Degrassi Freak Fiction

108 - Too Much Too Young

Production Code: 105

Air Date: 06 May 2002

Episode Title: Too Much Too Young

Summary: Abby’s life seems perfect – she’s got her best friends, Manny and Emma; an amazing older sister, Lizby. But behind that front, she’s hiding a dark secret. How will she deal when that secret explodes?

 [Abby’s House]

(Abby runs around a messy room, looking for something. After tossing around a few clothes, she runs into the kitchen, where 15-year-old sister, Lizby, is eating chips.)

Abby: Lizby, have you seen my red shirt?

Lizby: Dude, you have like ten million red shirts.

Abby: You know – the red one? From The Gap?

Lizby: The one with the flowers?

Abby: YES! Know where it is?

Lizby: Nope. Sorry.

(Abby notices what Lizby is eating)

Abby: Nice breakfast. Very healthy!

Lizby: There’s nothing else, okay?

Abby: There’s got to be.

Lizby: Take a look for yourself. (gestures towards fridge)

(Abby goes into the fridge. It’s empty. She checks the cabinets – they’re empty too.)

Abby: Mom forgot to go shopping, didn’t she?

Lizby: She forgets a lot of things.

Abby: What do you bet she spent the grocery money on you-know-what?

Lizby: You can say it, you know. It’s not a swear. God won’t strike you down with a thunder bolt if you say it.

Abby: How do you know? You never say it, either.

Lizby: Whatever.

(Abby sits down next to her sister and grabs a fistful of chips. They share sad smiles.)

Abby: Did mom even come in last night?

Lizby: Dunno. Didn’t see her.

Abby: How long has she been gone?

Lizby: I try not to keep track. It just depresses me. Don’t worry, Abs – she’ll be back. She always comes back.

(Lizby ruffles Abby’s hair. Abby sighs.)

Abby: Yeah, and each time she does, we lose a little bit more of her.


[Mr. Armstrong’s Math Class…]

(Abby’s sitting at her desk, obviously not paying attention.)

Mr. Armstrong: Abby? (Abby doesn’t look up.) Abby – are you paying attention?

Abby: (looks up, jarred) Uh – what?

Mr. Armstrong: Can you please complete this equation?

Abby: Of course, Mr. Armstrong.

(Abby gets up to finish the problem. Emma, who sits behind Abby, leans forward to see what Abby was drawing. It’s a grocery list, with a border of various food items and candy. Emma looks worried.)

Abby: So, you see, Mr. Armstrong – in this problem, x is equal to twelve.

Mr. Armstrong: Correct, Abby. Good job. You can sit back down.

(Abby goes back to her seat. Emma leans forward.)

Emma: What’re you drawing, Abby?

(Abby covers paper quickly)

Abby: Nothing, why?

Emma: When’s the last time you ate?

Abby: What are you talking about?

Emma: It’s just… You’re obviously obsessed with food, and you’re looking awfully skinny lately –

Abby: (harshly) You think I’m anorexic? Are you kidding?

Emma: All the evidence points –

Abby: Emma, you’re skinnier than I am!

Emma: I’m not drawing food during math class, am I?

Mr. Armstrong: Abby and Emma – could you pay attention, please?


[After school…]

(Manny and Emma are walking home)

Emma: I think something’s wrong with Abby.

Manny: What do you mean?

Emma: Did you notice she didn’t have lunch today?

Manny: Yeah, she forgot her money. It happens to all of us. You did last week.

Emma: But she refused when all of us offered to lend her cash. She never lets us lend her anything.

Manny: Your point, Emma?

Emma: Do you think she might have an eating disorder?

Manny: What? No! Abby’s too – too – perfect to have one of those.

Emma: How would you know?

Manny: You’re not even basing this off anything – just the fact that Abby forgot her lunch money.

Emma: There’s more!

Manny: What?

Emma: Have you ever wondered why she never invites anyone over her house? Ever?

Manny: Well, yeah…

Emma: And she never tells us anything about her family. I mean, have you even met her parents? Her sister?

Manny: I guess not…

Emma: I mean, what is she hiding?

Manny: I still don’t think she’s bulexic or anoremic or whatever those creepy things are called. She’s skinny, but not that skinny.

Emma: Fine. Don’t believe me. But when Abby ends up in the hospital –

Manny: (rolls eyes)


[Abby’s House…]

(Abby’s doing homework with her sister in the kitchen)

Abby: Is mom home yet?

Lizby: Nope.

Abby: Has she called?

Lizby: Nope.

Abby: I’m starting to get worried.

Lizby: Don’t be so paranoid! She’s probably off on some wicked trip. She’ll be back and begging our forgiveness before we can say “smack”.

Abby: It’s been three days! We should call the police.

Lizby: So what? They can put us in a home? Believe me, Abs, it’s much better this way.

Abby: At least they have food in a home! I’m starving. I haven’t eaten real food in practically a week!

Lizby: (angry) What do you want me to do about it?

Abby: Emma accused me of being anorexic, okay? Because I haven’t been eating at lunch!

Lizby: I’ve always thought Emma was kind of stupid.

(Abby blinks away tears and looks down at her paper. Lizby notices and gives her a hug.)

Lizby: Listen, I’m sorry. I know our life sort of sucks. She’ll be back, I swear.

(Abby shrugs)

Lizby: And at least you have me, right?

Abby: (laughs bitterly) Right. Because you totally make up for all the suckiness in my life.

Lizby: (grins) Of course! (pauses) The way you make up for all the suckiness in mine.


[At school…]

(Emma and Manny are at Emma’s locker)

Emma: You don’t have anything after school today, do you?

Manny: No, actually – I was thinking we could go downtown, grab something to eat –

Emma: (slams locker closed) No.

Manny: Why not?

Emma: Because we’re busy today.

Manny: Doing what?

(Girls begin to walk down the hall)

Emma: Studying. At Abby’s.

Manny: Did she invite us?

Emma: Details, details.

Manny: So she didn’t invite us?

Emma: But we need help in math! And she’s awesome at math!

Manny: You can’t just invite us over like that!

Emma: I want to know what she’s hiding from us. We have a right to know, Manny. We’re her best friends.

Manny: That doesn’t mean we can just – just – show up at her house!

Emma: We’re not going to just show up. We’re going to make an offer she can’t refuse.

(The girls walk into English class. Emma ambushes Abby as Manny follows, looking guily and awkward.)

Emma: Hey Abby! How’s your day been going?

Abby: Uh – good? And you?

Emma: Oh, awful! I completely bombed Armstrong’s test. Manny did, too. Right, Manny?

Manny: (obviously lying) Oh – um – yeah, totally.

Abby: That sucks. If you ever need me to, you know, tutor you –

Emma: That was exactly what I was thinking! Are you free today after school?

Abby: Well, I guess –

Emma: Perfect! We’ll be at your place at three, then?

Abby: Um – maybe we could just –

Emma: See you then!

(Emma goes and sits down at her desk, looking pleased. Manny mouths, “Sorry!”, and sits down. Abby sighs and buries her head in her hands.)


[Abby’s house…]

(Abby runs in, looking worried. She begins to run around nervously, furiously cleaning up and neatening things. Lizby walks in and stares at her sister in confused awe.)

Lizby: Woah. Who are you and why are you cleaning?

Abby: Emma. Manny. Coming over. In (checks watch) five minutes!

Lizby: You invited people over? You never invite people over!

Abby: Correction. They invited themselves over.

Lizby: Huh. Sucks for you, don’t it?

Abby: Please, just try to act normal! Don’t embarrass me!

Lizby: I won’t embarrass you! How could I? I’m sixteen! I’m the cool older sister! People love me.

Abby: Huh. Sure.

(Lizby rolls her eyes and sits on the couch as Abby continues to clean. Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door!)

Abby: (panicked) They’re here!

Lizby: (mock squeal) Oh no!

Abby: Seriously, if you say anything stupid – (opens door) – Emma, Manny, hey!

Emma: Hey, Abby! (pushes way in, begins to survey house)

Manny: Hey. Thanks for having us over.

Abby: Oh, it was no problem, really.

(Emma continues to inspect living room – studying photos, opening drawers. Etc. Lizby rolls her eyes and stands up.)

Lizby: You must be Emma.

Emma: Emma Nelson. And this is Manny Santos. (Manny looks embarrassed.)

Abby: This is my sister, Lizby.

Emma: Lizby?

Lizby: Elizibeth. Abby couldn’t pronounce it when we were little, so it became Lizby forevermore.

Emma: Oh.

Abby: Let’s start studying, then?

Manny: Sounds good!

(Abby leads them to the kitchen table. Manny has to pull Emma along. They sit down and Abby pulls out her book.)

Abby: Okay, so. Slope.

Manny: My favorite.

(Abby and Manny laugh. Emma is craning neck to see throughout apartment.)

Abby: Wait – do you guys want anything to drink?

Manny: Water, please?

Emma: Yeah, that’s fine.

(While Abby is getting the drinks, Manny hits Emma on the arm.)

Emma: Ow! What was that for?

Manny: (whisper) For being so nosy!

Emma: I’m just curious!

Manny: You’re being totally rude!

(Abby comes back with drinks. The girls work on math for a little while before there’s a knock at the door.)

Lizby: I got it!

Emma: Wonder who it is?

Abby: (distracted) Probably just the mailman.

(Silent, for a moment, until there’s a CRASH in the living room)

Mrs. Benson: Oh, clumsy me! Lizby, sweets, can you pick that up? Oh, and where’s Abby? (begins shouting) Abby! Where are you, sweets! Come give your mother a hug!

(Abby is mortified and Emma looks curious)

Emma: Is that your mom?

Abby: (to self) Oh no – she’s back – one sec, guys – (races to the living room)

Mrs: Benson: Abby! Hello! How have you been? It feels like I haven’t seen you in forever, dear –

Lizby: That’s because you haven’t, mom.

Mrs. Benson: What are you talking about, sweets?

Lizby: Mom, you haven’t come home in three days!

Mrs. Benson: Oh, yes – I’m sorry, girls – but I had a very important –

Lizby: Whatever, Mom. Just go to bed.

Abby: Yeah! And be quiet, because I have friends over –

Mrs. Benson: Friends? Oh, I want to meet your friends! Are they in the kitchen?

Abby: No – wait – Mom – you can’t –

Mrs. Benson: Don’t be silly, dear. I’ve been dying to meet your friends for ages!

(Mrs. Benson stumbles into the kitchen. Abby shoots Lizby a look and they follow)

Emma: Hello, Mrs. Benson. I’m Emma Nelson.

Mrs. Benson: Hello, dear, how are you? It’s so nice to meet you? Do you want anything to eat? We don’t have much, I’m afraid – I’m not that much of an eater – but I’m sure I can scrounge up something –

Emma: No thank you, Mrs. Benson.

Manny: (stands up) I’m Manny Santos.

(Mrs. Benson looks her up and down in disgust.)

Mrs. Benson: Where are you from?

Manny: Um –

Abby: Mom, don’t do this –

Mrs. Benson: Shush, dear –

Manny: Well, I was born in the Philippines, but I moved here when I was two –

Mrs. Benson: Oh, phew. I was afraid you were one of those Wetbacks. They’re ruining the country, you know. I’ve been meaning to install video cameras in this place. Need to keep them out, right?

Abby: (embarrassed whisper) Mom’s totally paranoid –

Mrs. Benson: (mock whisper) My daughter’s totally no fun –

Manny: (awkwardly) Oh, right. (forced laugh)

Lizby: Here, mom, we should get you to bed –

(Lizby attempts to drag her mother our of the room. Mrs. Benson resists and, in their struggle, drops her bag. A little baggie filled with white powder spills out.)

Emma: Is that – cocaine?

Abby: (Rushed) Listen, you guys should go. Hope you do better in math, see you tomorrow!

Manny: Oh, yeah, right. Emma – come on!

(Abby herds the two girls out the front door.)

Abby: Thanks for coming!

(Abby shuts the door and leans against it, breathing heavily. She slowly drops to the floor and begins to sob.)


[Lunch the next day…]

(Emma and Manny are sitting with JT, Liberty, Toby, and Sean, telling them about what happened yesterday at Abby’s)

Emma: So then she dropped her bag, and – get this – cocaine spilled out!

JT: Cocaine? Sweet, man!

Toby: Cocaine isn’t sweet, JT. Cocaine is stupid –

Liberty: –and highly dangerous!

Manny: Em, should we really be telling them this?

Emma: Why not?

Manny: I thought you hated gossip!

Emma: This isn’t gossip – I’m just, um, warning the others about the dangers of cocaine abuse, you know?

Liberty: It’s really none of your business, Emma.

Emma: It’s totally my business! The cocaine spilled out right in front of me!

Toby: Because you invited yourself over!

(Abby walks over and puts her tray down. Things suddenly go really quiet.)

Abby: So, what’s up with you guys? Simpson’s test was killer, eh?

(awkward pause)

Toby: Uh. Yeah.

Emma: Abby – listen – if you even need someone to talk to, I’m here. You know that, right?

(Abby shoots Emma a weird look)

Abby: Yeah, thanks, I guess.

Manny: (trying to fill up conversation) JT, what happened to your skateboard?

JT: Oh, I broke it a few days ago. Now there’s this huge crack in it – I mean, this huge line

Manny: You must have been going pretty high, then? No – wait – I mean –

(Abby picks up her tray and leaves.)

Manny: (buries head in hands) Oh god. That was bad.

Toby: Someone should go after her.

JT: Not it!

Liberty: Not it!

Sean: Shut up, I’ll go.

(Sean, looking concerned, follows)


[Empty Classroom…]

(Abby’s sitting at a desk, crying, when Sean walks in. He sits down next to her.)

Abby: (through tears) Emma told you, didn’t she?

Sean: Yeah.

Abby: That nosy witch.

Sean: She meant well. She just wanted to know what was wrong, so she could help – you know?.

Abby: You’re only saying that because you like her.

(Sean smiles)

Sean: Yeah – you’re probably right.

Abby: So, what should I do?

Sean: You mean, about your mom?

Abby: She disappears for days at a time, takes all our money, spends in on drugs… I’ve wanted to call the police for a while, but my sister doesn’t want them to. She thinks the police will put us in a home.

Sean: How old’s your sister?

Abby: Fifteen.

Sean: How long has this been going on?

Abby: Since my dad left when I was nine. My mom couldn’t take him divorcing her, so she started with the cocaine. She’d only do it about once a month at first – then once a week – then, by the time I was ten, she was snorting it daily. She keeps a stash in her room and leaves for a few days whenever she goes out to buy more.


Sean: My parents drink. A lot.

(Abby looks up, interested.)

Sean: I used to live with them, before I moved here. They’d drink all the time. I can’t even picture them now without beers in their hands. And when they were completely wasted – that was the worst. My dad would yell – scream – smack me and mom around. My mom was even worse – she’d just sit on the couch and cry.

Abby: That’s – that’s horrible.

Sean: I know. It sucked. That’s why I got out of there. Came to Degrassi to live with my brother.

Abby: Is it… you know… better?

Sean: Yeah. It is. But you’ve got to have the guts to take that leap – realize what a crappy situation you’re in, and do something to fix it. You have to turn your mom in. She needs help. It’ll just get worse if you don’t.

Abby: Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’s just – what’ll happen to me and Lizby? We’ve gotten good at taking care of ourselves and – I really like it here. I don’t want to go to some orphanage.

Sean: Do you have any relatives?

Abby: Just my grandma –

Sean: Your mom’s mom?

Abby: Yeah.

Sean: My bet is you end up with her.

Abby: I hope so.

(quiet for a moment. The two stand up.)

Abby: Thanks, Sean – you really helped. I’ll never forget it.

(Abby hugs Sean, tightly. He looks a bit flabbergasted at first, but eventually gives in and hugs her back.)


[Abby’s House, a few days later…]

(The police have come to take away Mrs. Benson.)


(Abby cries into Lizby’s shoulder)

(Mrs. Benson is carried out the door, screaming and swearing the entire time)

Policeman: Good job calling her in, girls. You acted really responsibly. Most kids whose parents suffer from substance abuse are too afraid to admit anything’s wrong.

Lizby: Um, sir, what’s going to happen to us?

Policeman: Well, right now, you’re wards of the state, so the first priority is finding you somewhere safe to stay. Do you have any relatives - ?

Abby: Our grandma. She lives near here.

Policeman: She’ll probably take you in, then. You’ll be given therapists, placed in support groups –

Abby: What’ll happen to – to mom?

Policeman: She’s going to rehab, where – hopefully – she’ll finally be able to get the help she needs.

Lizby: Will we be able to see her?

Policeman: Only if you want to. Our priority is your happiness.

Abby: So things are going to get better?

Policeman: Sooner, rather than later.

(Abby smiles)

Abby: Good. That’s – good.

(small smile)



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