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THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (chapter 15)

2006-07-09 16:39

  INT. JOHNSON HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

  Francesca enters with her new dress, groceries and wine as the PHONE RINGS. She puts everything down to answer.

  FRANCESCA Hello?

  Intercut ROBERT at a pay phone.

  ROBERT It's Robert.

  FRANCESCA Oh, hi. Look, I'm running a little late, but I'll still……

  ROBERT(w/difficulty)

  Listen, don't take this the wrong way but, I'm wondering if this is such a good idea.

  Francesca's heart sinks.

  FRANCESCA Oh.

  ROBERT I uh…… I had lunch in town today. Happened to cross paths with “that Redfield woman.” I apologize. I thought you were half-joking about that.

  FRANCESCA Oh. I guess you got the whole story.

  ROBERT The cashier at the general store was very dangerous.

  FRANCESCA I think he's running for town crier next year.

  ROBERT I now know more about their affair than I remember about my marriage.(seriously)

  Francesca, the last thing I want to do is put you in any kind of situation that would…… even though we know it's just —— I mean, it's nothing like that, but if anybody saw us or……

  (can't finish)

  FRANCESCA(disappointed)

  I understand.(touched)

  That's very kind of you.

  Silence. Both want to meet. Both experience the idea of not seeing each other even again in this brief moment. Someone has to say something to save it —— but who will it be?

  FRANCESCA (cont'd)

  Robert?

  ROBERT Yeah?

  FRANCESCA I want you to come.

  Robert is relieved.

  FRANCESCA (cont'd)

  I'll meet you at the bridge just like we planned all right. Don't worry about the rest of it…… I'm not.

  ROBERT All right. See you there.

  Francesca smiles and hangs up. In that moment, Francesca realizes consciously what she is doing and what she wants.

  CUT TO:

  EXT. CEDAR BRIDGE - DUSK

  Robert is already there, working. He checks his watch,anxious for Francesca to arrive, when he hears a truck driving up. He looks to see Francesca stop and get out. By their expressions we can tell how glad they are to see each other.

  FRANCESCA Sorry I'm late. Richard called.

  ROBERT Oh, how is he?

  FRANCESCA Fine. They're all having a good time. How many more shots do you have?

  ROBERT Couple. Want to help?

  She nods. He extends his hand. She pauses, then takes it. He leads her to the bridge. Walking away from camera, they say:

  ROBERT (cont'd)

  I should stop off at the motel to clean up before dinner.

  FRANCESCA Well, I have plumbing at my house.

  CUT TO:

  INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING

  Francesca enters. Robert is in the bathroom, in the shower,with the bathroom door slightly ajar. His clothes are laid on the bed with his bag beside them. A fresh shirt is folded. Francesca takes his dirty shirt and decides to clean it. As she exits, her eye can't help roaming toward the bathroom door. For a moment, she pauses to listen to the sound of the water as it hits his body.

  INT. KITCHEN - LATER

  Francesca is busy preparing dinner. Robert enters, cleaned and dressed.

  ROBERT Can I help?

  FRANCESCA Actually, no. I've got everything under control. I'd like to clean up myself a bit. I'm going to take a bath. Dinner'll be ready in about a half hour.

  ROBERT How about if I set the table?

  FRANCESCA Sure.

  ROBERT Would you like a beer for your bath?

  FRANCESCA(surprised)

  Yes, that'd be nice.

  Robert gets her one.

  INT. BATHROOM - LATER

  Francesca lounges in a tub with a beer poured into a wine glass. She finds it very elegant. She takes a deep breath,thinking “What's going to happen tonight?”

  INT. KITCHEN - LATER

  Robert is at the radio when Francesca enters in her new dress. She looks beautiful. And it's all over Robert's face.

  FRANCESCA What's wrong?

  Unlike her husband, Robert has an answer.

  ROBERT Absolutely nothing. You're just sort of a knockout in that dress.

  She smiles and crosses to the stove.

  FRANCESCA Table looks beautiful.

  He can't take his eyes off of her. On the radio we hear DIHAH WASHINGTON begin to sing “IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO” —— a beautiful, blusey lovesong. Francesca pulls out a pan of hot rolls as THE PHONE RINGS. Francesca moves toward it with a roll, which she tosses to Robert. He burns his fingers and he smiles at her joke. The song plays throughout.

  FRANCESCA (cont'd)

  Hello? Hi, Madge?

  Francesca and Robert do not take their eyes off of each other throughout the call. Robert takes a bit of the roll.

  FRANCESCA (cont'd)

  Huh-huh. Nothing, just making myself some dinner…… No what?……

  Oh…… I heard about him. Yeah, I hear he's some kind of photographer.(Robert smiles)

  No, I didn't…… Huh-huh…… Hippie?

  I don't know, is that what hippies look like?……

  Robert steps closer to her, purposely reaching across her body for a napkin.

  FRANCESCA (cont'd)

  Oh he is, huh? Well, don't tell Floyd,he'll be out with a shotgun……

  She notices a crumb on Robert's mouth and wipes it off. Robert takes her hand and holds it, lowering it to his side.

  FRANCESCA (cont'd)

  Well, listen, I have a pot boiling. I've got to go…… No, they don't get home until Friday morning…… Well,maybe I'll give you a call. Okay. Bye.

  She hangs up. The two are now almost face to face. Robert raises her hand up and slips his free one around her waist. They begin to dance to the song. The kitchen lights have not been turned on since the sun went down. The sky, a dark orange and magenta, illuminates the room through the window. They never take their eyes off of each other. Suddenly,Robert stops.

  ROBERT You're shaking. Are you cold?

  Francesca shakes her head. They dance a bit more, but Francesca is shaking which makes it difficult. They both stop. Robert places his huge hands on either side of her face, gently stroking her hair away from her cheek. He whispers.

  ROBERT (cont'd)

  If you want me to stop, tell me how.

  He brushes his cheek and face softly against hers. Francesca rubs hers against him. She can barely breathe.

  ROBERT (cont'd)

  Francesca, I won't be sorry. I won't apologize for this.

  FRANCESCA Nobody's asking you to.

  They kiss. Hands gently explore. Their bodies touch. Their lips never spend more than seconds away from each other. Robert gently slide his hands down her breasts and torso,exploring every inch of her. Francesca grips his massive back, sliding up to his neck and hair. Robert lifts her leg and presses it against his hip, kissing her neck and shoulders. Francesca starts to lose herself, clutching his head at her breast then pulling him up to her mouth once again.

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