THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM

Lorraine BlakeThe Grand Sunset Room"Oh, god!" Lorraine muttered to herself as she silently stepped back into the ballroom.  She placed her hand on her chest and felt her heart racing faster.  Her breathing was heavy as she quickly hurried away from the doorway to the balcony.  Lorraine felt the tears begin to form in her eyes as she thought about the scene she'd just witnessed...Patterson kissing Stephanie Lake.  Stephanie!  Of all people!

"First, Trevor, now, Patterson," she sobbed and buried her head in her hands.  "I can't trust anyone!"  She approached the bar and flagged down the bartender.  "I-I'll have another drink."

He looked at her curiously and motioned to the still full glass that was in her hand.  With determination, she swiftly downed the entire drink.  "Satisfied?" she asked sarcastically.

The bartender nodded with a grin and poured her another cocktail.

With the fresh drink in her hand, Lorraine leaned against the bar and carefully rubbed her head.  "I-I drank that one too quickly," she muttered to herself.  "I-I'm starting to feel a little light headed..."


Patterson Monroe"S-Stephanie..." Patterson muttered tentatively as he carefully pushed her away.  "What are you doing?"

"Oh!  I-I'm sorry."  Stephanie's face flushed with embarrassment as her hand flew up to her mouth and she realized what she'd done.  "I-I guess I just got so excited.  This is the first time I've really felt good about something all night."

"But did you have to kiss me?"

"Well?"  She fluttered her eyes sheepishly.  "It's the only thing I know!  What else are you supposed to do with a guy except kiss him?

"How about shaking hands?"  He crossed his arms in front of him and looked at her closely.

"I-I guess that's okay."  Stephanie stuck out her hand and Patterson grasped it firmly.  "Oh, thank you, Patterson!  Thank you for deciding to be my friend!  I know I can do better!  I know it!"

"Well, I'll be watching you," he cautioned.  "You slip up and I'll be there to call you on it.  I want you on the straight and narrow!"

Stephanie Lake"Oh, I will be!"

"Now, I've got to go find Lorraine."  Patterson slowly stood up and brushed off his pants.  "Remember, Steph, I'm watching you."

"Yes, sir!"  She laughed as she raised her hand to her forehead in a mock salute.  "I know I can do better!  I'm really gonna try."

He looked at her with a smile before walking back into the ballroom.

"I do know I can change," she muttered to herself.  "right after I get even with Dane for trying to destroy my life."


Lorraine Blake"Oh, hello, Douglas," Lorraine said as she moved over next to him as he leaned against the bar.  She was quick to notice his glassy eyes and realized he'd had quite a lot to drink.  "So, I take it your not handling this evening too well?"

"Lorraine, I can't believe I was stupid enough to believe Stephanie."  He took another drink and shook his head at his own foolishness.   "Why couldn't I see through her?"

"I think a lot of people were fooled by her.  I knew she could be a little sneaky, but I never realized she could be this devious!"  She looked at him closely.  "Surely you're not still going to go out with her after everything you know?"

"I'm not that stupid." he said with an uncomfortable laugh.  "Stephanie and I are finished.  She played me for a fool and I can't forgive that.  I'm sure she'll try to convince me otherwise, though."

"I wouldn't be too sure about that."  Lorraine lowered her head and sighed.  "I think Miss Lake has decided to move on to other conquests."

"W-what do you mean?"

"I think she's now set her sights on Patterson."  Uncomfortable with that idea, Lorraine took another sip of her drink.  She squinted her eyes as she tried to focus them.  Gee, that drink hit me hard, she thought to herself.  "I wouldn't have thought he'd be foolish enough to believe anything she said, but now I'm not too sure.  He's way too trusting."

Douglas Davis"What makes you say that?"  Douglas looked at her closely.  He'd always thought she was pretty.  He never understood how Trevor could just cast her aside.  He had no idea about Trevor's feelings for Grace.

"I-I don't want to talk about it."  She shook her head as she tried to focus her thoughts.

"Well, I don't see Patterson anywhere around," he spoke tentatively.  "Would you mind if I kept you company for a while?  I don't really feel like standing here all alone feeling sorry for myself because of Stephanie."

"I-I'd like that," Lorraine smiled at him.  "I'd like that very much."


Leticia StokesThe Grand Sunset Room"Nelson, dear, what's going on with Jillian?" Leticia asked as she rushed to catch up with him.  "Did you manage to talk her out of marrying Reginald?"

"That girl refuses to listen to reason!  Despite everything we know about him, she's still intent on marrying him!"  His temper flared as his teeth clinched in anger.  "Our daughter can be quite foolhardy sometimes!"

"Oh, I can't believe this!"  She wrung her hands with worry as she thought about Jillian getting hurt.  "We've got to do something to talk her out of this.  I just know nothing good with come of this.  This is a huge mistake."

"Leticia, I have done something!"  He looked square in her eyes.  "I gave her an ultimatum.  I told her that if she was determined to marry this man without our blessing, then I'd cut her off."

"Oh, Nelson!  You didn't?"  She looked at him pleadingly.  Of course, they didn't approve of Jillian's planned marriage, but Leticia was afraid that such drastic measures would only make matters worse.

Nelson Stokes"I most certainly did!"

"W-what did she say?"

He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly to calm himself.  "She still refuses to listen.  She doesn't care if this man costs her her entire family!  She plans on marrying Reginald Callison with or without our approval!"

"Nelson, please tell me you didn't do anything rash?"  She grabbed on to his arm and waited nervously for his response.

"Not rash at all," he muttered.  "I've done something completely necessary to prevent her foolish mistake from tainting our family."  He took another long breath.  "I've disowned our daughter."


Judith Linford"Oh, those two make me sick!"  Judith sneered as she watched Reginald and Jillian closely.  "I can't believe that little twit is still so nauseatingly in love with him after everything she's found out."

"Well, stubbornness does run in your family, dear," Mark muttered pointedly before taking a sip of scotch.

Janet Stokes"Why must you be so hateful?" Janet questioned her sister.  "Isn't is obvious that Jillian has found true love?  True love is strong enough to withstand anything!"

"I can not believe what I'm hearing!"  Judith raised her hands to cover her ears.  "How can you be so naive to believe something like that?  This is the real world, Janet, not some fairytale!"

"Is your heart so cold that you don't believe in love?"  Janet glared at Judith.  "Just look at them!  Reginald and Jillian have a love that can overcome anything!"

"What in the world do you, of all people, know about love anyway?"  Judith jabbed her impeccably manicured finger into Janet's chest.  "The closest you've ever come to love is The Romance of Helen Trent!"

Mark Linford"Now, now, Sweetheart, let's not get snitty!"  Mark grinned with amusement at the conflict between the sisters.

"I bet I know more about it than you do!" Janet fired back before shooting a stern look in Mark's direction.

Judith gasped as he hand rose to her chest in offense.  "Well, I've heard enough of this pathetic rambling!  Mark, I'm leaving!"

Mark rolled his eyes over his wife's uncalled for dramatics.  As Judith stormed away, Mark turned to Janet.  "And I guess that's my cue to follow along."  He nodded to her politely before trailing off behind Judith.

"Oh, she makes me so mad!" Janet muttered under her breath before returning to watch the happy couple.


Leticia Stokes"Oh, Nelson, you can't say that!"  Leticia pleaded with him as she held on to his arm.  "We can't disown Jillian!  She's our daughter, for heaven's sakes!"

"Enough!" he shouted.  "It's already done!  If that girl is intent on disobeying me, then she's no daughter of mine!  I refuse to allow her to embarrass this family!"

"But, Nelson..."

Nelson Stokes"That's my decision and that's final!"  He turned his back to Leticia as he watched Jillian and Reginald together across the room.  "As soon as we return to New York, I'm having Mark draw up all the papers to completely cut Jillian off financially.  No more fancy hotel suite, no more fancy clothes, no more tuition for college, and no more inheritance!  If she's so determined to marry this man, let him support her royal tastes!"

Oh, Nelson, you're wrong! Leticia thought to herself slyly.  I can't let you do this to our daughter!  But how?  She rubbed her chin as she thought and slowly began to grin.  I know!  I'll just use my own trust fund!  I can be the one to take care of our daughter, even if you won't!


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM

The Grand Sunset RoomMaggie Callison"Oh, I can't believe this!" Maggie muttered to herself as she carefully followed Annabelle and her father.  She cleverly kept a safe enough distance to make sure they didn't realize she was behind them.  Maggie grew increasingly nervous as she worked to stay hidden from them as well as from Francis and Mary.

Maggie watched as Annabelle led Charles onto the elevator.  After the doors closed behind them, Maggie rushed into the foyer and closely watched to see what floor it stopped on.  I can't lose them!  I've got  to know where they're going, she thought to herself.  Surely my father isn't doing anything foolish!  It has to all be innocent.  After the elevator stopped on the ninth floor, Maggie hurriedly pressed the button to get the car to return.  "Oh, come on!" she muttered as she pressed the button again.

When the doors finally opened, Maggie hurried inside and quickly pressed the button for the ninth floor.  She rocked back and forth on her heels as she waited anxiously for the car to reach its destination.  With a soft ding, the doors opened and she carefully peered out into the hallway.  At the very end, she could see Annabelle leading Charles into a room.

Maggie quickly rushed down the hallway just as the door clicked shut.  Room 923, she thought as she stood and looked at the door.  She reached out for the knob and touched it gently as if she were afraid it would bite.  "Oh, now that I'm here, what I'm I gonna do?" she questioned herself as her breathing quickened.


THE SUNSET HOTEL - ROOM 923

The Sunset HotelAnnabelle Lake"Ah, perfect," Annabelle smiled to herself as she gently closed the door behind her and Charles.  She watched as he stumbled awkwardly towards the bed and collapsed in a crumpled heap.  "Charles, dear, you just lie down and rest.  I'll pour you a glass of water.  I'm sure you'll feel better."

"Um...oh...o-okay," he mumbled as he lay on the bed.

Now, if that little brat will just do what she'd supposed to do, this will all work out even better than I originally planned, she thought to herself as she slowly walked over to the bed with the glass.  "Here, Charles, drink this."

"O-okay."

Annabelle watched him as he shakily took a sip of water before setting the glass on the night stand.  She approached the bed with a confident stride and sat down next to him.  "Oh, Charles, you are so handsome."  She gently ran her fingers through his hair.

"I-I don't...I don't f-feel t-too well," he mumbled as he lay back on the bed.

"You'll feel just fine in the morning."  She lay down beside him and carefully rubbed his chest.  Slowly, she rested her head against his shoulder before moving to press her lips against his.

Charles Callison"W-what a-are...what are you...doing?" he asked as he pushed her away.  "I-I can't.  I l-love...I love...Francis.  I c-can't... do... do... this."

"Charles, no one will ever have to know."  She smiled slyly.  "Please let me take you back to that young man you were before your brother died.  Let me show you how I can take you back to the person you were before the weight of the world was thrust upon your shoulders.  I can do that, Charles."

"No."  He pushed her away again.  "I-I love..."  His voice was smothered by Annabelle's persistent kisses.

She was pleased to find his resolve and his resistance weakening.  Soon, he was returning her kisses with equal passion and clumsily fumbling for the zipper of her gown.


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM

The Grand Sunset RoomFrancis Callison"Where in the world has my husband disappeared to?" Francis asked as she nervously tapped her foot on the floor.  "Surely he can't have vanished off the face of the earth!"

"You know how he is, dear."  Mary patted her on the back reassuringly.  "He's probably locked away talking business somewhere.  You know how obsessed he is the that company of his."

"But this is supposed to be a party of celebration for Reginald and Jillian and our family."  Francis began to pace back and forth.  "This isn't some business dinner where he's trying to work the room for business contacts!"

"Well, maybe he's trying to talk some sense into Nelson and Leticia."  Of course, Mary was grasping at straws at this point.  She, herself, had no clue as to where her son-in-law might have gone.

"That, I can guarantee is impossible!  I don't think he even wants to be in the same room as Nelson Stokes!"  Francis quickly looked around again.  "Besides, the royal couple is over there!  I bet they've got themselves perched up on their imaginary pedestals so they can look down on everyone else here!"

Mary Albany"Now, Francis," Mary grabbed her daughter's hand and held it tightly.  "There's no reason to get yourself bent out of shape."

Maggie Callison"Momma!" Maggie blurted out as she rushed up to them.  "Oh, Momma, something awful's happening!"

"Young lady, what in the world are you still doing here?"  Francis frowned at her daughter's presence.

"I thought I sent you home with my driver."  Mary grabbed Maggie's arm and spoke to her sternly.  "How dare you disobey your mother like this!"

"B-but I know where Father is!"

"Maggie, that's all well and good, but I'm sure you realize that this will most certainly result in a severe punishment!"  Mary maintained her grasp on her arm.

"Mother, not now!" Francis interrupted.  "Maggie, you said you knew where your father is?  Where?  How?"

"Oh, I'm sorry I disobeyed you and didn't go home."  Maggie stared at the ground.  "B-but something horrible is going on with Daddy!"

"What in the world are you talking about?" Mary questioned.

"Yes, Maggie, what is going on here?  What horrible thing is happening?"  Francis looked intently at her daughter as she waited for an answer.  "Tell me, Maggie!  Where is your father?"