KEEPING UP WITH THE DEVERAUXES
By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna
SCENE 1: EXT. HOTEL GARDEN
HARPER and DUKE have just asked JACK what he plans on doing about the situation with JENNIFER.
IN on HARPER and DUKE who are looking at JACK with anticipation. While they speak, JACK'S head moves to look at each of them.
HARPER: Say, son, what's it gonna be?
DUKE: Come on, Billy boy, make up your mind. Are you gonna stay and fight (PUTTING HIS FISTS UP TO INDICATE FIGHTING) or are you gonna run like a wittle girl? (HE PRETENDS TO GRAB THE EDGES OF HIS PRETEND "SKIRT" AND RUNS VERY FEMININELY IN PLACE)
HARPER: (TO DUKE) You'd make a very ugly girl.
DUKE: I should hope so. Imagine my mug on a girly body.
HARPER: I'd rather not.
THEY collapse in laughter. Noticing JACK'S unamused face they stop.
HARPER: Fight or flight? It's your choice, son.
DUKE: We're counting on you to make the right decision. (HE PUTS HIS ARM AROUND HARPER AND SMILES) Just like your dear old dads.
HARPER and DUKE decide to chant together.
HARPER and DUKE: Fight or flight?! Fight or flight?! Fight or flight?! Fight or-
JACK: (SCREAMING IN FRUSTRATION) AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH! (HE COVERS HIS EARS AND GRIMACES. IT IS TOO MUCH FOR HIM.)
Unbeknownst to him, JENNIFER has walked up behind him and is smiling oddly at him. She knows what he has been doing. She jumps back a little when he screams.
JENNIFER: Geez, Jack, they can't be that bad.
OUT on JACK, who is in shock over hearing her voice. He slowly turns around and smiles nervously at her.
SCENE 2: EXT. HOTEL GARDEN
JACK: (SMILING NERVOUSLY) Hehehehe. Jennifer...I...I didn't hear you come up.
JENNIFER: (SMILING) I'd say. (BEAT. NONCHALANTLY.) So, how are they? (SHE WALKS OVER TO A BUSH AND STARTS PLAYING WITH THE LEAVES)
JACK: (PLAYING DUMB) How are who?
JENNIFER: (FLASHING A SLY SMILE AT HIM) Whom, Jack. Whom being Harper and Duke. That's whom you were talking to, right?
JACK: (LOOKING DOWN AT HIS FEET AND SHUFFLING THEM NERVOUSLY)Uh...well...what makes you think that?
JENNIFER: (WALKING OVER TO HIM AND PLACING HER HAND ON HIS ELBOW) I've known about them for a long time, remember? (BEAT. WANTING HIM TO LOOK AT HER) I also know that they like to show up when you are having problems with me. That's what this is about, isn't it, Jack? (REACHING UP AND GRABBING HIS CHIN GENTLY TO MAKE HIM LOOK AT HER) It's about me. Isn't it, Jack?
OUT on JACK looking at JENNIFER with deep love in his eyes. He is afraid of getting too close to her, of hurting her.
SCENE 3: EXT. HOTEL GARDEN
JENNIFER: (HOLDING JACK'S CHIN TO MAKE HIM LOOK AT HER) They came because of me, didn't they, Jack? (BEAT) Harper and Duke came because you and I, we, are having a problem.
JACK: (GENTLY PUSHING HER HAND AWAY FROM HIS FACE AND TURNING AWAY TO AVERT HER GAZE) Jennifer, I-
JENNIFER: (HURT THAT HE PULLED AWAY) Jack, please. (THICK WITH EMOTION) We have to talk. You have to listen to me.
JACK: (TURNING BACK AROUND TO FACE HER) I can't...I'm...I'm scared.
JENNIFER: (EYES WELLING UP WITH TEARS. CONFUSED.) You're scared?
JACK: (TAKING A DEEP BREATH. HE'S TRYING TO BE OPEN AND HONEST WITH HER AND IT'S KILLING HIM. WITH EACH WORD, HE BREATHES HARDER AS IF HE HAS TO GET IT OUT BEFORE HE CHANGES HIS MIND) Scared of...hell, I might as well say it...Scared that this whole relationship-this whole you and me, everything, scared that it was just a great dream...that I made it up. Scared that whatever you say will wake me up from it. I'm scared of waking up from this, Jennifer. I believed-
JENNIFER: (SMILING WITH DETERMINATION AT HIM) Jack, I believe in you.
JACK: (STOPPING TO PONDER WHAT SHE JUST SAID) What? That makes no sense. Jennifer-
JENNIFER: (SMILING AT HIM AGAIN WITH DETERMINATION) I said I believed in you, Jack.
JACK: (STOPPING AGAIN. LOOKING AT HER CURIOUSLY) There you go again. What does that have to do with anything?
JENNIFER: Jack, it has to do with everything. I believe that you can handle what I'm going to say. That you, that we, can work through this.
JACK: (WITH DISBELIEF OVER HER FAITH IN HIM) How can you be so sure? How do you know that? Statistics say that...
JENNIFER: (GENTLY GRABBING HIS HAND AND CARESSING IT. LOOKING DEEP INTO HIS EYES) I don't care wht the statistics say, Jack. I know. I just know. Jack, listen to me. Please.
OUT on JACK'S face. He wants to believe her but isn't sure if he can handle it.
SCENE 4: EXT. HOTEL GARDEN
JENNIFER: (CARESSING JACK'S HAND WITH HERS) Please listen to me. That's all you have to do.
JACK: (LOOKING PENSIVELY AT THEIR HANDS ENTWINED) That's all?
JENNIFER: (NODDING. TEARS WELLING UP IN HER EYES) That's all.
JACK swallows hard. He knows that listening to her might kill him and wants so badly to believe that they can work through this. He goes to move his hand away from hers. JENNIFER looks saddened at this gesture. At the last moment, he decides to keep it there. JENNIFER sees this sign as hopeful and smiles weakly at him. He smiles weakly back at her.
JENNIFER: (MOVED THAT HE IS GOING TO LISTEN) Okay. (BEAT) Jack, when we were in Africa-
JACK: (ON EDGE) Should I sit?
JACK: I said, should I sit?
JENNIFER nods weakly and watches as he sits down on a log. She gently lets go of his hand and begins to pace. She is nervous and hopeful that JACK will be able to deal what she is about to tell him. Still, her eyes are brimming with tears. Seeing that he is settled in, she starts to talk.
JENNIFER: (WITH EACH WORD, SHE GETS MORE SAD) Jack, when we were in Africa, I thought it was perfect and it was for awhile. I thought we finally could get past all that happened to us-you leaving, Abby's being sick. I really thought it would be different. I thought that we had finally done it, that we had finally beat the odds. (SHE LOOKS OVER AT JACK, WHO IS WATCHING HER CURIOUSLY AND WITH GREAT CARE)
JENNIFER: (CONT) Then you started going away with my father (JACK STARTS TO SPEAK BUT SHE THROWS HIM A LOOK THAT STOPS HIM) and I know now that it was nothing, but then...Jack, I felt alone. My whole life people had been leaving me-my mother mentally, my father, and then...then you.
JACK looks hurt by this remark. He never meant to hurt her and was finally realizing that he had.
JENNIFER: (CONT.) I thought that you didn't want me anymore, that you found someone else who challenged and delighted you more than I could. It was wrong, I know, but Jack, I wasn't myself. Something deep within me took over. You know that. You remember, don't you? You remember how I'd be, right? Those last few months in Africa?
JACK: (SOFTLY. REMEMBERING HER ODD BEHAVIOR) I remember.
JENNIFER: I wasn't myself. I'm still not myself. And Abby asking where you were only made me...made me hate you even more...for leaving me, for leaving us when all I needed was you there.
Each fact stabs JACK like a knife. He knows he should have been there and is in pain that he couldn't be.
JENNIFER: (CONT.) I needed a friend. That's when I turned to Colin.
OUT on JACK'S face imagining the worst. He is beginning to think that COLIN may be exactly what Jennifer needs-someone who can support and love her the way he can't.
SCENE 5: EXT. HOTEL GARDEN
JACK: (SARCASTICALLY TO COVER HIS PAIN) And I suppose the good doctor had the cure for what ailed ye?
JENNIFER throws him a saddened look. She knows that he is starting to close up.
JACK: (CONT.) That is it, isn't it, Jennifer? What you're getting at? He was there when I wasn't? He gave you what I couldn't? (CHOKING ON THE WORDS) What I still can't.
JENNIFER: (HOPEFUL THAT HE DOESN'T TAKE WHAT SHE IS SAYING THE WRONG WAY) Yes.
JACK gets up angrily and turns away from her, shaking his head.
JENNIFER: (UPSET. STARTING TO SHOUT) Don't do this, Jack! You have to listen! You said you would!
JACK: (WANTING TO LISTEN BUT KNOWING HE CAN'T) I...(TURNING SLOWLY TOWARDS HER. CALMLY) I think I heard enough.
JENNIFER: (SHOCKED OVER HIS WORDS) So that's it? You won't even let me finish, will you?! Jack, I believe in you! I know you will understand! Just let me tell you!
JACK: (NOT WANTING TO HEAR HER. MATCHNG HER YELL) No!
JENNIFER: No? Jack, this is not only about you, you know! It's about me, too...it's about our future!
JACK: (LAUGHING AT HER SUGGESTION TO HIDE HIS PAIN) Future? You think we can have one of those? Sooner or later you're going to realize that you are going to need more than me in your life, Jennifer. You're going to realize that you need someone who can give you those things. Someone like (CHOKING ON THE NAME) Colin.
JENNIFER: No. The only person I need is you, Jack-
JACK: How can you say that? You just...you just said that I couldn't give you the things you need. Look what I've done. Look what I've done to you.
JENNIFER: (CONFUSED AND HURT) What are you talking about?
JACK: (GESTURING TO HER) Look at you...beating yourself up over something that was inevitable, thinking it's your fault. You didn't do anything, Jennifer. I did! Can't you see? I couldn't see the forest for the trees. When dealing with Jack Deveraux, there are two things you can count on-the finest wine and the worst possible heartache.
JENNIFER: Jack, you didn't do anything. I did.
JACK: You didn't. You're perfect, Jennifer. Perfect!
JENNIFER: (ANGRY. PRACTICALLY SCREAMING) I am not perfect! I am not! (LOWERING HER VOICE A LITTLE) And you are not (PUTTING UP HER FINGERS TO INDICATE QUOTES) "bad", I am not "good". We are who we are, Jack and that is two people who love and believe in each other, despite our faults. It's just that simple, Jack. Can't you see?
JACK: (BEATING HIMSELF UP OVER MAKING HER FEEL SO GUILTY) So simple? I'll tell you what I do see (NOTICING COLIN, WHO HAS WALKED UP BEHIND JENNIFER). I see two people who made a mistake years ago. Who tried to turn that mistake into something more and only made more mistakes along the way.
JENNIFER: Is that what you see, Jack? Is that what you see with your head (POINTING TO HER HEAD) or with your heart (TOUCHING HER CHEST TO INDICATE HER HEART)?
JACK: (TAKEN BACK BY HER QUESTION. PAUSING BRIEFLY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO ANSWER.) With my head. (BEAT. STEPPING PAST HER) I'll tell you what I see with my heart, though-your future.
JENNIFER is confused by this statement.
JENNIFER: What are you talking about, Jack? (SHE TURNS TO WATCH HIM)
JACK walks over to COLIN and shakes his hand. JENNIFER watches this interlude with shock.
JACK: (IT IS KILLING HIM TO DO THIS) Colin (HE SHAKES HIS HAND. COLIN TAKES IT BUT LOOKS AT JACK STRANGELY). You got yourself a real...a real fire...firecracker there. (HE LOOKS PAINFULLY AT JENNIFER) Your future, Jennifer (HE GESTURES TO COLIN).
JENNIFER cannot believe what he's doing. JACK waits for her reaction, but when he gets none, speaks painfully.
JACK: I only want the best for...for you and Abigail. I'm sure my good man, Colin, will see to it, won't you? (HE PATS COLIN ON THE BACK) (PAINFULLY. WITH GREAT LOVE IN HIS EYES) I really do want the best.
JENNIFER: (ABOUT TO CRY. IN DISBELIEF OVER WHAT HE IS DOING) Jack, you are the bes-
JACK: (WAVING HER OFF AND SMILING TO COVER HIS PAIN) Shhh. You know that's not so. It can't be. (BEAT) Now if you'll excuse me. (HE GOES TO WALK OFF)
JENNIFER: Jack, listen to me!
JACK: (TURNING SADLY BACK TO HER) I think I heard enough, Jennifer. (QUIETLY) I heard enough. (BEAT. SMILING THROUGH HIS PAIN) Three's a crowd, you know. (HE TURNS AND WALKS AWAY SADLY)
JENNIFER begins to cry. COLIN walks over and hugs her. JACK turns around and sees her in his arms and it knocks the wind out of him. He and JENNIFER share a long look of love before he walks away. OUT on JENNIFER'S pained expression. She knows what JACK is doing all too well.
END OF EPISODE 30
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