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Summary of Suspicion

by Sue Kaliski
edited by Angela Stockton

In front of Lily's television, Rick screams with pleasure as the Blackhawks score a goal. Lily likens this eruption to a man having sex, and tosses a popcorn kernel at Rick's head. Playfully wrestling and nuzzling on the sofa, they remind each other that they have work to do.

Rick inquires about Christie and Graham at pagesAlive. Lily describes the contortions her boss goes through fearing Graham may be right about something, while Graham tries to keep his cool. "You know us guys," says Rick, "It's all about cool." As Lily insists that he and Graham have nothing in common, Rick notes, "We both like you." He has to leave, so Lily grabs him for a kiss, then gently boots him toward the door.

In her bedroom, Jessie collapses across the bed as Karen, seated on the floor, says, "I can't say you look beautiful, which you do, because as your mother I have zero credibility." At issue is the stylish black dress Jessie wears, purchased for a party that Saturday night. However, Jessie has changed her mind about going with a group of girls; she has changed her mind about going, period, and Karen longs to understand.

Leo enters and jumps back "agog," telling Jessie, "You are gonna break some serious hearts." She informs him that she's not going, and is hopeful about going to a game with him instead.

Karen bemoans her daughter's lack of self-confidence, then fusses as Leo nuzzles her neck. Her squirming reminds him of her rule, "No sex when the kids are home!" Karen reminds him that she will not change or "liberate" herself. Leo tells her tenderly, "It's just that you're so incredibly beautiful."

Christie presents to Graham her newest idea for a pagesAlive revenue stream -- a restaurant review writing contest, a way to lure people into the restaurants they advertise. At first skeptical, Graham begins to warm to the idea just as Christie is needed by a harried Gwen. Left alone with Lily, Graham marvels that this indirect approach works. After all, the contest idea was his and he filtered it through Lily to Christie, who adopted it as her own. Lily is uncomfortable with this tactic, even though she calls it lying for a good cause.

Christie returns and Graham observes what a good team she and Lily are. He gives a thumbs-up to the idea, and exits. "That which does not kill me makes me strong," Christie intones. Lily suggests that Graham is only interested in getting pagesAlive on its feet. Now the skeptical one, Christie disagrees.

At BookLovers, Karen arrives and greets Judy. She apologizes for using the store as an "assignation," but Judy looks forward to meeting Leo. Reading the doubts on Karen's face, she offers a friendly ear. Karen feels the relationship is just existing rather than building to something. She cannot start over, not with Leo. "What's a person to do when her biological usefulness is over?" she wonders.

"Relax and enjoy it," Judy teases.

Leo enters and introductions are made. As Judy shoos them out for their lunch date, Karen suddenly remembers that she has to work late but has also promised to take Jessie to the library to work on her pyramids project. Leo offers to take Jessie instead.

Back at pagesAlive, Graham finds Lily making coffee. More adept at this, he takes over. Lily will be working late to catch up, though Graham assumed she would be with "the boyfriend." Also busy, says Lily, needing some distance between herself and Graham. As she hears him say he'll be there quite late, she asks if they're in more trouble than she thought. Rather, Graham notes that he has "no discernible personal life at the moment."

He reveals that his fiancée broke up with him two months ago, and Lily is quite surprised and solicitous. "I hope it works out for you, whatever that ends up meaning," she offers. Graham thanks her and, approaching, speaks of this as a chance to look at his life and connect with new people. "It could be good, actually," he says pointedly. "You never know," Lily attempts wisdom. Finding his gaze uncomfortable, she excuses herself but Graham moves off first. Lily is left wondering.

The next morning, Lily arrives at BookLovers bearing muffins for herself and Judy. As they nibble, Judy asks how things are going in the "war zone," how that "cute corporate guy" is doing. Somewhat coquettishly, Lily says he is not her type and, besides, he knows about Rick. Nevertheless, she thinks she may be returning his flirtations just a bit.

Judy enjoys the fact that Lily is learning about "work perks," those much-needed distractions from work. While they don't mean anything, they give you "someone to dress up for." Lily wants to know that Graham won't want something inappropriate. Judy notes that he may want it, but won't act on it. Lily concludes -- if she's flattered by this guy, that doesn't mean she's a....

"Slut?" Judy finishes. "Only in a Jane Austen kind of way." Lily smiles and says, "Thanks, I think."

At Karen's that morning, Jessie bustles around talking pyramids as Leo cooks breakfast. When he wags some bacon in her face, Jessie is completely grossed out. She confirms their library date of 5:00 p.m., and is reminded of something her dad once said: "The reason men erected buildings was to get closer to God." Leo observes, "That's something only an incredible dad would say."

At her desk, Lily smiles a greeting at Graham, wondering how late he worked the night before. As they chat, Christie watches from her office. She joins them, reminding Lily about the restaurant review project. Gwen hurries over again for Christie, who reluctantly leaves the scene.

Graham perches on Lily's desk, seeking her help with the advice column. She reminds him that she gets in trouble for this, but he continues to press for one idea. Whispering, Lily posits, "What if the person giving advice was a dog?" Graham ponders this and, with excitement, concludes that it's the best idea he's ever heard, saying, "Who else but a dog could so poetically reveal our human foibles, our ridiculous mating and courtship rituals?" As Lily answers the phone, Graham leans over and kisses her on the forehead. Watching in shock as he walks away, Lily hasn't heard Rick on the line. She lamely tries to converse, and finally hears his invitation to dinner the next night. "That's very all right," Lily assures him.

Karen tries to read in bed that evening. At 10:15, she hears giggles, some thumps and an "Oww!" Turning the light on downstairs, she finds Jessie and Leo just getting home. Jessie, wired from a caffeinated beverage, dances and prances and shows her mom all the great books they got at the library. When Karen sends her off to bed, Jessie happily departs. Leo, feeling guilty, spells it out: school night = instant doom. Seeing Karen's concern, he apologizes.

At pagesAlive late the next day, Christie departs for business drinks. Lily prepares to leave, but first walks into Graham's office. He offers her a seat but she stands her ground, declaring, "Before we do or say anything, we need to talk." She needs to establish that they're co-workers, nothing more. Graham professes to understand that he shouldn't take liberties just because he likes her ideas. Lily admonishes him for kissing her on the forehead, saying this made her feel "very weird." When he apologizes for not acting in a professional manner, she ventures to say that they don't have a problem. Turning to leave, she hears him reply, "There is a problem."

He walks toward her, saying with urgency, "I care about you!" While acknowledging that this could be self-destructive, he adds, "You're like an eclipse, I can't not look at you!" He says that he saw something in her eyes, too, and clasps her hand for emphasis. Lily is frozen in shock.

At that moment, Rick enters behind them. Noticing their hands, Rick apologizes for interrupting. Lily insists there's no interruption, and makes introductions. Rick offers to wait in the foyer, where Lily catches up to him. He apologizes for being early, but Lily assures him that she's ready and goes to fetch her purse. From her desk, she sees Rick and Graham almost bump into each other. Lily pauses, quite uneasy.

At dinner, Rick speaks of the Atlantor construction drama, such as "pouring a mountain of concrete" delivered from three states. Lily tries to mask her preoccupation until, over coffee, Rick gently inquires, "Is there anything I should know...about Graham?" Feigning surprise, Lily assures Rick that there's nothing -- Graham has the energy of a puppy, but "he's not threatening," Rick continues, "because he knows you're mine." Lily smiles softly, "My little caveman."

Light streams into Karen's bedroom on Thursday morning. Waking with a start, she fears the kids are home, but Leo assures her they are alone. To ease her mind, he slowly disappears beneath the covers, dropping kisses as he goes. Karen protests, so Leo surfaces and tenderly begins on her back. She is powerless to stop him.

At the coffee shop, Judy hears Lily's "eclipse" story. "He basically told me he's obsessed with me, Judy!" Lily assumes responsibility because she "flirted incorrectly." Judy asks Lily why she's worried, since Graham didn't try to kiss her. Agitated, Lily believes she led him on. "I didn't mean to!" Trying to be reassuring, Judy advises Lily, "Talk to Christie girl-to-girl. She'll understand."

At Sammler & Cassilli, David teases his partner about Lily and Graham "getting it on." When Rick emphatically denies this, David reminds him that "work is sexy," and even Rick should know this. David dismisses all the "p.c. crap" about how to act at work, and speculates that even if Lily weren't having sex with Graham, maybe she'd like to. Rick slams down the copier cover, narrowly missing David's fingers.

At pagesAlive, Lily knocks on Christie's door and discovers her boss stretched out on a floor mat. As she practices deep yogic breathing, Christie murmurs that she's never before been totally relaxed. Lily begins carefully, but soon blurts out, "Graham is hitting on me." Christie sits bolt upright, and hears Lily talk about her need to confront him, to tell him to stop. All business, Christie claims this is a bad idea. She says that this happens a lot in an office situation, and Lily should simply "deal."

"Have I gone down the rabbit hole?" Lily asks in disbelief. Christie reminds her that Graham Rympalski is the "magazine's last best hope," and if he leaves, the venture capitalists won't continue to fund pagesAlive. "There's nothing I will do to jeopardize this magazine. Do you understand me?" Christie asks, driving her point home. Disgust coloring her face, Lily walks out.

Loaded with groceries, Karen unlocks her front door and Jessie slips inside. They carry the bags to the kitchen and begin unpacking. Jessie is excited about going to the museum with Leo, and Karen hopes they have fun. "Are you kidding?" her daughter asks. "Does Leo ever not have fun?" It's like she's in a movie when she's with him, "everything is bigger and more exciting." She imagines that's why her mom likes him, too. Smiling, Karen presses a cup of yogurt on Jessie, who turns away in revulsion. After her mom leaves, Jessie puts the yogurt back into the refrigerator.

There is nothing in the Mannings' refrigerator that evening to interest Grace and Zoe. Lily arrives home with pizza, their recent "staple crop," according to Grace. Lily is in no mood for snide remarks, and the sudden doorbell startles her. It happens to be Rick, bringing a bottle of red wine. "Is this a good year for 'I'm sorry I've been so busy'?" he asks.

To her comment that she's glad he came, Rick admits he imagines that things are wrong between them when they don't get to talk. Lily's strain is evident, but she attributes it to "office stuff." Understanding, Rick walks over for a kiss. As he tries to determine what's bothering her, she cuts him off, saying, "Don't try to fix everything. I'm fine." Rick knows this is not true.

Arriving home that night, Karen is startled to find Jessie alone in the dark living room. She asks if Jessie had a good time with Leo. "He never came," her daughter says, near tears, and adds that he also didn't call.

Jessie excuses Leo, saying that he probably forgot, and starts to leave. She turns back to tell her mother that it was about true north, meaning the pyramids: "They think they used two stars when they built them, to align them with true north, because that was the one thing that was constant, to guide them." At that moment, Leo bursts in, breathless and contrite, explaining that one of his patients had a bad reaction to his medicine, and wound up in the ER. Jessie quietly tells him it's okay, and exits.

Leo feels terrible, but hopes Jessie understands. Karen claims that she does understand that people let you down, but to not even call? "It's not just about you," she pleads. "I have children who need..." "Parents?" injects Leo. "They do have parents!" He's trying very hard, but doesn't know what else he can do. They face each other, sensing the futility.

Christie wraps up a meeting in Graham's office late the next day. After the staff adjourns, Lily collects some papers from the floor and Graham kneels down to help. When he wants to talk about what happened, Lily urges moving on. She knows what it's like to say things without thinking, things that don't mean anything. "Except when it does," Graham breathes. Staring at him, Lily slowly stands as he continues, "I meant it! I can't wish it away." He claims he doesn't want to make it her problem, but Lily rebukes him, "You're kind of making it my problem."

Graham hopes that working closely together will make her more comfortable with this, and he's willing to give it time. Needing to pick up her girls, Lily firmly states that they can talk again. Graham catches her as she moves past and kisses her on the mouth. "Damn!" Lily exclaims, wrenching free. "What are you doing!?" She brushes past him in fury and, grabbing her coat, hurries to the foyer, where she frantically presses the elevator button. Tearfully, Lily rubs the back of her hand over her mouth as the elevator door closes.

When the 6:30 alarm sounds the next morning, Lily shuts it off and pushes the clock away. Some time later, Zoe and Grace come in wondering if their mom is sick. "I may be," says Lily, hoping they can get themselves ready. Zoe crawls over on the bed to offer sympathy.

[Lily addresses the camera: "There's raising children and then there's raising girls. And if I ever dare to imagine anything happening to them, where a man tries to...." Upset, she has to collect herself before continuing, "More than anything, I want them to be strong."]

When Zoe offers to keep her company, Lily says she just has to figure some things out. She dials the office and leaves a message for Christie, that she may be coming down with some sort of flu.

Later that day, Karen types in the kitchen while Jessie works in the living room. When Leo pesters her with a Nerf ball, Jessie takes her books elsewhere, flinging a pillow at him as she leaves.

He walks in to check on Karen, and as he massages her shoulders, Karen quietly wonders what they are really doing with each other. This, to Karen, is "the kind of question everyone asks sooner or later." Leo, not happy with this turn, denies that they both knew it couldn't last. He pleads with her not to hold his youth against him: "It's like me using your children against you!" "I love that you're young," Karen insists. "You've made me feel young." But she adds that he needs to think about his own life; he'll want his own family some day. "I thought I was thinking about my own life, with you. I'm going to fight you on this," Leo promises.

Karen tearfully reminds him how much Jessie cares for him, how this will rip her apart. "What, ending this?" Leo shouts. Choking up, he grabs his head, "I can't believe this... I love you!" Equally pained, Karen says that she could keep it going "if it were just me, but it's not." After that moment of realization, Leo shakily says that he'll get his things later. He wants to talk to Eli and Jessie, not just disappear. Wiping her tears, Karen appreciates this. Leo searches her face. "Just know that...I love you." He kisses her gently and leaves.

When he sees Lily arrive at his office, Rick excuses himself from a meeting. Lily admits right away that he hasn't been imagining things, something is very wrong -- a work situation. She will, however, deal with it. "Are you gonna tell me or torture me?" Rick prods. Taking a deep breath, she says, "Graham has been making my life very difficult. I feel so humiliated."

She has to restrain Rick from going to smash Graham's face in. "You can't just expect me to do nothing!" he says fiercely. "Yes I do!" replies Lily, "Trust me to handle this." Taking his face in her hands, she earnestly pleads, "I just need to know that you love me." With painful ardor, Rick says, "You have no idea how much I love you."

Lily purposefully interrupts Christie's staff meeting and tells her she's needed, now. Preceding her boss into Graham's office, she announces that she has something to tell him, and wants Christie to hear as well. Christie moves to Graham's side. Looking at him directly, Lily begins, "You have been making it impossible for me to do my job, and it's unacceptable for you to do that!" Graham replies, "I find this ludicrous," and Christie echoes, "So do I." "SO DO I!!" Lily shouts.

Graham wonders what she hopes to accomplish from this. "How about restoring my dignity?" Lily retorts. Christie cautions her about saying something she'll regret, but Lily replies, "I want to say something that I will never regret!" Turning back to Graham, she continues, with teeth clenched, "If you ever touch me inappropriately again, or harass me, or in any way make it impossible to perform my job, I will sue you and have your ass fired!" With a pointed glance at Christie, she concludes, "No matter what happens to this magazine!"

Returning to her desk, Lily covers her face with her hands and takes a trembling breath. Casting an eye back toward the office, she begins to catch up on her work.

The End

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