Family Bonding - Lindsay Seppala

FAMILY BONDING
Lindsay Seppala

CHARACTERS

TINA- in her late forties. She’s a mother (of Pete and Lilly) who tries to emphasize family life. The entire time she is on edge, frustrated with her children’s’ ignorance with everything around them and where they have, as a family, ended up. She wants them to be close and tight knit, but finds them drifting apart. She’s confused with how they’ve ended up this way. Also, Tina stresses their responsibility with handling their own lives, especially Pete.

PETE- about nineteen. He’s in college and ever since he’s gotten his car he’s always in and out of the house. He never is truly home to spend time with his family. He’s messed up big time, and he’s hiding all little secrets that go with that as the play goes on. Yet he has a self confidence in himself that he can make it through everything, even though he also has some ignorance regarding how difficult everything will become.

LILLY- about seventeen. She started growing away from her family as Pete was never around. Her moods tend to differ, as one day she may be happy or about to kill someone. At first she never pays attention to the family, and regards her life and friends to be more important than them and really takes them for granted. However when things get complicated she really changes her attitude to focus on the family.

DOTTIE- about nineteen. Pete’s girlfriend and is eight months pregnant with his child. She’s very optimistic about the pregnancy and wants his family to be a part of Dottie, Pete’s and the baby’s lives. She’s very nice and encouraging toward Pete especially.

SETTING

An average kitchen, with the most of the activity at the kitchen table. There is a cordless phone sitting in the center of the table. There are three chairs around the table, and it is set for dinner. A stove is on the back wall with a few pots on top, and right next to it there is a door. Far stage left there is a stool out of the kitchen- in front of the curtain. Stage right there’s a bed set up, with a night stand on each side and stuffed animals sitting on the bed. The stage right nightstand has a laptop, the stage left nightstand has a lamp and a phone.

Scene 1

A single spot light comes up on Pete sitting in the stool. The stage lights are dim on the center of the stage where the kitchen is set.

PETE: (To Audience.) Hi… so, I guess the best way to do this is to just come out and say it. I’m Pete and I’ve made a huge mistake. I’m not so good at admitting that though… so, I’m going to show you. I’ll take you back to when I lost control of it, and when everything felt like it started to fall down around me. Okay, I’m being a little over dramatic, but still… this is all a really big deal to me…

(Pete exits and the lights come up on center stage. Tina is standing cooking and Lilly is sitting at the table texting.)

TINA: (Frustrated.) Can you put that thing down for two seconds and have a real conversation with me?

LILLY: Sure… sure… let me just send this last text…

TINA: Lilly, away!

(Lilly puts her phone down next to her plate and stands up.)

LILLY: What’s for dinner tonight?

TINA: Pasta with red sauce… where’s your brother?

LILLY: I don’t know… maybe I should text him?

TINA: Don’t be smart with me Lilly. He’ll be home soon. I’m sure he will.

LILLY: He’s never home mom, you always give him the benefit of the doubt… (Frustrated.) Well, how was your day mom?

TINA: It was okay… I just…. it was long. That’s all.

LILLY: Well, what did you do all day?

TINA: (Less frustrated.) I cooked, I cleaned and I cared. I spoke to Grandma today.

LILLY: That’s nice.

TINA: Yeah, well she’s confused, and she’s scared. You know, just like when Grandpa passed, except she never really got better. She’s only getting worse. You should go spend some time with her.

LILLY: Yeah… maybe this weekend?

TINA: I was thinking tonight.

LILLY: She can wait for me to see her during the weekend mom. I can’t just drop my night to go see Grandma.

TINA: Where’s your brother?

LILLY: Jesus mom I don’t know! He missed everything! (Slyly.) Let me text him?

TINA: No. I’ll call him.

(Tina picks up the cordless phone and dials a number. They sit in silence. After a few seconds she puts the phone down.)

TINA: Rang twice and went to voicemail…

LILLY: So he pressed ignore?

TINA: (Nervous and hurt.) Let’s hope not… did he mention what he was doing tonight?

LILLY: No, I barely see him anymore let alone speak to him. How would I know?

TINA: I don’t like this… He really needs to get his act together and spend more time with us. He missed making bread, he’s missing dinner… What has gotten into that boy? What does he think we’re going to be around forever? You’d think he’s learned that it’s not possible…

(A beat.)

LILLY: Can I eat now?

TINA: No dear, let’s wait for him.

LILLY: (Angry.) We sit here and wait for him every night! We never know whether he’ll be here or he won’t. How long are we going to wait?

TINA: However long it takes him to get here, I’m not letting him miss another family dinner.

LILLY: (Bitter.) I’m getting tired of this.

TINA: (Flat toned.) I’m sorry to hear that.

LILLY: Can I at least go watch TV?

TINA: (Sarcastic.) I have a better idea, how about you sit here and talk to me? How was your day?

LILLY: (Unhappy.) It was nothing interesting. Went to school and came home.

TINA: Are you excited for prom? I saw some dresses out when I drove past a dress shop today! I was thinking we can go dress shopping together!

LILLY: It’s okay. I might not go. A couple of us might skip out and do something else.

TINA: Oh… okay…

(Awkward pause. The mom nervously starts serving pasta to the three plates. Pete walks in the door and drops his book bag. He sits down as fast as possible. He knows they’ve been looking for him.)

PETE: Yum, Pasta! Smells great mom!

TINA: Where have you been?

PETE: I was at, uh… um…

LILLY: (Sarcastic.) That’s not suspicious.

PETE: (Ignoring it.) How was your day princess?

LILLY: It was, you know, same old.

PETE: How’s senior year treating ya?

LILLY: It’s, nothing. Like every other year so far.

PETE: Pass the sauce?

(Lilly passes the sauce.)

TINA: Pete, where were you?

PETE: I was at a friend’s house mom. Relax!

TINA: You ignored my phone call. We’ve been waiting for you. I was worried.

PETE: I was driving; you really want me to answer the phone when I’m driving?

TINA: Well next time if you’re going to be late for dinner please text me or something.

LILLY: Now you like texting?!

TINA: (Pissed.) Stop young lady I don’t need that right now!

PETE: (Worried.) Mom? What’s wrong…?

TINA: (Back to normal.) Nothing… nothing… just had a long day.

PETE: Oh… sorry.

TINA: Pete, Lilly and I are going to visit Grandma tonight… would you like to come?

LILLY: (Frustrated.) Mom, for the last time I’m visiting her this weekend, not tonight! I don’t have time. I have other things to do.

TINA: (Mad.) Like what young lady? What could you possibly have to do?

LILLY: (Makes up as she goes.) I have to pick out my clothes for tomorrow! Anne wants me to call her; she said she has something really important to tell me. That and I have to paint my toes and put my hair in curlers. It’s already so late since we’ve been waiting for this jerk face over here to get to dinner.

TINA: (Hurt and angry.) So that’s what you have to do tonight? All of that stuff is more important than visiting your grandmother? Your own family?

LILLY: I’m giving up the mall this weekend to go see her. I think that’s enough.

PETE: Yeah, I can’t go Mom. I’m busy tonight. I’m playing X-box with the guys from school, I already promised I would. I can’t go back on a promise. I’ll go with Lilly this weekend. We can play Scrabble, it’ll be fun since it won’t be so close to her bedtime like it is now. She’ll be awake and ready to focus on the game, on us.

TINA: When was the last time either of you saw her?

LILLY: I saw her a couple weekends ago, I brought her bread. Remember? She called me in the middle of my mall trip to ask me to drive all the way out there to bring her bread… She told me she wanted to eat it, like we all used to eat it together. She wanted me to bring her a loaf from home, since she knew you made them the day before, so she can show her friends how great it is. And then she fed the birds with it… a waste of a good loaf.

PETE: I saw her two Mondays ago when I brought her to get her medication. Remember?

TINA: How long did you guys stay?

LILLY: (Guiltily.) Twenty minutes…

PETE: I drove her around for an hour.

TINA: She and Grandpa practically helped me raise you guys when I lost your father… and you can’t even give her the time of day now. Both of you, you’re coming with me tonight.

LILLY: Mom! I can’t!

TINA: Really? You really can’t? You really can’t skip out on a day of looking pretty to visit your grandmother? It’s really not always about you, my dear!

(A beat.)

PETE: Mom… is grandma okay?

TINA: No, she’s not. If either of you had spent any time with her in the past week you’d know she’s been really sick, parts of her body are starting to get weaker. You would’ve asked me daily how she was doing, that is, if either of you cared. If either of you asked, you would’ve known she was admitted to the hospital today. If either of you had known that, you would’ve known her organs are on the risk of shutting down and she probably only has a few more days to live.

(The mom bursts out in a sob. The kids sit shocked. Pete and Lilly stand up. Lilly helps Tina up.)

PETE: Lilly, get yours and mom’s coat. Let’s go, I’ll drive.

(Lilly exits momentarily. Pete hugs his mother apologetically. Lilly quickly returns with two coats. She hands one to her mother. They both put their coats on. Lilly goes to grab her phone, but after hesitation does not.)

LILLY: Hey mom… I’m sorry.

PETE: Yeah, me too.

TINA: Me three.

(They exit out the door. Black out.)

Scene 2

Pete comes out on his stool, a spot goes on him.

PETE: (To Audience.) We went to the hospital and the entire time I was kicking myself for being so stupid, for being a lousy family member, but they haven’t seen the worst of how I royally suck as a part of any family. You see, when I was little, family was the only thing I had through tragedy after tragedy. Friends came and went but blood always stayed. They always were there to give me a hug, play baseball… bake bread. All those family traditions I really loved being a part of. We always helped each other and when I saw Grandma laying in that bed, well I started feeling horrible about what I’ve done…

(Lilly is asleep in the bed. Pete sits and watches from his stool. Lilly’s phone is on her stage right nightstand. It goes off.)

LILLY: Ugh!

(Lilly readjusts. Pause. Her phone goes off again.)

Mnnn….

(Lilly readjusts. Pause. Her phone goes off again. She grabs the phone and checks it.)

A message from Pete… “Hey I’m sorry for not being around. I love you little sister.”

(Lilly sits up and turns on her desk lamp. Stage lights come up to illuminate the room just enough. She shakes her head. Spot on Lilly. She speaks more to herself, her inner dialogue expressed for everyone to hear.)

“I love you little sister…” Does he even know what love is? How can he love me if he’s always at school, working or at his friend’s house? Does he love who we used to be together, or who I used to be? The little sister who would play Barbie while he played with his favorite matchbox car. Or does he love the middle school me who wanted to be just like her older brother and make mom proud. Maybe he loves the me who baked bread with him, Grandma and Grandpa. He can’t love the current me though. The me who’s in high school. Can he love high school me?

High school me… The current me… I’m not even sure I love high school me. I’d rather be the cute little girl with flour on her nose, and a teddy bear dragging on the ground in her one hand. If I could I would go back to those days in a heartbeat. The days when Dad was still around, and when Pete was home. When Mom wasn’t so obsessed with keeping us all together, and when Grandma wasn’t sick. When we would all get together and have holidays together. I wouldn’t give it a second thought if someone asked me if I wanted to go back. If they could take me back…

Do I even love Pete? Sure he’s my brother but he’s never around either. I don’t know the college him. It’s pretty hard to say that I love the brother I don’t see anymore. I mean, I liked the high school him but the college him… I really can’t try to not dislike the college him… I mean, does blood really mean I have to automatically love him?

(She grabs her laptop. Opens it and starts click around.)

The best way to even get to know my brother is probably through his Facebook… hah… my brother…Oh… there’s a girl on his page? Dottie…? I didn’t even know he was talking to someone… he didn’t tell me… Is she even pretty enough for him?

(Shocked.) Wait… what? This girl is pregnant- and she’s leaving hearts on my brother’s wall? Oh man has he really gotten himself mixed up with a pregnant girl? Oh man… I can’t wait to bring this up! He’s going to be so embarrassed. This is huge! What does he think he’s going to be this baby’s father or something? It’s not even his!

Or… could it be? No, no… he wouldn’t have done anything close to that. Mom’s raised us better, we know to be careful… well I know- I mean, he should know. No… no way! He probably doesn’t even like her. Just some girl who’s obsessed with him. I mean, that’s nothing new for Pete anyway.

(Lilly opens her phone and texts.)

“Don’t be sorry big bro. I love you too.” And send… I’ll just talk to him tomorrow. It’s going to be something stupid anyway. Nothing to get all worked up about…

(Stops texting and lays down. Lilly puts her phone down. She turns off the desk lamp. Spot off Lilly. Spot on Pete.)

PETE: (To Audience. As he’s talking he gets up and walks over to the kitchen. Spot goes off and lights go up on the kitchen center stage.) So… there’s a problem. Lilly had an idea about what was going on, and I wasn’t ready for that. I had no idea she was going to have any clue on the situation. I knew I had to tell them… but push comes to shove I really was just not ready to face the facts… I mean my family was going to be so pissed when they found out. (Glances at the clock on the stove.) Oh… look at the time… I better get to bed. I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow. Tomorrow’s the day it all goes wrong.

(Blackout.)

Scene 3

The curtains close to hide the kitchen and a hospital waiting room comprised of a couple chairs and a small table with magazines are brought on. Lights come up on Lilly and Pete sitting in silence in two of the chairs waiting. Both of them at first silent. Pete moves uncomfortably and opens his mouth to say something to Lilly. She doesn’t notice. He closes his mouth and goes back to sitting in silence. A few seconds pass by, and he tries again.

PETE: I’m sorry… for everything.

LILLY: Don’t be sorry, you didn’t do anything wrong…

PETE: Well… uh…

LILLY: What?

PETE: I have a girlfriend- I want you to meet her!

LILLY: (Suspicious.) Oh… really?

PETE: (Catching her strange reaction.) Yeah…? Her name’s Dottie, I’ve been with her for a while.

LILLY: Oh… Dottie? The one that posts on your wall? The… pregnant one?

(Lilly freezes and Pete stands up and walks forward to talk to the audience.)

PETE: Right… so this was my moment. To stand up and tell them about what I had done. About the accident I had caused. To face the facts and own up to my mistakes. Would my own sister understand it though? Then telling mom, and grandma? I guess I’d have to take it as it comes…

(Pete returns to his original spot and pose for when Lilly froze.)

PETE: Oh… how’d you find out?

LILLY: How does anyone find out anything anymore? Through Facebook… Did you really think dating a pregnant girl was the smartest idea?

PETE: (Defensive.) She wasn’t always pregnant you know… she’s really a great girl. You shouldn’t judge her based on-

LILLY: (Angry.) She cheated on you? And you’re still with her? How stupid can you be Pete? I thought you were smarter than this! She has no morals!

PETE: (Through his teeth.) It’s my baby…

LILLY: (Shocked.) Wha… what? Are you serious?

PETE: I promise that it’s my baby… I’ve been seeing Dottie for a while, and only a few months after I started seeing her I… accidently got her pregnant.

LILLY: (Loss of words.) Are you kidding me?

PETE: I wish I was…

LILLY: Pete… I’m really sorry.

PETE: Me too.

LILLY: So, she looked like she was pretty far along…

PETE: Well, yeah… she’s eight months…

LILLY: (Gradually getting angry again.) Wait a minute… eight months?! You knocked up your girlfriend, that we never met, eight months ago and waited this long to tell us about it? Are you kidding me Pete?! How could you do this to us? To me? To Mom? To Grandma? What made you think not telling us was going to be the best thing? This is freaking fantastic! Eight months! I’m going to be the aunt of a baby whose mother I don’t even know? Why didn’t you just wait for the baby to be born to tell us for crying out loud? (Starting to cry.) Why didn’t you tell me…?

(Pete pulls Lilly in for an awkward hug. She doesn’t hug back.)

PETE: I’m really sorry… I truly am… I was just so lost and before I knew it time got away from me. If I could go back and change it I would, but I can’t-

LILLY: (Pushes out of his hug and slowly stops crying as she gets angrier.) You think apologizing and giving me a hug is going to make this right? There are no words to describe what I’m feeling right now- and when you tell mom this is going to put a hole in her heart! And Grandma… oh forget about it! You’ll kill her!

PETE: If anyone can handle this out of the three of you it’s Grandma.

LILLY: The Grandma who’s laying in there sick on a hospital bed? I’d rethink telling her anything about that baby of yours Pete.

PETE: Her name is Maybelle… she’s a girl and we’re calling her Maybelle. Belle for short…

LILLY: Great! Great! The little baby has a name! That’s fantastic! The eight month baby I just found out about has also already been named! That’s cool Pete, real cool. Thanks for being a part of the family bro, and for sharing your little “miracle” with us.

PETE: Lilly… I’m not telling you this stuff to make you angry. I know I messed up, but I really need you to help support me with this.

LILLY: Support the brother I barely see anymore who comes out and tells me he has a baby on the way? Yeah, that’s going to happen. That’s like investing in a business that has no plan.

PETE: (Trying to remain calm but getting angry.) How do you know I have no plan?

LILLY: Well you knocked up your girlfriend. Was that part of your plan smart-ass?

PETE: Listen… (Trying to keep his cool.) I’m working, going to school, and taking care of my girlfriend… I’m doing the best I can on my own and it’s getting hard. (Getting angry.) Now if you and mom will be there for me that’s great, but if not I’ll find a way to take care of everything on my own. So pick a side and stick with it sis.

(Long pause.)

LILLY: (Shakes her head. Apologetic.) I’m sorry, I really am. I’m just really hurt Pete, please understand that. You’re asking me to accept something that I thought was impossible to happen to you, to us. I thought you wouldn’t let that happen, and if she was pregnant with your baby I thought you would’ve told us by now. I’ll babysit and help you out, but you can never keep anything like this from us again…

PETE: Thank you Lilly… I won’t keep this from you again, and I’m really sorry I hurt you… I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, I guess I wasn’t. I was trying to get through the day, get to see Dottie and then rush home to see a glimpse of you guys before you went to bed. I felt like I never had time to do anything so the most important thing got pushed off until Grandma getting sick reminded me of how much I need to keep you guys in my life. I hope you can forgive me Lil-

LILLY: (Still angry.) I’ll be there for you, of course… but don’t think that you’re getting off the hook easily. I’m still kind of mad, and I really am hurt. You’ve betrayed my trust, and don’t expect forgiveness so quickly. Not from me, mom or grandma.

PETE: (Soft.) I don’t know that I’m going to tell Grandma…

LILLY: Are you kidding me? Um… Grandma practically raised us, I think you need to tell her.

PETE: An old fashioned woman like her might near have a heart attack or die from shame if I tell her… I don’t want to kill her.

(Beat.)

LILLY: When I said that before… I didn’t mean that you’d literally kill her… no offence but duh- she wouldn’t get so mad. She might even be happy. (Lightens up.) She’d get to meet her great grandchild.

(Tina enters and waits to hear their conversation. Lilly and Pete don’t know she is there.)

LILLY: Maybe that’d be some extra inspiration to fight whatever’s trying to take her down. She’s strong, you could give her a reason to live.

PETE: You think so?

LILLY: Yeah… I mean, we were always her inspiration… but maybe now it’s time for her to find a new will to live. I’d clear it with mom first.

PETE: Mom…

(When Tina speaks it alarms both of them. After she doesn’t say anything about a baby, they calm down a little.)

TINA: (Optimistic but onto them.) That’s me! Well you two still are her inspiration… you guys want to come see her? She’s been asking about you both.

LILLY: I’ll go in, Mom I think Pete needs to tell you something. (Pats Pete on the back.) Good luck bro.

(Lilly stands and exits. Tina walks closer to him. She notices he’s upset and sits.)

TINA: Pete? Hun… what’s wrong?

PETE: (Hesitantly. Afraid.) Well… I… uh…. Wanted to apologize for never being home and wanted to explain myself.

TINA: Oh you can explain yourself after. Let’s go see Grandma.

PETE: No, it’s not that easy…

(Pete gestures to the seat next to him. Tina sits.)

PETE: (Says quickly to explain everything before she can interject.) Mom, I’m having a daughter named Maybelle. Belle for short… My girlfriend’s name is Dottie and she can’t wait to meet you guys. And I’m sorry I waited so long to tell you, and I’m sorry I’m telling you now but you need to know. You need to know you’re going to be a grandmother, and that I’m sorry I’ve been hiding it from you. I’ve been spending all my time with her and I’ve been trying to make money when I can to support her and the baby when Belle’s born. Between that, going to school and seeing you guys I never have time for anything anymore. Please don’t freak out, I’ve been trying to handle this the absolute best way I could. I’ve been trying to do whatever would be helpful so that in the end everything would be okay when Belle came into our lives, and I didn’t mean to stop showing up to dinner, or coming home late. I didn’t mean to slowly start fading out of family life and becoming just a son who you never see. I’m just trying to make as much money as I can before I want to spend all my time with my daughter… So I can be a family man. So I can have a house with Dottie, marry her and raise our daughter along my Dottie’s side. So I can teach our daughter what it’s like to be in a good family and be there in the good and the bad. I want to protect her from everything, and I want to pass on all of our family traditions. Mom, I want to teach her how to make bread so the family tradition lives on! And I’m sorry this is going to be hard on you, and I’m sorry this is a lot to take in right now in a bad situation. But all I’m asking of you is to be there for me and Dottie and to be as supportive of Belle as you are of me. Please mom…

TINA: Wow… when I woke up this morning I did not expect this. (Confused.) How long has this been going on?

PETE: (Cautiously.) I’ve been seeing Dottie for almost eleven months… and Belle’s due in less than a month…

TINA: (Shocked and angry.) She’s eight months pregnant! Pete I can’t believe this would happen? I can’t believe you could’ve done such a thing… (Starts crying.)

PETE: (Scared.) Mom?

TINA: (Anger growing, still crying though.) Pete, this is not how I raised you! I raised you to be a gentleman and this is what you do to show me that you’re all grown up? You knock up some girl! You have a lot of explaining to do. I can’t believe you-

PETE: Mom I-

TINA: (Nearly screaming.) Have screwed everything up? Yes you have!

(Tina freezes and the lights fade out.)

Scene 4

A spot comes up on Pete and he walks over to his stool. He sits and shakes his head. The set in the dark behind him has the waiting room removed and the kitchen is revealed. The kitchen is a mess, someone had been busily making something.

PETE: (To Audience.) Why did I keep the secret? Well… I guess I’ve always been the kid who thought problems would go away. A mess, like a baby, would always clean itself up. Mom always cleaned up after me, as did Grandma. Lilly would cover for me now and then. So I guess… I thought if I kept it to myself and just waited for my mess to be cleaned up, no one would say anything or have any problems. Only this mess didn’t go away…

I knew that when I told them Mom would be upset… I wasn’t raised this way. I was raised to hold doors open for women, and to push their chair in behind them. As my mom said, I was raised to be a gentleman. Which I knew that… so I guess that’s why I waited so long. Now I have no choice, and I’m just going to let the pieces fall where they will. Those who want to support me will… and those who don’t, well they don’t have to.

Mom’s never been more disappointed in me. We decided to discuss me telling grandma about Belle in the morning. I think mom was more afraid about making the wrong choice than I was. I mean, I guess I had already made some poor decisions so picking the wrong thing was nothing new to me…

(As he speaks Pete gets up and moves into the kitchen. Lights come up on the kitchen. It is messy and has different bowls, ingredients and utensils out. He continues speaking to the audience from there.)

PETE:

So we saw Grandma and we left when visiting hours were over. She was doing okay, I think. That woman was always much stronger that you would think someone her age would be. Usually when you see a little old woman you think frail, but when I see my Grandma I think of all the times she’s helped my sister and me through so many rough situations when we had no idea she was going through things a million times worse. Well that’s my Grammy I guess.

When I was little I used to go to Grandma’s and help her clean up the kitchen. She’d give me a little paper towel to clean one spot while she really cleaned everything else. I always loved thinking that I was being a man and helping Grandma out. Lilly didn’t start coming until she was around three, and then Grandpa started asking me to come help him work on his antique car. By help, I mean he’d have me look at it and tell him what I thought of all the work he had done in the past week. Then Grandma would call us both upstairs and I’d run. Oh boy would I run up those stairs. I waited every week to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s to help with this one thing. It was such a tradition.

Grandma would have everything set up and both Grandma and Grandpa would get a bowl and either Lilly or I. Sometimes I worked with Grandma, other times with Grandpa. In the bowl we’d toss all the ingredients in and then came my favorite part, we’d get to mix with our hands. We got to sit down and just go. We could make a mess, get flour everywhere, and Grandma never really yelled. She’d laugh and she and Grandpa would throw flour at each other. We did it every weekend with the same family recipe. Then when we were done Grandma would cook it in the brick oven outside. It would finish cooking and we’d always sit and eat it with butter. I remember looking down at it and thinking, “I made this bread. I made this dinner.” It was such a great feeling…

My dad and mom would come over later and eat what we had all made together. We’d all have bread and butter, and just sit around and talk. I always sat with my dad and tried to be a man like him. I really tried too. Grandpa would always try to ask me questions that would be easy for me to answer and made me sound smart in front of everyone.

Well, then my dad died and my entire world seemed to come crashing down. I was only 8 years old, and Lilly was only 6. She was too young to really understand what had happened except for the fact that Daddy wasn’t coming back. Me, well I’m not ashamed to say I cried a lot. But then Grandma suggested something that made my mom, Lilly and I have an easier time. She asked if we would like to make bread twice a week. Of course we said yes! Grandma would have us sleepover on Friday and Saturday night. Mom would even sleepover too… It was always fun and it really helped Lilly and I keep our spirits up. We’d play games every Friday night, make bread during the day on Saturday, and then Sunday we’d go to church and pray for daddy. Grandma always held my hand when I remembered he was gone. Each weekend was filled with hope and humor. Hope that Dad was happy in heaven, and laughter to try and get us all uplifted to make it through another week.

When Grandpa died I only saw Grandma cry twice. She was heartbroken, but she never showed Lilly and I. I was about eleven when he died, and after school I started going to Grandma’s house. Mom was working, so Grandma was in charge of us. When we were in different schools I always got home before Lilly… she hated it. We would watch TV, do my homework, and got Lilly off the bus. Mom would come home around dinner and Grandma would already have dinner done. She would make pasta, meatloaf, hamburgers, grilled chicke, hotdogs, and all good stuff. But all I really wanted was our weekend bread.

I didn’t tell Grandma about Dottie or Belle yet. I’m not sure I entirely want to. There is something I am sure of though. This weekend I’m going to have Dottie come here and make bread with me- Grandma’s recipe. We’ll make it just the way Grandma and I used to. When I get my own house, I’ll buy a brick oven to cook our own bread. I’ll make it every weekend with Lilly, my Mom, Dottie and Belle. We’ll continue our family tradition. It’ll bring us all a lot closer together. Yeah, it’ll be fun.

I still know the recipe… I’ve memorized it. Mom memorized it. Lilly memorized it. Dottie and Belle will memorize it. We’ll all make bread as a family. If Grandma makes it, she’ll lead us all and can even give Belle a paper towel so she can clean the counters. When I have a son I’ll show him the car I watched Grandpa bring back to life, and he and I can keep it alive in his memory too...

(The timer goes off.)

Oh, I better get that. I made some bread for Grandma, her special recipe. It’s not cooked in an outdoor brick oven, but hopefully it’ll do.

(He takes bread out of the oven. He looks at the clock on the stove.)

Wow, it’s pretty late. No wonder why I haven’t heard a peep out of Mom or Lilly. I better get to bed; I’ve got work in the morning, a Grandma to visit and bread to deliver.

(Exits stage. Black out.)

Scene 5

The lights come up on the kitchen. It is a mess from Pete baking his bread, everything is still out. Tina enters.

TINA: (Shouting offstage in the direction of the kid’s rooms.) Get over here! Both of you!

(Lilly enters looking extremely tired.)

LILLY: What’s up Mom?

TINA: Can you explain this mess dear?

LILLY: Nope… not my handy work.

TINA: Pete always did leave a mess behind him everywhere. That boy needs to learn more responsibility. Especially now…

LILLY: Where is he anyway?

TINA: I don’t know… (Shouts back toward the rooms.) Pete? Pete? (Louder.) Pete?!

LILLY: I’ll go check…

TINA: Thanks.

(Lilly exits. Tina starts cleaning up the mess.)

TINA: (To Audience.) How does that boy expect to be a father with this lack of responsibility? He’s here one moment and disappears the next. That boy needs parenting lessons, that’s for sure. Or, at least a lesson in how to be a devoted family member… his family values seem to be decreasing fast. You aren’t home anymore, you aren’t around to make sure we’re okay… Then to make this mess and just leave… he’s hardly a role model for his own sister and now he’s got to become one for his child… Oh Pete… you and I both know your father would not be proud…

(Tina realizes she’s cleaning and starts to make more of a mess for Pete to clean up.)

TINA: That boy needs to learn that he shouldn’t leave messes around and expect someone else to just fix and clean it up!

(Lilly enters. When Tina notices Lilly she stops making more of a mess. Lilly awkwardly speaks.)

LILLY: He’s not in his room… and his keys are gone. He’s not home mom. You ok?

TINA: I’m fine… I’m fine…Great… so much for my plans of eating breakfast than going to see Grandma. It’s already 11… I mean, it’s bad enough that you slept in but now he’s gone!

LILLY: Should I call him?

TINA: No it’s okay. Let’s get ready and eat, we’ll see if he shows up.

LILLY: I can be ready in two seconds, I showered last night.

TINA: Okay, go get ready? I’ll make some oatmeal. Leave the mess exactly as it is though, you’re brother’s going to clean this up.

LILLY: Wait… ew really mom, oatmeal?

TINA: (Jokingly.) With that attitude you’ll be lucky if it’s the good oatmeal.

LILLY: Okay, I’ll be right back.

(Lilly exits.)

TINA: (To Audience.) Maybe I should call him? I mean, to make sure he’s okay? No… he’s going to be a daddy soon… he’s okay. He can handle himself, he’s a grown up. Pete… I’m still wondering if I need to do more to help you. This is so new to me, and I guess even though I knew you’ve been disappearing a lot, now that I know what’s going on it hurts me even more when you’re not here… am I a jealous mom? Who just wants you to be her mama’s boy? I guess so… At least Lilly has started to shape up and care about her family, I guess that’s the only miracle that happened from all this. She actually takes the time to talk to me now… (Takes her cell phone out of her pocket.) One call? If he doesn’t answer after three rings he’s busy? No… he’s got things to do. Have I raised him right? Am I the one making bad decisions that are affecting him..? Am I a good mom?

LILLY: (Offstage.) Just got a text from Pete! He’s on his way home to meet us and to go see Grandma. Is breakfast almost ready?

TINA: (Shouts offstage.) Yeah! We’re having cereal! Eat whenever you’re ready.

LILLY: (Offstage.) I’ll be down in a second mom!

TINA: (Speaks to the audience.) I’m still wondering if I’m doing the best things for my kids. If I’ve been able to raise them right all these years. If I’ve given them too many freedoms or been too hard on them. Have I been the one messing up our family? Did I not instill enough family values in them? Oh… it’s almost 11:30… I need to get ready.

(Tina exits. Pause. Pete enters.)

PETE: (Shouts upstairs.) Hey sorry mom! I’m ready when you are. (Goes in a cabinet and pulls out a wrapped loaf of bread- the one he baked last night.)

(Lilly enters. She’s very bitter toward him.)

LILLY: Where the hell were you?

PETE: (Defensive.) I was at work. I had the morning shift from six to eleven. I was covering for someone.

LILLY: Covering for someone?

PETE: Yeah I need all the money I can get. You know how expensive diapers are?

LILLY: You know how much you hurt mom. I know she’s trying to stay calm and think she’s the perfect mom but her world is spinning.

PETE: (Angry.) You don’t think mine is?

LILLY: Grandma’s sick. Her son has a baby on the way. We’ve never even met Dottie. How can you just wait to tell us this all and block us from everything?

PETE: So I made some bad decisions, so what? I don’t think Mom can possibly be that hurt!

LILLY: (Softly.) She’s questioning herself. You’re never home, you got a girl pregnant…

She hasn’t told me, but I can tell she thinks she did something wrong that brought you to this point.

PETE: (Confused.) Something wrong?

(Tina enters.)

LILLY: Never mind…

TINA: (Angry.) Pete, did you make this mess?

PETE: Uh… yeah I did.

TINA: So… start cleaning up? I don’t have time to take care of you. You’re going to have a thousand responsibilities soon and none will be as bad as cleaning but you might as well start. You’re having a family, you’re a man, but I don’t see it. So it’s time you start acting like one, because I’m not going to clean your mess up like you’re some little kid.

PETE: (Hurt.) Mom? I thought you were going to help me get through this?

TINA: I’m wondering how I can help you if you don’t help yourself.

PETE: (Hurt.) Touche… ouch.

TINA: Well, that’s reality. That’s responsibility.

PETE: I’m sorry mom, I’ll clean up. I guess I did make a big mess. (Starts cleaning.)

TINA: I’m going to finish getting ready. We’re leaving here in twenty minutes.

PETE: Wait mom… I made the decision to tell Grandma. Is that okay?

TINA: We’ll discuss it on the way. Get ready to go guys…

(Pete cleans while Lilly starts to make a bowl of cereal. Tina exits.)

LILLY: (Nicely.) Why’d you make this mess anyway?

PETE: I was baking a loaf of bread to bring to Grandma. Thought it would make her smile, maybe brighten her spirits a little bit.

LILLY: Oh… that was nice of you.

PETE: I thought so too. (Pause.) I was going to bring Dottie today. She’s on her way over, actually. I want to introduce her to Grandma.

LILLY: Yeah? Do mom and I get to see her?

PETE: I was hoping you guys would get to see her in the car, then after we go see Grandma I was going to offer to take everyone to get some pizza. Do you think Mom would mind if Dottie came?

LILLY: I honestly don’t know Pete… That could go either way with the mood Mom’s in.

PETE: That’s true… Well, I ‘ll have her come here and see what Mom says.

LILLY: Yeah, Mom’ll be pissed if she doesn’t want Dottie to come, especially if she has to tell Dottie to stay behind the first time they meet.

(Pete shrugs.)

LILLY: That’s all? You can’t say anything about that? You’ve changed…

PETE: (Angry and bitter.) Why are you so mad at me today? I’ve barely been home for months now but as soon as you find out I have a daughter on the way you’re pissed for no reason. We should be a family now, not jumping down each other’s throats for no reason! We need to be a family for Grandma! For Belle! For Dottie!

LILLY: (Screaming but near tears.) If we’re a family then how come mom didn’t know she was going to be a grandmother, and grandma didn’t know she was going to be a great grandmother? If we’re a family then how come you never told any of us?!

PETE: Listen Lill-

(Pete goes to hug her and she shoves him away.)

LILLY: Don’t even try to cover up for yourself Pete. You suck at being a member of this family, you suck at being a brother and a son. Face it, you suck at being a family member period!

PETE: Lil-

LILLY: And let’s be clear on one thing. If I ever get knocked up, I would have told you straight away. I would have looked to you before the entire thing even got away from me.

PETE: Lilly come o-

LILLY: Stop trying to make me feel better Pete. You messed up big time. And Dottie coming over is one of the worst ideas you have ever had, ever. Besides getting her pregnant.

PETE: Having a baby wasn’t an idea that I just thought of! It was an accident and I would take it back if I could but I can’t so I’m facing up to the fact that I’m going to have a daughter to take care of and be responsible for.

(Tina enters worried.)

TINA: What’s all the yelling?

LILLY: Pete invited Dottie to come with us to the hospital, mom. Pete invited Dottie to come and meet Grandma.

TINA: Pete?

(Knocking sound. Pete gets the door after taking a deep breath. Dottie enters.)

PETE: Mom, Lilly, I’d like you both to meet Dottie. My girlfriend.

DOTTIE: So nice to finally meet you both.

(Black out.)

Scene 6

Lights up on Pete sitting on his stool. The kitchen scene is masked by the curtain, and the hospital waiting room is brought in front of it.

PETE: (To Audience.) As you can imagine… that was interesting. Lilly and mom had a hard time not staring at Dottie’s gigantic stomach- which she’s self-conscious about- by the way. But we were able to get through the meeting without mom freaking out, which was a plus. We went on over to the hospital and Mom went in with Lilly first. The two of them became buddy-buddy after my whole situation happened. They wanted to be with each other constantly while coping with my mess up. It was kind of annoying, but kind of nice to know that mom had someone to go to and talk to about this entire thing besides Grandma.

(Lights come up on the waiting room. Dottie is sitting in one of the chairs looking at the place, where he is going to sit, sad. Pete walks over while he continues to talk.)

PETE: (To Audience.) Dottie and I waited for them to come tell us it was our turn. We could only go in two people at a time; they didn’t want to overwhelm grandma... especially with this situation. So they’re prepping her for what’s about to come. I’m going to tell her and she’s going to pretend I’m the first one to tell her… all part of the plan to try and save her from sudden shock.

(Pete sits down and puts his head in his hands.)

DOTTIE: (Rubbing his back.) Hey, you okay baby?

PETE: Just a little nervous is all…

DOTTIE: I am too but don’t worry, we’ll all be okay. I’m sure your grandmother is going to be okay. Maybe this is a miracle she’s been praying for.

PETE: I don’t think she wants me to have a kid before I reach twenty.

DOTTIE: (Sighs.) Babe…

PETE: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, that was out of line. You know I’m just as excited as you… (Puts his hand on her stomach.) It’s going to be amazing.

(Dottie leans over and gives him a kiss on the cheek. She moves her hand over his and squeezes.)

DOTTIE: I know we can do this together, I’m not afraid of anything that could happen and I hope you know you shouldn’t be either.

PETE: (Nods.) I won’t be after we see Grandma…

(Lilly enters with a broken smile and tries to look optimistic.)

LILLY: Mom will be out in a second- then it’s your turn.

PETE: (Stands.) Is she prepared? I mean, we’re not going to give her a heart attack or anything right?

LILLY: Please… that woman on the bed? You’d think she was just told she was going to live forever. She’s actually really excited.

DOTTIE: Wait until we tell her the baby is getting a part of her name…

LILLY: (Touched.)Wait- really?

(Dottie stands with a little help from Pete.)

PETE: Yeah- oh I never told you guys. Maybelle Elizabeth… Elizabeth for Grandma.

LILLY: (Trying to hide the hurt under the happiness.) Wow, thanks guys… but Pete… anything else you forgot to tell us? Now’s the time.

PETE: I’m sorry Lilly, I’m sorry. I keep messing up but…

DOTTIE: That’s all Lilly, I don’t think we have any other surprises.

LILLY: (Yelling) We? You two are a we now? Great when’s the wedding.

DOTTIE: No… Lilly that’s not how I meant that!

LILLY: Then how did you mean it Dottie? How did you?

PETE: Lilly back off…

DOTTIE: Lilly I’m sorry that came out really wrong.

(Tina enters and can feel the tension.)

TINA: You two ready?

PETE: Yeah… we’re ready. Let’s go hun.

(Pete puts his hand on the center of Dottie’s back and guides her out.)

LILLY: So… the baby’s middle name is going to be Elizabeth, for Grandma.

TINA: That’s nice…

LILLY: Did he tell you?

TINA: No…

LILLY: He doesn’t tell me anything anymore either…

TINA: (Defensive.) He’s been busy…

LILLY: (Attitude.) Screwing up?

TINA: Lilly… we don’t need that right now…

LILLY: What do we need then mom? Some help? Some advice? Wisdom?

TINA: (Near tears.) Your father…

(A beat.)

LILLY: We need to talk to Pete…

TINA: (Correcting.) We need to get him to talk to us.

(Beat.)

LILLY: We also need to make it clear that Dottie is not a member of our family. She might be caring a future member but she can’t weasel her way into our lives so easily.

TINA: Did something happen?

LILLY: I just didn’t like her attitude.

(A beat.)

LILLY: And mom…

TINA: Yes sweetie?

LILLY: Despite Pete’s situation… I think we turned out to be two good kids thanks to you. (Hugs Tina.)

TINA: (Hugs back.) Thanks dear.

(They freeze. Lights fade out on them.)

Scene 7

The waiting room scene in the center has been moved out and the kitchen is back again. The stage remains in the dark. Spotlight up on Pete.

PETE: (To Audience.) So… Grandma was happy to see and meet Dottie. Grandma even got to feel the baby kick, which seemed to make her feel worlds better… Like we had given her more will to live, like Lilly had predicted. Which was weird for me to see, Lilly and I used to be the ones that made her feel that way… but we’d been way too busy in our own lives to even call her.

(Spotlight off Pete. Spotlight comes up on Lilly sitting in her bed with her laptop in her lap. The two are in their own separate worlds.)

LILLY: (To herself.) My father was my hero, well; he still is and will always be. I don’t go a day without thinking of him and wishing he were still here…

(Spot off Lilly. Spot on Pete.)

PETE: (To Audience.) I know what would make Grandma proud though, what would make up for my lack of attention. Being the best dad I could be, the best family man. Teaching Maybelle to make bread… bread.

(Spot off Pete. Spot on Lilly.)

LILLY: (To herself.) I wish he could see and give Pete advice. To talk to him and help him figure out what to do with his life… how to be a good father. (Clicking around on her laptop.) Dottie’s pretty with that pregnant glow…

(Spot off Lilly. Spot on Pete.)

PETE: (To Audience.) Dottie was so happy after she met my family. She had been asking me for months to introduce them and I kept putting it off. I was so afraid of what they would say… what they would think of me…

(Spot off Pete. Spot on Lilly.)

LILLY: (Angry. Growing angrier as she talks. Talking to herself.) They already had the baby shower? He didn’t even tell us in time so we could go to the baby shower! We’re his family! His flesh and blood and he didn’t even tell us in time! I can’t believe he would do this to us! Her family probably thinks that we’re a horrible, broken family that doesn’t care about each other’s lives!

(Spot on Pete.)

TINA: (Offstage.) Pete! Lilly! Dinner time!

PETE AND LILLY: (Shouts back together.) Coming!

PETE: (To audience.) I’ll turn around their views. I’ll make them see how much I have matured, and how I can take care of a baby and more importantly, a family.

(Spot fades off Pete.)

LILLY: (To audience. Furious.) I’m going to kill him.

(They exit and spot fades off Lilly. The lights fade on to the kitchen scene. Tina enters and finishes cooking up dinner. Pete enters. The entire time Tina has an “I don’t care attitude” going.)

PETE: Can I help mom?

TINA: Yeah… come stir the pasta. I’m going to get some bread out of the freezer.

PETE: (Confused.) The freezer?

TINA: Yeah… the freezer. I have some bread in there from Stop and Shop that I bought a week ago just in case.

PETE: Stop and Shop? Just in case? We never… ever eat bread we didn’t bake ourselves.

TINA: You were around less, Lilly was always busy and Grandma wasn’t really that hungry. I wasn’t going to go through the trouble of baking bread by myself to eat bread by myself…

PETE: (Hurt. Defensive.) Mom you’re never going to be eating by yourself, ever! And as for baking bread by yourself, that’s never going to happen. I’m going to be baking bread for my family all the time, I’m going to make sure Maybelle even knows the recipe.

TINA: I’ll believe that when I see it.

PETE: Well you can count on you seeing it. In fact if it was okay with you, tonight I was going to have Dottie come over so the two of us could bake bread for Grandma.

TINA: Do whatever you want.

PETE: Mom why are you acting like this?

(Lilly enters.)

LILLY: (Furious. Yelling.)Are you freaking kidding me Pete? What the hell is wrong with you? Having a baby and not even caring enough to tell your own family?! How selfish can you be?

PETE: (Defensive and cautious.) Lilly… you know about the baby… you know about her name… mom knows I’m going to teach her how to bake bread. I’ve pretty much told you everything- there’s nothing to hide.

LILLY: Right… right… but everything you hid so long made us miss the baby shower! The baby’s shower, Pete! That’s a really big deal. I don’t think you understand. Her family probably thinks so poorly of us, thinks we’re horrible for not going. Meanwhile you just didn’t even tell us that there was a baby to even throw a shower for!!

TINA: (Hurt.) We missed the baby shower?

PETE: (Defeated.) Yeah… it was a few days ago. I’m so sorry. TINA: (Disappointed.) A few days ago you couldn’t find the courage… you couldn’t find the words to tell your own mother and sister about your baby?

PETE: I was afraid you’d be mad…

LILLY: Yes we’d be mad! You can’t imagine we wouldn’t be mad! Eitherway we would’ve been mad! But Pete, the baby shower! The baby shower!

PETE: Why does a stupid baby shower mean so much to you?

LILLY: The principal’s Pete, the principal’s!

PETE: I don’t think you should be this mad about a baby shower.

TINA: (Yelling.) Of course we’re be mad! (Takes a deep breath and pulls herself together.) My son, Lilly’s brother, our nineteen year old boy is having a baby! A baby he didn’t even tell us about until the baby was practically born. We missed moments hun, moments. We missed sonograms, decorating, the baby shower, the first kick… we missed moments that we can’t get back. This baby is going to be born and his own Grandmother would have been clueless if you waited any longer. That’s a pretty serious thing Pete!

PETE: (Nearly yelling.) But Mom you will still be able to be a part of actual moments once the baby’s born! Once she’s here you will have so many things you can do to experience my miracle!

LILLY: (Yelling.) We still missed out on so much!

PETE: I don’t understand why this is such a big deal! You guys are yelling over nothing!

TINA: Pete a baby isn’t nothing! A baby is so much more than you could possibly imagine! You don’t know how much a baby is until you have one.

PETE: Mom I know how much it is and I have been working to-

TINA: Working doesn’t give you everything Pete! Working won’t get you out of all the diaper bills and medical expenses. Babies need a lot of love and care besides the money, how are you going to be able to support that chil-

PETE: I’ve got it all planned out.

TINA: No you don’t Pete. You don’t realize what you’re doing. You don’t realize what could happen to you or what could become of all of this.

PETE: (Crosses toward Tina as he yells.) Don’t tell me what I do or don’t realize. Don’t tell me what my future is going to be-

(Tina slaps Pete across the face. Lilly gasps. Everyone is shocked.)

TINA: Pete…? Are you okay?

(Exits running off stage.)

LILLY: (Scared.) Mom?

TINA: I’m going to go lay down…

LILLY: (Worried.) Mom? Are you okay?

TINA: (Bare whisper.) No… I wish your father was here.

(Tina exits toward her bed room.)

LILLY: Mom... (Lilly goes and sits at the table. She fingers her phone in her pocket. Deliberating whether or not to use it. Then she takes it out.)

(She starts texting.)I’ll text him… “Where did you go?”

(She closes her phone and puts it down. To the audience.) I can’t believe that just happened. Mom has never hit us. She has never done anything or reached that point. She has always broken up our fights, sat us down and explained there is no room for violence inside a family. But now…

(Lilly’s phone goes off. She picks it up and reads it.) A message from Pete… “I’m still here. I’m in my car.”

(To audience.) He’s still in his car? I really thought he would’ve been to Dottie’s by now. (She texts him back.) My response? “Pete, come back inside.”

(She puts her phone down and continues to the audience.) Why did mom do that? No, I can’t blame her. She was upset…

(Phone goes off again.) He responded… “Maybe.” (To audience.) Why couldn’t he be a little nicer about this situation?

(She texts back.) “Why don’t you leave? You obviously don’t want to be here.”

(To audience.) I wish my family wasn’t so messed up. I wish I could just shut my eyes and go to a different place, a happier place where none of this ever happened. (Starts crying.) Why…

(Pete enters slowly.)

PETE: (Softly.)I didn’t leave because real men don’t run from their problems. They face them. That’s something I’ve learned, and I really should have told you guys a long time ago.

LILLY: You think?

PETE: I didn’t mean to upset you guys. I feel like I keep trying to tell you guys that but it’s getting me nowhere…

LILLY: Because you did upset us…

PETE: But I didn’t mean to…

LILLY: I know… but you still did… (Lilly reaches her arms out for him to come over and they share an awkward hug.)

PETE: Where’s mom?

LILLY: In her room, upset. She’s really mad at herself about this. That slap definitely hurt her more than it could have ever hurt you.

PETE: (Soft chuckle. Trying to lighten the mood.) That’s debatable, mom’s got an arm.

(Pete moves over toward where Tina exited and shouts toward her bedroom.)

PETE: Mom? Can you come back please? I’m sorry… can we talk about this?

(Tina enters slowly. Pete crosses back to the table and sits. Lilly pulls out a chair and beckons her to join them and sit. Tina does so.)

TINA: I’m sorry Pete…

PETE: No Mom, I’m sorry…

TINA: It’s just…You want to be a responsible father, but first you have to start showing some responsibility other ways. Telling us would have been a responsible and courage thing to do. Raising a baby won’t be easy; it’ll definitely be a challenge. And telling us would have been a minor speed bump in the many challenges ahead. Which you failed son. If you failed to do that, and wouldn’t listen to what I was trying to tell you, how could I expect you to succeed?

PETE: I get that it won’t be easy. I just… want you guys to be a part of it. To help if I need it and to give me the support I need.

TINA: Do you understand why that’s a lot to ask?

PETE: I guess so…

LILLY: Pete, we care about you and we will care about Belle, but honestly it’s going to be hard for us to just suddenly accept that you’re having a baby.

PETE: I just want you guys to understand…

TINA: I’m asking you to understand ours. We can’t accept this overnight. We can’t just miraculously see your side. Sure, we’ll support you. But the hurt will be here for a while…

LILLY: (Hurt.) Pete you can’t hide anything like this from us again… this isn’t something Dad would’ve done… so why are you doing it? You and I both know he would not be proud…

PETE: (Pete stands and paces.) I know… I’m really sorry. I’m really… really… sorry… and don’t accept my apology if you can’t. But still support Dottie… and if you can forgive me, me too… and Belle… I promise I’ll never do this to you guys ever… ever… again.

(Tina gets up and crosses toward Pete.)

TINA: I know Pete… I know… (Tina goes over and pulls Pete into a hug. He hugs back and they both start to cry softly. Lilly joins them.)

LILLY: I love you Pete…

PETE: I love you both, so much.

TINA: I love you too.

(Black out.)

Scene 8

Stage is dark. Lights up on Pete at his stood. He’s cradling a baby in his arms. He has the biggest smile on.

PETE: (To Audience.) So baby Maybelle was born- seven pounds, eight ounces. No complications, she and her mother both did fine. I can’t stop looking at her, and smiling. A couple days after I brought her to the hospital so Grandma could see her. I mean… she couldn’t hold Belle, she’s still sick after all, but she was excited to see her Great Granddaughter. It really put a smile on her face, and mine.

Mom held Belle and I could see the love on her face. Lilly was the same. Now they walk around with my Belle as the background on their phones and talk about her all the time. My little sweetheart…

She stays at Dottie’s house primarily, but I sleep over a few nights a week so that Dottie isn’t constantly getting up to take care of her when Belle wakes up during the night. Mom wasn’t too happy with it but she told me she trusted me to make my own decisions.

(He looks down at Maybelle.)

I’m still working to make sure I can help pay for her, but now working isn’t a chore… it’s something I want to do to take care of my family. It’s something that the family man does, it’s something that he takes pride in. Well I’m proud of my work and to take care of my little family. I can’t imagine in any other way…

(Dottie enters.)

DOTTIE: I think it’s time for someone’s bottle!

(Pete hands Dottie Belle and smiles. Dottie gives Maybelle the bottle. Pete remains in his own little world- Dottie does not acknowledge anything he is saying.)

PETE: I mean… my little miracle is the miracle I think my entire family needed to bring everyone closer together. Even though for a while things were getting worse, they took a change for the better. After all, Grandpa always said things had to get worse before they get better… (Pete puts his arm around Dottie. She smiles up at him.)

Grandpa and Dad, I can only hope that they’re looking down at me proud. Their little Pete is now a family man, just like they both were. Maybe not as good as they were, but I’m working on it. I’ll do everything I can to be the Dad Maybelle wants to hang out with and the boyfriend, and hopefully husband, that Dottie can rely and depend on.

DOTTIE: (Breaking into his personal world.) Babe, I’m going to go lay her down for a nap and then I’m going to go rest.

PETE: Here… I’ll take her. You go rest.

(Pete holds his arms out to take Maybelle. Dottie smiles and gives him Maybelle.)

DOTTIE: Thanks, you’re the best.

(She gives him a kiss on the cheek, takes the bottle and exits.)

PETE: Okay Belle! Time to go sleepy!

(He smiles down at her and exits. Spot light fades out to a complete blackout. End of play.)