THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE

Jillian StokesThe Wishing Well Soda ShoppeJillian sat in a side booth and took a bite out of her turkey sandwich as she carefully reviewed her notes for her Art History class.  She scribbled down a few more notes and quickly glanced at her watch.  As she let out a sigh, she prayed that she was adequately prepared for the mid-term exam.

"Hello, Jillian."

She looked up from her studies and immediately grew uncomfortable when she saw Dane standing in front of her table.  Without a word of acknowledgement in his direction, she returned her focus to the open text book.

"Oh, come now, Jillian, surely you're not going to act like I'm not even here?"  He slid into the booth next to her.

"I can try, can't I?"

"Now, Jillian, don't be like that."  He smiled as he reached over and grabbed her hand.  "After everything we've meant to each other, we can at least be civil."

"Civil?"  She turned to look at him inquisitively.  "After everything you've done?  Dane, you tried to ruin my relationship to Reginald!"

Dane Manchester"That's what I wanted to talk to you about."  He hung his head as took a deep breath.  "I want to apologize for everything that I did to come between you two."

"You want to what?"  Her attention was immediately pulled from her studies and she focused her eyes on Dane.  She couldn't have heard him correctly.  "I must be hearing things!  I could have sworn you said you wanted to apologize."

"I do want to apologize."  He smiled sheepishly and took a deep breath.  "I was wrong to get caught up in Stephanie's schemes to come between you two.  I should have known to just leave the past in the past.  She made it seem so logical, so...havable.  I really did love you, Jillian.  I know I was wrong to hurt you like I did."

"This cannot be happening!"  Jillian dropped her head into her hands and she tried to recover from the shock of Dane's confession.  "If you expect me to believe everything you're saying, you are a fool!"

"But, Jillian, it's true!  I was wrong!  I was so wrong to try to manipulate things the way that I did.  Stephanie convinced me that..."  His voice trailed off as he carefully watched her to see her reactions.  "Well, that's all in the past now.  Sara and I are married and you're well on your way to becoming Mrs. Reginald Callison.  Can't we try to put the past behind us?  Can't we try to at least be friends?"

Jillian narrowed her eyes as she tired to analyze everything he'd been saying.  Surely he couldn't be sincere in his apology.  Too much had happened.  He'd been guilty of too many manipulations.  She was certain that his act of remorse was a cover...but for what?


THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE

Dorothea JacksonSunset Hotel, Penthouse A, Albanyville, IL"Miss Mary, would you like a cup of tea?" Dorothea asked as she poked her head out of the kitchen.  "I just brewed a fresh pot."

"Yes, dear, that would be nice."  Mary laid the book she'd been reading down onto the coffee table and reached out to take the cup and saucer from Dorothea.  She looked up at her housekeeper as she sipped her tea and noticed a look of distress on her face.  Mary immediately grew concerned.

"Dottie, what's wrong?  You look as if something's on your mind."

"I could never hide anything from you, Miss Mary."  Dorothea's shoulders slumped and she let out a heavy sigh.  "It's that boy of mine.  He's gotten it into his head that I shouldn't be working here for you.  I told him where I worked and for whom was none of his concern, but that Calvin can be so stubborn."

Mary lifted her hand to gently cradle her chin as she thought about her own confrontation with Calvin a few weeks earlier.  He'd insisted that she fire Dorothea. He refused to allow her to continue working as a modern day slave.  Mary had been quite offended by his comments.

"I've tried to show both Calvin and Naomi that honest work is good work, no matter what the job."  Dorothea walked over to the side table and picked up the photograph of her and her children that Mary kept there on display.  She smiled with the knowledge that Miss Mary viewed her as more than a servant.  Mary often commented on how she thought of Dottie and her children as part of her own family.

Mary Albany"Dottie, I'm sure they both understand that."

"I'm not.  Well, not any more."  She sat the picture back down and lowered her head to hide her emotions.  "Naomi refuses to even speak to me.  She was always so embarrassed by what I do for a living.  She completely forgot that my work paid for those fancy singing lessons of hers and the ballet classes.  Do you know how hard it is to find an instructor who'll even consider taking on a little colored girl as a student?"

"Naomi always showed such promise."  Mary remembered being on the front row next to Dottie for Naomi's first recital.  They'd both been so proud of her.

"Yes, but she threw it all away!  She ran off to New York and starting singing in some smoky dive.  I keep sending her letters, but they keep coming back unopened.  Now Calvin...well, he was my pride and joy.  As difficult as Naomi could be, he was always the one who did exactly what I wanted.  He was the one who always understood."

"Children grow up, Dottie.  Sometimes the paths that they choose aren't always the ones we think are best."  Mary thought for a moment about her own daughter's troubled marriage.

"Calvin seems so determined to make sure I leave you."

"Um, yes, Dottie, I know."  Mary hesitated for a moment.  Should she reveal Calvin's visit and their subsequent disagreement?  Finally, she decided that Dottie needed to know exactly how determined her son was to interfere in her life.  "Calvin came to see me the other day.  He wanted to talk about my employment of you."

"Oh, Miss Mary!"  Dorothea quickly moved to her side and sat down next to her.  "I certainly hope that boy of mine didn't say anything out of line!  I've raised him better than that!"

"No, Dottie, he tried to be very polite and respectful."  She paused and took a breath.  "However, he was very insistent that I fire you.  He said that he wanted better for you than working as a slave to white people.  I-I have to confesses that I was a little taken aback.  I never realized that he had such animosity towards me."

"I am so sorry, Miss Mary," Dorothea said as she lifted her hand to her mouth and shook her head in disbelief.  "I'm so sorry for that boy's behavior.  You know I've raised him better than that!  I promise you that something like that will never happen again.  He knows better!  I just don't know what's gotten into that head of his."

"Dottie, it's alright."  Mary reached out and placed a reassuring hand on Dorothea's leg.  "He acted the way he did only because he loves you and is concerned for you.  Granted, that concern is misplaced, but I understand it."

"Well, I assure you that I'm going to have a good talk with that boy!"  Dottie shot up out of her seat and began to pace.  "I'm going to straighten him out once and for all!"

"Don't be too hard on him, Dottie."

"I'm gong to straighten him out if I have to turn him over my knee and tan his hide to do it!"

Mary shook her head and sighed.  She knew that she and Dorothea were right in their position, but couldn't discount the validity of Calvin's concerns.  Mary didn't like being the cause of conflict between a mother and her child.  She prayed that Dorothea could change Calvin's mind about her work before he took more drastic measures.


THE MONROE HOME - LIVING ROOM

43 Landings Ct., Albanyville, ILPatterson Monroe"Mrs. Oliver!" Patterson called out as he stepped through the front door.  "I'm home for lunch!  I don't have a lot of time before my next class so I'll just grab a quick bite to eat."  He sat his books down on the side table and turned to walk further into the living room.  He was surprised to see Lorraine sitting on the couch alone.

"Um, she's not here," Lorraine muttered as she looked down at her hands.  "She, um, took Todd out to the park.  I told her I'd stay here and wait for you."

"Are you alright?"  He sat down next to her and quickly noticed the distress her face clearly displayed.  "Something's wrong!  I can tell."

"N-no, Paddy, everything's fine."  She swallowed hard and took a deep breath.  She had to tell him that she was marrying Douglas.  She had to tell him the truth.

"Lorraine, don't lie to me!"  He reached out and grabbed her hand and held it tightly.  "I know you too well.  I can tell when something's wrong.  What is it?  Did you go to the doctor again?  Did he tell you that you were sick?  It that the reason you've been acting so strangely?"

"Well, um..."  She pulled her hand away and turned her back to him.  She tried to fight her tears, but the emotions she held inside were too strong to control.  "Oh, Patterson, there's something I have to tell you!"

"What, Lorraine?  What is it?"

Lorraine Blake"I...I..."  She lowered her head and took a deep breath for strength.  She had to do it.  She couldn't put it off any longer.  The very least she owed him was to be honest.

"Lorraine?"

She took another deeper, longer breath to steady herself and turned to face him.  The tears that had begun to streak her face alarmed Patterson and he quickly took her in his arms.

"Oh, Lorraine, what is it?  You can tell me."  Patterson held her tightly and tried to hide his own fears.  Only something tragic could provoke such dire emotion from her and he was frightened to learn what it was.

She pulled away from him again, wiped her tears away, and took another calming breath.  "Patterson, I have to tell you something.  T-this is going to be the hardest thing I've ever had to say.  P-please don't interrupt me until I'm finished."

Patterson nodded his agreement, but tried to fight the knot that had begun to form in his stomach.  This didn't sound good.  Not good at all.



 


TOMORROW

Patterson's world comes to a crashing halt.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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