For Now and Forever
EPISODE #51 (Monday
THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN
"J-Judith, what in the devil are you talking about?" Burt Lamont gasped as he reeled backward in shock. "How can I be the father of your baby?"
"Now, if I have to explain that one to you..." Judith Linford tried to be slightly flippant despite her stunning revelation. She couldn't let him see that the truth was as difficult for her as it was for him.
"Why didn't you tell me before I left New York? Why did you keep this from me for so long?" He began to felt his temper rise. How could she keep this from him? How could she let him walk away from her without telling him?
"Because I didn't know!" She quickly turned away from him in an effort to hide the pain on her face. She'd truly cared about Burt, but she'd realized that they could never be open about their love because of their conflicting social classes. "I only found out I was expecting after you disappeared! I knew Mark couldn't be the father. Our marriage isn't exactly the most conducive for that kind of intimacy."
Burt covered his mouth with his hand as the full realization of Judith's condition hit him. He was going to be a father! He quickly grew worried. How would this stunning announcement affect his relationship with Janet?
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM
"You two just don't know how happy I am to see you!" Francis Callison exclaimed as she sat in the living room talking to her son Reginald and his fiancée Jillian Stokes. "We never seem to spend time together, anymore. So, what do I owe this impromptu visit?"
"Well, Jillian and I were having dinner downstairs at The Gardens and I just thought it would be nice to come up to see you," Reginald smiled as he held Jillian's hand. "I-I've been thinking a lot about you and Father lately."
"Ah, yes, your father." Francis looked away as she grew uncomfortable with the mention of her husband. "Well, he seems to be a little preoccupied, himself, lately."
"I know this is all very difficult for you, Francis," Jillian spoke up. "I'm sure you know that Reginald and I are here for you whenever you need us."
"Yes, dear, I know. You have no idea how much that means to me."
"Francis! I see you've gotten home," Mary Albany spoke up as she stepped through the front door. "And I see we have company. Reginald, Jillian, it's so good to see you!"
"You too, Nana." Reginald got up and walked over to give his grandmother a hug. "It seems Jillian and I have been so busy that we haven't had much time."
"I understand. Francis, I take it your date went well?" Mary asked as she turned towards her daughter.
"Date?" Reginald looked at his mother curiously. What date?
"Um...yes, Mother, it went well." Francis immediately grew nervous. She hadn't bothered to mention to any of her children that she had begun to see Dr. Rutherford socially. Her separation from their father had been difficult for everyone involved and she feared upsetting them even more.
"Mother, who did you have a date with?" He hated what was going on between his parents. After the events of the past few months, he'd come to expect such behavior out of his father, but his mother? How could she be dating someone else? She was still married to his father!
"She's been seeing Dr. Rutherford from the hospital," Mary spoke up. "They've been seeing quite a lot of each other."
Francis shot her mother and angry look. She didn't want her children to know anything about her budding relationship with Fred. They'd been hurt so much by the trauma of their parents' separation. She didn't want to add to that stress.
Reginald's eyes shot from his grandmother to his mother and back again. He clearly remembered the articles that had run in the newspaper back when Dr. Rutherford's girlfriend Arlene disappeared. He'd been a prime suspect in the mystery, though the police could never prove anything. He knew, full well, that the disappearance was still unsolved. Now his mother was dating the man! Reginald didn't like the sound of that at all!
THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN
"Why, Judith?" Burt questioned as he looked at her intently. "Why are you telling me this now? Why didn't you come to me with this before I left New York?"
"I told you I didn't know!" Judith slowly began to pace around the kitchen. "After...after I told you we couldn't see each other anymore, you just took off! You disappeared, Burt. I didn't know where you were or how to find you. I didn't find out about the baby until after you left!"
"My god." Burt's hands shook as he raked them through his hair. He couldn't believe this was happening. He'd finally put Judith and the devastation of their breakup in his past. He'd moved on and fallen in love with Janet. Janet was so unlike Judith. Not snotty or pretentious. Janet was just like him and they shared similar backgrounds. She was nothing like Judith. Nothing at all!
"Please, Burt, please understand!" Judith began to wring her hands as she kept her eyes firmly focused on him. "I-I don't want anything from you. Mark is willing to raise this child as his own. No one ever has to know that you're the real father."
"Then why tell me anything at all?"
"Because I wanted you to know! This is your child! This is the product of the love we have for one another!" She rushed over to him and grabbed him in an effort to force him to understand.
"Had, Judith! Those feelings have changed!" He quickly pulled himself away and walked to the other side of the room. "You gave up on us. You're the one who destroyed everything!"
"Oh, Burt, I had no choice!" She felt the tears begin to well up in her eyes.
"You most certainly did have a choice! You could've chosen to leave your husband like I wanted you to! You could have run away with me like I asked you to...like I pleaded with you to! No! You couldn't do that! You couldn't risk upsetting your perfect little world!"
"Oh, Burt, it would never have worked! You know that!" Judith lifted her hand to cover her mouth and choked back her tears as she remembered that horrible time when she had finally forced herself to realize how a life with Burt could never work. "We...we're just too different. We were from two different worlds. But...but that still doesn't change how I feel. I still love you, Burt."
"Well, I don't love you! You killed any love that I had for you when you told me how I wasn't good enough for you!"
"Oh, Burt, I never said that!"
"Not in so many words, no." He suddenly turned away from her. He refused to let her see how much she still affected him. Seeing her again had only brought back all the pain she'd caused. "I begged you to run away with me...to leave your husband so we could be married. You told me you couldn't do that! You couldn't give up your family. You said that they'd never understand your love for me...that they'd never accept me! You couldn't give up everything that went along with your social standing."
"Burt, I had no choice!"
Burt turned and glared at her with eyes filled with hurt and confusion. He hadn't been good enough for her then. Nothing had changed. He was still the same person. Was she now going to tell him that he wasn't good enough to be a father to his own child?
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM
"Mother, have you lost your mind?" Reginald asked very pointedly. "You know all the stories about Dr. Rutherford! Why, The Post ran articles about him and Arlene Donaldson for weeks after she disappeared!"
"That's all that they were...just stories!" Francis folded her arms across her chest defiantly and clinched her teeth. "Fred had nothing to do with that woman's disappearance! The police found no proof!"
"Just because they couldn't prove anything doesn't mean he wasn't involved!"
"Reginald..." Jillian cautiously placed her hand on his shoulder to calm him. She knew that the state of his parents' marriage was a source of great pain for him even though he avoided discussing it. However, she also realized that his railings against Dr. Rutherford would not change Francis' opinion of him.
"No, Jillian!" he snapped. "I will not stand by and let my mother, in the vulnerable state that she's in, be taken in by this...by this scoundrel!"
"If I choose to continue seeing Fred, that will be my decision!" Francis glared at her son. Why couldn't he see that Fred was the only source of happiness that she'd found over the last few months? Why couldn't he understand? "And if...and if this relationship develops into something more serious, then it will have nothing to do with you!"
"I-I can't believe that I'm hearing this." Reginald's head sunk down into his hands as he continued to deal with the shock of his mother's actions. "What about Father? What about your feelings for him?"
"In case you've forgotten, your father has moved on with his romantic life! He's running around town with that...with that shrew of a woman!" Francis felt her temper continue to rise. Oh, how did this warm and loving visit with her son and his fiancée turn into such a heated argument? "Who are you to deny me the right to move on with my life?"
"So, that's what this is all about...getting even with Dad?"
"This has nothing to do with that!"
"Alright!" Mary shouted as she threw up her hands to silence the both of them. "That will be more than enough out of both of you!" She paused and took a deep breath to calm her own ragged nerves before turning to face Reginald. "Your mother has the right to see whomever she chooses. I will have to agree that this is her life. However, I'm forced to agree with you about Dr. Rutherford."
"Mother!" Francis snapped in anger.
"I said that will be enough!" Mary glared at her daughter. "Now, Francis, Reginald has posed a very pertinent point."
"Your feelings for Charles." Mary quickly looked from her daughter to Reginald. She looked briefly at Jillian who was sitting motionless on the sofa. Mary deeply regretted having such a heated family squabble in front of her, but realized that if she were truly going to be part of the family then she would have to see them at their worst as well as at their best. "Francis," Mary began tentatively as she again turned to face her, "do you still love your husband? Are you still in love with Charles?"
"Why does everyone have to keep asking me that question?" Francis glared at her mother.
"Because it's something you need to be asking yourself." Mary kept her eyes firmly focused on her as she waited for her daughter to respond.
"I...I don't know! I don't know what I feel anymore!" Francis shook her head as she tried to shake the question and its answer's ramifications out of her mind. "I just don't know!" Suddenly, she shot up out of her seat and ran from the room leaving her family to look at one another with concern.
"Why your parents are acting like a couple of stubborn teenagers, I don't know!" Mary finally spoke as she looked at Reginald.
"Well, I know one thing," Reginald said as he alternately looked at Jillian and his grandmother. "They would still be together if it weren't for Annabelle Lake! That woman is the cause of this entire mess!"
"I'm forced to agree with you, Reginald," Mary sighed as she sunk down into the seat that Francis had vacated. "But how can we rectify this? How can we remove her from your father's life and make them realize that they were meant to be together?"
None of them knew the answer to that question, but they all realized that the had to find a way to push Annabelle out of Charles' life before it was too late.
THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
As Grace Davis walked down the stairs, she heard her brother Douglas talking on the telephone. Curious as to the nature of the call, she paused at the foot of the stairs and listened closely.
"Yes, that's right," he said as he held the telephone receiver to his ear. "Well, I know this is very short notice, but this needs to happen right away. I was hoping that the justice of the peace would be available. Wonderful! No, not a formal affair. It'll happen right here in my home."
"Douglas? What's going on?" she spoke up, announcing her presence. "Why in the world are you talking to a justice of the peace?"
He threw up his hand to indicate that he would be with her in a moment and continued with his call. "Yes, that's fine. Thank you very much. I'll see you then."
"Okay, now what's going on?" she asked again as he hung up the phone. "What do you need a justice of the peace for?"
"It all has to do with that big surprise I told you and Trevor about." Douglas could barely contain his joy as he walked over to his favorite chair and sat down.
"You know, I have been wondering about that." She lifted her finger to her chin as she thought. "I just don't have any idea what it could be." She examined his expressions closely and let out a small laugh. "But whatever it is, you sure are happy about it."
"Oh, Grace, I am," Douglas smiled. "Come, sit down on the couch. There's something I need to tell you."
"Alright." She looked at him curiously as she took a seat and waited for him to reveal his big news. "Now, what's got you in such a good mood? What's this big surprise?"
Douglas took a deep breath and looked at her very intently. "Now, what I'm about to tell you is a secret. You can't tell anyone about this until after it happens and I tell you it's okay. This is very important."
"O-okay." She kept her eyes focused on him and waited for the news. He sure was acting awfully mysterious about everything.
"Well, in just a few days, I'm getting married." He leaned back into his chair as another smile spread across his face. The look of surprise on Grace's face was exactly the look he'd expected.
"What? Married?" She paused for a moment in shock as the news started to sink in. "To whom? Who are you getting married to? You haven't been dating anyone! You haven't even been on a date since Stephanie Lake!" Grace suddenly sat up, straight as a board, as her jaw dropped. "You're not marrying her are you?"
"Oh, of course not! Don't be silly." He chuckled slightly at the preposterousness of that idea. "Do you think I've gone completely batty? I'm not marrying Stephanie. I'm marrying Lorraine Blake."
"Lorraine?" Grace's jaw dropped again. That was just as shocking as the idea that he would marry Stephanie. "B-but I thought she was seeing Patterson? H-how are you marrying Lorraine? Why are you marrying Lorraine?"
"Don't worry about that right now. You'll find out everything soon enough." He smiled at her again. "Just know that I'm the happiest right now that I think I've ever been. I'm getting married to a wonderful woman and you're finally reconnecting with our mother..."
"Douglas, don't bring Momma up." Grace's eyes clouded over with the uncertainties she still had about renewing her ties with their mother. "I-I don't feel like discussing her."
"Okay," he relented. He was in too good a mood to press the issue with her. "Now, remember, this is just between us right now. You can't tell anyone about this, yet. Not even Trevor."
"I understand." She furrowed her brow and looked at him curiously again. "I think." As Grace watched Douglas and the happiness that radiated from him, she couldn't help but wonder about his sudden announcement. He was going to marry Lorraine Blake in just a few days. Why so soon? Why so suddenly? She thought intently about those questions, but realized that she had no choice but to wait for the answers.
THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN
"Burt, you know that's not how I feel." Judith took a deep breath as she tried to calm herself. This revelation had been much harder on her than she'd thought it was going to be. "You'd make a wonderful father."
"Then why are you so insistent on refusing to let this child know who its real father is?" Burt glared at her as he grew more upset. "Why would you even consider trying to pass this child off as your husband's?"
"What choice do I have? What do you want me to do? Tell the whole world I had an affair...conceived a child out of wedlock? Do you have any idea what would happen? Why, I'd be the ridicule of all of Manhattan society! They...they wouldn't understand the love that we shared." She swallowed hard and looked away from him. Why couldn't he listen to reason? This was going to be the best thing for everyone.
He just looked at her and shook his head as he sighed. "So, that's it. It all boils down to the exact same thing...your high and mighty social standing and what everyone else might think. To hell with them!"
"And what about your life, Burt?" Judith looked at him closely. "Wouldn't publicly revealing the true paternity of my child cause countless problems in your life? Surely you must be seeing someone. What would happen to that relationship if she knew you'd fathered a child with another woman? What would your family think?" Of course, she realized that if Janet were to discover the truth, the consequences would be devastating...for Janet.
Burt paused as he thought about what she was saying. She did have a very good point. What would happen if Janet were to find out about his romance with Judith in New York and the child that she carried? Would Janet be able to deal with it? How would their love for one another be affected? Burt was sure that if Janet were to learn that he'd been in love with a wealthy society girl, she wouldn't be able to cope with it. He knew that one of the main reasons that they'd been so attracted to one another was because they were so similar. Janet wasn't some rich and snotty girl with a high society background. He had to keep the truth from her to protect her and their love.
"I-I am seeing someone. She's a wonderful girl. Nothing at all like you!"
She fought to hide her smirk, but flashed in an inquisitive look. "Oh, really? Who is this girl, Burt?"
"Who she is isn't important!" he snapped. "But she's nothing like you! She's a simple girl...her parents are dead and she's from a poor background. She's beautiful, both inside and out!"
As Judith struggled to contain her surprise, she realized that Janet had lied about everything! She quickly suspected that she must have even lied about her name. Of course, during Burt's time in New York, he must have head about the Stokes family. Then again, even she hadn't been completely forthcoming about that. All Burt knew was that she was Judith Linford, society wife.
"B-but what about your husband?" he finally spoke after stopping to consider Janet again and what this child might do to her. "You said he knows that the child isn't his? Why in the world would he want to raise another man's child as his own? Especially considering the circumstance in which it was conceived!"
"Mark knows what kind of social devastation would happen to both of us if the truth came out." Judith was quickly regaining her composure. She'd come to see Burt with a single purpose in mind and she felt a little foolish that she'd let her own emotions get the better of her. "He knows that our social prominence is a key factor in his successful business contacts. Well, that and his marriage to me. He realizes that if we were to reveal the truth that we could loose everything. He's willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good."
"More like the greater greed!" Burt scowled at her and turned to slam his fist against the wall in frustration. "How? How do you expect me to deny my own child?"
"It's the only way." She approached him slowly and placed her hand on his shoulder in an effort to reassure him that what she said was true. He promptly jerked himself away and glared at her coldly. "Don't do anything foolish! Don't let your foolhardy sense of right and wrong destroy both of our lives. You have just as much to loose as I do."
And he did! He knew that any future he hoped to have with Janet would be ruined if she ever knew about Judith and their child. He had to obey her wishes and keep this secret to himself. He looked at Judith with eyes filled with defeat and she knew that he understood that her way was the only way. Without saying a single word, Judith turned, grabbed her jacket, and walked out of the house.
As she approached her rented car, she couldn't help but smile slyly. Let's see how much of a future Janet has with Burt now! The weight of all of this will eat at him and he won't be able to avoid pulling away from you, sister dear. I can just imagine how he'd react if he were to ever learn that you're my sister!
TO BE CONTINUED
Reginald and Jillian are shocked by Douglas and Lorraine's plans.
For Now and Forever
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