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[Nell’s childhood bedroom; night; NELL is pacing and mumbling agitatedly; she hears a knock at her door; she goes to answer it]
NELL: [disbelieving] William Farris is knocking. Now he’s in my room.
[WILL starts to come in but NELL makes to send him out]
WILL: C’mon, Nell, don’t be like that. I just wanna talk.
NELL: [pointing at a childishly written sign] No boys allowed.
WILL: And whose rule is that? Yours? Or your mother’s?
NELL: It does not matter. Rules are rules.
WILL: Well, I’d hardly say I’m a ‘boy’ so I think we can bend this one.
[NELL, a devout rule follower, is stumped by this]
NELL: Okay…what do you want to talk about?
WILL: Well, for starters, how come we never got together? Back in high school.
NELL: [goes to sit on the bed, avoiding the question] You were already dating someone.
WILL: [sitting on the edge of the bed in kind] Who, Reese? We only dated for two months. In sophomore year.
[meanwhile, the pair begin to play cat and mouse as NELL moves farther back onto the bed in increments and WILL moves closer to her each time]
NELL: She is my sister and the social convention clearly states that one does not under any circumstances date a friend’s ex-boyfriend. Especially when that friend is family. I believe the proverbial saying is ‘Blood runs thicker than water,’ correct?
WILL: [smiling] So is that all it was then? [no answer] ‘Cause you were always at the games.
NELL: My mother told me I needed to support Reese.
WILL: You were always reading.
NELL: Cheerleading never held much allure for me, though I am told it has a certain uplifting effect on the football players. Hence how it derived— [WILL listens attentively] —from the Old French “chiere,” which means “face,” connoting expression or mood and later specifically a good mood… [beat] I apologize. I know it’s rude to bore others with etymologies.
WILL: I like the way your forehead knits together when you’re remembering all that stuff.
NELL: It’s not necessarily remembering, but knowing the root words.
WILL: And other languages.
NELL: It is easier to learn new languages once you break the barrier of your first.
WILL: English must seem very boring.
NELL: There are many emotions only German can express. The rest are so limited.
WILL: Huh. I thought Germans were a grouchy sort.
NELL: I don’t know about the people, just the language. That seems to always be my problem.
WILL: [changing the subject] Yeah, you never did notice the totally sick backflips I did in the end-zone.
NELL: I always thought that was ill advised. You could have very easily hurt yourself.
WILL: Guess it was worth it if I got you worrying though, wasn’t it? [beat] You know, I’ve learned a few new words since the infamous eighth grade spelling bee. Like the German “schadenfreude,” which I believe you experienced that day.
NELL: You misspelled macaroni.
WILL: Mac ‘n cheese was the first thing that came to mind! In my defense, I was very hungry.
NELL: You were always hungry.
WILL: I’m hungry now. Starving, actually.
NELL: Oh, well if you would like I can go down to the kitchen and—
[he cuts her off with a kiss]
WILL: That’s not really what I meant. Forgive my euphemism.
NELL: I see. Will, this really is not appropriate. The social convention clearly dictates—
WILL: Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
NELL: [startled] You speak French? C’est magnifique! Ca fait tellement longtemps! Je ne l’ai pas dit depuis des années, mais je suis heureux d’avoir trouvé quelqu’un à qui parler! [translates to: “That’s wonderful! It’s been so long! I have not spoken it for years, but I’m glad I found someone to talk to!”]
WILL: [sheepish] Actually, I learned that from the Lady Marmalade song.
NELL: Oh. Like the jam?
WILL: I jam out to it, yeah. [beat] I still want an answer.
[NELL is torn]
WILL: Here’s a word I know that you might not…
[WILL whispers something in her ear; NELL kisses him; the lights fade]