APARTMENT - ANNABELLE'S BEDROOM
why are you insistent on forcing yourself on the Callison family?"
Stephanie asked as she sat on the bed and watched her mother preparing for her
dinner party. "You know they don't like you!"
"They just haven't gotten
a chance to really know me." Annabelle put on her earrings and
carefully brushed a stay hair back into place.
"I think they know you
about as well as they want to know you!" Stephanie sunk back onto
the bed, frustrated that she couldn't get her mother to listen to reason.
her daughter's reflection in the mirror, Annabelle quickly turned to glare at
her in disapproval before giving a sharp snap of her fingers.
"Darling, sit up straight! No man would ever want to marry a girl
who's a slouch."
Stephanie took a deep breath
and did as she was told, correcting her posture. "There's more to
what a man sees in a woman than perfect posture and the right clothes or speech."
"Oh, no! You've
been reading those dreadful pulp romance novels again!" She shook her
head in disbelief before walking over to sit down on the bed next to her
daughter. "You listen to me, Stephanie. All that kind of talk will
get you is a broken heart. Just look at Clark
Stephanie clinched her teeth
at the mention of Clark's name. The last thing she wanted to think about
was Clark and the horrible way he'd attempted to use her. Besides, he was
long gone from Albanyville. With any luck, he would never come back.
Noticing her chilly response
to the topic of Clark, Annabelle swiftly changed gears. "Well...what
about Patterson?" she asked with a sly smile. "Now, I'm sure he
wouldn't want a wife who slouches."
"What does Patterson have
to do with anything?" Stephanie questioned as she felt herself growing
flustered. "He and I are just friends! That's it!"
Annabelle grinned as she quickly deduced how far from the truth her daughter's
protestations were. "You two seem to have gotten awfully
chummy. I think he'd make a wonderful husband for you. He is still
planning on becoming a doctor, isn't he?"
"Granted, I would have
much preferred you with Reginald," she continued, disregarding the great
discomfort she was causing her daughter. "But, no, you had to hitch
your horse to Dane
Manchester! Of all people! What in the devil made
you think that he could help you get Reginald away from Jillian. Oh, if
only that would have worked, you and I could have a double wedding."
"I am not rehashing my disastrous
attempts at taking Reginald away from Jillian with you!" Stephanie
bolted from the bed and ran across the room in an attempt to escape her mother's
pointed comments. "Besides, I'm not the topic of conversation
here! You and your underhanded attempts to force yourself into the
Callison family are!"
Annabelle laughed heartily. "Dear, I am not forcing myself on
them. Charles loves me! Or, at the very least, I can convince him
that he does."
yourself? Momma, what do you call drugging him so that you can get him
into bed with you because he wouldn't come near you in his right
mind?" Stephanie began to feel her blood pressure rise as she started
to grow angry.
"I cannot believe
you!" Annabelle shouted in anger as her hand flew up to her chest in
shock and pain. "How can you sit there and act all high and
mighty? You're my daughter! After everything I've done for you,
after everything I've sacrificed in my life, I would have hoped that you would
support me! Why, I even had that little weasel Clark Saxon taken care of
stammered, unsure that she'd heard her mother correctly. "What do you
"Darling, why do you
think that trash is no longer in school?" She paused for a moment
and, when no reply came, a sly smirk spread across her face. "It's so
good to know the right people." Or, in this case, people you can
force to do what you want them to do under threat of revealing past indiscretions
to unknowing spouses. "I simply phoned the dean and made a
little...request. I told him that there were certain...well, rumors, shall
we say...that needed investigating. I assured him that having Clark Saxon
as a member of the student body would not be a good thing for Albanyville
didn't!" Stephanie gasped in shock.
"I most certainly
did!" Annabelle smiled triumphantly as she rose from the bed and
headed for the door. "If it weren't for your dear mother, that nasty
little boy would still be intent on destroying your life. Like I said
before, after everything I've done for you, how can you not support me?"
Stephanie stood in silence,
still in shock from her mother's revelation. She hadn't wanted her
mother's interference, but had to admit that she was glad that Clark was out of
her life. Maybe she was right. Maybe Stephanie did owe her.