INT. HORTON KITCHEN - DAY (SAME DAY AS EPISODE 2)
JENNIFER has been reassuring ABBY that whatever problems she and JACK are having, they will never change the fact that they will love ABBY forever. ABBY is still sitting on JENNIFER'S lap, and JENNIFER gently pats her on the back.
JENNIFER: Baby, your pancakes are getting cold.
ABBY scoots back to her own seat.
JENNIFER: Do you feel better now?
ABBY: Uh huh... What about you, Mommy, do you feel better now too?
JENNIFER is amused, but touched by ABBY'S concern. She reaches over to cup ABBY'S chin.
JENNIFER: (smiles) Now that you're feeling better, I couldn't be happier.
The doorbell rings, interrupting them.
ABBY: (starting to get up) I'll get it-
JENNIFER: Nice try, young lady, but you stay put and finish your breakfast. I'll get it.
ABBY: (sighs dramatically, then breaks out in a mischievous grin) Okay, Mommy.
JENNIFER smiles at the fact that ABBY seems to have inherited both her parents' deviousness.
She goes to open the door. JACK stands there and an awkward moment passes between them as both remember their fight last night.
JACK: (tries to be cheerful) Good morning.
JENNIFER: (softly) Hi, Jack...
JACK clears his throat and sticks his hands in his pockets. JENNIFER notices he is wearing the dark blue suit that is her favorite, and she can't help but smile.
JACK: Uh... Jennifer?
JENNIFER gets embarrassed and tries to regain her composure.
JACK: I know we've had many a conversation at doorways, and in fact, we're rather good at them, but... I was hoping you'd let me in this time...
JENNIFER: (suddenly realizing they hadn't moved from their spot, laughing nervously) Oh, right, of course... I'm sorry...
They come in, and both are nervous, not wanting to have another blowup like the one last night, but both also still angry at the other over the events of the last few weeks.
JACK: Abigail's not still asleep, is she?
ABBY is finished eating her breakfast and is coming into the living room to see who was at the door.
ABBY: (seeing JACK) Daddy!!!
JACK'S face lights up when he sees her. He bends down and holds out his arms, ready for an embrace. ABBY runs over to him and nearly topples him over with her momentum.
ABBY: You're here!!
They regain their balance and JACK keeps holding onto her tightly, as if he's afraid she'll vanish if he lets go. His eyes are closed and he is content to savor the moment.
JACK: (whispering) Abigail... I've missed you so much...
ABBY: (pulling away slightly so she can look at his face) I've missed you too, Daddy. I knew you'd find me! I knew you'd be here! You wouldn't miss my birthday!
JACK: No, there's no place else I'd rather be. I wouldn't miss your birthday for anything in the world, Abigail.
JACK: (smiles and taps her on the nose) Really. Cross my heart.
ABBY throws her arms around JACK again.
ABBY: Good. Because I'm not going to let you go ever again, Daddy!
JACK feels guilty for having been gone too often in the last few months and wishes he hadn't had to be away so much. He does not want to disappoint ABBY again.
JENNIFER is watching them, letting them have their moment. She is torn because she can see how much JACK loves ABBY and she wants ABBY to have a good relationship with him, but she is also afraid that JACK will leave again sooner or later and ABBY will keep getting hurt and may grow to resent JACK.
She remembers the last few months with JACK being gone all the time and she gets angry once again, but doesn't say anything.
JACK: So don't tell me you've already got the gala of the year all planned out. There's still some things left for me to do, right?
ABBY: Sure, Daddy-
JENNIFER: Uh, sweetie... Don't forget, we promised Hope we'd go see Shawn-D's basketball game, remember? She and Bo will be picking us up in an hour, so maybe you should get dressed, huh?
ABBY nods and starts to go up the stairs.
JACK: (to JENNIFER, so ABBY does not hear) You didn't tell me I'd only have an hour with her.
JENNIFER: (to JACK) You didn't ask. (noticing that ABBY has stopped and is watching them) Go on, baby.
ABBY: You won't go anywhere, will you Daddy?
JACK: No, of course not, Abigail. I'll be right here until you come down. Promise.
ABBY: (smiling) Great, I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere!
JACK watches her go up the stairs, then turns back to JENNIFER.
JACK: Thank you. For letting me see her. It means the world to me, Jennifer...
JENNIFER: She loves you, Jack... (feeling guilty for not telling him about the basketball game) And, look, why don't you come with us to the game? That way you'll get to spend some time with her?
JACK: (grateful) I'd like that. (beat) I've really missed her.
JENNIFER: She's really missed you too. She's been waiting to see you for almost a month now.
JACK: So have I--I've been dying to see her-
JENNIFER: (starting to get angry again, remembering how he would be gone all the time, cuts him off) But you were gone all this time, yes, I remember. (looks upstairs and sighs, then gestures towards the kitchen) I don't want her to hear us.
JACK follows JENNIFER into the kitchen. He knows the walls between them are back up and they are back to where they were last night.
JACK: I'm not here to argue with you, Jennifer. I'm here to see our daughter.
JENNIFER: Oh, well I'm glad you remember her, Jack...
JACK: (defensive) What is that supposed to mean?
JENNIFER: It means this was the fifth time in six months that you had pulled this disappearing act, Jack. This time it was three weeks, last time it was two weeks, one time it was six weeks-
JACK once again feels guilty for having been away so often.
JACK: (softly) You know you two mean more to me than anything in this world-
JENNIFER: Oh really? Is that why every time we turned around, you were gone?
JACK: It couldn't be helped. (beat) I had important things to do-
The comment feels like a slap in the face to JENNIFER.
JENNIFER: More important than your family?
JACK: (knowing that came out the wrong way) Don't put words in my mouth, Jennifer. That's not what I am saying at all!
JENNIFER: (letting loose all the frustration of the last few months) And don't make me look like a fool, Jack Deveraux. You promised! You promised it would be different this time around, that you would never leave us again, and-
JACK: And I kept that promise. (quietly) I did. (beat) We were in Africa together, as a family, and I swear to you I did everything in my power to keep in that way!
JENNIFER: Yeah, in the beginning, maybe... But you then started pulling away from me--even before these disappearing acts, Jack. It was like ten years ago all over again, and when I tried to talk to you, you would just push me away. (she is crying now) What was I supposed to think?
JACK: (softly) I never wanted to hurt you and Abigail... (this is killing him to see her cry) I promised you I'd love you both forever, and I kept that promise...
JENNIFER: You know what Jack? Someone wise once told me that love just isn't enough sometimes.
JACK is hurt and surprised that she would use his words against him like this. JENNIFER instantly feels guilty for doing so.
JACK: Look, I know you're angry that I had to go away sometimes, but you have to trust me when I tell you I had a good reason-
JENNIFER: How am I supposed to do that, Jack? You want me to trust that you have a good reason, but you can't even trust me to tell me what it is...
JACK: I know it's asking a lot-
JENNIFER: Yes, Jack, it is. It's asking too much. It took everything in me to get past you leaving us the first time. (beat) Please don't ask me to keep doing it.
JACK sees that she is still deeply hurt over what him leaving seven years ago and he wishes he could undo all the pain he's caused her.
JACK: (quietly) It's always going to come back to that, isn't it?
JENNIFER doesn't say anything. She thought they had worked through this already, and she too is surprised that she brought this up again.
JACK: Are you going to keep me from seeing Abigail?
JENNIFER can not give him an answer.
END EPISODE 3