IT'S EARLY EVENING AT THE WISHING WELL

Sara SummersThe Wishing Well Soda Shoppe"Okay, this calculus problem makes absolutely no sense to me."  Sara ran her fingers through her hair in frustration as she stared vacantly at her text book.  "I just can't wait for this semester to be over.  Actually, I can't wait for all of college to be over."

"At least you're in college."  Stephanie looked back down at her book and tried, once again, to read the passage of Hamlet she'd been pouring over for nearly an hour.  "At this point, I just want to make it out of high school.  I'm eighteen!  I'm an adult, I shouldn't have to be bothered with all the immature children that crowd the halls of Albanyville High!"  Sara put her pencil down and looked over at Stephanie.  She bit her lip and hesitated a moment before she spoke.

"Steph,  what would you say if I told you I was going to try to get Dane to marry me?"

Stephanie sat straight up in her seat and quickly pushed her books aside.  She knew she'd have be very cautious in her response.  "Well, first I'd ask you if you've lost your mind!  Look, Sara, don't get your hopes up for anything as far as Dane's concerned.  You know his opinions on marriage.  He's not the marrying type!  You'd have a better chance of getting him to a monastery than to the alter."

"Oh, but I think I can get him to marry me.  I know he loves me very much!  He's always telling me how special I am to him and how much he loves me and doesn't want to be without me.  Sure, it might take some effort to convince him.  I know he's a huge flirt and he loves all the attention he gets from other girls, but I know he loves me and wants to be with me."

Stephanie LakeStephanie thought for a moment about her previous conversation with Dane about his feelings for Jillian.  Sara was way too caught up in Dane to even think rationally about him.  Stephanie knew that if Sara kept seeing Dane, there was no way to avoid her getting hurt.  "Look, I know Dane cares about you a great deal, but you know what kind of man he is!  One woman will never be enough for him.  You know there've been others even since you two have been together.  Dane is not going to marry you!  Gosh, I don't think Dane is gonna marry anyone!"

Sara stuck her bottom lip out defiantly and crossed her arms over her chest.  "He will, too, marry me!  I can get him to!  I don't care what you say, you don't know him as well as I do."  Stephanie shook her head in defeat.  She knew there was no talking to Sara as far as Dane Manchester was concerned.  She wouldn't listen to reason.

"Hello, ladies!"  Douglas spoke up as he walked over to the table.  Stephanie was relieved that he'd arrived just in time to break the tension that had formed between them.

"Hello, Douglas,"  Stephanie smiled.

"I-uh-I," he stammered.  "I just wanted to know if you got the flowers I sent you."  Stephanie was shocked and taken aback.  The lilies had been from Douglas, not Reginald!  She fought to hide her disappointment.

"Um, yes I did.  They were lovely."  She tried to hide her discomfort as she fiddled with the straw in her soda.  "There was no name on the card, so I had no idea who they were from."

"Hey, maybe I should leave you two alone."  Sara quickly got up from the table as Stephanie shot her a look of disapproval.  "You need to talk."  She swiftly moved away leaving the awkward duo to look at each other in silence.

Douglas Davis"Well, I'm sorry, that was my fault."  He finally broke the quiet as he sat down beside her.  "I actually forgot to sign the card.  It was kind of a spur of the moment thing and it totally slipped my mind."

"Well, that's quite alright."  Stephanie began to warm up to Douglas as the shock began to wear off.  "I was just a little surprised they were from you.  I had no idea that you were, um, interested."

"I am."  He smiled at her nervously and reached out for her hand.  She didn't pull away.  "I've thought your were beautiful and charming for a long time, now, but I never had the courage to say anything until the other day.  I really would love to get to know you better.  You know, maybe go out.  See what happens?"

Stephanie thought for a moment.  Sure, I want Reginald, but what if Momma's wrong?  What if I can't get him away from Jillian?  A girl like me has to have options.  Besides, Douglas is a successful lawyer and Momma thinks the world of him.  He wouldn't be bad for a consolation  prize.  "We can do dinner sometime."  She finally spoke up.  "In fact I'd love it!"

"G-great!"  He tried to hide his shock.  He just knew that someone as lovely and popular as Stephanie would never be interested in him, but here she was agreeing to go on a date!  "Um, so I'll call you and we can make plans?"

"Sure," she smiled at him.   Keep your options open, Stephanie.  Keep your options open!


MEANWHILE, AT THE PAGE TURNER BOOKSTORE

The Page Turner BookstoreTrevor CallisonTrevor walked up and down the aisles of the store cautiously as he looked for Grace.  He turned the corner and headed for the front door just as she came out of the back room and stepped behind the counter.  He smiled warmly and went straight to her.  "Hi, Grace, how are you doing?"

"Oh, hi, Trevor."  She looked up and smiled at him.  "I'm doing fine.  I'm working here at the bookstore after school, now,  so I can help Douglas with my tuition money for nurse's school.  He's done so much for me already and I really don't want him to have to pay for everything."

"Well, I'm sure you've got excellent grades.  Have you applied for any scholarships?  I know my family has set up a couple at AU.  One is in my uncle Landon's name and Father set up one strictly for students of medicine in the name of Patterson Monroe's father.  Since you're going into nursing, you're sure to qualify.  You should check it out."

"Thank you, Trevor, I'll do that.  A scholarship would help a lot!"  She looked at him and hesitated for a moment.  "Um, look, Trevor, I'm really sorry for being so harsh with you on the docks.  I had a lot on my mind that night and I really wasn't in the best of moods."

"Hey, it's okay.  Besides, I really admire your strong will.  You sometimes come across as very shy and quiet.  A lot of people can interpret that as meaning you're naive and an easy target to be preyed upon.  It's nice to see that, underneath it all, you've got a strength of self and a determination about you.  That'll help you not be a victim of the world."

Grace Davis"Actually, I really don't think I'm that strong."  She blushed slightly and lowered her head.  "I just think that it's one of those things where if you're put in a certain situation, you've got to be strong to make it through.  Kind of an instinct thing."  She thought about Dane and how she wanted him and was determined to make him see that Sara was wrong for him.  Maybe she really was stronger than she realized.

"Well, I really wanted to ask you something."  Trevor smiled at her as he leaned across the counter.  "Um, do you want to go have dinner with me after the shop closes?"  He thought for a moment about Lorraine, but this was something he just had to do.

"I really can't.  I've got a lot of homework I have to do tonight." she replied.  Trevor was heartbroken and he suddenly felt very embarrassed and very foolish.  "Well, actually, do you think we could go to dinner some other time?"

His mood noticeably brightened as a smile spread across his face.  "Sure, that would be great!  I-um-I'll call you and we'll set something up."  She waved to him as he sprinted out the door.

Trevor is such a nice guy she thought as sent went back to unpacking books.  I'm so glad that I met him.  He's going to be a great friend.


LATER THAT EVENING, AT JILLIAN'S APARTMENT

Jillian StokesSunset Hotel, Suite #2, Albanyville, IL"Reginald, promise me that after we're married, our lives will always be like this."  Jillian snuggled in his arms as they sat on the sofa listening to soft music on the radio.  "Just you and me in love."

"Don't forget the kids."  He laughed as he teased her.  "You know I want a house full of kids!"

"Oh, honey, can we please not start right after we're married?  I want to finish school.  I know I'll probably be home with them, but I at least want an education so I can teach them things so they'll be ready for the world when they grow up."

"Look, Jillian, we've got plenty of time to think about having children and helping them grow up."  He played with her flaxen hair and kissed her gently on the top of her head.  "We have the rest of our lives together."

Oh, how Jillian loved this man with all her heart.  She would be devastated if anything happened to ruin the life she had planned with him.  She thought about Dane and the brief, yet torrid, past they had.  Why couldn't he leave her alone?  What they shared had ended a long time ago.  Why bring it up now?  Surely Reginald couldn't hold her relationship with Dane against her since it happened before they'd even met.  Would Reginald feel threatened by her past with Dane?  He had no reason to.  Jillian made sure that he knew she loved him more than any other man in the world.

Reginald CallisonAs Jillian's thoughts wandered, Reginald's, too, began to drift.  He thought about Stephanie's sudden visit to his office.  Why was she coming to see him now?  He thought he had ended things with her nice and neatly long ago when he realized exactly how much he loved and needed Jillian.  He'd realized his fling with her had been a mistake and he thought she'd understood.  He knew he'd been wrong to use Stephanie as a means of avoiding a commitment to Jillian, but once he realized that a commitment was exactly what he wanted, he ended the affair.  He felt badly that he'd betrayed Jillian like he had.  Jillian never knew about his relationship with Stephanie, Reginald made sure of that.  Now his guilt was starting to bother him.  Should I tell her the truth? he thought to himself.  Should I come clean about everything before we get married so we can start fresh with no secrets between us?  Would it do more harm than good?  "Jillian, there's something I feel I need to confess to you."  He began his revelation cautiously as he pulled away from her and looked deeply into her eyes.

"What, dear?  You sound so serious."  She grew nervous.  He wasn't getting cold feet?  He wasn't going to take back the engagement, was he?

"I-I have to tell you something that might forever change your feelings for me."  He had to do it.  He had to be honest.  "And I have to warn you that you might not love me any more after I say what I need to say."  Jillian's jaw dropped.  There was nothing in the world he could tell her that would change her love for him.

"Stop right there!"  She put both her hands on his shoulders as if to hold back the truth.  "Reginald, there is nothing you could ever tell me that would change how I feel about you!  The last thing in the world I would want is to have something interfere in our relationship.  If what you're about to tell me is going to cause problems, I don't want to know.  If you have to tell me, then tell me, but you must know that I love you and nothing will change that!"

He paused for a moment and considered his options.  Should he tell her the truth and destroy any faith or trust she had in him?  Was it worth breaking her heart to ease his conscience?  He knew she would still love him even if she knew the truth, but just because you love someone doesn't mean they can't hurt you.  "Um...actually..." he stammered for a moment as his courage left him.  He couldn't hurt her.  "It's really nothing....nothing important at all."  He leaned back on the sofa and thought again about Stephanie.  Silently, he prayed that she wouldn't do anything to cause trouble for them or heartbreak for Jillian.



 


NEXT TIME

Dane continues to pursue Jillian.
Patterson confronts Stephanie.
Lorraine catches Trevor and Grace.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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