For Now and Forever
EPISODE #58 (Wednesday
THE CALLISON HOME - CHARLES' BEDROOM
"Oh, Charles," Francis Callison sighed as she fought to keep her voice from cracking with emotion. She took the picture of her husband off of the dresser and then pulled it close to her chest. "Where did it all go wrong? What's happened to us?"
Tears began to well up in her eyes as she thought of how her life had changed. "I loved you so much the day I walked down that isle and said those vows to you. I promised to love, honor, and cherish you until the day that I died. I never broke that promise...I never will."
Tears began to stream down her face as her emotions began to break free. "Oh, Charles, I love you so much. Why...why did you have to ruin everything? Why can't you break free from that witch Annabelle? If you'd only forget about her, I'd forgive you. I'd forgive everything! If only you'd stop this foolishness with her, we could put our marriage back together again."
Francis continued to hold the picture of Charles to her chest as she sobbed. Little did she know that her husband had come home early and was standing in the doorway of their bedroom, listening to every word.
DANE & SARA'S APARTMENT - EXTERIOR HALLWAY
Sara Manchester stood in the hallway, her hands still shaking as Helga Grimm's accusations echoed inside her head. Helga had accused Sara of being responsible for the death of Helga's employer Thornton Preston. Of course, Sara knew that she hadn't been directly responsible, but indirectly? Could Sara's lies and deceptions have resulted in enough stress to have actually killed Mr. Preston? As her mind dwelt on those thoughts, she opened the front door to find another, equally disturbing site. Her husband Dane was home!
"Why is it that you're never here if I come home in the afternoons?" Dane asked as he turned around in his chair to face her.
"I-I have classes, too," she stammered as she watched him closely.
He was seated at his desk and, once again, going over their financial records. It was something he seemed to be doing every chance he got. Surely, he wasn't realizing that their newfound financial stability wasn't logical. Was he growing suspicious as to where all of their extra money was coming from?
"I know your class schedule, Sara." Dane turned back around and began to focus on his ledger. "Your last class is finished way before mine is. Where do you spend your time? I know it's not with Stephanie. Are you still window shopping?"
"Um...yes! I...I've been window shopping." She hung her jacket on the hook by the door and sat her purse down on the sofa and casually strolled over to his desk. "Lerner's has some beautiful things."
"You are such a daydreamer," he sighed as he shook his head. "You know we can't afford any of those things! We can barely afford to pay bills and put me through college."
"But we are doing that, Dane!" Sara gently put her hand on his arm and peered over his shoulder. She just had to see what he was working on in his ledger.
"I still haven't figured that one out." He shook his head slightly and then squinted his eyes. It had seemed like he'd been pouring over the numbers every chance he'd gotten. Still, he couldn't figure out how they were managing to make ends meet. It just wasn't logical. "Sara, there's no way we could have this much money!"
"But, Dane, we've been working so hard to budget our money." And she'd been working so hard to alter his books so that he wouldn't find out that she'd secretly taken a job to help with their bills. "We haven't spent frivolously. I've been doing everything that I can to pinch pennies...you've been trying to put in extra hours at the printing plant..."
"Yes, dear, I know!" He strummed his fingers along the desk as he eyed the numbers in the ledger intently. "But, it still doesn't add up! I know how much money I'm making at the plant. It's not enough!"
Sara fidgeted nervously and bit her lip. Dane was getting suspicious. However, with Mr. Preston dead, she was now out of work. He couldn't find out about her job now that she didn't have one!
"Do you know anything about the extra money?" He eyed her suspiciously. Dane really didn't understand how Sara could know anything about it, but, at this point, he was grasping at straws. If he didn't know anything about it, she was the only one that could!
"I...um...no, Dane. What could I possibly know about it?"
Her hesitance was not lost on him. Sara had never been a good liar and she certainly wasn't improving anytime soon! She was clearly hiding something. Dane was sure of it. But what?
He noted the time on the clock and realized that he had to be at work soon. "Sara, I've got to go." He kept his eyes locked on her. "We'll continue this discussion later."
"Of course, darling," she cooed, trying to throw him off. "I'm as eager to understand this as you are."
Dane responded to her with silence and grabbed his coat and hat before heading out the door. Why didn't he believe her? Why did he suspect that his wife was up to much more than she claimed?
THE CALLISON HOME - CHARLES' BEDROOM
"Francis." Charles Callison's voice announced his presence to his wife and her body tensed up and the sound of him. "W-what were you talking about?"
"Oh, I was just...I was just getting some things I left behind and I ran across some old pictures." She kept her back to him as she quickly dried her eyes and swallowed her nervousness. Had he heard her professions of love? Did he realize how much she still wanted him?
"That's not all of it." He walked up behind her and gently put his hand on her shoulder. "I heard you. I heard what you..."
"You didn't hear anything," she laughed nervously as she tried to hide her true feelings. "Well, anything other than the ramblings of an old fool caught up in memories of the past. Look at this picture." She pulled out a photograph of Maggie's first birthday party. "Remember that? That poor girl had frosting from ear to ear!"
"Yes, I remember her landing face first in the middle of the cake." He chuckled as the warmth of the memory flooded over him. They'd had so many happy times together. It had been a house filled with so much love.
"And then here's one of Trevor on his first bicycle!" Francis sighed wistfully as she looked at the picture of the little boy that was now her grown son. "I must have kissed a thousand boo-boos that summer." She looked up at him and noticed the deep lines of worry and stress on his face. "Charles, are you alright? You seem like something's troubling you?"
"Thornton Preston died," he muttered as he sat down on the bed next to her. "It...it all happened rather suddenly. I guess all of this squabbling over his contract was for nothing. I can't help but feel that all of this stress contributed in some way to his death."
"Charles, you can't think like that!" Francis covered his hand with hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Mr. Preston's health was something you had no way of knowing. You couldn't have done anything differently."
He nodded silently at the logic of her statement. He couldn't have acted differently. He'd treated Thornton just like he would have treated any other troublesome author. Suddenly, his mind returned to thoughts of the scene he'd witnessed as he'd stood in the doorway.
"Francis, before I came in...before you knew I was here....I heard you talking." He hesitated for a moment, unsure as to what to say next. "W-would you really forgive me for what I've done with Annabelle?"
"Do we have to get into a discussion about her?" She quickly pulled her hand away, shot up from the bed, and moved across the room to stare out of the window onto the street below. "Why must every conversation we have revolve around that woman?"
"Because Annabelle Lake is a part of our lives, now." He kept his eyes on Francis and carefully watched her every movement and gesture.
"Trust me. I haven't forgotten that!"
"Francis..." Charles' voice trailed off as a million thoughts collided inside his head. There, in that moment, it almost seemed like time had stood still. The events of the last six months had never happened. He'd never betrayed his wife with another woman and she'd never left him and their home. Before speaking again, he took a deep breath. "Francis, do you still love me?"
"Oh, Charles, how could I not love you?" She turned around to face him as her eyes began to mist over with tears. "After all these years...after all that we've shared together...how could I not still love you?"
"Could you..." He paused. "Could you forgive me for what's happened with Annabelle? Could you forgive me for betraying you with another woman?"
Annabelle Lake. The name rung like a death toll in Francis' ears as visions of her laughing, wicked face flashed in her mind. Charles had broken their vows and betrayed her with the most wicked of women. As that thought struck her, Francis' teeth clinched and her muscles tensed. "I don't think I could ever forget all of the pain you've caused me."
"But could you forgive me?"
"I...I..." She looked away from him. Oh, how she wanted to forgive him. She wanted to rush into his arms and cover his face with kisses. She wanted to...but she couldn't. "No, Charles. I don't think I could ever forgive what you've done to me!"
"B-but I'm sorry..."
"Sorry?" Slowly, she began to grow angry. "Sorry? Sorry for bringing that awful woman into our home? Sorry for making me the laughing stock of all of Albanyville? Sorry for making me the constant topic of gossip and ridicule?"
"No! How dare you beg me to give you absolution when all you seem intent on doing is running around with that tramp and making a mockery of me! You deliberately try to hurt and humiliate me! How in god's name am I supposed to forgive that?"
"Now, wait a second!" Charles bolted from the bed as his blood pressure began to rise. "How dare you play the martyr in all of this! Saint Francis can do no wrong! Saint Francis is perfect and she alone can pass judgment! Annabelle has nothing to do with the problems between us. How dare you talk about her as if she were common gutter trash."
"I call a spade a spade." Her lips tightened into a thin line as she glared at him. "That witch needs to fly off on her broomstick and never be heard from again!"
"I don't ever want to hear you talk about Annabelle that way again!"
"Don't worry, Charles," she shouted as she pushed past him and headed for the door, "if I have things my way, you'll never have to hear another word out of my mouth again!"
"Just come back in here and sit down," Stephanie Lake said as she led Patterson Monroe back into the cafe. "Look, both Douglas and Lorraine are gone, now."
"I can't believe that she's going to have his baby," Patterson sighed as he sunk down into a chair. "How? How could she do this to me?"
"Paddy, Lorraine's marriage to Douglas and whether they're having a baby or not has nothing to do with you." She sat down next to him and began to carefully stroke his arm in an effort to calm him down. "Let it go."
"How can I let it go?" He snapped his head around to face her with eyes filled will confusion and pain. "I'd always thought that Lorraine was an honest person...a trustworthy person..."
"She is, Paddy! Lorraine is one of the most honest people I know."
"These are not the actions of an honest person!" Patterson lowered his head into his hands as he tried to make sense of it all. He'd been in love with Lorraine and he'd been certain that she'd been in love with him. However, he'd been stunned when she'd announced that she was leaving him to marry Douglas, a man she'd never been involved with. It hadn't made much sense...until now. Now, it was a clear. Despite Lorraine's protestations to the contrary, she'd clearly been having an affair with Douglas behind his back. It had been an affair that had left her carrying Douglas' child.
"How do you explain this? How could she betray me like this?" He took a deep breath as he tried to fight the tears that wanted to pour from his eyes.
"I...I don't know." Stephanie watched him closely. He was in so much pain and she wanted to do something to help him. Over the last few months, he'd grown to mean so much to her. He'd always been there for her no matter what crisis she'd gone through and now she wanted to be there for him. However, she wasn't sure what to do. "Paddy, you've just got to give it time."
"I know, but it's just so hard."
"Oh, please, Paddy, let me help you get through this." She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer. "You've done so much for me; let me be here for you."
"Please, Paddy? You're the most important person in the world to me. Please let me help you."
"I-I..." His voice trailed off as he kept his head turned away from her in an attempt to hide his deep pain. "I just want to be alone, right now. Please, Steph, just leave me alone."
With a silent nod of her head, Stephanie agreed and rose from her seat. She took a deep breath and headed for the door, but turned again to look at him. Patterson did mean the world to her, probably more than she was even willing to admit to herself. Would he ever be able to move past Lorraine's betrayal? Would he be able to pick up the pieces and move on with his life? She silently prayed that he could and then left him alone with his grief.
JOSEPH HAYNE RAINEY MEMORIAL NEGRO HOSPITAL - WAITING ROOM
"How...how is she?" Douglas Davis asked as he saw Dr. Calvin Jackson exit the examining room. "How's my wife?"
"Mr. Davis, it was a little complicated," Calvin began cautiously as he began to lead him down the hallway and toward the waiting room, "but she's going to be fine. She's experiencing a little discomfort, right now, but your wife is going to be okay."
"W-what about the baby?" Douglas' hands shook with nervousness. They'd gone through so much in the last few months because of their baby. He couldn't bear to loose the child now.
"The baby's going to be fine, too."
The smile that spread across Calvin's lips gave Douglas the reassurance that he'd needed and he let out a deep sigh of relief.
"However, Mr. Davis, you need to make sure your wife takes it easy. It's my understanding that she's been under a lot of stress lately?"
"That would be a slight understatement." Douglas shook his head slightly as he thought of the confrontation with Patterson that had happened earlier and the events of the past few months that had led up to it. "Things have been a little tense, lately."
"Your wife told me that this isn't the first time she's collapsed?"
"No, she collapsed a few months ago. That was how we...she...realized she was expecting a baby." His mind briefly turned to thoughts of how he hadn't been able to be there for their child, then. He hadn't known that their brief encounter, months earlier, had left her carrying his child.
"Well, I'm sure I don't have to warn you about how too much needless stress can put your wife and child in jeopardy. They might be okay, now, but there is still a great risk. You have to make sure that she doesn't put herself in any situation where she could become overly agitated." Calvin flipped through Lorraine's chart and began to write down a few notes. "She's fine, now, but I'm afraid that she might have to be confined to strict bed rest if she can't keep her emotions in check. There's still much risk."
"Mr. Davis," Calvin said tentatively, "may I ask you a question?"
"Yes, of course. What is it?"
"Why did you bring your wife here? Why this hospital?" Calvin watched Douglas closely and waited for his response.
"I told the other doctors already!" Douglas took a deep breath. His nerves were still on edge from the stress of Lorraine's collapse and he fought to compose himself. "We were on the docks when it happened...when she collapsed. This is the closest hospital."
"Weren't you concerned about it being a Negro hospital? We only treat colored folk. We aren't exactly the most welcomed people over at General."
"Dr. Jackson, the last thing on my mind was what color the hospital was." Douglas ran his hands through his hair and looked at Calvin. "The only thing I even thought about was getting my wife the help she needed. A good doctor is a good doctor, no matter what color he might be."
"I believe that, too."
"And, in my opinion, after everything that's happened," Douglas paused for a deep breath, "you're the best doctor I've ever met. I am forever grateful to you and in your debt."
He extended his hand to Calvin who eyed it cautiously. Finally, Calvin grasped Douglas' hand and gave it a firm shake as a smile spread across his face.
"Your wife should be ready to go home shortly," Calvin said as he led Douglas back down the hallway toward Lorraine's examining room. "But, I have to advise you to have her see her own doctor. He's got much more information on her medical history than I do."
"Oh, don't worry. That's top on my list of priorities." Douglas stopped at the door and turned to Calvin again. "Is it okay if I see her?"
"Go on in," Calvin smiled.
As the door closed behind Douglas, Calvin's mind became filled with thoughts of everything that had happened. Calvin's race hadn't meant anything to Douglas. He was only viewed as the competent doctor that he was. He couldn't deny the shock that Douglas' comments had brought. Was his opinion shared by Mary Albany? Did Mary view his mother Dorothea with the same mindset and respect? After the events of the past few hours, Calvin wasn't sure. However, he realized he may have to rethink his entire opinion of Mary and her employment of his mother.
Stephanie strolled along as thoughts of Patterson and Lorraine kept filling her head. She felt so sorry for Patterson and everything that he'd gone through, but wasn't sure how she could help him move past the pain and the hurt.
Suddenly, her thoughts turned to Clark Saxon and his threats of revenge. She shuddered slightly, but was unsure if it was from the memory of Clark's voice or from the crisp autumn air that blew through the trees.
Clark had tried repeatedly over the past few weeks to phone her, but she'd never taken his calls. Her mother was growing more and more suspicious, but Stephanie was adamant about not revealing the truth about Clark. She couldn't! She couldn't bring herself to confess how wrong she'd been about him.
No, she had to deal with this on her own. She'd been leaning on Patterson for support, but now he was dealing with his own problems. She couldn't burden him with this anymore. Stephanie had to get back at Clark and push him out of her life for good before it was too late. She knew that she would have to be smarter than Clark, much more clever than he could ever hope to be. If she didn't play her cards right, Clark would do everything he could to ruin her.
As Stephanie turned the corner on the path through the park, she spotted a disturbing sight. Francis Callison, sitting alone on a park bench, crying. Stephanie stopped for a moment, slightly taken aback by Francis' emotional state, and then cautiously approached her.
"M-Mrs. Callison? Are you all right?"
"W-who?" Francis turned to look at her through bleary eyes and then quickly wiped her tears. "Oh, Stephanie. I didn't see you."
"Mrs. Callison, are you all right? Is there something I can do..."
"No! You and your wretched family have done enough to me as it is!" Francis felt her temper begin to rise as she remembered everything that Stephanie had done to Reginald and Jillian as well as Annabelle's schemes. "Your vile mother has taken away the only man I could ever truly love. Just like you tried to take my son away from Jillian!"
"Mrs. Callison, I..."
"No! If it weren't for your tramp of a mother, my marriage would still be intact and none of us would be living through any of this! Can't you understand how much your mother has hurt me and my children? She's worked to separate my husband from his family! She's manipulated her way into our lives and ruined everything we hold dear!"
Stephanie stood in silence as her ears burned with Francis' tirade. Francis' words were not lost on her, nor was the emotion behind the statements. Stephanie's heart went out to her and the deep, emotional pain she was feeling. What her mother had done to Francis had been wrong. Her mother had been wrong to cause the Callison family such pain. Charles Callison hadn't betrayed his wife of his own free will. Annabelle Lake had drugged him and used his altered state to lure him into bed and then fixed it so his wife would find them together.
As Stephanie watched Francis, her heart went out to her. Could she right all of the wrongs her mother had committed? Could she atone for not only her mother's sins, but hers, as well? Did she have the strength to betray her own mother and tell Francis the truth about that night at the engagement party?
TO BE CONTINUED
What will Janet do when she finds Burt and Judith together?
For Now and Forever
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