Sara Manchester343 Anderson Ln. Apt. #1, Albanyville, ILSara fumbled nervously with her key as she stood in the hallway outside her apartment.  She was running late getting home because Mr. Preston had some extra dictation he needed to have done.  Finally getting the key into the lock, she opened the door and let out a sharp gasp.  Dane was home!

"D-Dane!  What are you doing here?" she asked nervously as she rushed into the apartment.  "Shouldn't you be at work?"

"I got some extra time on my dinner break," he replied as he eyed her closely.  "I decided to come home to grab something to eat.  Where have you been?"

"I...um...I was out doing a little shopping."  Sara awkwardly maneuvered around the living room as she pulled off her jacket and hung it on the hook by the door.

He quickly noted that she wasn't carrying any bags or packages.  "It's good that you didn't buy anything.  We can't afford it!"

"Well, I was basically just window shopping at Lerner's.  They had some really pretty dresses."

"Sara, why do you do that to yourself?  Why do you go out looking at all the great stuff you know we can't afford?"  Dane paused and took another bite out of his sandwich.

"Because I like to dream, Dane.  I like to see the things that I want and remind myself that, someday, I can have them."  Of course, it wasn't a total lie.  Sara often did find herself wandering down the isles of Lerner's and looking at the glamorous clothes that were way out of her reach.  She just hadn't been doing that tonight.

Dane Manchester"Haven't you learned by now that dreams are just something to get your hopes up?  All they do is set you up for the inevitable let down."  His mind began to drift towards thoughts of Jillian.  He'd always dreamed of sharing his life with her, not Sara.  He sighed when he remembered exactly how cold, hard reality had a way of dashing a person's dreams.

"I dreamed of marrying you, didn't I?"  Sara began to smile as she walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him.  "You haven't let me down.  I got exactly what I wanted."  She leaned in to give him a kiss, but he cautiously pulled away.

"I've got to get back to work," he muttered as he wiped his mouth and got up from the table.  He paused to look at her again.  "Out shopping, huh?"

"Um, yes."  She tried to force a smile to cover her lie.  She clearly knew that Dane was not a stupid man.  She hoped he didn't see through her facade.

After an exceptionally long pause Dane finally spoke again.  "I'll be home after work."  He headed for the door and grabbed his jacket off of the hook.  "Don't bother to wait up."

As the door closed behind him, Sara sank down onto the couch and heaved a sigh of relief.  He hadn't suspected anything was going on.  She knew, however, that she had to be more careful.  She couldn't let him find out about her job.  If he ever did, Sara clearly knew that there would be dire ramifications.


The Gardens RestaurantAnnabelle Lake"So, Charles, who was that you were talking to?" Annabelle questioned as he sat back down at their table.  "I don't think I've ever seen that man before."

"That, dear, is Burt Lamont.  He's the caretaker out at the stables."  Charles paused and took a sip of his martini.  "I hired him through some contacts of mine and I hadn't had a chance to officially meet him.  That's his mother with him."

"Oh, I see."  Annabelle kept her eyes focused on Burt.  "You must be paying the hired help pretty well if they can afford to eat here."

"Well, I think it's a special occasion," he replied.  "I think I overheard Mr. Lamont mention that it's her birthday.  I think it's very nice that he wanted to take her someplace special."

"That is nice."  She turned to look at Charles and noticed the perplexed look on his face.  "Darling, is something wrong?"

"Well, it's the strangest thing.  When I met Mrs. Lamont, just now, I got the strangest feeling that I was supposed to know her."  He looked up from his plate and then across the restaurant towards Penelope.  "There's just something so oddly familiar about her."

"She must have one of those faces."  Annabelle cut another piece of her steak and took a bite.

Charles Callison"Actually, that's what I thought at first, too."  Charles' eyes remained focused on Penelope as he began to rack his brain searching for a glimmer of a memory.  "But I don't think that's it.  I'm almost positive that I'm supposed to know her."

"Maybe you've run into her in town or something?"

"Maybe that's it," he sighed and nodded.  "Anyway, enough talk about her."

"I was beginning to grow worried," Annabelle smiled as she reached out and took his hand.  "I'm not used to being out with a man and having him focus all of his attention on another woman."

"Well, I'm through thinking about Penelope Lamont.  My attention is all yours."  He leaned in and gave her a deep kiss which she eagerly returned.  However, Charles' mind again began to drift to thoughts of Penelope.  He was certain that he knew her from somewhere.  But from where?


Clark Saxon800 W. Rose St. Apt #3, Albanyville, IL"So, where's your mother?" Clark asked as he and Stephanie sat on the sofa, wrapped in each other's arms.

"She's out on a date, actually."  Stephanie really enjoyed the feel of Clark's arms around her.  They made her feel so safe and secure.  It was a feeling she hadn't been used to in a long time.

"I guess it's just you and me then."  He looked down at her and smiled as he let out a slight chuckle.  "You know, I really should be helping you study for that mid-term exam like I promised."

"It can wait."  She pushed the rest of the books off of the couch and stretched out.  "All I want to do right now is just sit here in your arms."

"Steph, I've really grown to care about you a lot over these last few weeks."  Clark's lips brushed her ear as he spoke sending a slight shiver down her spine.  "I love these little moments that we spend together.  Just you and me."

"I do, too, Clark."  She felt his warm breath on her neck and let out a small sigh.  Enjoying the moment, she closed her eyes and allowed her mind and body to relax.  Patterson.  Her eyes shot open.  Why in the world did thoughts of his impetuous kiss just pop into her head.  She quickly reasoned that she'd been so taken aback by it that it was still fresh in her memory.  Of course that was it.  She closed her eyes again when she felt Clark's lips on her neck.

"Stephanie, you are so wonderful.  You're so much more beautiful than any of those Omega Chi girls."  His hands gently rubbed her shoulders before sliding down her arms.

Stephanie LakeCompletely relaxed, Stephanie was unnerved to again find herself filled with thoughts of Patterson and his kiss.  Why couldn't she push those thoughts out of her head?  She was supposed to be enjoying a tender moment with Clark.  Why couldn't she stop thinking about Patterson?

"Stephanie, I think you're the only girl for me."  Clark's hands slid back up her arms and landed on the top button of her blouse.

She was so lost in thought about Patterson that Clark had her bloused almost completely unbuttoned before she'd realized it.  "C-Clark!  What are you doing?" she asked as she tried to pull away.

"I'm enjoying being alone with you, Steph, that's what."  His lips brushed her ear again as he slid a hand between her skin and the thin fabric of her blouse.  "You are so beautiful.  I want you so much."

"No, Clark!"  She pushed his hand away and tried to detangle herself from his arms.  "I thought I told you that I'm not ready for that!  I really, really like you a lot, but I'm just not ready for that kind of relationship!"  Stephanie immediately thought of the last time she'd been with a man.  It had been Reginald and it was right before he'd ended their affair.  She had been so devastated by his rejection.  She truly had loved him.  Of course, that was to be expected.  After all, Reginald was the only man she'd ever been with.

"Are you trying to say that you don't want me?"  He looked at her with eyes filled with hurt and disappointment.

"Yes, Clark....well, no....I mean..."  She hadn't expected this night to turn out like this.  She was completely caught off guard.  She was sure she'd made herself perfectly clear that she wasn't ready for that kind of relationship.  She was sure he understood.  "I mean, yes, Clark, I want to be with you...just not like that!  Not yet, anyway."

"When, Stephanie?"  He watched her closely.  "You know I'm a man with needs.  What am I supposed to expect?  You ask me up to your apartment...alone, I might add...and you lay here on the couch all over me.  What do you think I'm supposed to expect?"

"Not that!"

"You really shouldn't lead guys on like you do, Stephanie," he muttered into her ear as he slipped his hand inside her blouse again.

"But I haven't lead you on!  I've been very honest with you!"  She tried to push his urgent hands away, but found that he was too strong.

"Don't you know that Delta Phis get what they want?"  His lips found her neck again as she began to struggle inside his grasp.  "And I want you, Stephanie."

"No!" she cried out as he swiftly flipped her over onto the couch and held her down.  "Clark, no!"


Stephanie keeps a secret from a suspicious Annabelle.

produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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