KEEPING UP WITH THE DEVERAUXES
By Jennifer-Lynn DíAnna
BILL: AhÖa bed. (flopping himself down on one of the two doubles in the room)
JACK: (putting down his bags and surveying the room) I can see Nigel hasnít gotten any less cheap on us. I wonder what it would take to get that man to get me my own room just once.
BILL: Hopefully this will be the last time heíll be getting us any accommodations, Jack.
JACK: Yes, hopefully. (walking over and picking up the phone) Well, thereís no time like the present.
BILL: Jack, do you know what time it is in Salem?
JACK: Why yes, I do. (looking at his watch) Letís see, itís almost four here, so that makes it nine-ish. Jennifer should be up and about.
BILL: Do what you like. Iím going to take a hot shower and then get some sleep. We have a big night ahead of us.
BILL exits to the bathroom as JACK watches him go. After he closes the bathroom door, JACK dials. As the phone begins to ring on JACKís end, the screen splits in two, focusing on the phone in the Deveraux home living room. JO rushes in and picks it up.
JO: Hello, Horton-Deveraux house.
JACK: (disappointed that it was not JENNIFER but happy to hear a familiar voice in the least) Good morning, Jo.
JO: (gasping a little; happy to hear him) Jack? Oh, Iíve been worried sick about you.
JACK: (lying so she doesnít worry) Iím okay. Fine, actually. I know sheís a bit peeved at me, but is the lady of the house home? The original lady of the house, that is. Not the mini-one.
JO: (pausing for a moment to digest) You mean you havenít talked to Jennifer? Then you have no idea?
JACK: (confused) No idea about what?
JO: (nervous) WellÖIÖyou seeÖ.
Behind her, VERN enters from the kitchen. She turns and mouths ďItís JackĒ to him. He gently takes the phone from her.
VERN: Jack, itís Vern.
JACK: (trying to kid around although he knows somethingís wrong) Vernon? What, catís got Joís tongue?
VERN: (watching JO pace nervously next to him) Jack, no joking, please. Something terribleís happened.
OUT on JACK, not sure if he wants to know what it is.
SCENE TWO: INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY-An apartment door slides open, the familiar sound of it jarring JENNIFER, who is standing outside in the hallway with COLIN.
JENNIFER: (nervously) Well what?
COLIN: Well, arenít you going to go inside? Like I said, itís not much, butÖ
JENNIFER takes a timid step inside and looks at her all-too-familiar surroundings. COLIN enters from the back, carrying her luggage.
COLIN: You like?
JENNIFER: (touching the spiral staircase nostalgically) Yes. Itís veryÖitís very nice.
COLIN: I thought you would. Actually, I remember you telling me that you used to live in a loft back in the day. Remind you of it?
JENNIFER: (near tears) Yes. A lot actually. In factÖ
COLIN: Are you telling me this is ďthe loftĒ?
JENNIFER cannot answer, she just nods.
COLIN: (smiling) Lookie there. And you think weíre not connected in some way. I even rented the apartment you used to rent. Soulmates, Jennifer Rose, thatís what we are. Soulmates. Donít you agree?
JENNIFER doesnít answer. She just turns and walks towards the fireplace, running her hand across the mantle and staring where a fire should be.
COLIN: (growing angry) I asked you a question, Jennifer.
JENNIFER: (coming to) OhÖwhÖwhat?
COLIN: Nevermind. I see that you have a lot on your mind. (beat, looking around the room) Tell you what, Iíll take your things upstairs and give you some alone time-to pack, to get settled in.
JENNIFER: (weakly) Thank you.
COLIN: (walking over and slipping his arms around her waist. When he does, she flinches a little) Youíve had quite the day, havenít you, love? Having to talk to the in-laws, tell them about our little liason?
JENNIFER: Our little liason? (breaking free from his grip, she turns, once again to look at the fireplace).
COLIN: You didnít tell them about the baby, did you?
JENNIFER: I didnít feelÖ(fighting back tears) I didnít feel up to it.
COLIN: Well, you better start. Or do you not want Jack to think that you and I were intimate?
JENNIFER: (growing angry about his hold on her) You know damn well thatís what I donít want.
COLIN: Jennifer, he will know. He will think that we are happy, that this baby is ours, that your heart belongs to me. In time, you will believe it too. I know it. I feel it with every fiber of my being. (walking up and picking up her bags) You know it, too, donít you?
JENNIFER: (half-listening) KnowÖknow what?
COLIN: That weíll be happy, love. You and I and the children. Theyíll be safe and happy.
JENNIFER: Theyíre safe and happy now.
COLIN: (ominously) Are they?
JENNIFER: (nervous) WhatÖwhat do you mean by that?
COLIN: Oh nothing. Iím just saying that I know how much it killed you to lose one wee child. Iíd absolutely hate to see you go through that again. (watching her to make sure it sinks in) Happy, Jennifer Rose, thatís what weíll be. Happy.
COLIN exits upstairs and JENNIFER turns towards the empty fireplace. She is sure she is going to be sick.
SCENE THREE: AFRICA-INT. HOTEL ROOM
JACK is hanging up the phone and digesting what VERN has just told him. Immediately, he begins gathering his things. BILL walks out of the bathroom in a robe to find JACK rushing back and forth.
BILL: Jack, what the hell is going on?
JACK: Iím getting the hell out of here, thatís whatís going on. Going back home. Going to be with my family.
BILL: What about Nigel? (watching him rush back and forth) Jack, whatís gotten into you?
JACK: (throwing what he can into his carry-on) Your daughter, thatís whatís gotten into me. Sheís been under my skin since that fateful day when she stepped into my office at the paper. She worked me up, taught me to believe, and taught me to think outside the box, and now, that is precisely what sheís not doing-thinking.
BILL: (confused) What are you talking about?
JACK: Colin Murphy, faux Colin Murphy, whatever, whoever he is. Jenniferís gone and lost her pretty blonde mind, moving in with the IrishmanÖif heís even Irish.
BILL: Is she crazy?
JACK: (giving him a look) Need I really answer that?
BILL: Did you try calling her?
JACK: Calling her does no good.
BILL: (trying to get him to listen to reason) Jack, we have things to do here.
JACK: (throwing the papers he was going through down and finally blowing up) Dammit, Bill, canít you see past your own selfishness for once?! Your daughterís gone and put herself in grave danger and all you can think about is what Nigel Hawthorne wants. For Christís sake, Bill, donít you even care about Jennifer?
BILL: OfÖof course I do. (trying, in vain, to calm him down) Jack, Jenniferís a big girl.
JACK: (raising his voice) Is that what got you through it, Bill? Convincing yourself that Jennifer was a big girl every time you left town on another excursion, another job?
BILL: Donít you-
JACK: Donít I what? Is that what you said to yourself when you left her with her grandparents after her mother put her on a bus, put a seven year old child on a bus not even knowing where it was going? Is it? She was seven, Bill! A child! Is that what you said when you put her in boarding school after boarding school? Did you say that when you-yes, you-kept us apart when we lived here? Did you say that when she was crying over the child we lost? Did you?
BILL: Jack, thatís not fair. I didnít know about the baby.
JACK: Neither did I! You saw to it that I didnít! Maybe not purposely but it was all about you, the good doctor, the traveling physician.
BILL: Itís not easy for me. Being a father was never as easy for me as it was for you.
JACK: (laughing at this comment) Do you think it was easy for me? Do you? I didnít exactly have the best role models, did I?
BILL: I didnít mean to insinuate-
JACK: You never mean to. Thatís your problem. I screw up, Bill. I screwed up when Jennifer told me she was pregnant with Abigail. Did you ever ask her about that? Did she ever tell you how fear-stricken I was over the prospect of raising a child, shaping a young mind? No. Did you ever ask? (beat) Did she tell you how much it killed me to leave both her and Abigail when she was a baby? Did she?
BILL: I know she was upset, but-
JACK: But you thought she could handle it, you thought, ďJenniferís a big girlĒ, she can get through this. Being a father means giving up your needs, no matter how selfless you think they are, Bill, and you couldnít do thatÖyou still canít! You couldnít do it when she was seven, when she was seventeen, and now that sheís a grown woman with a child of her own, you still canít forget about your problems for one minute to focus on hers. Iíve been patient, Bill. Iíve gone along with a plan I didnít want to. I involved Jennifer in a way I never would have otherwise. You have done nothing but focus on your own needs, even when you said you werenít. You tried to be calm when I knew something was wrong, tried to idle me into staying abroad, helping you. I canít. Jenniferís in trouble and unlike you, I cannot stand by and hope for the best, hope that she gets through this. One day our luckís gonna run out. Iím not taking any chances. Iíve taken all the chances I care to. If you canít act like a father, dammit, at least act like a human being! Iím going to do what I should have done a long time ago-leave you to deal with your, not my, not Jenniferís, problems. (beat, calming down a little, catching his breath, and picking the papers off the floor and tossing them on the bed towards him) You have all the information. Show it to Nigel and try to make him understand. I just hopeÖI hope you can understand.
BILL: (moved by his words) I do, Jack. (beat) Go. (beat) Tell Jennifer I love her.
JACK: (pausing to read BILLíS face before heading for the door) I will.
BILL: (as JACK opens the door) By the way, Jack, I know.
JACK turns towards him, confused.
BILL: (cont.) I know that being a father means not only showing up for the big things-births, weddings, but sticking around and appreciating the small things as well. (growing teary) I know because ofÖbecause of you. Two years ago, it hit me. I was watching you and Abby play catch in the makeshift baseball field we made-
JACK: (smiling slightly) The one I foresaw a booming concession business in?
BILL: (grinning) Yes, thatís the one. Anyway, she was running and wound up tripping over second base and scraping her knee. Iíve never heard a child cry so loudly in my life, not even the babies I delivered. YouÖyou took one look at her and scooped her up in your arms and held her until she stopped crying. Then you cleaned her up and made her smile. I was so jealous at that moment. Iím a doctor, Jack. Iím good at cleaning people up, making them smile. But Iíve never been good at the holding part. It frightens me, you know?
JACK: (nodding, knowing exactly what he means) I know.
BILL: Youíre a great father, Jack Deveraux. And a great husband to my daughter. I know itís too late for me and Jennifer-
JACK: Itís never too late, Bill. Jennifer still needs holding, she still needs cleaning up.
BILL: But she has you.
JACK: Yeah, she does. She has me and Iím all the way here in Africa with her father.
BILL: Sheís lucky to have you, Jack.
JACK: Sheís lucky to have you, Bill. How lucky is up to you. I can only teach you so much about being a father, but first you have to learn how to be a human being, which meansÖ
BILL: (overlapping) Which meansÖtaking responsibilities for my own actionsÖand suffering their consequences.
JACK: If you need anything, anything, donít hesitate to call.
BILL: You do the same, Jack. (beat) I mean it.
JACK doesnít say another word, just smiles reassuringly and exits into the dimly lit hotel hallway.
JACK: (to himself) Now to get home and figure out what Jennifer is up to.
MANíS VOICE: Oh, I wouldnít count on that happening.
JACK: (turning towards the voice in shock) What the---?
All of a sudden, the man knocks JACK upside the head with the barrel of a handgun. We do not see the manís face, but JACK immediately falls to the floor, knocked out cold.
SCENE FOUR: INT. LOFT
A little while later. JENNIFER is sitting in front of the fireplace, shivering in fear over whatís going to happen. There is a knock on the door, and lost in thought, she momentarily gets hopeful that it might be JACK.
JENNIFER: (breathless) Jack?
She slides the door open to find a clearly unhappy BO standing there.
BO: Expecting someone else, Jenn?
JENNIFER: Bo. What are you doing here?
BO: Well, I thought Iíd drop by. See how your lie was going. (walking in) Where is your lover anyway?
JENNIFER: Heís out. And please donítÖ(catching her tone) donít call him that.
BO: Ooh, touchy. Something eating at you, Jenn? Like a big lie?
JENNIFER: (not meeting his eyes) IÖI donít know what youíre talking about.
She leaves the door open, secretly hoping heíll leave. When she sees heís not going anywhere, she walks into the kitchen area.
JENNIFER: Would you like something to eat? Maybe a drink? We donít have much, but Colin said he did a little shopping and (opening the fridge)
BO: (leaning on the counter) What Iíd like is the truth.
JENNIFER: (turning towards him) I told you the truth.
BO: You expect me to believe that you, Jennifer Horton, carried on an extramarital affair with a guy who claims to be someone heís not.
JENNIFER: It wasnít extramarital. Jack and I werenít married.
BO: Thatís bull. You know as well as I do that the two of you acted like husband and wife, in every sense of the word.
JENNIFER: (shocked that heíd even bring up her sex life) Bo!
BO: Why are you lying Jennifer? Did he threaten you?
JENNIFER turns away but he grabs her arm and turns her towards him.
BO: (cont.) Did he?
JENNIFER: (pushing his hand off her arm and rubbing it) No.
BO: Did he threaten Jack? Abby?
JENNIFER: (near tears) No.
BO: (realizing heís being a little rough) IímÖIím sorry, Jenn. It just makes no sense, thatís all. I thought you loved Jack.
JENNIFER: I do love Jack.
BO: But you slept with Colin? That doesnít sound like you Jenn.
COLIN: (opening the door, causing the two of them to jump a little) It doesnít sound like your wife either, but she sure as hell did it, didnít she?
OUT on BO, seeing red.
SCENE FIVE: INT. LOFT
BO: (storming over and grabbing COLIN by the collar) You leave Hope out of this!
COLIN: (looking at BOíS threatening hands) And you stop badgering my fiancťe. And while youíre at it, you might want to take your hands off me. A lawsuit wouldnít bode well for the already temperamental Beauregard Brady.
BO: (dropping his hands reluctantly and looking COLIN up and down before speaking) I thought you were going out.
COLIN: (looking past BO to JENNIFER) And I thought Jennifer would be unpacking. I didnít know she would be entertaining-
JENNIFER: (trying to explain) I wasnít expecting him. He just dropped by.
BO: Why are you explaining, Jenn? You donít have to explain anything to him.
JENNIFER: IímÖIím not. Iím just sayingÖ
COLIN: Sheís not explaining. Sheís merely telling me. Now, if youíd kindly leave (sidling up to JENNIFER and putting his arm around her) my fiancee and I aloneÖ
BO: (shaking his head and laughing at the absurdity of the pairing) Fine. Iíll get to the bottom of this, Iím warning you.
COLIN: Thereís nothing to get to the bottom of, I assure you.
BO: Right. (to JENNIFER) Before I forget, (reaching into his coat pocket and handing JENNIFER an envelope) Hope told me to give you this. Said you arenít answering her calls. Sheís as confused as I am.
JENNIFER: (fingering the letter lovingly) ThankÖthank you.
BO: Iíll talk to you later, Jenn (exiting, but not before giving COLIN a warning look).
COLIN: (calling after him, but the plea falls on deaf ears) Donít forget to close the door on your way-(walking over and closing it himself)-by all means, donít listen to me. (watching as JENNIFER turns away and anxiously begins to open the envelope) Tsk, tskÖ
COLIN: (walking towards her) You donít actually think youíre going to read that, do you? For all I know, it could be some kind of love letter from Jack. ĎDear Miss Hortoní-thatís what he calls you, right? ĎWhat are you doing? Donít you know we can make it?í Yada, yada, yada, contramundum, blah, blah, blah (snatching the letter from her)Ö
JENNIFER: Give it back!
COLIN: Or what? Youíll go crying to your family? I donít think so. You know as well as I do that thatís not a very good idea. Brrr. (pretending to shiver) Is it cold in here to you? Looks like a fire might be in order. (picking up the logs next to the fireplace and putting them in, then taking a match and lighting it, finally dropping it to ignite the logs) Now, thatís much better. (throwing the letter into the flames)
JENNIFER: (lunging at it, but being held back by him) No!
COLIN: Oops. (brushing her hair away from her face and leaning into her ear as she watches her letter burn) Get used to this, Jennifer Rose, for this is the life youíve chosen.
OUT on JENNIFER, frightened to death.
SCENE SIX: INT. LOFT
A little while later. JENNIFER is sitting in front of the fire with a blanket around her. She canít stop shaking. COLIN, reading the paper and watching her from the sofa is not happy that her thoughts are preoccupied with JACK.
COLINíS cell phone rings.
COLIN: (picking it up, noting that JENNIFER doesnít even take notice) Murphy here.
A manís voice is indistinguishable on the other end.
COLIN: Good then. Everythingís working out according to plan?
JENNIFER turns and looks towards him curiously. When he sees that sheís watching, he stands up and heads upstairs, grunting in agreement the entire way. A saddened JENNIFER turns back towards the fire.
JENNIFER: (to herself) What am I going to do? Think happy, get through this. For you, for Abby, for the baby. For (trembling) Jack. Jack. (talking to him as if he can hear her) Jack? Please, please come back to me. You know where to find me. Iím right here, right where we started. Right hereÖ
JENNIFER pauses, thinking back to a happier time right in front of that very fireplace.
SCENE SEVEN: FLASHBACK-CHRISTMAS 1990
Both JACK and JENNIFER are sitting in front of a roaring fire as JENNIFER is in the middle of opening her gift from JACK, a hope chest. She is giggling and hits him with a stuffed bear, his last gift she opened.
JACK: Over here maybe.
JENNIFER looks inside the hope chest and finds two small childrenís lifejackets with the name ďLORETTAĒ stenciled on them.
JENNIFER: Huh, uh. Another wonderful memory, huh?
JACK: Well it should be. That's when.... that's when I saved your life.
JENNIFER: When you saved my life? I don't think that's the way it was.
JACK: Oh perhaps that's when I allowed you to save my life.
JENNIFER: No you didn't allow me to do anything Jack.
JACK: As I was saying, details are very important. Ah.... and to round everything up there is a final report. That's kind of a.... kind of a forecast actually.
JACK hands her a sheet of paper and she begins to read aloud.
JENNIFER: "All kidding aside, now that this is finally empty, we can fill it up again with new memories and hopes for a wonderful future."
JENNIFER begins to cry.
JACK: The intention was not to make you feel sad or blue.
JENNIFER: You're so wonderful. Too wonderful.
JACK: That's incorrect reporting. I think they're talking about you.
JACK caresses her face with his hand and she begins to stroke it gently.
SCENE EIGHT: PRESENT DAY INT. LOFT
JENNIFER, recalling that day with JACK, wipes away a tear from the corner of her eye.
JENNIFER: (to herself, lowly) You are too wonderful, Jack. And one day, Iíll get to tell you that again.
OUT on COLIN, descending from the stairs, hearing every word. JENNIFER turns and looks at him, frightened.
SCENE NINE: EMPTY ROOM, AFRICAN MANOR
IN on JACK, passed out on the bed. Groggily, he awakes and lifts his head.
JACK: What the-(surveying the room) Where am I? (recalling the last thing that happened and then panicking) Jennifer! (he tries to scramble up, but canít realizing his hands are tied to the bedposts) Alright, whoís the kinky guy?
The door opens and a large, intimidating gentleman walks in.
GENTLEMAN: Why, hello, Mr. Deveraux, I see youíve finally decided to join us.
JACK: What the hell is going on? And why am I tied to this bed like a commonÖlike a commonÖI donít know what, but Iím sure Iíll think of something.
GENTLEMAN: That will be explained in due time, Mr. Deveraux. Right now, thereís someone who wants to see you.
The GENTLEMAN steps to the side and opens the door. A man enters. Although we donít see his face, it is evident that JACK knows him.
JACK: (shocked) Itís you!
OUT on JACK, trying to figure out what is going on.
SCENE TEN: EMPTY ROOM, AFRICAN MANOR
IN on a room, sparsely decorated like the one JACKíS is being held in. A man is sitting on the bed, facing the window. He appears to be in some kind of trance. The door opens and another man enters, carrying a tray of food.
MAN WITH FOOD: Dinnerís served. (when he gets no response) Hello? (waving a hand in front of the man on the bedís face) Did you hear me? I said dinnerís served.
MAN ON BED: Iím not hungry.
MAN WITH FOOD: Fine, suit yourself. (placing the food on a small table on his way out) Iím just saying, you should eat. Youíre not looking too good, Gideon.
The man on the bed turns towards the door and the other man. He is bearded and his blonde hair is long and disheveled. He has a patch over his one eye.
GIDEON: I said, Iím not hungry.
The man at the door shrugs and exits, leaving the man on the bed alone. GIDEON turns towards the window again, as if knowing that someone he once loved dearly is near. Down the hall, a mere twenty feet away, he is unaware that his own baby brother is being held captive.
END OF EPISODE 88
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