Sara Manchester343 Anderson Ln. Apt. #1, Albanyville, IL"Oh, Trevor, that's wonderful!" Sara exclaimed as she held the telephone receiver to her ear.  "No, I don't think that'll be a problem.  Don't worry, Trevor, I think I can handle Thornton Preston.  Yes, I understand."

The sound of keys jingling in the front door quickly drew her attention.

"I-I've got to go.  Dane's home.  Thank you again, Trevor."

"What are you doing on the phone with Trevor Callison?" Dane asked as he stood in the doorway.

"Well...he was just calling to offer belated congratulations on our wedding."  She bit her lip nervously.  She hoped that Dane hadn't heard too much of their conversation.  She just couldn't let him find out that she had gotten a job behind his back.  "Wasn't that nice of him?"

"If you say so."  Dane grumbled for a moment and began to sort through a stack of mail that lay on the table next to the front door.  "Bills, bills, and more bills!  I just don't know how I'm going to pay them all."

"Honey, don't worry.  Things will work themselves out."  Sara walked over to him and gently rubbed his back to calm him.  She gently led him to the couch.  "Now you sit right down her and let me get you something to eat.  Why are you home from the plant so early?"

Dane Manchester"Mid-shift break.  I figured I'd come home for a bit and grab a quick bite to eat here."  Dane got up and followed Sara into the kitchen and watched as she scurried around trying to make him something to eat.  "So, Trevor was offering congratulations on our wedding?"  He lifted his finger to his chin as he thought.  "I really didn't expect that."

"Why not, dear?"  Sara put the finishing touches on a bologna sandwich and put it on a plate.

"Well, I'm not a favorite person with the Callisons after all that mess with Reginald and Jillian."  Dane shuddered as he quietly remembered the engagement party.  He'd planned to steal Jillian away from Reginald that night, but everything had gone horribly wrong.  "I would think that the only thing they would wish me was dead."

"Oh, Dane, Aunt Annabelle has worked for Douglas and the Callisons for years.  I'm sure he was just being nice."  She watched him carefully as she handed him his plate.  Surely he didn't suspect anything.  She was positive he'd only heard the very end of her conversation with Trevor.  "Besides, I'm sure they're all thrilled to have you married off and out of Reginald and Jillian's hair."

"Nice to know someone is," he muttered under his breath before taking a bite out of his sandwich.  As he hurriedly ate, he began to think about Trevor's phone call and Sara's explanation.  It seemed logical, but somehow it just wasn't ringing true.  


2210 Elmwood Lane, Albanyville, ILCharles Callison"Mary, I only want what's best for Francis," Charles asserted as he looked up at his mother-in-law.  "All I've managed to do, so far, is hurt her."

"But you keep hurting her over and over!"  Mary glared at him as she shook her finger in his face.  "Can't you see that?  Every time you go showing off with Annabelle Lake on your arm, you stab her in the heart all over again!  Can't you keep your scandalous activities to yourself?  Must you parade them all over town?"

He let out a deep sigh and slumped down into his chair.  "She needs to get on with her life.  She needs to find a better life without me!  If she doesn't let go of me, she's going to keep getting hurt.  Over and over again it's going to be the same thing!  All I seem to be able to do is hurt her."

"Oh, Charles, would you quit wallowing around in self-pity and stand up and act like a man?"  She folded her arms across her chest as she continued to look down upon him with her determined stare.  "You have to take responsibility for what you've done to her...for what you're still doing to her!"

"Can't you see?  That's exactly what I'm doing!  It's my fault for what happened between me and Annabelle.  It's my fault that Francis has been hurt.  She's not to blame at all!"  His head sunk down in defeat as he ran his hands through his hair.  "That's why you have to convince her to get on with her life.  You have to convince her to forget about me.  It's so she won't be hurt anymore.  It's for her own good."

Mary Albany"And how is she supposed to do that?  How is she supposed to forget about you when you share three wonderful children and 23 years of marriage?  How is she supposed to forget about that over night?"

"I-I don't know," Charles sighed.  "But she has to.  I couldn't bear it if I hurt her again."

"Charles, do you still love Francis?"  Mary watched his reaction closely as she waited for an answer.  "Do you?"

"Yes," he confessed.  "I love her with all my heart."

"Then why aren't you two together?  Why are you running around with that tramp?"

"Because!  That's the way it has to be.  I refuse to put Francis in a position where I could hurt her again.  I won't do it!"

Mary pursed her lips and silently evaluated Charles answers.  Why wasn't she completely convinced that this marriage couldn't be saved?  Mary knew that, given ample opportunity, Charles and Francis could find their way back to each other.  However, there was one big obstacle standing in their way.  Her name was Annabelle Lake.


Douglas Davis23 Green St., Albanyville, IL"What are you talking about, Lorraine?" Douglas questioned as he looked at her closely.  "What plan?"

She swallowed hard and took a deep breath.  "I want you to let me tell Patterson that he's the father so he and I can get married.  No one ever has to know any different.  This way, you can keep from being saddled with a child you don't want."

"What?  Are you out of your mind?"  In shock, Douglas covered his mouth with his hand.  Did she really expect him to go along with this crazy idea?  If this is what she had in mind, why did she even tell him about the baby?

"Oh, Douglas, this can work.  I know it can!"  She looked down at her hands that she had clasped together in her lap to prevent them from shaking.  "This will be best for everyone."

"It will not!  If this is what you've been cooking up in your head, why did you even bother to tell me about the baby?  Do you honestly expect this to work?  You said yourself that Patterson couldn't be the father.  Don't you think he'll realize this when he learns how far along you are?"

"Look, all I have to do is tell him I'm two months along instead of three.  He won't know the difference."

"He's not stupid!  When this child is born, he's going to be able to tell that it looks nothing like him!"  Douglas lowered his head into his hands as he sat and tried to go over Lorraine's plan in his mind.  There was no way it could work.  Why was she even thinking such foolish things.

Lorraine Blake"Douglas, it has to work!"

"Why, Lorraine?  Why did you tell me I'm the father if you're going to pass this child off as his?  Why are you ripping my own child away from me?  Are you trying to punish me for that night we shared?  Is that what you're doing?"

"Oh, no, Douglas!  No!"  Lorraine's eyes grew wide with shock.  How could he think she would do something so spiteful.  "I-I just thought you had a right to know about the baby.  I thought that telling you what I was going to do would be the honest thing to do!"

"But lying to Patterson is not the honest thing!  As much as I deserve to know that I'm the father of this child, Patterson deserves to know he's not!"  He grabbed her arm and forced her to look at him.  "And I refuse to let you do this!  I refuse to let you take my child away from me!"

"But, Douglas, it's the only way!"

"Lorraine, I didn't have the greatest childhood.  My father was a drunk who was never around.  When he was around, he could be very abusive."  He flinched slightly as too many painful memories came flooding back.  "I always promised myself that if I had a child of my own, I wouldn't make the same mistakes he did.  I would be a good father.  Now I have that chance and you want to take that away from me!  I can't allow that!"

"W-what are you trying to say?"  Lorraine looked at Douglas as a cloud of fear began to cover her face.  Surely he wasn't going to fight her on this.

"I'm saying that if you persist in this foolish plan of yours, I'll go to Patterson and I'll tell him everything!"  He looked at her with eyes filled with determination.  He was not about to give up his child.  "I'll tell him all about that night we spent together and I'll tell him the truth about this baby.  I will not let you take my child away from me!"

"Then what am I supposed to do?" Lorraine began to sob.  "I-I can't have this baby on my own!  What will people think of me?  I'll be some fallen woman with a bastard child!  I-I couldn't stand that!"

"Lorraine, isn't the answer obvious?"  His voice softened as he handed her a handkerchief to dry her eyes.  He gently placed his finger on her chin and lifted her head so that their eyes met.  "There's only one thing you can do."

"W-what's that?"

"Marry me, Lorraine."


Jillian receives a surprise.

produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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