Boston – Alley off 18th Street – Continuous
Faith and Kennedy stood facing off against each other, Kennedy’s arms still in the air.
“Your money! Now!” Faith demanded again.
“Okay,” Kennedy said. She reached toward her back pocket and took a step closer. “Settle down.”
Her arm suddenly reached out and grabbed the wrist that held the knife. She cracked it over her knee. Once the knife fell, she swung Faith around until she slammed her against the wall of the alley. With her forearm over Faith’s throat and holding one arm, she grabbed Faith’s other arm, pinning it to the wall. She tightened her hold and saw all the bruises up and down Faith’s arm.
“Destroying your body with drugs I see,” Kennedy replied. “What a waste.”
“Let me go bitch,” Faith spat, as she struggled against her.
“Listen, Faith,” Kennedy told her. “I need to talk to you.”
Faith’s movements stilled. “H-How do you know my name?” she choked out.
“I’m a friend, but you might not remember me.”
“I don’t have friends.”
“You do now, so how about we put the weapons away and I buy you dinner while I explain? It’s been hours since I’ve had a real meal and I’m starving…Looks like you could use a good meal, too. Whatta ya say? Truce so we can talk?”
At first, Faith did nothing, but slowly she nodded. Kennedy released her quickly, picking up the knife.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll hold on to this for now,” Kennedy said, putting it in her pocket. “I saw a diner up the block. Let’s go over there.”
Kennedy motioned for Faith to lead the way. She did, but not without keeping Kennedy in her sight by turning her head backward as she walked.
“Got that quarter yet?” Jason asked as they approached him at the corner.
Kennedy gave him a twenty-dollar bill.
“Get some food before anything else,” she told him.
He looked at the bill and gave her a smile, one that was missing a few teeth.
“Thanks, ma’am,” he told her happily. “I’ll pay you back.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Kennedy told him.
“No, somehow, someday…you’ll see. I’ll be the one who helps you,” he told her.
Diner – Later that Night
Faith and Kennedy sat in a booth, while Jason Felix sat at the counter in front of them, eating a bowl of soup. Kennedy watched as Faith stuffed three French fries in her mouth at a time and had to smile. The place was practically deserted.
“So that’s my story,” Kennedy said in conclusion. “Do you believe me?”
“Buy me another cheeseburger and I’ll believe anything you want,” Faith replied.
Kennedy motioned to the waitress. “Can you bring another?” she called out.
“Sure thing,” the waitress answered.
“You know,” Faith told her. “If you throw in fifty bucks I’m willing to do much more,” she added, wiggling her eyebrows.
“Selling your body for drugs, too?” Ken asked. Faith didn’t reply. “Why do you do it? The drugs, I mean.”
Faith shrugged. “I used to do them for fun and now…I just do them.”
Kennedy said nothing for a long moment. “I can help you, you know? I can get you off the street. You don’t have to live like this.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Faith told her. “I’m dying.”
“If you keep living like this, yes.”
“No,” Faith told her. “I’m literally dying. A few dirty needles already signed my death warrant. You can’t save me, kid. And even if you could, why would you?”
Kennedy’s mouth opened in shock and she looked away. “You’re HIV positive,” she said, more as a statement than a question. Again, Faith didn’t reply. Kennedy turned to face her again, this time her face showing optimism. “Well, there are things we can do, meds you could be on. Magic Johnson isn’t dying of HIV, he’s living with it. You could live with it too, Faith. He’s had it for nearly twenty years now.”
“You’re forgetting one thing,” Faith told her. “I don’t have millions of dollars and a buncha world class docs looking after me.”
“I have money, well, my parents have money. I can help you Faith. I can save you from this.”
“Again, why would you help me? You don’t even know me,” Faith replied.
At first Kennedy said nothing. Her bottom lip began to quiver.
“You’re my best friend,” Kennedy said, her voice cracking. She licked her lips and wiped her eyes of the unshed tears that were welling up. “You’re my mentor, my hero. You’ve taught me so much…”
“I just met you tonight,” Faith answered. “And I’m far from a role model.”
“You’re wrong,” Kennedy told her. “And I’m just asking for the chance to prove it. I mean it when I say, I’ll take care of you Faith. That’s what best friends do, they take care of each other. And you’re the greatest friend I ever had…I won’t lose you.”
Faith said nothing at first and then began to chuckle. “For a small second there, you almost had me believe that.”
“It’s true, Faith,” Kennedy told her. “I don’t know how else I can convince you. You’ll just have to trust me.”
“Well, trust isn’t something I can afford, Kid. You start trusting people and you start getting killed. I might be dying, being eaten alive slowly from the inside out…but I ain’t dead yet.”
“I’m sure you’ve been burned by people, but I can promise you, I’m not one of them.”
Faith grinned. “You act like a promise means something. That…if you take an oath, that’s the way it’ll be…but I know different, okay?”
Kennedy looked away again, as if trying to hide her frustration, as the waitress came back with another cheeseburger. Kennedy’s eyes drifted over to a television set, where she saw a sketch artist picture of Heli. Her mouth opened slightly and she walked over to the set.
“Can you turn that up a little?” Kennedy asked the waitress that had just left her table.
She nodded and pushed the button.
“Police are asking, if you see a woman matching this description, to avoid her and instead call your local law enforcement office…”
“What did she do?” Kennedy asked.
“They think that’s the woman with the Al Qaeda ties,” the waitress answered. “She’s been blowing up U.S. embassies around the world. Homeland security wants her bad. You know her?”
Kennedy didn’t answer at first. She just stared at the screen for a moment longer and then shrugged. “If not, I know someone who’s a dead ringer for her.”
“Maybe you should call?” the waitress suggested.
“Yeah, maybe I should,” Kennedy slowly as if she was considering it. She walked back to the seat to see the second cheeseburger Faith was eating was almost gone. “Sorry about that.” Kennedy said
“Another friend from your past life?” Faith asked, motioning to the T.V.
“Someone I can’t seem to avoid, would be more accurate,” Kennedy replied. “Someone I…” she trailed off in her reply, as if not wanting to say exactly what happened. “Somebody I didn’t really care for.”
“Someone who pissed you off,” Faith replied.
“What makes you say that?” Kennedy asked.
“I don’t know. The flaring nostrils and squinty eyes are a good tip off. If looks could kill, whoever she is would be dead now.”
“She is dead,” Kennedy replied. “She-she was responsible for killing one of my best friends, where I come from.”
“So there’s a reason for the hatred, I see,” Faith said.
Kennedy looked angry at first, but slowly began to grin. “You’re still in there.”
“Excuse me?” Faith asked.
“Everything you just said,” Kennedy told her. “It sounds like something you’d say.”
Faith put her extra French fries in a napkin and quickly placed it inside her coat pocket. She then wiped her fingers on her napkin and downed the last of her soda pop.
“Well, it’s been fun,” she said, as she got up and began to leave. Kennedy quickly tossed some money on the table and followed Faith outside.
Diner – Moments Later
“Let me put you up somewhere,” Kennedy called to Faith, making her stop. “I’ll get you out of this place and somewhere nice.”
“Gonna be my sugar momma?” Faith asked.
“I told you, it’s not like that,” Kennedy replied. “Besides, I’ve got a friend online that I’d like to hook up with, but I’ve got other people to find first. Just…please let me do that.”
“Look, I had dinner. Just like you asked. I don’t want anything else. Except maybe fifty bucks,” she replied.
“You’ll spend it on drugs, Faith,” Kennedy replied. “I can’t do that, but like I said, if you want somewhere to stay, I’ll put you up.”
Faith looked away for a moment, scratching her arm. “Forget it,” she said. She waved Kennedy off and began to walk away.
Kennedy kept up with her. “Like I told you inside, I’m going to London tomorrow. But I promise, I’ll get you help – just stay clean and I’ll be back within a week. If you won’t take my hotel offer, at least do that for me. It’s only a week, maybe less.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Faith said with a shrug. “Thanks for the meal.”
“Come here,” Kennedy said, as she pulled Faith gently into a hug. “Just promise me you’ll stick around here. I swear I’ll be back.”
At first Faith didn’t return the hug, but slowly her hands slipped around Kennedy.
“It’s been a long time since someone hugged me,” Faith told her. Kennedy smiled, although Faith couldn’t see it. “Of course, there could be a reason for that.”
Faith snagged Kennedy’s wallet from her back pocket and took off running down the alley. Kennedy gave chase but stopped when she saw the wallet thrown over Faith’s shoulder.
“Be careful who you trust, Kid,” Faith shouted as she continued down the street.
As Faith disappeared into the night, Kennedy opened the billfold to see that it was empty.
“Damn it,” she sighed.
Kennedy pulled out her cell phone and dialed.
“Hey, Mom. I need you to wire me some money in Boston…It’s a long story.”
Oxford University – Next Day
Kennedy looked down at a piece of paper, then up at a building in front of her with a sign next to the door that read “St. Cross.” With a heavy sigh, she put the paper into her pocket and walked up the steps.
St. Cross College, Oxford – Hallway – Moments Later
Kennedy came to a frosted window and gave it a gentle tap before entering.
She began to smile as she saw Willow seated at a desk inside. The redhead looked up.
“Can I help you?” Willow asked.
“God, I hope so,” Kennedy replied. She sighed heavily and put her book bag into the chair in front of the desk. “I have a story to tell you that you might find absolutely incredible, and chances are you’ll think I’m insane, but you’re probably one of the few people on this earth that can help me.”
“You don’t want me to get millions out of a bank account in Nigeria, do you?” Willow asked in a quiet voice.
Kennedy chuckled softly. “No,” she replied. “Like I said –”
A door beside the desk opened.
“Willow, about dinner tonight…oh, sorry,” Giles apologized upon seeing Kennedy there. “I didn’t know anyone was here with you.”
“Giles!” Kennedy said, her face lighting up. “This is so great! I can pick your brain too. That’s incredible. That’s wonderful, actually. And you have normal lives, and everything. So you two hooked up at this place?”
Willow and Giles both began to look nervous and he walked over to the open outer door, closing it swiftly.
“Who are you and what do you want?” Giles asked Kennedy in a stern voice.
“What?” Kennedy asked, thrown by his change in demeanor. “All I said was you two hook…oh my god…you two? She’s young enough to be your daughter, maybe even your granddaughter! Plus, she’s a lesbian! And a damn great one, I don’t mind telling you. This is…this is messed up…on-on so many levels.”
“Who is this woman?” Giles asked Willow.
“I-I-I don’t know, Rupert,” Willow began to answer.
“Eww,” Kennedy said, “He’s not Rupert. All right, he is Rupert, but…he’s Giles, okay? He’s one of the smartest guys on the planet, but he’s not…ewww.”
“Call security,” Giles told Willow.
She picked up the phone but Kennedy reached over and took it away. “Please, I’m sorry, guys. No, no security. I’m not nuts. Just give me five minutes of your time and I swear, if you don’t believe me or if you think you can’t help me, I’ll leave. I promise.”
“Get out, now,” Giles told her as he grabbed her by the arm.
“I know Xander Harris,” Kennedy said quickly to Willow. “Well, I knew Xander Harris. Just five minutes.”
Willow and Giles shared an unreadable look.
Giles released Kennedy, but he still towered over her. He snatched her book bag away from the chair and said, “Sit.”
Kennedy obeyed without saying a word as Giles opened the bag and began to pour the contents onto the desk. All he found were some clothing items, her car keys, her cell phone, an iPod and some snack foods. As her passport fell on the desk, he opened it.
He took a seat on the end of the desk and handed the passport to Willow.
“You have five minutes, on the condition that you tell no one of what happened here today,” Giles said. “Agreed?”
Kennedy held her hands up. “Fine. Whatever…Can I start over?” she asked.
“Four minutes and fifty seconds,” Giles told her.
Kennedy took a deep breath. “Here’s the deal…” she began.
The clock on the wall read 3:20 pm.
St. Cross College, Oxford – Office – Late Afternoon
The clock now read 4:05 pm.
“This is absolutely ludicrous,” Giles said, shaking his head. “And at this point I’m not sure who’s crazier, you or her,” he added to Willow.
“But she knows things, Rupert,” Willow told him shyly. “How I brush my teeth, how I sleep, how…” She trailed off and blushed. “How does she know these things?”
“Because she’s raving mad!” Giles replied. “And chances are, she’s been stalking you for some time.”
“Look at my passport. I just got here. I wouldn’t have time to know all these things,” Kennedy told him, before turning back to Willow. “You believe me, deep down, I know you do. You can’t explain it, but you know it’s true.”
Giles stood up from the desk and handed Kennedy her book bag, with all her items now returned.
“Young lady, I suggest you leave now. We’ve more than held up our end of the arrangement. Now hold up yours.”
With a sigh, Kennedy took the book bag.
“Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me – as warped and disturbing as it may be.”
Kennedy placed the bag over her shoulder and walked out the door.
Willow’s Apartment – Later that Evening
Willow parked her Mini Cooper and walked toward her flat. From across the street, Kennedy watched from her rental car. Once Willow slipped inside, she opened her door and got out.
Walking across the street, Kennedy watched the apartments above her and spotted a light go on in one of the units. She went to the door, but found it was locked with a security system.
She sighed and walked back to the sidewalk. She picked up a bit of gravel from the ground and hurled it toward the lighted window. When no one arrived, she did it again and in a few moments she watched Willow look from behind the curtain.
“Willow!” Kennedy said with an excited whisper. “I promise I won’t come near you. I just need to talk. You can stay right there.”
Willow rolled her eyes and opened the window.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I followed you,” Kennedy replied.
Willow turned to make her way back inside.
“No, wait,” Kennedy said. “I’m not gonna hurt you. I just want to talk. I’ll stay right here, I swear.”
“You already swore you’d go away,” Willow told her.
“I know, but someone’s life is on the line here,” Kennedy told her.
“I already told you, I don’t know what magic is. I don’t know how I can help your friend, aside from telling you to check her into a clinic. And if I could work this so-called magic, I-I’d…” Willow trailed off.
“What?” Kennedy asked.
Willow licked her lips nervously. “I’d bring Xander back,” she told her. “I’d bring my parents back. I’d make sure that earthquake never happened…But this ‘magic stuff,’ it’s a fantasy, something I can’t do. Something no one can do, so just…leave me alone.”
Kennedy noticed the pained expression on Willow’s face and the quiver in her voice.
“I didn’t come here to hurt you, Will,” Kennedy said as she looked up toward the window. “I just know how powerful you are. You’re so much more than…this.” She outstretched her hands.
“I like my life,” Willow told her. “I know it’s not glamorous but…it’s not bad.”
“You deserve more than a not bad life Willow. You’ve got the ability to save countless lives, to…to be respected in your field and…” Kennedy trailed off and then groaned. “Tell me this…why are you with Giles – Rupert?”
“I don’t think that’s any of your business,” Willow told her.
“My point is, how happy can you be living in his academic shadow or-or not even being able to hold his hand in public? I’m sure sneaking around might seem fun, but sooner or later it’s going to get old, or the school will catch you. Then what? How many years are you willing to waste?”
“I don’t have to listen to this,” Willow began to fight with the window, but it was stuck open.
“Yes, you do,” Kennedy told her. “Because you have more worth than you’re giving yourself credit for. I’ve seen it myself.”
Willow finally managed to get the window closed. Kennedy let out a sigh and walked back toward her car, despondent.
Heathrow Airport – Later That Night
Kennedy stood in a line in front of an airline service counter. She was playing with her iPod, not really paying attention to what was happening around her. When she was next in line, she took a step and looked up. But she stopped in her tracks when she saw Rowena.
“Welcome to British Airways,” she said in a chipper voice. “How can I help you this evening?”
“And the hits just keep on coming,” Kennedy muttered to herself.
End of Act Three