For Now and Forever
EPISODE #23 (Wednesday
"So, are you having a good time?" Burt asked as he looked across the table at Janet.
"Very much so," she smiled. It had been such a long time since she'd enjoyed herself in the company of a man. She couldn't explain it, but Burt sparked feelings in her that she hadn't felt in ages. "So, tell me, exactly how did you wind up in Albanyville?"
"It's a long story," he laughed as he reached out and took her hand.
"Well, I was born and raised in Kentucky," Burt began. He thought back on his childhood and realized that things were much simpler then. "Just your average childhood, I guess. Once I grew up, I worked for several years as a horse trainer."
"What about your family?" Janet watched him intently. She was completely fascinated by him and wanted to know everything she could.
"I don't think I could love anyone more than I love my mother," he confessed as he thought back on all the sacrifices she'd made for him over the years. "My father, on the other hand..."
"Why? What did he do?"
"Well, to tell the truth, Pa was never really the loving sort. He was always out playing the horses or drinking with his buddies. He never really seemed to have much time for us." Burt looked away for a moment as if the thought of his father was too painful to remember. "Finally, when my little brother Randy was still young, Pa just took off and left. He kinda disappeared off the face of the planet. We never saw him again."
"Oh, Burt, I-I'm so sorry!" Janet gave his hand and slight squeeze and looked at him with such compassion.
"Not long after that, Ma started getting sick. She really couldn't work to support herself and Randy anymore so it became my job to take care of all of us." Burt grew solemn as he began to think about the dark times that followed. "When the economy got as bad as it is, the horse farm had to cut back and I lost my job. I thought I would quickly get snatched up by another farm, but it didn't happen. Jobs were becoming more and more scarce. I couldn't even get a job as a paperboy."
"Finally, I left Ma and Randy in Kentucky and went to New York," he continued. "I eventually found work as a bartender in a nightclub. It was a good job and I met lots of interesting people..." Burt caught himself when he realized he was about to say too much. "Anyway, the money wasn't all that good. I couldn't support myself and still have enough money to send home. I left New York and decided to try my luck in Chicago, but work prospects were even slimmer there. Eventually, what little money I'd managed to hold back began to run out. I didn't know what to do. I was getting really desperate."
"That's horrible!" Janet quietly began to make comparisons between Burt's life and her own. Although she'd been born into a family of wealth and privilege while he'd been born into a family of poverty and hardship, she could almost understand what he'd gone through. "H-how did you wind up here?"
"Well, actually it was by luck." He smiled as he thought about the stroke of good fortune that had landed upon him. "I was still in contact with some of my horse trainer friends. One of them told me that they'd heard the Callisons were looking for a caretaker for their stables. Since Albanyville is relatively close to Chicago, I made a beeline here and got the job. That's basically all there is to tell."
"I'm glad you found your way to Albanyville." Janet looked at him and smiled. "If you hadn't, I would never have met you."
"I'm glad I'm here, too." Burt held her hand gently in his. He paused for a moment and then looked up at her. "So, Janet, tell me about you. Tell me about the Scott family."
Janet swallowed hard and began to grow nervous. How could she tell him about the Scott family when they didn't even exist?
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
Randy walked cautiously into The Well. He hadn't really begun to feel comfortable in his new school. All the other students stayed away from him because he was new and he was finding it difficult to make friends. This was not at all like his old school in Kentucky. He hung his head as he walked, trying not to stand out. He should have watched were he was going. With a thud, he collided with another customer. He looked up quickly and was deeply surprised to find himself again standing in front of Maggie Callison. But now, Maggie was covered in the cherry milkshake he'd just knocked from her hands.
"Oh, my god! Look what you've done!" Maggie gasped as she held out her hands. The sticky pink beverage dripped off of her hands and stained her blouse. "How can you be so clumsy?" She looked up at him and began to seethe with fury when she realized who was the cause of her mess. "You! Do you always make it a habit of running over me and getting in my way?"
"I-I'm sorry," Randy muttered nervously as he grabbed a stack of napkins. "Here, let me help!" He rushed to wipe the mess off of Maggie, but she quickly pulled away.
"Leave me alone!" she yelled as she yanked the napkins out of his hand. "I can do that! I don't need your help!" She urgently blotted the spilled milkshake off of herself.
"I didn't mean to cause such a mess," Randy muttered nervously. "I really am sorry! I-I guess I'm a little clumsy."
"A little?" Maggie glared at him angrily. "You must be a complete idiot! I don't know why you had to come here! Why couldn't you have just stayed where ever you came from?"
Randy swallowed hard and quickly looked away to hide his embarrassment. Why did he have to leave Kentucky? Why did Burt have to drag them here to this horrible town?
CALLISON PUBLICATIONS - CHARLES' OFFICE
"Charles, you're just a bundle of nerves," Annabelle cooed as she stepped behind him and began to gently massage his shoulders. "You really shouldn't let things get to you like this. Who was that on the phone? Thornton Preston?"
"Yes, it was Preston," Charles muttered as he allowed the pressure of Annabelle's fingertips to slowly ease away his tension. "That no good author wants to back out of his contract! He's refusing to let us have that book!"
"He can't be serious?"
"I'm afraid he is, but I refuse to let him back out on me! Not now. We've already made plans for The Manhattan Conflict. If he thinks he can just do whatever the hell he wants on a whim, he's sadly mistaken!"
"Just calm down and don't let him get to you." She walked over to the bar and carefully made him a martini. "You've let this man get you all worked up and he's not worth it. Everything will work out."
"Well, it's not just Preston," Charles muttered as he sunk back down into his chair. "It's this entire mess with Francis. What with everything going on, I'm finding it harder and harder to concentrate on work. This Preston mess isn't helping any."
"Well, I think you're doing the right thing by staying away from Francis." Annabelle slowly circled Charles and allowed her fingertips to gently graze his shoulders before she handed him his drink. "The less she's forced to see you, the sooner she can get on with her life."
Charles lifted his head and eyed her closely. "Actually, Annabelle," he said as he inhaled deeply. "If I wanted to do the right thing, I'd stay away from you."
THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN
The sound of the kitchen door slamming shut startled Penelope as she stood by the sink washing dishes. She quickly jumped and spun around to see Randy stomping through the kitchen and into the living room.
"Randy? What's wrong? Why are you traipsing through my kitchen like a pack of elephants?" When she got no response, she quickly dried her hands and slung her dishtowel over her shoulder and followed him. "Randy? Did you hear me?"
"Yes, Ma, I heard you," he grumbled as he slumped down into a chair and buried his face in his hands. "I just don't feel like talking."
"What happened?" Penelope walked over to him and eyed him with concern. He'd always been such a tenderhearted child. Just the slightest harsh word from his father would send him crying to his room. She waited eagerly for a response, but again got none. "Randy, talk to me. Tell me what's wrong!"
"Oh, I wished we'd never come to this stupid town!" he blurted out. "Why did we have to come here, Ma? Why couldn't we just stay in Kentucky? Everything was better there! This place is horrible, the people are horrible..."
"Randy, dear, just calm down and tell me what happened."
"Maggie Callison is what happened, Ma! I ran into her at The Well and accidentally spilled her milkshake on her. I tried to tell her it was an accident! I tried to tell her I was sorry, but she' so...so horrible!"
"Maggie Callison?" Penelope covered her mouth in shock. Even the youngest of the Callisons couldn't escape the curse of their arrogance! "Now, you listen to me, don't you ever let those Callisons make you feel beneath them. Those people are no better than we are! They've just got it in their heads that just because they've got all that money and prestige that they can walk all over everyone. Well, I'm here to tell you they can't! If that girl tries to give you any trouble, you just hold your head high and remember that her opinion doesn't matter! None of their opinions matter!"
Randy watched his mother closely. She sure did get upset whenever the Callison name was brought up. He wondered why she had such a strong response to them, but realized that she was right. He couldn't let some snotty girl like Maggie ruin his day. He did know, however, that he had to steer clear of her. He dreaded another run-in like the one today.
"Well, as I told you before, I'm from Connecticut and I'm in town visiting my sister Jill." Janet couldn't bring herself to look him in the eyes. Burt had been so truthful about his own past, but she just couldn't be as forthcoming. There was no way he'd understand what she'd come from and what she'd been through.
"What about your parents?" He watched her closely as he thought about how her eyes were filled with innocence but, at the same time, seemed to hold such secrets.
"T-they're dead," she finally spoke. What else could she say? She couldn't tell him her parents were rich and lived in a luxurious apartment in Manhattan. "C-car accident."
"Oh, I'm so sorry." Burt reached out to
take her hands in his. He didn't know what he'd do if he ever lost
his mother. He could understand her pain. "I hope I
haven't drug up any bad memories for you."
"Not at all," she muttered as she quickly looked away. This was bringing up bad memories...memories of things that she'd tried so hard to forget. She just couldn't let him know who she was. If he'd lived in New York, he might know who she was and what happened. People don't forget those kinds of things. "J-Jill is the only family I have left in the world. Just us. I've been traveling around a lot and working on my art. I-it helps me to forget."
"I'm sure it does." He smiled at her and looked deeply into her eyes. He was a little taken aback at the feelings he was beginning to have. It was way too soon to feel so strongly about her, but there was just some sort of connection there that he couldn't deny. "You know, Janet, I have the feeling this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"I think so, too," Janet smiled in return. Inside, however, he stomach began to do flips as she worried about what would happen if everything she was trying to hide began to come out. Could she really survive having to go through that all over again?
TO BE CONTINUED
Both Lorraine and Stephanie notice Patterson's reaction to Clark.
For Now and Forever
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