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By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna


The scene opens to a sleepy JACK, waking up to the alarm clock. He reaches over and turns it off and then absentmindedly rolls over to rest his head on JENNIFER, only to find that she's not there. Worried, he sits up, only to find her sitting on the window seat, staring outside as if a million miles away. He stares at her for a moment and then slowly walks over and touches her shoulder, bringing her to. She smiles weakly as their signature leitmotif starts to play.

JACK: Penny for your thoughts?

JENNIFER: (making room for him to sit down beside her) Jack-

JACK: (stopping her) No, nevermind. I can see that you don't want to talk about it. (smiling slightly) Besides, I haven't really got a penny to spare. I'm unemployed, remember?

JENNIFER: (sighing) No, I really do want to tell you. It's just I...I don't know what to tell you...(getting up and walking to the dresser and picking up her brush) My mind's in sort of a jumble right now.

JACK: I'd say so. It's not everyday that you find out your father's a (catching her look and dropping his voice) common criminal.

JENNIFER: (turning towards the mirror and slowly brushing her hair) I'd rather you not refer to him that way.

JACK: (sighing) Look, I'm sorry for calling him a criminal.

JENNIFER: No, Jack (turning towards him), I meant refer to him as my father. As of right now, that man means nothing to me (walking inside the master bathroom and closing the door).

JACK: (to himself) Oh boy. This should be fun.

OUT on JACK, reluctantly walking over to the bathroom door.



JACK is standing outside the bathroom door and is knocking and speaking very loudly. She matches his volume.

JACK: Jennifer...Jennifer? Jennifer, will you just open the door?

JENNIFER: (through the door) I said no, Jack.

JACK: (annoyed) Listen, we need to talk about this. We need to talk about what you just said.

JENNIFER: (v.o.) No, we don't. You heard me-he means nothing to me.

JACK: But he's your father.

JENNIFER: (v.o.) Would you please stop using that term?

JACK: Jennifer, you-(there is a knock on the door and a frustrated JACK goes to open it. It is VERN.)

VERN: I'm sorry for interrupting, Jack, but I thought you were up. I heard yelling.

JACK: (deadpan) Are you surprised?

VERN: (reading his face) What's going on? Is everything okay?

JACK: Yes and no.

VERN: What are you talking about?

JACK: (hearing the shower start before beginning) Everything...nothing. Jennifer and I...we're okay.

VERN: Well, that's good news.

JACK: Is it, though?

VERN: What are you talking about? Geez, I sound like a broken record player, here.

JACK: I'm talking about....(walking over and closing the bedroom door after making sure no one is listening) I'm talking about Jennifer and Bill. They're what's not okay.

VERN: At the risk of sounding repetitive...what are you-

JACK: (finishing the last of the sentence with him) talking about? I'm talking about the fact that she knows about...about everything.

VERN: (surprised) She does? (pacing) How'd she find out? Was she masquerading in a nurse's costume over at the hospital? Did she break into your room and find your manuscript? was standing outside your door when we were talking, wasn't she? (smiling) That little devil...

JACK: (throwing him an annoyed look) I told her.

VERN: (in shock) You told her? I would have never guessed that in a million years.

JACK: (dryly) Don't sound too surprised there, chief.

VERN: (concerned) What did she say? What did she do? Oh, God, this must be killing her.

JACK: (noting VERN'S behavior) I'll send your Oscar in the mail. (beat) She's fine...if you call disowning your own father fine. I mean, I know I did it once, okay, twice but...Bill's not evil, you know. He's not like Harper or Duke.

VERN: I know. I know. She's just taking it hard.

JACK: I just wish...I just wish I could make it easier on her.

VERN: But you told her.

JACK: If you mean I was the one who shattered all her misconceptions about her father, yes, yes, I did.

VERN: No, Jack, you told her and she's got to respect that. She knows how hard it was for you to do.

JACK: I'd take it all back, you know. All the glory just to have her happy again.

VERN: But she wasn't . She knew you and he were up to something. She knew it.

JACK: When am I not up to something?

VERN: She'll be fine, Jack. Just give her time.

JACK: (throwing himself on the bed) Time is precisely what I don't have. (beat) He's in trouble again.

VERN: Again? I thought you said-oh, so that's why he came home for Christmas.

JACK: That and the wonderful handwritten note that Colin Murphy signed as one Mr. Jack Harcourt Deveraux requesting him to join in the festivities.

VERN: You think Colin's behind this?

JACK: I know Colin's behind that. (sitting up) His incredible love for Jennifer drives him mad. I can't say I blame him, though. I've been accused of that once or twice in my own lifetime. She does have a way, you know...

VERN: (pacing. After a moment.) Well, what are you going to do?

JACK: I'm going to...I don't know. I honestly don't know.

VERN: Don't tell me that you, Jack Deveraux, don't have a plan?

JACK: It's not as if I keep a book of them around here. (pretending to thumb through an imaginary book) "What to do when your cub reporter almost marries a deadbeat", "What to do when your cubreporter marries a no-good scoundrel", "What to do-

VERN: Alright, I got it...I got it. Jack, we have to do something.

JACK: We? (getting up and walking to the door with VERN) We have to get downstairs and have breakfast with your future wife and your future granddaughter. I...I have to figure out what's going on.

VERN: (stepping outside the door) Jack, if you need anything-

JACK: I know, Vern (closing the door). I know. (turning around and seeing JENNIFER, in her bathrobe coming out of the bathroom)

JENNIFER: Who was that?

JACK: One of our many houseguests. It was Vernon, of course.

JENNIFER: (looking at the clock) So early? Doesn't he know it's a holiday?

JACK: There are no holidays in Vernon land. (beat) He heard us, I mean, me, yelling. Through the door, no less.

JENNIFER: Oh. (starting to get ready)

JACK: (watching her act as if everything is normal) I don't suppose you want to talk about it. (when she doesn't answer but carries on) I mean, because, the way you're running back and forth and not answering me makes me think you don't.

JENNIFER: (stopping) Jack, I really don't.

JACK: Fine, then. I've done my job. Jennifer, maybe it's best if you avoided your father for the remainder of his visit. This way you don't have to-

There is a knock on the door.

JACK: (cont.) Who could that be? (opening the door) I don't know what you're selling but-you. (it is VERN) Didn't I just get rid of you?

VERN: Jack, we really need to talk.

JACK: In a minute.

VERN: But Jack (by now, JENNIFER is watching this exchange)-

JACK: I said in a minute. Can't you keep your...your socks on for a moment?

VERN: Jack, it's Bill.

JACK: (giving him a look) I know. (lowering his voice) I've yet to tell Jennifer you know.

VERN: I know, but...but he's here.

JENNIFER: (stepping over) Who's here?

VERN: (quietly) Your father, Jennifer. Your father's here.

Both JACK and VERN look over to a shaken JENNIFER as the scene ends.



JACK: (laughing nervously) So much for that avoiding idea. (to VERN) Vernon, if you don't mind (he closes the door on him as he is about to say something else). Well....(to JENNIFER, concerned)..I could get rid of him for you.

JENNIFER: No...I can't go on avoiding him forever.

JACK: Sure you can. You can stay holed up in this room for as long as you like. We'll have Jo bring you your meals and (seeing her sadness)...You want me to go down first, don't you?


JACK: I can do that. Can you do me a favor, though? Can you remember he is your father and despite everything he does love you? I mean, I know I'm not an expert where fathers are concerned, considering mine were...well...they were anything but genial people but...He does love you, Jennifer, despite everything.


JACK: Despite everything...he's a little like me, you know?

JENNIFER: He's nothing like you.

JACK: Really? I kind of thought that Bill Horton and I were like two peas in a pod, both loving our daughters so and making some serious mistakes along the way. I'm not saying to forgive him, but I'm sure somewhere in that warped mind of his, he rationalized what he did.

JENNIFER: (taking his hand) Like you did when you left me and Abby all those years ago?

JACK: (blinking back tears) Like I said, somehow he probably rationalized it. Can you...Can you do that for me?

JENNIFER: (moved) I can try.

JACK: (squeezing her hand before letting go) And just so you know...(moving towards the door) I sort have, kind have, punched your father yesterday.

JENNIFER: (surprised) You what?

JACK: Sort of, um, you'll see. (opening the door) But we'll talk more about that later.

JENNIFER: (somewhat smiling at his nervousness) We will.

The door shuts and JENNIFER sighs. She doesn't want to face this right now...not in the least.


IN on JACK, bounding down the stairs, humming. BILL is sitting in a chair in the living room with his arm in a sling. He is very badly bruised and his eye is swollen shut.

JACK: (before seeing BILL) Mr. Horton, what do I owe this vis-(seeing him, growing concerned) What the hell--? Bill, are you alright?

BILL: I feel better than I look.

JACK: I should hope so. (beat) I can only hope that this is a result of a dart game gone awry at the Brady Pub.

BILL: I wish. (beat) He knows where I am, Jack.

JACK: (pausing for a very long time) What does he need?

BILL: You know what he needs. (beat) I wasn't lying when I said that I needed your help.

JACK: You need a good surgeon, that's what you need.

BILL: Jack-

From the kitchen, JENNIFER enters.

JENNIFER: Don't "Jack" him, Daddy. He doesn't have to help you...he doesn't have to keep secrets anymore.

OUT on BILL turning towards JENNIFER, shocked and upset that she knows. JACK looks just as shocked at her sudden appearance. She doesn't know about her father's current state.


BILL: Jennifer, I can explain...

JENNIFER: Don't bother. (finally seeing his injuries, she's hurt and concerned) What...what happened? (looking to JACK for some sort of answer)

JACK: (defending himself) I...I did not do all this. I mean, I know I'm good but...What, rather, who, I was telling you about happened. (dryly) Oh yeah, by the way, Bill, Jennifer knows.

BILL: (unhappy) I see that.

JENNIFER: So everything you've been telling me my whole life was a lie? You were stealing to make your money?

BILL: Jennifer, it's not like that-

JENNIFER: It's exactly like that. And you dragged my whole family into this. Jack told you what it cost us, didn't he? He told you that we lost a baby because of you?

BILL: (trying to get up to hug her and she shuns him) Jennifer Rose, I didn't want to take Jack into all this but he's so smart and...I needed help, that's all.

JENNIFER: You still need help. That is why you're here, isn't it? You want Jack to take off again and help you, don't you?

BILL: Jennifer-

JENNIFER: You do, don't you? You want him to leave and help you out, help you out of trouble again?

BILL: (turning to JACK) Jack, help me here.

JACK: I believe I did enough of that back in Africa. Go on, Bill, tell her what's going on. She already despises you, you might as well make it even more.

BILL: (hurt) Is that true, Jenn? Do you really despise me?

JENNIFER: (sadly) I don't know...I don't know what to think. How would you feel if all of a sudden everything you thought you knew turned out to be a lie? How would you feel?

There is a moment of silent tension as BILL takes in all JENNIFER'S anger and the repercussions of his actions. Seeing this, JACK steps forward, trying to ease the situation at hand.

JACK: I would be completely devastated.

JENNIFER: Jack...I was asking my father, not you.

JACK: I know...I just thought I'd answer. I mean...I've been here before.

Both BILL and JENNIFER look to JACK, confused.

JACK: (flashing a pained smile) Here...finding out that your entire life was a lie. Let us not forget that I am, after all, the adopted scion of a former senator who wasn't, well, wasn't part of the upper crust moral community.

JENNIFER touches his arm slightly and he flashes a sad look to her. She knows how hard it is for him to talk about this.

JACK: This is different, though.

JENNIFER: How? I've been lied to my entire life.

JACK: How? Because he loves you, Jennifer. (to BILL) You do love her, don't you, Bill?

BILL: (fighting back tears) With all my heart. Jennifer, you and Mike are my life.

JENNIFER: (voice cracking) Then why couldn't you show us that? We didn't need boarding school or trust funds. We needed you, Daddy.

BILL: (thick with emotion) I'm sorry, Jennifer Rose. I really am.

JENNIFER: (all her childhood anger spills forward) And you were off getting your kicks elsewhere...Do you know what if feels like to be shipped from place to place? have no real sense of home...I mean, thank God for Gramma and Grandpa because I never would've had a place to call my own unless I had them. (growing more upset) I always thought you were off doing good and noble things and that's why I never thought twice about it.

BILL: I was doing good and noble things.

JENNIFER: Intertwined with bad and illegal things. Daddy, I needed you then, I needed you to tuck me in, you to hold my hand and...(JACK is standing behind JENNIFER now and giving BILL a blank look as he rests his hands on his shoulders) were always leaving and now I find out that you were not only leaving me for such selfish reasons, but you dragged my hus-my Jack-into it as well. You knew how much it hurt me when he left and you encouraged him to do it over and over. (voice cracking) You encouraged him to break my heart.

JACK'S face flashes with hurt and pain, remembering how he let her down.

BILL: Jennifer-

JENNIFER: No, Daddy, had the chance to fix it all, to tell me what was going on but instead you chose to save yourself. You kept Jack and me apart. You. You could've helped the situation but you were too selfish, too...(crying harder). disgust me.

BILL: (walking past them, crushed) Perhaps I should be leaving.

As he brushes past them and into the foyer, JACK grabs his arm.

JACK: (through gritted teeth) You're not going anywhere.


BILL: (brushing JACK'S hand off) What's the matter, Jack, you want to add a few more bruises?

JACK: You're not running away this time.

BILL: What are you talking about?

JACK: (looking back to make sure JENNIFER is okay. She is now sitting on the sofa with her head in her hands, crying) You hurt her. You hurt her and you're running away. How can you do that? After all she just said.

BILL: (looking into the living room and hurting) What do you want me to do? Stay here and listen to this? Jack, you of all people should know that I'm-

JACK: I, of all people, should, which is exactly why I'm telling you to stay. I learned a long time ago that you can't run from your problems. It only makes them worse. Do I sometimes relapse? Yeah. Do I sometimes think it would be easy to just pack it in? Yes, but I know better. I know because of (thick with emotion, he nods his head JENNIFER'S way) her. Jennifer is the best thing that ever happened to me and I refuse to let you or anyone else for that matter take her away from me. The buck stops here, mister. You need to take care of your problems because I flat-out refuse to do so. No more lies and deception. You need to tell her what she wants and you need to stand there as she takes it all in. You need to prove to her that you are here for her now and will be.

BILL: You're speaking from experience, I gather?

JACK: (nodding) Bill, if you really love her-

BILL: I do, Jack, you know I do.

JACK: Then try...try to explain. Not for yourself, not for me, I can take care of myself. For her. Do this for her. For her.

BILL: You really think it'll work?

JACK: It's worth a try, isn't it?

BILL nods and they both slowly walk into the living room. To get JENNIFER'S attention, JACK clears his throat. She looks up slowly, surprised that BILL came back.

JACK: (pausing for a moment) I believe that you two have a lot to talk about.

Giving JENNIFER one last glance to make sure she's okay, JACK heads out to the kitchen. She follows him with her eyes and then turns to her father.

BILL: (nervous laughter) You got one hell of a guy there.

JENNIFER: I know. (unable to hold her angry tone when talking about JACK, she smiles a little) He's a little weird but I love him.

BILL: I don't know where to start, Jenn.

JENNIFER: From the beginning would be nice.

BILL: I never intended to hurt you.

JENNIFER: But you did and continue to do so.

BILL: What do you want from me, Jennifer? What do I have to do to make you understand?

JENNIFER: (unwavering) The truth. You have to tell me the truth. No more lies. Can you do that, Daddy? Can you finally come clean about everything?

OUT on BILL, pondering whether or not to finally speak the unspeakable.


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