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In This Life

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EPISODE 9

SCENE 1

EXT. SALEM PLACE - DAY (A FEW DAYS AFTER EPISODE 8)

JACK is standing outside the ladies room waiting for ABBY to come out. As he is waiting for her, he is thinking about the proposal that JENNIFER made for the three of them to move in together. JACK isn't sure whether or not to say yes. Deep down, he wants them all to be together again, but part of him still wants to keep his distance from JENNIFER during this time because he is scared to be vulnerable and ask for her help.

ABBY finally comes out of the bathroom, while JACK is still in deep thought.

ABBY: Daddy, I'm ready...

JACK does not answer, so ABBY tugs on his sleeve.

JACK: (suddenly notices her) All done?

ABBY nods, and the crown that she is wearing that JACK had bought for her starts to slip off her head, but she catches it and pushes it back into place.

ABBY: (matter-of-factly) All done, Daddy. I told you there was nothing to worry about--I can go to the bathroom all by myself. I wasn't going to get lost.

JACK: (amused by her spunk) It's a daddy's prerogative to worry, sweetheart. (touches her crown affectionately) Look at you--you look so pretty with this on. Very regal, just like a real princess.

ABBY: (giggling) You're so silly, Daddy.

JACK: You think I'm silly? (he bends down to her eye level and taps her on the nose) Yeah, I guess I am deep down, aren't I? But only around special people like you-

ABBY: And Mommy?

JACK is caught off guard by her question.


SCENE 2

INT. BO AND HOPE'S HOUSE - SAME

JENNIFER is visiting with HOPE. She is standing at the fireplace, thinking about the time she, JACK, and ABBY lived in this house. HOPE comes downstairs after putting J.T. to sleep and sees JENNIFER lost in her thoughts.

HOPE: Well, I finally got the little guy to sleep...

JENNIFER does not hear her.

HOPE: (slightly amused) Jen? Hello? Paging Jennifer Deveraux...

HOPE taps JENNIFER on the shoulder to get her attention.

JENNIFER: Hmm? (embarrassed) I'm sorry, Hope... I was, um... a little distracted just now... Gosh, I seem to be off in my own world a lot these days...

HOPE: (smiling) I can see that... Look, it's all right, there's no need to apologize. I can imagine it still must be strange being here, huh? With all the memories this house has for you?

JENNIFER: Yeah... (she begins to trace the sides of the mantle) I remember our first Christmas here. This is where we hung our stockings, and over there was where we put up the mistletoe... Abby was just two months old, but Jack insisted that we go all out in celebrating. Everyone wondered how the holiday spirit suddenly got into him, but he wanted nothing but the best for his daughter's 'first yuletide.' (laughs at the memory) I think he even willed it to snow that night just so we'd have a White Christmas...

HOPE: I wish I had been around to see that. You guys must have been so happy then.

JENNIFER: We were, Hope, we really were... We had this brand new, beautiful baby girl who was happy and healthy, this house that Dad gave us, and... we were together. It was just like the perfect family that I always dreamed of when I was growing up... I finally had my perfect family...

HOPE sees how much JENNIFER is hurting and wants to help her.

HOPE: Oh, Jen... (takes JENNIFER'S hand and leads her to the couch) Look, honey, I know this is none of my business, and I have no right to pry, but-

JENNIFER: Don't be silly, it's not prying where you're concerned, Hope. You're like my sister, you know that.

HOPE: I'm glad you think so. Because I'm here for you. (beat) I've seen how torn up you've been ever since you got back from Africa a few weeks ago. I didn't want to push you before you were ready to open up, but... it's obvious whatever happened between you and Jack must have been pretty painful.

JENNIFER'S eyes begin to water. She tries to wipe her eyes as casually as she can without HOPE noticing, but HOPE does notice.

JENNIFER: (laughing softly) I guess I didn't hide my misery very well, did I?

HOPE: The truth? Um... no, not really... (laughs)

JENNIFER: (quietly) Jack always did say I wore my heart on my sleeve...

HOPE: Jen... What happened?

JENNIFER looks at HOPE and asks herself the same question.


SCENE 3

CUT TO: JACK AND ABBY

ABBY has just brought up JENNIFER in their conversation, and JACK is immediately uncomfortable talking about her with ABBY. He knows the situation is delicate, and he does not want to confuse or mislead ABBY because he does not know where things stand between him and JENNIFER.

ABBY: You like being silly with Mommy too, right?

JACK: (spots an ice cream cart up ahead, changes the subject) Tell you what, princess, what do you say I get you an ice cream cone? But just one--I don't want you spoiling your dinner.

ABBY: (excited) Can I have Rocky Road?

JACK is relieved she did not continue to ask questions about him and JENNIFER. He takes ABBY'S hand and they walk to the ice cream cart as ABBY swings their arms back and forth.

JACK: (in mock horror, as they are walking) Rocky Road? Don't you want something more decadent, like... Caramel Pecan, or Mocha Almond Fudge...

ABBY wrinkles her nose.

JACK: Rocky Road it is. (to the vendor) Double scoop of Rocky Road for Her Highness over here...

VENDOR: Coming right up! (to ABBY) Well, what an honor to be serving royalty today. (bows) It's not every day I get to meet a real princess.

ABBY is delighted and begins to curtsy, but JACK stops her.

JACK: Abigail, rule number one--royalty does not bow or curtsy. Only their subjects do.

ABBY: (giggling) Okay, Daddy.

VENDOR: Here you go, Your Highness... (bows again before handing the ice cream cone to JACK) Double scoop of Rocky Road--in a waffle cone. (to JACK) No extra charge.

JACK: Thank you. (hands it to ABBY, and they begin to walk towards a bench)

ABBY: (as they are walking) Daddy?

JACK: Yes, Abigail?

ABBY: I'm glad Mommy let us have a day for ourselves.

JACK smiles, and he sits down on the bench then has ABBY sit on his lap.

JACK: Me too, princess. (looks at her in wonder, then begins to play with her hair) I've missed you so much, you know that? It was like... like I was missing a piece of my heart... (beat) I know I haven't been around much-

ABBY: It's okay, Daddy, you don't have to explain.

JACK: I don't?

ABBY: (shakes her head) No, Mommy explained it to me already...

JACK feels guilty and wonders what JENNIFER told ABBY when they were in Africa.


SCENE 4

CUT TO: JENNIFER AND HOPE

HOPE has just asked JENNIFER what happened to break her and JACK up and caused JENNIFER to come home to Salem without him.

HOPE: When you guys left here five years ago, you looked so happy and in love--it gave me hope that Bo and I might have a chance too, someday. You guys looked like you had finally put the pain behind you. (beat) What happened?

JENNIFER: Good question. Unfortunately, the answer isn't so simple, Hope.

HOPE: No, it never is, is it?

JENNIFER: (getting up off the couch to walk over to the window) Things were simple, once... Like on the island...

HOPE: (smiles at the memory) You know what I remember so well from the island?

JENNIFER: What?

HOPE: The time we were talking on the beach, and I was telling you how scared I was that we might never get home--I'll never forget what you said to me. You told me that even though you knew how serious everything was and that you knew you should be scared, you weren't. You and Jack had finally found something so special you knew it would get you through whatever came along. I knew then and there you guys would make it work no matter what, Jen. I just hope you haven't forgotten that.

JENNIFER: (quietly) No, I haven't forgotten. But so much has happened to us since then, Hope, and... sometimes I wonder if we really can...

HOPE: Jen, what happened in Africa? What changed?

JENNIFER: At first things were perfect. They were really incredible, Hope. It really did feel like a new beginning for us, and after everything that had gone on, we were finally on the right track.

HOPE: But?

JENNIFER: But... about a year ago, Jack started acting strange. I knew something was bothering him, but he wouldn't talk to me about it. And then he started to disappear. He would leave for weeks at a time and wouldn't tell me where he was going, just that he would be home soon, and-

HOPE: And that's why you left. (shakes her head) No wonder you left him, Jen-

JENNIFER: No, Hope, you don't understand...

HOPE looks at JENNIFER in curiosity.


SCENE 5

CUT TO: JACK AND ABBY

ABBY has told JACK that JENNIFER had tried to explain his absences in Africa, and JACK wonders what JENNIFER had said.

JACK: Mommy explained things to you, huh?

ABBY: (nodding) Uh huh... She told me that you had to do important things, but you didn't really like being away from us either.

JACK looks at her with love and tenderly brushes the hair out of her eyes.

JACK: No, I didn't, Abigail. I hated being away from you and Mommy. Hated every single minute of it. (he cups her face in his hands) I want you to know one thing. Nothing is more important to me than you are, all right? I don't want you to ever forget that, sweetheart. (beat) Promise me you'll never forget that.

ABBY: I won't, Daddy. I promise.

She snuggles up to him and puts her arms around his neck. JACK cradles her, marveling at how much he loves her. He thinks back to what his life had been like before JENNIFER came, and how he was a different person back then, who never thought he would find anyone to love or love him in return, and who never thought he would be a father.

ABBY: Daddy?

JACK: Yes?

ABBY: I'm glad you came back to us.

JACK looks at her in surprise and feels guilty for all the times he had been gone from ABBY'S life.

JACK: I will never leave you, Abigail. Never.

ABBY: Promise?

JACK: I promise. (touches her hair again) You know, when you were really little and you were sick, I made myself another promise. I promised myself that I would never let anything hurt you again. You know that, don't you? You know I would do anything to make sure you're happy?

ABBY: I know. Because you love me, right?

JACK: More than anything in this world.

ABBY: I love you too, Daddy. (tilts her head to look up at him) Can I ask you a question?

JACK: Anything.

ABBY: Do you and Mommy still love each other, like you love me?

JACK is taken back by her question.

JACK: (after some silence) Yes, Abigail. Mommy and I... We'll always love each other. Just like we'll always love you.

ABBY: Then why did Mommy leave with me? Why aren't we going to be a family anymore, Daddy?

JACK: (wishing he knew what to tell her) Sweetheart, sometimes grown-ups do things that won't make sense to you right now. But when you get older, you'll understand...

ABBY: Would it be okay if I wished for it? Can I still wish we could be a family again?

JACK kisses her forehead.

JACK: (quietly) Maybe you can wish it for both of us.


SCENE 6

CUT TO: JENNIFER AND HOPE

HOPE has just figured out why JENNIFER left JACK in Africa, but JENNIFER tries to explain that things are not what they seem.

JENNIFER: Hope, no, things are more complicated than you think...

HOPE: What is complicated about this? He promised you he'd never leave you again and then he starts flaking on you again-

JENNIFER: He... he had a good reason...

HOPE: Jen, what possible excuse is there to leave you feeling neglected all the time? To leave you alone in a foreign place with a young child like that? Look, you know I love Jack, but let's face it, he hasn't had the best track record as far as sticking around goes. If you were afraid of him running out on you again, it would only be natural-

JENNIFER: But I was wrong...

HOPE: (confused) What do you mean you were wrong?

JENNIFER: I thought the same things you did, Hope. I thought he was playing the same games he used to before, and that Abby and I were just going to end up being hurt again... And yes, that's why I left Africa, because I didn't want Abby to grow up in a home where Daddy would be off somewhere, gone at a moment's notice--and maybe wouldn't come back at all.

HOPE: You did the right thing, Jen. Your daughter comes first and if you feel like she's going to suffer because of Jack's behavior, then you had to do what you had to do-

JENNIFER: (quietly) Except I didn't know the truth.

HOPE: The truth?

JENNIFER: Hope, he... Well, I guess it's going to come out sooner or later. Jack said it would be fine for me to tell family as long as this was kept quiet...

HOPE: Jen, what's going on?

JENNIFER: You... you know that Jack was sick once, right? That he had... Hodgkin's Disease about thirteen years ago?

JENNIFER'S eyes begin to fill with tears. She can not keep herself from crying now, and HOPE'S eyes widen as she realizes what JENNIFER is saying.

HOPE: Oh my God, are you saying...

JENNIFER: Apparently the chemotherapy he had back then caused another cancer to develop later on. (beat) He's got a form of leukemia. Dad... Dad was the one who diagnosed him...

HOPE: Oh, Jen, I'm so sorry... You must be... I can't even imagine what you're going through right now...

JENNIFER: (shaking her head) Jack's the one I'm worried about. Whatever I'm dealing with is nothing compared to what he has to.

HOPE: But this has to be killing you too, isn't it?

She takes JENNIFER in her arms and JENNIFER finally begins to sob.

JENNIFER: Oh God, Hope, what if he doesn't beat this? All this time... all this time I took for granted that he would always be around... Even when I left Africa, and I told myself this was really it between us, I always thought in the back of my mind that... he'd be there... But what if...

HOPE: Shh... He needs you stay positive right now. You have to believe he'll get better if you want to help him-

JENNIFER: That's just it, though. He doesn't want my help. That's why he shut me out when he found out--that's why he's still so distant with me. (sighs) No wonder he thinks my idea is so nuts-

HOPE: Whoa, wait, back up--what idea?

JENNIFER: Well, given the way things are between us... Jack wanted to get this custody issue settled...

HOPE: Custody issue? You mean you two aren't going to try to work things out now that the truth is out in the open?

JENNIFER: (shakes her head) I don't... Look, the state of our marriage--our relationship--has to wait right now. The only thing Jack should be focusing on is getting better, and I'm not about to pressure him about us...

HOPE: So what is this idea of yours that's so nuts?

JENNIFER: Well we had been going around in circles about Abby. We agreed to share custody of her, but I wondered how good it would be for her to be shuttled back and forth between her parents, and... I think Jack really needs to spend as much time with her as he can, so... I suggested that we all... move in together. Jack, Abby, and... me.

HOPE: Oh, Jen...

JENNIFER: I know what you're going to say. I know, this is insane after everything that's happened, but-

HOPE: (smiling) That's not what I was going to say.

JENNIFER: It wasn't?

HOPE: No. I was going to say I don't think it's crazy. I think you're trying to do what's best for your daughter--and for Jack. And I know he won't let you in right now, but... at least you'll be able to be around him right now. Even if he can't ask for your help I'm sure it would mean a lot for you to just be there.

JENNIFER: You really think so?

HOPE: I know so.

JENNIFER: I hope so. (looks at her watch) Oh my gosh, I need to get going. Jack should be dropping Abby off any minute now, and he told me he'd have an answer for me today on my 'proposal.' I just hope it's the answer I'm hoping for.

HOPE: I hope so too, Jen. Just promise me one thing, all right?

JENNIFER: What?

HOPE: That no matter what, you won't give up hope. It'll work out, you'll see.

JENNIFER: (smiling) Yeah. I'm not giving up on him now.


SCENE 7

MUSICAL MONTAGE - BETTE MIDLER'S "IN THIS LIFE" IS PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND

EXT. SALEM PLACE - AFTERNOON

JACK and ABBY are walking together, and JACK is thinking about what he and JENNIFER have been through.

CUT TO:

INT. JENNIFER'S CAR - AFTERNOON

JENNIFER is driving home and remembering her life with JACK.

As the song plays, several images flash across the screen.

For all I've been blessed with
In this life
There was an emptiness in me
I was imprisoned
By the power of gold
With one kind touch you set me free

Their first meeting at The Spectator.

JACK giving JENNIFER her first by-line.

JENNIFER hugging JACK when he won his Ferarro Award.

Their first kiss in the secret room at STEVE'S house.

The kiss in JACK'S office when she told him she believed in him.

Let the world stop turning
Let the sun stop burning
Let them tell me love's not
Worth going through
If it all falls apart
I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered
Had come true
In this life
I was loved by you

JACK kidnapping JENNIFER in the fire truck.

JACK and JENNIFER dancing the tango on The Loretta.

The first time they make love, in the cave on the island.

For every mountain
I have climbed
For every raging river crossed
You were the treasure
That I longed to find
Without your love I would be lost

JACK and JENNIFER when they were trapped in the tunnels at Alamania.

JACK proposing to JENNIFER in the pouring rain, with the ring hidden in the jade plant.

Their wedding.

Let the world stop turning
Let the sun stop burning
Let them tell me love's not
Worth going through
If it all falls apart
I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered
Had come true
In this life
I was loved by you

The night ABBY was conceived, on the set of Ask Dr. Love.

ABBY'S birth.

I know that I won't live forever
But forever I'll be loving you...

JACK and JENNIFER screaming at airplanes on the runway.

JACK comforting JENNIFER at TOM'S funeral.

JACK and JENNIFER watching a sunset in Africa.

Let the world stop turning
Let the sun stop burning
Let them tell me love's not
Worth going through
If it all falls apart
I will know deep in my heart
The only dream that mattered
Had come true
In this life
I was loved by you

CUT TO: JACK AND ABBY AT SALEM PLACE

JACK smiles as he remembers those memories. ABBY asks to be carried, and he picks her up in his arms.

CUT TO: JENNIFER IN HER CAR

JENNIFER: (whispers) No, I'm not going to give up on you, Jack...

END EPISODE 9

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