Once and Again...Once Again
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While Jessie, Grace, and Zoe finish breakfast and get ready for school, Lily reminds Grace to take out the recyclables. As Grace lifts the bin, she accidentally tips it, spilling newspapers and magazines onto the floor. Grace is surprised, and amused, to find among them a girlie magazine, which she immediately assumes is Eli's. Lily tries to snatch it away, but Grace holds the magazine out of her reach, only to have it grabbed by Zoe, then Jessie, and finally by Rick. In the face of Lily's disapproval, Grace simpers, "It's not like we haven't seen anything like this before. At least that's honest. It's all the models in the women's magazines that are really pornographic."
Annoyed, Lily takes Rick aside and asks him to remind Eli to be more careful where he leaves his reading matter. "I hate these magazines," she fumes.
"Has anyone ever told you you're beautiful when you're prudish?" Rick teases her.
["Sex? Sex is incredibly...when you're having it. It's usually not enough because you don't make it happen. Who wants to make sex happen?" Lily asks in her interview.] Rick and Lily kiss, he murmuring, "I miss you," and she replying, "We'll have to do something about that." ["It's supposed to just be there because two people are just so incredibly attracted to each other. Right?" Lily continues. Rick tells the camera, "Sex? I'm in favor of it."]
Looking up from the drafting table at his office, Rick leers at Sam and asks, "How was your 'lunch' with Saundra?" Sam answers in kind and goes on to describe a nooner with Saundra in a parking garage, which he smugly calls "a very interesting verbal exchange."
"What if Judy asks me what's up with you?" Rick asks. Sam predicts that Judy won't ask because she isn't feeling very "charitable" toward him lately. "Does it bother you to be a cliché, just separated and running around with girls half your age?" Rick persists. Unfazed, Sam explains, "What I'm doing now feels good, the first thing that's felt good in ten years. I don't know why I have to stop doing it except that it disturbs the universe of every married person I know."
At Booklovers, Judy sneaks up behind Karen, who's browsing in the erotica section, and teases her about being interested in the merchandise. [In black and white, Karen says that in the beginning of her marriage, Rick accused her of being less interested in sex than he was. Actually, she insists, she was just less comfortable. Later, when she was more interested, he was less so.] "Leo would like this," Karen says wistfully. Judy misinterprets this comment as an update on Karen's love life, but Karen is forced to admit that she hasn't seen Leo in over a year.
[Philosophically, Karen says, "The more you have, the more you want, the less you have, the less...you think about it." Judy confesses, "I'm like a guy about sex. Like if a certain amount of time goes by without it, I start to go crazy."] Judy proposes that she and Karen go to a place she knows about. When Karen hesitates, Judy insists that it's a respectable place, not a crack house. "We'll stop at the crack house on the way home," she jokes.
[Jessie admits, "Kids talk about sex all the time, but truthfully, I still think it's kind of gross."]
In front of her locker at school, Jessie is approached by Tad. A girl whom he introduces as Katie joins them. Katie is pleased to meet Jessie, calling her "incredible" at the last play rehearsal and saying that she should sing with a band. With Katie prompting him, Tad invites Jessie to a party at Katie's home on Saturday. As they leave, Katie jumps on Tad, riding him piggyback. Jessie watches them uncomfortably.
While Rick and Sam browse at a newsstand, Rick probes for more information about Saundra, who, according to Sam, was the aggressor. "I sure would like to be seduced like that," Rick comments, surprising Sam, who assumes that marriage = satisfactory sex life.
Rick shrugs. "You move in, you have all these kids--"
"You get married," Sam adds. When Rick says that marriage has nothing to do with it, Sam responds with a hacking horselaugh. He scoffs that if Rick wants "pornography" like details of his date with Saundra, he should look through the magazines in front of them.
They see Judy at the newsstand, and Sam moves closer. He excuses himself for not calling by reminding her that he's not supposed to, then asks, "How are you?"
"Tired of answering that question," she replies.
"I'm not tired of asking it," he tells her. After much stammering, Sam says he thinks about her a lot and asks if they can see each other in some "middle ground."
"I don't know what you mean," Judy says.
Sam reminds her that they're still friends, "who are--unfortunately--very, very attracted to each other." Judy promises to think about his request. He says he'll call her, "and I'll make sure you're not home, so you can decide whether you want to call me back." They go their separate ways.
["Fantasies?" Rick says in confusion. "Geez, well, I fantasize about Lily. I do!"] From bed, Rick watches Lily in the bathroom. ["It started when we were first dating, and she decided to stop seeing me. Apparently I can only fantasize about women I can't have," he sighs.]
Lily crawls into bed, complaining that she's tired and wondering if that means something is wrong with her. Rick initiates foreplay, which Lily interrupts when she springs out of bed, exclaiming that she forgot to call the mother of a friend of Zoe's. She rummages through her desk for the phone number, then gives up and falls back into bed. [Rick articulates his fantasy: Lily is wearing only a shirt, "with a look on her face like she's going to change my world, turn it upside down, and all I have to do is sit back and enjoy it."] With a huge yawn, she says she should join a gym because she's been so tired lately. Rick tries vainly to pick up where he left off; Lily sees his disappointment and apologizes, but clearly is not receptive. Rick gallantly lies that he doesn't mind, but as he clicks off the light, his frustration is unmistakable.
In the morning, when Eli enters the dinette, Grace and Jessie promptly start teasing him about his choice of reading matter and wave the discarded girlie magazine at him. When Eli and the girls leave the kitchen, Lily berates Rick, "I thought you were going to talk to him!"
"I am not going to make this boy feel guilty about his sexuality!" Rick answers defensively.
Lily complains that it's strange having magazines like that in her house. "Does he understand that real girls don't look like the ones in the magazines?" she asks Rick, who replies, "Of course he does!"
"Do you?" she persists. "Sometimes," he answers, smirking.
She accuses him of buying the magazines himself, but at the same time, trying to be a good sport, she adds that she wouldn't be upset if he did. Denying that he bought it, Rick assures her, "You are more than enough for me, thank you very much," and for emphasis swats her playfully on the rear with the magazine as he leaves the kitchen.
Sam drops in on Judy at her apartment, bringing lunch--a bag of sandwiches. She invites him in and they dive into food and conversation. While flicking crumbs off her face, he tries to move closer and kiss her, but she draws back. "You have to let me kiss you!" he pleads. "The energy spent to not kiss you would be very, very debilitating." Judy doesn't succumb, pointing out that if she kisses him, she won't be able to stop.
At school, Jessie is in French language lab when she's interrupted by Katie, who tells her that Tad really likes Jessie, then asks, "Do you feel like you fit anywhere in this school?" Jessie says she definitely doesn't--not like Katie, who talks to a hundred people every day. "A hundred people talk to me every day," Katie corrects her. Their conversation is interrupted when the teacher reprimands Katie for disturbing Jessie, and Katie excuses herself and leaves.
At Booklovers, Judy is pinning photos to the singles' bulletin board when Lily appears from the other side. She asks Judy when she added the erotica section, and compliments her on it. "I need to embrace my inner pornographer," she declares. "Do you think men secretly want us to be like the women in the pictures they look at?"
"Half of them would die of fright if we were," Judy scoffs.
["Fantasies?" Lily laughs self-consciously. She starts to describe a fantasy about a man on an airplane, but is too embarrassed to finish it.]
Lily confides to Judy that she and Rick are having sexual difficulties: "When you're dating, you see each other only three days a week, you pretty much know when you're going to have sex. And when you move in together, all of a sudden there is all this stuff you have to figure out. Like when are you going to have sex, who initiates it, what happens if one person wants it and the other one doesn't...."
She explains that the night before, she and Rick were supposed to have sex, but she "forgot." "I really think I was avoiding it, but I'm not sure why," she admits. In response to a question from Judy, Lily denies that she was mad at him. "I want something from him, some energy that takes me out of all the life stuff, and it feels like I'm always the one who has to make it happen," she says, and complains that as things are now, she's reminded of her sex life with Jake.
"Well, tomorrow's always another night," Judy suggests lamely.
That night, Rick is again reading his book when Lily crawls into bed with him. She nuzzles him and coos that she loves his profile, but his response to this come-on is to ask for a few seconds to finish the chapter he's reading. Once he closes the book, she suddenly declares that she's too tired and turns away from him. Defeated, Rick picks up the book again.
Next day in their office, Rick asks Sam if he's seeing Judy. "Not in the Biblical sense," Sam answers. He picks up on Rick's dissatisfaction with his own sex life and theorizes that since Rick is now married to Lily, the thrill of the chase is gone. Rick insists that he does still want Lily, but that he isn't sure if she wants him, or if they want the same things. "Now which wife of Rick's does that remind me of?" Sam snickers.
On Saturday night, Karen is in her bedroom, dressing for her night out with Judy. Jessie walks in and is surprised to see her staid mother wearing a see-through blouse. Meanwhile, Rick and Lily, watching a movie on their living-room TV, realize that they have their house to themselves. She suggests they do "something really illicit."
Judy and Karen go to a singles bar, where they meet Stephen, a man about about their age. He's immediately attracted to Karen, but irked that whenever he asks her a question, Judy answers. "Does your friend speak, or does she have a medical condition?" he finally asks, shaming Karen into saying, "I can speak." Stephen buys a round of martinis.
Rick and Lily watch Legends of the Fall on the downstairs TV, Rick with his arm around Lily, she snuggled tightly against him. Rick suggests they go upstairs--because, he complains good-naturedly, Lily is cutting off his circulation--and he tries to tickle her. To his dismay, Lily seems offended and turns cool.
During Katie's party, Jessie is surprised and uneasy to find herself alone with Tad, who clumsily tries to pin her down on the sofa and kiss her. She doesn't enjoy the kiss, and before Tad can try again, Katie interrupts them and invites Jessie to come with her and some other kids to get some food. Jessie accepts with relief. "Tad, why don't you get a life while we're gone," Katie taunts him.
With Judy's blessing, Karen leaves the bar with Stephen. Judy is alone for only a few seconds before she notices Sam at the bar and seats herself on an adjoining stool. Insisting that she has to get home, Karen tries to say good-night to Stephen, but he suggests that they go for coffee and that she get home a half hour later. He calls her "absolutely the most beautiful public interest lawyer in Chicago" and kisses her. Later, at the same moment that Rick is snuggling beside Lily in their bed, Karen looks around Stephen's bedroom, and at Stephen asleep next to her in his bed, as if unable to believe what she has just done. Silently she gets dressed and slips out the back door. As she's latching it behind her, the sound of a car horn makes her jump as if she's been caught in the act.
Again feeling that Lily is unresponsive, Rick pushes himself away from her. "It doesn't have to be a goal," she reminds him. "Would you prefer I not pay attention to you?" he asks testily. "You're not paying attention to me now, you're worried about the outcome," she tells him.
"I can't do anything right, can I?" he grumbles.
"I just want to be with you," she reminds him.
"So be with me, I'm right here," he insists, but Lily tells him he's not there, he's a million miles away. Hurt, Rick asks her what she's complaining about. "I'm not complaining, you're the one who stopped. Do you have to make everything so complicated?" she demands, leaving Rick baffled.
Judy and Sam are in her apartment when she says, "A Wrinkle in Time." Sam quips that he used to think the book so titled was about Einstein falling asleep in his clothes. He asks if it's permissible to talk all night like this. "I think it's kind of remarkable," Judy replies.
Lily, who has dozed off, awakens to see Rick's side of the bed empty. She goes to the head of the stairs and sees him in the living room, slumped in front of the television, which is tuned to an all-news channel.
In the morning, over breakfast, Sam and Judy marvel that all they did the night before was talk. Sam feeds Judy a bagel as he sums up the state of their relationship: they aren't ready to be together because he's an immature, bad person; they can't be apart, so they have to continue to be friends; for how long, they don't know. "You have to let me kiss you, though," Sam pleads in vain to Judy, who again fends him off.
In the morning Karen sleeps until Jessie wakes her up at 11:00 a. m. After recovering from her surprise at the late hour, she asks Jessie if she had a good time the night before. "I guess," Jessie replies. Karen misinterprets her lack of enthusiasm and becomes alarmed, but Jessie curtly explains that Tad kissed her. Still concerned, Karen starts to say that Jessie shouldn't let anyone pressure her into doing anything she doesn't want, but Jessie reminds her that she's been hearing that in school since third grade. What troubles her is not Tad's kiss, but her revulsion. "I'm supposed to want to, aren't I?" she asks.
"I think you want to when you're ready," Karen tells her, but Jessie isn't consoled. "What if I'm never ready? Am I a freak?" she wonders plaintively.
Hugging her, Karen assures her daughter, "If you're a freak, I'm really worried about the rest of the world." Satisfied, Jessie asks her mother how her night was. "Boring," Karen replies.
"Did you meet anyone?" Jessie asks. "Nobody who was worth bringing home to you," Karen answers tearfully, hugging Jessie again.
Next day at school, Jessie sees Katie, who says Tad is looking for her so that he can apologize. "Guys are so weird. They strut around like they're so tough, but half the time they're just chickens," Katie says dismissively. She tells Jessie that she put Tad up to inviting Jessie to the party. When Jessie says she shouldn't have, Katie explains, "I knew you liked him. That was enough."
That evening, Rick asks Eli if he buys "men's" magazines. "Yeah, do you want to borrow one?" Eli asks matter-of-factly. Flustered, Rick shakes his head, reminding Eli that Lily found one in the recycling, and asking him to hide them better.
From Eli's room, Rick goes into the darkened living room, where Lily tells him to come closer. When he's seated facing her, she says emphatically, "I love having sex with you, I do--from the very first time we were ever together. I get so scared when I feel you pulling away from me."
"When you feel me pull away from you?" Rick asks incredulously. "You pulled away from me. I come to bed, it's like you don't even see me."
"Is there something you're not getting?" Lily asks; "Is there something you're not getting?" Rick counters.
They confess that they have fantasies, and Lily coyly offers, "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours."
"I sometimes feel like I need you to make it happen," Rick says. "It doesn't matter what you wear--well, sometimes it matters. To have thought of it before, to walk into the room with a certain look on your face. That you know you're the sexiest woman on earth, that you're going to treat me like a king--like a naughty king."
"That's what I want!" Lily exclaims, laughing. "Well, not the king part. I want you to sweep me off my feet with those incredibly sexy arms of yours."
"I can do that," he promises. Having finally cleared the air, they kiss until Rick draws back. "Isn't there a problem if we both want the other to make it happen?" he worries.
"I guess we'll just have to make a schedule. But I think you should make it happen first," she smiles slyly.
Rick immediately scoops Lily up in his arms and as she squeals in delight, he carries her up the stairs.
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