(A shot of CECELIA’s shocked and stricken face as LEW and VERA carry the still-woozy HENRY into her family’s apartment.)
CECELIA: What in the bloody blue hell is going on here?!
MRS. BROWN: (overhearing from the kitchen)
Cecelia! Watch your language!
CECELIA: (exasperatedly polite) Sorry, Mum… (she lowers her voice and speaks to LEW) What’s going on? You tell me you’re coming up to chat and then, and then…THIS?!
LEW: (apologetically) Sorry, Cecelia… he got walloped pretty bad, and you were close by…it’s gettin’ dark out, no telling how many more enemies this idiot has made…
CECELIA: I can’t believe this (all three help lay him on the couch) he must have known something like this would happen…
VERA: Oi think ‘e was ‘opin’ it would.
(CECELIA gives her a scrutinizing look. VERA shrinks a bit.)
VERA: ‘ello. (she sticks out her hand) ‘m Vera. noice t’meetcher. Oi’ve herd lotsa good stuff ’bout ya.
(CECELIA glances at LEW, who coughs and gives a nervous smile. CECELIA, knowing the lay of the land, smiles and shakes VERA’s hand briskly.)
CECELIA: (ruefully smiling) Let me guess, you’ve hear all that “lotsa good stuff” from Henry?
VERA: Roight yew are. That bug’s crazy ’bout ya!
CECELIA: I think he’s just crazy.
(she turns her head back to the kitchen.)
(MRS BROWN emerges, wiping out a mug.)
MRS BROWN: It’s far too late to be shouting like that, Cecelia. We raised you better, than that, and I–oh!
(she sees HENRY’s senseless form on the couch and nearly drops the mug and fumbles with it a bit.)
Oh…oh my! (she’s clearly flustered, but is trying to hide it) I didn’t know we, erm, had guests! I’ll put the kettle on…
(she bustles out quickly and almost immediately you can heard worried murmurs from the kitchen, both high-pitched and low.)
CECELIA: (breathing a sigh of relief) Good. Dad oughtta calm her down. (to LEW) So who was it? Those two bugs you tangled with a while back?
LEW: (takes off his hat, speaks solemnly) It was other mantises, Cecelia. Round our age, some we even went to school with.
CECELIA: (her face beginning to harden) How many?
LEW: Probably almost twenty. It was a little hard to tell.
CECELIA: And you managed to fight them off?
LEW: Well…(the shame washes back over him) I did a few things I’m not very proud of…
VERA: (climbing onto his broad back and kissing him on the cheek) Aw, nonsense, yew idjit. Yew were very brayve.
(MRS. BROWN bustles back in with a kettle of hot water and some cloths. She sneaks one look at HENRY before, almost tears in her eyes, she zooms away again before anyone can say anything. CECELIA shakes her head in bemusement.)
CECELIA: She acts like he’s got his head staved in. Just a few lumps, he’ll be right as rain tomorrow!
(she begins to daub none-too-gently at HENRY’s bruised face, causing him to stir uncomfortably.
CECELIA: Oh, stop it, you big baby!
HENRY: Ahh, such sweet hostility. How I’ve missed you, Ceceli–OW!
CECELIA: (she grabs his face and brings it to meet hers)
I said… shut it, all right?
(she looks to LEW and VERA, still standing nervously by.)
CECELIA: I’ll take care of him from here. You two can head on home, he’ll be fine.
VERA: But…wot if those louts come back?
CECELIA: (now scowling) I’ll take care of it.
(this seems to satisfy LEW, as he remembers CECELIA from school days. He ushers VERA out of the room, despite her protests, and soon it’s only HENRY and CECELIA.)
CECELIA: Don’t talk.
(a beat passes as she dabs at some more wounds. HENRY continues to look at her lovingly through a swollen eye.)
HENRY: Thank you…
(another beat. CECELIA is obviously not in the mood for conversation, but instead of wearing an angry expression, it is one of heartfelt pain and worry.)
HENRY: I love…
CECELIA: DO NOT EVEN SAY THAT. I’ll wallop you worse than those ignorant sods did in the street, you hear me?
(HENRY closes his mouth and smiles lopsidedly. CECELIA grumbles and makes sure nothing is broken. Her methods are impeccable, but her bedside manner leaves a little to be desired.)
CECELIA: (speaking suddenly after a pause.)
Tell me about your parents, Henry.
CECELIA: I need to check and see if you have a concussion. What are you parents’ names?
HENRY: Richard and…um…
CECELIA: (taken back for a second. she blinks markedly.)
CECELIA: All right then, Hyacinth.
(she props his head up on a throw pillow)
So where do they live?
HENRY: West Farmland, over beyond the copse of pine trees.
CECELIA: Good, good…how do you get there?
HENRY: (yawns) Three trains…seventeen…nine…thirty-one…takes you right to the station…
(he yawns again)
CECELIA: (wary of what he’ll say)
HENRY: (a little bleary-eyed) Do I have a concussion?
CECELIA: I don’t think so.
HENRY: Good. Because I’m sleepy.
(CECELIA can’t help it. She laughs a little, and that makes him smile again. CECELIA stands up and rubs his head as gently as she can without hitting a knot or lump.)
CECELIA: (leaning in and whispering) Then go to sleep, you silly ass. (she gives him a peck on the forehead and cleans up the cloths and water, stopping just before she exits the living room.)
CECELIA: G’night, Henry.
(her footsteps become muddy and muffled as the camera zooms in on HENRY’s face and slowly fades away as he falls asleep…)