For Now and Forever
EPISODE #53 (Wednesday
THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Well, let's get this started," Douglas Davis smiled as he took his place next to his best man Reginald Callison in front of the justice of the peace.
Lorraine Blake held a small bouquet of fresh flowers in her hands as she stood next to Douglas and looked at the minister. With a feeling of uncertainty, she quickly glanced towards her maid of honor Jillian Stokes who nodded in a silent show of support. She took a deep breath as she prepared for the ceremony to begin.
"Dearly beloved," the justice of the peace began, "we are gathered here today..."
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
"I just can't believe this," Stephanie Lake muttered to herself as she sat in a corner both and sipped on her cream soda. "Momma drugged Charles Callison in order to seduce him?" She quietly thought about that revelation and wondered if it was truly any different from what she'd done to try to take Reginald away from Jillian.
True, Stephanie had tried to make Jillian think that she and Reginald were still involved. She'd throw herself at him and set it up so Jillian would find them together. She was sure that if Jillian had left him, he'd realize how much he wanted to be with Stephanie instead. Of course, that plan had failed miserably. Reginald didn't want Stephanie at all. He only loved Jillian. That realization had been a difficult thing to accept. Would Stephanie have stooped to drugging Reginald to have him for herself?
No, she wouldn't have, she decided. She would never have sunk so low and she couldn't believe that her mother had. It wasn't the same thing...not the same thing, at all! Her mother had used devious methods that were inexcusable. And worse, Lorraine Blake had unwittingly gotten caught up in the middle of it by accidentally drinking a tainted cocktail meant for Mr. Callison. Thank god that nothing serious had happened to her.
As Stephanie's mind continued to be filled with thoughts of her mother's dastardly schemes, she wasn't aware that Clark Saxon had walked into the soda shoppe. However, she quickly spotted him and felt her face flush with anger and embarrassment.
Stephanie had trusted Clark...believed Clark when he'd told her how much he cared for her. She'd allowed herself to be vulnerable to his charms and his lies not realizing that it was all a game...a horrible plan concocted by Clark and Helen Van Dyne to make Stephanie the scorn of Albanyville University and, perhaps, all of Albanyville itself. Hadn't Stephanie suffered enough for her schemes against Reginald and Jillian? Hadn't her life and reputation already been destroyed when Dane Manchester blamed everything on her? She'd taken that defeat virtually laying down. She would not take this betrayal so easily.
"Hello, Clark," Stephanie calmly said as she strolled over to where he was standing.
"Stephanie! There you are!" he exclaimed as his face broadened with a smile and he threw his arms around her. "Where have you been? I've been trying to find you for days! You haven't returned any of my phone calls. Is something wrong? Are you still mad at me about the other night?"
Her expression remained stern as she glared at him. She refused to allow herself to be fooled by him again. She knew the truth. She knew her mother had been right all along. Clark Saxon was the lowest sort of human being that she'd ever known. Well...not counting Dane, of course.
"Oh, Stephanie, I've missed you so much." He leaned in to kiss her, but she quickly backed away. "Honey, are you all right?"
Without a word, Stephanie delivered a sound slap across the face; the force of which sent Clark reeling backwards. As he held his stinging jaw, he looked at her with astonishment. What in the world was going on? Why had she slapped him? The icy look in her eyes told him that Stephanie was furious about something. A strange gnawing in his gut made him frightened of what that could be.
THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Do you, Douglas Foster Davis, take this woman, Thelma Lorraine Blake, to be your lawfully wedded wife," the justice of the peace began. "To have and to hold; to love, honor, and cherish; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; for better or worse; from this day forward; till death do you part?"
Douglas beamed at his bride. Despite the real reasons behind this marriage, he knew it was the right thing to do. He knew that this marriage would be the best thing that had ever happened to him. "I do."
"And do you, Thelma Lorraine Blake, take this man, Douglas Foster Davis, to be your lawfully wedded husband," the justice of the peace continued, "To have and to hold; to love, honor, and cherish; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; for better or worse; from this day forward; till death do you part?"
Lorraine stood in silence. She wasn't sure if the knot in her stomach was the baby or her own nerves. This wasn't how she'd always wanted her wedding to be. She's always wanted a large church filled with flowers and friends and family. Her own parents couldn't be there because it had been so sudden. This was the wedding she should have had with Trevor...or Patterson...not with Douglas, a man she didn't love. However, she knew that the child she was carrying deserved to have a name...the name of its real father. She swallowed hard and quickly glanced at Jillian who nodded silently in an effort to urge her forward.
"Miss Blake, we're waiting," the justice of the peace spoke up.
"Then, by the power vested in me by the state of Illinois, I know pronounce you husband and wife. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."
Awkwardly, Douglas and Lorraine leaned in to one another to exchange their first kiss and seal their union. The fact that it was the first time that they'd kissed since the night their child was conceived was not lost on either one of them. Still apprehensive, Lorraine prayed that she'd done the right thing.
"Congratulations, Douglas!" Reginald spoke up as he gave his friend a hearty slap on the back. "I have to admit that this was all sort of a shock, but I wish you two all the best. I hope you're very happy together."
"Thank you, Reginald," Douglas smiled as he turned to shake his hand.
"Lorraine, are you okay?" Jillian whispered into her ear. Lorraine nodded silently. "I know this isn't what you'd always planned, but you did the right thing."
"I don't know about that," Lorraine mumbled.
"Yes, you did! You know you did. You did the best thing for both you and your baby." Jillian hugged Lorraine tightly. "Douglas is a wonderful man. He's going to be an excellent husband and father. I know you two aren't in love with each other now, but that will develop in time. Just wait until you both hold that little baby in your arms. Just give it a chance. Before you know it, this will be a marriage based on love."
Lorraine nodded, but still had her doubts. She looked over at Douglas who was all joyous smiles as he chatted with Reginald and Grace. Silently, she prayed that Jillian was right.
THE LAMONT HOME - LIVING ROOM
Burt sat alone, still stunned by Judith's arrival and revelation. It had been the only thing he could think about for days. How could she possibly be in Albanyville? It was so far away from her high class life in Manhattan. How could she find him now, after all this time. Why? Why had Judith suddenly turned up with the revelation that she was carrying his child? Burt's hands shook as the news continued to sink in. Why was the past rearing its head now? He could remember it just like it was yesterday...
"Bartender, get me a scotch and soda," she asked as she sat down in front of him.
Their affair had been white hot, filled with passion and romance. He'd never met anyone quite like Judith. He was sure he never would again. What started as a casual, physical relationship, gradually developed into something more. They grew to trust one another, love one another, and eventually they began to share the truths about their lives with each other...
"Burt, I'm married," Judith said hesitantly as he held her tightly in his arms. "I-I thought you should know that. I hope that doesn't change things between us?"
However, it had all turned out so wrong. Burt loved Judith and wanted her to leave her husband and run away with him. She could get a divorce and then they could be married. They could finally be happy together. It was not meant to be.
"Burt, don't be foolish!" Judith exclaimed as she pulled away from him. "I can't! I can't leave my husband...my family!"
However, Burt still had hope. He'd planned to see Judith again and force her to confess her love for him in front of everyone. They still had a chance. Unfortunately, that, too, was not meant to be.
"Burt, you're fired," the club manager said as he walked over to him.
Burt hadn't had a choice. He didn't knew exactly what Mark Linford was threatening, but he knew he couldn't take any chances. He'd packed his things and left New York for Chicago that night and never looked back. In time, he realized how foolish he'd been to become involved with Judith. She had been right about one thing...they never stood a chance. Burt finally came to Albanyville and found true love with Janet. She was so unlike Judith. Janet wasn't snotty or arrogant. Janet wasn't from some wealthy upper class family that would look down on him because of his misfortune of having been born poor. She was just like him.
He'd finally put Judith out of his life and heart, but now, here she was again. This time, she was telling him that their affair had left her carrying his child...a child he'd never known about. Why was the past rearing it's ugly head? Why now?
ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL
"Fred! Fred, wait up!" Francis Callison called out as she raced down the hallway after the doctor. He stopped suddenly and she quickly caught up with him. "I've been trying to get hold of you for days. Where have you been?"
"I...um...I've been a little busy." Fred Rutherford kept his back to her as he spoke. "A-actually, I'm taking a little time off from work."
"Time off?" She eyed him curiously. "Why? Fred? Why won't you look at me?"
As his shoulders slumped in defeat, he let out a labored sigh and slowly turned to face her. The sharp gasp of shock that escaped Francis' lips was the exact reaction he knew he'd receive.
"Oh, my god! Fred, your face!" She gently lifted her hand to lightly touch the large, purplish bruise on his forehead as she examined the remains of a large gash below his eye. "W-what happened? You look like you've been run over by a truck!"
"Close, actually," he muttered before letting out a weak laugh. "I...I was walking along the docks the other night and got mugged. Some two-bit thugs sucker punched me. They wanted my wallet. Fool that I am, I thought I could fight them off."
"Oh, Fred, you know it's not safe down there at night!"
"Well, I always thought I could take care of myself. Guess I was wrong." He carefully pulled away from her and folded his arms across his chest as his mind drifted back to what had really happened that night on the docks. His beating could have been much worse. He knew it was only a warning. If he didn't come up with the money that he owed, he could wind up hurt even worse...if not dead.
"I just can't believe that someone could do something like this!" Francis wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer as she hugged him tightly. "You're lucky you weren't killed!"
"Yes, I know." The pressure of Francis' body against his ribs made him wince slightly.
"I-I'm sorry," she replied, quickly noticing the look of pain on his face and swiftly stepped away.
"No, it's fine. Actually, it looks a lot worse than it really is." Fred's hand absently found a resting spot on his side as he took a deep breath in an effort to ease the pain.
"I-I guess this is a bad time," she muttered as she looked down at the floor.
"Um...yes. I was wanting to ask you if you'd set up that meeting with your lawyer friend."
"No, not yet." Fred focused his eyes on her closely. Was she implying what he thought she was? "Why are you asking about him?"
"Well...I..." Francis paused and took a deep breath. "I'm ready to meet with him. Set up the meeting. I need to have those divorce papers drawn up. It's time to officially end my marriage."
Despite his pain, Fred fought to hide the smile that attempted to fight its way onto his face.
THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE
"Have you lost your mind?" Clark asked as he held his stinging cheek and glared at Stephanie. "What did you do that for? What did I do?"
"What did you do?" Stephanie nearly seethed with anger. "I'll tell you what you did! Does the name Helen Van Dyne ring a bell?"
"Oh, my god!" he gasped. She knew! Stephanie knew everything! Or maybe she just thought she knew. "Look, Steph, I can explain! I don't know what you think is going on, but I can assure you that you've gotten it all wrong!"
"Can it, Clark!" she spat. "I overheard you and Hideous Helen plotting to make me the laughingstock of Albanyville University! I know you were just charming me and using me so that you could find your way to take advantage of me! What if I held out longer? Would you have attacked me again like you did that night in my apartment?"
"I told you that was a mistake! I-I just got carried away!"
"You better believe you got carried away!" She refused to let him get the better of her. She refused to be someone's doormat ever again. Just because she was trying to live a better life didn't mean she had to let someone like Clark Saxon walk all over her. "You got carried away thinking I was stupid enough to stay fooled by you! You and Helen were scheming together to humiliate me and ruin my reputation!"
"We didn't have to scheme for that, Steph," he smirked slightly as he folded his arms across his chest. "If I'm not mistaken, you managed to do that all by yourself at Jillian Stokes' engagement party. Remember, Jillian is an Omega Chi. We Greeks take care of our own!"
"Oh, what I fool I was to believe anything that came out of your mouth!" Stephanie fought to hold back her tears. She'd truly trusted Clark. How could she have been so naive to believe him. Her stupidity embarrassed her. She'd always prided herself on being smarter than that.
"All the boys on campus already think you're easy because of how you threw yourself at Reginald Callison!" His look of wicked satisfaction was plastered securely on his face. He might not be able to make it into her bed, but he surely would make sure she didn't get the last laugh.
"You're just embarrassed that I didn't throw myself at you!"
"Like anyone would believe that." His smug look unnerved Stephanie. What was he trying to imply? What in the world could he mean?
"Honestly, Steffi, who do you think everyone will believe? You? Everyone knows what kind of liar you are! Everyone knows that you're not someone who can be trusted." Clark watched her carefully and saw her strong facade begin to crack. He smiled. "Me? I'm one of the top members of the most prominent and respected fraternity on campus. All the other boys want to be like me and all the girls want to be with me! Why would any of them believe you?"
"Clark, what are you threatening?" Stephanie fought to catch her breath. This was all too much. It was all getting horribly out of hand.
"Isn't it obvious?" He kept his eyes firmly planted on her. He didn't want to miss a single reaction. "I'll tell everyone that you threw yourself at me. I'll tell everyone you wanted me so badly that I didn't have a choice but to succumb to your feminine wiles. Don't you remember, Steffi, we had a passionate love affair and you told me about how you'd been with many, many men. Why, you even said that you'd do anything with anyone."
"That's a lie!"
"Really? Who do you think everyone will believe? Not you."
Stephanie reached back to slap him again, but this time he expected the attack and he swiftly caught her hand in mid-air before it had a chance to connect with his still stinging cheek.
"Don't even think about it," he said firmly as he grasped her wrist tightly. "No one turns down and tries to humiliate Clark Saxon. I promise you, Stephanie, you will regret this."
Stephanie couldn't fight her emotions any longer as the tears she'd been holding back began to run down her cheeks. With one, swift tug, she pulled herself free from Clark's grasp and ran out of the soda shoppe. As she leaned against the wishing well just outside the front door, she gasped for air and tried to calm herself down. Clark couldn't possibly mean all of those horrible things that he said. He wouldn't tell everyone those wicked lies about her. Would he? She trembled with fear because she clearly realized that, if he did follow through on his threats, no one would ever believe the truth. No one would ever believe Stephanie Lake.
TO BE CONTINUED
Judith makes a threat.
For Now and Forever
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