INT. LIVING ROOM - APARTMENT - LONDON - NIGHT
ANDREA lies, curled up, on the carpet of her living room. She's holding a picture of her family in her hand. Her mother and father smiling, with a younger ANDREA in the middle of them.
I did it, Mom and Dad. I'm leading my own project.
Can you believe it? Me of all people.
ANDREA caresses the photo, her eyes welling up.
I miss you two so much.
Kissing the photo, she gets up of the floor and places the photo on top of the fireplace beside the other old photos of her and her parents.The one in the centre is framed and engraved with the words: 'Lewis and Paulette - Gone But Never Forgotten'.
EXT. MANSION - LONDON - NIGHT
A black, expensive car pulls up outside a small modern, Victorian styled mansion.
INT. MANSION - LONDON - NIGHT
MARIA is greeted by an older man dressed very formally and conservative. He takes her coat and her bag and hangs them on the metal rack.
MARIA makes her way through the hallway, pictures of her standing solemnly next her parents hang on the walls. All of them with her holding a prestigious award.
But one caught her attention. Her graduation from the University of Oxford. It was the only picture that they were all smiling in.
Maria? Why are you standing out there? Come in, child.
At once, MARIA headed into the living room.
Sorry, mother. I was just looking at the photos in the hall.
MYA was in her late 40s but still radiated with the timeless beauty of her youth. Though her elegance was constricted by her stiff personality.
She stood to greet MARIA, who shrunk before her.
You bring good news I hope.
MARIA became hesitant.
I had it mother! She was going to choose me, I knew it! But then that bitch-
I bore of your excuses, child.
Come now, my love. Don't be too harsh on her. I'm sure she knows how much we've put towards her career.
MARCUS, late 40s, who was reading his newspaper, put it down on next to him as MYA moved next to him, sitting on the arm of the sofa. He was still in his business attire, though his jacket was hung over the chair opposite him.
Peering over his reading glasses he looked at MARIA.
Of course, Father.
Then you know what you must do.
MARIA exits the room. But before she heads upstairs she stares of the picture of her University graduation, more so at the certificate. Her hands clench and she storms off.
INT. ELEVATOR - FUTURISM TECHNOLOGIES HQ - DAY
ANDREA presses the button for the fifth floor. As the elevator moves, ANDREA clings to her briefcase, taking multiple deep breaths has she watches the number of levels increase.
But then the elevator stops on the 3rd floor and when the doors open, she was shocked to see LAURAINE standing at the entrance.
They both lock eyes for a brief moment before LAURAINE gets in the elevator and presses the button for the 6th floor. ANDREA stays in the corner, head down whereas LAURAINE holds her head high.
In the silence, ANDREA admires her outfit. LAURAINE wore a red velvet suit.
ANDREA tries to say something, her lips parted to speak but she doesn't. Then the elevator reaches the fifth floor.
(head slightly turned)
Yes. Thank you.
When ANDREA gets out of the elevator, she turns back and gets a small glimpse of LAURAINE looking at her as the doors close.
ANDREA heads to her desk, amid all of her co-workers staring at her. But as she gets comfortable, MARIA appears behind her.
What are you doing?
ANDREA looks at her confused.
Sitting at my desk.
You're the Project Leader, aren't you? Or did you get so drunk last night in celebration that you forgot?
I don't drink-
MARIA lifts ANDREA out of her seat and drags her to an isolated office room, the door titled: 'Project Manager'.
(taking ANDREA's briefcase)
Here, let me get that for you.
ANDREA snatches the briefcase back and holds it against her chest. MARIA narrows her eyes at her protective behaviour. Then a warm smile edges onto her cold lips as she puts a comforting hand on ANDREA's shoulders.
Listen, Andrea. I know how much this means to you. I can see it in your eyes. And I don't want you to screw it up.
ANDREA becomes uncomfortable as MARIA's grip on her shoulder tightens.
So if you need any help. Any help at all - you know where to find me.
ANDREA forces herself to smile.
Good. Now it's time to introduce yourself to the team!
Dragging her back into the main room, ANDREA becomes uneasy under the silence. Everyone is looking at her with hawk eyes, waiting for her to slip up so can gnaw at her like fresh meat.
MARIA notices her hesitation to speak and gives her a reassuring smile.
Come on, you can do it.
Sweat rolls down ANDREA's brow, the SOUND of her HEARTBEAT racing ushering in a familiar darkness.
INT. ANDREA'S MIND.
INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT
The chess board is reset. ANDREA shakily moves a pawn forward one square.
It's your turn.
ANDI snickers before moving her knight forward. ANDREA is visibly shocked by her action.
(leaning in her chair)
You didn't think I was going to play nice, did you? Not with what's at stake here.
Don't pretend to be helping me because you're not!
ANDREA moves her bishop through the gap that her pawn had made and places it directly adjacent to ANDI's knight. ANDREA looks surprised.
But ANDI didn't seem the least bit worried and calmly moved the pawn adajecent to her knight, two squares forward.
Immediately, ANDREA moves her bishop across, capturing ANDI's knight. Then, the dim lightbulb shines brightly for a second before returning to it's normal gloom.
I won't let you win this time.
A knight is dispensable. They're just swords, nothing more.
ANDI hovers her hand over her queen. ANDREA's eyes widen at the realisation of what she had just done. She had made herself a target.
But there can only be one Queen and a true Queen protects her King - no matter the cost.
ANDI nonchalantly knocks over ANDREA's bishop, the SOUND of it hitting the glass board ringing against ANDREA's ears as the light bulb flickers vigorously.
I am your Queen, Andrea. Let me protect you.
I don't need your protection! I got the job I've always wanted without you!
And look where that's gotten you! Now you've made an enemy of Maria and Lauraine still barely notices you exist!
ANDREA becomes silent. Tears welling in her eyes.
ANDI gets out of her seat and kneels in front of ANDREA.
Then let me help you.
At first ANDREA is hesitant but then she gives in. Holding her hand, ANDI consoles her has a white light obscures her vision.
Don't worry, I've got you