HOME - DINING ROOM
Reginald gasped in shock at Burt's revelation. "What in the devil are
you talking about? You can't be Landon's son!"
"And why can't I?"
Burt sneered as he spun around to face his new-found cousin. "Is it
because I'm a lowly stable hand? Is it because I'd be a blight on the
great Callison dynasty?"
"N-no, it's not it at all
but..." Reginald shook his head as he tried to process the
news. This had all come so suddenly...so unexpectedly. "We
can't just let you walk in off of the street and make accusations and
proclamations like this! How do we know you're not just some con artist
trying to stake a false claim to our family's money? How do we know you're
telling the truth."
does have a point," Charles admitted, still visibly stunned by the
news. "I'm...I'm sorry, but I just can't take you at your word.
I admit that Nellie Burgess was Landon's girlfriend, but how do we really know
that you're telling us the truth?"
took a deep breath as he tried to ease his rising anger. They were still
trying to deny him because of his social status...because they thought his
mother didn't deserve to receive the love of one of the mighty Callisons.
He cringed slightly when he realized how right his mother had been about them
"Burt, I'm sure you can
understand our position," Charles continued as he reached out for the man
who might be his nephew...the son of his beloved Landon. "I'm sure
you would feel the same way if the situations were reversed."
"I would never deny my
own family!" Burt snapped.
we're asking for is some kind of proof," Trevor Callison spoke up.
"Anything that might verify what you've told us. Without it, once
this becomes public knowledge, almost anyone with a story like yours could
suddenly come forth and try to stake a claim to our family. Surely you
understand our situation."
"I had assumed you'd all
react this way," Burt muttered. With firm determination, he reached
into his jacket pocket and pulled out his birth certificate, the letter from
Landon Callison to his mother, and the picture of Landon and his mother together
and handed them to Charles.
"I...I guess you are who
you say you are," Charles muttered as he carefully inspected each article
"This doesn't prove
anything!" Reginald shouted as he snatched the documents away from his
father. "These could easily be forgeries! Just because you have
a picture of them together doesn't mean anything! They could have been
friends! That birth certificate could be a fake!" His
inquisitive newspaperman's mind led him to doubt such facts unless they had been
verified and verified again.
Callison!" Hannah shouted, her divergence from her typical meekness coming
as quite a shock to the entire family. "The envelope!"
"I told you to put it
over there!" Charles was going increasing bothered by his
housekeeper's untimely intrusions concerning some silly manuscript.
"But, Mr. Callison,"
she continued, ignore his orders, "this isn't a manuscript! This
envelope was messengered by your detective!"
Stunned that the real proof of
who Penelope Lamont was and the secrets that she held had been under their noses
all along, Charles quickly took the envelope from a quite satisfied
Hannah. He immediately ripped open the envelope and began to carefully
examine its contents.
"Father, what do they
say?" Trevor asked as he attempted to peer over his shoulder.
"What did your detective find out about Burt and his mother."
"Oh, my god,"
Charles gasped as he covered his mouth in shock. "It's true."
Reginald looked at him curiously.
"What Burt is saying is
true! It's all here in black and white. Penelope Lamont was born
Penelope Cora Burgess...the girl I knew as Nellie. She...she married
Herbert Lamont in January of 1907, the same month that Burt was born.
However, she didn't leave Albanyville until November of 1906. She was
expecting a baby before she ever met Mr. Lamont."
"That doesn't mean that
your brother was the father!" Trevor reminded.
"But this original copy
of Burt's birth certificate does! It's an exact match to the one he's
shown us." Charles carefully held them side by side for everyone to
see. "Burt is really Landon's son...a Callison."
"I told you I was telling
the truth," Burt said with a note of victory in his voice.
"I...I just can't believe
all of this," Trevor sighed as he shook his head. "This is just
all too much."
Charles looked at Burt with
cautious eyes. He was really Landon's son. With nervous apprehension
he extended his hand to him. Burt, acknowledging the display of acceptance,
clasped Charles' hand firmly before the elder of the two pulled him into an warm
Burt," Charles said softly, his eyes misting with tears. "You
are a Callison...my precious Landon's son. Welcome home."
I guess we should have Hannah set another place at the table," Annabelle
Lake announced after having been unusually quiet through the entire turn of
events. "This is a Callison family dinner, after all."
Reginald ran his fingers
through his hair in frustration. He'd almost forgotten all about Annabelle
and the farce of a dinner she'd planned. Now, faced with both her false
sense of charm and his newfound cousin, he was sure that no other surprises
could happen. Suddenly, his thoughts were broken by the sharp rings of
a few moments, Hannah returned to the room and made a shocking
announcement. "Mr. Reginald, Miss Jillian, that was
Mrs. Linford on
asked in confusion. "What in the world would she be doing calling
"It appears that your
sister Janet has returned home."