For Now and Forever
EPISODE #69 (Thursday
THE CALLISON HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Reginald, you're a grown man...an adult. I'm sure you can understand!" Charles Callison looked at his oldest son earnestly. Why couldn't they see that people changed? Why couldn't they accept what was going on?
"I will never accept this!" Afraid of allowing his emotions to get the better of him, Reginald Callison suddenly turned away to hide his pain. "And I will never understand it."
As Charles stood in the center of the room, surrounded by his family that had been devastated by his actions, he realized that this party would not be the happy coming together that Annabelle had envisioned. In fact, it had turned into a complete disaster and she hadn't even arrived!
"Well, I see everyone is here!" the cool voice came from the doorway to the living room.
"I...um...I tried to stall," Hannah, the family housekeeper, muttered awkward as she trailed along behind Annabelle as she stepped into the room. "But...but you know how she is."
Annabelle Lake turned sharply to shoot the maid a hateful glance before approaching Charles and taking him by the arm. "Now that I'm here, the evening can begin. Let's all have a wonderful night of togetherness!"
Everyone looked at each other with a mixture of nervousness, anger, and apprehension. They all clearly realized that it would be a long, long night.
THE DAVIS HOME - DINING ROOM
"It sure is quiet around here tonight without Grace," Douglas Davis commented before taking a bite out of his dinner. "I swear, that girl spends more time on the telephone than anyone I've ever seen."
"Yes, I've noticed," Lorraine Davis smiled warmly. "She's blossomed into quite the chatterbox, lately. I wonder why?" She didn't have to wonder too hard. Lorraine was convinced that her sister-in-law's bubbly nature and constant glow of happiness was a direct result of her budding relationship with Trevor Callison, a man that Lorraine, herself, had once loved.
"I'm glad that things are going so well between her and Trevor," he commented, as if reading his wife's mind. "Things must be getting fairly serious if he's taken her to a family dinner at his parents' house."
"Um...yes, it must be serious." She looked away for a moment, growing slightly uneasy with discussion about her former love and his new girlfriend.
"I...I'm sorry," Douglas spoke up as he quickly noticed the faraway look in Lorraine's eyes. "I'm sure that Trevor dating my sister isn't a very comfortable situation for you."
"Actually, it's nothing," she replied, forcing a smile before taking in a deep breath. Her past with Trevor was nothing, just like her past with Patterson. None of it mattered, anymore. She was married to Douglas and carrying his child and that was the way things had to be. No sense fretting over it.
"Are you sure?" He eyed her curiously, not quite convinced that it all meant as little as she claimed. "I don't know how I'd feel if someone I'd once loved were dating someone else I cared about."
"C-can we please just change the subject?" She casually glanced down at her plate as a feeling of forlornness covered her. All of this talk about Trevor had brought up painful memories that were best left forgotten.
"You know, honey, you're right," Douglas smiled as he reached across the table and took her hand into his. "None of that matters now. We're married. You are my wife. Nothing from the past matters, anymore. The only thing that truly matters is us and this wonderful life we're bringing into the world...together."
Feeling nervous and more than a bit uncomfortable, Lorraine quickly pulled her hand away before rising from the table and rushing into the living room. How could Douglas act like this was a typical marriage? How could he act as if the horrible events that brought about their union were only a distant memory that didn't matter? They did matter! They mattered a great deal.
"Darling, are you all right?" he asked as he quickly followed behind her. "Did I do something wrong? What did I say?"
Lorraine stood silently as an imaginary chasm began to widen between them. Suddenly, she felt very alone...more alone than she'd ever felt in her entire life.
THE CALLISON HOME - LIVING ROOM
Annabelle stood at Charles' side in silence as she carefully looked at his family. The tension in the air was thick and she was quick to notice.
"Well, isn't anyone going to say 'Hello, Annabelle, so good to see you'?" she asked as she eyed them each carefully. She suddenly realized that it would be a much more difficult evening than she'd originally thought.
Finally, after much too long of a period of silence, Jillian Stokes cleared her throat carefully. "Good evening, Annabelle," she said as she called upon everything she'd learned at finishing school. "You're looking lovely this evening." She approached her cautiously and extended her hand in a display of cordiality, hoping that the others would follow suit. Jillian knew that an effort had to be made to placate both Charles and Annabelle or the night would surely be a total disaster.
"Why, thank you, Jillian!" Annabelle smiled as she eyed her with a mixture of surprise and apprehension. "I saw this at Lerner's and thought it would be just the perfect thing to wear to an event as important as this."
"Important?" Trevor Callison grumbled under his breath to Reginald. "To her, maybe."
Overhearing his comment, Grace Davis gave him a cautionary look and a sharp pinch on the arm. The pain, of which, made him wince and he fought the urge to cry out in surprise.
Catching a glimpse of the exchange between Reginald, Trevor, and Grace, Annabelle gave them a curious look as they all stood with their hands clasped in front of them in an attempt to appear innocent.
"Now, where's..." Annabelle said as she tried to exude as much charm as possible. Suddenly Maggie Callison stepped into the room. "Ah! There she is! And how is the prettiest Callison of them all?"
Maggie's eyes grew wide from the shock of the comment and quickly looked to her older brothers for some kind of hint as to what was going on. "I...I'm fine," she muttered as she attempted to avoid Annabelle's gaze.
"I swear, you're looking more and more like your father everyday!"
"I am not!" Maggie snapped angrily. "I look like my Nana! You do remember my Nana, don't you? She's my mother's mother!"
Annabelle froze slightly as she bit her tongue and suppressed an urge to make a stinging retort. Finally, she took a deep breath. "I most certainly do remember your grandmother. She's a fine woman." She's also pushy, overly opinionated, and rude! she thought.
Maggie rolled her eyes and let out a heavy sigh. Who in the world did Annabelle think she was fooling? Maggie was way too smart to be conned over to her side with a few words of cheap flattery and condescension.
"Um, Maggie," Grace spoke up as she tapped the young girl on the shoulder. "M-maybe you can come with me and we can see if Hannah needs any help getting things set up for dinner."
"Oh, all right," Maggie sighed before a slight smile covered her face. "It would give me a chance to tell you about what we've been studying in Biology class."
"Oh, really? What's that?" Grace looked at her curiously. Maggie was clearly up to something.
"We've been studying spiders!" Maggie smirked slightly and shot a wicked looked at Annabelle. "Have you heard of the black widow?"
"Maggie!" Charles snapped angrily.
"She kills all of her husbands!"
"I...I think that's enough science class for today," Grace muttered, both aghast and amused by the comment. "Now, let's go see what Hannah is up to." With a sharp tug on Maggie's hand, Grace quickly pulled her from the room.
"Well, children today sure are spirited," Annabelle laughed as she did her best to ignore Maggie's comment. "That girl, she's...she's...as sharp as a tack, isn't she?" Silently, she began to wonder if it would be possible to put the youngest Callison up for adoption after her wedding to Charles.
"I think I'm going to be ill," Reginald muttered to Jillian who did her best to hide a laugh.
"Let's just make it through tonight." She replied as she kept her fake smile on public display.
"Oh, Reginald," Annabelle spoke up with a smile as she walked over to him. "I thought that you'd like to know that Stephanie is just doing wonderfully at school. Why, she's even thinking about becoming a journalism major!" A blatant lie.
"Really?" He quickly looked from Annabelle to Jillian and noticed his fiancée's face flush with annoyance.
"Yes! Isn't that splendid? I'm sure that all of the time you spent with her must have had something to do with that!"
"Oh, my, it's getting a little stuffy in here," Jillian spoke up as she began to fan herself. "Darling, would you care to join me outside? The air in here is starting to get a little stale."
"I thought you'd never ask!" Reginald exclaimed as he took her hand and quickly led her past Annabelle and out the front door.
"I honestly can't understand what your father hopes to accomplish with this dinner," Jillian said once she and Reginald were outside, away from the thick clouds of tension. "Surely he doesn't think that everyone is going to fall in love with that woman tonight!"
"These days, I have no clue about what Father is thinking," Reginald sighed as he leaned up against one of the columns on the front porch. "He's completely blinded by her!" He glanced over at her and noticed her staring off into space. "I...I'm sorry I brought you to all of this. You're getting to see my family at their worst."
"Well, actually, this is taking my mind off of...other things."
"I know. I know." He wrapped his arms around her tightly and pulled her close. "I just can't believe that there's no trace of Janet. Where in the world could she have disappeared to?"
"I wish I knew," Jillian muttered. "I...I'm just so worried about her, what with everything that she's already been through."
"Are you sure she didn't go home? Back to New York?"
"That's doubtful. Mother hasn't said anything about her being there and I just can't tell her that I've lost my sister!" She began to wring her hands in worry. Janet just had to be okay. Jillian didn't know what she'd do if anything happened to her.
THE LAMONT HOME - LIVING ROOM
Burt Lamont sat in the darkened living room staring at the photograph of his mother that sat on the side table across the room. He leaned forward and rested his chin on his hands as he thought about the woman who had given him life...the woman who had meant more to him than almost anyone else in the world.
"I...I can't believe she's gone," Randy Lamont spoke up, his voice just above a reverent whisper as he stood in the doorway to the kitchen. "I...I j-just can't believe it."
"Neither can I," Burt muttered as he tried to keep his voice from shaking. "I really thought she was doing better. Her...her spells weren't coming quite as often."
Randy leaned back against the doorframe and banged his head in frustration. As his eyes began to mist over, he clinched his teeth tightly in hopes of holding back the mournful cries that wanted to break free.
"H-how are we going to survive this?" Randy asked in despair. "How? She...she was what held us together."
"I know, Randy. I know."
Burt slowly rose from his seat, walked over to the picture of his mother, and took it into his hands. As he gazed down at her face, he gently, reverently ran his fingers along the outline of her chin. He could almost feel the softness of her cheek and the tickle of her hair as she gave him a hug. He could almost smell the faint scent of her perfume. He could almost hear her clanging pots and pans in the kitchen as she worked to fix supper. Almost.
"It...it really was a nice service," Randy spoke up, commenting on their mother's funeral from just days before. "I think the preacher did a good job. I just wish...I just wish more people would have shown up. But, I guess she really didn't know a lot of people here in Albanyville." Still trying to hold back his emotions, Randy swallowed hard as his bottom lip began to quiver.
Burt's jaw tightened as his mother's words began to echo in his ears.
"I...I had hoped that Pa would've come," Randy continued, unaware of the thoughts that were running through his brother's mind. "But, I...I guess he doesn't know. W-we haven't seen him in so long. It would've been nice if he could've have been here...for Ma."
"U-um, yes," Burt said with a weary sigh. "Yes, that...would have been nice."
"Oh, Burt," Randy sobbed, unable to hold back his pain. "I...I miss Ma. I miss...Pa. I wish...I wish we could be a f-family like we used to be. Like...before."
"I know, Randy, I know." Burt sat the picture back in its spot on the table and walked over to his brother, wrapping his arms around him and pulling him close. "It's going to be okay. Everything's going to be fine."
"N-no, it's not."
"She's...she's just gone to a better place." Although he was holding Randy to give him strength and support, Burt found himself holding onto him for dear life. "She's gone to a place where there's no pain. A place where she doesn't have a care in the world. A place where she can be happy forever."
As Burt held his younger brother in his arms, he thought about his mother's last words and her shocking revelation. Burt was a Callison! Randy was only his half-brother. Of course, Burt realized that none of that changed how he felt about Randy. However, he worried what the news would do to him. They'd been abandoned by their father...well, Randy's father...and now they'd lost their mother. Burt knew that he had to tell Randy the truth, but how? How could he tell him something that would forever change his life? It had changed Burt's, and now he wasn't sure what to do.
THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Lorraine?" Douglas asked with worry as he looked at her. "Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?"
"Douglas, how can you act like we have this little storybook life?" she asked as she stared at him intently. "We have nothing like that!" Letting out a deep sob, she quickly turned away from him in hopes of hiding the tears that were about to pour from her eyes.
"Honey, I'm not pretending anything!" He quickly walked up behind her and reached out for her. However, at the first touch of his hand on her shoulder, she pulled herself away. "Please, Lorraine, please let me hold you. Please let me try to help you through this."
"No!" she cried an anguish. "We are not some fairytale romance! We did not meet and fall in love and decide to spend the rest of our lives together because we couldn't stand to be without each other! You married me because you had to!"
"N-no, Lorraine, that's not it at all!" Douglas took a deep breath as he tried to think of a way to reason with her. True, they had only married for the sake of their unborn child, but that was no reason for them not to find happiness together. Did the circumstances surrounding their marriage mean that they had to be miserable for the rest of their lives?
"Yes, it is!" She began to feel her hands shake as the stress of their entire situation began to get to her. "You know that if I weren't having your baby, we wouldn't be here right now. I would not be in this house and you would not be my husband."
"But, I am your husband." He started to reach out for her again, but reconsidered and quickly pulled his hand away. "Lorraine, if we're actually going to make this marriage work, we have to work together. I...I don't understand what's happening to us. Why are you so distant from me, now?"
"Honey, we've always been close. We've always been friends. I can remember when we used to talk to each other about everything. Why can't we be that close now?"
"Because we're married! We aren't just friends, anymore, Douglas! I am your wife and I'm having your baby. Things are so utterly different now!" Overcome with emotion, Lorraine threw herself onto the sofa and buried her face in her hands as she continued to cry.
"Lorraine, you...you're getting yourself all upset." He watched her cautiously as he remembered Dr. Jackson's warnings. Undue stress could cause severe complications for both her and their baby. "You've got to calm down for the baby's sake!"
"Oh, yes! For the baby's sake!" She felt her face flush as she found herself growing more and more hysterical. "Everything has to be for the baby's sake! Our marriage is for the baby's sake! What about me? What's for my sake? What?"
Douglas, unable to hold himself back any longer, rushed to her side and pulled her into his arms. With clinched fists, she began to pound on his shoulders, but he refused to let go. After several moments of struggling, Lorraine finally gave in and buried her face in his chest as she sobbed.
"O-oh, Douglas, t-this is all just a huge mistake! This is never going to work out."
"Please, Lorraine," he said softly as he stroked her hair in an attempt to settle her down. "Please give this...us...a chance. Please give me a chance to be a husband to you. I...I want to be a husband to you."
"You just want to be a father to this baby!"
"No! Not just that!" He held her tightly in his arms and slowly began to rock her back in forth. "I...I..."
"W-what?" she asked as she began to find herself settling down in the security of his arms.
"Just give me a chance."
Lorraine pulled away from him and looked deeply into his eyes. Did he mean it? Did he really want to be a husband to her? Could they truly have a real marriage?
THE LAMONT HOME - LIVING ROOM
"So...um, have you heard anything about Janet?" Randy asked as he pulled himself out of his brother's arms and quickly dried his eyes. He was more than a little embarrassed by his display of emotions.
"Actually, no." Yet another crisis that Burt was finding himself forced to deal with.
First, he'd learned that the woman he loves had been hiding her true identity from him in fear of him learning about her scandalous past, then she ran away when she discovered his own torrid history with her own sister. This, compounded by the death of his mother and her shocking news that his father was actually Landon Callison, had sent Burt's world into a tailspin. It was all just too much...too much happening all at once.
"I...I know she'll turn up." Randy was trying so hard to be of some kind of support for Burt. However, he realized that what Burt really needed was their mother alive and the woman he loved back home, safe and sound.
"I hope so." Burt's expression turned solemn as he thought about all of the heartache that had happened over the past weeks. Too much heartache.
"The Callison family sure sent a nice spray of flowers." Randy was making a feeble attempt at changing the conversation to something a little lighter, but his mention of the Callisons only reminded Burt of his true parentage...the secret that their mother had kept hidden for so long. "They sure must think a lot of the people that work for them to have spent so much money."
"Yeah, the sure think a lot of us," Burt grumbled. They thought enough not to even show up for the funeral...not one of them! That made him very angry. After everything that family had done to his mother, the least they could have done was show up for the funeral and pay their respects. He paused for a moment and took a deep breath. That family...his family. He was a Callison. He was one of them.
"B-Burt, are you okay?" Randy asked as he noted the tortured expression on his brother's face. "Is...is something else going on?"
"No." Without another word, he turned and quickly walked up the stairs leaving Randy both confused and worried. Moments later, Burt came back down with his jacket on and headed for the door.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going out," Burt muttered. "There's something I have to take care of."
"Does it have to do with Ma?"
"It has everything to do with Ma." As Burt stepped out into the crisp autumn air, his mother's dying request rang in his ears once more...
TO BE CONTINUED
Guess who's coming to dinner?
For Now and Forever
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