For Now and Forever
JUST MOMENTS LATER, IN JILLIAN'S APARTMENT
"What are you talking about?" Jillian looked at Stephanie intently. What could Stephanie possibly have to tell her about Reginald that would change her life? Stephanie stood confidently and relished her moment of triumph.
That's it, Jillian, squirm! she thought to herself as she watched her rival grow impatient and nervous. Stephanie thought for a moment about exactly what words to use to tell Jillian everything about her and Reginald. She grinned wickedly and began to reveal the entire story. "Jillian, not long after you and Reginald started dating, he started seeing someone else."
"W-what are you talking about?" Jillian began to grow nervous. She felt her pulse begin to quicken as she tried to process what Stephanie was beginning to tell her.
"He was sleeping with someone else behind your back!" The announcement felt like a weight had been lifted off of Stephanie's shoulders. "You thought you were the only one, but you weren't! Your dear, precious Reginald was cheating on you and he did it for months!"
"H-how do you know all of this?" Jillian sunk down into a chair and buried her head into her hands. Reginald had betrayed her? How could he? She looked up at Stephanie and saw her sly grin and began to grow angry. "Tell me, Stephanie, how do you know about this!"
"Because the other woman was me." She was surprised how easy the revelation had come. At last, the secret was out. She watched Jillian closely. Jillian looked defeated as she began to process Stephanie's announcement. Suddenly, Jillian stood straight up with a fire in her eyes.
"I thought so." It was now Jillian's turn to surprise Stephanie.
"I'm not stupid, Steffi," she spat as she walked closer. "When Reginald and I started seeing one another, I knew he was seeing other girls. We weren't exclusive. Neither one of us wanted to become seriously involved. I knew there was someone else!"
"H-how? How did you know?" Stephanie began to feel the wind disappear from her sails.
"There were signs. Times when he couldn't see me, but wasn't at home or at work...2 movie ticket stubs that weren't for a movie he and I had seen...strange phone calls that he wouldn't explain." Jillian folded her arms across her chest. "I knew! Reginald had quite the reputation as a playboy. My friend Helen told me all about him. You know what? I didn't care!" She paused and eyed Stephanie closely. "There's something else that I know, too."
"W-what's that?" Stephanie began to grow nervous herself.
"I know that despite what went on between you two, Reginald chose me!" The fire in Jillian's eyes grew more fierce. If Steffi thinks her little announcement is going to keep me from marrying Reginald, she's dead wrong, she thought. "I bet I even know what night it happened."
"I bet it was the night of my sorority's fall formal." Jillian let her mind drift back to that night. She'd known something wasn't quite right about him that evening, but could never figure out what it was. Now that all the pieces were fitting together, she knew exactly what had happened. "He was a little distant all evening. I was beginning to grow worried about us. When he made that phone call and had to rush out...he was going to see you, wasn't he?"
"Yes! Yes, he was." Stephanie began to feel some of her spirit return. She hadn't given up hope yet!
"That was the night he dropped you like a rock and came back to me!" Jillian began to walk closer to Stephanie. "He chose me, not you! When he got back to the dance, he surprised me by telling me how much he loved me and how he wanted to be with just me and no one else! Secretly, I'd wanted the same thing, too, but I'd been to nervous to tell him. I knew right then that any other woman he'd been involved with was out of his life for good."
Stephanie quietly began to remember that night. Reginald had left the formal to come see her. She'd thought it was a sign that he was leaving Jillian. She'd been wrong! It was the night he'd told her that he couldn't see her anymore; he loved Jillian and couldn't betray her again. It was the night Reginald ended his affair with Stephanie and dedicated himself to loving only Jillian. "You're not what he needs, Jillian! He needs someone me! When he realizes how trapped he feels with you, you're gonna find him back on the prowl again!" Stephanie found her assertions met with a sound slap across the face.
"Get out!" Jillian shouted. "Get out of her, you gold digging tramp! You were just a thrilling diversion for him. If he'd really wanted you, he would have chosen you! I love him and he loves me and there's not a thing you can do about it!"
"I'm leaving," Stephanie muttered icily. She walked to the door and opened it. Before exiting, she turned to face Jillian. She grinned slightly. "If you love Reginald so much, than how do you explain Dane?"
Dane! Dane's had a hand in this! Jillian thought to herself as the door slammed shut behind Stephanie. She knew that with Dane involved, this situation with Stephanie was far from over.
A LITTLE LATER AT LORRAINE'S APARTMENT
"I-I wasn't expecting to see you tonight." Lorraine was surprised by Trevor's sudden visit. They hadn't spoken in days...not since the night she'd seen him kissing Grace in The Gardens. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" She couldn't help but sound sarcastic. She'd begun to feel like an afterthought to him. "What have you been doing lately? I haven't seen you. As usual, you've been way too busy to see me!"
"I have been busy." His response was almost a mutter. He felt unusually nervous around her. He thought about everything that had happened recently and realized exactly how much his indecision was hurting her. "You know...The Post and everything. I'm working on a article about Riverside's district attorney. You know...the one that just got caught taking bribes from the mob."
"Just stop it!" she snapped at him. "I'm starting to get so sick and tired of hearing about that newspaper! Every other word out of your mouth is about The Post. What about me?" He looked at her solemnly. She wasn't completely clueless. She knew something had been going on. She'd seen the signs.
"I-I'm sorry." He reached out for her, but she pulled away. "Lorraine, I've been wrong to ignore you like I have these last few weeks."
"Are you seeing another woman?" She blurted out the question and was almost as surprised as Trevor. She hadn't intended on confronting him about Grace at that moment, but she couldn't help herself.
"What?" Trevor took a step backward as what she'd asked sunk in. Surely she doesn't know about Grace! he thought.
"I asked you if you were seeing another woman. It's a simple question. You haven't been spending any time with me. I know you're dedicated to the paper and everything, but you've got some free time somewhere. You're not spending it with me. Who are you spending it with?"
"No one!" He reached out for her and this time she didn't pull away. Despite everything that she knew, she still loved him with all her heart. She really wanted this relationship to work out. She wanted him to tell her he loved her and only her. "Lorraine, I love you. No one else...just you." He took her in his arms as she began to sob softly. She wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly. It was just what she'd wanted to hear. "You're the only one for me. I-I'm sorry I haven't been here for you. That's going to change! I promise!"
She thought about what she'd seen between him and Grace. Did I really misread everything? Have I totally jumped to the wrong conclusions? She wiped the tears from her eyes and looked up at him. "Oh, Trevor, I love you so much. I-I just get so paranoid that things aren't going to work out. Things never work out for me the way I want them to."
"I love you, Lorraine." He placed a hand on her chin and lifted her face toward his. He looked deeply into her eyes and kissed her passionately. Lorraine knew, then, that everything would be okay.
EVENING AT THE CALLISON HOME
"Father, are you busy?" Reginald asked as he rapped lightly on the door of Charles' study.
"Um..no, come in." Charles worked to clear his head of the thoughts of Annabelle that had been hounding him all day. He knew she was starting to get to him. "Is there something on your mind?" Reginald hesitated as he remembered the sight of seeing his father and Annabelle Lake kissing in his father's office. The memory was burned into his head and he'd thought about nothing else all day.
"Do you love Mother?" he finally asked tentatively. Charles was stunned by the question. Why in the world would Reginald even think to ask that?
"Of course I do! Why would you even question that? Your mother and I have been married a long time and have three of the best children any man could ever hope for. I'm so proud of you all!"
"That doesn't mean you still love her." Reginald walked over to his father's desk and stood quietly. He carefully analyzed his father's actions and was quick to notice his nervousness. "Plenty of people are married, yet don't love one another. Over time, I understand how some feelings can change."
"Look at me, son!" Charles rose from his desk and grabbed Reginald's arm sternly. "I've loved your mother from the moment I saw her! She's my life! How can you even question my feelings for her? We've been married for 23 years, for Christ's sake!"
"I saw you! I saw you and Annabelle in your office this afternoon!" Reginald watched as the color drained from his father's face. Charles sunk back against the desk and began to rub his temples. "You didn't know I was there, but I saw you kissing her! If you love her so much, how could you do this to her?"
"Reginald, it's not what you think!" Charles stood up straight as he tried to explain what his son had witnessed. "I love your mother! I would never hurt her! You've misunderstood!"
"Oh, really?" Reginald's tone grew snide as he continued to fix his gaze on him. "Then tell me! Tell me what I really saw? What exactly is going on between you and Annabelle?" Charles hesitated for a moment. Honestly, he really didn't know what to say. How could he explain his situation with Annabelle to Reginald when he couldn't even explain it to himself?
MEANWHILE, AT JILLIAN'S APARTMENT
"So, Dane's behind all of this." Jillian sighed as she became fully aware of that revelation. "I should have known. You better be careful dealing with him, Steffi. He has a sick, twisted way of coming back to haunt you."
"Although I'm sure you know a lot about him, I'm more than capable of dealing with Dane Manchester. You let me worry about my dealings with him. You need to worry about Reginald!" Stephanie stood in the doorway with her arms propped defiantly on her hips.
"I told you...get out!" Jillian lunged at Stephanie and pushed her through the door. Stephanie stumbled backwards and glared at her rival.
"He's not the man you think he is! You have this picture of this nice little life with all the trimmings in your head. It's not going to happen! You can't give him what he needs...not like I can. You're deluding yourself....sticking your head in the sand!"
"No, Stephanie, you're the one who's deluded. You've deluded yourself into thinking that what happened between you and Reginald meant something. It meant nothing! You were nothing to him but a means to avoid commitment. Once he realized a commitment was what he wanted, he had no use for you. He committed to me, not you. I have the ring and the promise. You have nothing!" Stephanie looked at Jillian and realized that she was a stronger adversary than she'd thought. She'd believed Jillian would crumple and run away just as she'd done with Dane. Stephanie realized, now, that she had a true fight on her hands.
"Well, you just keep your head in the sand. You'll wake up one day a realize the truth. You'll realize marrying Reginald is a mistake. You better hope that happens before it's too late and you're left regretting every decision you've ever made." With those final words, Stephanie stormed away leaving Jillian to wonder if Stephanie could really be right about her future with Reginald.
MEANWHILE, IN THE STUDY OF THE CALLISON HOME
"Annabelle Lake is nothing to me!" Charles grabbed Reginald by the shoulders and shook him as if to force him to understand. "She's a scheming gold digger who has done everything imaginable to convince me to betray your mother with her! I try to avoid her at every turn, but she won't let me be! I'm more than aware of her skills at using her charms to get what she wants. I refuse to let her trap me like a deer in season! I refuse to let her use me for a free ride!" Reginald stood silently and looked at his father after his sudden outburst. He clearly saw the pained expression on Charles' face as he wearily held his head in his hands. Charles slowly regained his composure and looked directly at his son. "Stephanie Lake is just like her mother. The best thing in the world you could do is stay away from her. I've seen first hand what that family is like. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree as far as I'm concerned."
"W-what do you know about me and Stephanie?" Reginald posed his question cautiously. He didn't know exactly how much his father knew and didn't want to reveal anything the needed to remain hidden.
"I know that she's got her sights set on you despite your engagement to Jillian." Charles paused and lit a cigarette. Reginald was a little shocked and concerned. Charles very rarely smoked. In fact, Reginald could only remember a handful of times in his entire life that he'd seen his father do so. The most recent was during the time that Reginald's grandmother lay on her deathbed. "Don't let her ruin your life with Jillian. Don't ever let her make you question your devotion to the things that are most important in your life." Charles turned away to gaze out the window at the night sky. Reginald quietly left his father alone with his thoughts. He needed to see Jillian.
MEANWHILE, AT LORRAINE'S APARTMENT
Lorraine yawned and stretched before rolling over in bed to gaze at Trevor. His breathing was low and soft as he slept. She smiled sweetly at him and kissed him lovingly on the forehead. She glowed as she remembered how he'd made love to her just hours earlier. He was so passionate in his love that she'd been left almost breathless. She couldn't remember the last time they'd made love with such fervor. She slipped out of bed cautiously so as not to awaken him and walked over to the open window and carefully pulled it closed. Leaning against the frame and looking out into the night sky, she thought about Trevor and Grace and realized that she had been mistaken about what she'd seen between them. Oh, how could I have been so foolish as to have doubted his love for me? Her thoughts suddenly began to drift to Patterson. What was she doing to him? Her pain over the possible loss of Trevor had caused her to lead Patterson to believe that there was a chance for them. Why did I allow myself to turn to Patterson so easily? Why couldn't I believe that Trevor loved me more than anyone else? She thought about how supportive Patterson had been to her. It wasn't fair for her the lead him on as she had. I've got to tell Patterson that what happened between us was a mistake. I've got to tell him that was I wrong about us starting over. I can't continue to betray Trevor with Patterson. Not when Trevor loves me so much!
MEANWHILE, AT THE MONROE HOME
"Dane, when in the world are you going to give up on this idea that Jillian would want anything to do with you?" Patterson walked around the living room picking up the various toys Todd had strewn about earlier in the day. "She's going to marry Reginald. There's not a chance in the world she's going to suddenly leave him for you. She can't even stand to be in the same room with you!"
"Well, when are you gonna get over this stupid idea that Lorraine is gonna come running back to you?" Dane glared at his friend while he sipped his vodka tonic.
"Unlike you, I at least have a chance!" He paused for a moment and wondered if he should really tell Dane about his potential future with Lorraine. "She and Trevor aren't working out. I-I don't know all the details, but she asked me if we could start over...from the beginning."
"Apparently, she's finally realized that no man can love her as much as I do." Patterson smiled at the thought. "Her relationship with Trevor is almost finished and she's ready to give me another chance to make her happy."
"Well, congratulations then, Paddy!" Dane give him a hearty slap on the back. Though they didn't always see eye to eye on everything, Dane truly admired and respected Patterson. They'd become friends when Patterson had helped Dane study for Chemistry class. Dane had felt sorry for him after the deaths of Patterson's parents and had taken him under his wing. "I really hope this works out for you. This is just what you need."
"I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Trevor's a great guy and everything, but I've never thought he was right for her. She's gonna see that this is the right choice."
"And Jillian will realize the same thing about me!"
"Dane, just forget about Jillian! She's never gonna be interested in you...not when she's got Reginald. I don't care what you say about him, he's a great guy, too. You've got it in your head that he's some snotty stuffed shirt and that's not true at all. He's helped me and Todd out a lot since the accident." Patterson looked forlorn for a moment as he thought of his parents deaths and the time shortly thereafter.
"I know, I know...he is your best friend." Dane made the remark rather snidely. He never really knew why, but he'd always felt a little jealous that that he didn't occupy that role.
"Dane, you both are. You and Reginald are my two best friends! Why do you think I have to chose between you? I just can't condone you trying to break him and Jillian up. They're perfect together! Can't you see how much they love one another?"
"Just like Lorraine is realizing she should be with you, Jillian will realize she should be with me and not Reggie!" Dane took another swig of his drink as he thought about Jillian. Patterson could clearly see the fire in his eyes and knew that they'd never agree on this subject.
"Forget about her, Dane. You'll only hurt yourself if you don't give up this obsession. Think about Sara. She loves you more than anything. She's who you should be focusing on, not Jillian."
"Look, I had Jillian once and I can have her again! Nothing's impossible. She'll realize what a mistake she's making!" Dane slammed his glass down and sloshed his drink onto the table.
"What are you talking about? What do you mean you had Jillian once?" Patterson looked at Dane sternly and waited for an answer. Dane simply looked back quietly and wondered if Patterson could be trusted with the information about his and Jillian's past.
A LITTLE LATER, AT JILLIAN'S APARTMENT
The sudden knock at the door nearly made Jillian jump out of her skin. Stephanie's revelation about Reginald still echoed in her mind and she opened the door cautiously. Secretly, she feared Stephanie had returned for another verbal attack.
"Hi, honey, I hope you don't mind my stopping by so late, but I really needed to see you." Reginald took her in his arms and held her tightly. He looked down at her and was quick to notice the vacant look in her eyes. "Jillian, what's wrong? Y-you don't seem quite too happy to see me. If it's too late, I can leave. I can see you tomorrow."
"That's not it." Jillian's words were almost a mumble. She walked away from him and sat down on the sofa. She bit her lower lip and looked up at him as she tried to fight back tears. Seeing her emotional state, he sat beside her and took her in his arms.
"Talk to me. Tell me what's wrong."
"I-I had a visitor tonight." She refused to look at him. She refused to let him see how much he'd hurt her. "S-Stephanie Lake." The name caught in her throat. The mere thought of Stephanie began to make Jillian sick. Reginald slowly pulled away, fearful of what was coming next.
"Why was Stephanie here?" His heart began to beat faster. Surely she didn't tell Jillian!
"I know, Reginald." Finally she looked at him with a mixture of tears and fire in her eyes. "I know all about you and Stephanie! I know all about your little affair!" Reginald pulled away and ran his fingers through his hair as he quickly felt his life come apart at the seams.
"Jillian, I can explain!"
"No! Don't! Don't try to sweep this under the rug! How could you be with her at the same time you were with me? I knew! I knew something was going on then! I saw all the signs! I knew there was someone else, but I didn't want to believe it! I knew we weren't really that serious then, but you led me to believe I was the only one! How? How could you do this to me?" She began to cry and Reginald felt his heart break. This was the exact reason he'd avoided telling her.
He looked away feeling embarrassed and foolish. How? How could I have hurt her like this? How, when I love her so much? "Jillian, I was scared. I was scared of loving someone as much as I love you. I was scared of making a commitment. As long as there was someone else, I could avoid all of that! I was wrong. I know I was wrong. I was wrong to betray you and I was wrong to lie to you. Stephanie Lake meant nothing to me and means nothing to me! She is a mistake that I wish with all my heart I could go back and change." He watched her as she stared down at her hand nervously twisted the engagement ring on her finger. Tentatively he reached out and took her hand. "Jillian, I love you and only you. You are the one who means the most in this world to me. I don't think I could survive if I lost you. Please...please let me make this up to you. Please don't end what we have because I've been a fool. Please..." She sat up straight and turned to face him.
"Are you still seeing her?" she questioned through clinched teeth. "Are you still sleeping with her?"
"No! No! I haven't even given her the time of day since I told her I couldn't see her anymore! I told her you were the only woman I could ever love. I told her I wanted a life with you. S-she didn't like it at all, but I told her. She wanted me to be with her, not you. I told her I could never love her. She and I were over a long time ago. I still remember the night I told her I didn't want to see her anymore. It was the night..."
"The night of the fall formal." She finished his sentence with ease. He's eyes widened with shock. "Put your eyes back in your head. I'm not stupid. I told you I knew something was going on. I knew you'd been seeing someone else. I just didn't know who. I just didn't want to believe it." Her attitude slowly began to soften. She gazed deeply into his eyes and carefully stroked his cheek. "That was the same night you told me you loved me for the first time. It was when you told me you wanted to be only with me."
"P-please forgive me." Reginald began to feel his eyes water as he fought back tears. "I-I love you. I wanted to tell you the truth so many times. I didn't want there to be secrets between us. I was just so scared of hurting you and losing you. Please forgive me."
"I forgive you." she finally murmured and fell into his arms. "Oh, Reginald, I love you. I still want to marry you. I believe you when you say she didn't mean anything to you. I believe you when you say you're sorry." She pulled away from him again as the fired returned to her eyes. "But if you ever, ever lie to me again...if you ever betray me again...if I ever find out that this thing between you and Stephanie Lake is not over...we are finished! No excuses and no exceptions! I don't even what you to be in the same room as her!" She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him.
"Never! Never will I make that mistake again. I love you." He pulled her into his arms and they kissed passionately. Reginald heaved a sigh of relief that their love had managed to weather this storm. Privately, he feared that the worst was yet to come. He knew hurricane Stephanie had only just begun to brew up trouble.
MEANWHILE, AT LORRAINE'S APARTMENT
Lorraine watched Trevor as he began to toss and turn in bed. She smiled to herself and let out a sigh. The storm had passed. She and Trevor would be alright. She again looked out the window and found a bright star in the distance. I wish...I wish that Trevor and I have the happiest life together that two people could ever have. I wish to always feel as happy and in love as I do now. As Lorraine wished, Trevor dreamed....
"I love you! I love you with all my heart!" Trevor professed as he wrapped his arms around her. He nuzzled his face into her hair and inhaled the fresh scent. He felt her warm breath on his neck as his body pressed tightly against hers. Her lips found his and she kissed him passionately. Gently, he slipped the straps of her gown off her shoulders and kissed her delicate neck. Her soft skin felt hot against his lips. "I love everything about you. I love your demeanor, your touch, your smell. I love you..." Lost in his dreams, Trevor began to stir. Seeing his movements, Lorraine returned to bed and snuggled up close next to him under the covers. Her wrapped his arms tightly around her and pulled her closer.
"Oh, how I love you, Trevor," she sighed as she closed her eyes and felt his strong arms hold her.
"Oh..." he moaned softly, still asleep. "I love you...I love you." His voice was low and throaty. "I love you...Grace."
TO BE CONTINUED
Lorraine realizes the truth.
For Now and Forever
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