INT. VERN'S KITCHEN - DAY (THE DAY AFTER EPISODE 1)
JACK is sitting at the table with his head in his hands. VERN comes up behind him.
VERN: You look like hell, Jack.
JACK: (annoyed) Why thank you for your brutal frankness, Vern.
VERN hands Jack a mug with, don't believe everything you read, written on the side of it. VERN laughs.
VERN: It was a gag gift.
JACK gives him a sarcastic laugh and takes a sip of the coffee. He tries not to grimace when he tastes how watered down it is. He sets the mug back down and begins to rub at his temples.
JACK: Well I suppose it's only fitting that I look the way I feel right now.
VERN: Didn't get much sleep last night, did you?
JACK shakes his head.
VERN: Yeah I guess you'd still be jet-lagged after traveling all day yesterday.
JACK: (not very convincingly) Yes. Jet-lagged...
VERN: Hey, why don't you go back to bed, huh? Jenny-girl will understand if you go there a little later, I'm sure-
JACK: No! (instantly feels guilty for having snapped at VERN) Look, I haven't seen my daughter in four weeks and I want to be there as soon as she wakes up. (beat) I don't care if I do feel like a semi just ran over me.
VERN holds up his hands in surrender.
VERN: All right, boss, sheesh! Just trying to be the good host and all.
JACK: (muttering) I'm sorry... I don't suppose I'm being the world's easiest guest right now, am I? (he sees VERN smiling and looking like he's about to say something) Don't answer that.
VERN: Look Jack, we're friends. If you need someone to talk to, I'm here.
JACK immediately gets defensive and arches an eyebrow at VERN.
JACK: What makes you think I need someone to talk to?
VERN: Even though you're a pain in the rear on a normal basis, (JACK takes offense at this statement) you've been even more of one since you got back. It doesn't take an investigative journalist to figure out something is wrong with you and Jenny-girl, so let's just say I took a wild guess. (beat) All I'm saying is I'm here if you need to get something off your chest.
JACK looks up at VERN and considers his offer.
INT. HORTON HOUSE - SAME
JENNIFER is sitting at the kitchen table alone, having pancakes. ABBY has woken up and comes in through the door.
JENNIFER: (a little startled, but happy to see her daughter) Well hey there, Sleepyhead... Grandma went with Uncle Lucas to shop for a costume for Will, so would you care to join your mom in a breakfast for two?
ABBY: (enthusiastically) Sure!
JENNIFER scoops her up in her arms. She is still a little shaken from her confrontation with JACK last night and is grateful ABBY doesn't seem to have heard any of their heated argument.
JENNIFER: Look, I made your favorite--chocolate chip pancakes.
ABBY: Ooh, with peanut butter?
JENNIFER wrinkles her nose and laughs.
JENNIFER: Peanut butter? (gets a jar from the cupboard) Sure, here you go...
ABBY takes the jar from JENNIFER and smiles, revealing a missing front tooth. JENNIFER suddenly remembers that she has forgotten to play Tooth Fairy and neglected to leave money under ABBY'S pillow.
ABBY: (dejectedly) Still nothing from the Tooth Fairy...
JENNIFER feels very guilty now.
ABBY: Maybe she can't find us--what if she thinks we're still in Africa with Daddy, and she doesn't know we came here? I think we should take out an ad in the newspaper to let her know we've moved.
JENNIFER: (amused at her daughter's thought process) Well that's very resourceful of you, Abby. Sweetie, I made sure to leave a change of address for her, though. And for the Easter Bunny and Santa too. They'll find us, I promise.
ABBY: Did you leave one for Daddy, too? He has to know where to come for my birthday, right?
JENNIFER is taken aback by ABBY'S question.
CUT TO: JACK and VERN
VERN has just told JACK that he's there for him if JACK needs to talk. JACK briefly considered talking to VERN about his problems, but now decides not to.
JACK: I appreciate the offer, Vern, but there's nothing much to say. Jennifer left me and I want to make sure I don't lose my daughter. End of story.
VERN: (under his breath) Yeah right...
JACK: (having heard him) What was that?
VERN: (trying to be dismissive) Oh nothing, nothing... It's just that it looked like you guys were finally going to make it this time.
JACK: Well what can I say, Vern, as usual I managed to mess it up.
JACK grows uncomfortable with this conversation, but VERN does not let up.
VERN: I don't believe that for a second. When you came back, you said things would be different-
JACK: Obviously I was wrong, all right? (beat) Can we drop this, please?
This has hit really close to home now, and JACK does not want to talk about this anymore.
CUT TO: JENNIFER and ABBY
ABBY has just asked JENNIFER if she told JACK where they would be. JENNIFER feels guilty and tries to think of a good answer. She does not want ABBY to think JACK is irresponsible, but is scared that ABBY will come to that conclusion on her own if JACK keeps coming in and out of her life the way he has.
JENNIFER: Sweetie, I'm sure Daddy will try his best to be here...
ABBY: Are you mad at Daddy?
JENNIFER is shocked that ABBY would ask her this. She laughs nervously to try and stall until she can think of what to say.
ABBY: Is that why we left Africa, Mommy? Are you mad at him?
JENNIFER: (smiling weakly, as she begins to play with ABBY'S hair) What would make you ask such a silly question, baby?
ABBY: (seems to pick up on her mother's attempt to downplay things) You were sad in Africa. Whenever Daddy would be gone, you would cry...
JENNIFER looks at ABBY in shock, horrified to learn that her daughter had seen her crying over JACK.
JENNIFER: Abby, come here... (she reaches over to take ABBY and place her on her lap) You know, sometimes even grownups get a little sad. Sometimes they cry too, but it's really nothing to worry about.
ABBY: You missed Daddy too, didn't you?
JENNIFER: (looking at ABBY, noticing for the first time just how much she looks like JACK) Yeah, baby, I did.
ABBY: And that's why you were mad at him?
JENNIFER: Abby, I don't want you to worry about whether Mommy or Daddy are mad at each other, okay? The only thing I want you to remember always is that Mommy and Daddy love you very, very much. And we don't want you to be sad ever. Do you understand?
ABBY nods. JENNIFER smiles, in part to reassure ABBY, but also in part to cover up her own sadness. She kisses ABBY'S forehead and thinks of how she and JACK will possibly move on from here.
CUT TO: JACK and VERN
JACK is growing uneasy with VERN'S questions about him and JENNIFER. He wants to change the subject NOW.
VERN: I'm just curious--things seemed to be going so well for you guys the last few years. You and Jenny-girl were even working together again, just like the old days.
JACK realizes he has to pounce on this chance to switch topics.
JACK: Yes, those series of freelance articles we did on Dr. Horton's program were very well received, indeed...
VERN: I know, Jack, we ran them in The Spectator and they were a huge success.
JACK: (relieved that VERN finally got the hint) Syndicated in thirty-three newspapers around the globe... (suddenly feels sad when he remembers who helped him get this success, quickly tries to cover up his sadness) You know, Time Life wants us to do a book based on these articles. They're offering quite a sizable advance, as a matter of fact.
VERN: That's fantastic!
VERN: Hey, maybe it'll be enough to buy back The Spectator after all these years, huh buddy?
JACK isn't listening to him; he is still thinking of JENNIFER.
VERN: Jack? Hello? Earth to Jack Deveraux...
JACK: Hmm? (suddenly realizing VERN is talking to him) Oh, yes... How is the old rag these days, anyway?
VERN: Jack, it hasn't been the same since you and Jenny-girl were on board. Kate hasn't exactly showered us with her attention over the last few years. The Chronicle has long caught up to us and then some.
JACK: (still bitter over KATE KIRIAKIS'S betrayal seven years ago) Yes, well I didn't think Kate would waste her time on it once she got Titan. Once she got her hands on the big prize, why would she need to bother with a small-time paper?
VERN: (taking offense) Small-time paper? Jack when you were running the show we were a well-respected, award-winning newspaper-
JACK: -that struggled to stay afloat the entire time I owned it-
VERN: -that attracted talented journalists and top-notch advertisers-
JACK: (sarcastically) Those that weren't afraid to be associated with the Deveraux name, that is.
VERN: Oh come, on, give yourself some credit. It was a damn good paper, and you know it.
JACK: (smiling) Yes... I guess it was... (beat) Well as much as I've enjoyed heading down memory lane with you, Vern, a certain fair damsel by the name of Abigail awaits and I do not want to waste a single minute more--no offense, of course.
VERN: (amused) None taken. (beat) You really love that little girl, don't you?
JACK: (softly) She's my whole life. The only truly good thing I've ever been able to do.
VERN: Aww, come on, Jack, you've done a lot of good-
JACK: (getting up to leave) Thank you for your hospitality, Vern. I shall be out of your hair tonight. It seems today is the last day of the wildly exciting accountants' convention, so the Salem Inn should have rooms available for tonight.
JACK is at the door, but stops when he hears VERN'S voice.
VERN: You're welcome to stay here, Jack--really...
JACK: Nonsense, Vern. I won't impose on you any further-
JACK turns to leave again, and just as he gets ready to turn the knob, hears VERN say his name once more.
JACK: (frustrated that he can't seem to leave) What, Vern? I really do have to go...
VERN: (worried about JACK) I just... I want to make sure you're all right. (beat) You're all right--right?
JACK: (sighs in exasperation) Aside from feeling the normal effects of traveling across several time zones in one day and trying to survive this endless conversation with you, yes. I am fine. May I go now?
VERN: Yeah, yeah, go see your daughter. I'll talk to you later.
JACK: (rolling his eyes) Yes. I'll be sure to check in with you later, Warden. (he pauses at the door, then turns to look at VERN again) Uh, Vern?
JACK: Thank you.
VERN smiles, and JACK expects him to make a wisecrack, but he doesn't.
VERN: You're welcome.
END EPISODE 2