Jill Tells Frank That He Is
Edmond's Father (January 1978)
(Frank comes into his office. Jill is in the inner office, nervously reading a paper. She stops suddenly when she hears him come into the waiting area.)
JILL: No. (walks through the doorway to where Frank is) It's me. I'm sorry to come by so late.
FRANK: Oh, uh, that's okay. Is there anything wrong?
JILL: (nods) Uh, yeah. You're not expecting anybody, are you?
(They go into Frank's office.)
JILL: Well that's good, because I need to talk to you. It's terribly important.
FRANK: It must be important for you to come over here in the middle of the night.
JILL: Well, I called Georgia and she said she was just finishing up and she expected you and I let myself in.
FRANK: (smiles) Ah, the key's still left in the fire extinguisher above the hall.
JILL: (laughs) I wonder if there's anybody left in Riverside who doesn't know that.
FRANK: Oh, what's to steal in here? Though, Georgia mentions to me every other day that her typewriter qualifies as an antique.
JILL: (noticing his tuxedo) Was it an important evening?
FRANK: Gracie Mansion.
JILL: Really? (he nods) The mayor's reception?
FRANK: Rae Woodard was asked to speak for Bill, but under the circumstances she asked that I step in for her.
JILL: How did it go?
FRANK: I think it went well. I didn't speak very long - five minutes or so - and I kept it pretty much to Bill and offered Rae's continued support for the city under the new administration...general stuff. But, the response was pretty big. I'm sure it was because everyone in that room was fairly close to Bill Woodard. At least half of them had been at the funeral.
JILL: Was Rae Woodard there?
JILL: Well, you look terrific in your evening suit.
FRANK: (smiles) Thank you. Yeah, I finally broke down and bought my own. Do you remember, do you remember that time when I left that rented dinner jacket in the trunk of the rented car and then lost the parking ticket? (laughs)
JILL: And you couldn't remember the make or model number in an eight-story midtown garage, how could I forget that. (smiles slightly)
FRANK: And Charlie Ferris said to me...he said, "Look at Frank Ryan - will you? - addressing the Irish-American Historical Society in his confirmation suit!" (laughs)
(She laughs too, but then becomes serious and he follows suit. She turns away.)
JILL: I don't know how to do this.
FRANK: There is something wrong, isn't there?
JILL: (nods) Oh, yeah.
FRANK: (moves closer to her) Jill, if you're having trouble and I can help, you know I will.
JILL: You know, it's strange. This is the nicest conversation we've had in months, and I know you're trying to keep it going so I can pull myself together, and now I want desperately to keep it going so I don't have to tell you what it is I came over here to say.
FRANK: Why don't you just go ahead and get it off your chest?
JILL: I am so sorry. I know this is going to complicate things for both of us, but you have to know. Last night I found out that...that Edmond is your son, after all.
FRANK: (stunned) That's not possible!
JILL: Not only is it possible, it is.
FRANK: You told me that Edmond was conceived when you and Seneca went up for the weekend at the beach house. That was in August, a year ago.
JILL: Yes, because that's what Dr. Wolfe told me. But it was wrong, it just wasn't so. Edmond was conceived in August after you left Delia. It was late September, when you withdrew from the Congressional campaign, and Edmond is your son.
FRANK: Jill, how do you know?
JILL: Simply stated, it has to do with Edmond's blood, and he couldn't have gotten that from Seneca or me because neither one of us have that subtype. But you do carry that blood type, so there is no doubt that Edmond is your son.
FRANK: How did you find this out?
JILL: Seneca told me, and this is the hard part: He's known since Edmond was six weeks old.
FRANK: (steaming) What?
JILL: Yes, he found out after the operation and he just chose not to tell me.
FRANK: (outraged) Well, why? How could he do that?
JILL: Because he thought that I'd...Seneca decided in his infinite wisdom that you were a painful and destructive influence on my life, that you'd had many opportunities to marry me but you hadn't done so, and that if I knew that Edmond were your child I'd let you back into my life, back into my bed, and ultimately I would be in a lot more trouble than I could handle, because I had Edmond to deal with too.
FRANK: Where does he get off...
JILL: (cutting him offf) So Dr. Beaulac decided that he would wait until there was enough emotional distance between us and he could trust me with that information. So he...he told me last night.
(Frank paces silently, stewing.)
FRANK: I am sorry, but my first reaction is that I simply want to tear him apart!
JILL: Well, my sympathies go right along with you.
FRANK: Look, explain to me again how Dr. Wolfe didn't know! I mean, you're in a hopsital surrounded by doctors and not one of them can calculate when a baby was conceived?
JILL: Frank, Frank, wait one minute, please! Now, some of this is my fault. When I got back from the beach in August, I was feeling dizzy all the time, I wasn't sleeping, my cycle was all off, so I just decided it was nerves - and I was right, that's exactly what it was. But when Bill Wolfe asked me when the pregnancy symptoms started, I thought back and there it was. Now, we were just about four weeks off.
(He paces, not knowing what to say, and then turns away.)
JILL: Look, I'm not defending Seneca. I think what he did is inexcusable. But I do understand why and how. He got himself so involved with Edmond.
FRANK: Well I would like to understand how a man can come and lay claim to another man's son! Or why he would want to do it, besides the obvious reason?
JILL: Which is?
FRANK: He wanted you!!! So he lies, and he went on lying, for the better part of a year!!! He let me turn my whole life around and walk away from you and my own son? He took advantage of every opportunity that he could to put more distance between us! He watched and he waited until the damage was done...
JILL: Frank, you don't have to argue with me. I'm not defending him. I meant it.
FRANK: I'm sorry.
JILL: And just for the record, I think you should know that Seneca and I are no longer living together.
FRANK: (nods) Well, I guess now that we know the truth, the next question is what happens next?
JILL: I don't know the answer to that. I haven't been able to think past the point of telling you. The problem is, the more I think about it, telling you was really impractical. There's nothing you can do about it and there's not very much I want you to do about it. But I do know that my real trouble began when I didn't tell you immediately that the baby might be Seneca's. And I can't assess the harm that Seneca's done by not telling me about Edmond's blood type the moment he learned about it. But I just couldn't keep the secrets going any longer.
FRANK: You did the right thing.
JILL: I can't tell what you're thinking. I don't know what your reaction is.
FRANK: That's because I don't know what my reaction is.
JILL: Look, please understand that I'm not asking you to take responsibility for Edmond. I'm not asking you to take responsibility for me. This is not an appeal to pick up where we left off. I know that's impossible.
FRANK: (nods) Yes, it is.
JILL: But you do have another son. There's another Ryan, and I think that you need to know that.
(He sits down at his desk.)
FRANK: It's a real mess, isn't it?
JILL: Yeah, and very unfair.
FRANK: More unfair to you, I should think, than to me.
JILL: Why do you say that?
FRANK: Well, because I was under the impression that things were going well for you - that you had what you wanted and, leaving all of this out of it, that you and Seneca were very happy together.
JILL: (nods) Yeah, we were.
FRANK: I am sorry, Jill.
JILL: I'm sorry, too.
FRANK: Does anyone else know?
FRANK: Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to be the one to tell the family.
JILL: Sure, of course. I wanted so much to talk to Maeve this afternoon. (pause) Frank, I'd like for...
JILL: I've really become very happy thinking about Edmond being brought up in a traditional family with a father who would be there full-time.
JILL: And my first instinct after you and I, I mean, maybe it was right, when I knew that we couldn't work things out. I can raise Edmond by myself and I know I can do a good job at it.
FRANK: I know you can, Jill.
JILL: But even so, he should know who his father is.
JILL: And I really think that we can work something out.
FRANK: I think we can too. But not tonight, okay? Let's think it over and we'll talk again tomorrow.
JILL: (nods) Fine.
(She gets up, and so does he.)
FRANK: Can I take you home?
JILL: No, no, I'm fine. And anyway, you have lots of things on your desk to read and sign.
FRANK: Now, I'm not sure if you're being polite, or if you'd really rather be alone.
JILL: I think I need a couple of minutes by myself.
FRANK: I understand.
JILL: Good night.
(She starts to walk out.)
FRANK: Try not to worry about it. It'll be alright. There has to be an intelligent answer to this entire situation.
(She nods and he kisses her forehead.)
JILL: Good night.
FRANK: Thank you.
(She walks out of the office and he closes the door. He starts looking through some papers, but turns around and starts to open the door. At the same time, she starts to open the door as well. They both stop, and turn around in opposite directions.)
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