KEEPING UP WITH THE DEVERAUXES
By Jennifer-Lynn D'Anna
SCENE ONE: EXT. DEVERAUX HOUSE-EARLY MORNING
The sun is not even up yet and JENNIFER and JACK are tiptoeing their way up the front walk. JACK'S tie is undone, his shirt untucked, and his hair is mussed. JENNIFER, still in the wedding gown she purchased the day before is now wearing his suit jacket and is carrying her shoes. Both are giddy and feeling like teenagers. JACK is trying to keep JENNIFER quiet as she is all giggles.
JACK: (approaching the house and placing his finger over his lips) Shhhh...
JENNIFER: (growing serious) Jack, I don't...I don't want to.
JACK: You don't want to shhh? Jennifer, you never want to shhh.
JENNIFER: No. I don't want to go inside. I don't want this night to end.
JACK: Jennifer, we don't...we don't have to go through with this. I'm sure we can figure out another way.
JENNIFER: No...no, we can't. I'm going to miss you, Jack, that's all.
JACK: And I you. (beat) You know that, don't you? You know that going away, that doing this, is going to kill me, don't you?
JENNIFER: Of course I do. I believe that.
JACK: (breaking into a relieved smile) Good. (beat, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her close) Come here.
JENNIFER: (gasping) Jack!
JACK: (matching her gasp and laughing) Jennifer!
She goes to speak, but he puts his finger on her mouth.
JACK: Shhh. Will you just shhhh this once?
She nods and he leans in and lays a big kiss on her lips. They are both getting into it when JACK leans against the front door, which opens. Both he and JENNIFER fall to the ground, mid-kiss. When they look up, JO is standing there, clad in her robe with her arms crossed. She is not amused. Both JACK and JENNIFER look at her embarrassingly.
SCENE TWO: INT. DEVERAUX FOYER
JACK: (sheepishly) I...I bet you're wondering what this is about, aren't you? (flashing a nervous smile)
JO: I know what it looks like. For God's sake, you two, it's six o'clock in the morning. Do you know how nervous I was-not knowing if you were dead or alive? Abby acts older than you two sometimes.
JENNIFER: (flashing a look to JACK and then crawling off him and standing up) Well, if...if (pulling her foot from under his leg) Jack didn't interfere-
JACK: (lost) What? (realizing what she's doing) Interfere? (scrapping to stand up) I'll tell you something about interfering--
He follows JENNIFER into the living room with a confused JO tagging along.
JENNIFER: (seeing how he has no argument and trying to jostle a response from him) What? What were you going to tell me about interfering?
JACK: I was...I was going to say...(finally realizing that this is part of their "show")...I was going to say that I...that I didn't interfere, that you, yes, you, Miss Horton, interfered and I've...I've had enough! I just can't...I can't take this anymore.
JENNIFER: (trying not to laugh at his effort to make the argument seem real) You can't take what, Jack?!
VERN: (running downstairs in his robe) What the heck is going on down here? (to JO) You two are going to wake up the entire neighborhood.
JENNIFER: Go ahead Jack, tell Vern what's going on.
JACK: Well...well, you see. I was...I was interfering and Jennifer, she was interfering and somehow or another, we've come to a place where it can't be worked out. It's over between us. All bets are off. There is no Jack and Jennifer forever.
JO: (confused) What are you talking about?
JENNIFER: Jack's, um, Jack's right, Jo. We're over, we're through-
JACK: (helping her out) Finished, finito, done.
JO: But...(looking towards the door where she found them kissing)
JACK: I know, it seems odd, but we...(swallowing hard) We just can't do it any longer. We can't go on living a lie. It's not fair to us...to you...to the child. (seeing ABBY come down the stairs) Speaking of the child...
ABBY: (groggily) What's going on?
OUT on JACK and JENNIFER looking at one another, wondering what to do.
SCENE THREE: INT. DEVERAUX HOUSE
JO: (walking over to the stairs to meet ABBY) Abby, honey, why don't we go back upstairs and go back to bed? Grandpa Vern'll read you that story you like so much.
ABBY: No. (beat, looking at JACK and JENNIFER) I want to stay.
VERN: Abigail, I don't think that's such a good id-
JACK: (clearing his throat and trying to fight back tears) Actually, I think that's a, a fantastic idea.
JENNIFER: (confused) What?
JACK: Abigail, come here. (sitting down on the sofa and patting his lap for her to hop on, which she does) We need to talk.
Behind them, JO and VERN are confused about what's going on. JO flashes a look to VERN, who shrugs, indicating he's lost too.
ABBY: What's wrong, Daddy?
JACK: Nothing's wrong, Abigail. It's just...just...(sighing) Remember how we talked about Mommy and Daddy getting back together when I first came back?
ABBY: (nodding) Uh-huh.
JACK: Remember how we said...how we said that it might not work? (JACK waits for her sad nod to go on) It's just...it's just not working and right now, Mommy and Daddy, we need a...a little space.
ABBY: Mommy's over there, Daddy. (pointing to JENNIFER a few feet away. She is holding her hand over her mouth and trying not to cry.) You have space.
JACK: (fighting back tears and not liking this lie in the least) Not that kind of space, Abigail. Daddy's...Daddy's got to go away for awhile.
ABBY: (sadly) On business?
JACK: (realizing how much his business trips must've hurt her over the years) No...not on business. I mean, yes, I've got to go back to Africa for a few days, but I'll be right here in Salem, Miss Bunny Slippers (grabbing at her slippers and trying to laugh). Mommy and I just need some time to think and work on some things.
ABBY: (near tears) Where are you going?
JACK: Not far, actually. I think I'm going to see if your cousin Bo has a place for me over at his house.
ABBY: With the babies?
JACK: Yeah...with the babies.
ABBY: (to JENNIFER) I don't want Daddy to go, Mommy.
JENNIFER: (looking to JACK, who nods for her to go on) I don't either, honey. We just can't do this anymore. It isn't fair to us...to you.
ABBY: I'm fine. I thought you were happy.
JENNIFER: I...I am...(sitting down beside them on the sofa)...I was. We just have to do this, okay? It's something we have to do.
ABBY: I don't understand. (to JACK) You love Mommy, right?
JACK: (looking at JENNIFER) More than the world.
ABBY: (to JENNIFER) And you love him, don't you?
JENNIFER: Yes, but...
JACK: You'll...you'll understand someday. (quietly) I hope.
ABBY: No, no, I won't. (crying and hopping up) I hate it. And I hate the both of you. (running out of the room)
JACK: (standing up quickly) Abigail!
JENNIFER: (standing up beside him and watching ABBY run up the stairs) Let her go, Jack. She needs to cool off.
JACK: (turning towards her and putting his hands on her arms) Are you okay?
JENNIFER: I..I will be.
JO: (walking over) Well, I'm not. Just what in Hades is going on here?
OUT on JACK and JENNIFER, shocked and not knowing how exactly to answer.
SCENE FOUR: INT. DEVERAUX MASTER BEDROOM
A little while later. JACK is packing a suitcase morosely. JENNIFER walks in, fresh from the shower in her robe.
JENNIFER: Oh, I didn't know you were still here. (going to walk out)
JACK: Trying to get rid of me that soon? (turning towards her and watching her stop dead in her tracks)
JACK: I know, it's just a ruse, but that little...that little show back there...for lack of better word, hurt.
JENNIFER: (looking down and fiddling with the ties on her robe) Yeah...it did.
JACK: (beat) How is she?
JENNIFER: Still upset. Jo and Vern just left to take her to school.
JACK: She's still not talking to you?
JENNIFER: Oh, I don't know, I think "I hate you" counts as talking.
JACK: It was much easier back when it was just the two of us, you know? Not that I regret-
JENNIFER: I know what you mean. I hate lying to her, too, Jack.
JACK: And I hate being away from you. Jennifer, I cannot stress just how much I don't want to leave you here alone.
JENNIFER: I know, but Jack, it's the only way.
JACK: (slumping and sitting down on the edge of the bed) Is there ever going to be a day when we don't have to do this? When we can live in peace?
JENNIFER: (walking over and sitting on his lap) You'd be bored out of your mind.
JACK: (smiling and smelling her wet hair) As would you. (beat) Jo still pumping you for information?
JENNIFER: Well, she doesn't understand, that's for sure. One minute we're kissing and the next we're screaming at one another. It is kind of jarring.
JACK: If you don't know us. Something tells me my "none of your damn business" isn't going to hold up for much longer.
JENNIFER: I don't think so. I would say we should let them in on the secret, but...
JACK: Too many people know already. (looking at his watch and sighing) I think I better be moseying on, Miss Horton, as much as I don't want to. (standing up and picking her up with him)
JENNIFER: (laughing) Jack!
JACK: Oh, I'll miss those gaspy "Jacks". (closing up his suitcase after placing her back on the floor) You really should patent them. (imitating her voice) Jack. Jack. Ja-ack.
JENNIFER: (crossing her arms and feigning anger) You think you're funny, don't you?
JACK: I know I am. You know it too. (seeing tears come to her eyes) Oh no, not you too.
JENNIFER: I can't help it. I'm just...I'm just so emotional lately.
JACK: (brushing her cheek with his finger) It's only temporary, remember? You keep saying that, right?
JENNIFER: (nodding) I know. I love you, Jack.
JACK: (nodding emotionally) I know. I promise that when I come home, you and I and Abigail and whoever we add to this family (smiling), will never be separated again. I know they don't hold much weight, but I do promise, Jennifer. I promise from the bottom of my heart.
JENNIFER smiles and after a moment, JACK picks up his suitcase.
JACK: I'll pick the child up from school this afternoon, giving you some time to visit (sneering) you-know-who.
JENNIFER: (choking back tears) Okay.
JACK: And you know where to find me if you need me.
JENNIFER: I'll call Bo and Hope's.
JO: Jennifer, I was think-(seeing JACK and becoming hopeful). You're still here!
JACK: Not...not for long. (tapping the suitcase in his hand) You'll give my regards to Vernon?
JO: Jack, I don't...I just don't get it.
JACK: (starting to explain, but them remembering he can't) You wil-nevermind. (to JENNIFER, sadly) Goodbye, Miss Horton.
JENNIFER: (tearfully) Goodbye Jack.
After a moment, JACK breaks his gaze with her and walks out of the bedroom door. JO tries to say something but can't. JENNIFER sits back onto the bed and begins to cry silently into her hands. Outside the door, JACK wants badly to go back in, but can't, knowing what he has to do. END OF EPISODE 82
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