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In This Life

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JENNIFER is spread out on the couch, typing away on her laptop, surrounded by stacks of papers and disks. She is trying to concentrate on work to take her mind off JACK and what happened last night, but she can not keep focused. Finally, she sighs and sets the laptop aside, then gets up to walk around and get her blood flowing.

She catches sight of a vase sitting on the bookshelf. She remembers when she and JACK bought it at a bazaar in Tanzania and absently touches it.

JENNIFER: (as she takes the vase from the shelf and holds it in her hands) Oh, Jack... Why do we always have to do things the hard way... (places the vase back)

She starts to think again about what happened last night, and she wonders whether she did the right thing by telling him how she felt. On the one hand, she is glad she finally told him, but on the other, she is afraid that by giving him an ultimatum of sorts that she might have pushed him away for good.

JENNIFER: Stop it, Jennifer. What good is it to keep torturing yourself like this? (goes back to the couch and picks up her laptop) I'll just work. Yes, that's it, drown myself in work...

She begins to type on her computer and is so engrossed in what she is doing that she does not hear JACK come in through the front door. JACK does not say anything for a while and just watches her in amusement.

JACK: (after she still does not notice he is in the room) Well, isn't this a familiar sight...

JENNIFER: (looks up, surprised to see him) Jack! You're back...

She is a little uncomfortable around him; this is the first time they've been alone since last night. She quickly tries to think of something to say.

JENNIFER: Uh... So Abby seemed okay at her friend's house?

JACK: Yes... She seemed like she was having the time of her life when I left... (hoping he sounds convincing; he has told JENNIFER that ABBY had a sleepover at a friend's house, but the truth is that she is at ALICE'S so JACK can give JENNIFER a special surprise tonight)

JENNIFER: (still looking at him) I'm glad you're back... b-because... I was, uh... I was working on this next section right here, and I wanted to run it by you to see what you thought-

JACK sets her laptop aside as JENNIFER looks at him in surprise.

JENNIFER: Jack, w-what are you doing?

JACK: (grinning) What does it look like I'm doing?

JENNIFER: (puzzled smile) I don't know, Jack, that's why I'm asking...

JACK: (teasing) Hmm, it has been a long time since you've flexed those investigative journalism muscles, hasn't it?

JENNIFER smirks.

JACK: (enjoying getting her all riled up, like old times) My, what a couple of fluff pieces at WATB will do to dull one's skills-

JENNIFER: (leaning into him; enjoying this banter) You didn't seem to be complaining about my skills before... (pauses just enough for the double meaning sink in) I mean, you're the one who asked me to work with you in Africa, remember?

JACK: Yes, I remember. (beat) Well, come on...

JENNIFER: (confused) Come on? What do you mean?

JACK: You know, it really pains me to see my ex-protégé lose her edge this way. (sighs) I suppose I will have to spell it out for you...

JENNIFER: Yes, Jack, that would help, thank you. (smiles) It takes a special set of skills to decipher you, after all.

JACK: All right, Miss Ace Reporter. Let's see recap, shall we? I have taken your laptop away and I am trying to pull you off this couch. I believe all signs point to me trying to whisk you away.

JENNIFER blinks back in shock, unsure whether she heard him correctly.

JENNIFER: (carefully) You're trying to... what?

JACK: Oh I see, you're going to make me repeat myself. (leans in close and smiles, enunciates each word) Whisk you away, Jennifer. (holds out his hand) Well?

JENNIFER looks down on his hand in surprise.



JACK has caught JENNIFER completely off guard. She does not know what to make of the way he is acting towards her right now and wonders how long before the rug is pulled from under her and he begins to feel uncomfortable again and pull away.

JACK: Uh, Jennifer?


JACK: Just a word of advice--when a man makes a gesture like this, the polite thing to do usually is to not make him feel too much like a fool...

JENNIFER: (flustered) I-I'm sorry, Jack, I don't mean to... (laughs softly) I guess I'm just a bit taken aback by all of this.

JACK feels guilty for having been so distant with her all these months that she would react this way to what he is trying to do right now.

JACK: (softly) Yes, I guess I've... kind of kept you at arm's length, haven't I? (beat) All right, here's the truth--for the first time in weeks I actually feel halfway decent, and I thought I'd celebrate that by not working tonight, but by... going outside and enjoying the fresh air.

JENNIFER smiles, unsure of what's going on.

JACK: What do you say? Would you care to step outside with me? (holds out his hand again)

JENNIFER: (finally takes his hand) I'd love to.

JACK smiles and gets her coat from the coat rack and helps her put it on. He leads her outside into the garden, then watches for her reaction when she sees everything he has done.

JENNIFER: (almost speechless) Oh, Jack...

A table is set up for them, with two candles lit, two champagne glasses, and a bottle of sparkling cider chilling in a bucket of ice.

JACK, who is still holding her hand, leads her over to the table, and when they come closer, JENNIFER sees that there are two perfectly fashioned snow people. She begins to get teary-eyed at the sight of them.

JACK: I believe you remember our dear friends, Herman and Hermione. It's been a while, but they tell me they have really missed you. (smiles) Actually, I must confess, I had a little--all right, a lot--of help from the child in, um... getting our old friends here.

JENNIFER: Abby? She knew about all of this?

JACK: (nodding) Yes, she's very much her grandmother's granddaughter, I must say. Jo would be very proud indeed.

JENNIFER: I don't know what to say... (overwhelmed with emotion; looks back at the snow people, then at the table, then at JACK) Jack... what is all of this?

OUT on JACK'S smile.


JACK has just surprised JENNIFER with a candlelit table and two old friends: the snow people, Herman and Hermione. JENNIFER is moved by what JACK is done but also confused by what it all means.

JACK: (smiles) Am I to assume this all meets with your approval?

JENNIFER: (nods) Yes... Yes, it's the most... (she wants to say "romantic" but isn't sure if that word will scare him away) special thing anyone has ever done for me... But...

JACK: But?

JENNIFER: Jack, I'm not quite sure what this all is...

JACK comes in close and gently takes JENNIFER'S face in his hands, surprising her.

JACK: (softly) This... This is about what you said to me last night...

JENNIFER: (stunned) What I said to you?

JACK: (smiling) Don't tell me you've already forgotten.

JENNIFER: (laughs) No, Jack, I haven't forgotten. I just... (looks into his eyes) I just can't believe this is really happening...

JACK: (very emotional) Jennifer, I have to confess... When you said what you said to me last night, it scared the hell out of me. I knew I had been avoiding the issues for a long time now. I've been... running away... from everything, really. Mostly us.

JENNIFER: (smiles) Yeah, I noticed.

JACK laughs softly. He leads JENNIFER to her chair and sits down also, facing her.

JACK: I told you once that I was a coward. Truth is, Jennifer, I still am. (beat) God, sometimes I am still so amazed that you would pick me. Me, Jack Deveraux, no good leper of Salem, son of the sicko Senator--trying saying that three times fast--first class coward...


JACK: You know, I don't have to tell you that I had quite a low opinion of myself before you came along. (laughs) Of course the rest of this town pretty much shared that opinion too. And then you came into my life and this... miracle happened... You saw something in me that even I didn't think was there anymore. And despite everything--despite all the warning labels everyone stuck on me--you still fell in love with me.

JENNIFER smiles. She is crying now, but knows JACK needs to get this all out, so she does not say anything.

JACK: So I was determined to prove I deserved that love. I thought to myself, one day... One day a day's going to come when Jennifer's going to realize I'm no good after all. But I couldn't let that happen, see... I had to make sure that I would be strong and capable and be able to provide for you--to give you all the things you deserved.

JENNIFER: (softly) Jack, you did all that-

JACK: (shakes his head) No... No, don't you see, that's why I couldn't let you in during all of this... I wasn't strong, Jennifer. I was weak. I was helpless... And I was going to be damned if I was going to let you see me like that... See me for who I really am...

JENNIFER: (voice shakes) I do see who you really are, Jack. I saw the real you a long time ago and I have loved you ever since. Don't you know that by now, Jack? Don't you know I could never turn away from the real you? Especially now?

JACK: Yeah, I... think I do now... I guess what I'm trying to say is... I think it's time I stopped running away...

OUT on JENNIFER'S hopeful look.


JACK has just told JENNIFER he's ready to stop running away from them.

JACK: You were right.

JENNIFER: (smiling) Jack Deveraux admitting I'm right?

JACK: (grins) I wouldn't get to used too this if I were you. (beat) You were, though. We don't know how much time we have left, and... I've wasted so much already. Wasted so much time trying to shut you out, trying to keep you at a distance, when... the truth is... I didn't know how I could get through this without you... (takes a deep breath) Jennifer, I don't want to do this alone.

JENNIFER: You won't have to. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere, Jack. I promise.

JACK: (smiles) I'm going to hold you to that.

JENNIFER: I'm counting on it.

JACK gets up and walks over to her side. JENNIFER looks at him in curiosity, wondering what he is about to do next.

JACK: (clears throat) All right, lest you think that this is it as far as your surprises tonight go, I've got one more for you.

JENNIFER: (laughs; she is in shock) You are just full of surprises tonight, aren't you?

JACK: Well, I'm hoping this one will really blow you away.

JENNIFER: Okay, now you've got me intrigued.

JACK: (singing) Anticipation...

JENNIFER: (a little anxious) Jack!

JACK: (laughs) Sorry, I couldn't resist.

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out what looks like a tiny scroll of paper and gives it to her. JENNIFER looks at it in curiosity, not knowing what it could be.

JACK: Uh, this is your cue to open it, Jennifer.

JENNIFER smiles and unrolls the piece of paper, then reads what it says aloud.

JENNIFER: We would like to request the honor of your presence in joining us to celebrate our... (she is shocked to read the next word) wedding... (she looks up at JACK) Jack...

JACK: (smiles, as he sees the realization dawn on her) It's a wedding invitation.


JACK: (teasing her) Jennifer Deveraux, speechless? I never thought I'd see the day...

He sinks down on bended knee, grimacing at first when he feels the snow soak his pants, but ignores it. He reaches into his pocket again and takes out the box with the ring in it, and hears JENNIFER gasp.

JACK: (opening the box and taking out the ring) Jennifer... You know this has been a long time coming, and we've waited much too long already... Will you, Mrs. Deveraux, be Mrs. Deveraux once again?

JENNIFER is in total shock and is speechless; JACK becomes scared of what her silence could mean.

JACK: Uh... You'll forgive me if I'm a bit ill at ease here, you see, this is the nerve-wracking part. If you recall, Jennifer, of the four times I have asked you this question, you have turned me down half the time, so you can see why I might be-

JENNIFER: (laughing and crying at the same time) Jack, you know what my answer is.

JACK: I do?


JACK: Yes, I know your answer, or yes that is your answer?

JENNIFER: (exasperated laugh) Jack! Yes, my answer is yes!!

JACK: (overjoyed) Yes?

JENNIFER: Oui. Now you better put that ring on my finger, Monsieur Deveraux.

JACK: Oui, Madame... (slips the ring on her finger; his hand is shaking slightly)

He looks at her with great love, overwhelmed with emotion at knowing that they have finally worked things out, knowing that with her at his side, he can be at peace.

JACK: (softly) So much time we've lost already... I don't want to let anymore slip through our fingers...

JENNIFER: We won't let it.

JACK: No, we won't.

He takes her face in his hands and gently kisses her.

OUT on their kiss.


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