Writing Project 2021

“TROUBLE AT THE OFFICE”

A Romance Screenplay

By Rugby Café Writers

This is our Writing Project for the first part of 2021. It’s a Film Script in the Romance genre. Once it is finished, we are going to try to film it with real actors. Each part will be written by a different member of the Rugby Cafe Writers. Apart from Lindsay, none of us has ever tried script-writing before, so it will be a new experience!

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Part 1 by Lindsay Woodward

EXT. OFFICE CAR PARK. MORNING.

RACHEL SMITH, 32, steps out of her mid-range car, weighed down with her handbag and laptop bag. She’s very pretty and well presented in nice clothes, never looking anything but immaculate.

The car park sits beside a large office block. It’s packed with cars, but there is no other person in sight.

Rachel walks confidently in her pristine stilettos to the entrance of the building. It’s not a grand entrance, and the building isn’t particularly new, but it all seems well looked after.

INT. RECEPTION. MORNING.

Rachel enters the cosy reception. To the left there is a staircase that leads to the upstairs offices. Next to that is the reception desk where CHARLOTTE, the 21 year old mousey receptionist sits, hidden by the oversized reception desk. 

Towards the back of the carpeted area there are two doors. One leads to the meetings rooms and some other offices, and the other leads directly to the shop floor.

On the wall opposite the reception desk is a large TV screen hosting a rolling corporate video. It catches Rachel’s eye and she watches three slides of the presentation:

  1. The red and white corporate branding shoots across the screen and the words “Welcome to WLF Interiors” appear
  1. Those words dissolve away and new words appear saying “A family run business since 1905 manufacturing high quality furniture and market-leading upholstery”
  1. A picture of a fancy leather sofa and a Chesterfield armchair appear next to the words “Still 100% British-made from our manufacturing site in Rugby, Warwickshire”

RACHEL (pointing to the screen)

Why is the old logo still on here?

Rachel turns to glare at Charlotte who just shrugs nervously.

RACHEL

I gave you the USB to update this video a week ago. Why haven’t you done it yet?

CHARLOTTE

I didn’t know how.

RACHEL

And you didn’t think to ask?

Loud steps are heard bounding down the staircase and JASMINE DAVIES, 29, appears. She’s sporting a very large smile. She’s always full of beans, and is the trendsetter of the office, wearing nothing but the latest fashion.

Jasmine approaches Rachel with a skip in her step.

JASMINE

Rach, am I glad to see you. I could burst with excitement. You’ll never guess what?

RACHEL

Morning to you too, Jasmine.

JASMINE

You’re the only other single girl here. No one else understands.

RACHEL

What is it?

JASMINE

The new Marketing Director has started, and he’s absolutely gorgeous.

RACHEL

What?

JASMINE

We finally have some talent in the office! 

RACHEL

You know we’re here to work, right?

JASMINE

Don’t be so boring. You have to come and look at him.

Jasmine grabs Rachel’s hand and leads her towards the door at the back of the reception that hides the meeting rooms.

INT. CORRIDOR. MORNING

Jasmine and Rachel slyly enter the corridor. There are closed doors on either side all the way down, but Jasmine stops at the first door and pokes her head just to the side of it to look through the large glass window.

Through the glass there are a number of tables pushed together, surrounded by chairs. It’s clearly a meeting room, but only one man working on a laptop can be seen.

BRAD JONES, 35, is sitting towards the end of the room, focused intently on the laptop before him. He’s dressed sharply in a tailored suit, and he is indeed gorgeous with not one strand of his perfectly gelled hair out of place.

Rachel steps beside Jasmine to take a sneak peek. As soon as her eyes fall on Brad she gasps. She turns quickly on her heels.

INT. RECEPTION. MORNING.

Rachel storms back into the reception area. She paces around with grave concern.

Jasmine runs after her.

JASMINE

What is it?

RACHEL

He’s the new Marketing Director?

JASMINE

Yes.

RACHEL

You’re sure?

JASMINE

Yes. I introduced myself to him when I made coffee this morning. 

RACHEL

Did he say his name was Brad Jones?

JASMINE

He said his name was Brad. You know him?

Rachel mutters profanities under her breath as she paces around some more.

JASMINE

Do you not like him? He seemed really nice.

RACHEL

Oh yes. He’s the best.

JASMINE

What’s the matter?

Rachel stops pacing. She approaches Jasmine and drops her voice.

RACHEL

Do you remember I said that I used to have a crush on my old boss?

JASMINE

Yes.

RACHEL

Brad Jones was my old boss. I worked with him for six months and spent every minute totally besotted with him. Then one night we went out for team drinks and him and I ended up being the last two left. We got talking, I let it slip that I like him, and before I know it we’re kissing. It was one of those mind-blowing kisses; you know the sort that you fantasise about.

JASMINE

You never told me that.

RACHEL

Because the very next day he called me into his office to tell me I’m being made redundant. I haven’t seen him since. Until about thirty seconds ago.

JASMINE

Let me get this right. Our new boss is your old boss that you’re still insanely in love with, a man that you eventually confessed your feelings to, only for him to instantly make you redundant?

RACHEL

That about sums it up.

JASMINE

Well, this should be fun. We’ve got a team meeting in thirty minutes.

To be continued.

Part Two by Bella Osborne

RACHEL

Then I need caffeine and lots of it.

EXT. COFFEE SHOP. MORNING.

Standard coffee shop chain outlet. Small with some seating. Few people. No queue. Rachel’s usual apron-clad young male Barista is serving. Rachel approaches the smiling Barista.

BARISTA

You’re early, Rachel. Usual?

RACHEL

Size me up, please. And a …

She gestures at Jasmine to give her order.

JASMINE

Just a chocolate croissant, please.

BARISTA

Sure thing.

JASMINE

This is so romantic. The love of your life has turned up here. It’s actually fate.

RACHEL

It’s actually a nightmare.

JASMINE

But you still have feelings for him. Don’t you?

RACHEL

Oh yeah! Murderous ones. I was on my way up in that company until he made me redundant. That’s how little he thought of me. Of my potential. I had to start again, at the bottom, all because of him.

JASMINE

That’s just business. It’s not personal.

RACHEL

He snogged me the night before. That’s personal. Oh My God. I snogged him. This is so embarrassing.

JASMINE

You only kissed him. It’s not like you pole-danced topless around the lamppost outside his house, now is it?

RACHEL

No. Was the topless pole dancing you?

JASMINE

No… I was wearing a bra.

BARISTA

Rachel!

RACHEL

Thanks.

Rachel takes her drink and a bag containing Jasmine’s croissant. They both leave the shop.

EXT. CROSSING ROAD. MORNING.

Edge of town. Row of shops behind. Few cars passing by. Rachel is not paying attention. Steps into road. Car screeches to a halt. Jasmine waves apologies at the irate driver.

JASMINE

Rachel!

Rachel turns around. Jasmine crosses the road.

RACHEL

Sorry.

Rachel still unaware of the car hands Jasmine the bag containing her croissant.

JASMINE

So what are you going to do?

Irate driver speeds away still gesticulating in the background.

RACHEL

I am going to show bloody Brad Jones what a huge mistake he made by letting me go.

JASMINE

From the job or romantically?

RACHEL

Both.

INT. CORRIDOR. MORNING.

Rachel and Jasmine are outside the meeting room door. Rachel is pacing with her bag on the same wrist of the hand which is holding her large coffee.

Jasmine checks her watch.

JASMINE

I think we should go in.

RACHEL

I just need to make sure I have an answer for every possible thing he could throw at me.

Rachel stops pacing. Stands in front of Jasmine.

RACHEL

Do I look like a strong independent woman who has risen to the rank of Sales Director?

JASMINE

You’ve got lipstick on your teeth.

RACHEL

Bugger it.

Rachel rubs a finger over her teeth and bares them for Jasmine to inspect.

JASMINE

Better.

Ready?

RACHEL

Let battle commence.

Jasmine holds open the meeting room door for Rachel to walk in. As Rachel steps forward Brad is coming out of the room. They don’t collide but it’s a near miss.

BRAD

Hi. I’m Brad Jones.

RACHEL

I’m Rachel Smith.

They shake hands.

BRAD

Nice to meet you Rachel.

RACHEL

Nice to see you again Brad.

BRAD

Oh, I’m sorry. Have we met? Did you get my coffee this morning?

JASMINE

That was me. I’m Jasmine.

BRAD

Thanks, Jasmine. Great coffee.

Rachel coughs.

BRAD

I look forward to getting to know you, Rachel.

RACHEL

You do know me!

Rachel laughs awkwardly. Brad looks confused. Rachel looks cross.

RACHEL

Rachel. Rachel Smith. From Bendall and Mason’s.

BRAD

Right. Okay. 

RACHEL

You really don’t remember?

BRAD

Sorry. No. Wait. Did you work in the factory?

Rachel is stunned that he doesn’t appear to recognise her. In her haste to go past him into the meeting room she catches the arm of her bag on the door handle and tips the contents of the coffee over herself. Rachel lets out a squeal of surprise.

RACHEL

Shit!

Part Three by Chris Wright

Fade In:

INT Pub

Character Name 1

Brad Jones : up and coming handsome exec

Character Name 2

Janet Moss : his Fiancée pretty as Penelope.

Character Name 3

Gordon the Jukebox: pathetic and fallacious

Scene: a Pub in the Midlands not too busy, Modern computerized jukebox

Brad

How’s that Janet? Bacardi and Coke and my Stella

Janet

So … No e-type Jags. It shatters my vision. Fiat 500s and Minis; the nice new style does not like your dads old wreck.

Brad

Babe! But both are proper classics.

Janet(unironically)

This wedding will be a new classic: silver swags, my LDS church choir, and white roses everywhere, for MY dad.

Janet pauses. Brad looks resigned and takes a big swig

Janet

… and none of that 70s music, the dross you like. No Simon AND No Garfunkel

Brad

That’s one duo

Janet

I don’t care. (pauses a beat) You have a lot of making up to do, Brad. We might be a bit confused by that, but Brad knows exactly what she means.

Janet

It’s a long enough engagement … Don Juan

Brad downs the remainder

Jukebox plays Gordon Lightfoot … Is only Brad listening?

Gordon Lightfoot

if you could read my mind love what a tale my thoughts could tell

Janet

 I ‘ve not decided the venue. It’s the Victorian Castle or the Roman Ruin conference Centre

Gordon Lightfoot

In a castle dark, or a fortress strong with chains upon my feet

Brad

you know that ghost is me

Janet

What did you say Brad

Brad

Just joining in with the chorus

Gordon Lightfoot

And you won’t read that book again because the ending’s just too hard to take

Janet

Focus darling. Venue finalization tomorrow we need an early night

They start to leave

Janet

I’m going to make an honest man of you Brad! (laughs)

Gordon Lightfoot

I don’t know where we went wrong but the feeling’s gone and I just can’t get it back

Janet

Bloody Hell doesn’t that jukebox have anything decent? A bit of STEPS™ say (sings) There was something in your voice, that was telling me don’t be too sure

Exiting, crossing the car park and Brad’s counting to keep his temper

Brad

.. 5,6,7,8 …

Janet

That’s a good one Brad(sings)  My boot-scootin’ baby is drivin’ me crazy My obsession from a western My dance-floor date

They get into Brad’s Audi TT and drive off

FAde Out:

Part Four by Fran Neatherway

EXT. OFFICE ENTRANCE. MORNING.

Jasmine approaches the door, carrying 2 cups of takeaway coffee, her handbag cross-body. 

Rachel is exiting the building. She has her coat on, handbag over one shoulder, and is pulling a heavy-looking laptop wheelie case.

JASMINE

I got you a coffee. Are you off somewhere?

Rachel stops and takes a cup.

RACHEL (angrily)

That bloody smug git has sent me to Leeds to see some web design company I’ve never heard of. That’s most of the day gone driving for a start. And he wants a report first thing tomorrow. When am I going to do that? In the evening, that’s when. Bastard.

JASMINE

Bummer.

RACHEL

And I had a date with Mike. Which I’ve had to cancel. Bastard!  

JASMINE

What? Did Mike throw a hissy fit?

RACHEL (impatiently)

No, Mike’s OK about it. Bloody bastard Brad sodding Jones, that’s who. Couldn’t be bothered to speak to me himself. Just sent an email. Bastard. Do me a favour and keep an eye on the pig. Let me know what he’s up to.

JASMINE (voice trailing away as Rachel stalks off)

Don’t drive too fast… too late.

Rachel zooms past in her car, driving too fast.

INT. BRAD JONES’ OFFICE. TEN AM.

Brad is wearing another sharp suit. He’s sitting behind his desk, studying a printout.

There’s a knock at the door.

BRAD

Come.

The door opens and Jasmine enters. She’s a little nervous.

JASMINE

Good morning, Mr. Jones. You wanted to see me?

BRAD

Yes, good morning, Janine. Please sit.

JASMINE

Jasmine, not Janine.

Jasmine sits down in front of Brad’s desk. 

BRAD

Right, Jasmine. I need to talk to you about a matter of some delicacy. It is, of course, extremely confidential, and I require your assurance that you will not repeat this conversation.

JASMINE (puzzled)

Of course.

BRAD…

Yesterday, when Ms. Smith said we’d met before, that is true. I had no idea that she worked here and I was caught completely off guard.

Brad leans forward.

          … BRAD

You see, the truth is, Janine…

JASMINE

Jasmine.

Brad ignores her.

BRAD

She did work for me several years ago. Unfortunately, she became obsessed with me and started stalking me. I ignored it at first, until then she told my fiancée that we were having an affair, which was, obviously, untrue. Janet didn’t believe her, of course, but it made things very difficult. In the end I had to let her go. You can imagine how shocked I was when she walked into my office yesterday.    

JASMINE (sympathetically)

Well, yes.

BRAD

So, Janine, I would like you to keep an eye on her and let me know if 

she shows any signs of … a relapse.

JASMINE

Of course. And it’s Jasmine, not Janine.

BRAD (stands up) 

Jasmine, yes. Thank you. I know I can rely on your discretion.

Brad stands up, indicating the meeting is over. Jasmine takes the hint and leaves, worried and confused. 

INT. THE ROSE AND CROWN. EVENING.

Jasmine is sitting at a table. She is wearing jeans and a jumper. DAN, 29, also casually dressed, sits opposite. He is not her boyfriend. There are several empty glasses on the table as well as her wine and his pint. They are in the middle of an intense conversation.

DAN

But is he hot? 

JASMINE (rolls eyes)

Yes, he’s totally your type, apart from the fiancée.

Dan shrugs and grins.

JASMINE

I don’t know which one to believe. They both sounded so, so… believable. I don’t want to get stuck in the middle. It’s going to make things awkward with Rachel. Him I can mostly avoid. 

DAN (making air quotes)

What are you going to do? Are you going to “keep an eye” on both? Tell each of them what the other is “up to”?

JASMINE

God, no. I’m going to keep my head down and hope it all goes away.

She sips her wine and sighs.

DAN

I still don’t understand why Rachel didn’t go to HR and make a fuss. I 

would’ve.  Or why Brad didn’t either.

JASMINE (laughing)

Yes, but you like making a fuss!

Part 5 by Simon Parker

INT. A QUIET CORNER TABLE FOR TWO AT AN INDIAN RESTAURANT. EVENING.

Brad and Janet, both still dressed in work clothes, are reading a menu each, deciding what to order.

JANET, (leaning over the table, smiling at Brad) 

You read my mind, Darling.  I really didn’t fancy cooking tonight and you know I love a nice mid-week Indian.

BRAD, (not really taking much notice of the menu)

Yeah.  Listen, Janet.  Something’s come up at work and I might be away for a few days at a stretch over the next couple of months.

JANET, (putting the menu down on the table and looking hurt)

What could be so important that you need to be away from the office, and me, and the wedding preparations?  You said this job would keep you at home most of the time, Brad, after all those years travelling around Europe.  You said you were sick of it, remember, that’s why you left your last job?

BRAD, (under his breath so as not to be fully heard)

Mmmm, that’s not the only reason I left Bendall and bloody Mason.

JANET, (looking confused)

What did you say?

BRAD, (looking annoyed, sitting back in his seat and putting his hands behind his head)

Forget it.  It doesn’t matter.  This is a new job and I have to make a name for myself, that’s all.  It isn’t going to be a regular thing and then we can settle down to…

JANET, (getting increasingly prickly, finishes Brad’s sentence)

…a nice quiet life together, doing up the house and making babies!  That’s what you want too, isn’t it Brad?

BRAD’S LIVING ROOM. BRAD ON THE PHONE TO HIS BEST MATE, TONY. 11PM

TONY, (yawning down the phone)

What couldn’t wait ‘til daylight, you old tart?

BRAD, (in an exasperated tone)

I’ve just been out with Janet for a curry.  All she talks about is: ‘house’ this and ‘babies’ that.  I’ll swear she she’s me perpetually up a ladder with a paintbrush in my hand, while she wafts around in a maternity dress, plumping the cushions!

TONY, (slightly more awake now)

It’s called married bliss, Brad, and it’s what every thirty-something unmarried female in the world wants!

BRAD, (still exasperated)

Don’t get me wrong, I do want kids with her at some point.  But I just want it to be the two of us for a few years.  You know – belting around Europe in fast cars, staying in nice hotels, eating in smart restaurants.  You can’t do that with a bevy of welps in tow in a people carrier!

TONY

You didn’t seem to mind before.  You’ve known Janet’s agenda for years.  Are you sure there’s not something else going on?

BRAD, (in an accusing tone)

You always could read me like a book, you old bastard!  There is something as it happens.  A very big something: a girl I had a bit of a fling with a couple of years ago, works at my new company.  She’s the complete opposite of Janet: she’s not in the least bit provincial; she wears smart clothes; she knows how to handle herself in the boardroom, as well as in the bedroom and she makes me think I’ll be making a big mistake marrying Janet!

TONY, (pretty much at the end of his tether)

Let’s go for a beer and talk about it.  Tomorrow at the Dun Cow?  Marital advice from the master doesn’t come cheap though – you’re buying!

BRAD, (laughing)

You’re on.  Eight o’clock?  But you can buy your own crisps! Good night Tony, and thanks.

TONY

Good night, Brad.  

INT.  BRAD JONES’ OFFICE.  10 AM THE FOLLOWING DAY

Brad, dressed as immaculately as ever, is sitting at his desk typing an email.  There’s a knock at the door.

BRAD

Come!

The door opens and Rachel enters, looking professionally aloof.

RACHEL

You wanted to see me, Mr. Jones?

BRAD (in a conciliatory tone)

You can call me Brad you know, Rachel.

RACHEL (maintaining her professionalism)

I prefer Mr. Jones, if you don’t mind.

BRAD (sighing)

OK, I understand.  Thank you for the email report of your visit to the web developers in Leeds.  You pulled a rabbit out of the hat there and saved the company a lot of money.  It won’t go unnoticed.  You must have been up pretty late, writing that report?

RACHEL

Yep, I turned in at 2am this morning.  Thank goodness for coffee, that’s all!

They exchange a quick smile, which warms the atmosphere a little.

BRAD, (leaning forwards and wringing his hands)

Rachel, I’ve been a bloody fool, and I want to make it up to you.  I’m sorry I pretended not to know you, after all we’ve been through.  We’re both a bit older and wiser now and we need to learn how to work together and make a go of it here.  Neither of us can afford another two-year setback at this stage in our careers. ‘Truce?

Brad makes to shake Rachel’s hand, which she accepts.

RACHEL, (softening, but maintaining high ground)

Agreed, but we need to set some ground rules if this is going to work.  Rule number one is: stop pretending you don’t know me in front of everyone else, OK?  Jasmine and the rest know what happened between us, or at least some of it.  We don’t need to broadcast how we know each other, but we need to show that we’ve got a calm, professional working relationship that puts everyone around us at ease.  ‘Got it?

BRAD, (sighing)

You’re right, that’s the best way to start.  The rest will slot into place once we get the hang of it, I suppose!

That leads me to the other thing I wanted to talk to you about.  Southampton Football Club has finally agreed to a meeting, to go over our proposal to furnish their corporate hospitality suite.  I want you to lead this bid, Rachel.  It needs someone with your design flair and  commercial nous to push it over the line.

RACHEL, (surprised but elated)

Thanks, Mr. Jones, er, Brad.  I’ve wanted to get my teeth into that project for a while.  It will be a pleasure to reel ‘em in!

BRAD,

Good!  They’ve asked for a meeting next Wednesday at 10am in their boardroom.  You’ll need to stay the night before so that you’re fresh for the meeting, I understand that.

I’ve had Charlotte book you into the Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa next Tuesday night, with a booking in the restaurant for 8pm.  It’s a super hotel and will set you up for the Wednesday.  Make sure you dress to impress, but don’t go overboard with Pritchard, the CFO – he’s immune to that sort of thing.  Between you and me, I think he travels on the other bus!

Rachel resents this last remark, but she’s secretly excited to be going back ‘on stage’, with the thought of having a group of gullible old men eating out of her hand!  Plus, the thought of a night in a flash hotel with access to a spa and a nice restaurant, all on expenses, takes the sting out of Brad’s screaming sexism.

INT. RECEPTION DESK AT SOUTHAMPTON HARBOUR HOTEL. 5PM THE FOLLOWING TUESDAY

YOUNG FRENCH MALE RECEPTIONIST

Good evening madame, are you checking in?

RACHEL

Yes, Rachel Jones of WLF Interiors.

RECEPTIONIST

Ah, yes Ms. Jones.  With a booking in the restaurant for 8pm as well?

RACHEL

Yes, and a wake-up call for 7am tomorrow please.  I fancy a swim before going into battle!

RECEPTIONIST, (laughing)

Of course.  It’s all arranged. Enjoy your stay with us Ms. Jones (simultaneously handing RACHEL the key card).  Oh, and your colleague is already here.  He’s in the bar now and asked that you joined him as soon as you arrived.

RACHEL, (confused)

What?  Who?

Rachel walks into the bar, pulling her suitcase behind her. She approaches the only other customer, a man in a suit seated on a stool at the bar with his back to her, drinking a pint.

Brad hears the sound of high heels clicking on the parquet flooring, like an electric shock through his brain, and swings around on his bar stool.

BRAD, (quietly, but with purpose)

Hi Rachel.  What’ll it be?

Part 6 by Steve Redshaw 

INT. RACHEL’S HOTEL ROOM. 5:10pm 

Rachel is perched on the bed. She is on the phone. The curtains are not drawn. Her suitcase is  standing upright, handle extended, abandoned in the middle of the room. 

Rachel 

Jasmine, hi. I’m at the hotel. You’ll never believe this. I walk into reception then  through the hotel bar and he’s there. Brad Jones. He’s down there, sitting at the bar,  waiting for me to join him for a drink. 

Jasmine (o/s) – expressing some incredulity 

He’s there, at the hotel? He’s booked himself into that hotel? Bloody hell Rach! 

Rachel 

Well, I don’t know if he’s staying here, suppose he must be. I didn’t have a conversation with him, I’d only just checked in. I said I needed to take my case up to  my room, have a shower and then I’d be back down. 

Jasmine (o/s) 

Nothing like encouraging him, then… 

Rachel 

What do you mean? 

INT. A ROOM IN JASMINE’S FLAT 

Jasmine is pacing back and forth across the room. 

Jasmine 

Oh come on Rach, he’s only after one thing. It’s a classic! He has lured you there.  ‘Personal interests’ under cover of ‘business matters’. Happens all the time doesn’t it! 

Rachel (o/s) 

No, this opportunity at the Football Club. This could be my big break. Brad believes  in me, he sees my worth. I can prove myself through this. 

Jasmine – plonks herself down on the sofa 

Oh, it’s Brad now is it, not Mr Bastard Jones? Yeah, I bet he sees your worth and  hopes you can prove yourself, preferably tonight! 

Listen Rach, I haven’t told you this. A couple of weeks ago, Mr Brad Jones  calls me into his office and tells me, confidentially like, that you had been obsessed  with him when you worked together at that last place, you know. 

Rachel (o/s) 

Bendall and Mason’s. 

Jasmine  

Yeah. He tells me you were stalking him and that you told his fiancee that you and he were having an affair. 

Rachel (o/s) 

He told you that! What else? 

Jasmine 

Well, that’s it really, he said you made things really difficult between him and his  fiancee and he said he had to, reluctantly, ‘let you go’. That’s a smart-arse way of  saying ‘firing you on the spot.’ 

Rachel (o/s) 

Mmm… 

Jasmine 

And then. Then, he asks me to keep my eye on you – discreetly – for signs that you  were, you know, getting a thing about him again. And I was to – discreetly – report  back to him if I saw anything to suggest that was happening… 

There is a prolonged, awkward silence.… Jasmine gets up and paces again. 

Jasmine 

Rach? You still there? You’re not mad at me are you? I just didn’t want to get  involved, you know piggy in the middle and all that. Anyway, it’s totally ridiculous,  didn’t fall for it for one moment. So, I’ll tell you what, I’ve been keeping my eye on  him. He’s got a thing for the females you know. He might be drop-dead gorgeous, but he bloody well knows it. Flirty, chauvinistic, predator, I reckon. 

Rach? Rach? You’re not mad at me are you? I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you  about this. I didn’t know how to… Tried to just forget it… 

Look, you should be bloody livid with that high and mighty Mr Brad Jones!  These bloody men, they think they can get away with anything. They’re in charge,  we’re just the underlings, to be shunted around and directed at their will. Yeah and  for….  

Rach? Rach? Are we still connected? Did you hear all that or was I spouting  into a total void? Rach… Speak to me, say something for God’s sake….. 

Another pause. 

INT. RACHEL’S HOTEL ROOM.  

Rachel seats herself further back on the bed, feet not touching floor. Her free arm is hugged around  her middle and her head is lowered. 

Rachel 

It’s true….. Well, mostly true…. I don’t know, it’s not like me, it just sort of –  happened. You saw him that first morning at work. You were more excited than a  pig-tailed school-girl when she spots the new boy in class! Yeah, he is totally good looking, but he’s more than that. Charm, yes, but also a certain calm, determined  confidence. He has power, he’s going places. I wanted to be like him, get on in my  career, be a successful business person. Yeah, I looked up to him. 

Jasmine (o/s) 

Not so easy for us, the weaker sex and all that…. 

Rachel – not responding to Jasmine’s comment 

But then, somehow, it all got mixed up, business ambitions and personal feelings. I  started trying to be where he was, coffee machine, reception, collecting letters,  walking down the corridor he just happened to walking up. Soon I talked to him, I  asked for a meeting, a consultation…. yeah, we discussed career development,  opportunities for me in the company, business stuff. But he could see through all that. And I could tell he was attracted to me. Of course, everyone knew he was engaged to the CEO’s daughter. 

Jasmine (o/s) 

Oh-oh, I can see where this is leading… 

Rachel 

Yes, we started meeting up, nothing too romantic. We did discuss business – where  we had worked previously, what our ambitions were, what we thought of the  company – and then – well, you know how it goes – tastes in music, favourite films,  places we like to visit. We had coffee, working lunches, sneaked in a couple of  evening meals together, even a weekend walk. That time we first kissed. It wasn’t  chance we were the last ones left at the end of the team drinks evening. We felt  comfortable in each other’s company. I didn’t need to confess my feelings for him, he already knew. That kiss…. it was inevitable. 

Jasmine (o/s) 

Oh, Rach, this is…. 

Rachel 

Then his personal secretary appears again. She’d left her reading glasses on the table.  She stood before us, totally in shock, then made a desperate grab for her glasses case, turned and rushed out, like she suddenly realised she was late for an important  meeting! 

Jasmine (o/s) 

Blimey, Oh Reilly…. 

Rachel 

She didn’t waste her time. That was how his fiancee got to hear about us – a bit later  that evening. He sent me a text, 2am! I handed my resignation in the next morning. 

INT. A ROOM IN JASMINE’S FLAT 

Jasmine is seated again, perched uncomfortably on the very edge of her sofa. 

Jasmine 

Right, yes, well that clears a few things up. Oh Rach – and here you are working in  the same place again. But he’s not employed in Daddy’s firm any more, he’s…. 

Rachel (o/s) 

Still engaged…. Hey, thanks for listening. Look, I know I haven’t been totally honest  with you. I’m sorry. Maybe you should be mad at me. 

Jasmine – awkwardly 

Oh, come on, it’s ok. Well, it’s not ok for you, but it’s ok between us, we’re fine, we’re ok… Ok? 

INT. RACHEL’S HOTEL ROOM. 

Rachel stands, crosses to the window and looks out. 

Rachel 

Yeah, I think it is ok. I’ll skip the shower. It’s about time I went back down to the bar.  I know exactly what’s about to take place. And I’m ready and willing.… Catch you  later. 

She hangs up and places the phone determinedly on the desk. She stride to the middle of the room,  firmly collapses the handle of the suitcase and heaves it onto the bed. She picks up her key card,  slips it into her hand bag, shoulders the bag and marches out of the room.

Part Seven by Wendy Goulstone

INT. THE HOTEL BAR.  EARLY EVENING.  BRAD, RACHEL.

(BRAD IS SITTING ON A SETTEE. ON A LOW TABLE IN FRONT OF THE SETTEE IS AN OPENED BOTTLE OF WINE AND TWO GLASSES.

ON FLOOR, OUT OF SIGHT, ON BRAD’S SIDE OF THE SETTEE, IS HIS BULGING BRIEF CASE WITH SHEAVES OF PAPER AND A SMALL LAP-TOP. HE IS READING A DOCUMENT.

RACHEL ENTERS , LOOKING AS GLAMOROUS AS SHE COULD MANAGE FROM THE CLOTHES SHE HAD WITH HER. SHE WALKS ACROSS TO BRAD.

BRAD DOES NOT LOOK UP UNTIL SHE REACHES THE SETTEE AND STANDS LOOKING AT HIM.)

BRAD: (STARTLED)

Ah, Rachel.  I hadn’t expected you so soon.  How the time flies when you are busy. Take a seat.  Wine?

RACHEL:

Please.

(RACHEL  DRAPES HERSELF ON THE SETTEE, SHOWING OFF HER LEGS.)

BRAD(POURING WINE)

Not the best, I’m afraid, but I didn’t want to go overboard on company expenses.

RACHEL

 It’s fine.  I’m not a connoisseur.

BRAD: 

Everything satisfactory in your room?

RACHEL:

Yes, thank you. 

BRAD:

Good view?

RACHEL:

Great view of the car park.

BRAD: 

Tough luck.  Mine has a balcony overlooking the garden.

RACHEL:

That would be very pleasant on a warm evening like this.

BRAD;

Indeed it would.  We’ll enjoy it later.

RACHEL:

We?  Brad…

BRAD:

 Journey down OK?

RACHEL:

Yes thank you.  Brad…

BRAD:

All ready for tomorrow?

RACHEL:

Yes, thank you.  I think I have everything under control. Brad…

BRAD:

Busy day ahead, Presentation in order?

RACHEL:

Yes, thank you.  Brad, I…

BRAD:  

Then I’m sorry to throw a spanner in the works. Something has cropped up and we need to spend some time going over the proceedings before tomorrow’s meeting. I didn’t want to risk sending the new requirements by email so I’ve brought them myself.  That’s why I’m here.

RACHEL:  

What?  I thought you…

BRAD

You thought I what, Rachel?

RACHEL:

 It doesn’t matter.

BRAD:

So I thought we’d have a bit of time to make a start before dinner, then complete the briefing after dinner.  I’ve asked for coffee to be served in here.  Shall we make a start?

(HE REACHES DOWN AND PILES BRIEFCASE, LAPTOP AND A GREAT STACK OF PAPERS ON THE TABLE.)

BRAD:

 Right.  Shall we begin?

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

INT.  THE HOTEL DINING ROOM.   

BRAD  RACHEL  WAITER  JANET  

TABLE LAID FOR FOUR. BRAD AND RACHEL ARE SEATED AT THE TABLE.  A WAITER APPROACHES WITH NOTE PAD.

WAITER:

Sir?

BRAD

We’ll wait a little while to see if my other guests will arrive in time to join us.

WAITER:  

Yes, Sir.  Would you like drinks while you are waiting.

BRAD

No thank you.  I’ll order later.

WAITER

Thank you, Sir.

( WAITER MOVES TO ANOTHER TABLE.)

RACHEL

Other guests?

BRAD:

Yes, The Southampton Football Club manager has decided to come in person to discuss the proposals for tomorrow. He’s probably help up in traffic.

RACHEL:

And the other guest?

BRAD:  

Ah, here she is now.  

(JANET ARRIVES AT THE TABLE. BRAD RISES, KISSES JANET, SEATS HER AT THE TABLE.)

BRAD

Have you had a good journey, Darling?  The weather forecast is good for your shopping trip tomorrow. Have you seen our bedroom? Top of the range.  I thought you would like a little luxury.Oh, how remiss of me.  I do apologise.  This is my colleague, Rachel Smith.  I believe you two have met.

JANET:  

Yes, indeed. I remember Rachel very well.  Are you feeling all right, Rachel? You have gone very pale.

Chapter 8 by Madalyn Morgan

INT. HOTEL DINING ROOM.

SEATED AT THE TABLE – BRAD, JANET AND RACHEL. 

RACHEL (wrinkles her nose)

It must be the overpowering smell of… I can’t put my finger on it, but it has made me feel quite nauseous.

Rachel pushes back her chair and stands up. 

RACHEL

If you’ll excuse me. I’ve left the presentation in my room. As Doug Henshall hasn’t arrived yet, I’ll go up and get it.

Rachel takes her briefcase from the side of her chair. Hooks the strap over her shoulder and with her head held high leaves the dining room. 

INT. HOTEL LOBBY. 

Rachel in the hotel lobby looks at the exit, a revolving door. Beyond the door is a busy street. A taxi pulls up.

Rachel walks towards the exit then suddenly stops. She frowns, turns, looks across the foyer at the stairs and walks briskly to them.  

INT. LANDING OUTSIDE RACHEL’S BEDROOM

Rachel takes her key card from her briefcase and swipes it in the magnetic lock. She pushes open the door to her room leaving it to swing on its hinges. 

INT. RACHEL’S BEDROOM. 

Rachel drops the briefcase on the dressing table chair and crosses the room to the en suite bathroom. 

INT. RACHEL’S BATHROOM

Rachel looks at her reflection in the mirror above the handbasin and exhales loudly. 

RACHEL (mutters to herself)

The design for Doug Henshall is my work. It’s my presentation and it should be me who goes to the Southampton football club tomorrow to discuss furnishing the corporate hospitality suite, not bloody Brad Jones! 

INT. BEDROOM.

RACHEL comes out of the bathroom and marches across the bedroom. She opens the briefcase, takes out a folder, drops the briefcase on the floor, sits down at the dressing table and begins to read.  

RACHEL

Damn the man! What the hell is his game? 

JANET

Don’t you know?  

Rachel spins round at the sound of Janet’s voice.

RACHEL

How…?  No! I don’t know. 

Janet drops onto Rachel’s bed, swings her legs up and leans back against the headboard.

RACHEL

What are you doing here, Janet? What do you want?

JANET

To warn you.

Rachel puts up her hands as if to surrender. 

RACHEL

Save your breath. I’ve had enough. I give in. 

Rachel throws the folder that contains the football club’s designs and presentation onto the bed next to Janet.

RACHEL

Take it to your– fiancée. I never want to see him, or you, again!   

JANET

That’s being defeatist, Rachel. I thought you had more balls.

Rachel looks quizzically at Janet.

JANET

It’s your presentation, but Brad embarrasses you by inviting me to join him tonight, and you’re going to leave and let him take the credit for your hard work?

RACHEL

What are you saying? 

JANET

I’m saying, you sold WLF Interiors to Doug Henshall. You drew up the designs to refurbish and refurnish the corporate hospitality suite at Britannia Road, so go back to the dining room with you head held as high as it was when you left, and nail the contract. If you leave now, Brad will take the credit for your work. 

Rachel looks suspiciously at Janet. It is clear from Rachel’s expression that she does not trust Janet. What is her agenda? Why is Rachel helping her and not Brad?

RACHEL

I’d have thought you of all people would want me to leave. Get me out of the way.

Janet (lets out a cynical laugh.)  

I would have done, once, but not now. You’re not the first female sales manager Brad has had an affair with, nor the first he has promised to promote if you land a big contract. And, I doubt you’ll be the last. Brad uses women, Rachel. He is using you.  

Rachel already thinks Brad is a slime ball, but to hear Janet speak about him in such a way shocks her. She is confused and speechless. Now she really does feel nauseous.

JANET

Rachel, Brad didn’t leave Bendall and Masons of his own volition. He wasn’t headhunted by WLF interiors. My father paid him off. He warned him if there were any more malpractice’s he would make sure Brad never worked in interior design again. For my sake Daddy let Brad resign with a golden handshake. Money has always been the way to Brad’s heart, Rachel.  

Janet pauses. There is a heavy silence between the two women. Janet picks up the folder and holds it out to Rachel.

JANET

So, what’s it to be, Rachel? Go back to the dining room, greet Doug Henshall and secure the deal, or do what all the other women that Brad has used to climb the career ladder have done? Go home, cry into your cocoa and wait for your redundancy settlement and your P45. 

Rachel takes the folder from Janet and smiles.

RACHEL

I’m going back to the dining room and I am going to do the deal with Doug Henshall. 

Janet jumps off the bed and goes to the door. She turns and looks back at Rachel. 

JANET

Do you remember the account you were working on when Brad made you redundant from Bendall and Masons?

RACHEL

Yes, Thompson’s, a large retail clothes outlet. 

Janet raises her eyes and shakes her head.

JANET

Brad claimed that success. The commission that should have been yours, he took.

Rachel looks into the mid-distance and recalls that day.   

FLASHBACK. INT. BRADS OFFICE AT BENDALL AND MASONS.

Brad is sitting at his desk. He swivels in his chair and smiles when Rachel enters. He shakes his head and pulls a sad face as he hands Rachel her redundancy payment and her P45.    

INT. HOTEL BEDROOM.

Rachel looks at Janet. She blinks hard to stop herself from crying with anger. She turns, picks up her briefcase and puts the folder in it. 

JANET

I’ll go back to the dining room first. Wait a couple of minutes before you come in.

Janet takes a white business card from her coat pocket.

JANET

Bendall and Masons are looking for a Marketing Director. If you’re interested, and I hope you are, give this number a ring tomorrow.

Janet hands Rachel the card and leaves the room.

Rachel looks at the name on the card. Horace Bendall, CEO of Bendall and Masons. Janet’s father.  

TO BE CONTINUED.

Here is a link to the 2020 Writing Project, Thrapston Mansions.

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