For Now and Forever
EPISODE #72 (Tuesday
THE CALLISON HOME - DINING ROOM
"I...I'm sure that, in time, your parents just forgot about the baby. They realized that it was best for them if both the child and its mother were gone." Burt Lamont hung his head in sadness as he thought about how hard his mother's life had been. "You know, nothing to put a blight on the sterling family name like a bastard child and it's poverty stricken mother."
"Oh, my lord," Charles Callison gasped as the full realization of his parents' deeds began to take hold of him. "I have...a niece or a nephew? What...what happened to the baby? How do you know all of this?"
"My mother told me everything right before she..." Burt paused and choked back a tear. "Right before she died. She couldn't go to her grave without a clear conscience. She had to finally tell me the truth that she'd hidden for so many years...hidden in fear of your family!"
"The baby, Burt, what happened to the baby?" Reginald Callison asked as he grabbed Burt's arm tightly. "Who is Landon's child."
Burt took another deep breath and looked Reginald square in the eyes. "I am. I am Landon Callison's son."
THE DAVIS HOME - DINING ROOM
"Lorraine, darling, let's just not think about all of the ifs and whys," Douglas Davis said as he led her by the hand into the dining room. "If we start worrying about the future, they'll be no time for us to actually live the future."
Lorraine Davis looked at her husband curiously as she thought about his philosophical musings. "I...I guess you're right."
"Now, let's just sit down here and have a pleasant dinner before it all gets cold." With gentlemanly grace, he pulled out her chair for her and allowed her to sit down before sliding it under the table and then taking his own seat. "This really is a wonderful meal."
"T-thank you, Douglas," she blushed. She'd worked all afternoon, against his urgings, to prepare dinner for them. Ever since her collapse, weeks earlier, he'd insisted on doing every little thing around the house...cooking, cleaning, and waiting on her hand and foot. Although she still wasn't entirely comfortable in her new roll, she was his wife and needed to act like it.
"I would never have guessed that you were such an excellent cook," he mumbled, his mouth preoccupied with enjoying every taste of her delicious dinner. "I would have rather guessed that you were a career girl who spent more time at Joe's Cafe than in the kitchen."
"Well, actually, Mother insisted that I learn to cook." Lorraine briefly thought of the many afternoons spent in front of the stove with her mother while the other children were outside at play. "And, to be honest, I really didn't have anything else to do. I didn't have a whole lot of friends when I was young."
"Really?" He looked up from his dinner, rather startled by her confession. "I'm a little surprised. I would have expected that all the little boys would have been lined up at your door."
"Oh, no, far from it." His comment made her blush and she lowered her head in an attempt to hide her embarrassment. "You see, Douglas, I was a rather...plump little girl. Rather plump and rather plain. I had the pigtails and the loose, drab dresses to prove it. I never really liked what I saw in the mirror. No one else seemed to, either. Instead of forcing myself on any of the other kids, I just stayed inside with Mother and helped her with the cooking or just lost myself in reading one of her romance novels."
"Gee, one word I'd never think to use to describe you would be 'plain'." He looked at her earnestly as he carefully began to analyze every curve of her face, every feature. No matter how hard he looked, he just couldn't find a trace of the plain little girl that she was insisting that she'd been. "You're beautiful."
"Well, thank you." She blushed again. "I really don't think so, but I...I can finally accept when someone else does. When I was younger, nothing about me seemed to be in the right place. Everything all seemed so out of proportion. Then, one day, it seemed like everything was where it should be. I never really understood it."
"You know, you could use that analogy with us." Douglas smiled as he reached across the table to take her hand. "Right now, everything kinda seems out of place, but one day you're gonna wake up and realize that everything is right where it should be."
Lorraine looked at him curiously as she tried to absorb his parallel. Could he be right? Could they really have a chance? Would they suddenly wake up one day to find themselves in love?
"Just trust me on this one," he nodded as if to reinforce his statement. "Everything will happen in it's own time...if you let it."
Suddenly, a sudden look of shock burst onto Lorraine's face as she yanked her hand away to grab hold of her stomach. "Oh, my god, Douglas!"
Instant panic began to set it. He quickly rose from his seat and rushed to her side. "Lorraine? What's wrong? Oh, my god! The baby!"
THE CALLISON HOME - DINING ROOM
"What?" 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."
"Reginald 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?"
Burt 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 all along.
"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.
"All 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 of proof.
"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.
"Mr. 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."
"What?" 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 embrace.
"Welcome home, Burt," Charles said softly, his eyes misting with tears. "You are a Callison...my precious Landon's son. Welcome home."
"Well, 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 the telephone.
After a few moments, Hannah returned to the room and made a shocking announcement. "Mr. Reginald, Miss Jillian, that was Mrs. Linford on the phone."
"Judith?" Jillian asked in confusion. "What in the world would she be doing calling here?"
"It appears that your sister Janet has returned home."
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARK & JUDITH'S PENTHOUSE
- LIVING ROOM
"Did you manage to get in touch with Jillian and Reginald?" Mark Linford asked as his wife stepped back into the room.
"Yes," Judith Linford replied as she stood and looked at her disheveled sister, Janet, who sat silently on the sofa. "They're on their way...with Burt."
"What?" He took several steps back from shock and fought to control his displeasure. "I thought you said that they were at Reginald's parents' house for a dinner party? What the devil is that urchin doing there?"
"I don't know!" She snapped, uncomfortable with the condescending tone her husband was using in reference to Burt. "All I know is that Jillian said he was coming with them."
"I still think you had something to do with upsetting Janet and causing her to run off." He eyed Judith closely, hoping to catch a glimmer of a response. "Are you sure your not the one who spilled the beans to Burt about Janet's rather unsavory past?"
"What? Me?" Judith's hand flew up to her chest in defense. "Why in the world would you think I'd do something like that? I have no idea how he found out! You didn't even find out everything about Janet until after she disappeared and you're my husband!"
"Yes, I know," he muttered rather dryly. "It would benefit you a great deal if he learned about her scandalous past and ended things with her. It would give you a clear shot at him...ignoring the fact that you are married."
"Would you both stop talking about me as if I weren't here!" Janet Stokes spoke up rather angrily. "Why does everyone have to act like I'm not here?"
"Janet, now it's not that way at all and you know it!" Judith nervously bit her lip as she eyed her sister closely. Would Janet tell everyone that she had, in fact, been the one to tell Burt the truth? Would she reveal to everyone about her past with him? "I just want to know where the devil you've been! You've had us all worried sick."
Both Judith and Mark eyed Janet intently and waited for a response. The question was only met with silence as Janet continued to stare off into space.
"Here you go, Miss Janet," Ruby Thomas spoke up as she entered the room with a glass of water. "Maybe this will help."
"Why did it take you so long?" Judith snapped as she snatched the glass away from her maid. "Did you have to go draw this water from a well?"
"N-no, ma'am," Ruby stammered as she took a step back.
"Ruby, that will be all for this evening. We're dealing with a very delicate situation. You can go home." Mark nodded curtly to the maid. He wasn't in the habit of being chummy with the hired help, but he also couldn't quite understand the rather vicious manner with which Judith addressed Ruby.
"Yes, sir," Ruby muttered before going to grab her coat and hat and head out the door.
"Now, Janet, where have you been?" Judith glared at her intensely, but was met only by a vacant, unflinching stare. "Are you listening to me?"
"I said I was out," Janet finally muttered.
"Oh, I can't believe this!" Judith threw her hands up in frustration and spun around to walk away from her.
"Janet, how did Burt Lamont find out about Gordon Scott and what happened in New York?" Mark asked as he knelt down beside her. "How did he know about what you'd done?"
Judith promptly turned to stare at Mark and Janet in fear. Surely, Janet wouldn't reveal that it was she who in fact told everything! If Mark knew that Judith had been the one who'd told Burt the truth, he'd surely suspect that she was trying to disrupt their relationship. What in the world would he do to her then?
Janet looked at Mark blankly and hesitated before speaking. "I...I..."
THE DAVIS HOME - DINING ROOM
"Lorraine! What's wrong?" Douglas began to feel a sense of panic begin to overtake him. "The baby!"
"Yes, silly, the baby," Lorraine laughed as a smile spread across her face. "Here, give me your hand."
Confused, he did as she requested and soon found his hand resting comfortably on her stomach. It was only a matter of seconds before he realized what had brought about her reaction.
"Can you feel it?" she asked as she began to glow. "It's the baby!"
"Oh, my, yes," he muttered with astonishment as he felt the active rumblings in her stomach. "Well, that's definitely a boy."
"And how are you so sure of that?"
"Feel the way he's kicking! It's like he's trying out for the football team!" Douglas let out a hearty laugh as he watched the excitement in his wife's face. "Wow. I know that we've known about the baby for quite a while, now, but this just sorta...you know..."
"Makes it all real?" Lorraine covered Douglas' hand, still resting on her stomach, with her own and gave it a gentle squeeze.
"Yeah! Real." He inhaled deeply, trying to take in the depth of the tender moment between them. "You know, we'll have to starting thinking about names for the baby."
"Well, if it's a girl, I like Norma," Lorraine smiled. "I think 'Norma Davis' has a nice ring to it."
"Ummm..." He furrowed his brow and quickly shook his head. "I don't think so. I think it should be a family name. How about your mother's name if it's a girl. Edwina Davis."
"Um, no." She let out a small laugh. "Even my mother doesn't like that name." As her mind raced to put together different combinations of names, she lifted her hand to her chin in thought. "How about...your mother's name."
"Louise?" He leaned back slightly as he thought about the idea. "Louise Davis. I like it!"
"But what if it really is a boy?" Lorraine bit her lip and thought intently. "I like the name Jefferson."
"No! We are not having a son named Jefferson Davis." Douglas covered his eyes and shook his head as he laughed at the humor of it all. "Since we're going for my mother's name if it's a girl, how about 'Michael Martin Davis'?"
"You're father?" She gasped with shock. "But...but after everything you've told me about him, why would you want to name our child after him?"
"Why? Because it would give me the chance to correct so many things," he confessed. "It would give me the chance to make sure this Michael Davis didn't turn out like his name sake. Together, we can raise a decent, responsible, loving son."
"I...I can see your point. Well, 'Michael' it is," she smiled and then paused. "If it is a boy...of course."
"Oh, Douglas!" Lorraine exclaimed as she grabbed his hand and put it back on her stomach. "There it is again!"
"Yep, that's definitely a boy!" He laughed and then looked deeply into his wife's eyes.
Suddenly, he seemed very close to her. All of the tension and conflict surrounding their situation had mysteriously vanished and the only thing left was the two of them...and their family. Lorraine felt it, too. For the first time in what seemed like forever, she'd found a new sense of hope...a sense of promise for tomorrow. Caught up in the moment, Douglas pulled her into his arms and kissed her deeply. Lorraine was more than a little surprised when she returned his kisses without reservation. Maybe everything would be okay, after all.
THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARK & JUDITH'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM
"Oh, my god! Janet!" Jillian called out as she burst through the door. "We came as soon as Judith called."
"Yes, it gave us good excuse to leave that disaster of a party," Reginald mumbled as he followed along behind her.
"Janet!" Burt exclaimed as he pushed past both of them and rushed to her side. He sat down on the sofa next to her and took her into his arms and kissed her lovingly. "Oh, Janet, I've been so worried about you. Please tell me you're all right? Nothing happened to you, did it? Oh, I love you so much."
"I love you too, Burt," Janet smiled as she looked up at him. "I'm...I'm fine. Nothing happened. I just...had to get away...to think."
"Are you sure nothing happened to you?" Burt held onto her tightly, almost as if in disbelief of seeing her again and in fear of loosing her. "I don't know if I'd ever have forgiven myself if something had happened to you. I was so wrong for the way I acted. I love you so much."
"Oh, I love you, too, Burt," she sobbed softly. "It...it wasn't your fault. None of this is your fault. I should...I should have been honest with you from the beginning instead of having..."
"Well, that's all in the past, now," Judith interrupted, fearing that Janet was about to expose her part in the revelation of Janet's secrets.
Mark, keeping a watchful eye on the sisters, was quick to notice his wife's nervousness. Had Judith been the one who'd told Burt about Janet and Gordon Scott? He suspected that she was, but realized that all he had were assumptions. However, he was sure that, despite Judith's protestations, she was most definitely trying to come between Burt and Janet.
"Well, just as long as you're okay," Jillian smiled as she held on to Reginald's arm. "That's really all that matters. Honey, we were so worried."
"I know," Janet blushed, slightly embarrassed from all of the attention. "I just want to forget that this all happened. I never want to think about it again."
Judith let out a small sigh of relief, but found herself growing uneasy when she realized that Janet's eyes were locked on her. She quickly looked away, but when she again turned to face her sister, Janet's eyes were still there...unblinking, unflinching, and unmoving. It all made Judith very nervous.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang and broke the tension.
"I'll get it," Mark said as he quickly walked to the door. "It's probably the doctor I phoned to come and take a look at Janet."
"I told you that I was fine!"
"I know, I know," Mark replied as he reached for the door, "but we just need to be certain. We..."
"Hello, Mark," Leticia Stokes said as he opened the door to find his mother-in-law standing there.
"Mother!" Jillian cried out and rushed over to her. "W-what are you doing here?"
"My daughters are here! Why wouldn't I want to be here?" Leticia quickly strode into the apartment and pulled off her jacket. "And how are my beautiful girls?"
"W-we're fine, Mother," Judith muttered as she eyed her carefully. She'd never had the most comfortable of relationships with her mother. She'd had a much easier time with her father. Judith had always suspected that her mother was a tad jealous of all the attention that her Daddy had focused on her.
"Okay, what's going on?" Leticia questioned as she eyed everyone closely. "I get the strange feeling that I've walked in on the middle of something."
"Oh, it's nothing, Mother," Judith said as she took her by the arm and led her over to a chair. "Just a little family talk. Nothing important. So, what brings you here to Albanyville for a visit? I'm surprised that Daddy let you get away."
"Well, dear, that's one of the reasons I'm here." Leticia eyed her eldest daughter carefully. Judith was being entire too warm and friendly...highly unusual. However, it was good that everyone was there together. It gave her the right opportunity to break the news to everyone at once.
"So, this isn't just a social call?" Jillian questioned curiously.
"Um, yes, and no." Leticia hesitated for a moment and looked at each of her daughters individually. She knew that what she had to say would affect each of them in much different ways. However, she couldn't put off the news indefinitely. "Girls, what I have to tell you is going to come as a great shock to each of you. Now, I have to stress that this has nothing to do with any of you, but...but..."
"Mother, go on," Janet said as she looked at her with deep interest. "What is it?"
"Well," Leticia muttered as she lowered her head. "I've left your father. We're getting divorced."
TO BE CONTINUED
Two families make a move.
For Now and Forever
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