THE CALLISON HOME - LIVING ROOM

2210 Elmwood Ln., Albanyville, IL"Um, Mr. Callison?" Hannah Meadows spoke up as she stood in the doorway.

"Yes, Hannah, what is it?"  Charles looked up from the evening edition of The Daily Post.

"Um..."  She bit her lip and then nervously looked behind herself and into the foyer.  "You have a visitor."

"Well, don't just stand there.  Show them in!"

"I'm not quite accustomed to being introduced in my own home," Francis said as she stepped into the room.

"F-Francis!" he gasped as he quickly rose from his seat to rush over to greet her.  "What are you doing here?  Are you alright?  Nothing's wrong, is there?"

"I'm fine, if that's what you're asking."  She maintained her cool, calm exterior as she walked further into the room.

Hannah Meadows"I-I'll leave you two alone."  Hannah nodded to Charles and then turned to smile warmly at Francis before leaving the awkward couple to their privacy.

"T-then what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"  Charles felt his nervousness begin to build.  The fact that this was the first time he and Francis had been alone together in the same room since their separation was not lost on him.

"This is not a social call."  She held firm to her cold exterior.  She was determined not to show her husband that he could still affect her.  Francis calmly walked over to the mantle of the fireplace and casually scanned the assorted pictures of their children at various ages.  Finally, her eyes fell upon a framed photograph taken at her wedding to Charles some 23 years earlier.  A slight smile crossed her lips as she remembered how happy she'd been that day.  However, the smile soon faded when she remembered the nature of her visit.

"Well, are you going to tell me what this is about?"  He kept his eyes focused on her the entire time.  Oh, how he wanted to reach out and take her into his arms and beg her to forgive him.  Deep down inside, he knew that Francis was the only woman he could truly ever love.  How could he have betrayed that love with Annabelle?  How could he have been so weak?  Her cold demeanor towards him unnerved him slightly, but he realized that such behavior was certainly warranted considering how much he'd managed to hurt her over the past few months.

"I'm here to talk about Maggie," Francis finally spoke as she turned to face him, her resolve strengthened.  "About the boys, too, but primarily about Maggie."

"Okay.  What's wrong?"

"You actually have to ask that?"  She glared at him.  "Why, everything's wrong!  Of course this separation...hurts me terribly.  Oh, how I wish things could be different.  But, it's the children that are hurting the most!  Maggie's grades have dropped.  In fact, they're horrendous!  H-how can we expect her to concentrate on her studies with everything that's going on between us?"

"I-I had no idea Maggie's grades were so bad."  Charles covered his mouth with his hand as he realized exactly how many people had been affected and hurt by his actions.

"Of course you don't!  You're too caught up with that..." she caught herself.  Francis refused to allow herself to get emotional.  She had to keep up her calm facade.  "You're too caught up with your work and with your personal life to pay her any attention."

Charles Callison"Things have been rather hectic around the office lately what with those contract problems we've been having with Thornton Preston."  And his relationship with Annabelle.  He carefully avoided mentioning her name.  "I-I guess I really haven't been there for her.  I do see the boys quite frequently."

"Well, you do work with them, Charles.  It would be kind of hard to avoid them."  In spite of herself, Francis found her tone tinged with a hint of sarcasm.  She swallowed hard and tried to keep the mood polite, yet concerned.  "From what I've heard, Trevor hasn't made a concerted effort to spend more time around you than necessary."  Okay, so it wasn't working.

"Um, yes, I know."  In fact, he knew all two well that both Reginald and Trevor spent relatively little time at home, anymore.  He'd tried to tell himself that it was merely because of their respective love lives with Jillian and Grace, but he had to admit that there were other reasons.

"Do you know that Maggie blames herself?"

"Blames herself?"  He furrowed his brow and looked at her curiously.  "For what?"

Francis let out a heavy sigh.  Wasn't it obvious?  "For telling me about...about...about what was going on.  She's convinced that if she'd just kept quiet, none of this would have happened.  You and I would still be together.  Our home would still be intact."  Francis began to feel the tears well up in her eyes and she quickly turned away in an effort to hide her emotions.  "S-she thinks we hate her for that."

"What?" he gasped.  "How could she think that?  I could never hate her!  She's my...our daughter!  I love Maggie with all my heart.  There's nothing she could ever do that would change that."

"Well, that's not what she thinks."  She bit her lip to keep it from quivering and choked back her tears.  "O-oh, Charles, where did it all go wrong?  How did we end up like this?  W-we were so much...so much in love."

Charles swallowed hard as he took in the depth of her emotion and pain.  As his heart began to break for her and the turmoil their lives were in, he gently reached out for her.  His hand hovered momentarily over her shoulder out of apprehension, but he quickly brushed those thoughts away and allowed himself to give her a tender display of support.  That single, gentle touch, however, was enough to tear through the defenses that Francis' had built up and she burst out in tears and began to sob openly.

Francis Callison"O-oh, Charles," she cried as she turned to face him.

Overcome with emotion, he drew her into his arms and held her tightly as her tears fell onto his shoulder.  He tenderly stroked her hair and wrapped himself in the deep intensity of the moment.

"W-why does this all have to hurt so much?" Francis sobbed as she rested her head on her husband's shoulder.  "What horrible things have we done to go through so much pain?"

Charles closed his eyes as her words reverberated in his head.  In spite of all efforts to the contrary, he was still hurting her...something he'd sworn he would do anything to prevent.  As he looked down at her, he realized that, despite his efforts to console and comfort her, he was still only hurting her in the long run.  His resolve strengthening, he gently pushed her away and quickly moved to the other side of the room.

"When did it happen?  When did you grow so cold and distant?" she asked as she looked at him with tears in her eyes.  "You were always the most loving husband.  When did you lose your heart?  Where did our marriage go wrong?"

"I-I don't know," he muttered and then looked away from her.  He couldn't bear to see her in such pain.

After a hesitation that, for both of them, seemed like an eternity, Francis spoke again.  "I-I have to go.  I can't stand being here with you, in this house, after everything that's happen."  Slowly she looked around the room and remembered much happier times that now seemed bittersweet.  "Promise me you'll see Maggie.  Promise me you'll make her understand that none of this is her fault."

"I promise," he replied.  He looked at her again and their eyes met, bridging the physical and emotional gap that was between them.  Then, without another word, Francis turned and quickly walked out of the house leaving Charles alone with his own pain.


THE SUNSET HOTEL - JILLIAN & JANET'S SUITE - LIVING ROOM

Sunset Hotel, Suite #2, Albanyville, IL"So, what have you two been doing?  Spying on me?" Janet snapped as she spun around to face them.  "Don't you think I know enough to be able to live my own life?  Do I have to have you both nipping at my heels where ever I go?"

"Janet, that is most definitely not what we were doing!"  Jillian approached her cautiously and quickly looked in Judith's direction for some kind of reinforcement.  "Judith and I were simply out shopping and decided to grab a bite to eat.  We had no idea you two would be there.  It was a complete fluke!"

"Judith wanted to stop in at Joe's?  I'm supposed to believe that?"  Janet turned and glared at her older sister.  "She won't even darken the door of a restaurant that doesn't have a maitre 'd and a well stocked bar!"

"She does have a point, Jillian," Judith sighed as she rolled her eyes.  "However, in the state I'm in now, the 'well stocked bar' part has become rather optional."

"If you're not going to help, then just be quiet!" Jillian snapped at Judith before refocusing her attention on Janet.  "It was my idea.  I drug her down there hoping to show her a little local color."

Judith Linford"That's what you call it?"  Judith smirked before Jillian shot her another angry look.

"We had no intention of spying on you or your new boyfriend.  Please just calm down and let's talk about this rationally."  Jillian carefully approached Janet, but her sister quickly moved away from her.  Jillian hated it when Janet got worked up like this.  She could be so unpredictable.

"Well, if you want to talk about something rationally," Judith broke in, "let's talk about this man she's seeing.  I did get a look at him and I would have thought she could have at least picked someone from the proper social class.  Why, he looks like he works on a farm or something!"

"What do you know?" Janet said angrily as she moved closer to Judith.  "For your information, he's the sweetest, most loving man I've ever known!"

"Hmmm..."  Judith raised her finger to her chin as she thought.  "Now where have I heard those words before?"

Jillian Stokes"Judith!"  Jillian's own temper was beginning to rise.  It was hard enough to deal with Janet during one of her outbursts without having to referee between the two of them.

"Oh, yes!  I remember!"  Judith grinned slightly and stepped closer to Janet.  "Well, I guess considering everything that's happened, you'd have to take what you can get.  No respectable man would even look at you twice if he knew the truth.  Well, maybe out of pity or curiosity."

Janet StokesJanet's eyes burned with tears of anger.  Finally, unable to contain the rage that Judith's calculated comments were fanning, she delivered a hard smack across her face that set Judith reeling backwards.

"Janet!  Stop!"  Jillian shouted in fear.  "The baby!"

Janet quickly recoiled, frightened by her own actions.  She looked quickly from Judith towards Jillian as her body began to shake and tears began to streak her cheeks.  Suddenly, she bolted from the room, leaving Jillian to rush to Judith's side to check on her condition.

"Judith, are you all right?  Is the baby all right?"

"Oh, I'm fine," Judith muttered as she still held her stinging cheek.  "See!  See what happens when she's left on her own?  I don't know why Daddy pulled those strings.  Isn't it obvious that she wasn't ready?"

Jillian lowered her head as she began to assess her sister's observations.  Maybe she was right.  Maybe their father had been too hasty in making sure Janet could come home.  Maybe she hadn't been ready.

As Jillian became lost in her own thoughts about their sister's troubled past, Judith subtly turned away.  She just couldn't let her see the wicked grin that was covering her face.


THE RIVERVIEW NIGHTCLUB

Riverview Nightclub"You kissed Stephanie Lake?" Dane gasped as he looked at Patterson closely.  "Have you lost your mind?"

"I knew I shouldn't have said anything to you about it."  Patterson sighed and hung his head.  "It was totally on an impulse.  I didn't plan it or anything."

"Still!  I can't believe you even allow yourself to get within 50 feet of that little lying tramp."  Dane quickly turned to down the rest of his drink in one gulp and promptly ordered another.  "You know everything she did to Reginald and Jillian!  You know how she tried to pin all of that mess on me!"  Rightfully so, too, but Dane wasn't about to admit to that.

"She's changed, Dane.  She really has."

"Yeah, and I've got some swamp land to sell you!"  Dane shook his head at the preposterousness of it all.  Patterson Monroe kissing Stephanie Lake.  It was like trying to marry off St. Peter to Mary Magdalene.  Suddenly, a thought struck him and he cocked an eyebrow as he turned back to face Patterson.  "If you're kissing her, of all people, then how does that fit in to your undying love for Lorraine?"

"Well, that's just it.  I don't know!  I really do love Lorraine, but...but I've got this strange attraction to Stephanie."  His hand flew up to his mouth as that realization hit him.  It was the first time he'd even admitted to himself, let alone anyone else, that he did have some feelings for her.

Dane Manchester"Look, I can understand you being a little needy considering what's happened with Lorraine, but don't get yourself mixed up with Stephanie!  This is all just some sort of rebound thing."

"I was trying to tell myself that."  Patterson sighed and looked down at the bar.  "But I've been having these feelings since before I found out Lorraine was going to marry Douglas.  H-how can I explain them?  How can I have feelings for Stephanie when I'm so in love with Lorraine?"

"You should be asking yourself how you can have feelings for Stephanie period!  Lorraine or no Lorraine."  Dane reached over and squeezed Patterson's shoulder.  "Maybe these feelings are trying to tell you that you're not as in love with Lorraine as you thought you were."

"No!  That's impossible!"  Patterson shook his head in disagreement.  "I've loved Lorraine for a long time.  Even through that entire disaster of a relationship she had with Trevor.  I've fought long and hard to win her back.  I can't just let her go."

"Maybe that's my point."  Dane looked him square in the eyes.  "Maybe you haven't been really in love with Lorraine all this time.  Maybe you've only been in love with the idea of being in love with her."

"H-how can that be?"

"Look, you met Lorraine right after..."  Dane hesitated for a moment.  Should he really be bringing this up?  "Well, right after your parents died.  Here you are left all alone to raise your little brother.  That almost didn't happen, remember?"

Patterson MonroePatterson nodded when he remembered the conflict he'd had with various aunts and uncles who had insisted that Todd go and live with them.  They'd said that Patterson couldn't take care of him on his own...that Todd needed a mother figure that Patterson couldn't provide.  He'd finally convinced them otherwise, but, soon after, he started to date Lorraine and Todd fell head over heels in love with her.

"Maybe you just wanted so hard to provide the proper home for Todd that you latched onto Lorraine?"  Dane kept his eyes firmly planted on him as he allowed his assessment to sink in.

"Maybe," Patterson finally spoke. "I-I really don't know.  I don't know much of anything anymore."  As he began to grow increasingly uncomfortable with these newfound inner revelations, he looked down at his watch and noted the time.  "I-I have to get home.  I've left Todd alone too much with Mrs. Oliver lately.  He's my responsibility and I need to take care of him."

"I understand," Dane said as he reached around to pat Patterson on the back as he rose to leave.  "Just think about what I said.  Maybe that's exactly what's wrong."

Patterson silently nodded and walked out of the club leaving Dane sitting alone at the bar.  He, too, noted the time and realized that he needed to head home, but quickly decided that his wife could wait.  She'd already be in bed anyway and he had another drink to finish.  As he sat and sipped his cocktail, a warm, sultry voice came from behind him and interrupted his thoughts.

"Well, hello," the attractive brunette smiled as she walked up behind Dane.  "And what's a strapping man like yourself doing sitting all alone?"

"Actually, I wasn't alone earlier." He muttered as he turned to face her.  The sight of her nearly took his breath and he quickly looked her up and down and made careful note of the dress she wore that clung alluringly to her every curve.  "I-I mean, I was with a friend of mine.  H-he just left."

"Oh, he," she purred as she fluttered her long lashes and carefully glided her fingertips along his back.  "So now here you sit.  All alone?"

"Um, yes."  He flashed her his trade mark smile as he continued to fill his eyes with her ravishing beauty.  "For the moment.  You haven't sat down yet."

"Then I take that as an invitation?"

"But of course."  He took her hand with a gentlemanly grace as she slowly slid herself onto the neighboring bar stool.  "Oh, my.  Where are my manners?  My name's Dane Manchester."

Kitty Benedict"And I'm Kitty Benedict."  She held out her hand and he immediately took it and planted a feather light kiss upon it.  "I work here.  I'm a hostess.  It's my job to make sure that all of our patrons...well...have a good time."

"I bet you succeed in spades."  He smiled again.  "But should you be sitting down on the job?"

"Just finished for the evening, actually."  Kitty turned to the bartender to wave him away when he approached her for a drink order.  "In fact, I was about to head home when I saw you here, sitting all alone."

"So nice to still see people so dedicated to their work."  He took another sip of his drink and flashed her a devilish glance.

"Yes, but it's so tiring."  She kept her eyes firmly planted on him and carefully ran her tongue along her lips.  "I really must go home and get to bed."

Dane couldn't tear his eyes away from her.  She was so alluring and seductive.  He was sure that Kitty would make a torrid roll in the hay.

"Unfortunately, my bed is so empty."  She feigned a nonchalant yawn as she stretched to more fully expose her ripe bosom.  "You wouldn't like to join me for a nightcap, would you?"

Dane inhaled quickly and caught the faint whiff of her perfume.  She most definitely was affecting him in the clearly calculated way that she was intending.  However, another quick look at his watch revealed the time.  It also brought to his attention something else...the wedding band that had found an uncomfortable home on his hand.  He thought about the commitment that it symbolized and let out a heavy sigh as he shook his head.

"Sorry," he muttered as the smile quickly faded from his face.  "It's late and I have to head home, myself.  I have a wife waiting on me."

"Oh, what a pity."  Kitty smiled again.  "Not that it really matters."

"It does to me."  With a somber clinching of his teeth, Dane rose from his seat and tossed some money onto the bar to pay for his drinks and quickly walked towards the door.  As the image of Kitty Benedict still burned in his mind, he shook his head again.  He just had to find some way out of this farce of a marriage to Sara.  It was a serious hindrance to his social life.



 


TOMORROW

Sara gets caught.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions