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No Ordinary Love

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By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna


IN on JENNIFER, who is bending over into the oven to check on the turkey. She is wearing a v-necked sweater dress, complete with heels and an apron. Jack enters from the living room, singing "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays".

JACK: "Pennsylvania for some homemade pumpkin pie. (doing the backup in a lower voice) Some pumpkin--(stopping upon seeing Jennifer, who jumps in shock. You can tell he likes what he sees) pie"

JENNIFER: (gasping) Jack! (setting the turkey on the stove) Are you trying to give me a heart attack?

JACK: (looking her outfit up and down) Are you trying to give me one?

JENNIFER smiles at his comment.

JENNIFER: (playfully embarrassed) Oh, you mean this old-

JACK: (throwing her a look) Old thing. Don't give me that. I don't recall ever seeing you in this little number. (looking her up and down, impressed with the combination of the skirt, heels, and apron)

JENNIFER: So you like it?

JACK: I'd say so. It's very, very (searching for the right word) autumnal. I'm sure your grandmother will love it.

JENNIFER: (turning to baste the turkey some more) I'm sure she will...when she sees it.

JACK: You aren't wearing that to the big Horton shindig? I mean you look smashing in it.

JENNIFER: I'm sure I do but...

JACK: (worried that they will be alone again and his resistance will falter) But what? (jumping in front of her) We are still going to your grandmother's aren't we?

OUT on JENNIFER, wondering why he's so dead-set about going to her grandma's.



JENNIFER: (confused) Jack, you can go to my grandmother's if you'd like, but your daughter and I are going to be spending Thanksgiving here. (rummages through the refrigerator to pull out two pies) Abby's still sick and I don't want to take any chances with Gram. You know how fragile she is.

JACK: Alice Horton, fragile? Pish-posh. (trying to change her mind) I'm sure she'd been fine, even delighted, if we made it over.

JENNIFER: Jack, what's the big idea? Why do you want to go to my grandmother's so badly?

JACK: Well, I...I (rubbing the back of his head nervously)..I wanted some of her world-famous doughnuts.

JENNIFER: (laughing) Jack, Gram doesn't make doughnuts for Thanksgiving.

JACK: She doesn't? Are you sure about that? I could have sworn I had them there one Thanksgiving.

JENNIFER: Jack, (closing the oven after putting the pies in) this has nothing to do with Gram or her doughnuts. This has to do with the simple fact that you don't want to be alone with me.

JACK: Well, I...(stammering)

JENNIFER: Say it, Jack. You don't want to be alone with're scared to be alone with me.

OUT on JACK, trying to figure out how to get out of this one.


JENNIFER: (stepping towards him seductively) That's it, isn't it, Jack? You're scared to be around me? You fear what may happen.

JACK: (ducking and squeezing around her) I fear you may have lost your pretty little blonde mind.

JENNIFER: (rolling her eyes and turning to face him) You know, I don't get you, Jack. You come back and make me believe in us and then you lose faith. Then you believe, and now it looks like your losing faith again. Does this have anything to do with what I told you the other week?

JACK: (desperately trying to change the subject) About the movie? Jennifer, I said I was busy. As you recall, I came down anyway.

JENNIFER: I'm not talking about the movie, Jack. I'm talking about what I told you about...about Africa, about the baby.

JACK: No, it has nothing to do with...with (trying to not say the word "baby" because it hurts) that.

JENNIFER: (voice raising) Can you give me a clue then, Jack? Maybe a sign? Because I need to know what I'm working with here.

JACK: (grabbing her arms to calm her down. He doesn't want her to blame herself) Jennifer, Jennifer, will you listen to me? This has nothing to do with you. It has to do with me.

JENNIFER: (nodding in pain) Then it has everything to do with me. (breaking free of his arms and going to baste the turkey some more)

JACK: (pausing and trying to figure out a way to smooth this over without hurting her) do you figure?

JENNIFER: (not turning to look at him. Thick with emotion) How do I figure what, Jack?

JACK: How do you figure that it has to do with you? What, if anything, is going on with me, that is.

JENNIFER: (turning halfway to face him. Her eyes are brimming with tears) You really don't get it, do you?

JACK: Don't get what?

JENNIFER: You don't get that when you hurt, I hurt. Jack, whatever demons you have are mine, too.

JACK: (moved but playing it off like it's nothing) That's (voice cracking) ridiculous.

JENNIFER: (angry. Picking up the turkey and walking past him without looking up) No, Jack, that's love.

OUT on JACK, looking at the door that JENNIFER walked through. Sighing, he follows her into the living room.


IN on JENNIFER, beginning to set the table. She is angry and it shows. JACK enters from the kitchen.

JACK: Jennifer, look, it's Thanksgiving...

JENNIFER: (folding napkins) Oh, I know that, Jack. I'm thankful for a lot of things...I'm thankful that "Friends" is back for another season, I'm thankful that we had a mild summer. I'm thankful for (pausing)...china.

JACK: (confused) China? You're thankful for a country?

JENNIFER: (sighing) No, china as in plates, Jack. I forgot the china.

JACK: Oh...I'll get it. (walking into the kitchen and coming back out with plates) You were saying?

JENNIFER: (taking the plates from him) I was saying that I was thankful for quite a few things this year.

JACK:, love, and happiness.

JENNIFER: Health and happiness.

JACK: (mock jest) What?! No love?

JENNIFER: (not looking at him. Putting silverware out) I'm beginning to regret ever thinking about being thankful for that one.

JACK: (knowing she's hurt and wanting to take away the pain) Jennifer-

JENNIFER: (looking at him with defiance) Don't, Jack. Don't say something you don't mean.

JACK: (hurt) How do you know I won't mean it?

JENNIFER: Because I know you, Jack. You'll say one thing and then contradict it five minutes later. I..just..I just want to have a nice Thanksgiving with my family, that's all. (pleading with her eyes) Can we do that?

JACK: (mulling it over. Calmly) We can do that.

JENNIFER: (relieved) Good. (returning to set the table)

JACK: (throwing her a look) Good. I'll go get Abigail. (walking off) Jennifer?

JENNIFER: (looking up) Yes?

JACK: I said I was going to get Abigail. Okay?

JENNIFER: (trying to smile) Yeah. Good.

JACK throws her an odd look and slowly heads up the stairs to get ABBY. He turns to look her way one more time but she doesn't respond.



JACK, JENNIFER, and ABBY are sitting around the dining room table and are clearly full. Remnants of Thanksgiving dinner adorn the table.

JENNIFER: (to ABBY) I'd say I about as stuffed as that turkey was.

ABBY: What about you, Daddy? Did you like Mommy's dinner?

JACK: (looking and flashing a smile to JENNIFER) It was delicious. (when the camera pans away, we see him grimace and touch his stomach) Now Daddy could go for a good nap (putting his napkin down, he goes to get up).

ABBY: (grabbing his hand) No, Daddy, you can't. We're not done yet.

JACK: I can't? Well, you better have a good reason for delaying Papa Bear's hibernation. (flashing a quick look to JENNIFER to see what's ABBY wants. JENNIFER shrugs and mouths "I don't know")

ABBY: We have to do the thanking thing.

JENNIFER: The thanking thing?

ABBY: You know, when you join hands and say something you're thankful for. My friend Sam's family does it every year. JACK: Well, we can't let Sam's family one-up the Deverauxes. What do you say, kid? (extending his hand to ABBY, who grabs it eagerly)

ABBY throws him a look to try and get him to realize that he's supposed to hold JENNIFER'S hand, too.

JACK: What?

ABBY: (lowering her voice) Daddy, you're supposed to be holding Mommy's hand, too?

JACK: Oh, right. (looking to JENNIFER, who smiles sweetly at him) May I? (he opens his hand to her and she takes it with great love).

ABBY: (grabbing JENNIFER'S hand to complete the circle) I'll go first. This year, I'm thankful for having both my mommy and daddy together.

JACK and JENNIFER are moved by this and flash each other a look before smiling to her.

ABBY: Your turn, Mommy.

JENNIFER: Okay...this year, I'm thankful, happiness, and (looking JACK dead in the eye and squeezing his hand) love.

JACK is moved.

ABBY: Okay, Daddy, your turn.

JACK: Well, I...I...(not wanting to give JENNIFER hope for their future)...I'm thankful for...for you, Abigail. You brighten everyday of my life.

ABBY: (prompting him for more) Is that all, Daddy?

JACK: No...(looking to JENNIFER, who's losing hope). I'm also thankful for finding your Uncle Vern again. I missed him.

ABBY: Is that all your thankful for, Daddy?

JACK: Well, there is Jo. I did miss her-

Midway through his last comment, JENNIFER angrily sets her napkin down and gets up.

JENNIFER: I think I want some ice cream. (she exits to the kitchen)

JACK and ABBY follow her with their eyes. Then ABBY looks at JACK, making him feel guilty. He sets his napkin down reluctantly and goes after JENNIFER.


IN on JENNIFER, looking out to the backyard. JACK enters.

JACK: (trying to lighten the moment) Doesn't look like ice cream to me...

JENNIFER: (upset) I changed my mind.

JACK: Jennifer, will you please look at me?

JENNIFER: I don't want bologna either, Jack. (turning to face him) You couldn't do it, could you? You couldn't just say what you really feel.

JACK: You mean out there (pointing to the living room)? Jennifer, I was being perfectly honest. I am thankful for both Jo and Vern...

JENNIFER: And what about me, Jack? Am I chopped liver? (laced with anger) No, wait, you were waiting for the finale. Saving the best for last.

JACK: No, you didn't let me finish-

JENNIFER: You sounded pretty finished to me, Jack. You had no intention of mentioning me in your little list.

JACK: That's not true!

JENNIFER: Is it, Jack? Can you honestly stand there and say that you planned on professing your love to me at that table out there (pointing to the living room)? You can't, can you? (throwing her arms up in frustration) One day, Jack. That's all I asked.

JACK: (raising his voice) What do you want me to do?!

JENNIFER: I want you to be open and honest with me! I want you to tell me what is bothering you! I want you to tell me why you're running away! I don't stand a chance if you don't, Jack.

JACK: (frowning) You want me to be someone I'm not.

JENNIFER: No, I don't. I want you to be who you are, as much as that frustrates me. (growing quiet) I feel like I'm losing you, Jack.

JACK: (knowing how much this is going to hurt her, but defiant) Maybe you are.

OUT on JENNIFER, shocked that he would say such a thing.



JENNIFER: (hurt) What...what did you say?

JACK: I said...I said maybe you're losing me.


JACK: How could I? Jennifer, listen, I don't think this is going to-I've been thinking...

JENNIFER: (not believing his audacity) You're lying.

JACK: You see, I knew that would be your first course of action.

JENNIFER: You're lying to me, Jack. You can't handle this...that's what this is can't handle what I told you about the baby.

JACK: I told you, it has nothing to do with that.

JENNIFER: Say it, Jack. Say "our baby".

JACK: Jennifer-I don't think-

JENNIFER: Say "our baby", Jack. Say I lost our baby, blame it on me, Jack. I did it.

JACK: (growing upset) I...I will not.

JENNIFER: (near tears but trying to be strong) Will not what? Will not say it or that I did it? You think it's easy for me, don't you? I've already lost him and now I'm losing you. Say it, Jack.

JACK: (waving wildly) No, no, no. I will not say it. I do not think it's easy for you...This has nothing to do with that...this has nothing to do with our baby! It has everything to do with me and you and the way-

ABBY walks in and the two of them realize just how loud they are being.

ABBY: I want some ice cream, too. (growing worried) You're fighting again?

JENNIFER: (walking over and trying to speak to her) No, baby, we're just having a little discussion.

ABBY: (not believing her) No, you're not. You're fighting with him again and he's gonna go away. You're the worst mother ever! (she runs out upset)

JENNIFER looks helplessly to JACK, who doesn't know what to say.

JENNIFER: (angry at JACK and upset about what ABBY said) Happy Thanksgiving, Jack. (she walks out the backdoor and slams it).

JACK: (beat) I was going to say the way I hurt you. I guess you know that already, huh? (smiling through his pain, he exits to find ABBY)


JACK walks in to find ABBY lying on her bed, crying.

JACK: (light) So there you are! I was about to call Commander Carver and tell him to send the search team over.

ABBY: I don't want to talk right now.

JACK: (sitting on her bed and rubbing her back) Meaning you don't want to joke right now.

ABBY: (huffy) No, I don't want to talk.

JACK: Well, I do. And last time I checked, I was the parent and you were the child, so sit up.

ABBY: I don't want to.

JACK: (in a fatherly tone) Abigail-

ABBY rolls over and sits up. JACK leans over and wipes her eyes.

JACK: That's better. First, I want to talk about the tone you used with your mother.

ABBY: But Daddy-

JACK: But Abigail--. Not only was what you said disrespectful, but it was also hurtful. I don't ever want to hear it or any semblance of it come out of your mouth again. You got that?

ABBY: But she makes me so mad.

JACK: (beat) People make other people mad all the time. That doesn't mean that gives us the right to be mean to them. Understand?

ABBY nods.

JACK: I mean it, Abigail, I never, ever, want to hear you say those words again.

ABBY: I'm sorry, Daddy.

JACK: I don't think you should be apologizing to me. When your mother gets home, you need to tell her.

ABBY: She left?

JACK: I think...I think she needed some fresh air.

ABBY: I really hurt her, didn't I?

JACK: (aside) You're not the only one.

ABBY: You hurt Mommy, too?

JACK: Sometimes we hurt the ones we love, Abigail. Just like you hurt your mommy with those words. It still isn't right, though.

ABBY: Why don't you just say you're sorry?

JACK: I wish it were that simple, Abigail, I wish it were that simple. (beat) Hey, do you still want that ice cream? (getting up)

ABBY: (nodding) Yeah. Can I have sprinkles on mine?

JACK: If we have them. Clean up and I'll see you in five minutes. (going to leave)

ABBY: Daddy?

JACK turns around.

ABBY: When I walked in downstairs, you were talking about a baby. What baby were you talking about?

OUT on JACK, dumbfounded and not knowing what to say. JENNIFER walks up and overhears ABBY'S question. JACK and JENNIFER lock eyes, wondering what to do.


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