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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2244260-A-GAME-FOR-TWO
by Krago
Rated: E · Script/Play · Romance/Love · #2244260
(Written for Jocelyn :) ).
A screenplay

INT. Large reception room filled with about twenty guests holding drinks at party given by Max Harding, aged about 50, who is the head of a publishing firm. There is a bar and a buffet at the far end of the room. Vanessa, attractive, aged about 26, enters the room and is greeted by Max

Max: “Vanessa dahling,I am so glad you could come.” (He air-kisses her on the right cheek and says): “Have a drink.”

Richard Aldrich, a friend of Max, age about 36, joins them.

Max: “Do you two know each other?”

Before either Vanessa or Richard could reply there is a very loud call by Anne, Max's wife:from the other end of the room where the improvised bar is

Anne: “Max, you are needed here.”
Max: (to Vanessa and Richard):“I will be back in a minute.”
Max: (turns to Richard) “Richard, look after Vanessa for me. I wont be a tick.”
Richard: (to Vanessa):“Hi, I am Richard. Can I get you a drink?”
Vanessa: “What's in your glass?”
Richard (Richard looks at the glass in his hand ): “It is Campari with grapefruit juice.”
Vanessa: “I will have the same.”
Richard (with a smile): “Here, have mine. I'll fix myself another. Wait here, don't go away.”

Vanessa takes the glass, has a sip from it and watches Richard disappear among the other guests. Then she looks around to see if there are any familiar faces about but can't see any. After a short while, Richard rejoins her with a drink in his hand and .

Richard: “So, let's start at the beginning, I am Richard Aldrich. Pleased to meet you.”
Vanessa (with a smile): “I am Vanessa Keynes.”
Richard: “Do you know any of the people here?”
Vanessa: “Not a soul, apart from Max, of course.”
Richard: “How do you know Max?”
Vanessa: “I work for him … in a way, I am a freelance picture researcher.”
Richard: “Really? What does a picture researcher do?”
Vanessa: “Sources illustrations for books,”
Richard: “Fascinating.”
Vanessa: “Have you known Max long?”
Richard: “We go back a few years.”
Vanessa: “Who are all these people here?”
Richard: “Mainly authors - clients of the firm, and their agents.”
Vanessa: Is there anything to eat here? Missed lunch and I am starving.”
Richard: “There were some nice canapes but I think they are all gone. … As a matter of fact, I am hungry too. Why don't we go and have a meal somewhere?”
Vanessa: “I just got here. What will Max think?”
Richard: “Max won't mind. What do you say?”
Vanessa: “Where do you have in mind?”
Richard: “Anywhere you like. We could go to Jo's in Soho. Have you been to Jo's?”
Vanessa: “Been there once and didn't like the menu. I am vegetarian.”
Richard: “Oh, we could go to my place. I will cook you the best omelet you ever had.”
Vanessa: “Where do you live?
Richard: “ Chelsea. About ten minutes drive.”
Vanessa: (defensively) “Richard. I have no idea who you are or what you are.”

Richard: (with a smile) “I will tell you on the way. Trust me. ”

They put down their glasses and leave without anyone paying the slightest attention.

EXT. Early evening.. Richard and Vanessa seated in a white BMW coupé, speeding through city traffic. Richard driving.

Vanessa: “So, you were going to tell me more about yourself.”
Richard: “What is it you would like to know?
Vanessa: “Well, for starters, what do you do for a living?”
Richard: “I am a composer, write the score for films and TV shows.”
Vanessa: “How fascinating, I have never met a composer.”
Richard: “Do you like music?
Vanessa: “Depends on the music.”
Richard: “What book are you working on now?”
Vanessa: “One about the Alhambra. I think the title of the book will be the glory that was Alhambra.”
Richard: “Shouldn't be too difficult to find images to illustrate the Alhambra.”
Vanessa: “The difficulty is in finding the copyright owners and negotiating terms.”

They arrive at Richard's terraced house and he pulls onto the private drive in front of the house.

Richard: “Here we are.”

They get out of the car, he unlocks the front door of the house and leads Vanessa into the living room.

INT. Richard's living room. He switches on the lights. The room is large. There is a grand piano at one end, oriental rugs on the floor, sofa and two armchairs, large glass topped coffee table on top of which there is a large chess box with a folding lid, oil paintings on the walls,music cabined for playing CDs and LPs,
bookshelves against facing wall.

Richard: “This is where I live. Make yourself comfortable. I'll go and attend to food.”
Vanessa: “Can I help?”
Richard: “I can manage. Will four eggs be enough?”
Vanessa: “My usual ration is two but I am starving. Had no lunch. Could eat a horse.”
Richard: (with a smile): “Thought you said you were vegetarian. Not allergic to mushrooms, are you?”
Vanessa; “Not allergic to anything.”
Richard: “Good. We will eat in the kitchen. Will call you when I am ready. Make yourself at home.” (He exits.)

Vanessa moves over to the piano and plays one if its keys at random, moves to the coffee table, runs her fingers over the surface of the chess board, moves over to the bookshelves and looks at the titles, takes a book and sits down on the sofa.
Richard re-enters room ten minutes later.

Richard:“Food's ready.”

Vanessa puts down the book and they both exit the room.


Int. Kitchen with modern appliances and cupboards. The table is laid for two. Plates containing omelets. Bottle of uncorked wine on middle of table. Richard and Vanessa enter and sit down to eat.

Richard: “Bon appetit.”
Vanessa: “Bon appetit.”
Richard: (Lifting the bottle and showing it to Vanessa) “Glass of white?”
Vanessa: “Yes please. What is it?

Richard half-fills both glasses and hands her the bottle. She reads the label.
Richard: “Szamorodni, mediun dry white.”
Vanessa: (Takes a couple of sips) “ I am a hopeless ignoramus on wines.”
Richard: “Comes from the same region as the Tokai.
Vanessa: “Nice wine.”

They finish their meal and rise from their seats.

Vanessa: “That was delicious. Thank you. Can I help with the washing up?”
Richard: “My cleaning woman will do it in the morning. Let's go back into the living room.”

Living room. Vanessa is sitting on the sofa. Richard is about to insert a CD in the CD player

Richard: “This is a medley of some of my scores.”

(Richard inserts the CD. Soft piano music fills the air. Richard returns to the sofa and sits down next to Vanessa.)

Vanessa: “This is a nice room. Do you live here alone?”
Richard: “No, I live here with my piano, my music, my books. ...” (He smiles at Vanessa.)
Vanessa: “That's not what I meant.”
Richard: “I know. Do you live alone?”
Vanessa: “Yes, at the moment. “(She feels awkward. Rises from the sofa, steps to the coffee table and rans her fingers over the chessboard's surface.)
Vanessa: “This is a beautiful chessboard.”

Richard: (Rises and moves to the coffee table) “Have you looked at the pieces inside the box? Opens the lid. “It is a championship set. The king is four and a half inches tall. All pieces hand carved from box wood and ebony wood. All heavily weighted.”

Vanessa picks up one of the white bishops and wraps her fingers around it, savouring its width, length and weight.

Vanessa: “It's beautiful. Where did you find it?”
Richard: “At an auction, It belonged once to a famous chess player.”
Vanessa: “Really? Who?”
Richard: “Reti, … Richard Reti”
Vanessa: “Sorry, never heard of him.”
Richard:.“He died young; Do you play chess?”
Vanessa: “Haven't played it in ages.”
Richard: “Do you feel like a game?”
Vanessa: (With faked doubt in her voice) “What game do you have in mind?”
Richard: (coyly) “I was thinking of chess but I am open to suggestions.”
Vanessa: “You would trash me, I'm sure.”
Richard: “Nonsense, I would be gentle with you.”
Vanessa: “That wouldn't be cricket, would it, in a game of chess.”
Richard: “Do you like cricket?”
Vanessa: “I don't like any group games; hate football too. I like games played face to face, with a smile,”
Richard: (With a smile) “OK, I won't be gentle with you. What do you say?”
Vanessa: “Alright, just one game, then I must be going.”
Richard: (Hides two pawns , one in each hand) “Which hand?”
Vanessa: “Right.”
Richard: (Opens his right hand and reveals a black pawn)
Richard: “You may play white if you prefer.”
Vanessa: “Let's play by the rules, l'll play black.”
Richard: “I always play by the rules. ... There is some wine left in the bottle, shall we finish it?”
Vanessa: “It is a very nice wine.”
Richard: “You set up the pieces while I get the wine,”

Richard leaves the room left. Vanessa is setting up the pieces.

Richard re enters room with two half-filled glasses and hands one of them to Vanessa.

Vanessa: (Raises glass) “Salute.”

Richard: (Moving to the CD player and inserting another CD) “Shall we have some music?”

Soft piano music. They both sit down. They start playing. Richard moves his king pawn two squares forward.

Aldrige makes his moves quickly, apparently with little mental effort. Vanessa plays more slowly. The music ends.

Vanessa: “Nice music. What was it?”
Richard: “The Ten Best-loved Scores of Richard Aldridge.”
Vanessa: “Oh. Very soothing.” She is looking at the chessboard and concentrating.

They make their moves. Vanessa is quietly humming a tune. After about eight moves she moves one of her bishops and says:

Vanessa: “Check,”
Richard: (suddenly) “Jarre.”

Vanessa not comprehending Richard's word.

Vanessa: “Beg your pardon.”
Richard: “Maurice Jarre. … The tune you were humming, … it is by Jarre.”
Vanessa: “Was I humming?”
Richard: “Yes, the theme tune from Doctor Zhivago. ... Somewhere, my love there will be songs to sing ...”

Vanessa: “I do apologise. Didn't mean to distract you.”
Richard: “Not at all. I found it very charming. Made you … what's the right word – even more attractive, more desirable.”
Vanessa: “You are still in check.”
Richard moves his king to the adjoining square to get out of check.
Richard: “Have you seen the movie?”

Vanessa: “ Zhivago? Yes, Long time ago. It is one of my all-time favourites. Do you have any favourites?”
Richard: “Too many to name. Mostly oldies.”
Vanessa: “I don't like watching old movies,”
Richard: “Why is that?”
Vanessa: “You see all these characters on the screen, laughing, chatting and loving, and all the while you know that they are all dead and buried – it is a depressing thought.”
Richard: “Dear Vanessa, we are born to die. That's why we should make the best of our time on earth while we can. Life is short.”

Vanessa moves her knight on the chessboard into an attacking position, threatening Richard's queen, but Richard sees immediately that she made a blunder and that he can checkmate her in three moves.

Richard: “You are a very good player. A worthy opponent. Shall we call it a draw?”
Vanessa: “Alright, I accept.”

Vanessa looks at her watch.

Vanessa: “Goodness, look at the time.”

Vanessa rises from her chair.

Vanessa: “Thanks you for the meal, and the wine. You are a good cook. And your scores are … (she is searching for the right word)

(Richard rises too and is now standing facing Vanessa)

Richard: “Vanessa, … do you always wear glasses?”
“Vanessa: Yes, … except in bed.”

Richard raises his two hands and takes her glasses off.

Fade out


Rolling credits

Screenplay : Krago
Director : Krago
Music : Richard Aldrich


For another screenplay see: {item:2238776 }

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