Lust for Life

Written by Jeff Mills

This story takes place after Jeff's last story, Truth or Consequences

(Fade in.  Opening scene has the Salingers in Charlie's truck driving home from
the hospital.  Charlie is driving, while Claudia sits in the passenger seat next
to him, and Bailey and Julia are in the backseat.  "I Won't Back Down" by Tom
Petty plays as background music as everyone stares in shock and silence.)

(The Salingers arrive home and they all go into the house being greeted by Joe,
who is babysitting Owen.)

Joe: Hey, you're back! How did everything go?
Charlie: Not good.
Joe: What's wrong?
Charlie: I, uh...heh, well, I'm HIV positive.

(Charlie's siblings look on as Joe hears the news.  Joe's face turns pale, and he
pauses before speaking.)

Joe: Oh, God! 

(Joe pauses for a moment before asking Charlie a question.)

Joe: Does this mean you have AIDS?
Charlie: No.  The doctor told me that the blood test they took didn't provide
enough accurate results to determine if I am permanently going to be HIV
positive.  So I gotta wait another six months before I can take another test. 
And if that test comes back positive, I'm going to be HIV positive for the rest
of my life.

(The whole family stares in horror at Charlie's statements.  Charlie's eyes are
starting to water as he is starting to cry.)

Charlie: I, uh, I gotta go if you'll excuse me...

(Charlie walks upstairs and goes into his room.  He shuts the door, turns around
and starts crying.)

(Fade to opening credits then commercials.)

(Fade in.  Bailey, Claudia, Julia and Joe are downstairs in the kitchen
discussing Charlie's illness.)

Joe: Owen's asleep.  I just put him to bed, and I told him before he went to
sleep about Charlie.
Bailey: How did he take it?
Joe: Pretty well.  I told him that Charlie is sick, but that if he takes care of
himself and we all be strong, then he'll get better.
Bailey: Thanks, Joe.  Really, thanks for helping out here with Owen and
Joe: It's no problem, Bailey.  I'm glad I could help.  And if you all need me to
do something, just let me know and I'll be here.
Julia: Thanks.
Joe: Well, I better be on my way home before the missus starts to go crazy.  You
all take care now, ok?
Bailey: Okay, Joe.
Joe: If you need anything, call now.
Claudia: We will.
Joe: And tell Charlie that I'll find someone to replace him temporarily at work
so he can go on sick leave.  And that I'm praying for him.  
Bailey: We will, Joe.  Thanks again.
Joe: Bye, guys! Goodnight!

(Bailey, Claudia and Julia each say "Goodnight!" to Joe as he leaves the house.)

(Bailey and Julia are in the kitchen washing dishes as they continue to discuss
Charlie's illness.)

Julia: What are we gonna do, Bai?  I mean, how can we help him?
Bailey: I don't know, Jule.  I think all we can do is let him know we're there
for him.  There's not much we can do.
Julia: I know, but I feel so helpless.  
Bailey: I know, me too.  But if we feel helpless, can you imagine what he feels
like?  I mean, if I found out I was HIV positive, I'd be a total wreck.  I'd be
so scared.  
Julia: I'm scared now.  
Bailey: So am I.  It makes you think, Jule, you know?
Julia: Think about what?
Bailey: It makes you think, "I wonder if that can happen to me." I mean, I've
never been promiscuous, but I've had sex with a few girls and it makes me wonder
if I could someday have HIV.
Julia: Bailey, don't think like that! 
Bailey: Well, don't you wonder?
Julia: Actually...yeah, considering the many relationships I have had.  And
considering my stupidity.
Bailey: You're not stupid, Julia.
Julia: I am.  I lied to Griffin and I cheated on him...and, and our marriage is
probably over, Bai.  It's all my fault!
Bailey: So, you two can work it out.  Griffin loves you, Jule.  And it's easy for
me to say this, but when you love someone enough, you will put up with a little
more than you would with someone you didn't love so much.
Julia: Well, Bailey, that IS easy for you to say because if I remember correctly,
Sarah broke up with you because you cheated on her with Callie.
Bailey: You're right.  I'm sorry, Jule, bad analogy.  All I'm trying to say is
that you two should at least talk, and try to work this thing out.  
Julia: Okay.
Bailey: One more thing, Jule.  Don't turn to alcohol like I did, okay?
Julia: (smiles) I won't.
Bailey: (smiles) Good.  Hand me that dish, will ya?

(Claudia is in her bedroom lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling when the
phone rings.)

Claudia: Hello?
Reed: Hi, Salinger.  Can I talk to you?

(Claudia gets up, startled by Reed's voice on the other end of the phone.)

Claudia: Reed, hi! Uh, why are you calling me?
Reed: I called to say I'm sorry...about today, about everything.  
Claudia: Okay....
Reed: Claudia, I don't want us to fight.  I don't want you to never talk to me
again or go out with me again.  
Claudia: Do you mean that?  Or are you just saying that, and you'll be ashamed of
me again?
Reed: I'm not ashamed of you, Claudia.  I'm honored to be your boyfriend.
Claudia: Ex-boyfriend.
Reed: Ex-boyfriend?  You mean you are dumping me for good?
Claudia: Maybe.
Reed: Maybe?  God, Claudia, I'm so sorry! I promise to never hurt you again! I
swear! Please give me on more chance!
Claudia: (thinks for a moment) Okay.
Reed: Okay?
Claudia: Yeah, but mess up once, and you're history.  
Reed: Thank you, Claudia, I love you.
Claudia: I love you, too, Reed.  And right now, I really need you, too.
Reed: What's wrong?  
Claudia: It's Charlie.
Reed: What's wrong with him?

(Claudia sighs and closes her eyes, then opens them.)

(Cut to Bailey walking into his and Sarah's apartment.)

Sarah: Hola!
Bailey: Hi, Sarah.
Sarah: What's wrong?  You seem sad or something.
Bailey: I am...kinda.
Sarah: What's wrong?  Did you and Charlie have a fight?
Bailey: What?  No, why?
Sarah: Well, I noticed Julia dropping you off instead of Charlie, and I just
thought maybe you two had an argument or something.
Bailey: (pauses) No, me and Charlie didn't have a fight or an argument.  
Sarah: So, what's wrong?

(Bailey sits down in a chair, and pauses.)

Sarah: Bailey! What's wrong?
Bailey: (pauses) Charlie's sick...really sick.
Sarah: Oh my God! What's wrong with him?
Bailey: (pauses) He's...he's HIV positive.

(Sarah stares in shock at Bailey's words.)

Sarah: God, that's awful! How serious is it?
Bailey: He's HIV positive, but the blood test he took didn't show enough accurate
test results to tell if he's always going to be like this.  So he has to go back
in six months to find out whether or not he's positive or not.  So, it's a
waiting game for right now.
Sarah: Bailey, I'm so sorry.

(Sarah walks over to Bailey and hugs him)

Bailey: I'm scared, Sarah.  I'm really scared, but I'm glad you're here.
Sarah: I'm glad you're here, too.

(Bailey and Sarah stare at each other and smile.  Suddenly, they start kissing. 
Fade out into commercial.)

(Fade in.  Claudia visits Griffin at the motorcycle shop.  It is the next day,
Friday, and it is three o'clock in the afternoon.)

Claudia: Hi, Griffin!
Griffin: Oh, hi, Claudia! What are you doing here?
Claudia: Can we talk for a minute?
Griffin: (wiping his hands with a towel) Okay.

(Griffin walks with Claudia over to a secluded area.)

Griffin: What's up?
Claudia: First, let me ask you something.
Griffin: Okay, shoot.
Claudia: Do you love Julia?
Griffin: (pauses) Yeah, of course I do.  Why?
Claudia: Then why don't you tell her that.  
Griffin: Did Julia send you over here, Claudia?  Look, it's between me and Julia.
Claudia: Well, she thinks you hate her, and she feels terrible for what happened.
 It was a one time thing, Griffin, and she's sorry about it.  Can't you forgive
Griffin: (pauses) I don't know.  I've got enough problems to deal with right now.
Claudia: Don't we all! 
Griffin: Why?  Is there something else you need to tell me?
Claudia: Yeah.  Charlie's sick.
Griffin: I know.  He's been sick for like the last week or so.  So?
Claudia: Griffin...Charlie's HIV positive.
Griffin: (pauses) HIV positive?
Claudia: Yeah, and right now we don't need any conflict in our family.  Charlie
needs our help, not our problems.  
Griffin: Wow.  So, like, is he gonna die?
Claudia: I don't know.  

(Cut to Bailey and Sarah in their apartment)

Bailey: I don't know, Sarah.  I wanted to make love to you last night, but the
reason why I didn't is because of Charlie.  I don't want to have unprotected sex,
Sarah: Yeah...I understand.  So, it wasn't me then, right?
Bailey: Of course not.  (kisses Sarah) Angelface, there ain't nothing wrong with
Sarah: (smiles) Thanks.  So, you ready to go visit Charlie?
Bailey: Yeah, just a minute.  (drinking a Dr. Pepper) Aaah.  Finished.
Sarah: Okay, let's go.

(Bailey and Sarah knock on the Salingers' door to their house, and Charlie
answers.  Bailey and Sarah are surprised to see him dressed and so healthy
looking, as opposed to recently.)

Charlie: Bai! Sarah! Hi! 
Bailey: Hi, Charlie!
Sarah: Yeah, hi, Charlie!
Charlie: Come on in!

(Bailey and Sarah walk in and both hug Charlie.)

Charlie: I guess you told her the news, huh, Bai?
Bailey: Yeah...I hope you're not mad, Charlie.
Charlie: No.  No, I'm glad you told Sarah.  
Sarah: Charlie, I just want you to know that I'm here for you.
Charlie: (smiles) Thanks, Sarah.  That means a lot to me.
Sarah: (smiles) Uh, excuse me, I've got to go to the bathroom.
Bailey: Sure.

(Sarah walks away and goes to the bathroom.  Bailey and Charlie are still
talking.  Bailey notices a piece of paper and pen over by the coffee table in the
living room where Charlie was.)

Charlie: Don't mind me, I was just working on this thing.
Bailey: What thing?  What were you doing, Charlie?
Charlie: Last will and testament.  Might as well start thinking about it now,
Bailey: Charlie...damnit, Charlie, I don't believe you.  
Charlie: What?
Bailey: Don't you want to fight this thing?  I mean, we are willing to fight for
you, but are you willing to fight for you?
Charlie: Bai, calm down, ok?
Bailey: Calm down?
Charlie: This is NOT your life, Bai.  This is mine, ok?  This is my life, and I'm
not giving up.  But I have to be realistic about this.  

(Sarah walks back and Bailey and Charlie look at her.)

Sarah: What's going on?  I heard yelling while I was in the bathroom.
Charlie: Sarah, just stay out of it, ok?
Bailey: Don't you tell her to stay out of it!
Sarah: Bailey...
Bailey: No, do you know what he's going to do?  He's going to just give up and
make out a will.
Sarah: What?
Charlie: I'm just taking precautions and being realistic about this, that's all. 
Now, will you just leave me alone?  God!

(Charlie walks off in a huff as Bailey and Sarah stare at each other.)

(Julia knocks on the door to her and Griffin's apartment, but no one answers. 
Suddenly, a voice calls her.)

Griffin: Nobody's home if you wanted to know.

(Julia is startled by Griffin's voice, and turns around to see him.  Griffin is
wearing his famous jacket, and sitting on his motorcycle.)

Julia: Griffin!
Griffin: Claudia told me about Charlie.  I'm sorry, Jule.  I'm really sorry.
Julia: Thanks.
Griffin: She also told me about how badly you felt, and how being with Justin was
a mistake.  It made me realize how much you need me, and how much I need you.
Julia: So, what are you saying?  Do you forgive me?
Griffin: Yeah...I do forgive you.  But I won't forget this...for as long as I
live.  And if you ever cheat with anyone again, I'll drop you like a bad habit.
Julia: I love you, too, Griffin.

(Griffin smiles and hugs Julia.  Fade out.  Fade into commercial.)

(Fade in.  Bailey is sitting on the porch and Sarah is watching him.  She walks
over to him.)

Sarah: You okay?
Bailey: (shaking his head) I can't believe he was doing that.  I can't believe he
wants to give up like that.
Sarah: Maybe he's just taking precautions, just in case?
Bailey: Yeah, well, why is he doing it so soon?  I mean, he's only been diagnosed
with this for like a week.
Sarah: I guess he just wants to plan ahead.  

(Charlie suddenly walks in on the scene.  Sarah and Bailey are both startled to
see him.)

Sarah: Charlie!
Charlie: Can I have a word with my brother for a minute?
Sarah: Uh, sure, sure.  I'll just go inside, and let you two talk.  

(Sarah walks off.)

Charlie: Is this seat taken?
Bailey: No, go ahead.

(Charlie sits down next to Bailey.)

Charlie: Bailey, I'm really sorry about yelling at you earlier.  
Bailey: No, it was my fault.  I shouldn't have...
Charlie: No.  It was MY fault.  I'm just...heh...I'm scared, Bai.
Bailey: I know, Charlie, but we're all scared, too.
Charlie: I'm gonna need you guys to help me.  It's gonna be hard on everyone, I
know, especially Owen.  
Bailey: I know, Charlie, but you're gonna have to help yourself, too, you know?
Charlie: (nodding his head) I will.  
Bailey: Well, Charlie, I'm gonna go inside because me and Sarah are going to go
to a movie later.  You coming inside?
Charlie: In a minute.  So, are you two like back together now?
Bailey: Yeah.  (smiles)
Charlie: That's great, Bai.  I'm really happy for you.  (smiles)
Bailey: Me, too.  

(Charlie gets up and walks over towards Bailey, placing an arm over his

Charlie: Just keep in mind one thing, okay?  You got something very special
there.  Don't blow it.
Bailey: I won't.  
Charlie: Don't make the same mistakes I did, Bailey.  I don't want you to turn
out like me.
Bailey: I don't see what is so bad about you, Charlie.  

(Charlie and Bailey smile, and give each other a brotherly hug.)

(Jump cut to six months later.  It is now May, 1998, and today is the day that
Charlie goes to take his second blood test.  It is ten o'clock in the morning on
a Saturday.  Everyone in the Salinger house is getting ready to leave to the

Claudia: Owen, you ready?
Owen: I'm watching "Rugrats", Claudia.
Claudia: No, Owen, we gotta go to the hospital now.  We gotta take Charlie there,
Owen: Okay....

(Owen shuts off the tv and walks over to Claudia.  Bailey comes into the room.)

Bailey: You guys ready?
Claudia: Yeah.  
Bailey: Good.  I really wish Sarah could have come.
Claudia: Well, Bailey, she DOES have finals, and today just happens to be the
last day she has to take them.  She couldn't really get out of it.
Bailey: I know, but I still wish she were here.

(Julia comes into the room looking very upset.)

Julia: I can't believe this! Griffin had to be called into work because two
people quit today at the bicycle shop.  
Bailey: Oh man, Jule! Isn't there any way he can make it?
Julia: No.  He told me he feels terrible that he can't be here, but I told him
I'd tell him the news, good or bad.

(Charlie enters the room, and is just about finished putting on his tie.)

Charlie: Bet on good.  
Julia: Charlie, I am so sorry that Griffin couldn't make it.
Bailey: Yeah, and I'm sorry Sarah can't either, but you know they both would be
here if they could.
Charlie: Guys, I know.  I know, and it's fine.  So, are we all ready to go?
Bailey: I think so.
Charlie: Okay.  As Gary Gilmore once said, "Let's do it!"
Julia: Wasn't that Tone Loc who said that?
Claudia: Who's Gary Gilmore?
Charlie: (smiles) Never mind, guys! Let's just get in the car!

(Everyone gets ready to leave, but Bailey and Charlie are the only two still in
the house.  Charlie is looking in the mirror, and Bailey is standing right
besides him, looking in the mirror as well.)

Bailey: I'm really glad to see you so upbeat about this, Charlie.
Charlie: Yeah, well, it's been rough, Bai, but I really believe I am going to be
okay.  I've been fighting this thing for six months, and I think I have beat
this.  I've only lost a few pounds, I haven't felt sick in months, and I feel
Bailey: Great.  So, you ready to go?
Charlie: Yeah.  (sighs) 
Bailey: Well, as Wang Chung once said, "Let's go, baby!"

(Bailey and Charlie laugh as they walk outside the house)

(Everyone is in the car as Julia is driving, Charlie is in the passenger seat,
and Claudia, Owen, and Bailey are in the back.  "Free Fallin'" is playing as
background music as Charlie looks out the window, thinking about his and his
family's future.)

(Cut to the hospital waiting room.  Bailey, Claudia, Julia and Owen are sitting,
waiting to hear from Charlie and his doctor.)

Bailey: I wonder what is taking so long.
Claudia: Bailey, it's only been fifteen minutes.  
Bailey: The longest fifteen minutes of my life!
Claudia: Here, read a "Highlights"!
Bailey: (grimaces) No, thanks!
Owen: I like "Highlights"!
Claudia: Here ya go, Owe!

(Claudia gives Owen a "Highlights" magazine)

Julia: I'm so scared.  I prayed to God like a million times last night that
everything would be alright.
Bailey: Well, if there really is a God, we'll find out today.  

(Cut to the doctor's office.  Charlie is sitting in a chair, anxiously awaiting
Dr. Roberts's arrival.  The doctor soon arrives, though, moments later.)

Dr. Roberts: Well, Charlie, we got the test results.  
Charlie: Are they accurate results?
Dr. Roberts: (nodding his head) Pretty accurate, yes.  You want to bring your
family in here or would you rather hear the news yourself?
Charlie: Just tell me, Doc.  I'm ready to deal with the consequences.  
Dr. Roberts: Well, Charlie, I'm afraid your family will be disappointed.
Charlie: Disappointed?
Dr. Roberts: Yeah, disappointed that they're not in here to hear that you are
totally free of HIV.
Charlie: Excuse me?
Dr. Roberts: (smiles) I can count on one hand the number of people who have
miraculously recovered from this illness.  Yet, it CAN happen, and today, it HAS.
Charlie: I'm going to live?  I'm not HIV positive?
Dr. Roberts: (smiles) Yes.
Charlie: (smiles and begins to cry tears of joy) Oh God! Thank you, doc! 

(Charlie shakes hands with Dr. Roberts and the two then hug.)

(Cut to the Salingers in the waiting room as they see Charlie walking towards
them.  He has tears in his eyes, but is smiling.)

All: Well?
Charlie: (smiles) I'm no longer HIV positive.

(Everyone starts cheering and hugging Charlie as tears of joy flow down from
their cheeks.)

Charlie: Thank you, guys, for being there for me.  You are the best brothers and
sisters a guy could have.
All: Awww, Charlie.  
Charlie: Hey, this calls for a celebration.  

(Cut to Salingers' restauraunt.  Bailey, Julia, Claudia, Charlie and Owen are
waiting for a table.  Joe comes over and greets them with a smile.)

Joe: Salingers, party of five?
Claudia: That's us!
Charlie: (smiles) Party of five...that has a nice ring to it.

(Everyone sits down at a table and begins to order their dinner.  "Great Day" by
Paul McCartney plays as background music as everyone orders their meal.  All eyes
are on Charlie as he has a huge smile on his face.)

Bailey: Charlie, it doesn't get any better than this!

(Everyone laughs.)

Charlie: Well, guys, I'd like to propose a toast.  To the greatest brothers and
sisters a guy could have.  Cheers!
All: Cheers!

(Charlie's voice is heard talking to the audience as the camera pans to shots of
each Salinger individually.)

Charlie: "Dear God, thank you for listening to our prayers.  Over the last six
months, I have learned that I am truly blessed.  I have the best brothers and
sisters anyone could have.  And even though we've been through the best and worst
of times, we always remain close.  And today, closer to free.  Amen."

("Closer To Free" by The Bodeans plays as background music over closing credits. 
Fade out.)