Once and Again
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Niki: A | Grade It Now!
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Downstairs, Zoe and Grace glance up at the sound and cross their legs tightly. "I am never having a baby," Grace declares. They return to their card playing, but only for a second, until they hear a baby crying. The two of them, along with the Curmudgeon, slowly stand and move toward the sound as though hypnotized.

Cut to a close-up of the newborn cradled in Tiffany's arms. "Another girl for Jake," Tiffany murmurs. "What is it, a conspiracy?" he smiles. "Yep," Zoe says. "That's right," Grace beams. The camera pans the other girls in his life, all of whom are grinning broadly. "Oh, you are the most beautiful little creature your daddy has ever seen," Jake coos. Zoe and Grace don't seem to mind. Tiffany strokes the baby's head, then turns to ask Lily if she'd like to hold her. Lily nods eagerly. She gasps when the baby is set in her arms, and says, "Look girls, isn't she beautiful?" Grace and Zoe crowd around to get a look. "I didn't realize they came out with fingernails," Zoe says. "Yours is going to come out with painted fingernails," Grace teases. "Yours is going to come out with a copy of War and Peace," Zoe counters. Lily glances over at Rick, who's staring at her with red-rimmed eyes. Her smile widens a bit, and she shakes her head.

Cut to the dim living room. Lily comes down the stairs, and follows the sound of the Curmudgeon's voice. He's on the phone, saying, "It's your dad. I know. Uh, it's just, that, uh, we hadn't spoken in a while, and I just thought I'd, uh, call up and say merry Christmas." Lily smiles to herself and jumps as the lights pop on.

Out on the stoop, Rick hears Grace inside calling, "The lights are on!" Lily comes outside and snuggles into his arms. "So?" he asks. "I know," she says. They look into each other's eyes for a second, and Rick murmurs, "No snip-snip?" He makes the scissors motion with his fingers. How tender. She smiles and says, "I guess not." They stare at one another again, and Rick takes a deep breath, sighing, "Oh boy." "Or girl," Lily smiles. "Oh, brother," Niki groans. "Here's another fine mess you've gotten me into," Rick murmurs affectionately. They kiss, and the camera pans back through the gently falling snow to reveal a lit "Peace" sign above the stoop. There won't be peace for long if they have that baby. What? It's true.

After the break, the actors who play Jake, Lily, Zoe, Judy, Jessie, and Eli are gathered in front of a flag and a Christmas tree. Sela says, "From all of us at Once and Again, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season, and I hope you share it with people you love." "Awww," say Niki and Jeffrey Nordling. "Merry Christmas," says Meredith Deane. "Happy Hanukkah," says Evan Rachel Wood. "Happy Kwanzaa," says Shane West. "Happy New Year," says Marin Hinkle. Sela bids us a "happy winter solstice," and Jeffrey rounds it out by wishing us a "happy Wiccan mid-winter festival." And that just about covers it, I think. Cheers.

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Once and Again

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