Summer 1997 in Knights Ridge, Massachusetts
Hannah and Nick are lying in bed, he says he can't believe they don't get to do that for another six weeks and she tells him she doesn't want him to leave and asks him to promise that he will come back. They kiss and then Eddie walks in, he asks Nick what he thinks about opening a business called "Best Friend Windows". Hannah asks why and Eddie says because they are two best friends starting a window company. Eddie asks why Hannah is in such a bad mood and Nick says because she doesn't believe he is coming back. Eddie tells her there is only so much backpacking through Europe one guy can do and that he will be back in a few months. Hannah says that is what her uncle said the same thing, and her aunt is still waiting by the window for him. Nick asks where her uncle went and she says to find himself. Then they head outside where we see Ikey, Owen, and Phil. Nick throws Phil a tennis racket and tells him to take care of it. Ray drives by and tells Nick not to hurry home and that if Hannah gets lonely, she knows where to find him. Nick says his goodbyes to everyone and then drives away.
New York Skyline, 10 Years Later
We see a book called "Turtle on a Snare Drum" by Nicholson Garret. A cell phone rings and Nick answers, it is his editor. He tells Nick that Dufresne College wants him to teach for a day about the novel, but Nick says he isn't interested because that is in his hometown that he hasn't been to for 10 years and that some people won't be too happy to see him. His editor says he should go and make peace.
Later, Nick goes to an apartment and knocks on the door. A couple opens the door and Nick says he used to live there when he wrote his book. He shows the woman the book and his license. He says his publishers made him put Nicholson on the book. When they let him in he shows them where he wrote the book and the woman asks him if he is writing another. He tells her no and she tells him it is foolish not to return to the place of his last happiness. Then he calls his editor and tells him he will go to the College.
Now back in Knights Ridge, Nick walks in front of his old home. Sam rides up to him and says the house is haunted, Nick says he used to live there and the people living there now are his father and brother. Nick asks if Sam lives on the street, he says no, but his friend does. His friend walks over and Sam tells him Nick grew up there and the boy says, you are the writer dude, Nick says that's right and the boy says his mom read the book and said it was mostly crap. Nick tells the boys he will see them later and walks up to the door and rings the doorbell. His father, The Commander, opens the door and is surprised, Nick asks if Ronnie told him that he was coming home and his dad says no. Ronnie comes home and says Nicky and hugs him.
Now Nick is on the street and sees Owen, who introduces him to his wife, Alison, and their two children. Nick and Owen enter a cafe and Owen thanks Nick for going easy on him in the book. Nick says he just wants to say sorry, because he hurt everyone in his book, Owen says the only way he could hurt him is by taking the cheese out of his doodles. Ray Cataldo (a.k.a. Big Cat) walks up to them and Nick asks how he's doing, Big Cat says he isn't famous like Nick, but he is rich. Owen says Big Cat is the man now, Concrete Castle King, putting up buildings all over the place. Next to Big Cat is two young boys, Nick asks if they are his kids, he says yeah, Thursdays and every other weekend. Big Cat walks off and Owen says he still makes him nervous. Sam walks in, and his mom follows, who we see is Hannah. Nick says hello and she tells him she didn't know he was back. Owen and Sam walk away from them, and Nick tells Hannah that Sam is pretty amazing, and he didn't know that she was a mom. She says that he missed a lot of things when he vanished. She says it was two weeks before her 18th birthday when he left, and she remembers getting roses and thinking they were for her birthday, but they weren't, they were a goodbye present. He says he can explains, and she says no and he should go, she asks if he is staying long and he tells her he is leaving Sunday. He asks Hannah how old Sam is, and she says he turns 10 in two months. Sam then leaves and Hannah follows, but before she walks through the door she says "Don't worry, he's not yours".
At Drufesne, Nick walks onto the auditorium stage. The light is on him and he looks into the crownd and he turns around and runs out. Meanwhile, Hannah is at Sulley's Tavern, talking with her friend Janet. She tells her she feels 18 and scared again.
Back at the auditorium, Nick walks in and it is empty except for one girl, Aubrey. She says the others left and he asks howcome, she tells him because it is difficult to learn from a teacher that fled the room. She says she never read his book. He says he would have introduced himself to the class but his throat tightened...and he thought someone slipped him a peanut. He explains that he and all the Garrett men have bad nut allergies and a great great grandfather of his was killed in the Civil War, by a cashew. She asks why he ran out, and he says because he couldn't share wisdom, and he couldn't inspire.
Nick goes to a house and calls for Eddie, but Phil answers him back. Nick apologizes for his book, but Phil says he doesn't have room in his heart for anger. Then Nick asks him what he's been up to and Phil tells him he has not left the house for 5 years, since September 11th. Then Owen and Ikey come in and Ikey tells him he read his book three times, but still cant figure out what character he is. Nick says that's because there was no character based on him. Ikey says "Now I'm really pissed!". Nick says if he had a time machine he would go back 3 years and stop himself from writing the book. Then Owen tells Ikey "It's time" and Nick asks what going on. Owen says that it is 3 o'clock on a Saturday, and they finally got the band back together. Nick says no we did not get the band back together. Phil gives him a tennis racket and tell him its his. Nick's surprised that he kept it. Phil says he knew Nick couldn't stay away forever, and Owen says that he did a good job of trying. Then Owen turns on a song and they all have "instruments" (hairbrushes, rackets, drum sticks with no drums, etc.) and they lip sync. Owen calls Nick over and he is laughing and saying no. Eddie drives up, and says "dorks" while watching from outside.
The Commander, Ronnie, and Nick are all sitting in the entertainment room (that used to be Nick's room) and Nick tells Ronnie he has been thinking about Sam, and how he wonders if he is his father. Ronnie says a guy from Boston is Sam's father and Nick asks why he never told him and Ronnie says it isn't something you say over the phone.
Nick is walking and runs into Hannah, she says he scared her and he says sorry he was just in the neighborhood. He asks if her parents still live there, and he says they moved away 5 years ago, and its just her and Sam now. He tells her it is still 547 steps from his house to hers, and she asks if he thought it would be different. She says things change, and mentions the book, before he can say anything she says, "I loved it, truely, but tell me, when you came up with the character of the pathetic hometown girl left behind, did you have to name her Anna?" He says "Anna is not you", and she says "Page 44, third paragraph, I commited it to memory", then quotes the book. He says he just wrote the book, and didn't think it would be published, then he tried to change the names but they wouldn't let him. He says he is truely sorry. He asks where Sam is and she says doing his homework. Big Cat walks up and kisses Hannah, and says "Surprised Garret?", he says he is shocked. Big Cat walks off and Hannah says its like she said, things change.
Nick goes to Owen's house and watches him as he plays with his son while giving him a bath. Owen tells Nick that is why you do it. Then they go to a bar and run into Aubrey, who is with a friend named Ian. Ian asks some questions about Nick's book. Eddie gets into a fight with Ian and Nick stops him. Nick takes Eddie home says he never came home because before she passed away, his mother, told him that he should never settle for less and it didn't feel right to go back home. Eddie tells Nick he really missed him but they can never, ever be friends again.
The next day Nick is driving and having flashbacks from the last time he was in town when he sees Sam riding by on his bike, on a paper route. Nick asks him what he thinks of his mom's boyfriend and he answers "He's okay, I guess, although sometimes I think he's trying to murder me." Nick asks what he means and Sam says he makes his lunches, which is nice, but he forgets and makes him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and if he takes one bite, he will be a goner, because he has a peaunut allergy. Nick pauses and Sam asks if he's okay, and Nick says yes. Then Sam offers Nick his sandwich and Nick says no because he doesn't like jelly. Nick then calls his agent and tells him he's going to hate it, but he is staying in Ridge for a while because he doesn't want to walk away a second time.
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