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No Ordinary Love

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By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna


The shot opens to a rather full Deveraux kitchen table. Boxes and bags are everywhere, wrapping paper, scissors, and bows align the table where JACK, in a shirt and tie no less, has his sleeves rolled up and is wrapping presents. JENNIFER enters from the living room, carrying three more boxes, dressed in sweatpants, a Salem University tee and socks with her hair pulled back in a high ponytail.

JENNIFER: This is the last of them. (setting the boxes down on the table)

JACK: (glancing around the room at the number of packages) I should hope so. The credit card companies must be having a field day with us.

JENNIFER: Don't be silly, Jack. I bought these with the money my father gave us. (sitting down to wrap)

JACK: (grimacing over the source of the money) Yeah, well, it won't be long till we don't have to touch that money. Just after the first of the year. Then we'll have all the money in the world...or at least a good portion of it.

They wrap boxes as the conversation continues.

JENNIFER: (smiling and teasing) And what do you plan on doing to make this money, Jack?

JACK: Well, I...I am very employable, I'll have you know.

JENNIFER: I know, but...(shaking her head to forget about it)

JACK: But what?

JENNIFER: It's just the state of the economy right now, Jack. You know how hard everything's been since...(growing sad and trailing off as she gets up to fix herself a glass of milk)

JACK: (knowing she means the terrorist attacks) I know. (beat) It'll turn around. (softly) It has to.

JENNIFER: Jack, there's no rush. The money dad got from the house is plenty. He invested it well.

JACK: (under his breath) Yeah, invested.

JENNIFER: What was that?

JACK: Nothing...Nothing...Jennifer, you know how I feel about using your father's money.

JENNIFER: (coming back over to the table and putting her arm on his shoulder lovingly) I know. I just don't see what the big deal is. It's our money, Jack.

JACK: It's our money that your father gave us when he sold the house he gave us. Jennifer, I just want to support my own family.

JENNIFER: (sitting down) And you will.

JACK: (echoing her with assurance) I most certainly will. Now, will you please hand me that little box over there (nodding his head towards a small wrapped one next to her)?

JENNIFER: (giddily picking it up) Whatever could this be? (she peeks under the bow to read the nametag) To Jennifer. Love Jack. (shaking it and making a silly face at him) Hmmm...

JACK: (narrowing his eyes at her) Am I going to have to start hiding your presents from you again?

JENNIFER: When have you ever?-Oh, you're talking about...

JACK: You know what I'm talking about. When Abigail just started school and you were so forlorn and lonely...

JENNIFER: (remembering) And you bought me the word processor. (with love) Jack, did I ever tell you how much that meant to me?

JACK: I think you did, Miss H...after I berated you for peeking.

JENNIFER: You know I can't stand surprises.

JACK: And yet you choose to be with me. I think it's safe to say that I'm full of them.

JENNIFER: (handing him the package and sitting down in his lap) You're full of a lot of things...

JACK: (wrapping his arms around her and rubbing her nose with his. Playful.) Hmmm?

JENNIFER: (smiling) But good things, Jack...all good things (leaning in to kiss him).

As they are kissing and having their "moment", the kitchen door swings open, and VERN enters. JENNIFER and JACK stop rather abruptly and look at each other, recalling the old days when VERN used to interrupt their "almost-kisses".

JACK: (groaning) It's like he has a radar or something.

VERN: (starting to question that comment but thinking better of it) I am so glad the two of you are here. I have something important to tell you and well, frankly, I don't know how.

JACK and JENNIFER look at one another with panic and wait for VERN to begin.



JACK: (thinking he's going to spill the beans about COLIN'S threats) Vern, couldn't this wait (flashing him a look of warning)?

VERN: (nervous) No, it can't. I spent a good bulk of the day trying to figure out a way to do it, to tell you. Wondering if I should. I mean, it's not really necessary. I mean it is...but it's not...oh...Finally, I said, "Vernon Ebenezer Scofield,--

JACK mouths the word "Ebenezer" in disgust and surprise.

VERN: (cont.) You have to do it. Just go right in there and tell him what you have to say."

A few seconds of silence pass by.

JENNIFER: Which is?

VERN: What?

JACK: What you were going to tell us? Really, Chief, I think your age is starting to show.

VERN: (rolling his eyes)'s actually about Jo.

JENNIFER: (hopping up, panicked) Jo? Is she alright?

JACK: (hopping up, panicked as well) Is she hurt? Is she in the hospital? For God's sake, man, tell us what's going on. (Surprised at his own reaction to possibly losing her)

VERN: Calm down, it's nothing like that. It's...alright, I'll come out and say it. Jack, I want to...(meekly) I want to ask your mother to marry me for Christmas.

JACK: You want...(growing faint) his eyes, he leans forward and passes out on the floor)

OUT on JENNIFER and VERN tossing each other a strange look after taking a gander at JACK, out cold.



JENNIFER steps around JACK and then kneels down to try and wake him.

VERN: (kneeling down beside her) That went well.

JENNIFER: Don't be silly, Vern, you know how Jack is. Jack? Jack? (patting his face as VERN takes off his coat and balls it up into a pillow to put under JACKS head)

JACK: (mumbling) Wedding...

JENNIFER: Jack, can you hear me?

JACK: (mumbling) Married...

VERN: Oh, well, this is a fine one. I've given my future stepson a concussion.

JENNIFER: (flashing him a reassuring smile) You know you didn't. Jack?

JACK: (mumbling) Minister...

VERN: If it's not a concussion, then I scarred him for life.

JENNIFER: (chuckling) We're talking about Jack here, Vern. He was born scarred for life. Can you get me some water?

VERN: Sure...(getting up and rushing over to the fridge to get a glass of water while JENNIFER pats JACK'S face)

JENNIFER: Thanks. (putting the glass to his lips) Here, Jack, drink this.

JACK starts to sip and then takes the glass himself as she helps him sit up. JENNIFER leads him back to his chair and starts looking for any bumps on his head.

JENNIFER: You took some fall there, Deveraux.

JACK: (dazed) You bet I did. I had this strange sort of dream. We were here, we were wrapping presents, and (seeing that he wasn't dreaming by the wrapping paper and ribbon on the table) and. Vern came in and (finally seeing VERN, who grins at him sheepishly). Oh no...I feel faint.

JENNIFER covers her mouth to avoid chuckling.

JENNIFER: I think I'll leave you two alone. You have quite a bit to talk about. (giving VERN a super long hug) Congratulations, Vern.

VERN: Thank you, Jenny-Girl.

She exits up the stairs, but not before narrowing her eyes at JACK, warning him to be good.

A few moments of silence ensues. JACK rubs his head and is staring at VERN, who grows uncomfortable.

VERN: (breaking the silence) Let me get you some ice for that. (opening the freezer to search for the ice pack) Any news from Colin lately? No more threats?

JACK: I told you-no. How many times do I have to tell you that?

VERN: (not finding an ice pack, so he searches the drawers for a dishtowel) Till I believe it. I mean, doesn't it strike you odd that he just laid back, didn't put up a fight?

JACK: (not believing he's talking about this and not his upcoming engagement) Of course it's odd, but as long as he's staying far, far away from Jennifer and my family, I could care less.

VERN: (walking over and handing him a homemade ice pack) I'm just saying I don't think we've seen the last of Dr. Colin Murphy.

JACK: (putting the ice pack on his head) And I totally agree. (beat) Shouldn't we be talking about something else anyway? Some other pressing engagement.

VERN: (leaning against the counter) Oh, that.

JACK: Don't oh that, me. You can't just oh, that that. You nearly killed me.

VERN: (sighing) I don't know what to say, Jack. (serious, thick with emotion) I love your mother. She loves me.

JACK: And isn't this all rather sudden? What has it been-six months?

VERN: Jack, when you reach my age, nothing is sudden.

JACK: (caught off guard) I didn't mean-

VERN: Look, I didn't come here to ask your permission, Jack. I came here to tell you as a friend.

JACK: (somberly) Then as a friend you should know how I feel. You walk in here and tell me that you're marrying Jo.

VERN: She's your mother, Jack. Say it. I'm marrying your mother.

JACK: (embarrassed) I know who she's just I've come to care for her quite a bit and...I'm just looking out for her. That's all. I'd do the same thing to any guy who just walked in here and told me that.

VERN: (raising his voice a little) Listen to yourself, Jack. Any guy. I'm not just any guy.

JACK: I...(trying to soften the blow by lying to cover how uncomfortable it makes HIM) listen, I just don't think she's ready for this, that's all.

VERN: Has she said something to you about this?

JACK: you think she might not be ready?

VERN: (sighing) Jack, I'm...your mother has had a very rough life. She gave you kids up, she had to deal with Duke all her life, she lost Steve...(JACK winces in pain over this mention) She's never had it easy. I'm not trying to replace any of that, I'm just trying to...I love her, Jack. Can't you see that? And I will try to make her as happy as she makes me everyday, God-willing or I will die trying. She's (getting emotional)...she's everything to me...You understand that, don't you? I've never in all my life been so happy, except when the boys' mother was alive. I just...I just want to be with her and to show her that happiness. It took a lot for me to come here and, I just felt you needed to know, Jack.

JACK: (trying to make light of the situation) Are you quite done?

VERN: (incensed) Am I done? Am I done? Did nothing I just say mean anything to you? Nothing? Jack, I came in here to tell you that I wanted to marry your mother. That I wanted to make her my wife. That I love her more than life itself. Can't you just be happy for us? Can't you just say, "congratulations, Vern"? Can't you?

JACK: (clearly uncomfortable by this turn of events. Dryly) Congratulations, Vern.

VERN: (After a moment of silence and an incredulous look, he throws his hands up in frustration) I don't know why I do it. I come over here to do you a favor, to tell you and...and this is what I get. (Proceeding to storm out the kitchen door, but stopping to add a few words) When are you ever going to grow up, Jack? So many people want to love you and you just can' just can't (shaking his head, he storms out the kitchen door to the living room)

JACK: (shaken over VERN'S words and feeling awful for worrying about himself when he should have been happy for him) You...(picking up his coat from the floor)...(softly) you forgot your coat.

OUT on JACK, feeling very sorry for being so hard on VERN.


IN on JACK, pouring himself some water and still holding VERN'S coat.

JENNIFER: (tentatively peeking her head in) Is the coast clear?

JACK: (dryly) Entrez vous, Miss Horton. And don't give me any looks. (JENNIFER enters and tries but she can't) See, there's a look.

JENNIFER: You couldn't let him do it, could you?

JACK: I tried...okay, I didn't. I just...(throwing his hands in the air) I don't know. I do have a knack for bumbling things up, don't I?

JENNIFER: Kinda goes along with the whole surprises thing.

JACK: (sighing) Did he say anything to you?

JENNIFER: Other than what a jerk you were being?

JACK: (throwing her a look) Please...(motioning for her to cut to the chase)

JENNIFER: He said he wanted me to go with Jo and try to figure out what kind of ring she wants. He's afraid of getting her the wrong one.

JACK: Anything else?

JENNIFER: The jerk thing, of course.

JACK: (dripping with sarcasm) Thank you for so kindly bringing that up again.

JENNIFER: Sorry. (beat) What are you going to do?

JACK: (stretching and groaning) Do? Well, I don't know. I guess fix this mess I've gotten myself into, of course. I'm good for that too.

JENNIFER: (smiling in reassurance) You are.

JACK: Where is J-my mother-anyway?

JENNIFER: (knowing how much it took him to say "mother") She's gone to Salem Place, actually. Last minute shopping.

JACK: And the child?

JENNIFER: Helping Gramma out at the hospital. Maggie took her so we'd have time to wrap gifts. She'll bring her home at about eight.

JACK: Okay. (putting down his water and walking to the kitchen door)

JENNIFER: Where are you going?

JACK: To do the aforementioned fixing. I'm going to try and feel out Jo. I'll be back in a little while.

JENNIFER: Is there anything I can do?

JACK: Try to calm down the chief. We don't need him to have the heart attack he almost gave me.

JENNIFER: He really does love her, you know.

JACK: (warmly) I know.

He exits to the living room, thinking about how happy JO should be.


The scene opens to a decorated shopping center. Shoppers are bustling past each other buying gifts for the holidays and some carolers are assembled at the Java Café. They are singing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" as JACK turns the corner, dressed in his long wool coat, gloves, and suit. He is looking for JO, who he runs smack into around the corner.

JO: Ow. Hey, buddy, watch where you're (peeking over her packages to see JACK)-Jack, what are you doing here?

JACK: (to himself) Having an amazing run of luck.

JO: Huh?

JACK: (waving it off) Nevermind. I, well, I'm actually here to do a little last minute shopping of my own.

JO: (confused) But I thought you and Jennifer were finished.

JACK: Well...we are...I mean...I have a few little things to get (grabbing a tie from a cart outside one of the stores) Everyone needs a ...stocking stuffer and (going to grab her boxes) You know, why don't I get those for you?

JO: (handing him some packages) Okay. Jack, are you sure that's the only reason you came down here?

JACK: That and to see my beautiful mother.

JO: (touched and blushing) Oh, I know something's wrong.

JACK: What? Can't a guy call his mother mother?

JO: Normal men? Yes. You? No.

JACK: (a little hurt by this) I know it's not the "norm" per se for me, but I do love you, J--, mother.

JO: Oh, Jack, that's the best Christmas gift you could've ever given me (going to hug him but can't for the packages).

JACK: (flustered) Whoa,'s not even Christmas yet.

JO: It's an early Christmas gift for me.

JACK: (growing uncomfortable with this emotional stuff) Speaking of gifts, are you in?

JO: (lost) In?

JACK: In as in helping me pick out the few last minute things...

JO: Why, of course...what else would a mother rather do than spend Christmas Eve with her son?

He cocks out his arm and she takes it as they turn the corner to shop.


About two hours later. JACK, who really had nothing left to buy, has bought random things for various members of the family, which JO finds suspicious.

JACK: Alas, it is done and with (glancing at his watch) three hours to spare.

JO: I wish we could spare my feet from all this walking. Is there a reason you couldn't have parked in the mall garage, Jack?

JACK: And pay for it? I don't think so. Highway robbery, I tell you. Besides, a little exercise never hurt anyone.

JO: (adjusting her shoe and rubbing her foot with her spare hand) Remind me to send you my orthopedic bill.

JACK: (starts to rebut but thinks better of it) So, what did you get Vernon for Christmas?

JO: Oh, nothing too much. Some socks. A few shirts.

JACK: (finding this interesting) Furnishing his closet, eh?

JO: (chuckling) No. I noticed he needed both awhile back. He hasn't a single nice dress shirt.

JACK: The man could live on sweater-vests alone.

JO: (throwing him a look) I like taking care of him, Bill (stopping herself)-Jack. I miss taking care of someone.

JACK: What am I, chopped liver? You could still take care of me.

JO: Don't be silly, Jack. You're a grown man, as much as you don't act like it sometimes (JACK feigns hurt). I...oh, nothing (getting embarrassed and turning red).

JACK: (wanting her to finish) What?

JO: Nothing. It wasn't anything important.

JACK: Yes it was, you were about to say something.

JO: Well...I was about to say that it's different with Vern.

JACK: Different good or different bad?

JO: Good, of course. (sighing) Jack, I love him. Possibly more than I've ever loved anyone in my entire life-with the exception of you kids, of course.

JACK: (warming his heart) Of course.

JO: It's just that...that...oh, you wouldn't understand.

JACK: Try me. You never know.

JO: It's's like I've been waiting my whole life for someone like him. He gets my jokes, he knows how I really feel before I even say it....he makes me a better person. Do you know what I mean?

JACK: (thinking about Jennifer. Knowing Vern was right about his mother and reluctantly admitting it) I'm afraid so.

JO: (giggling) I feel like a silly schoolgirl in love sometimes.

They have wandered outside the jewelry store. After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, Jack clears his throat and makes his move, as much as it pains him to do so.

JACK: You heard Sami Brady got engaged, didn't you? Finally snared Austin Reed, she did.

JO: Snared is the word, alright. It seems like yesterday that she was just in high school, hanging out with Lucas Roberts.

JACK: And it seems like yesterday that we were right here, picking out a ring for Jennifer. Do you remember that?

JO: (smiling at the memory) How could I forget? I remember just how nervous you were about asking her.

JACK: Me? I was as cool as a cucumber.

JO: Right. I remember what I told you, that you've already found the perfect girl-

JACK: (finishing it for her as they both pause to look in the jewelry store window) That I'd find the perfect ring. No words have ever rung more true.

JO: (sighing over the memory) Oh, Jack, I'm sure you and Jennifer will be married again.

JACK: Oh, I'm not worried about us...not in the least. I mean, I am, but...(trailing off and pointing) Would you look at that rock there?

JO: (wrinkling her nose) Too big.

JACK: You think? I always thought bigger was better.

JO: (turning red) Jack...I don't know, I've always been a simple kind of girl. No frills or anything.

JACK: I should've known. (more to himself) Simple yet elegant.

JO: Exactly.

JACK stares into the window for a few more seconds as JO looks around at the shoppers.

JACK: (tearing up a little) Exactly. Oh, would you look at the time (glancing at his watch)? If we don't leave now, Santa might just beat us to the house.

JO: (giggling) We wouldn't want that, would we?

JACK: Not in the least. Can you-can you make it to your car alright?

JO: Of course. I'll meet you back at the house, son (leaning in to kiss his cheek). Someday, Jack...(she nods towards the jewelry store and then smiles and heads off)

JACK: (wistful) Yes...someday. (after making sure it's clear, he heads inside the jewelry store, he has decided to help VERN out)


It is a little while later. JACK steps out of the jewelry store and it is now snowing hard. He shivers, re-balances his purchases and thinks back to another ring moment:


JO: Oh how about this one? This one's a beauty.

JACK: (Embarrassed)Too big.

JO: Oh okay, how about this one?

JACK: Too small.

JO: Oh alright, well what about this one? This is pretty.

JACK: It's too.... ah.... too medium.

MANAGER: What exactly did you have in mind sir?

JACK: I don't know.... don't you have something.... I don't know.... something simple but.... ah.... but elegant.... something.... something simply elegant. Don't you have something like that?

MANAGER: I'm not sure. But we can find something, excuse me (He leaves).

JACK: (To Jo) You see.... see.... they always bring the junk out first and then they leave the good stuff for later. That's how they work.

JO: Listen, don't you worry. Look we are going to find you the perfect ring. You've already done the hard part. You found the perfect girl.

Coming out of the flashback, he smiles, remembering.

JACK: (wistfully as he pulls a ring box out of his pocket) So have you, Vernon. So have you.

JACK: (to himself while looking up at the heavens) Did you hear that, Steve? Mama's getting married. (tearing up) Mama's finally-finally happy.

The snow begins to fall harder as if a sign from above. JACK flashes an emotional smile and then proceeds to head to the car.


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