INT. SHELL’S ROOM – NIGHT (Prologue)
Shell, only 4-years-old, lies in a bed in a coma. Shiro, Tamiya, & Mayla also in the room. Mayla holding Shell’s hand.
MAYLA: Shell. Wake up. Shell. (crying) Shell.
TAMIYA: Are all those eggs your siblings?
MAYLA: (crying) Shell.
Tamiya concerned about the situation.
SHIRO: Ms. Ideles. Do you have any objections to me adopting them?
Tamiya considered the facts.
TAMIYA: Mr. Tulsen, you have a low-income job. To even afford the premises we are in is already stretching the possibility. Adoption is not cheap, both the process and afterwards. Why do you insist on doing this?
SHIRO: Who else will take them in?
Tamiya sees the intent in Shiro’s eyes. She can’t deny that he means what he says.
EXT. SOCCER FIELD – DAY
A partially clouded day with a blazing girls’ soccer game going on. Arrato Middle vs. another school from the area. A small group gathers to watch the game.
Ni plays offensive in her first middle school game. She blazes through the opposing girls like a bullet through paper.
In the stands, the Tulsen sister watch their sister go at it. Mayla watches and worries for her sister, Mi sits down gouging on nachos, Kobai records the game while wearing a stoic face & and a sun hat, while Calif is dresses up like a cheerleader. Shiro is with the girls.
MAYLA: Ni! Go for it!
MI: Not that she needs the motivation.
Ni spikes a shot into the net almost tearing a hole through to the other side.
Calif gives a little cheer in her chibi form.
MI: Do cheer leaders even wear berets?
SHIRO: Not in my days.
KOBAI: You were a male cheerleader?
SHIRO: No but I was the only guy who knew how to do a French braid.
Everyone stares at the game.
KOBAI: An honorary male cheerleader?
KOBAI: Do you just have a hair fetish or something similar?
SHIRO: We’ll talk about this later.
On the field, Ni passes the ball to a teammate.
The teammate takes the ball and rushes for the goal.
The teammate shoots the ball and misses the goal.
MAYLA: It’s okay. It’s only one point.
Mi gets up and leaves the stands.
SHIRO: Where are you going?
Calif does another cheer.
Kobai watching Calif cheer.
SHIRO: Your face told me everything.
On the field, Arrato Middle switches out players. Ni is still in play.
The game is down to the last 20-minutes and Ni is fired up.
EXT. SOCCER FIELD, RESTROOMS – DAY
Mi walks out of the restroom. Michael walks out of the boy’s restroom. The two lock eyes.
MICHAEL: Oh, hi… uh, Mayla’s sister…
MI: It’s Mi. What are doing here, Mr. Charmer? Are you cheating behind your wife’s back?
Michael does not take the last statement.
MICHAEL: I’m not even dating anyone. You know my mom is the coach for the girls team.
MI: And you’re here because…?
MICHAEL: My dad had to take my brother to the dentist.
Michael walks back to the stands. Mi follows with the perfect teasing chance.
MI: …And you also knew that other my sister was on the team & wanted to see Mayla.
MICHAEL: That is merely a coincidence.
MI: Yeah, coincidental that your mom doesn’t think your old enough to be home by yourself.
MICHAEL: You know I live near Kayree’s.
MI: Ew. Right. No wonder your mom doesn’t want you home alone on a Saturday.
WHISTLE The final whistle blows. The game’s over. A loud burst of joy echoes from the field.
MI: I guess we won.
MICHAEL: Was that your sister?
Mi heads back into the stands. Michael follows.
MI: After playing games with her for eight years, I’d recognize that hyper screech anywhere.
On the field Arrato Middle’s girls’ soccer team celebrates their first victory of the year.
In the stands the Tulsen clan congratulates the team for their victory.
Mi rejoins the group with Michael in tow.
MI: Looks like we’re losing a night of sleep.
KOBAI: Don’t remind me…
MI: Hey, Mayla-
Mayla looks to see Michael.
MI (CONT’D): I caught your husband trying to ditch you.
Michael is not pleased by the sarcastic statement. Mayla is annoyed by Mi’s joking.
MAYLA: Mi, we are not dating. Would you please drop it?
MICHAEL: Just forget it. She is your sister.
SHIRO: Michael, it’s been a while.
MICHAEL: Same to you, Mr. Tulsen. I heard Ni on the field-
Michael notices all the differences between all of the Tulsens.
MAYLA: We’re adopted, Michael.
GIRL #1 (O.S.): Ni, what are you doing?
Everyone looks onto the field.
Ni struggles to hold a drink container. She wants to pour it onto the coach. The girls are trying to convince her not to but Ni has set her mind on doing it.
MICHAEL: Is that-
MAYLA: Ni… yes.
MICHAEL: Now I really see why mom let her join.
Ni drops the container on her foot. The soccer team panics.
The Tulsens watch with a ‘no surprise’ look on their faces. Mayla has a worried-embarrassed look on hers while Michael is blown out of what is going on. Kobai is still recording.
MICHAEL (beat): No different from practice.
KOBAI: Ni is never one to change.
MICAHEL: Is she alright…?
SHIRO: I think she lost sensation there after a harder incident.
MICHAEL (to Shiro): Aren’t you concerned, sir?
SHIRO: Have you seen her at practice?
Michael syncs with the family.
Later, on the field, the team leave while Ni & Michael’s mom, COACH AGATHA LONG – a soccer coach that has to deal with about 50 teens daily – clean up and wait for their parties to come.
The Tulsens & Michael come onto the field.
COACH LONG: I was wondering why you took so long.
MICHAEL: Mom, I’ve been coming here since I was five. I know my way around.
SHIRO: Agatha, nice to see you again.
AGATHA: So that wasn’t you at the parent meetings-
Ni rushes over to Kobai.
NI: Did you get some good shots?
KOBAI: I got the game. That’s all that matters.
NI: Did you get that pass 20 minutes into the first half where me and Chelsea had to maneuver between half of the other team because everyone else was being held back because Julie had tripped on her untied laces and-
MI: SHE SAID SHE GOT IT. What don’t you understand?
NI: How you have no athletic ability.
MI (clutches her fist): How about you just stand still and let me test my abilities out?
SHIRO: Mi, enough. (sterner) Ni- (pause) I’ll deal with you when we get home.
COACH LONG: I’ve got to turn in some paperwork, so I need to head back to school. Michael, if Mr. Tulsen does not mind, you can hang out at Mayla’s place until I’m done.
MAYLA (nervous): Uh, that- that fine. The place is a mess and I haven’t had time to sweep. In fact, I still need to do the dishes. I don’t think we have any clean cups.
NI: Why are you worried about that? I’m sure Xe-
Mayla shoves a water bottle down Ni’s mouth. Mayla tries to laugh it off.
MI: Translation: She doesn’t want her man to see a pigsty and run away.
MAYLA: Mi, I did not say that!
Shiro pulls out his cellphone.
SHIRO: I don’t mind. I just need to make a call first. Excuse me.
Shiro walks off to call someone.
COACH LONG: I should be done by six. I hope that’s fine.
Ni guzzles the bottle.
MI: If dad’s fine with it, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.
Mayla is concerned.
INT. TULSEN FLAT – DAY
Michael, the first boy to even step foot into the apartment, is impressed by the place. The dishes are all cleaned.
Mi lays on the coach with a box of her favorite snack: mini-chocolate ducks. Ni is also on the coach near the hall entrance. Mayla is too nervous to sit down.
MICHAEL: Nice place you got here, Mr. Tulsen.
SHIRO: It’s not that impressive. (to the room) Okay, basic rule: Michael is not allowed in anyone’s room with less than two of you in them. Do I make myself clear-
Shiro spots Calif doing her belly snacking.
SHIRO (beat): Calif, he did not come here to see that. (to Mi & Ni) Where’s Kobai?
MI: She’s checking the footage in our room. Either that or reading.
Shiro walks over to couch and grabs Ni by the ear. Ni clamors in pain.
SHIRO: You & I have something to discuss about, young lady.
Shiro takes Ni to his room.
MICHAEL: Is it like this every day?
MAYLA: Some days are quieter…
MICHAEL: Does your sister like videoing stuff?
MAYLA: No. Ni wanted to show the game to someone else, so she asked one of us to do it.
Mi grabs Calif and sneaks themselves out of the room.
MAYLA (O.S.): Kobai likes to read, and debate…
MICHAEL (O.S.): I think everyone knows that. (on-screen) What do you like to do? I mean, besides try to be a better big sister.
MAYLA: I don’t know… Maybe just try to keep up with my work.
MICHAEL: Hey, speaking of which, how is your paper coming along?
MAYLA: Slowly. That’s all I know…
MICHAEL: Same. Maybe your sister could help.
MAYLA: Doubtful. I mean, Mi-
Mayla looks over to see that Mi & Calif are no longer in the room. She is not surprised by the sudden disappearance.
MICHAEL: Just like that, huh…
INT. SHIRO’S ROOM – DAY
A simple room with a double-size bed. Three pictures are on his dresser: one of his parents, one of the girls, and a portrait Calif painted of him.
Ni sits on the bed listening to Shiro.
NI: Dad, it was nothing. It was just me & Mi being around each other.
SHIRO: Your behavior in front of your coach and teacher was not something anyone should do.
NI: Some of the other girls do worse than that and Mi would do that at almost every possibility.
SHIRO: That is not the point. Do you remember what happened when you first tried out for soccer?
NI: I was six.
SHIRO: You played with the ball so much that is popped while you were playing with it hitting the coach in the face and you kept going without a care.
NI: Again that was six years ago.
SHIRO: Last year you wanted to play little league soccer and challenged every girl to a what can only be described as “chicken with a ball.”
NI: I was showing them that I could be a good kicker & goalie. I believe my skills are more than enough for any team.
SHIRO: Ni you are missing the point. You get so focused in sports that you forget to control yourself and injure everyone within shooting distance of you. That may have been the two of you being sisters, but everything you do affects what you can & cannot do. If that was practice or the game, would you have still done that?
Ni sees that she has messed up.
SHIRO: I don’t want to take you out of soccer but you decide without saying anything. Is that clear enough?
NI: Yes, sir…
INT. TRIPLET’S ROOM – DAY
Kobai, still wearing the sun hat, fiddles with the camera with an instruction manual open on her desk.
In the hall, Mayla shows Michael around.
MAYLA: All of our rooms are right here. (points each one out) That is mine, that is Mi, Ni, & Kobai’s room, and that is the bathroom.
MICHAEL: Where does Calif sleep?
MAYLA: We share a room. It’s a small apartment so not much living space.
KOBAI: Yet it overflows with apathy.
Michael notices that there is one more room.
MICHAEL: Is that your dad’s room?
MAYLA: No, that’s my oldest younger sister’s room. She’s sick so it might not be good to enter.
MICHAEL: It’s pretty quiet. She must be asleep.
KOBAI (mumbles): More like “is.”
MICHAEL: What was that?
KOBAI: How good is your hearing?
MAYLA: Sorry about that. Kobai doesn’t like to be disturbed when doing anything.
MICHAEL: And she rooms with Ni?
MAYLA: They’re triplets. It seemed like the most fitting idea at the time.
Shiro & Ni come from around the corner.
MICHAEL (to Mayla): I guess your dad’s room is just down the hall. (to Shiro) Again, nice place, Mr. Tulsen.
NI: It’s not much but it’s home.
Ni rushes into her room and closes the door.
MICHAEL: Where’s your other sister?
MAYLA: I don’t know myself.
SHIRO: She’s having special classes. It’s an emergency session since we have company.
MICHAEL: Special classes?
Mayla is also confused.
SHIRO: She had a personal experience that makes her unable to meet new people. This is a small group she goes to help her overcome that fear.
MICHAEL: Must have been pretty traumatic to have to go to classes for.
SHIRO: You don’t want to know.
KOBAI (O.S.): I told you to stop bothering me!
SHIRO: And just like that, things are back to normal… (opens door to triplet’s room) Leave the door open.
NI (O.S.): I need to change.
SHIRO: Leave it open after you change.
Shiro closes the door and heads for the living room.
MICHAEL: Your dad is a lot stricter than I thought.
MAYLA: He only looks laid back.
INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY
Mi, Calif, & Shiro watch television together. Mi is enjoying her mini-chocolate ducks. What sounds like a romance is playing.
MI: Hey Dad…
MI: Did you ever date when you were younger?
SHIRO: My skills with hair were both a blessing and a curse.
MI: How so?
SHIRO: Would you want to date someone who could turn a bowl cut into a 5-foot ponytail?
MI: Only if he feeds me.
Continued television watching.
MI: Why are you so skilled with hair? Did you have to play big brother & do your sisters’ hair when you were younger?
SHIRO: Something like that…
MI: How can it be “something”?
SHIRO: I’m the middle child. My sisters were independent for a time.
Mi gives up because of the vague responses & continues to devour her prey.
CALIF: What are we watching?
Shiro picks up a newspaper & flips to the channel schedule.
SHIRO: There’s a T.V. version of this?
Shiro looks deeper into the paper.
INT. MAYLA’S ROOM – DAY
Michael looks inside Mayla’s room. Mayla is standing just outside the room.
Michael picks up Calif’s plush paintbrush.
MICHAEL: Are you sure it’s okay to come in here?
MAYLA: I don’t mind. I don’t have much in here, anyways. And it is clean.
MICHAEL: It does fit you well. And the other two?
MAYLA: They’re only seven and eight, though I would put Calif’s plush back. She won it in a class art contest back in kindergarten. It’s makes her feel confident.
Calif walks into the room. She sees Michael holding her plush. Michael sees Calif.
MICHAEL: You must be proud of this.
Michael holds out the plush to Calif. Calif grabs it.
MICHAEL (CONT’D): I’m sort of the same. I have this baseball cap I had from when I won my first game though I was about your age so it might not be as grand as I remember.
CALIF: Do you want to see my paintings?
Mayla walks in the room.
Calif wisp over to her stack of paintings and grabs one of the lower ones. Michael & Mayla hold the top paintings back as Calif pulls the painting out.
Calif shows Michael the painting. It’s a sunflower on a sunny day. It almost looks like a photograph.
MICHAEL: Wow. You made this in kindergarten?
CALIF: Is it that obvious? I have been drawing and painting every day to get better than this. It does look pretty bad after everything else I’ve made.
MICHAEL: If you don’t want it, can I have it?
Calif looks up at Michael confused by his words.
MICHAEL (CONT’D): It would make my home feel brighter.
Calif is astounded by the words coming from Michael. She puts the painting back in the stack and searches through to find another painting.
Calif pulls out a portrait of Mayla standing in a field she made last year. Mayla is embarrassed.
MICHAEL: Um… Calif… This is pretty… but it’s a little-
CALIF: This one is better!
MICHAEL: I mean, it is definitely amazing… but-
CALIF: I can make another one anytime. It’s yours.
Michael sees there is no backing out of this and takes the painting.
MICHAEL: Thank you… but why this one…?
CALIF: Aren’t you two dating?
Michael & Mayla realize the confusion.
Calif processes Michael’s answer.
CALIF: Sis, was Mi messing with you?
MAYLA: You finally caught on…
INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY
Kobai, still wearing the sun hat, is trying to figure out the connections on the television for the camera to play on it. Shiro is paying attention in case something pops up. Mi is leaning against Shiro napping.
Michael, Mayla, and Calif walk in. Michael is carrying one of Calif’s paintings under a tarp.
SHIRO: Calif, is that one of your paintings?
CALIF: Not one I’m proud of, but Michael likes it.
MAYLA: He’s going to hang it up at his place to liven things up.
SHIRO: I better warn you, Michael, she only gives her art to people she likes.
Calif smiles brightly.
DING-DONG The doorbell rings. Shiro goes to answer it. Coach Long has arrived.
COACH LONG: Sorry I’m late, I took the wrong bus getting back and had to find my way back.
SHIRO (checking his watch): Actually, you’re early. It’s only 5:30.
COACH LONG: You would think after having to organize twenty girls to meet at one place for nine years I would have a good sense of time.
SHIRO: I’ve only got seven 24/7 but I know what time it is by who complains when.
COACH LONG (notices Michael): Michael, what’s that?
MICHAEL: A painting Calif made.
CALIF: My gift to him.
COACH LONG: I guess if it’s a gift, it’s fine. Come on, your dad says your brother needs some kind of pain reliever.
MICAHEL: Okay. (to Mayla) See you on Monday.
Michael heads for the entrance.
MAYLA: Bye, Michael.
COACH LONG: Thanks for looking after him.
SHIRO: He was less trouble than-
Shiro looks towards the couch. Mi is not there.
KOBAI (focused on the camera): She went into the back.
The game Kobai recorded comes on the television.
COACH LONG: Looks like you’ll be having a fun family night. Good night, everyone.
KOBAI, MAYLA, CALIF: Bye.
Shiro closes the door.
SHIRO: Well, seeing as the camera works, I’ll go ahead and call Calif.
Shiro heads over for the wall phone. Kobai continues to figure out the camera-television connection.
INT. TRIPLET’S ROOM – NIGHT
The girls are talking. Ni is calm, which usually means she will pass out eventually. Mi throwing a stuffed rabbit in the air. Kobai reading.
MI: I am telling you, those two are dating and they won’t admit it.
NI: Have you ever seen them date?
MI: Would you want to watch someone else’s date?
NI: Kobai does it all the time.
MI (insinuating): You’re right. She does peep a lot into dating. I bet those books are so detailed, (holds rabbit above face) You could feel the kiss itself.
Mi does childish kissing action with the doll.
KOBAI: First off, this book is written by Ferrady Montgomery, the greatest political analyst of our time.
MI: Sorry, your excellency.
KOBAI: Second, I wish to deconstruct your stereotype of romance novels being the only form of literary fiction in which girls partake in reading. There is a very enticing series created by PJ Miller set in a dystopian society-
NI (overdramatic): Ah! Big words so late at night! Me brain be melting…
Mi laughs at Ni’s performance.
Kobai turns her lamp directly onto Mi & Ni. Mi & Ni are being blinded.
MI: Hey, if you can’t tell the sun is on vacation!
KOBAI: That why its cousin was invented.
Mi pounces in bed.
INT. MAYLA’S ROOM – NIGHT
The sounds of the triplet’s room muffle into the room. Mayla is brushing Xena’s hair on Mayla’s bed. Calif is looking through her paintings.
MAYLA: So, what did you think of the game?
XENA: It looked like fun. I kind of wish I was there.
MAYLA: Dad said you went to a community group, something to help with your fear of strangers.
XENA: Daddy called Aunt Tamiya to pick me up because we were having a visitor. I wish I was able to meet him.
Silence enters the room.
KOBAI (O.S.) (through the wall): I’m telling you I don’t care!
MI (O.S.) (through the wall): Fine. Don’t come running to me when your 40-years-old and single.
KOBAI (O.S.) (through the wall): Why you-
BOOM Something made a big thud in the triplet’s room.
SHIRO (O.S.) (through the wall): ENOUGH!
Shiro scolds the triplets in their room. Mayla continues to do Xena’s hair.
MAYLA: We’ll sleep well tonight.
XENA: Sis, do you have a boyfriend?
Mayla does not have an immediate answer.
MAYLA (sigh, continues brushing) You’re too young to worry about that.
XENA: But are you?
MAYLA: I just have a really close friend who is a guy. It’s nothing new. But maybe one day, when I feel comfortable to tell someone about us…
Mayla stops brushing and slips into thought.
CALIF Mayla, have you seen the portrait I showed Michael?
MAYLA: I thought we put it back.
The room goes silent.
Mayla suddenly realizes something that makes her burst into a nervous wreck.
INT. LONG APARTMENT, LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
A small living room with a better television than the Tulsens and old-fashioned furniture.
Michael & Coach Long take out Calif’s painting. Another painting falls out. Michael picks it up. It’s Mayla’s portrait.
COACH LONG: I guess she accidentally gave us that one.
MICHAEL: No mom, it’s just sisters being sisters…
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