Once and Again
Gardenia

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Gardenia

Soliloquy Rick reminisces, "I first saw Karen when she was coming out of the library. She was with some guy who turned out to be her boyfriend, and she stepped into this sunlight, and she just...shone. Like a coin from someplace where everything is beautiful."

Rick's still sitting at Karen's bedside. She turns her head and her eyes flicker. Her gaze roams the room, trying to make sense of where she is. Finally, she sees Rick, and registers shock at the sight. He leans anxiously forward when he sees her stir. Karen groggily asks if she's been sleeping, and for how long. Rick fills her in that she has been sleeping, for a while, and that the kids are at home. Karen struggles to look around the room, in search of some pudding to offer him. Rick's not interested. His voice husky, he says, "Jessie wanted to know -- before this happened -- Jessie wanted to know, if anything did happen, would I be there for you." He looks away, uncertainly. Karen looks at him unwaveringly and murmurs, "Silly girl. Doesn't she know you?" And my keyboard blurs. Rick gets a little bleary himself. He takes a sharp breath and, lips quavering, says he needs to know something. "Did I do it on purpose?" she asks. Rick nods. Karen breathes a chuckle and says, "The weird thing is, I was feeling better. Rick, I want to live. I just don't know how." Rick swallows the tears and reaches for her hand. She looks from it to him, as he snuffles and wraps both his hands around hers.

Cut to Jessie in her room, checking out her reflection in a mirror. She's wearing the new blouse and surveying the damage. Zoe appears behind her and asks, "Can I be frank with you? And feel free to say no." Jessie says she can. "That blouse is so not you." Jessie says she knows. "You do? And you're not mad?" Zoe asks, incredulous. She says she could never say something like that to Grace. "And -- between us -- I hate all her tops," she adds. Ah, comic relief. I love this kid again.

Cut to Soliloquy Karen grabbing her toes to stretch. Yes, she's still naked. I bet the crew went home in a good mood that day. She's talking about how much she loves to run and, I'll tell you, if that's what running does for a body, sign me up. Soliloquy Karen rubs her legs and looks thrilled to be alive.

In her hospital room, Karen wakes up to find Jessie camped in the chair, a coat draped over her. Karen asks how long she's been there. Jessie replies, "A little while. Dad brought me." Jessie reminds Karen that, in a little while, she'll be able to drive herself. "Promise me something?" Karen asks. "When you get your license, don't tell me about it, okay?" Jessie laughs and promises. "So, how are you?" she asks, growing earnest. Karen says she's okay. "I was lucky," she breathes. Jessie stares at her and asks, "Is that the truth?" Karen looks guilty and says she hasn't been totally honest with Jessie recently, and that was wrong. Her voice thickens with tears as she apologizes. Jessie says Karen doesn't have to be sorry. Karen promises that she's telling the truth now, "and [she] needs [Jessie] to know it." She insists that she's okay, and that she's going to get better. "I want to," she adds. Jessie smiles, and sighs with relief. "Can I do my homework here?" she asks. Karen breathes a laugh and says she's not very good company. Jessie says it's French, and Karen can help her. Jessie stands up and moves the coat, revealing the peasant blouse underneath. "Oh, Jessie," Karen sighs. "What do you think?" Jessie asks self-consciously, moving to the bed to give Karen a better look. She says she's sorry for being so mean to Karen in the store. Karen says, "To inaugurate our honesty, it's just not you." They laugh. Jessie says she's going to tell Rick that she's staying for a while. Karen reaches for her hand. "Jessie? Oh, I love you," she says. Jessie starts crying and grabs her hand tightly, saying she loves Karen, too.

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Once and Again

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