Saturday, May 15, 2004

Soapy Spader Series

If DEK goes to the soapy side (please do not let this happen), there could be a great case with Hannah and Alan and Tara in court on the SUV case. The man suing is the sole survivor of the wreck that killed his wife and two children. He is the one who wanted to buy an SUV and his wife had wanted a minivan. He is wracked with guilt, and filled with bitterness and pain. When Hannah succeeds in getting the case thrown out on a technicality, he loses it, and pulls out a gun. He starts shooting at the attorneys, the judge, and finally kills himself. Alan throws Tara to the floor, as Hannah is shot in the chest. When the smoke clears, Alan rises to check on Hannah, but she is dead. He goes to help Tara up, but she was hit under her arm (on her side) and on her white uniform blouse, a growing stain of blood shows. Shore takes off his jacket and puts it under her head, and is trying to stop the bleeding. He is talking to her the whole time, telling her that if she thinks for one minute that he is letting her off the hook this easily she can just forget it. She just smiles and him and loses consciousness.

At the hospital, Alan is driving the nurses nuts pestering them for information on Tara, who is in surgery. Crane arrives and demands to know her status and condition. There is a funny bit with the smart-ass nurse saying stuff about well, who are you? Of course, Crane replies, “Why, I’m Denny Crane” and her saying who cares and stuff about only giving information to family like Alan, who had identified himself as Tara’s uncle (from the more disturbing side of the family, remember?). Crane then looks at Shore and says that if Shore is her uncle, then that makes Crane her grandfather. The nurse looks at them both like she doesn’t buy Crane’s story. Crane turns to Alan and says “Right?”, and Alan says “Right, Dad”. After all of this, the nurse then tells them that she can’t tell them anything, because Tara is still in surgery.

The doctor comes down the hall, and tells them that Tara came through the surgery, but is very weak and the next 48 hours would tell the tale. Alan waits beside her, talking to her about all kinds of stuff, flashes of things about his life and all of the stuff she had ever asked him about, stories of when he was a kid playing doctor, stuff about Jimmy’s new practice and Jamie and Ellenor and each flash has a nurse coming in, new flowers in the room, and he gets more and more exhausted looking. Sally comes in and tells him he should go home and get some sleep and a shower. He yells at her to get out, totally out of control. Sally just nods and leaves.

Sally comes back with fresh clothes for him and his shaving kit, etc… in a bag. She also has coffee and a sandwich. She wordlessly sets it down and calls the nurse. The nurse comes in and Sally, very authoritative and business like, asks the nurse where a shower is for Alan to use. She hands him his bag and clothes and tells him to go shower and change and that she will stay with Tara. If she wakes up, Sally tells him, I will come in and drag your naked butt out of the shower. Alan goes off. Sally, while he is gone, takes out the plain chair that was there and sweet talks an orderly into bringing a comfortable recliner from a room down the hall. When Alan comes out, the room is cleaned up, his lunch is set up for him and the recliner has a pillow and blanket laid neatly on them. Alan is touched by Sally’s care. She tells him that she has rescheduled his appointments and that all he needs to do is be there for Tara. Alan worries that Tara will not recover.

Tara lingers in a coma, hovering between life and death. Alan grows more and more manic in his worry. He is talking to her, almost constantly, telling her that he will not shut up until she wakes up. He never touches her, just talks to her and watches her. Other people come in to see her, and Alan retreats to the recliner, silently sitting there while other people visit. Crane, Sally, Matthew, Jimmy, Jamie, even Eugene come to see Tara. Each one talks to Alan, typical visitor stuff, how are you, can I get you anything. Everyone except two. Sally simply comes in, brings Alan clean clothes, takes out others, brings food, wordlessly and efficiently. As she is leaving, one time, Alan says thank you, still watching Tara's face. Sally smiles and nods, leaves. Eugene walks in, silent, when Alan is talking to her. He clears his throat, and Alan turns to face him. Eugene directly says to Alan, how is she, really? Alan says that she just is not waking up. Why won't she wake up? At that moment, Alan is so raw. Eugene puts his hand on Alan's shoulder, just for a moment, and Alan looks at him. Nothing is said. As Eugene leaves, he says, if she needs anything, let me know. Alan just nods.
In the dark, still room, with a small light in the corner, Alan finally moves to Tara's side. Carefully, he takes her hand in his, and wordlessly he strokes her face. He starts to talk to her, softly, telling her he is sorry that he has been so much trouble for her. He tells her how much he admires her and respects her for warning him and standing up for him, how he is not worthy of that care. He tells her to wake up, not to leave him, that he needs her there to keep him in line. Can you imagine how bad I would be if I didn't have you there to analyze and scold me? Tara, wake up, he says, changing his tone. Do you know how many billable hours I am missing sitting here watching you sleep? And, he adds, you snore. Really, Tara, he says, the unattractive things you discover about people when they are comotose. He keeps rattling on and finally, her hand tightens around his. He is so busy talking that he does not see her eyes flutter and open. She looks at him, and watches him until he notices that she is awake. They stare at each other for a few seconds until she says, slowly, "Alan?". Yes, he replies. "Give it a rest" she says, "Can't you see I am trying to sleep?". And she smiles at him and he smiles back at her, relieved. His lower lip quivers and his eyes mist over almost imperceptibly as he gazes at her attentively, stroking her hair softly. his tender caresses lull her back toward sleep, and as she looks at him her eyes open and close slowly. Alan leans over, his lips just brushing her brow, and he says in a hushed voice: "It's all right now, Tara. Go back to sleep. I'm here. "

During her remaining time in the hospital, Alan is at Tara's side, encouraging her to eat and rest. Finally, one Saturday morning, she is released to go home. Alan arrives as Tara is arguing with the nurse that she does not want or need a wheelchair to leave in. Alan smiles at the nurse, pushes past and picks Tara up and plops her unceremoniously into the chair. When she protests, he says, look, do you want to go home or what?

At her house, the kitchen is stocked with tea and food for her, everything is fresh and flowers everywhere. Tara is touched, but Alan admits he did not do this, that Sally took care of everything, even paying Tara's rent and bills. Alan orders Tara to rest all weekend and to take some time off. Before he leaves, he kisses her forehead and brushes her hair out of her eyes.

Monday morning, Tara arrives back at the office, and everyone is so happy to see her. Crane himself brings her flowers and makes a fuss over her. When Alan walks in, she smiles at him softly and he nods, walking past her into his office. He is polite all day, but impersonal and distant. At the end of the busy day, a beautiful woman comes in, and Tara asks her if she can help her. The woman says that she is there to pick up Alan Shore. As Tara looks on in hurt bewilderment, Alan comes out and kisses the woman, telling her that she looks ravishing. He slips his arm around her and smiles at Tara. "I am leaving for the evening, Tara, good night". Tara watches him leave with his arm around the woman, talking and laughing with her. She has a stricken look on her face, and her lower lip trembles slightly. Unseen to Tara, Sally observes the entire exchange with a thoughtful look on her face.

Once out of the office building, Alan hails a cab. Pulling out his moneyclip, he pulls some bills from the carefully folded ones. A few he hands to his companion, some to the driver. Take the lady wherever she needs to go. The woman looks quizzically at Shore, are you sure, you paid for the entire evening. Trust me, Alan says, you have done what I needed you to do. Take the rest of the night off. As the cab drives away, Alan turns and walks away, into the dark of night, alone.

Come the next morning, Alan carries on with business as usual. Tara goes to see Denny Crane, in his office. Crane is fond of Tara, thinks that she is a good soldier. Tara asks Crane to reassign her to a different lawyer, pending her passing of the bar. Crane scrunches his forehead thoughtfully. Is there a problem? I thought that you and Alan were close. Tara said that the recent events and their past history was distracting to them both, that she felt she would be more comfortable in a less...intimate...setting. Crane nods, not really understanding the problem but knowing that he did not really need to. Consider it done, Crane assures her.

In the staff meeting that morning, Crane concludes the daily business with a statement that some staff changes are being made. His own paralegal was moving to work for Matthew, as Billings' assistant was going out on maternity leave. Tara Wilson, Crane announces, is now going to serve as my personal assistant pending her passage of the bar exam. Sally, visibly surprised, refrains from saying anything. Shore says that he thinks that it is hardly fair to Tara to move her around so soon after her return, and who would be his assistant? Crane solemnly states that Shore will have a temp for a while, and that the transfer was at Tara's request. Alan is furious, but silent, his eyes unreadable.


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