INT. JAMES' HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – EVENING.

Heather is lying on the couch, watching television. James comes in carrying several bags of groceries.

JAMES

(Calling loudly)

Mom, I'm home. Where do you want me to put the stuff?

(To Heather)

How're you feeling now? Any better?

Heather looks up at him and nods.

Heather

Just tired.

MOM (O.S.)

Just leave it on the table. I'll put it away later. Can you come and get the soup?

James puts the bags on the table

KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

MOM is ladling some steaming soup into a bowl.

MOM

Here, take this to Heather. Careful – it's hot!

JAMES

Yes mom. I'm not a kid anymore, you know.

MOM

How's that sweet girl doing? Alexis, is it?

JAMES

Fine, I guess.

MOM

You will bring her home for dinner, one day, won't you?

JAMES

One day. Yeah.

(Mumbling to himself)

I hope.

MOM

(She turns and passes him the bowl of hot soup that she has ladled out.)

You said something? Okay, steady now. Take that out to Heather before it gets cold.

LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

James enters with the bowl of soup. Heather lifts herself up to a sitting position on the couch and switches off the television. James sits by her and slowly spoons the soup into her mouth.

HEATHER

James, what's the matter?

JAMES

Nothing, really.

HEATHER

It's your girlfriend, isn't it?

JAMES

What did the doctor say just now? I'm sorry I had to rush off.

HEATHER

I'll be fine. I'm just very tired. I hate chemotherapy. Apparently the reaction was totally normal.

JAMES

Leukaemia. Of all things, why leukaemia? It always used to be a sickness someone else got. Not anyone that I know. Not anyone close. It's just so weird. You show up. And all of a sudden you get sick. What if we never really get to know each other? All these wasted years of not knowing who you were, and then just when you step into my life, you look about set to step out.

HEATHER

James, it's going to be okay. The doc says it's all under control. Don't go and stress yourself for nothing, alright? Now tell me. What happened between you and Alexis today?

JAMES

She's upset, understandably. I've had to stand her up on so many dates lately. I don't know. Maybe I should just call all this off until you get better.

HEATHER

Very sweet, James, but not necessary.

JAMES

It would be for the best.

HEATHER

What would?

JAMES

I'm just too busy anyway. Now's not the right time. I'll need to finish college, get a degree, find a job. Take care of you.

HEATHER

Now don't go tagging in that 'take care of you'. You don't have to. This is just a temporary measure. In a few weeks I'll be fine and healthy and on my way out of your life. Don't let her go. You have something special there.

JAMES

Had, maybe.

HEATHER

That bad, huh? You want me to talk to her?

JAMES

Would it help? I doubt it somehow.

(Straightens up)

Here, we're done? I'll just clear up then.

He starts to walk out.

HEATHER

Listen to me, buddy. You better start pulling your life together!

JAMES' BEDROOM – LATER

James is writing at his table. There are various crumpled editions of his letter scattered around the dustbin by his foot. Now, he is writing a clean copy.

Dear Alexis, I don't know how to say this to you. Please don't hate me, but I think that we should separate for now. I'm sorry. Heather is sick and I need to be there for her. It's not that I don't love you, but

At that moment, the phone starts ringing in the distance and James hastily slips the letter between the pages of his textbook and leaves the room.