For Now and Forever
EPISODE #24 (Thursday
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
"Where in the devil can she be?" Patterson mumbled to himself as he looked at his watch. Lorraine was supposed to meet him after she'd left the doctor's office. He'd wanted to go with her himself, but she had insisted that she was a grown woman and could go on her own. He let out a huge sigh and sank back into the booth. She should have been done by now. Where was she?
As he strummed his fingers nervously on the table, his attention was drawn to the sight of Stephanie walking through the door. Suddenly, his demeanor changed as a smile spread across his face.
"Stephanie!" Patterson called out as he lifted his hand into the air to catch her attention. "Over here!"
She immediately smiled when she saw him and hurried over to him. "Hi, Paddy!" She leaned in and hugged him tightly. "How are you?"
"Fine, just waiting for Lorraine." He furrowed his brow when he again remembered why he had been sitting alone and impatient. He shook off his feelings of worry and focused his attention on Stephanie. "So, how are classes going? What do you think of AU so far?"
"Oh, this is so much harder than I thought it was going to be," she sighed as she plopped herself down beside him in the booth. "High school was a dream compared to this! Why, Professor Perry wants us to have a ten page paper on Macbeth ready by next week! I don't think I can do that! Not that and work in the English department, too."
"You'll be fine, just remember to budget your time. That's the key to it all. How do you think I manage school and taking care of Todd?"
"Mrs. Oliver!" she smiled slyly at him. They both laughed because they knew it would be impossible for him to keep up with his studies without his housekeeper to help out with Todd's care. "Actually, there have been some good things that have come out of school." She grinned smugly.
"Oh?" Patterson looked at her inquisitively as he cocked an eyebrow. "And what might that be?"
"I have a date!" Stephanie stuck her hands on her hips and twisted from side to side with pride. "I found someone who has no idea about what happened at Reginald and Jillian's party."
"Good for you!"
"And, in fact, here he comes now!" She turned as she saw Clark strolling through the door.
"Stephanie, I hope I'm not late," Clark beamed as he smiled from ear to ear. He looked at Patterson inquisitively before extending his hand. "Hi, I'm Clark Saxon."
"Patterson Monroe," he responded as he gave a hearty handshake.
"I think this has to be the luckiest day of my life!" Clark's statement was met with an awkward look from Patterson. "I met the most beautiful girl on campus," Clark continued, "and she gave me the great honor of agreeing to be seen in public with me."
"Oh, isn't he the sweetest guy?" Stephanie giggled as she lowered her head in mock embarrassment. "You see, Paddy, Clark is a member of Delta Phi. That's the most important fraternity on campus!"
"I know who the Delta Phi's are, Steph," Patterson muttered dryly. His eyes darted back and forth between Clark and Stephanie. It was nauseating how they were gushing over each other.
"I told Stephanie, here, that there isn't an Omega Chi on campus who could hold a candle to her!" Clark wrapped his arm around her and pulled her tight.
"I see." Patterson tried to focus his eyes on anything other than Clark and Stephanie. The site of them together was beginning to make him extremely uncomfortable.
"Well, I guess I've talked your ear off enough, Paddy," Clark said with unwarranted familiarity. "I think Stephanie and I are going to grab a booth in the corner and get to know one another better."
As Clark led Stephanie away, Patterson followed them closely with his eyes. Why did the sight of the two of them together make him feel so uncomfortable?
CALLISON PUBLICATIONS - CHARLES' OFFICE
"What do you mean you need to stay away from me?" Annabelle's hand flew up to her chest in shock. "If I'm not mistaken, I'm the only one who's seemed the least bit interested in helping you get through this mess with Francis!"
"If it wasn't for you, Annabelle, there wouldn't be this mess with Francis to get through!" Charles slammed his fists down onto his desk and shot up out of his seat. He held his hand over his mouth in an attempt to calm his nerves and collect his thoughts. As he lit a cigarette he began to slowly pace around the room. "Look," he began as he softened his tone, "if it weren't for you and what happened between us, Francis wouldn't have left. There wouldn't be a problem. Things would be exactly the same as before."
"Oh, Charles, you know how sorry I am for that." She reached out and grabbed his arm to hold him still. "I never wanted things to turn out like they did. But, Charles, if it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else. You were experiencing a sense of wanderlust. You craved more than life was giving you. I just happened to be the one in the right place at the right time." With the right drug.
"I-I guess you're right." Charles leaned against the desk and hung his head. "I guess that I was wanting more. Maybe you being there just made me realize how much I thought I was missing by having to be the head of the family...the strong leader." He buried his head in his hands as he fought back the urge to cry. "Oh, Annabelle, I'm weak! I'm weak when it comes to temptation! I see that now. I see how horrible I am for Francis!"
"Oh, Charles, you're not weak." She moved closer and put her arms around him. "You're the strongest man I know. I admire that in you."
"But I'm so completely wrong for Francis. I have to stay away from her. I have to! No matter how much I want to just fall to my knees and beg for her forgiveness, I have to keep her away from me for her own good. I couldn't stand it if I were to hurt her again."
"Charles, I think that's for the best." Annabelle rested her head on his shoulder. With her head turned so that she was facing away from him, she smiled.
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
"Lorraine!" Patterson called out as he saw her walk through the door. "Where have you been? I've been worried sick! Well, what did the doctor say?"
"D-doctor?" she stammered as she tried to avoid looking him in the eye. "He, um, he said that I...that I was okay...nothing to be worried about."
"Well, there's got to be something wrong." He helped Lorraine off with her light jacket and carefully laid it across the back of the booth. "Why else would you have passed out like that?"
"I asked him the same question." Lorraine hated to lie to him, but she just couldn't tell him the truth. She couldn't tell him she was having a baby. Not yet. "He said something about not eating right and the stress of the wedding. I guess he's right. I guess I've just been not watching my health lately." She looked absently at the menu, but the sight of Stephanie and Clark cuddled up together quickly caught her attention. "Well, I see Miss Snotty Pants has found herself a new conquest. My, how she moves from one man to the next."
"Now, Lorraine, you know that's not the way it is at all!" Patterson shot her an angry looked before allowing his eyes to turn toward the happy couple. They did look like they were having entirely too much fun. He watched closely as Clark put his arm around Stephanie and kissed her. Patterson felt his cheeks begin to burn slightly. Why was he having this kind of reaction? Quickly, he turned his attention back to Lorraine.
"Lorraine, Stephanie as been through a lot these last few months. She's seen the error of her ways and she's really trying to change. Why can't you see that?"
"I honestly can't understand how you can still defend her after everything she's done!" Lorraine glared at him angrily as she felt her stomach begin to churn. "That girl is a liar and a cheat and she'll do whatever it takes to get what she wants!"
"I can't believe we're having this same conversation again." Patterson folded his arms across his chest and tried not to let what Lorraine was saying upset him. "What's wrong with you Lorraine? You've been in the lousiest of moods lately!"
Lorraine silently gritted her teeth and quickly looked away. She couldn't tell him about the baby. She just couldn't!
THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Hi, Douglas!" Grace smiled as she breezed in the front door. "I didn't expect you to be home already."
"I left the office early today," Douglas replied as he looked up from the evening edition of The Daily Post. "How were classes?"
"They're wonderful!" She sat her books down on the side table and flopped herself onto the sofa. "I'm so glad you pushed me so much to study for high school. I don't think I would have been able to pick up as quickly I have. Some of those professors move so fast!"
"I'm glad you managed to win the Monroe Scholarship. It's going to help out so much with your tuition. I'm glad Trevor recommended it."
Grace grew momentarily uncomfortable at the mention of Trevor's name. True, they had grown closer over the past few months, but she still couldn't talk him out of his romantic inclinations. Although he was deeply handsome, incredibly nice, and a wonderful friend, she just knew they weren't right for one another. Well, she thought they weren't right for one another. She kept changing her mind.
"So, have you heard anything new about Momma?" Grace asked in an attempt to change the subject. Ever since the ride she'd taken with Trevor at the stables, she'd thought more and more about her mother.
"Y-you really want to know how she's doing?" Douglas couldn't help but be taken aback. Grace had only expressed passing interest in their mother's condition since she went into the sanitarium and Grace had come to Albanyville to live with him. There were times he'd been sure that Grace was trying to forget she'd ever existed.
"Of course I do! She is our mother, after all. I-I'm just curious how she's doing."
"Well, the last I heard from Manor Hills was that her condition was pretty much still the same as before." He eyed Grace closely as she hung on his every word. "She's fairly unresponsive. The doctor says she doesn't even seem to know where she is or what's going on."
"Douglas," she spoke up cautiously, "I-I've been thinking about Momma a lot lately. I-I've been thinking that maybe I need to go see her."
"What?" Douglas gasped as his eyes grew wide with shock. "B-but, Grace, y-you haven't ever wanted to see her since she's been there! Why, you barely even want to talk about her."
"I know." She hung her head in embarrassment. She should have expected this reaction. After all, she had been rather cruel in her attitudes toward their mother. "B-but, I want that to change," Grace spoke up. "I-I want to have my mother again. Even if she doesn't know who I am."
Douglas looked at her closely and let out a deep sigh of relief. He didn't know what had caused this change of heart in his sister, but he was glad it was finally happening. He hadn't been quite as forthcoming about their mother's condition as he'd let on. In reality, Louise Davis was not well. Not well at all.
THE GARDENS RESTAURANT
"I'm really glad you drug me out of that office," Charles said as he and Annabelle walked through the doors of the restaurant. "I hope some good food will take my mind of this entire Preston mess." He quickly glanced around the room for assistance. "Oh, Jasper! Table for two."
"Ah, yes, Mr. Callison," Jasper smiled as he took two menus into his arms. "Mrs. Lake." His greeting to Annabelle was rather snide and sarcastic and she didn't fail to notice.
"I see business has slipped a bit," Annabelle muttered as he led them into the main dining room. "Must be poor management."
"More accurately, Mrs. Lake, it's probably due to a decline in the quality of our guests." He looked her dead in the eye. "We really should be more careful who we let in."
Annabelle's teeth clinched as she fought the urge for a verbal retort. She followed Charles and Jasper to their table in silence.
"Here you go, Mr. Callison." Jasper looked at Annabelle without uttering a word. "Enjoy your meal."
"How that man can still keep his job when he's so rude to his customers is beyond me," Annabelle muttered under her breath as Jasper quickly walked away.
"I've always found him to be completely charming," Charles smiled. "I guess it's all in who you are."
She looked nervously around the room. She smiled slyly when she spotted a pair of familiar faces at a nearby table. "Oh, look, it's Francis and Mary," she whispered to Charles. He quickly grew nervous and uncomfortable. "Do you want to stay or should we go somewhere else?"
"I...uh," he stammered. He hadn't seen Francis in so long. He'd missed hearing her sweet voice in the mornings and her tender kisses in the evenings. He quickly turned his head hoping not to be seen.
"Well, I guess it's too late," Annabelle said softly as she tried to get his attention. "Looks like we've been spotted."
Charles whipped his head around just in time to see Mary Albany striding quickly over to them. He took a deep breath and prepared for the worst.
"I want a word with you!" Mary announced in a stern, yet reserved, tone as she approached the table. "Charles Callison, did you hear me? I have a few things to say to you about what you're doing with this two bit tramp and I intend on saying them now!"
TO BE CONTINUED
Mary gives Charles a piece of her mind.
For Now and Forever
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