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In This Life

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JENNIFER is standing near the nurse's station when her cell phone rings.

JENNIFER: Jennifer Deveraux... Helen, hi... Yes, I'm still here at the hospital...

MIKE comes out of a patient's room and sees JENNIFER. He sneaks up behind her to surprise her.

JENNIFER: (unaware MIKE is there) 1:30? Yes, that sounds perfect... All right, I should be in soon. I've got my notes at the office, so I can get them before I head over to City Hall... Okay, thanks!

MIKE waits until she has hung up the phone and suddenly grabs her waist. JENNIFER gasps in surprise.

MIKE: Squirt...

JENNIFER: (overlapping) Mike! (hits him on the arm)

MIKE: (laughing) Hey!

JENNIFER: I can't believe you just did that! What's the idea of scaring me half to death like that?

MIKE: Oh come on, you act like that's the first time I've ever done that. If you remember, I did this pretty regularly when you were a kid.

JENNIFER: (smirks) And in case you've noticed, I'm not eight years old anymore.

MIKE: No, you're sure not. (touches her hair) You don't have pigtails anymore, either. I used to love tugging on those-

JENNIFER: (laughs) Pigtails don't really go with this pantsuit I'm wearing.

MIKE: (smiles) You here to see Vern?

JENNIFER: No, they let him go home yesterday, thank goodness.

MIKE: That's great news!

JENNIFER: Yeah, it is... I'm so happy he's doing better now. It'll be a while yet before he comes back to the office, but that might not be such a bad idea, considering who is boss is. (laughs)

MIKE: So what are you doing here? Came to see your big brother, who you just worship?

JENNIFER: Actually, I came here with Jack-

MIKE puts his hands over his heart and pretends to be hurt.

JENNIFER: (grins) -and to see my wonderful beyond words big brother too, of course.

MIKE: That's better. (turns serious) So, how's he doing?

JENNIFER: Good. He's doing good. He's here for his check-up with Dr. Patrick. He should be out any minute now, and then we're going to the office together. Which reminds me, you haven't been to my office yet, have you? I haven't quite moved in yet, but we should schedule lunch or something so you can get the grand tour-

MIKE: Whoa, whoa, whoa...


MIKE: Take a breath, will you?

JENNIFER: What? What do you mean-

MIKE: (giving her a look) You're talking a mile a minute. What's going on?

JENNIFER does not answer.

MIKE: Come on, Squirt, out with it. What's bothering you?

OUT on JENNIFER taking her eyes away from him.



MIKE has noticed that JENNIFER seems upset about something, but she won't tell him.

MIKE: I don't mind waiting here all day for you to answer, you know.

JENNIFER: Oh, we're going with that strategy, are we? Let's stare at Jennifer until she breaks...

MIKE: So you do have something on your mind.

JENNIFER: Am I really that transparent?

MIKE: Well... yeah. Just a little. But that's what we love about you.

JENNIFER smiles a little and begins to absent-mindedly play with his tie, which has baseballs and baseball bats on it.

JENNIFER: Hey, this is the tie that Abby picked out that we sent you on your birthday... She'd get a kick out seeing you wear it. I should bring her by later so she can see it-

MIKE: (lifts her chin up) Nice try, Squirt.

JENNIFER: (feigning innocence) Nice try?

MIKE: You want to tell me what's really going on in that mind of yours?

JENNIFER: It's nothing worth talking about, really.

MIKE: Really.


MIKE: It's about Jack, isn't it?



MIKE has guessed what's on JENNIFER'S mind.

MIKE: Well? Do I win the million dollar prize?

JENNIFER smiles.

MIKE: I'll take that as a yes.

JENNIFER: How do you do that? How do you know exactly what I'm thinking all the time?

MIKE: I'm your brother. It comes with the territory.

JENNIFER: Well, you're right. It's about Jack.

MIKE: You're worried about him.

JENNIFER: It's silly, I know. I mean, he's in remission, he's getting stronger by the day--there's nothing to worry about, right? (beat) So why is it still always in the back of my mind?

MIKE: (puts his arm around her shoulders) Because... You're scared that if you let yourself relax, that you let your guard down and think that it's all over and done with... that it might come back and blindside you.

JENNIFER: Score again.

MIKE: Jen, it's only natural that you feel that way. You came so close to losing him--that's not something you can easily get over just because he's got a clean bill of health now.

JENNIFER: I just keep wondering, Mike... Am I always going to be nervous every time he's got a check-up? Am I always going to be scared that the doctor will say they've found something again? I mean, there are no guarantees... right?

MIKE: No, there aren't. I wish I could tell you that there's no risk of it ever coming back again, but... I can't. You know that.

JENNIFER: (softly) I know.

MIKE: But I can tell you that each day he's cancer-free is going to be a blessing, and you need to treasure that.

JENNIFER: (smiles) Thank you.

She hugs him, then pulls away and feels guilty for bringing all of this up.

JENNIFER: I'm sorry...

MIKE: What for?

JENNIFER: I know how hard it must be for you to talk about this, and here I always do. The last thing I want to do is bring up sad memories for you.

MIKE: It doesn't hurt me to think about Margo, Jen. She's always going to be a piece of me no matter what, just like Jack is always going to be a piece of you. And maybe... maybe all the heartache I went through with her was so that I could help you through this.

JENNIFER: You're the best, you know that?

MIKE: Yeah, I do-

JENNIFER jabs him in the ribs.

MIKE: (doubling over) -but it's nice to hear it anyway.

JENNIFER: (laughing) I love you, Mike.

MIKE: I love you too, Squirt. (sees JACK coming) And there's the other man in your life.

JENNIFER turns around and she and JACK slide their arms around each other's waist when he comes up to her.

JENNIFER: (giving him a kiss) Were your ears burning?

JACK: My ears are always burning. There is always someone talking about me somewhere.

JENNIFER exchanges amused grins with MIKE.

MIKE: Of course.

JENNIFER: Everything okay?

JACK: Everything is okay. Dr. Patrick sends his best.

JENNIFER: (smiling) Good. (to MIKE) And you--I'll see you later. (gives him a kiss) Thanks for everything.

MIKE: You bet. (to JACK) Jack, you take care of yourself, you hear me? Otherwise I'm the one who has to hear about it from this one (indicating JENNIFER).

JACK: She does worry about me a bit too much, doesn't she?

MIKE: We all do, buddy.

JACK gives him an embarrassed smile.

JACK: Ready?

JENNIFER: Absolutely.

OUT on JACK and JENNIFER as they head to work.




JENNIFER: I'm glad we decided to take the long way to work.

JACK: It is rather scenic, isn't it? Of course the fact that coffee stand on the corner has surprisingly good coffee doesn't hurt either. (takes a sip from his cup) You set to meet with the mayor later today?

JENNIFER: Mm hmm. At 1:30. I should be able to make it back for the editorial meeting at 4:00.

JACK: Good, good. I've got some college students coming in to interview for internships for spring semester, by the way. I'd like them to meet with you too.

JENNIFER: (smiles) Oh really? Any good candidates?

JACK: (pulling a face) Depends on your definition of good.

JENNIFER: Come on, Jack, I'm sure you're being too hard on them. I mean, they're students, not professionals.

JACK: Jennifer, I had you covering major stories as an intern. You had almost as many by-lines as my most established reporters. These so-called candidates can't even tell me what comes after, "Who, what, when, and where."

JENNIFER: Well, I had someone pretty good take me under his wing. That makes a big difference, you know.

JACK: (on a roll) I swear, I don't know what they teach in Journalism 101 these days. It's positively disgraceful. They churn out these kids calling themselves journalists, who haven't the foggiest idea how to put together a simple story- (sees that JENNIFER is looking at him and smiling) What?

JENNIFER: Nothing.

JACK: That is not a look of nothing.

JENNIFER: It's you.

JACK: (confused) Me?

JENNIFER: (smiles) Yeah. I haven't seen this side of you in years, Jack.

JACK: (arches an eyebrow) Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

JENNIFER: It's a good thing. A very good thing. Look at you, back in power at the newspaper you love. Where you belong. I haven't seen you this excited and rejuvenated in a really long time.

JACK: (half-smiles) Well, I suppose freelancing can bring one only so much satisfaction.

JENNIFER: It's not the same as being in charge, is it?

JACK: No, it's not. It's not the same as being "home." That's where we are, Jennifer--home.

JENNIFER: We certainly are.

She slips her arm through his as they continue to walk.

JENNIFER: Mike reminded me of something today, you know. I mean, it's something I've always known, but I guess I just needed to hear it from someone else.

JACK: What's that?

JENNIFER: That every day is a blessing. And every day I have here with you and Abby, and every day that we get to do what we love for a living and be back in the place we love--it's a gift.

JACK: I had no idea your brother was so sentimental. Your grandmother better watch out or she may be out of a job soon.

JENNIFER: Jack! (hits him on the arm)

JACK: (laughs) All right! I admit, it is good advice...


JACK: So, my fellow media mogul, ready to spend another day trying to take over the publishing world?

JENNIFER: (smiles) Let's do it.

OUT on the two.


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