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In This Life

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EPISODE 35

SCENE 1

INT. SALEM UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL - DAY (A FEW DAYS AFTER EPISODE 34)

JACK and JENNIFER are visiting VERN at the hospital. They are standing outside of VERN'S room. JENNIFER is holding JACK'S hand and starts to go in, but JACK does not move.

JENNIFER: (noticing that JACK is hesitating) Jack, what's wrong?

JACK: Nothing... Nothing's wrong.

JENNIFER gives him a look.

JACK: What?

JENNIFER: Nothing's wrong, huh?

JACK: That's what I said.

JENNIFER: (smiles) I see. So is there any particular reason then, why you seem to be rooted to that spot?

JACK: I don't know what you mean-

JENNIFER: Oh come on, Jack, you can't fool me.

JACK: I... (sighs) Look, he's probably resting. He needs rest, the doctor said so, right?

JENNIFER: Yeah, but-

JACK: So the last thing he needs is me going in there, aggravating him.

JENNIFER: (laughs) Jack, you're not going in there to aggravate him, you're going in there to see him and let him know you care. (tugs on his hand again) So, come on...

JACK: Wait, wait...

JENNIFER turns around to look at him.

JACK: Let's just... Can we just wait a little bit?

JENNIFER: I think I know what's going on.

JACK: You do?

JENNIFER: (nods) Yeah, I do. You forget I know you better than anyone else in the world.

JACK: (half-smiles) Well tell me then, Amazing Kreskin, why do I not want to go in there?

JENNIFER: Because you're scared.

JACK: I'm... what?

JENNIFER: You're scared to go in there and see him. (beat) I'm right, aren't I, Jack?

JACK looks away because he knows she is right.


SCENE 2

IN PROGRESS

JENNIFER has correctly guessed why JACK is hesitant to go visit VERN.

JENNIFER: I guess I can take your silence as a yes.

JACK: Jennifer-

JENNIFER: Jack.

JACK: (nervously scratches his eyebrow) Why would I be scared to go in there?

JENNIFER: Oh, I don't know... (takes his chin and pulls his face towards her) Because maybe you're scared to see him like this? With all these IV's stuck in him, and all these machines and monitors hooked up to him? It's hard for you to see him like that, isn't it?

JACK: Come on, Jennifer... You and I both saw him the day it happened--we were here, remember? Right inside there in his room-

JENNIFER: I know that, Jack, but you were still in shock at that point--we both were. It hadn't really sunk in yet. Not until now.

JACK can not say anything in response.

JENNIFER: I know it's going to be hard, all right? But I'm right here, so we'll be doing it together. And Dr. Wesley said he's going to be fine, in fact weren't you the one telling me that before?

JACK: I was merely saying that to keep you from freaking out.

JENNIFER: (gives him a knowing smile) Oh right, right... Of course...

JACK knows she is teasing him and smirks back at her.

JENNIFER: Well, it's true. He is going to be all right, and they're going to let him go home soon, so there's nothing to be scared of. (beat) Okay?

JACK nods.

JENNIFER: All right, let's go...

They go inside and see JO, who is also visiting.

JO: Jack! Jennifer! Come in, come in...

JACK: (muttering to JENNIFER) Well, she certainly looks at home here...

JENNIFER jabs JACK in the ribs.

VERN: (weakly) Jo's right, come on in! Brian and Tanner went to the cafeteria for a little bit, so you'll see them in a little while... I am so glad to see you two!

JENNIFER: (walks over to him) Oh, we're so glad to see you too, Vern. You look great, really great.

VERN: (giving her a look) I don't know about great, Jenny-girl. Better maybe, but not great. But thanks for trying to spare my feelings.

He notices JACK standing awkwardly by the door, with his hands in his pockets.

VERN: Hey, it's all right, Jack, I don't bite.

JACK laughs nervously and comes closer. Vern is amused to see JACK so worried about him.

VERN: Listen, now that you two are here--I just want to apologize for ruining your wedding-

JENNIFER: Oh no, no, no, Vern--don't even try to apologize!

VERN: Hey, if it weren't for me, you kids would be off sailing the canals of Venice instead of visiting me in a hospital room.

JACK: You know something, Venice probably isn't at its best at this time of the year anyway. I mean, it's the middle of winter, the canals are probably frozen-

JENNIFER: (laughs) What Jack is trying to say is... all we care about is that you are going to be better. Don't worry about us, we will get married as soon as you're strong enough--however long it takes.

VERN: (touched) Aww, Jenny-girl... You don't have to put off your wedding for me. I know how long you both have waited for this day, and I don't want you to wait any longer than you have to.

JACK: Look, we are not... we are not getting married without you and that's final. (looks at JENNIFER, who smiles at him) This is non-negotiable.

JENNIFER: That's right Vern. We want you to be a part of this, and we're going to wait for you to get better.

JACK: I think she just wanted the big wedding, personally-

JENNIFER: Jack!

JACK: So consider that your incentive to get the hell out of this place, Vern.

VERN: (smiles) Aye, aye, boss. (beat) I've missed this.

JACK: What, me giving you a hard time?

VERN: Uh... yeah, Jack.

JACK: Well, it's your lucky day, Vern. Because I'm here to tell you that you'll be getting more of that very soon.

VERN: I'm almost afraid to ask what you mean by that.

JENNIFER: He means... that we have something to tell you, Vern.

She looks at JACK, then looks back at VERN and smiles.

OUT on VERN'S curiosity.


SCENE 3

IN PROGRESS

JACK and JENNIFER have piqued VERN'S curiosity about something.

VERN: Well, is one of you going to say something before you give me another heart attack from the anticipation?

JACK: Are you sure you can take it?

VERN: Would you just tell me-

JACK: All right, all right! Take it easy, all right?

JO: Come on, son, don't leave us all in suspense here... What's going on?

JENNIFER: Jack's got some news, Jo. Some big news.

JO: What is it?

JACK: I, uh... Let's just say I've reacquired something that once belong to me.

VERN: (muttering) Your sarcasm?

JACK: (glaring at VERN) I heard that.

VERN grins at him.

JACK: Suffice to say, this was something of which I had been in pursuit for a long time. And, uh... at times it seemed quite the impossible dream.

JO: You mean...

JENNIFER: He did it. He got The Spectator back!

VERN: Jack!

JO: (overlapping) Oh, son!

VERN: How did you ever...

JACK: Apparently, Victor was moved by the yuletide spirit and got the itch to sell it to me. Or perhaps it was something else that motivated him, such as the divorce fairy-

VERN: What?

JACK: In any case, it is back in my hands. For better or worse, of course.

VERN: Congratulations, Jack. This is unbelievable news!

JACK: (smiles) Yes, indeed. So if the wedding is not a good enough motivator to get yourself all patched up, then I hope returning to the paper is--now that you'll no longer have to work for the lovely Kate.

VERN: When you put it that way, Jack, I don't know that I like this any better-

JACK: I'll give you that one for free since you're in a hospital. But you'd better watch it, Vern. It's never wise to give your boss a hard time, remember.

VERN: (grins) I'll try to remember that.

JACK: (clears his throat) Well... Jennifer and I should get going--you need your rest.

VERN: Are you sure? You two don't want to stay until Brian and Tanner get back?

JACK: I tell you what, why don't we have all three of you over for dinner as soon as you're up for it. (to JO) You can, um... come too, of course. If you're still here.

JO: That sounds wonderful, son.

JACK: So what do you say, Vern?

VERN: I'd really like that, Jack.

JACK: Well, um...

JENNIFER: (takes JACK'S hand) You're welcome, Vern.

JACK: Yes, that. (beat) You're welcome.

JACK and JENNIFER start to leave, but VERN stops them.

VERN: Wait-

They turn around.

VERN: I just wanted to say... I really appreciated you two coming here to visit me. You guys are the best.

OUT on JACK and JENNIFER smiling at him.


SCENE 4

INT. THE SPECTATOR - LATER

JACK and JENNIFER have come to the newspaper for the first time since JACK bought it back from TITAN. They watch the busy newsroom in silence and marvel at everything.

JACK: Brings back some memories, huh?

JENNIFER: (emotional) Yeah, it does.

A REPORTER spots them, and recognizes JACK from his days as the owner/publisher. She comes up to him.

REPORTER: Mr. Deveraux!

JACK: Stacy? Stacy Walters, right?

REPORTER: Yes, you remember me!

JACK: Of course, I do. One of our best metro reporters... It's great to see you again.

REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. Deveraux. I heard the fantastic news this morning, is it true you're really going to take over the paper again?

JACK: Yes, actually, it is true, as a matter of fact.

REPORTER: You have no idea how wonderful we all think it is. We'd been in horrible shape ever since Titan took over all those years ago.

JENNIFER: Well, you can bet Jack's going to turn that all around.

REPORTER: I sure hope so. We're all counting on it.

She leaves. JENNIFER turns to JACK and smiles.

JENNIFER: What do you think about that? That was quite a nice welcome, don't you think?

JACK: Certainly better than the welcome I got when I first bought this place.

JENNIFER: The circumstances are a little better this time around, I would say.

JACK: Indeed. (beat) So, Mrs. D., what do you say we check out the new--or should I say, former--digs?

JENNIFER: Let's go.

JACK takes her hand and leads her to his old office. They stand in front of the door, where KATE'S name is still written.

JACK: I hope she cleaned out her things like she said she would.

JENNIFER: (giggling) If she didn't, I'll be happy to help you do it.

JACK gives her a conspiratorial smile and opens the door. He turns on the lights and groans.

JACK: Oh, would you look at that? (goes over to the desk) The woman didn't even bother to throw out these old take-out cartons. Look, there's even food inside of them still!

JENNIFER: What? Let me take a look at this... (takes one of the cartons and sniffs it) That's funny, it still smells okay. It's still warm too, I-

She pauses, having figured this all out.

JENNIFER: Wait a minute, Jack, Kate didn't leave this here.

JACK: She didn't? Well, then who did?

JENNIFER: (grinning at him) These are from Grand Fortune, Jack.

JACK: Are they? Hmm, so they are. Someone has good taste.

JENNIFER: There are pot stickers here.

JACK: There are, huh? Well, perhaps you could sneak a taste of some-

JENNIFER: Oh, give it up, I know already! I know you set this all up...

JACK: (grins) All right, I confess. I thought perhaps you'd enjoy some lunch in a familiar place.

JENNIFER: Just like the old days.

JACK: That's the idea. (kisses her)

OUT on JENNIFER'S smile.


SCENE 5

INT. JACK'S OFFICE AT THE SPECTATOR - LATER

JACK and JENNIFER are having lunch at his desk, as they did when they used to work together at the newspaper. JACK is sitting in his chair and JENNIFER is sitting on his lap.

JACK: You've been awfully quiet for a while now. I, uh... thought this would be a nice surprise, but you don't seem to be enjoying yourself-

JENNIFER: (snapping out of her reverie) Oh, no, Jack, this is perfect. It is. It was incredibly sweet--I mean, thoughtful.

JACK: Then why the long face?

JENNIFER: I don't have a long face-

JACK: Oh, I beg your pardon, you do. (looks at her intently) Something you want to talk about?

JENNIFER smiles.

JACK: What?

JENNIFER: Nothing, it's just that I'm usually the one trying to draw things out of you, that's all.

JACK: Well, that doesn't mean we can't switch roles once in a while, right?

JENNIFER: Right.

JACK: So... what's got you so preoccupied? What's wrong?

JENNIFER: Nothing's wrong...

JACK gives her a questioning look.

JENNIFER: Really, Jack, nothing's wrong. I promise.

JACK: But...

JENNIFER: But... I was just thinking of the old days, that's all.

JACK: Ah.

JENNIFER: What do you mean, 'Ah'?

JACK: Nothing, just 'Ah.' 'Ah' as in, I think that was a hint on your part.

JENNIFER: What are you talking about?

JACK: I'm talking about the fact that I know what you're getting at.

JENNIFER: Your turn to read my mind now, huh?

JACK: As a matter of fact... yes. (beat) You're reminiscing about the time when we worked here together, am I right?

JENNIFER smiles.

JACK: I am going to take that as a yes.

JENNIFER: All right, yes. You're right.

JACK: And you're wondering why I haven't said anything before now about... your part in all of this.

JENNIFER: Jack, look, I don't want you to feel obligated here, I mean this is your baby-

JACK: Correction. It is our baby. Ours.

JENNIFER: (emotional) You mean it? A-Are you saying... I can come back here again? That I can be a reporter here again?

JACK: No, that's not what I'm saying at all.

JENNIFER: (disappointed) Oh.

JACK: Because you will be the co-publisher.

JENNIFER: (doesn't absorb it at first) It was silly of me to think that I could... What?

JACK: (smiling) You heard me. Co-publisher.

JENNIFER: Me?

JACK: Yes, you. Do you see any other Mrs. Deveraux in this room?

JENNIFER: (teases him, looks around) Hmm, no Kayla... No Eve... Huh, what do you know, I guess you are talking about me-

JACK interrupts her with a kiss.

JENNIFER: Co-publisher... Jack, I... I don't know what to say.

JACK: How about, you'll do it?

JENNIFER: You're really going to let me be your partner?

JACK: I do believe you've been my partner for a long time now, Jennifer. Now we're just making it official. I couldn't imagine doing this without you--you helped me build this place to what it was the first go-around. I need you here. (beat) So, what do you say?

JENNIFER: (smiles) I would be honored, Jack. (kisses him) You know what this means, don't you?

JACK: I'm afraid to ask.

JENNIFER: It means that I have equal say in everything that goes on around here.

JACK: Try not to let the power go to your head.

JENNIFER: We're going to take this to the top, Jack. Ferraros, Peabodies, Pulitzers...

JACK: Forget Knight Ridder, forget Gannett, forget Tribune--Deveraux Publishing is the future of the newspaper publishing world!

JENNIFER: (laughing) You and me, Jack... We'll do it together.

JACK: Yes, we will.

JENNIFER: So, I just want to know one thing.

JACK: What?

JENNIFER: Does this mean I get Diana's old office?

JACK: You mean you don't want to share this one?

JENNIFER: (smiles) Well, as... (kisses him) tempting as that offer is... (kisses him again) And I can see some definite advantages... (another kiss) I think just the same I'd like my own office.

JACK: Very well. (grins) I'll tell you what, though. I'll make you a deal.

JENNIFER: Which is?

JACK: You'll have to sleep with the boss to get your own office.

JENNIFER: I thought you said we were equal partners.

JACK: All right, you'll have to sleep with your equal partner then.

JENNIFER smiles, then walks over to the door and locks it, then closes the blinds.

JENNIFER: You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Deveraux.

JACK: (smiles back at her as he takes her in his arms) Don't I know it...

OUT on the two kissing.

END EPISODE 35

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