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Screenplay: Valentine. Part I

Updated on March 24, 2016
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Fade in:

Ext: West Side, New York – Day

Camera zooms out from a single green leaf to show the street. The street is full of people walking briskly, going about their afternoon lunch.

We see two men walking down the way. At first glance, they look like Wall-Street bankers in their black suits and ties.

Nicolas Washington, probably in his late twenties, looks like a reproduction of Adonis with dark hair. The other man, of the same height, is much older and wears a hat.

They both attract attention until they enter the diner.

Int. 66th Diner - Day

The cafe is spacious, but during that time of the day, it is worse than Downtown Manhattan traffic.

The older man, Julius, strides towards the counter. Nicolas, on the other hand, pauses for a minute before following his uncle.

The man behind the counter grins at Julius. He looks ancient with a potbelly and a bald head.

Man:

Am I dreaming?

Julius:

Keep your voice down, Charlie.

The man-Charlie grins again.

Charlie:

Can’t believe you would drop in after all these years.

Julius:

I do have a lot of memories.

The man jerks his chin towards Nicolas, and then speaks

Charlie:

That your son?

Julius shakes his head while Nicolas offers a strained smile.

Julius:

You remember my sister, Elizabeth? Her son.

Charlie:

Looks all like his mom. Beautiful lady, Elizabeth.

Nicolas does not respond.

Julius:

Anyway, we were just down here to meet someone. I couldn’t leave without one of your stacks. You think you can do it in record time?

Charlie:

You betcha. Find yourself a seat somewhere.

Julius looks around the crowded space, and remarks.

Julius:

Well, I see you’re still quite in business.

Charlie:

Yeah. ‘course I am. You should have come an hour ago. There was no space to move in here.

Julius:

Good to know. Nice wallpapers though.

It seemed that Julius and Charlie would continue with this desultory conversation for quite some time.

Nicolas interrupts their banter.

Nicolas:

I should go and find a seat. (He looks at Charlie) And I would like a coffee.

Charlie:

(Cheerfully)

We make better coffee than Starbucks.

Nicolas:

I should hope so because I hate Starbucks.

Nicolas tries to locate a spare table, but there are none. He spots a girl sitting alone by the window.

As he winds his way through the plastic tables, he notices that the girl is incredibly busy. Her fingers are almost flying about the MAC’s keyboard. On the table, there are three thick books, a notebook and an untouched coffee. He almost wants to turn around and not disturb her.

And just then she raises her blonde head, and sweeps her gaze around the diner until she spots Nicolas.

For a brief second, they are both looking at each other. Then Nicolas offers a small smile. She nods in response, and continue typing.

He approaches and says.

Nicolas:

Is the seat free?

The girl doesn’t even look up.

Girl:

Sure. Give me a moment. I am almost done.

Nicolas sits beside her.

A moment later, Julius pulls out the other chair and sits down.

Julius:

Don’t I miss this place sometimes?

Nicolas:

Do you? I have never heard you mention it before.

Julius:

Oh no? This is where I brought your aunt for the first time.

Nicolas:

You mean this was before you knocked her?

The girl shuts the screen with a loud snap.

Julius:

(To the girl)

I am sorry. My nephew can be a little crass.

Nicolas raises his eyebrows.

Girl:

Maybe. But he still has very beautiful...eyes.

At this, Nicolas looks at her, but she is not even looking at him. She is packing her bag, slipping in the MAC first, then the books and finally the notebook.

When she does look up, her eyes are almost blank. In fact her comment was delivered very blandly – like the sort of tone he would use in a boardroom.

Julius:

Yes. He does. Takes a lot after his mother.

Nicolas is still staring intently at the girl.

Julius:

What do you do?

Girl:

I-uh...I work nearby.

Julius:

Awesome. So do you come here often?

Girl:

I do. Actually.

Nicolas:

What’s your name?

The girl finally looks at him.

Girl:

Serena.

Nicolas:

(Softly)

That’s a beautiful name.

The girl, or Serena, snorts.

Serena:

Like you know what that means.

Nicolas:

It was derived from the Latin word, Serenus, meaning, ‘Clear, tranquil or serene’. But I am guessing you are named after someone. An aunt, perhaps.

He winks at her.

Serena:

Perhaps.

There is a barest hint of a smile.

Serena:

I should get going.

Julius:

Well, it was pleasant to meet you Serena.

She starts to stand, when Nicolas asks.

Nicolas:

Where do you work?

Serena:

Oh, just around the corner.

Just then Nicolas’ phone beeps. He takes it out from his pocket, looks at it and makes a face.

Nicolas:

(Absently)

Shares have dropped.

Serena hears his almost inaudible comment, and then sits back again.

Serena:

Whose shares are you talking about?

Nicolas’ eyes snaps back at her.

Nicolas:

Coal Enterprise.

Serena:

Well, it was expected.

Nicolas:

Was it?

Serena:

Of course, it was.

Nicolas:

And why would you say that?

Serena:

Their factories in Uzbekistan are being sued for not meeting standard wages.

Nicolas:

Those cases hardly stand. An impoverished NGO against a million dollar company, no, never.

Serena:

The chairman of that NGO is a retired UN judge, and that NGO is not...impoverished. They’ll probably just close down the factories for the time being.

Nicolas:

19% of their factories are located in Uzbekistan. Are you telling that they’re going to close all of them?

Serena:

I never said that. I mean-I don’t know, okay? It’s just...speculation. But whatever they do, you can expect your share value to go down.

Julius had a quiet spectator so far. When he speaks, it surprises both of them.

Julius:

Are you an investor?

Serena:

Now and then.

Nicolas leans towards her, suddenly very interested.

Nicolas:

So what would you bet on?

Serena:

At this moment?

Nicolas nods.

Serena:

Jacobson’s looking all good. They might be selected to supply cement for that stadium that’s being built somewhere in Brazil.

Nicolas:

(Softly)

Jacobsen, is it?

Julius:

You seem like a bright nut for someone who works just around the corner.

Serena blinks slightly. There is a puzzled expression on her face. Then she gets up, offers a smile in the general direction of the table, and leaves through the swinging doors.

Julius:

Interesting, huh?

Just then Charlie himself appears and places a tray on the table.

Charlie:

Cheese and tomato stack, a pasta with a tinge of salt and vinegar and the finest coffee in the whole world.

Julius:

Oh, thanks Charlie.

Nicolas frowns at the coffee.

Nicolas:

Who eats pasta with a tinge of salt and vinegar?

Julius grins.

Julius:

Your aunt.

Nicolas rolls his eyes, and gets busy with his phone.

Julius:

What are you doing?

Nicolas:

Buying shares.

Dissolve into:

(copyrighted material)

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