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In This Life

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EPISODE 31

SCENE 1

INT. PENTHOUSE GRILL - EVENING (SAME DAY AS EPISODE 30)

BO and HOPE'S wedding has already ended, and the reception is well underway. NAT KING COLE'S "UNFORGETTABLE" is playing, and JACK and JENNIFER have joined the other guests on the dance floor.

JACK: You know, I've always been baffled by the appeal of large weddings--not that I didn't cherish ours, mind you. But I must admit, as far as large weddings go, this one was... quite nice.

JENNIFER is not listening to him, but JACK does not notice, and keeps musing.

JACK: I wonder sometimes, though, if... (starts to get embarrassed about confiding in her about something) Ah, never mind...

JENNIFER: Mike and Kayla sure look like they're having fun dancing, don't you think?

JACK: (realizing JENNIFER had not even been listening) Well, I do believe my ego is sufficiently bruised.

JENNIFER: What? (turns to look at him) Oh, I'm sorry, Jack, I wasn't listening-

JACK: I noticed. (spins her and dips her low, then brings her back up with their faces almost touching) We're not even married yet and you've tired of me already, have you?

JENNIFER: (smiles, then kisses him) Believe me, that's not something you have to concern yourself with, Jack.

JACK: Good. Then perhaps I'll allow you to build my fragile ego back up again by telling me what had you so distracted just now that not even my ample charms could hold your attention...

JENNIFER: I was just busy watching Mike and Kayla over there.

JACK: I see. Looking for tips on how to trip the light fantastic?

JENNIFER smirks.

JENNIFER: I just thought they looked... cute. Like they're having a good time.

JACK: Oh no, I see what's going on here... Your heretofore dormant match-making gene has finally been awakened-

JENNIFER: (laughs) Well, it's not like Mike and Kayla such a foreign concept. I mean, they were pretty serious in high school, you know.

JACK: Yes, you've told me.

JENNIFER: So, don't you think it might be kind of nice if those old feelings were... rekindled?

JACK gives her a look.

JENNIFER: What? What's that for? Come on, can I help it if I want everyone to be in love and happy like I am? (grins at him)

JACK: Next thing you'll be telling me is how you'd like to find a suitable mate for Francoise over there.

JENNIFER: Well, it has been over a year since he and Eve broke up- (she notices JACK wince at the mention of EVE'S name) Okay, maybe we better change the subject.

JACK: I can think of a few more pleasant topics of conversation than Bundt Cake, yes.

JENNIFER: (smiles) All right. So what were you saying earlier? Before I bruised your ego, that is.

JACK: Oh, it wasn't anything important, really-

JENNIFER: No, come on, don't hold out on me. What was it?

OUT on JACK wondering if he should tell her.


SCENE 2

IN PROGRESS

JENNIFER wants to know what JACK was trying to tell her earlier, but he wonders if he needs to bring it up again.

JACK: It's nothing you need to worry about, believe me. It's rather silly, actually-

JENNIFER: Oh, so that's why you gave me such a hard time earlier about not listening? (sees that he's serious) What? What is it?

The song comes to an end. FRANK SINATRA'S "FLY ME TO THE MOON" begins to play, and JACK pulls her close.

JACK: I was just wondering if, uh... if perhaps you were regretting the fact that we decided not to have a big wedding this time. Maybe this reminded you of what you could have had if we hadn't decided to rush things...

JENNIFER: (pulls away from him slightly to look at him) Are you... are you serious?

JACK: (softly) I just don't want you to have any regrets.

JENNIFER: Jack, the only thing I regret is us waiting all these years to do this... Big or small, fancy or simple--whatever our wedding is, I'm going to love it, because it's our wedding. No one else's.

She pulls him towards her and kisses him.

JENNIFER: So, you better not get cold feet on me, Jack Deveraux.

JACK: (smiles) Not a chance...

MIKE comes up to them and tapes JACK on the shoulder.

MIKE: Ahem.

JACK: Can I help you?

MIKE: (grins) Why yes, I was wondering if I might be able to cut in and steal my baby sis for one dance. You have been keeping her all to yourself all night.

JACK: As a matter of fact, she's the one who's been keeping me to herself all night, so please, take her off my hands- (JENNIFER hits him) Yes, I think I'll go find my other favorite lady--I thought I saw her with her cousins over by the cake earlier, admiring the lovely frosting. (looks at JENNIFER) I'd better inspect those little fingers to see if there's any evidence of premature tasting.

JENNIFER: (laughs) Try not to be too hard on her, Jack. (to MIKE) And you--you've got good timing. I've been wanting to talk to you all night, but you've been pretty chummy with Kayla over there-

JACK: That's my cue to leave...

MIKE: Wait a minute, Jack, I've changed my mind--take her back!

JACK: I'm sorry, you're on your own now. (leaves to find ABBY)

JENNIFER: Actually this has nothing to do with Kayla and how cute you two have looked all night.

MIKE groans.

JENNIFER: I'm serious... There's something I need to ask you...

OUT on MIKE'S curiosity.


SCENE 3

CUT TO: JACK

JACK sees ABBY playing with her cousins and decides to go get some champagne. He does not see VICTOR walk over to stand beside him at the bar.

VICTOR: (to the bartender) I'd like another glass of champagne too, please.

JACK immediately feels dread upon hearing VICTOR'S voice.

VICTOR: Beautiful wedding, isn't it?

JACK: (without looking at him) Yes. (takes his champagne from the bartender) Now if you'll excuse me-

VICTOR: Oh, what a shame. I was hoping we'd get to continue our discussion from the other night.

JACK: I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you, then. You see, surprisingly, I've actually been enjoying myself tonight, and I don't really want my evening to be spoiled now.

VICTOR: (as JACK starts to leave) I take it you're still declining my offer.

JACK: How very perceptive of you, Victor. (beat) Look, this isn't really the time or the place-

VICTOR: I was simply trying to have a pleasant conversation with you, Jack-

JACK: Virtually impossible, as you should know by now.

VICTOR: (holds up his hands) As you can see, I'm not carrying any weapons.

JACK: None that can be seen in plain sight, anyway. As to what you may or may not be hiding up your sleeves...

VICTOR: You really hate me this much?

JACK: Gee, Victor, what gave you that impression?

VICTOR: Don't you think Isabella would want us to at least be civil to each other?

JACK is caught off-guard by VICTOR'S words and immediately feels guilty. VICTOR sees this and enjoys JACK'S reaction.

JACK: So... (wanting to change the subject) Where is your beloved wife tonight?

VICTOR: (visibly tenses at the mention of KATE) She's spending Christmas in France this year. With Billie.

JACK: (sips his champagne) Trouble in paradise?

VICTOR: (regaining his cool demeanor) It's a difficult time for Billie, as you might imagine. Kate wanted to be there for her.

JACK: Ah yes, of course. Ex getting married and all.

VICTOR: Look, Jack, I'm sure the last thing you wanted to do tonight was discuss my personal life.

JACK: You're right, Victor. Let's go on to a far more interesting subject. How about you tell me just what it is that you're up to and how I fit into all of this?


SCENE 4

CUT TO: JENNIFER AND MIKE

JENNIFER has something important to ask MIKE.

MIKE: Something you need to ask me, huh? Should I be scared?

JENNIFER: No, of course not!

MIKE: You're sure?

JENNIFER: (laughs) My brother, the comedian. Would you please be serious?

MIKE: Fine, fine. You sure know how to get a guy's attention. What's up, Squirt?

JENNIFER: All right, there's something I hope you'll do for me.

MIKE: Anything. You know I'd do anything for you.

JENNIFER: (smiles) I know.

MIKE: So, what is it?

JENNIFER: Well, Dad was supposed to fly home for the wedding, but he called yesterday and said he and his team were called away to Rwanda, and now he doesn't think he'll be able to make it next week.

MIKE: Oh, Squirt, I'm sorry... I know how much you wanted him to be here.

JENNIFER: I did. But I understand, I mean this was last minute and everything... and then I realized something. You owe me.

MIKE: Come again?

JENNIFER: (thumps him on the chest) You owe me, Mike. You couldn't make it to my wedding last time, so that means you are obligated to make that up to me.

MIKE: (laughs) And what, pray tell, will be required of me?

JENNIFER: (softly) I want you to give me away.

MIKE: (touched) You do?

JENNIFER: (nods) I want you to be the one to give me away, Mike. Will you do that for me?

MIKE: Jen... You know I'd be honored to... (kisses her forehead) I couldn't think of anything that would make me prouder than to walk my little sister down the aisle.

OUT on JENNIFER'S smile.


SCENE 5

CUT TO JACK AND VICTOR

JACK wants to know what VICTOR is up to.

VICTOR: I think you're being a bit paranoid, Jack. I have no ulterior motive here. I just know that you've wanted this newspaper for a long time. I'm here to sell it to you.

JACK: (not buying it) Out of the kindness of your heart. Out of the blue?

VICTOR: What more can I do to show you my sincerity?

JACK: How about starting with telling me the truth?

VICTOR: I have been telling you the truth.

JACK: All right, this conversation is going in circles... I'm obviously not going to get a straight answer from you, so how about this: you've been well aware of my financial status, Victor. What makes you think I can even afford to buy the paper back, even if I were interested?

VICTOR: Well, Jack, you're hardly in the poorhouse. I hear your freelancing career has been quite lucrative over the years-

JACK: Hardly.

VICTOR: Weren't you offered quite a sizeable advance by Time Life for your book?

JACK: (surprised that VICTOR knew about that) You have been keeping tabs on me.

VICTOR: I always find it advantageous to know as much as I can about the people with whom I do business.

JACK: For the last time, Victor--I want no part of your schemes. I'm still recovering from the last time I tangled with you-

JENNIFER has come over to where JACK is and overheard JACK'S last comment.

JENNIFER: Jack, what's going on?

JACK: Nothing... (starts to leave with her)

VICTOR: Don't be a fool, Jack. This is a golden opportunity, and you know it. Don't let your pride be your downfall as it has before!

JENNIFER: (as she and JACK are walking away) What is he talking about? What's this golden opportunity?

JACK: It's nothing worth mentioning... Come on, I do believe I hear a tango playing now-

JENNIFER: Uh, actually, Jack, I was thinking that maybe we could sneak out of here a little early, what do you say? Abby's a little tired and we should probably get her to bed soon so we can play Santa...

JACK: (relieved to change the subject) That sounds like a fabulous idea. Let's go.


SCENE 6

INT. JACK AND JENNIFER'S LIVING ROOM - LATER

JACK and JENNIFER walk into the house, with JENNIFER carrying a sleeping ABBY. As they come in, JACK notices that the dining table is set up with candles and a bottle of champagne chilling, and the Christmas tree is all lit.

JACK: You?

JENNIFER: (whispering so she does not wake ABBY) Well, Jack, you're always surprising me. I figured it was your turn.

JACK: When did you have time to do this after Calliope kidnapped you and the child this morning?

JENNIFER: (laughs) I didn't. Calliope did. I told her she owed me after taking me away from you this morning. (beat) I'll be right back.

JENNIFER goes upstairs to put ABBY in her room, while JACK pops open the champagne bottle.

JACK: (handing a glass to JENNIFER, who has just come back) Perhaps we have time for a quick glass before Santa duty?

JENNIFER: (smiles) Actually, I think we may have time for more than that.

JACK gives her a look of surprise.

JACK: Right now?

JENNIFER: (laughs) I didn't mean that... I meant--we could exchange gifts.

JACK: Oh yes, of course.

They sit down in front of the tree and each retrieve their presents. JACK hands her his gift first.

JACK: It's, um... It's a bit of a high-maintenance gift-

JENNIFER: High-maintenance?

JACK: Yes, but I have a feeling you won't mind too much... Well, you'll see when you open it.

JENNIFER smiles back at him in curiosity, and opens the box, then her jaw drops open in shock.

JENNIFER: Oh, Jack...

She takes out the gift. It is a jade plant, like the one he gave her all those years ago.

JACK: It's not the original, obviously, but... I thought after everything we've been through in the last few months that it seemed rather apropos. (beat) The sentiment is certainly the same.

JENNIFER: (looking up at him with tears in her eyes) I love it, Jack. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect gift.

JACK gets a little embarrassed, and JENNIFER notices.

JENNIFER: Okay, your turn. (hands him the gift) You're never going to guess what it is.

JACK: (turning it over in his hands, trying to figure it out) No, I don't believe I will.

JENNIFER: Actually, I have Vern to thank for helping me find this-

JACK: Vern?

JENNIFER: Yup. I wouldn't have been able to get it if it weren't for him. He was a godsend!

JACK: For heaven's sake don't tell him that--just what the man needs, another ego boost.

JENNIFER: (laughing) Jack, would you just open it already?

He tears off the gift-wrap and sees that it's a large frame, and inside is an old copy of THE SPECTATOR.

JENNIFER: (excitedly) It was your very first issue as publisher. See, look at the date...

JACK: (extremely moved by this gift) I... This is truly something...

JENNIFER: You like it?

JACK: (nodding) I can't believe you thought of this...

JENNIFER: Well, it was a really special time in your life. (beat) In both our lives.

JACK: Yes it was.

He thinks about VICTOR'S offer again, and wonders if he is doing the right thing by not taking it.

JENNIFER: Hey... what is it?

JACK: Uh... This just got me thinking, that's all.

JENNIFER: (smiles) About old times?

JACK: Yes. And about times to come, as well. (beat) What would you say... if I told you that Victor Kiriakis is offering to sell The Spectator back to me?

OUT on JENNIFER'S shock.


SCENE 7

IN PROGRESS

JACK has just told JENNIFER about VICTOR'S offer.

JENNIFER: Are you serious? Victor's offering the paper back to you?

JACK nods.

JENNIFER: Jack, that's what you've wanted for so long! That's great news... (notices that JACK does not seem very happy) Isn't it?

JACK: I suppose on the surface it does seem too good to be true...

JENNIFER: But... the fact that Victor made the offer makes you wary.

JACK: (gets up) I don't know... Am I crazy to be so skeptical? Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, after all.

JENNIFER smiles.

JACK: Maybe Kate was right. Maybe it is time that I just let go of this grudge.

JENNIFER: Kate was right about something? Now there's something I won't hear you saying too often.

JACK: (laughs) Believe me, no one is more reluctant than I am to admit that.

He picks up his framed issue again, and looks at it.

JACK: You know, that newspaper was probably the most expensive thing I have ever bought on impulse. All I really wanted to do with it was to tick Diana off. (beat) I never expected to fall in love with it.

JENNIFER: Jack, you know what you have to do. I know Victor is probably the last person in the world that you want anything to do with, but... can you honestly tell me you don't get a rush just thinking about being back in that office again? Knowing that that's where you belong?

JACK: No, I guess I can't.

JENNIFER: Then do it, Jack. Finish what should have been done a long time ago. Make it right again.

JACK: (smiles) That simple, huh?

JENNIFER: That simple.

JACK looks back at the frame.

JACK: All right, then. (beat) Victor's about to get the shock of his life.

END EPISODE 31

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