Once and Again
The Awful Truth

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The Awful Truth

After commercials, Lily's sitting at her new job, eagerly waiting for Kresswell the Curmudgeon to arrive. She calls out a perky good morning when he does, which prompts him to do a doubletake. "I hired you?" he asks. Lily reminds him that he called her house the previous evening. He asks her name. She reminds him, "It's Lily. Actually, it's Elizabeth, but I prefer Lily." He asks, "Skills?" She launches into what would be a wordy, convoluted bullshit session, but he thankfully cuts through it early and says, "You're a people person." She asks whether that's a bad thing. He takes a seat next to her desk, saying, "Elizabeth, you know how a person sometimes gets off on the wrong foot with another person in a workplace, but then they work together and get to know each other and eventually they come to be almost like family?" Lily smiles, encouraged, and says she does. "Well, that's not going to happen here," the Curmudgeon says shortly. He steps into his office and closes the door. Lily spins around in her desk chair, registering his words, and looking determined in spite of them.

Cut to Phil's. Jake and Tiffany let Judy in, and she mutters that she just has to take a few measurements before the contractor comes. Jake swallows the bile rising in his throat as Judy disappears into the kitchen. "Jake!" Tiffany hisses. He asks what he's supposed to do. She tells him just to go and talk to Judy. He groans. Tiffany pulls a book out of her bag to read him something inspirational: "If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead, he goes astray. But if he follows...." She looks up at Jake expectantly. Good for Tiffany. She's really learned how to maneuver Jake these past few months. Judy emerges from the kitchen and awkwardly says she needs to take the keys. "Oh, right," Tiffany says. Jake's staring off somewhere he's still a big man. Tiffany breaks the reverie so he'll hand off the keys. He can't bring himself to hand them to Judy directly, so he gives them to Tiffany instead. She tells Judy that Jake has something to say. "Don't you?" she adds, shooting him an insistent look. "Well, actually, I do, too," Judy murmurs. They're all silent for a minute until Jake steps up and admits, in fits and starts, that he "may have come on a little..." "You were wrong," Tiffany supplies. He agrees. Judy says she came on a little strong, too, and that she's sorry. "Yeah, me too," Jake says. Tiffany watches him squirm for a few seconds, frowns, and starts to get the second ball rolling by telling Judy that Jake would really appreciate the opportunity to work for her. Jake can't lift his eyes off the floor, but quietly says, "Yeah, I would." Judy doesn't respond, but just looks at him. After a second or two of silence, Jake moves forward, takes the key from Tiffany, and hands them to Judy. She seems to appreciate how much that gesture required of Jake, and she smiles and thanks him. He heads for the door while he still has a shred of pride left.

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Once and Again

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