Once and Again...Once Again

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Summary of Forgive Us Our Trespasses

by Sue Kaliski
edited by Angela Stockton

Sitting on her bed late one stormy night, Judy Brooks paints her toenails. The phone rings and she lets the message machine take the call -- silence followed by some breathing and a click. With furrowed brow, Judy looks down to see a spot of red nail polish on her leg.

At 11:43 that same night, a wakeful Lily rolls over to find Rick also wide awake. He wonders what they should do since neither can sleep. "Guess," Lily murmurs.

They hustle into the kitchen intent on a midnight treat. As Rick pulls some ice cream from the freezer, drops of water fall on him from above. "Oh, I don't believe this!" Lily cries as they gaze at a water mark on the ceiling. The drips turn into a stream as Rick pokes his finger through the soft spot. While they mop up, Lily laments the cost of repairs, adding this to a work concern already bothering her.

"Is that jerk bothering you again?" Rick asks, referring to Graham Rympalski. Lily reports that Graham is avoiding her, but she feels unappreciated by her boss, Christie. For example, Lily's idea for online families (stolen from her sister, Rick reminds her) is proving to be a success and Christie is taking all the credit. As they struggle to scoop some of the rock-hard ice cream, Lily makes a decision -- no more watching Christie's back. "From now on, it's just a job," Lily vows.

At pagesAlive the next day, Lily pitches Christie the reasons why a large corporate sponsorship is all wrong for their demographic, which is young single people. Graham overhears and walks over to listen to the rest of Lily's presentation. Uncomfortable in his presence, she leaves to answer Christie's phone.

"You can't be serious!" Lily exclaims later to Christie, who has decided to team her with Graham on a project. Christie says she will hire a temp for three weeks to free Lily up to help land a sponsor. As her boss speaks, Lily notices Graham in the outer office cozying up to a pretty female staffer, freely placing his hands on her. Christie reminds Lily that this project is an opportunity for Lily to prove herself. "Isn't that supposedly what you want?" Christie asks. Lily, letting out a sigh, smiles and nods.

Rick arrives at Lily's late that afternoon and calls "Eli-za-beth!" He almost collides with Will Gluck, who is coming down the stairs. Will states that he'll arrive earlier the next day, since Lily, to Rick's consternation, is leaving the key under the front mat. He says that the water spot is from ice damage in the attic, under the eaves. Looking up, Rick says in wonder, "I've never seen her attic."

At Phil's Restaurant, Judy arrives to chauffeur Grace and Zoe home. The girls point out their dad's new "friend," Jenica -- the name a cross between "Jennifer" and "Jessica," Zoe explains. Jake walks over to say good-bye just as Paul arrives. Jake is pleased to see Paul, one of only a few customers who have stuck with him. While Paul seems pleased to see Judy, she is nonplused and declines Paul's invitation to join him, saying, "My nieces are waiting outside." As she leaves, she looks back through the door, evidently uncomfortable.

A moment later, Judy approaches Jake in the restaurant kitchen. She explains that when she ended the relationship with Paul, "he went completely ballistic." This is a sobering picture to Jake, who is reminded of the recent hostage crisis. "You never know who people are....underneath," he observes.

Judy and the girls arrive home as Lily descends the stairs carrying a box from the attic. Zoe recognizes Will Gluck's truck out front, and hurries upstairs to change. "Change into what?" Grace needles her. "A person who needs a bra?"

Lily shows Judy an egg coddler, a wedding present from her first marriage. Judy comments with mock resentment that her sister will haul in more gifts with her second marriage. "Meanwhile, I'm just on my little island trying to make fire."

Will pauses on the stairs when he sees Judy. "Hi," he greets her, his voice barely audible. He reaches around Judy to fetch his coat, his aloofness leaving her with her mouth open and Lily longing to run for cover. After he departs, Judy warns Lily, "Whatever you're thinking, don't."

To change the subject, Lily asks the identity of the "Jenica" whom the girls mentioned moments before. "Jake's new port in the storm," Judy replies acidly. When Lily can't believe he would do this to the pregnant Tiffany, Judy recalls that this is exactly what he did to Lily, except "you were his actual wife."

Later that evening, Lily steps out of the shower as she recounts to Rick the painful moment between Will and Judy, saying, "God, talk about ice damage!" Rick, sitting on the side of the tub rubbing cream between his toes, assumes this is about an unpaid bill. Lily pops him with a towel as she gives him a telling look. "It happened right in there," she says, nodding toward the bedroom. Rick, finally getting it, can't picture them together. "Will Gluck's such a nice, normal guy," he begins, before seeing Lily's warning look and safely concluding, "and Judy's so very nice also."

As Lily joins Rick in bed, he says that she should call Jake about paying half the cost of the repairs. Lily answers that Jake has had lots of problems lately, but Rick sees this as avoidance on her part. He lectures her on leaving a key under the mat as she announces that she will be working with Graham on a proposal to get a sponsor. She's convinced that this is a good opportunity, but Rick is skeptical. He also wonders why she didn't tell him about the attic, which he thinks is a wonderful space with studio potential. Lily feels she finally has a chance to prove herself at work. Looking at Rick, she hears him say, "I just think it's dangerous, leaving keys where people can find them." Leaning over to kiss his cheek, Lily snuggles close.

Once again it is late evening at Judy's, and she reads on the sofa. When the phone rings, she answers and again hears breathing. "Why are you calling me?" she yells.

At pagesAlive the next day, Lily trains the new temp, Noelle Plaque, on the phone system. The buxom Noelle confesses that she's worried about disconnecting callers as Graham strolls over to make her acquaintance. Assisting as she collects some papers from the floor, he says, "It's good luck to drop something the first day." When he catches Lily's eye-rolling look of disgust, he suggests they get started on the project. "I have to make a phone call first," Lily replies. Graham offers her the use of his office.

Lily calls Jake at the restaurant and tells him about the needed repairs in the attic, the cost of which Lily wants him to split with her. "Sure," says Jake with a sigh. As they speak, Lily notices a letter on Graham's desk which thanks him for his support of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation. She also studies a framed photo of Graham with his dog, while asking Jake about his new girlfriend, Jenica. He doesn't share Lily's concern for their girls in this matter. Rather, he professes faith in their maturity, to which Lily responds, "Let's not make them more mature."

"You're a fine one to talk," Jake retorts.

Karen joins Judy for lunch at Phil's, Judy commenting on the bad break which has resulted in fewer customers. Noticing Jake in friendly close quarters with Jenica, Karen observes that he's found a way to "numb his pain." After a pause, Judy says, "So, they're getting married."

"Indeed," Karen replies.

Judy changes the subject to her late evening hang-up calls, whispering that she has reason to believe that Paul may be stalking her. With self-deprecating humor, she clears up Karen's confusion over the men in her life by describing Will as "another guy I've slept with" and the stalker as an incompetent, unlike Lily's recent harasser who professed undying love and called her an "eclipse." Karen finds this information irritating, so Judy quickly adds that the pagesAlive situation was awful for Lily, but "she stood up to him, he backed down, end of story."

Inside Graham's office, Lily works at his desk while he reads on the couch. He also keeps an eye on Noelle outside the office, an action Lily regards with disdain. "This is good," Graham praises Lily, "really strong, I mean it." "Good!" Lily answers brusquely.

Judy settles the lunch bill as Jake casts an interested eye in Karen's direction. "Don't go there," Judy warns. She tries to pass the egg coddler off to Jake, mentioning the attic cleanup, Will's involvement, and the goal of eventually making the attic a work space for Rick. Jake bristles at this news, then turns on a smile for Karen's benefit. Judy keeps the introductions brief, pulling Karen toward the exit.

A little while later, Judy enters the back door at Lily's to find Will at work repairing the ceiling. He is not surprised that she found a key under the doormat. Judy wants to return the egg coddler, which earns a blank look from Will, so she asks about his repairs. "Ice damage," he states. Nervously, Judy babbles, "I've always wanted an attic, ever since I first read Jane Eyre."

Back at pagesAlive, Graham asks Lily, "What d'you got?" Not looking up from her writing, Lily gestures "one minute."

Will drills a fresh panel into place while Judy chats about books with attic scenes, including Toys in the Attic and Ethan Frome. Rick enters from the hallway, surprising Judy, who hastily gathers her things. "Tell Lily I don't want my eggs coddled after all," she asks Rick before leaving. He remains, perplexed, as Will continues drilling. His eyes scan over a beautiful hand-made wreath, among other items in the attic. He tells Will, who is working on the damaged area, "I like what you did for Judy....I mean, over at the bookstore." Tersely, Will agrees it turned out OK. When asked by Rick, he says there's nothing going on between himself and Judy. Pausing, Rick admits, "She can be quite a handful sometimes, but she's an OK person." Without comment, Will asks Rick to pass the crowbar, then uses it to rip up some floorboards, sending more dust into the attic air.

At pagesAlive, Noelle hurries into Graham's office to tell Lily she has a call, though she forgot to ask who it was. As Lily answers, Jake asks, "Tiffany?" Remembering he called Lily, he curtly informs her he will not pay half of the home repairs. Lily insists the repairs are a necessity, to which Jake grumbles, "Yeah, for Sammler."

Deflated, Lily sees Graham through the office window, feeding a carrot stick to Noelle. "I want Tiffany's number," she says suddenly. Jake can't believe this request, but goes to fetch the number. Watching Graham tenderly blot Noelle's mouth, Lily closes her eyes against old feelings and memories.

Later, in her attic, Lily escorts Tiffany to a cedar chest filled with baby clothes, which Lily makes available to her visitor. Taking a tiny dress from Lily, Tiffany can't believe this very kind gesture. "I wanted to give you something," Lily says. Tiffany wonders if Lily, knows when she, Tiffany, began seeing Jake. She recalls, "I knew he had a wife, but I blocked you out, like you weren't real." Lily nods and smiles, also surprised that she's being this gracious under the circumstances.

Tiffany, concerned that Judy may need the baby clothes some day, keeps just one little dress. "You'll never know what it means to me that you want me to have your kids' clothes," Tiffany says, impulsively gathering Lily into an embrace. Lily gently returns the hug.

At BookLovers that night, Judy works at her desk. She suddenly hears a noise from the patio and sees a man's shadow. Grabbing the phone and backing into a corner, she dials Phil's, where Jake is just turning out the lights. "Tiffany?" he answers. Hearing Judy's hushed voice, he asks, "What happened?"

A police officer surveys the lock on the alley/patio door, and notes that it's not broken. Judy admits she sometimes leaves it unlocked, which earns her a scolding from Jake. He and the officer agree that a security system is a good idea.

Back inside the shop, Jake stresses to Judy that she doesn't know "what this Paul guy is capable of." Judy claims she has no proof about Paul--she may be the one who's obsessed. "You have to assume the worst," Jake insists. "Take it from somebody who knows."

Under the covers in Lily's bed, Rick says he thinks she should quit her job. Lily maintains that Graham hasn't pushed himself on her lately, but Rick points out it's just a matter of time until he does again: "What consequences has he suffered?"

He worries that she's too anxious to sleep, to which Lily replies that "Dentrell" keeps Rick pretty anxious, too. Rick reminds her that Miles doesn't harass him sexually. "What about forgiveness?" Lily wants to know. "Some things should not be forgiven," Rick answers coolly.

Lily asks him for an example of what he means, so she doesn't go there herself. "Come to bed," Rick tells her. As she snuggles close, head on his chest, he continues, "You have to protect yourself. If someone betrays you, you can't just let them get away with it. You can't." Lily looks up at him.

The next day, Christie is not alarmed about Graham feeding carrot sticks to Noelle. Lily, however, declares that she can't work side by side with him after all. Christie claims that Graham is "so jazzed" about working with Lily and asks if he has been inappropriate with her again. "No," Lily answers, "but he was. And what consequences has he suffered?"

Silently, Christie returns to her desk. "I feel somewhat ... unappreciated," she says. She reminds Lily, whom she calls her "semi-competent assistant," of the opportunity and support she's given her, and that all she's received in return are complaints and anger. "You never even thanked me!" Christie reminds her. Chastened, Lily says, "Thank you!" as she places her hand over her heart.

Lily rummages through her bag as she awaits the elevator that evening. She has forgotten her cell phone, so she returns to retrieve it from her desk. Turning to leave, she sees Graham in his office, locked in an embrace with Noelle.

Hurrying to the elevator, Lily punches the down button. Noelle hurries after her, asking if she's in trouble. "You know what?" Lily speaks urgently, "You don't have to take this from him." Noelle confesses that she's not taking anything, she just "went for it." "Sorry!" she says with a kittenish smile, then returns to the office. Bemused, Lily enters the elevator.

Arriving home, Lily hears sounds from the vicinity of the attic. "Will?" she calls. Climbing the stairs, she enters the attic just as Jake completes his backswing. "What the hell are you doing?" she asks angrily as tries to recover from her surprise. He irritably surveys the work space for which he presumes she wants him to pay. "I'm not that stupid," Jake says. "I may be jinxed, but I'm not that stupid."

He scoffs when Lily insists that she just needs help paying for the ice damage. He also orders her to stay out of his personal life, meaning Tiffany, but Lily shouts, "She's pregnant! She needs you!" What, he wonders, makes her think he's not there for Tiffany? "Jenica!" Lily says, between clenched teeth. "But why would you be? You weren't there for me." Shaking his head, Jake replaces the golf club. "I'm not paying for this," he repeats before leaving.

At Phil's the following day, Jake spots Paul and a date having lunch. As he approaches their table, Paul says affably, "We are ready for some curly fries." Jake asks he if can have a word in private, and Paul follows him into the kitchen, his curiosity evident. He is shocked when Jake says, "Stay away from Judy Brooks, okay? I'm asking you nicely. For your own good." Paul can't believe this, and starts to leave. Jake grabs him by the shirt and pushes him into a trolley, upending many dishes and pans. "You're both crazy!" Paul yells. "No wonder this place is going out of business!" He storms out.

Jake, breathing heavily, bends to pick up the breakage. "Get me a damn broom!" he screams at his staff.

Graham finishes a call and asks Lily if she's heard of Urban Backpackers. She has, and he informs her that they want to get on the Web in a big way and in a hurry. He plans on working late and, seeing her look of misgiving, reassures her, which Lily understands to mean that Noelle will stay, too.

Quite disturbed, Lily says, "There's something wrong with you, seriously wrong!" Graham does not disagree, and Lily continues, "What are you thinking when you act like this?" Graham claims that he is actually "pretty lonely." Lily warns him not to play for her sympathy and ends her tirade, "When are you gonna deal with it, that when it comes to women you are out of control!"

About to cry, Lily wonders how he does his job with all the flirting and seducing. "That's what gets me through my job," he says with resignation. Toned down but no less distressed, Lily asks if he realizes how angry she's been at him. "I try to ignore it," he says quietly. She remarks that this is the kind of behavior that broke up her marriage, but then understands that she can't blame him for that: "That part's not your fault, I can't blame you for that. I guess I was, but that part is me." After a moment of silence, Graham says, "I'm sorry if I caused you any pain, believe it or not." Lily looks at him and softly replies, "I do believe it."

Jake sits at the bar that evening, sipping his whiskey. A smiling Jenica comes over and looks at him expectantly. He gives a barely perceptible shake of his head, so she turns and slowly leaves. He stirs his drink with a finger, sips, blots his mouth, and sighs tiredly.

Graham and Lily discuss the new client as Noelle enters to tell Lily she has a phone call. Noelle remains, looking at Graham with unconcealed interest.

Lily answers the phone, "Rick?" But it's Jake, who speaks hesitantly. He didn't realize Lily knew that his affairs went back as far as her last pregnancy. Looking over her shoulder at Graham, she says, "I didn't then. I figured it out...later." "It wasn't your fault," Jake says. Stumbling for words, he concludes, "I'll pay for the ice damage, OK?" "OK," Lily says softly, just before he hangs up.

Noelle asks Graham if she's needed to stay late. As Lily looks at him, he says, "Not any more, thanks anyway. Good night." Noelle leaves, disappointed, as Graham and Lily exchange a look of understanding.

The cedar chest is in the living room the next day, and Judy inspects the baby clothes with delight. Lily realizes her sister should have them, and Judy hugs her, thanking her for the "amazing vote of confidence that I'm gonna get there."

The front door opens, and Lily calls "Rick?" but it's Will. Judy holds up a little dress to show him, but he looks right through her to tell Lily he came to get his tools. As he hurries up the stairs, Judy throws down the dress and says, "That does it." She pursues him to the attic and tells him she's thinking about installing a security system at the bookstore because of the disturbance the other night.

"That was me," Will says quietly. Judy is astounded, asking if he's been calling her machine and hanging up. Will claims he chickened out with the calls and apologizes for scaring her. Riled, Judy wants an explanation, but Will shouts, "You don't want an explanation!"

He unleashes his fury, saying how hard it was to take this job knowing he might see her. She may think she made a smart decision cutting him lose, but it was only a "fear of closeness." "You didn't hurt my feelings-I'm a man, I don't have any feelings!" So he got a little drunk one night and planned to tell her these things. "Well, I told you. But do I owe you an explanation? Not in my book." He moves to pass her, but Judy stops him. "It's so unfamiliar," she says shakily. "I'm used to being the one that gets hurt. Can you forgive me?" Softening, Will says, "Sure." He heads down the attic stairs.

Lily stands in the living room inhaling the scent of a pink infant sweater as Will walks through on his way to the kitchen. The doorbell rings and Lily calls, "Jake?" It's Rick, who has forgotten his key. "That's why I always leave one under the mat!" Lily says proudly. She remembers it had to be Rick, as Jake took the girls away for the weekend. Extending her arms, she breaks into song and Rick embraces her, joining in with "It Had to Be You." "I wandered around, and finally found, somebody who..."

Steve Tyrell, in background music, picks up the tune as a pensive Judy sits in the attic and rocks an antique doll in a baby rocker.

Will closes the back door behind him, pausing briefly before leaving.

Lily and Rick, entwined, continue their slow dance in the foyer.

The end.

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