Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: ML Cooks & C. Nathaniel Richardson
Marlena steps out of the coffehouse in Horton Town Square, cup of coffee in hand as she sits down at one of the tables out in the square. She sits down as her cell phone rings, she picks it up and talks as she rifles through her bag.
MARLENA: Dr. Evans...yes...yes, I can be at University Hospital in...20 minutes....Board room? Uh, sure! I'll be there. Bye bye.
As Marlena hangs up her phone, she looks around and sees a young blonde woman walk into the square, looking a bit lost. She looks on, a bit of recognition in her eyes as she smiles, looking the young woman's way.
Finally, the woman stops upon seeing Marlena and smiles widely. She approaches Marlena, who remains seated.
Noelle looks back excitedly as Marlena recognizes her.
Marlena jumps up from her seat, as Noelle and Marlena hug each other tightly. As they pull away, their screams of joy begin to turn to giggles.
MARLENA: Oh my LORD, it's so good to see you again! I've missed you.
NOELLE: I was amazed you even recognized me, it's been so long. I think I couldn't have been more than...what, 12 when I last saw you?
Marlena smiles warmly as she looks at Noelle proudly. They hold each others hands.
MARLENA: Your dad would be so proud of you. I'm so sorry to hear about his passing.
Noelle's demeanour changes almost immediately. Her face drops as she steps away from Marlena momentarily before sitting down at the table.
NOELLE: Yeah, thanks.
MARLENA: I'm sorry to have brought him up. I know it's still relatively fresh for you and your mother.
NOELLE: Yeah, well...there's a lot of....adjusting to do. In more ways than one.
Nicole sits at her desk at her office, staring down Nick, who's sitting across from her, lazily lounging in his chair, a typical cocky look on his face. Nicole tries to posture to appear unmoved by Nick's threats.
NICOLE: I need to remind you of something, Nnnnnnick! You need my help more than you're willing to admit.
Nick leans back in his chair, sitting himself in a casual position almost mockingly.
NICK: Oh this oughta be good. Where's the popcorn?
NICOLE: I'm serious. If you and your little minion didn't have me telling everyone in Salem how disastrous this oil sands project would be, no one would give a damn about Percy and his little...owl-watching sanctuary. You'd have been a thirty-second human interest curiosity on one newscast before the Titan spin machine forced the public's hand and the city's, into forcing him to sell his land. And then where would that leave you?
Nick tenses as Nicole speaks, the smile slowly fading from his face, but still trying to appear relaxed.
NICOLE: Face it, Nick. I have more power than you're willing to admit. And it bugs the hell out of you.
Will steps off the elevator at the Titan Building on the EnerNext floor. He luckily steps off the elevator as Tyler steps into the hallway. Tyler notices Will immediately and greets him with a professional smile.
TYLER: Ah! William! Perfect timing. You're looking rather chipper this morning.
WILL: Thanks, Mr. Houston. I...had a hard time sleeping last night.
TYLER: Well, it certainly doesn't show. Ready to meet everyone?
WILL: I sure am.
Tyler motions Will to follow him down the hallway. Will smiles, trying to hide his nervousness. Tyler looks over, sensitive to Will's uncertainty, and tries to break the tension.
TYLER: So I guess I should tell you a bit about what you'll be doing here.
WILL: Could help. (laughs)
[b[TYLER: Well, you'll mostly be writing press releases, dabbling a bit in advertising copy. We will need you to focus a bit on speechwriting, as I'll want someone who really understands spin and how to avoid any potential...pitfalls.
Will nods, understanding what Tyler's getting at.
WILL: A bit of...persuasive writing, if you will.
Tyler smiles and puts his hand on Will's back in a father-like way. He motions them forward again as they approach the door to an office.
TYLER: So here's where your new office space will be.
Will steps into the room, beaming as he examines the lush surroundings.Dark wood covers the walls of the office, with the light streaming in from the window right behind his new desk. Will stands in awe of his workspace, as a young, chiseled man with dark hair steps in from the hallway.
As Will speaks, the man knocks on the doorframe. Tyler looks behind him towards the door, and sees the young man. He immediately walks over to him and ushers him into the room.
TYLER: Ah! William! This is Alex, you'll be reporting directly to him.
Will turns to face Alex and smiles immediately. A rush coming over him as he looks him over. Alex extends his hand for Will to shake. Will stands awakwardly for a moment before clueing in and shaking his hand in return.
WILL: Oh...nice...to meet you, I'm Will.
Alex smiles back, lingering in their handshake slightly longer than expected. Will smiles a bit of a goofy smile and Alex smiles back.
Noelle walks with Marlena across Town Square, both ladies with coffee cups in hand. They laugh as they share stories.
NOELLE: (sigh) Thank you for meeting me today. I was...honestly really worried about coming back to Salem.
Marlena stops and touches Noelle's cheek gently, moving a strand of hair away from her face lovingly.
MARLENA: I know it's difficult moving back here after all these years. And so far from your mother. How is Liz holding up?
NOELLE: Oh she's...alright. We've been helping her out as much as we can, but....it isn't so easy from so far.
MARLENA: Why doesn't she come back to Salem with you?
Noelle shakes her head, shrugging as she continues to look straight ahead, in thought as she speaks.
NOELLE: A lot of memories. I think mostly of Dad. Mother couldn't really take it.
Marlena stops and looks at Noelle with concern in her eyes.
MARLENA: It's been well over a year, Noelle. I mean...do you think it's healthy for Liz to still be so...
NOELLE: I think Dad's death and...well, I just think that she's hurting a lot more than she's willing to believe.
MARLENA: Is she working?
Noelle looks down, laughing almost to keep from crying. She shakes her head.
NOELLE: No. She hasn't in months. Marlena, her first performance in two years, and dad was at home dying of a heart attack. She's...she's never forgiven herself for it.
MARLENA: Surely she knows it isn't her fault.
Noelle looks up to keep from crying, this time starting to lose the battle.
NOELLE: Listen, can we....can we continue this later. I...I have to get some errands done today before dinner.
Noelle takes Marlena's hand and squeezes it, smiling warmly her way through her tears as she tries to wipe them away.
MARLENA: Listen, Noelle. Just remember, if you need someone to talk to...
NOELLE: Thanks, Marlena. I'll call you soon.
Noelle walks away as Marlena lingers behind, still looking on with real worry on her face.
Nick gets up from his seat. He leans over Nicole's desk, trying to intimidate her, but Nicole responds cooly. She remains in place, arms folded on her desk, a calm expression her face.
NICK: You think you got this all figured out, don't you, Nicole?
NICOLE: I know that you'd be stupid to use what you've got on me unless you absolutely had to.
NICK: Don't be stupid enough to think I won't.
Nicole leans back finally, laughing in Nick's unmoved face.
NICOLE: I don't think you understand this at all. Your plan's worked just fine so far, but what happens if even ONE piece of your little...convoluted plan fails? City council could still allow EnerNext to buy out Percy's land.
NICK: That won't happen if you do what you're instructed to.
Nicole leans back in, looking menacingly at Nick.
NICOLE: I don't take instructions from you, you little twerp.
Nick gets back up from leaning on Nicole's desk. He shakes his head at Nicole's insolence.
NICK: You really don't get it, do you? I have every document you kept hidden from Eric in your desk drawer safely stored where you can't find it. I can pull it out whenever I feel like it.
NICOLE: And I know you won't do that. Nick, you can't overplay your hand here. The Titan executive is gonna get wise to you, and then you and your little plan here are gonna crumble like stale bread.
Nick smiles smugly. He responds ever so calmly, yet menacingly.
NICK: Not now they're not. Remember that old saying, Nicole? Loose lips sink ships?
Nicole still looks on dismissively.
NICOLE: I'm sorry, am I talking to the Riddler? Would you just spit it out?
NICK: Well, Nicole. Let's just say that no matter what happens around this building, I know about it.
Nicole furrows her brow, confused and a bit worried by the implication Nick's making, but disbelieving it simultaneously.
NICOLE: How is that even possible? Did you develop ESP or did you hit up Dionne Warwick for a psychic friend?
NICK: I wouldn't say that so much as....the walls, Nicole? They have ears. And trust me, you've been so very helpful. Especially now that I have video that shows our little...exchange here about what you did.
The colour drains from Nicole's face as Nick smiles a winner's smile.