produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #8 click here for a printable version of this episode
May 1935

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IT'S A FEW WEEKS LATER IN MAY, 1935, IN THE LIVING ROOM OF THE CALLISON HOME

Francis Callison2210 Elmwood Lane, Albanyville, IL"Let's see...hmmm..."  Francis tapped her lower lip with a pencil as she looked at her list and thought deeply.  "Grand Sunset Room...check....caterer....check....orchestra....check..."

"I just talked to the florist yesterday and he said that everything was taken care of."  Jillian leaned over to look at Francis' list.  They'd worked so hard on making this engagement party the event of the year and it was all falling together.

"Wonderful!"  Francis through her arms around her future daughter-in-law and hugged her tightly.  "This is going to be the best time our family has had in ages!"  She pulled away suddenly and looked down at her hands.  The joyous feelings of just moments ago suddenly began to slip away from her.  Jillian eyed her carefully and noticed the change in her attitude.

"Mrs....I mean, Mother, what's wrong?  You seem like something's troubling you."

"O-oh, it's nothing."  Francis began to think about her husband and the lipstick smudge she'd found on his collar a few weeks before.  She'd tried to block it all out of her head, but the image kept coming back to haunt her.  She refused to believe that the man she loved and had devoted her life to could be so cruel as to betray her with another woman.  "I'm just thinking about Trevor and Lorraine," she lied.  "There seems to be some kind of trouble going on between them and I'm just so worried that he's going to get hurt.  I know he loves her very much, but he's so dedicated to the paper.  She can't understand that.  I don't think she's as supportive of him as she needs to be.  Besides, I'm sure there's something still going on between her and Patterson!"

Jillian Stokes"Actually, I sort of got that impression too that day we saw them together at The Gardens."  Jillian sifted through a few new dress designs that she and Francis had received.  Privately, she began to think about Reginald and Stephanie and what had happened between them.  Could the same thing be happening to Trevor and Lorraine?  "It's obvious that something's going on.  I know that Patterson and Lorraine used to date, but that was over before she even started to see Trevor."

"I know, but something's not right.  I just don't want Trevor to get hurt."

"Mother, Trevor is a grown man, he can take care of himself."  Jillian hesitated for a moment and took Francis' hand.  "I-I need to talk to you about something...about something very personal."

"Oh, of course, dear, what is it?"

"I found out that Reginald cheated on me with someone else.  I-it was a long time ago right after we started dating.  We weren't really serious then, not like now, but the other girl is intent on making trouble for us."  Jillian looked away and felt a little embarrassed.  It was difficult to discuss such personal matters with her fiancÚ's mother, but she trusted Francis implicitly and valued her opinions.

"Reginald?"  Francis was shocked.  She'd had no idea that her son was capable of such actions.  She'd raised him to be truthful and honest and not some sort of philanderer.  "Oh, Jillian, I am so sorry!  I'll never forgive him if he's hurt you!  Who...who is this girl trying to cause trouble for you?"

"It's Stephanie Lake."  Jillian cringed a little when she thought of her.  She'd never really liked Stephanie, but now she detested her more than she ever thought she could detest another human being except for Dane.

"Y-you don't think she'll cause problems for the wedding?  We've planned so much for this party!"

"No!  Stephanie is the past as far as Reginald is concerned.  His future is with me.  She may not like that, but there's no changing it.  I've accepted what happened and I've forgiven him.  In fact, things are better now between us than ever before.  We have nothing but a bright future to look forward to."

"Oh, I'm so happy that you and Reginald could work this out!"  Francis threw her arms around Jillian and hugged her again.  "Now, you listen to me, if he does anything to hurt you, you let me know!  I'll turn him over my knee like he was a little boy again and tan his hide!"  Jillian couldn't help but laugh at the mental picture of Francis taking a switch to her grown son.

"I'm sure that the past is just that for Lorraine and Patterson, too.  Granted, neither one of them is nearly as horrible as Stephanie Lake!  They've become just good friends.  Trevor has nothing to worry about."

"I hope so."  Francis looked down at a framed picture of Trevor that sat on the coffee table.  "I really think the world of Lorraine, but if she were to do anything to hurt my son, I'd never forgive her."  She meant every word.  If Lorraine were to do anything malicious to destroy Trevor, Francis would make sure she'd live to regret it.


MEANWHILE, RIGHT OUTSIDE CHARLES' OFFICE

Callison PublicationsReginald Callison"I'll take care of that right away!" Reginald called out as he left his father's office.  As he absent-mindedly scanned a report he was carrying, he collided with someone.  Surprised and embarrassed, he looked up and saw Annabelle.  He took a couple of steps back and looked at her cautiously.  He thought about what he'd seen between her and his father and felt his stomach turn.

"You really should watch where you're going!"  Annabelle snapped at him.  Realizing this approach would not benefit her nor Stephanie, she softened her tone.  "I-I'm sorry, Reginald.  You just startled me, that's all.  Is your father busy?  I need to talk to him."

"You have no business being anywhere near him."  He looked at her coldly as he watched her every move.  "He doesn't want to have anything to do with you, so go slither back to Douglas' office and leave him alone!"

Annabelle feigned embarrassment as her hand flew up to her chest in indignation.  "W-why are you being so rude?  I cannot believe you have the nerve to speak to me in that tone of voice!"

"You listen to me, Annabelle," he said through clinched teeth as he grabbed her arm tightly and yanked her closer to him.  "I know everything about what you're trying to do to my parents and it all stops now!"

"W-what?  What are you talking about?"  She tried to look innocent, but she'd never been a skilled enough actress for that to work.

"I saw you and my father kissing in his office!" Reginald spat as he squeezed her arm tighter.  She struggled to pull away, but his grasp was unrelenting and his fingers closed tighter like a vise.  "I know you're trying to come between my parents and I refuse to let that happen!  You better stay away from him or you will most certainly regret it!"  Realizing that he did, indeed, know what was going on she stopped struggling against him.

Annabelle Lake"He wants me, Reginald," she asserted.  "He's tired of his boring little life of playing house with Francis.  He craves some excitement in his life...excitement that I can give him.  No matter what you do, you can't change how he feels."

"Stay away from him!"  He pushed her backwards and she nearly toppled over the desk.  "And you can tell Stephanie to stay away from me and Jillian!  Whatever little scheme she has of separating us will never work!  My entire past with her is out in the open between me and Jillian and everything is perfect between us.  It will be a cold day in hell before I let her do anything to destroy what we have."  Annabelle stood up straight and pulled herself together.

"What you feel for Stephanie is burned into your mind just like what Charles feels for me!  You both might try to fight it and deny it, but neither one of you can ignore it!  Face it, Reginald, you're little lives aren't quite as perfect as you've convinced yourself that they are!"  She suddenly turned on her heel and quickly stormed away.  She realized that if she and Stephanie were going to succeed in their goals they'd have to work harder and been more cunning than they'd been so far.  Both Charles and Reginald were going to be much harder to crack than they'd ever thought possible.


A LITTLE WHILE LATER, AT THE WELL

Douglas DavisThe Wishing Well Soda Shoppe"I'm so glad that we've started to spend time together."  Douglas smiled across the table at Stephanie as he pushed his food around his plate.  "I never really thought you'd say 'yes' when I asked you out."

"Why wouldn't I?" she asked while she played with her hair.  "You're quite a handsome man, Douglas.  I've really enjoyed myself on our dates.  I find you deeply fascinating."  It wasn't a lie.  Stephanie had always thought highly of her mother's employer.  Now that she'd gotten to know him better as a person, she found him to be quite charming and dynamic.  He wasn't at all like the little boys in her class.

"Well, I know there's a slight age difference between us.  You are still in school, after all."  He suddenly began to feel awkward.  He often had to remind himself that she had yet to graduate high school.  She seemed so much older and more sophisticated.

"Douglas, I'm only in high school for a few more days!  Graduation is next week.  Besides, I'm 18.  I'm old enough to do whatever I want!"  She looked up at him coquettishly as she reached across the table to give his hand a little squeeze.  Sure, he wasn't quite as wonderful as Reginald, but there was lots that a man like Douglas could offer her.  He was a successful lawyer and very easy on the eyes.  Still, he wasn't Reginald and that was who she really wanted.

"You have no idea how honored I am to be seen with you on my arm.  I just know that you make me the envy of every man in town!"  He watched her closely and realized that she was lost in thought.

"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 LakeStephanie remembered Jillian's words and felt a chill travel down her spine.  Her best efforts had done nothing to destroy Reginald and Jillian's plans to marry.  Maybe Dane and her mother were wrong.  Maybe Reginald really was a lost cause.  She looked at Douglas and realized that he wasn't so bad as a consolation prize.  She could have done much worse!  She could have been with that boring sap Patterson.  She tried to hide her amusement at the thought, but Douglas was quick to notice.

"What's so funny?" he asked her as he smiled.

"Nothing," she laughed.  "I was just thinking how lucky I am that you asked me out.  I was thinking how much I enjoy myself when I'm with you."

"And I enjoy myself  with you."  He began to look nervous and glanced down at his hands.  "S-Stephanie, I've gotten an invitation to Reginald and Jillian's engagement party.  I don't have anyone to accompany me.  W-would you like to be my date for the party?"

"Would I?"  She could barely contain her excitement as she flew from her chair and threw her arms around him.  "There is nothing in the world I'd want more!  I'd love to go to the party with you!"  She kissed him deeply, but secretly thought that the engagement party would be a wonderful setting for another grand attempt at landing Reginald for herself.  She just needed Dane's help to do it.