JOE'S CAFE

Stephanie LakeJoe's Cafe"Algebra, Humanities, Biology...where does it all end?" Stephanie muttered to herself as she looked down at the stack of books in front of her.  She'd never seen this much homework in her entire life.  Why did they have to make college so difficult?  Maybe she should have rethought her decision to better her education.  She really hadn't done that well in high school.  Of course, she'd had good grades, but she really hadn't taken very difficult classes.

She let out a sigh and tried to clear her head so that she could focus on the open American Literature book that lay in front of her.  "I don't know why The Scarlet Letter is so important anyway."

"You're Stephanie Lake, aren't you?" the girl asked as she approached Stephanie's table.

"Um, yes, I am."  Stephanie looked at her closely and tried to remember where she knew her from.  She quickly realized that she didn't have a clue who she was.  She clearly knew Stephanie, however.  "I'm sorry, but you have me at a loss.  I don't think I know who you are."

Agnes Martin"I'm sorry," the girl smiled as she extended her hand.  "I'm a friend of your cousin Sara.  My name is Agnes Martin.  I recognize you from campus.  Sara has shown me lots of pictures of you two together."

Stephanie sighed when she remembered happier times when she and Sara had actually been close.  Of course, that was long before Dane had entered the picture and had to ruin everything.  If he had just kept his mouth shut about her part in their plans to separate Reginald and Jillian, everything would have been okay.  If only those plans had succeeded.

"Well, I saw you sitting here and I just wanted to stop by and see if your copy of the exam did you any good."

"Copy of the exam?"  Stephanie looked at Agnes awkwardly.  What in the devil was she talking about?  "Um...yes, it did wonders.  I don't know...what I would have done without it."

"Great!  I told Sara that it would be just the thing to ease your nerves.  I guess working in the admissions office does have its advantages."  Agnes laughed warmly.  "Well, I guess I better let you get back to your studies.  I just wanted to see if that copy of the admissions exam helped."

"Um, yes, thank you."  Stephanie watched Agnes walk away and lifted her hand to her chin as she thought.  "What in the world was that girl talking about?" she muttered to herself.  "What exam?"  She considered what Agnes had said about Sara and quickly realized that something was going on.  But what?


THE GARDENS RESTAURANT

The Gardens RestaurantFrancis Callison"I guess I'm destined to run into Charles and Annabelle at ever turn," Francis sighed as she watched her husband and his mistress closely.  "Of course Albanyville isn't the largest of cities, so guess it's bound to happen."

"If you're uncomfortable, we can always go somewhere else."  Fred gave Francis' hand a little squeeze to show his support.  "You really don't have to subject yourself to this."

"No, Fred.  Thank you for the offer, but I can't let Charles' presence dictate where I go and who I see."  She tried to tear her eyes away from the other couple, but her focus kept returning to Charles and Annabelle's blatant displays of affection.  "I can't let him see that his tawdry little acts affect me."

"But they do affect you, Francis."  Fred tried to draw her attention in his direction.  "How could you spend so much of your life with him and not be affected?"

"Oh, don't get me wrong," she said as she looked down at her hands, "I'd be lying if I said that this all didn't tear me apart inside.  But I have to prove that what he does and who he sees is no longer of any concern to me.  I have to show him that I'm stronger than that...whether I truly am or not."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"Are you sure you can do that?"

"I have to."  Francis looked up and toward Charles and Annabelle again.  "I finally realize what kind of fool I've been for so long now.  Everything I've ever believed about my husband and my marriage now seems to have been nothing more than a grand illusion.  I-I have to get on with my life.  I have to move on and put Charles and all the pain he's caused in my past."

"Maybe that really is for the best."  Fred grabbed Francis' hand again and smiled warmly at her.  "Maybe it's the best thing for everyone involved."


THE PAGE TURNER BOOKSTORE

Sara ManchesterPage Turner Bookstore"Thank you, anyway," Sara sighed as she turned and walked away from the counter.  Finding a job was harder than she'd thought it was going to be.  She couldn't find anyone that needed help.  The florist down the street, the cafe next door, the department store; no one needed help.  In fact, most places she'd tried were already horribly overstaffed.  She just had to find a job so she could help out with her and Dane's finances.

She sat down on a bench next to a shelf of books and cradled her chin in her hands.  Either people didn't need help or they couldn't meet her schedule requirements.  She could only work in the evenings while Dane was at the plant.

"Oh, hello, Sara."  Trevor sat down the book he'd been skimming through and smiled at her.

"Oh, hi, Trevor.  What are you doing here?"

"Just waiting for Grace to finish her shift.  Mind if I join you?"  He sat down next to her and quickly noticed that something was on her mind.  "You okay?"

"I'm fine," she sighed, "just thinking.  So, I guess you and Grace are becoming something of an item, hum?"

Trevor Callison"Um, well, I wouldn't exactly put it like that."  Trevor looked away and blushed slightly.  He wished he and Grace were an item, but it hadn't really happened yet.  True, they were growing closer, but Grace still held on to her desire to only be friends.  "Congratulations on your wedding."  He wasn't sure about the intelligence behind Dane and Sara's marriage, but offering warm wishes seemed like the polite thing to do.

"Thank you."  Sara smiled as she thought about how happy she'd been on her wedding day.  "I guess Grace is all upset that, now that he's married, she can't worm her way into Dane's heart.  I told her that he was a lost cause as far as she was concerned."

Trevor bristled slightly when he was reminded of Grace's intense crush on Dane Manchester.  "I think Grace got over her feelings for Dane quite some time ago.  Especially after she finally saw exactly what kind of man he truly is.  I can't believe that, as smart as you are, you can't see the same thing."

"Why must everybody persist in bad mouthing my husband?" she snapped.  "Aren't there better topics of conversation in this town than what rumored misdeeds Dane's accomplished?  Last I checked, your family wasn't living up to their sterling reputation very well."  Sara's hand flew up to her mouth in an unsuccessful attempt to stop her impetuous comments from escaping.  "I-I'm sorry, Trevor.  I had no right saying that."

"It's okay.  Trust me, I don't agree with anything that's going on between my parents and your aunt Annabelle."  He shook his head as if in an attempt to cast off the thoughts that plagued him concerning Charles and Annabelle and Francis.  "What can I do?  It's their lives, not mine.  I can't control my father's actions.  The only thing I can do is support my mother throughout this horrible ordeal."

"I just hope your feelings for my aunt don't carry over to me."

"Hardly!  You are nothing like Annabelle or Stephanie, for that matter."

Sara scrunched her nose up as she made a face.  "Don't bring Steph up.  I don't want to talk about her."  She still hadn't forgiven her cousin's machinations in separating her and Dane.  In fact, she wasn't sure she ever could.

"So, what's got you sitting over her so down?"  Trevor inspected her closely.  She really was trying hard to put on a happy face, but she couldn't completely hide the look of doom and gloom that she'd shown when he first saw her.

"Oh, nothing.  I'm fine, really."  She sighed and looked away from him.  She was too embarrassed by her and Dane's money problems to voice her concerns.

"I'm supposed to believe that?"  He reached out and grabbed her hand to hold her attention.  "I'm really good at listening.  Maybe it would help if you talked about it."

Sara looked up at him and considered what he'd said.  Maybe he could help.  But knowing how he felt about Dane, could she really trust him?



 


TOMORROW

Charles has an idea on how to get information on what Thornton's up to.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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