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No Ordinary Love

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By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna
"A Christmas to Remember"


The scene opens to an empty living room, with tons of presents under the lit tree. A few seconds passes and JACK enters from the kitchen, in his robe, carrying a cup of coffee and looking hard at his watch.

JACK: (aloud) Three, two, one...

As soon as the word "one" comes out of his mouth, he hears footsteps barreling down the stairs as ABBY, in blue footsy pajamas and carrying Theodore the bear and JENNIFER, wearing a pink pajama set and her hair pulled back in a high ponytail enter.

JACK: (to himself) Like clockwork.

ABBY: (running over to hug him) Merry Christmas, Daddy!

JACK: (scooping her up and handing JENNIFER his coffee) Merry Christmas to you and to you, too, Mr. Theodore F. Bear (speaking to her stuffed animal).


JACK: (smiling) For fuzzy. Theodore Fuzzy Bear.

JENNIFER: (rubbing ABBY'S back) Merry Christmas, Jack (her eyes shine with love for him).

JACK: (matching her gaze) Merry Christmas, Jennifer.

They give each other a peck on the lips as ABBY looks on.

JO: (coming down the stairs quickly in her robe) Have I missed it? Tell me I haven't missed it.

JACK sets ABBY down and takes his coffee from JENNIFER.

JACK: If you mean the gift opening, no. However, if you mean the stampede of anxious children (throwing JENNIFER a look to include her), yes. Although judging from your pace, I wouldn't count on that stampede being over just yet.

JO: Very funny, Jack. (smiling at the sight of JENNIFER, who is now standing in front of JACK as he wraps his arms around her) Would you look at you two? I declare, I don't know when I've ever seen you so happy.

JENNIFER: (to JACK) I could think of a few times.

JACK flashes her an amorous look and then grows embarrassed, seeing as there are others in the room.

JACK: (clearing his throat) Let's shall we get the show on the road, shall we? (kneeling under the tree and making a big show out of reading the names on the packages). For one Miss Abigail (who giddily accepts the package), another for Miss Abigail...

JENNIFER: (laughing at them and turning to JO) Wait, Jo, is Vern coming?

JO: (lowly) I...I don't know.

JENNIFER: (instinctively touching JO'S arm, knowing something is not right) He's not coming? I thought...

JO: (smiling weakly) So did I...

JENNIFER: Did something happen? (looking at JACK, who is hamming it up with ABBY)

JO: Oh, I...I don't want to talk about it. (sitting down on the sofa to watch JACK and ABBY)

JACK: (turning around) Where's Jo? Oh, there you are. This one's for you...from Santa, of course.

JO: (making happy) Why thank you.

Behind them, JENNIFER'S face is full of worry. She wonders if maybe JACK scared VERN away.

ABBY: Mommy, here's one for you!

JENNIFER: (smiling to make happy as well) One for me?

ABBY: It's from me.

JENNIFER: From you? (she takes the package and sits down) Now, this...this is special.

JACK looks at her as ABBY and JO go about their business and mouths "What's wrong?". After making sure they are not looking, she rolls her eyes JO'S way and mouths "No Vern". Jack's face falls and then he gets up.

JACK: I'll be right back (putting on his coat in the foyer).

JO: Jack, where are you going?

JACK: Out. It seems that I've, I mean, Santa has forgotten something.

ABBY: But we have to open gifts, Daddy.

JACK: (kneeling down beside her) I know. Do you think you can wait just a little while? Daddy has to go get something. Could you do that for me? I'm sure Mommy (looking to JENNIFER for help) would make you some pancakes while you wait.

JENNIFER: (coming over and rubbing ABBY'S back) I'll even put strawberries on them, Baby. Is that okay?

ABBY: I guess. (to JACK) You'll be back soon, right?

JACK: Faster than you'd ever guess. (he touches her nose and then stands up, meeting JENNIFER'S eyes the entire way).

JENNIFER walks JACK to the foyer as ABBY converses with JO, who keeps sneaking looks JACK and JENNIFER'S way.

JENNIFER: Have I told you how much I love you, Jack Deveraux?

JACK: (smiling) Once or twice.

JENNIFER: (walking behind him as he opens the door) Jack, I'm really proud of you, you know that?

JACK: (making sure JO and ABBY are okay) There's nothing to be proud about. I'm just...

JENNIFER: No, you're taking responsibility for your actions.

JACK: (knowing she's alluding to his past mistakes) Like I should've done before.

JENNIFER: (getting serious) Before doesn't matter, Jack. Now is what matters.

JACK: (thinking back to how she couldn't answer COLIN'S question about him leaving) Can you honestly say that?

JENNIFER: (averting his eyes) I...Jack, I love you.

JACK: I know. And I do...I love you too. It's just...(looking to JO, who's goofing off with ABBY) Hey, one thing at a time, eh? I've got other relationships to fix.

JENNIFER: Go. (smiling) Good luck, Jack.

JACK: Good luck? I guess I'm gonna need that, aren't I?

JENNIFER: Just a little (pinching her fingers apart to indicate a little).

JACK: (smiling) Just a-I really do love you, Jennifer.

JENNIFER: (smiling because she knows) Go fix your mother's relationship, Jack (turning him out the door). I'll hold down the fort here.

JACK: Aye, aye cap'n. (salutes and heads out the door)

JENNIFER closes the door and smiles to herself as she walks back into the living room.

JENNIFER: (clapping her hands together) Now, who's up for pancakes?

ABBY: I am! I am! (jumping up and down)

JO: I will be in a minute...(getting up) just after you tell me where Jack was off to in his pajamas so early this morning.

OUT on JENNIFER, coming up with some sort of a lie.



JENNIFER: (uncomfortable) Baby, why don't you head into the kitchen and get the milk out? Mommy'll be there in a minute.

ABBY: Okay. (exiting to the kitchen)

JENNIFER: Jo..I don't know what you're talking about...Jack said he had to get something he forgot (scooting gifts around to avoid JO'S eyes)

JO: Bologna.

JENNIFER: Bologna?

JO: Yes, bologna. That's what that is. You're covering for him and you know it.

JENNIFER: Well, I...(looking up)...Jo, I have never-

JO: Never? Jennifer Rose Horton, you've spent your whole life covering for that son of mine and I know it. Don't try to pull the wool over this old broad's eyes.


JO: Now I hope he didn't go and talk to Vernon Scofield.

JENNIFER: You don't?

JO: (angry) I most certainly do not. Because if he did...ooh...

JENNIFER: What happened between you and Vern, Jo? Last night everything seemed perfectly fine.

JO: Seemed is the right word.


JO: It doesn't matter what happened last night, Jennifer. Just know that Vernon Ebenezer Scofield and I are through. (exiting to the kitchen angrily)

OUT on JENNIFER, trying to figure out what may have happened.


IN on JACK, who is standing in the hallway, bouncing up and down to keep warm. He knocks on the door and blows into his hands while waiting for it to open.

VERN: (voice only) I'm coming...I'm coming. (opening the door) Oh, it's you (going to close it in JACK'S face, but he wedges his hand through to stop him). Jack, can't you just leave well enough alone?

JACK: (throwing him a look) You know better than that.

VERN: Sadly, I do. (opening the door but not inviting him in) What in heaven's sake are you doing here? Shouldn't you be spending Christmas with your family?

JACK: Shouldn't you?

VERN: Brian and Ginger, they went on some retreat and Tanner and Molly...why am I telling you this, anyway?

JACK: I don't know. What I do know is that it's cold out here. Doesn't your landlord heat the hallways or are guests supposed to freeze their..their...toes off?

VERN: I suppose you want me to invite you in.

JACK: Now that you mention it (stepping inside much to VERN'S chagrin)...(looking around to the modest decorations and 3 foot tree he has decorated and then catching a glimpse of two stockings hung on the mantle, with JO and VERN written on them)...the seasonal look....I like it.

VERN: (shaking his head and closing the door) If you've come here to criticize the way I live-

JACK: I've come to do no such thing. (beat) I've come to actually help you.

VERN'S face screws up in confusion as the scene cuts away to:


JENNIFER enters the kitchen to find JO silently pulling out ingredients for pancakes. She is mad. JENNIFER has never seen her like this before, slamming down pots and pans and breathing heavily. After a moment of trepidation, she speaks.

JENNIFER: I...I can do that.

JO: (going about her business) I'm perfectly fine. I've made pancakes before, you know.

JENNIFER: I...I know. (beat) Where's Abby?

JO: She went upstairs to wash up.

JENNIFER walks over to take the pan from JO, but she pulls it away in frustration. JENNIFER is clearly hurt by JO'S attitude towards her.

JO: (sighing and softening) Jennifer, I'm...I'm sorry.

JENNIFER: No, I'm sorry...for trying to lie to you.

They hug and when they break, JO strokes JENNIFER'S hair and pinches her cheek.

JO: I can't be mad at you.

JENNIFER: (nodding, moved) But you can be mad at Vern, huh?

JO: (wringing a dishtowel in anger) He...just...he just made me so mad. And I've been mad before, you know, with (low) Duke and life in general, but...he drives me crazy, you know?

JENNIFER nods lovingly, knowing this is how JACK makes her feel.

JO: And I just...I don't know. What I do know is that I'm (sitting down and putting her head in her hands), I am a royal mess right now-and on Christmas! I should be watching my grandbaby open her presents from Santa, Jack should be home watching her...since he missed it last year (JENNIFER winces at this mention). Jennifer, oh, Jennifer, I'm so sorry.

JENNIFER: It's alright, Jo. (sitting down and taking her hands in hers). Are you and Vern...Are you over?

JO: I...I don't know (tearing up). I don't know anything anymore.

JENNIFER: Do you...I mean...I know you said you didn't want to, but do you want to talk about it?

OUT on JO, unsure of whether or not she wants to let JENNIFER know what happened.



VERN: How could you possibly help me?

JACK: There are many answers to that question. I'm just here for one. (picking up pictures on the mantle and looking at them)

VERN: If this is about-

JACK: (fingering JO'S stocking) You know what this is about, who this is about. (holding onto the stocking as if indication)

VERN: I've been meaning to take that down (walking over to take it down, but can't)

JACK: Since when? Since last night?

VERN: Jack, don't-

JACK: Don't what? Last night you were ready to ride off into the sunset and you're ready to throw Jo out as if she was yesterday 's leftovers.

VERN: She is not leftovers! (pause) She is the main course at the finest restaurant in town.

JACK: Well, you sure have a fine way of showing that, don't you?

VERN throws him a look.

JACK: I know that look.

VERN: What look?

JACK: That...that...preaching to the choir look.

VERN: Jack, I don't even want to touch that one.

JACK: (beat) Well, what do you want to do?

VERN: About what?

Their voices both raise as they get riled up.

JACK: About...about (pulling the stocking off the mantle)...about her, dammit. You love her!

VERN: I do.

JACK: Then what's the big idea? You should be with her, opening presents, laughing!

VERN: I should.

JACK: (lost) How can you say that? You're agreeing with me!

VERN: Of course I am. All those things you said are true.

JACK: If they are, then why are you...why are you still here?!

VERN: You really don't know, do you? (walking away as JACK follows him) You, Jack, that's why I'm still here. That's why she's still there.

JACK: What does this have to do with me?!

VERN: Everything! Jack, can't you see that I don't want to hurt her? I couldn't...(lowly) I couldn't live with myself if I did.

JACK: (growing quiet) Hurt her? You'd never hurt her.

VERN: How can you say that? You practically told me that yesterday.

JACK: And you listened?

VERN: Of course I did. (sitting down in his recliner) Jack, I heard everything you said and to be honest, it scares me to death.

JACK: (understanding) I know.

VERN: It's just...I don't want to hurt her. I started thinking about how many people I've hurt over the years and...

JACK: (speaking from experience) And she's so good and sweet and eager to face the world and you don't want to be the thing that ruins it.

VERN: (knowing he's speaking about JENNIFER) I'm a big idiot, aren't I?

JACK: No bigger than I, my friend. (sitting on the edge of the sofa, facing him) What I said...yesterday, it wasn't about Jo...not entirely, anyway. You know that...

VERN: (understanding) I know. Jack, I just don't know if I can do it.

JACK: Do what? Be happy? I don't know if I can either but I'll be damned if I'm going to give up now.

VERN: Can you honestly say that? Can you say that if you thought there was no hope for you and Jennifer, you still wouldn't give up?

JACK: (knowing he's alluding to COLIN'S overlooking presence in their lives, standing up and turning away to pace) I...I..listen, when did the subject get turned over to me? I came here to convince you to marry my mother.

VERN: Jack, you said mother...

JACK: (playing it lightly) That's what she is, isn't it? She bore me, therefore she's my mother.

VERN: Jack, I don't-

JACK: (reaching into his coat pocket) Here. (tossing him the ring box)

VERN: (catching it) Wha...what's this?

JACK: A ring, Chief. Kind of a requirement when you go to propose.

VERN: But Jack-

JACK: Jennifer said you needed one and this one suits J-my mother perfectly-at least in my opinion it does.

VERN: Jack-

JACK: (nodding) Go on. Open it.

VERN opens the ring box and sighs at how beautiful JACK'S choice is. He is moved.

JACK: If that doesn't show you how serious I am, I don't know what else will.

VERN: Jack, you shouldn't have.

JACK: It's not like I'm asking you to marry me, for chrissake. You can pay me back later.

VERN: But-

JACK: But what? I...I wanted Jo to have the best ring for her. (growing quiet) She's already found the best man for her.

VERN: (reading his face) Do you really mean that, Jack?

JACK: (after a few moments of silence) Yes. Now, can you get your coat so we can go celebrate Christmas properly?

VERN: I can do that, Jack. (smiling to get the coat) I can do that. (from the bedroom hallway) Jack, I never thought I'd say this but you really are...heck, I love you.

JACK: (at first shocked by the words) himself) And I love you, too.

VERN comes back all smiles to leave.

JACK: Shall we?

VERN: (taking one last look at the ring) We shall.

JACK nods to him in agreement and they head out the door.


JO: (drying her eyes) Oh, Jennifer, it's probably nothing.

JENNIFER: Then let's talk about nothing. Jo, I'm serious, you've always been there with me, especially as of late since...

JO: (quietly) Since the baby...See, Jennifer, this is what we should be talking about-you. (getting up to fuss around the kitchen) You've been through so much lately.

JENNIFER: So have you, Jo. You pretty much moved here without any warning, leaving Adrienne, Justin, and the kids behind. You've had to reacquaint yourself with Abby, you fell in love...

JO: (snorting, rinsing out a pan) Ha!

JENNIFER: It's true. You do love him. I can tell. Jack can tell. A stranger could tell. And he loves you, too, you know.

JO: Then why...then why would he say the things he did? Why would he say he wasn't good enough for me, that I deserved better? Why would he be willing to break a good thing off for...for (throwing the pan into the dishwater angrily)

JENNIFER: (taking it in) You tell me, Jo.

JO: You don't mean? No?

JENNIFER: (smiling) Yup. You fell in love with a closet Jack.

JO: I couldn't have.

JENNIFER: He drives you crazy? He's pushing you away? You want to kiss and strangle him at the same time? You and Vern are exactly like Jack and I are...except more truthful...and more open...and slightly less stubborn. Okay, you're nothing like Jack and I are. The only thing you have in common with us is that you love each other and well, it's worked for Jack and me...sort of...but Jo (getting up and grabbing her hands), don't give up now. Fight for him. I did. I still am. It'll be greater than you ever imagined.

JO: (welling up with tears) You're right. I have to fight for him, for us. I'm going to go call him right now. (hugging her quickly, she runs to the living room)

JENNIFER: (smiling giddily and then rubbing her hands nervously. To herself) I just hope Jack convinced him to fix it, too, Jo.


JENNIFER walks in the living room to see JO hanging up the phone with an odd look on her face.

JO: (catching JENNIFER'S eye) Well, that's odd.

JENNIFER: (matching her look) What?

JO: He's not home-

Just then, a voice from the foyer calls.

JACK: Of course he's not. He's right here (stepping away to reveal VERN, still clad in his pajamas and coat)

JO: (gasping and about to cry) Oh, Vern-

VERN: (walking over and pulling her into an embrace) Josephine.

Behind them, JENNIFER smiles widely to a reluctantly smiling JACK, who is still in his coat as well. She is proud of him.

JACK: (nudging her towards the kitchen) We'll leave you two lovebirds alone. (rolling his eyes when they pay him no attention).

JACK and JENNIFER enter through the swinging kitchen door. She immediately pounces on him and hugs him.

JENNIFER: Oh, Jack, I'm so proud of you.

JACK: I didn't do a thing.

JENNIFER: Yes, you did. You know you did. You made him come back.

JACK: I did no such thing. He just realized that she was too good a thing to lose.

JENNIFER: With some prodding from you.

JACK: Well...(blushing) Let's just have a look-see here to make sure phase two goes as planned. (cracking the door so they can see VERN and JO deep in conversation. She is sitting down on the couch and he is beside her and holding her hands)

ABBY: (bouncing down the stairs) Whatcha' watching?

JACK and JENNIFER turn guiltily towards her.

JENNIFER: Watching? We're...(looking to JACK for help)

JACK: Why, Abigail, we're watching...we're watching you get a new Grandpa.

ABBY: Huh?

JACK: Well, you see..(putting his arms out) Come here. (she jumps into them and the three of them look into the living room as VERN gets down on one knee and pulls out a ring. JO laughs nervously and nods). You see, Vern is asking your grandma to marry him..

ABBY: (eyes glossed over in amazement) Cool.

JENNIFER: Cool? (she and JACK look amused at their daughter's reaction)

ABBY: Cool. Santa brought me the coolest gift of all for Christmas-a new grandpa.

JACK: I guess so, Abigail.

JENNIFER and JACK exchange joyous smiles over this comment.

ABBY: Daddy, does this mean Santa brought you a new Daddy for Christmas? I know you didn't really like your old ones.

JACK: (not knowing how to answer at first, then moved) I guess he did, Abigail...I guess he did.

JENNIFER flashes him a look of understanding as they look out into the living room as JO and VERN share a loving kiss.


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