For Better or Worse
Act I Scene One
The scene opens on a young man sitting alone on a park bench. He rubs his hands together and blows into his fists, as though the weather is very cold, though he wears only a thin jacket. He seems nervous and glances at his watch several times, as though he is waiting for someone. A young girl approaches from behind. He turns when he hears her approach, and relief washes across his features. Suddenly, he looks much younger as he smiles and waves to her. When she reaches him, he wraps her in his arms, oblivious to the stiffness in her posture.
Matt: I thought you weren’t coming.
Abby: I almost didn’t. (Hangs her head and sighs.)
Matt: Well, you’re here now. Where’s your bag? We really need to get going.
Abby: Well, that’s the thing, Matt. I’ve been thinking…(Refuses to make eye contact.)
Matt: No! (He grabs her shoulders and holds her at arm’s length, really seeing her unease for the first time.) We’ve already decided! You know this is the only way.
Abby: Matt, this is crazy! This will never work. There has to be another way. (A tear slips down her cheek as she pleads with him.)
Matt: It will work, Abs, I promise you. This will all be okay, you just have to trust me.
Abby: I do trust you, Matty, but this is big. This baby is not just going to go away! If I leave home my parents are going to look for us. They will never let me just walk out of their lives, and I don’t even know if I want to. We need to just tell them and find a way to work this out together.
Matt: Do you love me?
Abby: You know that I do, Matty, you and this baby are everything to me!
Matt: And do you get that your parents could send me to jail? I’m nineteen Abby, and you’re underage! If we tell your parents they are going to hang me from the nearest tree and I’ll never see you again!
Abby: They’re not going to do that, I know my parents.
Matt: You don’t know that! They are going to freak out when they find out that you’re pregnant and we’ve been keeping it from them for four months. Do you get that we’ve been lying to them? How many times have we sworn to them that we weren’t having sex?
Abby: Matt, please, that won’t matter…I promise! I’ll tell them it was my fault. Once they know how much you mean to me and how badly I want this baby, they’ll come around! They would never want me to have to raise this baby alone!
Matt: Abby, we’ve been through this. I’m going to take care of you and our baby. I’ll get a better job, I’ll get two jobs if I need to. You can have the baby and get your GED. I’m going to make this alright, but you have to trust me. Once the baby is here you can contact your parents. We can even come and see them. Once we get over the state line and get married they won’t try to separate us.
Abby: I want my family to be part of this Matt. I know we made an awful mistake but if they see that we are ready to face up to this…
Matt: It’s not that simple Abs, I could be in a lot of trouble here. There’s no other way. We have to get married and get established, then no one is going to stand in our way.
Abby: My parents are never going to let me quit high school.
Matt: They aren’t going to have a choice. You don’t need their permission to get married in Kentucky. We’ll go there and get married before they have a chance to stop us. Once we’re married you are my responsibility.
Abby: What about all of our plans? What about college? And what about your family?
Matt: You and this baby ARE my family, Abs. I don’t want to live without you. My family will either understand that or they won’t.
She touches his face and looks into his eyes.
Abby: Matty, I love you so much, but I’m scared. I’ve always had my parents to support me, I don’t know if I can do this without them.
Matt: You have me, Abs, and I have you, and both of us have this little life that we’ve created who depends on us. Not on your parents or my dad and brothers, on US. I know you’re scared but I promise you, if you just trust me I’m going to make this alright.
She hangs her head and stares at the ground. Evening is darkening the park, and she is startled when the streetlights around them pop on. He raises her chin and looks into her eyes.
Matt: For better or worse, right?
Abby: For better or worse. (She squeezes both of his hands and gives him a sad smile.)
I parked next to you in the lot. My bag is in the trunk. We had better get out of here and on the road before they realize I’m gone.
END SCENE ONE