Francis CallisonSunset Hotel, Penthouse A, Albanyville, IL"I-I just can't believe my marriage is over."  Francis gazed down at the floor; her mind unable to focus on anything.  "Everything I've ever known is now just gone.  My marriage, my life, my dreams...  Am I right not to be able to forgive Charles for what he's done?  Am I right for leaving him and my marriage?"

"Dear, I don't know what I would have done if I'd caught your father in the same situation," Mary said as she walked over to her.  "Thank god we never had to go through a crisis like this.  Though I don't know if I would've been able to forgive him, I do know that I wouldn't have been able to forget!"

"Oh, I can just imagine what everyone in town is saying!"  Francis buried her head in her hands.  "There has never been a divorce in the Albany family!  Not even in the Callison family!  I can't be the first!  I can't!  What are the women in the hospital auxiliary going to think of me?"

"Who cares what those busybody crows think?" Mary's housekeeper Dorothea Jackson spoke up as she handed Mary a cup of tea.  "There are worse things in the world than divorce.  Don't you dare let those cackling hens make you feel bad about yourself.  None of this is your fault.  You've done nothing wrong!"

"I-I know that," Francis muttered.

Dorothea Jackson"Dottie is right!"  Mary nodded her head in agreement.

"You let those women have whatever silly opinions they want.  You have to hold your head up high, honey, be proud of who you are.  Don't ever let them take your dignity."  Dorothea patted Francis gently on the shoulder.

"But I still love Charles so much!  In spite of everything that's happened, I love him with all my heart.  But how can I forgive him for what he's done?"

Mary Albany"Darling, that's something you have to work out for yourself," Mary replied as she held Francis' hand reassuringly.  "No one can make that decision for you.  Whatever you decide, I'll support you every step of the way."

"But surely everyone will think I'm a horrible person if I get a divorce!  How would I ever be able to hold my head up again?"

"You forget what everyone else thinks!"  Dorothea said firmly.  "You have to do what's right for you."

Mary silently nodded her head in agreement.


Good Hope ChurchCharles Callison"I know I could never make up for all the pain I've caused Francis and my family," Charles muttered.  "I've completely thrown away all the love she's offered me over the years.  I am so unworthy of her."

"Oh, Charles you can't say that!"  Annabelle tried to hide her glee at Charles' remorse.  She realized that she could most certainly use this to her advantage.  "If she can't realize how lucky she is to have you, then she's the one that doesn't deserve you!"

"Lucky to have me?  I-I don't think so.  How can she consider herself lucky to be married to an unfaithful husband who carelessly ripped out her heart?  I'm not good for her, Annabelle!  I've hurt her once, I can't allow myself to hurt her again.  She's so much better off without me.  Landon would never have done something like this."

"What are you trying to say, Charles?"  She held on to his arm as she looked at him eagerly.

"I-I have to stay away from Francis for her own good.  I have to make sure that I never let her be hurt by me again."

Annabelle Lake"Are you trying to say you want to divorce your wife?"  She carefully nudged the conversation in the direction she desired.

"I-I hadn't thought of that."  He rested his chin in his hand as he carefully thought about what Annabelle had said.  He really couldn't imagine a life without Francis.  She was, after all, the person he loved most in this world.  However, he realized that holding on to her would mean that he would have a greater chance of hurting her again.  He knew he'd been weak.  Could he even ignore the possibility that he would succumb to temptation again?  Finally he accepted what he must do.  "I have to keep her away from me...for her own good.  If that means a divorce, then that's the way it has to be."

"Oh, Charles," she said softly as she held him in hopes of providing him with some comfort.  "Come home with me, Charles.  Let me take your mind off this horrible mess."

He looked at her and carefully weighed his options.  He slowly nodded in agreement and she led him to the door.  Desperately, he hoped that Annabelle could take his mind of the deep pain he was suffering.  He had to do anything he could to forget Francis...for her own good.

Stephanie Lake"Oh, Patterson!" Stephanie sobbed as she ran up and threw herself into his arms.

"Steph, what's wrong?"  He asked as he carefully held her.  He looked up to see Lorraine glaring at their embrace.  Cautiously, he pulled away.

"I-I tried to talk to Sara," Stephanie sobbed.  "I just wanted to tell her that I hope she's happy.  I wanted to tell her how sorry I was for everything."

"It didn't go well, did it?"

"It was horrible!  She'll never be able to forgive me for trying to get Dane away from her."

"And why should she?" Lorraine spoke up as she looked sternly at Stephanie.  "You're a scheming little liar who'll do anything it takes to get what you want.  To hell with anyone else!  Even your own family!"

Patterson Monroe"Lorraine, that's enough..."  Patterson shot her an angry glance as he tried to silence her.  "Can't you see how sorry she is for everything?  Can't you understand that Stephanie wants to make up for all the terrible things she's done?"

"I-I really am trying to do better."  Stephanie looked away in embarrassment over Lorraine's outburst.  How could she argue with her when everything she'd said had been the truth?

"And she's doing really well, too."  He looked down at Stephanie and smiled as he tried to reinforce her determination to put her manipulative ways behind her.

Lorraine Blake"How can you honestly be fooled by her?"  Lorraine let out a thin laugh.  "You've seen what kind of stunts she pulls!  Surely you're not stupid enough to believe her!"

"I do believe her and I do support her."

"I think I'm going to be sick!" Lorraine spat as she turned and stormed away.

Stephanie looked up and sighed.  Getting back in good graces with everyone was going to be much harder than she thought.  Meanwhile, Patterson began to worry about what was wrong with Lorraine.  She just hadn't been acting like herself lately.




Could a chance meeting between strangers lead to romance?


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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