produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #75 (Friday 9/21/01) click here for a printable version of this episode
same day - November 1935 - evening


THE STOKES MANSION - JANET'S BEDROOM

76 Mapleton Way, Albanyville, ILJudith Stokes Linford"You listen to me, Judith," Janet Stokes spoke up with fire in her voice as she jumped up off of her bed.  "I love Burt and there's nothing you can do about it!  Burt loves me, not you!"

"He did love me!  And he still loves me!  He's just with you out of pity!"  Judith Linford grabbed her sister and gave her a firm shake.

"You're vile and disgusting and he would never want anything to do with you ever again!"  Janet pulled herself away from Judith and bolted across the room, putting a great distance between them.

"Oh, Janet, I wouldn't be too sure of that," Judith muttered slyly as she carefully rested her hand on her swollen stomach.


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SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY

54 Spring Lake Dr., Albanyville, IL"A letter?" Sara Manchester asked curiously as Mrs. Preston stepped further into the room.

"Yes, dear, a letter.  It explains everything."  Mrs. Preston carefully looked at the room filled with reminders of her late husband.  Of course, it hadn't been a loving marriage, but Thornton had meant something to her.  "It explains why my husband left you and your husband his estate."

"Then surely this letter proves that I was not having some sort of affair with your husband!"  Sara kept her eyes focused on the widow.  This letter just had to prove to Dane that, despite her lies concerning her work, she had not betrayed the vows of their marriage.

"Well, actually, it doesn't mention anything about your affair with Thornton."  She turned to look at Sara and began to carefully examine every detail of her face.  The young girl looked so much like Mrs. Preston had looked when she was about the same age.  "However, I'm sure that it explains his interest in you."

"Would you quit dancing around the subject and just tell me!"

"For one, Thornton deeply disapproved of your deceptions where your husband was concerned," Mrs. Preston began as she slowly paced around the room.  "He didn't think it was right for you to deceive your husband and disobey his requests for you not to work."

"That was none of your husband's business!" Sara snapped, the tension beginning to get to her.  "I only did what I did for my husband, not to hurt him!  There was no other way to save his chances to get his degree!"

Mrs. Preston"Well, whatever your reasoning, my husband did not approve."  Mrs. Preston's eyes quickly landed on a framed photograph of her husband that sat on his desk.  She smiled briefly when she remembered when it had been taken...their honeymoon.  It all seemed so long ago.

"That's why he included Dane in his will?"  Sara furrowed her brow, not fully understanding her late employer's motives.

"Yes.  He did it as punishment for you.  If you were to inherit the estate alone, you would have the means to be completely independent of your husband.  Since Mr. Manchester...Dane...shares in your inheritance, he can resume his rightful roll as your husband.  He can exert the will that a husband should exert."

"But...that's nearly archaic!"  Sara's hand flew up to her mouth with the realization that her joint inheritance with Dane was meant to put her back under her husband's control...to force her to resume the roll of the dutiful wife.

"And that, my dear, is my husband in a nutshell.  I can't say that I necessarily agree with his views, but that is just how it is.  I assume that since he gave me quite a long leash and free reign to do as I pleased, he didn't want you to end up as I had."

"I...I don't understand?"  Sara carefully approached Mrs. Preston, still trying to absorb what she was being told.  "Why was I even included in the will in the first place?  That's what truly doesn't make any sense!"

"Oh, I agree with you there," Mrs. Preston continued.  "Or, at least I did until I discovered what my husband had discovered.  When I learned that he'd left you almost everything, I was convinced that it was because you'd had an affair with him and conned him out of his fortune..."

Sara Manchester"That's not how it was!"

"Well, I'm still not convinced of that entirely."  Mrs. Preston cautiously approached Sara and reached out to touch a lock of her hair causing Sara to flinch in awkwardness and pull away.  "However, I now know that there was more to it than that...much more."

"W-what do you mean?"

"Mrs. Manchester...Sara...my husband found out certain things about you."  Mrs. Preston took a long, deep breath.  Could she really tell Sara something that would change her entire life?  "Things that I'm sure you have no idea about."

"I...I don't understand what you're trying to say.  What things?"

Mrs. Preston eyed her carefully as her hands began to shake with nervousness.  It had been so long.  Did she really have the right to upset this young woman's life again?


THE STOKES MANSION - JANET'S BEDROOM

76 Mapleton Way, Albanyville, IL"Oh, Janet you must really be a fool," Judith laughed smugly as she folded her arms across her chest.  "You honestly think that Burt has never loved anyone else in his entire life but you?  Do you really think that he's been waiting all this time for you to just come traipsing along into his life?"

"No," Janet muttered, realizing how implausible it all sounded once it was repeated by Judith.  "I...I know he's probably been in love before.  I've been in love before.  Why wouldn't Burt have been in love before.  But...but I just don't believe that a man as kind and honest could have ever loved someone as selfish and spiteful as you!"

"Well, believe what you want, dear, but Burt did love me!"  Judith began to walk around the room, letting her fingers glide across various surfaces and tabletops in an effort to appear nonchalant.  "He loved me so much that he wanted to marry me."

"No!  I refuse to believe that!"  Janet's face began to flush with anger as she balled her hands up into fists.  "He might have had an affair with you, but that's all it was!  It was never love!"

"Oh, it was love.  We had a deep and passionate affair."  Judith turned to watch her sister's reactions.  "He wanted to marry me.  He wanted me to leave Mark and run away with him."

Janet Stokes"Then why didn't you?"  Janet just couldn't believe everything that Judith was telling her.  It was just so impossible...so improbable.

"Because it would mean leaving my entire life behind.  I would have had to leave Mother and Daddy and Manhattan and give up my entire life!"  Judith hesitated as she quickly looked away.  The pain of her rejection of Burt still affected her and she couldn't help but wonder how different her life might have been if she'd only agreed to run away with him.

"You didn't do it because it never happened!"

"No!  It did happen, Janet.  It happened exactly like I told you!  I have regretted that moment ever since."  Judith fought to keep herself together.  Being forced to face the pain of Burt's loss was almost too much for her, but she just had to make Janet understand.  "Burt was...Burt is the love of my life.  I never stopped loving him."

"You don't know the first thing about love!"  Janet began to feel herself grow more and more angry.  "The only person you've ever loved is yourself!"

"Oh, you couldn't be more wrong.  I love Burt.  I love Burt more than you could ever imagine loving him!"

"That might be true," Janet said softly as she glared at her older sister, "but he will never love you!  He loves me and there's not a single thing you can do about it!  If you don't give up on this idea of yours that you can keep Burt and me from being together, than I'll make sure Daddy and everyone else knows what kind of underhanded stunts you've been pulling to keep us apart."

Judith Stokes Linford"You think you have the upper hand, don't you?" Judith sneered coldly.  "You think you hold all the cards.  Well, I'm here to tell you that you don't!  I'm the one who's in control of everything.  I'm the one who'll determine what happens to you and Burt!"

"What in heaven's name are you talking about?"

"You see, sister dear, Burt might know everything about you...you're affair with Gordon Scott, your murderous tendencies, your mental instability, but I can guarantee that there are things that you don't know about Burt!"  Judith threw her shoulders back with determination, a confidence that she would be the one to rise from the battle for Burt's heart victorious.

"I...I don't understand what you're saying.  What things?"

"Let's just say that I know things that will change everything."  Judith turned on her heel and headed for the door.  "And when those things become public knowledge, you won't stand a chance."