Scene: NYE Elevator

FADE IN:

EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING ENTRANCE – EVENING

MADELINE GIARDINA, age 29, a passionate gardener of Italian descent, enters the building with a BLOOMING POTTED GARDENIA TREE. Sounds of a party can be heard.

CUT TO:

INT. ELEVATOR

Maddie enters the elevator and presses the 8th floor button.

NICOLA DOBEK, 31, a famous actor of Czech descent, holds the door and gets into the small elevator.

NICOLA

(over PHONE)

… Yes, of course. I’ll be in Amsterdam for the premiere, and then I’ll- hello? Can you hear me?

NICOLA (CONT’D)

Damned phone batteries. Can’t live for six hours straight. Why, hello! Nice bush.

MADDIE

It’s a tree.

The elevator goes up. Around the third floor, it stops abruptly.

NICOLA

Wh- what’s going on?

MADDIE

It broke down.

NICOLA

Oh, really? How do we get out of here? Does this happen often?

MADDIE

Every couple of weeks, it’s quite old and maintenance is terrible.

NICOLA

And can’t we call anyone?

He starts banging on the elevator door.

NICOLA (CONT’D)

Help! Someone, please!

MADDIE

Stop shouting! There’s no way someone will hear you. The guys from the fourth must be drunk already.

NICOLA

Well, it is New Year’s Eve after all.

MADDIE

As if that’s an excuse, these people are always drunk.

NICOLA

Can you call maintenance?

MADDIE

I would but there’s no signal.

NICOLA

Great. Absolutely perfect.

Silence. After a couple seconds, Maddie looks at Nicola through the leaves of the gardenia plant.

MADDIE

I’ve actually never seen you around here before. Are you new? You look familiar.

NICOLA

No, I’m here to visit my parents. And, don’t you know me?

MADDIE

Am I supposed to know you?

NICOLA

I’m Nicola Dobek. From “Beware The Walking Dead”? You know, Ricky, the nice dude from Minneapolis?

MADDIE

I don’t watch it, sorry. No idea.

NICOLA

So… When are we going to make it out of here?

MADDIE

In an hour, if we’re lucky.

NICOLA

At eight?! Wow, I had just promised my parents-

MADDIE

Eight? Is it seven o’clock already? No, it can’t be, I’m sure it’s only…

She checks her PHONE. It says 07:02 PM.

MADDIE (CONT’D)

(raising voice)

I have to be home at seven thirty! The rhododendrons have to be watered by schedule or they’ll die! What am I going to do…

NICOLA

Your… plants? I’m sure they’ll be alright without water for half an hour.

MADDIE

You don’t understand, if I don’t water them exactly at seven thirty they’ll-

NICOLA

(reaches toward her shoulder)

Stop worrying, they’ll be OK.

His arm knocks a flower off the blooming tree.

MADDIE

(screaming)

No! The poor thing! How could you-

NICOLA

I- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-

MADDIE

(tearing up)

Look at it!

She picks up the flower and caresses it.

MADDIE (CONT’D)

(to flower)

Shh…

MADDIE (CONT’D)

So, why are you here?

NICOLA

I’m visiting my parents. I haven’t seen them in a year. I promised I’d be here on time. I actually was going to make it! They’re always complaining that I never come to visit.

MADDIE

I’m sure I’d feel that way too if I had a son that I can only watch on TV.

NICOLA

It’s one of the few flaws. But I get to see them from time to time!

MADDIE

If “from time to time” is once a year, they must miss you. My parents live in southern New York and I visit them every month.

NICOLA

Well, they do live nearby, I have to travel hours to get here.

MADDIE

It’s 300 miles to Saranac Lake from here. Takes me seven hours to get there.

NICOLA

Oh… At least you aren’t alone here, are you?

MADDIE

No, I’m not! I have my whole zen garden, the rock garden, my exotic plants-

NICOLA

You’re alone on New Year’s Eve?

MADDIE

No, I already told you.

NICOLA

Don’t you find plants a bit quiet?

MADDIE

I like the quiet. Makes me think.

Awkward silence.

NICOLA

You should come celebrate with us this night.

MADDIE

With you and your family? I don’t want to intrude.

NICOLA

I insist. You can’t stay alone all night.

MADDIE

I told you, I won’t be alone.

NICOLA

Yeah, you’ll have your bush to keep you company. Sounds like fun.

MADDIE

It’s a tree!

NICOLA

Sure. You should really drop by, at least.

MADDIE

I’ll… think about it.

NICOLA

You can bring your bonsai along, if you want to, my-

All of a sudden the elevator starts working again.

NICOLA (CONT’D)

Hey, great! It’s not even seven thirty yet! Really, come on down. We have pudding.

The elevator stops at the fourth floor.

NICOLA (CONT’D)

You never told me what your name was.

MADDIE

Madeline. Maddie, for short.

NICOLA

Okay, Maddie. I’ll tell my parents you’re coming down.

MADDIE

I’ll be sure to stop by.

Nicola picks up the fallen gardenia flower.

NICOLA

See you later. Don’t drown the rhododendron.

MADDIE

I’ll try not to.

The elevator door closes.

FADE OUT.

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