INT. VERN'S OFFICE AT THE SPECTATOR - AFTERNOON (SAME DAY AS EPISODE 28)
VERN has just grabbed JACK'S cell phone and hung up on his tailor, much to JACK'S surprise and confusion.
JACK: I hope you have a damn good explanation for what you just did.
VERN just smiles. He is racking his brain, trying to think of the right thing to say so JACK does not get suspicious about why he just did what he did.
JACK: I'm waiting.
VERN: (nervous laugh) Waiting for what, Jack?
JACK: For the aforementioned damn good explanation. Do you know how hard it is to get an appointment with this particular tailor?
VERN: Oh come on, Jack, I'm sure you can just meet with anyone they have on staff there-
JACK: (not letting him off the hook) I am a very busy man, Vern. In case it has slipped your mind, let me remind you that I am getting married in nine days--nine days--and if I don't get this tuxedo soon, I am going to have to face the wrath of a certain Mrs. Deveraux, and I do not particularly want to start my marriage off in the doghouse-
VERN: Aww, Jenny-girl's a very forgiving gal-
JACK: You'd better talk fast, before I give in to the urge to put my hands around your neck and squeeze--very tightly.
VERN: (swallows hard) Uh...
JACK: (imitating VERN) Uh... (losing patience) You're going to have to do a helluva better than that, Vern.
VERN: I can explain... Really, I can explain!
JACK: By all means go ahead.
VERN tries to think of a good thing to tell JACK, hoping he won't blow JACK'S surprise.
JACK: You don't seem to be talking. (beat) Fine, if you're not going to give me a reasonable explanation, I'm calling Saxton's back-
VERN: (grabbing JACK'S arm) Wait, wait, wait! Don't, Jack...
JACK: Look, I don't have time to play twenty questions with you, Vern, so either you tell me what this is all about, or-
VERN: All right, all right! (saying the first thing that pops in his mind) I need your help.
JACK: Come again?
VERN: (through gritted teeth, wondering why he said this of all the things he could have said) I... need your help, Jack.
OUT on JACK'S look of amusement and curiosity.
EXT. HORTON HOUSE - SAME
JENNIFER, ABBY, and CALLIOPE have arrived at ALICE'S and are about to ring the doorbell, when HOPE walks up the pathway and sees them.
HOPE: Jen! What are you guys doing here?
JENNIFER: Hope, hi! (hugs her) Grandma asked us to come over to help with the rice packets for your wedding. What are you doing here?
HOPE: (surprised) You're helping Gran with the rice packets? That's funny, she asked me to come over to help her with your reception favors...
JENNIFER: She did? She didn't say anything to me about that to me...
HOPE and JENNIFER look at each other in curiosity, then suddenly figure out what this is all about and slowly turn to look at CALLIOPE who is avoiding their eyes.
CALLIOPE: (feigning innocence) Yes?
HOPE: Do you happen to know what's going on?
CALLIOPE: I don't know what you mean...
JENNIFER: Oh really?
CALLIOPE: Really! I don't know anything. (to ABBY) Right, sweetie?
JENNIFER: Oh no, no, no, don't you hide behind my daughter! (laughs) I knew you and Grandma were up to something, now just admit it!
CALLIOPE sees ALICE through the window, giving the go-ahead signal.
CALLIOPE: You know, I think this is just a matter of poor Alice getting mixed up, what with two weddings about to take place within a week of each other. We should really get inside and help her...
CALLIOPE: Come on, let's go!
HOPE and JENNIFER exchange curious grins as CALLIOPE links arms with them and the door swings open, to reveal a house-full of women.
OUT on HOPE and JENNIFER.
CUT TO: JACK AND VERN
VERN has just told JACK he needs his help on something to explain why he does not want JACK to go to SAXTON'S right now. JACK is intrigued--and amused--to hear that VERN needs his help.
JACK: (enjoying this) I'm sorry, I think I must be hearing things...
VERN rolls his eyes.
JACK: Yes, yes, I thought I just heard you say that you needed my help. Did you by any chance hear yourself say that too?
VERN: (muttering) I knew he'd act this way...
JACK: What was that?
VERN: Oh nothing. (clears throat) So, um... Will you?
JACK: Will I what?
VERN: (sighs, can not muster the enthusiasm to say it) Will you help me?
JACK: (grinning) Well, I don't know, that depends. What could I possibly do to help the normally unflappable Vernon Scofield?
VERN: You really make it easy for someone to ask for a favor, you know that?
JACK: It's a gift.
VERN: (sighs) All right, the reason I didn't want you to go to Saxton's right now is...
JACK: You need my help, yes, I know, you already said so. But you haven't told me what this favor entails yet.
VERN: (hoping this does not sound too suspicious) Okay, here it is... I'm working on a story about the revitalization of the Riverfront, and since the Brady Pub is kind of the centerpiece of the business area there, I thought I'd interview the Shawn and Caroline Brady.
JACK: (confused) And you need me because...
VERN: You're friends with the Bradys, aren't you?
JACK: Yes, I suppose I am. But-
VERN: Well, you're my in!
JACK: Your in?
VERN: Yeah, I mean if you come with me, you can introduce me to them, and they can feel comfortable enough to be interviewed.
They stare at each other in silence for a few moments.
JACK: (finally) Do you actually expect me to believe that?
VERN is nervous, knowing time is running out and he needs to get JACK to the BRADY PUB soon.
VERN: Come on, Jack, be a pal, huh?
JACK: That is the most ridiculous story I have ever heard from you--and I have heard plenty of ridiculous things from you. This is why you had me cancel my appointment at Saxton's?
VERN: (exasperated) Look, would you just go with me? Come on, you owe me.
JACK: (arching an eyebrow) I owe you?
VERN: Don't even play innocent, Jack, you know you do. (pushes JACK out of the door) Come on, let's go.
JACK: (as they're leaving) Fine, but just for this, you are going to go with Jennifer tomorrow to pick up my mother and the rest of my family from the airport...
OUT on the two as they leave for the BRADY PUB.
CUT TO: JENNIFER AND HOPE'S SURPRISE WEDDING SHOWER
JENNIFER and HOPE have just arrived at ALICE'S and were surprised by their friends and family with a wedding shower.
HOPE: (to JENNIFER) I can't believe this--you swear you didn't know anything?
JENNIFER: No, not a thing! (to ALICE and CALLIOPE) But I should have known by how strange you two were acting these last few hours!
ALICE: Well, it's not every day that my granddaughters get married. I wanted to do something special for both of you.
HOPE: (teasing) Oh, I see, she plans a wedding on short notice, so she has to cut into my wedding shower, right?
JENNIFER: I don't see what you're complaining about, Hope--we still get our own presents, don't we Grandma?
ALICE: (laughing) Oh, you two...
HOPE and JENNIFER join everyone in the living room, which has been decorated with balloons and streamers.
There is a table set up in the middle of the room with a large cake that says, "Bon voyage to your single days."
ABBY: (seeing the cake) Mommy, look!
JENNIFER: Ooh, that's pretty, isn't it baby? (sees ABBY trying to sneak a taste of the frosting, gets a hold of her hand before she does) I don't think so, young lady.
ALICE: (joining HOPE and JENNIFER by the cake) I hope you liked your surprise.
HOPE: Oh, Gran, how could we not?
JENNIFER: (smiles at HOPE, then at ALICE) It's perfect, Grandma. Everything's just perfect...
A very wary JACK accompanies VERN to the BRADY PUB, where he has a bad feeling about the real reason he had to come.
JACK: I can't believe I let you talk me into this... Well, maybe if you hurry it up on the interview I can still make it to Saxton's before they close-
VERN: Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, Jack.
They walk into the pub, which is filled with familiar faces, and JACK immediately figures out he was set up.
ALL: Surprise, Jack!
JACK tries to leave, but VERN gets in his way and turns him around, then pushes him inside.
JACK: (to VERN, muttering) Remind me to kill you before this night is over...
SHAWN: Vern, I thought we told you to get Jack here at 5:30, sharp?
VERN: Well, you know Jack...
Everyone laughs while JACK wishes the ground would open up and swallow him.
BO: (walking over to hand JACK a beer) If it's any consolation, they got me pretty good too. So at least you're not alone.
JACK: Oh, well that just makes me feel infinitely better.
BO: (grinning) I thought it would.
JACK reluctantly follows BO into the center of the group. Everyone starts to mingle and come up to JACK and BO to congratulate them on their upcoming weddings. JACK does not notice VICTOR, who has also attended the bachelor party.
VICTOR: Well, I suppose congratulations are in order, Jack.
JACK: (shocked to come face to face with him) Victor.
VICTOR: No warm greetings for me?
JACK: (smirks) Perhaps you were expecting a hug and a kiss? Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you.
VICTOR: I'm not here to ruin your evening, Jack-
JACK: Oh, what a comforting thought. Now I can rest easy. (turning to leave) If you'll excuse me, I think I'll go survey the hor d'oerves-
VICTOR: So soon? Does my presence bother you that much?
JACK: Is that a rhetorical question, Victor?
VICTOR gives him a cool smile.
VICTOR: As I said, I'm not here to put a damper on things tonight. In fact, I have something to discuss with you that you might find rather interesting.
JACK: (starts to leave) Sorry, not really in the mood for tips on the horse races-
VICTOR: Then you wouldn't be interested in the fact that The Spectator is up for sale?
JACK stops dead in his tracks, then slowly turns around to face VICTOR.
VICTOR: (triumphant smile) I thought that might get your attention.
VICTOR has just stunned JACK with his news that he will be selling THE SPECTATOR.
VICTOR: Cat got your tongue, Jack?
JACK: I'm not in the mood for one of your games, Victor.
VICTOR: This is no game, I assure you.
JACK: Oh really? So I'm supposed to bite when you throw some bait at me like this, is that it? Forget it. (turns around)
VICTOR: If you're trying to convince me you no longer want that newspaper, you're doing a terrible job of it. I know what it meant to you.
JACK tries not to show any sort of reaction to encourage VICTOR.
VICTOR: I know how badly you've wanted to reacquire it over the years.
JACK: (faces him) I've made no secret of wanting it back, yes. But if you expect me to salivate like Pavlov's dog by waving this at me, you're sadly mistaken.
VICTOR: So you're turning me down on this offer, is that it? Without even hearing the details?
JACK: I did not hear you make an offer, Victor, and even if you did, what the hell makes you think I would ever trust you to follow through on your word? (beat) I've already been burned by you, and I'll be damned if I am going to set myself up for that again.
VICTOR: (smiles) Have it your way, Jack. But the offer stands if you change your mind.
JACK: Go to-
BO: Hey, Jack... (grabs hold of JACK'S shoulder) We're needed in there. They're wheeling out a huge cake, and I think it's got a big surprise in it...
JACK leaves with BO and gives VICTOR one last parting look.
OUT on VICTOR'S self-satisfied grin.
INT. HORTON LIVING ROOM - LATER
JENNIFER and HOPE are opening up the last of their gifts. They are both wearing bonnets made out of the ribbons from their presents, and everyone is laughing and enjoying themselves as the party begins to wind down.
JENNIFER: (pulling out a racy negligee out of a box, amid hooting from the guests) Oh my...
JULIE: I think that's going to be the same reaction you'll get out of Jack, darling.
ABBY: What's she mean, Mommy?
JENNIFER: Um... I'll explain it to you later, baby...
MAGGIE: (gathering up the discarded gift wrap and empty boxes) Well, I think that's the last of it, girls.
HOPE: I'd say we did pretty well for ourselves, didn't we, Jen? Look at all this loot!
JENNIFER: (laughing) I guess so!
The guests begin to straighten up and clean the mess when the doorbell rings.
CALLIOPE: I'll get it...
A short time later, CALLIOPE comes back into the living room after having answered the door.
CALLIOPE: Look who's here!
It is the men from the bachelor party, who file into the living room, laughing.
SHAWN-D: We heard there was a party in here, so we thought we'd crash it.
BO: Actually, we've come to reclaim our women!
Everyone laughs. JACK makes his way to JENNIFER, who is still wearing her bonnet full of ribbons.
JACK: (sliding his arms around her waist) This is quite a fashion statement.
JENNIFER: (giggling) You like it?
JACK: (touches her bonnet) I think it's more Calliope's style, but I suppose it works...
JENNIFER: So I gather you got your own surprise tonight?
JACK: Yes, yes... Vern was quite sneaky.
JENNIFER: (laughs) So were Calliope and Grandma. But this was all so wonderful. We have the best friends and family, don't we?
JACK: (embraces her) We do, indeed.
He thinks about VICTOR'S offer as he holds JENNIFER, and wonders if VICTOR was serious and what his true motives could possibly be.
JENNIFER: (noting his silence) Pretty wiped out, aren't you?
JACK: (sighs) A little, yes.
JENNIFER: Ready to go home?
JACK kisses her forehead, and tells himself to just forget everything VICTOR said to him tonight.
JACK: Let's go.
END EPISODE 29
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