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ALL SCRIPTS


           A WALK TO REMEMBER

                            Screenplay by

                            Karen Janszen


                     Based on the novel by

                        Nicholas Sparks




       No portion of this script may be performed, reproduced,
       or used by any means, or quoted or published in any
       medium without the prior written consent of Warner Bros.




                                             July 27, 2000
WARNER BROS.                                  2000
4000 Warner Boulevard                        WARNER BROS.
Burbank, California 91522                    All Rights Reserved

BLACK

A young man's V.O.:

                         ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
           I was born in Beaufort, North
           Carolina. A place where the air
           always smells of pine and salt and
           sea.

The voice is gentle. Slightly Southern in inflection.   A
young doctor's soothing manner.


FADE IN:


EXT. COASTAL NORTH CAROLINA (DECEMBER) (PRESENT)

A vast view of the coastline in winter -- beaches, rivers,
sea marshes, inlets -- ebbing and flowing.

                         ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
           For many, days and nights are
           spent fishing Pamlico Sound or
           crabbing the Neuse River.

The CAMERA FINDS a small coastal town, edged by a harbor
on which fishermen toil.


EXT. BEAUFORT, NORTH CAROLINA - MORNING (DECEMBER)

The CAMERA, MOVING inland, CROSSES OVER modest houses
decked with plastic rooftop Santas...

                         ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
           While the ocean may be the focus
           of daily labor, churches have
           always tried to be the focus of
           life.

And MOVES UPHILL TO...


EXT. MAIN STREET

Where fake snow is sprayed on store windows. The CAMERA
CONTINUES TO the far side of Main Street -- with its
stately homes with big lawns, flower beds, and tasteful
Christmas garlands.

                         ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
           When I lived here, there were
           eighteen churches within town
           limits alone.

                                                       2.

EXT. FOUR-WAY STOP

From each corner, four churches face each other. The
Fellowship Hall Christian Church, the Church of the
Forgiven People, the Church of Sunday Atonement, and All
Saints Church.

                        ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
          They sponsored pancake breakfasts,
          rummage sales, car washes, and
          softball games.


EXT. LANDON'S TRUCK - TRAVELING

The CAMERA FINDS and FOLLOWS a newish sport utility
vehicle with MD plates as it passes a rummage sale and a
softball game.

                        ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
          You'd think that all the people
          here were friendly, welcoming,
          open-hearted...

Dr. LANDON CARTER, 33, drives the truck.


INT. CAR - TRAVELING

Landon looks urban, prosperous, well-groomed -- but
retains his boyish whimsy and sense of irony. A cell
phone and overnight bag on the seat next to him.

                         ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
          ... and that money or family
          background or education or luck
          didn't matter.

Landon reaches out to adjust his side mirror, revealing a
simple gold wedding band on his left hand.


EXT. STREET - TRAVELING

Landon's truck turns the corner and slows in front of the
huge Southern Baptist church.

                        ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
          But they did matter. They
          mattered to everyone. Except
          Jamie Sullivan...

Landon's truck turns into a driveway just past the church
and heads for a cluster of buildings. Behind the
buildings, a cemetery.

                                                        3.

EXT. CLUSTER OF BUILDINGS - CONTINUOUS ACTION

The truck pulls up in front of the old parsonage -- it's a
different color than he remembers.

                        ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
          ... Astronomer. Actress.
          Believer in God...

Landon hesitates a moment, then climbs out of his truck.


EXT. OLD PARSONAGE - CONTINUOUS ACTION

Landon heads up the walk and onto the front porch.
Presses the DOORBELL. It RINGS inside. Landon is edgy,
unsettled.

                        ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
          ... Believer in me.

A nurse opens the door.

                                                DISSOLVE TO:


EXT. BEAUFORT HIGH GYM - NIGHT (NOVEMBER, 1985)

ROCK MUSIC drifts out open doors -- barely recognizable as
"Born in the U.S.A." Students hang. Brains, preps,
richies, heavy metals, jocks, punk rockers, goths, geeks.
Mixing without mixing. Most are red-eyed, woozy, wasted.
A couple of boys break dance to a BOOM BOX.

Missing are the criminals...

A shiny T-top CAMARO ROARS up. Stops, TIRES SQUEALING.
VAN HALEN BLASTING. LANDON, 18, at the wheel. He is
impulsive, sexy-troubled, with the nothing-to-lose courage
to act on destructive whims. He is envied, copied,
feared.


INT. CAMARO

EMPTIES roll and CLINK on the floor. A tiny plastic
skeleton dances as it hangs from the rearview mirror.
Landon stamps a joint into the ashtray.

                        LANDON
                 (impatient, edgy)
          Where is he? He's supposed to be
          here.

                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                              4.

CONTINUED:

                           ERIC
                    (from back seat)
             I need to whizz.

ERIC's skinny, high-energy.          A leg always jiggling.

                             LANDON
             Eric.    You're such a hummingbird.

                              BELINDA
             I wanna dance.

BELINDA is Landon's girlfriend. Richie princess, a bad-
girl pretender. Big shoulder pads. Jellie bracelet.
Swatch watch.

                              LANDON
             So go dance.

                              BELINDA
             With you.

                              LANDON
             I.    Don't.   Dance.

                           ERIC
                    (pointing, like
                     Tattoo)
             Dee plane. Dee plane.

They laugh.       Clay's by the dumpster.


EXT. DUMPSTER

CLAY, obese, wearing a too-small student monitor vest, is
dumping garbage from a trash can. A loud HONK. Clay
turns to see the Camaro, then turns back to the school,
coast clear. He quickly heaves in the empty trash can as
the Camaro pulls up.

Eric pushes a door open.       Empties fall from the back seat.
Clay climbs in.

                              CLAY
             Go go go go.

PRINCIPAL ED KELLY, middle-aged, pockmarked skin, Casio
calculator watch, exits the gym.


INT. CAMARO

Landon's looking at Kelly in the rearview mirror.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                          5.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
                    (mocking)
             Kelly. He looks like his face
             caught fire and he tried to put it
             out with a fork.

Landon inches the car forward, teasing Clay, teasing
Kelly.

                           ERIC
             He couldn't find his own butt with
             both hands at high noon in a hall
             of mirrors.

Sniggering laughter.

                           CLAY
             Go!

Landon presses the gas.    The CAR ROARS away.

                           CLAY
             Kelly's so old he --

                           LANDON
             We're done with that already,
             bonehead.

Clay smiles, good-natured.    He often misses social cues.


EXT. CAMARO - TRAVELING

Landon drops Clay's student monitor vest out onto the
road. Another car runs it over.


EXT. ROAD

Mr. Kelly walks over, picks up the vest. Shakes it.
Frustrated. Eyes the empty beer bottles by the dumpster.


EXT. OUTSIDE CEMETERY GATE - LITTLE LATER

Camaro is parked on the dirt access road, headlights
shining through the locked rear gate. JOHN COUGAR
MELLENCAMP's "Small Town" playing.


INT. CAMARO

Landon, Clay, and Belinda sit drinking, smoking weed.
Under the MUSIC, a CB RADIO scanner CHATS quietly.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                         6.

CONTINUED:

                           ERIC (O.S.)
             So which is it?


EXT. CAMARO

Eric finishes taking a leak.

                           ERIC
                    (calling over,
                     repeating)
             Landon. To save your life, you
             have to either go deaf or go numb
             in your dick and balls.

Eric climbs back in the car.


INT. CAMARO

Landon, Belinda, Clay, Eric.

                             LANDON
             I'm thinking.

                           ERIC
             No thinking. The doctor only
             gives you three seconds to
             decide --

                           LANDON
             Could I lose one ear and one nut?

                           ERIC
             No questions, no negotiating --

                            BELINDA
                    (to Eric, annoyed)
             Where do you get these stupid
             questions -- ?

                           LANDON
             Hypotheticals --

                           ERIC
                    (to Belinda)
             I'm just wondering --

                             BELINDA
             Don't wonder.

Landon's looking out at the night.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                        7.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             Jamie Sullivan.

Everyone looks up.     Derisive laughter.


THEIR POV

A pale, contemplative GIRL, 17, is jumping down off the
gate, caught in the headlights. Wearing clothes she
probably made herself; long hair hiding her face. She
lives in her mind, not her body.


BACK TO SCENE

                            BELINDA
             Brain.

                            ERIC
             Bible freak.

                            LANDON
             Cherry.


EXT. CAMARO

JAMIE (GIRL), hearing the laughter, gathers herself and
approaches Landon's window, her SNEAKERS CRUNCHING in the
GRAVEL. She crosses her pilly brown sweater across her
chest.

                           JAMIE
                    (to Landon,
                     tentative)
             Hey. Hi. Your lights. Any
             chance you could... turn them
             off --

                           BELINDA
                    (leaning over
                     Landon)
             God give you this road?

                            JAMIE
             No --

                           BELINDA
             Then we'll be keeping the lights
             on.


                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                              8.

CONTINUED:

                            LANDON
                    (to Jamie, seeming
                     nice)
             If you want the lights off, I'll
             turn them off.

And he does.    Darkness.

                            JAMIE
             Thank you.   Thank you so very
             much.

She backs away from the car, grateful.        From the car:

                           BELINDA (O.S.)
             I can't see a friggin' thing.


INT. CAMARO

Landon switches on the dome lights for Belinda.

                           BELINDA
                    (imitating Jamie)
             'Thank you. Thank you so very
             much.'

But Landon's looking at Jamie.     Almost counting the
seconds...


HIS POV

Jamie scaling the fence, practiced at it.


BACK TO SCENE

Landon quickly flicks the high beams.     Belinda, Eric, and
Clay snicker and snort as they see --


EXT. CEMETERY GATE

Jamie, startled, paused at the top. But instead of
looking bullied, her face shows determination, humor even.
A moment later, she jumps down on the far side.
Disappears.


INT. CAMARO

Belinda, Eric, Clay are still laughing.       Landon's smiling.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                      9.

CONTINUED:

                           ERIC
             Ten years. Where're you gonna be?
                    (to Belinda, mocking)
             Hypothetically?

                            BELINDA
             Paris.

                            CLAY
             Dead.

Laughter.

                            LANDON
             Right here.   With you.

He clinks Eric's raised beer. More laughter. But
Landon's face clouds slightly -- maybe this isn't where
he'd really like to be.

                           CLAY
             'Twilight Zone.' 'One Step
             Beyond.' 'Tales from the Dark
             Side.'

                           ERIC
             'Twilight Zone,' dipshit.

                           LANDON
             Don't call him a dipshit.

                            ERIC
             You do --

                            LANDON
             And you don't.
                    (beat, re: Jamie)
             What's she doing in there?

                           BELINDA
             Nothing I'd be doing.

Laughter.    Landon kisses her.      With tongue.

A blinding white light dances through the car and settles
on Landon and Belinda's faces.

                            LANDON
             Shit!

He scrambles out of the car.


EXT. CAMARO

Landon looks up at the fence.

                                                            10.

LANDON'S POV

Jamie sitting atop, holding a large mirror, reflecting the
headlights back into the car.


BACK TO SCENE

They stare at each other.   His annoyance turns to mild
respect.

The CB RADIO comes to life inside the car.     A GARBLED
TRANSMISSION.

                          BELINDA (O.S.)
          Landon!


INT. CAMARO

Landon leaps in.    Pops out the Van Halen.

                          LANDON
          The address?!

                          ERIC
          York Ave.

Landon pops in a WHAM! tape.     AMPS it UP.   "Freedom."

                          LANDON
          What number?

Nobody answers.

                          LANDON
          Dildoes.

Landon turns the car around.


EXT. ACCESS ROAD

The Camaro fishtails away. TIRES CRUNCHING, red
taillights bouncing on the rough road. The car turns left
onto the paved road and speeds out of sight.


INT. CAMARO

Landon drives recklessly.   Rushing.   He makes a SCREECHING
turn.


LANDON'S POV - STREET AHEAD

Two fire trucks rumbling by houses, SIRENS WAILING.

                                                            11.

EXT. CAMARO

Turns right, following the fire trucks.


INT. CAMARO

Landon smiles at Belinda. She smiles back. Fun. Landon
takes a slug of beer. Turns his eyes back to the road.


LANDON'S POV - FIRE TRUCKS

make another turn. Then a flash of light, movement.         A
figure on the road.


EXT. ROAD

An old man walking his little dog.     Crossing the street.


INT. CAMARO - LANDON

turns the wheel hard.      Jams his foot on the brake.


EXT. ROAD

The Camaro swerves.     TIRES SQUEALING.   A LOUD, HEART-
SEARING THUMP.

The old man -- sideswiped, drops to the asphalt.

The CAMARO SLAMS into a light pole.     CRUNCHING METAL.
TINKLING GLASS.


INT. CAMARO

Quiet.   Landon, Eric and Clay are banged up.

                            CLAY
            Christ, man.

                            LANDON
            You okay?

                            ERIC
            Yeah.

Belinda's head leans on the dash. Her shoulders shake.
Landon, bleeding on the forehead, reaches over. Scared.

                            LANDON
            Belinda?

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                            12.

CONTINUED:

She lifts her head.     Looks at him.   She's laughing.   He
kicks his door out.


EXT. STREET

The Camaro crumpled into the light pole. Headlights
askew. Clay and Eric and Belinda getting out, dazed.

Landon runs to the old man. Kneels. Shakes him.       No
response. The man's TERRIER BARKS at Landon.


LANDON'S FACE

Frightened, anguished.     The real Landon showing for an
instant.

Police SIRENS WAIL in the b.g., growing LOUDER.


EXT. OLD CHEVETTE - HALF HOUR LATER

A battered Chevette steers through a working-class
neighborhood.


INT. CHEVETTE

Landon's mother, CYNTHIA, 35, drives. She's weary with
sun-worn skin, but still attractive. She wears a skimpy
black-and-white cocktail waitress uniform under her coat.

                           CYNTHIA
             What if they expel you?

                           LANDON
             Kelly wouldn't do that.

                            CYNTHIA
             Why not?

                           LANDON
             Cuz nothing happened at school.

He smiles his biggest most reassuring smile.

                           CYNTHIA
             Don't smile at me. It's not going
             to get you out of this.

                            LANDON
             Why not?   It always has before.

                                                          13.

EXT. BEAUFORT HIGH - MONDAY (7:59 AM)

By daylight, a modern brick and glass structure.


INT. PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE - 8:05 AM

Mr. Kelly gestures for Landon to sit.   Landon doesn't.
His forehead still shows a bruise.

                        MR. KELLY
          I had hopes for you.

                        LANDON
          Like I'd grow up to be president,
          another Reagan.

                        MR. KELLY
                 (not laughing)
          Like you'd make it to June. Even
          cutting half your classes, you
          have a B- average.

                          LANDON
          I'm no dummy.

                          MR. KELLY
          That's right.    You just act like
          one.

On his desk, he places the empty bottles that rolled out
of the Camaro.

                        LANDON
          Those aren't mine.

                        MR.KELLY
          They came from your car.

                        LANDON
          I wasn't the one drinking.

Kelly holds up the police test finding.

                        MR. KELLY
          Your blood alcohol level. Maybe
          you were legally in the clear, but
          I make the rules here.

Landon scowls, knows he's defeated.

                        LANDON
          You expelling me?

                          MR. KELLY
          I am.

                                               (CONTINUED)

                                                         14.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             Now I can do what I want.

                           MR. KELLY
             That's right.
                    (sarcastic)
             The world is your oyster.


EXT. SCHOOL ENTRANCE - MINUTES LATER

Landon busts out, arms high, fists tight, like a righteous
political prisoner. Freedom. He struts through the
courtyard. Not a care in the world.


EXT. CARTER DRIVEWAY - HOUR LATER

Landon watches a tow truck lower the crumpled Camaro. A
neighbor kid, JOSH, 12, watches from across the street, on
his way to school.


EXT. CAMARO - MINUTES LATER

Landon pokes and prods his car -- the engine, underneath,
the body, the paint. A discouraging mess.


INT. CARTER HOUSE - HALLWAY - MINUTES LATER

Landon knocks on Cynthia's bedroom door.

                            LANDON
             Mom.   I need a ride.


INT. CYNTHIA'S BEDROOM

Dark. She wears a black eye-shield.      Her waitress uniform
hangs over a chair.

                           CYNTHIA
                    (sleepy, annoyed)
             I'm not getting up to drive you
             somewhere.
                    (beat)
             What're you doing home?


EXT. GARAGE - MOMENTS LATER

Landon lifts the garage DOOR.

                                                        15.

LANDON'S POV - INSIDE GARAGE

A murky place.   Filled with old tools and junk and a grim
old bike.


EXT. MINI-MALL - AUTO PARTS SHOP - LITTLE LATER

Landon comes out the glass door, his arms loaded, sees his
bike. No way to carry. He looks around. The bus stop.
A bus approaching.


EXT. UNDER CAMARO - LATER

BANGING, RATCHETING, CLINKING. Landon's working hard.    A
BOOM BOX playing SIMPLE MINDS' "Alive and Kicking."


LANDON'S POV - HIS MOTHER'S LEGS

and worn terry slippers appear.

                        CYNTHIA (O.S.)
          I want to talk to you.

He pauses, annoyed, then rolls himself out.


EXT. CARTER DRIVEWAY

The mangled front bumper's on the ground. Cynthia stands
there in her bathrobe. Upset. Landon's almost too much.

                        CYNTHIA
          You're not hanging round here all
          day.

                        LANDON
          I'm not hanging. I'm fixing my
          car --

                        CYNTHIA
          You don't need a car you can't
          drive for a month. Go see Marvin.

                          LANDON
          'Bout what?

                          CYNTHIA
          About a job.

Landon ignores her.    Slides back under his car.

                                                        16.

EXT. UNDER CAMARO

                        CYNTHIA (O.S.)
          He's going to try you as assistant
          manager.
                 (beat)
          You could be manager someday.

Landon can't believe this.


EXT. DRIVEWAY

Landon slides back out.

                        LANDON
          I'm not working there.

Cynthia sets her jaw.   He knows that look.


INT. RESTAURANT - KITCHEN - LUNCH HOUR

Landon is sweating, scouring pots. A crooked cap on his
head, an assistant manager name tag on his shirt. He's
making some headway; only two more to wash.

MARVIN, the owner, walks over. Beer belly, greasy hair.
Dumps another pile of dirty pots and pans in Landon's
sink. Landon glimpses his future.


INT. PRINCIPAL KELLY'S OUTER OFFICE - EARLY AFTERNOON

Landon paces, jumpy. Kelly's secretary, MISS TARBOX,
quietly locks her purse in her bottom drawer.

                        LANDON
          Who's he in with?

                        MISS TARBOX
          He'll be with you when he's
          available.

The door to Kelly's office opens. Jamie Sullivan exits
with her father, the tall stern REVEREND HEGBERT SULLIVAN.
Jamie eyes Landon as she passes by.

                        LANDON
                 (joking)
          You expelled, too?

Nobody laughs or even smiles.

                                                        17.

INT. PRINCIPAL KELLY'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

Mr. Kelly makes a note in Jamie's file.

                        MR. KELLY
          Finding the real world to your
          liking, Mr. Carter?

                        LANDON
          I want to come back.

                         MR. KELLY
                  (looking up,
                   surprised)
          Back?   Were you ever really here?

They both know Kelly has the upper hand.   Kelly leans back
in his chair, relishing it.

                        LANDON
                 (mumbling)
          I want to graduate.

Kelly studies Landon, the boy who can't get out of his own
way.

                        MR. KELLY
                 (thinking aloud)
          You could grace our hallowed halls
          again, if, while you're here, you
          make a sincere effort to be part
          of our little school community --

                         LANDON
                 (relieved)
          I'd do that --

                        MR. KELLY
          How would you do that, Mr. Carter?

Landon shrugs, clueless.

                        MR. KELLY
                 (smiling)
          Shall I give you a few ideas?

                           LANDON
                    (smiling, too)
          Please.

                        MR. KELLY
          Besides attending all your regular
          classes, I'd like you to help our
          janitorial staff after school --

                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                         18.

CONTINUED:

                            LANDON
             For pay?

                           MR. KELLY
             For the inner satisfaction it will
             bring.
                    (beat)
             Saturday mornings, I'd like you to
             tutor disadvantaged students at
             our sister school --

                           LANDON
                    (joking)
             I'm as underprivileged as they
             are --

                           MR. KELLY
             The fact that you attend this
             school makes you privileged.

His tone quiets Landon.

                           MR. KELLY
             Finally, I'd like you to join the
             drama club. Rehearsals are
             Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

                           LANDON
                    (grumbling)
             I'd work backstage or something?

                           MR. KELLY
             Or something. They're doing a
             play for the holidays.

                           LANDON
             When do I get time for me?

                            MR. KELLY
             You don't.   That's the point.

Landon's not happy, but he'll work with this.     As he heads
for the door:

                           MR. KELLY
                    (softer, trying to
                     reach him)
             Landon, none of us faculty see you
             the way you see yourself.
                    (beat)
             Some of us remember how your
             father --

                           LANDON
             Then you remember more than I do.

                                                          19.

CLOSE ON BROOM

pushing gum wrappers under a radiator.


INT. SCIENCE CLASSROOM - AFTER SCHOOL

Landon sweeps at the floor during the Star Club open
house. A dozen nerds, including Jamie Sullivan (wearing
her brown sweater), stand at astronomy exhibits. Students
wander in, listen, look.

                        JAMIE
                 (answering question)
          -- Saturn's 15 degrees to the
          right of red Antares and much
          brighter.

To her small audience, she holds up a contraption made
from a wire coat hanger.

                        JAMIE
          This is a very simple device made
          from a coat hanger, plastic wrap
          and typewriter correction fluid.
          Does anyone know what it is?

No one does.

                        LANDON
                 (barely audible)
          A star frame.

But Jamie hears.   She regards him a moment, then keeps
going.

                        JAMIE
          This is a star frame.

Clay and Eric enter, checking on Landon, glancing at
Jamie.

                        JAMIE
          A star frame will help you locate
          stars and planets with your naked
          eye --

                        CLAY
                 (scoffing, setting
                  her up)
          -- Did God create the sun?

                                               (CONTINUED)

                                                             20.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
                    (taking him seriously)
             Yes, God created the universe and
             all its physical laws. Even
             Einstein said it's a miracle that
             our world is comprehensible --

                           ERIC
             -- If God can do all that, why
             can't he get you a new sweater?

Landon laughs loudly.    Members of the club look at him.

                           LANDON
             That was a joke. Laugh.

Jamie smiles.    She can laugh at herself.     And she finds
Landon funny.


INT. CARTER KITCHEN - EVENING

Landon washes up while his mother sets the table.      The
MICROWAVE HUMS in the b.g.

                           CYNTHIA
             Your father dropped off an extra
             check.

                           LANDON
             I don't want his money.

                           CYNTHIA
             It could help with a new car --

                           LANDON
             -- I like the car I have.

He picks up the envelope with wet hands. Without looking
inside, rips it in half. Cynthia smiles, quietly happy.


INT. SCHOOL BUS - TRAVELING - SATURDAY MORNING

Enthusiastic preppies, richies, other do-gooders, singing
"Karma Chameleon." Jamie sits in an aisle seat, reading,
not singing. She turns around to look at Landon.    He
rides in the back row, staring out the window, wearing a
Sony Walkman, glum.


HIS POV

To Z.Z. TOP'S "Sleeping Bag." Out the window -- Jefferson
High School coming into view. Bars on every window,
chain-link fence around the parameter, no grass.

                                                          21.

INT. JEFFERSON HIGH - LIBRARY - LITTLE LATER

A big room with tables and chairs but few books. Pairs of
heads are bent over textbooks and notebooks. Landon sits
with LUIS, a freshman boy of mixed ethnicity. A geometry
text between them.

                        LANDON
                 (reading)
          -- 'So what is the measure of
          angle x if A and B are similar
          triangles?'

Luis is lost, intimidated.

                        LANDON
          Know what 'similar' means?

Luis shrugs. Luis looks down at the book as if for the
answer, then at Landon, hopeless. He gets up and walks
off. Landon looks up in disbelief and catches Jamie
studying him. She's at a nearby table with her student,
ISABEL.


INT. SCHOOL BUS - NOON

The DOOR SWISHES SHUT behind Landon as he hops aboard.
He's late and heads for the rear bench seat.


LANDON'S POV

Jamie sitting there.   And no vacant seats save next to
her.


BACK TO SCENE

The bus begins to roll.   Landon lurches forward.


TRAVELING - LATER

The bus is moving through Beaufort. Landon sits next to
Jamie. Putting a new tape into his Sony Walkman. His
body turned away. She's reading her book.

                        JAMIE
          You going to visit Harold?

Landon scowls.   What-who is she talking about?

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           22.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             They let him out of the hospital
             yesterday. He's in a rest home on
             Oak Street.

That old man.

                           JAMIE
             He goes to my father's church.   He
             could've died --

                           LANDON
             -- This your idea of small talk?

                           JAMIE
             I don't make small talk --

                              LANDON
             -- Obviously.

                           JAMIE
             I just wanted to tell you not to
             give up. Sometimes you've got to
             back into the teaching from
             somewhere else.

If he heard her, he makes no sign.     She goes back to her
book. A long beat, then:

                            JAMIE
             What makes you volunteer?
                    (pause)
             Want to know why I tutor reading?

Not really.

                           JAMIE
             Because, growing up, books were my
             world.

                              LANDON
                     (mean)
             Were?

                           JAMIE
             You don't know me.

                           LANDON
             Your book and your brown sweater
             and your hair. What's more to
             know -- ?

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                        23.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             -- I wear the sweater because I'm
             cold. I read because no one talks
             to me. My hair is my hair. What
             is it exactly that's bothering
             you?

                           LANDON
             You don't care what people say?

                           JAMIE
             You mean care what you say? I'm
             worrying about other things.

                            LANDON
             Like what?   The moons of Jupiter?

                           JAMIE
             Can't you have a normal
             conversation?

                           LANDON
             I don't want to have any
             conversation.

                           JAMIE
             Good, cuz talking to you is like
             trying to explain red to a blind
             person.

She reads again. The bus pulls to a stop in front of
Beaufort High. Belinda, wearing a neck brace, is waiting,
leaning on her Cabriolet. Jamie watches Landon exit the
bus.


JAMIE'S POV - OUT THE WINDOW

Landon greeting Belinda, kissing her.


INT. SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - TUESDAY EVENING

Landon opens a side door, peers in at the Drama Club.


LANDON'S POV

A big space with a stage. MS. GARBER stands before six
geeky boys, and a dozen fat girls and Jamie.

                                                       24.

BACK TO SCENE

Landon reacts -- this girl actually chooses to be in these
places? Ms. Garber looks up from her papers.

                        MS. GARBER
          We're waiting, Mr. Carter.

He slides in a row behind the others. Leans forward and
pokes a boy, EDDIE JONES. Eddie's pimply and talks with
his eyes squinched up.

                        LANDON
          What's the play?

Eddie hands him a photocopied script, The Rainmaker.

                        EDDIE
          The-the-there's this drought an'
          -- and a smooth t-t-alking guy
          comes and says he can m-make
          rain --

                        LANDON
          -- And the ugly farmer's daughter
          falls for him. I saw the movie.

                         EDDIE
          Yeah.   It's really g-g-good --

                           LANDON
          -- It blows.


ON STAGE - MINUTES LATER

Jamie and Landon sit in folding chairs, reading from
scripts. Landon's wooden, showing how lame this is.

                        LANDON
                 (as Starbuck)
          'I hope your dreams come true.'

                        JAMIE
                 (as Lizzie, sad)
          'They won't.'

                        LANDON
                 (as Starbuck)
          'Believe in yourself and they
          will. Let me ask you, Lizzie.
          Look in the mirror? Are you
          pretty --?'

                                              (CONTINUED)

                                                          25.

CONTINUED:

                           MS. GARBER
             -- Landon, are you trying to be
             bad at this?

                           LANDON
             No, it just comes naturally.

Jamie smiles.    Garber taps her script -- continue.

                           LANDON
                    (as Starbuck)
             'It's got to be inside you. Then
             one day the mirror will be the
             eyes of the man who loves you.
             You'll look in that mirror and
             you'll be more than pretty.
             You'll be beautiful.'

Ms. Garber eyes Landon, motions for him to keep going.

                           LANDON
                    (as Starbuck)
             'Look at me. Tell me what you
             see!'

As Lizzie, Jamie looks into his eyes.

                           JAMIE
                    (as Lizzie)
             'Is it really me?'

                           LANDON
                    (as Starbuck, hamming)
             'Yes. You're-you're b-b-
             beautiful.'

Hoots and laughter.    Jamie looks away, humiliated.

                           MS. GARBER
             Quiet!
                    (announcing)
             Landon will play the role of Bill
             Starbuck.

Groans among the boys.    Jamie is horrified.    So is Landon.

                           LANDON
                    (to Garber)
             No way. No thanks. I can't do
             it --

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                          26.

CONTINUED:

                            MR. KELLY (O.S.)
                     (offstage)
             -- You can and you will, Mr.
             Carter.

Kelly's been standing in the wings.

                           MR. KELLY
                    (warning)
             With all the sincerity and dignity
             you can muster.

Everyone stares at Landon.     He's trapped.


EXT. AUDITORIUM - LATER THAT EVENING

Raining. Landon exits behind all the others. Stands
under an overhang, lights a cigarette, angry, waiting for
a ride. Jamie approaches, something on her mind.

                           LANDON
                    (rude)
             You're like this fly, buzzing
             buzzing everywhere --

                           JAMIE
             -- This play means a lot to me.

                            LANDON
                    (snorting)
             This play -- ?

                           JAMIE
             -- I know you don't suck at
             acting.

Landon laughs. Refusing to take her seriously. Behind
him, the lights go out as the school closes for the night.

                           JAMIE
             But you have to make it a big joke
             because only dorks and dweebies
             like doing theater --

                           LANDON
             -- What are you going on about?

Pause.

                           JAMIE
             I can judge too.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                          27.

CONTINUED:

He exhales, eyeing her, daring her.

                           JAMIE
             You don't care about classes or
             graduating. But you like school
             because you're popular and you
             know you'll never be on top again.

                              LANDON
             That's deep --

                           JAMIE
             -- Your act only works with an
             audience.

                              LANDON
             My act?!

She walks off toward her father's old Pontiac.     The last
car in the parking lot.

Fire trucks rush by on the street below. Landon's ears
twitch. He looks about. No one, no ride. He sees the
Pontiac backing out of a parking spot.


EXT. PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER

Landon bangs on the side of her car as she drives past.

                            LANDON
             A ride?!   Please!


INT. PONTIAC

Jamie turns to look at him.


JAMIE'S POV

Landon, wet, desperate, his eyes pleading.

                            LANDON
                    (insincere)
             We can talk about your helping me
             with my lines.


INT. OLD PONTIAC - TRAVELING - MOMENTS LATER

Jamie's at the wheel.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                            28.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             I know you don't want help.

                           LANDON
             Then we both know.
                    (beat)
             I'll point. You drive.    Faster.

He points the way, to the taillights of the fire trucks.
The wet road glistens.

                           JAMIE
             We're following fire trucks?

                              LANDON
             Yeah.

                              JAMIE
             Why?

                           LANDON
                    (duh)
             Because that's where the fire is?

He fishes in his pocket for a tape. Pulls one out.      He's
searching the dash -- no cassette player.

                           LANDON
             Fire is like a living thing.
             Wild. Unpredictable.

                              JAMIE
             Like me.

                             LANDON
             No.    Not like you.

She jerks the car across the center lane. Driving on the
wrong side of the road. He grips the dash.

                              LANDON
             What the -- ?!

                           JAMIE
             So you agree you need help?


LANDON'S POV - OUT WINDSHIELD

Headlights looming, a car coming.      Closer and closer.

                                                         29.

BACK TO SCENE

                             LANDON
           Yes!

She swings the Pontiac back to the right lane. Smiling.
A car zips by in the other direction, HORN BLARING.

                             JAMIE
           Really?

Landon drops his attitude, his act.   He toys with the
glove compartment knob.

                         LANDON
           Yeah. Kelly'll make me leave
           school if I screw up the play.

                         JAMIE
                  (to herself)
           28 and 42.

Pause.   He acts like he doesn't hear, but he's interested.

                         LANDON
           What's with the friggin numbers?

                         JAMIE
           28 is do something illegal.   42 is
           befriend an enemy.

                             LANDON
           I'm an enemy?

                             JAMIE
           Kinda.    Yeah.


EXT. ACROSS STREET FROM FIRE - LITTLE LATER

Landon and Jamie walk around the fire, watching the fire
and the firemen. Landon is just tolerating her.

                         JAMIE
           The reason I got the part... I'm a
           little like Lizzie. Except I
           don't worry about some man
           rescuing me.

                             LANDON
           Good thing.

If she's offended, she keeps it to herself.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                             30.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             You got some kind of list?

                           JAMIE
             Are you asking to mock me or do
             you really want to know?

                           LANDON
             Maybe a little of both.

They both smile.

                           JAMIE
             I'll take a chance.

                             LANDON
             Go for it.

                           JAMIE
             It's like a to-do list, but for my
             life.

He smirks.

                           JAMIE
             If you can't imagine the future,
             you won't have one.

He lights a cigarette.       She reaches for it.

                           LANDON
                    (joking)
             Having a cigarette. 100.

She grins and takes a drag.      They share the cigarette.

                           LANDON
             So what else is on this list?

                             JAMIE
             It's private.

                           LANDON
                    (cajoling)
             You want to tell me...

She eyes him, not certain she's willing to risk sharing
her dreams with him.

                           LANDON
                    (guessing, rudely)
             Get very wasted. Lose your
             virginity --

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                        31.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
                    (correcting)
             Spend a year in the Peace Corps.
             Make a medical discovery --

                           LANDON
                    (contemptuous)
             Ambitious.

                           JAMIE
             Being negative's a lot more work
             than being positive.

                           LANDON
             Like you'd know.

                            JAMIE
             I do know.
                    (pause)
             Be two places at once... learn to
             hit a baseball or turn a
             cartwheel... eat breakfast with
             chopsticks...

He likes the frivolity of these.

                           LANDON
             What's... Number one?

She looks away, embarrassed.

                           JAMIE
                    (changing subject)
             If you want help with your lines,
             I have two conditions.
                    (smiling)
             You have to promise not to fall in
             love with me.

He's certain she's joking.

                             LANDON
             No problem --

                           JAMIE
             And you have to meet my father.

He looks at her like she's crazy to worry about this.

                           LANDON
             Fathers love me.

                                                       32.

CLOSE ON PARSONAGE FRONT DOOR

swinging open. Reverend Sullivan looming tall.   Ichabod
Crane in a collar.


EXT. PARSONAGE PORCH - WIDER - NEXT EVENING

Landon gives a cheery little wave. He's very sweaty.   His
bike teeters on its kickstand in the b.g.

                         LANDON
          Hey.   Landon Carter.

Landon offers his hand. The Reverend shakes reluctantly,
eyeing him closely: Landon's Army boots, torn jeans,
dirty t-shirt, aloof manner.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
                 (surprised)
          You're in the play?

                          LANDON
          Lead man.

Jamie slides out the door. She looks good in jeans and a
white t-shirt. Almost normal. In the b.g., Landon's BIKE
CRASHES over. He bounds down the porch steps.

                        LANDON
                 (explaining bike)
          They took my license for 30 days.
          But nobody's pressing charges.

The Reverend looks at Jamie, concerned. Landon tries the
kickstand, then leans the bike against a carefully trimmed
bush. Not the best place.

                        JAMIE
          I'll get something for us to
          drink --

                          LANDON
          Don't bother!

But she's already gone.   The Reverend gestures toward the
open front door.


INT. SULLIVAN LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Dark and prim with stiff furniture left to fade. Landon
pokes around, then stares at a photo of little girl Jamie
with her parents. He looks up, aware that the Reverend is
studying him closely.

                                               (CONTINUED)

                                                            33.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             You know our planet would not
             suffer for one nanosecond if
             humans died off. But if ants
             disappeared, that would be
             catastrophic.

The Reverend waits, letting Landon suffer the silence.

                           LANDON
                    (confidence flagging)
             Apropos of nothing... so. So so
             so so --

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Let's get something straight. You
             don't know me. I don't know you.
             But I know what you're about.
                    (beat)
             Keep your distance from this
             house -- and from Jamie.

His eyes lock with Landon's. His message clear. A NOISE
and Jamie is there, carrying glasses of lemonade, all
cheerful.

                           JAMIE
             I miss anything?


INT. PARSONAGE - KITCHEN - MINUTES LATER

Jamie washes the lemonade glasses, happy.      Her father
comes in.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             The Carter boy. Tell me about
             him.

                           JAMIE
             He wants help with his lines --

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             He was driving the car that hit
             Harold Keene --

                              JAMIE
             By accident --

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Jamie, he's careless. Reckless.
                    (beat)
             Is this really the best time to be
             making a new friend...?

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                         34.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             I'm supposed to always be alone?

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             I don't want you to see him
             outside school activities.

                           JAMIE
             Fine. But I need to start
             deciding how to spend my time and
             my life.

Pause.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
                    (gentler)
             I'm sorry your mother isn't here
             to help you become a woman.

                           JAMIE
             Dad, I've become a woman without
             her. Just not a pretty one.


INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM - ONE AM

Jamie hops out of bed, pulls on jeans and a sweatshirt.


INT. HALLWAY

Jamie peers into her father's room. He's sleeping.     She
tiptoes to the staircase and down. Sneaking out.


EXT. REAR ACCESS ROAD TO CEMETERY - TEN MINUTES LATER

Landon is waiting when Jamie appears. He has scripts in
his back pocket. They smile at each other, laugh.

                          JAMIE
                    (re: her father)
             I know. Don't say anything.

                           LANDON
             He's a softy. Got him wrapped
             around my finger.

                             JAMIE
             You think so.

                             LANDON
             Know so.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                           35.

CONTINUED:

She grins, skeptical.

                              JAMIE
             This way.


ANOTHER ANGLE

Jamie leads Landon toward the cemetery rear gate.

                           JAMIE
             People think I'm strange, don't
             they?

                            LANDON
                     (smiling)
             Yes.

                           JAMIE
             Because I try to be nice to
             people?

                              LANDON
             Yeah.   Maybe.    I dunno.

                           JAMIE
             Do you think I'm strange?

Pause.   Landon's caught off-guard by her frankness.

                            LANDON
             Yeah.   But that can be good.


EXT. CEMETERY - REAR GATE - NIGHT

Jamie quickly scales the fence.       Landon's right after her.

                           LANDON
             Why are we here?


INT. CEMETERY

Jamie drops down.     Takes a flashlight from her bag.

                           JAMIE
             Cuz it's dark and quiet and you
             can see into another world.

                           LANDON
                    (on top of gate)
             The world of the dead?

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                             36.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
                    (being mysterious)
             Could be...

He drops down, not sure what she means.      She's already
walking away. He follows.

                           JAMIE
             My mother's buried near here.

                           LANDON
             My father's alive but it's like
             he's dead.

She looks at Landon, feeling his sorrow, then unlocks a
storage shed. Opens the door. Enters. Returns a moment
later carrying several pieces of an odd-looking home-made
cylindrical device.

                             LANDON
             What is that?

                            JAMIE
                    (proud)
             That is my telescope.


SAME SCENE - MINUTES LATER

The ten-inch Dobsonian telescope is pointed at the sky.
The eye-piece is at the end of the long scope; the scope
rests on a plywood base. Landon looks through the eye-
piece.


POV (THROUGH TELESCOPE) - CLOSE ON GOLDEN PLANET

a beautiful view of a golden planet with a broad, flat
ring system.

WIDEN.

                           LANDON
                    (impressed)
             Saturn. Beautiful.

                            JAMIE
             Before Voyager we expected maybe a
             dozen rings --

                           LANDON
             But there are thousands of them,
             made of floating ice --

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           37.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             Maybe debris from a moon that
             broke apart.

                           LANDON
             Or building blocks for a world
             that never formed.

She looks at him.    He smiles, embarrassed.

                              LANDON
             I'm not smart.     Just a sponge.

She smiles, disagreeing, then looks through the telescope
and changes its view.

                           JAMIE
             Sometimes I come here and just
             scan the heavens.

                           LANDON
                    (joking)
             Looking for intelligent life?

                           JAMIE
             Looking for something -- someone.

Pause.   He doesn't know what to say.

                           LANDON
             Do you believe you'll see your
             mother again?

                           JAMIE
             I hope so.
                    (beat)
             I think maybe she sees me now.

Their eyes meet.     She looks away.    Changes the subject.

                           JAMIE
                    (re: telescope)
             I'm building a larger one to see
             the nucleus of Haley's Comet --

                           LANDON
             The dirty snowball at its core.

                              JAMIE
             Yeah.
                    (beat)
             I'm probably not going to be
             around next time it comes.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                         38.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             In 76 years, me neither.

She likes that he knows a little about astronomy. They
each lean back on a tombstone and stare at the stars.

                           LANDON
             You're really into God, right?

                           JAMIE
             In ten words or less?

                           LANDON
             Yeah.

                           JAMIE
             My relationship with God is my
             own.

                           LANDON
             But you think about Him -- It --
             Her.

                           JAMIE
             Don't you?

                           LANDON
             Not really.

Pause.

                           JAMIE
             When you do, how do you?

Landon could joke or he could reveal something.

                           LANDON
             Like in a church painting. I see
             this giant hovering over the
             ground. He's wearing a robe, and
             has long flowing hair, and he's
             pointing his finger at something.

                           JAMIE
             Do you ever wonder why things
             happen the way they do?

                           LANDON
             No.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                    39.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             I know there's a plan for
             everyone, but sometimes I don't
             understand what the message is --
             or what the point is.

                           LANDON
             There is no point. You live.     You
             die. The end.

                           JAMIE
             Maybe we're not supposed to
             understand, but we're supposed to
             have faith that someone else sees
             the big picture.

                           LANDON
             You have to believe to have faith.

                           JAMIE
             You don't believe in anything?

                           LANDON
             The Bible. Why should I read a
             bunch of dumb stories about some
             ancient guy who supposedly worked
             miracles.

                           JAMIE
             Interpreted by another guy like my
             father.

                           LANDON
             Your father doesn't like me.

Pause.

                           JAMIE
             He doesn't trust you.

                           LANDON
             Sometimes I don't even trust me.

He sits up and pulls Rainmaker scripts from his back
pocket. He holds one out to her. A moment passes. She
takes it.

                           JAMIE
             I'm not afraid of you.

                           LANDON
             Likewise.

                                                          40.

INT. PARSONAGE - HALLWAY - LATER THAT NIGHT

Jamie sneaks from the stairs to her room. Shuts the door.
A light glows under the door, then goes out.


INT. REVEREND SULLIVAN'S BEDROOM

He opens his eyes, listens, then turns over and goes back
to sleep. Not suspecting. Not yet.


INT. LANDON'S BEDROOM - SAME TIME

Dreary. Landon lies in bed, flipping the TV CHANNELS,
past "Square Pegs," "Miami Vice," MTV, to a British nature
documentary. After a moment, he searches for a pen and
paper. Titles it "Life List." Pause. He doesn't know
what to write.


EXT. BEAUFORT HIGH PARKING LOT - MORNING (BEFORE SCHOOL)

Landon, Clay, Eric, Belinda. Eric's pickup is parked by
Belinda's Cabriolet. RADIOS ON, BLASTING the same
station, same song: JOHN FOGERTY's "Rock and Roll Girls."

                           ERIC
             Women are definitely evolving into
             men.

                           CLAY
             The moustaches on some girls.
             Unbelievable.

                           BELINDA
             Why is Jamie Sullivan staring at
             us?

They look.    Jamie's watching them.   They laugh.

                           ERIC
             She wants to jump Landon's bones.

                           BELINDA
             That is so pitiful.

                           LANDON
             She's very confused.

                           CLAY
             Deluded.

                           ERIC
             Deranged.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           41.

CONTINUED:

                            LANDON
             Demented.

                           BELINDA
             She's coming over here...

                           LANDON
             Heart be still.

They laugh more and she's there.

                           JAMIE
                    (to Landon)
             Hi.

He doesn't respond.      She shifts from foot to foot.
Confused.

                           JAMIE
             The play's going to be really
             good.

                           LANDON
                    (mocking her)
             I'm really glad you think so.

His friends snicker and guffaw.      She looks at them, then
back to Landon.

                            JAMIE
             I guess you don't want to practice
             lines tonight.

                           LANDON
             You guessed right.

She gives him a funny look and walks away.      A better
person than he and he knows it.

                           BELINDA
             That's one girl who can't take a
             hint.

                           LANDON
             Because she doesn't know what a
             hint is.

They laugh. Landon the loudest.      It feels good, but he
also feels a little... bad.


INT. GARAGE - NIGHT

Cleaned up. Swept out. The Camaro is still a dented
mess. But Landon drops its hood down, wipes his hands,
and climbs behind the wheel. The ENGINE STARTS.

                                                          42.

INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

No posters of pop stars. Books by Houston Smith, Thomas
Merton, Alan Watts, Carlos Castaneda. Jamie studies,
listening to JONI MITCHELL's "I Wish I Had a River." The
DOORBELL RINGS.


INT. FRONT HALL - MOMENTS LATER

Jamie opens the front door. Landon. A stern voice from
the living room. Reverend Sullivan's.

                        REV. SULLIVAN (O.S.)
          Better not be the Carter boy.

Jamie shuts the door.


EXT. SULLIVAN FRONT PORCH

Landon can't believe this.   He presses the BELL again.

                          LANDON
                   (talking to door)
          Jamie?
                 (beat)
          Open up.
                 (beat)
          Open the door. Please.
                 (long beat)
          Reverend Sullivan, I have to talk
          to your daught--

                        JAMIE
          What is your problem?

She's standing in the front yard.

                        LANDON
          You're not in a very good mood.

                        JAMIE
          You don't miss a thing.


WIDER

He steps down off the porch.

                        LANDON
          The play's in a couple of weeks.

                          JAMIE
          Yes.   And?

                                               (CONTINUED)

                                                         43.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             I was hoping we could run lines
             together.

                            JAMIE
             Oh.   Just not at school...

                            LANDON
             Yeah --

                           JAMIE
             Or anywhere where people might see
             us.

                           LANDON
             Belinda's a very jealous person.

                           JAMIE
             That would be the reason.

Pause.   He thinks she might be going for this.

                           JAMIE
             So it's like you want to be secret
             friends.

                           LANDON
             That's it! Exactly! You're
             reading my mind --

                           JAMIE
             Then maybe you can read mine.

She walks up the porch steps, goes in the front door, and
opens it. Before she goes in:

                           JAMIE
             I thought I saw something in you,
             something good. But I was wrong.


INT. SULLIVAN FRONT HALL - MOMENTS LATER

Jamie leans against the closed door, trembling, almost
crying. In the living room, her father looks up from his
reading, sees Jamie, then parts the curtains, looks out,
glowers.


REVEREND SULLIVAN'S POV - OUT WINDOW

Landon standing in the front yard, confused that Jamie
would reject his generous offer of friendship.

                                                        44.

EXT. FRONT YARD

Landon walks to his car, then yells back at the parsonage.

                        LANDON
          Why do you have to be so weird?!

The front door opens, startling Landon. It's the
Reverend. Red-faced with fury. Landon glares back, but
then climbs in his car and drives off. Ashamed.


INT. PARSONAGE - LIVING ROOM - MINUTES LATER

Jamie sits on the sofa.   Her father doesn't look up from
his reading.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          The first time I met him I knew.
          I'm proud of how you're handling
          yourself.

Tears well and Jamie's face cracks with guilt and
heartbreak. She leaves before her father can see her
distress.


INT. LANDON'S BEDROOM - LATE NIGHT

Landon lies in bed watching another British nature
DOCUMENTARY, this one on astronomy. He reaches for his
school yearbook. Flips the pages until he finds Jamie's
photo.


CLOSE ON JAMIE'S PHOTO

She's smiling and looks almost cute. Listed under her
photo are clubs: Red Cross, Stars and Planets, Drama.
Ambition: To Witness a Miracle.


INT. JEFFERSON HIGH - LIBRARY - SATURDAY MORNING

Landon and Luis sit over the geometry text. Landon has
just asked a question and Luis is shrugging sadly.
Landon's eyes wander out the window.


LANDON'S POV - BASKETBALL HOOP


BACK TO SCENE

                        LANDON
          Let's get outta here.

                                                         45.

EXT. JEFFERSON HIGH - BASKETBALL BLACKTOP - MINUTES LATER

Landon and Luis face each other across the half-court.
Landon's got a ball and is further from the basket.

                        LANDON
          You, me, and the basket. We're
          the three corners of a triangle.
          Take one step in.

Landon and Luis both step forward.

                        LANDON
          Am I at the same angle to you and
          the basket as before?

                          LUIS
          Yeah.

                          LANDON
          Are you?

                          LUIS
          Yeah.

                        LANDON
          So what did we just make?

                        LUIS
          A similar triangle?

                        LANDON
          What else? What kind of triangle
          has three sides of different
          lengths.

                          LUIS
          Scalene?

                         LANDON
          Okay.   Make me an isosceles.

Luis steps outward, directly opposite Landon.

                          LANDON
          Yes!    Two sides the same.

Landon tosses him the ball. They play. Jamie glances
over from a picnic table where she works with her student,
Isabel. Landon looks at her, she looks away, he looks
back. Thoughtful. Watching her. But not staring.


INT. BOOK STORE - EVENING

Landon studies the books in the spiritual/religion shelf.
                                              (CONTINUED)

                                                        46.

CONTINUED:

He picks out a book, then sits in a corner.

But before he opens the text, he looks around him,
suddenly taking in all the books, all the learning, all
the knowledge that could be his.


EXT. SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - WEEK LATER

On the marquee: The Rainmaker. Under this, "All
Invited." Under this, a full parking lot.


INT. AUDITORIUM

A full house. Parents, teachers, students, churchgoers,
booster club and rotary members.


ON STAGE

The set is a wealthy Midwestern ranch house of the 1950s.
Eddie and two other BOYS play other characters. The
play's underway...


STAGE LEFT

Landon watches, dressed as Bill Starbuck in a nicely
fitted suit. Waiting for his entrance.


LANDON'S POV - STAGE

                           BOY #1
                    (as H.C., the father)
             'Then why don't you talk to her?'

                           EDDIE
                    (as Jim)
             'Because if we do, she'll think
             we're trying to get rid of her.'

                           BOY #1
                    (as H.C., the father)
             'She'll sure think the same if I
             do it. You're her father and
             comes a time when a father's gotta
             mention.'


BACK TO SCENE

From stage right, Jamie makes her entrance as Lizzie.   A
collective gasp from the audience.

                                                       47.

LANDON'S POV

Jamie, wearing makeup, a dress that clings, her hair
pulled back.


BACK TO SCENE

Landon can't take his eyes off her.

                         JAMIE
                  (as Lizzie)
           'Morning, Pop. Boys. I dreamed
           we had a rain, rain coming down in
           sheets! Lightning flashed,
           thunder rolled up and down the
           canyon like a kid with a big
           drum!'


AUDIENCE

Reverend Sullivan -- enraptured. Principal Kelly --
hopeful. Cynthia Carter -- uncertain. Clay, Eric, and
Belinda -- rocking in their seats, snickering.

                         JAMIE
                  (as Lizzie)
           'I know why you sent me to
           Sweetriver. Six boys in that
           family. The first three days, I
           stayed in my room.'

                         BOY #2
                  (as Noah, the
                   brother)
           'What'd you do that for?'


BACK OF AUDITORIUM

A well-dressed man, DR. JONATHAN CARTER, Landon's father,
slips in and takes a seat a couple of rows behind Cynthia.

                         JAMIE (O.S.)
                  (as Lizzie)
           'I knew what I was there for and
           they knew it, too!'


BACK OF AUDITORIUM - LATER

Dr. Carter hangs on every word. Others sit on the edge of
their seats. Even Clay, Eric, and Belinda. Belinda leans
forward to take a photo.

                                                       48.

BELINDA'S POV THROUGH CAMERA LENS

As she ZOOMS -- Landon and Jamie on stage, growing larger.


ON STAGE

Landon, Jamie, and the three boys.


ON STAGE - LANDON

is Starbuck.

                         LANDON
                  (as Starbuck,
                   genuine)
           '... You'll look in that mirror
           and you'll be more than pretty.
           You'll be beautiful. Look at me.
           Tell me what you see!'

Jamie looks. She sees something in his eyes she hasn't
seen in them before. Love.

                         JAMIE
                  (as Lizzie, choked
                   up)
           'Is it really me?'


LANDON'S POV

Jamie, her face lovely. Her eyes shining, radiating,
looking directly at him.


BACK TO SCENE

Landon is dumbstruck.

                           LANDON
                    (as Starbuck,
                     heartfelt)
           'Yes.
                  (beat)
           You're beautiful.'

Landon changes the line and nails it. Surprising himself.
Surprising her. They both know it's sincere. A moment
passes. Her stomach churns with anticipation.

He leans in. She closes her eyes. They kiss. Gently,
genuinely. When Jamie opens her eyes, they are filled
with tears.

                                              (CONTINUED)

                                                           49.

CONTINUED:

The curtain crashes down.    End of act two.

CLAPPING from the other side of the curtain. Landon tries
to meet Jamie's gaze. But she's looking at the floor.


AUDIENCE

Principal Kelly, pleased. Cynthia Carter, proud. Clay
and Eric, surprised. Reverend Sullivan, frowning,
concerned. Belinda's face is cold, hard.


EXT. SCHOOL PARKING LOT - HOUR LATER

Landon runs out, looking for his friends.      Mr. Kelly
shakes his hand, then deals with parents.


LANDON'S POV

Belinda getting into her car.


WIDER

                           LANDON
             Belinda!

Belinda stops.

                           BELINDA
             What?!

She waits.    Landon struggles with what to say.

                           BELINDA
             That's what I thought!

Landon watches her START her CAR, back from a parking
space --

                           DR. CARTER
             Landon.

Landon turns.    His father is standing on the curb.

                           DR. CARTER
             Fine performance.

                           LANDON
             Who invited you?

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                                50.

CONTINUED:

                             DR. CARTER
             Ed Kelly.    I thought we might get
             a bite --

                             LANDON
             Not hungry.

Landon moves toward his Camaro.

                          DR. CARTER
             Landon! Please. Don't walk away
             from me.

                           LANDON
             Like you walked away from us?

Landon opens his car door and gets in.         Not forgiving.


INT. BEAUFORT HIGH - CORRIDOR - NEXT MORNING

Landon waits by Jamie's locker.       The BELL RINGS.   No
Jamie.


INT. CAFETERIA - NOON

Landon walks along the lunch line, looking.        No Jamie.


INT. LIBRARY - LATER

Many many books. Landon cruises the stacks. No Jamie.
Belinda, sitting at a table with a girlfriend, sees Landon
and turns away. He doesn't pursue it.


EXT. CARTER DRIVEWAY - DUSK

Eric and Clay watch Landon hammer out dents in the Camaro.
They're smoking, sharing some beers. Josh, the neighbor
kid, stands across the street, wanting to be invited over.

                           ERIC
                    (contemptuous)
             She's like some Puritan.

                             LANDON
             She's not.    She's got her own
             ideas.

                             CLAY
             Mutant ideas.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                             51.

CONTINUED:

                             LANDON
             Maybe to you.

Eric and Clay exchange a look -- is Landon defending her?

                            ERIC
             Belinda's telling everyone that
             kiss was real.

                             LANDON
             It was.

Eric and Clay smirk in disbelief.

                           ERIC
             And that you're scamming on Jamie
             Sullivan.

                           LANDON
                    (not denying it)
             Scamming's a strong word.


INT. BEAUFORT HIGH - CORRIDOR - NEXT MORNING

Landon's waiting when Jamie approaches her locker. Her
hair pulled back. She looks good in a simple, fresh way.

                           LANDON
             You weren't in school yesterday.

                           JAMIE
             I went to the doctor with my
             father.

                             LANDON
             He okay?

                           JAMIE
             Healthy as can be.

Pause. She doesn't help him.          She opens her locker, gets
what she needs.

                           LANDON
             You were great the other night.

                            JAMIE
             Thank you.   So were you.

Pause.   He tries to touch her hair.       She ducks.

                           LANDON
             I haven't been nice to you.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                           52.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             You're hardly nice to anyone.

                           LANDON
                    (sincere)
             I'm sorry.

                           JAMIE
                    (walking away)
             I wish I could believe you.


INT. CAFETERIA - LATER

Jamie sits alone, reading, wearing her old brown sweater.
Landon walks by Clay and Eric at a table.

                           ERIC
             Landon!

                           LANDON
             Later.

Puts his tray down on Jamie's table and sits.      Making a
public statement.

                           JAMIE
             People can see.

                           LANDON
             And that would ruin your
             reputation how?

She goes back to her book.    Ignoring him.

                          LANDON
                    (re: her book)
             What's that?

She doesn't look up.    Shows him the spine:     The Scarlet
Letter.

                           JAMIE
             I'm reading all the novels on Mr.
             Rothberg's best American authors
             list.

                           LANDON
             How many books are there?

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                             53.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
                    (annoyed)
             A hundred. Then there's his
             classics list. And his European
             list.

Landon realizes this is why she's always reading.

                           LANDON
             That on your 'Life List.'    To read
             all those books?

She doesn't deny it.       He just dives in.

                          LANDON
             Jamie. Maybe I want to try being
             positive.

She looks up.    Examines his face for the truth.

                           LANDON
             Maybe I miss doing that dumb play
             with you.

Students seated near them have overheard.      Whisper.

                           LANDON
             Maybe you inspire me.

                           JAMIE
             That sounds like horseshit.

                             LANDON
             Which part?

                             JAMIE
             All of it.

                             LANDON
             It's not.

                             JAMIE
             Prove it.

She picks up her books and tray.      Everyone is watching.

                             LANDON
             I just did!


EXT. PARKING LOT - AFTER SCHOOL

Landon follows Jamie out of the building.      Catches up.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                             54.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             Jamie --

                           JAMIE
             You lack honor. You lack
             compassion. You lack honesty.
             You lack humanity.

She heads to the old Pontiac.       Landon jogs after her.

                          LANDON
             Okay. Maybe some of that is
             true --

                           JAMIE
             You don't know the first thing
             about being someone's friend --

                           LANDON
             I don't want to be just your
             friend --

                           JAMIE
             You don't know what you want --

                           LANDON
             You don't either. Take a look at
             yourself. Maybe you're scared
             that someone might actually like
             you --

                           JAMIE
             And why would that scare me?

                           LANDON
             Because then you couldn't hide
             behind your books and your
             telescope and your sweater and
             your God.

She gets into her car. Slams the door.        STARTS the
ENGINE. She recognizes the truth.

                           LANDON
             But the real reason you're scared?
             You like me!

She drives off. Clay and Eric, watching, guffaw at
Landon's spectacle.

                           LANDON
             If you were really my friends,
             you'd be helping me, not running
             me down.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                          55.

CONTINUED:

                           ERIC
             The only one running you down is
             you.


EXT. BRIDGE OVER INTERCOASTAL WATERWAY - NIGHT

Landon sits alone. Legs dangling over. Lighting and
dropping matches into the black beyond his feet. His body
caught in the occasional sweep of car headlights.

Nearby, an abandoned car.     A rusty old Yugo.


INT. CARTER KITCHEN - NIGHT

Landon comes in from outside. Is surprised to find
Cynthia sipping tea, wearing her uniform.

                           CYNTHIA
             Out with Belinda?

                            LANDON
             That's over.   Way over.

                           CYNTHIA
             I can't know things if you don't
             tell me.

Pause.

                           LANDON
             Dad came to the play.

                           CYNTHIA
                    (surprised)
             You saw him?

                           LANDON
             We talked. He wanted to get a
             bite -- after. I said no.

                           CYNTHIA
                    (disbelief)
             After he moved out, I invited him
             to every practice, every game,
             every parent-teacher conference
             you ever had. He didn't show, not
             once.

                           LANDON
             He wants to show now.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           56.

CONTINUED:

                           CYNTHIA
             You going to let him? You going
             to reward him by being the son he
             was never man enough to be a
             father to?

Landon doesn't answer.

                              CYNTHIA
                    (angry)
             You do that.


INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE SCIENCE LAB - NEXT AFTERNOON

The door is open to a lab where Jamie and the Star Club is
meeting. Landon mops, working hard, while listening in.
Inside, Jamie ignores him.


Mr. Kelly watches from near the trophy case.      Almost
approving.

                           MR. KELLY
             Mr. Carter. Don't wear a hole in
             that one spot there.

Landon grins and moves on. Behind Landon's back, Mr.
Kelly peeks into the science lab. Sees Jamie. Looks back
at Landon. Wonders.


EXT. JEFFERSON HIGH - SATURDAY (DECEMBER)

Landon parks his Camaro.       It's shiny and buffed and
perfect again.


INT. JEFFERSON HIGH - LIBRARY - MINUTES LATER

A Christmas party for the tutors and tutored. A ROCK 'N'
ROLL CHRISTMAS CD plays. A raffle ticket box by the door.
A sign reads: "Win Movie Tickets."

Landon enters, buys a ticket, then takes off his leather
jacket. Underneath, a nice shirt and tie.


LANDON'S POV

Across the room -- Jamie, looking pretty in a dress,
laughing with her student, Isabel. Mr. Kelly talking with
MR. REGINALD ADAMS, principal of Jefferson High.

Luis runs over, diverts Landon's attention.

                                                          57.

FRONT OF ROOM

Mr. Adams goes to a microphone.      Taps it.

                           MR. ADAMS
             Everyone? Quiet please. As you
             all know, we're here to celebrate
             the holidays and to raise money to
             buy books for our library. The
             book drive is being led by
             Beaufort High's Jamie Sullivan.

Applause. This is new. Landon looks at Jamie, who's
smiling. She steps to the microphone.

                           JAMIE
             Thank you for buying tickets.
             We've raised two hundred and
             eighty-five dollars.

More applause.    She steps down.


LANDON AND LUIS

Off to one side.

                           LANDON
                    (to Luis)
             About enough to buy maybe five
             volumes in a set of encyclopedias.

Luis smiles.    Jamie overhears.

                             JAMIE
             It's a start.

                           LANDON
             Yeah, with a finish in about a
             decade.

She smiles.    He looks at her.

                           LANDON
             So you're talking to me?

                           JAMIE
             When I have something to say.

He smiles.

                           LANDON
             What's number one on your list?

She shakes her head.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           58.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             My number one would be getting out
             of Beaufort.

                           JAMIE
             Getting out won't be your problem.
             It'll be figuring out what you
             want when you get somewhere.

She walks away.

                           LANDON
             What does that mean?!

                           JAMIE
                    (turning back)
             It means you can do anything.

Landon smiles, not sure why she believes in him.


EXT. CARTER HOUSE - CHRISTMAS EVENING

Hanging on the front door:       a simple evergreen wreath with
a plaid bow.


INT. CARTER HOUSE - LIVING ROOM

Dark save for a gilded fake tree lit with tiny blinking
lights and the glow of Cynthia's cigarette in the dark.

                          CYNTHIA
             Landon! Come enjoy the tree!
             Landon?!

Landon comes down the stairs. Sits on the sofa.       Wearing
another good shirt. She tries to reach out.

                              CYNTHIA
             You look nice.     I should have
             dressed.

                           LANDON
             You're fine like that, Mom.

                           CYNTHIA
             There's hot cider in the kitchen.

                              LANDON
                       (not moving)
             Thanks.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                          59.

CONTINUED:

                           CYNTHIA
             I haven't seen Clay or Eric
             lately.

                            LANDON
             Me neither.

                           CYNTHIA
             No great loss --

                           LANDON
             I need to go out.

Pause.

                           CYNTHIA
                    (hurt)
             To see your father?

                            LANDON
             No.   I won't be long.

He senses her hurt, but leaves anyway.


INT. PARSONAGE - LIVING ROOM - EVENING

A Christmas tree with large colored lights stand in a
corner. Jamie and her father playing cards. The DOORBELL
RINGS. Then urgent BANGING.

                            JAMIE/REV. SULLIVAN
                    (recognizing)
             Landon Carter.


EXT. PARSONAGE - FRONT PORCH - MOMENTS LATER

Landon slides his backpack off his shoulder.      Pulls out a
shopping bag. Holds it out to Jamie.

                           LANDON
                    (awkward)
             It's a present. Take it.

She does. She opens the bag, pulls out a beautiful pink
sweater. She's overwhelmed.

Without a word, just a happy smile, Landon hops down the
steps toward his car. Reverend Sullivan appears in the
doorway.

                           LANDON
                    (calling back)
             Merry Christmas! And to all a
             good night!

                                                       60.

INT. PARSONAGE - JAMIE'S ROOM - MINUTES LATER

Jamie hums to herself as she brushes her hair. She's
wearing the new sweater. Her father KNOCKS. Enters.

                         REV. SULLIVAN
           What's Landon Carter up to?

                           JAMIE
                    (innocent)
           Up to?

                         REV. SULLIVAN
           I thought we had rid ourselves of
           his disagreeable companionship.

                         JAMIE
           Dad, why don't you get to the
           point where you get to the point.

                         REV. SULLIVAN
           Why is he giving you a gift?

Jamie doesn't answer.

                         REV. SULLIVAN
           Did you give him a gift?

                            JAMIE
           No.

                         REV. SULLIVAN
           I saw the way he looked at you.
           The way he kissed you.

                            JAMIE
           It was a play.

                         REV. SULLIVAN
                  (unconvinced)
           Boys like him have --
           expectations.

                         JAMIE
           I have expectations, too.

Pause.   He's feeling her grow up, grow away.

                         REV. SULLIVAN
           I'm not changing the rules.

                         JAMIE
           I haven't asked you to.

They eye each other.    He's losing her.

                                                         61.

INT. RETIREMENT HOME - HALLWAY - LATER THAT EVENING

A nurse points Landon toward a patient room.     He carries a
battered liquor-store box.


INT. PATIENT ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

A TV flickers. Landon comes in. Opens the box.      Pulls
out the evergreen wreath with the plaid bow.

                       LANDON
          For me. Christmas is all about
          the smells.

Landon leans the wreath in the window. HAROLD KEENE --
the old man from the accident, watches from his bed,
baffled.

                        LANDON
          Pine's my favorite. That and
          cider with cloves.

Landon pulls a Thermos from his coat pocket.     Unscrews the
cap. Finds a drinking cup. Pours in cider.       Offers
Harold the cup.

                           HAROLD
          Who are you?

                           LANDON
          Landon Carter.     I was driving the
          car that --

                           HAROLD
          You.

                           LANDON
          Me.

Harold takes the cup, looks Landon over.    Landon appears
genuinely contrite.

                        LANDON
          I'm very sorry --

                        HAROLD
          What kind of a man are you, son?

Pause.

                        LANDON
                 (honest)
          I don't know that I am -- a man.
          Yet. I'm working on it.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                             62.

CONTINUED:

Pause.

                           HAROLD
             I've worked on it my whole life.

Harold reaches under his pillow.         Pulls out a small bottle
of liquor. Tops off his cider.

                           HAROLD
             Get yourself a glass.

                           LANDON
             No. Thanks. Gotta keep my wits
             for the drive home.

Harold nods, liking Landon.

                           HAROLD
             You'll sit a while.

                              LANDON
             I will.


EXT. RURAL ROADS - LATER THAT NIGHT

Landon speeds, the windows open, WIND WHIPPING, DIRE
STRAITS BLASTING. The Camaro turns and brakes and turns
again, kicking up gravel, raising hell. The car slides to
a stop.


INT. CAMARO

Landon turns OFF the RADIO. Sits still. Wipes the
rearview mirror clean, spotless. Unties the dangling
plastic skeleton and pockets it.


EXT. USED CAR LOT - NEXT MORNING

Colorful banners and flags flap in the brisk WIND.        Landon
talks with a used car SALESMAN.

                              SALESMAN
             Eight hundred.

                           LANDON
             It's got a new V-6 and
             transmission. Alloy wheels.
                    (beat)
             Twelve hundred.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                           63.

CONTINUED:

                           SALESMAN
             Nine-fifty.

                           LANDON
             New paint. Extra chrome.     Not a
             scratch anywhere.

                           SALESMAN
             The interior is --

                           LANDON
             Reconditioned. Completely. Be a
             collector's someday. Twelve
             hundred.

They look at the Camaro.    Shining in the sun.

                           SALESMAN
             You can't expect me to pay you for
             your -- attachment to that car.

Landon gazes at another dealership across the street, then
adopts the surly, vaguely-threatening attitude of old.

                          LANDON
             I don't. I expect you to pay me
             for yours.

The Salesman looks from Landon to the car. He pulls a wad
of cash from his pocket. Wearily counts out twelve bills.
Landon takes the money, touches the Camaro's hood, then
walks away.


EXT. BEAUFORT HIGH - FRONT LAWN - NEXT MORNING

The marquee reads, "HAPPY HOLIDAYS!"


EXT. SCHOOL PARKING LOT - SAME TIME

One car. An old station wagon.        At the parking space, a
sign: "School Principal Only."


INT. PRINCIPAL KELLY'S OFFICE

Kelly looks up from paperwork.

                           MR. KELLY
             Landon?

Landon drops a folded wad of hundreds on the desk.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                          64.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             For Jefferson High. For books.

                           MR. KELLY
                    (suspicious)
             Where did you get -- ?

                            LANDON
                    (angry)
             It's mine to give. I didn't steal
             it.

                           MR. KELLY
             I didn't say you did.

But his tone implied it and Landon's already gone. Kelly
is immediately sorry. He goes to his window and sees
Landon pedal away on the old bike.


EXT. CARTER DRIVEWAY - NEXT DAY

Landon watches a tow truck lower the abandoned Yugo. When
the car is down, he sees Jamie standing on the sidewalk.


EXT. FOOT OF DRIVEWAY - MOMENTS LATER

Landon faces Jamie.

                           LANDON
             Hey.

                           JAMIE
             I heard what you did.   Thank you.

He nods, but quickly changes the subject.

                           LANDON
                    (re: the Yugo)
             She great or what?

                           JAMIE
             Why are you doing all this?   To
             impress me?

                           LANDON
             No.
                    (beat)
             But are you -- impressed?

She smiles.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           65.

CONTINUED:

                             JAMIE
             Like fire.

                             LANDON
             What?

                             JAMIE
             You.

She heads for her father's old Pontiac.

                           LANDON
             New Year's Eve. Would you go out
             with me?!

She stops.    Turns around.    Surprised.

                             JAMIE
             Yes.    But not as a date date.

                             LANDON
             Why not?

                           JAMIE
             I'm not allowed to date.

She smiles and gets in the car.


EXT. SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH - NEXT AFTERNOON

Landon follows signs for the church office.


INT. HALLWAY BY REVEREND SULLIVAN'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

Landon looks into the Reverend's office.


LANDON'S POV

Reverend Sullivan is sitting behind his desk, examining
legal-looking documents and records. He takes his glasses
off, rubs his eyes.


BACK TO SCENE

Landon knocks.       The Reverend looks up, furrows his brow.

                           LANDON
             Reverend Sullivan. Can I ask you
             something?

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                           66.

CONTINUED:

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Does it have to do with Jamie?

                           LANDON
             Yes, sir.

The Reverend makes a small motion and Landon enters.


INT. REVEREND'S OFFICE

Landon doesn't sit.

                           LANDON
             I'd like to take Jamie to dinner
             on New Year's Eve.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             That won't be possible.

He looks back to his papers.    End of conversation.

                           LANDON
             I'm sorry I haven't always treated
             Jamie the way -- I should have.
             She deserves better.

Reverend Sullivan glances up.       As if surprised Landon is
still there.

                           LANDON
             I care for her.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             I don't want to see her hurt.

                           LANDON
             I wouldn't do that --

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             This week.

                           LANDON
             Ever again.

The Reverend looks out the window. A gray day, cold,
bitter, stark. He considers his options.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Have her home by one. And drive
             carefully.

                                                           67.

EXT./INT. YUGO (CARTER DRIVEWAY) - FEW DAYS LATER

Landon's under the Yugo's hood.     Josh, the kid from next
door, is in the driver's seat.

                        LANDON
          Start the engine.

Josh turns the key. Nothing happens.     Under the hood,
Landon changes something.

                           LANDON
          Again.

Josh tries the engine again.    Still no go.   Landon changes
something else.

                           LANDON
          One more time.

Josh tries one more time. The ENGINE ROARS, then DIES,
then amazingly STARTS again. It's running. Landon high-
fives Josh, then sees an old station wagon turn in.


EXT./INT. STATION WAGON - MOMENTS LATER

Kelly hands a paper to Landon.

                        MR. KELLY
          Your grades for fall semester.
          They're -- good.

                        LANDON
                 (incredulous)
          You came here to give me my report
          card?

                        MR. KELLY
          I've seen students with records
          like yours go to J.C. for a couple
          of years, then transfer to a good
          college.

Landon understands what Kelly is implying.

                        MR. KELLY
          I'd gladly write you a letter of
          recommendation.

                           LANDON
          Thank you.

                        MR. KELLY
          You're welcome.

They shake hands.

                                                      68.

INT. LANDON'S BATHROOM - NEW YEAR'S EVE

Landon, dressed with care, faces the mirror and wet combs
his hair.


INT. FLAUVIN'S - HOUR LATER

A seafood joint on the waterfront. Quaint, not fancy.
Twinkle lights illuminate Jamie's face. Landon finds her
lovely. Jamie picks.

                        JAMIE
          I can't believe you asked my
          father's permission.

                        LANDON
          I wanted this to be a date.

She watches Landon, happy, then perplexed.


JAMIE'S POV

Landon wolfing down his food.


BACK TO SCENE

                        JAMIE
          Is there a rush?

                        LANDON
          I have to get you home by one.

                        JAMIE
          It's only 7:30.

                        LANDON
          We're going somewhere. After.
          And no. I didn't ask your father.


INT. YUGO - TRAVELING - NIGHT

Landon drives. The CARS' "Tonight She Comes" PLAYS.   He
belches loudly, dramatically.

                        JAMIE
          Excuse you.

                        LANDON
          Your turn.

                                              (CONTINUED)

                                                          69.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
                    (laughing)
             No.

                           LANDON
             I know you want to.

She grins.    And tries.   A small burp.

                           LANDON
             Bring the air all the way up from
             your stomach.

He belches again.    Just as loud.   She tries again,
laughing.


EXT. YUGO

Landon steers the car into a parking lot for a miniature
golf course with a castle-shaped video arcade and Little
League diamond. A family entertainment center.


INT. YUGO

Jamie sees where they are.

                           LANDON
             Before we do this.

                           JAMIE
             We're doing something -- ?

                           LANDON
             Before we do this, I just want to
             say that a good life's gotta be
             about more than achieving stuff --
             like on your list.

She waits for more.

                            LANDON
             It's about working with what you
             already have -- right now -- at
             your fingertips -- you know,
             spontaneously.

                           JAMIE
             What are you talking about?

                           LANDON
             That little bit of larceny in your
             heart.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                          70.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             Excuse me?

                           LANDON
             Fun.


INT. BATTING CAGE - NIGHT

Jamie's in the cage with a helmet on.    A machine tosses
balls. Landon coaches from outside.

                           LANDON
             Swing! Keep your bat parallel to
             the ground. Follow through.
             Follow through!

Jamie is laughing too hard to hit anything. The balls
keep coming. She ducks out of the way and grasps the
fence and leans in. Landon leans in on his side. They'd
be embracing if the fence weren't there.

In the b.g., kids from their school.    Giggling,
whispering.

Landon looks over at them.

                           LANDON
                    (to Jamie)
             Let's go.


EXT. HIGHWAY - TRAVELING - NIGHT

The YUGO ROARS down the asphalt.    A sign for the
approaching state line whips by.


INT. YUGO - TRAVELING - NIGHT

Jamie and Landon.    With STEVIE NICKS' "Talk to Me" ON the
RADIO.

                           LANDON
             The cells in our bodies are always
             changing. In six or seven years
             all your cells have changed. You
             could be like a completely new
             person from the inside out.

                           JAMIE
             That what's happening to you, only
             faster?

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           71.

CONTINUED:

He grins.    Pulls the car over.

                            LANDON
             Get out.   Come on.

He leaps out, leaving the headlights on.


EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - NIGHT

Landon takes Jamie's hand and pulls her toward some
invisible place.

                           JAMIE
             Where -- what -- are we -- ?

He keeps tugging her.     She follows him.   Laughing.

                           LANDON
             Stand right here.

                            JAMIE
             Where?

He leans down and lifts one of her feet a foot from the
other. He notices a large bruise on her leg. She brushes
her dress down.

                           JAMIE
             You're acting like a crazy person.

                           LANDON
             You're straddling the state line.
             You're in two places at once.

She's thrilled at his solution to her wish.       He walks to
the shoulder of the road.

                           LANDON
             Repeat after me.

Huh?   He does a cartwheel.    She laughs.

                            JAMIE
             I can't.

                           LANDON
             I'm gonna teach you.


EXT. BEACH (NEUSE RIVER) - LATE NIGHT

A starry night with a bright moon. Glimmering silver
water. Jamie and Landon walk onto a dock. DISTANT
FIREWORKS BOOM.
                                             (CONTINUED)

                                                            72.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             It's places like this that make me
             certain there's a God.

                           LANDON
                    (surprised)
             You're sometimes not sure?

                             JAMIE
             I'm sure.    Pretty sure.

They reach the end of the dock. She turns to face the
WIND. It blows her hair. She turns his face the same
way.

                           JAMIE
             It's like the wind. I can't see
             it but I feel it.

He closes his eyes.       Feeling the wind.   Opens them again,
rejecting the idea.

                           LANDON
             We can measure wind.

                            JAMIE
             Uncertainty makes you
             uncomfortable.

                           LANDON
             What do you actually know with
             religion?

                              JAMIE
             Wonder.     Beauty. Joy.
                       (beat, quieter)
             Love.

She's embarrassed.       She tries to avoid implying anything.

                           JAMIE
             My mother told me God is love, so
             when you're feeling love, you're
             feeling God.
                    (beat)
             I think talking about these things
             -- threatens their very beauty and
             mystery.

Her tone is matter-of-fact, but Landon's got a serious and
tender look on his face. He touches her hair.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                         73.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
                    (almost a whisper)
             I don't understand...

                           LANDON
             Maybe you're not supposed to.

He moves closer.

                           LANDON
             I might kiss you.

She looks down.    Shy.

                           JAMIE
             I might do it wrong.

                           LANDON
                    (tenderly)
             Not possible.

He touches her neck, her cheek, her mouth. Then leans in
and kisses her. A tender, soft kiss. He pulls away.
They look at each other a moment.

                           LANDON
             I love you, Jamie.

There, he put it out there, risked looking and feeling
foolish. Not the old Landon. Jamie looks away. Mixed
emotions. Happy and sad.

                           LANDON
                    (gently)
             Now's when you say something.

                           JAMIE
                    (overwhelmed)
             I can't.
                    (beat)
             I can't -- explain.

She turns back to him, her eyes shining.     She touches his
face and they kiss again, deeply.

But after a few moments, she drops her chin onto his
shoulder. Smiling, glowing even, but slightly aloof,
staring at the water. He pulls away slightly to study her
face. He touches her cheek and brings her back from
wherever she's been.

                           JAMIE
             You make me feel...

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                             74.

CONTINUED:

                             LANDON
                      (hopeful)
             Loved?

                             JAMIE
                      (smiling)
             That.    And less strange.

Tears run down her cheeks. Landon wipes them away with
his thumbs, attributing them to happiness.


EXT. PARSONAGE - FRONT PORCH - LATER

Landon follows Jamie up the steps. The lights in the
living room are on. THROUGH the windows, they can see her
father taking down the Christmas tree.

                              JAMIE
             Be very quiet.

He pulls her to him.      Kisses her.     The front door opens.

                            REV. SULLIVAN
                    (embarrassed)
             Hello, Landon.

Landon and Jamie separate, but Landon keeps an arm over
her shoulder.

                              LANDON
             Hey, Reverend.

Reverend Sullivan studies the two young people.

                           LANDON
                    (whispers to Jamie)
             Happy New Year.

And he goes. Jamie walks by her father and into the
house. Not saying anything. He watches her. What has he
allowed?


EXT. BEAUFORT HIGH - COURTYARD - DAY

Landon and Jamie head into school.        Landon nods to
Belinda, others. They glare back.

                           LANDON
                    (to Belinda and
                     others)
             What's your damage?

                                                        75.

INT. CORRIDOR - MOMENTS LATER

Landon and Jamie arrive at his locker.    It's been kicked
in.

                           LANDON
          Assholes.     This happen to you?

                           JAMIE
          Twice a year.

Bang, bang, bang. Landon kicks in every locker in his
row. A dozen in all. Jamie watches, a little frightened
by his anger. But then he turns to her and grins.

                        LANDON
          Now they all match.


INT. CAFETERIA - NOON

Landon eats alone, ignored by Eric and Clay. Jamie
approaches with her tray, red-faced, tearful.

She hesitates about sitting -- feeling bad that Landon's
being diminished, ostracized. She thinks he doesn't see
her. But as she turns to leave, he pulls a chair out for
her and smiles. She sits. Landon sees her face.

                           LANDON
          What's wr--?

                        JAMIE
                 (choked up)
          The Challenger exploded.
          Principal Kelly's about to make an
          announcement.

The PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM CRACKLES.    Landon takes Jamie's
hand as the room hushes.

                           LANDON
          Come on.

                           JAMIE
          Where?

                        LANDON
          Away from here.


EXT. FIRE TOWER (CONSERVATION LAND) - STAIRS - HOUR LATER

Landon leads Jamie up, round and round, to the top of the
tall steel tower.

                                                            76.

EXT. TOP OF TOWER - VIEWING AREA

They exit the staircase to a small 360 degree overlook.
Jamie's amazed at the view.

                        JAMIE
          How do you know this place?

                        LANDON
          Before the divorce. My father
          used to take me here. Fire
          spotting was his summer job.

They look off to the curve of the horizon, where sea meets
sky.

                         LANDON
          From here he proved to me the
          earth isn't flat.
                  (beat)
          On rainy days, we'd be above the
          clouds.

                        JAMIE
          What would you do up here?

                          LANDON
          Look.   Talk.   Not talk.

He pulls a deck of cards from his jacket pocket. They sit
and he starts to shuffle. Not too well. Jamie takes the
deck. Shuffles like a card shark.


EXT. CEMETERY - REAR GATE - NIGHT (FEW DAYS LATER)

Jamie is already waiting when Landon's Yugo pulls up.       He
gets out, walks to her, they kiss.

                        LANDON
          What'd you tell your father?

                         JAMIE
          The truth.   I just left you out of
          it.

She climbs up and over the wall.      He follows.


EXT. INSIDE CEMETERY - MINUTES LATER

Jamie fits the pieces of her telescope together.

                        LANDON
          When did you build this?

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                            77.

CONTINUED:

                              JAMIE
             I was twelve.

Landon shakes his head, amazed.

                           JAMIE
             It's not that complicated.

Landon doubts this.

                           JAMIE
             It's an alt-azimuth design with
             one parabolic mirror and one
             secondary flat one.

                           LANDON
             Where's the one you're building?

                           JAMIE
             In my back yard.
                    (pause, embarrassed)
             I lied before. It's hardly
             started. But when it's done, it
             will have twice the power of this
             one --

                              LANDON
             Wait, back up.     You lied?

                              JAMIE
             Kinda.   Yeah.

He grins, loving her even more.

                           JAMIE
             So what do you want to see?

                              LANDON
             Mars.

                           JAMIE
             Mars doesn't rise until 2:30
             A.M. --

He opens his backpack.        Pulls out the contents.

                           LANDON
             A Thermos of hot coffee.       A
             blanket. Socks.

                           JAMIE
             You planned this --

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                             78.

CONTINUED:

                             LANDON
             Hoped for it.

Pause.

                           JAMIE
             Are you trying to seduce me?

                             LANDON
             No.   Why?   Are you seducible?

                            JAMIE
                     (firm, but smiling)
             No.

                           LANDON
             That's what I thought.

He reaches back into his backpack.      Pulls out a second
blanket.

                           LANDON
             Ergo, a second blanket.   One for
             me, one for you.

He hands her one.     She takes it, smiling, reassured.

                             JAMIE
             Ergo?

                           LANDON
                    (slightly embarrassed)
             What about your father?

                           JAMIE
             I'm always home by midnight and
             he's always asleep.


INT. PARSONAGE - REVEREND SULLIVAN'S BEDROOM - MIDNIGHT

Reverend Sullivan sits up in bed.      His feet find slippers
on the floor.


INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Reverend Sullivan, wearing a robe, enters quietly.
Checking on his daughter. Her bed is empty.


EXT. STREET TO ACCESS ROAD - LATER

The old Pontiac slows.

                                                      79.

INT. OLD PONTIAC

Reverend Sullivan looks down the access road to the rear
cemetery gate.


REVEREND'S POV

The Yugo parked by the gate.


BACK TO SCENE

The Reverend struggles with what to do. After a moment,
he decides not to interfere; he'll pick his moment. He
keeps driving.


INT. CEMETERY

Jamie and Landon are looking at the heavens through the
telescope.

                           LANDON
          Where's Pluto?

                        JAMIE
          In Virgo, but it's about 1000
          times too faint to see.

                        LANDON
          What's the best thing I can see
          tonight?

                           JAMIE
          Me.

He draws her close, they kiss. She shyly pulls away.
Their hands still touching until she looks again into the
telescope eyepiece.

                        JAMIE
          The second best thing is Jupiter.

She swivels the telescope into position for Jupiter and
steps aside so he can look. But he picks up the
flashlight, pulls a diagram from his pocket.

                        LANDON
          Can you locate XXI5639I?

                           JAMIE
          Sure.

She takes the diagram, studies it, and adjusts the scope.

                                              (CONTINUED)

                                                              80.

CONTINUED:

                            JAMIE
             Here.   Why am I looking at this
             star?

                            LANDON
             Because I had it named for you.     I
             know it's not an official
             designation --

She couldn't be happier.     She reaches for his hand.

                           JAMIE
             It's wonderful. I love you.

It's the first time he's heard it. He pulls her into his
arms. They kiss. Passionately. She starts to object.

                            LANDON
                     (respecting her
                      boundaries)
             Okay.   I'm stopping.

And he does.    They snuggle.   Silence, then:

                           LANDON
             What's number one?

Long pause.

                           JAMIE
                    (very shy)
             In April when the dogwoods and
             wisteria are blooming... Get
             married.

He doesn't make fun.     He strokes her hair.    Kisses her
forehead.


INT. KITCHEN - 5 AM

Landon enters from outside. Cynthia, still in her
waitress uniform, is sitting at the table, drinking
coffee.

                           CYNTHIA
             A late night or an early morning?

                           LANDON
                    (honest)
             Late night.
                    (smart-aleck)
             You?

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                           81.

CONTINUED:

                           CYNTHIA
             Were you with Jamie?

                           LANDON
             Yeah.

                           CYNTHIA
             You sleeping with her?

Landon doesn't dignify this question with an answer.

                           CYNTHIA
             I was cleaning yesterday.   I found
             this.

She pulls Landon's Life List from her pocket.      Landon is
horrified. She reads it.

                            CYNTHIA
             Scuba dive. Touch a moon rock.
             Learn to read Egyptian
             hieroglyphs. Go to college?
                    (pause)
             She talking to you 'bout this
             stuff?

Landon doesn't answer. She puts the list on the table.
Smoothes it. Gently discouraging.

                           CYNTHIA
             Honey, some of this is...
             farfetched. You take after me.
             People skills and common sense.
             Good dependable qualities.

                           LANDON
             I could take after Dad, too.

                          CYNTHIA
             You do. You're handsome and
             charming.

                           LANDON
             I meant he's a doctor.

                           CYNTHIA
             That's eight years of school and
             training -- after college. And
             all that doesn't necessarily make
             you a better human being.

                           LANDON
             I could do it if I tried.   Even
             Kelly thinks so.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                          82.

CONTINUED:

                           CYNTHIA
             That'd be something.

She doesn't want to discourage him, but she wants him to
be practical and realistic.

                           CYNTHIA
             But if it doesn't happen, grab for
             something within reach. Life's
             tough enough without causing
             yourself disappointment --

                           LANDON
                    (angry now)
             Whatever my life is, I'm going to
             be friggin' sure I'm never
             disappointed --

                           CYNTHIA
                    (honest)
             Disappointment isn't something
             anyone plans for.
                    (quieter)
             It catches you by surprise.

Long pause.    They are both sorry to have raised their
voices.

                           CYNTHIA
             Have I told you how proud I am of
             you -- ?

                           LANDON
             Mom, great. But what I want is
             for me to be proud of me.


INT. PARSONAGE - SULLIVAN DINING ROOM - EVENING

Landon eats dinner with Jamie and Reverend Sullivan.
Silence, then:

                            REV. SULLIVAN
             Landon.   You're not the quiet
             type.

                            LANDON
             No.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             So talk to us about something.

                           LANDON
             Like what, sir?

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           83.

CONTINUED:

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             You decide.

Landon searches his mind for just the right subject.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             How about your family?

                            LANDON
             Okay.  Sure.
                    (beat)
             My grandfather. When he was
             seven, he shook the hand of an old
             guy, a war vet or something, who
             had once shaken President
             Lincoln's hand.
                    (pause)
             Made a big impression on him.

Reverend Sullivan looks at his daughter.       She's nodding,
interested.

                           LANDON
             My cousin Mike. He's from a big
             family. He's the fifth kid. He
             heard that every fifth child in
             the world is Chinese. So he
             thought he was.

Jamie smiles.

                           LANDON
             We didn't tell him any different
             for years --

                            REV. SULLIVAN
                    (getting to the
                     point)
             Your parents are divorced?

                           LANDON
             Since I was five. My mom's a
             cocktail waitress.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             How do you -- the two of you --
             get by?

                           LANDON
             Materially or spiritually?

                           REV. SULLIVAN
                    (surprised)
             Either. Both.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                           84.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
                    (honest)
             I don't know. We used to try to
             believe in each other.

His eyes meet the Reverend's.      The Reverend's got to
respect him some.


INT. SULLIVAN KITCHEN - NIGHT

Reverend Sullivan looks out the window into the back yard.


HIS POV

Jamie showing Landon the junk pile that will become her
newer, larger telescope. They are laughing, jostling each
other, comfortable, happy.


INT. PARSONAGE - SULLIVAN KITCHEN - LATER THAT NIGHT

Reverend Sullivan and Jamie put the dishes away.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             You and the Carter boy. Want to
             catch me up on recent
             developments?

                           JAMIE
             You're asking if we're involved?

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             I'm asking how much.

                           JAMIE
             Dad --

                            REV. SULLIVAN
             It's time to tell him.
                    (pause)
             It would be the right thing.

She turns to him, upset.    Her anger spilling out.

                           JAMIE
             Maybe. But that's not the real
             reason. You think if I tell,
             he'll disappear and that's what
             you want! Me all to yourself!

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           85.

CONTINUED:

                            REV. SULLIVAN
                     (calm, stung)
             No.   I want what's best for you.

                           JAMIE
             This -- him -- Landon -- is what's
             best for me!

                             REV. SULLIVAN
             You're sure?    You're sure you can
             trust him?

He's playing to her old insecurities.      She's not one
hundred percent sure.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
                    (gentler)
             Isn't it better to know?

Their eyes meet.     She knows he's right.


EXT. MOVIE THEATER - EVENING (EARLY FEBRUARY)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Three Amigos! on the marquee.

Landon and Jamie exit as Belinda and a new boyfriend buy
tickets. Clay and Eric and a crowd behind them.

                             LANDON
             Hey, Belinda.

She takes her boyfriend's arm, turns away, snubbing him.

                             LANDON
             Clay, Eric.

Eric says something inaudible and the whole crowd sniggers
and laughs. He's become Landon. Landon reddens, now
realizing for certain that he's become a Jamie Sullivan.


EXT. SIDEWALK (DOWNTOWN BEAUFORT) - MOMENTS LATER

Landon and Jamie walk.       The theater in the b.g.

                           JAMIE
                    (re: his status)
             From citizen high to citizen low.

                             LANDON
             I don't care.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                            86.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             Care, but just don't let it get to
             you. It gives them power.

                           LANDON
             That what you do?

                            JAMIE
             Yes.   I try to keep my power.

He's impressed with how she manages.

                           LANDON
             One of your secrets.

                           JAMIE
                    (serious)
             Yes, one of many.

He doesn't notice her tone.


INT. YUGO - TRAVELING - NIGHT

WHITNEY HOUSTON's "How Will I Know?" ON the RADIO. Jamie
flips the RADIO OFF. She's got something on her mind.
Landon notices only that she seems a bit remote.

                           LANDON
             You're worried about your college
             applications.

                           JAMIE
             I'm not applying to college.

                           LANDON
                    (stunned)
             But you said --

                           JAMIE
             No, you assumed.

He looks at her, questioning.       She's looking out her
window.

                           LANDON
             You're going to take a year off?
             Join the Peace Corps -- ?

                            JAMIE
             No.

                           LANDON
             What are you going to -- ?

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                              87.

CONTINUED:

                              JAMIE
             Pull over.

                              LANDON
             Where?   Why?

                            JAMIE
             Pull over.   Now. Please.

Tears are running down her face.        He pulls the car over.


EXT. WOODS BY SIDE OF ROAD - MOMENTS LATER

Jamie gets out of the car.       Landon quickly follows.

                              LANDON
             Jamie --

                              JAMIE
             I'm sick.

                           LANDON
             Then I'll take you home.      You'll
             feel better tomorrow.

He tries to take her arm. She shakes off his hand, steps
back. Wanting to be heard and understood.

                          JAMIE
             Landon. I'm sick -- with
             leukemia.

Landon tries to say something.         Nothing comes out.   His
soul numb.

                           JAMIE
             I found out last winter. I'm not
             responding to treatment anymore.

His face crumples with pain and anguish.

                           LANDON
             Why didn't you tell me?

                            JAMIE
             The doctors said to do everything
             the same as long as possible.
                    (pause)
             I didn't want anyone being --
             weird around me.

                              LANDON
             Including me?!

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                            88.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             Especially you.
                    (long beat)
             God gives me an illness, then you.
             A cruel joke.

She gets in the car. Slams her door shut.       He stands
there, not knowing what to do.


EXT. YUGO - TRAVELING - LATER

Landon pulls up in front of Jamie's house.      A long quiet
ride.

                           LANDON
             I'm not letting you die.

Jamie just looks at him.    Feeling sorry for him -- what he
wants doesn't matter.


INT. SULLIVAN KITCHEN - LATE NIGHT

The Reverend and Landon drink coffee.

                            REV. SULLIVAN
             It's her decision and she's
             decided not to tell people -- at
             least for now.

                           LANDON
             How -- how long does she have?

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Two, three months. Maybe less.
             Maybe more.

                           LANDON
             So you've given up.

Reverend Sullivan hears the challenge in his voice.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Her doctors have. Jamie and I.
             We're still praying for a miracle.

                           LANDON
                    (disdainful)
             Praying.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Landon. We've lived with this for
             over a year now and --

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                      89.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             If there is a God, how could he
             let this happen??!!

It's a long answer and by the time the Reverend opens his
mouth to explain, Landon's out the door.


EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT

Moonless dark. Few cars. The YUGO RIPS down the road.
Landon opens a map over the steering wheel. Turns on the
dome light. Looks at the return address on an old letter.


EXT. CITY STREETS (RALEIGH) - 3 A.M.

Landon's Yugo winds through city streets.


EXT. RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD (RALEIGH) - MINUTES LATER

Mansions. Big lawns. The Yugo slows as Landon leans
forward to read a street sign. His face is tear-streaked.
He flicks his headlights to bright, then low again.

The car turns left.


EXT. DR. CARTER'S HOME - MINUTE LATER

Large new colonial. Landon slams his car door and stands
in the street. Staring at his father's house. He heads
up a flagstone path for the front door.


EXT. FRONT DOOR - MOMENTS LATER

Landon RINGS the resounding DING-DONG BELL, then bangs on
the heavy wood door. Grief-stricken.

                           LANDON
             Dr. Carter!... Carter!... Dad!
             Please!! I have to talk to you!!


INT. DR. CARTER'S HOME

Elegant, thick carpets. Dr. Carter, putting on his robe,
parts the silk drapes in the upstairs hall.

                                                         90.

DR. CARTER'S POV

His son standing on the front lawn.     Distraught, tearful.

                           LANDON
          Open the door!     Please!!


EXT. DR. CARTER'S HOME

Landon backs away from the house. Angrily kicks over a
decorative planter. Is halfway to his car when Dr. Carter
opens the door and comes out.

                           DR. CARTER
          Landon!

Landon doesn't hear.

                           DR. CARTER
          Landon!!

Landon turns around. Sees his father. Breaks down,
sobbing. His father goes to him. Hugs him, a big bear
hug.

                        LANDON
          You have to save her!

                         DR. CARTER
          Landon, who?   Is your mother all
          right?

Lights pop upstairs.

                        LANDON
          It's Jamie -- my girlfriend -- she
          has cancer -- you have to come
          look at her -- right now!

                        DR. CARTER
                 (calm, trying to
                  diffuse)
          It's the middle of the night --

                        LANDON
          I don't give a shit what time it
          is!

Landon pulls away.   Angrier.

                        DR. CARTER
          Landon, I'm a cardiologist, not an
          oncologist --

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                             91.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             You're a doctor, aren't you?!!

He waves his father off, dismissing him.

                            DR. CARTER
             Landon!   I'll look into it!!

But Landon hasn't heard. He's in his car. Dr. Carter
watches his son's car move away, regretful.


INT. CARTER KITCHEN - DAWN

Landon quietly shuts the back door.        Exhausted.   Starts
making coffee. Cynthia appears.

                           CYNTHIA
             Your father called.

No response.

                           CYNTHIA
             Jamie's a patient at his hospital.
             He's having a colleague look at
             her chart this morning.

Long pause.

                            CYNTHIA
             I'm sorry.   I didn't know.

                           LANDON
             I didn't know either.


EXT. PARSONAGE - EARLY MORNING

The Yugo parked in the driveway. The morning paper lying
on the grass. Landon paces in front of the front porch.
Incapable of ringing the bell, lacking the courage,
lacking the right words.

Upstairs, the curtains move.


INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM

Jamie looks out the window.


JAMIE'S POV

Landon pacing, talking to himself.

                                                        92.

BACK TO SCENE

She starts to raise the window, to say something, to help
him, but then lets the curtain drop. She needs for him to
decide, for him to be ready to face this with her.

The sound of a CAR.   She looks out the window again.


JAMIE'S POV

The Yugo driving away.


INT. LANDON'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT DAY

Landon lies on his bed in the dark. The PHONE RINGS.
Landon stares at his extension. The RINGING STOPS. A
voice from downstairs.

                        CYNTHIA (O.S.)
          It's your father.

Landon picks up his phone.


INT. UPSTAIRS HALL - TWO MINUTES LATER

The door to Landon's room is ajar. Cynthia waits outside.
Listening. Hearing nothing. She pushes the door open.


CYNTHIA'S POV

Landon sitting on his bed.   Deflated.

                        LANDON
          He can't do anything.


BACK TO SCENE

Cynthia is pained to see his suffering.

                        CYNTHIA
          If it's incurable --

                        LANDON
          I told him to leave me alone.

                         CYNTHIA
          Landon --

                        LANDON
                 (re: Jamie)
          It was the only thing I've ever
          asked him!

                                                        93.

INT. LANDON'S BEDROOM - EVENING (NEXT DAY)

Landon's still in bed. Facing the wall.     Cynthia KNOCKS.
Enters with a plate of food.

                        CYNTHIA
          I brought some dinner.

No response.   She leaves the tray and goes.


INT. PARSONAGE - SULLIVAN KITCHEN - SAME TIME

Jamie and her father eat dinner.   Jamie is red-eyed,
heartbroken.

                        JAMIE
                 (not sure at all)
          He'll call.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          I wanted to think he'd changed.

                          JAMIE
                  (angry)
          No you didn't.
                  (beat)
          But he did change. Just not
          enough.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          Jamie, you're not mad at me.
          You're mad at Landon --

                        JAMIE
                 (furious)
          I am mad at you! And at Landon!
          And the universe! And God!
                 (quieter)
          I don't even know where to put all
          my anger.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          That's normal. God accepts your
          anger. He won't punish you.

                        JAMIE
          By making me ill, he is punishing
          me!
                 (quieter)
          I just don't know what for.

She flees the room.

                                                         94.

ANOTHER ANGLE - CONTINUOUS ACTION

Goes up the stairs.    Keeps going.   Up another flight to
the attic.


INT. PARSONAGE ATTIC - MINUTE LATER

Jamie opens a closet door. Pulls out a dress, a scarf,
jewelry, a worn book -- her mother's belongings. She
opens the book and starts to weep. Missing her mother.


FOOT OF ATTIC STAIRS

Reverend Sullivan stands, looking up at the attic stairs.
Frustrated, angry, worried.


INT. LANDON'S BEDROOM - NEXT DAY

Landon is still in bed. Cynthia enters.      Pulls back the
curtains. Yanks up the shades.

                         CYNTHIA
           I don't care if you don't leave
           the house. But you have to get
           out of bed.


INT. CARTER KITCHEN - FEW MINUTES LATER

Landon sits at the kitchen table.     Cynthia pours him a cup
of coffee.

                         CYNTHIA
           You and I may not be communicating
           very well right now. But let me
           be clear. Don't make this about
           you. It's about her.

Pause.   Her words sink in.

                         LANDON
           I have no idea what to say. How
           to act. What if I do the wrong
           thing?

                         CYNTHIA
                  (gently)
           Be yourself and I don't think
           there is a wrong thing.
                  (beat)
           Let Jamie take the lead. She'll
           let you know what she needs.

                                                         95.

EXT. PARSONAGE - FRONT PORCH - LITTLE LATER

Before Landon can ring the bell, the front door opens.
The Reverend. Landon runs past him into the house.

                        LANDON
          Where's Jamie?!

                          REV. SULLIVAN
          At school.    Where you should be.

Oh.


INT. BEAUFORT HIGH - CORRIDOR - HALF HOUR LATER

Deserted, classes are meeting. Landon runs, sliding to a
stop at one classroom door. Looks in, keeps going, stops
at another. Searching.


This is JAMIE'S POV from the top of the hallway.


JAMIE

She stands, holding her books, watching him, unsure.


LANDON

finally feels her gaze, turns to look.


JAMIE

turns away, still angry and disappointed.


LANDON

runs to her.

                          LANDON
          Jamie!

He catches up to her.


JAMIE AND LANDON

face each other.   Neither sure what to say.

                          LANDON
          I'm so sorry.    I'm a coward --

                                               (CONTINUED)

                                                      96.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
             I should have told you sooner --

                           LANDON
                    (guilt-ridden)
             I made you do too many things,
             kept you up all night --

                           JAMIE
             No. The drugs just stopped
             working. If anything, doing
             things I love kept me healthy
             longer.

Pause.

                           LANDON
             Are you frightened?

                           JAMIE
             All the time.
                    (beat)
             I feel like I have no one.

She means not even God and he gets this.

                            LANDON
             You have me.

He hugs her close, rocking her, comforting her and
himself.

                           JAMIE
             Help me live until I die?

                            LANDON
             I will.


INT. SCHOOL AUDITORIUM - EVENING (MID-FEBRUARY)

A small group of students sit on stage reading from Our
Town, rehearsing. Jamie and Landon sit together in the
third row, holding hands. Landon glances at her, realizes
she's asleep. Pulls her sweater over her.


INT. JEFFERSON HIGH - LIBRARY - SATURDAY MORNING

Landon sits with Luis; Jamie at the next table with
Isabel. She looks pale. He catches her eye. They both
smile, a little sadly, then turn back to their students.

                                                           97.

INT. YUGO - TRAVELING

Landon drives them home from Jefferson High.      No music.

                          LANDON
            They're going to build a tunnel
            under the English Channel.
            They're calling it The Chunnel.

No response.

                           LANDON
            You hungry?

                           JAMIE
            Nope.

                          LANDON
            Anything you want.

                           JAMIE
            Nothing.

He reaches into a cooler on the floor of the back seat.

                         LANDON
            Slim Jim? Apple? Yogurt?     You
            like yogurt.

                          JAMIE
            I used to like yogurt.

He places a red heart-shaped box in her lap.

                          LANDON
                   (apologetic)
            Not very original. Happy
            Valentine's Day.

He grins.   She looks crestfallen, feels terrible.

                          JAMIE
            I didn't even think about it.

He takes a chocolate.     Pops it in his mouth.   Grins.

                           LANDON
            There.   You gave me a chocolate.


LANDON'S POV (THROUGH JAMIE'S TELESCOPE) - VAST STAR
FIELD

PULL BACK to reveal...

                                                           98.

EXT. CEMETERY - NIGHT

Jamie and Landon are looking at stars.      A long quiet
moment.

                          LANDON
            What are you thinking?

                          JAMIE
                   (honest)
            That I want you to take me home.

                            LANDON
            Now?    We just --

                          JAMIE
            I don't want to come here anymore.

She begins taking the telescope apart.      Depressed.


EXT. CEMETERY GATE - HALF HOUR LATER

Jamie looks at the high fence, weary, then reaches into a
pocket for a key. Unlocks the gate. Swings the gate
open. Landon's astonished.

                          LANDON
            You have a key?

                           JAMIE
            Yeah.  I've just never needed it.
                   (pause)
            Will you talk to my father?

                          LANDON
            I've talked to your father.

                          JAMIE
            That's what I mean.

Their eyes meet.     Her look is serious.


EXT. PARSONAGE - BACK YARD - NEXT DAY

Reverend Sullivan is up a ladder. Cleaning a gutter.
Landon stands below, a few feet away, gathering his nerve.
He walks over.


ON LADDER

The Reverend is busy ignoring Landon standing below.       A
long beat, then:

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           99.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
                    (calling up)
             Sir. Being ignored is beginning
             to feel preferable to being
             noticed.

The Reverend looks down.

                            LANDON
             I'll be honest. I don't know if I
             can pray, but I can do just about
             anything else.

Neither Landon nor the Reverend see Jamie come out of the
house and walk over.


ON GROUND

Landon shields his eyes with a hand to see the Reverend
better.

                           LANDON
             Whatever you need. Whatever Jamie
             needs. I'm here.
                    (beat)
             I could start by driving her to
             school --

                           JAMIE
             I'm not going back to school.

Landon and her father both turn to her.      Pale, wane.   They
understand what she is saying.

                           JAMIE
             You can tell anyone you want.   I
             don't care.

She goes into the house. Landon and Reverend Sullivan
look at each other, then away, uncomfortable. That didn't
sound like her.


INT. BEAUFORT HIGH - HALLWAY - MONDAY MORNING

Landon, looking haggard, moves slowly as he cleans out
Jamie's locker.

Students stare as he carefully places her things,
including the pink sweater, in a shopping bag. They part
and hush as he passes by. News travels fast. Clay and
Eric step forward.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                            100.

CONTINUED:

                              CLAY
             Hey.   Landon.

                           ERIC
             We heard 'bout Jamie Sullivan.
             She --

                           LANDON
                    (fierce)
             Say nothing. Nothing 'bout her.

                             ERIC
                      (misunderstood,
                       genuine)
             No.    Hey. We're sorry, man!

Landon turns back. Surprised.        Inspects Belinda.   Eric.
Clay. Others. No one speaks.

                           LANDON
             Too late and not enough.

He pushes past Belinda's new boyfriend, heading for the
office.


INT. PRINCIPAL KELLY'S OFFICE - DAY

Mr. Kelly and Landon.

                           LANDON
             I know it means not graduating,
             but I need to be excused from all
             school acti--

                           MR. KELLY
             You're excused.

Landon heads for the door.

                              MR. KELLY
             How is she?

Landon can't answer.       Too emotional.

                           MR. KELLY
             You will graduate.

Landon looks up, astounded.

                           MR. KELLY
             If I have to tutor you myself.

Landon nods, accepting, appreciative.

                                                         101.

INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM - LATER

Landon puts away the contents of the shopping bag.
Jamie's in bed, wearing the sweater.

                        JAMIE
          Yesterday I felt sick, horrible.
          Today I feel like riding my bike.
          Or dancing.

He turns on the CLOCK RADIO next to her bed. Finds a
WALTZ. Offers his hand. Pulls her out of bed. She's in
pajamas.

                        JAMIE
          You know how to waltz??

                        LANDON
                 (bashful)
          I was going to fake it.

                        JAMIE
          I always fake it.

So they waltz, faking, stumbling and laughing, holding
each other.


INT. PARSONAGE - STAIRCASE - SAME TIME

Reverend Sullivan hears the MUSIC and LAUGHTER.   He
frowns, afraid for Jamie's health.


INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM

Jamie grips Landon's arms, seems to slip, suddenly too
exhausted to carry her weight. Landon picks her up,
gently carries her back to bed. Settles her in.

                           LANDON
          How you doing?

                          JAMIE
                   (murmurs)
          Tired.

Landon sits on her bed. Strokes her hair. They look at
each other. Landon reaches for her hand. When he looks
at her face again, she's asleep.


EXT. LANDON'S HOUSE - BACK YARD - ANOTHER DAY

Landon's sitting on his childhood tree swing, twisting
side to side. Pensive. His mother comes out of the
house.
                                              (CONTINUED)

                                                           102.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             Time seems to be slowing down and
             speeding up at the same time.

She reaches to put a hand on his shoulder.       He lets her.


EXT. CEMETERY - EARLY MARCH

The rear gate is open. A caretaker waits while Landon
carries pieces of the older telescope to his car. A tall
pile of parts is already at his car.

Eric and Clay drive up in Eric's pickup.    Gravel flying.
MUSIC BLASTING.


INT. PICKUP

Eric and Clay spy Landon.


EXT. CEMETERY

Landon freezes, not sure what to expect.


EXT. PICKUP

The truck makes a circle around Landon, then stops. The
MUSIC QUIETS. Eric and Clay jump down. A long tense
moment, then:

                           ERIC
             Hey.

                           LANDON
             Hey.

Without a word, Clay walks to the Yugo, lifts the heaviest
telescope part, and carries it to the bed of the pickup.
Eric follows suit.


EXT. PARSONAGE - BACK YARD - LATER

Landon studies the pieces of the smaller telescope and how
they fit together. They are like a map for how to build
the bigger one.


EXT. PARSONAGE DRIVEWAY - NEXT DAY

Landon unloads an impossibly large round cardboard
concrete form-tube from his car. Carries it around the
house toward the back yard.

                                                         103.

INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM - SAME TIME

Jamie wakes from a nap. She looks thinner, grayer. She
hears HAMMERING. She hauls herself up and to a window.


JAMIE'S POV

Landon working on the new telescope.    He looks up at her
window. Sees her there. Smiles.


BACK TO SCENE

Reverend Sullivan comes in to check on Jamie.    She's
standing at the window.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          What's that boy doing?

She turns to look at him and collapses into his arms.


INT. HOSPITAL - PATIENT ROOM - NIGHT

Jamie lies in bed, eyes closed. Hooked to monitors,
pumps, an IV drip. Landon holding her hand. Reverend
Sullivan talks quietly with a doctor. Hearing bad news.


EXT. HOSPITAL - DAWN

The sky is pink. A squirrel runs along a telephone wire.
The Yugo is the only car in the visitor lot.


INT. PATIENT ROOM

Landon, in yesterday's clothes, dozes lightly. Jamie
moves and he starts, fully awake. She opens her eyes.

                        LANDON
          You okay?

She nods. Sleepy. Closes her eyes again. He rests his
head on her shoulder and weeps. Her eyes open, then close
again. There's nothing to say.


INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE JAMIE'S ROOM - SAME TIME

Reverend Sullivan looks through the window in the door at
the scene within. He hesitates, then pushes the door
open.

                                                           104.

INT. PATIENT ROOM

Reverend Sullivan enters.

                         REV. SULLIVAN
          Landon.   You go on home.

                           LANDON
          I'm not tired.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          I need to be with her.

There's only one chair.    Landon nods and goes.

The Reverend sits, closes his eyes a moment.   When he
opens them, she's looking at him.

                           JAMIE
          Dad.

He kisses her forehead, then sits back.

                           JAMIE
          So serious.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          Jamie, God is not punishing you.
          No God I know wants anyone to be
          sick or feel pain or suffer.

Pause.

                        JAMIE
          When Mom died you told me God
          wanted her more, loved her more --

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          I was wrong. Nobody could have
          wanted or loved your mother more
          than we did. Not even God.

He lets this sink in.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          God loaned you to me, entrusted
          you to my care. I'm failing you.

She looks away, agreeing without saying so.

                        REV. SULLIVAN
          Jamie. I make you the same
          promise that God does.
                 (beat)
          I will always be with you.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                          105.

CONTINUED:

She sits up and embraces him. He wraps his arms around
her. Tight. She closes her eyes, tears welling, never
wanting to let him go. Her father.


EXT. BEAUFORT HIGH SCHOOL - HOUR LATER

On the marquee on the front lawn: "WELCOME HALEY'S
COMET." The Yugo parks in the b.g.


INT. PRINCIPAL KELLY'S OFFICE - MINUTES LATER

Landon picks up a pile of books and assignments.
Looks through them, then eyes Miss Tarbox.

                           LANDON
             Where's Jamie's book?!

                           MISS TARBOX
             That's everything Mr. Kelly gave
             me.

                           LANDON
                    (insistent)
             The next book on that list!   The
             Old Man and... and...

                            MISS TARBOX
             The Sea.

                            LANDON
             Yeah.   I need it today!

Mr. Kelly steps out of his inner office.      Sees Landon's
anguished face, his exhaustion.

                           MR. KELLY
             I'll drive a copy over to her.

Landon nods his appreciation.


INT. HOSPITAL - PATIENT ROOM - DAY

Jamie looks smaller. Her eyes have blue circles beneath.
The Hemingway novel on the bedstand. Belinda pushes the
door open. Peeks in. Not sure she is welcome.

Landon is sitting in a chair.     He sees her, motions for
her to come in. Quietly.

                            BELINDA
             She asleep?

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                              106.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             I'll tell her you were here.

Pause.   Awkwardness.

                           BELINDA
             Give her this, okay?

She hands Landon a small photo album.

                           BELINDA
             Pictures from the play.   Jamie
             looks pretty --

                           LANDON
             I'm sorry about how we --

                             BELINDA
                      (conciliatory)
             No.    You're with who you should
             be.    It's like she chose you.

                           LANDON
                    (agreeing)
             And I have no idea why.

                             BELINDA
             I do.

She hugs him quickly, then leaves.       Landon goes to the
window, looks out.


SAME SCENE - HOURS LATER

The sky is grayer, darker.      Landon is still at the window.
Jamie wakes.

                             JAMIE
             Hi.

He goes to her side.

                             LANDON
             Hey.

He kisses her.

                           JAMIE
             I have something for you.

She reaches under her pillow for the worn book from the
attic. She offers it to Landon.

                                                   (CONTINUED)

                                                           107.

CONTINUED:

                           JAMIE
                    (smiling)
             Don't worry. It's not a Bible.

He takes it.

                           JAMIE
             My mother made it for me before I
             was born.
                    (beat)
             It's got quotes from famous
             people. Her favorite lines from
             books. Her thoughts.

Landon looks at a page.

                           LANDON
                    (reading)
             'What is a friend? A single soul
             dwelling in two bodies.'
             Aristotle.

                            JAMIE
             Lower.   Same page.

                           LANDON
                    (reading)
             'Find out who you are and do it on
             purpose.' Dolly Parton.

A bookmark falls out.     He studies that page a moment.


CLOSE ON PASSAGE

from Corinthians.


BACK TO SCENE

Landon reads it.

                            LANDON
             'Love is always patient and kind.
             It is never boastful or
             conceited -- '

                           JAMIE
             That was read at my parents'
             wedding.

He takes her hand.     Holds it.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                           108.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             How're you doing?

                           JAMIE
                    (looking away)
             Better. I was really angry.

                              LANDON
             I know.

                              JAMIE
             It's gone now.

                           LANDON
                    (gently)
             Because you have hope that you'll
             get better?

                              JAMIE
             No.
                     (pause, shrugging,
                      accepting)
             Maybe I believe God has a bigger
             dream for me than I had for
             myself.
                     (beat)
             Maybe I believe the journey, the
             big adventure, never ends...

He kneels on the floor.       Puts his head on her pillow next
to hers.

                           JAMIE
             Maybe I believe God sent you to me
             because I am ill. To help me
             through.

He touches her face tenderly.

                           JAMIE
                    (almost whispering)
             I want to go home.

Pause.   He gets her meaning.

                            LANDON
                    (trying not to
                     break)
             I'll talk to your father.

                            JAMIE
                    (looking away)
             It's not that simple.
                    (pause)
             It costs money to do this at home.

                                                       109.

INT. CARTER LIVING ROOM - EVENING

Cynthia pacing, talking on the phone, worried.   The front
door is wide open.

                        CYNTHIA
                 (into phone)
          ... He doesn't talk to me, maybe
          not to anyone, except Jamie...

She stands in the doorway and looks out.


CYNTHIA'S POV

Landon in his car in the driveway.


INT. LANDON'S CAR

Landon just sits.    Exhausted, despondent.


INT. CARTER LIVING ROOM

Cynthia pacing.

                        CYNTHIA
                 (into phone)
          ... I've never asked you for
          extra. But we need it now... as
          soon as possible...


INT. HOSPITAL - PATIENT ROOM - ANOTHER AFTERNOON

Jamie's breathing is shallower. Landon's reading her The
Sheltering Sky. He pauses, looks up. Isabel, Jamie's
student, is standing in the doorway. Jamie sees her too.
She smiles weakly.

                            JAMIE
          Isabel?

                            ISABEL
                    (shy)
          Hi.

Isabel comes in. Landon offers her the book. She takes
it and keeps going from where Landon left off. Stumbling
but reading. Jamie grins.

                        JAMIE
          Who's been working with you?

Isabel looks shyly at Landon. Jamie shakes her head,
amazed. Landon nods to Isabel and she begins reading
again.

                                                         110.

EXT. CARTER BACK STEPS - THAT NIGHT

Landon quietly opens the back door to the kitchen.


HIS POV

Cynthia sits at the table with Dr. Carter, his father.

                        CYNTHIA
          Sit with us a minute.


INT. CARTER KITCHEN

Landon enters, but doesn't sit.

                        LANDON
                 (to his father)
          What are you doing here?

                        CYNTHIA
          He wants to talk to you.

                         LANDON
                 (to his mother)
          Now it's okay?

                        CYNTHIA
          Landon. You have two parents.
          We're both here for you even --

                         DR. CARTER
          -- even if we're not here for each
          other anymore.

Landon is listening.

                        DR. CARTER
          I want to do this. Please let me.

He holds out a check.   For a lot of money.   Landon takes
it. Grateful.

                        LANDON
                 (quietly, to both
                  parents)
          Thank you.


INT. PARSONAGE - JAMIE'S BEDROOM - DAY

A smaller Jamie lies in a hospital bed, seemingly asleep.
Hooked to an IV. Bottles of pills. Landon dozes in a
comfortable chair. A nurse sits in a corner, reading.

                                                (CONTINUED)

                                                            111.

CONTINUED:

Eric and Clay stand in the doorway, not sure what to do.
Jamie opens her eyes, smiles.

                           JAMIE
             Don't wake Landon.

They tiptoe in.    Stand on either side of her bed.

                           JAMIE
             Do I look scary?

                              ERIC
             Not too bad.

                              CLAY
             You all right?

A dumb question but she handles it well.

                           JAMIE
                    (smiling)
             Things could be better.

Awkward pause.

                           CLAY
             We thought you'd be asleep --

                           JAMIE
                    (trying to help)
             I don't know what to say either.

Clay hands her an envelope.

                              JAMIE
             What is it?

She pulls out a stack of worn bills.

                            CLAY
             For the book drive.      Landon told
             us about it --

                           ERIC
             We told everyone at school.

Jamie takes their hands, holds them. Thanking them
silently. Her eyes shining with tears.


INT. LANDON'S BEDROOM - LATE NIGHT

Landon sits at his desk, sketching the larger telescope,
making a few computations.

                                                    (CONTINUED)

                                                           112.

CONTINUED:

A library book on Haley's Comet is open.      A stack of
similar books by his elbow.

Cynthia enters wearing her waitressing outfit.

                              CYNTHIA
             What can I do?

He shrugs.    Tears fill his eyes.

                           LANDON
             Everything's being done but it's
             not enough. I have to find
             something -- more.

                           CYNTHIA
                    (gently)
             Landon, honey. There's nothing
             more.

                           LANDON
             I don't mean about Jamie being
             sick. I mean about Jamie and me.

                           CYNTHIA
             Be with her when she wants.    Make
             sure she never feels alone.

Landon thinks his mother is also talking about herself.

                           LANDON
             Mom, I'm not going anywhere.   Not
             yet anyway.

Pause.

                           CYNTHIA
             When you are ready, I want you to
             feel free to go.

They embrace.


INT. LANDON'S BEDROOM - LATER

Landon opens Jamie's mother's book.     A photo of Jamie
falls out -- one taken by Belinda.


CLOSE ON PHOTO

Jamie, beautiful, smiling at the audience.

                                                       113.

LANDON

considers the photo, finds a page to tuck it into.


CLOSE ON HANDWRITTEN JOTTING

"For Landon" above some underlined text, a Psalm from the
Bible.

                        LANDON
                 (reading aloud)
          'I cry to you my Lord, my rock!
          Do not be deaf to me, for if you
          are silent, I shall go down to the
          pit like the rest. Hear my voice
          raised in petition as I cry to you
          for help, as I raise my hands, my
          Lord, toward your holy of holies.'

Landon knows Jamie underlined this for him.


INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

Landon tears down the steps. Past his mother to the front
door. He's out the door before she even turns around.


INT. PARSONAGE - REVEREND SULLIVAN'S BEDROOM - MIDNIGHT

Reverend Sullivan sits up in bed. His feet find slippers
on the floor. He looks haggard, his hair thinner, his
face defeated.


INT. JAMIE'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

The Reverend, wearing his robe, checks on his sleeping
daughter. The night nurse nods as he tucks in blankets.

A SOUND. Then another. Reverend Sullivan goes to the
window. Parts the drapes. Looks out.


HIS POV

A dozen flashlights in a big circle. Landon in the
middle, working feverishly on the new telescope.


EXT. BACK YARD - MOMENTS LATER

The back porch light comes on. Reverend Sullivan steps
out onto the back porch. Landon looks up.

                                               (CONTINUED)

                                                          114.

CONTINUED:

                            LANDON
                    (flushes, almost
                     manic)
             I have to finish it tonight.

Without a word, the Reverend turns around and goes back
inside. Leaving the porch light on. Landon goes back to
work.


EXT. BACK YARD - MINUTES LATER

Reverend Sullivan comes out. Dressed. He carries two
mugs of coffee and a brightly burning kerosene camp
lantern. Peace offerings.

He walks over, sets down the lantern, hands Landon a mug.
Ready to work.

                           LANDON
             I've almost finished the rocker.
             Did she order mirrors?

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             In there.

As they walk to the garage.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             You have materials for the side
             bearings?

                           LANDON
             I'm using an old phonographic
             turntable.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             For the focuser?

                           LANDON
             A chrome-plated brass pipe from a
             drain line.

The Reverend nods, impressed.    He yanks the garage door
up. Goes in.

                           LANDON
             You know about this stuff?

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             I helped Jamie with the first one.

                                                  (CONTINUED)

                                                         115.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
                    (surprised)
             I thought she built it herself.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             She did. But hardly anyone does
             anything truly alone.

The Reverend carries out a large cardboard postal package.
Landon takes it as the Reverend lowers the garage door.

                           LANDON
                    (serious)
             I need to do this alone.

Reverend Sullivan searches Landon's face for a long
moment, understanding, then turns and heads for the back
door.


INT. CHURCH - REVEREND'S OFFICE - NEXT MORNING

Landon stands in the doorway. The Reverend is wiping his
glasses, his face, maybe of tears. He sees Landon.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             You finish?

                            LANDON
             A few minutes ago. I have to ask
             you something.

Long pause.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             When I was seventeen, I was sent
             up for a year for stealing a car.
                    (beat)
             Sometimes I still feel that boy
             inside me and I don't like him.
                    (beat)
             But I like you.

The Reverend stands, offers Landon his hand.     Landon takes
it. The two men shake. Allies now.


INT. JAMIE'S ROOM - THAT EVENING

Jamie opens her eyes. But can barely keep them open.
Groggy from pain medication. Landon's standing there.
Showered, clean clothes.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                              116.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             We're going out.

He starts helping the nurse disconnect her IV.

                           JAMIE
             Can I -- go out?

                           LANDON
             You'll be fine for a few minutes.

Jamie looks at the nurse.    Uncertain.     The nurse nods.


EXT. PARSONAGE ROOF - NIGHT

Landon carries Jamie out a large attic window. The
finished large telescope is set up. Pointing at the sky.
She's in her nightgown, wrapped in a blanket.

                           JAMIE
                    (grateful, touching
                     it)
             It's beautiful... Thank you.

But she looks at the lights of the house and streets
around them.

                           JAMIE
             I don't know what we'll be able to
             see... Help me stand.

He checks his watch.

                           LANDON
             Wait a sec.

As she turns to him, questioning, the neighborhood
suddenly darkens as the street lamps and lights in every
nearby house are switched off.


EXT. DOWN STREET

Neighbors step outside.    Hold up binoculars.


EXT. BEAUFORT HIGH - PARKING LOT

Members of the Star Club and other students look through
traditional telescopes.

                                                         117.

EXT. PARSONAGE ROOF

Jamie hugs Landon in gratitude.

                         LANDON
           We have five minutes.

Jamie, tears streaming, braces herself against Landon and
she peers into the telescope eyepiece. She pulls back,
wipes her eyes, then looks again. She swings the
telescope into the correct position.


HER POV THROUGH TELESCOPE

Haley's Comet, its icy nucleus issuing the jets and
streamers of gas, dust, and debris that form the comet's
hazy head and long tail.

                         JAMIE (O.S.)
           The comet of the century...


BACK TO SCENE

She steps back so he can see. He looks quickly, then
moves aside so she can keep looking. She's completely
engrossed. A long, quiet moment, then:

                           LANDON
           You love me?

She leans away from the eyepiece and looks at him -- yes.

                         LANDON
           Will you do something for me?

                           JAMIE
           Landon.    I can't even do for
           myself.

                         LANDON
           But if you could, you would?

                           JAMIE
           Yes.

His throat tightens with nervousness, with hope, fear,
sadness, and love.

                         LANDON
           Will you marry me?

HER FACE

Illness, happiness, disbelief.

                                                          118.

EXT. SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH - EARLY APRIL

A sea of pink, purple, and white blossoms.    Dogwoods,
wisteria, azaleas, and roses blooming.


INT. SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH

Bursting with everyone who knows Jamie and Landon -- every
kid in their high school, including Eric, Clay, Belinda;
teachers, including Ms. Garber; Mr. Kelly; Luis and Isabel
and others from Jefferson High; her father's congregation;
Cynthia Carter; Dr. Carter's new wife and their two kids;
neighbors; hospital staff and home nurses.

Landon stands with his father by the altar.

The "WEDDING MARCH" begins...

The double doors at the back of the church open. Everyone
turns to look at the bride. Gasps of joy and sadness.


LANDON'S POV - JAMIE

Flanked by a nurse and Reverend Sullivan. She's wearing
her Lizzie dress from the play. It hangs loosely, but
still becomes her. She's a beautiful bride.


BACK TO SCENE

Landon swells with pride.

Jamie smiles. Then, leaning on her father, she slowly
makes her way down the aisle.

In the pews -- few dry eyes follow her.

Jamie -- halfway -- stops to rest and catch her breath.     A
moment later, she and her father continue.

A long, difficult walk.    A walk to remember.


AT ALTAR

The nurse rolls a wheelchair up as Jamie and her father
near.

Applause breaks out as Jamie reaches Landon's side.

Jamie sits.   Exhausted.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                         119.

CONTINUED:

Landon kneels to be the same height as Jamie in her chair.

Pause.   Dr. Carter kneels.   Showing solidarity with his
son.

Reverend Sullivan, standing, leans down to kiss Jamie's
cheek. Trying to keep his emotions in check.


LANDON AND JAMIE'S POV

Reverend Sullivan towering over them.


BACK TO SCENE

Reverend Sullivan kneels, too.

Jamie takes Landon's hand in her right hand, her father's
hand in her left. Linking the three together.

The congregation silences.

Reverend Sullivan looks up from his Bible.     Struggling.

                            REV. SULLIVAN
             As a father, I'm supposed to give
             away my daughter. But I can no
             more give Jamie away than I can
             give away my heart. But I can let
             another share in the joy she has
             given me. May God's blessings be
             with you both.

He reaches out, offering a hand to Landon.     Completing the
circle.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Landon, repeat after me. Do you
             take...

As words are spoken and vows and rings exchanged, the
CAMERA MOVES ACROSS the faces of those at the altar --
Jamie, Landon, Dr. Carter.

TO the first row of the congregation -- Cynthia Carter,
Josh, Eric, Clay.

Then BACK row by row as the Reverend begins reading a
passage from the book Jamie's mother made for her. His
voice soft and melodious, like a poet reading his own
work.

                                                 (CONTINUED)

                                                              120.

CONTINUED:

                           REV. SULLIVAN (O.S.)
             'Love is always patient and kind.
             It is never jealous. Love is
             never boastful or conceited. It
             is never rude or selfish. It does
             not take offense and is not
             resentful. Love takes no pleasure
             in other people's sins, but
             delights in the truth. It is
             always ready to excuse, to trust,
             to hope, and to endure whatever
             comes...'

And the CAMERA MOVES OUT the double doors to find...


PARSONAGE

in a different season.      Winter.

UP the front steps and INTO...


LIVING ROOM (PRESENT DAY)

As it is now, in present day.

The nurse disappears, leaving Landon Carter, 33, waiting.
Looking at a framed photo of Jamie as Lizzie in The
Rainmaker...

The nurse returns, helping an old man as he shuffles in.
Reverend Sullivan. He's stooped, thin, balding. His skin
parchment thin.

The two men embrace.       Stiff, uncomfortable, uncertain.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             You've been well?

                             LANDON
             Yes.   You?

                             REV. SULLIVAN
             Getting by.

Pause.   Why is he here?     The Reverend waits.

                           LANDON
                    (fumbling)
             I'm -- I'm returning something.

He twists the ring on his finger.      Removes it.

                                                     (CONTINUED)

                                                               121.

CONTINUED:

                           LANDON
             This belongs to you.

He gives his wedding ring to the Reverend.          Pause.   Landon
searches for something meaningful to say.

                            LANDON
             She taught me -- everything.     She
             saved my life.

The Reverend turns away, overcome with sadness.         Realizing
now why Landon has come.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             You're marrying again.

                             LANDON
             Yes.

                           REV. SULLIVAN
             Jamie wanted that. She told me.

Landon is grateful to know this.       He makes a move to go.
Then turns back.

                           LANDON
             I'm sorry she never got her
             miracle.

                             REV. SULLIVAN
             She did.    It was you.

Landon, deeply touched, embraces the old man again.
Warmly, fully. Two men still grieving, saying good-bye.

                           ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
             Jamie once said when you're
             feeling love, you're also feeling
             God.


EXT. NEUSE RIVER - THAT AFTERNOON

Landon walks alone.      His hair and clothing tousled by a
steady gentle wind.

                           ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
             She made me a believer. In love.
             In life. In the journey that
             never ends...

Landon stops.       Faces the wind.   Lets the air swirl over
him.

                                                      (CONTINUED)

                                                         122.

CONTINUED:

                           ADULT LANDON (V.O.)
             ... And in the mystery of all
             things you can't see but feel
             everywhere around you...

He closes his eyes.    She's there...

                                                 FADE OUT.




                           THE END


Walk to Remember, A



Writers :   Karen Janszen
Genres :   Drama  Romance


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