Burt Lamont2312 Spring Lake Rd., Albanyville, IL"Hello, Ma!" Burt smiled as he walked in through the back door.  "I hope you haven't made any plans for tonight."

"Plans?  What plans could I possibly have other than darning your socks, sewing a button on that shirt of yours, and listening to the radio?"  Penelope finished the last of her dishes and dried her hands on a dishtowel before slinging it over her shoulder.  She turned and watched her son intently and he slowly maneuvered around the kitchen.  "You're acting awfully funny.  What are you up to?"

"Oh, nothing," he smiled again before pulling a large bouquet of flowers from behind his back.  "Just this.  Happy birthday, Ma!"

"Oh, Burton!"  She clasped her hands together in shock as her face lit up.  "I'd thought you'd forgotten!"

"Nah.  How could I forget your birthday?"

Penelope took the flowers and quickly filled a pitcher with water and placed them inside.  She stood back to admire their lovely blooms before turning to face her son again.  "I was sure you wouldn't forget.  You never have.  But...."

"I know.  I have been sorta busy with my work here at the stables and with Janet."  He put his arms around her and hugged her tightly as he planted a light kiss on her cheek.  "But I could never forget your birthday."

Penelope Lamont"That reminds me," she muttered as she pulled away and looked at him curiously.  "When am I going to meet this elusive Janet girl?  You talk about her constantly, but I've yet to lay eyes on her."

"Maybe soon."  Burt thought about his mother's eventual meeting with Janet.  Although he was anxious for them to get to know each other, he didn't want to rush things.  He knew they had all the time in the world.  "Well, you better go up stairs and put on your best dress!"

"My best dress?"  Penelope furrowed her brow as she looked at him.  "What?  What have you got up your sleeve?"

"Oh, just a little birthday surprise."  He took the dishtowel off of her shoulder and tossed it onto the counter by the sink before taking her hands and leading her out of the kitchen.  "Now go upstairs and get ready!"

"Ready for what?"

"Tonight I'm taking my best girl out!"  Burt grinned at her.  He loved to keep her in suspense.

"Well, I wish you'd tell me where we were going!"

"I told you, Ma, it's a surprise!  Now go get dressed!"

Penelope threw up her hands in defeat.  She realized she wouldn't get any information out of him until he was good and ready.  Burt could always be so stubborn.  Just like his....  A frown quickly clouded her face as a distant memory poked through her happiness, but she quickly pushed it away.  This was a happy day.  No time to think about the past.  No time to dwell and old hurts.  With a deep sigh, Penelope turned and hurried up the stairs, curious about exactly what kind of an evening her son had in store.


Patterson MonroeThe Wishing Well Soda ShoppePatterson stared absently at the open text book that lay before him.  He was supposed to be studying for his Biology mid-term, but he couldn't concentrate.  He couldn't think about anything else other than Lorraine's sudden announcement of her plans to marry Douglas Davis.  He tried to focus his eyes on the words on the page, but they were nothing but a blur.  Meanwhile, his ears rang with the echo of Lorraine's voice...

"Patterson, I can't see you any more"

"W-what?  Lorraine, I don't understand.  What are you talking about?"

"I said I couldn't see you anymore, Patterson.  We're over.  I cannot have a romantic relationship with you.  Oh, Paddy, I can't see you anymore because...because...b-because I'm getting married!"

"W-what?  Married?  To who?"

"D-Douglas Davis!  I'm marrying Douglas Davis!" 

Douglas Davis?  Why in the world would Lorraine marry him?  Of course, they'd known each other for years and had been good friends, but that's not a good enough reason to get married.  She'd assured him that she wasn't seeing Douglas behind his back, but if that weren't the case, why would she be so insistent on marrying him?  None of it made sense.

Patterson tried to refocus his attention on his studies, but he quickly realized that it would be no use.  He slammed his text book closed and slid it to the end of the table.  With a heavy sigh, he slumped back into the booth.  Everything he'd ever wanted was gone!  He couldn't understand Lorraine's behavior, but he knew well enough that if she was determined to marry Douglas, then there was no way he could change her mind.  But why?

"Patterson?"  The voice quickly drug his attention back from his own muddled thoughts.

"O-oh, Stephanie," he sighed as he looked up and saw her standing in front of him.  "Hi.  I was"

Stephanie Lake"With the book closed?"  She cocked an eyebrow and watched him closely.  She'd gotten to know him well enough that she could tell when something was wrong, and something was most definitely wrong.  "Okay, Paddy, what's up?  You look like someone being led to a hanging.  What's got you so down?  Lorraine's not acting all weird again is she?"

"That's exactly what's wrong."  He let out a weary sigh as he slid further into the booth to give Stephanie a place to sit down.  "Steph, she doesn't want to see me anymore."

"What?"  Her eyes grew wide with shock.  "Are you sure?  Has she lost her mind?"

"Yes, I'm sure and I'm contemplating the answer to the second question."  Patterson propped his elbow on the table and rested his head in his hand.  "She said she's planning to marry Douglas."

"Douglas?  Douglas Davis?"  Stephanie was flabbergasted.  It had only been a few months ago that Stephanie, herself, had been dating Douglas.  Well, that was until Dane had to blame all of their schemes to separate Reginald and Jillian on her.  Douglas just couldn't forgive her deception and had dropped her on the spot.  "Small world, huh?"

"Too small."

"Kinda ironic, though," Stephanie smiled in a vain attempt to lift his spirits.  "Your girlfriend is planning to marry a guy I used to date and here we sit together."

"I'm missing the humor."

"Oh, cheer up!  It's not the end of the world!"  She reached over and grabbed his arm to give it a gentle squeeze.

"Listen to you!  If I recall, you were the one out on the balcony of the hotel bawling your eyes out over loosing Reginald and Douglas in the same night!"

"Do you have to bring that up?"  Stephanie scowled at him and sat back before crossing her arms across her chest and jutting out her bottom lip.  "That was a tragic night for me!  I lost everything!"

"It was a turning point for you, Steph.  That was the night you realized that the way you were doing things wasn't necessarily the best way.  That was the night you vowed to be a better person.  You've done a remarkable job, I must say.  Sometimes bad things happen for a good reason."

"See!  I bet that's exactly what's going on here!"  Stephanie sat up again and smiled and leaned towards him.  "It might seem like the end of the world now, but I bet there's some bigger reason for this that you just don't know yet!"  She tilted her head and looked at him before gently brushing a lock of hair off of his forehead.  "You've been in love with Lorraine for a long time, haven't you?"

"From the moment I laid eyes on her."  Patterson allowed a smile to cross his lips as he remembered the day he first saw her.  It had only been a few weeks after the accident that had claimed the lives of his parents.  They'd met right there in The Well.  It was a moment that had changed his life.  "But, for some reason, I wasn't enough for her.  She needed more.  She only thought of me as a friend.  I just knew she'd make a wonderful wife and a great mother figure for Todd, but she only thought of me like a brother."

"But you two had a second chance!  You had another go at it.  Maybe since it didn't work this time, either, it wasn't meant to be."

"But that's just it, Steph!  It was working!"  His face fell again.  "Well, until she told me she was marrying someone else."

"Maybe it wasn't working as well as you thought."  Stephanie reached out and took his hand into hers.  "Remember, Paddy, sometimes things happen for a reason."

Patterson turned to look at her.  Suddenly, he remembered the night on the balcony, under the stars.  The night he'd volunteered to be Stephanie's guardian angel to keep her on the straight and narrow.  She'd been at her lowest point ever and he'd lifted her spirits.  In her excitement, she'd thrown her arms around him and kissed him passionately.  Stunned, he'd pushed her away.  Now, he felt a sudden urge to finally return that kiss.

He pulled Stephanie close to him and pressed his lips against hers and kissed her long and tenderly.  Her eyes grew wide from shock, but she didn't resist and she didn't pull away.  Soon, she was as caught up in the moment as he was.  The kiss only lasted a few moments, but it seemed like forever.  Finally, realizing what he'd done, Patterson quickly pulled away.  In his embarrassment, he swiftly and quietly gathered his books and rushed out of the soda shop leaving a breathless Stephanie wondering why all sorts of new feelings were starting to stir inside of her.


Penelope LamontThe Gardens Restaurant"Oh, Burton, you shouldn't have brought me here!" Penelope gasped as she sat nervously at their table and surveyed their lavish surroundings.  "This place is much too expensive!  Why, surely this dinner is going to cost you an entire day's pay!"

"Nah, Ma, it's not that bad."  He smiled at her warmly and thought how beautiful she still was.  In her lovely dress and elegant jewelry, she still looked as beautiful as she did in those old pictures he'd found in her mysterious photo album.  Of course the jewelry was nothing but a bunch of fakes made of paste and tin, but they still looked regal on her.  "Besides, this is a special night.  This is your night.  It's your birthday and you deserve something special."

"Thank you."  She reached out for him and gently took his hand into hers.  "You don't know how much it means to me that you care so much.  We don't get to spend nearly enough time together, just the two of us, anymore.  Before Randy came along, it was just you and me against the world."

"Yeah, Pa wasn't around much, even then, was he?"

Penelope winced slightly at the thought of her ex-husband.  He certainly wasn't around much then.  Even less than Burt was really aware of.

"Ah, Mr. Burt Lamont, I presume!"

"Um, yes?"  Burt looked up and was slightly unnerved to see Charles Callison standing in front of him.  "M-Mr. Callison!  H-how do you do?"

Charles Callison"I'm fine, Mr. Lamont," Charles smiled as he extended his hand.  "I've heard you've been doing a great job out at the stables.  I've been meaning to drive out and formally introduce myself, but I've had quite a bit going on in my life, both personally and professionally, lately."

"Please, sir, call me 'Burt'."

"Alright, Burt."  Charles turned to face Penelope and was quickly overcome by a strange sense of deja vu.  "I-I don't think I've had the pleasure of meeting this lovely lady."

Burt Lamont"Oh, forgive me!  You must think I'm so rude."  Burt was quite flustered.  Here he and his mother sat in the presence of his employer.  A Callison.  The head of the family that his mother so mysteriously despised.  "T-this is my mother, Penelope Lamont."

"Mrs. Lamont, so nice to meet you."  Charles smiled warmly at her and gave her a polite nod.

Penelope swallowed hard as she began to realize how little Charles had changed.  Of course he was much older than the boy she once knew but he still carried many of the same characteristics that she'd found so charming and endearing.  Suddenly, she grew quite nervous.  With a deep breath, she prayed that Charles didn't recognize her.  She knew that, if he did, everything she'd fought so hard to keep hidden would come bursting out into the open.  If Charles realized exactly who she was, everyone's lives would be destroyed.



Charles struggles to remember a face from the past.


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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