Beginning of a New Year-Part 3
Written by: Juana
Story summary: As the year 2000 approaches many lives are headed for change.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in my story; they belong to the brilliant writers and creators of the hit WB show.
INT: FELICITY’S ROOM-DAY
FELICITY IS LYING ASLEEP IN HER BED. BY THE DISHEVELED APPEARANCE OF HER COVERS IT IS APPARENT SHE HAS HAD A RESTLESS NIGHT. AS SOMEONE KNOCKS ON THE DOOR FELICITY BOLTS UP IN BED. RUBBING HER EYES SHE GETS UP TO GO ANSWER IT. IT IS BEN.
AS SOON AS FELICITY ANSWERS THE DOOR BEN PULLS FELICITY INTO HIS ARMS AND A LOOK OF RELIEF WASHES OVER HIS FACE.
BEN: Thank God you are here. I was really worried about you.
BEN PUTS FELICITY AT ARMS LENGTH TO LOOK INTO HER FACE.
BEN: (CONT.) What happened? I waited up practically all night for you but you never showed… or even called.
FELICITY: I’m sorry. Yesterday was just kind of a bad day for me.
BEN: Is everything all right?
FELICITY: Fine… I just… no it’s fine. I’m fine.
BEN: Not very convincing… Fel… What’s going on?
FELICITY MOVES APART FROM BEN AND GOES TO SIT DOWN ON HER BED. BEN FOLLOWS HER AND SITS DOWN NEXT TO HER.
BEN: Did something happen to you last night?
FELICITY: No. I was here all night.
BEN: Then why didn’t you pick up the phone?
FELICITY: I just didn’t feel like talking.
BEN: So then something is wrong… whatever it is… you can tell me.
AS SOON AS THOSE WORDS EXIT BEN’S MOUTH. NOEL APPEARS AT THE DOOR.
NOEL: Oh… hi. Am I interrupting something?
BEN: We’re kind of in the middle of something here.
FELICITY: No… come in.
BEN LOOKS AT FELICITY WITH A LOOK OF SURPRISE.
FELICITY: (To Ben) You should probably go or you’ll be late for class.
BEN: I think we need to talk.
FELICITY: Honestly Ben I’m fine. So there’s nothing to talk about.
BEN: Why are you trying to shut me out? Did I do something?
FELICITY: I would just rather not get in to this right now… okay?
BEN: (miffed) Fine. Sorry I cared enough to ask.
BEN GETS UP OFF THE BED AND STARTS TO WALK OUT.
BEN TURNS BACK TOWARDS FELICITY
FELICITY: We’ll talk later… I promise.
BEN BRUSHES PAST NOEL WITHOUT EVEN AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.
NOEL: If this is a bad time… I could always come back.
FELICITY: No… it’s fine. Come in.
NOEL COMES IN AND WALKS OVER TO THE CHAIR AND SITS DOWN.
FELICITY: What’s up?
NOEL: Well… I was kind of hoping you could help me with something.
FELICITY: Oh… okay. Can I ask what?
NOEL: It’s Elena.
NOEL: Yeah… we kind of broke up yesterday.
FELICITY: You broke up? Why?
NOEL: Well… you see that’s just it… I’m not exactly sure.
FELICITY: You lost me. How can you not know why?
NOEL: It was just so out of the blue. I mean one minute we were standing there… sort of arguing, and the next thing I know she’s telling me it’s over.
FELICITY: Some how I think you might be leaving some vital details out. For instance… what were you arguing about?
NOEL: Ben and you… and commitment and what she considers my big mouth.
FELICITY: This was about Ben and me? I don’t understand.
NOEL: Neither do I. That’s why I’m here. I was hoping you would do me a favor and talk to her.
FELICITY: I really think that’s something you should do. This doesn’t exactly sound like a go-between situation.
NOEL: Please. I’m just afraid if I approach her without really *getting it* that I’ll say all the wrong things and just make this worse.
FELICITY: All right… fine. I’ll talk to her.
NOEL: Thank you so much.
NOEL GETS UP AND GIVES FELICITY A BIG HUG BEFORE LEAVING.
FELICITY: (VO) Honestly Sally...I didn’t really have time to fix Noel’s love life with mine so clouded with doubt and mistrust… but I had promised him… So I went looking for Elena.
FELICITY WALKS INTO THE CAFETERIA. SHE SEES SEAN SITTING AT A TABLE WITH SHERI AND WALKS OVER TO THEM.
SEAN: Felicity… hi. Did you want to join us?
FELICITY: Um… sure.
FELICITY LAYS HER BOOKS ON THE TABLE AND TAKES A SEAT NEXT TO SEAN.
SEAN: So how are you holding up?
FELICITY: Fine… I’m holding up… I’m sorry what do you mean by that?
SEAN: I just meant with Ben working back at the club… I just thought that might be a little hard to deal with.
SEAN: What? Oh… you didn’t know?
FELICITY: Um… no.
SHERI: I’m sure he was going to tell you. I know he was trying to call you all last night.
FELICITY: Yeah… Um can you please excuse me? I just remembered that I forgot… something.
SEAN: It’s not that bad really…
SHERI: Yeah… I think you’ve said enough Sean.
FELICITY: No… it’s okay really. I just… I have to go.
FELICITY QUICKLY EXITS THE CAFETERIA RUNNING STRAIGHT INTO BEN.
FELICITY: Ben… sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going.
BEN: Yeah… I got that. So now are you ready to tell me what’s bothering you?
FELICITY: I’m already late for class.
FELICITY STARTS TO WALK PAST BEN. BEN GRABS HER ARM AND STOPS HER.
BEN: Felicity… if I did something… Don’t you think I have the right to know? To try and fix it?
FELICITY: (VO) I wanted to talk to him… I really did. But I couldn’t help feeling that this wasn’t going to be a good conversation. At least not one with an easy fix. So I chickened out and postponed it till later that night. I promised Ben that we would talk before the party at the loft began.
BEN: So you’ll come early so we can get whatever this is fixed before the party begins?
FELICITY: Yes… but I have to get to class now. So I’ll just see you later.
FELICITY WALKS AWAY LEAVING BEN WITH A WONDERING LOOK ON HIS FACE.
INT: FOLEY HALL-DAY
FELICITY IS KNOCKING ON ELENA’S DOOR. ELENA OPENS IT HER EYES ARE RED AND PUFFY FROM CRYING.
FELICITY: Wow… you look horr… really unhappy.
ELENA: That’s one way of putting it.
FELICITY: Can I come in?
FELICITY ENTERS THE ROOM AND SEES TISSUES LITTERING THE FLOOR IN WHAT IS USUALLY AN IMMACULATE ROOM.
FELICITY: (CONT) Bad night?
ELENA: The worse. Noel and I broke up.
FELICITY: I know.
ELENA: You do?
FELICITY: Noel told me.
ELENA: He did? Did he tell you why?
FELICITY: Um… he mentioned a few things. I came by to see how you were doing?
ELENA: Well as you can see… I’m a mess.
FELICITY: If you’re not happy about this… then you should try and fix it.
ELENA: Fix it? How?
FELICITY: I don’t know… maybe tell him you’re sorry.
ELENA: He wants me to apologize?
FELICITY: I’m not sure.
ELENA: If that’s what he wants… we’ll then he obviously doesn’t get this. Oh… that’s it… isn’t it? He sent you here but he doesn’t understand why I broke up with him.
FELICITY: No… that’s not…I mean… He didn’t exactly say… Yeah… he doesn’t know why.
ELENA: Typical. He only heard what he was actually listening to. He missed the real problem all together.
FELICITY: Well maybe if you talked to him… explained it again.
ELENA: I’m not sure that would do any good.
FELICITY: Shouldn’t you at least try? Don’t you at least owe him that? To give him the chance to fix things?
FELICITY: (VO) De ja vu… Ben’s exact words to me. It was at that point I decided that Ben was right… things weren’t going to get any better… or clearer… unless we talked about it. But I had a huge Poly Sci test that I couldn’t afford to skip… so I vowed to myself to get to the party early and get this resolved so we could bring in the year 2000 on a happy relationship note.
FELICITY ARRIVES AT THE LOFT EARLY BUT NO ONE ANSWERS. AFTER WAITING AROUND FOR ABOUT TEN MINUTES SHE USES THE KEY BEN GAVE HER AND GOES INSIDE.
FELICITY: Ben… its Felicity. Ben?.. Noel?… Sean?
AFTER GETTING NO ANSWER FELICITY GOES TOWARDS BEN’S ROOM TO PUT HER COAT AND OVERNIGHT BAG DOWN. SHE SITS ON THE EDGE OF THE BED AND PICKS UP A PICTURE OFF THE DRESSER. IT IS A PICTURE OF HER AND BEN FROM THE LAKE. SHE SMILES AT HOW HAPPY THEY LOOK. JUST THEN THE PHONE RINGS… FELICITY REACHES OVER AND PICKS IT UP.
BEN: Good you let yourself in. I was hoping you would. I wanted to let you know I was running a little late. Sean sent me on like half a dozen last minute errands.
BEN: I’m going to be about another hour… I’m sorry.
FELICITY: That’s fine. I’ll just wait here for you.
BEN: Thanks for not being upset about this.
FELICITY: No problem.
FELICITY HANGS UP THE PHONE AND ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY IT RINGS AGAIN.
INTERCUT: FELICITY/DR. HANSEN
DR. HANSEN: Yes… hi. I was trying to reach Ben Covington?
FELICITY: Oh… Ben’s not here right now. Can I take a message?
DR. HANSEN: Yes, thank you. My name is Dr. Hansen… I was returning his phone call. I’m going to be out of the office for the rest of the weekend but I can give you a number to have him call if it’s an emergency.
FELICITY: Okay… could you hold for just one minute? I need to get a pen and paper.
DR. HANSEN: Certainly.
FELICITY PUTS THE PHONE DOWN AND REACHES OVER AND OPENS BEN’S NIGHTSTAND DRAWER TO SEARCH FOR A PENCIL AND PAPER. SHE GRABS A PENCIL AND A NOTEBOOK OUT OF THE TOP DRAWER. SHE OPENS THE NOTEBOOK TO THE FIRST BLANK PAGE AND PICKS THE PHONE BACK UP.
DR. HANSEN: The number is 555-7890. It’s a colleague of mine. Her name is Dr. Riley. If Ben really needs to talk to someone before I get back… she will be glad to help him.
FELICITY: All right… that’s Dr. Riley at 555-7890?
DR. HANSEN: Correct.
FELICITY: I’ll be sure to give him the message.
DR. HANSEN: Thank you.
FELICITY HANGS UP THE PHONE AND TEARS THE PAGE SHE WROTE ON OUT OF IT. THE PAGE UNDERNEATH HAS TWO COLUMNS LISTED ON IT. ONE COLUMN IS TITLED THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF AND THE OTHER ONE IS TITLED THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL TRAPPED.
IN THE FIRST COLUMN AT THE VERY TOP OF THE LIST IS FELICITY’S NAME. FELICITY SMILES AT THIS BUT HER SMILE QUICKLY TURNS TO A FROWN AS SHE SEES HER NAME ABOUT MIDWAY DOWN THE OTHER COLUMN BETWEEN HAVING MEAGER MONEY AND HIS PARENTS. AS FELICITY HEARS THE DOOR OPENING SHE QUICKLY SHUTS THE NOTEBOOK AND THROWS IT BACK INTO THE DRAWER.
BEN WALKS INTO HIS ROOM.
FELICITY: (uncomfortable) Hi. You uh… Your doctor called and left a number for you. She said she was returning your call.
BEN: Oh… okay.
FELICITY HANDS BEN THE PIECE OF PAPER WITH THE NUMBER.
DOORBELL RINGS. BEN LOOKS AT HIS WATCH.
BEN: Wow… is it that time already?
GUESTS ARE STARTING TO ARRIVE FOR THE PARTY AND BEFORE FELICITY AND BEN KNOW IT… IT’S LIKE FIFTEEN MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT.
FELICITY HAS BEEN STAND OFFISH TOWARDS BEN THE WHOLE PARTY AND BEN HAS BEEN TRYING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME IN SPITE OF IT… BUT AS SEAN ANNOUNCES THE FINAL FIFTEEN MINUTES OF 1999 BEN DECIDES IT’S TIME TO SEEK HER OUT. HE FINDS HER IN HIS ROOM, SITTING ON HIS BED WITH HER JACKET ON LIKE SHE IS READY TO LEAVE. SHE HAS HER HANDS OVER HER FACE AND SHE IS SILENTLY CRYING.
BEN COMES IN TO HIS ROOM AND SHUTS THE DOOR. HE GOES OVER AND KNEELS IN FRONT OF HER… PULLING HER HANDS AWAY FROM HER FACE.
BEN: All right… enough of this. I must have been an unbelievable bastard for you to be so upset. What’s going on?
FELICITY: I’m confused… I feel like you and I have been strangers lately.
BEN: I know things have been screwy lately… but you’re no stranger to me. I just think whatever it is that you are keeping to yourself… we’ll it’s obviously pretty big.
FELICITY: I don’t understand why we use to tell each other everything… and now… well now it’s like I get the censored version of things… like you’re picking and choosing what to tell me.
BEN: You think I keep things from you?
FELICITY: Don’t you?
BEN: If you’re talking about what I discuss with my doctor in therapy…I thought you understood that…
FELICITY: I’m talking about your new job.
BEN: Oh… I was going to tell you… It’s just the time was never right… I mean you’ve been so upset lately.
FELICITY: About this! About you taking a job at the club… about lying to me about it… about doing something so huge that affects us both without talking to me about it.
BEN: I knew you would tell me you didn’t want me to do it.
FELICITY: Of course I would.
BEN: So what’s the point of discussing it?
FELICITY: So you never even intended to talk to me about it… did you?
BEN: I was going to tell you about it… but my mind was already made up.
FELICITY: So then no matter how it makes me feel… you intend to work there.
BEN: I know you aren’t going to understand this… but I need to work there.
FELICITY: It’s not the only job out there Ben.
BEN: I like working there. It gives me a good income and when I was working there before it was one of the times in my life when I was truly happy… and independent.
FELICITY: And single.
BEN: You’re reading way too much into this.
FELICITY: Then spell it out for me Ben. Help me understand why you had the sudden urge to skip school the other day to go see Lyssa to get your job back.
BEN: We’re you following me?
FELICITY: I really don’t think that is the point here.
BEN: Is that how you know about the club? Because you followed me there?
FELICITY: I didn’t follow you… I found you there. When I realized you hadn’t gone to class I went down there.
BEN: Why? I mean how did you even know to look there?
FELICITY: Because Noel told me.
FELICITY: Yes. He told me that he thought you were seeing Bliss again.
BEN: And you believed him?
BEN: Well you must have… otherwise why would you have gone to the club.
FELICITY: I don’t know.
BEN: I thought we had progressed further than this. I thought you trusted me.
FELICITY: I do… but… I was unsure. I just wanted to convince myself that Noel was wrong.
BEN: Which proves that… you don’t trust me. You checked up on me because you weren’t certain I wasn’t seeing Bliss behind your back.
FELICITY: Yes… I’m sorry.
BEN: That’s just great.
FELICITY: It’s because you’ve been so distant lately… so hard to talk to. When Noel told me that… I mean normally I would have said he was so wrong… but you’ve changed so much since you started with Dr. Hansen. I don’t know what to think anymore.
BEN: Then ask me.
FELICITY: Why? So you can tell me I’m pressuring you… trying to get you to talk before you’re ready?
BEN: Just because I ask for a little space… God why is it so hard for you to understand the world doesn’t revolve around you?
FELICITY: Believe me… I know you’re world doesn’t revolve around me. It’s anything but that. I’m like the after thought now.
BEN: That’s ridiculous.
FELICITY: Is it? There was a time when you would have come to me with all your problems… now I just feel like I am the problem.
BEN: I need to be able to stand on my own Felicity… I have spent so much of my life relying on what makes other people happy… I’m just trying to figure out what makes *me* happy this time around. Why is that so wrong?
FELICITY: I guess I just never thought I would be *figured out* of the "what makes you happy" column into the "what makes you feel trapped" one.
FELICITY: If I make you feel so trapped than why are you still with me?
BEN: I never said you made me feel trapped.
FELICITY: I saw your notebook Ben.
FELICITY: I was looking for something to write Dr. Riley’s number on… so I opened your notebook… I saw the columns.
BEN: I don’t believe this. Why would you read something so private?
FELICITY: It was an accident. Believe me I wish I never had. It hurts to know you feel trapped by me.
BEN: It’s not like that. I wrote those things down based on time periods in my life. I simply meant that I use to rely very heavily on you for my happiness and that made me feel trapped. It’s all part of figuring out what will make me happy in the future.
FELICITY: And is that me?
BEN: You are making this way to hard Felicity. I love you… you know that.
FELICITY: But do I make you happy?
BEN: Why are you doing this?
FELICITY: Because I want the truth… Do I make you happy?
BEN: I don’t know.
FELICITY IS COMPLETELY SHOCKED BY BEN’S ANSWER AND STARTS CRYING ALL OVER AGAIN.
FELICITY: You don’t know?
BEN: It’s just sometimes when I think about how I feel about you… it scares me.
FELICITY: It scares you?
BEN: Yes… I’m scared that I could never be happy without you… that if we weren’t an *us* that I would cease to care about anything else. And that makes me feel…
BEN: No… I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. I never realized how much loving someone defines you. And I’m just scared to define myself around my love for you with out really knowing who I am. I know I’m not explaining this very well… but I’m terrified of waking up one day with you gone and me just this shell with no purpose left because everything I was, centered around being with you.
FELICITY: You are your own person Ben.
BEN: No I’m not… I’m Felicity’s boyfriend, The Covington’s child… the c-minus student to teachers. The list could go on and on.
FELICITY: Why do I get the feeling you’ve already made another major decision with out me.
BEN: What do you mean?
FELICITY: Well it’s just that… it sounds like you’re considering breaking up with me.
BEN: I didn’t say that.
FELICITY: But it’s what you want… isn’t it?
BEN REMAINS SILENT.
FELICITY: (CONT) Ben?
BEN: The last thing I want is to hurt you.
FELICITY: (almost choking on her response) Oh God.
BEN: It’s not like that is what I really want… I just think that figuring out who I am might mean going it on my own for a while. I don’t want to lose you… but I know I can’t ask you to wait around for me to figure this out.
FELICITY: Oh God… Ben… please don’t do this. Let’s just talk about this… please?
FELICITY SLIDS OFF THE BED SO THAT SHE IS KNEELING IN FRONT OF BEN AND THEY ARE ON THE SAME EYE LEVEL. SHE TAKES BEN’S FACE BETWEEN HER HANDS AND LOOKS INTO HIS EYES…
FELICITY: I don’t want to lose you… please tell me that you don’t really want to break up.
BEN JUST CONTINUES TO LOOK INTO FELICITY’S EYES… LOOKING SO MUCH LIKE A LOST, CONFUSED LITTLE BOY.
FELICITY: (CONT) Ben?
AS FELICITY WAITS FOR BEN’S ANSWER THE SOUND OF PEOPLE COUNTING DOWN TO THE NEW YEAR COMES THROUGH LOUD AND CLEAR.
PARTY PEOPLE: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2…
BEN: Maybe it would be better…for me to be alone for a while.
PARTY PEOPLE: 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
FELICITY: (VO) You know the sound of a car wreck that is coming…screeching tires on the asphalt… and then you wait with a pit in your stomach for the inevitable collision and the sound of the two doomed cars to collide? Well that’s pretty much how I would describe the end of Ben and me… New Years Eve 12:01 am… without warning Ben and I screeched to a halt… but not without victims. As I watched tears rolling down Ben’s face… I knew we we’re both suffering… which just made the suffering seem so much more pointless… If this is what love is all about… then take me off cupids list. I have never felt such unbelievable loneliness and pain… such utter loss.
AS THE PARTY REVELERS BASK IN BRINGING IN THE NEW YEAR BEN PULLS FELICITY INTO HIS ARMS AND JUST HOLDS HER STROKING HER HAIR.
BEN: I never wanted to hurt you like this… I’m so sorry.
FELICITY COMPLETELY BREAKS DOWN IN HIS ARMS.