(We open in the main room of Louie's. The boys sit at their usual table. Chuck looks nervous.)

Bobby: Did she say when she was gonna get here?

Chuck: *Taps his pencil on the table* She said about three o'clock.

Vivianne: (She hurries in) Hello, Mr. Mahoney. I'm sorry I'm late. I just came from talking to my publisher.

Chuck: *Smiles at her* That's okay, Vivianne. It's only been a few minutes.

Vivianne: (Smiles at the boys and puts her hand on her hips) I hate to break it up, but I'd like to talk to Mr. Mahoney alone.

Bobby: We'll get another table.

Sach: On the other side of the room.

Slip: Ya won't even know we're here.

Whitey: We'll be quiet as mice!

Vivianne: Do that. Now.

Bobby: Yes ma'am! (He jumps up and goes over to a booth on the other side of the room)

*Whitey hurries after Bobby, sliding on the floor, and ends up under the booth.*

Whitey: I'm okay!

Slip: *Shakes his head, but smiles at Vivianne* These guys ain't got a lick of class. *smacks Sach on the back* Get movin' over there!

Sach: All right, all right. (He joins the others, muttering about not getting to have any fun)

Vivianne: (Smiles at Chuck) They're all very sweet young men. Odd, but sweet.

Chuck: They mean well.

Vivianne: The way you all take care of each other is inspiring. You're a family all your own.

Chuck: We are.

Vivianne: I envy you for that. I've been taking care of myself since I got out of college.

Chuck: I don't know what I'd do without these guys.

Vivianne: You're lucky to have them.

Chuck: And I'm also lucky to have you.

Vivianne: (Smiles) Thank you. I've been wanting to mentor a writer for a long time, and there's so few men in the romance genre, especially young men.

Chuck: I'd like that very much.

Vivianne: You have a great deal of potential, though you also need some work with your syntax and...well, with romance. I don't think you've really experienced much of it yet.

Chuck: Well... I've been waiting for the right woman. *looks down at his hands and starts to fidget* This isn't easy for me. I was sorta hopin'...we could have a real...um...experience.

Vivianne: Experience?

Chuck: *Looks up at her question, still fidgeting; swallows hard* Uh, well...you're right about my, um...lack of...romantic experience. I, uh...was sorta hopin'... *quieter* you could help me. *he's now the color of a tomato*

Vivianne: Help you? I can help you write, but...

Chuck: *His eyes widen* But?

Vivianne: (Blushes as she realizes what heís saying) Oh! Oh you dear boy, I don't...well, I think you're an attractive boy, but...how can I let you down gently? You're not my type.

Chuck: *Frowns; quietly* Oh crap.

Vivianne: I didn't mean to lead you on about the nature of our relationship. I do want to help you, but not in that way. I want to help your writing.

Chuck: I can't believe I did this.

Vivianne: Oh honey, now I feel horrible. I didn't mean to break your heart like this. You're too young for me.

Chuck: *Still turning his hands one over the other* I didn't even...I just...I was hopeful. I'm sorry. I've made a mess outta this...

Vivianne: No, you haven't. I should have told you right away that I wanted to make you a better writer. I want to mentor you, like your friend Louie does for the rest of your group.

Chuck: I probably messed that up, too.

Vivianne: Not at all! I still want to be a mentor. I get the feeling you don't know too many older women besides your mother and your friends' mothers.

Chuck: *Shakes his head* No...

Vivianne: Besides, it'll help me as much as it'll help you. I've never met anyone like you. The younger boys I've seen in my usual circles are so full of themselves and their cars and their girls. They've probably never been on the streets, never been hungry, never had friends and family as dedicated as yours.

Chuck: *Finally just threads his fingers together and looks up, sadness mixed with amazement on his face* You're still gonna help me?

Vivianne: (Nods) Yes. Even if you don't want to write romance, I might be able to introduce you to some publishers and newspapers who could help you.

Vivianne: You helped fix my tire. It's the least I can do.

Chuck: *Nods* I'd still appreciate the help.

Vivianne: Even if we can't be lovers, we can still be friends.

Chuck: *Nods again* I'm okay with that.

Vivianne: Would you like to meet here once and a while and discuss writing? Not every day, but perhaps every couple of weeks or so. I can help you find-tune your writing and find what your style is.

Chuck: I'd like that.

Vivianne: I'll have my secretary call you here, ok?

Chuck: Okay.

Vivianne: I need to meet with my cover art illustrator. (She gives him a kiss on the cheek) You're a truly kind, respectful, and sweet young man. I hope you find a woman who can be what you really need someday.

Chuck: *Blushes a little* Me too.

Vivianne: I'll see you later! (She waves and heads out, shaking her head; under her breath.) That poor boy. I feel sorry for him. I hope I didn't let him down too hard. (Smiles; softly) He'll find the right girl someday. I feel it. (She heads to her car, parked just outside)

Bobby: (He goes to Chuck's table first) Mind if I join you?

Sach: (Takes a chair, too) Is this seat taken, Mister?

Chuck: *Shrugs* Not taken any more...

Whitey: *Joins them* Wanna see a card trick?

Chuck: No, thanks, Whitey.

Sach: (Plops down in the seat next to Chuck) Wanna hear a joke? It's a good one, too. I heard it on the radio this mornin'.

*Chuck just looks at Sach. Meanwhile, Slip is slowly making his way to the table, assessing the situation.*

Bobby: You're too good for her, Chuck. She never even wanted to call you. Her secretary always did it. She's too busy for the likes of us.

Chuck: *Turns to him* How can you talk about her like that, Bobby? She's still willing to help me after I made a complete fool outta myself!

Slip: *Steps up behind Chuck and rests a hand on his shoulder* Chuck...

Bobby: I'm glad she still wants to help you. That's really nice of her. But...every couple of weeks? She can't even take time out of her busy schedule sippin' tea with her friends!

Sach: I thought she was nice. She just wasn't right for our Chuckie.

Chuck: *Loudly* Bobby, stop it!

Slip: *Places the other hand on Chuck's shoulder* Chuckie, take it easy.

Sach: Chuck, it's ok.

Whitey: She meant well. *shrugs*

Bobby: If it's any consolation, I think she looked just as hurt and confused as you did.

Sach: Yeah! I'll bet it's been years since guys our age told her they thought she was cute!

Bobby: You probably just gave her a huge boost.

Chuck: *Frowns* Did I?

Slip: *Still holding his shoulders* Chuck, you didn't do nutin' wrong. It was a mistake. It happens.

Bobby: Yeah. I really think she didn't know you felt that way.

Chuck: I just...I feel horrible.

Slip: I know ya do, Chuckie. *gives his shoulders a squeeze* We're here for ya.

Sach: Sounds like she does, too.

Bobby: (Puts his arm around Chuck's other shoulder) Yeah. We're your friends.

Sach: And friends are always there for friends.

Whitey: That's right.

Slip: Now, Chuck, I'm gonna let ya go. Ya ain't gonna take off, are ya?

Chuck: *Shakes his head lightly* No.

Slip: A'right. *lets go of Chuck's shoulders*

*As soon as Slip lets go, Chuck stands quickly and heads for the back room, slamming the door after him.*

Sach: You shouldn't have let him go, Slip.

Slip: *Sighs* I had to, Sach. He was shakin' the whole time.

Bobby: That Vivianne ain't the only one who feels horrible. Poor Chuck.

Sach: (Nods) Maybe one of us ought to talk to him.

Slip: I'll go. *heads for the back room and knocks on the door* Chuckie...hey, can I come in?

Chuckie: It's a free country.

*Slip sighs as he enters the back room, closing the door after him.*

Slip: Hey.

Chuck: (He's facing the mirror) Hey.

Slip: *Walks half way across the room and stops* Chuckie, I can't even imagine how yer feelin' right now.

Chuck: (Sniffles, wiping his eyes) Of course not. You have a girlfriend.

Slip: *Frowns* That ain't what I meant. You really like her, huh?

Chuck: I thought I did. I thought...I thought I could really have a girlfriend. I never met a girl like her. She actually liked writin'.

Slip: You liked her. Sometimes feelin's ain't mutual. She likes you. Just not the same way. You still got a good friend out of a decent thing ya did for her. *moves up behind Chuck* Chuckie, yer a good guy. I know the right girl is out there for ya. It just so happened it weren't her.

Chuck: (Nods) I know. It just...it really hurts. I hoped...she was so nice to me, and so pretty, and so classy.... (He gulps as the tears start rolling down his cheeks)

Slip: *Puts a hand on Chuck's shoulder; frowns* I know, Chuckie. A broken heart takes a while ta mend. I ain't expectin' ya ta cheer up right away. I just want ya ta remember that we're here for ya. *pats his shoulder* What's family for?

Chuck: (Gulps; then) Thanks, Slip.

Slip: Yer welcome, Chuckie. *moves around to sit next to him* Yer gonna be just fine. In the meantime, if ya wanna let it out, I'm here for ya.

Chuck: Slip...I thought I really...I thought she...I thought we.... (he just leans against him and cries)

Slip: *Hugs him and rubs his back a little* I know, Chuckie. *after a few second* If it helps ya feel better at all, my arms are tinglin'.

Chuck: (Smiles a little through his tears) Yeah?

Slip: Yeah. It's a really interestin' feelin', but I don't suggest ya go out aní break both o'yers just to know how it feels.

Chuck: (Laughs a little) No, I don't think I'll do that. (He smiles) Thanks, Slip. You're a great big brother.

Slip: An' yer a great little brother, Chuckie. *small smile* Feel a little better?

Chuck: A little. (Nods at the door) Let's go tell the other guys I'm ok.

Slip: Letís go.

(They head for the door, arm in arm, as we fade out on the duo.)