EARLY IN ACT 2
Serena sits back in one of the plush recliners after everyone else has gone upstairs for the night. Her temples ache, no doubt a result of her mother-in-law’s screeching.
“You coming to bed soon?” Brad asks, appearing in the archway between the kitchen and the living room. He has a small glass of something golden in his hand, and he’s leaning as if he’s already had one more.
“I don’t know,” Serena says, “are you?” She chuckles a little as Brad hiccups after another sip.
“I won’t be able to sleep probably.” The room grows silent, as if it knows something else needs to be said so it’s getting out of their way.
“Are you upset?”
“Upset? … I don’t know if upset covers it.” He walks further into the living room to be closer to her but doesn’t sit down, just stands there as if he can’t bring himself to sit. “You screamed at my mother --”
“I did not scream at your mother, I raised my voice because ---”
“There’s never any reason to raise your --”
“Never a reason? Did you hear the things she was saying to me? You think I’m bad?”
“You screamed at my mother!”
Silence, again, rang out through the room. Brad sighed and took a long swig from the glass, using the back of that same hand to wipe away the excess from his lips.
“I didn’t lose my job on purpose, you know,” Serena said. “It wasn’t like I asked Garret for new ways to make my life miserable. ‘Oh hey, Garret, how’s it going? Oh me? I’m fine, could use a little more depression though. Hey, what if you fired me? Wouldn’t that be great?’”
Brad scoffed and said, “Here you go again with the sarcasm, as if your attitude tonight at dinner wasn’t enough. No wonder my mother said those things in the first place.”
“Excuse me? You think she was justified in saying I’m a ‘terrible wife’ who only cares about ‘herself and her stupid degree?’”
“I’m not saying she was right, I’m just saying you’re a tough person to deal with Serena, okay?” She closed her eyes as if that would help make what he was saying a little easier to endure. “You always have something to say about everything, and it seems like you pride yourself on doing the complete opposite of what everyone else wants!”
“Right, exactly!” Serena stood up, her hands flying to her head and entangling in her hair as the seriousness of their conversation verged on too much to handle. “I never do what anyone else wants, just what I want, right? That’s why I took a dead-end job to pay the bills and stopped writing and stopped dreaming and started focusing on savings and money and and…” Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes, but she quickly wiped them away and turned towards the stairs to leave.
“You’re done talking?” Brad asked.
“Done talking to you,” she replied and stormed off.