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Rated: 13+ · Script/Play · Family · #1832870
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Scene One

A man in a prison uniform sits at a table center stage. The chair opposite is empty. He watches the side of the stage. ELLIE finally enters stage left and sits down opposite PATRICK.

PATRICK: I didn't think you'd come.

ELLIE: To be honest, I don't know why I did.

ELLIE pauses and then starts to rise.

ELLIE: Maybe I should go...

PATRICK reaches out and grabs her hand, forcing her to sit back down.

PATRICK: No! Please Ellie; you don’t know how much it means to me you being here.

ELLIE: I’m not here for you. I’m here because things have to be said and if I don’t say them now then I never will.

PATRICK: (sighs) I suppose I should have guessed that’s why you were here.

ELLIE: (softly) Surely you didn’t think it was because I love you.

PATRICK: Is it wrong for me to have hope?

ELLIE: Hope is all you’ve got left now.

PATRICK: Look Ellie, I know I screwed up okay, I know that the last place you want to be in the world is here but if you can just hear me out -

ELLIE: No Patrick, it’s your turn to listen. I’ve listened to all of your lies too many times, and so has my mum. We don’t need it anymore, and we don’t need you!

PATRICK: You can't mean that -

ELLIE: Why not? You’ve not been there for me the whole of my life, what makes you think you can have a say now? I’m old enough to understand what I want and I know it’s not you.

PATRICK: Honey -

ELLIE: Stop it! You’re not my father so stop trying to act like one!

There is a long pause as ELLIE and PATRICK stare at each other. PATRICK is the first to look away.

PATRICK: (softly) I never knew your mum was pregnant, if I did then -

ELLIE: Then what? You’d have stuck around? Been a proper dad? Don’t make me laugh Patrick, you ran as fast as you could as soon as you found out. And you’ve not looked back since.

PATRICK: You don’t know how much I regret it-

ELLIE: Regret it? You’ve lived your life exactly how you wanted to. Up until now, everything has gone right for you hasn’t it.

PATRICK: Life's not exactly been perfect.

ELLIE: I should hope not. You’ve not had to walk around for 21 years feeling unwanted by your own bloody father!

PATRICK: Is that how you felt?

ELLIE: Of course it was! How else do you expect me to feel? Mum didn’t do anything wrong and you left her! Pregnant! And alone! (pause) I just don't understand why you didn't want us.

PATRICK: I was only young, I was scared and didn’t think anything through properly, and I guess I was a little selfish.

ELLIE: (laughs) A little selfish? You left the mother of your child alone to fend for herself while you ran away and went travelling to “find yourself.”

PATRICK: That’s not why I went, you need to understand Ellie that I was in a bad place and didn't have any other options. It was easier for you to not have a father than have me ruin your life.

ELLIE: Well you managed to do that anyway didn't you. (sighs) I didn't mean that.

PATRICK: I wouldn't blame you if you did.

ELLIE: I just don't understand. Me and mum weren't good enough for you, but you could marry Jackie and have Ricky and raise him? (raises voice) Why him but not me? Was it because I was a girl? Did you not want a daughter? Did you not want mum's child, is that it? God damn it Patrick just tell me the fucking truth!

There is a long pause as PATRICK seems to consider ELLIE'S question. His head is in his hands and she stares at him in disgust.

ELLIE: You don't even have the decency to answer me do you? I knew it was wrong for me to come here, a waste of my time. I hope you get what you deserve.

ELLIE leaves the table and heads towards the edge of the stage as if to leave. It is only when she is nearly offstage that PATRICK raises his head. ELLIE stops and listens when he speaks but doesn't turn around.

PATRICK: You're right, I didn't want you. I didn't want the responsibilty of a child, I didn't want anything tying me down. By the time I realised I was wrong and was missing out on raising such a beautiful daughter I realised that William had come along.Your mum had finally found someone who was good enough for her and she was happy, you were happy, I didn't want to ruin anything. So yes, I married Jackie, we went on to have Ricky who was the best thing to happen to me but I have never ever forgiven myself for not being there for you. No matter what happens, you'll always be my daughter.

ELLIE slowly turns around and heads back to the chair, avoiding eye contact with PATRICK who is staring at her. As she sits down PATRICK reaches out and holds her hands in his own, she lets him.

PATRICK: You have to believe me, I love you Ellie. And it breaks my heart that you call another man Dad.

ELLIE yanks her hands away from PATRICK and sits further away from the table. She looks him directly in the face with her arms and legs crossed.

ELLIE: You mean the man who raised me? The man who loves me and will do anything for me? The man that picked me up when I fell and kissed it better, the man who used to collect me from school and the man who will one day walk me down the aisle and give me away to the man he trusts to cherish my heart and will love and protect me as much as he does. I think you're talking about my dad.

PATRICK: I would have done all of those things, and more if I'd been given the chance!

ELLIE: You were given the chance! As soon as mum told you she was pregnant you should have accepted that responsibilty and been there for her. I suppose I'm lucky that you fucked up and I got Dad instead, I mean you're not exactly the best role model for Ricky are you!

PATRICK: I'll be out soon enough, and I'll make it up to him.

ELLIE: How? Some presents? A couple of trips up to London? He's not a little boy anymore Patrick, he's a teenager who understands that his dad is in prison!

PATRICK: It was a misunderstanding, I'll be cleared soon and then everything will sort itself out.

ELLIE: Are you living in the real world? You're in prison! You was arrested for fraud! That doesn't exactly look good on your CV!

PATRICK: I am innocent. And once the court realises that then my name will be cleared and I'll go back to being a father.

ELLIE: To one of your children at least.

PATRICK: Are you ever going to forgive me?

ELLIE looks at PATRICK as if seeing him for the first time. It is her turn to take his hands in her own and looks at him until he is able to look her in the eye.

ELLIE: No. But you shouldn't lead your life in response to whether I forgive you or not. I don't hate you, but I don't love you either. When mum told me you had that heart attack three years ago I cried, not because I was scared to lose you, but because I was scared I was never going to get a chance to tell you what I thought of you.

PATRICK lets go of ELLIE'S hands and places them on the table. He looks away but she still stares at him.

PATRICK: I think visiting time is nearly over.

ELLIE: I've still got time to say what I came here to say.

PATRICK: Then just say it and you can go back to your mum and dad.

ELLIE: When Nan died, I lost my connection with your family, I lost the only reason why your brother and sister accepted me. But did I understand? I was only 13 when she died, she was the first person I had ever lost and understood what death was and it had to be her. Mum couldn't explain why I felt so out of place at the funeral, why I wasn't sitting at the front with my cousins. Why relatives were asking who I was and raising their eyebrows when I said that I was Nan's grandaughter. I was too young to deal with that, but because of you I had to. And you were there! And I sat there next to my Mum, knowing who you were and having to watch you talking to her, asking her how she is without even looking once in my direction! Not once! Your own daughter and you couldn't even look at me!

ELLIE is crying but she still continues to look at PATRICK who still can't meet her eyes.

ELLIE: And you sit here in prison, a failure of a father to two children and you think that once you get out everything will be okay? Maybe you should have thought of that a long time ago.

PATRICK finally looks at ELLIE and there is tears in his eyes.

PATRICK: Would you rather I was dead? Is that what you really want?

ELLIE: When did I say that? Yet again all you think of is yourself! Death would be the easy way out wouldn't it, no more responsibilty for you. But think of your son, losing his father at the age of 16, what do you think that will do to him? Stop being so fucking selfish!

PATRICK seems to be lost for words.

ELLIE: At the end of the day Patrick, you're going to have to gain back the respect of your family and friends, they're pretty disgusted with you. Just because you might get cleared doesn't mean that they'll automatically forgive you.

PATRICK: When did you get so wise?

ELLIE: Wise? Cynical maybe.

PATRICK: I'm so proud of you, you know that don't you.

ELLIE: Proud of what? You don't know anything I've ever done in my life, so what is there to be proud of?

PATRICK: I've seen you dance...

ELLIE finally looks away and wipes the tears from her eyes. She is genuinely in shock from PATRICK'S revelation.

ELLIE: (whispers) When?

PATRICK: In your final year of school when you performed at the theatre with your dance school. Your Grandad brought me a ticket when he got his but I left before the end so you wouldn't see me, I didn't want to ruin your night. Watching you up on that stage, I realised how beautiful you were. You could take the hardest dance routine and make it look as easy as breathing, you shone on that stage honey.

ELLIE: Were you really proud of me?

PATRICK: Of course I was! I sat there and wished that I could have been the one you ran to with joy at the end and share your excitement with you, but I knew you wouldn't want to see me.

ELLIE: I had no idea, why didn't Grandad tell me?

PATRICK: Me and Grandad don't always see eye to eye, he thought it would be best to keep it a secret from you.

ELLIE: What is it with your family keeping secrets from me?

PATRICK: They're just trying to protect you, they do love you you know.

ELLIE: More than you do.

PATRICK: Don't ever say or think that Ellie, I always have and always will love you. That's why I wanted you to visit, so I could get a chance to be in your life the way I should be.

ELLIE: You mean replace my Dad?

PATRICK: Not replace, but be there as well, side by side.

ELLIE is overcome with emotion and leaves the stage in floods of tears. A spotlight is on PATRICK.

VOICEOVER: Visiting time is over. Please return to your cells.


Scene Two

The lights come up on PATRICK who is once again sitting at the table centre stage. Although in the same prison uniform, he is more dishevelled and downtroddon. He has his head in his hands as ELLIE enters stage left and sits in the chair opposite.

ELLIE: Hello Patrick-

PATRICK raises his head and smiles faintly.

ELLIE: What's wrong? They're letting you free tomorrow aren't they?

PATRICK: Looks like the news didn't reach you on time, they've refused bail.

ELLIE: But why? You're innocent aren't you?

PATRICK: Not in their eyes.

ELLIE: Everyone was looking forward to seeing you.

PATRICK: Everyone?

ELLIE: Especially Ricky, he's got a surprise planned for you and everything-

PATRICK: How do you know about Ricky?

ELLIE: I saw him yesterday and he told me-

PATRICK: What do you mean you saw him yesterday?

ELLIE: After I left you last time and had calmed down I rang up Wendy and she said that she'd arrange with Jackie for me to meet Ricky. So I left it to her to explain and then 2 weeks ago I met him and we got along really well.

PATRICK doesn't say anything, but his hands slowly curl into fists.

ELLIE: Patrick? You're happy aren't you? At least there aren't any secrets anymore-

PATRICK: How dare you!

ELLIE: W-w-what?-

PATRICK: What right do you think you have to go behind my back?

ELLIE: But last time I saw you, you said-

PATRICK: I said what Ellie? Go and talk to your brother? Interfere with my family?

ELLIE: They're my family too -

PATRICK: Because of me. And if I say I don't want you to see them then you don't!

ELLIE: What have I done? Last month you were saying you wanted me to be a part of your family-

PATRICK: On my terms yeah, I didn't expect you to go behind my back.

ELLIE: How did I go behind your back?

PATRICK stands up and slams his hands down on the table.

PATRICK: God damn it Ellie! When are you going to understand, I don't want you in my family!


PATRICK: No Ellie, no buts. Everything I said before was a lie. Now just get out of my life!

ELLIE shakes her head in disbelief before slowly getting up and walking to the side of the stage. PATRICK sits back down. As ELLIE reaches the edge she stops and speaks out in the direction of the audience.

ELLIE: 21 years I've spent wanting to know the truth. And now I've found it, what have I gained? Would I have been better off believing the lies? He raised my hopes and then destroyed them. I never wanted him to be my dad, I've got one of those, but I just wanted to belong. Have him be a part of my life like he should have been from the beginning. But now he's ruined it. I only wanted to meet my brother, be a sister to someone. It's been hard growing up an only child, I haven't been spoilt, but I always wanted someone to play and share things with. So when I had the chance to meet Ricky, I jumped at the chance. I knew it was never going to be the same, and things would be hard, but I never imagined Patrick's reaction to be this. What did I ever do to him to make him hate me so badly.

ELLIE leaves and PATRICK is left sitting alone. Spotlight.

VOICEOVER: Visiting time is over. Please return to your cells.


Scene Three

Lights up.

PATRICK is sitting at the table in prison uniform, his attire his smarter and he looks eagerly towards the edge of the stage. He waits for a while. When ELLIE finally walks in he bangs his hands on the table and stands up angrily. They are both stood facing each other.

PATRICK: What are you doing here? Where's Dad?

ELLIE: Grandad was never coming, he knew you wouldn't agree to see me so he lied to you.

PATRICK: He's right, I don't want to see you. Didn't you get the hint last time?

ELLIE: I just had to get something off my chest.

PATRICK: Didn't you do that enough last time?

PATRICK sits down and crosses his arms, watching ELLIE with disdain. She does not sit, but continues to stand, never breaking eye contact.


ELLIE: I just wanted you to know that as of tomorrow you're a free man, it won't even be on your record.

PATRICK: Is this in your head? My trial isn't for another 6 months, I'm in here for a while.

ELLIE: Your lawyer is waiting to see you once I've finished, they need you to sign some documents and then tomorrow you'll be free to go.

PATRICK uncrosses his arms and leans towards her across the table.


ELLIE: Let's just say the detective on your case is an old friend. But that won't be on the official record.

PATRICK: You did this for me? Why?

ELLIE: I didn't do it for you, I did it for Ricky. He needs you.

PATRICK: I, I don't know what to say.

ELLIE: Save it Patrick, there's nothing you can say that will change anything. If it wasn't for Ricky I'd be happy to see you stay in here but he loves you.


ELLIE: No buts remember.

PATRICK: I didn't mean what I said-

ELLIE: I don't think you know what you're saying and what you mean at all. Either way what's been said is in the past and nothing will change that.

ELLIE looks at her watch.

ELLIE: I haven't got long before your meeting with your lawyer.

PATRICK: When will I next see you?

ELLIE: I don't think thats necessary Patrick, I think I've heard all I needed to hear from you.


ELLIE: No, this is it. I've arranged with Jackie when I can see Ricky and obviously I'll still see Grandad and Wendy, but you're not part of my life anymore.

PATRICK: Because I made one mistake?

ELLIE: It's never one mistake and you know it, I deserve better than to be treated like this by you.

PATRICK: Please Ellie-

ELLIE: Please what?

PATRICK is lost for words and just stares at ELLIE.

ELLIE: It's for the best, it's not like we've actually experienced a relationship, so there's nothing to lose.

PATRICK: How are you so calm?

ELLIE: Because I've accepted the truth, it's time for you to.

PATRICK: I don't want to lose you-

ELLIE: You never had me to lose me.

PATRICK: You're my daughter-

ELLIE: I know.

ELLIE turns to leave but before she exits stage, she whispers one last thing.

ELLIE: Goodbye Dad.


Scene 4

Spotlight comes up on PATRICK, standing centre on an empty stage. He is no longer in a prison uniform but in jeans and a t-shirt.

PATRICK: That was the last time I ever saw her, to talk to anyway. I'd walk past the shop she worked in and look in, watching her smile at the customers and laugh as she talked with her colleagues. She was so happy and confident, working to save up money while she spent her evenings at dance school. Teaching and performing, working herself to the bone but enjoying every second. Dad would show me the pictures from the latest productions and I didn't even recognise her anymore. Then one evening, I got a phonecall from her mum. I knew it was serious but I never thought that -

PATRICK breaks off crying. He calms himself but doesn't wipe away his tears.

PATRICK: She was leaving an audition, she was on the phone to her mum when she crossed the road, the car came out of nowhere. Afterwards the paramedics said that she wouldn't have felt a thing, death on impact they said. She died happy, she'd just been accepted into the dance company she'd dreamt about since she was a little girl. My little girl, gone-

PATRICK is inconsolable this time, he sinks to his knees and silently sobs into his hands.

VOICEOVER (ELLIE): Visiting time is over. Please return to your cells.


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