For Now and Forever
EPISODE #54 (Thursday
THE SUNSET HOTEL - JUDITH'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM
"I wished you'd tell me why you wanted me to come see you," Janet Stokes said as she sat nervously on the couch. Her sister Judith's constant taunts about her past had made Janet quite uncomfortable around her.
"Do I really need a reason to want to see you?" Judith questioned with a slight laugh. "You are my sister, after all. Why wouldn't I want to spend time with you?"
"It's not that." Janet fidgeted nervously in her seat. She knew Judith well enough to know when she was up to something. "It's just...well...you seem like you want to talk about something."
"Well, dear, to be perfectly honest, I do." Judith put on her best smile of sincerity and sat down next to Janet on the sofa. "I want to talk to you about this mysterious boyfriend of yours."
"Well, um, he's from a nice family and..."
"Oh, just cut to the chase, Janet." Judith scowled at her before reaching over to pat her gently on the hand. "I don't want to hear about any of these little stories you've made up in your head. I want you to tell me the real story...the story about you and Burt Lamont."
ALBANYVILLE UNIVERSITY - ADMISSIONS OFFICE
Stephanie Lake focused intently on the typewriter as she pounded away at the keys. All she had to do was finish this report and then she could start filing a stack of papers that sat on her desk. She'd been working like mad for days...anything to keep her mind of Clark Saxon and his threats. Finally, she sunk back into her chair and let out a heavy sigh. No matter what she did, his voice came back to haunt her. She knew he'd been serious when he said he'd ruin her. There was no doubt in her mind.
"Well, you seem to be all tied up with work," Agnes Martin laughed as she walked into the office carrying her own armload of work.
"Agnes, these things have to get done," Stephanie tried to explain.
"I guess you're right. I don't know why Mrs. Beasley has to be such a slave driver." Agnes let out a small laugh as she went to take her seat at the desk next to Stephanie's. As she sat down, the weight of her armload shifted and papers and books went tumbling to the ground. "Oh!" Agnes winced at the mess. "And I just got all of those in order, too!"
"It's okay. Let me help you get everything back together." Stephanie rose from her seat and knelt down to help Agnes pick up the fallen papers. Her eyes quickly fell on several tests that had been part of Agnes' load. Stephanie recognized them immediately. They were copies of the entrance exam...exactly what Stephanie had been looking for. "Um...Agnes?"
"What are you doing with all of these copies of the school's entrance exam?" Stephanie glanced up at her with a curious look. She knew she had to be exceptionally careful in her quest for information. "Some of these tests even have the answers written in!"
"Would you be quiet!" Agnes snapped as she quickly snatched the tests out of her hands. "If anybody knows I've got those, we could all be in serious trouble!"
"What do you mean 'we'?" Stephanie eyed her closely. C'mon, Agnes, tell me what I want to know.
"You, me, Dane, and Sara, that's what I mean!" Agnes straightened the papers up and slid the exams into a folder underneath another stack of books on her desk. "If the dean ever found out what we did, we'll all get expelled!"
"O-oh, of course." Stephanie quickly sat back down at her desk, but kept her eyes firmly focused on Agnes.
"I don't need to ruin my lucrative little sideline venture." Agnes smiled slyly. "These tests have been quite profitable."
"You make money off of those tests?" Stephanie's eyes grew wide with honest shock and curiosity. "How?"
"Well, I always work as a campus guide during the summers. I meet lots of potential freshmen that way. You just wouldn't believe how many of them are petrified of the entrance exam!" Agnes giggled at the thought. "Why, it's really not even that hard! Heck, even Dane was nervous about it. Well, at least until I gave him a copy of the test with the answers on it for him to memorize."
"Oh, like you didn't know!"
Stephanie quickly realized her fumble and fought to cover. "Um.. well...of course I knew!"
"Besides, how do you think Sara found out where to get that copy of the exam that she gave to you?" Agnes turned and began to start on her office duties for the day. "Dane told her all about it. Sara came to me because you were so nervous about taking the exam. I was more than happy to help her out. For anyone else, I would have charged for that test, but since Dane and Sara are friends of mine, I let her have it for free. You really should thank me, you know."
"Oh, um, yes, Agnes. T-thank you very much. I don't know what I would have done without it." Stephanie was slowly beginning to tune Agnes out as her mind began to whirl as it processed everything she'd learned.
"Just remember, the dean can never find out about all of this or we'll all get expelled!"
"Um, yes, expelled..." Expelled! Dane cheated on the entrance exam! If the dean found that out, he could get kicked out of school! No school, no degree, and no law career! A sly grin slowly spread across Stephanie's face. She had just the ammunition she needed to get back at Dane for ruining her life!
"Reginald, look! There's Patterson!" Jillian Stokes spoke up as she and her fiancé Reginald Callison walked into the cafe.
"Paddy! How're you doing?" Reginald asked as they walked over to where he was sitting. One good look at Patterson told them everything they needed to know. "Not so well, huh?"
"You could say that," Patterson Monroe sighed as he put his elbows onto the table and rested his chin in his hands.
"It's about Lorraine, isn't it?" Reginald asked as he took a seat next to Patterson and motioned for Jillian to join them. "C'mon, Paddy! Cheer up. I know it doesn't seem like it, but it's not the end of the world."
"Reginald's right, you know," Jillian smiled as she put a reassuring hand on his arm. "You'll get through this. You've survived much worse." And Patterson had! Reginald and Jillian both knew that if he could make it through the tragic deaths of his parents, he could survive the loss of Lorraine. However, they both realized that Patterson didn't have much choice in surviving that tragic loss. He had to be strong to take care of his little brother Todd.
"But I had so many hopes and dreams for us," Patterson sighed. "I wanted us to be a family. Me, Lorraine, and Todd. Now she's going to marry Douglas Davis."
"Um...not going to," Reginald said tentatively. "Did. Douglas and Lorraine got married a few days ago."
"Then that's really it." Patterson leaned back into his chair and raked his fingers through his hair. "It really is over. There's no turning back now. She's gone forever."
"I guess so, Paddy." Reginald hated to seem him like this.
Patterson had always been the one to support everyone else. He'd been the one who could calm Dane down or give Reginald advice. In fact, it had been Patterson's advice that had finally convinced Reginald to ask Jillian to marry him. Heck, Patterson was even doing the unthinkable...convincing Stephanie Lake that she didn't need to lie and scheme to be happy. Now, Patterson was the one who needed comfort and advice. Reginald was more than ready to be there for him, but he was quick to realize that it was an odd and uncomfortable shift in roles.
"I just don't understand why." Patterson shook his head slightly as he tried to free himself from the dreams he'd held for so long. "You both know that I've spent the better part of this past year hoping Lorraine and I would find our way back to each other. Even when she was involved with Trevor, I still had hope."
"Well, I never really thought her relationship with Trevor would work out," Reginald confided. "They both just wanted different things. Maybe that's the same way with you. Maybe you two just weren't meant to be together. Maybe by her marrying Douglas, it just frees you up to find the girl you were meant to be with."
Patterson's thoughts quickly turned to Stephanie and how close they'd become. He really did think of her as a good friend. However, they'd recently seemed to be dancing around on the edge of become something more. He knew he loved Lorraine, but he still couldn't explain all those feelings he'd been starting to have about Stephanie. He shook his head again as if to pry himself loose from thoughts of her and those sudden, impetuous kisses that they'd shared.
"I just wish I knew why." Patterson sunk his head down into his hands as his thoughts again turned to Lorraine.
Meanwhile, Jillian sat in silence as she looked at him, yet only half heard their conversation. Her own thoughts were filled with memories of Lorraine's shocking confessions...she was expecting Douglas' baby. That's the real reason behind the sudden marriage and Patterson's emotional pain. Jillian felt sorry for Patterson and the hurt he was feeling. Maybe, if he knew the real reason behind Lorraine's actions, he could understand, forgive, and move on. Jillian chewed her lip nervously as she quietly contemplated braking her promise to Lorraine about not saying anything about the baby.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - JUDITH'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING
"B-Burt Lamont?" Janet questioned nervously as she tried to hide her shock and surprise.
"Of course, dear," Judith smirked slyly as she watched her sister with much intent. "Now, don't act like you've never heard the name before. That is the real name of the man you've been seeing, isn't it?"
"I-I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about!" Janet wrung her hands as she felt herself slowly slip into a panic. "Then man I'm dating is...is..."
Judith sighed and shook her head. "Don't even try it. In case you've forgotten, you can't keep your stories straight about what your mystery man's name is supposed to be. Once is was Barrett, then it was Bradley. At least you remembered the 'b'." She let out a thin laugh. "I know all about Burt Lamont. That's really who your seeing, isn't it?"
"Yes," Janet confessed as she quickly turned away.
"Tisk, tisk, oh what Daddy would say." Judith rose from the sofa and slowly began to walk around the room like a vulture circling its prey. "You just know he wouldn't approve. A Stokes dating a lowly stable boy? Daddy wouldn't hear of it!"
"Oh, you won't tell him! Please, Judith!" Janet's eyes widened with fear. Deep down, she knew her pleas would be useless. Judith had always done as she wished.
"Janet, why did you have to stoop so far below your station? You know Daddy would be very upset. He wouldn't take kindly to this at all! Why, he might even think you'd...how shall I put it...lost your mind."
"Judith, you can't tell him about me and Burt! You just can't!"
"You know what Daddy's threatened to do after the last time you pulled a stunt like this!" Judith carefully continued to pace the room as she, too, began to wring her hands. "Why do you have to be so much trouble?"
"Judith, this is different! I love, Burt!" Janet tried to hold back her emotions, but failed miserably. The tears broke through and quickly began to run down her cheeks.
"Where have I heard that before?" Judith laughed. She paused and took a deep breath. "Janet, I'm sure Burt doesn't know anything about what happened. Well, of course he doesn't. Why would you be stupid enough to tell him about that?"
"B-Burt doesn't even know my real name," Janet confessed. "I-I was so scared that if he knew I was Janet Stokes, he'd know what happened."
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave." Judith continued to stare at her sister with venomous intent as she sat down next to her. "Aren't you afraid of what might happen? What if Burt found out? You know he wouldn't want anything to do with you! He'd hate you because you lied to him!"
"Oh, please, Judith, please don't say anything to Burt!" Janet was an emotional wreck as she grabbed Judith and shook her violently and begged.
"You will stop seeing this man at once!" Judith pushed Janet away and looked at her with determination. "If you don't stay away from Burt Lamont, I will go to him and tell him everything!"
"Judith, please, you couldn't!"
"I can, sister dear, and I will!" Judith glared at her angrily. "Stay away from Burt Lamont!"
Judith maintained her regal posture as a self-satisfied grin spread across her face. Overcome with panic and fear, Janet quickly burst from her seat and ran out of the apartment in tears.
DANE & SARA'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM
Dane Manchester rubbed his head as he sat at his desk pouring over his ledger and trying to make the numbers match. He was unbelievably relieved that his last class for the day had been cancelled. Now he had plenty of time before he had to be at work to get caught up on his bookkeeping. He quickly looked down at his watch. "I wonder where Sara is," he mumbled to himself before returning to his books.
As he balanced the numbers in his ledger, he furrowed his brow. Things just weren't working out exactly like he thought they should. According to his calculations, he and Sara had quite a bit more money than they should have. How did that happen?
Still eyeing the books, Dane leaned back in his chair. As he tapped his pencil on the desk, he carefully tried to figure out how that could be possible. True, Sara had been pinching quite a few pennies in order to help them out of their financial crunch. Dane had left her specific instructions...don't buy anything unless it's on sale, no new dresses, turn the lights off when you're not in the room, no frivolous spending at all. Still, it couldn't have made that much of a difference. Could it?
Even with all of their efforts to economize, they should still only be squeaking by. However, according to the numbers, they actually had a surplus of money! That just couldn't be possible. Dane let out a heavy sigh and quickly began to re-add the numbers and redo his calculations. Surprisingly enough, his first figures had been correct.
"This just isn't possible," he muttered to himself. "There's no way I could have made this much money."
Dane shook his head as he tried to think about how their financial situation could be so much better off than he'd thought. Something just didn't seem right...but what could it be?
LORRAINE'S APARTMENT - EXTERIOR HALLWAY
"Whoa!" Trevor Callison said as he backed out of the way of the movers as they carried boxes and furniture down the hall. "What in the devil is going on?"
"I'm moving, Trevor," Lorraine Davis replied as she poked her head out of her open apartment door. She looked at him curiously. "What are you doing here? Why do you want to see me?"
"Actually, Lorraine, I'm not here to see you." Trevor let out a small laugh and smiled. "I'm here trying to look for an apartment."
"Tired of living at home with Mommy and Daddy?" she replied, but then realized what she'd said. Her hand flew up to her mouth and she gasped slightly. "Oh, Trevor, I'm sorry. I-I forgot."
"That's okay," Trevor sighed as he sunk back against the wall. "That's actually the reason I want to move out. I just can't stand to stay in that house after everything that's happened. Mother isn't there anymore and Father's behavior with Annabelle Lake is just deplorable. I've got to find an apartment of my own and get out of there before I kill one of them."
"Well, actually..." She furrowed her brow slightly. "There really aren't any apartments available. Well...unless you count mine. I should be done moving out by the end of the day. I could talk to the landlord for you."
"That would be great." His eyes followed the movers as they carried out another load of boxes. "So, um, why are you moving out? I thought you loved this apartment."
"Oh, I do! It's the most wonderful apartment." Lorraine turned for a moment to look back inside and survey the stack of boxes and furniture that was now pulled together into the middle of the living room. "But, um, I really can't stay here now." She bit her lip and realized that she couldn't avoid telling everyone forever. "You see, I really should live in the same house as my husband."
"Husband?" Trevor's jaw dropped. Lorraine had gotten married? "Oh! This is kind of unexpected. I had no idea. I hope you and Patterson are very happy together."
Lorraine winced slightly at the mention of Patterson's name. She took a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh. "Actually, I didn't marry Patterson. I married Douglas Davis."
"What?" he gasped. This was more shocking news than if she had married Patterson. Why, Lorraine and Douglas had never even dated! "Douglas? B-but...how? Why? What about Paddy?"
"Look, Trevor, Paddy and I just weren't meant to work out. That's all. I know my marriage to Douglas is rather sudden and unexpected." Her thoughts clouded over for a second when she remembered exactly how unexpected. "But, this is really for the best. This is going to be the best thing for everyone."
"Poor Paddy." Trevor said nervously, still more than a little stunned by the revelation. "I-I hope he's doing okay with this."
"Look, I need to go see him and she how he's doing." He rushed off down the hallway to the main door of the building. "Don't forget to check with the landlord about your apartment!"
"Oh, I will." Lorraine sighed and shook her head slightly as she sank back against the frame of the door. She'd avoided telling Trevor about the baby. The news of her sudden marriage to Douglas was shocking enough, she didn't need to reveal everything all at once. Privately, she wondered how long she could hold out before she couldn't hide her condition any longer.
TO BE CONTINUED
As Dane grows curious about their finances, Sara makes a shocking discovery.
For Now and Forever
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