For Now and Forever
EPISODE #29 (Thursday
THE MONROE HOME - LIVING ROOM
"With all due respect, Mrs. Oliver, I really don't think my friendship with Stephanie is any of your concern," Patterson said as he sat motionless on the couch. He looked at Lorraine and vividly remembered her own strong objections to his closeness with Stephanie. Why was everyone he knew trying to disrupt their friendship? Of course, he was well aware of the horrible things she'd done in the past. He knew all about her self-centered and scheming nature; but she was really trying to change all of that. He couldn't just abandon her and her quest to be a better person.
"That girl is like a plague!" Mrs. Oliver scolded sternly. "If you let her into your life, she'll infest you with the same lack of morals she has. You'd be wise to stay as far away from her as you possibly can!"
Patterson shook his head in silence. He just had to find some way to change their minds.
"How many times do I have to tell all of you that I know what I'm doing as far as Stephanie is concerned?" Patterson was quickly beginning to grow angry at everyone else's opinions of what he should be doing. "This is a girl who has done some horrible things, I agree, but she's really determined to put all of that behind her! If I can help her stick to the straight and narrow, then I can't turn my back on her like everyone else in this town."
"Patterson, listen to reason," Mrs. Oliver continued. "This girl is bound to drag you into her lies and schemes whether you want to be involved or not!"
"I appreciate your concern, but it's not needed." He got up and began to pace around the living room. "The more I get to know her, the more I realize that she's not nearly as bad as I once thought she was. She's just a little misguided in her methods of achieving happiness. Who else is going to take the chance to guide her in the right direction? No one but me!"
"If your parents were here to see this, they would not be the least bit happy!"
Patterson cringed at the mention of his late parents. The anniversary of their deaths was very shortly drawing near and he'd tried to push it out of his mind. He didn't like to think about them or how much he missed them or how his life had so drastically changed. He turned to look at Lorraine and began to grow curious as to why she was being silent about her own negative opinions of Stephanie. He found Lorraine looking off into space and lost in her own thoughts. She hadn't even been paying attention to the exchange.
"Lorraine, I'm surprised that you haven't managed to voice your views on all of this," he spoke up as he watched her closely. "Lately, you haven't missed an opportunity to bring up Stephanie's misdeeds."
"I-I've had a lot on my mind lately," Lorraine stammered as she watched Todd closely while he played with a toy truck she'd given him the previous Christmas. "I'm sorry I've been so distracted." She silently thought about her own child she was carrying and how she wasn't sure what to do. Seeing Todd had only reminded her of what a perfect father Patterson could be. He would be the ideal father for her baby. The only problem was that he wasn't the father. It wasn't Patterson's child. However, did it really matter?
"P-Patterson," she stammered as she looked up at him and instinctively rested a hand on her stomach. "I-I need to tell you something."
"Yes, dear, what is it?" He walked over to her and sat down beside her. He took her hands into his and looked deeply into her eyes. "I know there's something wrong. Tell me what it is. Let me help you."
"Patterson..." She swallowed hard and then took a deep breath. "Patterson, I'm...I'm..." She couldn't. She couldn't lie to him like that. It wasn't fair. It wasn't right. With tears in her eyes, she quickly rose to her feet and ran out of the house.
"What in the world is going on?" he questioned as he turned to look at an equally confused Mrs. Oliver. "How can I help her if she won't talk to me?"
ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL
"Ah, so we meet again," Fred smiled as he approached Francis. "So what are you doing at the hospital today? I hope it's not another meeting of the old crows club."
"No, not at all." Francis couldn't help but smile at his remarks concerning the ladies auxiliary. Since her separation from Charles, she couldn't help but notice the shallow nature of the organization. "Actually, I'm volunteering in the children's ward today. I figured that they wouldn't know enough to gossip behind my back."
"Good call," he chuckled as he laid a stack of files down onto the desk at the nurses' station. "I think all those tykes are concerned with is whether they can have a bowl of ice cream or not. You're looking especially lovely today."
"Thank you, Dr. Rutherford." She lowered her head slightly to cover her embarrassment. She wasn't quite used to such flattering comments from near strangers.
"I thought I told you to call me Fred." He gently laid a hand on her shoulder. "I don't think it's quite right that friends should be so formal."
"Friends? I wasn't aware that was exactly what we were." Francis tilted her head slightly as she spoke. He was very handsome and had been very supportive of her. However, could she allow herself to be swayed by his charms? She was still a married woman, after all.
"I was hoping that was exactly what were." Fred eyed her closely and slipped his hand down to grab hold of hers. "Actually, I was hoping we could be more."
"I-I don't know. It's too soon." She quickly looked away. He was very charming and his attention was quite flattering. "I-I'm still married. This separation is still too fresh."
"Francis, why are you so intent on holding onto a man who clearly has chosen another woman over you." He drew her attention back to him and gazed deeply into her eyes. "Quite a foolish and incomprehensible decision, I might add. Your husband has clearly lost his mind to cast you aside so callously."
Francis listened closely to his words. In many regards, he was right. Why should she continue to hold on to her love for Charles when he clearly didn't want anything to do with her? He'd taken 23 years of marriage and just cast them and her aside for some tawdry fling with Annabelle. She realized she couldn't forget that, but knew she had to move past it. She had to put Charles and his betrayal behind her and look towards her future.
"Francis, just give me a chance." He pulled her close to him as he continued to look into her eyes. "Let me show you that I can make you feel good about yourself again. Please agree to a date with me."
"I-I guess I don't see what harm that could do," she stammered. "Yes, Fred, I'll agree to go out with you. Just as friends, though. I don't think I'm ready for anything more."
"I understand. I hope that when you are ready, you'll see how much I have to offer you. I hope that it will be me you chose to help you move forward in your life." He watched her closely and prayed that she would come to think of him as her future. He knew his future depended on it.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - JILLIAN'S SUITE
"Alright, what's wrong?" Jillian asked when she looked up to find Reginald staring at her intently.
"I just can't stop wondering why you're so concerned about Dane and Sara's marriage." He walked over to her and sat down beside her on the sofa. "It really is none of your concern."
"Well, I can't help but wonder about your obsession with my concern!" Jillian snapped as she quickly looked away. "I've told you that I'm only concerned for Sara. She just doesn't realize what she's getting into with Dane."
"And you know all too well, don't you?"
"Yes, in fact, I do." Jillian quickly began to grow uncomfortable with this topic of conversation. She really didn't like discussing her past with Dane. It was something she'd like to forget as if it had never happened. She slowly took a deep breath to collect her thoughts. "I know what kind of lies he can spread. I know how his influence can destroy your life. I just don't want Sara to have to go through that."
"Leave it alone, Jillian," Reginald said as he laid his hand on hers. "This was Sara's decision and I'm sure she didn't make it blindly. She's a smart girl. I'm sure she knows what she's doing. We might not agree with it, but it's her life to live."
Jillian took a deep breath and turned to face him. Why couldn't he understand her concern? Why did he feel the need to bring it up? "So, have you talked to your father?" she asked as she tried to turn the subject around. "I just can't believe what's going on between your parents."
"I don't want to talk about my parents and Annabelle Lake." He closed his eyes and swallowed hard. Charles and Francis' separation had been difficult for him. He'd always seen them as such a loving couple. After the confrontation he'd had months ago with his father, he was sure that nothing had been going on between Charles and Annabelle, but Francis' discovery clearly proved otherwise. Reginald just could believe that his father could be so deceptive. He wasn't sure he could ever forgive the pain his mother was having to endure.
As he drug his thoughts away from his parents' relationship and back to his own, he snapped his head up and looked at Jillian. She'd clearly brought up his parents' problems to distract him from his own concerns for her. "Why are you trying to avoid talking about Dane?" he asked as he carefully watched her reactions.
"I just don't think my feelings about Dane and Sara's marriage are as big of a deal as you're trying to make them!" she snapped.
Reginald bit his lip and backed down. He didn't want to fight with her, but he was sure that there was more to Jillian's feelings than she was willing to admit.
As Lorraine sat on a park bench, she watched the various groups of children playing. Their happy faces brought a smile to hers. However, as some of them played with their fathers, she was forced to think of her own desperate situation.
"Oh, what am I going to do?" she muttered to herself as she carefully watched how the fathers acted with their sons. She knew that Patterson would be a wonderful father. She knew how well he'd done so far with Todd. But was it right to lie to him and force on him the responsibility of a child that wasn't his? How could that be fair to him? How could she live with such a horrible lie?
Her hands shook as she nervously twisted the handkerchief that they held. Then her mind quickly turned to Douglas. She was sure that he, too, would make an excellent father. He was so kind and loving. Did she really have the right to deny him knowledge of his own child?
As she continued her internal debate over the rights and wrongs of her two choices, her mind slowly shifted to the repercussions that revealing the truth might bring. If she told the truth now, Patterson would be hurt terribly. She wasn't sure if he'd ever forgive her betrayal. However, if she told Patterson he was the father and the truth came out later, she knew he would hate her for her deception. But, she could keep the secret, couldn't she? There was no reason anyone ever had to know the truth.
Lorraine exhaled slowly as she continued to weigh her options. She looked down at her hand that rested on her stomach and realized that she had to make a decision and she had to make it soon. It wouldn't be long before she couldn't hide her condition. The only thing she knew for certain is that whatever she decided would change three lives forever.
THE RIVERVIEW NIGHTCLUB
"I'll have another Manhattan on the rocks," Fred said as he motioned to the bartender. As the fresh drink was placed in front of him, he strummed his fingers nervously on the bar. He glanced down at his watch and grimaced. "She's late," he muttered, "as usual." He let out a heavy sigh as he prayed that everything went just as he'd intended.
"Well, hello, Dr. Rutherford. Fancy meeting you here."
"It's about time," he turned toward the direction of the female voice. "Annabelle, I've been waiting for you for almost an hour."
"So sorry. I got caught up in other things." Annabelle took a seat next to him on a bar stool and indicated to the bartender that she wanted a vodka tonic. "And how are things with you?"
"Actually, they're going quite well." Fred allowed a grin to spread across his face as he casually sipped his drink. He paused for a moment before speaking again. "I've made a date with one Francis Callison. I believe I'll be taking her to dinner. The Gardens sounds nice."
"Wonderful! That's so good to hear." Annabelle smiled as she gave his hand a congratulatory pat. "It's about time you came through on your end of the deal."
"I told you I was working on it!" Fred snapped as he glared at her with irritation. "Francis is not exactly the easiest woman in town, you know. She's still quite hung up on that loser husband of hers."
"Charles Callison is far from a loser!" She gritted her teeth at Fred's comments. "In fact, to me Charles is the grand prize I've been trying to win for quite some time now. I could lose everything I've worked for if you can't keep her away from him."
"Annabelle, I think you need to be the one keeping Charles away from her."
"You let me worry about that. You just handle the not-so-happy homemaker." She took a big swig of her drink. "And you better be sure you keep your trap shut about your part in my seduction of Charles during Reginald and Jillian's engagement party. He has to believe his betrayal of her was all his own doing. He can know nothing of my true involvement in it."
"Oh, don't you worry." Fred grinned slightly as his mind worked out his own plans. "I have my own designs for Mrs. Callison."
"And what is that supposed to mean?" Annabelle looked at him closely. She'd never been entirely sure she could trust him. However, he was her best shot at an ally and she couldn't risk blowing her chances.
"Let's just say that I need Francis just as much as you need Charles." He took another drink. "But for very, very different reasons."
TO BE CONTINUED
Penelope takes a trip down memory lane.
For Now and Forever
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