For Now and Forever
EPISODE #34 (Thursday
THE CALLISON HOME - CHARLES' STUDY
"I think I've got an excellent job for Sara," Charles smiled as he rubbed his chin with his hand. "And it will help us out as much as it will help her and Dane."
"Father, what in the world are you talking about?" Trevor watched him closely. He was clearly up to something.
"What I'm saying is that if I can get Sara this job, she'll earn enough money to solve her financial problems and it will also provide a great service to Callison Publications."
Trevor listened intently as he waited for Charles to fully explain his plan.
"So, what do you have in mind?" Trevor sat back down in the chair in front of his father's desk and began to listen closely.
"Preston needs an assistant, Sara needs a job, and I need to find out exactly why he wants to back out of his contract." Charles tapped his pencil on his desk as he spoke. This plan all seemed very logical. It would help everyone involved.
"You want Sara to spy on Thornton Preston for you?" Trevor's eyes grew wide with shock. "Are you sure it's safe to get her involved in something like that? I'm sure she's not proficient at corporate intrigue. How do you even know he'll hire her?"
"I can get him to do it
just to give him a false sense that he's appeasing me. Besides, Sara's a
smart girl. I just need her to keep her eyes and ears open. I have a
feeling that Thornton Preston's desire to cut ties with Callison Publications
has to do with a lot more than money. I want to know what that reason
"I don't know if Sara's going to be willing to get mixed up in this." Trevor rested his chin in his hand as he begin to think about the logistics of his father's plan. It seemed to make sense, but surly Preston wasn't foolish enough to hire Sara based on his father's recommendation and not realize something was up. "Don't you think he'll be suspicious if you pressure him to hire her? Knowing that she's connected to us will make him very guarded around her as far as his business matters go."
"Like I said, she's a smart girl. She can get the information we need. And besides, with Preston paying her to be his assistant and me paying her to get information, the Manchesters' financial problems should be over in no time." Charles leaned back in his chair and flashed a very satisfied grin. "I'll contact Thornton Preston and set everything up. This is going to be perfect."
"Oh, it's starting to get colder," Francis said as she pulled her jacket tighter around herself. "I guess fall really is here." She turned away from the crisp breeze that began to kick up off the river and found herself looking into Fred's eyes.
"Are you alright?" He asked as he watched her closely.
"Of course! Why wouldn't I be?" She tried to hide her eyes that had become filled with sadness. "We saw my husband out with his mistress and they were making a torrid spectacle of themselves. Why wouldn't I be alright?" Her sarcasm was not lost on Fred.
"Francis, dear, you are a beautiful woman. You shouldn't let your husband treat you like that." Fred reached out and pulled her closer. He carefully placed his hand on her chin and lifted her head so that their eyes met. "You have so much more going for you than that. I don't think you even realize exactly how wonderful you are."
"Oh, Fred," Francis muttered as she blushed slightly. She tried to look away but Fred fought to hold her attention. "This is all just something I have to get used to. No amount of crying on my part can change Charles' mind. He's made his decision. He chose that vile Annabelle over me and all the years we've spent together. The only choice I have now is a divorce. I'm not letting him continue to make a fool of me. The only person he can make a fool of now is himself!"
"And he's doing a fine job of that! He's a damn fool not to appreciate you. I just don't understand how he can merely cast you aside."
"Fred, you're just too kind." Francis had grown to appreciate Fred's friendship over the past few weeks. He always seemed to be right there when she needed someone to give her a kind word and a show of support. He was making her realize that maybe there was life after Charles.
Fred leaned in to Francis and his lips brushed hers. Francis allowed them to linger there only for a moment before she pushed him away.
"No, Fred, I can't!" She quickly moved away from him and turned to avoid meeting his determined gaze. "I-It's too soon. The hurt is too fresh. I'm just not ready for something like that yet."
"Of course, I understand." He reached out for her again and gently laid his hand on her shoulder. "I don't want to push you into anything you're not ready for."
"I just want us to remain friends. That is what I really need right now."
"Then friends we shall be."
Francis turned to face him again. This time her eyes were filled with the evidence of a deep, inner conflict that had begun to brew. "P-please, Fred, just take me home. Take me back to the hotel."
"Anything you ask, dear," he smiled as he slowly began to lead her away from the docks. Secretly, Fred realized that Francis was closer to being his than even she realized. Once that happened, he would have everything he needed.
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
"Have you lost your mind?" Maggie asked as she sat in the booth with her best friend Eliza. "Why on earth would you think Randy Lamont was cute? Ewwwww!"
"Oh, come now, Maggie. Surely you can see what an absolute dream he is!" Eliza looked across the room at Randy and watched him walk away from the counter and sit down alone at a corner table. "And I kinda feel sorry for him, too. It must be really hard to pick up and move to a different town and change schools like he's had to do."
"It's really none of my concern." Maggie sipped on her soda and began to thumb through a movie magazine. "Ahh," she sighed softly as she pointed to a picture in the magazine. "Clark Gable! Now that's dreamy!"
"Oh, be serious, Maggie!" Eliza looked at her with a scowl. "We've lived here our entire lives. We don't know what it's like to have to try and fit in in a new town and a new school."
"And I don't intend to find out. Why are you getting all mushy on me, anyway?"
"Well, I've got an idea." Eliza grabbed onto Maggie's arm to hold her attention. "You know the fall dance is coming up and I just know that Randy hasn't asked anyone yet."
"Probably because he knows that no one will say 'yes'."
"Just listen to me!" Eliza bit her lower lip and grew wide-eyed as she began to formulate a plan. "You can help me get Randy to ask me to the dance."
"You want to go with him?" Maggie threw up her hands and pushed Eliza away. "Uh-uh! No way! I am not getting involved in another one of your screwball schemes. Remember the last time? The salt in old Mrs. Primrose's tea cup?"
"Oh, you know that was funny! My god, the look on her face was priceless!"
"And we got detention for a week!" Maggie began to vigorously shake her head. "No way! I am not getting involved in this! Especially not for the likes of Randy Lamont. How about Stanley Fitzpatrick? Now he's something to swoon over!"
"No, Maggie, I want to go with Randy." Eliza stuck her bottom lip out in a pout and looked at her with pleading eyes.
"I must have 'sucker' written across my forehead," Maggie sighed in defeat as she sunk down into her seat. "Okay. What do I have to do?"
"I knew you'd come around." Eliza slid closer to Maggie and began to whisper into her ear. "Now this is what we're gonna do..."
THE CALLISON HOME - CHARLES' STUDY
"It's ringing," Charles said as he cradled the telephone receiver against his ear. "Yes, Helga, I'd like to speak to Mr. Preston. Yes, this is Charles Callison."
"Father, I really don't know if this is such a good idea," Trevor muttered as he shook his head in apprehension. "I don't think Sara should be involved in all of this."
"Shhh," Charles said as he motioned for Trevor to be quiet. "Thornton, yes, it's Charles. Very well, thank you. I was thinking about our conversation earlier and...no, this isn't about your contract. We can discuss that some other time...well, actually, I was thinking about what you said about needing an assistant. You see, Thornton, I happen to know a young lady who would be ideal for you. Yes? Well, her name is Sara Manchester and she's looking for a part-time job in the evenings. Um, yes. You see, she's a student at the local university. I would hire her myself, but I just don't have anything available right now. However, I immediately thought of you. Yes, I see."
"I really don't like this," Trevor grumbled.
"Wonderful!" Charles began to smile at Trevor and he gave him a thumbs up. "Yes, I'll take care of the details. I'll speak to Mrs. Manchester myself. Yes, a pleasure as always, Thornton." As he hung up the phone, he shot his son another self-satisfied grin. "It's all set. Sara is now the new assistant to Thornton Preston."
Trevor merely looked back at him with a worried frown on his face. He prayed he wasn't leading Sara into the lion's den.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE
Francis slammed the door as she walked briskly into the penthouse. The sound forced Mary to look up from her needle point and watch her daughter intently. As Francis breezed past her and into her bedroom, Mary quickly rose from the sofa and followed.
"Francis, dear, what's wrong?" Mary questioned as she trailed along behind her daughter. "I take it your date didn't go well?"
"My date with Fred was wonderful," Francis replied as she began to slip out of her dress and into her dressing gown. "My front row seat for the romantic escapades of my husband, however, was not!" She quickly began to brush out her hair and stared unflinchingly into the mirror.
Mary let out a heavy sigh. "What has Charles done now? Don't tell me he was making a spectacle of himself with Annabelle again!" She laid a hand on Francis' shoulder to calm her.
"Fred and I ran into them at The Gardens." Francis sat her brush down and turned to face her mother. Her shoulders slumped wearily as she thought about everything that had happened. "We were enjoying a nice dinner when Charles and Annabelle came in. It was so embarrassing how they were all over each other! And in public! If I didn't know better, I'd say he was setting out to deliberately hurt me."
"I can't understand how a man with the intelligence that Charles has can be such a half-wit when it comes to that woman!" Mary slowly began to pace the floor as her own temper rose in her daughter's behalf. "Doesn't he realize how much these little scenes hurt you? Doesn't he care?"
"Honestly, mother, I don't know what his feelings are any more." Francis lowered her eyes. She felt tears coming on, but she refused to cry over Charles again. However, she couldn't help the fact that she still loved him dearly...no matter what he'd done.
"I have half a mind to go over there right now and find out exactly what's going on in that head of his!"
"Oh, no, mother! Don't!" Francis grabbed Mary's arm as if to keep her from leaving. "Don't have another fight with him! Wasn't the scene you two had in The Gardens enough?"
"Apparently not!" Mary gently ran her fingers across Francis' cheek to wipe away a tear. "Oh, Francis, how can Charles be so blind? How can he not see what he's doing to you?" Her eyes narrowed as a look of determination covered her face. "I'm going to pay that son-in-law of mine a visit! I'm going to find out what's going on in that thick head of his and I'm not leaving until I do!"
TO BE CONTINUED
Douglas has a surprise for Lorraine
For Now and Forever
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