For Now and Forever
EPISODE #59 (Thursday
THE SUNSET HOTEL - THE LINFORD PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM
"Ruby!" Mark Linford called out as he walked into the living room.
"Yes, Mr. Linford?" Ruby Thomas, the Linford's maid, asked as she rushed into the room.
"Where's my wife?" He took a lengthy sip of his martini. "For someone who's not supposed to travel, she seems to rarely be home."
"Um, Mrs. Linford had to run some errands." Ruby eyed Mark apprehensively. Though he'd only been in Albanyville a week, she was more than aware of the tense nature of his marriage to Judith. "She said something about having to meet someone."
"Hmmm..." Mark sat down his martini and rubbed his chin as he thought. What in the devil could Judith be up to, now?
THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Are you sure you're going to be alright?" Douglas Davis eyed his wife closely as she sat on the couch with her feet propped up.
"I'll be fine! Would you stop worrying?" Lorraine Davis let out a deep sigh. Douglas had waited on her hand and foot ever since her collapse on the docks. He wouldn't let her lift a finger to do anything and had insisted that she take some time off from work. She'd worried what Charles Callison would say about her absence, but he'd been more than gracious. Charles had assured her that her health was much more important. For that, Lorraine had been thankful.
"I really wish I could get out of this, but Thornton Preston's will is supposed to be read today." He reached for his hat and coat that hung on the rack by the front door. "And since I'm the one who's handled his personal matters while he was here in town, I've got to read the will."
"Douglas, I understand. Would you stop worrying about me?" Though she wasn't quite ready to admit it, her husband's concern for her had made quite an impression. At first, she couldn't escape the feeling that he'd only wanted to marry her for the sake of their unborn child, not for any real sense of caring about her. Now, after the sudden turn in her health, his behavior had forced her to rethink that opinion.
"I can't help it, dear," he said as he came back into the living room and sat down next to her. He lifted her hand to his cheek and then kissed it gently. "Our baby...you...mean so much to me. I don't know what I would do if I lost either one of you."
"Oh, don't be foolish. You're not going to loose either one of us." Lorraine briefly looked up into Douglas' eyes and clearly saw exactly how much he cared about her. Was that love that shown in his eyes? She shook her head slightly in response to that notion. Love for their child, most definitely, but love for her? It couldn't be.
"Now, if you need anything, Grace is right upstairs. She doesn't have to work at the bookstore tonight so she'll be here." Douglas again rose from the couch and headed for the door. "If you need anything, just call her."
As he prepared to walk out of the house, he stopped in the open doorway and turned to look back at her. Douglas took a deep breath and prayed that nothing happened while he was gone.
"Lorraine?" Grace Davis asked as she came down the stairs just as the door closed behind Douglas. "Where's he running off to? I thought he'd be glued to your side after what happened."
"Um...he had to go take care of some business." Lorraine eyed her sister-in-law cautiously.
The entire arrangement was still awkward for her. It hadn't been that long ago that Lorraine had been involved with Trevor Callison, the man now in love with Grace. The irony wasn't lost on either of them.
"So, how is Trevor doing?" Lorraine was reaching for some topic of conversation. Trevor was all she and Grace really had in common other than Douglas.
"H-he's fine." Grace fidgeted awkwardly and then sat down in the chair across from Lorraine.
"Are you still having a difficult time trying to deal with his feelings for you?"
Grace's eyes grew wide with shock. Surely Lorraine wasn't going to try and council her on her relationship with Trevor!
"Lorraine, I'm sorry, but I really don't feel comfortable discussing this with you." Grace bit her lip nervously as she kept her eyes on Lorraine. "No offense."
"I understand, Grace, I really do." Lorraine shifted her weight on the couch. All of the "resting" she'd been doing for days had been rather enjoyable. Now, however, she was finding herself growing antsy. She was growing a little claustrophobic, being stuck inside the house all day. Surprisingly, she longed to go back to work and see other people. "But," she continued, "you really should give him a chance. Trevor is really a wonderful man. I can tell that he loves you very much."
"Why are you so concerned about how I deal with his feelings for me?" Grace asked rather pointedly. "There's never exactly been any love lost between us. In case you've forgotten, you blamed me for everything that went wrong in your relationship."
"I...I'm sorry about that." Lorraine winced slightly and quickly looked away. Her behavior during the time towards the end of her relationship with Trevor now embarrassed her. How could she have been so accusatory? So insecure? So shrewish?
Suddenly, the ringing of the doorbell intruded on their conversation.
"I'll get it," Grace said quietly, relieved to have an interruption, and quickly rose to answer the door. "Yes?"
"Hello, Grace," Trevor Callison smiled as he stood in the open doorway. "Can I come in?"
THE LAMONT HOME - RANDY'S BEDROOM
"If you don't hurry up, you're going to be late!" Penelope Lamont rushed around her son Randy's bedroom as he tried to finish tying his tie. "It just wouldn't do for you to be late on your first date with that girl."
"That girl is Eliza Campbell," Randy Lamont reminded as he made a face at his reflection in the mirror. He'd spent the last 15 minutes trying to get his tie just perfect and had been less than satisfied with each attempt.
"Well, whatever. This is your first date! You wouldn't want to be late for the Fall Dance." She shook her head in astonishment as if her son had just grown up right before her eyes. "Oh, my baby is all grown up."
"Ma, would you quick acting like I'm going off to war. It's just a silly high school dance."
"Don't you talk like that, Randy." She grimaced at the mention of war. "I'm sure you've seen all of those newsreels about what's going on overseas."
"Ma, that's all an ocean away! All of that mess over in Europe has nothing to do with us." He struggled with his tie again and made another face of disapproval.
"Here, son, let me." Penelope quickly walked over to him and began to expertly retie his tie. "Now, there! That's perfect. You better run along or you'll be late."
"Alright," he sighed, realizing that there was no winning with her. As he rushed down the stairs, his mother was right behind him.
"Now, don't forget your manners when you meet her parents." She lifted her finger to her chin as she thought of her long list of requests. "Oh! And don't stay out too late. You be a perfect gentleman!"
"Yes, ma." He turned to give her a quick peck on the check and then hurried out the door, nearly bumping into Judith Linford who was standing on the back stoop ready to knock.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Penelope said as she walked to the door to greet her unexpected visitor. "My son can be quite the steamroller when he's in a hurry. Can I help you?"
"Um, yes," Judith smiled as she stepped through the door and into the kitchen. "You must be Mrs. Lamont, Burt's mother."
"Why, yes, I am. And you are?"
"She was just leaving!" Burt's voice echoed throughout the kitchen as he made his presence known. "Ma, if you would excuse us, I need to have a word with our uninvited guest."
"Oh, yes, of course." Penelope shot her son a curious looked before nodding politely to Judith and exiting the kitchen.
"Burt, I had to see you!" Judith exclaimed once she was sure that Penelope was out of earshot.
"I have nothing to say to you!" He maintained his cool exterior despite the surge of emotions that Judith's presence elicited. "I can't believe you have the nerve to come back here!"
"Burt, please, don't be like this!"
"Me?" He let out a hearty laugh of astonishment. "After everything you've done? After all the lies you've told? You tell me not to act like this?"
"Oh, Burt, please, just listen to me!" She reached out for him, but he swiftly moved away. "I...I have something to tell you. Something about this girl you've been seeing."
"I don't have to listen to a word that comes out of your mouth!"
"Burt, you have to listen to me! What I have to tell you could change everything. It could change your entire life." She paused for a moment as she kept her eyes locked on him.
He eyed her closely. Against his better judgment, he was quite curious as to what Judith could possibly say. After a moment's consideration, his curiosity got the better of him. "Okay, Judith. What is it?"
"It's about this girl you're seeing." She hesitated for a moment and she considered the right choice of words for her revelation. "There are things you don't know about her. You see, she's..."
"Burt? What's going on here?" came the voice from the open door. "Judith, what in the world are you doing here?"
As they turned toward the doorway, both of their jaws dropped at the sight of their surprise visitor. Janet Stokes was standing in the open door with a look of utter shock and bewilderment locked on her face.
THE GARDENS RESTAURANT
"Yes, sir, what can I do for you?" Jasper St. John asked as he smiled broadly. "Table for one?"
"Um, no, I think I'll just go to the bar," Mark replied as he watched the manager closely.
"Sir, I have a lovely table right over..."
"I said I'll go to the bar."
"Um, yes, okay." Jasper rolled his eyes slightly. "As you wish."
Mark casually strolled over to the bar and took a seat before ordering a scotch and soda. As he took a sip, he scanned the restaurant for anyone he might know. Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of a familiar face.
"Hello, Helen," he smiled as he approached the table where she and Clark Saxon were seated. "Long time, no see."
"Oh, um..." Helen Van Dyne hesitated for a moment as she tried to place the face.
"I'm Mark Linford. We met at Jillian's engagement party." He smiled warmly as his eyes quickly darted to Clark. "I'm her brother-in-law."
"Ah, yes! You're Judith's husband!" When she finally realized who he was, her face lit up. "It has been a while. I'm so sorry I didn't recognize you right off."
"That's okay. We did only meet briefly."
"As well as she can be." He smirked slightly as he thought of his wife.
Noting their friendly banter, an uncomfortable Clark made a not so subtle clearing of his throat.
"Oh! You must think I'm so rude." She blushed slightly. "Mark, this is my friend Clark Saxon. Clark, this is Mark Linford. He's married to..."
"Yeah, yeah, I get the picture." Clark extended his hand and gave Mark a firm handshake.
"I hope I haven't interrupted anything," Mark smiled slyly.
"Oh, no, Clark and I are just friends." Helen giggled slightly at the absurd thought that she and Clark could be anything but friends. She watched Mark closely and was quick to recognize the air of distinction that encircled him.
"I see." Mark eyed her closely. She was even more beautiful than he remembered her being at the party. "It's rather odd being in a town and not knowing anyone other than my wife and her family. I'm used to being in Manhattan where it seems like I know everyone."
"I'm sure." She smiled again as she fluttered her eyelashes. "Would you care to join us?"
"Why, I'd love to!" Mark quickly grabbed a seat and slid up to the table.
Clark scowled slightly at the intrusion, but it went unnoticed by both Helen and Mark.
"Ah, I see you did decide to take a table," Jasper said rather haughtily as strolled by with menus in his arms.
"Yes, I did." Mark muttered rather coldly.
Jasper gritted his teeth in annoyance and quickly hurried away leaving Mark to again focus his attention on Helen. She was very attractive and quite flirtatious. Mark smiled inwardly as he thought about what a nice diversion to his wife's histrionics Helen would make.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - MAGGIE'S
"Oh, my hair looks hideous!" Eliza Campbell exclaimed as she looked at herself in the mirror. "I just can't do anything with it!"
"You look fine. Stop worrying." Maggie Callison rolled her eyes as she stood behind her best friend and looked at her own reflection in the mirror.
"But, I can't let Randy see me looking like this!"
"It's just a date to the dance. It's not like it's your wedding day and you've got a black eye or anything." Maggie continued putting a light smear of rouge on her cheeks. She wrinkled her nose slightly and then turned to look at Eliza. "It's not too much, is it?"
"Here, let me." Eliza grabbed a handkerchief and carefully blotted Maggie's cheeks. "Now! That's much better." She quickly glanced at the clock on the wall and made a horrified face. "Oh! Randy's gonna be here any minute and I'm nowhere close to being ready!"
"Maggie!" Mary Albany called out from the living room. "Maggie, you have a telephone call!"
"Coming, Nana," Maggie replied. She looked at Eliza again and let out a heavy sigh as she shook her head. "Here," she said as she picked up a brush and handed it too her. "It looks even worse now. Fix it!"
"Ohhh!" Eliza's shoulders slumped with disappointment as Maggie hurried out of the room. After taking another, long look at herself in the mirror, she began to franticly brush out her hair...again. Finally, after several minutes of vigorous brushing and combing, Eliza let out a sigh of relief. "There! It's perfect!" Happy with her results, she grabbed the lavender ribbon that lay on the dresser and carefully tied it in her hair.
"Oh, Eliza, you're never going to believe this!" Maggie cried as she rushed back into the room.
"Maggie, what is it? What's wrong?"
"It's that creep Stanley Fitzpatrick! He just called. He can't take me to the dance!" Maggie threw herself onto her bed and began to sulk.
"Oh, something about him being sick!" Maggie wrinkled her nose and scowled. "German measles, swine flue, malaria, something like that...who cares!."
"Oh, Maggie," Eliza sighed in disappointment. Suddenly, the conversation was cut drastically short by the loud ringing of the doorbell.
"Maggie! Eliza! Randy's here!" Francis Callison called out from the living room.
"Maggie, c'mon, we've got to go!" Eliza jumped up from her seat in front of the vanity and grabbed her friend's hand.
"I can't!" Maggie sobbed as she jerked her hand away. "If Stanley can't go, I don't have a date! I can't go to the dance without a date!"
"Well..." Eliza bit her lip as she weighed her options. "I'll be sure to tell you all about the dance! I've got to go. My date's waiting on me."
As Eliza rushed out of the room, Maggie began to sob in heartbreak and disappointment.
THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN
"J-Janet!" Burt called out in shock. "What are you doing here?"
"I missed you," Janet muttered as she nervously eyed both Burt and Judith. "I thought I'd stop by and see if you wanted to go have dinner."
Judith stood in wide-eyed shock. She hadn't expected her sister to show up out of the blue to interrupt her conversation with Burt. The timing left her unusually speechless...an irony that wasn't completely lost on her.
"I...I didn't know that you two knew each other," Burt said hesitantly. Surely Judith and Janet weren't friends! As snotty as Judith could be, he was sure that she wouldn't associate socially with someone like Janet whom she would most certainly regard as beneath her.
"I...um..." Janet stammered as her hands began to shake. "I've seen Mrs. Linford around."
As the shock of Janet's sudden appearance began to wear off, Judith quickly began to regain her composure. Throwing her shoulders back regally, she took a deep breath. She'd planned for her revelation to come much more privately, but she quickly realized that her sister's presence would add a most interesting twist.
"Well, Burt, dear, Janet here and I are more than just acquainted," she said with a sly grin.
"No, Judith, don't," Janet muttered softly as she tried to hide the fear in her voice.
"What are you talking about?" Burt immediately began to grow worried. Had Judith told Janet about their past affair? Had she revealed all about the baby that she carried?
"J-Judith, please!" Janet began to wring her hands as she fought the urge to run from the house and hide.
"Burt, as I was telling you before, there are things about the girl you've been seeing...our little miss Janet, here, that you don't know." Judith turned to face Janet and shot her an icy stare.
"Judith, what in the devil are you talking about?" Burt felt his heart begin to race. What in the world could Judith, of all people, know about Janet?
"She's been lying to you, Burt. This entire time she's been lying to you! You see, Burt, Janet is my sister."
"What?" His jaw dropped in shock as his turned to look at Janet with eyes filled with confusion. "No, that's a lie! This is Janet Scott. She has a sister named Jill. She can't be your sister!"
"Scott? You told him your last name was Scott?" Judith turned to Janet and let out a deep, throaty laugh. "My god, you're even crazier than I thought you were." Turning to again face Burt, she took a deep breath. "Her sister Jill is really our sister Jillian. You remember me talking about her, don't you, Burt?"
"Y-yes, vaguely." Numbed by the shocking revelation, Burt stood motionless, barely able to think. He eyed Janet closely as if in an attempt to see through the layers of lies. "Janet Stokes? You're really Janet Stokes? Why, Janet? Why did you lie to me?"
"Even better question, dear, is how could you even think to use the name Scott?" Judith shook her head slightly in disbelief. "After everything that's happened, you had to use Scott?" Her hand flew up to her mouth in horror as she looked at her cautiously. She was fully aware that events from the past had left Janet slightly troubled, but this? Judith greatly feared what it all meant.
"Tell me the truth, Janet!" Burt felt his temper begin to rise because of the betrayal. "Tell me who you really are!"
"N-no!" Janet screamed as tears began to stream down her face.
Suddenly, she turned to bolt out of the door and run away, but Burt's swift hand reached out and grabbed her. He spun her around and held her by the shoulders in an attempt to force her to face him.
"Tell me the truth! Who are you?"
"I-it's true," Janet's muttered softly through her tears. "I'm really Janet Stokes. I'm Judith's sister."
"Oh, my lord." As the complete shock of the truth hit him, Burt released Janet and slowly staggered backwards as if he'd been physically struck. "How could you lie to me?"
"I...I..." Janet gasped for air as she began to feel the walls close in. Suddenly, a fire began to burn in her eyes and she turned to glare at Judith. "How?" she spat, "how do you two know each other? How!"
Now, it was Burt's turn to have his eyes filled with fear and worry. He looked at Judith pleadingly, but was met only with a look a calmness that sent a chill through his body.
"Do you really want to know?" Judith asked pointedly. "Do you really?"
"No, Judith, don't," Burt pleaded. "Don't do this. Is it really worth it?"
"Judith?" Janet asked as a looked of confusion covered her. "Judith, what's going on? How do you know Burt?"
"I want to know why you lied to me!" Burt shouted in an attempt to deflect the questioning away from Judith.
"Judith?" Janet asked as she kept her eyes locked on her sister.
Judith stood silently, taking the moment in. Her eyes moved from Burt to Janet and back again as her hand rested easily on her swollen stomach. Taking a deep breath, a slight smile spread across her lips. I believe in chess this is what is called "check", she thought to herself. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she began to speak.
TO BE CONTINUED
Will Judith tell all?
For Now and Forever
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