Pure Taboo – Emily Willis – Uncle Charming
Pure Taboo – Emily Willis – Uncle Charming – SCENE opens on a bored-looking 18-year-old girl Sophie at the base of a staircase, leaning slumped against the railing. Her fingers are avidly typing away on her phone, but her expressionless face and glazed over eyes shows she’s hardly interested, just killing time. ‘So explain to me again why I have to rest on the couch for a whole month just to make room for this loser uncle I’ve never met?’ she says in a deadpan grumble. Her mother Mrs. Kent comes into view, breathlessly scuffling back and forth to straighten a painting here, wipe dust off a shelf there, adjust her daughter’s hair (which only frustrates her further). ‘Oh come on, Sophie, be nice, it’s just until he finds a job in the city. And he’s not some total stranger, he’s family now.’ Sophie snorts. ‘Not really,’ she scoffs, ‘just ’cause gramps found a new trophy wife and she happens to come with a family, doesn’t mean we gotta spend time with them.’ Mrs. Kent looks scandalized – that’s no way to talk about her grandfather. Sophie rolls her eyes. ‘I’m just saying, what am I even going to have to talk about with this guy? Shouldn’t dad be the one to get stuck with all this family bonding crap?’ Mrs. Kent stops hurrying around for a moment and puts her hand on her waist matter-of-factly. ‘Actually, Sophie, Blake is supposed to be just a couple years older than you. So who knows, maybe you’ll have a lot in common.’ For the first time, Sophie looks up from her phone in a moment of genuine surprise, before shaking her head and returning her attention to texting. ‘Probably still a weirdo,’ she mutters. Her mom shushes her disapprovingly and then continues her lastminute tidying into the other room. A few seconds later, she calls from the other room that she thinks she hears him coming to the door but has her hands full, can Sophie answer it? Sure enough, moments later there’s a knock on the door. Sophie groans, puts down her phone and the camera tracks her as she trudges to open the door. A handsome and charming man dressed similar to Sophie is at the other side of the door, a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. From Sophie’s POV we see him flash a friendly smile and extend his hand towards the camera for a handshake. ‘Hey, you must be my new niece,’ he grins, ‘I’m Uncle Blake.’
Several days later, Blake and Sophie are hanging out in what’s evidently from the feminine decor Sophie’s old room, only now there are some of Blake’s things strewn about giving it a lived-in vibe. The two of them are sitting casually across from each other on a sprawling bed, or perhaps Sophie is on the bed and Blake is sitting in a nearby chair. He is recounting to Sophie some stories about one of his recent cross-country hitchhikes, and Sophie hangs on his every word. After the climax of his latest story, he pulls out his phone to show her some pictures he took from the trip. He gets up from where he’s sitting and sits back down intimately close to Sophie, and starts showing her the pictures. Tight camera angles of Blake watching Sophie’s face while continuing their conversation and looking at the pictures suggests tension, like an animal predator scoping out its prey. Coyly, he turns his hitchhiking anecdote sexual by telling Sophie about a one-night-stand with another traveler. He starts off as telling it like any other story, but then starts to describe the encounter more and more graphically. He relishes as Sophie blushes and has trouble meeting his gaze. Eventually he ends the story by saying it was an experience he’ll never forget, and then asks what her most memorable sexual encounter is. Sophie embarrassed admits that she’s a total virgin, she’s never even kissed a guy before. ‘Aren’t you 18?’ he asks incredulously. Sophie nods. She supposes she’s been a bit of a late bloomer. Blake suggests he could teach her how to kiss – Sophie pulls back, flustered, and he shrugs and says at least it would be better to try it with someone she trusts than with a stranger. Sophie stutters a bit and then makes up a lame excuse to leave the room.
CUT to that evening, Sophie and her mother are in the kitchen brewing a pot of coffee while Sophie is asking her mom questions about what to do when you like someone, how do you know whether to make a move or not, etc. Mrs. Kent expresses interest in hearing the details – ‘who’s the boy?’ – and despite Sophie’s attempts to keep the conversation vague, she reveals small details (‘I haven’t known him long’, ‘he’s had a lot more sexual experience than me’, etc.). Her mom gets increasingly agitated as she realizes it must be Uncle Blake, especially since the past few days Sophie and he have been inseparable, and she asks Sophie point-blank whether it’s Blake she has a crush on. As soon as Sophie admits it, her mother gets agitated, she calls into the other room for Mr. Kent to come and admonishing Sophie for making a huge mistake.
Sophie tries to calm her down, but when Mr. Kent comes to see what’s wrong and Mrs. Kent explains the situation, things only escalate further. Throughout the argument, both parents interrogate her with probing questions (‘has he tried to make a move on you?’), they try to convince her to forget about him (‘you’re family for god’s sakes’ – to which Sophie protests ‘that’s just because of some piece of paper, before gramps’ wedding we weren’t related at all! … … ‘the guy’s a loser, he never stays in one spot for more than a few months, what do you see in him?!’ etc.) and finally they threaten to send Blake packing. Sophie starts crying that they’re overreacting, that he’s not like that, in fact he probably doesn’t even like her like that. It was all just a stupid crush. Mr. Kent says he’s going to have to talk to Blake and Sophie begs him not to, he’ll embarrass her and ruin things, but the dad refuses to listen. If Blake is going to stay under their roof, it’ll be under their terms, not his.
CUT to even later that night, Sophie is sitting upright on the couch in light pajamas clothes, it’s evident she was trying to rest on the couch but muffled sounds of shouting from upstairs are keeping her awake. Finally, the shouting ends, followed by an upstairs door opening and slamming audibly. Sophie rearranges her pillow angrily, sighs, and then lies down on her back, eyes open staring blankly at the ceiling. After several seconds of silence, the same upstairs door clicks open and closed again, this time more quietly, followed by the sounds of the stairs creaking under the weight of someone. Blake peeks his head over the couch into view of Sophie’s upward gaze.
She sits up again, and he takes a seat beside her on the couch. ‘I guess you must have heard all that, huh?’ Blake says with fake sheepishness. Sophie apologizes – she shouldn’t have opened her big mouth.Blake smiles sympathetically – it’s not her fault. Besides, he thinks it’s cute that she has a crush on him. Not that he feels that way about her of course. Embarrassed, Sophie says she knows, and she was never going to act on her feelings anyways. She was just being stupid. Good, Blake insists, because it’s important to him they stay friends. In fact, more than friends – he’s hoping that one day they can really be family, not just by law but have a real family bond. Sophie nods and says she hopes so too. ‘Well you know, Sophie, it’s important for family to trust each other,’ Blake says with a hint of admonishment. He can’t exactly open up to her if she’s going to go telling her mom and dad everything they say and do together. Sophie desperately promises that’ll never happen again – she never wants to relive how her parents shamed and embarrassed her tonight.
Blake’s tone of admonishment gets even more exaggerated. Well he didn’t appreciate being yelled at by her dad either. Especially when he hadn’t done anything wrong, when in fact all he’d done was embrace them as his new family. Sophie apologizes for her dad – she wished she’d never gotten them involved at all. Blake says it’s ok – it was their first fight as brothers. There’s bound to be plenty more.
They sit in silence for a moment. Blake leers up and down Sophie’s scantily clad body before snapping his eyes back to meet hers when she looks back at him. He smiles charmingly. ‘I guess your dad’s just trying to protect you. Like, if I really were some kind of creep, I’d probably try to take advantage of you. And I’m sure it would probably tear him up inside if he let something like that happen to you.’ Sophie rolls her eyes and then laughs. She’s not young anymore, she can handle herself. ‘No, definitely not’ Blake says with another appreciative look up and down her body. ‘But… well, I mean you are still a virgin. So it’s not like you’re all grown up either.’
Sophie looks a bit stung by the comment, and a bit embarrassed. It’s not THAT big a deal, is it? ‘Well,’ Blake retorts, ‘you’re not exactly proving your dad wrong. He thinks you’re still daddy’s little girl, that you still need protecting… you’re kind of reinforcing that by keeping yourself all innocent and precious in his eyes, aren’t you?’ Sophie doesn’t have a good comeback to this. ‘If you really wanted him to stop seeing you as his little princess,’ Blake concludes, ‘having sex would be a great way to start.’ Sophie pouts – it’s not exactly like she’s been intentionally avoiding sex. The opportunity just hasn’t come up.
‘I mean… I guess I could fuck you,’ Blake offers nonchalantly. Sophie is taken aback. Blake continues. ‘I mean, it’s not like I’m into you like that, but like I said before it’s better to do it with someone you trust. Plus, better to learn how in advance, rather than embarrass yourself with someone you really like for your first time.’ Sophie protests, she couldn’t. It wouldn’t be right. Especially after what just happened with her parents. Blake retorts – he thought they’d just agreed that they were going to keep things private between them from now on. How would her parents even find out? Sophie continues to resist, but Blake charms her further. Just a few hours ago she was saying she has a crush on him, now he’s basically making her wishes come true and she’s refusing? Slowly, he convinces her – all the while making it seem to her that it’s what she wants, he’s just doing her a favor.