KEEPING UP WITH THE DEVERAUXES
By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna
SCENE ONE: INT. DEVERAUX LIVING ROOM
BILL: (nervous) So, you want the truth? Jenn, you-
JENNIFER: If you even remotely say anything along the lines of me not being able to handle the truth, I may kill you.
BILL: Well then...(sitting down beside her) I guess it all started when your mother went away.
JENNIFER: (nodding in understanding) To the mental hospital.
BILL: Yeah. I guess I...I guess I didn't know what to do with myself. I had you and I wasn't doing a great job of taking care of that and then Kate...
JENNIFER: Kate told you about Lucas.
BILL: (getting up and pacing nervously) I...I couldn't handle all of it. I needed some release. That's when I started...I started traveling.
JENNIFER: (sadly) And you put me in boarding school.
BILL: (leaning on the mantle) You've got to know that it killed me to do that, Jenn...
JENNIFER: I...I know. (beat) Go on.
BILL: Well, I got offered a few different positions and decided to take the one out in Israel. You remember that, right?
JENNIFER: I remember you flying to Switzerland to tell me about it. You bought me a pair of earrings, gave me your credit card, and then skipped the light fantastic out of town.
BILL: (sensing her pain) I'm sorry for...Jenn, I'm sorry for all that. I didn't know what else to do.
JENNIFER: It doesn't matter now. So, you went to Israel?
BILL: And that's where it started. It started out innocently enough. Then again, they always do. And that's where it happened. That's where I met...him.
OUT on JENNIFER, shuddering at the sound of her father's worry.
SCENE TWO: INT. DEVERAUX LIVING ROOM
BILL: (shrugging) You know, you don't have to hear all of this. It's just a convoluted mess-
JENNIFER: I want to hear about this. I need to hear about this.
BILL: (beat) Okay, fine...you remember how I used to hold my weekly card games with the boys? When we were living out in Chicago?
BILL: That's how this started. I started playing cards with some of the locals, some of the other medics and doctors out there. The stakes weren't high. They were fifty to a hundred dollar games.
JENNIFER: (lost) I don't understand...how-
BILL: I'm getting there. (sitting opposite of her in an armchair and leaning forward) The games started becoming more and more frequent and we, the other docs and I, kind of lost ourselves in them. Jenn, the conditions were so awful. The people, the children they'd bring in to us from surrounding towns, victims of hate crimes, of religious crimes...I...I can't even begin to tell you how...(wiping his eyes and swallowing hard). I welcomed the games. We welcomed the games. They gave us an escape from a place that seemed like there wasn't one. The weekly games became nightly games and the locals involved weren't just docs and medics anymore, they were businessmen from various countries, looking for a quick buck or a good time.
JENNIFER: That's where you met-
BILL: Nigel Fredericks. He was this large, commanding figure, from South Africa, no less. Pseudo-upstanding, well-educated, smart, conniving...
JENNIFER: All the makings of a good friend.
BILL: (frowning) Yeah. We began talking. He began talking, actually. I began listening. He started speaking of games with much higher stakes, with much longer escapes and I...I foolishly became intrigued. I mean, I had nothing to lose, did I? My wife, ex-wife, your mother was gone, at least in mind. You were safe and away at boarding school and Mike, Mike was in med school. Your grandparents were looking after him when I couldn't. Lucas didn't know me. I didn't know him. I welcomed anything that made me feel good, that gave me a rush.
JENNIFER: So you started raiding (nearly choking on the words)--?
BILL: No...not at first (resuming pacing). I...I started small. Making collections for Nigel, running errands when I could. He liked having someone there when he couldn't be. He trusted me. (Quietly) I trusted him.
JENNIFER: But that was a mistake, wasn't it, Daddy?
BILL: Possibly the largest. (sitting back down and pleading with her) You've got to understand, Jenn, he promised me things-things I thought meant something then. I owed him money, too. A great deal. Paying for your mother's care, your care, Mike's care---that was expensive, Jenn. Throw in some other bills and...anyway, I thought I could get out whenever I wanted to. I thought he'd let me. (beat) I was wrong.
JENNIFER: When did the (getting caught on the words)...the tombraiding start?
BILL: Not for years after. Like I said, I started out doing menial tasks-flying to Rome, picking up payments, that sort of thing. I didn't start that until years later. I stumbled into it, actually. I accompanied one of his other "friends" on one of his missions and when the "friend" turned out to be distrustful, I took over. I was good at it, possibly the best. As long as I was bringing him what he wanted, then I was golden.
JENNIFER: And when you stopped?
BILL: (standing up) I was anything but. I tried, but...but the threats...they were too much. He'd say things about hurting you and Mike and...
JENNIFER: (shivering in disgust) So this is how you paid for everything-my schooling, Mike's schooling, my college, my trust fund?
BILL: It wasn't supposed to be like that. I believed him, I wanted to believe him when he'd say, "just one more." It's never just one more. He couldn't stop and I'm sometimes not sure...I'm not sure if I can either sometimes.
The camera pans out to JENNIFER, who's worried about his state of mind.
SCENE THREE: INT. DEVERAUX LIVING ROOM
JENNIFER: (pausing for a moment and getting up to fiddle with some papers on the desk) What makes you think this time it's different?
BILL: I don't know. It just feels different. I can't explain. Now that you know, maybe that'll help me-
JENNIFER: (not listening) Why Jack, Daddy? Why did you involve him?
BILL: I...I couldn't do this, I couldn't do it alone anymore, Jenn. I was slacking and Jack just fell into it. Not like me, though. He didn't do anything willingly. There was no rush for him.
JENNIFER: I believe him, Daddy. You don't have to tell me.
BILL: Good...good. I screwed up, Jenn, and I couldn't bear the thought of you looking at me like...like you are right now. I remember how long it took you to forgive me about Lucas.
JENNIFER: That was different. You kept Jack and me apart, Daddy. You willingly separated us. Even after the ISA stepped in, you separated us.
BILL: I tried to get you to see that it wasn't Jack's fault. I tried to tell you-
JENNIFER: How? By letting me get on an airplane and leave? By not telling him where I was?
BILL: You've got to believe me, Jenn. I never wanted to do the things I did. It killed me to do them. That's what all the letters were for. I tried to tell you to not blame him.
JENNIFER: Did you say to blame you? Did you tell the truth?
BILL: No. Jack's a good man, Jennifer. He didn't want to see you hurt either.
JENNIFER: And yet, the two of you hurt me the most by lying to me. Isn't that ironic? And now, now you want him to go back out there again?
BILL: I understand your reservations about this-
JENNIFER: (voice raising, knocking the papers to the ground) My reservations? My reservations! You understand my reservations?! Daddy, these are more than reservations. You want to take my hus, my Jack, out there and do God knows what. He could die out there, you know. Something could go wrong. I'm surprised it hasn't yet!. I may have grown up without a father around, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let you do that to Abby! (BILL jumps back in shock over her anger)
Hearing the voices raised from the kitchen, JACK peeks his head in.
JACK: Could you two maybe keep it (seeing JENNIFER'S face, he trails off)? Jennifer-(concerned, he steps inside the living room and walking towards her)
JENNIFER: (tearfully) I don't want you to go with him, Jack. I can't take not knowing whether you are dead of alive or-
JACK: Shhh....(cupping her face to turn her gaze from her father to his face and slipping an arm behind her back)...you don't have to worry about that. Does she, Bill? (turning slightly to face him) She doesn't have to worry about me getting involved, right?
BILL: (wringing his hands nervously) Jack, you know I need your help-
JENNIFER: Jack, don't-
JACK: (torn) I...Jennifer, maybe we should listen to him, maybe this will be the end.
JENNIFER: What if it's not? What if it keeps going and there's no end?
JACK: I'm sure your father's thought of all that (steadying his gaze on him). I'm sure it won't put me, or you, or Abigail in any danger...
At this, BILL turns his gaze to his feet. JENNIFER catches wind of this.
JENNIFER: (breaking free from JACK and stomping over towards BILL) Oh my God, he threatened Abby, didn't he? He threatened to hurt her if you didn't get him what he wanted? He did, didn't he?
OUT on BILL, still avoiding her look.
SCENE FOUR: INT. DEVERAUX LIVING ROOM
JENNIFER: He did, didn't he? He threatened my daughter!
BILL: (swallowing) He knows about Abby, yes.
JACK: (stepping behind JENNIFER and placing his hands on her shoulders. He is seething.) What do you mean, "knows"? What exactly does he know?
BILL: He knows that she's the one thing, (correcting himself) two things, Jack would do anything for. He also knows that I need Jack's help to get him what he wants. He'll do anything, Jennifer.
JENNIFER: (worried, turning to JACK) No, Jack, we can't do this. I can't have her living in danger. You've got to do something...you've got to call Shane.
JACK: (turning her around and looking dead on at BILL) We'll...we'll call the ISA.
BILL: It'll never work, Jack. Not after the last time you involved them. He knows you're too smart to try it again.
JACK: There has to be something we can do (catching BILL'S face)...other than me aiding you in your endeavor, that is.
JENNIFER: Jack, don't let them hurt Abby...don't...
JACK: It looks like we have no choice. You know that, Bill, don't you? You know you're leaving us with no choice.
BILL: Jack, I'm merely stating what was told to me.
JENNIFER: No...there has to be another way. There has to be...
JACK: What...(sighing) what exactly does he want this time?
BILL: A key...
JACK: A key? No family jewels, literally? No-what in the world would he want a key for?
BILL: I...I don't know...I just get him what he wants.
JACK: If you (throwing JENNIFER a look before proceeding) retrieve this, this key, what then?
BILL: I'll leave Africa.
JACK: And go where? Surely he'll try and find you again.
BILL: I don't know, Jack. I don't know where I'll go. I just know that I won't have the chance to go anywhere if I don't get him this key. Look what he did to me already. Think of what he can do to you or Ab-
JENNIFER: Don't you dare say it. We've already lost one child because of you.
BILL: I'm sorry (near tears)...can't you see that I'm sorry? I'm begging you...for my sake, for your sake, for your daughter's sake, please help me. Please...
OUT on JACK and JENNIFER exchanging looks, not knowing what to do.
SCENE FIVE: INT. DEVERAUX LIVING ROOM
JENNIFER: (after a few moments) Where...where is this key?
BILL: I...I don't know. That's where Jack comes in. He's come through before.
JACK: (gloating) Possibly the best investigative reporter there is (JENNIFER, annoyed, hits him lightly in the stomach) Second best, that is.
JENNIFER: How do we find out?
BILL: I...I have the specifics. I left the papers over at Mom's.
JACK: (worried) Are you mad? Isn't someone after them? I mean, I'm sure this little dance with fists has something to do with someone other than Nigel's interest in them.
BILL: They're safe, Jack. You should know by now that I know how to hide things.
JACK: No comment.
JENNIFER: (mulling it over) So we get the papers, find out what this key is for and then trick Nigel at his own game...
JACK: "We" do not do anything. You stay home with the child and I will aid your father in this latest endeavor of his.
JENNIFER: Jack, that's not fair-I know about it all now.
JACK: Then you know that it's dangerous, right? Or did that just go in one of your pretty little blonde ears and out the other?
JENNIFER: Which is precisely why I am going to help out. Just let me run upstairs and change clothes and-(moving to run up the stairs)
JACK: (grabbing her wrist and pulling her back to face him. They speak in lower tones as BILL sinks into the couch and watches hopefully) Which is precisely why you are not going to help out. It's bad enough that the child might wind up grandfather and fatherless but we don't have to run the risk of making her an orphan.
JENNIFER: (eyes glinting up) I'll be careful, Jack. You know I will.
JACK: Careful is not one of your best qualities, Jennifer. Careless, stubborn, and downright frustrating are though.
JENNIFER: Jack, this is ridiculous. I can help. We make a good team, even you have to admit that.
JACK: I am admitting it. Jennifer, listen (growing quiet and serious, scaring her), Nigel and company are not exactly your run of the mill villains. Not like the ones we've dealt with anyway. We can't sneak out on ledges to hide from them, we can't always hope to wash up on some deserted island. This is the big leagues, Miss Horton.
JENNIFER: Are you saying you think I can't handle it?
JACK: No...I'm saying that I think you can. I know you can. I just don't want to test the theory, you know?
JENNIFER: (nodding with emotion) I know.
JACK: We just got back...we just got to the point where we can be totally honest with one another, where I could be totally honest with you. I don't want to regress, I don't want to lose what we finally just regained. (meeting her eyes) Please.
JENNIFER: Oh...okay. (moved but lying) I'll stay here while you do the snooping. (sighing) I can't say that I won't miss it though. You know how I love a good mystery.
JACK: I...(smiling widely)...that I do.
JENNIFER: (smiling) Good. I mean, think of all the mysteries I can dig up around here? I mean, Abby surely has something strange in her closet for me to unearth.
JACK: (fake laughing with her) Good one. Maybe a maligned doll or perhaps Barbie's long-lost ex-husband Keith, Ken's brother.
JENNIFER: Maybe. Well, you know, I should...I should go help Jo with that breakfast, you know. I can hear my stomach from here. (trying to step around him)
JACK: (slyly. Not buying it.) Wa...wait, Jennifer, I'm thinking that maybe, maybe we could shake on it? For old time's sake, you know?
JENNIFER: Shake? (nervous laughter) Yeah, sure. We should shake on it.
JACK: (extending his hand to her) Put 'er there, partner.
JENNIFER shakes his hand and the two of them exchange sly looks. She quickly bounces to the kitchen, muttering about breakfast but not before shooting her father a disgusted look. JACK, looking at his hand and shaking his head in disbelief is interrupted by BILL, who walks over and claps him on the back.
BILL: Well, her look to me was frosty, but I suspect I'll be getting those for sometime. But you, you, Jack, you handle her well. I've never seen you two in action before. It was quite brilliant the way you got her to agree not to help. Lord knows we don't need that, do we?
JACK: (flashing a confused smile) Yeah...anything but that.
BILL: I think I'm going to hop in the kitchen myself and get a little bit of Jo's breakfast and try to thaw the cold war between Jenn and me a little. You don't mind, do you?
JACK: (absentmindedly) No, not at all. (after BILL walks off into the kitchen, to himself) Brilliant, my foot. She shook my hand. (looking at his hand and shaking his head again in disbelief) She shook my hand.
CUT TO THE KITCHEN:
BILL: (walking in and seeing ABBY, VERN, and JO sitting down and eating) Do we have enough for one more?
JO: (a little taken back by BILL'S state) Of...(nervous laughter) of course we do. You can have Jennifer's plate.
BILL: (sitting down, confused) I thought Jenn came in here to eat. She said she was hungry.
JO: Maybe she didn't want waffles? She took one look at them, said she lost her appetite, and ran upstairs to change.
BILL: (taking a sip of his orange juice) Hmmm...funny (brushing it off). Oh well (he tickles a frightened by his bruises ABBY, who laughs, and the four of them resume breakfast).
CUT TO JENNIFER'S BEDROOM
JENNIFER is muttering to herself and putting on clothing quickly. As she pulls a tee shirt over her head:
JENNIFER: Shake on it? You've got to be kidding me. He thinks he's sly, doesn't he? Shake on it. Shake on it, my foo-(there is a knock on the door) Who...who is it?
JACK: Who do you think it is?
JENNIFER: (rolling her eyes and opening the door) I was hoping you'd come bearing coffee.
JACK: You could've gotten that downstairs, you know. Along with that breakfast you so wanted. (stepping into the bedroom against her wishes)
JENNIFER: I wasn't in the mood for-for (guessing) pancakes.
JACK: (throwing himself down on the bed. Enjoying this) Funny, they were eating waffles when I left.
JENNIFER: (closing the door) Waffles...pancakes....what's the difference? They're both bread products, right?
JACK: Right. (looking around the room) Hmmm...going somewhere?
JACK: I don't know. Just kinda looks like you were in a rush.
JENNIFER: (lying) No, no rushing....just taking my leisurely time (walking over to the nightstand to put on her earrings).
JACK: Oh, I see...then you don't mind if I do this (without getting off the bed, he leans up and pulls her onto it in a passionate kiss)...(rolling her over on her back and nuzzling her neck) or this...or (brushing her hair out of her face) this...
JENNIFER: Jack, what are you do-
JACK: (proceeding to kiss her neck more) Oh, come on, Miss Horton, I think you know perfectly well what I'm doing...we've been doing it for the last twelve years.
JENNIFER: (embarrassed) Jack!
JACK: (kissing her forehead) Well, that's a new one. Usually the gaspy "Jacks" come a little later.
JENNIFER: Jack, it's the morning...
JACK: And we're gainfully, or maybe not so, unemployed. What better way to prepare for the day ahead?
JENNIFER: Jack, Jack (laughing) stop-
JACK: On one condition...
JENNIFER: (breathless) Wh...what condition?
JACK: (sitting up and staring at her point blank) That you tell me why you lied to me downstairs and why you were sneaking out of here.
JENNIFER, caught red-handed, has no idea what to say.
END OF EPISODE 73
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