SCENE ONE: IT IS MORNING AND JENNIFER IS READY TO GO TO THE STUDIO. JACK IS ALREADY TYPING AT HIS COMPUTER WHEN SHE COMES DOWNSTAIRS CARRYING ABBY.
JACK: Oh here we go. Some necessary H20 for your.
HE HANDS JENNIFER A GLASS OF JUICE THEN HOLDS UP A BOTTLE FOR ABBY.
JACK: And some H20 for you too when the time is right.
JENNIFER: How are you doing this?
JACK: Doing what?
JENNIFER: Well everytime I woke up with Abby last night you woke up which seemed like every 20 minutes yet you look great. You're not tired. You've got everything all together.
JACK: Well of course I have everything together. Excuse me. Let me take the child and you prepare for your meeting with the producers.
HE TAKES THE BABY.
JENNIFER: I'm not going.
JACK: Well.... well what do you mean, you're not going? You're not going to cancel the meeting?
JENNIFER: No, I'm going to cancel my whole TV career. I'm calling the producers and I'm telling them I don't want this job. I want to be here. I want to be with you and I want to be with my baby.
JACK: Ah, put the phone back down and think for a minute. Just.... hold on. Don't let your feelings and thoughts run rampant and remember that I have everything here under control.
JACK PUTS ABBY IN HER CRIB.
JACK: You have nothing to worry about. You'll see right here.
JENNIFER: Jack, what are you doing?
HE SITS DOWN AT THE COMPUTER.
JACK: This is something I've been working on for some time. I keep thinking of those poor parents who have to stay home and work and take care of the child at the same time. Now observe.
JACK PUTS HIS FOOT IN A CLOTHES HANGER THAT IS UNDER THE DESK AND TIED TO A PIECE OF STRING THAT STRETCHES ACROSS TO THE CRIB AND ROCKS IT AS HE MOVES HIS FOOT.
JACK: I am working on my column for The Spectator and at the same time, I am rocking the child.
ABBY STOPS CRYING AS THE CRIB ROCKS THEN HE HOOKS HIS LEFT FOOT INTO ANOTHER CLOTHES HANGER WHICH PULLS ON THE MOBILE SUSPENDED OVER THE CRIB.
JACK: There. But that's not all that's happening. With my left foot I am making sure that the child is getting all the mental stimulation that it needs to make sure that it passes those SATs and gets to Harvard. I'm think of calling it the Cruise and Snooze.
JACK: What do you think?
JENNIFER: What do I think? I think this is amazing. I think it's a miracle. Look.
JACK GETS UP TO CHECK ON ABBY.
JACK: The fact that it works doesn't hurt either. (Beat) Yes, yes. If this takes off, perhaps I'll be able to get my Spectator back sooner than I thought.
JENNIFER: That's really what you want, isn't it Jack?
JACK SENSES HER RESERVATION ABOUT RETURNING TO WORK.
JACK: In time, perhaps. But.... for now, this is what I want. Now if you'll excuse me, not of all of us have the time and the leisure that the television industry gives to you. Run off to your meeting.
JENNIFER: Jack, are you sure because I really don't have to go.
JACK: I'm working on my column for The Spectator. Now if you and your producers can get your acts together and figure out what you want to write about and your topics I can do the research.
JENNIFER: Well you know actually when I was feeding Abby last night I thought that maybe I would like to do a piece on family values. How does that sound?
JACK: Not very original. But then again it is television.
HE SITS BACK AND PUTS HIS FEET UP ON HIS DESK.
JACK: This is what you'll do. Pick two or three families. Cross section of course. You know, single and non, and find out if they are still having the same problems after the election. The same kind of things to.... to....
ABBY STARTS TO CRY.
JACK: .... worry about.
JENNIFER: It's all right, it's all right. I'll get her Jack. You stay right there.
JENNIFER PICKS UP ABBY.
JENNIFER: It's okay, it's okay. Mommy's here. Oh.... wooops.
JACK: What, what's the matter?
JENNIFER: I got a little spit up on my dress. Wait let me put her back down. Do you have something I can wipe my dress off with Jack?
JACK: Ah.... certainly. I'm sure we can go upstairs and find you something to change into.
JENNIFER: I don't have anything to change into. All my clothes are in the laundry or they're in dry cleaning.
JACK: Oh this.... that doesn't look that bad.
SHE HAS A BIG WET PATCH ON HER RIGHT SHOULDER.
JENNIFER: Doesn't look that bad? It looks horrible Jack.
HE WIPES AT IT.
JACK: Here, it'll look good.
JENNIFER: I'm just not going to go to work. I'm not going to go to work, all right.
JACK: Listen.... put the hair in front of it. It looks much better.
HE PULLS HER HAIR OVER THE WET PATCH.
JENNIFER: Great. So I won't be able to move my head during my whole meeting, right.
JACK: Well they'll.... they'll just think you're very statuesque and very poised. Come on, this way. Come on.
HE GRABS HER COAT AND BAG AND OPENS THE FRONT DOOR.
JACK: Don't keep them waiting. You know producers have their schedules. Don't worry about a thing.
JENNIFER: Jack she's still crying.
JACK: She'll will be fine as soon as I get rocking again and working. She'll be fast asleep.
JENNIFER: Are you sure because I can stay here. I don't have to go.
JACK: No, no, listen there is nothing to worry about. You go do your job, all right?
HE KISSES HER ON EACH CHEEK.
JENNIFER: I will if you think so.
JACK: I know so. Now go.
JENNIFER: All right, well just give her a kiss for me.
JENNIFER: I'll call you later.
JACK: Don't worry.
SHE LEAVES AND HE SHUTS THE DOOR.
SCENE TWO: WITH JENNIFER OFF TO WORK, JACK BEGINS WORKING ON HIS COLUMN.
JACK: Let's get down to work. Where was I?
HE SITS DOWN AND TRIES TO PUT HIS FEET BACK IN THE CLOTHES HANGERS.
JACK: Darn it.
HE CANNOT GET HIS RIGHT FOOT IN AND HE BENDS DOWN AND PULLS THE HANGER WHICH IS CAUGHT AROUND THE POWER CORD. THE CORD PULLS OUT OF THE WALL AND HIS COMPUTER SCREEN GOES BLACK.
JACK: Oh, wait a minute.... wait a minute. Oh no I didn't.... put it in the memory.
HE HOLDS UP AN OLD STYLE 5 1/4 FLOPPY DISK AND THE END OF THE POWER CORD.
JACK: Dammit, I lost the whole stupid column.
ABBY IS STILL CRYING.
SCENE THREE, LATER IN THE DAY, JACK MEETS JENNIFER AT BRADY'S PUB.
JACK: All right, tell me, how did the meeting go?
JENNIFER: It went really great, Jack. I told them about my idea, you know about doing a piece on family values and they thought it was great. And I'm so glad you've finished your column because now you can get started on the research.
JACK: Yes, yes, I suppose I can, yes.
JENNIFER: So what do you have so far?
JACK: Ah, let's not think about that right now. Let's just sit here and just be happy.JENNIFER: Didn't you get finished?
JACK: I.... I had a slight delay.
JENNIFER: Is this going to work?
JACK: What this...this?
JACK: Absolutely, absolutely. Don't you trust me?
JENNIFER: Yes, yes, of course I trust you.
HE LOOKS HER STRAIGHT IN THE EYE, KNOWING THAT SHE DOES NOT COMPLETELY TRUST HIM.
SCENE ONE: JENNIFER IS ON THE PHONE AT HOME HOLDING ABBY. JACK WALKS IN THE DOOR CARRYING TWO LARGE SHOPPING BAGS JUST AS JENNIFER FINISHES HER CONVERSATION.
JENNIFER: All right, thank you goodbye. I don't believe this. I absolutely don't believe this.
SHE HANGS UP.
JACK: You don't believe what?
JENNIFER: They want to start taping my show next week Jack.
JACK: Next week! Wait a minute, you don't start production for another month.
JENNIFER: I know and I thought this week was difficult. I have meetings. I have tons of phone calls. It's going to seem like heaven compared to next week. I have about a dozen books to read. I have so much research to do Jack.
JACK: Research, yes.
JENNIFER: Oh well at least we have groceries for the whole week. This will be perfect.
JACK: Correction. Ah, we have groceries for tonight.
JACK: Yes, tonight. Your family is coming over for dinner.
JENNIFER LOOKS HORRIFIED. THEY BOTH SIT DOWN TO THINK ABOUT HOW TO HANDLE THE DINNER.
JACK: This is ridiculous. I'm going to cancel this whole family dinner thing.
JENNIFER: Jack it's all right. Don't cancel it. I really want to see them and they want to see us. It's okay.
JACK: No matter if that's what you want to do, you need to.... you need to rest. That's what you need. You need to take a nap and just take it easy.
JENNIFER: No, I'm okay. I have a lot to do. I don't have time to rest.
JACK: There is.... you have to make time, all right. Do you understand? I want you to go upstairs, take a nap and by the time you come back downstairs, there will be dinner waiting for you.
JENNIFER: You know if we weren't taping the show next week I wouldn't have to worry about it. I'd be fine. But now there's so much to do.
JACK: You know everything is going to work out just fine. Believe me. Things just have a way of working out. Go. (Beat) Good.
JENNIFER GOES UPSTAIRS TO REST AND JACK GOES STRAIGHT TO THE PHONE. HE PUTS A PEN IN HIS MOUTH TO CHANGE HIS VOICE.
JACK: Hello, yeah, this is.... this is Jennifer Deveraux's agent and I want to talk about this production schedule, you know, starting next week and all that. Well let me tell you something. It simply will not do.
THE PERSON ON THE OTHER END STARTS SHOUTING BACK AT JACK AND HE HANGS UP. JACK CONTINUES WITH HIS PLANS FOR THE FAMILY DINNER.
SCENE TWO: THE PHONE RINGS AS HE COMES OUT OF THE KITCHEN.
JACK: Hello. (Beat) No Mrs. Horton, no. No, no, Jennifer is.... she is thrilled that you're coming over, really. (Beat) And everything's fine here, yes. Both she and the child are asleep and I'm waiting for some research while I work on this roast. (Beat) No, no, no, no, no. Working out of the home is a piece of cake.
HE GOES BACK INTO THE KITCHEN AND THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN.
JACK: I can't get anything done with all these interruptions. (Beat) Yes? (Beat) Hello?
HE HANGS UP WHEN THE DOORBELL RINGS.
JACK: Great, this is great. Yes?
THERE IS A MESSENGER STANDING AT THE DOOR.
MESSENGER: Here's that information on family values. Of course you may not need it now the way things are going.
JACK: What's that supposed to mean?
MESSENGER: Well your wife's agent got the execs at the network so riled up they're threatening to cancel the show. (Beat) Is something burning?
JACK: Dammit, yes, something's burning.
JACK RUNS BACK TO THE KITCHEN AND THE MESSENGER COMES INSIDE. JACK WALKS BACK OUT A MINUTE LATER AND THE ROOM FILLS WITH SMOKE FROM THE BURNED ROAST.
JACK: Well I hope you're happy with yourself. You just ruined my dinner.
MESSENGER: So! If this show doesn't go, I'm out of a job.
JACK: Well I hear little violins playing all over the place for you pal.
MESSENGER: Oh yeah.
JACK: Yeah, go deliver pizzas. I'm sure you'd do that just fine.
THE GUY LEAVES AND JACK SHUTS THE DOOR AND SIGHS HEAVILY.
JACK: Delivering pizzas.... well I suppose that will make everything much easier.
HE PICKS UP THE PHONE.
JACK: Yes, Mrs. Horton. Ah, about that dinner.
SCENE THREE: A SHORT TIME LATER, JACK IS SPRAYING THE ROOM TO KILL OFF THE SMELL OF BURNED ROAST WHEN JENNIFER COMES DOWNSTAIRS. HE HIDES THE CAN WHEN HE SEES HER.
JACK: Hello. How's the nap?
JENNIFER: It was okay, thanks. Except that I kept dreaming I smelled smoke and that Abby was crying. Oh was that the doorbell. Did someone else come?
JACK: Ah, let's just not worry about those sort things like that now. Why don't you come over here and have your soup?
JACK HAS A LOVELY TABLE SET FOR DINNER FOR TWO.
JENNIFER: Jack, look at this. This is wonderful. Where's everybody else going to sit?
JACK: Well that's just it. They're not sitting anywhere. I canceled the family dinner.
JACK: Because I just think it's best if you just hold off on that till another time.
JENNIFER: Oh I'm so glad. I'm sorr.... I mean.... you know what I mean. I love them and....
JENNIFER: But it will so nice just to be with you and I have to save up my strength for next week.
JACK: Yes, well. Let's not worry about a thing now. Let's just, ah....
THE DOORBELL RINGS.
JENNIFER: Who could that be?
JACK: Perhaps a lawyer from the studio. You could....
JENNIFER GOES TO THE DOOR AND IT IS THE FAMILY. ALICE, JO, JULIE, TOM AND BILL AND THEY ARE ALL CARRYING TAKE-OUT CHINESE FOOD.
SCENE FOOUR: A SHORT WHILE LATER THEY ARE ALL SEATED IN THE LIVING ROOM WITH PLATES OF FOOD. JENNIFER IS PUTTING SOME ON JACK'S PLATE.
JACK: Thank you.
JULIE: Nothing like a take-out night.
JENNIFER: Boy this was really sweet of you to bring all this food over.
ALICE: This is really Jack's doing you know.
TOM: Hmmm, good.
BILL: It's great.
JENNIFER: Is it?
JACK: It's not.
ALICE: Jack darling, now you can stop pretending. When you called me to cancel dinner I was onto your ruse.
TOM: Ruse, yes. Roast.
JACK LOOK SIDEWAYS AT JENNIFER. SHE DIGS HIM IN THE ELBOW. THEY BOTH KNOW IT WAS NO RUSE.
ALICE: That tired old joke about you burned the roast.
THEY ALL LAUGH.
ALICE: And then those murmurs about it's such hard work having people over for dinner.
THEY ALL LAUGH AGAIN.
ALICE: Well why don't you stop pretending? If you wanted us to bring dinner to you, why didn't you just say so?
JENNIFER: Yeah Jack, why didn't you just say so?
SHE GRINS AT HIM AND HE ROLLS HIS EYES.
TOM: Would you pass some more Sesame Chicken please?
JACK: Yeah, I got your Sesame Chicken.
TOM: Oh it's wonderful. Just wonderful.
JACK: It's right here. It's okay.
JENNIFER: I'll check Abby.
TOM: A roast, is a roast, is a roast. Just a little bit there.
JACK: Okay, yeah.
TOM: If I could have a doggy bag afterwards please.
JACK: You can have the whole bag.
ALICE: Tom, leave some.
JACK: You can have the dog.
ALICE: Tom you've eaten so much.
JACK: It's better than the dog.
SCENE FIVE: A SORT WHILE LATER, BILL GETS UP AND WALKS OVER TO SPEAK TO JENNIFER IN PRIVATE.
BILL: Beautiful, isn't she?
BILL: Just like you.
JENNIFER: Thanks dad. I want to thank you again for letting Jack and I buy this house from you. I mean Jack and I, we love it here. It's so funny that you've had this house all these years and you've never mentioned it before.
THE PHONE RINGS.
JACK: I'll get it.
ALICE: All right Jack.
BILL: Why don't we get some more of that Sesame Chicken before your grandfather eats it all, huh.
JENNIFER IS SURPRISED THE WAY BILL CHANGED THE SUBJECT.
JACK: Jennifer, it's the.... studio calling for you.
JENNIFER: Oh all right, excuse me.
TOM: Isn't it awfully late for Jennifer to be getting business calls?
JACK: Yes! It's just been a little hectic around here with the show and all.
JULIE: Did I hear Jennifer say she starts taping next week?
JACK: Ah, that was the original plan, yes.
JO: So soon?
ALICE: Who takes care of Abigail?
JACK IS SOMEWHAT DISTRACTED BY JENNIFER'S CALL. HE IS WORRIED ABOUT WHAT HE SAID TO THE NETWORK WHEN HE PRETENDED TO BE HER AGENT ON THE PHONE.
JACK: I will.
TOM: I think that's great. I wish I'd been able to spend more time with the kids when they were young. BILL: So do we dad.
JACK: We all make mistakes, yes.
JENNIFER: Thank you.
JENNIFER HANGS UP.
JENNIFER: I have good news. They have decided to postpone production for another week.
JACK: Good! I mean, that's.... that's wonderful.
JO: I'll say. That will give us time to plan for the baby's christening.
JENNIFER: We haven't even decided on godparents for Abby yet.
JULIE: Oh I volunteer.
THEY ALL PUT THEIR HANDS UP AS JACK AND JENNIFER LOOK AT EACH OTHER.
SCENE SIX: IT IS TIME FOR EVERYBODY TO LEAVE.
JO: Don't worry about the christening because Alice and I will take care of everything as best we can.
JENNIFER: Oh that's so nice. Thank you so much.
BILL IS QUIETLY WATCHING JACK AND JENNIFER WHEN JULIE WALKS OVER TO HIM WITH HIS COAT.
JULIE: Uncle Bill.
BILL: Oh, hi Julie. Thank you.
JULIE: You've been on edge all evening.
JULIE: Does it still bother you to be in this house?
BILL: Well a lot of memories here, secrets.
JULIE: Yes, it only nearly destroyed the family, once upon a time but we did survive it.
BILL: Well I'm just glad this time there haven't been any repercussions.
JULIE: Not so far anyway.
THEY ALL LEAVE AND JENNIFER PICKS UP ABBY.
JENNIFER: Okay Jo's right. I mean we have to start thinking about a christening. I have to get Abby a gown. We have to get a minister. We have to get food, a lot of food. We have a huge family. We need lots of food.
JACK: Let's not worry about these things right now. Now just sit down and take it easy and have a nice little chat.
JENNIFER: I know. You burnt the roast, that's okay.
JACK: No, this is not about the roast. It's something else. I'm sure you're going to hear this from your agent sooner or late so I better tell you sooner. (Beat) I was very aware of the fact that you were very upset about starting your show this next week so I got on the phone and posed as your agent and made your producer move the production schedule back another week. Your producer has quite a temper by the way.
JENNIFER: You what? Are you kidding me? Why didn't you say something to me?
JACK: Why there was nothing to say until the deed was done and it's something that you would have wanted yourself obviously. And it worked very well even if I did say so myself.
JENNIFER: Jack Deveraux, sometimes I swear I could....
JACK: Strangle me, yes I know.
JENNIFER: I could. If I wasn't so concerned about Abby being fatherless I would. I would strangle you. JACK: Well there's no point in being so testy. I was just trying to help.
JENNIFER: Well next time, don't.
SHE MOVES OVER NEXT TO JACK FOR A CUDDLE. ABBY IS STILL LYING ON JENNIFER'S CHEST WITH HER EYES OPEN WATCHING JACK.
JACK: I don't think you really mean that.JENNIFER: I do mean that. I'm very capable of taking care of my own life. I don't need you to do it for me, okay.
JACK: Yes, I understand.
JENNIFER: I'm bright, I'm energetic, I'm a career woman. I can do it on my own.
JACK NODS THEN LOOKS DOWN AND JENNIFER HAS FALLEN ASLEEP.
JACK: Yes, you certainly can.
HE SMILES DOWN AT ABBY.
[Transcribed by Carol Vaughan
added material by Sally A. Wilson]