For Now and Forever
EPISODE #14 (Thursday
GOOD HOPE CHURCH
She stood silently and looked at herself in the mirror. Her long, white gown was perfect as was her makeup and hair. She'd waited for this day for so long, and now it had arrived. Why couldn't she silence the voices in her head that were questioning her choice? This was what she wanted. She had no doubts about that. She ignored the knot of warning that had begun to form in her stomach and turned toward the door. It was time. The music was starting. It was time to go get married.
"What are you doing here?" Annabelle questioned as Stephanie quietly slid into a seat next to her. "How in the world did you get in?"
"I just walked in, mother, how did you expect?" Stephanie rolled her eyes to hide her discomfort. She slumped down slightly into the pew hoping not to be noticed. Ever since Reginald and Jillian's engagement party, she hadn't been one of the most popular people in town. "Besides, I just had to see this wedding with my own eyes to believe it's actually happening."
"Well, don't do anything foolish." Annabelle leaned closer to her daughter to prevent eavesdroppers from listening in on their conversation. "You don't need any more trouble than what you've already got thanks to your ineptness at that party. How could you totally ruin your chances of getting Reginald for yourself?"
"Mother!" Stephanie twisted uncomfortably in her seat as she silently hoped for a change in subject matter. "I've told you repeatedly, I'm over Reginald! I don't have any delusions that he's going to come running to me. All I'd hoped to do was get Dane away from Sara for her own good. I realize, now, that I shouldn't have bothered."
"Stephanie, you just keep your mouth shut about my part in your plans for Reginald. I wouldn't want him to find out about that." Annabelle discreetly motioned towards Charles who was seated on the other side of her. "Things are going too well for me to have you ruin everything."
"I can't believe you're here with him. What about his wife?"
"What about her?" Annabelle smiled slyly. "Francis left Charles. He's pretty much a bachelor now. I've got a clear path to him. You have no idea exactly how wonderful it feels to finally have everything you want."
Stephanie rolled her eyes again and nervously twisted her hair. She wished this wedding would hurry up and get over with. She didn't know how much more of her mother's gushing over Charles Callison she could take.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE
"If you don't get off of that couch and away from that blasted radio, I'm going to throw it out the window!" Mary Albany stood with her hands on her hips in the doorway of the living room as she glared at her daughter. "All you do since you left Charles and moved into this penthouse with me is sit and listen to your stories. How many more silly situations can Helen Trent get herself into? Why, you haven't even been to one of your auxiliary meetings at the hospital in months!"
"Why should I?" Francis asked solemnly as she switched off the radio as the last commercial began to play. "All of those women just sitting around looking at me and feeling sorry for poor little Francis."
"Oh, nonsense!" Mary walked over to the couch and sat down beside her. "I saw Mrs. Campbell at Lerner's just the other day and she was asking about you. She wanted to know how you were doing since she hadn't seen you."
"Corrine Campbell is a vicious harpy and you know it!" Francis sat upright and glared at her mother. "She's not happy unless she's got some horrible piece of gossip to tell to all the auxiliary members! I certainly hope you didn't tell her anything. It's bad enough that everyone's wondering why I took Maggie and left Charles to move in here with you. I don't need them knowing all the horrible details of what Charles did!"
"Honey, are you sure leaving your husband was the right choice?" Mary gently patted Francis on the shoulder as she wrapped her arms around her in support.
"Mother, I love Charles with all of my heart. That's something that will never change, but I can't forget what he did with Annabelle. I can't forgive him for hurting me like this."
"Well, I just wanted to be sure. You let that man make a fool out of you. You can't let that happen again. You are too good for that."
"I know, mother, I know." Francis tried to fight back her tears. "But I don't know how I can get past this. How can I get over this betrayal?"
Mary silently looked at her daughter and wished she had an answer.
THE CALLISON STABLES
"I don't know why you had to bring me out here," Grace muttered as she and Trevor walked slowly up the hill. "I-I've never been on a horse in my entire life."
"Well, I figured that with everything that's going on today, you'd need something to take your mind off of it." Trevor stopped in front of the fence and smiled at the two beautiful horses that stood waiting for them.
"B-but, what if I get thrown?" She eyed the horses nervously. "I-I don't know how to ride!"
"Oh, you won't get thrown! It's easy. You just get on the horse and ride." He reached out to stroke the mane of one of the horses.
"I see you've decided to come and take these beauties out for a ride," came the voice from behind them.
Trevor turned to see a man he did not recognize. "Hello. Who are you?"
"My name's Burt Lamont," the man replied as he held out his hand. "I'm the new caretaker here at the stables."
"What happened to Mr. Hadley?" Trevor asked as he shook Burt's hand. "He's the caretaker."
"Well, seems like Mr. Hadley's mother took ill. He had to head back east to take care of her. I'm his replacement. Just got into Albanyville the other day."
"Good to have you aboard." Trevor smiled. "Now, if you'll excuse us, Mr. Lamont, we have some riding to do." He nodded and led Grace through the gate to the horses.
Burt watched Trevor and Grace closely. Silently, he began to wonder what it would be like to have had all the benefits that went along with being a part of a family like the Callisons. With a sigh, Burt shook his head and turned to make the long walk up the hill to the old farm house.
GOOD HOPE CHURCH
"Would you hold still," Lorraine muttered as she tried to straighten Patterson's tie. "I warned you not to roughhouse with Todd before we left. Now, look at you!"
"Lorraine, I look fine!" Patterson grumbled and tried to pull away from her. "Besides, you're choking me!"
"Oh, hush. If you're going to be the best man today, I can't have you standing up here looking like a ragamuffin." She took a step backward and inspected him closely. "There! That's much better!"
"I just can't believe this wedding is actually taking place." He stuck his finger inside his collar to loosen the tie that Lorraine had tightened. "After everything that's happened, this was the last thing I'd expected. What do you think?"
"Um, what?" Lorraine was clearly uneasy when she realized that she had once again been lost in thought. Why did those hazy memories of her night of passion with Douglas Davis keep coming back to haunt her? It was a mistake she quickly regretted, but it was a night she couldn't forget.
"I asked you what you thought about this wedding?" He eyed her closely. This hadn't been the first time in the last few weeks that he'd caught her off in another world.
"Actually, I'm not entirely convinced that this wedding is going to take place." She quickly glanced around the room before her eyes landed on the groom who was standing next to Patterson and looking not at all comfortable. "I have a feeling that something's going to happen."
Suddenly, the organ began to swell and the music started to grow louder. "It's about time," Patterson muttered as he looked down at his watch. "This thing is already 15 minutes late getting started. I wonder if the bride's getting cold feet."
"One can only hope." She leaned in to quickly kiss him on his cheek before she rushed to take her seat. The wedding was about to begin.
She stood nervously at the doors of the sanctuary as the wedding march began to play. As the room of guests stood in her honor, she slowly began her walk down the isle.
She was relieved to see the smiles on so many of the faces that had come to celebrate her wedding with her, but she was as equally dismayed by the frowns and disapproving looks of others. As she passed, she could faintly hear the assorted chatter over the sounds of the organ.
"Oh, she looks so pretty!"
"I can't believe she's actually going through with this."
"I wonder who did her hair?"
"How can she be foolish enough to still love him after everything she found out about him?"
The bride shook off the negative comments as she smiled lovingly at her groom who stood waiting for her at the front of the church. When she reached him, she took his hand and they turned to face the minister who stood behind the pew, ready to join them together.
"Dearly beloved," the minister began, "we are gathered her today in the presence of God to join together Sara Jane Summers and Dane Patrick Manchester in holy matrimony..."
TO BE CONTINUED
Stephanie tries to think of a way to stop the wedding.
For Now and Forever
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