It's two-thirty in the morning in a Toronto condominium. In a contemporary kitchen, one can find a refrigerator, a stove, a dishwasher, a sink, a kitchen working area, a swinging door. A light from the other room beams through inch-wide slits above and below it; and a window, where lights from downtown Toronto seep in. There's empty cupboards, an overcrowded tack board with a University of Toronto banner, books, clothes, cassettes, a soggy soap bar, a dish cloth among others, clutter the background. At center stage, an open Calculus book lies beside a bag of Doritos Salsa chips on a wooden breakfast table, flanked by two stools. Brian McKnight's Sorry Song plays softly in the background.
The kitchen door swings open. An incredibly sexy girl in a spaghetti strap nightgown drags her stunning nerdy cousin, clad in oversized "U of T" t-shirt into the kitchen.
Liza complains, "I don't believe you're actually doing this to me! It's the middle of the night and you want me to quiz you in Calculus?"
Rachel quickly seats Liza on the left stool and speaks right above Liza's ear, "That is why you're my most favourite cousin, Liza, my darling, my sweetheart, my love; because you're so smart and so understanding!"
She then poses with a half-empty bag of Doritos Salsa chips like a game show hostess. "Chips?"
"No, thanks," Liza drones sleepily.
Rachel runs to the refrigerator. "Coffee? Orange juice? Coke? Beer?"
"No thanks. What the hell are you listening to?"
Rachel then runs to the half-empty cupboard. "Brian McKnight, singing some Tagalog song. Omelet? Pancakes? French toast?"
"No thanks," Liza falling asleep.
Rachel stands in front of the window looking at her reflection with the view of the city's ambience at night. She sings with the music, "I'm so sorry, hindi ko sinasadya."
She then drops to the floor and embraces her cousin's knees. "My blood? My life saver? My first-born? Liza, c'mon! Wake up! Pleeeease!"
"No need for mellow drama, Rach. It's only Calculus." She yawns. "Hand me your Calculus book, will you please?"
Rachel with a big smile, "Sure thing, boss!" She gets up and slides the book from the opposite side of the table. She warns her cousin. "Listen, I haven't exactly done all that much studying on that thing. So, take it easy on me, okay?"
Sleepy Liza with her nose in the book asks... "So what else is new, Miss Cramming-the-night-before-the-finals?"
Rachel pretends to be offended. "Liza, will you cut the name-calling and help your poor desperate cousin! I don't have your study habits or your brains, and I don't need you to rub it in."
Liza with one eye open, Pardon my manners. I'm not exactly my usual charming self at this time of the morning."
She scratches her head. "I really don't understand how you can study this late. There is something seriously wrong with a student who starts studying after TV stations shows infomercials."
Liza pretends to think for a moment. "Hmmm... we don't have vampire blood, do we? If you do, it probably came from your dad's side of the family."
She then looks at the book before her and rubs her palms together, "So, where're your notes, Rachel?"
Rachel confused, "My what?"
Liza notes. "You know, you're supposed to fake copying some while your professor yaks his head off about derivatives."
Rachel with a big grin. "Oh, that. Well..."
Liza didn't let her finish talking. "Forget the notes."
Rachel jumps up and opens the fridge. "We?re out of milk, Liz, as well as everything else."
She shakes her head. "We have to do some grocery shopping one of these days, my dearest cousin. Our refrigerator looks pathetic."
She picks a water bottle and drinks, "You sure you don't want water?"
"Yes, Rach. Okay, let's get started on this."
She waits for her cousin to sit.
"Can you tell me the three properties of equality?"
Rachel replied dreamily. "Really Sexy Trunks."
Liza asked, "What?"
Rachel repeats herself. "Really Sexy Trunks. RST. Reflexive, Symmetric, Transitive."
She then moves eyebrows up and down. "Impressed?"
Liza's nonchalantly. "I?m breathless."
She searches for another question.
Rachel starts babbling at lightning speed. "Angelina told me, and this was probably the first speck of truth I've heard from her, that it helps if you use code words you're bound never to forget."
She moves her eyebrows up and down again. "When you memorize, and I suppose being an aspiring lawyer, she should know about things like that, right? Finally, I found something to help me through those awful biology courses I still have to take. If I did some coding and decoding last term, I could have aced my zoology survey course with what's-his-name. You know? The bald guy? Anyway..."
"What was I saying?"
She looks at Liza who shrugs her shoulders. "Hey, speaking of Angelina, guess who she saw at Tonic last Saturday?"
Liza's still looking at the book. "If the news got you interested, it could either be your friend Jaddi who you say looks like this Filipino actor. Or his brother Jun who looks like this Chinese actor." She looks up from the book. "Bulls eye?"
Rachel grins. "Not by a long shot, Liza, my dear. Angelina bumped into your panty-dropping-now-famous-hunk-of-an-ex, Miguel!"
Liza fakes disinterest. "He was taking out some girl from Ryerson, supposedly the daughter of his mom's high school friend. Angelina said the girl was the face-of-the-eighties type. Pretty, but all she could say all night was..."
Liza flips her hair back. "Uh-huh."
"In Angelina's words, the girl probably gets a brain trim every time she gets a manicure." She then pauses.
"And I thought that after having you for a girlfriend, Miguel preferred smart women."
Now, seeing Liza's expression falling, decides to break the ice.
"Oh, Oh! Angelina has this new Ryerson joke! What's the difference between swallowing a penis and swallowing a cucumber?"
"A sexy blond from Ryerson answers. Yuck! I don't eat cucumber!"
Rachel laughs hysterically after she tells the joke.
Liza eventually smiles, shaking her head. "Rachel, our mothers went to Ryerson."
Rachel says, "I know, anything for a laugh. Anyway, going back to Miguel. Angelina said he was looking great. Ever since he became a movie actor. I think he started working out. You know, it's too bad you didn't see his movie with us. For a newcomer, he was good."
She gets excited. "And his kissing scene with Lana Lang was borderline erotic! I wanted to ask you if he ever kissed you like that.
Liza just shrugs and smiles. "You will never know, Rach. Okay, next question before we work on the equations."
She looks into the open book. "What do you call the domain of a function F from set A to set B?"
Rachel thinks hard and pronounces slowly. "The domain of a function of F from set A to set B is the set of all pre-images under F, or the set of all first components of the ordered pairs... ordered... oh, no!
She darts towards the corkboard.
Liza asks, "Hey, where're you going? You were doing great!"
Rachel bites her fingernails. "I forgot to order strobe lights for the party tonight. We can't dance in the living room without strobes.
Liza, surprise. "Party? What party?"
"I ordered the food," Rachel replies. I got Rommel to take care of the music. I invited some friends. But I forgot the lights! What kind of party will that be? This will seriously ruin my re*censored*tion as a party host!"
Liza, still surprise, "Rachel, what party?"
Rachel asks, "Do you think it'll be okay if I called Eugene right now? They used his strobe lights at Aidia's party last week, so I don't suppose he'll mind if we borrowed them tonight, right? Besides, I did invite him. I wonder if he's awake. I think I'll give him a call."
She begins to walk out of the kitchen. "It's practically morning anyway."
Liza runs to block the door. "What party are you talking about? And Rachel, tell me something I want to hear."
Rachel grins innocently. "The party? It's the party we're throwing tonight! It's the last day of finals, Liza, my darling, my sweetheart, my love... party season!"
Liza leans on the door, wearily. "Rachel, you know how I haven't been in the mood for parties lately. Besides, you just threw one of your awfully wild parties right after we got back from Cancun this January. If my mom finds out about this, you know we'll be in serious trouble. They allowed us to live alone because we're supposed to be responsible adults, not wild party animals."
Rachel pretending to be innocent. "Who said anything about a wild party? If anyone asks, we'll say that we're just having a few of our friends over after exams. It's as easy as that!"
Liza jokingly agrees. "Yeah, sure! Tell that to my face when security reports to our parents how your friends were playing rooftop baseball at two o'clock in the morning."
Rachel strongly disagrees. "That was a fluke! And it wasn't baseball, it was softball. A softball pitch is weaker; the ball never went too far. And will you stop being such a bore. If I remember right, my School Kick-Off party last June didn't have this effect on you. Oh, right, Miguel was the hot new boyfriend then."
Liza's annoyed by that childish remark. "Will you cut it out? Stop dragging Miguel's name into every conversation! We're talking about the party you are throwing in our condo--the party you so conveniently forgot to tell me about until now. Don't tell me I don't have the right to be pissed!"
Rachel raises her arms in surrender. "Okay, okay. You got me. I just figured it'd do you a lot of good if we had a party. After you and I'm-not-mentioning-his-name broke up, it's like you've become uninterested in everything we used to enjoy, guys, making fun of professors, guys, gossiping, guys, I was starting to worry about you, so I put this party together. It wasn't meant to get us in trouble or upset you, just... you know... let you have fun like the good old days. Now, is trying to help you purge your ex-boyfriend from your system such a sin?"
Liza finally agrees. "I suppose not; but this is really bad timing, Rach. I don't feel like faking that I'm in a party mood."
She sighs. "I just hope you haven't betrothed me to anyone within the past week or so. I don't suppose you?d mind if I skipped your party and watched a movie?"
"You will do no such thing!" Rachel insisted. "I invited every good looking guy on campus! You're going to enjoy!"
"Whatever you say, Rachel." And walks back to the table. "Hey, I don't think you should call Rommel." And she points to her wrist.
Rachel remembers, "The little creep owes me for letting him copy off my English finals. But then again, you may be right, we can't risk getting his parents irked." She walks back to the stool.
Liza scrubs her eyes and yawns again. "Anyway, if you can't get lights, I don't think it'll make much of a difference."
Rachel raises her eyebrow. "Are you serious? How can I throw a dance party, a serious dance party? Without strobe lights? We have to create an atmosphere here, Liza. Common lightning will not do! Besides, how can I get things cooking, if we have fluorescent lamps on? Jeez!"
Liza warns jokingly. "Rachel, one of these days, I'm going to tell your mom about you..."
Rachel argues. "You?d be surprised how my mom understands me better than you do. Imagine this, cousin dear. You've just walked into the room, great dress, and great hair. You see the new exchange French student near the punch bowl." Rachel grins at Liza. "Who looks a wee bit like Miguel...?
Liza, again, warns jokingly. "You?re looking for a fight, Maria Rachel."
Rachel continues on her story. "Okay, forget that part. Anyway, your eyes meet and you just kind of slither ever so casually to him with a really sexy smile on your face, cheeks in, chest out."
Rachel runs to the door. "Now, with the lights like this." She flicks the switch on and off and on and off. "You can make a..."
There's a small "poof" and the lights go out...
Liza asked. "What happened?"
"I think I killed a light bulb." Rachel responded.
"Nice one, Liz."
Rachel giggling, "Thank you. That took training, you know."
Liza recommends, "Shall we continue cramming in the bedroom then?"
Rachel agrees, "I won't have anything remotely interesting to do until tonight."
Liza and Rachel leave the kitchen.