Once and Again
Gardenia

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Niki: A | 1 USERS: A+
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Gardenia

Cut to the dining room at the Manor, where dinner has just ended. As they clear the table, Lily asks who's got homework. Zoe and Grace do, so with this convenient little question, they're cleared out of the way. Rick stops Jessie and asks if he can talk to her. She wonders if she's in trouble. He assures her that she's not and leads her to the living room. Sighing, he says he knows Karen's "going through a rough spot." Jessie's surprised that he knows. He points out that he knows Karen pretty well. Jessie asks what she should do -- what he used to do when Karen was depressed. Rick takes a breath and puts his hand on her arm, solemnly saying that Jessie doesn't have to do anything; it's "not [her] job." "What is?" Jessie asks. Rick tells her to do her homework, make her bed, "live as deeply as [she] can," and "be happy." Jessie looks anything but. Her eyes well up and she chokes, "Dad?" "What is it, sweetheart?" Jessie changes her mind and looks away. Rick urges her to tell him, and won't back down until she does. "What if she hurts herself?" Jessie finally asks. Lily, sporting her Whisper 2000, glances up from the sink. "What do you mean?" Rick asks gravely. Jessie tells him to forget it. "No, what do you mean?" he presses. Jessie's face crumples, and she says she's really afraid that Karen may try to kill herself. Lily's still eavesdropping. Jessie says she knows what Rick is going to say: that Karen wouldn't do that, and that Jessie shouldn't worry. "But if something did happen, would you help her?" Jessie asks. Before Rick can answer, Zoe shouts down that Jessie's instant message bell is going off, "and it's driving [her] crazy." Rick turns back to Jessie and looks her squarely in the eye. He says she knows what he'd say because it's the truth: "You know your mother. Nothing bad is going to happen. I won't let it." And that, there, is the kiss of death, folks. Stay tuned for Karen's catastrophe. Jessie studies his face and, sobbing with relief, presses herself into his shoulder as he pulls her close.

After the break, Rick cautiously enters Karen's office and slowly, quietly closes the door. She looks up, annoyed, and tries to head him off: "If this is about Eli, I'm really not ready to talk about it yet." She looks down at a paper by way of dismissing him. "Jessie's worried about you," Rick says softly. Karen's head snaps up. Rick lays it out: "You're depressed; She's seen it, and she's scared." Karen hotly insists that she's fine. Dropping her voice to a fierce whisper, she clarifies that she will be fine. She glances nervously out her office window, worried someone may overhear. Rick seems not to have heard, though. "She's afraid you may hurt yourself," he pushes. Karen pops out of her chair, looking wounded. "What? How could I do that? You know I'd never do that!" Rick points out that Jessie doesn't know Karen wouldn't hurt herself, and that she feels like she has to take care of Karen. Rick leans across the desk, saying that the two of them have to sit down with Jessie and make her understand the situation, and that everything will be okay then. Karen clenches her jaw to keep the tears back, and sinks into her chair, blinking fast. She nods, looking pained.

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Once and Again

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