IT'S DINNER TIME IN THE LAKE HOME

Annabelle Lake800 W. Rose St. Apt #3, Albanyville, IL"Now, Stephanie, I could always invite you to stop by the office one day after school and I might just happen to bump into Reginald..."  Annabelle continued to go on about getting her daughter to pursue the dashing Callison heir.

"Annabelle, if Stephanie wanted to go after Reginald, she would already have done it."  Sara spoke up.

"Sara, dear, Stephanie has lots of womanly skills that are just going to waste on these little boys in her class.  They are so beneath her.  She needs to set her sights higher.  You would be wise to do the same, young lady."

"I have a boyfriend."  Sara stated firmly as she clinched her teeth.  "Dane is going to go to law school.  I'm going to be a lawyers wife, someday.  I don't need nor want another man."

"Well, alright, whatever...."

Stephanie only half listened to their exchange as her thoughts drifted off.  All of her mother's talk about Reginald had forced her to remember things from the past...things she had so tried to forget.

Sara SummersSo you're planning on seeing me and Jillian both?  she'd asked on more than one occasion.  I thought you were just  saying how much you loved her.

I do!  Reginald had replied.  I just can't let myself get too involved.  I'm not ready for all that a serious relationship requires.  You can keep me from getting too involved, Stephanie.  You're the one who can remind me that  I'm way too young to think about settling down.

Oh, how his words still rang in her ears.  Sure, she'd been a fool to believe that he could continue to see both of them at the same time.  She'd been an even bigger fool to fall in love with him.  She'd know all along that he would never leave Jillian.  He called her "the greatest love of his life".  Stephanie had only been a pleasant diversion.  But it felt like more than that when they'd made love.  What a fool she'd been to get caught up in the moment.  Then it was over.

Why can't we still see each other?  She'd cried on his shoulder.  You can still be with her.  I just want a  part of your heart.  There's room enough for both of us.

Stephanie LakeStephanie, I can't.  I realize now that I was wrong.  I love Jillian too much to even consider betraying her again like I've already done so many times.  Besides, it's not fair to you.  You are so special, Stephanie.  You deserve someone who can love you with his entire heart without reservation.  I can't do that.  I care about you so much, but I love Jillian.  That will never change.  Maybe if circumstance were different.  Maybe if Jillian and I weren't together.  There are lots of maybes, Stephanie.  All I know is what's real right now, and what's real is me and Jillian. And with those words, Reginald left her to cry herself to sleep.  That had been some time ago.  Since then, Stephanie had tried to force herself to forget about him.  She would almost succeed, but then she'd read his name in the masthead of the newspaper or her mother would tell her how perfect they would be together.

"Stephanie!  Are you even listening to a word I'm saying?"  Annabelle's voice invaded her thoughts and brought her back to the present.  "Are you going to take my advice and go after Reginald or not?  You know as well as I do that Jillian Stokes can't even hold a candle to you."

Stephanie paused for a moment and looked at her mother.  She remembered, once again, the beautiful times that she'd shared with Reginald.  Slowly, she straightened her shoulders and flipped her hair behind her ear.  "Yes, Mother, I'll do it.  You're right."  She lifted her glass slowly to take a sip.  "Reginald is the perfect man for me and I want him for my own.  Jillian doesn't stand a chance."


MEANWHILE, AT THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE

The Wishing Well Soda ShoppeGrace DavisGrace walked tentatively into the soda shop.  She paused for a moment to smooth her hair and straighten her skirt before she walked up to the counter and ordered a cream soda.  When she turned to survey the restaurant, she spotted him instantly.  He was sitting across the room in a booth surrounded by attractive co-eds.  Grace sighed deeply as she watched them.  The girls were clearly hanging on his every word.  She could understand why.  Dane Manchester was one of the most handsome men at Albanyville University.  She'd first seen him in Douglas' office while he was doing an internship months earlier.  She'd been enamored of him ever since.  She grew nervous that he'd see her staring and quickly looked away.  Sipping her soda, Grace glanced around the restaurant and found an unoccupied table in the corner.  She sat down and began to look at a menu, but couldn't resist watching Dane again.  As she looked up, she was embarrassed to find him looking back at her.  Had she been too obvious?  Suddenly, she felt like an utter fool.  She sunk down in her chair in an effort to disappear and began to read the menu again.  Is he still looking? she wondered before slowly lifting her eyes.

"Hello,"  Dane smiled as he stood right in front of her.  Grace quickly looked around in hopes of finding some means of escape.  When she realized she was stuck, she had no option but smile back and respond.

Dane Manchester"H-hello.  Look, I'm really sorry.  I didn't mean to stare."  He laughed at her embarrassment.

"It's quite alright.  You're name is Grace Davis, right?"  She was stunned that he even remembered her since their meeting was so brief.

"Y-yes!  I'm Douglas' sister.  We met once in his office."

"Ahhh...yes, I remember it well."  He flashed her his trademark smile.  "Do you mind if I join you?"

"Ummm...no, not at all."  Her face flushed again as he sat down at her table.  Now that he was sitting there talking to her, what in the world would she do?


IT'S EARLY EVENING AT LORRAINE'S APARTMENT

Lorraine Blake98 River Rd Apt. #1, Albanyville, IL"Todd is growing so fast.  I can't believe what a big boy he's gotten to be."  Lorraine relaxed in Trevor's arms as they sat on her sofa listening to the radio.  She softly stroked his arm while resting her head against his shoulder.  "I really should make more of an effort to see him and Patterson.  It's so horrible what's happened.  I really don't know what I would do in the same situation.  What do you think, dear?"  She paused for a moment to allow him to answer, but no response came.  She turned around slightly to look at him and was quick to see that his eyes were focused off into space.  He hadn't heard a word she'd said.  "Trevor?  You're not even listening!"

"Oh, um, what?"  He snapped himself back into reality.  "I'm sorry, honey, my mind drifted for a minute."  He couldn't tell her that he was thinking about Grace.

"I was telling you about stopping by to see Patterson and Todd earlier today.  I really need to spend more time with Todd.  He misses his mother so much.  It's just been over six months since the accident.  I wanted to know what you thought."

"Oh, definitely.  Dr. and Mrs. Monroe were such good people.  He took really good care of my grandfather right before he died.  I owe it to him to watch out for Todd.  Patterson has such an uphill struggle now to take care of him and go to school."  He paused for a moment as a thought stuck him.  "I know!  Let's have both of them over for dinner sometime.  I know Patterson would appreciate being able to get out.  That is, well, unless you feel uncomfortable around him.  I know you two used to date."

"Patterson understands my feelings for him are strictly as friends, now."  Lorraine again laid her head on his shoulder as she gazed out the window.  "Where were you a minute ago?"

Trevor Callison"Right here, silly.  I've been here all night."

"No, Trevor, I mean in your head."  She sighed softly before kissing his arm.  "You were thinking about something else.  Here I was rambling on like a fool and you weren't even paying attention."  He felt guilty for not focusing all his attention on her.  Why couldn't he get Grace Davis out of his head?

"I've got a big article on Roosevelt's social security plan coming up.  You know, one of those political pieces about the benefits and drawbacks.  Rather boring actually, but I've got to make it a good one."  He surprised himself with exactly how easily the lie came to him.  He hated deceiving her, but how could he tell Lorraine that his thoughts were filled with another woman?

"You know, sometimes I think the only things you think about are work and me."  She laughed a slightly uneasy laugh.  For some reason, his explanation didn't quite ring true.  She turned to kiss him, but he suddenly pulled away.

"Honey, I'm sorry, but I've got an early day at the paper tomorrow and I'm really tired."  Another lie.  He grew uncomfortable at how easy they were starting to come.  "I really need to head home and get to bed."  He got up and went to put on his jacket.  She watched him closely as she tried to hide the uneasiness that began to cloud her face.

"I understand.  Work is very important to you."  Her shoulders slumped slightly in disappointment.  "I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Of course, dear."  He laughed slightly.  Lorraine walked with him to the door and he turned to face her before kissing her lightly.  "You know how much I care for you."

As she gently closed the door behind him, a million thoughts raced though her head.  There's something else going on.  she thought.  If only it were all about work, but it's not!  What in the world is going on with him?