SCENE ONE: A WHILE LATER THEY ARRIVE HOME AT THE END OF THEIR BIG NIGHT.
JENNIFER: Well I know this is going to sound like a clichØ Jack.
JACK: Well it wouldn't be the first time but I'm sure you can pull it off.
JENNIFER: I have never felt happier or more in love in my life.
JACK: That sounds pretty fresh and original to me.
JENNIFER: I mean I don't want to be one of these people who looks back and says why didn't appreciate everything when it was good. You know I mean I want to appreciate it now because it's the best it's ever been.JACK: Huh, huh. No, no, it's only going to get better.
HE MOVES TO KISS HER AS JO COMES DOWNSTAIRS WITH TOM.
JACK: Well hello.
JENNIFER: Grandpa what are you doing here?
TOM: Well I came over to have a look at Abby. She's running a fever. I'm afraid we're going to have to take her to the hospital.
JACK: What, tonight?
TOM: Right now.
JO: I'll go get her ready.
JENNIFER: Wait a minute.JACK: It's okay. It's okay.
JACK LOOKS MORE SCARED THAN JENNIFER.
SCENE TWO: JACK AND JENNIFER ARE TERRIFIED.
JENNIFER: I just don't understand what happened. I mean she was absolutely fine when we left the house grandpa.
JO: She was fine when I went in to check on her the first time and then when I went in again out of the blue she was just burning up.
JACK: Look I'm sure we can handle this whole situation right here. Is it really necessary to take her all the way back to the hospital?
TOM: Jack, I'm afraid so. There's just some tests I want to run right away.
JACK: She's already been tested. So what do you suspect this time?
TOM: Well I refuse to speculate. All I know is that she's running a fever that could be any number of reasons.JENNIFER: Alright, if grandpa thinks that Abby needs to go to the hospital then we're going to take her.
JACK'S WHOLE BODY SLUMPS WITH WORRY.JACK: Give her the medication I left and I'll meet you there. I've called Dr. Raines and she'll meet you there too.
JENNIFER: Alright. Thanks grandpa.
TOM: I'll see you right away.
JACK: Thank you again for the house call.
JENNIFER: I'm going to go upstairs. I'm going to get Abby ready.JO: Well I'll help you.
THEY RUN UPSTAIRS AND JACK IS LEFT ALONE LOOKING LIKE SOMEBODY JUST WIPED OUT HIS WHOLE LIFE. JACK BEGINS TO PACE.
SCENE THREE: A SHORT TIME LATER, JENNIFER COMES DOWN AGAIN.
JENNIFER: Alright, Jo's getting Abby ready. I just wanted to come down and get her favorite blanket.
JACK: She's not going to be in the hospital long enough to miss the favorite blanket so we'll have it.
JENNIFER: She might be.
JACK: No she won't be. Look she's going to be fine Jennifer. She's going to be just fine.
JENNIFER: Well I hope that you're right Jack.
JACK: I am right. We gave her your grandfather's medicine. He said it would take down her temperature in fifteen minutes.
JENNIFER: Well it's been fifteen minutes Jack. Her temperature is not down. It is still high.
JACK: So it's taking a little bit longer. She's going to be just fine.
JENNIFER: You're right. She will be. She'll be fine.
JACK: She will be. There's no reason to go rushing off to the hospital like this. She's going to be.... in just a couple of minutes her temperature is going to be down and this will all just be a memory.
JENNIFER: Jack, Carly said that if her temperature went up again we needed to take her back up to the hospital. Her white cell count is low remember.
JACK: So her white cell count is low. It's just.... it's not in that exact range that doctors consider normal. If they were so concerned about it they wouldn't have let her go in the first place.JENNIFER: Alright, then lets just go. I mean maybe it's nothing serious, alright. But let's just take her to the hospital.
SHE HOLDS JACK TIGHT.
JACK: Alright. Just.... just....
JO COMES DOWN WITH ABBY.
JENNIFER: You all set Jo. Alright Jo, how is she?
JO: Oh she's so quiet. I'd feel better if she'd cry.JENNIFER: Let's just get her to the hospital, right.
JENNIFER WRAPS THE BLANKET AROUND ABBY.
JENNIFER: Let's go Jack.
JACK: Alright. We'll.... we'll.... we'll just play it safe then. We'll just.... we'll go.
JENNIFER: Do you have the keys?
JACK: Yes, I.... I have the keys.
JENNIFER: Well then let's go.JO: Oh god.
THEY ALL LEAVE.
SCENE FOUR: THEY ALL ARRIVE AT THE HOSPITAL, CARLY IS WAITING TO TAKE ABBY. JENNIFER WANTS TO TAKE HER IN HERSELF THIS TIME BUT CARLY INSISTS.
CARLY: As soon as you guys can see her I'll let you know. Come on, we just have to get her fever down.
JACK: It's alright. She's going to be just fine. Just let Carly tak
e her. She'll be fine.
JENNIFER HANDS ABBY TO CARLY.
CARLY: We'll take good care of her. Come on sweetheart, come on.
ALICE IS ALSO THERE WAITING AND JENNIFER GOES TO HER FOR A HUG.
JENNIFER: I don't want to do this. I don't want to see my little girl so sick like this.
ALICE: Darling they will do everything they can to make her comfortable.JACK: Look she's going to be fine Jennifer. She's going to be just fine.
JO PUTS HER ARM AROUND JACK.
JO: I'm sure she will son.
JACK: She will. You'll see. She'll be just fine. (Beat) She will.
HIS FACE SHOWS THAT HE IS NOT SURE ABOUT THAT. THEY ALL BEGIN THE LONG WAIT.
SCENE FIVE: SOME TIME LATER, CARLY COMES BACK TO REPORT TO THEM.
JENNIFER: How is she?
JACK: Alright, what's going on?
CARLY: Why don't we go in the lounge so we can talk?JENNIFER: Can you just tell us what's happening? How is she?
THEY GO IN THE LOUNGE.
CARLY: They're still working on getting her fever down Jen. I need to ask you some questions.
JACK: Whatever you want to know.
JENNIFER: Last time we were here we gave you a pretty up to date history. Maybe there was something that we overlooked.
CARLY: Let's think about anything unusual that might have happened. Is she eating normally?
JENNIFER: Um yes. Everything was perfectly normal until tonight.
CARLY: What about medication?
JENNIFER: We've just been giving her what you told us to give her last time?
CARLY: Okay, any diarrhea or constipation?
CARLY: How about vomiting or stomach cramping?
JENNIFER: No. Jo have you noticed anything at all?
JO: No, she's been fine as far as I can tell.
CARLY: What about events? Have you taken her anywhere unusual, anyplace where she might have been exposed to anything?
JENNIFER: No the only place that she's been lately is the mall.
JACK: The mall? The mall is full of germs. The mall is full of people carrying germs around Jennifer. That's....
JENNIFER: Could that be it? I mean is it possible for her to get sick at the mall?
CARLY: It's possible Jen.
JACK: Of course it's possible. Jennifer I can't believe you allowed her to go out. She should have stayed inside. She shouldn't have been in public.
JENNIFER: What are you talking about Jack?
ALICE: You cannot keep that baby in a bubble Jack. Baby's are very strong. They have a good strong immune system.
JO: Well I.... I took her to the park the other day and there was another baby there who.... who had a.... had a cold.
JACK: Had a cold! And you let them play together, didn't you? You let them play.... that is irres.... THAT IS IRRESPONSIBLE JO!
ALICE: Jack, do NOT talk to your mother that way.
JACK: I'll talk to her anyway that I please. She was....
JO: No, no, it's my fault. He's right. I let Abby play with a sick child and now Abby's sick.JACK: Stupid. That's what it is. It was a stupid thing to do Jo.
JENNIFER TRIES TO CALM JACK DOWN BUT HE IS PANICKY.
JACK: It was stupid. It was irresponsible. It was....
JENNIFER: Stop it right this minute JACK! STOP IT!
ALICE TRIES TO COMFORT JO WHO REALLY DOES FEEL RESPONSIBLE.
SCENE SIX: JACK MEANWHILE HAS GONE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM.JENNIFER: I really think that you should apologize to Jo. You know that she would do anything she could to keep Abby safe and well.
JACK: I'm just trying to keep control of the situation, that's all.JENNIFER: I know that. I understand that.
JACK GLANCES OVER AT JO THEN WALKS OVER TO HER.
JACK: What I said before was uncalled for. You're doing the best you can. I know that.
JO: It's alright honey. I feel just as awful as you do.
JACK: (Heavy sigh) Look the important thing is that we all understand where it came from. A sick child in a playground. So now we know what's wrong with her and we can figure out how to get her well. Isn't that right Carly?
CARLY: Look Jack I don't want to jump to any conclusions until we have the test results back.
JACK: No, no, what I'm trying to say is, we've figured out what the problem is. We can get down to bottom of it. She has some kind of a fever. Some kind of a viscious bug. And we can get down to the bottom of it, get her well and get her home. Only this time, when she goes home, we'll keep her home and make sure that she stays germ free and bug free until she's completely recovered.
JENNIFER: Alright Jack, why don't we just listen to Carly....
JACK: The thing I don't understand if we were so concerned about all of this, is why didn't run all the tests before. You ran a whole battery of tests before. Now we have to wait until she gets totally sick again before you run a whole other battery of tests.
CARLY: Jack, what you said, we did run tests but the results may be different this time if her condition has worsened.
JACK: No, no, no, no. She doesn't have a condition. She's got a bug.
JENNIFER: Look Jack, you have got to calm down right now. You have got to....
JACK: No, no, no, no. I don't understand this. I think Carly has to explain why she let her out of the hospital if they are so concerned about things like conditions. Why did you let her go? I mean if she was that well did you have to clear the bed for somebody else that you thought was in bad shape?
CARLY: I let her go home because her temperature had returned to normal and I thought she was well enough to go home. I would give anything if I could have prevented Abby going through this but there is no way anyone could have predicted this.
JENNIFER: Wait a minute. Look I know you are concerned about Abby, alright. We all are. But we cannot blame anyone for Abby's illness. It isn't anybody's fault Jack.JACK: Don't talk about illness. I don't want to hear about illnesses. Alright, there will be no more talk about illnesses. I don't want to hear that kind of talk.
THE WHOLE ROOM IS TENSE BECAUSE THEY CAN SEE HOW SCARED JACK IS.
CARLY: I'm going to go check with Dr. Raines and I'll let you know how Abby is doing.
JENNIFER: Thanks Carly.
CARLY LEAVES AND JENNIFER TURNS TO JACK.
JENNIFER: I'm really scared too Jack.
JACK: Well there's no need to be. Our child's going to be just fine. (Beat) Just fine.
THEY LOOK AT EACH OTHER AND NEITHER BELIEVES WHAT HE'S SAYING. JACK TURNS AWAY TO TAKE SOME TIME ALONE.
JENNIFER: Are you okay?
SCENE SEVEN: AFTER A FEW MINUTES JENNIFER COMES OVER TO HIM.
JACK: Oh I'm fine. Our child's going to be just fine too.
ALICE AND JO LOOK OVER WHEN JACK SAYS THAT. THEY ARE ALL AS WORRIED ABOUT HIM AS ABBY.
JENNIFER: What if she isn't?
JACK: She is. She had a little run-in with a child in a playground and caught a cold. That's all there is to it. I think everyone is making way too much out of this.
JENNIFER: What if it's something more serious than a cold?
JACK: It's not more serious than a cold.
JENNIFER: What if it is?
JACK: It's not!
JENNIFER: Okay, I would really like to believe that too but there is the possibility that it is something more serious and we have to face that.
JACK: Okay, if that's the case we will personally fly her out to Walter Reid Army Hospital in Washington DC. I will every string from every political crony my father ever knew and we will make sure....
ALICE: Jack.... darling....
JACK: .... that she gets the best care we can get.
ALICE: I'm sure that Abby will get the best care that's possible right here at University Hospital.
JACK: I'm just saying just in case, that's all.JENNIFER: Oh god! Please don't let anything happen to my baby. Please god.
JENNIFER STARTS TO CRY AND JACK PUTS HIS ARM AROUND HER. HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT ELSE TO SAY OR DO. HE CANNOT ACCEPT THAT HE MIGHT LOSE HIS BABY THE SAME WAY HE LOST HIS MOTHER, BROTHER AND HIS WHOLE BACKGROUND WHEN HE FOUND OUT HE WAS ADOPTED.
SCENE EIGHT: JACK, JENNIFER AND JO SPEND THE TIME WANDERING THE HALLS WAITING FOR NEWS.
JO: You two must be hungry. It's almost time for the cafeteria to close. Why don't I go downstairs and get us something to eat.
JENNIFER: No I'm fine. I'm really not hungry right now Jo.
JACK: It's not going to be necessary. We'll be home in time for dinner with our child, thanks.
JENNIFER: Grandma have you seen any kind of trends? I mean of any illnesses of the babies coming in. I mean any new sicknesses?ALICE: No darling, not that I know of. Now look, they are going to find out what's wrong with Abigail. They are going to treat it and she's going to be fine.
CARLY COMES OUT WITH A NURSE WHO IS CARRYING ABBY.
JACK: There you go. In time to bring her home.
JENNIFER: Abby! Is that true? Can we take her home now?
THE NURSE WALKS AWAY WITH ABBY.
JENNIFER: Wait a minute, where is she going? Where is she going with Abby?
CARLY: She's taking the baby to the ice room.
JACK: The ice room? What.... what....
CARLY: We've got to get her fever down.
JENNIFER: Okay that's fine. I want to go with her. I want....
CARLY: No, Jen. Come on honey, you can't. Look we've got to get her fever down or she.... she could suffer brain damage.
JENNIFER: Oh my god! Carly what is wrong with her? What is wrong with my baby?CARLY: We don't know yet but if we don't find out.... we've just got to get her temperature down Jen.
JACK LOOKS SICK.
JACK: That's right. It's the fever Jennifer. That's all it is and every child.... gets fevers.