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In This Life

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EPISODE 25

SCENE 1

INT. JACK AND JENNIFER'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT (A FEW DAYS AFTER EPISODE 24)

At JACK'S insistence, JACK and JENNIFER are working on their book. JENNIFER is worried about him exhausting himself by working so hard when he has been nursing a cold in the last few days, and she has been watching him carefully. However, JACK does not want to slow down. As it gets closer and closer to the day he will find out the results of his latest round of chemo, JACK has been even more driven than usual, hoping to distract himself from thinking about it too much.

JACK: (sensing that JENNIFER has been looking at him for some time now as they have been working) Uh, Jennifer?

JENNIFER: Yeah?

JACK: (without looking up from the laptop) Tell me, how were you planning on helping me edit this paragraph without ever looking at the computer screen?

JENNIFER: You know, maybe it's time we called it a night, what do you say?

She begins to close the laptop, but JACK gets his hand in the way and unfolds the screen.

JACK: This early?

JENNIFER: Jack, it's 11:30. (tries to close the laptop again)

JACK: Just what I said. (opens it up again) It's early.

JENNIFER: Don't you think you're pushing yourself a little too hard lately?

JACK: (firmly) No, Jennifer, I don't. (beat) Any more objections?

JENNIFER: Look, our deadline isn't for another six weeks--what's the rush? Can't we just-

JACK: I am not rushing! I am merely trying to ensure that we stick to the pace we established on the outset. Do we have to fight about this, too?

JENNIFER thinks she understands why he is so touchy about this, but does not want to push him and cause even more stress for him, because she knows that would only make things worse.

JENNIFER: (softly) Fine, Jack. (starts to get up) I'm going to go make us some coffee if we're going to pull an all-nighter-

JACK: (feeling guilty for taking his frustration out on her, takes hold of her arm) Jennifer, wait...

JENNIFER stops and looks at him, then slowly sits back down again.

JACK: (sincerely) I'm sorry. I know I'm being intolerable right now. (beat) Mea culpa.

JENNIFER: (sighs) Jack, I just... worry about you...

JACK: I know. And I know I'm not making it very easy on you. (smiles) I would probably wear out Mother Theresa's abundant patience.

JENNIFER: (smiles back at him) Just a little.

JACK: Well, you're right, I mean it's not like we'll get behind if we leave things off here. I guess we can pick it up tomorrow.

JENNIFER: (relieved) Yes... Tomorrow, we'll definitely pick up where we left off tonight. You know what, why don't you head upstairs and I'll go straighten things out here and meet you up there?

JACK: All right. (gives her a quick kiss) I'll see you up there in a bit.

JENNIFER: Okay...

JACK heads upstairs while JENNIFER stays behind to clean up their mess. After several minutes, she goes to their bedroom and sees JACK sitting at the edge of their bed, leaning over. His shoulders are heaving and she can hear him taking in gulps of air.

JENNIFER: (panicking) Jack? Jack!! Oh my God...

She rushes to his side and helps him straighten up. She can tell he is having difficulty breathing.

JACK: (not wanting to worry her) I'm fine... It just feels like a ten ton elephant is sitting on my chest, that's all-

JENNIFER: Jack, you are not fine! (touches his face, his forehead) Oh my God, you're burning up... (reaches for the phone)

JACK: It's just a fever, don't panic-

JENNIFER: (starts to dial) Listen to me, I am going to call the hospital, all right?! (into the phone) Hello? Yes, this is Jennifer Deveraux...

JACK: No! (tries to take the phone from her, but she keeps it away) Come on, there's no need for hospitals-

JENNIFER: Yes, I am bringing my husband in... He's got a really high fever and he's having difficulty breathing... All right, we'll be right there, thank you...

JACK: Jennifer-

JENNIFER: Jack, don't try to bully your way out of this one--you are going to the hospital, do you understand?

She is shaking and fighting with all of her strength to keep from crying because she knows she needs to be strong.

OUT on JENNIFER'S determination.


SCENE 2

INT. SALEM UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL - LATER

JENNIFER has brought JACK to the hospital because he was having problems breathing. She watches as the doctors rush him into the ER, holding onto ABBY, whom she had no choice but to bring because there was no time to drop her off at ALICE'S or HOPE'S. ABBY is scared and confused by the chaos, but she watches everything in silence, not wanting to upset her mother even more.

HOPE: (just arrived and immediately rushes over to JENNIFER and hugs her) Jen...

JENNIFER: (whispers so ABBY does not hear and get upset) Oh my God, Hope, I'm so glad you're here...

HOPE: Of course... (pulls away, takes JENNIFER'S face in her hands) Are you all right? Have they told you anything?

JENNIFER: (shaking her head) No, we just got here... They brought him inside to examine him, but... (she hears her voice begin to break, so she stops herself)

HOPE: Abby, sweetie, are you tired? It's way past your bedtime, isn't it?

JENNIFER squeezes ABBY tightly.

ABBY: I'm okay, Aunt Hope. I just want Daddy to be okay...

JENNIFER: (crouching down so she is eye level with ABBY) Baby, he's going to be fine... He's going to be just fine... Don't you worry, all right? The doctors are going to take good care of him...

HOPE: Jen, why don't I go take her into the staff lounge so she can go lie down on the couch?

JENNIFER: (flustered) Uh... Yeah, that's probably a good idea... Thanks, Hope.

HOPE: Absolutely. (hugs JENNIFER, then goes with ABBY to the lounge)

JENNIFER spots CRAIG coming out of the ER, and she goes straight to him.

JENNIFER: Dr. Wesley, how is he? What's going on? Does this have something to do with his chemo? What is it-

CRAIG: Mrs. Deveraux, it's all right, please, relax... You did the right thing by bringing him in right away.

JENNIFER: Please, just tell me what it is...

CRAIG: His immune system is very weak because of the chemo. The cold he's had has developed into a mild case of pneumonia-

JENNIFER: (gasps) Oh my God-

CRAIG: He's going to be fine, I promise. We're going to admit him overnight and give him antibiotics, and if he responds well, he should be able to go home tomorrow. He'll just continue the antibiotics at home.

JENNIFER: Are you sure?

CRAIG: Yes, we're going to make sure he'll be all right, I don't want you to worry. (beat) If you'll excuse me, I need to go finish his chart, so we can get him started on those meds.

JENNIFER: Oh, yes, of course...

She is still shaking from the whole ordeal and isn't quite sure everything is going to be fine even though CRAIG has assured her it will. HOPE comes out and touches JENNIFER'S shoulder.

JENNIFER: Hope... Is Abby-

HOPE: Abby's just fine... She fell asleep right away, even though she swore up and down she wasn't tired...

JENNIFER smiles weakly.

HOPE: I thought it would be okay to leave her in there for just a second so I could see if you were all right. (beat) Are you?

JENNIFER: (shaking her head) No, Hope. I'm not all right. (begins to blather) I am so worried about him--I mean, they tell me he's going to be fine, but-

HOPE: Good, that's good news then, right?

JENNIFER: Hope, he's got pneumonia, how can he be fine?

She takes a deep breath. She knows she has to relax and be strong for ABBY, but she can not stop worrying.

JENNIFER: Could you do me a favor and watch Abby for a little bit longer? I need to go do something right now... It's really important...

HOPE: Of course. Don't you worry about Abby, I'll take care of her. (gives JENNIFER another hug) You just makes sure you take care of yourself, all right?

JENNIFER nods, and HOPE watches as she walks away.


SCENE 3

INT. SALEM UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL - LATER

JENNIFER is at a payphone. She is calling MIKE, who has been on a year-long sabbatical in New York. She has been crying and is completely exhausted, but does not want to hang up until he answers.

CUT TO: MIKE ANSWERING THE PHONE

MIKE: (groggily) Hello?

JENNIFER: Mike? Mike, it's me...

MIKE: Squirt?

JENNIFER: I'm so sorry to wake you, but-

MIKE: (starting to wake up now) Hey, what's the matter? Are you crying? What's going on, is it Jack?

JENNIFER: (cries even more) Yeah, it's Jack...

MIKE: Jen, tell me what it is. Let me help you.

JENNIFER: I had to rush him to the hospital tonight, Mike... He couldn't breathe, and... (crying really hard, can't get the words out)

MIKE: All right, listen to me--you did the right thing by taking him there, okay? He's in good hands. Now, just take a deep breath for me, can you do that?

JENNIFER does what he tells her to do, but she is still shaking. She tries her best to calm down.

MIKE: Can you tell me what happened?

JENNIFER: Abby had a cold last week and we both caught it. I shouldn't have passed it off like it wasn't a big deal-

MIKE: So he got the cold?

JENNIFER: Yeah... And he seemed to be getting better, but then tonight he started to have trouble breathing, and I took him here as soon as I could...

MIKE: Good, that's good... You did the right thing, Squirt.

JENNIFER: They told me he's got pneumonia, Mike.

MIKE: That happens sometimes. His resistance is really low, and he's susceptible to infections, but you did the right thing by getting him to the hospital right away. Did they start him on the meds yet?

JENNIFER: Yeah, I think so...

MIKE: Good. He'll be all right, Jen, trust me. They'll take good care of him.

JENNIFER begins to cry again.

MIKE: Sweetheart, it's okay, really...

JENNIFER: I just wish you were the one taking care of him, Mike. I trust you--you're the one who took care of him last time, and he got better... I need him to get better...

MIKE: I know. I know what you're going through...

JENNIFER suddenly remembers that MIKE'S wife, MARGO, had also had leukemia and died from it. She feels guilty for bringing up bad memories for MIKE and begins to cry even harder now.

MIKE: Dr. Patrick is the Chief of Oncology there, Squirt. He's the best there is, I promise. The only thing I've got that he doesn't is excellent taste in ties.

JENNIFER laughs at this, in spite of herself.

JENNIFER: Things were just starting to come together for us. We were finally going to get things right...

MIKE: I know. And you still will. Look, the research we've been doing here has told us that treatments are really promising now. We've come a long way in thirteen years. He beat it then, and he'll beat it now. (beat) You've got a real fighter there, Squirt. I know he'll do his damndest for you and Abby. Don't you forget that.

JENNIFER: I hope so, Mike... I hope so.

MIKE: I know so.

OUT on JENNIFER as she leans against the payphone and cries.


SCENE 4

INT. JACK'S HOSPITAL ROOM - LATER

JENNIFER is watching JACK as he is sleeping, with IV's hooked up to him. ABBY is sleeping in her arms and she is gently stroking ABBY'S hair. She herself is exhausted, but she does not want to stop watching him for even a second.

ABBY: (beginning to stir in JENNIFER'S arms) Mommy?

JENNIFER: Yeah, baby?

ABBY: (scared) Is Daddy going to be okay? Why isn't he saying anything?

JENNIFER: Shh... He's fine, he's just sleeping right now. The doctors want him to sleep so he can get all better.

ABBY: (looks at JACK, then looks at JENNIFER) It's my fault, isn't it?

JENNIFER: What? No! No, Abby, it is not your fault in any way, why would you even think that?

ABBY: Because I'm the one who had a cold. He caught it from me, and now he's-

JENNIFER: Sweetie, listen to me--you are not to blame for this, all right?

ABBY: But-

JENNIFER: No buts... You didn't do a single thing wrong. It isn't your fault that Daddy's in the hospital, and I don't ever want you to think it is, do you understand?

ABBY: (softly) Is he going to be okay?

JENNIFER: (taking ABBY into her arms and kissing the top of her head) Yes, he's going to be okay... He's going to be okay...

JACK starts to wake up and sees JENNIFER and ABBY by his bedside.

JACK: (weakly) Hey, is this a private party, or can anyone join?

JENNIFER: Jack!

ABBY: (overlapping) Daddy!

JENNIFER: It's okay, don't push yourself, all right? Dr. Wesley said you need to just rest...

JACK: Rest, schmest... Rest is for sick people--right, kiddo?

ABBY laughs.

JACK: That's what I thought. I'll just spend the night here at Hotel Bedpans so I don't have to contend with your mother tossing and turning all night. (JENNIFER smiles at this comment) But I'll be fine.

JENNIFER: Yeah, you will be...

She caresses his forehead, then leans over to kiss him.

OUT in JENNIFER as she holds onto ABBY and watches over JACK.

END EPISODE 25

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