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Episode 21 - The Ultimatum



INT.  RUBY’S OFFICE

MICHAEL
I just got off the phone with Emerald.  Is it true.

RUBY
Take a seat, Michael.

MICHAEL
I don’t want to sit down.  I want to know if you really did give Sienna’s costume to Flora?

RUBY
Yes, it’s true.  I did it, alright!

MICHAEL
What the hell were you thinking?  Do you understand what you have done?  Not only have you affected Sienna’s character foundation, but you have totally destroyed Emerald’s overarching design concept – not to mention my artistic intentions.  This is not just a simple case of girls wearing each other’s clothes.

RUBY
Don’t be silly Micheal.  It is just a dress.

MICHAEL
It is not ‘just a dress’ at all.  Ergh.  It is moments like these I realise you have absolutely no idea how artists work.

RUBY
I think you are over exaggerating a bit.  You were all quite happy for Flora to have to go out and buy her own dress.  Why is it different for Sienna?  Perhaps because it is YOUR child being inconvenienced this time.

MICHAEL
You know that is not true.  That dress was designed for Sienna.  Flora would have her own costume if she had been willing to work with Emerald and you know it.  When we entered into this, we both agreed that we would be careful not to demonstrate favouritism.  You are the one who is breaking that agreement now, and you know it.

RUBY
Oh, Mikey.  I know.  It is just so hard.  I desperately want this company to be a way to bring all of us closer together.  It seemed so obvious, with all of you having the same interests.  I thought it would be a great environment for Flora to grow into, develop her talents, and perhaps soften some of those hard edges she has formed.

MICHAEL
Edward has formed, you mean.  This is really about him, isn’t it?

RUBY
No.  He is the one who came to me, but he was advocating for Flora.

MICHAEL
Just what did he say to make you think giving Flora Sienna’s costume was a right and reasonable thing to do.

RUBY
He only told me the truth.

MICHAEL
The truth according to Edward.  You are so vulnerable to him.  Come on.  Tell me how he manipulated you out of your good sense this time.

RUBY
Well, I love him Mikey.  I really do.  I know it is stupid and silly, and that he sleeps around, and that he is not the best influence on Flora.  The other very important thing that I know too, though, is that he loves us both.  Very much.

MICHAEL
Oh, Rubes.  He has had you under some sort of spell since the moment you met.  I thought it would wear off over time, and you would see the low life con artist he is, but it has never happened.

RUBY
Well, they say love is blind...

MICHAEL
Yes, they do.  I just never realised they were right. (both laugh sadly).

RUBY
Well, it’s too late to change things now.  Sienna has gone shopping with Brick this afternoon.  I expect they have found something by now, and there is no more time for Flora to do the same, so this is how it has to be.

MICHAEL
You know this can’t happen again, don’t you Ruby?  I won’t stand for it.  I will not have my reputation, and the reputations of my girls being risked by that jerk of a husband of yours.  If he ever compromises our integrity again, we are walking away immediately.  He has nothing to lose, but Sienna and Emerald are just starting out and they have everything to lose.

RUBY
Now you are exaggerating again Michael, and I really can’t have to you talking about him like that.  He is as much a member of both this company and this family as you are, and deserves to be treated with the same respect as everyone else.

MICHAEL
Oh, really?  And where is this paragon of a husband of yours tonight, pray tell?  Is he at home, keeping the hearth fires burning to welcome his loving wife home after an exhausting day at the office?

RUBY
No.  Actually he rang me a little while ago.  He is working with the new pianist tonight on the launch piece.  You see.  He can be just as dedicated as you are.

MICHAEL
Oh, really.  And is Flora with them, or is it just Edward and the girl?

RUBY
I am sure Flora is with them.  What work could be taking place without her there?  (knock on the door). Oh, River probably needs to run some things by me.  Are we finished here?

MICHAEL
I guess so.

RUBY
Come in.
FLORA ENTERS.


END.

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