INT. MIDDLE SCHOOL DANCE — EVENING
A dimly-lit gym. A few brave souls bust a move in the middle of the dance floor, but most are standing in various cliques around the perimeter, awkwardly checking their cell phones.
We zero in on JULIAN, sixth grade, years away from a growth spirt, glasses. The kind of kid who asks for extra credit assignments even though he already has an A+ in your class.
He looks around for a friend, or anyone he could strike up a conversation with. Nothing. He heads to the nearest cardboard table set-up and pours himself a Solo Cup of Mountain Dew from a two-liter bottle. Julian takes a sip as he looks out toward the dance floor.
JULIAN (V.O.) (spitting soda): Holy freaking crap, it’s HER. It’s Ramona Rodriguez. She’s actually here.
Across the gym is RAMONA, Julian’s crush. She’s older, taller, and surrounded by friends and potential suitors.
JULIAN (V.O.): Holy freaking crap! Pete told me Ramona wouldn’t be here. Something about having to watch her neighbor’s parakeet? I forgot what he said. (beat) Should I say something? No, I can’t. Ramona doesn’t even know I exist. Maybe if I study a lot, they’ll move me up to the seventh grade, and then we can have classes together? Yes. She’ll need help in science. She’ll forget that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, and she’ll need help. And I’ll be there. I’ll make my move then. (beat, considering) But what if I’m stuck in sixth grade? What if she’s always a grade older than me? Then what? I’ll never get to talk to her! It’s now or never. (beat) Wait, what am I doing? Be, cool, Julian, be cool. She’s just a seventh grader. It’s not like she’s an eighth grader or anything. There will be other girls. Yes. There will be other girls.
He takes a good, long look at Ramona.
JULIAN (V.O.) (considering): Ugh, but there aren’t other girls! It’s only her! I’m in love. There, I said it. I mean, only in my mind, but I said it. I, Julian Michael McIntyre, am in love with Ramona Rodriguez. I know what I must do.
He downs the rest of his Mountain Dew as if it’s a whiskey neat.
JULIAN (V.O.): Here goes nothing.
Julian begins to make his way in Ramona’s direction. With every step, he looks more and more confident. The DJ’s music seems to be in perfect sync with his strides. He’s nearly there.
Just then, he trips and falls. The crowd around him oooo’s and snickers, as shitty middle schoolers are wont to do.
JULIAN (V.O.): Holy. Freaking. CRAP! Julian, you’re so stupid! What was I thinking? She’ll never talk to me now.
VOICE (O.S.): Are you okay?
Julian looks up. It’s Ramona. In the holy freaking flesh.
He mumbles something totally inaudible.
RAMONA: So, are you?
JULIAN: Am I what?
RAMONA: Are you okay?
JULIAN: Oh! Yeah, I’m fine.
He gets up. Shakes it off.
RAMONA: You’re Julian, right?
JULIAN (nearly shitting himself): Uh, yeah. How’d you know?
RAMONA: I’ve heard about you. They say you’re really smart. I’ve been meaning to ask you…
Julian continues to nearly shit himself.
RAMONA (CONT’D): …would you be interested in joining the Quiz Bowl team? We could use some new players. If have a good team this year, we might get to go to Washington D.C.
JULIAN: Quiz Bowl? Oh, yeah, awesome! Yeah. I’m in. I love you. I mean, I’d love to. Yeah. Awesome.
JULIAN (V.O.): Holy freaking crap.
RAMONA (laughing): Great. We meet Thursdays after school. In Mr. E’s room. See ya then.
JULIAN: Wait. Ramona?
She turns around.
JULIAN (CONT’D): Would you, uh, would you like to dance? With me? Maybe?