Meanwhile at the Lindellion Hotel black stretched limos pull up to the front entrance while guests are entering for the Lanfords gala. The lights are dimmed slightly. Portraits are hung everywhere as well as many flower arrangments.
Inside the hotel in a private room sits Emma and Claudia facing one another, drinking champagne
EMMA: "Your parents must be thrilled about your engagement with Michael", saying before gulping her last drop of champagne."
CLAUDIA: "As a matter of fact they are. They were just as excited as I was, if not more. I always wondered if this would ever happen. I mean it's not like Michael and I had problems, it's just... well I was afraid he'd never ask."
Michael dressed in an all black ensemble enters the room, immediately his eyes feast upon Claudia
MICHAEL: "Well look at you beautiful. Mind going out on the dance floor with me?"
Claudia smiling, exits with Michael
Emma walks across the room to her purse and glances in it
EMMA: "Tonight will be a night full of the unexpected."
Meanwhile still in the hotel but in the hall where the party is located, Sarah is standing along, watching everyone on the dance floor
James walks up behind her and whispers in her ear
JAMES: "What's a pretty gal like you standing alone?"
Sarah, recognizing his voice turns around to face him
SARAH: "Mr. Lanford, what a surprise. Is there something I may do for you?"
JAMES: Sensing tension. "I was just merely trying to create a nice conversation but since you brought it up, how about you and I go someplace.."
SARAH: Interrupting quickly "Bastard"
Sarah walks off just as Bruce is coming over to James
BRUCE: "Rejected again?"
JAMES: "Not the least." Saying to hold on to his dignity, or what's left of it. "This has been quite a turn-out. I've signed four new accounts for the company tonight already."
BRUCE: "And you say that you want this night to be all about Michael."
JAMES: Looks over to Michael and Claudia dancing, looking so happy with one another. "It is about him. I have to tell you Bruce, this marriage is the best thing to happen to this family in a long time. The Lanfords and the Doyles, as one! I couldn't ask for more, well I could." He chuckles lightly. "Besides who knows if they'll be anymore big families joining the Lanfords in the future. Emma is probably bound to be single for the rest of her life, she scares off the men. And then Will always ends up with the wrong type. This marriage between Michael and Claudia must work. I'll make sure it does."
BRUCE: "I'm sure you will, you wouldn't want to lose to opportunity of taking some of her family's business and money."
JAMES: "You're catching on my dear friend."
Meanwhile on another side of the hall, a less crowded side stands Will and Kate
KATE: "Your brother seems very happy."
WILL: "What reason has he not to be? He's engaged to not only a beautiful woman, but a rich beautiful woman. He's just been named my father's heir. I'm glad Michael has everything he wants, he'd go crazy if not. Besides if he didn't get everything he'd have to deal with my father. Michael is my father's pride and joy. His investment. Emma and I are merely the leftover. But it doesn't matter to me. My father pretty much has lost what respect I had for him."
KATE: Turns to face Will directly. "You're so different from the rest of your family. You don't care about all the money or power."
WILL: Finishing off a glass of champagne. "Nope, not at all. The only good things that comes from being a Lanford is never being carded when getting alcohol. Infact being a Lanford at times can have it's bad moments. You're constantly judged all the time. You're expected to be perfect and if you make a mistake it'll be in the morning paper. Of course if you're like my father he'll find ways to keep secrets secret. Come on, I want to introduce you to someone."
Will directs Kate off
Meanwhile Emma comes out of the private room only to bump right into her crush, Neil Strauss
EMMA: Realizing it's him. "Neil, I'm so sorry. I wasn't looking at where I was going."
Joel watches them from a distant
NEIL: "It's ok. You only bumped into me. I wasn't exactly looking at where I was going either. So, I guess you're very happy for your brother Michael."
EMMA: "Yes I am. Tonight has been and continues to be a big night for him. What about you and your law firm. I've heard that it's been doing wonderful lately."
NEIL: "As a matter of fact it has been. Business has really been great lately. Although it's been super hectic. Two of my most important employees left so now I'm trying to handle three jobs at once." His pager beeps "Excuse me, I have to make a phone call. It was nice seeing you again Emma."
EMMA: "Yeah, you too."
As he walks away Emma is left in a daze but is snapped out of it when Joel snaps his fingers in front of her eyes
EMMA: Waking up. "Joel? Should have known it was you? What do you want?"
JOEL: "Wishing for something you can't have." saying harshly.
EMMA: "Excuse me?"
JOEL: "Oh come on. Don't act dumb, I'm talking about Neil Strauss and your fixation on him. I've seen the way you act around him. You melt like a popsicle in the sun. Ever since he broke up with his girlfriend you always found a way to be around him. You think you're not obvious but I can tell. Haven't you realized that a relationship will never flourish between the two of you. Well, atleast not the kind you wish for."
EMMA: Very highly annoyed "And what do you suggest I do Joel? Get over him and find someone else?"
JOEL: Feeling as though he's made a breakthrough here "Yes."
EMMA" "If you're referring to yourself then you can forget it. I've told you before and I'll be glad to tell you again that I'm not interested. Accept it. You and I will never be together. I know you have my father's permission at all, but if you knew me at all like you claim to, then you'd know that I don't give a damn what that man says. I make my own decisions. No one has strings on me. Got it?"
Emma walks off to mingle with the others, leaving Joel by himself
JOEL: "You want me to accept that you don't have feelings for me but yet you won't accept the fact that Neil doesn't have feelings for you. Isn't that funny? Well I'm not giving up that easily." Walks off
In a corner stands Emma and Bruce talking to each other
EMMA: Highly angry but tries not to show it "Have we not been through this already?"
BRUCE: Agitated "I'm not going to risk anything. I have too much to just throw away. And if you would take a moment and think for a second you'd realize that so do you. Infact you have a lot more to lose than I. I'm only thinking of us."
EMMA: "Well aren't we just the sweetheart. But I'm not buying it. You're only thinking about your own ass. You made a promise and I'm going to make sure that you live up to it."
BRUCE: "I've tried to make up for what's happened."
EMMA: Laughing at his ridiculous remark. "You have to be joking. You've yet to pay. But don't worry, I'll take care of that. If there's one thing I have yet to do it's that. Don't test my limits Bruce. You do not want to push me off the edge. I have worked very hard to get where I am and I will stay there. There's no backing out now. You're in this and you're in it to stay."
Emma walks off
THE NEXT MORNING AT THE LANFORD MANSION, BY THE POOLSIDE
Claudia, buttoning the bottom of one of Michael's shirts crosses over the poolside to Michael
CLAUDIA: "Morning." Sits beside him at the table.
MICHAEL: "Morning. I didn't want to wake you. You were sleeping so peacefully."
CLAUDIA: "I was dreaming about our wedding."
MICHAEL: "And how was it?"
CLAUDIA: "Just like I imagined and hoped, a dream come true."
Emma, wanting to soak up the morning sun walks outside only to see Michael and Claudia
EMMA: "Well, well, well. If it isn't the two lovebirds of the Lanford clan. I take it you stayed over last night Claudia."
CLAUDIA: "As a matter of fact I did. I couldn't take being away from Michael." Kisses him.
Emma looks in disgust but flashes her pearly white teeth in a smile
EMMA: "Isn't that just sweet? Well I must get going. I have a lot of errands to run. If father asks where I went just tell him out and that I'll speak with him later."
Emma puts on her sunglasses and walks off
LANFORD INDUSTRIES, JAMES' OFFICE
Sarah enters the office although it's the last thing she'd want to do
SARAH: "Mr. Peters is on line one Mr. Lanford."
Sarah starts to leave but is halted by James
JAMES: "What's the matter? You don't have to leave so suddenly. Talk to me."
SARAH: "Don't take this the wrong way but that's ok Mr. Lanford. Besides I have a lot of work to do so if you'll excuse me."
James gets up from his chair and crosses over to Sarah, closes the door
JAMES: "Come on, no need to be afraid."
SARAH: "Afraid? Oh no Mr. Lanford I'm not afraid. Afraid isn't the word for it. What I am is pissed off that you can't leave me alone for a second. Every damn five minutes you're interrupting me for some stupid reason just to see me. When I took this job I thought you were professional but you're nothing but a pig."
JAMES: "You have such guts to say such a thing to me. I could fire you and make sure that you never get hired again, by anyone."
Sarah walks in closer to James
SARAH: "Now you wouldn't do that James. Because if you did, I think we both know what would happen."
JAMES: "Don't threaten me. That's something that you never want to do."
SARAH: "At this moment and time, I'm in any position to do whatever I want. I make the rules. I run the game. There's nothing you can say or do to me. Now excuse me, I must get back to work."
Sarah walks out of the office resuming to her work
The doorbell rings, the maid Joan answers the door, revealing Kate
KATE: "Hi Joan, I'm here to see Will."
JOAN: "Come right in Kate. He's expecting you, he should be right down."
As Joan leaves to resume to her work Will comes right downstairs
KATE: "Hey, I got your message telling me to come over. Is anything wrong?"
WILL: "No, not at all. I just wanted to see you. It's gets a little boring around here during the day. Everyone's at work usually."
KATE: "I see." Looks over to her right and sees the portrait of Mrs. Lanford. "Your mother, she was gorgeous. Everyone loved her. Some even wanted to be her."
WILL: "I wouldn't."
KATE: Taken back "What do you mean?"
WILL: "As much as my mother smiled and laughed I'm not so sure she was truly happy. I mean of course she told everyone that and acted like around the public, even the family but I'm not so sure. I mean, could my father have satisfied all her needs? I don't believe so. He was so cruel to Emma and I as children. I mean come on, you've heard the rumors about my father and women. Perhaps my mother was very unhappy in her marriage and didn't want to end it because of us. She didn't want to hurt her children."
KATE: "I don't know Will. You're mother was very strong, she wouldn't let anyone run over her."
WILL: "Yeah, I know. It's weird though because I never really got the chance to know her. You know, she died when I was so little. My father would always tell me things about her but it's not the same. Besides he could just as easily make up lies."
KATE: "I know. It was a very hard time for you."
WILL: "That's right, you were there around the time it happened."
KATE: "I was so young that I barely understood. All I knew was that you were in a lot of pain. And all I wanted to do was wipe it all away from you."
WILL: "Come on, let's go."
Kate and Will leave the mansion
AT BRUCE'S HOUSE
Bruce and Emma are in his home office, the office is very dark, the furniture stained to dark colors as well
BRUCE: "I can't believe you didn't drive down here. You use to complain always."
EMMA: "Well like you said before why waste gas when I can just walk down the street here. Anyway, I hope that your attitude has changed since the party last night."
BRUCE: "Well I've gotten use to it. I just want everything to go smoothly, that's all."
EMMA: "So do I. There's no room for screw-ups. If anything goes wrong it'll be the end for both of us. But we can't let that happen. We've worked too damn hard to fail now."
BRUCE: "You?! Me! I've been working on this for years. You just happened to get caught up in it."
EMMA: "Yes but it was I that got this plan rolling. You would have spent another five years sitting on your candy-ass waiting for something to happen. I'm the mastermind of this project, don't ever forget that."
The doorbell rings
BRUCE: "Who could that be? I'm not expecting anyone. Are you sure no one followed you here?"
EMMA: "Positive. Just go check the door. I'll wait here."
Bruce gets up from his chair and walks of the office, he walks down the hall to the front door and opens it
BRUCE: "Michael. What brings you by?"
MICHAEL: "Business, my father wanted me to drop by to hand deliver some files."
Michael hands over the files
BRUCE: "Thank you."
MICHAEL: "You're welcome. Umm, is my sister here Bruce?"
BRUCE: "Your sister? Emma?"
BRUCE: "Uhh, no.... why would you ask that?"
MICHAEL: "Just wondering. She's not at the office apparently."
BRUCE: "Oh no, she's not here, sorry."
MICHAEL: "Oh, alright then, I'll see you later."
Bruce closes the door and as he turns around Emma is right there
EMMA: "Boy am I going to enjoy this." Smiles.
LANFORD MANSION, LATER THAT EVENING IN THE DINING ROOM
The entire Lanford family including Claudia and Kate are at the table having dinner
KATE: "Thank you again Mr. Lanford for having me over for dinner."
JAMES: "Oh it's ok Kate. You're as well apart of this family as the rest of us. I remember when you use to come running down the street to come see Will everyday. So, how is your old man doing by the way?"
KATE: "He's doing ok."
JAMES: "Heard he was selling his first division. If you ask me that's a bad choice."
WILL: "Dad, can we spend one evening not dicussing business."
The room gets silence for a few seconds but Claudia breaks it
CLAUDIA: "Well everyone, you'll be happy to know that Michael and I have set a date. We've decided to have a fall wedding. We're going to have it on my birthday, September 16."
EMMA: "Well how sweet of my brother."
Michael smiles back at Emma realizing the real meaning of her statement
JAMES: "Well that's great. It'll be the wedding of the year."
MICHAEL: "Well none of that matters to me. All that matters is that I marry the woman that I love." He kisses Claudia on the cheek.
EMMA: "Well if you'll all excuse me I need to retire."
JAMES: "Absoluty not. Can't you just sit for one moment with your family for a nice dinner."
EMMA: "Dad, we've been here for the past hour. I think we've had our dinner. Besides I have business to attend to."
JAMES: "Fine, do what you want. I don't know why I'm surprised. You never would want to eat with us when you were little either."
EMMA: "Well maybe I had no reason. Or maybe because I didn't want to sit at a table civilally with a specific person. You know I don't even know why I'm discussing this with you. Now if I'm through being questioned I'll be on my way."
Emma wipes her mouth with her napkin, takes a last sip from her glass and leaves the room
NEXT TIME ON OCEAN DRIVE