Just suppose that there were a couple of more scenes had been added to the first season episode "An Element of Risk," which guest starred Lee Meriweather as Prof. Everett's old college girlfriend. What might they have been?

An Element of Risk: Outtakes

For about the hundredth time, Hal Everett doubted whether he really wanted to see his old college flame Marrijane Finley again after fifteen years. The letter that had arrived two days ago had started the incessant game of ping-pong that was going on in his brain. He had been going back and forth over the pros and cons of it, even bouncing them off Nanny every once in a while. Mostly the conversations had involved him serving up the cons and her hitting them back as pros.

In between these little debates, there had been a drama with Prudence. The long and the short of it was that Prudence had possessed a balloon that had broken, as most balloons do, after roughly twenty-four hours. She was bereft. After hours of searching he had found a replacement, only to have it safely shut up in a box "forever." After trying various methods of persuasion, Nanny had finally convinced her to allow her to blow it up after showing her a lovely, and of course ephemeral, sunset.

Understanding the transient beauty of the natural event, Prudence worked up the courage to have Nanny inflate her balloon so that it was a "real" balloon. The change of heart in his daughter prompted his own change of heart and he decided to see his old girlfriend. As usual, it seemed that Nanny had gotten her way.

Of course within an hour, he was already regretting the decision, having once again decided that he "couldn't" miss the all day conference at Osgood University. The children were all in bed when he went looking for Nanny in the kitchen. She was up on top of a step stool hunting for something on the highest shelf of the cupboard.

Lost in his own thoughts, he approached her silently and then startled her when he spoke as he stood right beside her. In a flash, she lost her balance and fell. Without thinking, he reflexively caught her and subsequently lost his own balance. Thus they both crashed to the floor together. He landed with her in his arms, as she had grabbed him with her own.

For a moment they were both too stunned to speak.

Finally he asked, "Are you alright?"

"Yes," she replied, still a bit out of breath. "Are you?"

But by then he had discovered then that their faces were very close together and he found himself looking directly into her deep blue eyes. He found himself incapable of answering, but became very aware of her soft, warm body in his arms and blonde curls resting on his shoulder. She was looking back into his eyes in wonder. At that moment neither one of them was able to make a move to release the other.

He did not know what his own face revealed, but he knew what he wanted. Before he could ascertain if she wanted the same thing, she was struggling to get up. Gallantly, he helped her to her feet and was about to apologize for so thoughtlessly frightening her when he realized that he had pulled her up too quickly. She had lost her balance once again and was back in his arms looking up at him.

He was vaguely aware that he was holding her gently in his grasp, but even more aware that she was making no effort to escape. For a long moment, they looked into each other's eyes again. This time he suspected that she did indeed want the same thing that he did. He was about to lean forward when the phone rang. Efficiently, she picked it up and pleasantly greeted the caller. Then she informed him that it was Miss Finley confirming for tomorrow. After a second, he mumbled his agreement.

As she made her way past him to return to the cupboard, he gently took her arm and asked if she was "really" all right. For a single moment she looked at his hand on her arm and then up into his eyes. This time her gaze was uncertain. Gently he released her arm, and she assured him that everything was fine. He tried to catch her eye once more, but she avoided him. Confused, he returned to his study, but he didn't accomplish anything.

Instead, he waited until he heard her go upstairs for the night. When the coast was clear he followed and went directly to his own bedroom. For a long time, he lay awake contemplating her words about risk and taking a chance on losing something beautiful. It was those words that had convinced both Prudence and him to act.

As he turned them over in his mind again and again, he remembered her beautiful blue eyes, looking back at him first in wonder, next mirroring his own desire, and then gazing with uncertainty. Finally, he would recall her refusal to look him in the eye later. It occurred to him that perhaps she needed to take some of her own advice.

The following night, he found himself in his study once again staring into space. It wasn't so much that the reunion with Marrijane had gone badly, it really hadn't. She was "charmed" by the house and his children, especially Prudence. She was curious about his career choice as a teacher. It was a perfectly dull "catching up" with an old friend. However, it was a single event had left him confused once more. As usual, life with his children was filled with a drama the broke up their initial conversation.

It started when Prudence's new balloon had escaped the backyard, which led to an all out hunt for it throughout the neighborhood. Clearly still a fun-loving girl, Marrijane joined in the merry chase as the balloon seemed to taunt them by lighting from place to place, always just out of reach. At one point it was caught in a tree and at her request, he boosted her up to try and reach it. However, he lost his balance and for the second time in two days he found himself with a lovely woman in his arms. But this time it was different.

He felt absolutely nothing from her close proximity. They laughed together about the mishap and then took up the chase again. In time, the balloon was rescued from a manhole and they all happily went home. Later that evening, the dinner had gone well and at last he walked her out to her car. He felt no inclination to show her any affection, but deciding that it would be rude to shake her hand, gave her a little peck on the cheek. Unbothered and obviously not expecting anything more, she got in car and drove off. And that was that.

Marrijane, who had once been the light of his life, stirred utterly no residual feelings. The woman with whom he had been ready to build his life meant as much as any old chum from the frat house would have. She was a good buddy from a past life, but nothing more. However the woman who was tidying the kitchen and hustling the kids off to bed had recently stirred some rather disconcerting feelings. Truth be told, she still was. When she brought him his evening coffee, she casually asked him how the visit had gone.

"Well enough, I guess," he said honestly.

"You sound disappointed," she commented.

"I don't know if disappointed is the right word," he admitted. "Perhaps I was expecting too much."

"Has she changed that much?" she asked.

"Yes and no," he replied, hedging. "She's still the fun loving girl I remember, but the old spark just isn't there any more."

"Oh," she said, thoughtfully. "The old spark."

"It wasn't just me," he said. "It was her too, only she didn't seem to be expecting to find it."

"Well," she replied. "A spark is a very fragile thing. One minute it's there and the next minute it's gone."

"Like a balloon?" he asked.

"Something like that," she replied with her knowing smile, and then quickly made her exit.

He suspected that she was referring to something other than the balloon. He pondered what would happen if he found the courage to gaze into those deep blue eyes again. He considered what he would find there: wonder, desire, uncertainty. Would she even look at him again? Yet there was an element of risk in that that he preferred not to explore, at least not now anyway.

The End