THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE

Eliza CampbellThe Wishing Well Soda Shoppe"Look!  There he is!" Eliza exclaimed as she grabbed Maggie and pulled her close.  "I just knew Randy would show up here after school!"

"I don't understand how you can get so worked up over him, of all boys!"  Maggie rolled her eyes as she pulled away from Eliza's grasp.  "Surely you can find someone better to obsess over."

"I just don't think there's a boy neater than Randy."  Eliza swooned as she watched Randy closely.  "C'mon, let's go talk to him."

"I am not going anywhere near him!  Have you lost your mind?"

"You said you'd help me convince him to ask me to the dance."  Eliza glared at Maggie.  "You're not backing out on me!"

"Oh, all right," Maggie muttered as let out an exasperated sigh.  Quite reluctantly, Maggie allowed Eliza to drag her over to where Randy Lamont was sitting.

"Hi, Randy," Eliza spoke up timidly as she and Maggie stood in front of him.

Randy Lamont"Hi, Eliza." Randy smiled before turning to face Maggie.  His expression immediately grew more stern.  "Maggie."

Maggie sighed again and folded her arms across her chest before rolling her eyes and quickly looking away.  Her teeth clinched as Eliza tugged on her sleeve.  "Hello, Randy," she muttered quite resistantly.  Why did Eliza insist on getting her involved in her plans?

"Look, Maggie, I'm staying away from you."  Randy held up his hands and slowly backed away.  "I've got no intention of getting close enough to spill anything on you."

"And I appreciate that."  Maggie looked sternly at him until a sharp jab in the ribs, supplied by Eliza, refocused her attention on the matter at hand.  She quickly put on her best "social" face and smiled at Randy.  "So, the big fall dance is coming up.  Have you made plans for it, yet?"

"Um, no.  Actually, I haven't."  He looked at her curiously.  Why was Maggie now acting like she was supposed to be his best friend?  "In fact, I really wasn't planning on going."

"Oh, you simply have to go!  It's the biggest social event of the semester.  The only thing bigger is the prom and that's not until next spring!"  Maggie fought to keep her smile cemented to her face.  Why did Eliza persist in doing this to her?

"So, I take it you girls are going?"

Maggie Callison"Well, I am."  Maggie smiled.  "I've already been asked.  Eliza, however..."  She grabbed her friend and pushed her forward, closer to Randy.  "Let's just say that none of the boys have quite had the nerve."

"I find that hard to believe."  Randy smiled at Eliza.  "As pretty as you are, Eliza, I'd figure that boys would be standing in line."

"Oh, Randy, you say the nicest things!"  Eliza turned her head in mock embarrassment and feigned a blush while Maggie subtly rolled her eyes.  "But, I guess the other boys are just too shy.  I really want to go to the dance, but there's no way I'd even think of going alone.  It just wouldn't be proper!"

"I have an idea!" Maggie spoke up, right on cue.  "Randy, you don't have any plans for the dance!  Why don't you take Eliza?  That way you both can go."  Please, let him say "yes" so I can get this over with.

"I-I don't know."  Randy quickly looked from Maggie to Eliza and then back again.  This was all entirely too odd.  Why was Maggie being so nice to him now?  Suddenly, he looked down at his watch.  "Um, I'm really sorry, but I've got to go.  I'll see you both in school."

"Well, so much for that bright idea!" Maggie said as she turned to Eliza while Randy quickly walked out the door.  "I certainly hope you don't have any other plans up your sleeve."

"Oh, I don't know why he didn't ask me."  Eliza sank down into a chair and began to sulk.  "I've just got to find some way to get him to ask me to that dance."

Maggie looked at Eliza and simply shook her head.  She still couldn't understand why she was so hung up on a mutt like Randy.


ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL

Albanyville General HospitalFrancis Callison"Corinne, I really don't think the state of my marriage is any of your business!" Francis snapped as she glared at her.  "I really can't believe you don't have anything better to do that worry about what my husband is doing!"

"Well, Francis, dear, people do talk."  Corinne maintained her cool exterior as she looked at Francis rather smugly.  "I can only go on what I've heard people say."

"So, since I know you're just dying to tell me, what have people been saying?"  Francis folded her arms across her chest and braced herself for the worst.

"Darling, you know I'm not one to spread such horrible tales," Corinne said as she gently took Francis' arm and began to speak as if they were life long friends, "but you really should know what people are saying about you."

"And she should also know that you are the one doing most of the talking!"

Both Francis and Corinne quickly turned toward the sound of Dr. Fred Rutherford's voice as he came walking into the room.

"I beg your pardon?"  Corrine's hand flew up to her chest in indignation.  "Are you trying to imply that I'm spreading vicious gossip about poor Francis here?"

"I'm not making an implication, I'm making a statement of fact!"  Fred grabbed Francis' arm and gently pulled her to his side to allow space between the two women.  "Why, this entire hospital knows that the three fastest ways of spreading information are telephone, telegraph, and tell Corinne Campbell!"

Corinne Campbell"I have never been spoken to so rudely!"

"I sincerely doubt that." Fred muttered only halfway under his breath.

"Apparently, Dr. Rutherford, you've forgotten who my husband is!  He is chief of staff and your boss!"

"I don't care who you're married to!  I cannot allow you to spread such unseemly drivel!"  Fred continued to stare at Corinne with a firm gaze.  He was very pleased when she began to back down.

"Well, I see," she replied tightly.  "Let me leave you two alone.  Whether you like to believe it or not, I have much more important things to do than worry about Mrs. Callison and her sordid marital woes.  Good day, Dr. Rutherford."  And with those words, Corinne clinched her jaw and quickly rushed out of the room.

"Are you all right?" Fred asked as he turned to face Francis.  "That harridan didn't upset you too much, did she?"

"No, Fred, but thank you."  Francis took a deep breath and looked down at the floor.  "I've known Corinne for quite some time now and I know exactly how she can be.  It's one of the reasons I try not to socialize with her outside of the auxiliary meetings."

"She really isn't happy unless she's got something to tell."

"And here you are, once again, coming to my defense."  Francis lifted her head to look into Fred's eyes.  "You always seem to be in the right place at the right time.  I really owe you a lot."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"You don't owe me a thing Francis.  In fact, I..."

"Dr. Rutherford?" a young nurse spoke up as she stood in the doorway.  "You have a phone call."

"Um, yes, thank you."  He turned back to face Francis.  "I really would love to chat more, but duty calls."

"I understand."

"I'll see you soon!" Fred called out as he quickly walked out of the room and to the nurse's desk to pick up the phone.  "Hello?"

"Dr. Rutherford!" the deep, ominous voice spoke up.  "Do you have what we agreed upon?"

"I told you not to phone me here at the hospital."  Fred nervously glanced around to see if anyone could hear his conversation.  He just knew they were closing in on him.  He didn't have much time.  If he couldn't kick his own plan into gear, he knew he wouldn't stand a chance once they got hold of him.


THE SUNSET HOTEL - JILLIAN'S SUITE

Jillian StokesSunset Hotel, Suite #2, Albanyville, IL"So, exactly what are you doing here?" Jillian questioned as she examined Judith closely.  "I know you really don't care for Albanyville and I know good and well that you haven't come to pay me a social call."

"Just can't get anything past you, sister dear, can I?"  Judith carefully walked around the room looking at all of Jillian's quaint mementos.  Not really Judith's taste, of course, but they were okay.  "Actually, I've come for Janet.  She's been away far too long."

"Father knows she's here?  He sent you to take her home?"  Jillian's hand flew up to her mouth in shock.  If their father truly knew that their mother had lied to him about Janet's true whereabouts, there would most definitely be trouble.

"Of course he doesn't know!"  Judith shook her head and emitted a thin laugh.  "Would I be the one here if he did?  Why, if Daddy knew Janet were here, he'd come and drag her back to Manhattan himself!"

"Then who...."

"Mother, of course.  Daddy is getting suspicious, though.  Janet supposedly only went away to an artists' retreat.  She's been here almost a month!  Some retreat!"  Judith pulled her light jacket off and draped it over the back of the sofa before taking a seat to make herself more comfortable.  "Mother is trying to make excuses for Janet and, for some reason, Daddy's buying them.  I, however, knew something was up and questioned her about it."

"Badgered would be more like it," Jillian murmured to herself as she cautiously approached her sister.

"Did you say something, dear?"

"I asked if mother sent you."

Judith Linford"Well, yes.  After I finally convinced her to tell me what was going on, she asked me to come to Albanyville and bring Janet home."  Judith paused to brush an imaginary piece of lint off of her tailored skirt.  "Supposedly, I'm off in Los Angeles shopping for the baby."

"You made that long trip in your advanced condition?"  Jillian carefully examined a very expectant Judith.  "I can't believe mother would ask you to do that!"

"Well, she did.  She couldn't do it because Daddy would know something was amiss then!"

"So, when is the baby due?"

"The doctors say that it should be around the end of November."  Judith looked down at her swollen stomach and grimaced.  "About Thanksgiving, I believe.  I can't wait to get this over and done with.  You cannot imagine how tiring it is to carry this child around."

"For you, I can imagine."  Jillian still couldn't believe Judith was having a baby.  She'd never been the motherly type.  "Well, I'm afraid you'll have to return to New York empty handed."

"What?"

Jillian took a deep breath.  "Janet has refused to ever go back.  She says she's staying in Albanyville for good."

"She has to go back!"  Judith began to wring her hands as a look of panic fell on her face.  "You know Daddy!  Mother can't keep him in the dark forever!  He's going to figure out that we've all been lying to him.  Once that happens, he'll come straight here and drag her home himself.  You know what will happen then!  You know what he's threatened to do!"

Jillian's face quickly mirrored Judith's frightened expression.  She knew all too well what their father had threatened.  She quickly realized that they had to convince Janet to return home or they would all have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.



 


TOMORROW

Lorraine receives advice from a trusted source.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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