For Now and Forever
EPISODE #70 (Friday
BURT'S TRUCK - SOMEWHERE ALONG SPRING LAKE RD.
As Burt Lamont drove his truck along the country road, his mother's dying request echoed in his mind.
He clutched the steering wheel tightly and kept his eyes focused on the road ahead. However, his mother's shocking revelation still echoed in his mind. He was a Callison! Landon Callison was his father. As he thought about the horrible way that the Callison family had treated his mother, he found himself growing angry. How could they be so heartless...so cruel? How could they set out to hurt someone has kind and loving as his mother?
Those were questions that he desperately needed the answers for. As he rounded the bend and pulled out onto the main highway that would take him into town, he thought about how he needed to make them regret everything they'd ever done to her...to him. Because of their arrogance and snobbery, they had denied his mother the love of her life and him the chance to ever know his real father. If it hadn't been for them, his life would have been so totally different.
It was time to honor his mother's request. It was time to finally claim the life that should have been his and punish those responsible for denying him what was rightfully his...his legacy...his family...his father! As his jaw clinched tightly, he pressed down on the accelerator. Now, it was time to tell the truth.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARK & JUDITH'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM
"So, have you managed to calm yourself down?" Mark Linford asked as his wife walked back into the room. "I think I've had about as much of your histrionics as I can stand, this evening."
"I have nothing to say to you," Judith Linford replied as she returned to her seat on the sofa and again picked up the magazine she'd flung aside earlier. "As far as I'm concerned, this discussion is over!"
"I'm warning you, Judith, don't do anything foolish!"
She took a deep breath as she turned to glare at him. "I'm warning you to not cause trouble! I have no intention of giving up my entire life to be with Burt Lamont!"
"Well, that's the smartest thing I've ever heard you say." He took a drink of his scotch and smiled smugly. "I knew that you'd realize what a mistake you'd be making by trying to disrupt our marriage."
Judith clinched her teeth tightly and, once again, cast the magazine aside. Her husband did have a point. If she were to publicly confess her love for Burt, there would surely be a scandal. He just wasn't from the right social class. There was no way they could ever be together. However, she would be damned if she let her pathetic little sister have him. That was something Judith realized that she would just not be able to bear. How would she be able to deal with seeing them together when she loved him so much? It would just tear her heart out. Why couldn't Burt belong to a prominent and successful family so that her love for him wouldn't be so socially disastrous?
"Forget all about Burt," Mark continued as he slowly walked around the room. "If you don't you'll wind up ruining your entire life...and mine. If you think I'm giving up everything I've worked so hard for, you're as loony as your sister!"
"I said that I'm not going to say anything!" she snapped.
"You know, this might all turn out to be a good thing." He allowed a wicked smirk to spread across his face.
"W-what do you mean?" Judith turned to looked at him with an uncomfortable sense of curiousness.
"Maybe it would be good if Janet just never came home. Maybe it would be even better if Burt Lamont just up and disappeared."
She recoiled in horror. Surely, Mark wasn't saying what she thought he was saying! Surely, he wasn't planning on doing anything to Burt!
THE CALLISON HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Gee, did you two have to come back in so soon?" Grace Davis asked as Reginald Callison and Jillian Stokes walked back into the room. "I was going to join you outside on the porch. It's a little...um..."
"Awkward?" Reginald asked as he turned to look in Annabelle Lake's direction. "This entire evening is nothing but a farce! How my father can even think that any of us will accept his relationship with that woman is beyond me."
"Uh, oh," Jillian spoke up as she pulled Reginald closer. "Annabelle's coming over here."
"Ah, I see you two love birds are done enjoying this wonderful autumn air." Annabelle casually lit a cigarette, took a long draw, and blew a thick cloud of smoke in the air, leaving Grace to scrunch up her nose and wave her hand in an attempt to fan it away.
"Yes, it's so nice outside, however, that Reginald and I may be spending most of the evening out there."
Reginald turned to look at his fiancée with amusement. He just had to learn how to display such coolness under pressure.
"You know, dear," Annabelle smiled, "I was just talking to my niece Sara and her husband Dane just the other day..." She paused and grinned slyly. "Oh, wait! That's right! You already know Dane don't you, Jillian?"
"You know good and well that I know Dane Manchester!" Jillian snapped angrily as Reginald's eyes grew wide from shock. Apparently her cool facade was starting to crack. "You know all about that lying little weasel and what he tried to do to me and Reginald at our engagement party! How dare you even think to bring his name up here!"
"Um...Jillian..." Grace spoke up as she grabbed her arm, "maybe we should go check on Maggie and Hannah in the kitchen."
"I think that would be an excellent idea!" Jillian took a deep breath and turned to Reginald. "I'll talk to you later."
"Well, I guess all the money in the world can't buy good manners," Annabelle smirked as Grace and Jillian walked away.
"How would you know anything about good manners?" he replied before angrily walking away.
"I just can't believe that woman!" Jillian fumed as she stood with Grace in the dining room, just outside the kitchen door. "Reginald's father must have lost his mind!"
"Well, at least his sons haven't inherited his lack of sense," Grace smiled as she glanced back into the living room at Reginald and Trevor who were now standing together and chatting.
"Actually, after that mess with Stephanie Lake, I wasn't too sure." Jillian's mind flashed back, momentarily, to his brief, yet problematic, affair with the young schemer. "I just can't believe how much like Annabelle Stephanie is!"
"At least you two managed to work all of that out. Stephanie is not threat to you or Reginald or your relationship."
"Speaking of relationships," Jillian spoke up with a sly smile, "how are things coming along with you and Trevor? I know he's very much in love with you."
"Um...well..." Grace's face turned beat red as she thought about the giant leap that she and Trevor had taken.
"Okay, I know that look." Jillian grabbed Grace's arm and pulled her close. "What happened? I can tell it's something wonderful!"
"J-Jillian, I...I...I told Trevor that I love him."
"What?" Jillian's hand flew up to her mouth in joyous surprise. "Oh, my god, that's wonderful! I know he's waited so long for you to say that."
"I-I know," Grace blushed again. "And right after I said it, I really wanted to take it back."
"You didn't mean it?"
"No! It's not that, at all!" As a cloud of worry covered Grace's face, she lowered her head slightly. "It's just that...oh, well, I'm new at all of this romance stuff. I...I just..."
"Oh, don't worry," Jillian smiled as she put her arms around Grace and gave her a supportive hug. "All new relationships are awkward, at first. But Trevor really loves you and you love Trevor. That's all that matters. Just take it one day at a time."
Grace sighed as she tried to allow Jillian's advice to sink in. Maybe she was right. She and Reginald had overcome so much in their quest to be together and their love had conquered everything. Maybe she and Trevor would be just as fortunate. However, she couldn't shake the ominous feeling that they weren't destined for a storybook romance.
THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM
"Oh, Lorraine," Douglas Davis muttered as he held his wife tightly in his arms, "I just know we could have a real marriage. I...I know this is all awkward, but...but..."
"This is more than awkward," she replied with a sigh. "You don't want to be married to me any more than I want to be married to you. All of this is just because of the baby. I think we'd both be foolish to try to make it more than it is."
"How can you say that?" He pulled away from her and looked at her intently. "Why can't you just give us a chance to be happy? It's almost like you're so content to wallow in your own misery that you're just too busy to see how wonderful things could really be between us."
"Your optimism just astounds me." In spite of herself, Lorraine couldn't help but laugh. "Why are you so insistent on this?"
"I...I don't know if you know this, or not, but..." Douglas lowered his head slightly, almost from embarrassment, and took a deep breath. "Well, my mother was very young when she married my father. He was a little bit older. They...they really loved one another when they got married, or at least that's what they always told me. However, things changed. He became an abusive drunk and she wound up hating him."
"Oh, Douglas! I had...no idea." She reached out for him and took his hand into hers. As his pain shown clearly on his face, her heart broke for him. "You must have had a very horrible childhood. I knew your mother was ill, but I...I didn't exactly know all of the details about your father."
"He drank himself to death. Left us penniless." He squinted his eyes tightly in hopes of stopping the tears that wanted to spill forth. Those were memories he'd tried for so many years not to think about. "So, Lorraine, don't you see? No one can ever predict how a marriage can turn out. My parents got married out of love, but it didn't turn into one based on it."
"I...I think I understand what you mean."
"Just because our marriage wasn't based on love doesn't mean it can't turn into one." He reached out for her again and wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer. "Please...please just give me a chance."
"Oh, Douglas, I don't know." She quickly turned her head away, hoping that he wouldn't be able to see the confusion that was written on her face.
"Give us a chance. Give us a chance to be a family. You, me, and our baby." With a gentle hand, he pulled her head to him and kissed her lightly on the cheek. "I just know that if we open our hearts to one another, the love that we have for this baby is going to be so great that it's just going to spill over onto us."
As she lay wrapped in her husband's arms, Lorraine began to consider what he was saying. Could it really happen? Could they actually fall in love with one another if they just let themselves? Lorraine wasn't entirely convinced, but she knew she was begin to feel very secure in his arms. They were already married, what else did they have to lose?
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARK & JUDITH'S PENTHOUSE
- LIVING ROOM
"I'm tired of discussing this with you!" Judith snapped as she turned away from him. "The last thing I want to talk about is..." A pounding knock at the door interrupted her and she glanced in its direction with annoyance. "Oh, who the devil could be stopping by at this hour?"
"Just forget them!" Mark said as he grabbed her arm and held her still. "I'm not finished with you!" The pounding knock came again.
"For goodness sake, Ruby, answer the blasted door!" She clinched her teeth tightly in frustration. "I swear, that girl is more trouble than she's worth. I should have fired her weeks ago!"
"Um...Mrs. Linford..." Ruby called out from the foyer. "Mrs. Linford!"
"Oh, Ruby, what the devil is it? Are you having trouble figuring out how to open it?" With a look of anger, Judith yanked her arm away from Mark and walked briskly towards the front door. "It's a very simple procedure, you just turn the knob and....oh, my god!" She gasped sharply at the sight of a disheveled Janet Stokes standing in the foyer.
"M-Mrs. Linford, she doesn't...look well," Ruby muttered, still taken aback by Janet's appearance.
"And where have you been?" Judith questioned as Mark walked up behind her. "Don't you realize that you've had all of us worried sick? Why, Jillian has just been beside herself! It was utterly childish and selfish of you to just run off like that!"
"Um, Judith, don't you think you're being a little harsh on her," Mark muttered under his breath. "She doesn't...look well."
"Didn't you think any of us would be concerned about you?" Judith continued, completely ignoring her husband's observations. "Why, this entire mess has given me enough stress that I'm surprised that it hasn't put me in labor!"
"Oh, lord," Mark muttered. "Can I request a sedative for that one? I'm not sure I can handle you in labor!"
"Shut up, Mark!" Judith shot him an angry look before returning her focus to her sister. "Where have you been?"
"I've been out," Janet finally muttered as she pushed passed Judith and into the living room.
"M-Mrs. Linford, maybe I should get Miss Janet a glass of water?" Ruby bit her lip and looked at Judith in intimidation.
"Yes, why don't you just go do that!" Judith spun around to follow Janet leaving Ruby to hurry off to the kitchen. "Janet, 'out' is not an acceptable answer!"
"I'm going to call a doctor," Mark spoke up as he quickly rushed for the phone.
"Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this? This little brat just deliberately set out to worry all of us!" And did a good job, too, she thought to herself. "Now, I want to know exactly where you've been!"
"Burt loves me," Janet muttered as she kept her eyes focused straight ahead. "He loves me and we're going to be married."
"What?" Judith covered her mouth in shock. "What is this nonsense?"
"Burt loves me, not you!" Janet's eyes drifted down to her hands and quickly clasped them together to keep them from shaking. "I...I painted a picture of him and it told me he wants to marry me."
As Judith kept her eyes glued to her sister, she could clearly see that something was definitely not right. Her apparently calm exterior and vacant eyes frightened Judith. What in the world could have happened to her while she was missing?
THE CALLISON HOME - DINING ROOM
"...and thank you, Lord, for my wonderful family who are finally all together, once again, in our home. Amen."
As Charles finished his prayer everyone unclasped each other's hands and lifted their heads. Maggie, who'd been forced to hold Annabelle's hand, quickly made it a point to exaggeratedly wipe her hand on the edge of the table cloth.
"Maggie!" Charles chastised, refusing to ignore his daughter's blatant act of spite.
"Oh, that's all right. I think she's just darling," Annabelle said through a forced smile. Yep, adoption for that one was at the top of her list. "If I may, I'd like to say a few words."
The sudden rush of muffled, mumbled comments echoed through the room before Charles quickly tapped his glass with his knife to silence the chatter.
"Well...if you have something to say, then very well." He shot his family a stern look of warning. "The floor is yours."
"First of all, I'd like to thank you all for inviting me into your wonderful home," Annabelle smiled as she made a deliberate point of locking eyes with every person at the table. "Maggie, sweet Maggie. You are truly the joy of your father's heart." And I wouldn't be sitting here tonight if it hadn't been for your help.
"Reginald, you are so much like your father. You have made him so proud of you. I couldn't be any prouder if you were my own son." Of course, I would settle for son-in-law, if I could just get Stephanie to get her act together.
I think I'm going to be sick.
"Trevor, you have such a spirit and sense of imagination about you. I hope you realize exactly what a true gift you are." And unbelievably dull, but why quibble.
Maybe I can just slip out and say I've got an article due for the newspaper that I've got to write.
"Jillian, I could only dream of having the grace and charm that you have. This family should be proud to welcome you has the next Callison." Unless, of course, I manage to beat you to it.
Surely, she's not expecting us to buy all of this garbage?
"And, dear Grace, you're brother Douglas has built his world around you." And I can't exactly figure out what the hell you're dong here.
And here I thought my mother was the crazy one!
"Please tell me she's finished," Reginald muttered as he leaned over to Jillian. "I think I'm about to loose my appetite."
"Here's to the Callison family!" Annabelle gracefully rose from her chair and extended her glass in a toast. "Long may the first family of Albanyville reign!"
"Now, where's the food so we can get this over with," Trevor grumbled as he folded his arms across his chest and sunk down into his chair.
"Oh, Annabelle, darling, that was just beautiful," Charles smiled as he stood up and moved beside her to give her a tender kiss on the cheek. At the sounds of Maggie gagging, he shot her a stern look just in time to see Jillian grab her shoulder to give her a vicious shake. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. "Now, who the devil could that be?"
"Um, Mr. Callison?" Hannah spoke up cautiously as she walked into the dining room. "There is...there is a young man at the front door and he insists on speaking with you."
"Could you just tell him that I'm in the middle of a family dinner?" Charles furrowed his brow in annoyance. "I cannot be disturbed! Take his name and tell him to telephone me at the office tomorrow."
"I will not be put off!" came the voice as it echoed from the foyer. "I've been forced to wait my entire life for this moment and I refuse to wait any longer!"
A shocked and confused Callison family quickly turned towards the sound of the voice to find Burt Lamont standing in doorway of the dining room.
TO BE CONTINUED
How will the Callisons react to their newest family member?
For Now and Forever
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