíve missed her. Ever since she moved to Calverton High last fall, she hasnít been around too much.
Peggy: Tell me about it. That girlís been so scarce; I was ready to send out an APB on her. (She laughs)
Jen: (She touches Peggyís arm) Give her some slack there, Pegs, I mean she and Josh just lost both their parents in an airplane crash. She probably just needed some time alone to sort her feelings out, you know?
Adam: Ok, ok, enough with the sad feelings, I came here to party and thatís what Iím going to do.
(Adam grabs Peggyís arm himself, and she trips as they all re-begin their trip to the drink station)
**(Door bell rings like three times)** // **(Liz goes to answer it)**
Liz: Iíll get it. Just hold my seat for me.
**(Suddenly Jen feels her face heat up like a furnace as she sees whoís behind the door. Itís Ray and heís smiling from ear to ear)**
Peggy: (Peggy whispers to Jen): Hey Juliet, Romeoís hereÖ
Jen: *(She loudly whispers): Shhhhhhhh! *(Then whispers quieter as she says): I donít want anyone to know aboutÖwell you knowÖyou promised youíd shush about me liking him.
Peggy: Ok, donít get all nutty on me. Letís go say hello. (She giggles)
Jen: No! Iím not ready!
Peggy: *(Peggy pulls her arm and Jen trips again). Well, make yourself ready cuz here we go, Princess!
Peggy, Liz and Jen: Hello *(in perfect unison)
Ray: Hey girls, how you doing? Itís so nice to see you all here. *(He looks around and continues to say) I donít see anyone else here I know all that well besides you three. Oh and I know Fran of course. We can hang out together, that is, if you donít mind.
Peggy: Of course we donít mind right Jen? *(Peggy looks at Jen)
Jen: Right, right, we donít mind, Ray. Itíll be fun.
*(Jen whispers in Peggyís ear)
Jen: Iím gonna get you for this Peggy.
Peggy: *(She whispers back with a smile): Nah, youíre gonna thank me, Jen. Just wait and see. Tonight is your night.
**(All three girls, along with Ray, quickly walk back to the bar area together to rejoin Adam.)
Liz: This is Adam, Ray. Ray, this is Adam. Have a drink yet?
Adam: No, I was waiting for you guys.
Peggy: Ok then, letís start the party. Guys ready?
Liz: Pegs, we were born ready.
Ray: I hope you donít mind, but Iím just gonna have a cherry coke, Iím really not in to drinking.
Adam: Oh come on, Ray, itís a party, dontcha wanna have fun?
Ray: Well, yeah, of course I do, but I donít need to drink liquor to have a good time. The stuffís not good for ya anyway. I just came here because I heard from Fran that you guys were going to be here. *(He points to Liz, Peggy and Jen).
Jen: Yeah, I agree.
Peggy: Oh Jen, I thought you were going to have a good time and start living and doing your own thing? This is your night to start, girl, no limitations. Itís now or never.
Jen: All right, fine, I know I promised. Iíll just have one drinkÖMaybe aÖ. aÖOh Peggy you suggest something, Iíve never had a drink in my life and donít even know what most of them are called.
Peggy: You know Iíll hook you up girl!
Ray: *(Ray whispers to Jen): You sure about this?
Jen: *(Whispers back) Well, no not really, but what have I got to loose, Iím just gonna have one. I donít think Iím even gonna like it.
Ray: Okay, well I hope you know what youíre doing.
Jen: So do I, Ray. So do I.
*(Peggy looks over the drink table and picks up a hard lemonade for Jen)
Peggy: Here, try this. Itís the sweet youíre looking for with just enough zing to make you feel good. Youíre gonna love it.
Jen: *(She stares at the bottle, as she stiffly takes it from Peggyís hand): Okay well, here goes nothing.
(She unscrews the top and smells the contents)
Peggy: (laughing and rolling her eyes): Itís not gonna bite you, itís just a drink, crazy girl. Just taste it, Iím telling you, youíll love it. Will you trust me? Iíve never steered you wrong, before have I?
Jen: All right. (She pauses and then slowly lifts the bottle to her lips and closes her eyes tightly, taking a small sip, pausing again as she tastes it)
Peggy: (Staring at Jen, waiting anxiously for a reply says): Well, Saint Jenny, what do you think of your first cocktail?
Jen: I never knew these things tasted this good! (Jen feels a little smile coming on as she gazes at the bottle and says): Cheers? (She quickly gazes at Ray, knowing what heís thinking then looks back at Peggy, who of course is smiling proudly.)
(All except Ray, lift their glasses and bottles for a toast of friendship/cheering)
(Ray just looks on, with a sad, distraught look on his face, especially looking at Jen, who he knows is not being herself)
**(About an hour passes. At least it sure feels like an hour. Some people have left, while others still remain, including Liz, Adam, Josh, Ray, and Peggy.)
**(The music is blasting and drinks are still being drunk. Among the drinkers, way passed her 30 minute promised stay was Jen, totally drunk and dancing on the couch, occasionally falling off, laughing with the gang)
*(Ray looks on from his seat across the room, almost wanting to leave, periodically looking at the door, but feels, for some reason he should stay and watch out for Jen).
Peggy: Girl, did I tell you youíd have fun or what? *(Sheís now laughing uncontrollably).
Jen: *(She trips over her own foot, grabbing Peggy laughing and says): Yeah, I donít know what I was thinking. (She pauses, hardly able to stand straight and says): Hey, (laughing) whereís Fran? Itís been over an hour and sheís still not here. And this is her party! (Continues to laugh) Oh well, never mind, thereís just more drinks for us then. (Giggles) She probably just found herself a boyfriend. (She takes a big gulp of her drink and says): But yet I just have one more question? *(Still giggling)
Peggy: Whatís that?
Jen: Got another one?
Peggy: Another what? *(Stops and smiles smugly) Oh, I know, I know, I gotcha! *(She grabs another hard lemonade from the table and says): Is this what youíre looking for? *(Still giggling, waving the bottle in front of Jenís eyes).
Jen: *(Also Giggling): You know me so wellÖ Woo-Hoo! *(She almost misses from her mis-coordination from being drunk, but manages to grab a hold of the bottle. She and Peggy then join Liz, Adam and Josh dancing to a favorite dance tune).
Ray: *(Says to himself still watching, slowly shaking his head): Oh God, please help them realize what theyíre doing to themselves. I know Iím here for a reason, Lord. I canít let Jen die like my Mother. Please show me what to do, or what to say, Father, that would make a difference for Your Glory. I beg you, in Jesusí Name. (Pauses): Amen. (He then covers his eyes with his hands and rubs them, wishing he were just seeing things and that when he opened his eyes it would all be just a bad dream).
*(Ray, being a Pastorís Son, didnít know why God had led him to such a party like this. He just decided to trust God and wait for an answer, a move of the Spirit, telling him what to do).
(Another while passes on; maybe another half hour or so)
(Ray had fallen asleep while praying in his chair, but was awoken by a loud noise!)
(Ray awakens suddenly, and sees Jen on the floor, another bottle in her hand, now broken from her fall. Her hand that was holding the bottle is now bleeding from it cracking in her hand as she held it. Peggy stood watching, too drunk to comprehend anything going on around her, as were Liz, Josh, and Adam. Ray now knew why he was there; to help God save her life).
(Ray grabbed his cell phone out of his jeans pocket and dialed 911)!
Ray: (Sounding frantic, unable to catch his breath): Somebody, please help, please! I need an ambulance at: 45 Berkshire Avenue, in Centerville, itís a house! Hurry, please! (He hung up without even giving the 9-1-1 operator a chance to talk and quickly runs over to where Jen lay on the floor)
Peggy: Oh leave her alone, sheís just sleeping, R-R-R, Ray, R-Ronald, R-R-Rick, whatever your name isÖ (She canít even stand now and just sits down, dazed, smiling to herself, looking sideways.)
(Ray checks Jenís vital signs and sees sheís not breathing. He was thankfully licensed in CPR and even though some parts he wasnít sure of, he started doing everything he could to save her)
(Ray administers CPR. In five minutes or less, the ambulance sirens can be heard through the closed windows. He runs to open the door, and they rush in)
Naomi: (Naomi, the EMT, rushes in to the house and energetically asks): Is she breathing? Did you have to administer CPR? Tell me what happened. (As she starts to examine Jen)
Ray: I was asleep and heard a loud noise. I woke up when I heard it and saw Jen on the floor, with her bloody hand. She wasnít moving or breathing, but I started what I could remember of my CPR training classes.
Naomi: Good. Itís always better to do something than nothing. Youíre a hero, (She says as she notices Jen starting to breath)
(Naomiís EMT partner Ronny then assists Naomi lift Jen on to a gurney and rush her in to the ambulance to bring her to the hospital)
Ronny: (Ronny places a gentle arm around Ray and says calmly): Sheís gonna be okay, man, you just wait and see.
Ray: But, but what if sheís not?
Ronny: Weíve seen this so many times. Trust me, sheís a lucky one, she started breathing again only after a few minutes. So, she should be okay. All right?
Ronny: Have faith, my friend. Sheís going to make it, just trust me, ok? You follow us.
Ray: Oh I planned on it. Letís go!
(Ray gives Ronny a pat on his arm and follows the ambulance to Trinity Hospital)
*(Back at Franís house, the doorbell rings. It startles Peggy as she tries her best to walk clumsily to answer the door. It was a police officer)
Peggy: *(Immediately manages to stammer out a few jumbled words): Oh Iím sorry officer; Iíll turn the music down. *(She attempts to turn around towards the stereo, when Officer Frank stops her).
Officer Frank: No, no, Maíam thatís not why Iím here. But thanks. (He looks quickly in to Peggyís drunk face then looks at his paper): Iím Officer Frank Cardoon. Do you know aÖ*(He looks again at the paper for correct pronunciation): aÖFrancine Elizabeth Studamyer?
Peggy: (Stammering to find words again): Of course we do, who doesnít copper? *(She letís out a slight giggle now, hardly able to keep standing, falling in to a chair).
Officer Frank: (Looking dismal, hesitating to announce the news): Well, umm, I donít know how to tell you this butÖ*(He hesitates again)*: We found her car like two blocks from here, totally dismantled and crushed. Her body wasnít in good condition at all when I found her. The ambulance had to get her body out with the Jaws of Life. Seems like she went out to get more alcohol at the store, as there were cases and cases in the front seat with her. Maíam, I think Francine was driving drunk, because uhÖI always hate having to tell people this kind of news butÖFrancine is gone, she uhÖit looks like she died automatically when her car flipped over and then slammed in to a wall. Iím so, so sorry. (He takes off his hat)
Peggy: Oh man, you know this is a cruel joke. Franny ainít dead; you donít know what youíre gabbing about. Sheíll be back in a few. Why donítí you just sit down, pull yourself a chair to sit on and have a drink with me, Franky.
(Officer Frank now is concerned as he gets a better look at Peggyís face, and the faces of the others, now just as drunk as she is)
Officer Frank: Umm, Miss, Can I see some ID? None of you look like youíre 21-the legal age to drink.
Peggy: Oh donít worry; I ainít driving, chill ax, Pop.
Officer Frank: Maíam, whatís your name? How old are youÖ*(Peggy doesnít respond, as she starts to fall hunched over a reclining chair, falling asleep*): MaíamÖ? Maíam? (Officer Frank then searches her pockets for a wallet with an ID. Sure enough he finds a wallet with a newly issued driverís license stating the facts. He reads them quietly to himself, making sense of it all): Peggy Lindstrom, 216 Orange Avenue, Centerville. Age: 18. (He shakes his head, then finds a small phone book in her other pocket, skims through it, finds her Momís cell number and calls her.)
(As Dr. George Reiner finishes examining Jen, now slightly awake, he goes over to the waiting room and motions Ray towards him)
Ray: (Relieved to be called he tries to sound calm pushing his hair off his forehead, sighing): Uh, how is she, Doctor? Is she gonna be okay?
(Both Ray and Dr. George go in to the office together)
Dr George: Yes, sheís going to be just fine. Thank God, you started CPR when you did, because otherwise, I donít think she would have made it. She has alcohol poisoning.
Ray: So, uh, what do I do for her?
Dr. George: Well, weíre going to keep her here a few days just to keep an eye on her. Then, if all goes well, she can go home.
Ray: Ok, Doctor, thank you so much. (He wipes a small tear running down his cheek): Is it, is it okay if I go see her now?
Dr. George: Sure, itís okay, but only for a little while; she really needs her rest to get her strength back. Sheís been through a lot and is very weak.
Ray: No problem. (He starts to walk towards Jenís room, then turns around calling): Doctor George?
Dr. George: (He stops and turns back towards Ray): Yes?
Ray: Thank you. Thank you so much for saving my friend.
Dr. George: Donít thank me, young man; thank a Higher Power who gave your friend a second chance at life. She sure was one of the lucky ones. (He smiles and then walks away)
(Ray enters Jenís Room)
Ray: (He walks in silent with his head down at first, and his hands in his pockets. He silently begins to cry) Jen, how could you do this? I mean you scared me half to death. Why?
Jen: (A tear begins to shed down her cheek): Iím sorry, Ray, IÖI didnít know you cared so much.
Ray: Of course I care, weíve been friends a long time, havenít we? (He wipes his nose on his shirt)
Jen: I know, IÖI have no excuses, or anything to say in my defense, except for the fact that Iím so, so sorry. I donít know if you can ever forgive me, butÖ
Ray: (Ray interrupts): Of course I forgive you, thatís not the point. (He looks down again, shaking his head, as his voice goes very quiet), I just donít know what I would have done if I lost you. I mean, that was a really stupid thing you did. You could have died, do you realize that, Jen? Alcohol Poisoning, thatís not something to mess around with. Is your life worth risking for becoming popular? Donít you know how much more youíre worth than that? (He turns away from her and looks out the window, and sobs)
Jen: Yeah right, if Iím worth all that you say I am then how come my parents never show me any kind of love whatsoever, huh? (Her voice a little louder): How come they have no time for me, not even to say a few words, or look in to my eyes. I feel like an orphan. I figured I should just join the only ďfamilyĒ I felt I had, no matter what they did. I couldnít lose them too, I just couldnít. But now, I almost lost myself. I really messed up. (She sits up a bit and looks towards Ray) I promise, I make a vow to you and everyone in my life, that, I will never, ever, ever make this mistake again. Itís not worth risking my life to get in with the crowd. I donít want my so cold ďcrowd of friendsĒ to gather at a final goodbye at my early funeral. Just the thought of that freaks me out. I, donít know what else to say. I just hope our friendship isnít over.
Ray: (He shakes his head as he turns around to look at Jen, with a small smile forming on his lips): If our friendship were over, I wouldnít be here, now would I? (He sits in the chair now next to her bed)
(Suddenly Jenís parents rush in to the room)
Jenís Mom: (Panting): Oh my God, Oh my God, Jen, are you okay, honey? (She strokes Jenís hair)
Jen: Iím okay Mom, I just feel a little sick, but I have no one to blame but myself, now, do I? (She pauses and then tears start falling):
Ray: You know what, Iím gonna leave. I donít want to get in the way of private family moments.
Jenís Mom: No, No, No, you can stay, Ray.
Ray: No, Iíd feel better if I just left you guys to talk in private. (He takes Jenís Hand) (He sighs) So, uh, all right, Jen, Iíll come and see you tomorrow. Hopefully theyíll letcha outta here in a few days. Iím praying for ya. (He smiles while looking directly in her eyes for a few seconds)
Jen: Bye Ray. AndÖuh, thanks for everythingÖthanks for saving my life.
Ray: You owe me one, girl. (He says as he giggles to make her laugh) (They wave at each other)
Jenís Dad: (As Ray turns to go, Jenís Dad grabs a hold of his arm and says): Hey RayÖuh, thanks for saving our little girl. You donít know what itÖ
Ray: (Interrupting): No, Mr. Fleming, donít thank me. Thank God. He is the reason I was even at that party tonight. (Ray turns, and silently leaves the room)
Jenís Dad: (He goes over and hugs Jenís neck, starting to cry) Thank God youíre all right. IÖI just donít know what else to say except, Iím, so, so sorry. Weíve been ignoring you, fully engulfed in our own selfish desires, forgetting that your needs and showing you how much we love you are more important than anything. This is all our fault. (He bows his head and cries in his hand)
Jen: No, Daddy, itís my fault.
Jenís Mom: Honey, letís not put the blame on anyone, itís over nowÖ
Jen: No, Mom. You guys didnít force me to sneak out or put those drinks in my mouth, did you? No. I did that myself. There are other ways to handle a situation than taking the drastic, almost fatal route with a so called, ďtemporary fix.Ē. Iím the one whoís sorry. I mean, I know itís no excuse, I just felt like those friends were my only remaining family and that I was in this world alone, left to fend for myself. But, I can promise you one thing, and I hope you can trust me again enough someday to believe it, butÖyou can both rest assured this will never, never happen again. Not many people who gamble with death come out of it alive. I just, I just love you both so much. Please forgive me. Iím, so, so sorry. (She starts to cry harder and Her Mom and Dad both embrace her as the scene goes dark.)
(Early morning, three days later, Jen is sitting on her porch at home, after being released from the hospital, just thinking and taking in the warm sunshine)
(Peggy suddenly comes walking down the street towards Jen) (Jen pushes her hair back behind her ears and stands)
Jen: Peggy. I was worried about you. Iím so glad youíre okay.
(As Peggy gets closer, they both embrace in a warm, teary-eyed embrace)
Peggy: Oh Jen, Iím so, so sorry (Sheís still crying): I canít believe I did this to you. I canít believe I made you sneak out and helped you get drunk and then almost killed to top it offÖ
Peggy: And I can understand totally if you never want to speak to me againÖ
(She shakes Peggy to get her attention)
Peggy: I must be the worst friend in the whole entire world. IÖIím just so glad youíre alive. (She starts crying harder again and embraces Jen)
Jen: Itís okay, you know, Pegs. Itís not your fault. Like I told my parents, Iím the one who put those drinks in my mouth, not anyone else. You didnít shove them down my throat. I was just as much to blame as anyone else, in fact even more so. And why would I not want to be your friend anymore? Havenít we been through the world and back together? For good times and bad, isnít that what good friends are for?
Peggy: (Sniffling): yeah but what kind of so called ďfriendĒ am I?
Jen: A really good one. I mean look. Here you are on my porch just three days later, apologizing, taking the blame. Standing up for whatís right takes a really big person, and I donít know if I would be strong enough to do it myself.
Peggy: I just want you to know that this will never ever happen again. IÖam just glad that the same thing that happened to Fran didnítÖ
(She stops, and closes her eyes holding her mouth)
Jen: What? What happened to Fran?
Peggy: Well, itís the reason she was out so long the other night. I guess it was after the ambulance had rushed you to the hospital, a cop came to the door to tell meÖto tell meÖFran was killed in a drunk driving accident. (Crying again) She lost control of the car. It flipped over and crashed in to a wall. SheÖshe never had a chance. The cop said she died on impact. Iím just so glad the same thing didnít happen to you. (Sheís now sobbing)
Jen: Tell me thatís not trueÖI just saw her last week.
Peggy: I wish I could say it wasnít true. Iíd never have the heart to make up something like that, I mean thatís nothing to joke about.
Jen: (Immediately starts tearing up and grabs Peggy) (They just sit together on the porch and hold each other sobbing, rocking back and forth as Jenís Mom looks on from behind the screen door): Itís all right, Peggy. Weíre going to get through this together. Shhh, itís going to be okay. ShhhÖ
(After awhile of just grieving and healing together, Peggy begins to stand up)
Peggy: IÖuh, I gotta get going. Officer Frank called my Momís cell that night because we were underage drinking, so Iím scheduled for community service in like an hour. And Iím pretty sure Adam, Liz and Josh will meet me there.
Jen: Iím just glad theyíre okay.
Peggy: Iím glad weíre all okay. (They hug again)
Peggy: Can I call you later?
Jen: Of course; after all, you are my best friend, arenít you?
Peggy: Forever, girl. ForeverÖ
(They hug real quickly again and Peggy begins to walk off, when she sees Ray coming towards her.)
Peggy: Hey Ray. Iím so sorry about all thisÖ (*Ray interrupts her)
Ray: Listen, itís over with. Itís a new day, a time to start over. (Ray leans in to give Peggy a hug)
But, if you ever do this again Iíll come after youÖ*(He laughs and hugs her again before she turns to leave)*
Peggy: Thanks Ray. And thanks for saving my girl. Jen is really lucky to have an angel like you watching over her. (She smiles and looks down, ashamed) Iíll see ya.
(Peggy walks away and waves at Jen)
(Ray walks up the stairs towards Jen)
Jen: Hey RayÖ*(She pauses)*: Listen, I just wanna say thatÖ
Ray: (Ray interrupts): Jen, stop, please, no more apologies. I told you Iíve already forgiven you. We canít change the past no matter how much we wish we could. We can just start over and strive to do better than weíve done before. We all make stupid mistakes and weíve all done things we wish we could take back.
Jen: Yeah, I know but I almostÖ
Ray: (Interrupts again): Almost, Jen. Almost. God saved you.
Jen: Oh why would God waste time with a nobody like me who almost killed herself? Iím not worth His time or yours.
Ray: If you werenít worth His time, He wouldnít have sent Jesus to die on a cross for us. He wouldnít have sacrificed the life of His only Son. He did it for me and for you, because He loves us.
Jen: God loves me? Why?
Ray: Just because youíre Jen, thatís why. Because He made you, Because He knew who you were when He formed you in your Motherís belly. You are a special, beautiful person that I am so privileged and blessed to have been given a second chance to get to know even better.
(Ray pauses and starts again)
Ray: See, even when we feel alone in this world, He is the friend, the Father, the Mother, the ďanyone we need Him to beĒ and Heís always right here, holding us, waiting for us to call on His name and talk to Him. He, who will never leave us nor forsake us, is with us here, right now.
Jen: (shaking her head, tears start falling silently, and she starts to wipe them away)*: I just donít see why Iím so worth it all.
Ray: Even if God had to send Jesus to die for only one of us, He still would have sent Him. Thatís how special we are to Him. And we may never understand that on earth, but we sure can receive the free gift of His salvation, love and mercy, thatís here waiting for you, right now, because you ďareĒ worth it all. All you have to do is accept His invitation.
Jen: How do I do that, Ray? Isnít it already too late for me?
Ray: (He puts his arm around her): Itís only too late when weíre dead, when there is no more breath in our lungs. If it were too late, God would have taken you the night of the party.
Jen: Oh yeah, thank you for saving meÖfor bringing me back to life that night.
Ray: No, Jen. Thank God, who put me there at the right time to help Him save your life. I was just the vessel He used to bring you back to Himself. And accepting Him in to your heart and in to your life forever more will be the perfect gift to Him today to say ďthank youĒ in the most awesome way.
Jen: (sniffling): Will you help me?
Ray: I sure will, my friend. You ready?
Jen: (She closes her eyes): Iím as ready as Iíve ever been in my whole life.
Ray: (He takes her hands and closes his eyes too): Repeat after me, JenÖ
Dear Heavenly Father, (Jen repeats his words)
We thank you for a new day, Lord; a new day to breath in your love and the beauty around us that you have made.
We thank you for saving our dear friend, and your daughter, Jen, and giving her a second chance at life.
(Tears start streaming down both their faces)
We thank you for the new life that we have in your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross to save us from our sins, so that we would live in Heaven with you forever.
We come before you today, knowing we are sinners, knowing that we donít deserve Your love.
And we ask you, to come in to our hearts today. Make us holy before Your throne.
Make us new, and whole creations in You.
Fill us up with Your Holy Spirit and show us how to live for You.
We are Yours, Lord, for now and always. Beyond this moment, may we never be the same again!
We thank you and praise You, in Your Son, Jesusí Most Precious and Holy NameÖAmen.
(They pause a minute)
(They open their eyes)
Jen: Thank you, so much. Itís amazing, but suddenly I feel kind of, refreshed, like a fresh, cool breeze has washed over me.
Ray: Thatís the blanket of Godís mercy and love, which never runs out.
(Jen just grabs Rayís neck and hugs him) (After a long pause)
Jen: Oh man, after all this, you know what Iím thinking?
Ray: (Smiling at her): Whatís that, little lady?
Jen: Iím thinking I want a pizza. How about you?
Ray: (He laughs and takes her hand and says): You know, I was just thinking the same thing. (He giggles): Only, now I have a questionÖ
Jen: Whatís that? (As she smiles inquisitively)
Ray: What are you going to have to drink with it? (Heís still smiling at her, waiting for the right answer)
Jen: (She smiles, shakes her head, and smacks his arm gently): You know what? I think from now on, Iím sticking with a Cherry Coke, how about you?
Ray: (His smile gets wider now): You know, Jen, thatís just what I was going to suggest. (They look at each other and laugh)
(Both Ray and Jen get up from the porch, take each otherís hand, and walk down the street towards the pizzeria, as both of Jenís parents watch with a smile.)
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