Saturday, January 12, 2008

We Are Eternal

Clad in sweaters and jeans, Ejami is sitting together on the couch wrapped in each other’s arms

Sami (quietly): “EJ?”

EJ (opening his eyes): “Yes, darling?”

Sami: “As nice as this is, don’t we need some sort of setup? I mean, we’re just happy together in a French ski chalet while the twins are elsewhere? And wasn’t this place in a James Bond movie or something?”

Carpe (disembodied voice): “No. I’m not writing about the stupid wheelchair either. Deal with it.”

EJ (grinning): “You heard the lady. So, what’s up, as she would say. You’re tense, Samantha.”

Sami (pulling away from EJ and turning to face him): “It’s like this, well, two things, really. First, you were pretty hard on me today.”

EJ (acknowledging): “Yes, I was. I’m harsh because I’m no longer willing to be your whipping boy. And because I have to be. It’s the only way to get things done, really, both from a plot perspective and your characterization. You have to come to me on your own terms, and the only way you’re going to do that is if you acknowledge what you feel for me. I confront you so you’ll fight back, and the reason you do is because you do actually love me. If you felt nothing for me, there would be nothing for you to rally against. Eventually, you will realize this yourself.”

Sami: “Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but fair enough, I guess.”

EJ (continuing): “And besides, it’s not like you’ve been some sort of model wife, now, have you? Sleeping with the man across the hall and stringing me along on your leash as if I were some kind of lovesick puppy.”

Sami (conceding): “Point taken.”

EJ: “Okay. So what’s the second thing?”

Sami (frowning): “I’m trying not to be, but I’m really worried about what’s coming up for us. Have you read the spoilers for next week and the week after?”

EJ (pulling his legs towards him): “Of course. I get to assault a police officer, and Lucas tries to run off to Mexico with his mother. I have to say, everything sounds fantastic to me. You’re concerned?”

Sami (agitated): “Of course I’m concerned. I mean, nowhere in there was anything about us as a couple…I mean, I really wanted us to spend Christmas together. You know, for real. Us and the twins.”

EJ (laidback): “Considering what happened between us this time last year, perhaps we’re better off this way, eh?”

Sami (squinting at him): “Very funny. But I’m serious, EJ. Lucas telling me the truth, me visiting him in jail…all that just screams angst between me and Lucas.”

EJ (nodding): “I’m sure there will be. But it has to be this way.”

Sami (insistent): “I don’t believe that. It’s as if I’ve been going in circles for months. We’ve been through so much, and we don’t even get Christmas together as a couple and family to make up for last year? Not even as a fantasy sequence?”

EJ (pleading): “No. I’m sorry, Samantha, but we’re going the long route.”

Sami (softly): “Even the long way doesn’t have to be this long or this harsh.”

EJ (folding his arms across his chest): “Unfortunately, darling, it does. Now, I understand your feelings. I understand you’re frustrated. We all are, no one more than me. After all, we’re retreading ground that we already covered back in May, June, and July as I pull away from my father, you and Lucas collapse, and you and I work out our issues.”

Sami (annoyed): “That’s exactly my point. We’ve already done this once. Why are we repeating it? We’re wasting time, time we may not have to waste if the ratings don’t continue to improve. Give me one good reason why we need to go over it again.”

EJ (looking at her nonchalantly as he leans back): “The freezer incident.”

Sami (making a face): “You’re kidding.”

EJ (winking): “Never, my dear.”

Sami (questioningly): “But that was just the last gasp of the old producer. I’ve seen second grade musicals with better writing and directing. And the whole thing was swept under the rug with Lucas’ throw away comment. Why would that matter now?”

EJ (simply): “Because it reset me.”

Sami: “What do you mean?”

EJ (bluntly): “Hero EJ was completely undermined.”

Sami (flippantly): “Well, yeah, but why should that matter? Why does all that progress that you made over three months have to be ignored because of two bad days?”

EJ: “Because the new personality that I had been creating not only was completely trashed but replaced with someone who was even worse than Evil EJ. For heaven’s sake, Samantha, I had two full blown hallucinations within a couple hours. I was psychotic. Now, you can downplay that, ignore the consequences that should come from it, and act as if it never happened, but you can’t pretend that it doesn’t wipe the slate clean as far as my redemption goes. Not even on this soap.”

Sami (firmly): “But it’s not fair. That wasn’t your fault.”

EJ (grimacing): “Neither was last year in the car. Yet I still have to pay for it. So we’re starting over. Redoing everything through the steam room, the letters, the hospital interaction, the fighting…slowly getting back to where we were.”

Sami (sighing): “What a waste.”

EJ (nodding): “Yes. But that’s what happens when TPTB can’t make up their minds. And because it’s easier to destroy than to build, it takes longer.”

Sami (staring at him): “Why do we even bother?”

EJ (corner of his mouth turning up): “You have to ask?”

Sami: “Yes. How do I know they won’t do that to you again just as we’re finally getting somewhere?”

EJ (firmly): “They won’t.”

Sami (just as firmly): “You don’t know that.”

EJ (shaking his head): “On the contrary. I do.”

Sami (brushing him off): “Yeah, well, I see a man who’s been shot and paralyzed and still hasn’t learned anything. You’re still the third wheel. You’re the Sami to my and Lucas’ Carrie and Austin.”

EJ (tilting his head and hardening his eyes): “Really? Because I see an entire sorority rape storyline that was constructed in order to make me look better in comparison. I see Phillip and Belle put in a similar situation to us in order to highlight the nature of our deal. I see our son being played by real babies. And I see precious screentime in a 38 minute show being spent on me cleaning my apartment and sleeping on my couch. Overall, I see TPTB pulling out all the stops for me. It took them entirely too long, but they now see my worth as a romantic lead instead of evil incarnate. They’ve finally committed to my character.”

Sami (not buying it) “Maybe they are committed to you. And I know that they’re committed to me in how I have been centerstage since my first appearance. But are they committed to us?”

EJ (openly): “I believe so.”

Sami (shaking her head): “But you don’t know.”

EJ (moving closer to her): “No. The only things certain in life are death and taxes, sweetheart.”

Sami (edging near him): “That’s not very comforting, EJ.”

EJ (wrapping his arms around her): “The truth often isn’t. But I believe we are endgame, as they say, as misleading as that term is.”

Sami (leaning into him): “But…we might not be. I could still end up with Lucas. We might not be together.”

EJ (kissing her on the top of her head): “No matter what happens on the show itself, we’re always together, Samantha. Beyond storylines, beyond writing, beyond actors, beyond the confines of that reality, there exists a place where you and I and Gianni and Ali live happily ever after. That’s the real comfort about us as fictional characters. Since we don’t really exist, no one can ever actually tear us apart. As long as even one person imagines us as a couple, we will be.”

Sami (looking up at him): “I know. But I really want to see it on screen, you know?

EJ (adjusting to nuzzle Sami’s neck): “So do I.”

Sami (tilting her head): “You really think we’re headed in the right direction?”

EJ (whispering): “I do. It’s just going to take us a bit to get where we’re going.”

Sami moves to kiss EJ, slowly and passionately.

Sami (eyeing him): “If that’s the case, I can think of some ways we could pass the time.”

EJ (raises his eyebrow): “Indeed.”

They kiss again.

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