A man is sitting on the couch, flipping through channels in the living room. A tall woman walks out of the bedroom with her phone in hand and sighs. Dean looks up at Ari, who stands there anxious.
Dean: *pats the sofa cushion next to him* Come here, babe.
Ari slowly walks her way to the sofa, she plops down next to Dean as Dean wraps his arm around her.
Dean: What’s wrong?
Ari: It’s Grace. She’s on her way over.
Dean: What’s wrong with that?
Ari: *faces Dean’s direction* She doesn’t sound okay.
Dean: What do you mean?
Ari: I’m just worried about her. She hasn’t been herself in such a long time and she just wanted to come over without telling me. *worried* I hope she’s okay.
Dean: All you could do is be there for her, babe. *kisses Ari on the forehead* You guys need the living room?
Ari: If you don’t mind.
Dean smiles and gets up from the couch.
Dean: I’ll be in the room if you need me.
A little later into the night, there is a knock on the front door. Ari sprints to the front door to answer it. Stands there is Grace; her hair is in a high messy bun and she wears an oversize hoodie over her dress. Ari opens the door wide enough for grace to walk past her. Ari closes the door and watches Grace sink into the sofa and curl up in a ball.
Ari: Grace, babes? What’s wrong?
Grace immediately sobs with her head down on her knees. Ari rushes over to Grace and sits next to her. She hugs Grace and tries to calm her down.
Grace: He’s taking her to England.
Ari: *confused* Who’s taking who to England?
Grace: Max is–
Grace loudly sobs some more. Ari grabs the tissue box from the coffee table and places them next to Grace.
Ari: Grace, I need you to speak to me. What’s going on?
Grace finally lifts her head up to look at Ari. Her eyes are red and puffy, her cheeks stained with tears.
Grace: Max is taking Willow back to England with him.
Grace: He has to go back to England to renew some documents. He doesn’t want to leave her with me.
Ari: *angry* That fucking son of a bitch. He can’t just take her away from you! What if that asshole decides to stay there?!
Grace cries even harder, Ari takes a deep breath and reconsiders her words.
Ari: Why won’t he let her stay with you while he’s gone?
Grace: He thinks I’m not in the right head space to take care of her.
Ari looks at Grace while she wipes her eyes of tears. Ari knows that Grace hasn’t been in the best place for a while. She’s noticed Grace isolating herself the way she did after she had Willow and she began having issues with Max. This time just feels different to her. She’s tried to get Grace to feel like herself with things that helped the first time around, but this time feels completely foreign to her. She knows Grace well enough to know that this time is caused by one person and one person only…
Grace: Like who the fuck does he think he is keeping my child away from me? I’m more than capable of watching her! I should be the one watching her!
Ari: Are you sure?
Grace looks at Ari, she’s angry at what was just asked of her and Ari realizes that.
Ari: Look, I think it’s fucked up that he would just do this out of the blue and wouldn’t want to keep her at home in the states. Like, I think Max is thinking the absolute worst and that’s completely unfair that he can assume your capability. But I have to ask: are you really okay?
Grace: I’m perfectly fine.
Ari: Bitch, look at what you’re wearing. The Grace I know wouldn’t have paired that hoodie with that dress.
Grace: Oh I’m sorry, I’m not trying to look like a damn fashionista in the middle of my goddamn crisis!
Ari: It’s more than that though. You’re just–
Grace: Not stable enough?
Ari: –different, Grace. You’re not as happy as you were, you’ve been cooped up in your apartment and if you’re not cooped up there, it’s at work–which by the way you keep drowning yourself in it– like, something is not right, sis. We gotta talk about what’s been going on.
Grace: *annoyed* I came here to talk about the fact that Max is thinking about taking Willow to England with him because he doesn’t fucking trust me with my own daughter.
Ari: Yet you keep avoiding why Max is thinking like that. Sis, I love you and I say this as a person who wants the best for you: I’m upset Max would do something like this, but I’m not surprised this was his decision.
Before Grace can say something, Ari beats it to her.
Ari: I’m not agreeing with Max, I’m saying he thinks that’s probably what’s best. Grace, if you weren’t going through this… I mean, Max co-parents with you, obviously he trusts you with Willow–
Grace: Just fucking say it already.
Ari: *bluntly* Grace, Jamie got you so fucked up.
Grace rolls her eyes and wipes her face with some tissues.
Ari: It’s been months and you haven’t done anything about it. I think Jamie’s a nice guy, but he’s not worth getting this fucked up over if you are not making things happen.
Grace: You don’t understand.
Ari: Then make me understand. How is this time different than your break up with Max? You and Max were engaged, have a baby together! You still weren’t as fucked up as you are now and you only knew this guy for four months. Make me understand because I don’t know how you allowed a guy you barely knew fuck you up this bad.
Grace shifts her body away from Ari. Silent tears fall down her face so Ari doesn’t see her.
Ari: Grace? Hello?
Grace: I don’t wanna talk about it.
Grace: I’ll figure the Max thing out by myself.
Grace gets her things and walks towards the door.
Ari: Will you stop running away for once?! Look, I’m trying to understand what’s going on and be supportive, but you have to look at things on both sides. I know something isn’t right, and I know something is going on with you, and I think Max senses that as well. I’m here if you need to talk about this, girl.
Grace opens the door and walks out of Ari’s apartment. Ari calls out for Grace, but she doesn’t come back. Dean walks out of the bedroom to see Ari standing in the middle of the living room.
Dean: Everything okay?
Ari turns around and looks at Dean.
Ari: I’m sick and tired of this shit…
Ari walks over to her phone on the coffee table and picks it up. She sits down on the sofa and dials a number on a phone.
Ari: *looks up at Dean* What time is it?
Dean: About 10:30, why?
Ari pauses with the phone near her ear. Her eyebrows cock up when someone on the other line picks up.
Dean’s eyebrows cock up. Ari puts the phone on speaker.
Ari: It’s Ari. Listen, you gotta talk to Grace. I don’t know if you guys keep in touch or not but, Grace is just not doing good.
Ari: *pleading* Jamie. I… this isn’t my place to say this but I know my fucking best friend and she’s hurting. I don’t know what she’s told you, but Grace hasn’t been the same and now she’s having custody trouble with her ex–
Jamie: Wait, what? What happened? What’s–
Ari: She needs you, man.
There’s a pause on the line; no one speaks up until a sigh is heard on the phone.
Jamie: I haven’t spoken to Grace since March.
Ari: *concerned* What?
Jamie: She stopped talking to me months ago. I haven’t been able to contact her. I– how is she? Is Willow okay?
Ari looks up at Dean who’s looking at her.
Ari: Willow is doing okay from what Grace told me, but… Grace might lose her. I can’t get into detail but I–
Ari takes a deep breath, overwhelmed with her thoughts. Dean sits next to her for support.
Ari: That girl is fucking in love with you and she’s too stubborn to realize that it’s eating her alive that you’re not here.
There’s a pause in the call.
Jamie: I’ll see what I can do. I gotta go.
The line goes dead. Ari takes a deep breath as Dean rubs her back.
Dean: You did the right thing, babe.
Ari: I hope so.