THE GARDENS RESTAURANT
am not going home!" Janet insisted through clinched teeth as she
glared at Judith. "I'm staying right here in Albanyville!"
"Oh, don't be
silly," Judith replied in her curt tone that so often irritated
Janet. She took her seat at the table and gracefully slid it forward until
the edge of the table grazed her quite expectant stomach. "You have
to return to Manhattan with me before Daddy gets any more suspicious than he
already is. Surely you don't think Mother can hide your whereabouts
"I think Janet wants to
stay here because of the new love of her
life," Helen chimed in with a
smile. Her comment was quickly met with a hateful glance from Janet.
"Janet, don't tell me
you're still seeing that man you met in the park?" Jillian sighed as
she flashed her sister a look of disappointment. "I thought I warned
you that that wouldn't be a good idea!"
"It's my life to do with
as I please!" Janet folded her arms across her chest and glared at
the other three girls who seemed to be ganging up on her. "Would you
quit treating me like I don't have a choice in my own life!"
"Well, well, well,"
Judith smirked as she took a sip of the water that the waiter was placing in
front of the girls. "Sister dear has a boyfriend! And here I
thought the season of miracles wasn't until Christmas. So, Janet, tell us
about the man in your life."
"I don't have to tell you
a thing!" Janet quickly looked away. Why did she allow Judith
to get to her so much? "It's my life and it has nothing to do with
"The poor sap will be devastated
when you have to abandon him and return home." Judith eyed Janet
carefully as she waited for the desired reaction.
"I told you I'm not
going home and that's final!" Janet's loud outburst brought a couple
of curious stares from the neighboring tables. Realizing that she was
making the foursome the center of unwanted attention, Janet sunk back down into
her chair and bit her lip.
"My, my, Janet, your
nerves seem to be on edge." Judith looked intently at Janet and
paused a moment for dramatic effect. "I certainly hope you're not
feeling ill again."
Judith," Jillian warned though clinched teeth. She could not allow
this line of conversation to continue. Especially not in front of
blabbermouth Helen. She took a deep breath before turning her focus to
Helen and prepared for a change in topic. "So, Helen, how have
classes been going?"
"Same as usual,"
Helen smiled as her eyes darted from one Stokes sister to the other. She
knew something was going on between them, but realized that it wouldn't be wise
to press the matter. "Where have you been occupying yourself?
You haven't been to any of the sorority functions. I never get to see you
"Well, dear, there's just
so much to do with classes and planning the wedding." Jillian allowed
herself to glance back and forth between Janet and Judith the see if any further
troubles were brewing. "I'm hoping it will be a much more joyous
affair than the engagement party."
"Jillian, I can guarantee
that!" Helen flashed a sly smile and gave Jillian an knowing wink.
"How can you do
that?" Janet spoke up as she finally entered the new conversation.
Helen smiled with false innocence as she fluttered her delicate eyelashes.
"I can assure you that that little wretch Stephanie Lake won't be in any
position to ruin your happy day."
"Helen, I don't know what
you're talking about but I don't like the sound of it." Jillian shook
her head. Helen sure could be devious when she wanted to be.
"I like the sound of it
very much," Judith spoke up as she leaned in to hear all the details.
"Helen, dear, tell me more."
"I'm working on a plan to
make Stephanie the most despicable girl on AU's campus. Why, she'll
probably have to drop out of school in shame. She may even have to leave
town!" Helen began to display a wide, self-satisfied grin.
"Oh, Helen, leave
Stephanie alone." Jillian couldn't believe she'd just said
that. She truly despised Stephanie for everything that she'd done, but
over the last few months she'd heard rumblings from Patterson about how she was
working to change her ways and attitudes. Stephanie hadn't even attempted
to contact her or Reginald. Why dredge things up again?
"After what that little
urchin tried to do?" Judith shot Jillian a look of shock.
"I say 'have at her'. Helen, what are you planning?"
"Well, I'm working on a
little plot with a friend of mine," Helen took a sip of water before
continuing with her tales of spitefulness. "In fact, Jillian, you
probably know him."
"He's a Delta
Helen smiled. "His name's Clark