Parts 14-17 Christmas challenge: The End!!

Hey, 

so clearly I didn't beat the clock in terms of getting things posted. But I'm still taking it as a win that I finished the handwritten screenplay before Christmas! so here are the last four scenes. Hopefully over the week I'll find time to clean it up a bit and post the entire thing together. Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed this adventure with me! Hope you enjoy the ending!  

🎄 🎄 🎄

Scene 14: Upsot

 

Cut to conference room.

Tuesday December 18

GABRIELLA in conference 

Room. 

 

 

GABRIELLA
It was raining this morning and I saw at least serve people come in wearing the slickers they made. (beat) Clara was one of them! Yes. 

 

GABRIELLA happy dances

In seat.

GABRIELLA
I know its not the most important thing in the world, but it makes me happy when usually excluded people feel included and have fun. Even in silly little ways. 

 

Beat unheard question.    

 

GABRIELLA (grinning)
Oh, the sleigh ride was lovely (snickers) but not as romantic as he hoped. Turns out he hadn’t realized they hold fifteen people at a time and their line was so long they refused to let him rent out the whole thing. (giggling) but I loved it! We sat together and sang carols and after we had cider and cookies and wandered around looking at lights. It was lovely, once he got past being annoyed I think he had fun too. At first though, he was just fuming. He kept going on about the picture being a couple in a small sleigh. And the ticket guy kept saying “not this close to Christmas” (snickers) maybe I’ll book us a ride after Christmas. Maria would be so proud, I didn’t point out once that having OCD might have come in handy with planning.

 

Beat GABRIELLA smiling 

Into the distance.

 

GABRIELLA
And there was a little Christmas bag at my desk this morning. It wasn’t big enough to hold my nutcracker, so I knew right away that wasn’t it. I’m surprised by how calm I feel without it. Its been five days and I want it back. Very much! But it feels safe with Jack. In the gift bag were all these little plastic elves they were even all Christmas elves. There was a Legolas, (giggles) the note said I’ll pick a decoration just for me, if you fill out your elf forces. (smiles into distance) Jack can be really sweet. I lined them up on my monitor this morning. 

 

Cut to break room 2nd floor

MIRIAM is sketching her 

window design. FRANK is 

spraying free hand. CLARA 

Leans against counter with 

A cup of coffee. 

 

CLARA
I’m so glad they invited families to the party. I’ve been telling Jewel about our winter games and she’s made me repeat a few of them with her. I hope they have more games there.
FRANK
Oh they definitely will.
CLARA (cautiously)
Will Linda be able to make it?
FRANK
Yes she’s looking forward to it. Even John’s excited which is a real feat with a fifteen-year-old boy. 
MIRIAM
I hope Santa is there. 

 

Utter silence. MIRIAM 

Looks up. And grins.

 

MIRIAM
What (laughs) The man gives out gifts to the well behaved. Do you know how much crap I took from Ed with a smile this year? I’m raking in all the presents. 

 

ALL laugh.

Cut to conference room.  

JACK.

JACK 
The sleigh ride was (shakes head) a lot more people than I like to have with me, on a date. I can’t believe I didn’t check first. I bet she would have. (chuckles) Its just seemed like such a fun spontaneous adventure, all Christmasy and right up her alley. (beat) By the end it was actually pretty nice. She doesn’t like touching strangers so she was huddling into me pretty close and she was smiling massively. So I think she enjoyed the night. We’ll just have to work out a romantic date later on. Next time I’ll plan a little. 

 

Cut to MR. COLEMAN’s 

Office 

Wednesday December 19

JACK in chair before desk. 

  
MR. COLEMAN. 
Jack I’ve been watching you for a while now. And I really think you’re the right man for the manager job. So, why haven’t I received your resume yet?
JACK 
To be honest I forgot about it when you gave Gabriella and I the party assignment. I’ll get it to you.
MR. COLEMAN
Good. See that you do. I think you have a bright future here. How are the party arrangements coming along?
JACK
The family invites went out over the weekend and todays Secret Santa (air quotes) “gift” was  to have people decorate frames with battery operated lights, and we’ll use those to decorate at the party. 
MR. COLEMAN
Nice money saving technique. Great idea.  
JACK
Actually I cannot take the credit. Gabriella has a mind full of ideas. 
MR. COLEMAN
Good for her. Its a sign of a true leader when he knows when to listens to other ideas, and when to ignore them. 

 

JACK uncomfortable shifts 

Forward in seat. 

JACK
Sure, but I understood this to be Gabriella’s assignment and I just (beat) help where needed. 
MR. COLEMAN
And your help has been appreciated. I have’t received even one of her token ten emails a day since I added you to the team. Its a great improvement. Half of her emails were just to press for bonuses, the fact that you’ve talked her out of that shows real management potential. 

 

JACK smiles noncommittally. 

Rises crossing to door. JACK

Pauses, profile to MR. 

COLEMAN.

 

JACK
I understand how handing out bonuses might set a precedent you don’t want to repeat. But I think you may be missing Gabriella’s point, sir. A lot of your employees live from paycheck to paycheck. Their happy to take overtime, even though it means less time with family, because they need the money. And what with this being Christmas time a lot of them would probably be thrilled with even the extra fifty dollars. For food, or gifts or any of the incidentals that they have to think about every day. Its such a small gesture, but it could build a lot of goodwill. (beat)

 

MR. COLEMAN hands folded

On desk, breathing tightly. 

 

JACK
If its a sign of a good manager to listen, perhaps you should listen to Gabriella’s point in any of those ten emails. 

 

Long silence, MR. COLEMAN

Glaring at JACK.

JACK 
Excuse me, sir. 

 

MR. COLEMAN nods sharply.

JACK exits. Punches the 

Down elevator key. 

JACK 
Fucking idiot. Now I’m going to get fired over bonuses he was never going to give. 

 

 

Cut to conference room. JACK.

 

JACK
I said I could walk away from this job no problem. So being fired shouldn’t be any different, right? Except it is! It feels like saying what I did was (beat) Damn it. (shaking head) investing more in the job and the other people here then I have in the whole three years I’ve been here. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

JACK
No, it doesn’t bother me that she was right. I’m just annoyed because now I want this stupid job, partially to be near her (laughs frustrated) And she’s not the sort of girl to respect that. How’s that for irony?

 

Cut to basement IT

GABRIELLA on call.

JACK reading novel. 

 

GABRIELLA
Okay, I can’t seem to access your desktop remotely, could you do me a favor and check how many cords are plugged into it?

 

JACK looks at cameras

Rolls his eyes. 

GABRIELLA
No, the new computers don’t have towers. It’ll be plugged directly into the back of the monitor. You should have two cords. (beat) No problem, I can wait. 

 

MICHAEL approches JACK’s 

Desk. 

 

GABRIELLA
Just the power cable. Okay, look around and see if you have (beat) (interrupted on phone) Well, it really should be around you. Try under the desk, maybe it was kicked out. 
MICHAEL (to JACK)
What’s this I hear about you arranging the party.
JACK  
Dunno, what’s it?
GABRIELLA (on phone)
It should just be a basic USB cord.

 

GABRIELLA watching 

MICHAEL over her cubicle 

wall, concerned.

 

MICHAEL (to JACK)
Did you ask for this assignment as some sort of trial for the position? Because if so everyone should have the same chance. 
JACK
Take it up with Daniel. I just do the work I’m assigned. 

 

 

GABRIELLA curls left hand

Into fist. Uncomfortable. 

Startles at voice on phone. 

 

GABRIELLA (into phone)
What? Oh, no its not an internet cable. Its a tie in to the company servers. 
MICHAEL (to JACK)
You know if you want to apply for the job you should. But be careful who you piss off along the way, Santa. 

 

MICHAEL storms away.

 

GABRIELLA (with shocked expression) (into phone)
I know you’re still online. The internet is wireless, the servers are not. Its an extra security measure. If you want to access files on the company server you have to be plugged in. You know what, I’ll be right up to check it out. Hold tight. 

 

GABRIELLA stands, tugs down 

Her Christmas llama sweater.

Breaths out calmly, exits 

Cubicle stops at JACK’s desk. 

 

GABRIEALLA (to JACK)
Hey, are you alright?
JACK (eyes in book)
Of course, why wouldn’t I be?
GABRIELLA (cautiously)
I don’t know. But if I can help with it I’d be happy to. Or even just happy to listen. 
JACK (forced laugh)
I’m all good. Don’t you have a call to get to. 
GABRIELLA (nodding)
Yep. Okay. Talk later then.
JACK 
You bet.

 

GABRIELLA walks slowly to elevator. 

JACK stares into book until doors 

Close behind GABRIELLA. JACK 

Tosses book on desk. 

Cut to break room. GABRIELLA.

 

GABRIELLA 
I’m not sure if I upset him. Or work. Or the phases of the moon! (agitated) But something upset him. And (beat) I need and probably he needs too for it not to upset me. So I’m trying not to feel hurt, or worried or responsible. Not until I know what the problem is. But if thats hard for a normal woman, its fucking torture for someone with OCD. 

 

Hands fisted, feet tapping. 

 

GABRIELLA 
Maybe its the prank. But if so he didn’t say anything. I suppose this one was a bit (shrugs) more invasive than my usual pranks. A lot of people get really beat out of shape when you mess with their books, but (beat) thats why I bought a second book to replace his copy with. And its just one book. But if it was that wouldn’t he just say something? He’s been reading all day, he should have seen it! I’m obsessing. (looks right of camera) I’m not really sure f you are a helpful tool to managing my symptoms. The very nature of these interviews is to have one obsess over tiny details. So I think I’ll just go now. 

 

GABRIELLA stands frustrated. 

Exes conference room. 

Beat. Empty chair. 

Cut to basement IT 

GABRIELLA stops beside JACK.

 

GABRIELLA (cautiously)
Hey, is now an okay time to ask you something?

 

JACK lays book aside, waves

Broadly. 

JACK
I’m free as a bird.
GABRIELLA
Of course, but that doesn’t mean I’m not (breathes deeply) Never mind. Look I know you say you’re not upset. And maybe you actually aren’t, but if you are and nits because of something I’ve done, please let me know. Because (whispers) I don’t want you to hate me either. I’m really sorry if today’s prank took things too far. 
JACK
What prank? You didn’t do anything today. 

 

GABRIELLA
I did. I guess I just overestimated the time you’d have to read. 

 

JACK raises brow. Opens mouth.

 

GABRIELLA
Right, I guess T’m just overly sensitive, and reading something into nothing. Sorry. 

 

Spins away. 

JACK stands. 

 

JACK
Gabriella. Wait.

 

GABRIELLLA pauses, over wall

At JACK.

JACK
I’m not upset with you. 
GABRIELLA
Are you sure?
JACK (sighs)
Yes. I’m just (beat) in a bad mood. 
GABRIELLA nods slowly.
Still disbelieving. 
GABRIELLA 
Then I’d skip page 183

 

GABRIELLA crosses to desk. 

Grabs purse, shuts off computer.

Exits via stairwell.

JACK watches. Heavy sigh. 

Sitting glances at novel, flips 

Through to find 183. Does double

take.  Laughs.   

Cut to conference room. JACK.

JACK
She is seriously certifiable, and I love it. Look at this. 

 

Holds up book, open to page 183,

No apparent flaws but page to the 

Right is 278.

JACK 
It looks totally normal. And its right in the middle of the action. I would have been halfway through it before I realized what she’d done. I would have been livid if I’d just read to it. (laughs shaking head) She doesn’t pull her punches does she. (grins) She’s awesome. And I literally cannot explain to her why I’m upset. How do I say, ‘hey I know we’ve only been out once, haven’t kissed, and you have an annoying habit of making me more self-aware. And I don’t want to stop seeing you everyday. But I’ve either screwed myself out of a job that would have proven to you I’m not lacking in ambition. Or I’ve gotten myself fired all in an attempt to get you what you want. And also to get you the damned recognition you deserve. The recognition you don’t really fight for with anyone but me. 

 

Long beat. JACK 

Breathes heavily. 

 Direct to camera. 

JACK
I can’t say any of that.
🎄 🎄 🎄
Scene 15: We’ll Have to Muddle Though Somehow

 

Scene: MARIA and GABRIELLA living room 

Thursday night. “Have yourself a merry 

little Christmas” plays in background. 

GABRIELLA  is stuffing homemade 

Crackers with confetti and fifty dollar bills.

MARIA on chair wrapping stuffed crackers

Tosses finished ones in basket. 

MARIA
So what happens when the boss finds out you gave money even though he said no?
GABRIELLA
Don’t know. Don’t care.
MARIA (nodding)
Well, good for you, who needs a job anyway?

 

GABRIELLA stops stuffing

Aggravated. Glares at MARIA.

GABRIELLA 
Look I know it shouldn’t upset me that he’s upset and won’t tell me why. But it does. He skipped work today rather than seeing me. 
MARIA
I thought he texted you. 
GABRIELLA
He did, but it just said he was sick and maybe that was why he was so grouchy. I think he’s lying. I think he’s upset, and I’m trying not to obsess, and just be an easygoing girl. 
MARIA
No one is easy going about things they are emotionally invested in. I’m not easy going. I’m just better able than you to cover it up. 

 

GABRIELLA throws herself 

Against couch back. 

GABRIELLA 
I liked our little flirty days. So whats the big deal, he didn’t flirt with me for one day, why am I so neurotic. 
MARIA
You know at first I didn’t like Jack because he’d hurt you in the past. Then I didn’t like that he was helping you in ways I hadn’t figured out. 

 

GABRIELLA leans slowly 

Forward.  

 

 MARIA 
But I just cover it with smiles and sarcastic comments. I think you’re a lot more (raises eyebrows) “norma” then you give yourself credit for. You just aren’t able to hide from things the way the rest of us do. (beat) I think you’re pretty brave too. You confronted him about it. You always confront your weaknesses. Maybe you should acknowledge your strengths the same way. 

 

GABRIELLA slow touched 

Smile. 

GABRIELLA
Like what?
MARIA (snorts) (shakes head)
Like this, you pain! (waves at crackers) You never give up. You always do what you think is right. And you care way too deeply about other people. 
GABRIELLA (playfully)
I think that last one had a backhanded insult hidden inside.
MARIA
Might’ve.
GABRIELLA 
I know what Mr. Coleman said about not getting ahead of myself was meant to stop me applying for the job, (gearing up) but I’ve been updating my resume in my spare time anyway. 
MARIA
Tell me something surprising. 
GABRIELLA (cautious smile)
I don’t think I’m going to use it. 
MARIA
Because Jack is up for the job too?
GABRIELLA
No. I was offended when Mr. Burns asked for Jack’s resume and not mine, not because Jack isn’t capable of the job, but because I’ve proven myself more than any man who works there. I am a more valuable employee, thats not ego its a fact. As I was working up my resume I realized half the reason I was doing it was to prove to them who wrong they were to overlook me. But (shrugs) I don’t really give a shit about that job.    

 

MARIA cracks up. 

GABRIELLA 
I don’t. I (breaths deeply) I want my dream back. 
MARIA (leans near)
Wow.
GABRIELLA
I know. I know how bad I messed it up before, and I know where I went wrong. I know we agreed that I needed more supervision.
MARIA (interrupting)
No we didn’t. 
GABRIELLA (speaking over MARIA)
Just let me get this out. I know what I’m capable of now, bad and good. And this Secret Santa thing has reminded me of the things I loved best about bydesign Getting to help people who are otherwise left out find a place to be comfortable and productive and happy. I want to d that again, and this week has show me I can…if I do it slowly. 
I’d never intended bydesign to be a huge money making enterprise. But I kept letting Angela and Max get in my head and (beat) I’m better at managing people now. I’m better at (laughs)

 

GABRIELLA waves at crackers. 

Reawakened to work, leans 

forward and begins stuffing again. 

 

GABRIELLA 
Sticking to my guns now. I’m more willing to delegate. I’m better at time management. I mean I’ve basically been doing tow jobs these past weeks but I still got plenty of sleep and took personal time. I won’t start out dreaming so big now. I’m more mature. 
MARIA
Can I talk now?

 

GABRIELLA nods.

 

MARIA
Okay, to begin with your management skills and the size of your dreams were never the problem. You delegated, your (air quotes) “partners” didn’t deliver. It wasn’t you who wanted to double the client base every two months for the first year. Second of all, I never thought you should give up your dream. Yeah, we said a nine to five with someone above you who some of the work feel on was a good thing, but no one meant forever. It was just, then.

 

MARIA reaches out for 

GABRIELLA’s hand. 

MARIA 
Your biggest problem wasn’t you, or OCD or maturity, it was grief. You were trying so har to avoid it. Absolutely your OCD made it worse, but you were trying so hard not to think about mom. You were working non-stop and taking care of me, and trying to go out there and save all the other single moms. The grief just caught up to you. And the troubles are always going to. The point of this job was to give you space to take care of yourself again. And I (beat) I agree, you’ve done that  and come out stronger. I mean a year ago you wound have gone behind your bosses back and down what you think is right. 

 

GABRIELLA  nods staring into 

distance. Absently rolls up fifty 

dollars to stuff in popper.

GABRIELLA (quietly perhaps ashamed)
Jack’s helped  a lot with that. Giving me permission to do my worst. (shrugs)
MARIA
Well that’s great. But before you go giving him all the credit answer me this. Are you doing your worst? Or did he show you a path and you took it? Because if you take the road the work is still your own. Your choices equal your successes.    

 

Long silence. 

GABRIELLA laughs. 

GABRIELLA 
Did Mom give you that speech at some point? Because it has a very sage Mom sort of feel to it and thats not really you. 
MARIA (rolls eyes)
I’m an artist, were basically philosophers who prefer a visual medium. 
GABRIALLA (snorts)
Yeah right. Copy-cat. Admit it you stole the whole thing from Mom. 
MARIA
You are such a pain. 
GABRIELLA
And you love it. 

 

MARIA sticks out tongue 

embarrassed but fond expression. 

GABRIELLA
So, you don’t think its a terrible mistake to try again?
MARIA (sarcastic)
Well since you’re my patroness I prefer you have a paying job. But I’ll find a way to get by. 
GABRIELLA 
Oh, I didn’t mean I’d quit. I meant, I’d keep my sometimes mind numbing job which at least I know I can do and takes literally nothing out of me. And slowly, very slowly start helping people find a job thats right for them. If I start small and very local, dealing only by word of mouth at first my start-up caption should be pretty small, and I can use the hours after work. Or maybe even bring a tablet and do it in my spare time at work. 
MARIA (snorts)
You. Never. You cannot cheat your office out of your work like that. 
GABRIELLA
 I have been. (smiles proudly) Maria, I hacked our office. And at least as much time as I sent on work lately I’ve spent pranking Jack. Now I’m directly disobeying my bosses instructions. I’m being a terrible employee. 
MARIA (rolling eyes) 
Did you fail to get any work done?
GABRIELLA
No.
MARIA
Did you do the extra work you usually do?
GABRIELLA
Yeah.
MARIA
And aside from making Jack work did you really do anting that hurt the company?
GABRIELLA
Well the designers could have been getting a head start on designs for next year. But they could do that from other stations, their designs are on the company servers, not their specific desktops. 
MARIA
 So no. Your answer is no.
GABRIELLA
Yes. My answer is no. 
MARIA 
Right like I said, you can’t be less than an exemplary employee. But I’d literally dance for joy if you tried.    

 

Cut to GABRIELLA outside

Front door. 

 

GABRIELLA
Maria has a point. I really haven’t been doing my worst. And I’ve been enjoying myself. And a lot of that has to do with Jack, but it wasn’t his doing. It was mine. Some of it even started before he made that offer. (beat) I almost never verbally admit to having OCD, much else ask people to understand it. But I did that with him. I demanded respect from him. I opened the door. I walked through it. I like having him with me. I want him with me. But I can go on doing this without him. If he is through, for whatever reason. But I’m no pushover. Which is why it would be best of him to be at work tomorrow. I’m pulling one last prank on him whether he is there or not. And we can see just how much of a coward he is, by how far he runs.

 

🎄 🎄 🎄

Scene 16 Holiday Magic

 

Conference room Friday December 21

Gabriella is wearing a red and green 

Tartan skirt with a red and white mrs. Claus

 sweater, elf ears, and a Christmas elf hat. 

Grinning at camera.

 

GABRIELLA
Everything is all set up and ready for the party. The food arrives at 2:30 and the guests a half an hour later. Then the magic starts. I fell asleep last night in front of my Christmas tree. And something about going to sleep and waking up with those lights glowing like memories of Christmases past (beat) It made me wake up happy. I don’t know how to explain it, but whenever I sit alone in front of our Christmas tree I feel all the love and the fun and the safety of our past Christmases come flooding back. We were always struggling finically when I was younger. But we were happy. At Christmas something magical always happened. The world got slower and everything was lit up and against all odds there were always presents under the tree. Who I got older I solved some of that magical mystery, discovering that the presents came from charity, or Mom’s friends, or her skimping on bills, for a while after I realized that I felt really bad about it. Embarrassed for her, and me, and sad for how she must have felt about it. But recently I realized there was nothing to feel bad about. My mother gave me this amazing gift, and it wasn’t anything under that tree. IT was faith in the truly impossible and magical in the world. I have that. I’ll always have that. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA
No. I’m not angry with Jack this morning. I’m still worried about him, but I believed in the impossible enough for twenty people. So I can give him the space he needs. I didn’t really se the nice guy in him until these past two weeks. But once I saw him I was touched by how truly kind he can be. I can’t just abandon that new understanding because he’s being grouchy. Even if our relationship never goes beyond this  I’ll be lucky to have met him. My mom was a big believer in people coming into your life at the right moment and helping you change things for the better, I just hope we can be that for each other. Not just him for me. Because he deserves to believe in magic more. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

GABRIELLA
Oh. No! He’s still getting pranked.(laughs) I’m just not mad at him while I’m doing it. He needs to be pranked if for no reason but the pouting. No. He’s not getting off that easy. I’ve told you already. I’m no pushover. 

 

Cut to basement IT

JACK enters carrying large box. Stops 

at his desk. Sets down box and lifts 

gift bag on ground next to desk.

GABRIELLA oblivious to JACK types

Bobbing head to music in headphones. 

JACK peeks over and grins at outfit. 

Opens gift.

A tin soldier with a drum. And note:

He made me think of you.

 

GABRIELLA (under breath singing)
Out of all the reindeer you know your the mastermind. Run run Rudolph—

 

JACK laughs softly. Lays soldier on 

top of his monitor. Presses finger

To lips. Grabs box. Runs to elevator

Presses button, but too anxious to 

Wait takes the stairs instead.

Elevator doors open and close. 

GABRIELLA looks up, glancing 

around, returns to work. 

 

Cut to second floor stairwell JACK.

 

JACK (panting)
No, I wasn’t sick. I took a personal day to finish a little project (holds up box) and talk to my parents. I don’t know why I feel ashamed to say  that, my parents are pretty wise people and they know me better than anyone. The first thing my mother said when I walked into the house was “what has you in a pout.” (laughing shrug) She and Gabriella would definitely get along. I needed advice and perspective. And help finishing this. And its perfect (smiles) All its missing is a magical arrival suited to Santa down there. 

 

JACK smirks, pushes open door

to second floor. A crowd of people 

are gathered around one desk 

laughing loudly. 

HANNAH (calling from desk)
Whose the sender? Oh! I got it. 
ED (simultaneously)
The secret Santa account. 
ANGELO
This is hilarious! I want this to be my new screen saver. 

 

JACK approaches group curious.

MAYA (wild burst of laughter)
Oh god! Poor Jack. It kills me every time. He’s never going to life this down. 

 

JACK freezes feet from the group. 

HANNAH (from desk)
Ohhh. Poor guy. And he has that whole strong sil—Oh! (jumps to feet) Jack! HI!

 

GROUP turn shocked. Awkward 

silence. ANGELO chuckling 

Walks towards JACK.

 

ANGELO
Hey man. That is hilarious. You’ve got to have a good sense of humor to send out a clip like that yourself. Good one! Its by far my favorite Secret Santa gift. 
JACK (between teeth)
I didn’t send you anything. I was never secret Santa.            
     
ANGELO
No? Oh! (glances awkwardly around) Well. Its not os bad. (laughs)
MAYA
Yeah. Its adorable. When you—

 

JACK jerks around back into

Stairwell. Stands looking up 

and down stairwell. Starts up.

Stops halfway. Faces camera.

 

JACK
I can’t believe she released the clip. I mean I told her to if she needed to, but I was so sure she wouldn’t. And if she still felt that upset what was the gift for? (breathes deeply) Ugh!

 

JACK stares at box. Fiddles with 

Bow. 

 

JACK
Maybe their really is no killing the ghosts, like she said. 

 

JACK turns marches up stairs. 

Shoves open door, to level three

Bunches of people are laughing. 

JACK breathes deeply. Steps out 

Headed to the corporate 

conference room. 

 

ED (spotting JACK)
Jack. (laughs) Hey man. That was epic!
JACK (shortly)
Thanks.  
MIRIAM
I loved that jump! You got a lot of height coming out of a chair that way. (playfully flirtatious) Very fit.
JACK (confused)
What jump?
ED
When you—

 

ED imitates JACK jumping out of 

a seat Throwing up hands in fear.

 

ED
It was awesome. 
JACK
What the hell video is this?

 

MIRIAM snorts. Uses computer 

Mouse to open

MIRIAM
Here, have a look. I take it your pranks with Gabriella have taken on a new level of fun.

 

JACK approches, confused. 

Watches MIRIAM cautiously. 

 

JACK 
You don’t call her Gabby.
MIRIAM
She asked us not to. (smirks) Both when she first started working here and yesterday in a generally distributed email. 
JACK (smiling)
How do you even know about the pranking. 
MIRIAM
Oh aside from the secret Santa games its literally all anyone will talk about. The will they won’t they of it all.

 

JACK shakes his head. 

MIRIAM nods at computer. 

JACK leans down, clicks on 

Video.

 

Video shows JACK at desk 

receiving a package. Words 

scroll across the screen:

“Its our last day together until

2019.” Lid flies off JACK’s box

JACK leaps from chair tossing 

Box aside. Words scroll across 

Screen: “But don’t panic. Our 

work family will be together 

Again soon.”

Still shorts of workers participating 

   In various secret Santa events

Slide across screen. Black screen

With cool company logo appears

With words: “Happy New Year!”

 

JACK steps back, laughs opens 

mouth to speak laughs harder. 

JACK
I ought to kill her (laughs) (nods to MIRIAM) Thanks.

 

JACK crosses into conference 

room. Stops. Looking around.

All snowflakes have been hung

Frames with lights and frosted 

Glass line walls like windows.

Pictures from secret Santa events

Are blown up and decorate walls 

And tables. 

 

JACK (to camera)
I know I should feel really bad for not helping her set all this up, but its really amazing to see it all put together. Beautiful. She has a (shakes head) next level brain. But its hard to be jealous when she’s always using it to do nice things for people.

 

JACK hides box behind a large 

Picture of CLARA crazy-eyed

Throwing a snowball. Searches 

Area. 

 

JACK (calling out)
Hey, Ed bring me a post-it and pen.
ED
You got it.
ED enters, stops observing decor.
ED 
Wow. Did you do all this?
JACK
No. I’m not Santa. I never was. But I know who it is.

 

JACK writes on post-it:

To Sanata

From The Christmas ghosts

JACK pulls off post-it 

Attaches to box. 

ED still looking around.

 

ED
You know this has all been really special. Whoever Santa is dis a great job.
JACK (under breath)
She always does.

 

JACK nods to door.

JACK
Come on. Out. You’ll ruin the magic. 

 

ED chuckles back to desk.

Cut to basement.

JACK crosses to GABRIELLA’s

Desk leans in. 

GABRIELLA has eyes closed 

Hand up, silently singing along 

to music in headphones. 

JACK waits.

GABRIELLA opens eyes and 

Jumps.

GABRIELLA
Ack!

 

GABRIELLA throws off ears. 

Low buzz of music can be heard.

JACK grins superiorly.      

 

JACK 
 I should have made a video of that an and sent it to everyone.  

 

GABRIELLA (raises challenging eyebrow)
Shoulda’. Woulda’. Coulda’. Didn’t. You going to pout about that now?
JACK (snorts)
You are a seriously mean woman, Santa Claus. No I’m not going to pout. I actually though it was cute, if still a bit embarrassing. People keep leap frogging out of their desks when I walk by. 
GABRIELLA
So run away. You said you could.
JACK (smirking)
You know tin is really heavy to pack, and I couldn’t leave without that guy. (Jerks head towards soldier on monitor)

 

GABRIELLA looks but cannot

See because of cubicle. 

Looks back at JACK.

GABRIELLA
Look you don’t have to tell me everything, just because I did with you. 
JACK (interrupting)
Oh you haven’t even begun to tell me everything. But I’m not worried. 
GABRIELLA (thrown)
Okay. The point is if you need space I’ll give it to you, like you give it to me. But just say it. Maybe I’ll be offended, or disappointed but I won’t die from it. I’m not fragile. I just have some (uncomfortable) hang ups.
JACK 
Cute ones. (smiles) (serious) I just didn’t know how to tell you how I was feeling until I worded it out myself. And I want to talk to you about it, later, when we aren’t at work with a hundred monitor cameras you can be sneakily using to record me. 
GABRIELLA 
Then maybe we should do it at your house. I have lots of cameras in my apartment. You should see the stuff I have on you already. 
JACK 
Do you really?
GABRIELLA (shakes head)
I was just messing with you.
JACK
I sort of love it when you mess with me. I must have some hang ups too.
GABRIELLA (grinning)
Cute ones. 
JACK and GABRIELLA share 
Flirtatious regard. 
JACK     
I should probably get some work done before the day is over.
GABRIELLA 
Probably. 
JACK 
But we’ll talk later 
GABRIELLA
I’d like that.
JACK 
Hey (smirks) What are you doing New Years?
GABRIELLA
Are you actually asking? Or just quoting song lyrics.
JACK
I can do both.
GABRIELLA 
Not a thing. I’m usually in bed by 9:30
JACK 
Terrible. We’ll have to come up with something.
🎄 🎄 🎄
Scene 17 A Right Jolly Young Elf

 

Christmas party in executive 

conference room. Employees

And families are present. 

Scene cuts between bits of 

Party and individual interviews

Near cubicles with party in 

background. Several parent child 

duos are at the snowman making 

Table, using donut holes, frosting 

And decorations to make 

snowmen. A few guests wander 

Taking in the pictures and chatting.

FRANK is performing karaoke “Up

On the Rooftop.” There is a 

snowflake making station and a 

demon doll making station using

Spare doll parts from the factory

And Christmas decorations.

 

GABRIELLA and MARIA  are in a

Corner chatting. JACK doing a 

Rendition of his scare from 

GABRIELLA’s video for a few 

people. 

 

MARIA
You gonna mingle at all. 
GABRIELLA
I like looking at them alll from back here like a special new Christmas movie, just for me. 
MARIA (rolling eyes)
Lord. Ay least come make a donut hole snowman with me. 

 

GABRIELLA 
You just wanna eat the donuts and frosting. 
MARIA 
Yeah! And?

 

GABRIELLA giggles and follows

MARIA. 

Cut to cubicle,  FRANK.

FRANK
How are Clara and I now? (smile) We’re find. New year, new attitude. (looks over shoulder) I haven’t done fun things like this with Linda since she got sick. We should do more of it. She’s really enjoying herself. All thanks to a weird little genius Santa. 

 

Cut to party. 

JACK using phone to film a child 

Judge picking the best snowman. 

CHILD
This one. 

 

CHILD grabs a snowman tries

To shove it into his mouth. 

ADULTS
No! 
GABRIELLA (jumping up)
They toothpicks!

 

JACK drops phone reaching for 

CHILD.

CHILD spits out toothpick with 

Superior expression.

A few people laugh, others look 

Relieved.   

Cut to cubicle, ANGELO. 

  

ANGELO
This was a terrific Christmas. The games were great, and everyone was nicer. I don’t think there  will be any topping it next year. Although I still maintain Ed and I deserved thanks for those awesome supplies we stole for everyone. 

 

Cut to party JACK and MARIA

Chatting with FRANK and his 

Wife LINDA. 

MARIA
Well I do life wit her rent free. When your patroness asks a favor you can’t say no. 
JACK 
Who are you kidding, I know you loved making the deadly quartet of snowmen I got. 
MARIA (smirking)
Oh year, that was great fun. 
LINDA
Sounds like it. All these contest were apparently good stress relievers. (glances meaningfully at FRANK)

 

Cut to party MR. COLEMAN 

Chatting with MAYA and ED

Near dessert table. 

 

MAYA
Mr. Coleman, I just have to say, this years Secret Santa was lovely. I don’t know if you hired a team building firm or came up with it all on your own, but it was amazing. Thank you so much, it made the holidays lovely. 
MR. COLEMAN (awkwardly)
Of course, my pleasure. 
ED
And it was fun. 

 

MR. COLEMAN (laughs)
Thats good for morale. 
MAYA 
Oh definitely. I haven’t seen everyone get along this well in—ever.
MR. COLEMAN
Well, (spots DANIEL BURNS) Daniel.
DANIEL BURNS
Mr. Coleman, wonderful party. My kids are unfortunately attached to the demon doll station. That was a great idea (chuckles)
MR. COLEMAN
Yes. Its working out quiet well. I was just saying I don’t think we’ve received any complaints about (shrugs, downplaying) anything this holiday season.
DANIEL BURNS
Nope. Nope. Its been lovely. Your new secret Santa strategy is a real hit. 
MR. COLEMAN
Excellent. 

 

Cut to cubicles, DANIEL BURNS. 

 

DANIEL BURNS
Well, we got a few complaints. Mostly petty stuff. A few people keep having their lunches stolen out of office fridges. And there were three anonymous complaints about an employees body odor, I won’t name names. But over all yes this year was much better than last in my opinion. I can’t say I loved being viciously pelted with snowballs but it was in the name of fun, right?

 

Cut to party CLARA and HANNAH

Watching kids at demon doll table.

 

CLARA (whispering to HANNAH)
This is such a terrible table. I can’t believe I let Jewel participate. 

 

Behind the pair, GABRIELLA 

reaches behind photo finding 

Her gift box.

 

HANNAH
I know. I’d sleep with one eye open if she brings home that two headed three armed monstrosity. 

   

Both giggle.   

 

HANNAH
But she seems to be having a good time. 
CLARA
The best. I’m so glad she’s getting a healthy chance to let off some steam. At least I hope this is healthy. At least she isn’t the only utter weirdo. 

 

Both giggle again. 

GABRIELLA carries gift box

Out of conference room. 

Cut to cubicles, GABRIELLA

Alone lasy down box reverently.

Slowly lifts lid and removes 

Nutcracker with a new cracker 

arm attached. New arm features

Pictures of GABRIELLA and her

Mother. JACK approaches slowly. 

GABRIELLA looks up speechless.

JACK
I tried to age the photos a little so they’d fit in with the nutcrackers well loved sweater esthetic. 

 

GABRIELLA looks at the nutcracker

And back to JACK. 

 

JACK 
And I tested it out with walnuts and pecans, so I know it works.
GABRIELLA (choked)
Its perfect. Better than perfect.

 

GABRIELLA  lays nutcracker 

Carefully in box. 

 

JACK 
There is no better than p—
GABRIELLA (interrupting)
I know you want to talk later but (beat) (steps closer) If you don’t object I think I need to kiss you right now.
JACK (nods)
No obj—

 

GABRIELLA grabs the back of 

JACK’s head for a  sweet 

passionate kiss.

JACK and GABRIELLA 

separate, staring flirtatiously.

JACK
You stole my line.

 

GABRIELLA shrugs and smirks. 

 

GABRIELLA 
You can ask next time. 

 

Both grin. 

Cut to cubicle MIRIAM.

 

MIRIAM
Well, I was disappointed not to meet Santa Claus, but if this post-it I found is right. I did (sing-song) “See Jack Forrest kissing Santa Claus.” And how many people get to say that. (grins)

 

Cut to party. All employees 

Have party poppers.

 

ALL
1. 2. 3. 

 

ALL pull open crackers. Confetti 

Sprays everywhere and cash falls 

to the ground tied with ribbons and 

Employee names. Everyone shocked 

And excited, picking up money and 

Looking amongst themselves. 

JACK looks at GABRIELLA with a 

Raised brow.

 

ANGELO
Mr. Coleman. Thanks so much! This is great. The whole thing has been great. 

 

FRANK  glances between COLEMAN

And JACK. 

 

FRANK
Absolutely. Best year yet. This is such a generous addition. 

 

MR. COLEMAN throws JACK a 

Dirty look briefly turns back to 

guests. 

MR. COLEMAN
Its my pleasure. And once the accounting department has a chance to sort out just how productive a year we’ve had I hope to send out additional bonuses in the new year. 

 

Cut to cubicles 

GABRIELLA and JACK.

JACK
I don’t know why I’m surprised. (laughs) But you did it anyway. Do you know how much—

 

MR. COLEMAN exits conference

Room approaching pair. Looks at 

JACK. 

     
JACK 
Look, sir. 
GABRIELLA (simultaneously)
Jack didn’t have anything to do with it. I did it behind his back. 
MR. COLEMAN (nods)
So the little speech about listening to my employees didn’t lead to then ignoring me?
JACK 
I fully support what she did. 
MR. COLEMAN (shakes head)
If either of you disobey my direct orders again your fired. But since it turns out you were right about the goodwill, Jack, I’ll let it go. (mildly annoyed) I’ll see you both in the new year. 

 

MR. COLEMAN exits.

GABRIELLA 
What did he mean by all that.
JACK (shrugs)
I might have argued for the bonuses without you there.
GABRIELLA
I can’t believe you did that. 
JACK 
I was just trying to (waves noncommittally) invest more in this place, and people. It pissed him off though. So theres probably no chance I get that manager position.
GABRIELLA
I didn’t realize you wanted it that badly, but if you do I’m sure we can find a way to prove to him that you’re the best person for the job. 
JACK 
Over you.
GABRIELLA (raises a brow)
If you want an honest to goodness competition between us for a mangers job, I’m game. And I’d lay odds on me to win. But (rolls eyes) it’ll have to be somewhere else. If even you think Coleman is more likely to listen to you, (sarcastic) than to little old me. 

 

JACK snorts. 

 

GABRIELLA
Anyway, I’ve decided not to try for it. 
JACK 
What about your five year plan. 
GABRIELLA 
It needs a rewrite. I’ve been thinking of using this job as the thing that pays my bills while I open my old business again. Slower this time, and (beat) I want to tell you all of it, but maybe later. If you want, I may be able to find you a place in my company, not that you have to or anything. (playful shrug) You’ll probably wont have time once you’re the IT manager. You really will be good at the job, you get along with everyone, your pretty diplomatic when you want to be, and your at least the second smartest tech here. You’re way too smart for your job if it isn’t what you love. 

 

JACK laughs. 

 

JACK 
We can talk about it all later. For now, lets go tel everyone who their Secret Santa was.
GABRIELLA
Don’t you dare!     
JACK (laughing)
Why not?
GABRIELLA
You’ll ruin the magic. They didn’t know who it was, so they just embraced it. They made friends, healed wounds. And were so grateful to Mr. Coleman hat he didn’t fire either of us for insubordination. Leave it a magic mystery. They just needed a little “snappy happy ever after.”
JACK 
You really are the sappiest girl in the world. At least join in the fun, Santa. 

 

GABRIELLA nods. 

Cut to cubicle, JACK.

 

JACK
Well, my mother did say the only way I would know what she was thinking was to ask her. And I guess I got my answer. 

 

Beat unheard question.

 

JACK
How did secret Santa work out this year? Pretty fucking magical. (shakes head) I don’t know yet if we managed to kill the ghosts, but I know I had a lot of fun being on the naughty list this year. I would definitely steal those reindeer again given the chance. (winks)

 

Cut to cubicle, GABRIELLA

 

GABRIELLA 
Did we kill the ghosts? I don’t know, (picks up nutcracker) I know I can still feel it breaking. But so much stronger now I can feel it healing. Maybe it was never a matter of killing the ghosts. Maybe it was just about finding them a place to feel at home. And if a little while down the line they pop back up and need retribution Jack has given me permission to do my worst. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA (smugly)
Of course that clip exists. Nothing is ever erased from the internet. But as soon as I mentioned it I knew you’d look for it, and thats my leverage. So I changed some keywords and titles and (beat) lost it a little. Now I’ve got it in the bank the nest time he annoys me. And lets face it, he will. 

 

Beat unheard question. 

 

GABRIELLA 
I’m really pleased with my tenure as Santa. The party went well, the games were a hit and I’ve even got a few more tricks up my sleeve before this Christmas season is over. (raises brow)

 

Cut to executive conference 

room 9:30. Janitors enter room 

already clean except for poppers

On table, each with one of the 

Janitors names. Exchange looks. 

Open crackers. Each gets a fifty 

dollar bill.     

UNSEEN SANTA TOY
Ho. Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas!

 

Cut to cubicles GABRIELLA.

 

GABRIELLA (shrugs) 
I saved a bit of the decorating budget and redistributed it as I saw fit. (laughs) I’m not sure I, ready to relinquish my hat. (winks)

 

GABRIELLA pulls a Santa hat 

Out from behind her back and 

Slips it on her head.

 

NARRATOR
EMMA THOMPSON :) {I aim small}
Then laying a finger aside of her nose, and giving a wink, in a whirl of twinkles she goes. 
✨Twinkling Fade Out✨
THE END      
🎄
Thanks for reading and have a happy new year🎉 🎉

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