(It is 2:19 AM. Teenage GERRY is looking for a leitner book & going as fast as humanly possible in the process. RIA has just snuck out of her house & is walking down the street. GERRY runs into RIA & keeps running.)
RIA (shouting after him): HEY! What do you think you’re doing ; you made me drop my cigarette!
(GERRY stops for a moment & turns around, surprised by this strange person actually saying something about him running into them. RIA approaches him & then stops a few feet away, crossing her arms. In one hand, she holds a lighter with a skull painted on it. A box of cigarettes is sticking out of her pocket – one lies on the ground behind her.)
GERRY (curious): Why’re you smoking anyway? You don’t look any older than I am.
RIA: It’s none of your business.
GERRY: Ohhhhkay, okay, I was just curious.
(GERRY turns to walk away. RIA suddenly finds herself alone in the dark again, & as much as she hates to admit it, she’s a little scared.)
RIA (calling after Gerry): WAIT!
(GERRY turns around, a little shocked.)
GERRY: Thought what you were doing was ‘none of my business.’
RIA: It isn’t . Doesn’t mean I want to be alone.
(GERRY has a book to look for and should really just leave, but he sees that RIA is scared & decides he can’t leave her like that. She’s basically a Dark fear meal right now. He walks back to her. They sit on a stoop outside for awhile in silence while she smokes.)
GERRY (breaking the silence): Sooooooo… why the skull lighter?
RIA: My parents are scared of death. See it everywhere. So I’ve decided I like startling them a little. They tried so hard to instill fear in me, and I dunno I just… want to make them scared now.
(RIA flicks the lighter on and off a couple of times. GERRY watches the flame for a moment before responding to her.)
GERRY: My mum tells me I need to face my fears, all of them. It gets exhausting sometimes.
RIA: Yeah. I mean, everything can be terrifying if you think about it too much. My parents think about it too much. (ironic/exasperated laugh) Way too much. And the worst thing is, they make the things that scare them my problem.
GERRY: Yeah. Yeah, my mum likes to make her problems mine too. She thinks I’ll grow up to be just like her, but...I don’t really know if I want that anymore.
GERRY: I used to, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it. (rakes a hand through his hair) She’s never really happy to see me .
RIA: I understand that at least. My parents are never happy , just afraid. Always so afraid, always trying to force it on me. I’m not even supposed to be out this late, y’know.
GERRY: Yeah. I figured.
(silence that stretches on just a little too long)
GERRY: Why are you out here this late?
RIA: Because they don’t want me to be.
GERRY (with a little laugh): Right.
RIA: Y’know, they’d take one look at you and call you a bad influence. Without a conversation or anything, just like they do with all of my friends who don’t fit their picture-perfect little definition of ‘safe.’ (exasperated sigh) They think everything in the world is just SO dangerous.
GERRY: … A lot of things in the world are dangerous.
RIA (with certainty): Yeah. You’re not one of them, though.
GERRY (tone shifting from startled to amused to resigned): No, I… guess I’m not.