by S. R. J
News is broken to parents and their reactions
| Breaking the News
By S. R. Brumley
A living room is at the center of the stage with the front door to the left of the stage and the door to the kitchen and the dining table in shadow to the right of the stage. In the center of the stage there is a large couch, end tables on both sides of the couch with remotes, coasters, and knick-knacks on them, a chair to the right of the couch facing the front door at the opposite side of the room, a modern painting behind the couch, and shelves to the side of the painting with knick-knacks. A man and a woman are waiting. The woman is pacing and occasionally adjusting things to make the already perfect apartment better. The man is sitting on the couch watching the woman.
MICHAEL: Shay, stop adjusting things. It looks great in here and it's not going to make the news to our parents any better.
SHAY: I know that. (Sighs heavily) I do. I just don't want my mother to have one more weapon against me. She'll see something out of place, blow it all out of proportion, and then I become an irresponsible adult. (The doorbell rings and Shay turns to the door and stares at it, not moving). Oh God!
MICHEAL: Everything will be okay Shay, baby. I'm here with you. (Michael stands up and pushes Shay to the door with him and opens the door)
MARY: (She walks in, the others following her. Hugs and kisses between the children and parents. The fathers shake Michael's hand and the mothers lean in and kiss Shay's cheeks) Michael! Shay! Look who we found in the hall! (Looks over her shoulder at Michael's parents) It is so good to see your parents Michael. (She gives a pointed stare at Shay) Shay didn't tell me that they would be here too.
MICHAEL: Let's all take a seat. (The parents move to the couch and take their seats. The women sit in the middle of the couch and the men on the outside, Michael and Shay stand a few feet from the front door, their sides to the audience) Shay and I have some very exciting news. (Michael walks up behind Shay and puts his hands on her shoulders) Shay?
SHAY: (Clears throat and pauses for a moment. She looks over her should at Michael and he smiles and nods his head. She looks back at the parents) Well, I guess I will just come right out and say it. (Pause) Michael and I are going to have a baby.
Complete silence for a moment. All parents looking at Shay and Michael.
MARY: (Jaw drops open and eyes wide, she pulls out a tissue from her pocket and starts to twist it in and out) I'm sorry, what?
DEREK: Mary, your daughter is pregnant. (Pats Mary on the hand and looks to Michael) Michael is the father?
MICHAEL: Yes sir, I am. We are really excited about this baby and we are seeking your approval and support.
JENNIFER: (squeals softy and gets to her feet. She walks up to the couple and gives them a hug) I'm so glad you are finally getting married! I have been wanting this since the two of you became friends. (Looks to Brad) Brad, can you believe it? Mary, Derek, it's finally going to happen.
MICHAEL: (clears throat) Um, mom we haven't decided on that yet. We were going to take things slow and see how it goes.
BRAD: (Stands up and walks over to them) Slow? (Laughs softly) Is that how couples do things now days? Have a kid and then think about the relationship? Well, I'm glad you two are at least thinking about it. The kid deserves to have a family that stays together and I think you two could make it.
JENNIFER: (She looks to her husband and he smiles) Shay (takes Shay's hand and then Michael's), Michael, I won't lie, I will hope, wish, pray, whatever I have to do, to have you two married someday. I will probably drive you crazy until you cave. I know you two should be together and I hope in time you will, but for now, I'm going to spoil that beautiful grandbaby! (Gives them both a hug) If it's a girl will her middle name be Jennifer? (Winks at Shay)
SHAY: (laughs then softly speaks) Thank you so much Jennifer, and you too Brad. (Laughs) We couldn't do this without you guys. (Looks to her parents still sitting on the couch, Derek is smiling, Mary has a pinched look on her face) Mama, please be happy for me.
Silence ensues for a minute while everyone looks to Mary. Brad and Jennifer move to Shay and Michael's spot as they take hands and move to sit on the couch. Shay looks up at Michael then back to her mother. Brad puts his arm over Jennifer.
DEREK: (speaks in a quivering voice as he looks to Mary) Mary, I think Shay is a wonderful woman. She is intelligent, accomplished, and beautiful. She's magnificent. She will make a wonderful mother. And Michael, well he's always taken care of our Shay, has always been there for her when she needed him. You know that. (Clears throat and looks to Shay) I'm here for you baby girl, if you should need it. (Clears throat and wipes at one eye)
MARY: Derek, you cannot be serious. (Gets to her feet and points at Shay and Michael) They aren't even a couple. They haven't thought this through. This baby will ruin their lives. (She turns to Michael and Shay) See how it goes? No relationship can be built from that! (Yells) How could you be so irresponsible, the both of you? How could you do this to her Michael? For God's sake, why did you do it? The two of you are friends. What happened?
Speaking at the same time
JENNIFER: Mary, please calm down.
BRAD: Wait a minute. They are in this together.
Michael moves to put his arm over Shay's shoulders as he sees tears falling on her cheeks. He kisses her cheek and murmurs in her ear.
SHAY: (Looks to Jennifer and Brad and holds up her arm with her palm facing out. Jennifer and Brad are silenced. She looks to her mother and takes her hand) Mama (Pause) it's too late to worry about responsibility and whose fault it is. It is obviously both our fault in any case. Michael and I have always cared about each other and (Pauses and looks at Michael then looks back to Mary) I don't know, we've been seeing each other differently lately. We don't know what this is yet, but we are happy about this baby. We do hope that things will work out but we aren't going to rush it any more than having a baby. (Everyone but Mary laughs softly and smiles). What I need from you now is to be happy for me. To be supportive and say that you are going to spoil this baby, like Jennifer did. Mama, I am so happy about this baby and about Michael. I think we are in love. But I'm scared and not sure. (Quivering voice) I'm scared and I need you NOT to criticize me and I need you to NOT be negative. You're always negative. I was so scared to tell you this because I knew you would be disappointed in me (Michael takes her hand and places it on his heart). So, please, please for once, just be happy for me (tears begin to roll down her face).
MARY: (wipes the tears that began to fall from her eyes and takes a deep breath) I worry about you. I DO want you to be happy. But I think this is the wrong decision for you. I think Michael and this baby is wrong for you. I cannot approve of this.
DEREK: (Quickly comes to his feet) How can you say that, Mary? This is Michael! This is our daughter! If you do not support her in this, support the relationship, then you are alone. Jennifer, Brad and I are happy for them and can see that things will be fine. Shay is right. You never see the good in anything. Mary, she needs you to love her. Just love her and be there for her. That's it.
MARY: (Angrily states) I cannot support this. (Walks to the door, opens it and slams it shut as she leaves)
There is silence as everyone looks at the door. Shay walks to the dining area and the spot light follows her. The living room goes dark as Michael follows her. Shay turns into Michael and he wraps his arms around her. Shay softly cries into his shirt. Michael kisses the top of her head. Placing his finger under Shay's chin, he has her look at him. He wipes the tears from her face and gives her a short kiss.
MICHAEL: She'll come around, Shay baby. (Smiles to her) She won't be able to resist telling you how to do it right.
END SCENE, CURTAIN CLOSES