Mark, looking at El, suddenly begins to laugh, albeit, while shaking his head. Quickly, the tension somewhat broken, everyone else tries to laugh as well. Scott wipes his brow with a handkerchief.
SCOTT: I wasn’t exactly expecting being hit by El.
EL: And by not knowing, think of all the painful anticipation that you avoided.
SCOTT: Yeah, right. Very comforting.
EL: You know, Scott? You’re all wet. Again.
SCOTT: I think I noticed.
KELLY: Mark, are you okay?
MARK: Oh yeah, sure. No, not really. Actually, I don’t know what I’m feeling right now.
SHARI: That’s just the way I feel. I don’t know either.
For a moment, no one says a word.
EL: Wow! What a family! Talk about creative relationships! Getting to really know one another!
MARK: Shut up, El.
EL: Yes, sir!
El gets very quiet, zippering her lips.
MARK: (to Scott) You and Kelly, huh?
SCOTT: A long time ago. Before I met Shari.
MARK: (to Kelly) Him?
KELLY: Well... There are reasons. I was coming off another relationship... So was he.
MARK: How long ago?
KELLY: Two months before I met you; two months before I fell hopelessly in love with you.
Mark glances back and forth between the two. Then, forcing a smile, he slowly steps toward Scott, as if to place one hand on Scott’s shoulder in a comradely way. Then Mark goes for the throat. Everyone reacts, and leaps to pull Mark off Scott. Just as quickly, Mark steps back, releasing Scott.
MARK: Just kidding.
SHARI: What!? You almost gave me a heart attack!
MARK: It’s just that I needed to do something!
SCOTT: No problem. I understand. I’ve always liked flirting with cardiac arrest.
MARK: Good at flirting, are you?
KELLY: (to Mark) Reminds me of someone I know.
KELLY: You. The two of you are very much alike.
MARK and SCOTT: What?
KELLY: (to both) You two guys are almost carbon copies of one another. The only difference is fourteen years.
MARK: You’re kidding? I was once like that?
KELLY: Don’t you see? The fact that you disagree, is due to you’re being so much alike. You’re just at different stages.
SCOTT: Different stages?
KELLY: Look, Shari loves her father very much. Naturally, she’s attracted to someone like her father. In other words, Scott. The same thing applies to me. I was attracted to Scott. (Kelly turns to Mark.) And then to you. Don’t you see!?
SHARI: (to KELLY) This attraction of yours to Scott...
KELLY: Was genuine. But Scott hasn’t made the major transition in his life that Mark has. Mark’s perfect for me! Scott is just a younger version of Mark.
SCOTT: I’m going to be like him in fourteen years?
MARK: If you’re lucky.
KELLY: Probably sooner.
SHARI: But if there’s this fourteen year difference in their evolvement, how can I love both of them so much?
KELLY: I don’t know. I suppose your attraction to Scott, was predicated on your knowing your father ten years ago, before he made his transition. In many respects, Shari, you’ve not understood the changes in your father since then. Scott is Mark, ten years ago...when you still found your father so attractive.
MARK: (to Scott) Kelly took this psychology course last year and I have yet to hear the end of it.
SCOTT: (to Mark) I know what you mean. She used to always hit me with her profound understandings of psychology and philosophy. When I think of the...
A deadly silence descends on Scott’s statement, as he slowly realizes his mistake.
EL: (aside, to Scott) The next time you decide to reminisce about Kelly and you... try doing it with one foot in the stirrup.
SCOTT: Good idea.
SHARI: (to Kelly) So, what happens in ten years, when Scott makes this “transition”? He becomes another Mark?
SCOTT: (aside) God forbid!
KELLY: (to Shari) Don’t worry. When Scott makes the transition, you’ll make it too. Just as I did.
MARK: (to Kelly) And you no longer have any... romantic feelings for Scott?
KELLY: Of course not! Try to understand, sweetheart! I met Scott well before I met you. I was just coming off a relationship. He was a bridge for me...
EL: (wistfully) “A Bridge over Troubled Water.”
KELLY: Something like that. Something to allow me to regroup and better understand myself, so that when I met you, I would know without any doubt that you were the only person in my future.
MARK: I think I can almost believe that.
KELLY: Believe it! It’s true!
MARK: Yeah. I guess it is.
EL: Before we get into the maudlin sentimentality, I’m curious. Which one’s the better lover!
A cold, deadly silence ensues for several terrifying seconds. El glances at both Kelly and Scott.
EL: Hey! Either one of you can answer. I’m curious about both cases.
SHARI: That’s really uncouth, El. Even if I am a bit... curious myself.
EL: Why uncouth? I’d tell you about my boyfriend!
MARK: Actually, I’m pretty sure I already know who’s better.
KELLY: And I’ll certainly never be the one to tell you any different.
They embrace, just holding each other for a moment or two.
EL: You’re not going to tell me? Well, I’m disappointed!
SHARI: I’m not. I don’t think I ever want to know.
EL: (to Shari) You don’t? But where’s your curiosity? Your search for adventure?
SHARI: Come on, El. Would you really want to know? Worse yet, if you and I had a common lover, would you want him to tell everyone which of us was better in bed?
EL: Sure! If I was the one who was better!
SHARI: Well, I wouldn’t want to know.
EL: Then I suppose I wouldn’t want to know either.
SCOTT: Good. Meanwhile, I think I’d had better go change. Despite the fact that I have absolutely nothing to wear.
EL: Don’t wear anything!
SCOTT: I’ll find something.
KELLY: El, could you help me in the kitchen?
EL: The kitchen?
KELLY: Yes. There are several things we need to do. I think Shari and her father have some things to discuss.
Kelly gives a knowing glance toward Shari. Shari reacts by swallowing hard, while Mark becomes suspicious.
MARK: What now?
EL: (to Kelly) You sure you want to go into the kitchen?
El begins to begrudgingly exit with Kelly.
EL: But why!? Some of these conversations are really choice! I mean, I’d hate to miss anything!
KELLY: (physically removing El) The kitchen, El! Now!
Kelly and El exit to the kitchen hall, with El looking wistfully over her shoulder.
MARK: (to Shari, resignedly) There’s more, right?
SHARI: I need to ask you a question.
MARK: That you can always do.
SHARI: Why did you divorce Mother?
MARK: Didn’t we just cover that?
SHARI: It’s just that I’m still trying to understand. The idea of two loving people growing apart... It bothers me.
MARK: That’s not all there was to it. The truth is that the marriage was shaky to begin with. We both were right out of college, totally inexperienced, knew next to nothing about each other, knew even less about relationships... The truth is that young people and those who marry early almost never know anything about intimacy and living together. Divorcees and singles who wait for marriage until they’re older, tend to become experts on relationships. I suppose, out of simple necessity. But the others don’t!
SHARI: So your marriage was a mistake?
MARK: Not totally. After all, we had this wonderful daughter. The problem was, that the society of our day and age inhibited growth. It’s as if it were set up to facilitate bad marriages, and to keep women in particular from knowing anything about themselves. Most females of my day went directly from their father’s house to their husband’s house, never once getting the chance to actually find out about themselves... at least, other than their relationship to a dominate male.
SHARI: Were you a virgin when you got married?
MARK: Yes. And faithful during the marriage. Sometimes I think that was my big mistake. I had no hint of what sexual intimacy should have been like. I only knew what the marriage lottery had given me.
SHARI: I suppose you know that I’m no longer a virgin.
MARK: Thank God for that! At least you know what’s possible. When real love comes along, you’ll be able to recognize it. Not just the physical part, but all aspects of it.
SHARI: I’m glad you feel that way.
MARK: Why is this so important to you? Are you really worried about your Mother?
SHARI: Not really. She’s quite happy. Or at least, I think she is. It’s just that I wonder about Scott and me. I keep thinking we’ll grow apart and wind up in the statistics.
MARK: You’re going to wind up in the statistics, no matter what. It may be as a very happily married couple or something entirely different. But you’ll be in there in the statistics somewhere. Just don’t worry about what might happen. Things are less regimented now. Young people can actually learn about relationships before they marry. You’ve learned about losers, haven’t you?
SHARI: Oh yeah! One in particular. He seemed so right, clever and had a great job at the National Science Foundation. But then he turned out to be so weird!
MARK: I’m sure Scott’s a considerable improvement. But the key is, if you find that you’re no longer growing with Scott, or any other man, you move on. Ultimately, you’ve got to grow, to become all that you can be, and you must never let any one person prevent that. Take your time with Scott. Really get to know him.
SHARI: Oh, we already know each other pretty well.
MARK: I meant marriage. And even more importantly, children. Marriages can be dissolved. But once children are a part of it, then you can be literally trapped.
SHARI: That sounds terrible! I would hate to think of children as a trap.
MARK: They can be. It’s not all that easy to give up a child, even for the father. Oh sure, the men get visiting rights, but this just doesn’t make up for the chance to watch a child grow. A father has as much right to nurture his children full time as the mother. I know that I certainly didn’t want to miss out on your upbringing. That’s why I stayed in the marriage as long as I did.
SHARI: Was I a trap for you?
MARK: To some degree. But for heaven’s sake, don’t start feeling guilty. It was my decision to stay, never anything that you did. Other than perhaps, just being a wonderful, loving daughter. But it was never manipulation by you. It was just my choice.
SHARI: I’m glad you stayed.
MARK: I’m glad I did, too.
For a moment, they hug affectionately.
MARK: At least, you won’t have to make that choice. You can still dump Scott, if things don’t work out.
She backs away from her father, back in her nervous mode.
SHARI: Scott might not be that easy to dump.
MARK: Possessive, is he?
SHARI: Oh no! He can be very flexible. But there are some... shall we say... legal constraints.
Shari vainly tries to smile.
MARK: That sounds very much like something... Oh, you know: I think it’s called... marriage?
SHARI: Yeah. It’s sort of like that.
MARK: You’re married?
MARK: You married a lawyer?
SHARI: I married Scott.
Mark tries to smile, and sighs instead.
MARK: I can’t say I’m surprised. You had “married” written all over you, from the moment you got here.
SHARI: I did?
MARK: Or at the very least, a very intimate relationship.
SHARI: Oh, yeah! We’re intimate!
MARK: What I noticed was that you had sort of a nice glow.
Shari turns slightly blue.
MARK: On the one hand, I’m very proud of you. I know we kidded about your future husband asking me for your hand in marriage. But I’m much more pleased with the fact that you’ve become a person in your own right. Someone who doesn’t have to ask permission from anyone, for anything, including a husband! I even gave up the idea of giving you away in marriage, if only because that sort of thing is so patriarchal.
SHARI: You raised me to be independent, to grow on my own. In a way, you’ve long since given me away. And it was a much more precious gift that way.
MARK: I’m glad to hear you say that. But I am curious about one thing: Why did you get married without telling me first? Why were you in such a hurry?
SHARI: Oh! Well, things sort of got out of hand...
MARK: (jokingly) Don’t tell me you’re pregnant!
MARK: (suddenly serious) Are you?
SHARI: Am I what?
MARK: Are you pregnant with child?
SHARI: I thought you didn't want me to tell you that.
SHARI: Would you be mad if I were?
SHARI: Then I am.
MARK: You’re about to make me a grandfather?
SHARI: I think that’s the way it works.
MARK: I wonder what Kelly will think about marrying a grandfather.
SHARI: And becoming a grandmother! At her age!
Mark becomes very understanding, and gently takes Shari into his arms.
MARK: So, my baby's pregnant. That’s wonderful.
SHARI: Are you mad at me?
MARK: Why should I be mad? What good would that do?
SHARI: You do understand, don’t you? We had to get married quickly.
MARK: Oh, that’s right. You’re also married.
SHARI: This isn’t too much for you to accept all at once, is it?
MARK: Do I have a choice?
SHARI: I doubt it.
MARK: So do I. Oh my heavens! I just realized something! My lover’s former lover has gotten my daughter pregnant!
SHARI: Well, when you put it that way... It sounds... simply terrible!
MARK: But that’s the way it is! Isn’t it?
SHARI: How about...? All the men in our family have a lot in common, and get along great! And all the women...
MARK: ...Are in love with all the men!
SHARI: I don’t think that’s what I had in mind.
MARK: You know, this situation could turn out to be a little weird.
SHARI: Even eccentric. Like PhDs.
MARK: I mean, it sort of blows a lot of standard definitions about one’s position in a family. Suddenly, we’ve got a whole slew of new types of relationships to deal with. A son-in-law who’s also been the lover of...
He trails off, taking a deep breath.
SHARI: You think you’ve got it bad! I have to deal with a woman who could be like a mother to me, or a competitor. And with a potentially jealous father. Or husband. Oh, Lord!
MARK: The possibilities do sort of take your breath away. The problem is we don’t exactly have a lot of traditional stereotypes on which to base how we relate to one another.
SHARI: I know. We’re on a whole new path here.
MARK: Sort of like Joseph Campbell said, striking out into the deep forest of original experience.
SHARI: Of course, that might not be all bad! It sure allows for plenty of opportunity for growth.
MARK: Doesn’t sound like we’re going to have much choice about it. Particularly when I think about us all living together.
SHARI: What do you mean? Scott and I will be in D.C.
MARK: It’s just that, I’ve always had the idea that when things start to get really rough out in the world, that you and yours could come here to live. Now... well, things could get a little strange around here, with everyone here fulltime.
SHARI: But there would be others, wouldn’t there? I mean, El would have her boyfriend up here. Some of your close friends and associates would join us. It wouldn’t be just the four of us. It would be more like a little community. A nice, close knit group.
MARK: Yeah. Very close knit.
SHARI: Things could be a lot worse. For example, Kelly could be pregnant.
SHARI: (suddenly horrified) She’s not, is she?
MARK: No. Of course not! I had a vasectomy years ago.
SHARI: (relieved) See! Like I said! Things could be a lot worse!
MARK: Sure! We could have an Iranian hit squad out to get us for writing on bathroom walls.
SHARI: Isn’t it great that we can laugh about all of this?
MARK: Oh? Were you laughing just now?
SHARI: No. Probably later though. When I look back on all of this. Ten or twenty years from now. Everything's funny... from a distance.
For a moment, Mark looks at his daughter.
MARK: So my daughter is going to have a baby.
SHARI: Looks that way.
MARK: Boy or girl?
SHARI: We don't know yet. I'm not sure I want to know ahead of time.
MARK: I want a girl. Take care of that for me, will you?
SHARI: I don’t think we have a choice right now. I was rather expecting to take whatever came.
MARK: I know. And either way, I still like the idea. Of course, we’ll have to spend a lot more time together now. I don’t want to miss out on raising my grandchild.
SHARI: I’m sure we can find ways to make sure granddaddy gets all the diaper changing he can handle.
MARK: Sorry. I don’t do diapers. I just play with the kid. When the diaper changing happens, I call for the mommy.
SHARI: Times are changing. Granddaddies do change diapers nowadays.
MARK: Times are changing alright. You know: This is really not the best time for raising a baby.
SHARI: The world can’t very well hold off having babies for five to ten years, until things settle down. Besides, I would be almost forty, just slightly past child-bearing age.
MARK: Good point.
SHARI: Besides, it’s your fault!
SHARI: If you hadn’t gotten Mother pregnant when you did, I wouldn’t be primed for pregnancy right now!
MARK: That’s an absolutely ludicrous argument! But I think I like it. It’s the sort of inane viewpoint that I might have used.
Shari smiles with her small victory.
MARK: Have you told your Mother yet about the pregnancy?
SHARI: I haven’t even told her I’m married. I was afraid she’d let you have the news with both barrels.
MARK: Good. Let me tell her.
SHARI: That’s tempting, but I think maybe I’d better do it.
MARK: You’ve got to let me tell her! This is just too good an opportunity! I don’t get that many chances to blow your mother's sanity clear out of the water.
Kelly enters from the kitchen hall, smiling broadly (having heard everything).
KELLY: Well... Did you two have a nice talk?
MARK: How do you feel about being a grandmother?
KELLY: A grandmother?
KELLY: Oh my. I hadn’t thought about that.
Scott enters from the bedroom hall, dressed in pajamas and an outlandish bathrobe (the wilder the better).
SCOTT: This is it! One more dousing, and I do the rest of the evening in the nude.
El enters from the kitchen wing, just in time to catch Scott’s comment, while the others smile and laugh.
EL: Wait here. I’ll get a bucket of water.
SCOTT: Are you serious?
EL: Nah! Just kidding! I wouldn’t want to dampen your spirits with my spirits. Besides, I love your outfit. It’s so sheik, so debonair, such an Ascot flavor. Especially the bathrobe.
SCOTT: Actually, I rather like it. It’s fun. I must compliment Kelly on her selection.
KELLY: It isn’t mine. It’s Mark’s.
KELLY: What did I tell you, Shari? Look, they both agree on bathrobes. Isn’t that great?
SHARI: Wonderful. They both have at least one clear symptom of being mentally defective.
MARK: (to Scott) So! I understand you got my daughter pregnant!
SHARI: (as Scott stops dead in his tracks) It takes two, Daddy.
MARK: (to Shari) I know.
He then turns to Scott, still smiling, albeit rather cynically.
MARK: But it only takes one to practice birth control. And as I recall, you’re Catholic.
SHARI: Ohhhh! It was my fault! Scott never did believe in Russian Roulette birth control. I just fouled up!
SCOTT: (to Mark) Yeah! And lay off my wife, will you? She’s pregnant, and I don’t want her upset!
For the first time, Mark is clearly angry at being challenged as to his concern for his daughter’s welfare.
KELLY: That’s enough!! You two just cool it! If you can’t say something nice, then... Shut up!
SHARI: Thank you, Kelly!
The two men just glare at each other (as men are sometimes prone to do).
KELLY: You’re welcome!
SHARI: Isn’t it amazing that I love both of these clowns!? What’s more, for some incredible reason, I assumed that they might even like each other! That the two men in the world that really mean everything to me, might become really close friends! Isn’t that amazing that I actually thought that?
MARK: But we do get along! Scott and I have different opinions, but I like Scott. He’s great!
SCOTT: Are you kidding!? I thought we hated each other!
Scott glances around to get it hate stares from everyone but El -- who just looks amazed at Scott’s stupidity. Scott quickly tries to recover.
SCOTT: At first!! When we first met! But now! I really... Like your father.
MARK: And you respect me, right?
SCOTT: (grudgingly) And I respect you.
MARK: And you certainly recognize my opinions as valid. Not to mention my additional years of experience...
KELLY: (gently, aside to Mark) Don’t push it.
SCOTT: Certainly, some of your opinions, and particularly, some of your accomplishments I can really admire and appreciate. Like your daughter, for instance... Easily your greatest accomplishment.
MARK: Yes, my daughter, who deserves only the very best! But not necessarily a lawyer.
KELLY: Only the best: Like Scott.
MARK: You think he’s the best!?
Kelly frowns heavily at Mark, again. Mark caves in.
MARK: Yeah. Like Scott.
EL: Wow Shari! I’m certainly convinced. They get along fine.
MARK: Right. We have lots in common.
SCOTT: (to Shari) Like trying to understand you, for example.
SHARI: Oh, wonderful! You both have a common enemy. Me. That should certainly bring you together as allies.
KELLY: But, Shari, you also have an ally, too.
SHARI: Thanks, Kelly.
SCOTT: Don’t worry, sweetheart. We’re all going to get along fine. Including El.
EL: Hey! What possible problems could I cause?
SHARI: Everything’s fine?
MARK: We all have lots of common interests.
KELLY: And there are all sorts of things we can do together.
SHARI: Gee, you’re probably right! It’s too bad Scott and I are already married; we could have had a double wedding. You know, where the father gives the bride away. And the bride gives the father away to the future mother-in-law. And the future mother-in-law promises to forever hold her peace with respect to the future son-in-law, and...
MARK: I have a better idea! All three of us could give away Scott. To whomever would have him.
SCOTT: Just for your information, I’m pretty much in demand.
EL: I’ll say! Based on a local survey, two out of three women have already bought your line! And I’m still thinking about it.
MARK: A lawyer, a bureaucrat, a ladies-man...
SCOTT: You know the saying: Those who can, do; those who can’t...
Shari is finally pushed to her limit by the men taking pot shots at one another.
SHARI: That’s it! I’m out-of-here!
SCOTT: Where are you going?
SHARI: Who cares! Just going!
Shari starts off stage, toward the bedroom hall.
SCOTT: For Pete’s sake, Shari! Every time, there’s the slightest disagreement, you walk out. Boy, if that isn’t just like a woman!
The entire audience shits small bricks. Shari stops dead in her tracks, the explosion building rapidly inside her. Kelly is obviously very offended, and quite prepared to rip Scott’s heart out.
KELLY: What did you say?
No one has time to react to Kelly’s demand, as Shari growls loud enough to put to shame a hungry, hurting lion in heat.
EL: (to Scott, realizing he’s about to be devoured) Nice move.
Shari slowly turns around, every move of her body an indicator of imminent doom.
SHARI: That’s it! Sit down! I’ve got something to say!
Everyone hurriedly sits down, except El.
SHARI: Now! Let’s get a few things straight! I am a woman you don’t ever want to make angry again! Think of me as someone with a very bad temper! In fact, think of me as a whole army of women! All with PMS and very bad tempers! (She turns to Scott.) I am your wife! Your only wife! One who expects a great deal of nurturing, love, and all-around, general devotion! I don’t take kindly to lapses of memory, momentary pauses of dishonesty, or anything remotely connected with any kind of slights to our relationship. I am not your chattel! I am not one of your possessions! And I am not just one more asset for your status among other men! I am the one person with whom you will do the majority of your co-creating, and while I will allow you your own space for your personal creating, I will also expect, and receive, your blessings on my space and my creating! You will share in the raising of our child, doing your part in everything from wiping it’s little bottom to walking around with it in your arms at three o’clock in the morning! You will never assume that any portion of our household is “woman’s work”! And you will never, ever, even think about, trying to manipulate, intimidate, put me on a guilt trip, or in any sense of the word, con me into doing something not in my best interests; just because you want me to do something. Is that clear!!?
SCOTT: Yeah! Absolutely!
As Scott continues to look worried, Shari abruptly turns to Mark.
SHARI: Speaking of intimidation... You will henceforth be very, very conscious of how and what you say to me! You will not assume that you are superior by reason of your vastly larger number of years on the planet, nor will you assume that I will naturally always manage to see your viewpoint and inevitably agree with it. You will treat me with immense diplomacy and be very careful of not assuming any special favors of my generosity and understanding. I will treat you with respect, and you will bend over backwards treating me with equal or greater respect.
For a moment, Shari stops and turns away. Then she abruptly turns back to Mark.
SHARI: And! You will change diapers whenever the opportunity presents itself! Right?
SHARI: Right! Now...
She turns away slightly.
SHARI: For your own survival, I think all of you should realize that occasionally I’m just going to do whatever I feel like doing! Any little old thing that enters my head! Maybe a romp in the woods! Maybe just a romp!
She turns directly to Kelly.
SHARI: Speaking of which... I’m the kind of woman who really gets upset if another woman even thinks about fooling around with her husband. (to Scott) At the same time, I might just wipe the floor with my former, unfaithful spouse! (back to Kelly.) Or happily tear out an offendee’s hair by the roots. (Just as abruptly, she turns to El, and very nicely continues.) There will, of course, be times when I will just want to nurture my children to the fullest. And heaven help the person who comes between my offspring and this mother bear! (Shari then turns to the others.) But I’m always going to be a woman to be reckoned with!! Whether as a wife, lover, mother, career woman, mystic, father’s daughter, or whatever!! I’m always going to be my own self, and heaven help the man, or woman, who displeases me!!
No one says anything, as Shari looks around the room. Then she smiles slightly. Suddenly her voice is very low key, but still quite capable of carrying the underlying threat.
SHARI: I don’t like conflict. Therefore, because I say so, my father is going to respect my husband, and vice versa. I don't care what their personal feelings actually are. I’m going to expect complete honesty from everyone, and everyone is going to love everybody else even if they have to lie through their teeth. Just not necessarily love in a physical way. I’m going to be very happy, surrounded by my loving husband, my loving father, my loving mother-in-law, and my loving friends. I trust that none of you will ever let me down!
Shari then calmly walks over and sits down.
EL: Bravo, bravo! Well said!
KELLY: Yes. Magnificent!
MARK: (He stands, also applauding.) Excellent. (To Scott, he proudly notes.) She’s my daughter, you know. I’m very proud of her.
SCOTT: (to Mark) She’s my wife! She chose me!
MARK: (to Scott) I’ll explain to you about choices later, including those made prior to incarnating in this lifetime.
Mark then turns back to Shari.
MARK: Well, Shari... I’m very impressed. But then, I always have been.
Shari smiles and moves quickly to her father. They give each other an affectionate, major league hug. Kelly gives Scott a friendly, platonic hug.
KELLY: You’ve got quite a wife there... I hope you realize that.
SCOTT: Oh yes. That’s real clear.
SHARI: (to Scott) Hey, you! Come here, hunk!
Scott obediently obeys, smiling to the others. They hug, with a lot of gusto, while Kelly goes to give Mark an equally affectionate hug.
MARK: (to Kelly) Think you can handle this family?
KELLY: Try to remember: You haven’t met my father yet!
Mark turns a unique shade of blue.
Glancing at both couples, El moves around to stand in between them. After just a moment, she lets her feelings be known.
EL: Well, this stinks! Everybody gets a hug but me?
MARK: (still holding Kelly) You want a hug, El?
EL: Actually, I’d prefer my boyfriend’s hug. But if I’m stuck...
Scott moves cautiously to hug El, who takes just as cautious a stance. Mark also moves to give El a hug.
MARK: El, why not invite Fred up here for dinner. We’ll make it a six-some.
EL: Great! We’ve all got so much to talk about.
SCOTT: Really? What does Fred normally talk about? A lot of profound things?
Catching the slight cynicism, El looks straight at Scott.
EL: Watch it, Bub! Fred’s pretty darn sharp. He used to work for the National Science Foundation before he left Washington just to come out here after yours truly.
SHARI: (very surprised) The National Science Foundation?
EL: Yup. He was a project manager.
SHARI: (suddenly worried) El. What is Fred’s last name?
EL: Riordan. Frederick Allen Riordan!
SHARI: (horrified) Oh my God!!!!
Shari collapses into her chair, her face in her hands.
BLACKOUT -- END OF PLAY