Café Conversations 1 . . .

Tuesday 15 August 2017

I’ve been busy writing screenplays for an idea I had for a TV series, and I came to a particular scene that I thought I needed in episode four, and I found that I couldn’t write it. I had no idea why two of my characters were sitting together in a café, or why they needed to have a particular conversation. When I planned the episode, the scene was integral to the developing relationship between the two characters, but having arrived at the ‘writing the scene’ part of the script work, I no longer had any idea why I thought the scene was so important. Come to think of it, the entire idea I had for episode one is about to get turned upside down, leaving me with the issue of whether or not I really need a specific character. So, I thought if I could write the scene out in prose, perhaps I could get my head around the interaction between the characters, and perhaps I could rediscover why I thought it was such an important scene. As it turns out, after writing this portion of a scene, I’m thinking it’s a scene that I can delete from my screenplay. I’m no longer convinced that it is an important interaction. But hey, what the hell? Why don’t I publish it as a little blog post?

The character names are not the ones I’ve chosen for my screenplay. It’s not really important for you to know that, but I feel it’s important for me to mention. Hey, I understand what’s going through my head . . . sometimes. Anyway, here’s a sneak peak of part of one of the episodes of my screenplay that I’m probably not going to end up using.

Feeling alone in a room full of people was new to Catherine. She didn’t much care for small talk, or any sort of talk these days. Her grief was all-consuming, and there was little room left for anything else in her life. Work had taken a back seat. Perrie had seen to that – a minimum of two weeks official leave, to be extended depending upon Perrie’s assessment of Catherine’s state of mind. She hated the vulnerability of grieving, of loss, and of having to depend on others to help her get through the day. That was not who she was. It was who she’d become, forced upon her the moment she’d been told of Emma’s death.

Another meeting was Amber was required but not what Catherine wanted. The younger woman had demanded more of Catherine’s time, practically stalking Catherine and her family to arrange the meeting. Perrie had begged Catherine not to agree to a meeting, but it was futile. Catherine needed to tell Amber to her face to stay away, and let them grieve in peace.

She examined her wristwatch. Fifteen minutes late. She’d give Amber five minutes more, and then she’d leave. Catherine couldn’t stand to be out in public, with everyone looking at her, feeling sorry for her, waiting for her to break down, crumble under the weight of her grief.

‘Poor woman, look at her.’

‘She’s so brave coming out for coffee.’

‘I don’t know how she manages to do it.’

‘Saw her bawling her eyes out yesterday in the shops.’

‘You think she’d have known the girl was depressed, wouldn’t you?’

‘What kind of a mother is she anyway, not knowing the girl was going to kill herself?’

‘Poor bitch.’

A quick look at her watch again, followed by a glance over her shoulder to the door, and a small wave of relief washed over her when she spotted Amber throwing open the café door.

A few cocky, over-confident strides from the door to the table, and Amber was standing opposite Catherine.

‘You took your time.’

‘I’m here, aren’t I?’ The chair legs scraped across the wooden floor, leaving slight marks as they went. ‘So, Emma . . .’

‘I’m not here to talk about Emma.’

Amber raised an eyebrow, and Catherine quickly continued.

‘Stay away from the boys. And stay away from Perrie and I.’

‘I take it there’s an ‘or else’ in there somewhere.’

Catherine resisted the urge to say the first thought that came to mind. ‘No. Nothing like that. But if you continue to harass and stalk the boys and Perrie, and me, I’ll report you to the police.’

Amber relaxed. She’d expected more resistance from Catherine than what she was seeing. Emma had spoken about the fierce warrior that her mother used to become in court, and Amber had expected to be face to face with the infamous QC Catherine Porter, woman of legend. What she got was a poor imitation; more a washed up, former Queen’s Counsel than the eminent barrister lauded by newspaper reports and daughter.

‘It’s no wonder you moved into education.’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘Emma spoke of you as this great barrister. A force to be reckoned with in court. But you’re nothing like that. I’m sure being a deputy head better suits your insipid personality. Must be easier to intimidate children than it is to be an effective QC. You’ve clearly lost your touch. Either that, or Emma was deluded about your legal skills.’ A snide smile widened across her lips.

Catherine held her breath, fighting the urge to spew vitriol at the pathetic little wanna-be sitting across from her. She paused before speaking, gathering her thoughts, waiting for her barrister’s instinct to kick in. As she stared Amber down, the words she needed to put the girl in her place settled in her mind, and expressionless, she spoke.

‘Emma never loved you. She never mentioned you. And if she had loved you, she would have done. She mentioned Charlotte all the time, but you? Not once. You were nothing to her. So, while she talked about me to you, she didn’t talk about you to me. Or Perrie. Or the boys.’

Her words were having the desired impact. They were getting under Amber’s skin, agitating her, riling her.

‘She did love me.’ Snarling as if she were a trapped animal, bearing her teeth, hands clutching the edges of the table, knuckles turning white, Amber tried but couldn’t match the aggression of the grieving mother.

‘You may think that, but I know otherwise.’ Preventing any further exchange, Catherine left without a word.

Amber waited for Catherine to turn around for one last look. She willed Catherine to turn around as she walked out of the café. Willed her.

Turn around and look at me!’

The café fell silent, every face turned to look at the young woman screaming at the top of her voice. Every face except Catherine.

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About Danielle

I like to write. What more is there to know?
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