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

 

EPISODE #64 (Thursday 9/6/01)
a few days later - October 1935

THE LAKE APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

With careful diligence, Annabelle Lake arranged the large bouquet of flowers in a vase that sat in the middle of the dining room table.  Realizing that it didn't quite look the way that she wanted, she furrowed her brow and made a quick rearrangement.  Stepping back, she smiled broadly with satisfaction.

"There!" she exclaimed with delight.  "That's perfect."  She quickly glanced at the clock on the wall and noted the time.  Charles Callison should be there at any moment.

After rushing to the mirror to make a last minute check of her face, she carefully smoothed down a stray eyebrow and pinched her cheeks to increase their rosiness.  Suddenly, the doorbell rang and she turned to run and answer it.

As she flung the door open, her jaw dropped in a mixture of shock and horror.

"Hello, Annabelle," Dr. Fred Rutherford smiled.  "We need to talk."

THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM

"Are you sure I can't get you some tea?" Douglas Davis asked as he stood over his wife Lorraine while she lay on the couch, still recuperating from her near tragic collapse.

"I wish you'd stop fussing over me," Lorraine Davis replied as she looked up at him.  "I feel fine.  In fact, I really can't wait to get back to work."

"But you know what the doctor said!  You've got to take it easy.  This makes the second time you've collapsed."  He sat down beside her and carefully took her hand into his.  "We can't afford to take any chances."

"I know," she muttered as she rubbed her protruding belly.  "This baby has caused so much stress that we really do have to be careful."  She thought for a moment about what her life would be like if she weren't expecting a child.  Especially if she weren't expecting Douglas' child.

"Lorraine, are you okay?" he asked as he looked at her carefully.  He could clearly see where her mind had begun to drift since a dark cloud seemed to cover her eyes.

"Oh, um, yes," she stammered when she realized that she'd begun to think about things too horrible to mention.  

She rubbed her stomach again and shuddered at the horrible thoughts that had started to run through her head.  No, she couldn't even consider that possibility.  She'd suffered so much for the sake of this child that she couldn't bear to endure the pain that loosing it would cause.

"J-just a chill," she muttered as she reached for a throw that lay on the back of the couch and wrapped it around herself.

"Well, let me get you that hot tea."  Douglas headed off towards the kitchen.  "And maybe some brownies.  You did say you'd been craving chocolate."

"Um...yes, dear, that would be nice."  Her eyes followed him as he came back into the living room with a tray carrying the tea and brownies and she smiled warmly.  "You know, Douglas, I've been very impressed and more than a little surprised at how well you've been handling all of this.  I know this can't be easy for you, either."

"It's because I know that we can't change the way things are.  Everything has worked out for the best."  He sat the tray down on the coffee table and reclaimed his spot on the couch next to her.  "You know this was all quite a shock for me, but, now that I've gotten used to it, I'm very happy.  Happy with you and happy with our lives."  He hesitated and looked at her lovingly.  "I just wish...I just wish that you could be just as happy as I am."

"I'm trying, Douglas, I really am."  She turned her head quickly to hide the tears that wanted to well up in her eyes.  She wasn't sure if they were as much from their entire situation or her physical state due to her expectancy.

"Oh, Lorraine, it's all going to be all right."  He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close.  "We did the right thing.  This is the best thing for all of us.  You and our child are the most important things in this world to me.  Once this baby's born, you'll see how wonderful things are going to be."

She shuddered slightly, still uncertain about their lives.  Could she ever be as hopeful for the future as Douglas seemed to be?  Would things ever truly be okay?  However, as she pondered their fates, she began to find comfort in her husband's strong arms that held her securely.  They seemed to bring almost a calming feeling to her and she found herself smiling despite everything that was going on.  Maybe they would be all right, after all.  Maybe...

THE LAKE APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

"What the devil are you doing here?" Annabelle demanded as she looked at Fred sternly.  "I told you never to come here!"

"We need to talk, Annabelle!"  Fred pushed past her and into the living room, completely disregarding her clear distress.

"We can't talk here!  Charles could be here at any moment!"  She quickly followed him around the room as a sense of panic began to set it.  "He can't find us here, together!  He knows you've been seeing that dowdy wife of his.  If he sees you here, he'll know that something's going on!  He's sure to suspect that I might have something to do with your pursuit of her!"

"Then I guess I better talk fast, huh?"  Fred folded his arms across his chest and glared at her sternly.  "I need your help."

"Help?  What kind of help?  With Francis?"  She eyed him cautiously.  What in the world could he be up to?  Whatever it was, it made her deeply uncomfortable.  As she bit her lip, she quickly glanced at the clock on the wall.  Charles could walk in at any time!

"No, not with Francis.  I'm doing very well there, on my own."

"Would you just get to the point!  What the hell are you talking about?"  She began to wring her hands as her nervousness began to take over.  She'd worked too long and hard to have things ruined like this.  "You've got to get out of here!"

"It's awfully important to you that Charles Callison not find out about the connection between us, isn't it?"  His smugness unnerved her to no end.

"I would think it would be important to you, as well!  I'm sure dear Francis would be none too pleased to find out that we're friends."  She narrowed her eyes as she peered at him.  "I'm sure that would throw quite the monkey wrench into your own plans!"

"I have more urgent concerns, right now."  Stone faced and rigid, he was determined not to let Annabelle distract him from his true motives.  "As I was saying, you wouldn't want Charles to ever find out about our connection or the roll I played in your seduction of him at that party."

"What the devil are you getting at?"

"If you want me to keep my trap shut, it's going to cost you!"

"Blackmail?"  Annabelle's jaw dropped in shock as she began to gasp for air.  "You want to blackmail me?  Why you dirty son of a..."

"Now, now, now, don't get yourself all flustered," he smiled coyly.  "It wouldn't do to get yourself all worked up if lover boy's on his way."

She took a step back from him and inhaled deeply in an attempt to calm her anger and sooth her now ragged nerves.  Her composure maintained, she stood up straight, as if prepared for a fight, and eyed him with determination.  She knew that with Charles on the way, she had to think quickly.

"What do you want?"

"You owe me!  If it weren't for me, you'd have gotten nowhere!  If it weren't for me, you'd still be pining your pathetic little heart out over a deeply loyal and committed man!  If you want me to stay quiet, you'll do exactly what I tell you to."

"I will not!"  Her temper began to rise again as her face flushed a crimson red.  "I owe you nothing!  As part of our deal, I'm keeping Charles away from his beloved, pitiful Francis so that you can do whatever it is you're planning to do with her!"

"You listen to me, you wretch," he muttered through clinched teeth as he swiftly reached out and grabbed her by the arm.  "If you don't give me what I want, I'll run straight to Charles and tell him all about that night.  I'll tell him how you gave me certain...favors, shall we say...in exchange for a little bottle filled with a wonderful power that you used to drug him into doing exactly what you wanted!"

"You wouldn't."

"Oh, yes, I would!"  He dug his fingers deep into her arm and she winced from the pain.  "So, what's it gong to be, Annabelle, darling?  Give me exactly what I ask for or watch this entire scheme of yours blow up right in your face?"

TREVOR'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

"You've really managed to pull this place together," Grace Davis said as she looked around the room.  "I just don't know where you found the time to move in and work on the newspaper."

"It really wasn't that difficult," Trevor Callison smiled before he took a bite of the dinner that he'd prepared for both of them.  He glanced around and sighed to himself.  Now that all of his things were moved in and put away and fresh paint had been applied to the walls, there was hardly a trace of Lorraine ever having lived there.

He looked back at Grace and noticed that she was staring off into space.  She wasn't really looking at the room or anything in particular...just seemingly lost in thought.

"Grace?" he spoke up as he snapped his fingers in front of her to grab her attention.  "Are you okay?  I think I lost you for a minute."

"Oh, um, I'm sorry," she muttered as she lowered her head and blushed slightly.  "I...I was just thinking about something."

"I could tell!"  He laughed for a moment before his mood grew more intense.  "Nothing serious I hope?  You weren't thinking about your mother, were you?"

"Um...actually, no."  She blushed again.  With apprehension, she looked up at him and found herself gazing into his deep, soulful eyes.  She felt her heart flutter and skip a beat.  His eyes always had such a strong effect on her.

"Then, what is it?"  Trevor looked at her curiously as he tried to figure out what had gotten her so distracted.

"Honestly?"  Grace swallowed hard and took a deep breath.  "I was thinking about you...about us."

"Really?"

"Yes, Trevor.  The way you feel about me, how much you love me, has really touched my heart in ways that I'd never dreamed possible."  She felt her voice quiver a little as she made her confession.  Even though her heart was racing with apprehension, she couldn't stop what she'd already started.

"I-I'm happy that you've finally come to accept that.  You have accepted that, haven't you?"  He reached across the table and took her hand into his, never for a moment taking his eyes off of her.

"Y-yes, I have accepted that."  A sense of confidence began to rush over her as the warmth of the moment began to overtake her.

"Does this mean that you can finally confess your feelings for me?"  He looked at her intently, determined not to let go of the moment.  "Are you finally able to say what I know that you've felt in your heart for quite a while now?  Are you finally able to tell me that you love me, too?"

Grace looked at him as old feelings of fear and apprehension began to take hold of her again.  Could she tell him everything that she'd longed to?  Could she finally admit the truth?

THE LAKE APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

Annabelle took several deep breaths as she quickly tried to weigh her options.  She couldn't have a crazed and incensed Fred running to Charles and blabbing everything that he knew.  That would ruin everything!

"Look, I can't have you shooting your mouth off about everything, but I don't see what you hope to get from me.  I'm just a secretary!  I live in this tiny, two bedroom apartment.  I don't have any money!  Not until I can get Charles to divorce that wretched wife of his so that we can be married!  I don't know how you expect me to pay for your silence."

Faced with that rather unsettling piece of truth, Fred let go of her arm and took a step back.  How could he get any money out of her if she didn't have any to start with?  He covered his mouth with his hand as he tried to evaluate the situation he'd gotten himself into.  If he couldn't get the money from Annabelle, how in the world would he be able to give his creditors the payment that they'd demanded?

"Now, Fred," she cooed softly as she decided on a change of tactics.  "I'm sure we could work something out that would be satisfactory to both of us.  Something much more pleasurable than this nastiness that you've insisted on dishing out today."

Annabelle slowly approached him and lifted her hand to gently caress his check while she faked a look of longing in her eyes.  "We did have quite an enjoyable time that night, didn't we?"

Suddenly, Fred's eyes landed on the rather majestic and expensive looking ring that resided on Annabelle's hand.  It wasn't the first time he'd seen it, but, until now, he'd hardly made note of it.  In fact, now that he thought about it, she never seemed to be without it.

"How about that?" he asked as he grabbed her hand away from his cheek and held it up in front of her face.  "That looks to be quite a pricey piece of jewelry for a lowly secretary!  A gift from you beloved Charles, I take it?"

"No!" she said firmly before snatching her hand away.  "This ring is not from Charles.  It's from Stephen."

"Stephen?"

"He is...was...my husband.  My late husband."  She held her hand close to her chest and covered it with her other hand as if to hide the ring from Fred.

"He must have meant a lot to you if you still wear his ring."  Though he was talking to her, he never took her eyes off of her hand or the ring.

"Stephen Lake was the sorriest excuse for a human being that ever walked the face of this earth!"  Annabelle's eyes burned with fury as she was forced to remember the fear and anguish that her marriage had brought her.  "If it wasn't one stupid scheme on his part, it was another!  I'm lucky that I managed to get Stephanie out of all of that alive!"

Fred eyed her curiously.  There was clearly no love lost for the late Mr. Lake, but the fact that she still wore his ring baffled him.  "If he was as horrible as you claim, why did you stay married to him?  Why do you still have that ring?"

"Truthfully, at one time, I loved him very much.  I was young and foolish and naive!"  She quickly turned away from him to hide the pain that her memories had brought.  "He was a charming cad and I fell for every word he said, hook, line, and sinker.  That man could sell dirt in the middle of a dust bowl!  What he couldn't do was hold on to his money.  As fast as he would scam money, he'd lose it on some foolish investment.  We never had a dime!  That man was always into something shady and he wasn't capable of not bringing the trouble he made home.  I wanted to leave him!  I tried to leave him, but Stephanie loved him so much.  I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't break my daughters heart and have her hate me for deserting her father."

Fred's eyes grew wide in response to Annabelle's tale.  For a split second, in spite of himself, he began to feel sorry for her...for her pain and her heartbreak.  A quick glimpse of her ring as it caught the light returned him to his senses.

"The ring!  What about the ring?"

"This ring was the only thing of value that man ever gave me.  It was right before..."  Her voice trailed off as she paused to take a deep breath and clinch her teeth in anguish over a memory that was nearly too painful too bear.  "It was right before he left us."

"Before he died?"

"Yes!"  She spun around to face him with a fierce look in her eyes that nearly chilled Fred to the core.  "It was right before he died.  I wear this ring to remind me of what kind of trouble and heartache a man can cause.  I wear it to remind me to never allow myself to be fooled by a man again!"

"Annabelle, that was years ago."  His melted heart quickly began to ice over as he remembered his true motive for his visit.  "Give me that ring!"

"I can't!"

"Can't you see that holding onto that ring and holding on to the past is going to destroy any chance you have of ever having a future with Charles?  If you hold on to that ring, you'll lose everything you've ever wanted.  Is it worth it?"

She quickly glanced down at the ring and thought about what he'd said.  "No," she finally muttered as she pulled the ring off of her finger and threw it at him.  "Take the damn thing!  If I ever have to be reminded of that bastard I married, it will be too soon!"

With a gleam in his eye, Fred held the ring up to the light and inspected it.  "You made the right decision," he smiled victoriously.

"Now, get out!"

With unbelievable glee, he strode quickly out the door leaving her shaken and distraught.  Mere moments later, she jumped with a start at the ringing of the doorbell.

"What?" she snapped as she flung the door open only to find Charles on the other side.

"Gee, maybe I should try that again."  He eyed her carefully and was quick to notice the intense emotional state she was in.  "Annabelle, are you all right?  What's wrong?"

"Oh, um, it's nothing," she tried to cover.  "I...um...just found myself thinking about things from a long time ago and got myself upset."

"Are you sure?"  He walked into the living room, still keeping his eyes on her every step of the way.

"Y-yes, I'm fine," she muttered.  "Just...just hold me, please."

Charles pulled her into his arms and held her tightly.  As the strength of his arms encircled her, she closed her eyes and began to feel the tension slip from her body as the security that he brought her began to take hold.  She opened her eyes again, slightly, and caught sight of her now naked hand and again thought of Stephen.  Oh, how different he and Charles were.  Charles was nothing like Stephen Lake.  Nothing at all!

TREVOR'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM

"Tell me, Grace," Trevor muttered as he grabbed her hands with urgency and held them tightly.  "Tell me what's in your heart."

"I...I..."  She quickly looked away, afraid of what admitting it all might mean.  It was one thing to feel it, but something entirely different to actually say it!  She felt her face flush with nervousness and quickly pulled her hands away from him before bolting across the room.

"Oh, Grace, why do you keep doing this?  Why do you keep coming so close only to pull so far away?"  He quickly rose from his chair and followed her.  When he came up behind her, he grabbed her by her arms and pulled her to him.  "Grace, I love you."

"T-Trevor," she stammered as she felt his arms wrap around her.  She'd always felt so secure with him...so safe.  How could she truly believe that he loved her?  How could he love her?  He was a Callison, a member of the most prominent family in town.  She was only a Davis, raised poor and a victim of a troubling childhood.  There was no way they could be right for one another.

"Say it, Grace!  Say it!"  In an instant, he spun her around so that their eyes met.  Their breathing became more shallow as he felt her heart pounding loudly in her chest.  Caught up in the moment, he swallowed hard, slightly overcome with emotion.

"Trevor, I can't," she muttered as tears began to stream down her face.  "I..."

Her protestations were silenced as he pressed his lips against hers and began to kiss her with a passionate tenderness that neither one of them had ever experienced.  She fought him for a moment, unwilling to let down her guard and get caught up in her feelings.  However, his will was too strong...her own emotions were too strong...and she found herself returning his kisses with as much fervor as they were given.

"Oh, Grace, I love you with all of my heart," Trevor murmured, breaking the kiss just long enough to speak.  "I think I've loved you since the first time I laid eyes on you.  Nothing else in the world matters to me but that!"

"Trevor," she sighed as she looked up at him and lost herself, once again, in his eyes.  "Oh, Trevor, I...I...I love you, too!"

"I've waited so long to hear you say that."

As the release of setting their feelings free rushed over them, they drew together in another kiss.  In that moment, all was right with the world and they knew that nothing would ever be able to separate them.  They were in love, and that was all that mattered.

TO BE CONTINUED

TOMORROW

Stephanie feels responsible

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

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions