Untitled Record

By juliagoolia_xo

This piece was written to follow the prompt "write a scene consisting of two people living together in which one character wants to leave and the other is desperate to make them stay".

INT APARTMENT LIVING ROOM- NIGHT
A pleasant fire crackles in the room as the HUSBAND prepares a romantic evening for himself and his WIFE. He buzzes around, fluffing pillows and clearing off the cluttered coffee table, setting out a bottle of wine and two glasses. He then goes over to the stereo, inserts a CD, and turns over the disk’s case to search for the track number of a particular song. While he is preoccupied, his wife—a young but disheveled woman—emerges from the bedroom and scurries silently across the living room toward the hallway. She carries a large tote bag full of clothes, and appears determined to escape the apartment without her husband’s notice. The husband selects the desired track and hits play, and as he turns and catches sight of his fleeing wife, “Baby its Cold Outside” begins to play.

NOTE- The version of the song incorporated here is abridged. One full verse has been cut, as well as various individual lines.

The wife knows she has been seen, and she freezes under her husband’s gaze. She is ashamed and afraid, unable to look him in the face. As the song’s intro continues, the husband walks toward his wife with a slow deliberation. He stops directly in front of her, and as she finally meets his eyes she begins to sing along with the song playing out over the living room speakers.

WIFE
(Quietly, timidly, apologetically. She is scared of this man)
I really can’t stay…

HUSBAND
(Also with the song, but in a kind and comforting tone that completely contradicts that of his wife)
Baby, its cold outside.

WIFE
I’ve got to go ‘way.

He moves closer, placing his hands reassuringly on her shoulders.

HUSBAND
Baby, its cold outside.

WIFE
(Shrinking back)
The evening has been

The husband begins to steer his wife into the living room, towards the couch and beverages he has set out. She is still clutching the handle of her tote bag with one hand.

HUSBAND
I’ve been hopin’ that you’d drop in.

WIFE
So very nice.

He takes his wife’s free hand in both of his, pulling her down on the couch with him.

HUSBAND
I’ll hold your hand, they’re just like ice.

WIFE
(Shifting away from him)
My mother will start to worry...

During the song break between the wife’s next two lines, we hear the voices of her parents from some previous conversation.

MOTHER V.O.
You have to get out of there, Honey. Come stay with us for a while.

WIFE
And father will be pacing the floor.

FATHER V.O.
Look at your face! Oh, God, what has he done to you?

WIFE
So really I’d better scurry—

He hands her a glass of wine, which she takes with her free hand. Her other still clutches the tote.

HUSBAND
Beautiful, please don’t hurry.

She glances down at the glass in her hand.

WIFE
Well, maybe just a half a drink more…

Then, suddenly, she leaps up, spilling some wine from her glass.

WIFE (CONT’D)
The neighbors might think

He places his glass down on the table, looking up calmly at his wife.

HUSBAND
Baby, it’s bad out there.

WIFE
(With slight alarm, looking from the glass in her hand to her husband’s now serious face)
Say, what’s in this drink?!

Taking the glass from her, he sets it down on the table next to his. He pats the cushion next to him, indicating that she should sit back down.


HUSBAND
No cabs to be had out there.

She sinks slowly back onto the couch, staring straight ahead.

WIFE
I wish I knew how

The husband reaches up to tenderly brush the hair from her eyes, an act that reveals the faint outline of a recent black eye.

HUSBAND
Your eyes are like starlight now!

WIFE
(Shrinking away from his touch)
To break this spell…

He reaches over to pull the tote bag from her hands. She is reluctant to let go, but quickly realizes she will not win and releases her hold on the bag.

HUSBAND
I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell.

He places the tote on the other side of the couch, out of his wife’s reach.

WIFE
I ought to say no, no, no sir!

He turns back to her.

HUSBAND
You mind if I move in closer?

WIFE
At least I’m gonna say that I tried.

He scoots down closer to her, putting an arm around her shoulders.

HUSBAND
And what’s the sense in hurting my pride?

WIFE
I really can’t stay…

HUSBAND
Oh Baby don’t hold out.

She turns to look out the window

WIFE
Oh but its cold outside!

A look of determination crosses her face. She nudges her husband’s arm away, sitting up straight and looking directly at him.

WIFE (CONT’D)
I’ve got to get home.

HUSBAND
Baby, you’ll freeze out there.

She pushes herself up off the couch and strides over to a nearby mirror.

WIFE
Say, lend me a comb.

He stands up and follows her to the mirror, stopping behind her so both figures are being reflected. Looking into her face as reflected by the mirror, he digs in his pocket and produces a comb which he holds out in front of her.


HUSBAND
It’s up to your knees out there!

She takes the proffered comb, brushing his hand in the process, and begins to draw it through her hair.

WIFE
You’ve really been grand

For a moment he loses focus, gazing longingly at the hand his wife has just touched, drawing it toward his face.

HUSBAND
I thrill when you touch my hand…

Suddenly he grabs her arm mid-comb and whirls her around to face him. They glare into each other’s eyes.

WIFE
(Afraid)
Oh, but don’t you see?

HUSBAND
(Calm, but threatening)
How can you do this thing to me?

She begins to back away from him, though he still grips her arm.

WIFE
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow.

Keeping a tight hold on her arm, he steps forward.

HUSBAND
Well think of my lifelong sorrow

She twists her arm, trying to break free of his grasp.

WIFE
(Desperate, but also as though warning him not to go too far)
At least, there will be plenty implied…

HUSBAND
(Threateningly)
If you caught pneumonia and died!

Now he is angry. He squeezes her arm until she cries out before thrusting her away. She stumbles, catches herself, and straightens up, ending up standing several feet away with her back towards him.

WIFE
I really can’t stay!

HUSBAND
(Cruelly)
Get over that hold out.

HUSBAND and WIFE
Oh, Baby its cold outside.

As the song ends, silence falls and we are left with an image of the wife, defeated, turned away from her husband. He stands behind her, looking intently at the back of her head. Meanwhile, the fire still crackles cheerfully, and the camera sweeps out of a window in the living room. We are left with an outside shot of two figures silhouetted in a window, snow falling heavily all around.

Document
Untitled Record

Created: Jul 19, 2010

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