Most of you are familiar with my Sesame Street "old school outlines" and original Muppet Show episode scripts. But lately I've been working on something completely different. Imagine, if you will, a parallel universe in which Gina's love life is examined more closely and her relationship with a young man named Jesse actually blossoms into a full-blown romance. Before you continue, revisit these clips of the short-lived relationship between Gina and Jesse. I'm surprised that it didn't go further... What if their relationship has continued, and 1990s kids had a marriage story of their own, a la Maria and Luis? Read on for an original story entitled... "Jesse's Girl" INTRODUCTION Gina opened her apartment door and dragged herself to her desk. She slumped in her chair and exhaled. Her mind was a flurry of activity. She had really enjoyed going to the movies with Jesse, but something didn’t feel right. She couldn’t stop thinking about what Jesse had said. “I really liked the scene when the guy says, ‘Doll, I think I’m falling in love with you’…” The words swirled around inside her head like leaves in a strong wind. What did he mean by that? Gina wondered. Why did he talk about that part of the movie? Is he trying to tell me something important? Gina paused and sat up in her chair. Maybe…just maybe…he’s falling for me! No, that can’t be. He didn’t say that he loves me for sure. But even if Jesse did love her, she wasn’t sure whether she felt the same way or not. She couldn’t figure it out at all. Not while she ate dinner. Not while she took a shower. Not while she put on her pajamas and climbed into bed. Gina tossed and turned for what seemed like hours, tortured by her thoughts and feelings for Jesse. Eventually, she drifted off to sleep. Across town, Jesse was wide-awake. He sat up in bed and covered his face in his hands. He couldn’t fall asleep, no matter how hard he tried. There were too many questions swimming around in his mind. He kept replaying those words in his head: “I really liked the scene when the guy says, ‘Doll, I think I’m falling in love with you.’” Do I love Gina? Did I make a mistake today by saying what I said? Or maybe she already thinks that I love her…but do I really love her? Jesse lay down, closed his eyes, and sighed shakily. He felt his eyelids getting heavier and heavier. I’ll try to figure it out tomorrow, he thought. CHAPTER 1 “So Telly, I heard that you have a brand-new triangle in your collection,” Big Bird said, as he got off of the swings. The eight-foot bird was hanging out with his friends at the playground after a fun day at play-group. “Yeah!” Rosita added as she climbed off the seesaw with Telly. “I would love to see it, Telly. You told me it’s the best one yet.” “Oh, it’s a beauty!” Telly said with a laugh. “You’ve never seen a three-sided shape like this one before! It will change the way you think about triangles!” Elmo poked his head out of the tunnels. “Oh, boy!” he said eagerly. “Elmo can’t wait! Can we go to your house now and see it?” “Wait!” Telly said. “Look over there, everyone!” He pointed toward the steps of the Furry Arms Hotel, where Gina and Jesse were talking to each other. Big Bird, Elmo, and Rosita gathered around Telly. “Who’s Gina talking to?” Big Bird questioned. “That’s Jesse!” Rosita answered. “And they’re in LOVE!” “They are? That’s great!” Big Bird exclaimed. “I love it when people fall in love. Then they get married, they have kids, and then they buy a nice beach house in Cape Cod!” “Hold on, Big Bird,” Telly interrupted. “We don’t know if Gina and Jesse love each other yet. I mean, it seems like they really like each other, but I don’t know for sure if they’re in love.” “Why is that, Telly?” Elmo asked. “Well, Rosita and I saw them yesterday,” Telly replied, “and here’s what happened… “It was late at night. Rosita and I were at the Furry Arms when Gina and Jesse came back from a movie. Gina said she liked the movie, especially the chase scene. Jesse liked the part when they snuck under the castle. Then he and Gina said goodnight and started to leave. Then Jesse called her back and he said to Gina, “I really liked the scene when the guy says, ‘Doll, I think I’m really falling in love with you.’” Then they hugged and said goodnight again. Rosita and I saw it all happen!” “So…do Gina and Jesse love each other?” Elmo asked Telly. “Well, uh…gee…I don’t KNOW!” Telly said. “Rosita and I couldn’t figure it out.” “Well, Elmo wants to know if Gina and Jesse love each other,” Elmo insisted. “Yeah, me too!” Big Bird added. “I’m a very curious bird, you know.” “Okay, okay, okay,” Telly said, waving his hands. “We’ve got to find out if Jesse and Gina are really in love.” “But how will we do that, Telly?” Elmo asked. Telly paused. “That’s a very good question, Elmo. What are we going to do?” Telly put his hands on his chin. His friends did the same as they thought of a plan. Suddenly, Telly had an idea. “I know!” he exclaimed. “I know exactly what we’ll do! It’s the perfect idea! It’s brilliant! It’s foolproof!” “What?” his friends pressed. “What will we do?” Telly paused. “We’ll just ask them if they like each other.” Rosita smiled. “Great idea, Telly! Asking questions is a good way to find things out.” Big Bird chuckled. “Why didn’t I think of that? Let’s go and ask them.” They walked over to where Jesse and Gina were standing and greeted them. “Gina…Jesse…we want to ask you something,” Rosita started. “Sure,” Jesse said. “What’s up?” “Yesterday night Telly and I saw you talking after seeing a movie,” Rosita said. “We heard what you said about the movie, and what you liked.” “Yeah, so what we want to know is…” Telly paused. “Are you two in love?” Gina and Jesse looked at Telly and then at each other, at a loss for words. “Well Telly,” Gina started, “Jesse and I are very good friends. We like each other a lot. But there’s a difference between liking someone and loving someone.” “There is?” Elmo said. “Yes,” Gina continued. “When you like someone, you enjoy being around them. You feel good when you’re with that person. But when you love someone, it’s more than that. You hug, and kiss---” “Oh, and then you get married, you have kids, and then you buy a nice beach house in Cape Cod!” Big Bird blurted out. Gina and Jesse gave Big Bird a funny look. “Sure…something like that,” Gina said. “But to tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer to your question.” “Neither do I,” Jesse said. “Sorry guys. We’ll see you later, okay?” He and Gina walked down the street toward the subway. Big Bird sighed. “Well, so much for that. What are we going to do now, Telly?” Telly furrowed his brow. “I don’t know. But I’m going to find out if it’s the last thing I do! And you guys are going to help me, aren’t you?” “We sure are, Telly!” Rosita affirmed. “Let’s keep thinking.” Rosita, Big Bird, Elmo, and Telly sat together, lost in thought. It was clear that Gina and Jesse liked each other, but did they love each other? They had to find out.