Ari: You’re actually going through with this?
Ari sits on the edge of the bed while Grace looks through her closet. A suitcase is out on the bed, open, with just a few thing already in it. Grace turns around and walks to the bed with the clothes.
Grace: I need to be there for my family. What happens if Max can’t come back to the States?
Ari: *concerned* You’re trying to tell me you’re willing to give up your life here to go live in a foreign country with your ex-fiance and daughter?
Grace takes in a deep breath and keeps on packing.
Grace: I’m not leaving my daughter behind for my job. I’ll just get another job in England and just–
Ari stops her from packing anything else. Grace looks at her.
Ari: I understand you’re doing this for Willow, babes– but what are you doing for yourself? You worked way too hard to build what you have here to just get up and move away.
Grace: Let’s be honest here, Ari. I don’t really have much keeping me here besides Willow, and if Willow isn’t here, then why am I here?
Ari: *upset* It’s not fair that Max is using your daughter to go on this damn trip when he could’ve just left her here with you.
Grace gathers more clothing together, suddenly uncomfortable.
Grace: Max wouldn’t have wanted that.
Ari: I don’t give a fuck what he wants.
Grace gives Ari a stern look.
Grace: I’m going, end of discussion. It’s only going to be for two weeks–
Ari: You don’t know that for sure. What if something goes wrong?
Grace closes her eyes and turns back around.
Grace: Well then I’ll be there for Willow.
Ari shakes her head in disagreement, visibly annoyed.
Ari: Would you go if Jamie was back in the picture?
Grace: *quickly defensive* I am sick and tired of you bringing up Jamie like he matters or something. I love you, Ari, but it’s been months since I last spoke to that man. Let it go.
Ari: I’m not letting it go until I believe those words coming out of your mouth because sis, you are lying through your teeth.
Grace: *yells* I fucking mean what I said, Ari. I don’t need Jamie, I don’t need Em or Cami or Scott or his girlfriend, and I don’t need you. All I need is my fucking daughter, and wherever she goes, I’m going.
Ari is not visibly angry, she stand up from the bed and faces Grace.
Ari: Then fight for your daughter, Grace. But don’t fucking lose yourself by neglecting what you need. You know what’s that something, and your soul won’t ever let that shit go. See you when I see you.
Ari grabs her purse and leaves the bedroom to walk out the front door. The door is heard being slammed shut and Grace stands in the bedroom, speechless. She slides against the bedroom wall and onto the floor, on the verge of tears.
It’s the day of departure. A knock is heard on the front door of Grace’s apartment. A man calls out for Grace. A few moments later, a door is heard being unlocked. The front door opens and Max walks in with Willow in one arm and the huge suitcase of luggage held in the other hand.
Max: Grace? Are you ready yet?
The bedroom door opens and out comes Grace. She’s moving slow and she seems extremely sad. Max sets Willow down and recounts everything he has.
Max: Okay, I have the boarding passes, passports, documents, diaper bag, suitcase–
Grace doesn’t respond, she just stands there. Max looks at her.
Max: You got everything? Our flight leaves in about 3 hours.
Grace finally looks up at Max. The last year and a half passes by in her mind; the first time they met, to the case they worked on together, to the affair, pregnancy, engagement, and everything up to this point. She wonders what was it about Max that she thought this was going to be the man she was going to spend her life with forever. What was it about the Grace that existed a year and a half ago that was certain that Max was the one? Why can’t she see that life now? Why can’t she see that her going to England isn’t the fresh start she needs?
Grace looks down at Willow, and smiles. She loves Willow, and she knows she’s doing this for her, but Grace knows that if she only does this for Willow without wanting to do this for herself, Willow isn’t going to get the present mother that she needs. If anything, this would disconnect her even more, and Grace will never let that happen. So Grace has to wonder; would the distance for a little bit be the better alternative to keep the relationship she has with her daughter?
Grace: I– I can’t go.
Max stands there, confused.
Grace finally looks up at Max.
Grace: I can’t go. I’m sorry.
Grace: I love Willow… but she will not get the mother she needs if I go to England with you.
Max: What are you talking about? You’ll be spending time with her, you’ll be around her for most days and nights.
Grace: I cannot leave my life behind and pretend I’m fine and I wouldn’t want Willow growing up to see her mama giving up on her life to live in someone else’s shadow.
Max sits Grace down on the couch, trying to reason with her.
Max: You understand that if things don’t work out with the renewal, I may not come back.
Grace: I will not follow you to England for that reason, Max.
Max gets up from the sofa; he’s now frustrated.
Max: I get that this is your home, Grace. I get that you wanna stay here, but your priorities are all out of wack! Wherever your daughter goes, you should go with her.
Grace: Then take me to court.
Max: *sighs* Grace, why are you doing this?
Grace: Because I will not allow you to move our child overseas. You get your paperwork done, you make it your mission to come back to the States, you make it your responsibility to set things straight in order to take care of your child in the States because she is not going anywhere.
Max holds his hands to his hips.
Max: You realize I studied law just like you, right?
Grace: Then you should know that if you decide to take her without any judge signing off of that, then you are breaking court mandates within the New York State. You can lose custody rights for breaking such a law.
Max scoffs and shakes his head in disbelief; completely speechless.
Grace: I mean this in the nicest way possible, Max: you teach the law, I live the law.
Max and Grace look at each other for a moment. Max smirks and breaks the silence.
Max: You were always better at the job, Ashmore.
Grace smirks back.
Grace: It’s just something that I am good at.
A couple of hours pass by. The lights are on in Grace’s apartment, and laughing is heard in the living room. Grace is sitting on the floor with Willow, playing with a variety of baby toys. Willow giggles loudly as she walks around the floor.
A knock on the door is heard, which grabs Grace’s attention. Grace gets up from the floor, picks up Willow in her arms, and walks to the front door. With her free hand, she opens the door slowly. Grace’s eyes widen as she sees who’s on the other side of the doorway.