produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

EPISODE #36 (Monday 6/11/01) click here for a printable version of this episode
a week later, October 1935


Jillian StokesSunset Hotel, Suite #2, Albanyville, IL"I'm coming!" Jillian called out as she strode quickly to the door.  Her last class at Albanyville University had run over and now she was late for a late lunch meeting.  The last thing she needed were interruptions.  As she pulled the door open, her jaw dropped and her eyes grew wide with shock.  "Oh, my!  W-what are you doing here?"

"Mother has sent me to get Janet.  She's been here in Albanyville entirely too long!"

As Jillian stood and gave a silent prayer that she would have the strength to survive her visit, Judith Stokes Linford walked briskly into the room.

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Springhill Manor, 54 Spring Lake Dr., Albanyville, ILSara Manchester"Um, hello," Sara smiled nervously as Helga opened the front door.  "I-I'm Sara Manchester.  I'm supposed to start work as Mr. Preston's assistant today."

"Ah, yes," Helga replied as she carefully inspected Thornton's new employee.  "If you'll follow me..."

Sara stepped through the front door and quietly trailed along behind Helga as she walked towards the study.  As she followed, Sara's eyes quickly took in the elaborate trappings of the home.  From all the time she'd spend looking at magazines and the society column of The Daily Post, she quickly recognized the intricate details in the furnishings that denoted wealth.

"If you'll wait in here, Mr. Preston will be with you shortly," Helga said as she pulled the large wooden doors of the study open.  "He's a very busy man.  Don't waste his time."

"Oh, I don't intend to."  Sara tried to smile in spite of her awkward feelings.  "I'm supposed to be here to help him since he is so busy.  I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."

Helga Grimm"I didn't give it.  I'm Miss Grimm.  I'm Mr. Preston's housekeeper.  I've been with him for many years."

Sara extended her hand for a warm greeting, but her smile quickly faded when Helga refused to recognize her display of politeness.

"I don't know why Mr. Preston had to go to all the trouble of hiring an assistant.  I've done very well on my own.  He doesn't need anyone else."  Helga continued to eye Sara closely.  There just was something not right about her.

"Maybe Mr. Preston thinks it's time to give you a break.  Maybe he doesn't want to burden you with too much."

Thornton Preston"And that's exactly the reason!"  Thornton's voice announced his arrival as both Helga and Sara turned to find him standing in the doorway.  "Now, Helga, bring us some coffee and leave me and Sara alone to have a chance to get acquainted."

"Yes, sir."  Helga curtly nodded, walked out of the room, and pulled the doors closed.

"Mrs. Manchester, I'm Thornton Preston," he smiled as he extended his hand.

"S-so nice to meet you."

"Tell me about yourself, Mrs. Manchester."  Thornton slowly walked about the room as he listened to her and analyzed her every movement.

As Sara began to give a brief description of her background, Helga stood quietly in the foyer with her ear pressed to the study doors.  There was something about Sara that made Helga uneasy.  She didn't trust her at all.


Francis CallisonAlbanyville General HospitalAs the ladies auxiliary meeting concluded, Francis carefully gathered up her notes and began to head for the door.  She didn't feel like spending any more time with these women than absolutely necessary.

"Francis, dear, leaving so soon?" the familiar, yet unfriendly voice called after her.

"Yes, Corinne, I have lots of other things to do today."  Francis maintained her cool exterior as she turned to face Corinne Campbell, the chairwoman of the ladies auxiliary.  "I really don't have time to chitchat."

"Yes, I'm sure."  Corinne smiled thinly.  "I know you've had quite a few difficulties lately."  She casually smoothed an imaginary strand of stray hair back into place in her perfectly coifed hairdo.  "I hope your, shall we say, problems aren't going to interfere with your auxiliary duties."

"I'm here, aren't I?"  Francis glared at her.  She'd never liked Corinne because she always seemed too interested in what was going on in everyone else's lives.  Surely her life with her own husband wasn't so boring that she had to be so concerned with what everyone else was doing.

Corinne Campbell"Well, I'm just concerned because I hope that you'll have time to head this year's fundraiser for the foundlings home," Corinne eyed Francis closely.  "You know, what with all of the problems you've been having."

"Whatever 'problems' I've been having are just that...mine!"

"Dear, I'm so sorry.  I didn't intend to hit a sore spot."  Corinne lifted a carefully manicured finger up to her chin as she continued to fix her smug gaze on Francis.  "I just know that this must be a very difficult time for you considering how your husband has cast you aside for another woman."

"I'll thank you to keep your thoughts to yourself!"  Francis quickly turned to leave and escape Corinne's callous comments.

"You know, darling, I've been curious.  Exactly what must a wife do to force her husband to seek comfort in the arms of another woman?"

Francis spun around to face Corinne again as she felt her face begin to burn.  Silently, she fought to suppress the reaction that Corinne was trying so hard to elicit.