For Now and Forever
EPISODE #25 (Friday
THE GARDENS RESTAURANT
"Um, hello, Mary," Charles said as he tried to sound secure and confident. He knew how forceful a woman she was and never enjoyed the few conflicts they'd had through the years. "Um, I think you know Annabelle."
"Mrs. Albany, so good to see you again." Annabelle grinned broadly and extended her hand. However, her smile soon faded when she realized her hand would merely be hanging in mid-air with no warm response from Mary.
"How dare you show your face in public with this wretched woman!" Mary seethed.
"Mary, I'm not sure I like your tone." Charles glared at her as he laid a reassuring hand on Annabelle's arm.
"I'm sure you don't," Mary said sternly, "and I'm sure you're not going to like what I'm about to say, either!"
"Mary, do you honestly think this is the proper place for such a scene?" Charles asked as he softened his voice and leaned closer to her.
"Apparently, you have no problem making a fool out of yourself in public, so why should I?" Mary crossed her arms across her chest and glared at him. "How dare you have the unmitigated gall to show your face in public in the company of this...of this trash!"
"Now, wait a minute!" Annabelle's face began to burn and her grin was now completely wiped from her face. She made an effort to stand and face Mary at eye level, but Charles gently placed his hand on her leg and held her back. Annabelle took a deep breath, bit her tongue, and remained seated.
"Mary, I know you can't understand everything that's happened between me and Francis," Charles began tentatively as he carefully chose his words. "However, that is between me and Francis. It has nothing to do with you."
"She's my daughter! Anything that has to do with her has to do with me! Charles, I used to think of you like my own son. I held you in as high a regard as I held my late husband. How could you think of doing a thing like this to Francis...to your wife? First, you rip her heart out and make her the focus of horrible comments and stares, and now you've got the indecency of being seen in public with your trashy mistress! I used to think you had class! Now, I see that when you lie down with dogs you'll surely wake up with fleas!"
Annabelle's teeth gritted as she clinched the linen table cloth tightly in her fists. She had never allowed anyone to talk to her like Mary was, and she wasn't about to start now. "You listen to me, Mary Albany," she began as she slammed her fist down onto the table.
"No, Annabelle, you'll sit there and be quiet!" Charles interrupted as he glared at her. Slowly he turned to his mother-in-law and took a deep breath which allowed him time to collect his thoughts. "Mary, you know I've always thought the world of you. You also know that I've always loved Francis with all of my heart..."
"Let me finish!" He was beginning to grow angry, but fought to keep his emotions in check. "I have most certainly made mistakes. I have lost the most important thing in this world to me. I know what I've done is wrong and I know I can't change what I've done. However, launching a verbal attack on Annabelle when she is not to blame in this entire mess is wrong! I am entirely to blame for everything that's happened!"
Annabelle slowly leaned back into her chair and began to relax. She tried to maintain a cool exterior as she smiled inwardly to herself. Charles was actually defending her!
"All of this has made me realize how wrong I am for Francis. I am only capable of bringing her more pain and heartache and I could not bear that." Charles paused for a moment and looked down at the wedding ring that still resided on his hand. "Francis is better off without me and I am determined to see that she is without me."
"You know, Charles," Mary began as she leaned in to him. "For once, I agree with you." And with those words still echoing in the air, she turned and stormed away.
THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN
"Good evening, Ma!" Burt exclaimed as he burst through the kitchen door. He all but skipped across the floor and planted a loving kiss on her cheek.
"I-I take it you had a wonderful time on your date?" Penelope stammered. It had been ages since she'd seen him in such high spirits.
"Ma, I had the best time I've ever had in my entire life! You've just got to meet Janet. She's the most beautiful, sweet, honest girl I've ever met. You're gonna love her!" Burt brought himself back to earth enough to notice the troubled look that clearly shown on his mother's face. "Ma, you okay?"
"I-I'm fine, dear," she muttered as she continued to shuffle around the kitchen trying to look busy. He could always read her like a book. She refused to let her worries cloud his good mood and joyous evening.
"No, you're not." He quickly walked over to her and took her arm. "You didn't have another spell, did you? Do I need to go get the doctor?"
"Oh, no, Burton, it's not that. I feel fine. I haven't even been as much as winded since you left earlier." She cautiously kept her face turned away in an effort to hide her worry.
"Ma, I can tell when something's wrong. What is it? Look at me."
"O-oh, Burton, Randy has been up in his room all night long!" Penelope began as she wrung her hands. "He's just gotten himself all torn up. He had another run in with that Callison girl tonight and she was so nasty to him! He...he tried to be nice to her, but she's just like all the rest of them!"
"Oh, Ma, do we have to start in on this again?" His eyes pleaded with her to calm down. "Let me go talk to Randy. I can straighten him out."
"It's those Callisons!" Penelope started to yell. "It's always those Callisons! They'll try to destroy everyone that's not like them! They'll do everything the can to ruin everyone else's lives!"
Burt was taken aback by his mother's emotional display. Why did it all come back to the Callisons? Why did she hate them so much? He was determined to find out.
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
"You're awfully quiet," Patterson finally spoke as he looked up from his plate. "You're not still upset over Stephanie, are you?"
"No, that's not it," Lorraine muttered as she slowly picked at her turkey sandwich. "I'm just...I'm just in an all around bad mood, I guess."
"Well, actually, you've been pretty moody for the last few weeks." He watched her closely and noticed the vacancy in her eyes. "What's wrong? I-Is it something I've done?"
"Oh, no! Not at all!" Her head shot up and she reached across to grab Patterson's hand. "It's not you, honey, it's not you at all! I-It's all me. I-I..." Her voice trailed off as a million thoughts collided inside her head.
"Well, if it's not me and it's not Stephanie, then what's wrong?" Patterson gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "Come on, Lorraine, you know you can talk to me."
Lorraine swallowed hard and looked at him. He cared about her so much and his eyes were filled with such concern. She'd seen how he was with Todd. She knew he'd be a wonderful father. She carefully felt her stomach and thought about the child she was going to have. Maybe she should tell Patterson he was going to be a father...
THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN
"Mother!" Burt said firmly as he snapped his head around to face her. He reached out and grabbed her arm in an effort to calm her down. He didn't need her having another spell. "Why do you hate the Callisons so much? What's going on?"
"I...uh...." Penelope swallowed hard and felt her breathing start to become more and more shallow. "I...I'm sorry. I lost my head for a moment. I think I need to go lie down."
"You still haven't answered me. Why are you so opposed to the Callisons?" Burt looked at her intently as he waited for an answer.
"Burton," she began cautiously as she took his hand, "before I met and married your father, I lived here in Albanyville." She turned away to hide her eyes from him. She couldn't let them reveal more than she was intending to. "I-I know all about the Callison and what they're like. I know first hand what they're capable of."
"What?" Burt's eyes grew wide with shock. This was the first he'd heard of his mother having lived anywhere but Kentucky. He'd never known her to be so secretive. What in the world was going on? "You lived here? B-but, but how did you know the Callisons?"
"Oh, everyone in Albanyville knew who the Callisons were then just as much as they do now." Penelope stepped away from him and placed her hand on the kitchen table to steady herself. "Things haven't changed much." She lifted her hand and held it against her forehead. She was beginning to feel light headed.
"Ma, are you alright?"
"J-just a little dizzy," she stammered slightly. "I-I'm feeling a little tired. I think I need to rest."
"But what about the Callisons?" He reached out to steady her, but she slowly moved away from him. "What about what happened before?"
"We'll talk about this later, Burton. I need to go lie down." Penelope waved him away and slowly staggered out of the room as Burt quickly grew more concerned about what was going on and what his mother was hiding.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - JILLIAN'S SUITE
"Hi, Jillian, I'm back!" Janet called out as she walked into the room.
"Where in the world have you been?" Jillian questioned as she stepped out of the bedroom and into the living room. "You've been gone all day! I was starting to get worried."
"Well, to be honest, first I went to the park and did some wonderful drawings of the landscape. They turned out wonderfully!" Janet began to walk around the room examining her sister's knickknacks and putting them back into place. "And I know I didn't tell you this, but the other day while I was in the park, I met this incredibly handsome gentleman. You just wouldn't believe how kind and gentle he is!"
"Janet, I don't think it's wise for you to be striking up conversations with strangers!"
"Anyway," Janet continued as if she didn't hear Jillian, "he asked me out to dinner! I couldn't believe it. A man actually asked me for a date! Isn't that wonderful!"
Jillian eyed her closely and quickly grew worried. She knew how Janet was. She knew what had happened before. Silently she prayed that history was not repeating itself. "Yes, dear, that's very nice. But where have you been?"
"Weren't you listening? I was out on a date! He took me to this cute little cafe and we sat and talked and laughed." Janet drew her hands up to her chest and sighed. As her face beamed, Jillian's face clouded over.
"Janet, dear, I don't think it's wise for you to be traipsing around with some strange man you've just met and don't even know!" Jillian quickly walked over to her and grabbed her arm to make sure she was listening.
"Why do you have to treat me like I'm an invalid?" Janet snapped as her face began to burn. "Why do you insist on trying to ruin what few moments of happiness that I have? You're acting just like Father!"
"I-I'm sorry," Jillian stammered as she slowly backed away. She knew her sister wasn't an invalid and she knew she was more than capable of taking care of herself. However, in light of everything that had happened, Jillian knew she was more than right in the placement of her concern. "I just don't think it's too wise to get so caught up in a man you've just met, a man you don't really know, and a man who'll still be here in Albanyville long after you've gone home to Manhattan."
"But that's just it, Jillian." Janet began to smile broadly. "That's not the way it's going to be."
"W-what do you mean?"
"It's not going to be like that at all!" Janet sighed deeply as he face again began to glow with happiness. "It's not going to be like that because I'm staying right here. I'm never going back to Manhattan!"
TO BE CONTINUED
Thornton Preston arrives and Albanyville will never be the same.
For Now and Forever
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