THE GARDENS RESTAURANT

The Gardens Restaurant"Patterson, will you excuse me?" Stephanie Lake asked as she slowly rose from her chair.  "I need to go to the ladies' room."

"Oh, of course." he replied as he, too, rose from his chair slightly until she had left.  He barely had a chance to return to his seat when he looked up and saw Reginald approaching.  "Reginald!  Good to see you.  Looks like you and Jillian had the same idea for dinner that Steph and I did."

"There isn't a better place in Albanyville," Reginald smiled as he stood at the table.  "But, actually, that's kind of what I want to talk to you about.  May I sit down?"

"Sure, of course."  Patterson eyed him curiously as he took his seat.  "So, what do you want to talk to me about?"

"I want to talk to you about whatever it is that's going on between you and Stephanie."  Reginald quickly noticed the look of discomfort that spread across Patterson's face.

Reginald Callison"I-I don't know what you're talking about.  Stephanie and I are just friends."  Patterson calmly looked away as he tried to avoid the topic of conversation.

"I don't think Steph knows how to be 'just friends' with a guy."  Reginald leaned in closer.  "Are you sure that's all that's going on?"

"What are you trying to say, Reginald?  Are you trying to imply that you think we're having an affair?"

"What I'm say is that you need to be careful."  Reginald paused as he carefully thought about his best course of action.  "You know how she is.  You've seen what kind of malicious things she can do."

"I've told both you and Jillian over and over again that she's a different person now!"  Patterson felt himself start to grow both anxious and annoyed.  How many times did he have to come to Stephanie's defense?  Why couldn't people believe that she could change?

"Well, different or not, you need to be careful.  Spending so much time with Stephanie is bound to cause problems for your relationship with Lorraine.  You know full well how insecure she can be.  Lorraine can have an overactive imagination at times and she's going to think that something's going on between you two.  Getting too close to Steph is bound to cause problems eventually."

Patterson took a deep breath and turned to avoid his friend's intense gaze.  "You don't have to worry about what Lorraine thinks," he muttered.  "She and I aren't together anymore."

"What?"  Reginald's jaw dropped in shock.  "When did this happen?  I-I thought things were going so well with you two.  It's not because of Stephanie, is it?"

"No!  Whatever happened between me and Lorraine had nothing to do with Stephanie!"  Patterson clinched his teeth slightly.  Why did everyone insist on believing that anything bad had to be Stephanie's fault?  "In fact, I don't really know what went wrong.  I thought things were going well, too.  I guess...I guess she saw things differently."

"Paddy, I'm sorry.  I had no idea."  Reginald reached over and gave Patterson's shoulder a slight squeeze in sympathy.  "I admit, I wasn't sure about the two of you getting back together; especially after how it all turned out the first time.  But, I was actually starting to believe that it could work out this time."

Patterson Monroe"Me, too."  Patterson's eyes began to cloud over with thoughts of Lorraine and her sudden decision to end their relationship.  However, he quickly pushed those thoughts aside.  He'd worried about it for too long.  He knew there was no changing her mind.

"Then, that explains a lot."

"W-what do you mean?"

"Well, it's obvious!"  Reginald paused as Patterson shot him a look of confusion.  "Paddy, you're so traumatized by what's happened with Lorraine that you're getting caught up with Steph on the rebound."

"That's not what's going on!"

"Listen to me, Patterson, I know all too well how Stephanie Lake can be.  You know that!  She's got quite a few charms and tricks up her sleeve and she knows full well how to use them!"  Reginald  paused to take a deep breath.  This conversation was turning into a confrontation and that wasn't what he'd intended.  "I know exactly how easy it is to loose your head with someone like her.  I did it.  I got swept up in the whole aura that is Stephanie.  I nearly drowned in it until my love for Jillian pulled me out.  Don't let the same thing happen to you."

"But that's not what's going on!"  Patterson slammed his fist down onto the table in frustration.  Why couldn't Reginald listen?  Why was he so adamant in holding on to his negative beliefs about Stephanie?  "She's changed!  Granted, she's still far from a saint and she's far from perfect, but she's really changed!  She's been through a lot these last few months!  A lot of that is because of you."

"A lot of that is her own fault!"

"Reginald, I'm not discussing Stephanie with you anymore!"  Patterson folded his arms across and turned away.

"Just remember, I once sat in the exact position you're in now with Stephanie.  I've already been there."  Reginald hesitated for a moment as he searched for the right words.  "I know how she is from my own experiences.  Don't get caught up in things you don't understand.  Learn from my mistakes."  With those words, he quietly got up and walked back to his own table leaving Patterson to his own thoughts.

Stephanie Lake"What did Reginald want?" Stephanie asked as she rejoined him.

"Um...nothing."  Patterson couldn't tell her how Reginald had railed against her.  He couldn't upset her like that after everything she was already going through with Clark Saxon.  "He...well, he wanted to offer his support about the entire Lorraine mess."

"Oh, I see."  She kept her eyes firmly focused on him and realized he wasn't telling her everything.  She clearly knew how Reginald felt about her considering her own past actions and was sure he was reinforcing those feelings to Patterson.

Meanwhile, Reginald's words were churning in Patterson's head.  Was he really getting caught up with Stephanie due to his breakup with Lorraine?  Was he vulnerable to Stephanie's charms and looking for things that weren't really there?  Was that why he was having such a swirl of emotions?


THE DOCKS

The DocksFred Rutherford pulled the collar of his jacket up around his neck to avoid the crisp wind that blew in off of the river.  As he nervously rocked back and forth on his heels, he glanced at his watch to check the time.  He let out a labored sighed when he realized that who he was meeting was late.  Very late.  He cautiously looked in both directions hoping to spot some sign of him approaching, but already knew that he was all alone.

"Rutherford," the deep voice came from behind him.

"W-what?" Fred muttered in surprise.  The voice's sudden arrival had startled him.  He'd been sure he was alone.  He never saw anyone approaching.  Where did they come from?  When did they get there?

"Don't turn around."

"O-okay."  Fred kept his hands in his jacket pocket in an attempt to keep them from shaking.  

"Ya got the money?"

"I told him on the phone that I don't have it yet!"  Why couldn't they listen to reason?  Why did they have to have everything right now?

"The boss told ya you needed to have the money you owe him!"

Fred's entire body tensed up as he felt something poke him in the back.  He knew immediately that he was now on the receiving end of a gun barrel.  "Look, I don't want any trouble.  I-I've got part of it.  I don't have it all, but I've got part of it."

"You were supposed t'have all of it!"  The owner of the mysterious voice jabbed the gun further into Fred's back.

"He's got to give me more time!"  Fred swallowed hard.  "I-I've got a plan to get the rest of it.  I just have some more things to do to get it.  I haven't had time!"

"Ya better find the time.  Ya know how the boss hates to be kept waitin'."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"Look, if you give me more time, I can get you what I owe you and more!"  Of course, Fred was counting a lot of chickens that hadn't even been laid yet, let alone hatched.

"More?"

"Yeah, more!  Just give me some more time.  A-another month.  Give me another month!  I can have what I owe you and more in another month!"

Silence.  Fred could tell the anonymous owner of the gun that was still pressed into his back was mulling over his offer.

"Okay.  Ya got another month.  That's all!  You ain't got what ya owe in another month, and you'll be having a nice little reunion with your lady friend.  I'm sure ya's ain't forgotten what the boss does with guys like you."

Fred took a deep breath and gulped.  He knew all too well what would happen...cement shoes.  Suddenly the pressure in his back from the gun was gone.  He stood there in silence for a few moments and waited for the mysterious voice behind him to speak again, but he heard nothing.  Finally, he got up enough nerve to turn his head and see if he was alone again.

Catching him off guard, the first blow struck him in the jaw and he quickly crumpled to the grown.  A fist?  No, it couldn't have been a fist.  It was too hard and solid.  A pipe?  Maybe.

Dazed, Fred lay on the ground clutching his jaw when another blow hit.

Then another.

And another.

He felt his forehead split open and blood streamed into his eyes, preventing him from seeing his attackers.  How many of them were there?  Two?  Three?  Fred couldn't tell, but he knew there were a lot of them.  He doubled over as a kick nailed him in the stomach and he fought to catch his breath.  He knew better than to fight back.  There were too many of them.  Besides, if he struggled, they might very well go on and kill him.

The last thing he could clearly remember was the searing pain as something...a brick?...crashed down onto his head.  As he lay on the ground battered and bruised, he thought he could faintly hear talking...laughing.  As his attackers quickly ran away, Fred's world faded to black.


THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN

2312 Spring Lake Rd., Albanyville, IL"I'm coming!" Burt Lamont called out as he raced down the stairs to answer the knocking at the back door.  As he swung the door open, his jaw dropped in utter shock.

"Hello, Burt," Judith smiled as she stood on the back stoop.  "Aren't you going to invite me in?"

"J-Judith?  W-what are you doing here?  How did you know where I was?"  He stumbled backward, not fully believing that she was there.  "Oh, um, of course.  Come in."

"Let's just say that I happened to be in the neighborhood and I thought I'd stop by."  She breezed into the kitchen and stopped to survey the surroundings.  She wrinkled her nose slightly in displeasure, but fought to hide her opinions from him.  As she removed her long jacket, she immediately saw the look of surprise on Burt's face.

"Judith, look at you!" He exclaimed as the shock of her arrival began to wear off.  "You're having a baby!"

"Trust me, I know," she muttered, rather annoyed with her condition, and rolled her eyes.  "You can't imagine how hard it is to find anything that fits when you're suddenly shaped like a medicine ball."

"I'm sure Mark must be thrilled."  Burt's tone was rather guarded.  He was surprised, yet happy, to see her again.  However, he knew that Judith Linford didn't do anything without a reason and he was sure this unexpected visit was no exception.

"Thrilled doesn't even begin to cover it."

"So, um, exactly how did you know where I was?  I know you weren't just 'in the neighborhood'."  He eyed her closely as he waited for an answer.

"Actually, my sister Jillian lives in Albanyville.  I'm in town visiting her."  She smiled as she chose her words carefully.  Every beat of the conversation had to land just perfectly.  "We were out the other day and I saw you.  You can't believe how shocked I was to find you here, of all places.  I guess it really is a small world."

Burt Lamont"Apparently so."  His eyes remained focused on her as a flood of memories came rushing back.  He shook his head slightly to clear his head.  That was in the past.  That was long over and done with.  Those times were much better left forgotten.

"It wasn't difficult to track you down once I realized you were in Albanyville," she continued.  "You disappeared out of New York so suddenly, I never found out what happened to you.  I couldn't let this moment pass me by."

"Well, our last meeting wasn't exactly a pleasant one."  He smirked slightly at the understatement.  As the memory of their last encounter filled his mind, his mood quickly clouded over.  "If I remember correctly, the words "hate" and "loathe" were used quite frequently."

"Do we have to dwell on all of that?"  Judith slowly walked towards him.  "Can't we just let that rest in the past?  We both said a lot of things that we didn't necessarily mean."

"Did we?"  Burt's eyes narrowed as his tone grew cold and distant.  "You meant every word!  I-I don't think that seeing you again is such a good idea.  I think you better leave."

"I am not going anywhere!" she said defiantly.  "You can't stand there and tell me you're not happy to see me again."

"That's exactly what I'm telling you, Judith!  When I left New York for Chicago, I swore that I would never see you again.  Isn't that what you said you wanted?  Wasn't that...how did you put it...for the best?"

"You know I didn't mean that!"  She bit her lip as she remembered all the hateful words that were flung that night.  "I-I was hurt and frightened.  My entire life was turned upside down.  You know I didn't have another choice!"

"You made the choice you wanted to make.  Live with it."  Burt walked briskly to the door and flung it open.  "Now, get out!  I don't ever want to see you again.  Don't ever try to contact me again!  I don't have time for you little displays of remorse."

Judith LinfordJudith didn't move.  She stood very still and took a deep breath.  "Burt, there is a reason why I came to see you.  I had to see you.  I had to tell you the truth."

"I don't want to hear your version of the truth!  You wouldn't know the truth if it slapped you in the face!"

"Oh, Burt, that hurts.  That really hurts."  Judith quickly looked away and sighed.  This was truly more difficult on her than she thought it would be.  However, she knew she had to do it.  She had to tell him the truth.  After everything that had happened, she owed him that much.

Seeing the sadness and true remorse that she had, Burt's attitude began to soften.  He approached her tentatively and reached out for her.  "Alright," he sighed, "tell me what you came here to say.  Just tell me and get it over with."

A slight spark ignited in Judith's eyes as she turned to face him again.  "Well, Burt, you see, it has to do with this child I'm carrying.  It's not Mark's."

Burt eyed her curiously.  The baby wasn't Mark's?  Then who's?

"It's yours, Burt.  The baby I'm carrying is yours."




ON MONDAY

Reginald is shocked to learn of Francis' involvement with Fred.





produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions