Cassie is asleep on the couch. A blanket wrapped around her body. The door opens. Andrew, Kelly, and Eli enter. Cassie stirs awake.
CASSIE: What happened? Is everyone all right?
ANDREW: Yes. Todd just dropped us off. He wanted to take Viki to Llanfair. She was worried about Jessica. Is River OK?
CASSIE: He's fine. He slept through the storm. I finally zoned out about two hours ago.
ANDREW: Eli get upstairs, and into some dry clothes. You should eat something. We should all eat. I'm starved.
KELLY: I'll play cook. I'm too wired to stop moving. I also better call Aunt Dorian. She probably has the National Guard out looking for me.
ELI: I'll help with breakfast.
ANDREW: After you change your clothes. Get going.
Eli heads upstairs. Kelly moves to the kitchen.
ANDREW: You're welcome to have breakfast with us.
CASSIE: I need to get in touch with Kevin. He's probably worried.
ANDREW: Of course. I better change my clothes as well.
CASSIE: You never told me what happened. And why Todd dropped you off. Why were you with Todd?
ANDREW: It's a long story. And you seem to be in a hurry to find Kevin. I won't keep you.
CASSIE: So make it a short story.
ANDREW: Viki and Téa took Eli and Starr to Viki's cabin. Todd, Kelly and I went there to get them. It seems a tornado leveled the cabin. When we got there they were trapped in the cellar.
CASSIE: So you got them out?
ANDREW: Yes. Todd and I both did. The cabin was caving in on us. Téa was still in the cellar. Todd told us to get out. He stayed behind to get Téa.
CASSIE: He what?
ANDREW: I know what you're thinking. This is Todd Manning we're talking about. It surprised me alittle. A lot. Then the more I thought about it the more it started to make sense.
CASSIE: Care to share?
ANDREW: As much as it surprises me to say, and as much as it will surprise you to hear, I think Todd is in love with Téa.
CASSIE: I find that impossible to believe. That sham marriage is all smoke and mirrors.
ANDREW: Not all marriages are shams.
CASSIE: I'm sorry. I didn't mean...
ANDREW: This isn't about us. This is about Todd and Téa. I've suspected for some time she was in real danger of falling for Todd. The inflection of her voice when she would mention his name. The look in her eyes. I just never imagined it would be reciprocated. The idea of Todd being capable of love is a hard one to fathom. It almost makes you believe in miracles.
CASSIE: I have to go. I'll just sneak into River's room for a quick look.
Andrew watches her leave. A sadness grips him. He shakes it away, and heads upstairs to change. Kelly watches him from the doorway. Her eyes follow him to the stairs. She drifts back into the kitchen. The house seems quiet. Almost peaceful.
Victoria Carpenter enters her house. She is a mess. Fatigue grips her. She begins to climb her staircase. The sound of running feet makes her turn back. Jessica Buchanan rushes from the living room. Cristian Vega is right behind her. Viki spreads open her arms. Jessica runs into them, hugging her mother fiercely.
JESSICA: Mom! I was so scared! Andrew came by, and he thought you were here. Then the phones went dead. If Cristian hadn't been here to keep me calm I'd have gone nuts.
VIKI: Shhhh. It's all right. I'm fine. We're all fine. A little shaken, but no real damage. See?
CRISTIAN: It was a scary night. That was some storm.
VICKI: Yes, it was. Andrew and Todd found us, and got us out. We were at the cabin. I need to get some sleep. It was a long night. Later, I'll tell you the whole story. Your Uncle Todd was a real hero. He saved Téa's life.
JESSICA: Really? That sounds so romantic. Saved by the man you love. Wow.
CRISTIAN: I need to get home. My mom will be calling the hospitals about now.
JESSICA: I'll walk you to the door.
VIKI: Goodbye, Cristian. Be careful getting home. There's alot of debris lying about.
CRISTIAN: Thanks, I will. Bye.
Viki ascends the stairwell with a strange smile on her face.
VIKI: Romantic? That remains to be seen.
Viki laughs as she disappears at the head of the stairs.
Mel and Patrick step out into the street. The Sun is bright. The sky is a deep aqua blue. Mel lifts his head to let the sun warm his face. Marty joins them.
MEL: It seems to be over. What a glorious day.
MARTY: I better get to the hospital. I've got a feeling they're going to need every hand they can get.
MEL: I better see if I still have a home to go to.
PATRICK: I'll tag along if you don't mind the company.
MEL: Paddy, I'd be honored.
MARTY: Try and stay out of trouble.
MEL and PATRICK: Us?
MARTY: I give up. Men!
PATRICK: Don't over exert yourself, Margaret. Think of the wee one.
MARTY: You too.
Mel and Patrick move toward the docks. They survey the damage around them as they go. Finally, they stand before Mels' boat. It is undamaged. At least by the storm.
MEL: This calls for a drink. Poseidon has spared my ship.
PATRICK: That's a name I could be happy to never hear again.
MEL: Sorry. I forgot. Do you feel it, Patrick?
PATRICK: What? I don't feel anything.
MEL: Something happened last night. Amidst the chaos of nature a great adventure took place. And we missed it. Like some large unseen hand moved us puny humans into various corners. And we drew the lot of the spectators to another's moment of grand heroics.
PATRICK: My friend, you are full of blarney this fine morning.
MEL: Maybe. Then again maybe I'm right.
PATRICK: So who is this great adventurer? What's his name?
MEL: A mystery yet uncovered. I shall set forth to find him.
PATRICK: How about a drink instead?
MEL: The hero can wait.
Mel and Patrick move onto the boat. Hearts full, and throats parched.
Todd Manning strides down the stairs. He's in jeans, and a white t-shirt. He's drying his hair with a green towel. He is barefoot. He sits down in a chair. He throws the towel on the couch. Todd ties his hair in a ponytail. Freshly showered, he feels like a new man. The aches of the night dulled by the soothing hot water. He is relaxed. The light of the day warming the room. He stretches his legs on the low table before him. He smiles. It feels natural to do so. His eyes are shut. Téa Manning descends. She is also freshly rejuvenated by a soothing bath. She's wearing his shirt again. His favorite shirt. She stops half-way to watch him.
TÉA: Careful. If you keep doing that it may become habit forming.
Todd opens his eyes. His smile does not fade. He raises an eyebrow.
TODD: Isn't this where I came in? You in my shirt, and me in this chair?
TÉA: History is doomed to repeat itself.
TODD: Whatever. Didn't you buy out a store, or something?
TÉA: Thanks to a Tornado my dress was ruined. The other stuff is too fancy for lounging about the Penthouse.
TODD: I may have to start enforcing a dress code.
TÉA: May I join you?
Téa moves to the couch. Todd rises, and goes to the kitchen. He comes back with two mugs of steaming coffee. He hands Téa one. He sits back down. Téa gives him a look.
TÉA: I don't think I'm in the mood for your coffee.
TODD: Try it.
Téa slowly brings it to her lips. She takes a tentative sip. She looks up, and grins.
TÉA: Manning, you've been holding out on me. This is good.
TODD: I never said I couldn't make coffee. I just never felt like making it for you.
TÉA: But today you felt like it?
TODD: Yeah. It's been a crazy night. For both of us.
TÉA: Totally insane.
TODD: Were you scared?
TÉA: Yes. Weren't you?
TODD: I thought I'd lost everyone I cared about. That I loved.
TÉA: Blair wasn't there.
TODD: I know that. She may still be in my life, but she's no longer in my heart.
TÉA: So Starr and Viki are the only two people you care about?
TODD: Yeah, they're my family. You too.
TODD: You heard me.
TÉA: Say it again anyway.
TODD: You're my family. My wife. I kinda woke up to the fact you might be gone. It wasn't a pleasant feeling. Good lawyers are hard to find, Delgado.
TÉA: That was the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me.
TODD: Don't get out much, do you?
TÉA: Don't do that.
TODD: Do what?
TÉA: Try to hide what you feel behind a dumb joke.
TODD: You thought that joke was dumb?
TÉA: I deserve some honest emotion for a change.
TODD: I'm a jumbled mess, Delgado. You don't want my baggage. Hell, I don't want my baggage. I'm just really zonked. Forget I said anything.
TÉA: You do not drop an emotional grenade in my lap, and then tell me to ignore it. I'm not made that way.
TODD: We haven't slept in almost 24 hours. Neither one of us is thinking very straight.
TÉA: So this is the lack of sleep excuse?
TODD: The what?
TÉA: Did you, or didn't you just tell me you cared about me?
TODD: I'm going to bed.
Todd rises. Téa stands in his way.
TÉA: Not until we settle this.
TODD: OK, let's settle. I take it all back. Whatever you think I said I didn't. Happy? Get out of my way.
TÉA: Are you afraid I'll hurt you like Blair did? Has she damaged my chance to show you that love isn't about lies and betrayal?
TODD: This isn't about Blair.
TÉA: Bull. Everything is about Blair. All your ideas about love have been shaped by your experiences with Blair. You've closed yourself up to everyone so that nobody can get close enough to do what Blair did to you. Todd Manning will never play the fool again.
TODD: You're my lawyer, not my shrink.
TÉA: I'm your wife. You said so yourself.
TODD: Don't. Not even as a joke.
TÉA: Let me in. I want in, Manning.
TODD: I thought you liked being the outsider. Like me.
TÉA: I don't mind being the outsider with you. With you.
TODD: We've just been play-acting. This was never about anything real.
TÉA: Feel my heart.
Téa grabs Todd's right wrist. He tightens at her touch. She fixes him with her eyes. Burrowing into him. Slowly, he relaxes. She places his hand over her left breast. He feels her beating heart.
TÉA: Real enough for you?
Téa moves closer. She lifts her head. Todd lowers his face. Closer. They can feel their breaths on each others' face. A key scratches the lock on the door. Todd pulls back as Starr's' nanny, Judith, enters the Penthouse. Téa makes a face. Todd shrugs. Judith, oblivious of the look that passes between Todd and Téa, moves into the room.
JUDITH: I was lucky to get here today. The storm left quite a mess behind.
TODD: What storm?
JUDITH: Where have you been? The worst storm to hit Pennsylvania in over 30 years came through here last night.
TODD: Must have slept right through it. Starr's sleeping. Don't disturb her. Shorty had a rough night.
JUDITH: I bet the storm kept her up.
TÉA: Played havoc with all our lives. Still is.
Judith gives Téa a curious look.
TODD: Go home, Judith.
JUDITH: I just trudged through an ocean of debris to get here.
TODD: So swim back home. Go!
JUDITH: What about Starr?
TODD: We're both home today. We'll take care of her. Spend the day in front of the boob tube. Watch Soaps. Wash your car. I don't care.
Todd steers her to the front door.
JUDITH: You still paying me for today?
TODD: Double. Go!
Todd opens the door. As soon as she's out he slams it shut.
TÉA: That was subtle.
TODD: I don't do subtle.
TÉA: So where were we?
Téa comes close. Todd holds up his hands. She stops.
TODD: I'm not some well-adjusted touchy feely guy. I have lousy table manners. I tend to hog all the sheets. I sleep on the right side of the bed. Be sure about this. Be very sure.
TÉA: I know who, and what you are. I'm not some silly little girl fooling myself I'm with a Saint. I'm a grown woman. I make my own decisions. I want you Todd Manning. Bad eating habits, and all.
TODD: Remember the reactions of your friends to your marrying me? That was nothing compared to what they'll say about what we're about to do.
TEA: We are, aren't we? You know it, and I know it. When did it change for you?
TODD: It just did. The how and the why is for other people to care about. I don't. I'm not made that way.
TÉA: Your room, or mine?
TODD: Don't you want to finish your coffee?
TÉA: It's probably cold by now. And I'm just beginning to warm up.
TODD: I'm a little out of practice.
TÉA: We can go as slow as you want, or as fast.
TODD: This is gonna hurt, isn't it?
Téa smiles. She moves into his arms. He brings her close. The first kiss is tentative. Almost embarrassed. Téa moves her arms around his neck. She removes the elastic string holding his hair in a tail. His hair falls loosely at his sides. She runs her hands through it. Then traces his scar with the tip of one finger. His eyes lock with hers. The second kiss lasts longer. His tense body relaxes. She leans into him. His arms are as strong as she's imagined. The taste of his lips as sweet. Soon he no longer needs prodding. He kisses her with real ardor. They melt into an embrace. In sync with the other. Their passion finally let loose. He pulls away.
TODD: Does this mean I get a refund?
TÉA: No. Consider this a bonus.
TÉA: Could you possibly kill this moment any better?
TODD: Just keeping you on your toes, Counselor.
TÉA: Do you want your shirt back?
Téa unbuttons it. She lets it slide off her shoulders. The phone rings.
TODD: I'll get it.
TEA: Don't you dare. I can be a dangerous woman, Manning.
TODD: I can see that.
Todd picks up the phone. Téa throws his shirt at him. It slaps him in the face.
TODD: Todd Manning. Briggs! What's up? Uh-huh. Yeah. Good job. Listen, I'm kinda into something right now. What? Really? Great. Huh? No Briggs I am not planning to fire you. I swear. Now get off the phone, and get back to work. You can sleep later. Bye.
Todd hangs up. He looks over at Téa.
TEA: Take the phone off the hook. Double-bolt lock the door. You are not leaving here until I'm through with you.
TODD: Can you give me a rough estimate on when that'll be. Briggs sounds like he could use my help.
TÉA: In about 30 years.
TODD: Whatever you say. Lawyers knows best.
TÉA: When it comes to you, yes.
Téa moves to Todd. They come together in a long kiss. He guides her toward the stairs. They move up them as one.
They are entangled together on his bed. The sheets snaked about their bodies. Binding them into a cocoon. Téa pressed against his chest. His right hand moving through her hair.
TÉA: Can I ask you something?
TÉA: What did you think of me the first time you met me?
TODD: This lady is trouble.
TÉA: That's what I thought of you.
TODD: So when did you realize you could no longer resist my charms?
TÉA: A little full of ourselves, aren't we Manning?
TODD: I'm entitled. A beautiful woman just attacked me in my own bed.
TÉA: I think I fell in love with you when you swept away some baubles to make room for my statue. It was like you were giving me a place to belong. I've never had that.
TODD: You do now. You belong here. You belong with me.
TÉA: So no more stupid jokes. When did you realize you loved me?
TODD: The truth? The moment I thought I had lost you. I'm very dense. It takes a two-by-four upside my head to get me to see things.
TÉA: True. Atleast, you finally figured it out. I want to stay here with you until the next big storm.
The doorbell rings. Téa looks at Todd. He is smiling.
TÉA: Who is it now?
TODD: A surprise. Don't move. I'll be back in a second.
Todd gets up. He slips into his jeans. Bare-chested, he goes downstairs. A minute later he returns. He holds up his present. Téa shakes her head. She begins to laugh. Soon, Todd joins her. In his hands is an Ant Farm. Sent by Briggs.
PART TWO OF THIS TODD AND TÉA TRILOGY WILL APPEAR SHORTLY.