produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #9 click here for a printable version of this episode
May 1935

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 A FEW EVENINGS LATER, AT LORRAINE'S APARTMENT

Lorraine Blake98 River Rd Apt. #1, Albanyville, IL"You're awfully quiet," Lorraine finally spoke.  The silence that had filled the room since Trevor had arrived was almost unbearable.  She watched him closely as he paced around the living room.  "Something on your mind?"  Though she hadn't meant them to, her words came out quite sarcastic.  Secretly, she wondered if his head was once again filled with thoughts of Grace.

He paused for a moment and looked at her.  Taking in her gentle beauty, he ran his hands through his hair and wondered where to start.  He truly didn't want to hurt her.  She had become so special to him.  Yet, he could no longer deny the truth.  He was most definitely in love with Grace Davis.  No matter what the future might hold for him and Grace, he couldn't continue to deceive Lorraine.  "I...I...I don't know what to say," he finally muttered.

"Well, go on!  Just spit it out!"  She knew what was coming.  She felt it in the deepest corners of her heart.  "Don't just keep wearing a hole in the carpet.  Stop right there and tell me!  You came here tonight to tell me something.  Why put it off?  Why prolong this...this...this mess?"  He stopped in his tracks, swallowed hard, and inhaled deeply.

"L-Lorraine.....I...."  He didn't know where to start.  He looked away to avoid seeing the hurt in her eyes that she tried so unsuccessfully to hide.  You have to do it!  You have to tell her.  It's the only right thing to do, he thought.  "Lorraine, you are probably one of the most special people I've ever met in my entire life.  Gee...I think this has to be the hardest thing I've ever done.  Um...I've been so unfair to you.  You deserve so much better than me.  I...I...I'm not in love with you.  I thought I was once, but I've come to realize that I'm not."  He stopped for a moment and watched her slump down into a chair.  He approached her tentatively and saw how vacant her eyes had become.  He reached out to hold her, to comfort her as he'd done so many times before, but he pulled away.  He was afraid that would hurt her even more.

"Is it someone else?"

"That's not important.  Whether there is another woman involved or not, that has no bearing on how I feel.  I really think I had these feelings before and I was just too blind to see them.  You and I could never work out.  It's not your fault.  It's all mine!  It's my fault.  I can't love you the way you need to be loved."

"Why, Trevor, why?"  She looked up at him and could no longer hold back her tears.  "What's so awful about me that you can't love me?  A-am I not pretty enough?  A-am I just too plain?"

Trevor Callison"No!  Why in the world would you even think such things?"  He was stunned by her questions.  Trevor thought that Lorraine was one of the most beautiful girls that he knew.  That wasn't it at all.  "Honey, you're gorgeous!  B-but sometimes beauty isn't enough.  Look, I know it's hard to explain, but I've been in love once before.  I was in high school.  Whenever I thought about her, my insides turned to mush.  I couldn't explain it."  He rested his hand gently on her shoulder hoping to give her some kind of support and comfort.

"What happened?"

"She...uh...she and her family moved away."  He lowered his face into his hands as he thought about Maddy Forsythe and the sweet, innocent love that they'd shared.  "I...I had always hoped that she'd come back to me."

"Did she?"  Lorraine peered at him through narrow eyes as she waited for an answer.

"Um...no."  His voiced had softened to almost a mutter as he turned away from her.  "S-she died a couple of years ago.  I-I never got a chance the live the life that I'd wanted with her.  That's why I can't keep seeing you."

"Because of some dead girl?"  Her voice grew more forceful as she rose from her seat.  "How can you expect me to believe that you can't love me because you're holding on to the memory of some dead childhood sweetheart?"

"It's not just that.  It's not just Maddy.  I know how I felt with her.  What I felt was true love.  I-I don't feel that with you."  He grabbed Lorraine and pulled her close to him.  As he wrapped his arms around her, he realized he needed to hold her as much to comfort himself as to comfort her.  "I tried.  I really tried to feel that way about you...but I can't.  I finally realized that I probably never would.  If I keep letting you believe that I do, it wouldn't be fair to you.  It's not right!"

"Just go."  She pulled away from him and flung herself onto the couch.

"I'm sorry, Lorraine, I'm really sorry."  He turned away to hide his shame for the hurt he'd caused her.  When he looked at her again he knew there was nothing left to say.  Silently, he walked out the door and left her alone.  As the sound of the closing door echoed through the apartment, Lorraine's tears began to flow unstoppably.  She knew this was coming.  She knew he'd leave her.  But, knowing all that, why did it still hurt so bad?


MEANWHILE, AT THE CALLISON HOME

2210 Elmwood Lane, Albanyville, ILCharles Callison"So, how's this big party coming along?"  Charles walked over and sat down on the sofa by Francis.  She looked up coolly from the evening edition of The Daily Post that she'd been reading and tried to muster up the requisite enthusiasm to respond.

"Oh, everything's set.  The only thing left to do is mail out just a few more invitations."  She folded the paper neatly and laid it on the coffee table before turning to face him.  She carefully examined him and noted every line on his face and the slight dusting of gray hair at his temples.  They'd been so young when they first met and fell in love.  Was that what was wrong?  Did he not have a chance to finish sowing his oats?  Did the pressure to marry the right girl and start a family to carry on the Callison tradition force him into a situation with a wife he didn't really want.

"Honey, is something wrong?"  He reached out for her hand and was quick to notice that she grew tense when they touched.  "You've been excited about this party for weeks, but now you seem a little cavalier about it."

"I guess it's just a little depressing that all the planning's over."  She slowly pulled her hand away and turned to gaze at the empty fireplace.  On the mantle sat a picture from their wedding.  Wistfully, Francis thought about how happy she'd been that day.  She'd found the person she was going to spend the rest of her life with and she was going to have his children.  "Kind of like right after Christmas is over.  You look forward to it all for weeks; but then what do you look forward to when it's over?"  She felt the words catch in her throat as she thought of the odd parallels to her own marriage.

"Well, if it will help you out, I've already delivered the invitations to everyone of importance at the office."

Francis Callison"Who did you invite?" she muttered.

"Oh, just all of the main executives....Douglas," he paused.  "Annabelle..."

"Annabelle?"  Francis turned to stare at him.  "Why Annabelle?  She's only Douglas' secretary!  She's no one of importance."

"I know.  I hadn't intended on inviting her, but she really wants to go and she seems so excited about it."  He rubbed his temples lightly as he slowly felt a headache coming on.  "I-I didn't know how to tell her 'no'.  I figured there'd be no harm in giving her an invitation."

"Well, if you think it's important enough to have her at this party and you don't care how Reginald might feel, you go right ahead!"  Francis rose to her feet and crossed her arms across her chest as she glared at him.  "T-that wretched daughter of hers has done nothing but try to cause trouble for him and Jillian!  Why, Annabelle's probably behind that entire mess.  I bet she even put Stephanie up to it!  Annabelle Lake is nothing but a trampy gold digger!  If you want to invite her and completely ruin this party, you go right ahead....but you'll do it without my blessing!"

Charles looked at his wife with shock over her outburst and watched her angrily storm from the room.  As his mind began to whirl with a myriad of thoughts of Francis and Annabelle and Reginald and Jillian, he rubbed the back of his neck to relieve the tension.  Sighing, he leaned back onto the sofa and lit a cigarette.


MEANWHILE, AT THE LAKE APARTMENT

Stephanie Lake800 W. Rose St. Apt #3, Albanyville, IL"I cannot believe you managed to talk Charles into giving you an invitation to that party!"  Stephanie laid on the couch and laughed before throwing her movie magazine to the floor and sitting up.  "How did you do it, Momma?  How did you talking him into inviting you?"

"Haven't you learned by now, dear?  I can talk a man into just about anything!"  Annabelle spread her arms dramatically as she smiled from ear to ear.  "All it took was a little flutter of my eyes and me telling him how I, oh, so much wanted to go!   I just never get to go out and do anything.  And this would be such a wonderful opportunity for my niece Sara to get out and meet the right kind of people...."  She hesitated for a moment before continuing.  "It wasn't easy to get three invitations."

"Three?"  Stephanie looked up at her mother inquisitively.

"Of course, silly, one for me, one for Sara, and one for you!"

"You actually got Charles Callison to give me an invitation to Reginald and Jillian's engagement party?"  Her eyes grew wide with shock.  "Surely he already knows what kind of utter fool I made of myself at Jillian's!  I bet that little snot ran all over town the next day telling everyone how she faced me down."

"Well, if he knows anything about your behavior, he didn't let on that he did."  Annabelle paused to light a cigarette before strolling across the room leaving her long dressing gown to drift along behind her.  "I'm sure she didn't say a word.  That arrogant little bore must have felt too embarrassed by Reginald's betrayal to even want to think about it, let alone tell anyone!  Now, darling, why you didn't tell me about your little fling with him sooner, I'll never know!  If I'd have know months ago, it could've made my job of getting you two together so much easier!"

"Mother, I didn't tell you because it really was none of your business!"

"Of course it's my business if my daughter is sleeping with one of the most eligible bachelors in town."

"He's not a bachelor!  He's engaged to be married to that witch Jillian."  Stephanie quickly began to grow irritated with her mother's insistence on knowing every detail of her life.  She began to regret finally telling her the truth about the past that they'd shared.

Annabelle Lake"He wasn't tied to anyone then."  Annabelle looked at her daughter sternly as she sat down beside her.  "If you'd played your cards right, this party could have been for you and not her."

"Mother, I'm beginning to think this entire Reginald mess is a lost cause."  Stephanie slumped back into her seat and slowly twisted a strand of hair around her finger.  "I've been dating Douglas for weeks now.  I really don't need that invitation you got for me because I'm going to the party with him.  He's really a wonderful man.  Maybe I should just give up on Reginald and try to have a relationship with Douglas."

"Oh, nonsense!  You're being silly."  Annabelle threw up her hands and let out a hearty laugh.  "Douglas is a wonderful man, and all, but he's no where near the class of people that Reginald is.  Reginald is a much better choice for you.  Now, you listen to me, this party is the perfect opportunity to come between Jillian and Reginald and separate them once and for all!"

Stephanie thought about how those were her original intentions when Douglas first had asked her to be his date.  However, she'd been thinking about everything that could go wrong.  What if she was only misleading herself to think she even stood a remote chance with Reginald?  What if her plan could turn into an even bigger disaster than the one before?  "Momma, I really don't think..."

"Hush!" Annabelle pressed her index finger to her daughter's lips to silence her.  "Now, you listen to me.  I have a plan that will ensure that we wind up with Reginald and Charles at the end of the night..."