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In This Life

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JENNIFER has just come home after talking to HOPE and notices the light blinking on the answering machine. As she goes to check the messages, she sees a note by the phone.



JENNIFER smiles, realizing this was ALICE'S way of making sure she and JACK would have plenty of privacy to talk.

JENNIFER: Very subtle, Grandma. (she looks at the answering machine) And I suppose this is you leaving the message, isn't it?

She presses play and leans on the counter as she listens.

JACK'S voice is on the first message.

JACK (VO): Jennifer, it's me...

She smiles instinctively when she hears his voice.

JACK: Listen, I know I promised to have Abigail back by 4:30, but... well, she saw this movie poster for the new Pokemon cartoon, and all right, so Shakespeare it isn't, but I suppose there are worse forms of entertainment to expose her to, and... I'll be sure to start her on Homer's Iliad as soon as I get her home to undo the damage (JENNIFER smiles at this comment), but I figured I could give into her request this one time, so uh... we'll be a little late. I'll have her there in time for dinner though, don't worry...

JENNIFER: (laughing to herself) Oh Jack, you still worry too much about her, don't you? (beat) But I wouldn't have it any other way...

The answering machine beeps to indicate a second message. JENNIFER listens as the next voice comes on.

BILL (VO): Hi Jennifer, it's Dad...

JENNIFER:(surprised to hear from him) Dad?

BILL:(sounding serious) Jack called me yesterday, and... I thought you might want to talk, so call me, all right? It doesn't matter how late it is, but I'd really like to... hear from you. Bye, sweetheart.

JENNIFER stares at the phone, debating whether or not to call. She knows why he is calling, but she is not sure she wants to speak to him right now, even though she has many things she would like to say to him. Eventually, she decides to call.

CUT TO: BILL answering the phone on the other line.

BILL: Hello?

JENNIFER: Dad, it's... me...

BILL: Jennifer Rose? Honey, I'm so glad you called-

JENNIFER: I'm sorry to wake you, I know it's really late over there...

BILL: Don't be silly, it's all right, really. I'm just... I'm just glad to hear from you. I was, uh... I was worried about you, sweetheart. Jack told me that he... told you everything...

JENNIFER: (does not want to have yet another emotional conversation about JACK right now) Yeah, he did...

BILL: (noticing her hesitation) You're mad at me for not telling you.

JENNIFER does not know how to answer him.



BILL has just noticed JENNIFER'S coolness towards him, and has asked her if she's mad at him for keeping JACK'S secret.

BILL: Honey, I don't want to push, but... I know you, and I know when you're upset. I would understand if you were angry with me-

JENNIFER doesn't want to get into this now, because she knows she'll say something she'll regret. She is mad at her father, but she feels guilty for feeling this way, so is doing her best to avoid the issue.

JENNIFER: Dad, please don't do this-

BILL: We need to talk about this, Jennifer Rose. You're angry, and-

JENNIFER: (finally letting it out) All right, yes! I am angry, okay? (regretting the outburst, but needing to get this out). I know you were doing your job, and I know you couldn't break your doctor patient confidentiality, but... Dad, he's my husband--(corrects herself)--was my husband... the father of my child... (she begins to cry softly, no longer able to hold back her emotions) All those months that he was shutting me out, or he'd be gone for weeks on end... You saw how scared I was, Dad--how confused I was, and lonely, and out of my mind with worry. I just wanted him to tell me what was wrong, but he wouldn't. And knowing that you knew that entire time and you never said a thing...

BILL: Oh honey, don't you know how much I wanted to tell you? I tried to convince Jack to tell you because I thought you should know. I wish things could have been different.

JENNIFER: (quietly) So do I. (beat) I'm sorry, Daddy-

BILL: It's all right, Jennifer. Just get it out. I know you need to get it out.

JENNIFER: I don't know, maybe I just needed to be angry at something--or someone. And you just happened to be the easiest target.

BILL: I guess I do deserve it.

JENNIFER: (feeling guilty) No, you don't. And I shouldn't even be doing this--what right do I have to be feeling sorry for myself when Jack's the one... (she can't finish the sentence)

BILL: You can't help how you feel.

JENNIFER: Dad, how I'm feeling isn't important-

BILL: It's important to me, Jennifer Rose. (beat) And I'm sure it's important to Jack.

The doorbell rings before JENNIFER has a chance to answer him.

JENNIFER: I have to go, Dad--Jack's here with Abby...

BILL: All right, honey. You'll call me if you need to talk? I'm here for you, Jennifer Rose. And please know that I'm sorry. I really am...

JENNIFER: I know. (beat) I love you.

BILL: I love you too. And remember what I said, all right? Jack's not the one going through this. You are too.

JENNIFER thinks about what BILL just said and knows he's right.



JENNIFER goes to open the front door. ABBY comes bounding in, as JACK stands, somewhat awkwardly, at the door.

ABBY: (showing off her crown) Mommy, look what Daddy bought me, look!!

JENNIFER: Oh baby, that's so pretty! I guess we'll have you call you Your Highness from now on, don't we?

ABBY giggles.

JACK: (with a grin) I think Princess Abigail does have a nice ring to it, don't you agree?

He and JENNIFER lock eyes, and for a moment it is like old times again, both forgetting about the tension that's been between them for the past few weeks. It feels good for both of them to laugh.

ABBY: Daddy, you're staying here for dinner, right?

JACK: (looking at JENNIFER for help) Uh... well, sure... if it's all right with your mother...

JENNIFER: (nodding) Of course Daddy can stay for dinner. (looks to JACK) Unless you've got other plans...

JACK: No, no... There's nothing I'd like more than to spend time with my favorite girls--girl... my favorite girl... (laughs nervously, tries to cover) in the whole wide world...

JENNIFER smiles, having noticed his slip of the tongue. JACK is embarrassed and tries to pretend all is normal, but the more he tries to cover up his slip, the more amused JENNIFER becomes.

JACK: (trying to make JENNIFER forget what he just said, bows to ABBY) Thank you for inviting me, my dear princess. It would be an honor to dine with Her Royal Highness.

ABBY: (giggling) You're welcome my loyal subject. (to JENNIFER) Mommy, is it okay if I go play with my dollhouse for a little bit?

JENNIFER: Now? Well, we were going to have dinner in just a little bit...

ABBY: I know, but you and Daddy have to talk, (to JACK) right Daddy?

JACK is caught a bit off guard by the comment and just laughs nervously. JENNIFER is just as surprised, but simply smiles.

JACK: (clearing his throat) Uh, yes, Abigail... We... do have to talk...

ABBY: Okay, I'll be upstairs. (runs up the steps) Call me when you're all done!

JENNIFER watches her disappear upstairs and turns to JACK with an amused smile.

JENNIFER: I guess that was a hint.

JACK: (laughing nervously again) Are we sure she's only eight? Sometimes it feels like she's been put in a rapid aging machine and has passed even us in maturity level.

JENNIFER: (smiling) Speak for yourself, Jack. I've always been the mature one in this relationship.

JACK gives her a you've got to be kidding me look, then eventually breaks into a smile.

JENNIFER: There it is...

JACK: What?

JENNIFER: That brilliant smile. I knew it was hiding somewhere.

JACK gets embarrassed.

JENNIFER: It's nice to see it again, Jack.

JACK: (softly) It's nice to have a reason for it.

JENNIFER wonders if he means he's been unhappy lately because of her and all their fighting over ABBY and their relationship, and she is hurt and feels guilty.

JACK and JENNIFER: (simultaneously) So-

They both laugh.

JENNIFER: You first-

JACK: (overlapping) Go ahead-

JENNIFER: (laughing) Really, Jack, you go first...

JACK: Well, uh... you made a... somewhat surprising proposal the other day...


JACK: And... I promised you I'd give you my answer after I had had a few days to think about it...

JENNIFER tries not to look too anxious for his answer, but she has been waiting a while now.

JENNIFER: I'm glad you decided to think about it, Jack. And... have you made a decision?

JACK: (knowing that she's dying to hear his answer and taking some pleasure in making her wait a little bit longer) Uh... yes... yes, I have...

He smiles, seeing her hang on his every word. JENNIFER knows he is probably teasing her, but is so caught up in this little game they play that she does not even mind.

JACK: I have to admit you did take me by surprise by your suggestion, although it's true, we're not exactly the most conventional people in the world...

JENNIFER is starting to get antsy.

JACK: ... and we've always done things differently than other people, but still, I never would have seen this coming-


JACK gives her an innocent look, although he knows exactly what he's doing.

JACK: What?

JENNIFER: Could you please... just get to your answer? You know, sometime tonight?

JACK: (smiling) Oh you wanted an answer now?


JACK: (laughing out loud now) All right, all right, talk about pressure! (he turns serious) I just want to know one thing.

JENNIFER: (realizing he's serious now) Anything.

JACK: You meant it before, right? When you said that you'd help me make sure that Abigail... doesn't find out... that she won't know that I'm sick...

JENNIFER: (nodding) I promise, Jack. We'll protect her, you and me.

They are looking at each other this entire time, unable to take their eyes away from each other.

JACK: So, I guess... we're a team again, then?

JENNIFER smiles and sticks out her hand.

JENNIFER: Just like old times?

She is nervous because he still hasn't taken her hand. They both awkwardly look at it, then finally, Jack shakes it, and they both smile.

JACK: You've got yourself a deal, Miss Horton.

JENNIFER: (she remembers their special joke) I told you, the name is-

JACK: (smiling, because he remembers it too) I know... I know.


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