For Now and Forever
produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

 

EPISODE #61 (Monday 9/3/01)
same day - October 1935

THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN

"Oh, my god," Janet Stokes gasped as she began to feel the walls closing in.  "My own sister?  You were in love with my own sister?  Oh, my god!"

"Janet, please, try to understand!"  Burt Lamont reached out for her, but she yanked her arm away.  

"Don't!  Don't touch me!  You've just been using me!"

"No, Janet, that's not how it is!  I love you...I've always loved you!"

"No!  It's just like Gordon!  You've just been using me!" Janet sobbed as she quickly turned and ran out of the house.

"Janet!  Wait!" Burt called out as he ran to the door.

"Oh, let her be," Judith Linford muttered with a shake of her head.  With a sigh, she quickly remembered another, shocking revelation that she'd planned to make...the true paternity of her unborn child.  She held back a wicked laugh when she realized that that was one piece of news that would have to wait for later.

"I can't let her go!" he explained.  "I love her!  Of course, that's something you'd know nothing about!"  He glared at her hatefully and began to rush out of the house.  Suddenly, Judith grabbed his arm to hold him back.

"You will not go chasing after her!" she ordered.  "I won't let you!"

DANE & SARA'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

"Douglas, what in the devil are you talking about?" Dane Manchester questioned as he turned to look at his wife.  "Sara?  What's going on?"

"Oh, Dane, I...I..." Sara Manchester stammered.

"Sara, you have to tell him the truth," Douglas Davis urged.  "You can't avoid it, now.  He has to know."

"Sara?"  Dane watched her curiously.  He'd suspected for weeks that she'd been hiding something from him and now, with Douglas' sudden visit, he was convinced of it.  But, what did it have to do with Thornton Preston?  They'd only read about his death in the newspapers.  What did he have to do with Sara?

"Dane, I..."  She looked at him pleadingly, as if begging him to understand.  How in the world could she confess her deception?  "D-Dane..."

"Just tell me the truth!"

"I was working for Thornton Preston as his assistant."  She lowered her head in embarrassment over her lies.  "We didn't have enough money to pay our bills and you were going to have to drop out of college...all because of me.  I couldn't bear that."

"W-what?"  Dane's eyes grew wide with shock.  He'd known something was up, but not this.  "You went behind my back?  After I forbid you to work!"

"Oh, Dane, there was no other choice!" Sara began to sob.  "I was working as Mr. Preston's assistant and also to help Charles Callison get information on Mr. Preston so that he could negotiate his contract.  That's where all of the extra money was coming from.  I just...I just altered your books to reflect the extra money."

"You what?"  Dane inhaled deeply in an effort to soothe his rising temper and ran his hands through his hair.  "Do you think I'm stupid?  Did you honestly think I wouldn't notice?"

"I...I..." she stammered, unsure of what to say next.

"I just can't believe this!  Sara, you lied to me!"  He sunk down onto the sofa as he tried to collect his thoughts.  "I can't believe this.  I thought you were a decent and honest person.  True, a little bit bland, but honest, nonetheless.  Now, I see you're just as wicked and conniving as Stephanie!"

"No!"  Sara's bottom lip began to quiver as tears began to stream down her face.  In her efforts to make their lives better and fix everything that was wrong, had she ruined things forever?  Suddenly, she snapped her head around to face Douglas with a fire in her eyes.  "Why, Douglas?  Why did you have to come here and try to mess up our lives?  Why in the world would I need to be present at the reading of Mr. Preston's will?"

"Sara, I'm sorry about this, but I had no choice."  Douglas bowed his head slightly, embarrassed for the scene he was being forced to witness.  "But you have to be there.  You and Dane."

"W-what?"

Douglas took a deep breath and looked directly at her.  "Sara, you and Dane have to be there because you're in the will.  Thornton Preston named both of you in his will."

Both Dane and Sara's eyes grew wide with shock.  Why in the world would Mr. Preston put them in his will?

THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN

"Let go of me!" Burt snapped as he yanked his arm away.  "Haven't you caused enough trouble?  I can't understand how you could just viciously set out to hurt your own sister."

"She lied to you, Burt!" Judith reminded as she looked him dead in the eyes.  "She lied about who she was and what she'd done.  How in the world could you ever trust her again?"

"You are not someone who needs to be giving a lecture on honesty."

"Oh, don't you dare get all high and mighty with me."  She folded her arms across her chest as she felt her temper begin to rise.  "You know I've always been honest with you about everything!  I have never lied to you!"

"Gee, last time I checked, you were about to have a baby...my baby."  He glared at her sternly.  "And I just found out about it!"

"You know I didn't find out until after you left New York!  You know I couldn't find you!."  Judith reached out for him again but he quickly moved away from her.

"No matter what she's said or what she's done, I still love Janet.  Nothing is going to change that!"

"Oh, Burt, don't be foolish!"  Her heart began to race.  He couldn't mean it!  After everything Janet had done, after all of the lies, he couldn't still be in love with her!  "Who knows what else she's been keeping from you?  I bet there are things that I don't even know!"

"And if you did, I'm sure you'd be the first to blab it to everyone you know!"  He stared at her angrily before turning to look out the door in the direction that Janet had run.  "Look, I love her and I can't let her get away.  She loves me too!  Nothing will ever change that.  Now, I have to go find her and make her understand that."

As Burt ran out of the house in pursuit of Janet, Judith watched him closely as her eyes burned with fury.  "Oh, Burt," she muttered to herself, "you're so foolish.  You might be convinced that your feelings for Janet are set in stone, but I wouldn't be too sure about hers!  You might know all of her secrets, but I can guarantee that she doesn't know all of yours.  And those secrets will make all the difference!"

ALBANYVILLE HIGH SCHOOL - GYMNASIUM

"Are you really that uncomfortable here with me and Eliza?" Randy Lamont asked as he danced with Maggie Callison.  "You've got to admit that it's a lot better than sitting home alone."

"I guess," Maggie muttered as she thought about how her date to the  Fall Dance had cancelled at the last minute and Randy had offered to take both her and Eliza to the dance.  "You have to admit, though, that this is all rather strange."

"Yeah, it is."

As the tempo of the music changed to a slower, more romantic song, he pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her.

"Gee, you're not quite as clumsy as you used to be," she murmured as she noticed his expert dancing skills.  "What happened?"

"Well, when I first moved to Albanyville, I just felt so awkward.  You know, new town, new school...I didn't know anyone.  It was all so different from my old school."

"I-I can imagine."  Maggie lifted her head off of his shoulder and looked up into his eyes.  Why did it suddenly seem like Randy was a completely different person?  He wasn't at all like she'd thought he was.

"You see, back home, I was one of the most popular boys in school.  Then I came here and I was nothing."

"That really must have been rough."  Maggie began to feel a knot form in her stomach and she took a deep breath to relieve the sudden tension she was feeling.

"Um, excuse me!" Eliza Campbell spoke up as she tapped Maggie on the shoulder.  "Can I at least dance with my date?"

"Oh, um, of course."  Maggie blushed slightly as she quickly backed away from Randy.  "T-thank you," she muttered to him before turning to walk off of the dance floor.

On the sidelines, she watched Randy as he held Eliza in his arms and they moved around the floor to the delicate strains of "Moonlight Becomes You".  The knot in her stomach began to grow as she felt her face begin to flush.  Despite trying to look away, she couldn't tear her eyes away from the sight of Randy and Eliza.  She furrowed her brow slightly and let out a slow, soft sigh.  What in the world did this new feeling she was having mean?

DANE & SARA'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

"Douglas, I don't understand," Sara stammered.  "Why in the world would Mr. Preston put me in his will?"

"Both of us, Sara," Dane reminded as he looked at her curiously.  "He put both of us in his will.  Isn't that what you said, Douglas?"

"Yes, it is."  Douglas nodded as he tried to keep his discomfort from showing.  The tension between Dane and Sara was quite thick and Douglas wasn't at all thrilled to be caught in the middle of it.  "I honestly don't know Thornton's reasons for putting you both in his will.  All I know is that the will is being read tonight!"

"Sara, do you know anything about this?" Dane asked as he tried to analyze her every word.  If she'd been keeping her employment from him, what else could she be hiding?

"No!  I have no idea why he'd want to put both of us in his will."  She began to wring her hands and tried to look away from her husband's burning gaze.

"I just can't believe you've been lying to me," Dane muttered as he shook his head, still in shock.  "Lying!"

"Oh, Dane, I'm sorry!  I didn't know what else to do.  You weren't making enough money at the printing plant and I was scared you'd have to give up your college education.  It would have been all my fault!  If I hadn't...if we hadn't gotten married, none of this would have happened!"

"And you think I don't realize this?" he asked coldly.

"Oh, please, Dane!  Please!  Please try to understand!"  Her eyes began to fill with tears as she rushed over to him.

"I...I just can't talk about this now."  Dane bolted from his seat and stormed towards the door.  "I have to get out of here.  I...I need time to think."

"Dane!"

"The will is being read in one hour," Douglas spoke up.  "You have to be there."

Dane turned to look at both of them with a sneer.  "We'll see."  And with those words, he stormed out.

THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN

"Burt, where is she?" Judith asked as he walked back into the house.  "Where's Janet?"

"I have no idea," he muttered as he sank down into a chair by the kitchen table.  "I've searched everywhere.  The barn...the stables...I even went down to Spring Lake thinking she might have run down there."

"You didn't see her at all?"  Her eyes grew wide with surprise.  Her sister couldn't have just vanished.  "Burt, she has to be somewhere!  Are you sure you've looked everywhere?"

"Look, Judith, I can't find her!  I'm sure she took a taxi out here, so she had to have left on foot.  She couldn't have gotten far!"  He turned to examine Judith's expressions closely.  Was that actual concern that he was hearing in her voice?

"Well, I'm sure she's just run off to have a good cry," she muttered as she glance out the door and into the night as if hoping to catch a glimpse of her sister.  "She'll be back in no time, begging you to forgive her.  She'll be fine."

"How can you be so cavalier about all of this!" Burt shouted as he sprung to his feet and approached her.  "Your sister...your emotionally delicate sister...has just run off and I can't find her!  How can you act like that doesn't matter?"

"Because it doesn't!  It's not like Janet hasn't pulled stunts like this before!"  Judith quickly glanced out the door again and bit her lip nervously.

"You really don't have anything that even resembles a heart, do you?"  His eyes flashed with anger as he shook his fist in frustration.  "How can you be so cruel?  She's your sister!  She was an emotional wreck when she ran out of here...which is your fault, I might add.  Who knows what kind of state she's in?  Who knows what could happen to her?"

"You're making too much out of this!"

"I really don't think that I am.  I love Janet.  Nothing that you've said tonight changes that."  He looked her square in the eyes.  "And don't you even think about telling her about the baby!  After everything you've done, so far, I don't think she'd be able to handle that."

"Okay," she relented as her eyes again glanced out the open door.  "I...I won't say anything.  The true father of my child will stay our secret.  I won't say a word to Janet.  I swear!"

He inspected her closely to determine whether she was telling the truth.  Still unsure, he realized that he had no choice but to take her at her word.  "Look, I'm going to look for her again.  I've got to make her understand about us.  I've got to convince her that nothing's changed."

"Okay," Judith muttered as she watched him rush out of the house again.  As she leaned against the doorway and gazed out into the night, she took a deep, labored breath.  This was what she'd wanted.  She'd finally told the truth about Janet.  Now, it looked as if her rival for Burt's affections was out of the way for good.  However, if she'd gotten what she wanted, why was she suddenly so worried about what had happened to Janet?

TO BE CONTINUED

TOMORROW

Mrs. Preston arrives for the reading of Thornton's will.

For Now and Forever
produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions