Once and Again...Once Again

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Written by Sue Kaliski

Edited by Angela Stockton

Christmas is coming. In the living room, Rick and the kids gather around their tree, Zoe inquiring about the Sammlers' holiday traditions. Jessie explains that they open presents on Christmas Eve and have a family sing-along which "only Mom likes," according to Eli. Rick insists that he enjoyed it too.

Lily arrives home and admires the tree. After Rick updates her on the discussion, she invites Jessie and Eli to join her, Grace, Zoe and Rick on Christmas Day for more gift-opening.

"What are you guys gonna do when you have a kid?" Zoe asks in a matter-of-fact way. Lily and Rick are caught off-guard at the suggestion, which their children clearly favor. Eli predicts that their child would "know every line from The Philadelphia Story," and then, under Grace's prompting, the siblings join in a jovial spoof of "the Four [sic] Tenors." Lily and Rick can only smile at this merry ribbing.

That night, while wrapping gifts with Rick in their room, Lily returns to the topic of having a child. [Rick stares at the camera, speechless.] He suggests they "think about thinking about it." [With a trace of sadness, Lily addresses the camera, "He doesn't want another kid." ] They barely have time to conceal the gifts as Zoe knocks and enters, followed by Grace and Jessie. Zoe asks Jessie if she has brought any ornaments. "Like divorced family action figures?" Jessie asks in amusement. Lily suggests popcorn and cranberries, then, as Rick playfully picks up Zoe, the girls are routed from the room.

Later, while they're preparing for bed, Rick grabs Lily and pulls her onto his lap, nuzzling her neck. Lily lists some reasons for not wanting another baby - getting up nights, strollers, diapers - and he guardedly asks how she feels about the idea.

Lily reminds him that they don't know if she can still get pregnant, and mentions that "Dr. Frankel doesn't want me on the Pill any more." She offers to go back to using a diaphragm, as Rick asks if she still has one. "Maybe we could just have another kid," Lily breathes seductively. Rick searches her face, wondering how serious she is.

[In an interview, Lily says, "If I knew that Rick really wanted one, then maybe.." she smiles at the camera. Rick adds, "I guess if she really wants one..."]

Turning out the light, Rick says it's hard to picture having another baby, and Lily, pragmatic, supposes she could get her "tubes tied." Rick replies that she doesn't have to, adding a "snip-snip" gesture as he rolls over. Lily finds his "offer" of a vasectomy incredibly romantic and sexy, and nibbles on his ear as he looks off in the distance, pondering what just transpired.

On the snowy afternoon of Christmas Eve, Tiffany sits on the edge of her bed, folding laundry, and says to Jake, "You have a date." Jake, who's seated at her kitchen table, disagrees, explaining, it's "two non-religious divorced people whose kids are with their exes, having dinner on Christmas Eve." He writes a check to the midwife, none too subtly grumbling about the expense. Tiffany, sensing his mood, claims that it's not her fault that insurance doesn't pay for home births. Jake declines her offer to pay him back, saying, "I just want you and the baby to be safe." Tiffany maintains that his ambivalence about the baby doesn't touch her: "You can't bum me out - I'm unbummable."

At their office, Sam chides Rick, "You offered to cut off your penis?" "Incendiary, and medically incorrect," Rick retorts, pointing out that if kids are not an issue, "there's nothing left to lose." Sam disagrees, saying he would rather know he still has "swimmers carrying my DNA, even if I never use them." He mimes a scissor-snip and insists that there should be another way for a guy to go than "taking chunks out of his own scrotum!" Rick is distressed by "too much information."

At her desk at WIXB, Lily tells the visiting Judy about Rick's "incredible" gesture. However, Judy reminds her that sterilization for women is much more dangerous than it is for men, and asks why Lily is so grateful for Rick's offer when it should be a no-brainer. Judy then wonders about her own "dwindling eggs" and reveals that she's spending the evening with Sam. To this end, she asks to borrow Lily's red sweater. A voice on the radio forecasts two to three feet of snow by midnight, with hazardous road conditions. Lily looks up in alarm.

Snow is falling heavily as Tiffany arrives at Lily's door. Knocking and entering, she calls, "Merry Christmas and all that jazz!" Grace and Zoe, stringing popcorn on the tree, greet her in return. Beneath her expectant burden, Tiffany eases onto the bench in the foyer, explaining to the girls that she has brought a gift of Dead Sea bath salts for Lily. "She's been such a goddess!" Tiffany raves.

Excitedly, Jessie hurries down the stairs, anxious to get to her mom's for their fun Christmas Eve. When Zoe bemoans their lack of ornaments, Tiffany suggests "cup-melting."

In the kitchen, Tiffany pulls a tray of melted plastic cups from the oven while Eli, Jessie, Zoe, and Grace look on. Judy enters through the back door and reports that the roads are bad. When Jessie frets that they are late to her mom's, Judy offers to drive Jessie and Eli there after she fetches Lily's sweater. Understanding and teasing, Grace sings, "Judy has a date with Sa-am."

At the radio station, Lily enters Les' office to inform him that the staff is worried about the blizzard alerts. Les reluctantly agrees to let them leave early but asks Lily to stay and help him finish a few things.

Back in their living room, Grace watches a weather report on TV as Zoe puts the finishing touches, including ornaments fashioned from the melted cups, on the tree. Tiffany enters the foyer with a look of consternation on her face. "Either I'm peeing and I can't stop, or my water is breaking right here on your floor," she tells the girls. They all stare at the pool collecting at Tiffany's feet. Zoe jumps up and down with excitement as Grace offers to call 911. Tiffany says that she's having a home birth, and Zoe wonders what that is. "What does it sound like?" Grace snaps. Tiffany directs them to call their dad and tell him to pick up the midwife and take her to Tiffany's house, where she'll meet them.

Grace reaches Jake while he's having a drink with his date. After hanging up, he rises, embarrassed, and asks for a rain check. When his date asks who needs a midwife, he stammers, "It's just this girl, who's…having my baby."

Conditions outside are fierce as Rick scrapes his SUV windows. He tells Lily by cell-phone that the roads are brutal. Exiting WIXB at that moment, she assures him that Les is taking her home.

Across town, Karen opens her door to Eli, Jessie, and Judy while "Joy to the World" plays on her sound system. Karen tells her children how much she's looking forward to their sing-along and urges Judy not to go back out into the blizzard but to stay and have Sam meet her there.

Grace walks Tiffany slowly as Zoe observes, "Oh my God, you're having your baby on Christmas!" Grace retorts, "Oh my God, maybe it'll be like another Messiah!" Zoe answers the ringing phone, and tells the caller, Rick, about the unfolding events. While Rick is talking to Tiffany, her own cell-phone rings and Grace answers. This time Jake is the caller. After listening to him, she reports to Tiffany, "Jake can't find the midwife."

"Jake can't find the midwife?" Zoe echoes. Tiffany assumes that the midwife is stranded at the health-food store where she works, and directs Jake to the store. During these dual conversations, Lily calls Rick to report that she and Les have been in a minor accident, and to ask if he'll pick them up.

Back at Karen's house, Karen acts out a charade amid much excitement and good cheer. Sam arrives, accompanied by his son, Jamie. Introductions are made, Sam introducing Judy to Jamie as "my really cool friend I was telling you about." After Karen convinces them to stay to dinner, Jessie invites Jamie to be on her charades team. Alone in the foyer with Sam, Judy praises Jamie, who returns and tells his dad abruptly, "I need my markers!"

Once Rick and Lily arrive home with Les, Lily hurries to Tiffany, who claims that she's "totally in the early stages." As Lily and Rick lobby her to meet the midwife at the hospital, Tiffany insists upon having the home birth for which she planned. Les confirms that home births are as safe as hospital births, saying that his own daughter had a home birth.

The phone rings again, and this time the caller is Tami, the midwife, who is in Jake's car. She surprises Tiffany by saying, "You've probably been laboring and didn't even know it." Hanging up, Tiffany happily reports to Lily what Tami said, then asks Lily to check her cervix. "I have explicit instructions from Tami," she explains.

"OK!" Lily responds. But behind Tiffany's back, she casts a look of horror at Rick and whispers, "This is not my job!"

Jake drops his date off, apologizing once again. Tami calmly recaps her understanding of the confusing circumstances and relationships. "Just trying to get it all straight," she says to Jake's look of annoyance.

Reclining on Lily's bed, Tiffany awaits the report. Lily pulls back from her examination and clicks off the flashlight. "Okey-dokey!" she says with forced cheerfulness, though she looks wan. Ducking out of the room, Lily calls down to Rick, "Call Jake and have him bring the midwife to our house. We're having a home birth -- here."

Lily times a contraction for Tiffany, who props by the bathroom door clutching Zoe's hand. It is two and a half minutes since the last contraction, and Zoe asks what it feels like. "Kind of like an Indian burn inside you," Tiffany describes. She protests when she sees Lily putting nice sheets on the bed, fearing "epic grossness." "They're just sheets," Lily says soothingly, but a moment later, in the hallway, she tells Rick, "We can't possibly do this in this house!" To Jake on the phone she reports that Tiffany was well-dilated a half hour ago. Jake replies that traffic is at a standstill, with only one road open. "I'm doing the best I can," he says in frustration.

Tami says to Jake, "So that was your ex-wife," and Jake completes the picture, "At my ex-house where my ex-girlfriend is having a baby we were never expecting to have." He adds that he is taking responsibility for the baby and takes good care of his two daughters, and insists that he should not be seen as a villain.

As a delicious ham dinner concludes at Karen's, Jamie knocks over a wineglass, earning a mild reproof from Sam. Eli and Jessie clear the table, then, prompted by a look from Karen, Jessie invites Jamie to help her decorate a gingerbread cookie house. He prefers instead to work on his drawings. When Sam steps out momentarily, Judy sits next to Jamie and admires his artwork.

"Do you have sex with my dad?" Jamie asks bluntly, leaving Judy speechless. Jamie continues, "Are you like his girlfriend?" Judy cautiously answers, "Friends, actually."

"Listen," Jamie says, "he doesn't know what he's doing, and I know he's seeing other people, too." After a pause, Judy offers Jamie a smile which he doesn't see, and rises from her seat.

Grace joins Les in front of the TV, which is airing It's a Wonderful Life. To her query about a tow truck for his car, he responds, "I'll have my assistant deal with it tomorrow." Amused at his reference to her mother, Grace wonders why Les is not with his family. Les explains that he's divorced and he hasn't spoken to his daughter in five years. "I'd talk to her, but she's too big a bitch to pick up the phone," he states so matter-of-factly that Grace has no reply.

Kneeling on the bed upstairs, Tiffany struggles through a contraction. Lily, casting a worried look at Rick, sponges her brow and strokes her back. Catching her breath, Tiffany mentions squatting, and Rick remembers this being helpful with Karen. When the next wave begins, he supports Tiffany from behind, linking his arms through hers as she cries, "Make friends with the paaain!"

Jake and Tami sit surrounded by idling cars. She asks him why he's not marrying Tiffany. He shares the story about how, when his ex-wife was in her 20th hour of labor, he went down to the cafeteria and flirted with a doctor who was on her break, admiring the blouse under her lab coat. "Everybody knows what that means," Jake prompts. "You wanted it off her," Tami concludes. Turning to her, he stresses, "So I'm a bad man, but I'm a good father!"

Tami understands his ambivalence - he can go on dates, then sweep in and be a dad when he wants to, having his "bad" excuse built in when a woman needs something. "Did I make this blizzard?" Jake challenges her. "Did I plan this baby?" "Nope," Tami answers. "You still got to deal with them both, though, don't you?"

Lily gathers some ice from the freezer. Rick enters the kitchen, wearily saying that he should be used to this ordeal, having done it twice already. "You did it," Lily scoffs, adding that she can't imagine how it happened to her twice. Seizing the moment, Rick states with mild sarcasm that he's sure she'd love to go through it again. Lily stops and glares at him. "No. I guess not," she says, exiting the kitchen.

Following, Rick seeks to mollify Lily, but she moves on to Jake's absence. "He's probably stuck in a ditch making out with the midwife," she sneers. Quite agitated, she continues, "Who knows if he'll even be here, he barely showed up for me when I was married to him." At that moment, Tiffany asks from the landing above, "Can I take a bath?" To her chagrin, Lily realizes that Tiffany was within earshot while she was disparaging Jake.

At Karen's, Sam strums the guitar while Jessie monitors Jamie, who is icing the cookie house. Karen and Judy carry plates and pie into the living room. "What's up with Jamie?" Judy asks her friend softly. Hesitating, Karen says it's "a long story." Searching for the right word, Judy says, "He seems really…."

"Really what?" Sam asks from the doorway. Judy recounts her difficult moment with Jamie, and Sam states that "they're all difficult." He explains that his son has been "in and out of special schools, on a boatload of medication," things Judy should know "in case you have a problem with that." Concerned for Jamie and Sam, Judy asks, "Why would that matter?" Sam moves away without answering.

In his motionless car, Jake hammers the steering wheel, yelling, "Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT!" As Tami pleads with him to calm down, he spots a slag truck approaching the intersection ahead. Jake runs to the truck, which stops as Jake pounds on the window. Pressing the driver for help delivering the midwife to his laboring girlfriend, Jake implores, "I have to get to her RIGHT now. Please!" To his relief, the driver agrees to help.

Rick delicately guides Tiffany from the bathroom to the bedroom. Climbing onto the bed, she longs to be at her own home "so I wouldn't have to worry!" Lily props a pillow behind Tiffany's back, assuring her that she doesn't have to worry. "Everything we have is yours," she says comfortingly. Lily then apologizes for what she said about Jake. Tiffany whimpers in agreement, though she misses Jake's presence because "I feel like I can't even make any noise!"

Shocked, Lily tells her to do whatever she needs to do, because she, Lily, is not an expert. "I don't need an expert!" Tiffany lashes out. Lily, silenced, snuggles with Tiffany, whispering, "It's OK." The lights flicker and go off. "Power lines must be down," Rick observes as Tiffany's pitiful cries fill the room.

The bedroom is crowded a short time later as Rick dictates necessities, among which is boiling water to keep washcloths hot. He asks Grace for a pan and more candles, and she observes, "This is like Little House on the Prairie or something." Tiffany, on the edge of the bed and in full-blown transition, snaps at Zoe, who is stroking Tiffany's hair. Rick diverts Zoe as Tiffany warns that she's about to be sick. "Hang on," Lily says as Grace hands over a bowl just in time.

While drying dishes with Judy, Eli cautions Jamie not to place any more candy on the cookie house, fearing the weight on the roof. "It's OK, I know what I'm doing!" Jamie retorts. Strolling to the hallway, Judy overhears an exasperated Sam talking on the phone with Jamie's mother. Judy returns to the kitchen just as Jamie pushes too hard, causing the roof to crumble. Jessie, entering and seeing the destruction, bursts into tears.

Unable to console her daughter, Karen appeals to Eli for help, saying, "Maybe we should just sing." He is unwilling to assist, and replies, "No one wants a sing-along, Mom. No one ever wanted a sing-along." Stung, Karen admits to possibly having too many expectations.

Sam enters and says that Jamie will stay the night with him. He beholds the broken house and pursues Jamie to the living room, where he finds his son angrily tearing gift-wrap from Jessie's new keyboard. Attempting to quiet Jamie, Sam entreats, "It's Christmas! This is not your house, none of this stuff is yours!" "I know that," Jamie replies, fighting back tears.

Lily, kneading Tiffany's lower back, discourages any urge to push. Sweat pours off the kneeling Tiffany, who erupts, "You had perfect babies in your perfect hospital, so you're PERFECT!" Absorbing this tirade, Lily claims, "I had 22 hours of labor with Grace, screaming for drugs, cursing like that girl in The Exorcist. And Zoe - I was just so wiped out I gave up!" Collecting herself and bending close to Tiffany, Lily whispers, "Make you feel better?" "Yeah," Tiffany admits.

Rick adds a log to the fire. Speaking softly, Tiffany recalls, "My mom told this story when she was drunk, about when she had me…and she almost died. And I just thought she was being horrible and mean. She is." Lily moves close and consoles her, "You're not gonna die. You're just having a baby!" Tiffany laughs and cries simultaneously, but a few minutes later, she's pounding a pillow and shouting, "I want to go to the hospital! I can't do it!"

Brandishing a bottle of water, Lily praises her, "You're already doing it! You're doing it beautifully, look at you! Pretty soon you're gonna have a baby--" Tiffany interrupts in agony, "I'm not ready, I don't even like babies!" Hobbling to the other side of the bed, she doubles over, wailing, "Oh God!"

Drawing from her own experience, Lily tells Tiffany, "Your world is about to change in the most incredible way. From the first moment you look into this little baby's eyes, your heart is gonna open in a way you never dreamed possible." Tears well in Tiffany's eyes as Lily concludes, "Just hang on - it won't be much longer."

Downstairs, Grace and Zoe hear a truck rumble to a stop out front. Jake bursts in, followed by Tami. The girls hurry to embrace Jake as Tami asks, "Where is she?" Lingering downstairs briefly, Zoe looks out the window. "Is that a snow plow?" she asks in amazement.

Entering the bedroom, Tami briskly takes charge while Jake kneels by the bed and takes Tiffany's hand. Tami announces that Tiffany will be pushing soon, so she asks that everyone except Jake leave the room. Shutting the door behind her, Lily tiredly drops her head on Rick's chest. The bedroom door reopens, and Tami tells Lily that Tiffany wants her. "Well, get in there!" Rick tells Lily, who, with a small smile, returns to the scene.

Back at Karen's, firelight and candles cast a glow on the living room. Jamie tosses and turns beneath a comforter on the sofa, and Karen distributes additional quilts. Jessie calls Eli back to their Monopoly game, reminding him that he's still in jail.

Taking his seat, Eli looks over at the fitful Jamie as Judy whispers, "I think he's having a hard time." Eli, rolling the die, tells his sister to "move me," then picks up his guitar and goes to sit next to Jamie. "Jamie, dude, you want me to teach you a G-chord?" Eli offers. Jamie sits up with interest, so Eli hands him the pick with instructions to strum as he, Eli, handles the frets. Singing "O Come All Ye Faithful," Eli is joined by Jessie, their voices filling the room with sweet harmony. Karen, Judy, Sam, and Jamie sing along and at the end, everyone cheers. Karen, hands clasped in front of her, gazes at her son with pleasure and pride.

In the bedroom, Tiffany groans and sobs as she pushes from a squat position. Jake supports her from behind, repeating, "Good, good, good!" while Lily blots her forehead. Tami coaches Tiffany, "Good job, the baby's crowning!"

Downstairs, Grace and Zoe play cards by the fire while Les sits nearby. Raising her eyes towards the cries from above, Grace asserts, "I am never having a baby." Just then, a cry of a different nature draws them slowly to their feet - the cry of a newborn baby. Zoe, Grace, and Les stand together, gazes trained upward.

A little while later, Tiffany, relaxing on the bed and stroking her baby's head, makes an observation -- "Another girl for Jake." Cuddling his new daughter, Jake smiles and asks, "What is it, a conspiracy?" Zoe, sitting on the bed next to them, says, "Yep," and Grace, standing, agrees. Lily, Rick, and Les watch from the foot of the bed.

Looking toward Lily, Tiffany asks, "You want to hold her?" "Yeah," Lily smiles with delight, "I would love to!" As Jake hands her the baby, Lily looks at him and murmurs, "Wow."

Grace and Zoe draw close as their mom cradles their new half-sister. Zoe is surprised to see that "they come out with fingernails," and Grace teases, "Your baby's gonna come out with painted fingernails." "Your baby's gonna come out with a copy of War and Peace," Zoe digs back.

Lily turns to look at Rick, and their eyes lock in silent understanding. With a small smile and brief shake of her head, Lily turns back to rock the baby. Zoe reminds everyone that it's time to cut off the goddess-circle string bracelets they've been wearing since Tiffany's baby shower.

Descending the darkened staircase, Lily stops in the foyer when she overhears Les talking on the phone. "We hadn't spoken in a while," he says, "and I just thought I'd call up and say "Merry Christmas!" As Lily smiles at this, the lights flicker and come back on.

On the front step, Rick turns to greet Lily, who steps outside to join him. As they hug one another, Rick whispers, "So." Lily looks up at him and says, "I know."

"No snip-snip?" Rick asks, making the scissors motion. "Guess not," Lily replies. Sighing, he says, "Oh boy." "Or girl," Lily giggles, snuggling close.

"Here's another fine mess you've gotten me into," Rick comments, and Lily looks up to receive his kiss. They embrace as the camera fades back to reveal the word PEACE, the sign centered beneath a second floor window and shining like a beacon on this snowy night.

The End

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