EXT. DINER – NIGHT, RAINING (Prologue)
Shiro takes Mayla out of the diner after their first meal together. Mayla is very quiet. Shiro wonders what she is thinking.
SHIRO: Was it good?
Mayla mumbles a yes.
Shiro looks at the dreary sky. He turns back to Mayla.
SHIRO: Let’s get you a bath.
Mayla looks up at Shiro, almost shocked by what he offered.
MAKI (O.S.) (fading in): Shiro. Shiro. Shiro!
EXT. SIDEWALK – DAY
Shiro stares off at something on the other side of the road.
MAKI (O.S.): SHIRO!
Shiro comes to and looks at Maki.
MAKI (CONT’D): You fall asleep or something?
SHIRO: I was just looking at an old memory.
Shiro & Maki look across the street.
EXT. DINER – DAY
The same diner Shiro & Mayla ate at when they first met, now an old, rundown building. Construction workers prepare the area for demolition.
MAKI: A shame to see it get torn down. I used to come here all the time in high school with my friends. Good times…
Shiro & Maki continue walking.
MAKI (CONT’D): That place special to you?
SHIRO: It’s the first place me & Mayla ate at. On the night I found her.
MAKI: How long have you been a parent?
SHIRO: 10 years.
MAKI: And you say all of your girls are blood sisters?
SHIRO: What are asking?
MAKI: You said you have been a father for 10 years, adopted all your girls, say that they are all sisters, and your youngest one is only seven years old. What kind of people did you adopt from?
SHIRO: That means nothing now.
MAKI: What kind of excuse is that? How did you adopt?
SHIRO: Like everyone else.
Maki does not believe him.
Shiro stops. Maki continues walking about to ask another question.
Shiro pulls Maki back.
A truck zooms by. Maki is shocked by what just happened.
MAKI: Thank you.
SHIRO: Please pay attention to the lights before you decide to walk into the road.
EXT. TULSEN FLAT – EVENING
MAYLA, MI, NI, KOBAI (O.S.): EHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
INT. TULSEN FLAT – EVENING
The girls are in a frenzy. Xena on the couch sits in the center of it with Mi sitting next to her, Mayla close to the couch, Ni slightly behind Mayla, and Kobai standing near the table, all four staring at a stage frightened Xena. Calif lies on the other end of the couch asleep.
MAYLA: Dad brought home a woman? When did this happen?
XENA: About noon.
MAYLA: They came during his break!?
NI: Then Dad now has a girlfriend! WOW! (bounds around the flat) Dad’s got a girl. Dad’s got a girl. Dad’s got a girl.
MI: And we went through all that for nothing. I wonder if I can get a refund on that ticket.
KOBAI: What did they do?
XENA: U-U-U-Uhm, they got a pair of scissors.
XENA: Dad gave Calif some medicine.
MI: Did they do anything else?
XENA: I don’t think so.
Kobai pieced it together.
KOBAI: Then it must have been worked based if they were getting scissors.
MAYLA: But for Dad to bring a woman home just for scissors? Isn’t that something he could do on his own?
Kobai reconsiders with Mayla’s point.
KOBAI: That is a fair point.
NI (bounding): Kiss Kiss, Ding Ding, Here Comes The Wedding Ring!
MI: Great. Now we’re going to have a mom to boss us around.
Xena looks concerned.
XENA (beat): “Mom?”
Mi, Mayla, & Kobai look at Xena.
XENA (CONT’D): Does that mean someone is going to move in?
Kobai & Mayla look at Xena with a bit of worry.
MAYLA: N-No. I don’t think Dad would marry someone without us meeting her first.
A sense of dread falls onto Xena.
XENA: Meet… us…
Mi grabs Xena and hugs her.
MI: It’s okay. I got you.
Xena feels a bit comforted by Mi’s hug. Relief falls onto Mayla. Kobai seems a bit apprehensive.
KOBAI: This is only speculation.
Kobai telepathically stops Ni. Ni stops about three feet off the ground and face plants onto the ground.
KOBAI (CONT’D): For all we know, they could be dating without us knowing and Dad could be waiting for the right moment to introduce us to her & vice versa. She has already met Calif. Did she see you Xena?
In the background, Ni stands up.
MAYLA: But Calif is sick, so that’s the only reason they met.
NI: But what if she comes this evening?
MAYLA: Dad tells me when we’re having guest so I can cook enough.
NI: What if she spontaneously shows up? She knows where we live now.
MI: Then me & her would get along fine.
Everyone stares at Mi.
MI: I haven’t done it. Yet…
KOBAI: Right now, we have no solid evidence to prove that the two are dating. We can only guess-
Door opens. Shiro walks in. All the girls stare at him.
SHIRO: Is something going on?
Mayla breaks into a nervous sweat.
KOBAI: We were just discussing the idea of a rotational cooking schedule that would allow us the opportunity for all of us to practice cooking and give Mayla more time to do her homework. (to Mayla) Right?
MAYLA (flustered): I don’t mind cooking every time.
XENA: But I want to learn how to cook something. Can’t I have a night to do it sometimes?
Mayla tries to fit into the changed, faked topic.
Shiro realizes he has walked into another girl debate and heads for his room.
SHIRO: I’ll agree to it if the three of you can even learn to do that.
NI: I accept.
Ni rushes into the kitchen and tries to cook. Mayla is concerned by what Ni is doing.
SLAM Shiro enters his room.
MI: Nice conversation. We just lost dinner.
In the background, Mayla tries to stop Ni.
KOBAI: If anything, we’re going to lose the advantage to ask indiscreetly if we are not careful.
Black smoke rises from what Ni is “cooking.”
Dinner time. Calif is not present.
The food on the table is either burnt or looks toxic.
Everyone stares at what is supposed to be dinner. Ni looks excited.
NI: Let’s see what it taste like.
Ni grabs something and eats it. It seems pleasant at first.
Ni’s face drops with each bite and turns green. She rolls it out of her mouth onto her plate. It somehow looks better.
MI: Uh, Mayla… is there any way to make this… edible…?
MAYLA: If only I knew what this is…
Ni keels over onto the floor.
SHIRO: That’s it. We are not doing this again. Mayla, sorry but until Xena is as good as you, you are the designated chef in this house.
MAYLA: I never had any problems with it in the first place.
XENA: Is there anything else to eat?
Kobai sees an opportunity.
KOBAI: Or anybody who wouldn’t mind having company over tonight?
Mi sees where Kobai is going.
MI: Yeah. Maybe someone from work?
SHIRO: Someone might, but I don’t want Peter to know where we live.
MAYLA: Who’s Peter?
SHIRO: One of my coworkers. He’s always inviting someone over for dinner, and not just the ladies at the salon.
MI: The guys at the salon?
SHIRO: If only he stopped there. Great stylist but has a desperation complex about him.
KOBAI: That’s not an actual psychological term.
SHIRO: Kobai, do I have a Ph.D. in mental health?
Ni crawls back into her chair.
MI: If not Peter, maybe someone else? Possibly a lady coworker?
Shiro thinks about it. The girls wait for his response.
SHIRO: Cassandra might be willing to. (gets up) I’ll go call her.
Shiro heads for the wall phone and dials.
SHIRO (to phone): Cassandra.
Kobai leans towards Xena.
KOBAI (whispers, to Xena): Is that the girl?
XENA (whispers): I didn’t hear her name.
NI (whispers): I wonder if Calif did.
MI (whispers): Calif can’t even stay awake for a minute. How is she going to remember a new name?
SHIRO (to phone): Leftovers?
The girls focus in on Shiro’s conversation.
SHIRO: Seven but one of the girls is sick. (pause) I guess I forgot to mention it. (pause) Okay, I’ll give you my address.
MI (whispers): It’s not the right one.
NI (whispers): We’ll never get the answer now.
KOBAI (whispers): Quiet. I think he’s done.
SHIRO (to phone): 30 minutes isn’t too bad. (pause) Thank you, Cassandra. I owe you one. (pause) See you soon.
Shiro hangs up and heads back to his seat.
SHIRO (to the girls): Cassandra said she hasn’t had dinner yet. She and her husband are coming over here tonight.
Xena runs to her room.
SHIRO (to Xena): They won’t be here for another half hour.
SHIRO (CONT’D): Come on. We need to clean up before they get here.
Shiro gets and takes stuff off the table. Mayla, Ni, & Kobai clean the table off.
MI (getting up): I’ll get another chair.
Shiro places some dishes on the counter.
SHIRO: I’ll get Xena ready. You girls finish up here.
Shiro takes Xena to his room.
NI: Now what? How are we going to figure out who it was?
KOBAI (gritting her teeth): I’m thinking!
NI: Think faster.
Mi pulls a chair up to the end of the table.
MI: Here’s a thought: Have we ever had company besides Aunt Tamiya?
The idea had never crossed their minds.
Mayla panics and rushes for a mop. She frantically scrubs & cleans everything.
INT. TULSEN FLAT – NIGHT
DING DONG Someone is at the door. Shiro goes to open it.
Outside are Cassandra & DAVE, Cassandra’s husband who has a burn down his left arm.
SHIRO: Cassandra, Dave. That was quick.
CASSANDRA: You can thank Mr. Indy here.
DAVE: So you’re Shiro, huh? (shakes Shiro’s hand) Dave Ferguson. My friends call me “Piston.”
SHIRO: Nice to meet you, Dave. Cassandra has told me a lot about you.
Mayla, Kobai, Mi, & Ni come out from the back.
DAVE: The good stuff, I hope.
Cassandra spots the girls.
CASSANDRA: Well, look at them. They’ve grown so much.
NI: Have we met before?
Cassandra & Dave take a crock pot and other cooking utensils to the table.
CASSANDRA: It was a long time ago. Your father couldn’t get a babysitter in time and had to bring all four of you girls to work one time.
MAYLA: I remember. I was only five, though.
DAVE: Well, come on over. We may be the strangers here, but you don’t have to treat us like we are.
MAYLA: Sorry about that.
The girls head for the table.
Dave sits at the head of the table. Cassandra sits on Dave’s right side. Shiro sits on Dave’s left side. Mayla & Mi sit next to Shiro. Ni & Kobai sit next to Cassandra.
SHIRO: Where’s Xena?
The girls look confused.
CASSANDRA: The little one, I presume?
DAVE: I know how those little tikes are. Can’t keep up with them even in my heydays.
Ni sees something. She puts her arms on the table and rises in surprise. Kobai, Mi, & Mayla look as well.
Xena, with a shaven face & hands, stands in the hallway.
Shiro, Cassandra, & Dave look at Xena. Xena cowers next to the couch.
DAVE (chuckles): I suppose that’s the little tike right there. (calls to Xena) It’s okay there, little one. We won’t bite you.
Xena does not budge.
Cassandra gets up, grabs a cookie from the desserts, goes over and leans over Xena holding out the cookie.
Xena sees the cookie and then sees Cassandra. Cassandra looks at Xena with a calm, grandmother-like look on her face.
Xena reaches for the cookie. She takes the cookie and slowly comes out from behind the couch.
CASSANDRA: Come on. Everyone’s waiting.
Xena follows Cassandra to the table. Xena sits at the other end of the table.
MAYLA (whispers to Shiro): What did you do?
SHIRO (whispers): It’s only temporary.
MI (jumping for the food): Man, I’m starving.
SHIRO: Mi, manners.
DAVE: Ah, it’s okay. Our boys weren’t much better.
CASSANDRA: And whose fault was that?
MAYLA: May we eat now?
CASSANDRA: Help yourself.
Everyone grabs something to eat.
MAYLA: Thank you.
Mayla gets her plate together.
CASSANDRA: I see some of them have manners. I can’t tell which side gets it from you.
TIME LAPSE – Near the end of the meal. Everyone has almost cleaned their plates.
DAVE: So Shiro, what made you decide to become a beautician?
SHIRO: I’m more of a hair stylist. I grew up with two sisters.
DAVE: I guess that explains the girls.
Ni looks at Kobai, her face saying, “When are we going to ask?”
SHIRO: That was not my choice, although I am convinced that two of them could easily fool someone into thinking they are.
Kobai looks at Ni, her face saying, “Not now?”
MI: Hey, I’m not the one hiding guy’s gym shorts in my drawers.
DAVE: What’s your name?
DAVE: Well, Mi, I like your hair. It reminds me of my old racer.
DAVE: I used to be racecar driver, until my accident 15 years ago. (pull burnt arm over table) I got one last souvenir from it.
Mi likes Dave’s arm.
CASSANDRA: Hon put your arm down at the table.
SHIRO: I heard about that accident.
Ni puts an anxious expression towards Kobai.
SHIRO (O.S.): You raced in the Stockholm Grand Prix.
Kobai expression does not change from before.
DAVE (O.S.): Yep. I would have won it as well.
MI: What kind of car was it?
DAVE (to Shiro): Take it she doesn’t know anything about racing.
SHIRO: If she did, that would be one subject she could pass.
DAVE: I wasn’t meant for school either.
MAYLA: So what do you do?
DAVE: I’m an automechanic down on 5th street, though Cassie here does more work than me.
CASSANDRA: Especially since a chop shop opened nearby.
Ni gives Kobai a puppy-dog face.
Kobai expression does not even flinch.
Xena looks up at Cassandra.
CASSANDRA (CONT’D): Are you alright?
XENA (nervous): I think so. I’m not use to meeting new people.
CASSANDRA: I see.
Ni looks like she is about to explode.
CASSANDRA (O.S.): Shiro, I take back everything nice I said about you.
Ni holds back harder.
SHIRO (O.S.): What makes you say something like that?
Ni looks as I she is reaching her breaking point.
XENA (O.S.): Papa didn’t do anything wrong.
Ni teeters on erupting.
SHIRO (O.S.): I would like to know where you say I am a bad parent.
Ni can’t take it anymore. She jumps up from her seat.
NI: AH! I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! DAD WHO ARE YOU DATING!?
- Mayla: “Ni, what are you doing?”
- Mi: “Wait-a-go, nitwit.”
- Kobai: “You have put me in an awkward position”
- Xena: “What’s going on?”
Cassandra & Dave are shocked by the outburst. Shiro sees a misunderstanding somewhere.
SHIRO: Who said I was dating anyone?
Ni is dumbfounded.
XENA: Then, who was that lady with you earlier?
SHIRO: That was my coworker, Maki.
Cassandra tries to hold back her laughter but lets it come out as hysteria.
CASSANDRA (laughing): You- and Maki!
Cassandra cannot speak over her laughter. Mayla, Mi, Ni, & Kobai see that they have got something wrong.
CASSANDRA (coming down): That was too much. I haven’t laughed this hard since Dillan’s fifth grade talent show.
Cassandra sees that she has left the mood of the room.
SHIRO: What gave you girls that impression?
The girls feel shameful.
MAYLA: You just seemed different lately.
KOBAI: And we speculated that you were feeling… lonely.
NI: And we thought about getting you a girlfriend… to cheer you up.
MI (cheeky): I got out of Spanish because of that.
SHIRO (the eye): Come again?
NI: We didn’t know how adults got together, so we did some experimenting.
KOBAI: And, also the reason for the call on the answering machine.
Awkward silence. Cassandra & Dave are lost.
CASSANDRA (getting up): Well… it seems as if this is an important family matter…
Cassandra & Dave head for the door.
CASSANDRA (CONT’D): It was nice meeting you girls, but we know where we are not supposed to be…
Dave opens the door for Cassandra.
CASSANDRA (CONT’D): Shiro, you can return those to me at work sometime. I have plenty back home.
DAVE: It was nice meeting you all.
Dave & Cassandra leave. The table is at a stalemate.
POOF Xena’s face explodes into her regular furriness.
SHIRO: Now then, someone explain to me what is going on?
No one is willing to talk.
SHIRO: Okay. Then, what is this about a phone call?
Kobai sneakily tries to telepathically erase the call from the answering machine.
SHIRO: Kobai, I can see the phone moving.
Kobai stops using her telepathy.
MAYLA: We were just worried about you. Ever since Shell’s birthday… you seemed to be… not here. We thought you were lonely and that… maybe you wanted a girlfriend. We just wanted to help you.
Kobai, Mi, & Ni show some form of sympathy on their faces.
Shiro sees that a miscommunication has occurred.
In the hallway, Calif comes in & stops in the living room.
CALIF: Is it dinner time, already?
Shiro gets up from the table and heads for his room. Calif steps aside as Shiro enters the hallway.
The girls wait for Shiro to come back.
Moments later, Shiro comes back in carrying the basket. In the basket is the letter. He sits on the couch.
SHIRO: Girls, come here.
The girls go over to the couch. Mayla, Xena, & Calif sit close to Shiro. Mi & Ni sit on the floor. Kobai floats in the air.
SHIRO: Mayla, you remember the first night I found you?
Mayla wonders what is going on.
SHIRO: Do you remember anything just before then?
MAYLA: Dark. Then it started to fade… and there I was, in the middle of the city. I think it was evening. It was starting to rain.
SHIRO: And you had the basket with you.
The girls wonder what Shiro is leading into.
SHIRO (CONT’D): After you girls went to bed on with Shell, (pulls out the envelope) I found this in the weaving of the basket.
The room becomes deafly silent as all eyes transfix themselves onto the envelope.
KOBAI: Is that-
SHIRO (looks at smudged writing): I’m not sure what inside, but I think your parents knew something and put it in the basket with you girls. It’s been there all this time.
The girls are speechless. A letter… from their birth parents.
NI: What does it say?
SHIRO: I don’t know. I haven’t opened it. The envelope is dry rotted. It might not even be intact.
The room is silent. The girls are all over the place as to how to feel about this. Should they open it to see nothing, open it to see something… or leave it be to preserve a memory? Shiro sees that in them.
MAYLA: Open it.
Everyone looks at Mayla. Mayla wants to know what is inside. Shiro sees that Mayla yearns to know what is inside.
Shiro turns to envelope and slowly opens it. The girls are stare at what may come out.
The envelope opens.
Shiro slides the letter out. The paper looks as though it will fall apart any second.
Shiro has removed the letter from the envelope. The girls hold their breaths.
Shiro goes to open up the letter.
As he unfolds the letter it falls apart onto the ground.
Everyone stares at the dusty pieces of old paper on the floor.
Shiro feels disappointed in himself.
SHIRO: I’m sorry, girls. I should have found that sooner.
The room is silent. No one moves an inch.
Xena hugs Shiro on the arm.
XENA: You found us.
Shiro looks down at Xena.
XENA (CONT’D): You took us in even if you didn’t know what we were.
KOBAI: At best we might be living in the street right now. Though some of us do look like we do.
Mi knows that Kobai is referring to her.
MI: I wouldn’t give this up.
Ni just laughs it off.
Calif tackles Shiro and just smiles.
CALIF: I love you, Daddy.
MI (gets up): Okay, that’s too much for me.
Ni jumps up and tackles Mi down to the ground.
MI: What was that for!?
NI: Everyone else is doing it.
MI: Not on me!
Mi & Ni get into a sibling squabble.
Shiro’s gloom has lifted some.
MAYLAL I don’t care if I don’t remember them. I still have a dad right here.
Shiro smiles and takes in tonight.
ZOOM BACK On the couch, Calif hugs onto Shiro with Xena still on Shiro’s arm. Mayla smiles next to them. Kobai, still floating, watches Mi & Ni roll on the floor.
The basket’s handle looms overhead. The Tulsen family framed in the basket.
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