For Now and Forever
EPISODE #27 (Tuesday
THE DAILY POST - REGINALD'S OFFICE
"Knock, knock," Jillian smiled as she tapped lightly on the frame of the open door.
"Well, if it isn't the most beautiful girl in the world." Reginald put down the article he had been reading and walked quickly to greet his fiancée. He immediately took her into his arms and kissed her lovingly on the cheek. "So, what do I owe the pleasure of this mid-afternoon visit?"
"I was hoping I could pull you away from all of this tedious work and take you to lunch."
"Oh, I don't know." He furrowed his brow as he thought of the mountain of work that still lay neglected on his desk. "I've got so much left to do today." Another look into her gorgeous, pleading eyes began to quickly win him over.
"Alright," Reginald relented. "How can I say 'no' to you?"
"I really don't know why you had to drag me down here," Dane grumbled as he fidgeted in his seat. "I really don't have time for these leisurely little get-togethers."
"But, honey, we never get to spend any time together anymore." Sara looked up at him pleadingly. It seemed that ever since the wedding, they'd spent less and less time together. "All I want is to spend a little time with you. You're my husband, after all."
"How could I forget?" he muttered dryly. "Look, I just got out of my last class and I've got to be at the printing plant in an hour. I spend as much time with you as I can. Between school and work and studying, there's not a lot of time left for us. You know that!"
"I just want to see you more often." Sara jutted out her lower lip as she began to pout. They were still technically newlyweds, but their marriage was definitely not turning out quite the way she'd planned. "We used to spend so much time together."
"That was before you had to get married and disrupt my finances!" He threw his napkin onto the table and looked away in disgust. "Now I've got to work like a dog to make sure we can live! Everything was fine before you had to drag me into this marriage!"
Sara calmly looked down at her plate, but silently felt her face burn at Dane's stinging remarks.
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
"If I didn't know better, I'd say you were jealous of Clark!" Stephanie laughed as she watched Patterson closely.
"Jealous? Why in the world would I be jealous of that pompous nitwit?" He looked away nervously as he tried to avoid what Stephanie was saying.
"Because Clark is with me and you're not, that's why!"
"Look, contrary to what your mother's always told you, the world does not revolve around you, Steph!" Patterson turned around quickly and glared at her. How did she ever get the idea that he could ever be jealous of Clark? He was merely concerned that she was getting caught up too quickly. She didn't exactly have the best track record when it came to romance and he simply didn't want her facing a setback in the progress she'd already made.
"This has nothing to do with the world revolving around me." She chewed her bottom lip as she thought about his harsh comments. She really didn't think she was the center of the universe. It was a nice thought, though. "This has everything to do with you and the way you've been acting."
"The way I've been acting? You're all cozied up with a guy you've just met! You know good and well that you have no serious intentions as far as Clark goes. I certainly hope you're not using him as some sort of status symbol on campus."
"How do you know what my intentions are?" She was beginning to grow angry with him. How dare he make assumptions about her. She'd thought he was different from everyone else. Now she was beginning to wonder if Patterson truly did support her or was only mocking her the same way everyone else had be doing for months. "I really like Clark and I have fun with him? What's the harm in that?"
Patterson sat in silence. This was definitely not a conversation he'd wanted to have.
"So, how's Lorraine?" Stephanie asked in a blatant attempt at changing the subject.
"She's fine." Patterson's thoughts quickly turned to his girlfriend and her strange mood swings. "Things are going great between us, but...well, she seems to be rather distant, lately."
"Well, she's always on edge about something," he explained as he tried not to give too much information. He knew Lorraine wouldn't be at all happy to know that he and Stephanie were discussing her. "It seems that when she's with me, she's not really with me. She's always off somewhere else in her head. I don't know what's wrong."
Stephanie eyed him closely as the gears in her head began to turn. What could possibly be going on that would have Lorraine so distracted?
"Uh, oh," Reginald muttered as he led Jillian into the cafe and quickly spotted Dane and Sara. "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea."
"Well, if it isn't the happy couple." Jillian's tone was quite sarcastic and Reginald was quick to notice. She forced herself to look away from Dane and Sara, but couldn't resist the urge to watch them. She soon began to feel awkward. It was the first time she'd been in the same room with Dane since the engagement party. She'd been avoiding him at all costs.
"Look, maybe we should just go somewhere else." He grabbed her arm and turned her to face him so she couldn't see the other couple. "The Gardens sounds nice."
"No, Reginald, I'm fine. Really, I am." She gazed into Reginald's eyes and focused on the deep love for her that they clearly displayed. "Besides, I can't spend the rest of my life avoiding him. Albanyville isn't all that huge. We're bound to run into each other. I'm surprised I've made it this long. My relationship with Dane and all of his evil schemes are a thing of the past. You and your love are my future and the only things that matter to me."
Reginald let out a deep sigh and nodded his head in agreement. "If you think it's alright, we'll stay." Silently, he led her to a table and they were both seated.
As Jillian looked up from her menu, she was unnerved to realize that she was looking right at Dane. She tried to look away, but soon found herself watching the newlyweds very intently.
"Oh, great," Sara muttered to herself as she turned in time to see Reginald and Jillian take their seats. She quickly turned her head in hopes of not being seeing. She silently hoped that Dane hadn't noticed their presence.
"Well, look who's here," Dane muttered as he looked intently at Jillian. "Small world."
"Apparently," she replied dryly as she began to worry about Dane's past obsession with Jillian. She'd believed that the events of the engagement party would have been enough to convince Dane to move beyond the past he shared with Jillian...that and Dane's recent marriage to her. Now, with Jillian in such close proximity and the attention that Dane was so clearly giving her presence, Sara began to wonder if she was truly out of his system.
"Maybe I should go over and say 'hi'." Dane let out a small chuckle as if he'd made a joke that was supposed to be funny.
"Don't you dare!" She glared at him warningly as she grabbed his hand in an attempt to draw his focus in her direction. "You leave Reginald and Jillian alone! I would hope that after everything that's happened, you would realize how foolish you looked."
"I looked nothing of the sort!" His thoughts quickly filled with images of him and Jillian and the life they could have had if things had worked out differently. Things would have been so much better if it hadn't been for Reginald and Stephanie and Sara.
"Well, whatever...you just forget all about Jillian! She's in the past; I'm your present and your future."
Dane glanced Sara's direction, but soon turned again to stare at Jillian.
"I just can't believe that Sara can be so stupid as to fall for that man's lies," Jillian fumed as she willed herself to look away. "You'd think that after everything he's done to me and to us, she'd be able to see him for the horrible, evil person he is."
"Jillian, honey, I honestly don't see why you're letting this get you so upset." Reginald watched her closely. "Forget about Dane. He's of no concern to us now. He's Sara's problem. Let her deal with him."
"But I'm just afraid that she's going to realize what a horrible mistake she's made. I just know this marriage is doomed! Poor Sara, she's going to be so devastated."
"Why all this concern for Sara? You barely even know her! You two don't exactly run in the same social circles."
"Well, I know how Dane Manchester is," she shuddered at the thought of exactly how well she knew. "I know what kind of emotional havoc he can bring. I would feel sorry for any woman caught up with him. I just wonder how she managed to convince him to marry her. He's far from the marrying type. He's never been the least bit interested in making that kind of commitment. He always said that it would interfere with his plans of becoming a prominent lawyer. I know his parents surely aren't thrilled about this."
Reginald let out a heavy sigh and hung his head in frustration. Why did Jillian have to obsess so much over Dane and Sara's marriage? It really was none of her concern. "Look, maybe he finally accepted how futile his obsession over you was. Maybe he realized Sara was too much of a good thing to risk loosing by stupidly chasing after you."
"That's all well and good," she nodded as she considered that point of view, "but that still doesn't explain this entire marriage thing. I know how his father feels about Dane marrying too early. He always said that if he got married before he got his law degree, he'd be cut off. No financial support whatsoever. I know Dane; he wouldn't risk loosing that kind of money! Not even for love. There's got to be some other reason behind this marriage."
Reginald sunk back into his chair and shook his head. He couldn't understand Jillian's apparent obsession over Dane and Sara's marriage. She'd always insisted how Dane refused to let her go, but why did it seem that now Jillian was the one having the problem?
TO BE CONTINUED
Thornton Preston moves in.
For Now and Forever
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