Parts 10&11 Christmas challenge

Okay here are a few more scenes. I'm almost there!!! I can taste it, but that could just be the lack of sleep talking 😂 By the way it has come to my attention that some people felt my new title sounded a bit too sexual in nature, which was not my intent. So I'll keep workshopping ideas. 

Enjoy these bits!

 

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Scene 10: Cookie Crumbs

 

Basement IT camera behind 

JACK. JACK’s desk now 

features Christmas cards 

Tacked up with the snowmen.

And a mug with a Christmas 

Sweater pattern on it. 

JACK harried looking types on 

Computer with phone at his ear.

 

JACK
  Right, okay. Sounds like another email virus. (exhales annoyed) Third this morning. No! Don’t turn it off, thats what I had Frank do and it just got worse. We nearly lost all his files. I’m going to check out your hard drive remotely. Try working from someone else’s station and don’t click on any emails.(beat unheard comment on phone) Not any! Not until I’ve had a look. (beat) Look, I’m working on it. I’ll try to save your life’s work drawing dollies! Its not like you’re curing cancer.

 

JACK slams down the receiver

Still typing. 

JACK (calls out)
Hey, Gabriella, can you give me—

 

JACK’s phone rings.  

JACK  
Damn it! (into phone) What? Okay, thats it. No, no, don’t touch anything, stand up and tell everyone around you not to open any emails! I think we’ve been hacked.   

 

Cut to GABRIELLA crouched 

In cubicle, stifling a laugh. 

JACK
No I cannot send an email. Because I don’t want anyone opening emails! 

 

JACK slams down receiver. 

 

JACK
Gabriella!
GABRIELLA (sweetly)
Yep. 
JACK
Look I need your help. I think we’ve been hacked. Could you get Stan and Michael check with distribution, accounting and executive emails while I work back through design?
GABRIELLA (sharply)
I’m sorry, are you asking me to be your secretary?
JACK
What? No! (annoyed and confused) Look I need a hand. This is the fourth call like this I’ve gotten this morning. I need us to get on the most essential sectors before it gets worse. I’d have thought you would be all over this?
GABRIELLA
I didn’t get any calls. All I can see is you trying to play at being department manager before you’ve gotten the job!
JACK 
I…What the hell is wrong with you? This is still your job. 
GABRIELLA
I don’t answer to you. They’re your calls. You handle them. 

 

GABRIELLA marches to break 

room. JACK stares after. 

Phone rings. JACK answers 

angrily. 

JACK 
What?

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA.

GABRIELLA
He asked to be pranked. This level was designed to make him work. (snickers) It was a lot easier than I expected to act annoyed and storm off. 

 

Cut to third floor break room. 

MAYA, CORY, MIRIAM and ED

At table working on a gingerbread 

house. The house is long ranch style

Home with in open back, and a small

Forest of gum drop trees around it. 

MAYA laying the walls. ED decorating

Outer walls. CORY building forest. 

MIRIAM making gingerbread stands for 

Chocolate penguins.

10:30 a.m. 

MAYA
There is no way this is Coleman. I’ve never had this much fun at work before.
ED
I know. And everything is so organized, and weirdly…I don’t know team buildy.

 

CORY
Are we just allowed to make up words now.

 

ED (raised brow)
Giff. Meme. Insta. 
CORY
I didn’t make any of those up, but point taken. Hey you know what we really need are sugar cubes. 
MIRIAM 
Yes! We can make a tiny igloo outside and have the chocolate penguins around it! Are their any sugar cubes in the supplies?
MAYA
No. But there are with the coffee.

 

CORY jumps up and crosses

To the coffee area. 

MIRIAM
Isn’t that cheating?
CORY
I don’t see a rule book. 
MIRIAM (head cocked)
What if Ed’s right? What if this is some weird team bungling exercise and we’re being watched (waves at camera crew) to see how we work together? 
CORY (winks at camera)
They’ll admire our ingenuity!
ALL laugh. 
MIRIAM (hand out)
Give them here. Finish up the forest. 
CORY (salutes)
Yes, ma’am.

 

Cut to basement IT JACK

Hunched over computer

Phone off the hook on table.

 

MICHAEL
Hey. We’ve checked all the other departments and they’re fine. So somehow its localized to design.   
JACK
That doesn’t make sense. Why target design?
MICHAEL
Corporate espionage?
JACK
The company is doing great, for us. But its not like we’re Cabbage Patch Kids. 
MICHAEL (laughing)
No one is hacking Cabbage Patch. Or any doll company for anything but fun.
JACK
Fun? Its Christmas time and they’re hacking a company that makes things for kids. Who does that its….diabolical. 
MICHAEL
Trust me, its a teenager who wanted to play Grinch.

 

JACK shaking head. 

Cut to conference room

GABRIELLA. 

GABRIELLA
On an average day each tech gets about two calls. Usually with hours between them, and on average the troubles can be fixed by say…plugging in routers or turning on and off the computers. So usually we run system checks, make sure the security software is up to date, and maybe run usage checks. They really only need three of us and they have seven. So I just…routed all the calls to Jack’s phone. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
Well…I need to make sure there would be calls. (shrugs) I didn’t exactly hack us. I just sent one tiny cookie crumb bug to a few people and didn’t do the “redundant” work Jack teases me about by flagging emails the software misses. The staff did the rest. (smirks) I only did it with the design department. They’re useless right now anyway, so they do the most web surfing and email checking. If he were paying attention Jack would notice it was only them. (giggles) But he’s a bit distracted. 

 

Cut to 2nd floor break room

CLARA, ANGELO, MICAHAEL

And DANIEL BURNS are 

working to build a gingerbread 

 A frame house with open back. 

ANGELO finishing frame. 

MICAHEL decorating 

gingerbread occupants. CLARA

Decorating exterior. DANIEL 

BURNS making candy cane walk

way. 

ANGELO
You know, if you cut six really narrow pieces of gingerbread and we use those three broken wedges—
CLARA
We can make a gazebo! Yes! We are totally going to win this. 

 

CLARA carefully cuts beams.
ANGELO
Who’d of thought this hodge-podge team would be the best. We’re literally the only group with no one from the design team. But I actually think we can take this. 
DANIEL 
Oh yea. I’ve seen a few of the others, very basic.
  
      MICHAEL (dryly)
Should the HR director really be in competition with the workers. 
DANIEL BURNS
Are you kidding me? I’ve wanted extra copies all year. Debbie runs that machine like a dictator. 
CLARA (laughing)
Yeah. Who keeps coming up with this stuff? The games? The prizes? No offense Daniel but this isn’t anyone in management, but I also don’t buy that email, this isn’t Jack. 
ANGELO
Nah! Gabby can’t even pull herself away from work long enough to participate in these things. They’re just flirting hard and its turned into pranking. You should have seen them earlier (rolls eyes) Jack newly flipped his lid. 
DANIEL BURNS
Who ever Santa is has a massive operation set up. Its some party planning group. There is no way just one of us is doing all this. 
MICHAEL (shrugging)
Maybe its the real Santa and his elf slaves. 
CLARA (laughing)
Right. And tomorrow the reindeer will deliver our mail.

 

Cut to basement IT break room

HANNAH, FRANK, and GABRIELLA 

Work on a gingerbread house. 

FRANK intently laying walls of a 

Two story home with open back.

HANNAH making little gingerbread

Beds, 7. 

GABRIELLA decorates gingerbread

Men like the 7 dwarves.  

FRANK
What do you suppose they plan to do with all this gingerbread at the end of the day? There are ten teams, that means ten houses. Who is going to eat and judge?
HANNAH
There is a local youth group coming by this afternoon. Homeless children from the area. 
FRANK
And were giving them cookies? (laughs)
HANNAH
There were emails sent out all week about the visit, asking for donations. Lost of people have been bringing stuff. 
FRANK
Emails from who?
GABRIELLA
H.R.
FRANK
Oh. (gruffly) I never open those. 
GABRIELLA (laughs)
I brought lots from home. You can give some of that. 
FRANK
Thanks. Thats…very sweet of you, Ga—
JACK (shouting)
Gabriella!

 

JACK stomps into break 

Room. Slams hand on table 

and leans in over GABRIELLA.

Gabriella shakes with repressed

laughter. 

JACK (enraged)
Its you, isn’t it? All day I’ve been untangling that mess and it was you the whole time! Thats why it was only design. 
GABRIELLA (smirks)
You said to do my worst. 
JACK
I…you!

 

JACK lifts hands like he wants 

to strangle GABRIELLA.

 

JACK
And you…I felt bad for offending you! I was trying to fix it so I could come talk to you and it was all a prank! Your— Argh!!!

 

JACK pins around stomping 

Out. 

GABRIELLA shocked, shrinks

In seat. 

FRANK and HANNAH stare. 

FRANK
The crumbling cookie screen that erased all our files? (beat) That was you hacking us?
GABRIELLA (quietly)
It didn’t erase anything. Just hid it. 

 

HANNAH snorts.

 

FRANK
Why?

 

Cut to conference room.

GABRIELLA.  

 

GABRIELLA 
Our software catches about 90% of the spam an average user gets. But if people go to certain sites and turn off cookie blockers actual hackers or just spam bots can get enough info to fool the security. So I skim peoples emails, not the content, just sources and frequencies and subject lines for suspicious emails then either spam or flag them with messages telling people not to open unless they know the senders. I catch maybe a few hundred of these a week but since I’ve been doing it its cut down on the number of hard drive incursions we’ve seen by 70% (smiles smugly) If we had an IT manager they might have noticed something like that. But as it is I think even the other techs attribute it to software improvements. 

 

BEAT staring off into space. 

Lifts hands beings picking 

At finger nails.

 

GABRIELLA
I knew I was bored here. But I don’t really think about it, because I wasn’t bored at all when I was starting my own company. I was busy and energized and sometimes overwhelmed but never bored. And I couldn’t make that work, so…I have to make this work. But…another time I would never have done something like todays prank. It doesn’t just mess with Jack. It messes with the whole design department, and I didn’t mind.
Cut to IT break room
GABRIELLA (shrugs)
Jack and the rest of the techs don’t really respect the work I put in here. They treat it like a joke. So I showed him what a week of me not doing extra email sweeps look like.
FRANK (brow raised)
Damn. Why am I the one in anger management?
HANNAH
Because Gabby would never do that with management?

 

GABRIELLA flinches at 

Diminutive name. 

FRANK (nodding)
Yeah. You’re a bit of a dark horse aren’t you?

 

GABRIELLA shrugs. 

Looks after JACK.

GABRIELLA 
I should go apologize.
FRANK
Don’t you dare. I just started liking you.
HANNAH (laughing)
Yeah. I mean what did you really do but make him work all day?
GABRIELLA
Nothing I suppose.

 

Cut to conference room

JACK. 

 

JACK
I could strangle her. All day! All day I’m going around unraveling more of her code and I didn’t even realize it because I’m so busy trying to figure out how I offended her at the same time, and it was all a trick. She’s a menace. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

JACK
I know I told her to do it! And I expected something but (beat) Okay maybe I’m reading too much into this, but today’s prank…its like she was calling me lazy. And she’s said, or implied that a few times before. Its getting insulting. 

 

Cut to GABRIELLA  

conference room.

 

GABRIELLA
I should have gone after him, right? (chews lip) Today I was almost as excited about pranking him as I was nervous about his reaction to it. I don’t want him to hate me. But he asked for my worst and this isn’t even close to my worst. So its probably for the best that he got upset, because I was getting ahead of myself again. Like I did when I tried to start a company. Imagining what it would be like not to worry about my worst with someone. Imagining feeling comfortable in my own skin. Ever. But I should worry. 

 

Cut to IT JACK at desk 

working. 

FRANK approaches. 

FRANK
Got you good did she?
JACK(snide)   
Well I’m still unraveling her little joke, so yeah. 
FRANK
Good for her. 

 

JACK looks up glaring. 

GABRIELLA in break room

Laughing with HANNAH.

JACK looks towards laughter. 

 

FRANK
A bit of a shock that girl.
JACK (snorts softly)
Yeah. And annoying as hell.
FRANK
What did the gingerbread man she left you say? Everyones had a different air bubble. 
JACK (smiling)
Game on? (beat) Wait! She told you?
FRANK (grinning)
Figured it out. Santa keeps giving me extra gifts for Linda. And in there Gabriella offered me extra things for this donation drive, almost as if she knew I’d need them. 
JACK 
She’s too sweet for her own good? Does anyone else know?
FRANK
Nah. I might not even have noticed if she hadn’t worked with us today. This is the most time anyone here has spent with her. 
JACK
Yeah. For a bubbly thing she isn’t that social.
FRANK
Some of us have a harder time then others knowing how to interact with people. How to be ourselves and still be accepted. 

 

Beat. JACK watches GABRIELLA 

With a growing smile. 

 

JACK
Do you want to know what I think of your little prank?
GABRIELLA
Look, Jack. I’m—

 

JACK lifts a tube of icing.

GABRIELLA stiffens, eyes JACK

Warily. 

Beat. 

JACK watches GABRIELLA

Intently. JACK squirts icing tube 

Directly in his mouth. 

GABRIELLA gasps releasing 

tension. Giggles.

HANNAH laughs watching the 

Pair as avidly as a tv drama. 

 

JACK (around icing)
I eat weak crap like that for breakfast. And I’m going to get you back.

 

GABRIELLA grins at JACK.

 

GABRIELLA 
Do your worst.      

   

 

❄️   ❄️   ❄️   ❄️   ❄️

 

Scene 11: Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow!

 

Scene: Parking lot My Best Friend Doll 

company. Employees wearing slickers

and sunglasses are running around 

throwing colorful snowballs at one 

another. Individual interviews held 

against the backdrop of front door. 

 

CLARA at front door. 

CLARA (grinning)
I hate sticky. I hate messy. I won’t even do water ballon fights, but (giggles hard) This is ridiculously fun! 

 

ANGELO at front door.

ANGELO
We got emails yesterday telling us to bring our slickers back and today on our desks were snowball shaped invites listing our team assignments. (grins) I love Santa!

 

CLARA at front door. 

 

CLARA
Santa put us in teams pitting me, Frank and everyone else who signed the complaint last year against the HR department. (cackles) Guess who’s winning!

 

ANGELO at front door. 

ANGELO(chuckles)
It was s syrup bath! It was almost more fun watching that fight, then having mine with accounting.  

 

FRANK at front door. 

 

FRANK
Oh, this Santa is an evil genius. (chuckles) Who needs anger management when you can pelt your problem with balls of syrup?

 

MR. COLEMAN at front 

Door, clean with no slicker.

 

MR. COLEMAN
The executive branch of the company isn’t taking part in Secret Santa. Its strictly an employee moral building event. And its working out (turns up nose) quite well. Exactly as planned. Exactly.

 

Cut to GABRIELLA slicker 

Purple, pink, and green from 

Hits.   

 

GABRIELLA
Today’s prank on Jack was a little elf widget that pops up on his screen whenever its been idle for more than five minutes and starts singing “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” (grins) he hates that song. But I very generously accept a little of Jack’s input on today’s event. I planned a snowball fight with teams, and when I told him I was having my neighbor Leticia provide the snowballs courtesy of her snow cone truck he was like wildly insistent that we had to use the syrup. It seemed too messy to me. I didn’t want to clean it up, and for all of these gifts that involve a mess I stay after to clean. Its not fair to put all of this on the janitorial staff, who are outside contractors and therefore aren’t part of the fun. But Jack promised to help clean and this is totally worth the extra work. (laughs) Do you know I think all of us are just really tall, really stressed out kids. And this sort of thing…eviscerates the stress. 

 

Cut to snowball fight. 

JACK pelting purple snow 

Balls at GABRIELLA. 

GABRIELLA dances 

around them laughing. 

Throws blue snow ball, 

Falls apart before hitting 

JACK. 

JACK laughs triumphant 

And launches another ball

Hits GABRIELLA in stomach. 

 

Cut to JACK licking fingers.

JACK (grinning)
Varsity short stop. And undefeated champion of this snow ball fight! Can you believe I had to talk her into adding the syrup. She said it was for fun, and we don’t need winners and losers! Can you believe that? (chuckles) (licks fingers)

 

Behind JACK, GABRIELLA 

HANNAH, FRANK, CLARA, 

And ANGELO approach with 

Blue snowballs. 

 

   JACK
I think she was just afraid to—Ack!

 

GABRIELLA, HANNAH, FRANK, 

CLARA and ANGELO pelt JACK 

with snowballs from behind.  

 

JACK (laughing yell)
Cheeters!

 

JACK chases fleeing posse.

Cut to GABRIELLA colorful 

Face and broad smile. 

GABRIELLA (cheerfully) 
I don’t think wearing the slickers is all that helpful. We’re all sticky messes.

 

Beat. Unheard question.

GABRIELLA
No. I am not afraid of losing. (shrugs) I was a little afraid of getting sticky, or really being a part of the snowball fight at all. (tilts head to the side, intent) do you know how often you get touched without your consent on an average day. I do. (beat) It used to make me seriously anxious. I didn’t like to go out anywhere I didn’t have to. I would wear lots of layers even in the middle of summer to blunt the effect of people brushing by me, or patting my shoulder when I’d done something well (rolls shoulder uncomfortably) but medication helps and therapy helps. I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing with the unexpected. But a snowball fight (shakes head) everyone running around screaming, intentionally trying to hit you, its a mine field. I loved the idea of seeing one, but I hadn’t meant to be a part of it. But (shrugs) Jack dared me, and I couldn’t let him think he has the upper hand, so I did it. And while I was doing it (bright broad smile) I didn’t feel the snowballs hit me at all. I just felt the ones I was throwing and it was awesome! Like I was pummeling people with all the stress that ties me up most days. (grins) (shrugs) I’m sure later when the adrenaline has warn off I’ll be an anxious mess. I’ll probably take three showers tonight. But..it was fun while it lasted. And a while ago, even knowing the fun to be had, I wouldn’t have been able to risk the stress.  

 

Cut to GABRIELLA, MARIA, 

And JACK at GABRIELLA’s 

Apartment. GABRIELLA 

And JACK on couch MARIA 

On chair. ALL cutting out 

Paper snowflakes, Christmas

Music playing quietly.

MARIA (defensive)
I was not that bad! I just got a little upset.
GABRIELLA (laughing)
She slammed the door, like seven times, and shouted that she hated our family. She kept sobbing about being poor. 

 

JACK laughs watching the 

sisters avidly.

MARIA
In my defense being poor was pretty dramatic when I was fifteen. (shrugs) Now its fine.

 

GABRIELLA rolls her eyes.

JACK 
What did your mother do?
GABRIELLA (smirks) 
Well first she rolled her eyes and started talking in Spanish about teenagers and hormones and deserving a sainthood.

 

JACK snorts. 

MARIA grins. 

GABRIELLA
Then she grabbed me and says, ‘okay, we cant send her skiing, so lets bring the snow to her.’ All night Mom and I cut up newspaper and bills,(giggles) any paper we could find making paper snowflakes. There were so many, I remember being so excited. 

 

MARIA (smiling warmly)
Mom knew the cure for everything.

 

GABRIELLA
Yeah. It was amazing. I had been sort of annoyed at Maria over the whole thing. But a few minutes into cutting I forgot all about it. It was definitely top three of our Christmases ever. When Maria woke up the next morning Mom made her put on sunglasses—
MARIA (interrupting)
I was totally freaked out. I started demanding to know what she was doing and where she was taking me. She just looked so serious. And she stops me and says ‘It can never disappoint you as much as it does me that I cannot give you everything you want. But do not forget that you do have everything you need.

 

Beat. MARIA and GABRIELLA

Caught up in memory.

JACK silently allowing the 

Family moment.  

GABRIELLA (shakes herself)
Anyway. She dragged Maria out and I’m waiting there with the fan at full blast and a laundry basket full of snowflakes. As soon as Mom moved out of the way I threw the snowflakes at the air stream.
MARIA (giggling)
I got like twenty paper cuts, but it was so much fun. I made them do it again and again. We kept gathering them up and taking turns standing in the snow storm. 
JACK
Sounds almost as dangerous as a real blizzard. 
MARIA and GABRIELLA grin.
MARIA
Afterwards we drank cocoa and hung the snowflakes from string and duct tape all over the ceiling. When I finally got to go skiing with friends a few years later I kept thinking about our hallway blizzard and how much fun we had. 

 

JACK watches sisters with a warm smile. 

 

Cut to basement IT paper

Snowflakes hang all around 

the room with pictures in their 

Centers of children holding the 

Companies various dolls and 

Pictures of the employees  

Enjoying GABRIELLA’s secret 

Santa events. 

GABRIELLA approaches desk and 

Stops cold. 

GABRIELLA’s entire cubicle is 

Wrapped in blue and white 

snowflake paper. A bow with tag 

Hands from the top. Reads: Pull. 

Trust me, Santa’s helper.

GABRIELLA breaths deeply, shaking 

Out fingers. Grips ribbon. Tugs. 

Wrapping paper falls apart. Strands 

Of snowflakes are hanging along the 

outside  of the cubicle. One strand 

Crosses the open space of cubicle 

Like a gate.

GABRIELLA catches her breath 

Runs airy fingers over snowflakes. 

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA mouth wide, speechless.

Beat. 

 
GABRIELLA
He didn’t put a single snowflake or piece of wrapping paper inside my cubicle. (breathless laugh) He respected my space, but still managed to give me this beautiful surprise. (awed smile) I didn’t think guys were sweet this way. There are no words. 

 

Cut to conference room JACK

Eager, and cheerful.

 

JACK
I could kill Coleman. I got her out of the way hanging flakes upstairs, got it all done and I was hidden to see the whole thing, when he called. Why did even answer my phone? I can’t believe I missed her seeing it. Did she like it? Can I see the tape?(smiles)

 

Beat unheard question. 

JACK
No, I suppose her intensity doesn’t really bother me anymore. Its cute. I guess once you get to know someone their quirks become less annoying and more endearing. Unless getting to know them makes you hate them of course (laughs) I mean, she’s still annoying (smiling) Her stupid prank today, all day long I kept getting calls, from different numbers in the building with a recording “Jack, this is Santa calling. Are you being a good boy today?” (shakes head, can’t shake grin) It was funny the first three times, so of course when I stop answering its Coleman again. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

JACK
Yeah, he has been pretty interested in the day to day lately. He is mostly after me to figure out who “hacked” us. I keep telling him we’re fix the problem, not hunt the perpetrators down sort of techs, but I’m not sure he buys it. I definitely won’t be saying anything about who launched that little prank. (raises a brow, threatening-ish) I think it will blow over in a few days, but for now I think I’m managing quite well to play dumb and incredibly talented. I mean I beat back a system incursion all by my self. I’m pretty impressive.   

 

 

Cut to front desk 12:00 

Friday December 14

MAYA filling out a packing slip.

ANGELO crosses to desk.

 

ANGELO
What are you doing? Its lunch time.
MAYA
I’m almost done. 
ANGELO 
Does it have to go out before lunch? Is it the most important piece of mail in the country.
MAYA (snappish) 
No. But I like to finish a thing when I start it. 
ANGELO
Maya, there are cardboard toboggans in the stairwell and a month of splitting Coleman’s parking space to the fastest contestants. Don’t let me down. You and I are unstoppable. 
MAYA (laughing)
What makes you so sure we can win.
ANGELO
Gravity is on our side in this.
MAYA
 I feel like you just called me fat.
ANGELO
Nonsense. I just called us fat. And a shoe in to win if you’ll just move your ass. 

 

 

MAYA leaves box.

 

MAYA 
I should be more offended right?
ANGELO (chuckling)
Nah. This is too much fun.

 

MAYA follows ANGELO. 

Cut to stairwell. Walls padded 

With bubble wrap, at bottom 

Landing a boxes, couch 

cushions, and packing peanuts

Make a landing pad.

DANIEL BURNS at base of 

Stairs with stop watch.

One pair after another sits 

On flattened boxes and slides 

down stairs screaming and 

laughing. MIRIAM and CLARA.

MICHAEL and HANNAH. CORY 

and FRANK. MAYA and ANGELO.

GABRIELLA sits on cardboard 

box slightly stiff. JACK sits behind

Reaching an arm out, hesitates. 

 

JACK (whispers)
Is this okay?

 

GABRIELLA nods, smiles, back to

JACK. 

JACK closes arm around 

GABRIELLA’s waist. GABRIELLA 

Lays a hand over his. 

Toboggan jerks forward, pair slide

Down and tumble laughing into 

cushions.

 

DANIEL BURNS
And the winners are (dramatic pause) Angelo and Maya!

 

Laughter and cheering. 

 

ANGELO( to MAYA)
Told ya so!   

 

Cut to conference room. 

GABRIELLA hand at waist 

Where JACK held her. Beat. 

 

GABRIELLA 
I don’t know if I liked him before. But I definitely do now. 

 

Cut to basement IT.

Friday 4:30 

GABRIELLA at desk 

Typing away, humming

A Christmas song, under 

breath. JACK leans over

Cubicle wall. 

 

JACK (quietly)
So there is something I’ve been wanting to do for a few days now, and I’m not sure how to go about it. Its something nice, but technically it would require invading your personal space again, and the point is to do something you’ll enjoy, not to make you uncomfortable. But I don’t know if it would be better to surprise you or—

 

GABRIELLA (whispers) (interrupting)
Are you asking my permission to kiss me?

 

JACK chuckles in shock.

Leans close, shaking head. 

GABRIELLA blushes 

looking away.

 

GABRIELLA (mumbling)
No. That was (breathless) a weird thing to… 
JACK (grinning)
Should I be?
GABRIELLA
Kissing me, or asking. (snappish) Sorry. That’s embarrassing. I wasn’t saying (beat) I was just confused by the way you were (beat) What had you wanted to ask me?  
JACK (playful)
Oh no you don’t. I’m having an answer to that question, its far more pressing than my original question. So lets say, hypothetically that I’m very interested in kissing you. (fraught beat) Should I ask first? Would that be something you would like, hypothetically?
GABRIELLA (nervous)
I…Its not as though any other boyfriend, that is, any other guy has ever asked. I was just—
JACK (interrupting)
But do you find the idea of being asked more appealing than being surprised?

 

GABRIELLA breaths deeply

Unable to tear her eyes off

JACK’s. Crushing the fingers

Of her left hand in her right fist.

 

GABRIELLA
Yes. These past few days, I’ve found having my space respected a (breathless) lovely, appealing surprise all its own.
JACK
Thats excellent information to have. Thank you. 

 

GABRIELLA’s hands relax.

GABRIELLA and JACK 

Share unbroken regard 

for several beats. 

JACK clears throat. Looks

away.

 

JACK
It also helps answer my first question. I think you’d prefer to be asked. So may I borrow your mother’s nutcracker for a few days.

 

GABRIELLA stiffens.  

 

JACK
My dad used to teach shop. I think he can help me fix it.
GABRIELLA (stalling)
Doesn’t he still teach shop? 
JACK
Yeah. How do you know?
GABRIELLA (shrugs)
Your mom and I are Facebook friends. (speaks rapidly) I friended her looking for dirt to prank you with. But your mother is one of those people who actually looks at everyone who friends her, and she realized I work with you and started messaging me. 

 

JACK chuckles hard.

JACK
This is too much. What excuse did you give for friending her?
GABRIELLA   
The truth. I said you’d broken something of mine and I was looking for revenge. 
JACK
And she still accepted your friend request?

 

GABRIELLA 
Yeah. She even gave me the idea for today’s prank when I was short on ideas.

 

Cut to basement IT

Earlier today-10:00 a.m

JACK reading, MAIL BOY

Enters pushing cart. Stops

At JACK’s desk. Holds out 

Christmas wrapped box.

 

MAIL BOY
Ooo looks like you got something special.

 

GABRIELLA looks up excitedly. 

Types rapidly on keyboard. 

Camera zooms in on red light 

Next to JACK’s desktop camera.

Camera angles wide. 

 

JACK
Thanks. 

 

JACK begins opening box.

GABRIELLA  stands peeks 

over cubicle- evil villain style.  

Lid flies off box and confetti

Sprays in JACK’s face. 

JACK screams, tosses box 

aside, jumping away. 

GABRIELLA giggles 

uncontrollably.

JACK
Damn it, Gabriella! What the hell were you thinking! You could have killed me. 

 

GABRIELLA tries to speak 

Snorts and laughs harder. 

Cut to basement IT now

JACK at GABRIELLA’s 

Cubicle. 

 

GABRIELLA (continued)
She said they gave you a Jack-in-the-box when you were three and you (giggles) screamed and cried when it opened. She said she didn’t think you cried anymore but you still didn’t like things that pop out at you. (chewing on grin)

 

JACK shaking head over

And over with an annoyed

Expression. 

 

JACK 
I don’t know if I should be offended by the gross invasion of my privacy, and my mother’s betrayal

 

GABRIELLA snorts.

 

JACK
Or oddly impressed by your ability to be simultaneously honest and duplicitous.

 

GABRIELLA smiling smugly 

unrepentant.   

 

JACK
Why did you even need help? I thought you had my whole punishment planned out from stage one to stage twelve. 
 
GABRIELLA
Oh, well I did, yes. But (beat) The later stages were more mean than funny. And once I knew you better (shrugs shyly) I didn’t want to be mean to you.

 

JACK grins. 

Cut to conference room. 

JACK.

 

JACK (charmed)
I knew she was a big softy at heart. She just had to come to it on her own. But I cannot believe she has been conspiring with my mother! (laughs) I bet Mom’s having the time of her life. She’s a big time prankster. They probably really like each other.

 

Cut to basement IT

 

JACK
Well, I guess I’ll forgive your duplicity. (beat) But only if you let me have the nutcracker. I swear if I cannot fix it, I will not break it any further. 
GABRIELLA (nods)
I trust you. 

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