Original Airdate (WB): 21-AUG-2000


"YOUNG AMERICANS" and other related entities are owned, (TM) and by Mandalay Television and Columbia TriStar Television in association with Sony Pictures Television. All Rights Reserved. This transcript is posted here without their permission, approval, authorization or endorsement. Any reproduction, duplication, distribution or display of this material in any form or by any means is expressly prohibited. It is absolutely forbidden to use it for commercial gain.



The RAWLEY CAMPUS on a warm, lazy summer afternoon.


A group of RAWLEY GUYS and GIRLS are playing touch football on the lawn. WILL, SCOUT, HAMILTON, and JAKE among them. 

WILL (V.O): When is the age or even the moment we go from being kids to being... something else. I mean, so much can happen in a year.

Will throws a pass to Jake, who's being guarded by Hamilton. Jake catches it and Hamilton grabs her. They fall together laughing.

WILL (V.O): People say that we're growing up way too fast. Sometimes adults make it sound like it's our fault. Or at least, our choice.

We see Will flying through the air to catch a pass. Then, miss it and fall out of frame. He gets up. Hurting. But laughing.

WILL (V.O): But how can we not? We feel invincible. And we know so much.

In SLOW MOTION, Will runs towards the end zone. Scout on his tail. Scout dives for Will as he makes the TOUCHDOWN. He triumphantly spiked the ball.

WILL (V.O): One thing I do know... is that we're so eager to lose our innocence. And I wonder if one day we'll look back and wish... we hadn't.

On Will's happy face...


BELLA is working on a CAR ENGINE... Trying to untwist a stubborn RADIATOR CAP and having no luck.

Suddenly-- arms and a body envelop her from behind. It's SEAN. He reaches around her to the radiator cap...

SEAN: Need a hand with that?

BELLA: No...

Sean pops the cap with one strong TWIST.

BELLA (cont'd): Yeh. Well. I loosened it for you.

She looks at Sean. She smiles at him.

SEAN: What?

BELLA: Nothing. I just... like it when you do that-- come over here and. You know. Just. Nothing.

SEAN: Yeh. Me too. (then) Oh. Hey. Birthday. Yours. What's happening? Are we gonna--

BELLA: Oh. Um. Yeh. I mean, whatever. It's no big deal.

SEAN: But you still haven't told me what you want--

BELLA: (re: car engine) How 'bout you tell Mr. Reynolds that he needs a new transmission. I hate to see a grown my cry.

SEAN: It's the big "one-six." I think I can do better than that.

BELLA: Okay, a trip to Paris.

SEAN: Uh...

BELLA: Then just surprise me.

Sean moves in close to Bella.

SEAN: You like surprises?

BELLA: I do.

He leans in to kiss her as...

SCOUT (O.S.): Here's one...

They turn to see SCOUT. Standing there holding a PACKAGE.

SCOUT (cont'd): Well. Two, actually. If you count this. It was mistakenly delivered to the diner. It's for you.

Bella takes the package from Scout. Tears off the CARD-- then NOTICES Scout and Sean are glaring at each other in silence.

BELLA: Would it kill you two to say hello?

SEAN: (begrudgingly) Hey...

SCOUT: (begrudgingly) Hi...

As Bella opens her card.

SEAN: (to Scout) Smells like you need to change that grease trap on that french fry machine. 

SCOUT: Who's got the time with the way you order those things.

BELLA: (off card) Oh my God.

They turn their attention to Bella.

BELLA (cont'd): It's from my mother.

She looks at them

BELLA (cont'd): A birthday present.

Overcome with emotion, Bella gets up-- DROPS the package in the TRASH and MOVES OFF.

SEAN: Bella--

Sean takes off after her.

Scout hangs back, staring at the package in the trash. He agonizes over what to do. THEN seizing the moment, Scout rips the RETURN ADDRESS off the package.

He stuffs it into his POCKET and heads back to the diner.

End Teaser



FINN is in a BOAT teaching a class on the water. Will, Scout, Hamilton, Jake and several other STUDENTS are floating in crew shells beside him. Hamilton is reading aloud from a BOOK.

HAMILTON: "...I was astonished to see him in Bagdad,  for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samara." (digesting this) Intense.

FINN: Yes. It is. So, what do you make of it?

HAMILTON: The guy thought he could outsmart death by running off to Samara. But learned Death is just one of those things you just can't escape.

FINN: Nice summary. But what's it really about?

WILL: Destiny. Life is predetermined. Nothing you can do can alter your fate.

FINN: Believe that?

WILL: Sometimes.

SCOUT: I'd like not to.

FINN: Why's that?

SCOUT: I'd rather have control over my own life.

FINN: Wouldn't we all. But there are some things you just can't change.

SCOUT: That's often because you don't know how to change them

WILL: Or how to just deal with them.

FINN: But let's explore this. What can't you change?

JAKE: Your height.

FINN: Okay.

HAMILTON: Your personality.

JAKE: Questionable.

SCOUT: Your parents.

FINN: True. That you definitely can't change.

This hits home with Scout.


Bella is kicking back drinking a SODA, taking a well-deserved break. Scout SPOTS her FROM THE SIDEWALK, and ENTERS. Slides into the booth with her.

SCOUT: Buy me a Coke?

BELLA: (shrugging) Sorry, I'm just a poor working stiff.

SCOUT: Alright, then my treat.

She smiles. Slides her Coke across the table. Shares with him.

SCOUT (cont'd): So... sorry about earlier. I mean you must be totally freaked by this.

BELLA: I am. I was. I mean I thought I'd never hear from her again. I just wonder... what she wants.

SCOUT: To see you. (catches himself) I guess. Isn't that enough?

BELLA: Not for her. (then) And I am so not sharing this with Grace or Charlie. Trust me, she would only make our lives miserable again.

SCOUT: Bella, she's your mom.

BELLA: Hey. She forgot that a long time ago. I'm a kid, why am I suppose to remember?

There is an awkward beat.  

BELLA (cont'd): You know. I'm just adding it to my list.

He looks at her quizzically.

BELLA: (cont'd): How I spent my summer vacation: Fell in love with my brother. Met my real father. Well, not actually, more like filled his tank with gas. And now, my mother resurfaces after ten years and wants us to "get to know each other."

SCOUT: Fell in love?

BELLA: God. Scout. I was being dramatic. (then) Anyway. As far as I'm concerned. I don't have a mother.

SCOUT: But aren't you at least curious?

She looks at him. 

BELLA: This is MY MOM. Do you get that? I have a lot of issues over this. And most of them don't involve you. And all you care about is asking her if we're related or not. That's all you care about.

SCOUT: No. I care about you.

BELLA: Then, act like it.

She gets up from the BOOTH and EXITS, leaving Scout frustrated.


Will is walking through the hall as Finn APPROACHES him.

FINN: Mr. Krudski?! Congratulations!

WILL: For what?

FINN: Your request to tutor has been approved by the English Department.

WILL: Great!

FINN: All for the love of poetry, right?

WILL: And twenty bucks an hour. When do I start?

FINN: Five minutes ago. Your first student's waiting in the common room.

WILL: Oh. Wow. Okay--

Will TAKES OFF in the direction of the common room.

FINN: (calling) Will!

Will STOPS and turns back. Finn holds up a PIECE OF PAPER.

FINN (cont'd): Your assignment.

WILL: Thanks!

Will GRABS the paper and takes off.


Will BURSTS through the door. Flushed and out of breath, he scans the room for his student. HE SPOTS ONE PERSON THERE... and his face lights up.

WILL: Caroline?


He looks around.

WILL: You're not here for tutoring, are you?

CAROLINE: Yeh. I am. You too?

WILL: Uh... yeh. I'm the tutor.

CAROLINE: You're my tutor.

WILL: Looks like.

CAROLINE: Oh. God. Is this gonna be weird? I mean...

WILL: No. Unless you--

CAROLINE: Oh. No. I don't. It's okay. Um...

She OPENS her book. Uncomfortable.

CAROLINE (cont'd): Yeh. Well. Good, then...

Will smiles at Caroline. He couldn't be happier.

CAROLINE (cont'd): Look, Will. About what happened at the Cotillion. I'm sorry that I freaked out at you. It's just that so many guys have lied to me about who they are and what they're after. But I guess you were just trying.... to fit in.

WILL: Yeh. I was. You seemed really upset. That's why I haven't called. I thought I'd... give it some space.

CAROLINE: Will. You handed me a note in class and I smiled. (then) That meant call me..

She looks at him.

WILL: Oh. (then) Is there... like a book or something?

CAROLINE: Several.

He looks at her. Smiles. Then...

WILL: So. How was your trip?

CAROLINE: Great. Ten of us in an old castle in Rome. No electricity. No heat.

WILL: And no one to keep you warm.

She looks at him. 

CAROLINE: Yeh. Actually. There was someone.

Will looks at her. Then...

CAROLINE (cont'd): Sorry.

WILL: Oh. No. I didn't mean...

CAROLINE: Oh. Right. I just--

WILL: It's okay. Really. I'm glad you had fun.

CAROLINE: Right. Thanks.

WILL: So.... should we start?


Jake is sitting at the big table. Writing. She SPOTS Hamilton across the room in the LIBRARY ALCOVE. He motions for her to join him as...

RYDER. Outside sneaking a cigarette, SEES this. Raises an eyebrow.


Jake turns the corner and is met by Hamilton. They are face to face.


JAKE: Hi. Boy.

Eyeball to eyeball.

HAMILTON: (sexy) We gotta find a better way to be together.

JAKE: Like now?

HAMILTON: Like all the time.

JAKE: Hmm. I like the sound of that.

They giggle. Nose to nose. He wants to kiss her. But he can't. Not here. As they look into each other's eyes...

RYDER: Oh. Excuse me.

As Ryder REACHES between them and grabs a book.

RYDER (cont'd): Just needed to get this book on genetic mutations.

HAMILTON: Researching your family tree?

Jake laughs. Ryder stops. Looks at them.



HAMILTON: That was funny.

JAKE: No. That was close. (a beat) Lunch? (then) Let's go.



WILL: "... My love, leave your lips half-open: because that final kiss should linger with me, it should stay still, forever, in your mouth, so that it goes with me, too, into my death."

REVEAL Caroline. Sitting next to him. They're in the middle of their tutoring session. She watches him. Lost in him. As he reads aloud from a POETRY BOOK.

CAROLINE: It's sad...

WILL: No. It's passion. It's endless love. To want to be with someone that much. To hold them. To kiss them, until... forever.

Will's looking into her eyes. Lost in them. And realizes... she's looking back into his.

WILL (cont'd): (collecting himself) With poetry, you can't just take things at face value. You've got to dig deeper to find the meaning... the truth. And if you can't find it. You dig even deeper. (grinning) Or, you ask me for help.

Caroline laughs. Will looks at her.


WILL: (closes his book) So-- Tomorrow. At eleven?


She gathers her books.

CAROLINE (cont'd): This is gonna be fun. Huh?

WILL: Oh. Yeh. Fun.

She EXITS. OFF Will's face. Crestfallen. We...


As Caroline CROSSES the quad...

Ryder sidles up to her.

RYDER: Hello, love--

He throws his arm around her neck. Kisses her.

RYDER (cont'd): Whatt'ya' doing over here?

As they MOVE off together--

CAROLINE: Passing English.


CAROLINE: Will Krudski's tutoring me in poetry.

She wraps her arm around his waist as we...


A hot summer day at the lake where RAWLEY BOYS and GIRLS are lounging on the dock, basking in the sun. Find Scout, and Will laying on the dock. Hamilton is in the water with his DOGS.

SCOUT: So. You were playing it cool while someone else was keeping Caroline warm

WILL: You did not just say that...

Ryder WALKS down the dock, passes a FRESHMAN who's trying to be suave with a girl. He casually PUSHES him into the water as he passes. Then APPROACHES Will and Scout.

RYDER: Hello, fresh-faced youth of America.

Will and Scout roll their eyes. Not thrilled to see him

SCOUT: Hey, cheap import.

RYDER: If I wasn't so passionately apathetic, that actually might have stung.

WILL: That's an oxymoron.

RYDER: And that's exactly the sort of insight I'm looking for.

WILL: What do you want, Ryder?

Ryder PLOPS down next to Will.

RYDER: I could use your help, Willy.

Will reacts. He wasn't expecting this.

RYDER (cont'd): I know. I'm as shocked as you are. But I'm a little stuck on my literature assignment. And seeing as you're a tutor..

WILL: You're going to have to sign up through the English Department.

RYDER: Actually, I was hoping for something less formal. I've got this... assignment. A love sonnet.

Ryder pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket.

RYDER (cont'd): It just needs some cleaning up. Fifty bucks.

Ryder hands Will his POEM. He reads it. The look on Will's face tells us it stinks.

WILL: The EPA couldn't clean this up.

SCOUT: Sounds like it's more of a "C-note-worthy" assignment.

RYDER: Fine. A hundred bucks it is. What's money compared to my love of the arts.

Ryder starts to leave.

RYDER (cont'd): I want it by tomorrow, or the deal's off. 

Ryder SEES Jake has arrived and is now kneeling down on the edge of the dock. Hamilton is in the water with his elbows on the dock. Looking like the happy lovers they are.

RYDER (cont'd): (re: Hamilton and Jake) Young love. Sweet couple. Aren't they?

Will and Scout look over at them.

RYDER (cont'd): I saw them making out in the Common Room yesterday.

WILL: What?

RYDER: Like totally going at it. Hard-core.

SCOUT: Ryder. Just back off, okay?

Ryder laughs. Takes off. He passes the guy he pushed in earlier, who is just now drying off, and PUSHES him back in. As he passes Jake and Hamilton--

RYDER (cont'd): It's nice to see you two enjoying a lovely summer romance.

Jake and Hamilton just look at him.

JAKE: Mad Cow disease pretty rampant back in England, huh?

RYDER: (to Jake, re: Hamilton) She's a pretty one, the Dean's daughter. I'll give you that.

As Ryder leaves-- we can HEAR his CACKLING. Jake and Hamilton watch him leave, shacking their heads.

ON Will and Scout, watching Jake and Hamilton.

WILL: So, are they like... out?

SCOUT: They are now.

WILL: Wow... that's bold.

ON Jake and Hamilton. They look over. See Scout and Will watching them. Nodding in approval.

JAKE: What's up with them?

HAMILTON: I don't know. They're very strange.

Hamilton shrugs.


Scout and Will are coming from the lake. Walking beneath the tall trees and dappled sunlight. Scout looks off. Contemplative. Then. A beat. He turns to Will.

SCOUT: Hey, Will?

WILL: Yeh?

SCOUT: What was Bella's mother like?

WILL: Um. She was... not very... mom-like. She was different. Kinda tough. But, I was like six when she left.

SCOUT: Oh...

WILL: Why? What's up?

Scout hesitated for a moment, then...

SCOUT: I know where she lives.

WILL: What? How?

SCOUT: She sent Bella a gift. And Bella threw the whole thing away. I ripped the address off the package.

WILL: Why?

SCOUT: Will. You know why. As long as there's any possible doubt--

WILL: You can't get over her.

SCOUT: It's not like I can just turn off my feelings. Especially when right now we have one man's word against another's. (beat) I don't know what to do.

WILL: How about-- nothing?

SCOUT: But-- it's her mom.

WILL: Emphasis on her. It's her mother. Her decision.

SCOUT: Yeh. I mean, no. I just-- this kind of affects me too, ya know..

WILL: But you gotta be careful. Bella's been through enough. It's people's lives you're dealing with here.

SCOUT: Yeh. I know.

They continue up the hill together. Scout. Totally conflicted.


Hamilton is heading down the corridor into the COMMON ROOM as...

KATE EXITS the office across the hall. SPOTS her son.

KATE: Hey...


KATE: Ready to go home?

HAMILTON: Um. Yeh. About that. I...

Kate looks at her son. Tilts her head.

HAMILTON (cont'd): You know, mom, I was wondering... now that I'm actaully attending Rawley... I wanna' have the complete experience of-- going to school here...

KATE: Uh-huh...

HAMILTON: So... I was thinking... about... maybe... moving into the dorms.

KATE: Hamilton. We live about five hundred yards away. You have your own room at home. You wouldn't here.

HAMILTON: Yeh. I know.

She looks at him.

KATE: And in a couple of years, you'll be gone for good.

HAMILTON: Mom. I'll be going to college-- not off the 'Nam. (then) I just wanna do what everybody else is doing...

KATE: Every fifteen year old in America does not move out of their parents' house.

HAMILTON: No. But every kid here does.

A beat. She studies him. He looks at her expectantly.

KATE: I'll talk to your dad.

HAMILTON: Excellent. Thanks, Mom.

He kisses her.

HAMILTON (cont'd): I'll be home in a little while.

She watches her son LEAVE HER as he EXITS into the Common Room.


Will, Scout and others watching a game on TV.

Hamilton ENTERS, joins them. He PLOPS down on the couch. His HUGE SMILE shows that he is obviously very excited about something.


They all look at him.

WILL: (off his smile) Ham. What's up? You're freaking me out.

HAMILTON: I'm moving in.


HAMILTON: Yep. I-- my friend-- am finally ditching the parentals and moving into the dorms.

SCOUT: You're giving up twenty-four hour maid service, home cooked meals, privacy...

HAMILTON: Hey. Does my mom look like she runs a vacuum? Ever? Maybe a microwave every now and then. And privacy-- yeh, like there's a lot of that when you live at home.

SCOUT: Good point.

WILL: So-- Which room? Who's moving out? (hopefully) Oh. Is it Ryder?

They laugh.

HAMILTON: Nobody's moving out. I'm moving in with Jake.

Will and Scout look at each other.

WILL: You're moving in with Jake?


SCOUT: Wow. That's... uh...


WILL: And your parents are cool with it?

HAMILTON: Well. Yeh. What's the big deal?

WILL: Hey. No big deal.

SCOUT: Yeh. As long as Jake's cool with it.

HAMILTON: Exactly.

Hamilton looks at them.

HAMILTON (cont'd): So-- I'll see you guys later?

EVERYONE: Later. Yeh. Good night.

Hamilton EXITS. A BEAT. Then...

SCOUT: Well. That's settled.

A FLURRY of ACTIVITY ensues as EVERYONE simultaneously pulls out their wallets and exchanges MONEY.

End Act One



The hot sun shines down on the grass, where STUDENTS are relaxing between classes.

PICK UP... Will, who's not so relaxed, sitting under a tree writing on a PAD.

WILL: (reading aloud) "There's a promise of tomorrow in your smile..."

Will rips out the PAGE from the pad and CRUMPLES it up.

WILL: Okay. I'm making myself sick.

Frustrated, Will leans his head back against the tree and closes his eyes. He HEARS a familiar LAUGH and opens his eyes to SEE...

Caroline walking across the lawn with some FRIENDS. IN SLOW MOTION she brushes the HAIR off her FACE, revealing her perfect profile and sparkling eyes.

Will is transfixed. Then, with newfound inspiration he writes...

BACK ON Caroline.

WILL (O.S): I am earth. You are sky. I gaze up to your light beauty...

ON Will as he continues writing with passion.


Bella is UNDERNEATH a TRUCK checking the axle. She SEES...


SEAN (O.S): How's it look?

Bella ROLLS herself out from under the truck. 

Sean offers his hand. Bella takes it and he pulls her up to her feet.

BELLA: Your socks don't match.


A small row-boat moves across the lake. Sean and Bella inside. Sean stops rowing.

SEAN: Okay. Time to feed the crew.

She reaches into a basket and pulls out a sandwich, hands it to him.

BELLA: Here...

SEAN: Thanks.

BELLA: Thank you. I mean. For this. I needed to get out of that gas station today.

SEAN: Yeh. You did. Come Here.

She lays across him.

BELLA: Sean... Do you think I'm wrong for not wanting to get in touch with my Mom?

SEAN: Bella, I think that whatever feels right for you is what you got to go with.

He kisses her head.

BELLA: Scout thinks I'm missing this great opportunity.

SEAN: Screw Scout. I mean... since when does Scout have an opinion about this? It's none of his business.

BELLA: Well. Actually... it's hard to explain.

SEAN: Oh, I can explain. The guy has the hots for you and he'll look for any excuse to get involved in your life.

BELLA: No. That's not it.

SEAN: And why would you even consider what he has to say?

BELLA: Scout and I-- are friends. We care about each other.

Bella turns around and looks into Sean's pleading eyes. They're warm and make her feel safe. She can't hide the truth from him anymore.

BELLA: But it's not what you think.

SEAN: So... I'm not crazy.

Bella agonizes over what to do. Then...

BELLA: Okay, I'm going to tell you something that I haven't told anyone...

SEAN: (nervous) Yeh...?

Bella takes a deep breath.

BELLA: The thing with Scout... (hard for her) The thing with Scout and me is that... we're kind of...

SEAN: What?

BELLA: Sean.... Scout's my brother. My mom had an affair with his dad.

Sean is blown away by the enormity of this revelation.

SEAN: You gotta be kidding me. Why didn't you tell me this before?

BELLA: I haven't told anyone.

SEAN: I'm not anyone. And you're sure about all this?

BELLA: Uh. Yeh. (then) Pretty sure.

SEAN: Looks, you gotta do what you gotta do. But I'd have a hard time living with "pretty sure."


Bella arrives back from her date with Sean. She sees the TRASH CAN  where she threw away the present. She takes a deep breath and looks down and SEES...

The thrash can is EMPTY. On Bella's regretful face, we...


Jake is at her COMPUTER. Hamilton ENTERS and THROWS himself on the bed.

HAMILTON: (pointing to wall) You know what would look good right there? My Third Eye Blind poster.

She looks at the wall.

JAKE: You think?

HAMILTON: And over there? My Fender guitar. And over there... my stereo. Which totally blows yours away.

He looks at her. Smiles.

HAMILTON (cont'd): Well, it's stupid to have two stereos in the same room, right?

JAKE: Hamilton. What are you talking about?

HAMILTON: Moving in. With you.

JAKE: What?

HAMILTON: Us. Living here together.

JAKE: Wait-- Back up like 500 feet.

HAMILTON: I talked to my mom. She okayed it for me to live in the dorms. With you.

JAKE: Are you crazy?

HAMILTON: Why? It's the answer to our problems.

JAKE: Or.... not. Were you planning on asking me about this? Or were you just gonna walk in one day and yell "surprise?" Don't you think I'd want to have a say in this?

HAMILTON: I thought you'd be psyched. I thought you wanted to be together.

JAKE: Not living together. (then) I mean, Hamilton. Sleeping together? In the same room? No. I'm not ready for that.

HAMILTON: Well, I'm sick of sneaking around.

JAKE: Well you better think of another solution. Because I don't think your poster's gonna match my stuff.

Hamilton looks at her, frustrated, then LEAVES...

Jake looks upset.


Ryder is lying on a couch listening to a WALKMAN. His eyes are closed.

Will ENTERS holding a PAD. He DROPS it on Ryder's chest, STARTLING him.

WILL: Here's your poem.

Ryder sits up. Takes off the headphones.

RYDER: Oh, it's Walt Whitman.

WILL: How 'bout some cash.

RYDER: Easy, Willy. Let's give it a read.

Ryder quickly SCANS the poem. Will waits impatiently.

WILL: Come on, it's good. Pay up.

RYDER: (re: the poem) A little too good. Who wrote it?

WILL: What do you mean?

RYDER: Well-- it can't be yours.

Will GRABS the pad from Ryder.

WILL: Well, it is.

RYDER: I won't stand for plagiarism in my name.

WILL: It's not plagiarized. It's inspired.

Will starts to leave.

WILL (cont'd): But if you've got a problem with it, fine.

RYDER: Settle down, Krudski. Can't blame a lad for trying a bit of business strategy.

Ryder takes A HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL from his pocket and gives it to Will.

RYDER (cont'd): Here you go. Pleasure.

Will begrudgingly gives Ryder the poem.

RYDER (cont'd): I have a term paper coming up. We'll talk.

WILL: That's unlikely.



Will is sitting by the shore with his POETRY BOOK. He SEES Caroline run towards him, breathless.

CAROLINE: Sorry I'm late. I was with...

She looks at him. Then---

CAROLINE (cont'd): Hey-- Can I read you something?

WILL: Um. Yeh...

She takes out a PIECE OF PAPER she has stashed between the pages of a POETRY BOOK.

CAROLINE (cont'd): Okay... (reading) "I am earth. You are sky. I gaze up to your light beauty. The wind is your touch, gently like small fingers dancing. How can I hold the wind?"

Will can't believe what he's hearing.

WILL: Where did you get that?

CAROLINE: Ryder wrote it for me.

WILL: Ryder?


WILL: Why?

CAROLINE: Uh. 'Cuz he likes me. We've been, you know, going out.

WILL: (stunned) I don't believe it.


WILL: I mean... the poem.

CAROLINE: I know. It's so cool. No one's ever written me a poem before.

WILL: I'm sure they have.... They just haven't given them to you.

She looks at him. Will is devastated.

WILL (cont'd): (sickened) Hey... I was wondering if we could reschedule our session. I'm not feeling too great.

CAROLINE: (disappointed) Oh. Um... Yeh... Feel better.

Will GATHERS up his books and LEAVES. Stay with Will, as he MOVES off. Freaked.

End Act Two



Scout comes through the gates as.... Will APPROACHES, catches up to him...

WILL: Hey--

SCOUT: Hey. What's up?

WILL: That poem Ryder paid me to write? He gave it to Caroline. Said it was from him... (off Scout's look) They're going out. That's who was keeping her warm in Rome.

SCOUT: No way--

WILL: Yeh-- my life.

SCOUT: Whatta' ya' gonna do?

WILL: Tar and feather him, I guess.

SCOUT: Sounds like a plan.

As they APPROACH the front door they SPOT... Hamilton. Sitting on the window ledge-- looking out. Thoughtful.

SCOUT (cont'd): Hey, Ham.

Hamilton looks at him. Nods hello.

HAMILTON: (depressed) Hey...

WILL: You okay???


SCOUT: You're lookin' all depressed.

WILL: Hanging there in the window.

HAMILTON: Well-- I'm not gonna jump, if that's what you're thinking.

SCOUT: Oh. Well, that's good. So-- When are you movin' in with Jake.


WILL: Oh...

SCOUT: Oh... What heppened?

HAMILTON: My posters don't match his furniture. Or something like that.

And with that, Hamilton TURNS and DISAPPEARS.

SCOUT: Guess they broke up.

WILL: I'm kinda disappointed.


Ryder is RACING across the landing, towards the main staircase, as he FLIES down the stairs... Will comes up behind him...

WILL: (calling) Ryder-- I need to talk to you.

Ryder maintains his fast pace-- Will on his heels--

RYDER: I'm listening.

WILL: Slow down--

They reach the main corridor- Ryder SPEEDS UP and Will GRABS him by the shirt--

RYDER: Krudski-- what the hell?!

They STOP. Ryder looks at him.

WILL: You used me to get to Caroline.

RYDER: You got paid.

WILL: You're a jerk.

RYDER: Aren't we test? Do you have a thing for Caroline or something? Oh wait, I already knew that.

WILL: So you did this just to screw me.

RYDER: No, I did it to screw Caroline. Screwing you is just a fun by-product.

WILL: Hey. I saved your ass-- and your car-- last week.

RYDER: That was last week. What have you done for me lately?

WILL: I made you a poet. I made Caroline think you have a heart.

RYDER: Yes. Well done lad. (pushing past Will) Don't get your panties in a twist. You can have her when I'm finished.

And Ryder MOVES off. Will stares after him, seething.


Bella is sitting in the shade thumbing through a "SEVENTEEN" MAGAZINE.

Jake RIDES up on her MOTORCYCLE and parks it in front of a GAS PUMP. Bella looks up.

BELLA: Hey, Jake.

JAKE: Hey...

Jake goes to the pump-- Bella starts to get up...

JAKE (cont'd): S'cool. I got it.

Bella nods. Goes back to her magazine. Jake takes the nozzle. Inserts it into the gas tank. Presses the trigger. Nothing. She goes to the pump. Can't figure out how to turn it on.

ON Bella. She's watching Jake. Curious. Finally. She gets up. Crosses to the pumps. Hits the lever. The gas starts to flow.

JAKE (cont'd): (looks at her) Thanks.

BELLA: No problem.

Jake pumps the gas. As she does. Bella checks her out. Her hair. Her face. Her lips. Her hands.

BELLA (cont'd): Cool bike.

JAKE: Thanks

Jake feels Bella watching her. Then...

JAKE (cont'd): Not really supposed to have it at school so... don't say anything to anyone. About the bike. Okay?

BELLA: (studying her) My lips are sealed.

Jake puts the nozzle back.

BELLA (cont'd): Five bucks.

As Jake fishes for the money Bella watches her. Then...

BELLA (cont'd): Must be cool being the only guy on campus with a motorcycle.

JAKE: Um.. yeh.

Jake brushes against the pump. Gets a GREASE SMEAR on her jeans.

JAKE (cont'd): Damn!

BELLA: You know what, just soak them in salt and soda water and it should come right out. That's what I do.

JAKE: Thanks. These are like my favorite jeans.

BELLA: Yeh. They're really cute on you.

JAKE: Really? I thought they made me look...

Jake catches herself--

BELLA: Fat? No way. You look great. (then) In fact... ever since the first time I saw you, I thought...

Jake looks at her.

JAKE: You thought what.... ?

BELLA: I thought... (then) --Never mind, if I'm wrong about this, I'll light myself on fire--

JAKE: What? Say it.

BELLA: I thought-- Why is this beautiful girl dressing like a guy?

Bella looks at Jake. Busted, Jake freezes.

BELLA (cont'd): I knew it.

And the two girls just stand there. Face to face. Secret exposed. 



Bella and Jake are sitting by a window. Jake is paging through the "Seventeen" magazine.

JAKE: Okay. Can I just say how much I miss this mindless crap. (off the article) "Is your man moving too fast?" Uh... Yeh. He is.

BELLA: Hamilton?

JAKE: You know, he wants to move in. With me. Into my room.

BELLA: You're kidding.

JAKE: Nope.

BELLA: But you guys are so...

JAKE: Young? Tell me about it. And he didn't even ask me about it. He, like, decided it on his own. (then, concerned) I don't know what's gonna happen. I totally freaked out at him.

Bella looks at her.

BELLA: Are you two like, totally in love?

Jake takes a beat.  Can't hold back the smile.

BELLA (cont'd): Yes you are.

JAKE: Yeh, pretty much.

BELLA: No wonder they all think you're gay.

JAKE: Ugh. This is so out of control. I've got to do something about it.

BELLA: And all this just to get back at your mom?

JAKE: Weird, huh?

BELLA: Um. Yeh. But, I... understand. (then) Sometimes I wonder how I could get back at my mother for leaving.

JAKE: Well, I don't recommend cross-dressing. Boxers are really annoying.

They share a laugh.

JAKE (cont'd): Have you ever confronted her? Told her how you feel?

BELLA: I haven't seen her since she left. Ten years ago.

JAKE: Yikes.

Jake follows Bella's gaze across the street to... SCOUT.

JAKE: Scout. He's so... he's so cute. You guys... ?

BELLA: Oh. No. We're just friends. Really good friends.

JAKE: Uh-huh. That's what I say about me and Hamilton.

BELLA: It's.... complicated. But we are just friends.

JAKE: Okay.


Caroline is CURLED UP on a couch READING  a POETRY BOOK. Will sits across form her in a chair. He studies her.

CAROLINE: " 'Yes,' I answered you last night/ 'No.' this morning, Sir, I say. Colours seen by candlelight/ Will not look the same by day. Yet the sin is on us both-- Time to dance is not to woo---" (then) Interesting poem you picked, Mr. Kdrudski.

WILL: Elizabeth Barrett Browning. A classic.


Will looks at her. Then. Looks down--

WILL: (reticent) So... Caroline... I wanted... to-- talk to you-- about... 

He looks up at her. She's looking back at him. Open. Innocent. A face you couldn't bare to hurt.


WILL: Um... I think you're ready to write.


WILL: No, a minuet. Yes, a poem.

She laughs.

CAROLINE: Oh. Well. That's actually... great. Because I was thinking that I should write one. For Ryder. So, maybe that could be my assignment? Could you help me with that?

Will can't believe it. He almost has to laugh.

CAROLINE (cont'd): (off his reaction) .... or is it too... oh God. What was I thinking? That was so rude of me. I'm sorry.

WILL: No. Listen. Caroline...

Will takes a deep breath. Looks at her. Then--

WILL (cont'd): Ryder. Are you like really serious about him?

CAROLINE: Well... Um. Yeh. I mean. He's a great guy. It's all sorta new but... you know.

WILL: Okay. God. This is so-- weird. I just.... I guess I just wanted to tell you that... He's... not a great guy. He's really not who you think he is and I would never say that if I really didn't believe it-- but you've gotta' trust me on this one and... he didn't even...

He trails off...

CAROLINE: Didn't even what Will?

WILL: Look. He's totally dishonest. Okay? And I don't want to see you get hurt. And I don't think he likes you the way you like him...

She looks at him. Incredulous. Gets up and STORMS OFF. He gets up. Goes after her-- catches up to her--

WILL (cont'd): Caroline...

CAROLINE: God-- What are you doing? Why would you say that to me? (then) Why would you try and hurt me like that?!

WILL: That's what I'm trying to tell you-- This guy is gonna hurt you. You've gotta' hear me...

CAROLINE: You know what, Will? This whole thing-- it was a bad idea.

She MOVES away from him.

WILL: Caroline..

But she's gone...


Ryder and some other KIDS are hanging out, smoking cigarettes. Jake sits on the docks, staring at the water. Hamilton APPROACHES. SPOTS Jake.  Makes his way over to her as... he passes Ryder, who BLOWS SMOKE in his face.

HAMILTON: No smoking in school-- butt boy.

RYDER: Rather ironic insult, coming from you.

Hamilton ignores him and heads towards Jake-- as he nears her...

RYDER (cont'd): Hey kids-- Please let me know where you're registered. I'm hoping no one's gotten you the shower caddy for two yet.

Hamilton stops dead in his tracks. Tries to restrain himself. Ryder bursts out laughing and is surprised when Hamilton SWINGS and PUNCHES HIM. Jake RUNS over to hold Hamilton back.

JAKE: Hamilton. He is so not worth it!

HAMILTON: THIS. Is so not worth it.

Hamilton walks away from Jake. Leaving her standing there. Perplexed.


Bella EMERGES from the lake after a swim. She SPREADS a TOWEL on the grass, lies down, closes her eyes and soaks in the warmth of the sun.

SCOUT (O.S): Hi.

Bella opens her eyes and SEES Scout above her. She sits up.

SCOUT: Grace told me you'd be here.

BELLA: Yeh, I just needed to float in the middle of the lake for a while. Kinda make the world disappear.

SCOUT: I know that feeling.

Scout sits down next to Bella.

SCOUT (cont'd): I have.... something for you.

Scout hands Bella the ADDRESS he tore off her mother's package.

BELLA: (incredulous) Where did you get this?

SCOUT: From the trash.

BELLA: You took this?! From my house?! How could you do that?!

SCOUT: Because I'm selfish. I was going to look up your mother.

BELLA: You were what??

SCOUT: Look, maybe you don't, but I have a lot of questions.

BELLA: (angry) Oh my God, Scout! You didn't, did you?!

SCOUT: I wanted to. I want to. You have no idea how much. But not if you don't.

Bella is overwhelmed with emotion. Scout looks at her. The two of them. Caught in this moment. The sun setting behind them. Then... 

SCOUT (cont'd): (re: address) Keep that. In case you ever change your mind. It should be your decision. Not mine.

Tears trickle down Bella's face as she watches Scout WALK AWAY.  She looks down at the address in her hand.

End Act Three



Hamilton is lying on the couch. Feet up. The SOUND of STUDENTS filters through the open french doors. Jake ENTERS. Hamilton pretends he doesn't see her.

JAKE: (bluntly) I'm leaving Rawley.

This get's Hamilton's attention.

JAKE (cont'd): You're right. I can't take this anymore either. So you don't have to worry about sneaking around or any of that. It'll all be over.

Jake turns, heads for the door. Then-- turns back.

JAKE (cont'd): Oh-- and before I go, I'm telling everyone I'm a girl.

Jake exits the common room. Hamilton watches her go.


Jake already has a half-packed SUITCASE on her bed. Hamilton storms in.

HAMILTON: You don't have to do this, you know.

JAKE: Why not? You get your reputation. I get to wear skirts.

HAMILTON: Look, it's my problem.

JAKE: And I'm the cause. So-- poof-- problem solved. I can't take the guilt. And, you know what? I can't keep living like this either.

HAMILTON: Well, I'd have a harder time living without you.

Jake looks surprised. Hamilton realizes what he just said. It's the truth.

HAMILTON (cont'd): I don't care about my reputation. I don't want to lose you.

Jake's overwhelmed. 

JAKE: You said it yourself-- It's not worth it.

HAMILTON: Well don't listen to me. I'm an idiot.

She looks at him.

JAKE: Hamilton, look, I understand if you can't--

HAMILTON: Would you just drop it. You're not going anywhere. Okay?

He shuts her suitcase. Jake looks at him. Sees just how serious he is. Then...

JAKE: Well-- when you put it that way...

HAMILTON: And don't worry, I'm staying home. My parents are bound to go away sometime before fall semester.

JAKE: Yeh.

HAMILTON: Look. I'm sorry I... pushed things. I don't want to do that. It's just that.... I love you.

Hamilton looks at her, completely vulnerable.

JAKE: I know.

THEY KISS. In a way like they never have before. Fueled by the passion of their commitment.


Will is sitting on the grass-- books open-- waiting for Caroline. As he HEARS LAUGHING OFF SCREEN.... and LOOKS OVER to SEE...

Ryder. Sitting on the grass with ANOTHER GIRL, RACHEL. He MOVES close to her. Kisses her.

Will gets up. Crosses to them...

WILL: Ryder. What the hell are you doing?

RYDER: Don't be jealous love, I'm saving some for you.

Will looks around...

WILL: What if Caroline sees you?

RACHEL: Caroline? Who's Caroline?

As Ryder starts to answer her--

WILL: You really don't give a crap, do you?

RYDER: What are you, the damn love police? Bugger off and get a life, Krudski--

WILL: You know what you're gonna do, Ryder? You're gonna leave Caroline alone.

RYDER: Why, so you can have her?

WILL: No. I think that's pretty much impossible now thanks to you--

RYDER: Then why are you bothering me?

WILL: Because I care about her. I like her. Don't you get it? The poem was about her. I wrote it for her.


Caroline... APPROACHING them. Close enough to have HEARD it all.

WILL (cont'd): Stay away from Caroline, Ryder. Find another co-ed to co-opt.... or I'll shred you.

Will turns and SEES Caroline. Standing there. She's looking at him. Realizes. God. This guy...

Ryder MOVES to her and she... SLAPS  him. She walks off.

WILL (cont'd): I think your love visa just expired.

Will PUSHES Ryder. He falls down. Will GOES after Caroline. Leaving Ryder with egg on his face.


Scout lies on his bed aimlessly THROWING A BALL in the air. He HEARS a knock on the door.

SCOUT: (calling out) Enter at your own risk.

Bella ENTERS. Surprised to see her, Scout quickly sits up. 

BELLA: I like to live on the edge.

SCOUT: Don't mind me, I was just... being and idiot. What are you doing here? I figured you'd probably never want to see me again.

BELLA: I came here to thank you.

SCOUT: For what?

BELLA: For giving me... a choice. I'm not ready to look up my mother. But I might be. I mean. At some point. If it weren't for you, I might not have that option.

SCOUT: I'm glad my underhanded, self-serving behavior could do some good.

BELLA: Don't beat yourself up... That's my job.


Caroline sits at the end of the dock, dangling her feet in the water. Will WALKS UP behind her.

WILL: Hey.

CAROLINE: (turning) Hi. 

Will sits down next to Caroline at the end of the dock.

CAROLINE (cont'd): Kind of weird. That a creep like Ryder could write such a beautiful poem. (then, looks at Will) IRONIC.

Will laughs.

WILL: Yes. It is.

CAROLINE: Let's have him deported.

WILL: That might be hard.

CAROLINE: You don't know my family.

Will laughs again.

WILL: Maybe you should stay away from fancy imports. Date domestically.

CAROLINE: Well. If someone would ask me out already...

He looks at her. 

WILL: Okay. Ya wanna go out?

CAROLINE: Um. Yeh. I'd love to.


BLACKNESS. THEN... We feel movement. CAMERA FINDS...

WILL AND CAROLINE. In silhouette. We can barely make them out. In SLOW MOTION. Will raises his finger to his lips. Shhh. Caroline smiles.

WILL (V.O): When exactly do we go from being kids to being... just people, I'm not sure.

CAMERA MOVES through the darkness as we NOTICE the room is FILLED with PEOPLE. Standing in the dark. Whispering. Rustling.

WILL (V.O): I do know that it's not about turning a certain age or graduating from school.



Reveal Bella. Standing in the doorway of the DINER. Sean REMOVES his hands from her eyes. The room is decorated for a party. A BANNER READS: Happy Birthday Bella.

Still in SLOW MOTION, Sean puts his arm around Bella. She laughs. Tears in her eyes.

WILL (V.O): It happens when we're not paying attention. We go from playing with out friends... to playing with out friends' feelings.

Bella looks at Sean. Kisses him.

FIND.... Hamilton, Jake, Will and Caroline. They approach Bella and Sean. Jake hands Bella a gift. Bella smiles at Jake. Hamilton wonders why.

FIND Scout. He looks on, trying to put on a good face. It's hard.

ON Bella, who SEES Scout standing by himself. She walks over to him.

Scout takes a SMALL BOX from his pocket and GIVES it to Bella. She opens the box. Finds and ANTIQUE GOLD BRACELET. Moved, Bella smiles at Scout.

Scout gives Bella a hug that he never wants to end.

ON Sean. Standing with the group. He SEES this exchange.

WILL (V.O): Without our knowledge or consent, childhood slips away in the night. And our innocence escapes us...

ON Will and Caroline. Talking and laughing. Then. Finally. Will leans in. And kisses the girl.

WILL (V.O): And we wake up one morning... to find we have become... who we are.

WE PULL BACK to see the party in full swing. On our kids. Young and full of promise.