EXT. VALLEY HOUSE–LARGE BACKYARD–LATE AFTERNOON
Matt is hosting a rousing barbecue of LA’s young and swanky crowd. PARTY GUESTS mingle by the barbecue pit that has been dug in one corner of the yard. Caryn and Winnie hang out near a table of salads, taking in the scene. Given the recent heat wave, they are appropriately dressed in cool linen.
Matt leads a tall, gorgeous BLOND WOMAN over to Caryn and Winnie. Her sparkling blouse and high heels might be better suited for cocktail hour, but she wears it well.
Caryn, Winnie. This is Lisa.
The ladies exchange greetings as Lisa scoots other plates aside to put down her colorful pasta salad.
That looks very tasty, Lisa.
Thanks. I actually can’t eat it, though. I’m a carb-free vegan.
Caryn and Winnie share a look.
Caryn, what did you bring?
She points to her molded fruit salad, where peaches and pears glisten under a pale gold gelatin.
It has a late-harvest riesling in it.
Ohhh, a jello salad. I liked those when I was a kid. How cute.
Caryn’s eyes narrow as she opens her mouth to respond, but Matt jumps in.
You must be thirsty, Lisa. Let’s go get a drink.
Lisa nods and heads towards the beverage table. Matt whispers back toward Caryn and Winnie.
Hot day, huh?
He winks just as he is enveloped in a small crowd.
A carb-free vegan? What the heck does she eat?
Vic sneaks up behind Winnie.
Who are you two critiquing now?
Winnie links her arm into her fiance’s.
Are y’all ready to go? I’m tired already.
Yeah, I have an early flight tomorrow.
Winnie pretends to pout at the thought. By the drinks, Matt leans in to whisper something into Lisa’s ear, causing her to break out in a high-pitched squeal of a laugh.
I don’t think we need to say goodbye. Let’s go.
EXT. FREEWAY–NEXT MORNING
A stretch limosine idles in the left lane of a jam-packed freeway that simply does not move.
Caryn and Mr. R. sit quietly on opposite ends of the plush car. She hugs her bag to her chest and watches traffic creep by as Mr. R. reads a book. After a moment, he sighs and snaps the book closed to examine the traffic situation.
I won’t miss this.
I think we all need a little break from this city.
The traffic starts to pick up for no apparent reason and in little time they are breezing down the freeway, finally on their way…
Riesling Fruit Salad
2 small peaches, peeled and sliced
1 pear, peeled and sliced
2 apricots, sliced
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pint blueberries
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 TB. sugar
3 cups white grape juice
2 cups riesling, preferrably late harvest**
1. In small saucepan, sprinkle gealtin over 1 cup grape juice. Let stand 2-3 minutes. Stir in sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often until granules are completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl. Add remaining grape juice and wine.
2. Place bowl over a larger bowl half-filled with ice water. Let stand about 20 minutes or until gelatin starts to thicken, stirring occasionally. Whisk gelatin to form bubbles throughout. Stir in fruit. Remove from ice bath and pour into 8-10 cup mold. Refrigerate at least 8 hours until firm.
3. Place a plate upside down on top of mold. Invert onto plate. If gelatin does not release, dip mold up to rim in warm water for 5 seconds before inverting.
**Sparkling grape juice can be substituted for a non-alcoholic version.