Sarah (Syren De Mer) answers a knock on the door, “Rob! Oh my God!”, she greets her stepson (Tyler Cruise) with a hug. “You haven’t changed a bit. I thought you would be bigger”, she exclaims. “Well, I’m stronger than I look”, he replies.
“They said you wouldn’t be home until next month”. “I know -I wanted to surprise you”, Rob says. “We even had a party planned. Your dad was going to come home from a business trip to be there”, Sarah notes. “He was?”. “Yeah, look at you. So handsome -so grown up. Where’s your uniform?”, she inquires. “I have it. I just don’t like wearing it out in public. Everyone just stares at me”, he says.
“I understand. You’re still shy”, stepmom says with a smile. “A little bit”, he admits. “My goodness! Why are we still standing here. Come in! Welcome home”, she concludes. Rob brings in his large duffel bag to the living room. “I actually had some of your favorite tea”, she says, handing him a tall glass. They sit on the couch, and she asks: “How did it go?”. “It was fine, you know, lots of sitting around, doing nothing”, he claims. “They told me you were in some active conflict”, she asserts. “Yeah, but it sounds more exciting than it really is”, he responds.
“I don’t mean to push, but I can’t believe you’re home”, Sarah says. “I can’t believe it either. I missed you”, he says. She sits down on the couch next to him. “I still can’t believe you’re here. You didn’t leave because of me, did you?”, she asks. “What, no, of course not. Why would you say that?”, he insists. “You remember the night -your 20th birthday party, I mean everybody had left until it was just us. We were having so much fun, laughing and smiling as we cleaned up”, stepmom recalls. “Yeah, I remember”, he agrees.
“That night was perfect. I got all swept up in the excitement and…I really shouldn’t have kissed you. I’m sorry -it was wrong”, she confesses. “You didn’t do anything wrong, mom. You’ve been worrying about this since I left, right?”, he says. “Yeah”, she admits. “Well, you’re the best mom. I promise, like marrying you was the best thing dad ever did”, he contends. “That was the best thing I ever did. If I hadn’t married your father I never would have met you”, she says.
Rob leans over, but before he can kiss her Sarah gets up and states: “I really should set up your room. I wanted to make it nice but you came early”. “Oh, I’m sorry”, he replies. “Don’t be sorry. I’ll do it now -you must be exhausted”, she says. Later in the bedroom she plumps up a pillow as he watches her. “Do you really have to make the bed every day in the military?”, she wonders. “Yeah, of course”.
“Why don’t you show me how you do it?”, she asks. “No, no, I do that enough. I like the way you do it better”, he responds. “What if I’m doing it wrong?”, Sarah asks. “You can’t make a bed wrong”, he asserts. “I suppose you’re right”, stepmom laughs. You know, it’s really strange. You and I have spent most of our lives apart yet you feel so familiar, so comfortable”, she says.
“I was so afraid you’d hate me. Stepmoms always have such a bad rap. You know, we’re jealous, evil creatures”, Sarah says. “Or horny seductresses”, he jokes, making finger quotes in the air. “You don’t think of me that way, do you?”, she admonishes. “No, I was just saying. I see you as mom, as Sarah, the beautiful, loving woman who always cares for me”, Rob enthuses. “Oh, you make me sound so much better than I am”. “It’s true though”, he insists.
She walks around the bed to sit closer to him. “You know I was so lonely when you were gone”. “Well, I was lonely without you too”. “Why did you go?”, she asks him. “For a lot of different reasons”, he answers, moving to sit on the bed next to her. “You’ve become so secretive now”, she states. “Well, I’ve always been more of a private person, you know that”. “Yeah, but I’m your mom and I care about you”. “Yeah, I know. Can I ask you a favor?”, he wonders.
“Yeah, anything”, she replies. “When I’m here for the next few days don’t tell anybody. I’ve been really tired -I just need to get some rest.” “Sure”. “Then after a few days I’ll be fine”, he sums up. “Of course, I’ll be in the other room and I’ll let you get some rest. I’m happy you’re home. I love you”, she says. “I love you too”, he responds.
Next morning, he’s carefully straightening the bed spread, as she gazes from his doorway and greets him: “Relax, you’re home and good morning!”. “You know how nice it is to wake up whenever you want”, he says, “especially to a pretty smile like that”, he continues. “People in the military don’t smile?”, she quips. “Well, nobody as pretty as you”, he counters. Stepmom laughs heartily and asks: “What would you like for breakfast?’. “Oh, I’m good. I’m not hungry”, he replies.
“Okay, what do you have planned for today?”, Sarah asks him. “Well, I was hoping we could talk”. “Talk?”. “Yeah, there’s been something I’ve been needing to tell you”, he confides. “Oh, should I be worried?”, she wonders. “No, I hope not”, he says. “Okay, I’ll let you get finished being ready -I’ll just be in the living room”, she says. “Okay”. Stepmom looks at the bed and says: “Wow! You made the bed”. “Yeah, that’s a habit at this point”. “It looks so…restrictive”, she notes. He smiles and says: “I guess you could say that”. Sarah leaves, as Rob adjusts his clothes in the bedroom mirror.
Sarah paces around in the living room as Rob finally enters. “You can sit down”, he says, and they sit together on the couch. He declares: “I’ve been thinking about how to tell you this for a while now”. “Is it really that difficult?’. “Well, I never thought I would tell you when I left -I never thought I’d see you again. Did you ever wonder why I never came home for the holidays?”, he asks. “Yeah, I was curious about it, but I just assumed that you couldn’t, or that you wanted to see your mom”, she notes. “Well, there’s no one I wanted to see more than you”, Rob insists.
“But I don’t understand”, Sarah says. “That night after my birthday party, after we kissed, dad saw”, he states. Stepmom gasps: “He never said anything!”. “I know, he made me promise to never say anything. That morning when you were sleeping he gave me an ultimatum. He told me I could leave and never come back, or he was going to divorce you and tell everyone you were a monster”, Rob says. “What!”, she gets up in distress and declares: “This is just too much! Maybe I am a monster!”.
“You’re not, Sarah”, he insists. “So you left to protect me?”, she says. “Yeah, it was an easy decision. You didn’t deserve that. The hardest part of leaving was knowing I might never see you again”, Rob confesses. She sits back down on the couch and they join hands. “And you always called when your father was out of town”, she recalls. “Well, I didn’t want him to know. I figured you wouldn’t say anything either”, he says. “You’re right, and he never wanted to talk about you. I thought it was really weird at first, but I thought it was just the way he always was”, Sarah says.
“He didn’t do anything to hurt you?”, Rob asks. “No, he was never cruel or harsh, just cold, so cold”, she remembers. “Well, why didn’t you leave?”, he asks. “I was afraid. I was so afraid to sever the only connection I had to you”, Sarah asserts. They kiss sensuously. then she whispers: “No, we shouldn’t”. “I came here to take you away, don’t you understand?”, he pleads. Sarah smiles and looks around, declaring: “This is my home”. “But it’s not a home”, he counters.
“This is just so overwhelming”, she says. “Well, have your feelings changed?”, he asks. “No, they’ve only grown stronger over the years, but Rob, you don’t understand the shame that I’ve lived with -being afraid that my feelings was the reason why you left, and then every door knock and phone ringing made me think that, oh God, bad news of you dying was going to be there and then trying to live with the idea that you died -it all would have been because of me”, she says.
“Well, I’m here now”, Rob says as they hug. “It seems like just a dream”, she says. “This is real life”, he reminds. They kiss again. “What will people say?”, Sarah asks. “I don’t know, we’ll move far away where nobody knows us”, he contends. “And what if they find out?”, she asks. We’ll move further away. I would move to the farthest corner of Siberia to be with you”, he gushes, little suspecting the irony of that statement in light of world events soon to occur. She smiles broadly and says: “And I’d go with you”.
They kiss as stepmom strokes his groin. “Look -you’re hard for mommy”, she murmurs.