EXT. THE HORTON HOUSE - NIGHT
JACK is sitting in a rented car, parked from across the house. He has just driven from the airport and has been rehearsing what he will say to JENNIFER once they come face to face again. They have not seen each other in almost a month because Jack had been away, and when he had come home to their house in Capetown, he had discovered that JENNIFER had disappeared with ABBY.
He gets out of the car and walks slowly towards the house, then rings the doorbell.
JENNIFER (VO): I got it, Grandma...
The door swings open and JACK and JENNIFER come face to face, neither able to say anything for a few moments. He is relieved to see she is all right, but then remembers how he had felt when he realized she and ABBY had left, and he becomes angry again.
JENNIFER: (flustered--she is surprised to see him) Jack... What... what are you doing here?
JACK: Don't you think I should be the one posing that question, Jennifer? You're the one who-
JENNIFER: Would you please keep your voice down?
She slips outside and shuts the door behind her.
JENNIFER: Abby is sleeping already, and I don't want you to wake her and get her all upset!
JACK: You don't want... (laughs incredulously) You disappear with my daughter one night without telling me and you're telling me to keep my voice down? How the hell am I not supposed to be upset-
JENNIFER: Jack, please! Stop it--she's going to hear you! Do you want her to wake up crying?
JACK: No... Of course I don't want to make her cry...
JENNIFER: (quietly) Thank you. (beat) How did you know I was here?
JACK: How do you think? I was frantic in Africa--no one there knew where you were, not even your father! I called everybody we knew and thank God I got a hold of your grandmother. If it hadn't been for her, your father and I would have rounded up the entire Capetown police force looking for you two.
JENNIFER takes a shaky breath and tears begin to form in her eyes.
JENNIFER: I'm sorry, Jack, I shouldn't have--I shouldn't have just left like that and worried you and Dad... I was going to call you, but I just needed some time-
JACK: (doesn't want to hear her explanation right now) Is Abigail all right?
JENNIFER: Yes... Yes, of course, she's all right, Jack. I would never let anything happen to her--you know that.
JACK: I want to see her. (realizes that may have sounded harsh, tries to soften his tone) First thing tomorrow morning-
JENNIFER: (cutting him off with a nod) Fine. You'll see her. But Jack, there is a reason I left. Maybe I shouldn't have run off the way I did-
JENNIFER: Look, I know I shouldn't have let you worry like that, all right? But listen to me--we have problems, Jack. Big problems. We tried it your way, we ran away to Africa to leave the past behind, but you know what? It's still there. The past is still there, and things are going to have to change. (beat) For Abby's sake.
JACK feels guilty, seeing that he has hurt her deeply--again.
JENNIFER: We can't keep doing this, Jack. This same old dance we always do, it can't keep happening. It is hurting our daughter, don't you see that? And I won't let anyone or anything hurt her...
JACK tries to say something, but can't.
JENNIFER: You'll see her tomorrow. But things... they are going to have to be different from here on out.
JENNIFER goes back inside and JACK watches her, feeling like his whole world has just collapsed.
INT. JENNIFER'S BEDROOM - LATER
JENNIFER hears a faint knock at the door. After a few moments, the knock comes again, more urgent this time.
ALICE (VO): Jennifer Rose?
JENNIFER smiles and goes to open the door.
JENNIFER: Hey, Grandma... Come on in...
ALICE hesitates at first, but JENNIFER takes her hand and gently leads her in.
ALICE: I didn't wake you, did I?
JENNIFER: No, of course not, Grandma! (beat) I've got a lot on my mind. I doubt I'll be getting to sleep tonight anytime soon...
ALICE: (knowing JENNIFER is talking about her encounter with JACK) Oh darling... I'm sorry to have interfered with you and Jack by telling him you were here, but he was so out of his mind with worry, I just couldn't let him go on like that-
JENNIFER: No, no, you did the right thing, you did... I'm glad you told him...
JENNIFER: (smiling because her grandmother knows her so well) But him being here... It complicates things.
ALICE: Darling, I thought you were angry at him for being away in Africa? And now he's here--isn't that what you wanted?
JENNIFER doesn't know how to answer her.
ALICE has just asked JENNIFER why she isn't happy that Jack has come back when this is what she had wanted.
ALICE: Isn't this what you wanted all along, darling? For him to come home?
JENNIFER: (softly) Oh Grandma, I wish it could be that simple with Jack... (beat) But with him, nothing ever is.
ALICE: You didn't answer me, Jennifer Rose. He's finally back--so why are you still so angry?
JENNIFER: I'm not angry, Grandma, I'm... sad. I'm frustrated, I'm disappointed...
She catches a glimpse of her wedding ring. She is still wearing it, even though they had not gotten around to getting married again after JACK came back. She remembers when he asked her and ABBY to move to Africa with him.
FLASHBACK - FIVE YEARS EARLIER
INT. JACK AND JENNIFER'S HOUSE - DAY
JACK and JENNIFER have finally worked through their problems and gotten back together, nearly a year after JACK returned. JACK has just made a bold suggestion about their future that takes JENNIFER by surprise.
JENNIFER: Jack, I don't know... I don't know if we're ready to do this, I mean, we just... we just got back together... Don't you think that we might be rushing into this?
JACK: (smiling to reassure her) Well it's not like we've always done things the traditional way, Miss Horton.
JENNIFER: (grinning back at him) That's Mrs. Deveraux to you. I never did change my name back.
JACK: I stand corrected. (beat) Jennifer, this is our chance to start over again. It's our chance to wipe the slate clean and leave all the pain and mistakes behind us... Don't you want that too?
JENNIFER: Of course I do, Jack, but-
JACK: (cutting her off before she can protest any further) We'll be working together just like the old days. And we'll take this slowly, as slowly as we need to. And when we feel it's the right time... (says the next thing carefully, because he's not sure how she'll react) we'll get married again... You--you know, I mean-
JENNIFER laughs at his nervousness. She smiles at him to let him know he didn't say anything wrong.
JENNIFER: I like that idea.
JACK: (relieved) And we'll be a family. We'll be a family again.
JENNIFER: (softly) That's all I've ever wanted.
JACK moves in closer and brushes the hair out of her eyes, then cups her face in his hands.
JACK: God knows I've made my share of mistakes. I know... I know how lucky I am that you saw past all of them, Jennifer. Any other woman would have left a long time ago, but you stuck around. You... you stuck by me-
JENNIFER: I'm stubborn, remember? Always have been, always will be.
JACK: (smiling) Thank goodness that never changed.
JENNIFER: Famous last words.
JACK: (leans in and whispers) I am going make this up to you. I promise, Miss Hort--Jennifer... I promise I will never leave you and Abigail again. I will never hurt you two like that ever again.
BACK TO PRESENT DAY
JENNIFER: I really tried to make this work, Grandma. I did. When Jack came back, I was angry at first, but I knew I loved him and wanted him back in my life. And I wanted Abby to have her father back again. So against my better judgment, I just ran away with him. I really thought it was going to work, that we were going to put our marriage back together.
ALICE: But, darling, I thought you had finally worked things out between you two? Abby was healthy, Jack had dealt with his guilt, and you two were going to be together again, as a family...
JENNIFER: I thought so too...
JENNIFER turns to look at ALICE and catches a glimpse of the ivory brush that Jack had bought her in Kenya. She swallows hard to keep from crying.
JENNIFER: I thought it was really going to be forever this time, Grandma. The way it was supposed to be for us. And it was at first. Those first few years in Africa, it was wonderful. We were happy, Abby was happy... But then things started to change again...
ALICE: In what way?
JENNIFER: (hastens to change the subject because she doesn't want to talk about this anymore) Grandma, the bottom line is, he let me and Abby down. Again and again. How much more of that do I take before I say enough is enough?
ALICE: Answer me one question, Jennifer Rose. Do you still love him?
JENNIFER: (softly) Yes. I'll always love him. That's never going to change, but-
ALICE: No buts, darling. If you love him, then you hang onto that and you two will find a way to make things work. You always have.
JENNIFER: Grandma, love isn't enough. (surprised to hear herself saying these words) Yes, I love him--and I will love him till the day I die, but that is not the issue here.
ALICE: You loved him enough to work things out before--what's different now?
JENNIFER: You know what, Grandma? If it were just me, I would go back to him right now. I would run to him and I would tell him none of this matters and I'd let him back into my life just like I always do. But Grandma, it isn't just me anymore. I have Abby to think about, and I won't let her be hurt because her parents just can't seem to get it right.
ALICE: Oh darling, you don't mean that-
JENNIFER: Yes, I do... I don't want to have to be the one to tell her that her daddy cancelled their safari trip because he's away in God knows where and I have no idea when he'll be back. I won't be the one to look at her face when Jack decides to leave again without telling us where he'll be, and I won't be the one to hold her when she cries herself to sleep because she misses him so much. I can't do that to her anymore.
ALICE: Jennifer Rose, at least talk to Jack. Tell him all this-
JENNIFER: Grandma, it's too late. If he doesn't know this by now--if he hasn't learned yet to put us first in his life, then I can't play this game anymore. It's only going to hurt Abby...
ALICE takes JENNIFER in her arms and lets her cry.
JENNIFER: It hurts right now, but I know it's for the best... I can't let Jack Deveraux back in my life again. I won't...
END EPISODE 1