Jack Catches Delia Eavesdropping at the Ryans'
(December 1976)

(Jack, who is recuperating from his car accident at the Ryans' because he is broke from all of the medical bills, is in his and Mary's room, trying to read the newspaper, when he overhears Maeve and Pat arguing.)

PAT: "Ryans take care of their own." Now, I've heard that ever since I can remember. All I'm saying right now is that Delia is one of our own; that this family has a responsibility to her! Am I the only one who cares about it?

MAEVE: Darlin, don't you think that I love her too? Haven't I practically raised her as one of my own?

PAT: Alright, then you agree that something's gotta be done?

(We see that Delia is eavesdropping in the hallway, pleased that Paddy is coming to her defense.)

MAEVE: No I do not! I think any more doing for Delia or about Delia is only gonna harm her. That is half the reason she is the way she is!

PAT: I am well aware of Delia's faults, and I know as well as anyone the kind of trouble she's caused...

MAEVE: And is still causing! I'm sorry to say, but she has this place in an uproar half the time!

(We go back to Jack's room, where he is listening too.)

MAEVE: I mean, think of the night that Jack came home, when he was trying to settle down.

PAT: Does that mean that you would like it if she ran away with Roger? Because that's what's gonna happen; she's just desperate enough!

(We cut back to Dee grinning.)

MAEVE: I do not believe she is serious about that; it's just one of her fantasies.

PAT: That's what I mean. That's the trouble. She says nobody takes her seriously, and she's right.

MAEVE: Patrick, you are wrong! I think better of Delia than that! Troublesome as she is, I do not believe, when it comes down to the moment, that she could leave her baby!

PAT: The court gave you and Da custody of Little John. Don't you see? Delia takes that as a final rejection. She's reaching out to Roger because that's all she's got left.

MAEVE: Delia's not stupid, son. (puts her hand on his cheek) She knows if she runs off now that she's never going to get her baby back.

(All of a sudden, Frank comes in the door.)

FRANK: (oblivious to the fact that he is interrupting something) Oh, good, I'm glad you're both here.

PAT: Frank, great, now we've got to settle this. I am trying to make somebody in this family see what danger Delia's in!

FRANK: Oh, now she's got you convinced of that, huh?

PAT: She's serious, dammit!

MAEVE: He thinks she's gonna run off with Roger.

FRANK: Look, I wouldn't want to see Dee do something - anything - as dumb. But we can't stop her. Don't you understand that? It's her life. I don't have the right to stop her.

PAT: Yeah, it's also your son's life! Now, she may be over-emotional, but she said one thing at that hearing that made a lot of sense: If she goes away, Little John is gonna know it.

(We go back to Dee, still looking satisfied.)

MAEVE: That's true enough. I mean, it would be bad for the babe.

FRANK: I guess, but I'm not so sure her current state of mind is so healthy for him, either!

(Delia rolls her eyes.)

PAT: This family is responsible for her current state of mind! We've taken away every support she's got!

(Delia grins.)

MAEVE: Patrick, that is utter nonsense!

PAT: How come I'm the only one who's willing to stop her? I'm not going to let this happen!

(The camera cuts back to Jack's room, where he is still listening.)

FRANK: Pat, why do you always insist on taking responsibility for Delia?

(Jack decides to move out into the hall, presumably so he can hear more clearly. Delia has her back to him, such that he can see her eavesdropping, but she does not see him.)

PAT: Because nobody else will.

FRANK: Doesn't it occur to you that, if let alone, Delia might finally become responsibility for herself?

PAT: Would you just forget about Dee for a minute? I'm also very much concerned about my nephew - your son - and I'm gonna do everything I can, if you won't, to make sure that his mother remains a part of his life! Delia is not gonna go anywhere with Roger - not if I can help it!

(At that, Delia starts jumping up and down triumphantly and silently claps her hands together. Meanwhile, Jack is watching her intently with a kind of morbid curiosity.)

FRANK: Oh yeah? How are you gonna stop her?

PAT: I don't know, but I'm not gonna let this family abandon her!

(Delia happens to turn around and sees Jack. Her face drops.)

FRANK: Oh, I love that one! That's really good! Delia leaves the child here, runs off to Europe with Roger, and that constitutes our abandoning her!

PAT: Look, she just doesn't know what she's doing!

FRANK: Oh, I wouldn't place any bets on that one, buddy!

MAEVE: The both of you are making my head spin! Now, just stop!

(Delia walks towards Jack.)

DELIA: Jack, what are you doing?

JACK: I was just sitting here, wondering what the hell you think you're doing.

DELIA: Uhmm...I was going by, and I heard my name mentioned.

JACK: It doesn't take long to say "Delia." It must have been more interesting than that.

DELIA: Jack Fenelli, how dare you spy on me!

JACK: Looks to me like you're doing a little spying yourself.

(At this point, the voices coming from the other room have devolved into the screaming match, so one cannot make out what exactly is being said.)

PAT: I don't know, all I know is, if Delia goes to Europe with Roger...

(Delia closes the door.)

DELIA: Okay, Jack, I'm gonna level with you. I was listening because all of them were there - Maeve and Frank and Pat - and they were making plans for my baby, and I really wanted to hear what they had to say.

JACK: Yeah, well, since he's your kid, why didn't you just walk right in and ask?

DELIA: Oh no, you don't understand, you see, they don't think I'm a very good mother. The judge gave Maeve and Johnny custody of Little John, so they don't want to listen to anything I have to say. (kneels down by his wheelchair) Jack, please don't tell anyone! It's only gonna make everything worse.

JACK: Worse? How?

DELIA: You haven't been in this family very long.

JACK: Long enough.

DELIA: Okay, well, then, you've been here long enough to, uh, know about the Ryans. You know, they like to take over, and how they want everybody to do exactly what they want them to do, and they make people feel guilty if they don't?

(The look on his face shows she has hit close to home.)

DELIA: All they really care about are those people who are related by blood.

JACK: That's a little strong...maybe not so inaccurate.

DELIA: (smiles) Oh, good, you do understand. You see, I knew you weren't like the rest of them. You won't say anything, will you? Jack, please don't! Please? Look, I promise you, I'll do something for you, someday. Really. I need your help.

JACK: Delia, I don't have any energy to spare for getting involved in Ryan household intrigue, so it's not likely I gonna volunteer any information.

DELIA: (gets up, smiling) God bless you, Jack Fenelli! I knew I could count on you!

JACK: On the other hand, I don't see any reason not to answer. I mean, if somebody should ask.

DELIA: (desperate) Nobody should ask! I mean, why should they?

JACK: (sarcastically) Yeah, why should they?

DELIA: (smiles) Jack, I really appreciate this so much! You know, it's really very, very nice to have you here. I think that you're the only other person here who's not a Ryan. (grins)

JACK: You know, you really are some amazing lady. I'm just beginning to see why you've had the Ryan boys in such a stew for all of these years.


JACK: There's one thing I don't understand.

DELIA: (smiles) Huh?

JACK: Why is it I have the distinct impression that you're trying to get away with something?

DELIA: Jack, I don't know what you mean.

(At this point, Mary walks in, clearly a bit taken aback to see Delia there.)

DELIA: Oh, hi, Mary. Mary, you know, I heard all of you singing and having so much fun down there and I thought to myself, "Gee, Jack must be very lonely! I should come visit him."

MARY: (sarcastically) Aww, that was sweet of you, Dee.

(Delia leans in close to Jack and smiles.)

DELIA: (seductively) Bye, Jack!

(She walks out of the room, thoroughly enjoying Mary's jealousy. Mary closes the door behind her.)

JACK: Absolutely incredible.

MARY: Isn't she?

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