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In This Life

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EPISODE 16

SCENE 1

INT. ABBY'S BEDROOM - EVENING (A FEW DAYS AFTER EPISODE 15)

JACK and JENNIFER are tucking ABBY in, and JACK is reading her a chapter from Little House In The Big Woods.

JACK: ... They were cozy and comfortable in their little house made of logs-

JENNIFER: (whispers) Jack...

JACK: -with the snow drifted around it and the wind crying-

JENNIFER: (a little louder, but still whispering) Jack!

JACK: (finally looks at JENNIFER) What? I was just getting to the-

JENNIFER: (gestures towards ABBY, who is fast asleep) I think you can stop now...

JACK: (smiles as he sees ABBY) Oh... (laughs softly) That's too bad, I was just getting to the good part...

JENNIFER: I don't think she was really listening tonight anyway.

JACK: What do you mean?

JENNIFER: (grins) Well, I think... she just wanted an excuse to keep us here in her room. (beat) Together.

JACK looks at her in surprise, then pretends not to know what she means.

JACK: (clears throat, begins to ramble) You know, I think she's old enough to get started on classic mythology. Yes, this is just fine, I mean, Adrienne did make a good selection with this particular book, but the child should really know her myths--and not the Disney version, for heaven's sake. Did you see the way they completely changed the story of Hercules? I am so glad we never took her to see that-

JENNIFER: Jack...

JACK: What?

JENNIFER: You're doing it again.

JACK: Doing what?

JENNIFER looks at ABBY and motions JACK to step out into the hallway so they don't wake her. They get up from ABBY'S bed as carefully as possible and slip out of her room.

JACK: (repeating) Doing what, Jennifer?

JENNIFER: (looking him straight in the eyes, making JACK a little nervous) Avoiding.


SCENE 2

IN PROGRESS

JENNIFER has just called JACK on his habit of avoiding certain conversations with her.

JACK: I beg your pardon? (laughs) I-I'm not avoiding anything, Jennifer-

JENNIFER: Oh no?

JACK: (shakes head vehemently) No, sirree...

JENNIFER steps up close. JACK is trapped--he is leaning against ABBY'S door and JENNIFER is right in front of him.

JENNIFER: Then why did you suddenly start talking about Hercules when I brought up the subject of us?

JACK: Us? There is no... 'us'...

JENNIFER is hurt by that statement.

JACK: (having realized that came out the wrong way) What I mean is, we were not talking about 'us,' we were talking about appropriate reading material for our daughter-

JENNIFER: (frustrated, turns around to go to her room) Fine, Jack. Have it your way...

JACK starts to follow her to explain, and finds that he is a little more tired than he thought, and nearly stumbles.

JACK: (holding on to the wall for support) Whoa...

JENNIFER: (rushing to his side) Jack!

JACK: I'm fine... (straightens) See? Nothing to worry about...

JENNIFER is unconvinced. JACK takes some more steps, as carefully as possible so as not to worry JENNIFER, but he loses his balance and falls down.

JENNIFER: Oh my God!

ABBY hears the noise and wakes up, scared.

ABBY: Mommy? Daddy?

OUT on JACK'S panic.


SCENE 3

IN PROGRESS

JACK has lost his balance and stumbled to the ground, waking ABBY up. ABBY is scared and gets out of bed to see what happened.

JACK: (whispering) Jennifer--I can't let her see me like this!

JENNIFER: It's all right, Jack, don't worry...

She helps him up and helps him to his room.

ABBY: (opening her bedroom door) Mommy? Daddy? Is that you? What happened?

JENNIFER manages to get JACK into his room before ABBY comes out into the hallway. She slips out of JACK'S room just in time and tries to act as normally as possible.

JENNIFER: (mock stern) What are you doing out of bed, young lady? Daddy and I just tucked you in!

ABBY: (knowing her mother is hiding something) I heard something... What was it? Are you and Daddy okay?

CUT TO: JACK

JACK is behind his bedroom door, listening intently to what they are saying, and he is hoping ABBY does not find out anything.

CUT TO: JENNIFER AND ABBY

JENNIFER: (laughing) Oh, you probably heard me hit my arm on the door... (noticing that ABBY doesn't seem to be buying this) I can be so clumsy sometimes...

ABBY: (unconvinced) Where's Daddy?

CUT TO: JACK

JACK panics when he hears ABBY'S question.

CUT TO: JENNIFER AND ABBY

JENNIFER: Where's Daddy? He's, uh... he's in his room, baby...

ABBY: Is he okay?

JENNIFER: Of course he is...

ABBY: (makes a move towards JACK'S room) Are you sure?

CUT TO: JACK

JACK: (to himself, hoping ABBY does not come in his room) Don't let her come in here, Jennifer... Please...

OUT on JACK hoping JENNIFER can keep ABBY at bay.


SCENE 4

IN PROGRESS

ABBY is now worried about JACK despite JENNIFER telling her he is fine. She makes a move towards his room, but JENNIFER steps in front of her to keep her from going in.

JENNIFER: You know what, honey? Daddy's already asleep... After we tucked you in, he was really tired and he went right to sleep, and you know how grumpy he gets when he gets woken up--you don't want to wake him up, do you?

ABBY thinks about it for a moment, then finally decides JENNIFER is right.

ABBY: Okay, Mommy...

CUT TO: JACK

JACK: (closes his eyes in relief) Thank God...

CUT TO: JENNIFER AND ABBY

JENNIFER: Good, that's my girl... (kisses ABBY'S forehead) Now you run along to bed, okay? I love you!

ABBY: I love you too.

JENNIFER watches as ABBY goes into her room and waits a few minutes to make sure she will not come out again, then JENNIFER goes into JACK'S room to see if he is all right.

JENNIFER: Jack?

She begins to panic when she does not see him in here.

JENNIFER: Jack? Where are you, are you okay? Jack?

She hears him in his bathroom, and worries even more.

JENNIFER: (into the door) Jack? Are you... do you need me to help?

JACK (VO): No, I'll be fine...

JENNIFER: (knowing he isn't fine) Jack, please... if you're not-

JACK opens the door and comes out. He is pale and still obviously very weak. JENNIFER immediately rushes to help him.

JACK: (embarrassed to have to accept her help, tries to hide behind humor once again) You know, I could get used to this kind of treatment...

JENNIFER: (guiding him to the bed) I've got you... Here you go...

JACK: Well I suppose nausea and a lack of balance is a fair trade-off for not having to lose one's hair, isn't it? (runs hand through hair) At least I didn't lose my hair-

JENNIFER: (touches his hand, then brings it back down) Jack, stop it...

JACK: Stop what?

JENNIFER: (up very close to his face now) Please stop joking about this. Not about this, all right?

JACK: I can't-

JENNIFER: Yes, you can-

JACK: No, Jennifer. I can't. Because if I stop joking about it, then I might have to start taking this seriously-

JENNIFER: Damn it, this is serious!

She backs up, feeling guilty for the outburst. They are both quiet for a while. JENNIFER wants to help him, but she is not sure whether JACK wants her here, since he has obviously tried very hard to still keep her at a distance, even now.

JENNIFER: (starting to get up) Well, I... I guess I should-

JACK: Jennifer, wait-

She turns around to look at him. JACK tries to think of a way to get her to stay. Though he does not want to ask for her help, he also does not want her to leave.

JENNIFER: (hoping he is asking her to stay) What is it, Jack?

JACK: Uh... (does not know how to ask her) I, uh... (gets an idea; reaches for his laptop) I know it's late, but uh... perhaps you're up for a late-night writing session tonight?

JENNIFER looks at him for a few moments, then realizes exactly what he is doing.

JENNIFER: (smiling) Sure. (beat) Why not?

OUT on JACK'S smile.


SCENE 5

INT. JACK'S BEDROOM - LATER

JACK and JENNIFER are on his bed, working on their book. JENNIFER turns to ask him something, and notices that JACK has now fallen asleep. She smiles.

MUSICAL MONTAGE - JANN ARDEN'S "IN YOUR KEEPING" IS PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND

Tell me I will never die
Take away my pain
Rock me gently in your arms
Say that I will remain
In your keeping

JENNIFER watches him as he sleeps.

Brush the hair out from my eyes
Read me a good story
Kiss my fingertips good night
Say that I can stay
In your keeping

She takes his quilt and covers him up, then starts to get up to leave, but stops.

And I know this much is true
I have lived inside of you
You have always seen me through
While I am peacefully sleeping

She looks at him for a while, then slowly sinks down on the bed again, and lies beside him.

You have always been my friend
I can see your beauty
Shining through
I will love you till the end
Long will I remain
In your keeping

Gingerly, tentatively, she reaches out to touch him as he is sleeping, and brushes his hair away from his forehead. She lies there facing him until she falls asleep herself.

And I know this much is true
I have lived inside of you
You have always seen me through
While I am peacefully sleeping
While I am peacefully sleeping

Scene fades to black.

END EPISODE 16

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