SCENE OPENS on Sue, a middle-aged woman, as she finishes a phone call with a friend. Speaking in soft, reassuring tones, she tells the other end of the line to stay calm. Of course, they will be happy to have her daughter come and stay for a while during the separation. She knows how hard divorce be. Besides, Tiffany and her boys have always got along. She gets off the phone and, taking a deep breath, calls out to her two sons to join her for a family meeting. Dave and Mike still live at home, despite being grown men.
CUT to Tiffany driving in the back seat of a car, her bags beside her. She sits silently, her eyes glazed over with tears, as she stares out the window. She looks so lost.
CUT TO TITLE PLATE
Two weeks later. Sue watches out the kitchen window as Tiffany, Dave and Mike run around the back yard. The trio laugh and joke as they horseplay and Sue couldn’t feel more relieved. She sneaks a photo to send to Diane, texting the woman that her daughter feels much better now. It’s nice that she can have some space while everything gets sorted. CUT to outside. As the trio wrestle and laugh, it all seems innocent until Mike pulls Tiffany down on his lap. She wriggles to get out, still laughing, but the camera lingers on his face as we see his expression change into something more serious.
The next day. Tiffany, Dave and Mike are watching TV and eating chips when Sue comes down the stairs with an overnight bag. ‘My rideshare is here!’ She says. Dave leaps up to help. ‘Are you sure one of us can’t just drive you to the airport, mom?’ He asks. She tells him to relax, it’s a quick drive and she’ll only be gone for the weekend. She says goodbye to everyone and leaves the trio alone. They get back to watching TV and Dave nonchalantly puts his arm around Tiffany. She notices but snuggles into him anyway, because he’s always been like a big brother to her. She feels so safe.
CUT to the bathroom that night. Tiffany is sitting in the tub when Mike unexpectedly comes in. At first, she covers herself, embarrassed to be seen naked, but he shrugs it off. ‘Chill! I just have to take a piss,’ he says calmly. ‘It’s not like I’ve never seen you naked before!’ Tiffany looks down at her body awkwardly. She doesn’t know what to do or say and Mike picks up on this. ‘…At the lake, remember? Growing up? All those summer vacations our families took together?’ Tiffany can’t help but start thinking about the past and her eyes well up. ‘That’s right …’ she replies, trailing off. Mike washes his hands and, noticing the change in her disposition, sits down next to the tub. ‘Is everything ok?’ He asks. Tiffany breaks down and, through her tears, admits why she is really staying at their house. Her father is an alcoholic. For many years, they just dealt with it privately. Dad would spend all his free time having alcohol in the back with his buddies. Mom would manage. But, then he stopped working. And he started getting violent. And then he bailed, ran off with another woman. Mom tried to kill herself over it. That’s why Sue took her in. Mom’s still in the psych ward for evaluation. They’re not sure if she’ll ever get better. By the end of her confession, Tiffany is sobbing so hard that Mike reaches over and gives her a big hug. At first, it seems completely genuine, but Mike does not let go and, instead, starts to slide his hands further down Tiffany’s naked back. She is so distressed about everything that she doesn’t really notice. In fact, she hugs him back tightly as he comforts her. ‘You know, Dave and I will always be here for you,’ he says. ‘We will always take care of you!’ The camera lingers on his face, as he sneaks a look down at the naked girl in his arms.
CUT to Tiffany’s bedroom. She is just getting into bed when Dave knocks on the door, asking if he can come in. He doesn’t want to intrude but Mike told him a little bit about what had happened in the bathroom and he just wanted to check on her. Blushing, Tiffany beckons him over and gives him a hug. ‘Thank you for always being so sweet to me,’ she says. ‘Both you and your brother. I don’t know what I’d do without you two!’ Dave comforts her, telling her how much they love and appreciate her here. His hands start running all over her body and, after a few increasingly awkward moments, he leans in and tries to kiss her on the mouth. Tiffany backs up, confused and freaked out. ‘Why did you do that, Dave?’ She whispers. Dave starts getting defensive. He tells her that he was only responding to what she was doing to him. Her body language was practically begging for it. ‘You were comforting me!’ She replies, her voice raising. ‘No, I wasn’t’ Dave retorts, yelling back. ‘I was just doing what you wanted. You obviously wanted me to kiss you. You’ve been leading me on for weeks now, ever since you got here!’
Mike runs into the room to see what’s going on. Before Tiffany can really say anything, Dave cuts in to explain that she is suddenly playing the victim card, despite hitting on them both for weeks. ‘I can’t believe you would be a bitch like this,’ Mike starts yelling at her. ‘We have been nothing but kind and supportive and this is how you repay us? Like you’re too good for us?!’ Tiffany is floored, her eyes welling up in shock as Mike continues to berate her. ‘You know why your mom really dropped you off, right? Because she wanted to bail on you too, just like your dad!’ Tiffany starts to cry. ‘It’s obvious,’ Dave adds, ‘they don’t love you. Nobody loves you!’ The brothers start to laugh and joke, adding to the tension in the room. They notice Tiffany in tears and switch gears, swooping in on either side of her. ‘I hate to tell you,’ Mike continues. ‘But your mom isn’t coming back. She’s going to be in that hospital for years!’ They shepherd her over to her bed. ‘And even though you’re 18 now, you know that you have nowhere else to go,’ Dave says. ‘Don’t you think you should be a little nicer to us? We’re like your older brothers, after all!’ She looks at them, wiping her eyes. ‘You are like my brothers,’ she pleads. ‘So, I don’t know why you are being so mean to me all of a sudden!’ Mike rubs her shoulder, as she cringes at the touch. ‘We just want to know why you’re acting like this now?’ He says, in a condescending voice. ‘You were totally fine when I was hugging you … naked … in the bath.’ Tiffany tries to explain but Dave cuts her off. ‘I think,’ he says, joining his brother in touching the girl. ‘That deep down inside you might actually like this … you are clearly longing for attention, you’re just too scared to admit it!’ Both brothers berate her, bullying her, egging her on to just admit that she liked their attention and was even feeding into it. At first, she denies it, but they don’t let up. They keep going back and forth, manipulating her and pointing out all the instances over the last few weeks that she supposedly flirted with them. They try to make her feel guilty for leading them on. Eventually, she caves and admits that she liked their attention. She’s lonely and scared. They made her feel safe. That’s why she acted the way she did. She thought they were going to take care of her. Seizing this admission, Dave reassures her that they will take care of her. They always will. She just needs to take care of them too. That’s what family is for.