LATER, AT THE PAGE TURNER BOOKSTORE

Trevor CallisonPage Turner Bookstore"You busy?" Trevor asked as he leaned over the counter.

"Actually, no."  Grace smiled at him as she finished unpacking a box of books.  "In fact, I was just about to take a break."

"Great!  Then why don't we go next door and grab a soda."  He couldn't help but be mesmerized by her.  Her golden hair and delicate features could have him transfixed for hours.  He watched her nervously as he waited for her response.  Their friendship had been rather shaky since their impetuous kiss.  Now slightly uncomfortable around each other, they were each working to put their own feelings into perspective.  Trevor loved her.  He knew that much.  He also knew that Grace had no interest in him beyond friendship.  He'd decided then that he must refocus his feelings on his girlfriend Lorraine.  Of course, his feelings for Lorraine weren't the same as they were for Grace, but he knew he had to try.  If friendship was the only kind of relationship he and Grace could share, then that would have to be enough.  "I've got a present for you."  He held out the gift wrapped box with the pretty pink bow for her to see.

"A gift?  For me?"  She looked at it, a little unsure what to say.  "For what?"

"Your birthday, silly!"

"H-how did you know it was my birthday?"  She reached out for the box, but he playfully snatched it away.

"I have my ways.  Now, don't tell me you can't accept a birthday present from a friend."

"Of course not."  She sighed as she realized that there was no reason they couldn't be friends.  She knew, however, that she had to be careful not to lead Trevor to believe that there could be anything more than that between them.  "Okay, let's go get that soda.

When they had finally settled into a booth in the cafe, he held out the gift for her again.  This time when she reached for it, he didn't pull it away.  He waited nervously as she carefully pulled the wrapping from the box.

"Can't you just tear into it?"  He tapped his foot rapidly on the floor.  He hoped she'd like it.  Trevor had searched all day for just the right gift.

Grace Davis"I can't!  The paper is too pretty to ruin."  She paused for a moment and eyed him closely.  "You didn't wrap this yourself, did you?"  Trevor smiled meekly as he tried to look innocent.

"Well....actually...no.  The saleslady over at Lerner's did it.  I've never been able to wrap anything and have it turn out decent.  Usually it just looks like a wad of paper."

"Oh, Trevor!  I love it!"  She looked down at the beautiful cherry music box that the paper had contained.  Carefully, she opened the lid and listened to the delicate tune the box played.  Trevor heaved a sigh of relief.  Now relaxed, he settled back into his seat.

"I'm glad.  I saw it and thought of you.  So sturdy and strong like the cherry, yet so sensitive and delicate like the tune."  Their eyes met for and instant  and they both began to feel caught up in the moment.  Trevor slipped his hand across the table and took her hand in his.  Suddenly, she yanked it back and looked away.  Both became immediately uncomfortable and began to wonder if a friendship between them was really possible.  "I...um...so...how are finals coming?"

"Good."  Her eyes darted around the cafe as she rested her hands in her lap.  She frantically tried to find anything to look at other than Trevor's eyes.  She couldn't deny how captivating the truly were and, despite her best efforts, she couldn't help but feel a little excited every time she saw him.  "Graduation is almost here.  I can wait to get it all over with."

"Ummm...so how are things going with this big, secret love of yours?"

"Not good."  She sighed deeply as she thought of Dane Manchester.  His dark, good looks made her feel things she'd never felt before.  Every time she thought of him, her heart would beat faster and she found it hard to catch her breath.  "I've barely even seen him since the first time we met.  He seemed interested in me, but now I'm not even sure he really knows I'm alive."  She looked down at her hands and began to feel forlorn.  She wondered if she was being foolish to even think she had a chance with Dane.

"Grace, I'm sure everything will work out for the best.  If he can't see what a wonderful, special girl you are, he must be completely blind."

"A-and how's Lorraine?"

Trevor flinched a little at the mention of his girlfriend's name.  "Um....she's fine.  You know, I really feel bad about staying with her even though my feelings...well...my feelings for her aren't quite what they should be.  Grace...I...well...I love you.  It can't be right what I'm doing to her."

"You know that I can't return your feelings!  I told you we could only be friends."  She swallowed hard and spoke very pointedly to him.  "Look, Trevor, even though you and I have no future, you have to be truthful to her.  If you don't love her and don't think you could ever love her like you need to, you've got to tell her!  It's not fair for her to be misled like she is.  You've got to be honest with her and tell her that you don't love her.  If you don't, you're only going to wind up hurting her more than you already have."

He paused for a minute and thought about what she'd said.  He knew she was right.  It wasn't fair to Lorraine to continue his charade.  As much as he did care for her, he wasn't in love with her and realized he probably never would be.  "You're right, Grace.  I can't continue to keep this from Lorraine.  It's not fair for her and she's only going to be hurt even more.  She doesn't deserve that."

"S-so...what are you going to do?"

"I'm going to tell her the truth."  Trevor looked at Grace with a new determination in his eyes.  He finally realized the right thing to do and knew that he couldn't avoid it any longer.  "I'm going to tell her the truth and tell her we can't see each other any more.  I know she's going to be hurt, but it's the right thing to do.  It's the honest thing to do.  She deserves at least that."  Trevor inhaled deeply as he realized this would be the hardest thing he ever had to do in his entire life.  He felt good about wanting to be honest and truthful, but how could he feel good about destroying every hope and dream that Lorraine had ever had about them?


MEANWHILE, JUST OUTSIDE CHARLES' OFFICE

Callison PublicationsFrancis CallisonFrancis' heels clicked against the tile of the hallway as she strode towards the large oak doors that led to Charles' outer office.  She'd gotten out of a committee meeting with the hospital auxiliary early and had decided to stop in and see her husband while she was in town.  As she reached out for the door, a familiar voice called out to her from behind.

"Well!  Hello, Francis.  What are you doing here today?"

Francis turned to see Annabelle Lake walking toward her with a stack of files in her arms.  "Oh, hello, Annabelle.  I was just in the neighborhood and thought I'd surprise my husband.  He's been working late a lot because of that whole Preston mess.  I thought it would be nice to force him to take a little break."  She inspected Annabelle closely noting her dark, upswept hair and clingy, jersey dress.  They were nearly the same age, but Francis saw no comparison in their personal styles.  She has a grown daughter!  Why can't she dress more appropriately?  She really should try to look her age.

"Oh, that's wonderful!  You know, that husband of yours works entirely too hard."  Annabelle stepped closer to Francis and shifted the weight of the files in her arms.  She gently twisted the strand of pearls that encircled her neck.  Francis couldn't help but notice the bright red color of her nails.  "You are so lucky to have found a man as wonderful as Charles.  He's so handsome and successful.  How did you do it?  You must tell me how you landed such a catch as him!"

Francis quickly began to grow irritated with Annabelle's comments.  "I didn't 'land' Charles...as you put it...we met and it was almost love at first sight.  Other than our children, he's been the joy of my life ever since."

Annabelle Lake"Well, you were much younger then..."  Annabelle's words trailed off leaving Francis to feel her face begin to burn.  "Actually, Charles and I had lunch today!"  A lie.  "He's so much more relaxed and entertaining when you can pull him away from his work.  Of course...I'm sure you already know that."  She smiled dryly at Francis and watched her reactions closely.  She grinned when she realized that she was beginning to get to her.  Casually, Annabelle slipped her hand into her pocket and pulled out her lipstick.  Shifting the weight of the files, yet again, she began to apply a new coat to her already crimson lips.

Francis absent mindedly twisted her wedding ring around her finger and watched Annabelle closely.  Suddenly, something very familiar stuck her.  She wasn't sure why, but a strange feeling of awareness began to come over her.  As she looked closer, she felt her heart began to race.  The lipstick!  The lipstick that Annabelle was wearing was the exact same shade as what she'd found on Charles' collar weeks ago!  She swallowed hard as she became increasingly uncomfortable.

"What's wrong, dear, you suddenly look ill?"  Annabelle returned the lipstick to her pocket and flashed her a smile of false concern.

"I-I," she stammered.  "I really must go."

"Ah, yes, I have lots of things to do, as well.  So good to see you again, Francis.  You really mustn't be a stranger around here."  Quickly Annabelle turned and began to walk off down the hall and grinned confidently to herself.  Red always was my color.

As soon as Annabelle was out of site, Francis turned and again reached out for the door to her husband's office.  Hesitating, she released the knob and backed away slowly before turning and running silently from the building.


MEANWHILE, IN THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE OF ALBANYVILLE UNIVERSITY

Albanyville UniversityAgnes Martin"Sara!" Agnes Martin called out as she looked up from her desk and saw her old friend.  "What are you doing in here?  I don't think I've seen you since last semester.  What kinda grade did you get in Hackett's Psychology class, anyway?"

"Umm...I got an 'A'."  Sara looked around the office nervously and began to rock back and forth, shifting her weight from one foot to the other.  "Uh...Agnes...I've got something to ask you."  She hesitated for a moment as she again scanned the office to see if anyone was nearby who could hear.

"Sure, what is it?"  Agnes leaned onto the desk and rested her chin in her hands as she looked up at Sara.

"Well....I don't know if you know, but my cousin Stephanie is starting college here in the fall.  She's gotten her preliminary acceptance letter, but she hasn't taken her entrance exams yet."  Sara's eyes darted around the office again.  "She's pretty nervous about this test.  H-how easy is it to get a copy of the exam before hand?  I know they change the test every year, but is there a way to get a copy so she knows what to expect?  You know, kinda something for her to study from?"

"Please!" Agnes chuckled, "They say they change that test every year, but I've worked in this office since my freshman year and it's still the same test I took to get in to AU.  I guess Dane told you about the favor I did for him.  I told him not to tell anyone, but...well...I guess since it's you, it's okay."

Sara Summers"Oh, of course!  I'd never say a word!"  Sara's eyes narrowed as she began to look at her friend intensely.  "Dane knows how worried my cousin is and he told me you might be able to help."

"I guess Dane told you that whole story."  Agnes laughed as she remember how panicked Dane had been at the thought of the exam.  "It's hard to believe that Dane Manchester---the walking epitome of cockiness and self-confidence---was petrified of taking that test!  Honestly, it's really not that difficult.  You know that!  Now, Sara, don't get mad, but Dane and I sorta dated for a little while that summer before he started school.  It was never really anything serious and we both moved on before the semester started.  Anyway, I was already working here in the office and I just felt so bad for him.  It was nothing to lift a copy of that test and copy the answers down on it.  If I remember correctly, Dane aced that exam."

"Yeah, he did."  Sara was enthralled by Agnes' story.  Hmmm....Dane really did cheat on his entrance exams!  "B-but isn't that all sorta risky?  What if the dean found out?"

"Oh, lord!  If the dean found out, we'd all be expelled!  AU sees cheating as an offense comparable to murder!"  Agnes' laughed drifted off as she peered across the desk at Sara.  "Of course, no one's gonna find out, are they?"

"Oh, of course not!"  Sara smiled reassuringly.  "My lips are sealed about this entire subject!"

"So, do you want me to get a copy of that test for your cousin?"

"Ummm...let me talk to her about it.  She might not be too keen on cheating."  Sara reached across the table and shook Agnes' hand.  "Well...I've really got to get going.  Good to see you again!  And thanks for all your help."

"Anytime!  If you decide she needs that test, just let me know."

Sara strode out of the office and smiled confidently to herself.  Ah, Dane, now I have you right where I want you.



 


NEXT TIME

The end of Trevor and Lorraine.
Stephanie worries about Sara's welfare.
Dane gets an invitation.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2010 Classic Soap Productions