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No Ordinary Love

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By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna


It is a few days later (New Year's Eve). JENNIFER is in her bedroom putting away clothes from the laundry basket and is looking emotionally drained. She has spent the last few days pondering what made JACK lie to her about the Christmas present and what exactly he is keeping from her. JACK comes out of the bathroom in only a towel and his hair is slicked back. He spends a moment looking at her, concerned for her well-being, especially after the last few days. She is lost in thought, absentmindedly going from the laundry basket on the bed to the drawers. He can tell something is bothering her. The camera pulls in tightly to JENNIFER'S face as the flashback begins.



IN on JENNIFER and BILL sitting in the living room, having tea. She is pale and uneasy and cannot quit shaking. He is concerned for her.


BILL: You can't be serious.

JENNIFER: Of course I'm serious, Daddy. How could I not be serious?

BILL: (eating at him because he knows he's the reason behind this grief) But to leave Jack, Jennifer? I thought you two were happy.

JENNIFER: (quiet) I thought so, too.

BILL: (getting up and walking over to the window to avoid looking her in the eye) I can't believe this. Jennifer, I think you're making a big mistake.

JENNIFER: (catching on and standing up. Voice raised) A big mistake? He left again, Daddy. He left me and his daughter again and you're saying I'm making a mistake?

BILL: (turning towards her) Maybe...maybe he didn't want to go.

JENNIFER: But he did. He left me and Abby here alone to go gallivanting. (near tears) I can't do this anymore. Can't you see? I can't do this. I can't sit at home and wait till it's convenient for Jack to be a father or a husband.

BILL: Jennifer, I'm just saying you don't know his motive for things.

JENNIFER: (walking towards him angrily) And you do? You do, don't you? You know where Jack is.

BILL: (lying) I...I wish I did.

JENNIFER: You're lying. You're covering for him.

BILL: (hurt) Are you honestly calling your own father a liar?

JENNIFER: Then tell me what you know.

BILL: I...I don't know anything. I know that he loves you very much.

JENNIFER: He has a funny way of showing it.

BILL: Hasn't he always?

JENNIFER doesn't answer. Instead she stares at him waiting for him to break.

BILL: Listen, Jenn, I...I lied earlier. To spare your feelings. I do know where Jack is.

JENNIFER: (softening) You do?

BILL: Yeah, and...and (mulling it over in his head whether or not to tell the lie he is about to) it's not good. I didn't want to tell you, but...

JENNIFER: (concerned) What is it? Is he in trouble?

BILL: (walking away and scratching the back of his neck. He's very uncomfortable) Yes, Jennifer, he is in big trouble. (talking about himself) In bigger trouble than you ever imagined.

JENNIFER: Dammit! Daddy, where is he? Where is Jack?

BILL: Listen, I never said specifics. I said I knew where he was, that's all. Jenn, I love you, you know that, right?

JENNIFER: What does that have to do with-

BILL: I love you. I always have. You'll always be Daddy's little girl.

JENNIFER: Where is this coming from? What are you trying to say?

BILL: I'm saying...I'm saying (killing him) I'm saying that maybe it's a good idea if you and Abby...if you and Abby got out of here for awhile. Until whatever Jack has gotten himself into blows over.

JENNIFER: (scared) It's that bad?

BILL doesn't answer, he just nods emotionally. JENNIFER nearly cries with the weight of what he just said.

The scene cuts away quickly to another flashback, a few days later in Africa. JENNIFER and ABBY are standing outside of a biplane at an airport and are about to board. It is night and they are the only ones there except for the workers. The wind is whipping around them and they are wearing parkas. ABBY is asleep in her arms. JENNIFER keeps looking behind her at every noise, as if looking for someone. That someone she is looking for is JACK, only it isn't him that shows up.

VOICE: Jennifer?

JENNIFER: (coming to and peering out into the darkness at the figure walking towards her. Breathless and hopeful) Jack?

BILL: (stepping into the light) Jennifer, do you hear me?

JENNIFER: (disappointed) Daddy.

BILL: I said the plane was ready. You and Abby are ready for parts unknown.


BILL: What? (hoping she hasn't) Changed your mind?

JENNIFER: Um, no. (beat, voice cracking) I guess this is goodbye, huh?

BILL: I prefer 'see ya later'.

JENNIFER: Well, then 'see ya later'. (she kisses his cheek and he can tell how unsure she is about this) Daddy, you will-

BILL: I'll make sure he's alright.

JENNIFER: (about to step on the plane, she nods) It's just-

BILL: I know. He'll be okay, Jennifer. I'll make sure of that.

JENNIFER: Tell him I love, tell him "contramundum".

BILL: Contra-(screws up his eyes in confusion)?

JENNIFER: He'll understand. I'll be waiting.

BILL: I know. (beat) I love you, honey.

Without another word, she steps on the plane. After a moment, she settles into the seat and we see her head through the window, looking out over the land she and JACK called home. She doesn't want to leave, part of her doesn't believe he'd do anything so awful. The plane starts down the runway as she looks out, hoping against hope that JACK will come running to stop it.

Out beside the runway, a solemn BILL watches as his daughter and granddaughter leave. He cannot believe he did what he did.

BILL: (to himself) God help me.

The flashback cuts out to:


BILL is sitting on the sofa in his mother's living room reading the paper and having his morning coffee. He has just come out of the flashback when JENNIFER and ABBY left AFRICA and his conscience is doing a number on him.

ALICE: (walking in the living room) Bill, you must have gotten up with the sun this morning.

BILL: (getting up and helping her to a seat) No, Mom, I've been up for just a bit.

ALICE: You certainly don't look it. In fact, you look a little weary. Perhaps you should lie back down.

BILL: No, no, I'm fine (sitting back down). I was just thinking.

ALICE: About what, son? What could possibly have gotten you so tense?

BILL: Nothing, really.

ALICE: Don't try that with me, Bill. I'm your mother and I can tell when something's wrong. (beat) Oh dear, you were thinking about Jennifer Rose, weren't you? Is something wrong with Jennifer ?

OUT on BILL, growing rather uncomfortable about the subject matter.


IN on JACK, still watching JENNIFER intently. She has picked up and refolded the same sweater three times already.

JACK: If you were a maid, would you get paid thrice?

JENNIFER: (a little startled) Wh-what? (turning to face him)

JACK: You. You folded the same sweater three times. Unless your practicing for some bizarre origami contest, anyone would find it bizarre.

JENNIFER: I guess...I guess I was just thinking.

JACK: About what, dare I ask?

JENNIFER: About...(pulling the basket off the bed and sitting down, defeated) About lots of things. My dad, mainly.

JACK: (walking over and sitting beside her) Ah, the infamous Bill Horton.

JENNIFER: Don't belittle this, Jack.

JACK: I'm not belittling. I'm merely making light conversation.

JENNIFER: Jack, he basically told me you were off doing something dangerous.

JACK: (not happy where the conversation is going) I was...for the ISA.

JENNIFER: How did he know? Why did I believe him?

JACK: I don't know why you wouldn't. He was telling the truth.

JENNIFER: But the way he said it. I don't know, Jack. Maybe I'm just...I think he was lying.

JACK: (interested) Why would you think that?

JENNIFER: (pushing her hair behind her ear) I don't know. It's just he led me to believe there was more...more than what he was telling me.

JACK: Like?

JENNIFER: Like...Jack, I should have known better. It's like he was lying to keep something from me. My dad's never kept anything from me.

JACK: Except your brother.

JENNIFER: Except my...(throwing him a look) Jack.

JACK: (matching her look) It's the truth. (beat) Is this the reason you treated him so coldly at Christmas, why you haven't returned any of his correspondence?

JENNIFER: I just don't understand. I did talk to him after I left. He'd call me from Africa.

JACK: (curiosity piqued) He'd call you from-he'd call you in Ireland?

JENNIFER: Yes. After I left, I called him to check on you and he said he hadn't seen you but-

JACK: (growing more angry at BILL) You mean he knew where you were?

JENNIFER: Of course he did, he's my father, Jack. I told him where I was going.

JACK: (getting up and pacing) Of course you did.

JENNIFER: (standing up) Oh my go-he didn't tell you did he?

JACK: (wanting to tell her but can't) No, of course he did, but me being so busy....


JACK: Yes, with the ISA and all. (frustrated) Listen, I'm going to go get dressed and take a drive into town, check out a few papers and such. I will be back before the ball drops, though. You, Abigail, and I can celebrate together.

JENNIFER: (confused) Oh, okay. Jack, is everything alright? (not buying that it is, she continues to put away the clothes and sighs)

JACK: (walking into the bathroom, but yelling his answer) Just peachy. (looking in the mirror. To himself, annoyed) Just peachy.


IN on JACK, driving across town. He is dressed in a dark blue suit and is wearing his wool trench. He is lost in thought, remembering the day he came home to find JENNIFER and ABBY gone. He clenches his jaw and fist in anger as the flashback begins.


IN on JACK, opening the front door.

JACK: (calling out as he flicks on the light. He is dressed in khakis and a black tee shirt and has stubble.) I'm home! (after a moment of silence) Jennifer? Abigail? Don't all come running at-(he turns after setting his bags on the floor to find the living room still empty and outlines of where pictures once were on the walls. Everything is empty and any signs of life are gone).

He takes a moment to assess the situation and his face slowly falls, he swallows hard as he runs a finger along the mantle to find dust and eventually, JENNIFER'S keys as well as a small picture of him and ABBY. After touching the picture lovingly, he breaks down, kicking the wall and screaming out of frustration. He is beyond angry as BILL walks in and sees this reaction.

BILL: Jack...Jack...Jack!!!

JACK stops after he hears him calling and looks his way. His eyes burn holes in BILL'S soul.

BILL: What are you doing? Calm down.

JACK: (shouting, shaking, and nearly crying throughout the tenure of this conversation) What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I-Are you mad?

BILL: Jack, I tried to stop here-

JACK: How, by telling her the truth? By telling her that it was her dear old dad who keeps spiriting me away all this time? Did you tell her that, did you?

BILL: Jack, her mind was made up. I tried...I really did (pained over knowing he did this to JACK).

JACK: Where is she?

BILL: I...I don't know.

JACK: Where is she? I've got to fix this...I've got to fix us.

BILL: I told you, I don't know. She left, she knew there was some kind of danger.

JACK: Some kind of danger? Did you conveniently leave out that you caused all this danger? I suppose you did.

BILL: Jack, I thought it would be best if-

JACK: You thought it would be best? I thought it would be best if I stayed here with my wife, with my family and-how dare you! You thought it would be best!

BILL: She wasn't happy, Jack. She was crying all the time and I just couldn't bear-

JACK: You couldn't bear what? Her anger? The guilt you'd feel if she only knew that her father is nothing more than a common criminal?!

BILL: (angrily raising his voice) I never forced you-

JACK: You never gave me a choice!

BILL: You knew the risks-!

JACK: You assured me there weren't any. I was tying up your loose ends and you told her to leave-!

BILL: You know how dangerous it was getting, Jack!

JACK: (breathing hard. Returning to the subject at hand) And you have no idea where she is?

BILL: (thinking that JACK will tell JENNIFER the whole truth when he does find her) I have no idea. (thick with emotion) I wish I did, Jack. I wish I did.

JACK: You wish-(near tears) ? You wish?! You wish? (chuckling) That is rich. (chuckling) Get out!

BILL: What?

JACK: Get out of my house! Get out of my life! You heard me. Go!

BILL: Jack, I never meant-

JACK: (turning away) Go, Bill. Go be with your African Princess. Just go.

BILL goes to leave, glancing back over at JACK who refuses to look at him.


JACK: Go. Mark my words, though, this will not fall on my head. I will find Jennifer and-

BILL: You're not going to tell her, are you?

JACK: (turning towards him and chuckling at the irony of it all) I did all this to save you and you couldn't save me, could you? Not for one second. And now all you're worried about is how she feels about you. How about me? How about me? (beat) Go, Bill...just go.

BILL takes another emotional look at him and then leaves, pausing outside the door.

BILL: (to himself) You can never find Jennifer, Jack. You can't. I can't let you. (sighing at the weight of it all, he looks back towards the door and then walks off)

A nurse catches him on his walk.

NURSE: Dr. Horton...there's a phone call for you at the camp. It's a really bad connection, so you might want to hurry.

BILL jogs a little to the makeshift hospital and picks up the phone.

BILL: Hello?

VOICE: Daddy? Daddy can you hear me? (there is a lot of static but he can make it out)

BILL: Jen-(looking to make sure no one is around). How goes it?

We don't see JENNIFER here, we only hear her voice.

JENNIFER: Fine. Abby's in school and I'm finding work at a pub but...Daddy, have you heard from him?

BILL: (looking around again) From (lowering his voice) Jack? (pausing to consider whether to tell her) No, no I haven't.

JENNIFER: (thick with emotion) He's not-

BILL: I...I don't know, Jennifer. I hope to God not. I'm...I'm sure he'll turn up somewhere.

JENNIFER: He's never been gone for this long, Daddy.

BILL: I..I know. Listen, you take care of that daughter of yours and I'll take care of that daughter of mine. If you need anything-

JENNIFER: I need to talk to Jack...that's what I need.

BILL: I wish...I wish I could (paining him) help you with that one. Honey, look, I've got to go. Give Abby a kiss for me.

JENNIFER: I will. I love you, Daddy.

BILL: I love you, too, Jennifer Rose. I love you so much. (he hangs up the phone and looks around, defeated, wondering how he will ever live with the knowledge of what he's done).




IN on BILL, who is lost in thought, remembering the last of the flashback. He has yet to answer his mother's question.

ALICE: Bill? Bill, will you answer me? Is there something wrong with Jennifer Rose?

BILL: (coming to) Wrong? No...Not wrong. I'm sorry, Mom, but what made you ask that?

ALICE: It doesn't take a genius to see that she's not very happy with you right now? She barely spoke three words to you on Christmas.

BILL: I think she's...she's just a little miffed about how absent I've been. You know, I haven't been the best at returning her calls or letters.

ALICE: (not buying it) If you say so, dear. (the doorbell rings) I wonder who that could be?

BILL: I'll get it-

ALICE: Oh, no you won't. You just finish your coffee and read your paper. I'll be right back. (she slowly walks to the door to open it to JACK) Jack! What a wonderful surprise!

JACK: I...yes, it is. (kissing her cheek rather quickly)

ALICE: Where's Jennifer?

JACK: She's...she's home. I was actually here to see (looking around) see Bill. Is he around?

ALICE: (lost) Yes, he's in the living room-(gasps as JACK takes off his gloves and rushes in there)

BILL: (seeing JACK, he stands up) Jack, you're up early this morning-

JACK: (angry) Don't make pleasantries.

BILL: (making light) What-I'm just-

JACK: (pulling him up by the collar as ALICE gasps) No, I'll tell you what you're doing. You're playing God with my life! Just who do you think you are, anyway?

BILL: (fear) Jack, what are you talking about?

JACK: You know damn well what I'm talking about. Damn well!

BILL: I assure you-

JACK: Assure this (without thinking, he decks BILL, who falls to the ground).

He turns around to see ALICE, who is very unhappy with the turn of the events. He cannot believe he just did what he did.


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