BAILY PARK

Baily ParkDorothea JacksonDorothea walked briskly along the path as she carried a bouquet of flowers and a bag of fresh fruit.  She smiled as she mused how Miss Mary loved the smell of fresh flowers around her home.  Her smile grew when she caught sight of a familiar face in the distance.

"Hannah!" she called out as she approached the Callison family's longtime housekeeper.  "So good to see you!"

"I've been aiming to stop by and pay you a call, but things have been so hectic around the house what with Mrs. Callison being gone."  Hannah hated seeing the problems that her employers were having.  They'd been such the perfect couple for so long.  Now Mr. Callison was carrying on with that dreadful Lake woman.  How he could do such things was beyond her.

"Well, Miss Francis isn't dealing too well either."  Dorothea quickly glanced from Hannah to Mrs. Oliver who was standing next to her.  "I hope I haven't interrupted anything."

Hannah Meadows"Oh, no, dear, not at all."  Hannah gasped when she realized that she hadn't made proper introductions.  "Dorothea, this is Mrs. Oliver.  She's the housekeeper for the Monroe family."

"How do you do?" Dorothea smiled as she extended her hand.

Mrs. Oliver"I-I'm fine."  Mrs. Oliver looked down at Dorothea's outstretched hand and grimaced as she hesitated.  Finally after too long a wait, she reached out and gave Dorothea's hand a quick shake.  The subtle gesture was not lost on Dorothea.

"Hmm...the Monroes?  Isn't that the family that lost both parents in a plane crash about this time last year?"

"Yes.  What a tragedy.  I've stayed on to help care for the boys."  Mrs. Oliver quickly looked around for Todd and smiled when she saw he was still close by.  "Todd!  Don't you run off!"

"What a darling little boy!" Dorothea exclaimed as she watched the child.  With a big grin, Todd quickly ran over to the ladies.

Todd Monroe"I'm Todd," he grinned as he stuck out his hand to Dorothea.  "I'm almost 6!"

"Really?  Wow!"  Dorothea knelt down to his level and prepared to shake his hand.  Her smile quickly faded when Mrs. Oliver subtly pulled him away.

"Hannah, dear, we really must get going," Mrs. Oliver said as she kept Todd behind her.  "I still have to get dinner ready and Paddy should be home from class shortly."

"I understand.  Give that boy a big hug for me."  Hannah waved as Mrs. Oliver and Todd walked away and then turned to Dorothea.  "You have to excuse her.  She's quite a bit set in her ways."

"I-I understand," Dorothea muttered as she looked down at her hands.  She sighed when she realized that in working for Miss Mary, she'd forgotten how the real world could be.  Miss Mary was so different from everyone else.  To her, the color of her skin didn't really matter.  She thought of her more as a person than as a race.  Dorothea had forgotten that to most other people she was only a colored woman.  Had Calvin been reminded of that one too many times in his journeys out in the world?  "I-I really have to be going, myself."

"I'll try to stop by and chat latter this week!" Hannah called out as Dorothea quietly walked away.  She sighed and then hung her head.  Her thoughts then quickly turned to the laundry she still had to do as she, too, began her journey out of the park.


THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE

Mary AlbanySunset Hotel, Penthouse A, Albanyville, IL"I will have you know that I in no way think of your mother as a slave!"  Mary glared at Calvin as she stood nose to nose with him.  "Why, Dottie is one of the best things to happen to my family!  She has been a devoted employee to me for years.  I don't know what I'd do without her!"

"Well, I guess you need to be finding out!"  Calvin folded his arms across his chest defiantly.  "I refuse to let her work for you any longer!"

"You refuse?  Young man, I don't believe you have any say in the matter!  Where Dottie works and for whom is her decision, not yours!"

"She just doesn't know what's best for her."  He turned away from her.  He was quickly growing frustrated.  He didn't expect her to understand what he was talking about, but why did she persist in being so difficult?  "She just doesn't know any other way to live.  I want her to have a better life than she has now!"

"Of course you do!  You want better for her just like I want better for Francis and for my grandchildren.  We all want better for the people we love and care about."  Mary furrowed her brow now that she was facing the back of his head.  "Calvin Tyrone Jackson, you look at me when I'm talking to you!"

Dr. Calvin JacksonCalvin winced at the use of his full name.  Just like his mother, Mary had the annoying habit of addressing him like that whenever she was angry.  He slowly turned to face her again.  He let out a heavy sigh as he suddenly felt like he was 12 years old again.

"You're mother is more than just an employee to me, Calvin.  She's my best friend and the one person I can trust in this life to be totally honest with me."  Mary reached out and grabbed his arm to hold his attention.  "And I take great offense that you would presume to think that I regard her as merely some slave left over from the old south.  How dare you!  Do you think that little of me?"

"No, ma'am," he muttered as he lowered his head.  "It's just that..."

"Enough!  You get these foolish thoughts out of your head this instant!  If your mother chooses to quit, then it will be her choice!  Not mine and definitely not yours!  I pray that won't happen because I don't know what I'd do without her."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Now, if you have nothing else to say, I'm through discussing this with you."  Mary let go of his arm and slowly walked away.  "You're excused and free to go."

Stunned by his dismissal, Calvin gritted his teeth and quickly headed for the door.


THE CALLISON HOME - CHARLES' STUDY

Trevor Callison2210 Elmwood Lane, Albanyville, IL"Father?" Trevor spoke up as he rapped lightly on the door.  "Are you busy?"

"No, Trevor," Charles sighed as he looked up from a manuscript he'd been reviewing.  "I just got home from having dinner with Annabelle and I'm going over some submissions from unpublished authors.  What's on your mind?"

"Well, do you know of any open positions at the office or maybe at the paper?"  Trevor walked into the room and sat down in the chair that was in front of his father's' desk.  He began to fidget nervously in his seat.  Why did he feel so awkward around his father now?  Was it because of everything that had happened between his parents?  Trevor strongly disapproved of his father's behavior and his continued dalliances with Annabelle Lake, but he realized that his opinions really didn't matter.  Why couldn't his father just listen to reason and try to make things up to his mother?  He sighed and quickly pushed his parents' problems out of his head.  That wasn't what he wanted to talk about.

"Actually, no, son."  Charles leaned back in his chair and watched Trevor closely.  His son had been avoiding him for weeks now.  He was sure it was because of everything that had gone on between him and Francis.  Why was he talking to him now?  "Everything's filled.  In fact, we're over staffed as it is.  What's going on?  Why are you asking about job openings?  This must be something pretty important.  You've been awkwardly dancing around me for quite a while now.  It's because of what's going on between me and your mother, isn't it?"

"I don't want to talk about that!"  Trevor shot up out of his seat and walked over to one of the large bookcases and began to aimlessly scan the assorted titles.  "I'm not here to talk about what ever childish escapades you've got going on."

Charles Callison"Then what is this about?  It sounds pretty important."

"Well, actually..."  Trevor paused and turned to face his father.  "Annabelle's niece Sara is trying to find a job.  Apparently, since she and Dane got married, they've had quite a few financial problems.  They're finding it hard to pay bills and pay for Dane's college."

"I already got Dane a job at the printing plant as a favor to Annabelle.  What else am I supposed to do?"  Charles was beginning to grow irritated.  He wasn't in the habit of giving handouts.

"Sara is trying to find a job," Trevor continued.  "However, Dane refuses to let her work.  He thinks that he should be entirely responsible for their support."

"That's an admirable position."

"But it's not enough.  Sara realizes this and she can't convince him otherwise.  She's trying to find a job so she can secretly help with their finances without him knowing."

"I don't know if you should be getting involved in helping Sara keep things from her husband."  Charles  didn't like the idea of interfering in the Manchester marriage.  They should be left to work out their problems on their own.

"That's not what I'm doing!  I'm just trying to help Sara find a job while Dane's at the plant.  Without the extra money she could provide, they really don't have much of a chance.  It's just that he can't know anything about it."

"Hmmm."  Charles lifted his hand to his chin as he thought.  Suddenly, an earlier telephone conversation sprung to mind.  "Actually, I was talking to Thornton Preston earlier.  He was going on about trying to get out of his contract.  I was really only half hearing him, but I clearly remember him mentioning something about trying to find an assistant while he was in town.  You know, someone to type and run errands and the like."  He paused to think again and a smile began to spread across his face.  "You know, Trevor, I think I have an idea."

"You do?"  Trevor eyed him closely.

"Yes."  He again leaned back in his chair and displayed a satisfied grin.  "And I think this is going to be beneficial to Preston, Sara, and to us."



 


TOMORROW

Fred makes a move.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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