SCENE ONE: IT IS THE DAY AFTER KAYLA GAVE BIRTH TO STEPHANIE. JACK IS SITTING AT HIS DESK WHEN JENNIFER JUST WALKS IN.
JACK: You forgot to knock.
JENNIFER: I brought a present. I know but it's not everyday that you become an uncle.
JACK: I think it's customary to give a present to the mother.
JENNIFER: I know but I'm breaking tradition.
SHE PLONKS THE PRESENT ON TOP OF HIS WORK. SHE IS EXCITED AND HOPEFUL.
JENNIFER: Go on. Open it.
JACK PUTS IT ASIDE. HE TRIES TO FEIGN INDIFFERENCE.
JACK: I'm working.
JENNIFER: Gee Jennifer it was so nice of you to get me this gift. That was so thoughtful.
JACK: Yes it was very nice. I'll open it later.
JENNIFER: Fine Jack. Why do I even bother with you? I don't even know sometimes.
SHE TURNS AROUND TO WALK OUT.
JACK: It's still wrapped. You can return it or give it to someone else if you'd like.
JENNIFER: Maybe you can just find another uncle to give it to Jack, okay.
JACK: Oh Jennifer. I've got something for you.
JENNIFER: What, I've got work to do.
JACK: I've got....ah....oh, an envelope.
JENNIFER: What is it?
JACK: (Trying to remain unemotional.) I believe it's an invitation to The Journalism Awards.
JENNIFER: Why did I get invited?
JACK: I believe because you've been nominated as Outstanding New Journalist of the Year.
JACK: Me! Yes, you.
JENNIFER: I was nominated!
JENNIFER: Oh Jack I WAS NOMINATED! OH MY GOD!
SHE RUNS AROUND BEHIND THE DESK AND WRAPS HER ARMS AROUND JACK ALMOST STRANGLING HIM.
JACK: Jennifer, the suit!
JENNIFER: I can't believe it.
JACK STANDS UP WITH HER WRAPPED ACROSS HIS BACK.JACK: Jennifer, JENNIFER, GET OFF!
JENNIFER: This is the same award that you won last year!
JACK: As a matter of fact, it is.
JENNIFER: I can't believe you nominated me.
JACK: Who says I did?
JENNIFER: You didn't?
JACK: No, I guess you were nominated by some admiring fan.
JENNIFER: Oh well. It says that the ceremony is tonight. What time shall we be there?
JACK: Ah, we will not be there. You'll be there. I have to work.
JENNIFER: That's right, you're working.
JACK: Well I'm glad you understand.
JENNIFER: Right. Well I'm sorry that you're going to miss it. Maybe I'll win.
JACK: Well that'll be good for the newspaper, won't it?
JENNIFER: I remember how proud I was when you won.
JACK: Ah....I tell you what. Why don't you take the rest of the day off and go get your hair done, or get a new dress or whatever it is you do.
JENNIFER: Jack I am not leaving here until you look at the present that I got you.
JACK: Look, this is being a pest.
JENNIFER: I know. But it's for when you babysit.
JACK: I'm not the babysitting....type.
JENNIFER: Okay then, for when you take her on a walk.
JACK: Wait...wait a minute. Is this thing legal?
JENNIFER: Yeah, here look.
JACK: What is it? I'm afraid to ask what it is.
JENNIFER: Here you put it over your head like this, right. Oh like that. Then you strap....
JACK: Jennifer.JENNIFER: Then you strap this around here.
JACK: Jennifer, I don't strap anything on. Wait a minute.
JENNIFER: (Laughing) And you do up the strap like that.
JACK: Okay, let me ask you. Wait a minute. If I put this thing on, I don't have to diaper, do I?
JENNIFER: (Smiling) Oh you mean the way you diapered little Hannah?
JACK: That was not one of the high points of my life. Thank you very much.
JENNIFER: Jack you tried to tape and staple a disposable diaper.
JACK: Look you would have done the same thing. I mean it was hitting the fan and I mean literally!
JENNIFER BURST INTO LAUGHTER.
JACK: You know I think that little baby would have given me an A+ for effort.
JENNIFER: I think she would have given you something but I don't think it would have been an A+.
JACK: Wait a minute.....JENNIFER: It's crooked!SUDDENLY MELISSA JUST WALKS IN THE OFFICE.
MELISSA: Enjoy the good times while you can Jen. They won't last long.
JACK: Ah, Melissa is there something I can do for you?
MELISSA: Just looking out for my cousin.
JENNIFER: Hi Melissa.
JACK IS PACKING UP SOME PAPERS. UP UNTIL MELISSA ARRIVED HE WAS LOOSENING UP AND ENJOYING THE SITUATION. BUT MELISSA'S APPEARANCE BROUGHT BACK ALL MEMORIES OF THE PAST.
MELISSA: Leaving so soon?
JACK: Did you come here to see me?
MELISSA: I'm not that hard up.
JACK GLANCES AT JENNIFER AND THEN LOOKS AT MELISSA IN DISGUST AND PAIN. HE WALKS TO THE DOOR THEN STOPS.
JACK: I don't know about that Melissa!
MELISSA: What is going on between you and that creep?
JENNIFER: Melissa, I told you, there's nothing going on.
MELISSA: A baby carrier. For your boss?
JENNIFER: Look I know you're worried about me getting involved with Jack.
MELISSA: I'm very worried.
JENNIFER: Well it's not the same as when you two were together.
MELISSA: Is he still charming?
JENNIFER: (She stops and thinks, and smiling to herself) Yes he is in a weird kind of way.
MELISSA: You're in deep trouble.
JENNIFER: Melissa, I am not in trouble. Jack doesn't even care about me.
MELISSA: You're right about that! But he sure can do a good impression of it.
JENNIFER: Well he hasn't tried with me. You see there's an award ceremony tonight. I was nominated and he isn't even going to be there to see me.
MELISSA: And does that hurt your feelings?
JENNIFER: (Trying to hide the hurt she feelings, but not wanting to admit her true feeling for Jack, or let Melissa to continue and berate Jack.) No, it doesn't. I mean I can go by myself.
MELISSA: Sure. And then tonight you're going to go home and cry yourself to sleep.
JENNIFER: Jack is working.
MELISSA: Jack is selfish.
JENNIFER: No he's not. He's done a lot of good things for other people. I've seen it.
MELISSA: In the end, Jack always comes first.
JENNIFER: Jack is a good person....inside.
MELISSA: Then why isn't he going tonight? I learned the hard way Jennifer. Getting involved with Jack is a sure way to wind up hurt.
JENNIFER JUST SHRUGS HER SHOULDERS AS MELISSA LEAVES.
SCENE TWO: LATER JACK IS IN HIS OFFICE WITH THE BABY CARRIER AND THE INSTRUCTION SHEET.
JACK: You've got to be an engineering major to be able to figure this thing out.
THERE IS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.
JACK: Ah, who is it?
JO: Jack, it's me, Jo.
JACK: Heheheheh. Obviously it's open.
JO: Well I wanted to come by and see how you were. I hope I'm not disturbing you.
JACK: No, I'm just working on an editorial.
JO: Oh, before or after you carry the baby around.
JACK: Jennifer has a strange sense of humor.
JO: Jennifer bought you that?
JACK: It hauls newspapers.
JO: Well what a sweet thing for her to do?
JACK: You think so. I'm going to lend it to you, right now. Here, take it.
JO: Jack, Jennifer likes you.
JACK: Enough with the matchmaking.
JO: Oh isn't that one of the things that mother's do.
JO IS GETTING TOO CLOSE TO HOME CONCERNING JACK'S *REAL* FEELINGS FOR JENNIFER, SO HE PROTESTS STRONGLY.
JACK: Look, FOR THE FINAL TIME, THERE IS NOTHING BETWEEN JENNIFER AND MYSELF!
JO: Why not?
JO: Why not?
JACK: I....I don't....well that's obvious!
JO: Well I don't see it as obvious.
JACK: (Trying to come up with a good reason for her as much for himself.) Well, she....she's young, she's naive, she's....
JO: Yes, she's innocent. Aren't these qualities that you like?JACK: She's a virgin. She's a.....
JO: Well in this day and time I find that refreshing. What's wrong with you? Do you have some scenario of a young innocent virgin meets a slightly corruptible older man? Because that is ridiculous. What is it that you think that she needs?
JACK: I don't know what the hell she needs!JO: (She stops and thinks, and smiles with a smile of recognition.) You're in love with her!
JACK FREEZES. SHOCKED THAT JO HIT THE TRUTH, AND SHOCKED BECAUSE WHAT HE HAS BEEN FEELING FOR SO LONG IS FINALLY PUT FORTH IN THE OPEN.
JO: You are in love with Jennifer!
JO: Huh, uh.
JACK: NO! Not that it would make any difference if I was!
JO: Well why not?
JACK: Be....um....look at me!
JO: I see a very handsome young man.
JACK: NO! I mean....look....look at my portfolio.
JO: Jack, would you stop beating up on yourself. You have made mistakes. Who hasn't? But you've changed. You have a beautiful soul inside of you. I wish you'd let it out.
JACK: It's easy for you to say. You're a mother!
JO: Okay, okay, if you won't say it, I will. I-am-your-mother and I'm proud of it.
JACK: I have to finish this editorial.
JO: Oh alright!....
JACK IS FLUSTERED BY THE TRUTH AND HE NERVOUSLY MOVES AROUND SOME PAPERS ON HIS DESK. LEAVING ONE PARTICULAR SHEET OF PAPER REVEALED. JO HAPPENS TO LOOK DOWN AND NOTICES IT.
JO (CONT.): What's this? A form. An award ceremony. You nominated Jennifer. And it's tonight. Oh you are going aren't you?
JACK: No I'm not.
JO: Does Jennifer know who nominated her?
JACK: No she doesn't and we're not going to let her know.
JO: Oh then I am very disappointed in you. Girls like Jennifer just don't come along everyday.
JACK: Good. Because she's a royal pain in the....
JO: Hey, hey, hey. Now time shouldn't be wasted. If you wait around, you may lose your chance.
JO LEAVES JACK TO THINK ABOUT WHAT SHE SAID.
SCENE THREE: MEANWHILE MELISSA TELLS EMILIO ABOUT THE AWARD CEREMONY AND HOW SHE WILL BE THERE ALONE. HE DECIDES TO TURN UP AND SUPPORT HER.
SCENE FOUR: LATER THAT NIGHT AT THE AWARD CEREMONY, EMILIO ARRIVES AND JENNIFER IS VERY PLEASED TO SEE HIM BUT SHE MAKES EXCUSES FOR WHY JACK DID NOT COME. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT SHE WOULD MUCH PREFER THAT HE WERE JACK. THE GUESTS ARE SEATED AND JUST AS THEY ARE ABOUT TO START. SHE ANXIOUSLY LOOKS AROUND, AND IS HOPEFUL AND EXPECTANT THAT JACK WILL ATTEND.
SCENE FIVE: JACK COMES IN THE DOOR AND STANDS HIDDEN IN THE BACK. JENNIFER DOES NOT SEE HIM. SHE WINS THE AWARD HE SMILES WITH DEEP PRIDE AND LOVE. HE SEES EMILIO GIVE HER A HUG SO HE SNEAKS BACK OUT. ALTHOUGH ON JENNIFER'S PART THE HUG IS COMPLETELY UNEMOTIONAL, AND IT IS OBVIOUS THAT SHE IS THINKING ABOUT JACK, WISHING THAT SHE WERE HUGGING HIM AND *NOT* EMILIO. RELUCTANT THAT HIS PAST WILL ALWAYS BE THERE AND THAT HE IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR HER, AND THAT SHE PREFERS EMILIO, HE LEAVES. OUTSIDE HE RUNS IT A VERY SMUG AND INSULTING MELISSA. MELISSA'S REACTIONS ARE MORE THAN LOVE AND CONCERN FOR HER COUSIN JENNIFER, COULD SHE BE JEALOUS THAT JENNIFER AND JACK ARE CLOSE AND THAT HE ACTUALLY CHANGED FOR JENNIFER, WHEREAS HE DID NOT FOR HER?
MELISSA: What are you doing here?
JACK: (Not wanting to let on that he attended the ceremony because he nominated Jennifer, and because he is proud and is in love with her.) Ah, I was just checking to see how my employees fared for the newspaper.
MELISSA: (Very snotty) How thoughtful of you!
JACK: Yes, well, if you'll excuse me.
MELISSA: What's the matter Jack? Didn't Jennifer welcome you with open arms or is she too busy with Emilio?JACK: (Hurt) It's always a pleasure Melissa!
MELISSA GOES INSIDE LEAVING JACK PONDERING HIS DECISION NOT TO TELL JENNIFER HE WAS THERE.