Once and Again...Once Again

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Summary of Daddy's Girl

by Sue Kaliski
edited by Elizabeth Angela

It's early morning, in Lily Manning's bedroom, as the answering machine speaks in her voice. When she hears Rick's voice, she hurries over to pick up the phone, wiping toothpaste from her mouth. Rick wonders about her phone screening and she replies that it may have been some "nice people at a collection agency." Detecting concern in his voice, she asks to start the conversation over and, as she sits, greets him with a soft, warm "Hi."

Rick is actually calling about a date. Lily playfully asks, "A real you pick me up at home, we go out and have a good time kind of date?" When he specifically intends Valentine's Day, she is deflated. She has promised her girls that she will take them to Jake's restaurant opening, and she doesn't want to disappoint them. When Rick assures her that he understands. Lily informs him that she's "wide open" President's Day and Ash Wednesday. He grins and says he'll check his calendar.

Later that day, Lily is at a store filling her cart with lightbulbs and other household necessities. When her charge card is declined, Lily says, "That's not possible!" Her look, however, says otherwise. With no other means of paying, Lily leaves the store in embarrassment.

Back home, a seething Lily enters her front door and grabs the kitchen phone to call Jake. Lily asks Zoe for some privacy. "Ok," says Zoe, remaining where she is. Lily tells whomever answers the phone that it's very important, Jake should call her at home. After Lily hangs up with a vengeance, Zoe asks her mom why she's mad? "Angry," clarifies Lily. "Mad means insane."

At that moment the doorbell rings. Lily opens the front door and stares blankly at Naomi, who gazes expectantly back at Lily. Naomi reminds Lily with a smile that she invited her to dinner. "I did?" asks Lily. "Oh God, I sure did!" Holding the door open for her friend, Lily shares a hug and hears Naomi explain, "It just means your floppy disk is full." Lily wonders if she has any food and Zoe, passing by, says it's okay, she and Grace had Wheat Thins.

Once in the kitchen, Naomi asks Lily if something's wrong. "Wrong?" says Lily. "No, Jake just maxed out the only credit card I have, which he swore he'd never do." When an astounded Naomi remarks that she thought Lily and Jake went over all that in mediation, Lily says that they did, they even agreed to separate accounts -- an item they even had in writing. As Lily busies herself reheating leftover lasagna, Naomi points out that the Mannings may not be the best candidates for mediation. She reminds Lily about her cousin whose husband claimed to have no money when they divorced. In reality, he was hiding money in shoes from his shoe business. Reminding Lily that the restaurant is a cash business, Naomi insists that Lily must hire her own "work for you and only you lawyer, so you don't get screwed." Lily notes that she and Jake are already paying a mediator they can't afford, to which Naomi retorts, "Look how well that's working." Naomi writes down a lawyer's name and holds it out to Lily, who regards her friend a moment before taking it. The strain is evident on Lily's face as she studies the slip of paper.

At school the next day, Grace's English teacher returns essays and reminds the students to send in their deposits for camp ASAP. Grace is pleased with her essay grade. Before dismissing class, the teacher reads from one essay: "A writer can live in dreams, in Africa, in prison, in love. He needs no passport or currency on his travels. A writer can write anywhere, on a napkin, even on his hand. ..." As she looks around the classroom, Grace's eyes fall upon a handsome young black student sitting behind her. His eyes catch her look. When the bell rings, Grace moves to leave and the teacher reminds her again about the camp deposit. "I'd hate to see you lose your spot."

Grace stands by her locker and, seeing the essay author walk by, she tells him she likes what he wrote. He asks how she knew, and Grace says, "I just knew." He introduces himself as Jared. After hearing her name, he says "Amazing Grace," but quickly apologizes. As he bends to help pick up some of her papers, he takes a peek at what's written on one. Grace pulls it away as he says, "I write poetry, too." As Grace leaves with her friend Annie, she looks back once.

[In a black & white interview, Grace explains the way it is in junior high. "You sort of have to decide which way you're gonna go." Ticking off on her fingers, she says "There's cute, suicidal, student council, then there's this other category---which would be different from that. I figure I'd go for...funny." She pauses, visibly awkward. "I really don't think I've found my category yet."]

There's a knock at Lily's door, and she runs to open it. "Daddy!" she greets, kissing Phil Brooks and ushering him inside. He is as buoyant as ever as Zoe flies down the stairs and into his arms. Grace follows and happily greets Grandpa. In a flurry of activity, Zoe leads him into the dining room to show him her magic trick.

Phil, cracking nuts at the dining room table, is excited about the new opening. "I bought a new suit!" As he looks at Lily, he guesses that Jake's at the restaurant. Being tolerant, she smiles and says she has no idea where Jake is. She exits to get her dad some "water, no gas." Zoe competes for his attention as he in turn asks Grace about her upcoming camp. "A camp where you write?" asks Phil. Grace says it's "gonna be awesome." Meanwhile, Zoe grills him on her card trick.

In the kitchen, Lily tries once again to reach Jake. "Would you tell him that I called...again?"

Lily sits at her desk, shuffling through paperwork, when her girls come in through the back door. Grace beams with pride over the flyers her dad asked them to put up around town and adds that he's hired "an outrageous band, Average Joe." "What do you mean, he's hired a band?" Lily disbelieves. Zoe -- on the phone -- asks if her mother wants to talk to "Mr. Richardson something from Financial something?" Lily waves the call away, and sinks her head in her hands. Grace reminds her mother about the deposit for camp still hasn't been sent in. Lily nears a panic as she punches in the $400 camp fee on her calculator. Writing the check would leave $25.78 in her account. Grabbing her checkbook, she tells Grace she needs to run out for a few seconds.

As Lily arrives at the restaurant, preparations continue for the reopening. Lily makes a beeline for Jake who is discussing ice sculpture designs with a female associate. When Jake asks Lily what's up, she lets it all out about the maxed-out credit card, bill collectors calling her at home... "Whoa!" says Jake. He apologizes, pleads how crazy he's been with work, and says he can handle the credit cards by rolling the balance over to a new one. Despite Lily's concerns about the wisdom of this approach, Jake begs for three days, until after the opening, and reminds Lily that he's "doing it for us." She snaps, "In the meantime, what do we do about money?" reminding him that Grace's camp deposit is overdue. This seems to register, and Jake says he'll write her a check by 5:00 PM tomorrow. Lily starts to leave but remembers she doesn't even have money for groceries or dry cleaning. Jake peels off some cash, which she snatches out of his hands before storming out. He remains, staring down at the few remaining dollars he holds.

Outside the restaurant, Lily pulls out the phone number Naomi gave her. She dials it on her cell phone and, taking a deep breath, leaves a message for Tobey Jacobson, divorce attorney.

Sometime later at Jacobson's office, Lily briskly begins her history of the failed mediation. Jake has missed appointments and neglected to set up separate accounts. The information pours forth until Tobey interrupts to assure Lily that this is a free consultation. "So slow down!"

The attorney explains the risks that Lily faces through her joint ownership of the restaurant which Jake manages. Jacobson advises getting a temporary order to stay in effect until the divorce trial. They need the court to appoint someone, a receiver, to take over the business, the books, possibly freezing all accounts. Lily rubs her temples. "This all sounds so..." "Lily," the no-nonsense attorney interrupts, "What I need you to understand -- if the business goes under, you go under with it." Lily understands, and asks how much it will cost her to retain the lawyer. The $5,000 takes her aback, but Jacobson negotiates -- $2,500 up front. "I'm gonna fight for you, Lily. In most divorces, men get angry and women get poor."

In the school hallway, Grace bumps into Jared as he buys some hot chocolate from a vending machine. As he gestures for her to buy a drink, [Grace addresses the camera: "In books you know...everything slows down so you can take in all these details, like the way the light makes someone...glow. But in real life you have absolutely no time because you have to figure out what to say."] Grace and Jared soon sit nestled in a window nook, and Grace tells him how she sometimes just watches herself. "I call it helicoptering." Jared smiles at this. He says he sometimes wants to say to people, "Are you for real? Because if you are I must be on the wrong planet." It's Grace's turn to smile. Jared then observes softly, "You really see inside people, don't you?" [In another black and white aside, Grace looks at the camera and "glows" with pleasure.] The spell is broken when Jared's friends call him, teasing. Grace says she has to go anyway, it's her dad's day to pick her up. Jared tells her that his own parents broke up two years ago. "It's okay now, but for a while it was pretty weird," something Grace understands perfectly.

They begin down the stairs, conversing about school sports. When Grace stumbles on a step, Jared's friends laugh from above. He tells them to shut-up and, saying goodbye to Grace, hurries back up the stairs. Grace smiles to herself as she, too, hurries off.

Phil naps on a chair in the Manning's living room, newspaper across his chest. The doorbell rings, rousing him. Opening the door he finds Rick, who clearly was expecting Lily. Recognizing Rick from "skulking out by the garbage on Thanksgiving", Phil holds the door open and says Lily will be home soon. Returning to the living room, Phil asks, "So, Rick Sammler, what are your intentions?" "Only the noblest, sir," replies Rick. Phil, knowing that Rick has a daughter, remarks on how fast they grow up. "I just love her so much," declares Phil about Lily. Rick meets his gaze and replies, "Well, you're not alone in that." Phil nods his understanding.

The front door opens and Phil greets "Gracila!" Grace is surprised to see Rick, who asks her how she liked the book. She momentarily forgets the soccer book he had left for her in December. When Rick admits that he'd peeked at the pictures, she recovers in time to agree that the pictures are "really good."

That night in the Manning kitchen, a harried Lily moves about readying dinner. She enlists Zoe to set the table, then asks her father whether Jake dropped anything off today. When he says no, she looks at him in frustration. As Zoe leaves to answer the phone, Phil gets up and offers his daughter assistance. He comments that "this Rick Sammler" seems like a nice fellow. Lily looks up and smiles, "Yeah, he's...all right." They share a chuckle. When her dad takes over the salad preparations, Lily kisses him and wonders how she ever learned to cook with him around.

Grace enters, lost in thought. Then she suddenly remembers, "Mom, I really need the deposit for camp! What if I don't get in?" Lily stops and cups Grace's face in her hands. "OK," she says. She writes the check for $400, then says "There! Done," as she hands it to her daughter. Grace, relieved, thanks her mother. Lily, however, is uneasy.

Grandpa announces that "Phil's chicken salad" is ready. He and the three girls sit down and immediately hear a radio spot advertising the re-opening of "Phil's." Lily can't believe her ears -- Jake buying radio time? -- but Phil and his granddaughters are celebrating. As things quiet down, Grace says she's not very hungry, which Zoe echoes, and this proves to be the last straw for Lily. She grabs their plates and, lettuce flying, dumps the salads in the sink. Angrily, she asks, "OK, anybody else? Dad?" He quietly spreads in hands in supplication.

At the market the next day, Lily and her dad wheel their groceries towards the SUV. Phil regales her with all the activities of daily life in Florida and sums up, "Honey, it's heaven!" He adds that he's glad his old restaurant is there for her: "This is your bread and butter, honey." Distressed, Lily chooses that moment to tell him that she's hiring a divorce attorney. Phil is saddened by this development. As she shares her fears about the "bad check" she wrote for Grace's camp, Phil is horrified that she didn't come to him for help. "OK, I'm asking for help. Help!" she says through tears, then hugs him, promising to pay him back every penny.

Jake leads Zoe and Grace through the restaurant kitchen which the girls deem "way cool" and "incredible." As Zoe skips off, Grace becomes serious and asks her dad what's going on with him and her mom. He smiles, explaining "we're strapped for cash, that's all." Noticing Grace's concern, he claims that her mother doesn't see the big picture, and instructs his daughter that the restaurant is their future. Still, Grace wants to know that "the opening's going to be a big success, right?" Her dad stresses that this takes time and word of mouth. "The First Rule of Business," says Jake, "You've got to spend money to make money."

Grace and Zoe walk along a street in town. As they pass a Smoothie store, Grace sees Jared working behind the counter. She coaches Zoe not to say anything and, inside, acts surprised to see Jared. When he greets Zoe, Grace interrupts to say "This is my sister." [Addressing the camera, Grace wonders why it's so hard to figure out what guys are thinking: "It usually looks like they're not thinking anything at all. But that can't be right!"] Jared sells Grace on the idea of a Strawberry/Banana Smoothie and, during the blending process, Grace elevates her voice to tell him that she's going out for Club. He turns off the blender just in time for her voice to ring out loud and clear. Her discomfort continues when Jared's two friends come in and greet him. Realizing she has no money, Grace whispers urgently to Zoe, who places all her change on the counter and begins to count aloud. Jared's buddies laugingly join in the counting until she finally arrives at the correct amount and triumphantly slides the pile of coins over to Jared.

At My Sister's Bookstore, Judy observes the title of the book through which Lily's thumbing. "'The Divorce Handbook.' Maybe I should put this out next to the Valentine's." Lily sighs and depicts the last step as hiring a lawyer "who costs 500 times more than this book." Lily tells her sister she had to ask Daddy for money and adds that she feels like "a complete, unmitigated failure" who needs a real, not part-time, job. Judy's reminds her that she's raising her children, "who do have a father, by the way." This remark prompts Lily to ask why she feels like a bitch for hiring a lawyer when Jake is freely spending money on bands and radio ads for the restaurant's opening. Judy explains that narcissists like Jake make you feel bad when all you're doing is having a rational response to their insanity." As a customer arrives, Lily asks Judy to hold the fort.

Inside Tobey Jacobson's law office, the attorney describes the next step in their plan: they will messenger Jake a legal letter today about their intentions to seek a receivership. "Today?" Lily interrupts with anxiety. Pressed by her attorney, Lily adds one condition -- the children are visiting their dad at the restaurant today, so it has to be done after 6:00 PM.

Later that day, Lily sits at her desk crunching numbers on the calculator. Grace enters quietly. "How's the restaurant?" Lily asks. Grace reassures her mother that "it looks really great." Then Grace asks if her mom remembers the soccer book which Rick gave her and if perhaps she dug it out of the trash? Lily retrieves the book from a desk drawer and hands it over. Grace thanks her, hesitates, then confesses that it was a horrible thing she did, throwing it away. As Lily holds her look, Grace continues, "Sometimes I do things and I have no idea why.." Lily is touched and says assuringly, "We all do, sweetheart."

In Zoe's bedroom that night, Lily dozes next to her sleeping daughter, a Harry Potter book resting on her chest. Awakened by sounds from downstairs, Lily pads halfway down the stairs to see Jake standing in the foyer, legal letter in his hand. "Are you trying to bury me?" he rumbles. As they start to argue, Grace hears and sits up in bed. Jake reminds Lily that he asked her to wait. Lily shoots back, "Till when? What happened to Grace's check for camp?" Grace now listens by her bedroom door, as Jake spits out, "What do you want me to do, just start over?" Lily retorts that she hasn't hurt anything -- a neutral third party will "give us a reality check!" Sneering at this, Jake steps close and tells Lily to admit that she's never trusted him. She does so with a vengeance, concluding "You lie as easily about money as you lied about everything in our marriage!" Jake straightens up and roars, "I did it for US!" "There is no US!!" yells Lily.

Phil descends the stairs, wondering what's going on. Lily tells him that it's between her and Jake. But her dad maintains that if it involves the restaurant he has a right to know. Lily asks Jake if he wants to tell her father why he can't pay off their loan? When Phil responds that he knows, and it doesn't matter, Lily whirls on him. "Your entire life savings is at risk!" Her dad tries to placate her, saying "it will all pan out, the restaurant will open..." "To hell with the restaurant!" Lily shouts. "To hell with you, too, Daddy. To hell with both of you!" She runs up the stairs, leaving the men stunned.

Valentine's Day. Lily opens her front door to Rick. Hair back, and dressed in a floor-length robe, she is happy to see him. When he greets her with "Happy Valentine's Day," she reacts in shock, saying she had completely blocked this out.

In the foyer, Rick presents her with a small holiday bag. Feeling bad about not getting him anything, she humbly adds, "I actually thought you wouldn't want any more surprises from me." Rick assesses the situation. They're not going out because Lily is going to her "soon-to-be-ex-husband's restaurant opening." So he had a kind of epiphany, realizing why guys his age go out with younger women... Lily turns away from what sounds like an ageist remark, to sit on the foyer bench. Rick follows and continues..."Apart from the obvious, life would be so much less complicated.."

Lily admits that at least he's honest, and then addresses his gift. She opens the tiny red box, looks in, and it LEAPS out of her hands. Completely startled, Lily asks, "Is it alive?" Rick enjoys this and says, "I wouldn't give you a dead cricket!" He goes on to explain an ancient Chinese custom -- by letting the cricket live with you in your house, it brings you luck. There are "difficult places" she'll be going, he says, where he won't be able to go with her. As Lily's eyes caress his face, she asks if he'll be there when she returns from those places? He smiles. "Do you want milk and cookies, too?" No, she responds, she just wants her life less complicated. When Rick observes that "things will get a bit more complicated" if they work out the way he wants, Lily is very touched. Reminding her that it is Valentine's Day, he kisses her forehead. She leans over and, holding his head, kisses him firmly on the mouth. As they part she looks down in the direction of her newest resident, who is chirping with approval.

Cozily tucked away in her secret spot in the school library, Grace is absorbed in a book, when Jared joins her on the floor and asks what she's reading. Grace briefs him on "Jane Eyre," which, she claims, "slows me down." She explains how everything takes forever to happen, people go for years without seeing someone they love, and when they finally do, "it's like they never stop believing in them." After a pause, Grace tells him she's not going to camp. He is very disappointed, but says she doesn't have to tell him why. Grace moves to go, then turns to him. "Look. I'm not together in any way at all. I just think you should know that about me." Jared returns, "I disagree," and moves closer. Grace worries that she's not like other girls, "not like I even want to be." He hopes she's not like other girls: "Look, don't I get to have an opinion here?" Her eyes glue to his as he continues -- "Because I think that you are amazing, truly. Like the way a lake is amazing. Or snow." Grace is transfixed. "What I mean is," says Jared, "You don't have to do anything." "That's good," replies Grace tremulously, "Because I never know what it is I'm supposed...to be...doing.."

[In black and white, Grace believes they should invent a new word to describe the moment before you kiss someone.] Jared slowly leans over and kisses Grace on the lips. They share a gentle smile. [Looking at the camera, Grace continues, "I think it's like...when a bird decides that it can fly..." She smiles softly.]

Later, at home, Grace types on her computer. [In black and white, Grace talks about writing -- "Besides being able to wear whatever you want, it helps you organize things, like your life, stuff happening to you -- especially when it starts happening too fast."] Lily stops by to make sure she's getting ready for the opening, but Grace informs her that she isn't going: "You, Dad, the restaurant -- it's all just too weird." Feeling the dilemma, Lily tells her daughter how much it would mean to her father to have her there, but Grace is hung up -- "I don't know what's going on with you and Dad." Surprised, Lily says, "Tonight has nothing to do with what's going on with Daddy and me." "Do you really want me to go?" Grace asks. Lily impresses upon her, "What I want isn't important. You and your dad have your own relationship that actually has nothing to do with me." Grace needs to know that it's up to her to decide. "Absolutely," says Lily. Thinking about this, Grace smiles up at her mom.

Applying make-up at her bathroom mirror a while later, Lily hears Grace and Zoe scurry into her bedroom. Joining them there, Lily exclaims, "My girls! How beautiful you are!" Grandpa walks in and, dancing over to Grace, observes that Lily isn't ready. He offers to take the girls early and Zoe tells him to hurry, "we want to be the first ones there!" As the girls leave, Phil marvels at how grown-up they are.

Lily notices that Phil has lost weight: "A lot. Is this good?" Brushing off her concerns, Phil offers to come back to pick her up. "Daddy, I can't," she responds. He protests, but Lily says he doesn't understand what's going on. Point blank, she tells him she's putting the restaurant into receivership. "Aw, Lily, you'll destroy it if you do!" "He'll destroy it if I don't," she argues. Phil heats up, wondering why she's now telling him how to run a restaurant. He says the restaurant gave her everything -- nice clothes, summer camps, riding lessons. She just expected it to be there and she expected Jake to take care of her, too. "OK, I got it!!" Lily shouts, arresting his assault. "I'm a weak, dependent, spoiled little girl." Nearing tears, Lily makes her own case: that she is changing and standing on her own two feet. She plunges on, "I'm asking you to try to RESPECT me. Respect what I have to do!... Help me find a way, but let ME do it!" Her father, quiet now, says, "Yes ma'am, I'm your servant." Touched by this demeanor, she tells him to go and have a wonderful time. "There's something more important I have to do." Phil says tenderly, "I love you." Sighing, Lily responds, "I love you, too, Daddy."

At the opening, the band rocks, Grace munches on snacks, Zoe wows a crowd with her card tricks, and Jake spots Phil. The two men salute each other in a toast.

At home, Lily reads through the Want Ads, circling "Associate Senior Editor" and "Editor/Writer" in red ink.

Jake dances with Grace and tells her she looks "positively radiant tonight." "I do?" she asks. He tells her not to act so surprised, then asks how things are going in her life. Grace mentions camp and Jake quickly assures her "we took care of that deposit." Surprised, she asks what he means. Laughing, her dad says "She didn't tell you? We did it last week." He leans close to say, "Daddy will always take care of you. Remember that." Grace, uncomfortable and wondering, offers a half-smile.

Lily sits at her computer typing her resume. She stops to listen -- somewhere in her house, a cricket chirps. She smiles and continues her work.

The End

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