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In This Life

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JACK and JENNIFER are going to have VERN, BRIAN, TANNER, and JO over for dinner. JACK is standing in front of the full-length mirror adjusting his tie, and JENNIFER comes up behind him and wraps her arms around him to help him fix his tie.

JENNIFER: (smiling at him in the mirror) A little nervous, are we?

JACK: (gives her a look) Hardly.

JENNIFER doesn't say anything and just grins.

JACK: I can't believe I let you talk me into this.

JENNIFER: Me, Jack? You are the one who said to Vern in the hospital that we should have him and Brian and Tanner over, so don't you dare rewrite history.

JACK: (knowing he can't argue his way out of this one) Sure... Take his side.

JENNIFER laughs. She turns JACK around to face her so she can fix his tie. The door is wide open and they see ABBY come out of her room. She is dressed in a blue dress with a flowered pattern, and her hair is in a French braid.

JACK: (whistles) Well... Could this radiant vision of loveliness possibly be our daughter?

ABBY giggles and comes inside their room.

JENNIFER: Daddy's right, baby. (imitating a snooty accent) You look smashing, dah-ling, simply smashing.

ABBY: I wanted to look extra special tonight.

JENNIFER: (exchanges amused grins with JACK) Oh, really? And why is that?

ABBY: 'Cause it's a special occasion.

JACK: It is? (narrowing his eyes) Why?

ABBY: You'll see!

She smiles, then immediately leaves the room without saying another word. JACK looks at JENNIFER questioningly.

JENNIFER: (laughs) Don't look at me, I don't know any more than you do.

They follow ABBY down the stairs and into the living room.

JACK: Abigail...

ABBY: Uh huh?

JACK: What did you mean by, 'You'll see'?

ABBY: (giggling) Just what I said, Daddy. You'll see!

JACK: (after a pause) Do you know something we don't?

OUT on ABBY'S mysterious grin.



JACK and JENNIFER are trying to learn ABBY'S secret, but ABBY does not say anything. It is obvious she is hiding something.

JENNIFER: Baby... what's going on?

ABBY: What good's a surprise if you're not surprised?

JACK: Oh, I see. A surprise. (to JENNIFER) Why did I suddenly feel my stomach plummet to the ground just now?

ABBY: (laughs) It's nothing bad, Daddy.

JACK: Nothing bad, huh. If this involves your grandmother--and I have the sneaking suspicion it does--I wouldn't be so sure of that.

ABBY: Well, I guess that's just for me to know and you to find out...

JACK opens his mouth to say something, but the doorbell rings before he can.

ABBY: That's them!

JACK: (to JENNIFER) What have we created?

JENNIFER: (smiles) What we probably deserve, Jack.

ABBY: I'll get it!

She runs off to open the door. JO, VERN, BRIAN, and TANNER are standing outside.

ABBY: Hi, Grandma!

JO: Well, hello to you too, sweetheart...

She walks in and gives ABBY a hug, while the men remain at the door.

JENNIFER: (waving them in) Come on it, you guys!

VERN, BRIAN, and TANNER: (simultaneously) Thanks, Jennifer.

BRIAN: Jack, hi!

JACK: Brian. Tanner. Good to see you two again.

TANNER: Yeah, I just wish it had been under better circumstances.

VERN: (to JACK) See the great lengths I had to go to, to get these guys to come home and visit once in a while?

BRIAN and TANNER groan.

JO: Now don't you joke about that, Vern.

VERN gives her a smile, which makes JACK very uncomfortable.

VERN: Oh, Jo... I'm fine now, aren't I? All's well that ends well.

JACK: (clears his throat) Yes, well... shall we?

Everyone files into the living room while JACK closes the door. JENNIFER waits for him.

JENNIFER: Promise me you'll behave.

JACK: Now, come on, Jennifer... when have I not?

He walks off, leaving JENNIFER to let out a sigh.

OUT on JENNIFER shaking her head as she follows JACK into the living room.



JACK, JENNIFER, ABBY, JO, VERN, BRIAN, and TANNER are sitting at the dining room table. They are in the middle of dinner.

JENNIFER: So how are you guys enjoying Las Vegas?

BRIAN: Well, it took a little getting used to, but now it's home, I guess.

VERN: Which is probably why I can't get either of them to visit from time to time, am I right?

TANNER: Subtle, Dad.

VERN: Well, we reporters aren't known for being subtle, right Jack? Jennifer?

JENNIFER: (laughing) It's too bad Ginger and Molly couldn't come. How are they?

BRIAN: Oh, they're doing great, thanks for asking. They really wanted to come with us, but Ginger had to stay behind because she couldn't find anyone to run the restaurant for her on such short notice, and Molly...

He looks at TANNER, who smiles and holds out his arms to indicate a big stomach.

JENNIFER: (excited) She's having a baby?

TANNER: (proudly) Due in 8 weeks.

JENNIFER: Oh my gosh, congratulations! That's great! Isn't that great, Jack?

JACK has been observing JO and VERN all night, and has no idea what JENNIFER just asked him.

JENNIFER: (nudging him) Jack?

JACK: Hmm? What?

JENNIFER: I said, isn't that great?

JACK: (watching JENNIFER nod to encourage him), yes, it's great! (forces a laugh) It's great, Brian-


JACK: Tanner. (clears his throat) Speaking of great... Jo...

JO: Yes, son?

JACK: Abigail tells us you have a surprise for us tonight.

ABBY: I didn't tell, Grandma, I promise!

JO: (laughing) Well, thank you sweetheart.

JACK: So it's true? You do have a surprise?

JO: Why, yes... Yes, I do, as a matter of fact. (smiles) I have some good news for you. (beat) Some very good news.

JACK: Oh God, I knew it...

JO: (confused) W-What? What do you mean?

JACK: He's asked you to marry him, hasn't he? (looks at VERN, then at JO). You two are getting married!

OUT on JO'S shocked, but amused face.



JACK thinks he has just guessed JO'S big surprise.

JACK: (seeing that JO is trying to hold her laughter in) May I inquire what's so amusing?

JO: You.

JACK: Me. (beat) You're trying to deflect the subject.

JO: What subject? Jack, I-

JACK: The subject of you and Vern getting married!

Everyone else can barely keep their laughter in check. JENNIFER is mortified.

VERN: Uh... I think I should clear this up-

JACK: Yes, please Vern, that would be very helpful. Why don't you clarify things just a little.

VERN: We're not getting married, Jack.

JACK: You're not?

JO: We're not. (laughs) Now, what gave you that idea, son?

JACK: Well, I... I mean, Abigail said you had a surprise, and... I just assumed that...

VERN: (rolling his eyes) Must I remind you of that old saying about assuming?

JACK: (giving him a smirk) Not in front of the child, thank you.

ABBY: What's that mean, Daddy?

JACK: I'll explain it when you're older, Abigail. (to JO) So, what is your news?

JO: This is probably going to be really unexpected-

JACK: Surprises usually are.

JENNIFER jabs him in the side.

JACK: (reacting) Sorry. Please, continue.

JO: (smiling) Thank you. Well, I've been thinking about this a lot in the last few months. Ever since you two moved back to Salem, as a matter of fact. Justin and Adrienne's boys are a lot older now, and they've been settled in Dallas for years now. They don't really need me that much anymore, and I... really miss it here... So I decided that I'm moving back here. To Salem. I've been thinking for years of opening up a day care center, and I figure, now's the perfect time and this is the perfect place to do it...

JACK is in shock. He is happy, but he is surprised and does not know what to say.

JO: Jack? W-What do you think?

JACK: You're... moving back to Salem?

JO: Yes. Yes, I am... (beat) That would be all right with you, wouldn't it?

JACK: (flustered) Well, uh... I mean, of course. Of course, if... that's what you want.

JO smiles, knowing this is his way of saying he is glad she is coming home.

JACK: This is what you want, isn't it? I mean, you're not doing this because you... think you need to take care of me or anything-

JO: Oh, of course not, don't be silly.

JACK: (laughs nervously) Yes, a silly thought.

JO: (laughing too) Very silly. (beat) The fact is, Jack, this is my home. My family's here now. I've got a granddaughter I've missed terribly, and... my friends are here.

She and VERN smile at each other. JACK becomes tense again.

JACK: Wait a minute, you're not...

JO: Not what, Jack?

JACK: You're not planning on... living together, are you?

VERN: (choking on his drink, starts to cough) Living tog... What?

JACK: Uh... never mind. (to JENNIFER, so nobody hears) Can't be planting seeds in the man's head. (JENNIFER laughs)

JO: No, Jack, I'll be living in my own place, of course.

ABBY: You can come live here, Grandma!

JACK: No!! (beat) I-I mean... certainly you want your privacy, don't you, Jo?

JO: (smiles) Actually, yes, I do. Abby, sweetheart, it's very nice of you to offer, but your daddy's right. I'd like to have my privacy. My independence.

ABBY: Oh. But you'll come over all the time, right?

JO: You bet I will.

JACK: That she will. (smiles at JO) That she will.

OUT on JO'S smile.



Dinner is over and the guests are getting ready to leave. JACK and VERN are discussing JACK and JENNIFER'S book while the others are putting on their coats.

VERN: So it's finally done, huh?

JACK: Indeed. The galleys are coming in three weeks.

VERN: That's great. It must be a relief to get that finished.

JACK: Major relief. Not that we didn't enjoy working on this project, mind you, but with us being back at the paper, it was good to get it done before things really got hectic.

VERN: Don't remind me, Jack. Don't you know it's torture knowing I'm at home 'recuperating' while you two get to enjoy all the fun?

JACK: Oh yes, deadlines, advertisers, subscribers--fun, fun, fun!

VERN: Nice try, but you're not fooling me. I know you and Jenny-girl love it as much as I do.

JACK: (half-smiles) Yeah, I... I guess we do. (pats him on the shoulder) But you'll be back before you know it. And I'm sure once I'm in one of my moods again, you'll be wishing you were back home recuperating again.

VERN: Oh good, something to look forward to. (beat) So, you found someone yet to take over the princess story?

JACK: Well, as a matter of fact... yes, I did.

VERN: You did? Well, that's fantastic! So, who's the lucky reporter who gets to go to Paris in a few weeks?

OUT on JACK'S smile.


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