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"Xena, I Want a Divorce ..."

by Pallas
Pallas3@yahoo.com

FADE IN:

INT. COUNSELOR’S OFFICE — DAY

The room is large and expensive. Marble desk, large window with view of Mt. Olympus in the background. Two chairs sit before the desk. A woman of about fifty is sitting behind the desk making some notes. PAN SHOT of desk as the intercom buzzes and the woman leans over.

SECRETARY (VO)

Ms. Sappho, your two-thirty appointment is here.

SAPPHO

Fine. Send them in.

Large stone door swings open, and XENA and GABRIELLE walk into the room. They accidently brush shoulders coming in, and Gabrielle gives Xena a glare. Xena’s hand clenches as she takes a seat.

SAPPHO

Okay. Nice to see you both here. That’s a good step in working together to finalize the details of your break-up.

GABRIELLE

Yeah, first good step she’s taken in months.

SAPPHO

Now, Gabrielle. We’re not here to argue. We’re going to try and divide up your things in an equitable manner. There is no blame at this point.

XENA

All the blame lies with her! I did everything I could to make this work. I gave up killing people. Quit drinking. Settled down. Gods, I even took a normal job! All to make her happy.

GABRIELLE

Here we go again! The self sacrificing ex-warlord act. Damn, I’m sick of that!

XENA

And I’m sick of you! Constantly talking about what’s wrong.

(mimicking Gabrielle)

‘Xena, we need to talk about what’s happening. There’s something wrong. Talk to me. Talk to me.’ Makes me want to —

GABRIELLE

— Is that so? At least I tried. You just sat there sharpening your sword, looking at me with that strange look in your eye. I was frightened!

XENA

You shoulda been.

 

GABRIELLE

(to Sappho)

See what I had to put up with?

SAPPHO

Please! Both of you, settle down. We are way past laying the blame at either’s doorstep. We have some issues that we need to handle.

(looks at both)

Do we still want to handle them, or should we conclude our business?

(more)

Both women look guiltily around the room and nod slowly.

SAPPHO CONT’D

Okay. Then let’s get down to business.

(to Xena)

Xena, where is your attorney? He should be here.

XENA

Well ... um ... he’s ... um ... I had to ... well ...

GABRIELLE

I think what she’s trying to say is she killed her attorney. Isn’t that right, dear?

XENA

Well, he wouldn’t listen to me.

(sarcastic to Gabrielle)

And where’s your attorney?

GABRIELLE

Yeah. I really like paying some worthless slime ball 200 dinars a hour to screw up everything. You and I can do that for free.

(beat)

Besides, I’d rather give the money to the pool boy. He does such a good job keeping the pool hot and steamy ... He knows just how I like it.

XENA

Big surprise there! I think half the delivery boys in the neighborhood know that.

(beat)

Half a wonder why you haven’t started on the maid, too.

GABRIELLE

Hate to tell you, dear, but she’s a lot more ... um ... skilled than you.

And here I thought you had so many skills! Ha!

SAPPHO

Can we please focus! — You’re both waiving your right to counsel, so we’ll work this out like adults ... do I have to repeat that?

(more)

Both women glare at the counselor and slowly shake their heads

SAPPHO CONT’D

Good. Now, first item... Xena, Gabrielle is requesting spousal support.

XENA

You bitch! How ... why ... where do you get off requesting support?

If anything, you should be paying me!

GABRIELLE

That’s classic! I’ve given you everything over the past few years. Taken care of your every whim. Anticipated your every desire. Put my life ... my dreams on hold ... so you could pursue yours.

(more)

Xena mocks Gabrielle by pretending to play a violin, and rolls her eyes.

GABRIELLE CONT’D

You just keep doing that, and I’ll see you in court!

(beat)

Besides, I know about the secret accounts, Xena. Remember that! I hear judges aren’t too happy with finding out about non-disclosed assets.

XENA

Don’t threaten me! You have no idea what I can do to you!

GABRIELLE

Obviously the courts do. Otherwise they wouldn’t have granted me a restraining order against you.

XENA

Like that would stop me.

SAPPHO

Why don’t we return to support later. I see under assets that you two jointly own a home on the Palatine hill in Rome. Nice neighborhood. So, what are we going to do with it?

XENA GABRIELLE

Sell it. Keep it.

SAPPHO

Mark that down as a disagreement.

(beat)

Okay. We’ve got a horse. I assume it’s paid for?

XENA

She. Argo is a she. And yes, she’s paid for, and she’s mine!

GABRIELLE

Ha! Argo loves me a lot more than you. She belongs with me.

XENA

Argo has always hated you. She just got good at hiding it. Knew I should have listened to her. She’s very smart.

GABRIELLE

Always thought you two were a bit too close.

(beat)

Fine. You keep Argo, but I get your weapons and armor.

XENA

In your dreams. Those are pre-joining, and they’re mine.

GABRIELLE

Obviously you forgot we live in a community property state. They’re half mine.

XENA

Obviously you forgot about the pre-nup you signed.

(pulls out a piece of paper)

Yup. Says right here that should we ever split up that I get to keep everything I owned prior to joining. Think that includes Argo, my weapons and armor.

(shows signature to Gabrielle)

That is your signature, my love, isn’t it?

GABRIELLE

You got me to sign that after a whole bunch of wine. I believe that is called duress, isn’t it Ms. Sappho?

SAPPHO

Oh, you want my opinion on something?

(beat)

If you signed a document, Gabrielle, and didn’t challenge it within the time limits of the law, then you have no recourse now.

Xena beams and folds the document away.

GABRIELLE

Fine. Keep your sweaty old weapons. It’s not like your in any shape to use them anymore.

XENA

What’s that supposed to mean?

GABRIELLE

Only I sure wish they’d hurry up and invent plastic surgery, love. You could use a tummy tuck.

XENA

Well it was your brilliant idea that I become an investment banker. I was a warrior. My body was honed to perfection. Now I sit behind a stupid desk pushing parchment and stocks all day.

GABRIELLE

It paid the bills, didn’t it?

XENA

The way you shop ... just barely.

SAPPHO

Can we move on?

(beat)

Gabrielle ... Xena says that she contributed significantly to the success of your writing career ... as well as your success as ... do I have this right?

(beat; looks down at the paper twice)

as an Amazon Queen?

GABRIELLE

She’d like to think so! Half the time I had to convince the Amazons to even accept her. It’s only because of me that they allow her into their territory.

(beat)

And my writing? Don’t make me laugh. Xena is about as literary as that desk. Only thing she helped with was falling asleep so many nights, — leaving me totally frustrated and in the mood to write.

XENA

Too bad what you wrote won’t get by the censor. Anyone tell you that you’ve got a filthy mind?

GABRIELLE

You did, love, but I think you enjoyed it.

XENA

(looks at her fingernails)

Always knew I should have gone into acting.

GABRIELLE

(glares at Xena; to Sappho)

What does she want ... for this fictitious help in my career?

XENA

Whatcha willing to offer me, my angel?

GABRIELLE

Would a quill up your ass be enough?

SAPPHO

Gabrielle ... there is no call for that type of language here.

GABRIELLE

I’ll use any language I want. She has no right to any part of my writing ... and, — gods hold me back — absolutely no right to my title as Amazon Queen.

XENA

I could just challenge you for the queenhood.

GABRIELLE

You’d be just low enough to do that.

(beat)

But did I forget to tell you I’ve got a new Amazon champion?

(looks around thinking)

Yes ... I think I did. She is proving very adequate in accommodating her queen’s wishes.

XENA

When did you turn into such a slut?

GABRIELLE

When you turned into such a corpse. I mean, I ‘ve seen sides of meat that have more life than you.

XENA

Maybe you drove all the life from me.

GABRIELLE

(sadly)

There was a time when you called me your life.

XENA

(mean)

We all make mistakes.

GABRIELLE

(teary eyed)

What happened to us, Xena?

(more)

Xena shrugs and looks away.

 

GABRIELLE CONT’D

I don’t know if I want this.

(starts crying. wipes at her eyes. stands up)

Excuse me. I’ve got to go.

Xena watches Gabrielle leave the room. She turns back to Sappho, who is staring at the warrior.

SAPPHO

How do you feel, Xena?

XENA

Like shit. But what’m I gonna do?

SAPPHO

Why don’t you go talk to her. I honestly don’t think you’re ready to see me.

XENA

Meaning what?

SAPPHO

Meaning, you’ve both got some unresolved issues that make it a waste of my time to sit here and listen to you two try and hurt each other.

XENA

Wasn’t always like that.

SAPPHO

Never is, dear. But you’ve got the power to change it.

Xena looks at the door again. She takes a deep breath and stands and starts out the door.

FADE OUT:

 

 

FADE IN:

EXT. OUTSIDE THE OFFICE — DAY

Xena exits the building. Gabrielle is sitting under a tree on a grassy area. Xena looks at her, raises an eyebrow, takes a deep breath and walks slowly over. She squats down and puts a hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder.

GABRIELLE

(shrugging off the touch)

Don’t touch me. I want to be alone.

XENA

Fine. Be alone. I don’t care.

(beat)

Just wanted to see if you were okay. Guess so.

GABRIELLE

Why?

XENA

Why’d I come over. Got me.

GABRIELLE

No. Why has this all happened? What did we do ... or didn’t do that got us to this point?

(beat)

I mean, I thought I’d love you forever. You were everything to me.

XENA

Guess we should have left things the way they were. Never got involved with each other. Knew it was a mistake from the start.

GABRIELLE

What’s that supposed to mean?

(beat)

If I remember correctly you used to make love to me with just your eyes long before we ... well you know.

XENA

Should have left it that way, Gabrielle. You were my best friend. The one person I thought I could always count on for anything. I knew that once I touched you that would all change.

(more)

Gabrielle pats the ground next to her and Xena looks away briefly before dropping to the ground. Xena roughly pulls at hunks of grass.

XENA CONT’D

(almost whispered)

I never wanted to hurt you.

(beat)

Now I can’t stop myself. You’ve torn me ... beyond repair I think.

GABRIELLE

(looks away, voice weak)

Quite a pair we turned out to be, huh?

XENA

Why does the thought of losing you still make me tremble?

(beat)

I’m scared, Gabrielle. Nothing makes sense anymore.

GABRIELLE

I know. It’s like my life ... it has no meaning now. I’m ... so confused. In so much pain.

(beat; angrier)

And it’s all over you! Gods, I swore I’d never let you back into my heart ... not after the last time. Why’m I so weak when it comes to you?

XENA

I said I was sorry. I didn’t mean to push you. It just happened.

GABRIELLE

You mean like your warlord days just happened?

(beat)

Face it, Xena. You’re a violent person ... and I’m not.

XENA

No. You don’t use your fists to hurt. But you’re just as violent with your words. You’ve cut me to the bone so many times I thought my soul would never stop bleeding.

GABRIELLE

And that cold shoulder routine of yours doesn’t do the same to me?

(beat)

Do you know how many nights I spent crying ... because I couldn’t get close to you anymore?

XENA

As many as me? Somehow I don’t think so.

(beat)

And I don’t think it took you too long to find a warm shoulder.

 

Gabrielle stands and looks down at Xena. Xena looks up and narrows her eyes.

GABRIELLE

You want me to say I’m sorry again? Well I won’t! I’m tired, Xena. So tired of apologizing for that ... for me ... for everything.

XENA

(lays back on the grass, looks at the sky)

Remember doing this? Just looking up at the sky, so at peace with ourselves that we didn’t need to do anything to feel perfect.

(looks at Gabrielle)

When did we stop doing this? Why did we?

GABRIELLE

(stares down at Xena, her face conflicted)

Xena ...

(beat; harder)

This is getting us no where. We’ve got to move on with our lives. There’s nothing left here but ashes.

(beat)

I’m late for an appointment with my editor. Call me when you’re ready to deal with this.

XENA

(touches the ground)

Sit. Please. Don’t go yet.

(more)

Gabrielle reluctantly sits, but a safe distance away. She tries to look bored, but her eyes betray her.

XENA CONT’D

I can’t watch you walk away again.

GABRIELLE

(voice breaking)

And why’s that?

XENA

(looks directly at her)

Because ... I ... um ... still ...

(beat)

I just can’t. Leave it at that.

GABRIELLE

(reaches out, takes Xena’s hand)

But I can’t stay. Not like this. Being nothing more than strangers sharing an empty shell of a life.

(beat; drops her hand)

And I think that we need to go different ways. You’re not happy. I know that. I can’t make you happy anymore than you can’t make me happy.

XENA

(touches her hand. hardens her eyes. stands up)

So, this is what you really want? Want to go through the whole thing, huh?

GABRIELLE

I’d like to go back to the beginning and make different decisions.

XENA

Yeah. I should have left you in some stupid village right after you followed me.

(clenches hand)

I knew it. I should have done it. I ...

GABRIELLE

You couldn’t have, and you know it. For some stupid reason we both needed each other.

XENA

Something like that.

(beat)

Is that still the case ... or is it all over?

GABRIELLE

(looks away)

I don’t know.

XENA

Don’t you think we should find out before we wage all out war on each other?

GABRIELLE

You could just give it all to me. Make it simple.

(beat)

I think I’ve earned it.

XENA

You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Well get over it. If we go down that path then it’s a battle to the death, Gabrielle. Don’t forget that.

GABRIELLE

So you never really lost the warlord in you after all, huh?

XENA

Only you can make me feel things to such extremes.

GABRIELLE

So, you recruiting a mercanary army again? Maybe you should sack Poteideia first. Would just complete the perfect picture my parents have of you.

XENA

Shut up! It’s your damn parents that have caused a lot of this. Bunch of closed minded bigots. You’re their daughter, but they’d rather have seen you miserably married than happy.

GABRIELLE

Seems they got their wish.

Xena clenches her fist and starts to move toward Gabrielle, but stops herself and straightens up again. Her face is flushed with anger.

XENA

Make a decision, Gabrielle. The next step is divorce court. Let some lame-brain in a black robe decide what to do with our lives. We’ll both lose.

(beat)

We’ll come out broken and alone. You really want that?

GABRIELLE

And what are my other options?

(beat)

We can’t live together anymore, Xena. That’s a fact of life now. When I look at you, that face that I once loved more than sunshine, — it’s become nothing but a mirror to my tortured soul. You’re eyes that I thought I could get lost in forever ... now they only reflect back hatred and loathing.

XENA

So, you hate me now?

GABRIELLE

No. Don’t think I ever could. I hate myself. Have for a long time.

Xena sinks to her knees next to Gabrielle. Her hand rests on Gabrielle’s shoulder.

XENA

Gabrielle ... I’m sorry. For everything.

GABRIELLE

(pats Xena’s hand)

I know that. And I’ll take all the blame for this. It’s my fault anyway.

(beat)

You’re right. I made you do things that you didn’t want. You never wanted to live in Rome, even though it meant I was closer to my writing. You didn’t want to take that stupid job. And you were so good about hanging out with all my idiotic literary friends. You didn’t even mind when they tried to make you feel stupid. You did everything for me. I know that.

XENA

Then you know I did it because I wanted to. Not because I had to. I wanted you to be happy, Gabrielle. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

GABRIELLE

And I never did anything that made you happy. I let you give up everything that you loved ... for me. I never thought twice about it. Gods, I’ve been so selfish and stupid.

(beat)

And now I’ve damaged things beyond repair.

XENA

It’s not like that, Gabrielle. We’ve only just untied the knot. It was never broken.

GABRIELLE

How easy you make it sound. Just look into those eyes that have always held my heart, and fall into your arms again, right?

XENA

It could be that simple. If you let it.

GABRIELLE

And then what? We go back to our lives. Sorry, Xena. I can’t live that way anymore. And I don’t think you could either.

XENA

We could travel again. We always liked that.

GABRIELLE

As do-gooders again? Don’t think so. Grown past all that, dear. Lost my illusions of a perfect world awhile ago.

XENA

(takes Gabrielle’s hand)

Just travelers. We’ve got plenty of money. We could go anywhere. Do anything. Be anyone we want.

GABRIELLE

Can we be everything to each other again?

XENA

You never stopped being everything to me, Gabrielle. Can’t you feel how I’m shaking right now. I’m terrified of losing you.

(beat)

But you’re right. We can’t go on like we are now. I may still love you more than my own life ... but I’m hurt. So deeply that I can’t feel anything but the pain.

GABRIELLE

(crying)

I’m sorry. So sorry. I knew I was hurting you. Was the only reason I did all those things. Didn’t think that you cared for me anymore, and I wanted to see you hurting ... wounded by my betrayal of our love. I never felt anything with them. Doesn’t make it right, I know that, but ...

XENA

(puts finger to Gabrielle’s lips)

Ssshhh! Doesn’t matter anymore. Didn’t matter then. I knew what you were doing. I’d quit feeling anything, so I just let you continue. Easier that way. At least I got to see you. I knew if I confronted you — you’d leave.

GABRIELLE

What’re we going to do? I never thought that we’d ever get to this point. Everyone said we had it. That once in a lifetime love. Never to be broken. Perfect.

XENA

Perfection is hard to live up to.

(beat)

All we can do is try and go on from here. Build something from the ashes. See if we still have that once in a life time love.

(beat)

You willing to try?

GABRIELLE

Put everything behind us? Start from scratch ... no blames ... no regrets?

XENA

No anything except you and me. Fresh, unscarred souls and feelings. We promise never to speak of what has happened before today. Look only to tomorrow.

GABRIELLE

(seizing Xena’s hand)

I ... want to ... so much. I need to believe. I’m just not sure of anything anymore. Everything is swimming. I don’t know what to believe.

CLOSE UP as Xena leans forward and captures Gabrielle’s mouth. Gabrielle leans into the embrace, her hands closing around Xena’s face. Tears run down both their faces. Xena’s hand runs down Gabrielle’s hair. Xena pulls back, doesn’t wipe at her tear stained face.

XENA

Can you believe in that?

GABRIELLE

(semi-breathless)

Gods, even after all of this ... that still hasn’t changed. With just one kiss you can possess me again completely, can’t you?

XENA

(holds her hand out)

So, are we going to give it a try?

Gabrielle places her hand in Xena’s. Xena smiles at Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE

We try. Cause I’m not ready to lose you yet.

FADE OUT

The End

copyright Pallas, August 1998.

Pallas3@yahoo.com

 


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