* Shawn grabs every bit of clothing that he can find. Shawn rushes out the door leaving Valarie behind inside of her crib. Shawn rushes down his drive way and around the corner to see a large truck stopped in the middle of the road. He can hear sirens but can't see them. He starts jogging down the road as a large crowd begins to gather around leaving nothing for Shawn to see which makes him quicken his pace. He begins to run down the street fearing the worst has happened. Police cars begin to arrive as officers start to take control of the massive crowd as an ambulance arrives. Shawn can see glimpse's through gaps of people revealing the EMT's carrying equipment as they rush away from the truck. Shawn begins to see a car... *
* Hannah's car completely crushed in on the drivers side. Shawn begins to sprint as fast as he can towards the crash. He just runs right into people who give random: HEY! remarks to him as be pushes past them. He stops instantly as the sun shines down right into his eyes. He cups his hand over his eyes to shadow them from the sun and moves closer see's some blonde hair on the cement as a body is surrounded by EMT's giving her oxygen. Shawn is then stopped by a police officer pushing his hand against his chest. *
Cop You can't come any closer sir.
* Shawn is almost in shock as he tries to muster a complete sentence. *
Shawn The, that, she...that's my...that's Hannah!
* The cop looks over his shoulder signaling another officer to come over before looking back at Shawn. *
Cop I'm sorry sir but you can't come any closer.
Shawn Wha-what happened? Is she-is she alright?!
Cop Sir you need to calm down-
* Shawn tries to push past him only for the other Cop to grab his arm as they hold him into place dropping him down to his knee's. *
* People in the crowd look at Shawn as he screams for his ex-wife. Many of them covering their mouths in shock and looks of sympathy. Shawn tries to fight his way free as he looks right at the EMT's and watches as one shakes his head before witnessing them both stop doing anything. Shawn instantly stops fighting. The cops drop his arms they fall to his side and he looks on in what seems like slow motion. He see's the stretcher being brought over. He see's the officers who restrained him, he see's their lips moving but hears nothing. He grabs a handful of his hair with both hands in complete shock. They load her up onto the stretcher where Shawn gets a glimpse of her face with blood covering the side of her face. Shawn starts to lose it. Tears begin to fall as he slams his fist into the concrete before trying to bury his head into it. Shawn's thoughts caving in on his psyche at this point. *
It was me! I fucking caused this! If that routine of arguing to see who could get under the others skin more didn't happen! If it never began! Damn it, why did we have to be so stubborn?! No....this can't be happening!
* Shawn gets up and tries to rush towards the stretcher as the officer's restrain him again. *
Shawn Damn it I need to see her! That's my wife!
* The officer's look at each other before nodding in agreement letting Shawn go as he runs towards the ambulance as the EMT's begin to load her in. Shawn looks at her just motionless laying on that stretcher. He holds her hand while some tears begin to fall. *
Shawn This wasn't how this was supposed to end. Damn it Hannah, come back! I need you! How can you do this to me?
* The EMT's back Shawn away as they place give him a nod before loading Hannah into the back of the ambulance. One of the EMT's gives Shawn a card telling which hospital she will be taken to. Shawn doesn't say a word he simply watches as the ambulance drives away sirens blazing. One of the officers who held him back before places his hand on the shoulder of Shawn offering him a ride to the hospital. The officer takes the subdued Shawn to the hospital where he simply sits in the waiting room with a bewildered look upon his face. Not long after her see's Hannah's family arrive looking distraught. It's everyone, her parents, brother, sister. They spot Shawn sitting alone. He slowly stands up. Hannah's mother looks Shawn in the eyes with distress. *
Bonnie We got here as soon as you called!
I...shit, I don't even remember calling them.
* Right then Hannah's father jumps in. *
Alec Shawn please, tell us. Is she alright?
* Shawn stands there as if he's frozen in time. He's so scared, so frozen that he doesn't know if it's seconds going by or hours. He looks into the families eyes knowing that they fear the worst knowing that they're asking him for the answers. He opens his mouth unable to speak. A tear rolls down his cheek as all he can muster is lowering his head and shaking it back and forth. They entire family instantly begins to cry and they group together in a giant hug. Shawn is left standing alone looking on at the families sadness. The feeling of guilt just boiling up in him. *
It's my fault. Damn it, it's my fault. Hannah died because of me and this family is grieving because of me. If it wasn't for me Hannah would still be alive. I can't help but feel responsible for this. This family, who never did anything to me. They're destroyed because of me. Yet they stand there crying un the wiser that it's me who is to blame. Not some idiot driving a truck. I've never felt guilty about anything in my entire life and yet here I stand, alone looking on at what a family should be like. That, that right there is a real family. Something that I have never had and often wished I did. They at one point accepted me as one of their own and this is how I repay them?
* Shawn stands back simply watching as Hannah's family grieves. He doesn't know what to do in this type of situation. Fact is he feels too guilty to do anything. Fact is when situations like this happen it's only a matter of time before you start focusing back on yourself. It's human nature. *
Should I tell them? Should I tell them that it's all my fault that Hannah's dead? No, I can't. What would I have to gain from this? Relieve this guilt? No. I can't put this family through anything more.
* Hannah's family continue's to cry as Shawn continues to watch. *
If there actually is a God up there he's laughing his ass off right now just giving me a giant middle finger for everything that I've done wrong. He's given me Marissa whose a victim of my past, however it wasn't me who is her villain. She has simply been screwed over in the same way I have screwed people over. Now? Now he takes Hannah away from me and leaves me alone with Valarie? How is that fair? To take her life to punish me? Why me? Why?!
* Shawn finds himself questioning what's happening only to come to a realization. *
This is it. This is the beginning. Hannah's family all circled around each other crying for the loss of a daughter, a sister. Here I stand alone. I'm alone. I'm....alone.
* Shawn drops down back into his seated position as he's coming to this realization. His worst fear coming to life right before his eyes. He had Hannah...he had her to help raise Valarie. He's alone to raise her. *
I can't tell them what I did. I can't...if I do they might threaten a lawsuit to have Valarie taken away from me. I can't let that happen. Valarie is the solution to my fear of being alone. You can't take her away from me.....OH SHIT! VALARIE!!!
* Shawn panics as he realizes that all this time he's left Valarie alone back at the house with nobody around. Hell, he left her by the front door with it wide open. It's been hours who knows what has happened! *
Oh my god I have to get home!
* Shawn gets up and simply leaves the hospital without the family noticing. His grief and guilt has been replaced with straight panic. Panic about his daughter Valarie. Shawn manages to catch a taxi giving him a ride back home. He arrives back home giving the taxi driver some money before rushing up his drive way see'ing that the door was indeed left open in the panic of Hannah's car accident. He walks in and see's Valarie crying in the crib set up by the door. He looks and see's Shadow resting right on the floor before barking at him. *
Shawn Don't judge me!
* Shadow barks again before Shawn shuts the door and lifts Valarie up from the crib before smelling her. Luckily she didn't need to be changed. Shawn carries her to the kitchen where he grabs a baby bottle of Hannah's breast milk. He begins to boil a pan of boiling water warming the bottle up inside of it. Shawn begins to bop Valarie up and down trying to calm her down before the breast milk gets warm. *
Shawn Shhhh....it's alright. It's you and me Val...just you and me. We're going to need to take care of each other ok?
* The bottle by now has gotten warm enough as Shawn sits down in his recliner in the living room holding Valarie in his arms feeding her the breast milk. *
Shawn Just you and me...shit. I am seriously in this alone.
My God, how selfish can you seriously be?!
* Shawn is quiet as his brain asks such a question. A question that he can't even answer. He simply sits in silence. It's a thought that has been creeping up into his brain ever since Hannah's death lead him to ask himself 'why me?' For all the time that he loved Hannah you would think that he would feel more right now. Fact is he's not even sure that he was upset that she was dead or upset with the fact that he may have been the cause of it. Fact is it might of all just been the fear of being alone. Shawn see's that Valarie has fallen back asleep. Shawn places the bottle down on the table before placing her back into her crib where she further sleeps. Shawn leans over the crib looking at his daughter. *
Shawn I...I just want to apologize ahead of time. I seriously hope things change before you actually start remembering things. I really hope you don't remember your mother dying or how selfish your father was in it's events.
* Shawn lets out a deep sigh. *
Shawn Right now I should be telling you how sad I am that you won't grow up to know your own mother. I should be telling you that. Instead I'm telling you my own story. Valarie I'm so sorry. You deserve a normal childhood. One in which that I never had. I can't promise you perfect with what has happened today but I will promise you one better than I had. Because I do love you. I will keep you next to me as long as I can.
Until the day she leaves and you're truly left alone. Well...maybe by then you might actually have your life figured out.
* Shawn takes a seat on his couch. He runs his hands through his hair as he simply reflects on everything that has happened today. Fact is, in one day so many things can change. So many things can happen. It was just days ago that he was thankful for having Hannah. Now? Days later? She's gone. A blessing one day is a torment the next. Shawn looks over at the clock as it says 4:45 PM. He sighs before looking at his phone. His cycle. A cycle in which has been repeated for so long. Fact is, his life today is in no cycle. It's in no routine. In times of stress he uses sex or drugs to help him through difficult times. He looks at Valarie in her crib sleeping. *
Shawn I can't lose her....
* Shawn then looks at his phone and calls Marissa. *
I can't turn to drugs. I need Valarie. She is my solution. Marissa....I need you. All of you.
* Shawn rests his head back taking a semi-nap that he didn't even know he took. Fact is it seemed that within seconds that his door was being knocked on. With everything that has happened today a nap seemed perfect. Shawn gets up and looks at the clock as it reads 5:35. He moves towards the door and opens it as Marissa stands in the doorway. Shawn stands without expression as he's not sure how to react in this form of situation. *
Marissa Shawn....I got here as soon as I could.
* Marissa takes a peak at Valarie to make sure that she's alright. *
Marissa What's wrong?
* Shawn lets Marissa inside. He motions her towards the couch where she sits before dropping her purse on the floor. Shawn sits down next to her and looking at her in the eyes. Damn it, those eyes. Those bright blue eyes of hers. They weaken Shawn as he's sure that his blue eyes weaken women. Shawn continues to say nothing as Marissa begins to believe that Shawn is stalling. *
Marissa Shawn...what's wrong?
* Shawn knows that he called Marissa for a reason. However it's a reason in which she hasn't been willing to give up. Shawn finds himself in between a rock and a hard place as in one hand he's stressed about Hannah's death and in the other he's stressed on the ability to not handle it like he normally would. Too much guilt has been built up within him lately. The guilt of Hannah's death and the guilt of wronging Marissa without actually wronging her. He has too much guilt that he needs to unload some of it. He can't confess about Hannah so, he needs to confess to Marissa. Shawn sighs realizing that he needs to say something. *
* Marissa is speechless waiting for Shawn to complete his sentence. *
Shawn There is something you need to know about me.
* Marissa begins to grow worried. Shawn sighs. *
Shawn I...I may not be who you think I am.
* Marissa sits up now paying full attention. *
* Shawn can't say anything however the guilt of Hannah's death and the guilt of Marissa's past is too much for him to handle. He has to say something. *
Shawn I have done things-
* Before Shawn can finish his sentence Marissa interrupts him. *
Marissa Shawn, I know.
* Shawn looks confused. *
Shawn You do?
Marissa Yeah...turns out Ace really didn't want us to date. He told me everything. A lot of which he later said was a lie. I mean sure, I was shocked upset a little bit when he told me but I also realized that you've helped me out of my shell. I'm starting to actually feel confident being me again.
* Shawn is in shock. *
Marissa The past is the past. Everyone makes mistakes. I know I have. It's how we learn from them that counts. Nobody should be judged for mistakes they made, they should be judged by the person they've become from those mistakes.
* Shawn hears Marissa's words and suddenly feels a sense of peace. Shawn looks at Marissa, right in those eyes of hers. He can tell that she's just waiting for him to respond. *
Shawn So you're telling me that Ace told you all that and you still liked me? A normal girl would of been afraid of the idea of me.
* Marissa takes a moment to reflect on the question before looking Shawn back in the eyes. *
Marissa I learned a long time ago that there is a difference in loving the idea of someone and loving who they actually are.
* Before Marissa can finish those words render in Shawn's brain. Fact is, Marissa is right. He didn't love Hannah. He loved the idea of a perfect family. It explains everything. The selfishness and everything. Shawn gets a bit of a smile on his face as he feels a bit relieved. *
Shawn You're right.
* Marissa smiles a bit replying to Shawn's. *
* Shawn laughs as he's completely getting it right now. Shawn looks at Marissa and simply smiles. *
Shawn Marissa, you have no idea what you have just done for me.
* Marissa and Shawn share a silence together. *
Shawn You may seriously be the best thing to happen to me right now. You are exactly what I needed.
* Am I still afraid? Yup. But Marissa? Makes me feel less afraid. *
Marissa I'm happy that I could help unload some of that burden. Come on, let's let Valarie sleep.
* Shawn and Marissa kiss before she gets up holding Shawn's hand leading him out the back door taking a baby monitor with her. Shawn looks back over his shoulder at Valarie and gets a bit of a smile.
We might actually make it Val.
* The camera flickers on revealing Shawn Winters swaying himself back and forth with a huge smile on his face as he often does. He's standing in front of a Taking Hold of the Flame back drop once again. He rubs his right thumb against his beard before speaking. *
Shawn Well it seems as though the moment of truth is about to be placed upon us. This Sunday the world is going to witness history. You see for 39 other superstars they all believe they all think that it's going to be about them. That it's going to be their time to shine their time to etch their name into Taking Hold of the Flame lore. However on Breakdown. (laughs) On Breakdown you all witnessed what it's truly about...me. I went out there and I said my peace and then I went out their again and again and again to give others a piece. Ya see I have stated that this isn't about the World Championship this isn't about winning something just to say that I did. No, that's the other 39 superstars, not me. I have stated that this is about something more and about making history. On Breakdown I told the world that I'm doing this for fun. I'm doing this simply because I can.
You can have your Greg Cherry's, Katie Stewards, Jake Starr's. You can have all of them but it doesn't change the fact that the moment I hit that ring all eyes will be on me. Whether you love me or you hate me your eyes will be fixated on me. I made damn sure of it on Breakdown by basically putting a target on my back but you know? I at least want a challenge this time around considering how easy it was for me last year.
* Shawn smiles again laughing softly. *
Shawn You see Breakdown was basically a coming out party for myself. I basically gave the middle finger to each superstar in this battle royal telling each and everyone of them that their dreams are simply dreams and that my reality is winning and that my reality is that of legends. I gave the middle finger to each and everyone of them telling them that I will be winning the battle royal and I showed them that no matter who they are or what number they draw, they're not going to be able to do a damn thing to stop me. I've shown up superstar after superstar and those around simply call me cocky or arrogant or 'hey he's just being Shawn Winters.' Well you're damn right with all of those things however when I go out there and I say these things, I'm the guy who can back them up. I'm the guy who can look you straight in the eyes and tell you that I'm flat out going to beat you. I told 39 other superstars that on Breakdown and on Sunday at Taking Hold of the Flame I am going to bask in my glory and I am going to sit under those bright lights long enough to get myself a tan because there is nobody to stop me. Greg Cherry and Billy Mitchell tried to but they failed. I sent a message to everyone and then I booked the shit out of dodge.
I have set the bar for Taking Hold of the Flame this year. I have basically told you all that you have to be here.
* Shawn places his hand up as if it's a height test. *
Shawn To even be worth my attention.
* Shawn drops his hand. *
Shawn But you know what? That's what I do. I set the bar, I set the standard, I set the records! That's simply what I do because I can. I have that power inside of me and I have that ability to snap my fingers and turn it on as if it's a light switch. Fact is, you can't stop it. You can't even challenge it. I have proved that by making an example out of basically a third of this years entrants.
* Shawn extends his arms practically opening himself up as if for a sacrifice. *
Shawn I have set the pace ladies and gentleman. I have set myself up for the greatest Taking Hold of the Flame run in history. I have thrown down the gauntlet leaving myself wide open for attacks. I have become public enemy number one and damn it, I wouldn't have it any other way. Because in order to reach beyond where anyone has ever reached you've got to test yourself beyond compare. Test myself I shall on Sunday. For every time that I have stated that Rise to Greatness is my home, well Taking Hold of the Flame is going to be my vacation spot allowing me to throw you out at will.
* Shawn can't seem to stop smiling. He looks behind him at the Taking Hold of the Flame logo. He shakes his head back and forth before turning back to the camera. *
Shawn This time of year you constantly hear how Taking Hold of the Flame is all about the numbers. It's all about the numbers whether it be 40 superstars or 30 superstars it doesn't matter because it's all about the numbers. Well I'm going to tell you something right now, it isn't about the numbers, it's about the NUMBER! Because in this sea of superstars there is only one biggest fish in the sea, there is only one winner, and there is only one, One Man Scandal Shawn Winters. So you can throw out as many numbers that you want but the fact remains that no matter who you are, you're not Shawn Winters so whatever number you are becomes irrelevant. For all the Greg Cherry's, Matt Hodges, and James Exeters there has been a bunch of winners, however this year...there will simply be one. One who stands above them all as the best, and like I said...there is only one, One Man Scandal Shawn Winters and this year I am going to be the only one to win Taking Hold of the Flame twice!
You can call me cocky, you can call me brash, you can call me out of my mind but the only thing that will matter, the only thing that you will be able to call me after Taking Hold of the Flame is said and done is the winner. Because I am the One Man Scandal, I am the definition of the word greatness, I am the measuring stick to which all others are compared, and I am...the one!
* Shawn holds his finger up showing the number one as he smiles. *
Shawn Let the fun begin.
* Camera fades to black. *