“Vindication” screenplay vs. “One Light Coming” novel
Vindication: Scene 137
EXT. ANGELA’S HOME – FRONT PORCH – MORNING
The sun is shining when Jake opens his eyes. He gets up from the couch, folds the blanket up, and puts it back in its place on the couch. He stretches his arms over his head as the front door to the house opens.
ANGELA Want some of this?
Jake turns to see Angela standing before him with two cups of coffee. She wears a white tank top and cutoff denim shorts.
He looks at her with a puzzled look on his face, mentally undressing her.
ANGELA (CONT’D) (smiles)
I meant coffee, Jake.
Of course you did! Thanks.
Jake takes one cup from Angela, and both of them walk outside the porch and sit down on the steps. The two sit side by side and sip their coffee. Camera pulls slightly wide to take in the yard and surrounding area.
So have you lived here long?
About six years now. It’s quiet, and nobody pays me any mind.
Both take a sip of coffee.
And the yard is far enough from the road so that Lydia can play safely without me having to worry.
ANGELA My daughter.
You’ve got a daughter?
She’s ten. She and her father are due back here any time now.
Jake takes a sip, pauses a beat, and then looks at her with a puzzled look on his face.
What? You find it hard to believe I
have a daughter?
No, it’s not that.
Do you have children?
No, I don’t. But isn’t your husband going to wonder what some stranger is doing here with you?
I said her father. Not my husband. We’ve been divorced for a few years now, but share custody.
Do you two get along?
Yeah, right. Every chance he gets, he tries to make me out to be an unfit mother. Supplementing my income playing pool will do that, I guess. At least I’m good at it. Although, sometimes it gets out of hand, if you know what I mean.
A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?
Jake takes another sip of his coffee. Angela slowly turns her head toward Jake, and their eyes lock for a beat. Both stare at each other, until Angela breaks the silence.
What about you? I hate to say it, but part of me can’t help but think you’re avoiding something. It seems like you’ve been burned real bad.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing that’ll end up on your doorstep.
Jake takes another sip.
What’s with all the wood?
Jake nods to the pile of new framing lumber sitting in the yard.
I’m adding a deck onto the back of the house.
JAKE By yourself?
Not quite. I’ve got some friends who are going to help me.
The sound of Harleys interrupts the conversation.
ANGELA (CONT’D) Sounds like they’re here.
Jake and Angela set their cups on the floor, stand and descend down the steps. Camera rises above as a row of motorcycles arrives into the driveway.
One Light Coming: Chapter 14
The morning came and with it, gleaming sunshine from the east. Streaming out of a clear blue sky, it filled the yard with a brightness that contrasted heavily to the shade of the porch where Jake slept. As he awoke to the smell of salt air and the squawking of sea gulls, the familiar aroma of fresh coffee encouraged him to arise. You never realize how good homemade coffee smells when you’ve been drinking truck stop tar for a few days he thought.
Jake propped himself up with his arms as he looked around. His bike was still on the gravel drive, between the garage door and Angela’s truck, just as he left it. The yard was not as large as he thought it was, when he first saw it in the dark. The house sat closer to the road, although it still looked to be about thirty yards away. The surrounding homes were just about where he thought they were—it was a perfect location for a bit of privacy and yet close enough for that feeling of security one got with having neighbors.
Jake swung his legs around and got up off the couch. He stretched his big arms out over his head.
“Are you ready for some?” he heard a voice say.
Turning, he saw Angela standing before him, holding two cups of steaming brew. She wore a white tank top and shorts made from cut off jeans. White sports socks and worn construction boots completed the ensemble. This was the first time Jake had actually seen her in daylight, and she was definitely built to be seen. Her hair was piled haphazardly on her head, and although she was petite in size, he knew she packed the force of a hurricane in her slender frame. Those deep hazel eyes he had stared into at the gas station last night set off her heart shaped face. He couldn’t help himself from staring at her now, for she was beautiful.
“I meant coffee, Jake,” Angela said, breaking his glance.
“Of course you did, Angela. I could really use some,” Jake said feeling kind of sheepish, hoping that she did not possess the ability to read his mind.
The morning sun was still low in the sky, but it burned brightly, warming the air. The temperature had risen a notch as the two of them stepped out of the porch and on to the wooden steps that faced the driveway. As they sat down she handed him one of the cups. It was hot and black, just the way he liked it. How could she know he thought.
“I just figured you’re the kind of guy who drinks it this way,” Angela said, as if she had just read his mind once again.
They sat on the steps as he took in the vapor of the steaming coffee. After a moment, it mixed in with the scent of the salt marsh. But there was one other faint, barely detectable odor. It was the smell of her obviously just showered body and shampooed hair. There was also a hint of perfume—just a tiny dab and understated, just the way he liked it. If there was anything he couldn’t stand on a woman it was overindulgence of perfume, whether it was from a designer’s lab or the cheap stuff that was produced a tanker truckload at a time.
As they sipped their coffee in silence he looked around to acclimate to his surroundings. The garage at the end of the drive was one car deep and well weathered. Like the house, it was asking to be painted—not quite begging yet, but the sooner the better. The gravel in the drive looked as though it was from the dawn of time; it had been well crushed from years of use. Two distinct paths had been made from where the asphalt of the road met the drive up to the garage door. The house, in addition to needing a paint job, could further benefit from new window frames and sashes. It was a home that, as you passed by, you noticed its natural setting but didn’t slow down to get a second look.
The porch ran around the front and the driveway side of the house. Behind the house he noticed a neatly stacked pile of new lumber—two-by-fours, two-by-sixes, and two-by-eights. The lumber had probably been recently delivered and looked ready for a construction project of some sort.
They stared out at the morning light streaming across the tall, green, sea grass as it gently waved slowly from side to side in a dance with the warm ocean breeze. In unison they took a sip of their coffee.
“Have you lived here long?”
“About six years now. It’s quiet and nobody pays me any mind.”
“You own it?”
“No, not yet. It’s a lease with an option to buy. Part of the rent is being put toward the down payment. The widow who owns it sort of took a liking to me. After a year of living here we struck a deal. She had some sympathy for me, I guess, and wanted to help out.”
“It’s a real nice place.”
“Yeah, not too close to the neighbors so that they don’t know who’s coming and going, but close enough that if I need something, I don’t have to run a mile to get it. A nice yard far enough from the road so that Lydia can play safely without me having to worry that she could get run over or some creep driving by and grabbing her at the curb.”
“She’s eight. She and her father are due back in about thirty minutes.”
Jake gave her a long glance. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to him. Why would a beautiful woman with a husband and a kid offer him a place to sleep for the night? Jake didn’t believe that line about the kindness of strangers; he always thought that there had to be an ulterior motive.
“What? You find it hard to believe I have a daughter?“No, of course not.”
“Do you have children?”
After a moment of silence, Jake continued.
“Isn’t your husband going to be wondering what some stranger on a motorcycle is doing here? Maybe I should split before he and your daughter get back.”
“I said her father. Not my husband. Jeff and I were married for almost five years and everything seemed to be okay. But there was something missing. We both worked real hard. He’s a lawyer and I ran a small restaurant. The hours for each of us were long. I guess you could say we were workaholics. Then I got pregnant. We were so excited we spent hours talking about how we would raise this child together, with lots of quality time put aside.”
“Didn’t go according to plan, huh?”
“After a few months, he went back to work just as hard as before. Being the good corporate lawyer, he worked seventy hours or more each week, representing corporate giants as they tried to hide from lawsuits when someone got hurt using their crappy products. He would do anything to make certain that some client never paid out money to ordinary people who suffered. He so longed for the adoration of the senior partners in the firm, it made me sick. What an insecure prick.”
“Anyway,” she continued, “After a bunch of years of him not being around and certainly not being any fun, I thought the only thing left for me to do was to get out. So I took Lydia and left. But he had one of his colleagues kick my ass in the courts, so now we share custody of her; I get her every other week.”
“Do you two get along now?” Jake asked.
“Yeah, right. Every chance he gets he tries to make me out to be an unfit mother, ‘cause I have no steady job. I work as a part time manager for a catering company and I supplement my income playing pool. I’m very good at both. Well, sometimes it gets a little out of hand, the pool playing, I mean.”
Angela gave Jake a rueful smile.
“A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?” Jake said, and took another sip of his coffee.
She stared up at the endless expanse of cloudless blue sky, with the sound of the surf lapping a slow rhythmic beat in the background. It reminded him of the day he and Karen had stopped by the ocean, not far from his place, the first day she came back into his life. She had also stared into her own space, thinking who knows what.
He looked at the side of Angela’s face in the sunlight, thinking about what a beautiful, strong minded woman this stranger was and admiring her for her courage. She slowly turned her head toward him and their eyes locked for a moment, just like the night before. Staring deeply into the pools of hazel that were looking back at him, Jake felt a familiar stirring in his heart and started to blush at the thought.
“And what about you? I hate to say it but part of me makes me think you’re avoiding something. Like you’re on the run. Am I right?” Angela asked.
“Does it show?”
“Not really. I’m usually a good judge of people but you’re a bit tougher to read than most. Something is going on. I just can’t figure out what. But I can tell you’ve been burned real bad.”
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing that will end up on your doorstep” Jake said.
He wasn’t in the mood to share his life story with her. In a bid to steer away from the direction their conversation was going, he asked, “What’s with all that wood?”
“I’m adding a deck on to the back of the house.”
“Not quite. I’ve got a few friends who are going to help me. As a matter of fact I think they’re coming down the road now.”
In the distance, Jake heard the distinctive sound of Harley motors. He took his eyes off the beautiful woman next to him to look down the road and saw five bikes riding two by two up the road in their direction. The throaty rumble of simultaneous downshifting, like a ballet or synchronized swim team, coincided with the bikes turning into the drive—each pair of Harleys acting as if they were one unit.
“Your friends I presume,” Jake said, as Angela got up and started down the steps.
“Yeah, they’re the best,” she continued, as she advanced to greet her friends.