MANSION - LIVING ROOM
Leticia," Nelson Stokes spoke softly, yet firmly, as he stepped from the
foyer into the living room. "I hope you don't mind. The door
was open so I let myself in."
"You really shouldn't have done
that, Nelson. What do you want?" Leticia Stokes asked coolly as she
glanced up from the novel she'd been reading. "I think that I've said
everything to you that I need to say."
"Well, I..." He
glanced down at the floor to avoid her penetrating gaze. "I'd hoped
that after the wedding, we could have come to some kind of
understanding." He paused and looked up at her again and took a
deep breath. "I'm willing to meet you half way. I'm willing to
make certain...concessions. I'd hoped that my being at the wedding might
have been a step in the right direction."
Nelson," she sighed with a shake of her head as she rose from the sofa and
walked over to him. "You...you don't know how much it meant to me to
see you at the church. You don't know how much it meant to Jillian.
She so wanted to see you there on her wedding day."
"I know," he nodded.
"That's why I was there. I had to be there and see my little girl get
married." He paused as a slight gleam filled his eyes. "Of
course, good fortune smiled on our family that day and she didn't marry that boy
"Well, it's true! You
don't know how grateful I am that the police showed up and put a stop to that
travesty of a wedding. They kept her from making the biggest mistake of
her life. Now she's got the time to reevaluate exactly what kind of family
she's getting involved with. I know that she's going to realize that I'm
right about this."
"You haven't changed,"
Leticia spat angrily. "You haven't changed, at all! You come
here with your solemn and genteel demeanor and try to convince me that you're
willing to put aside your own opinions in hopes of convincing me that things have
changed? I can't believe that I almost believed you!"
"But, I am willing to work
things out!" he insisted firmly. "I know we can. We can
have everything back just the way they were before and..."
"I don't want things the way
they were before!" Leticia's jaw tightened as she folded her arms
defiantly across her chest. "Don't you understand that the way things
were before is the exact reason I left? Are you so wrapped up in your own
over-glorified opinions and sense of superiority that you can't see that?"
"Darling, the Callison family
is not a family that any of our daughters should get involved
with!" He began pacing angrily around the room. "He
cheated on her with that horrible Lake girl and broke Jillian's heart and then
his father ran around on his
mother with that girl's
now? His mother is charged with murder!"
"Nelson, you know it's not as
cut and dried as that." She reached out and grabbed his arm in hopes
of getting him to listen to reason. "I don't believe for a minute
that Francis Callison is guilty and soon the police are going to prove
paused and glared at her. "I will not allow Jillian to marry a
Callison nor will I let Janet continue to take up with that half-breed
Callison! Burt Lamont is so far below Janet that the entire idea of them
together is ludicrous. Of course, considering her less than stellar judgment
in men, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Why couldn't they be like Judith? Why couldn't they find nice, upstanding young men like
Jillian had a perfect man with that Manchester boy, but she just threw him
away. That's who she should be marrying!"
"Dane Manchester is already
"Only because Jillian is too
blind to see what's best for her," Nelson grumbled.
"I'm not having this discussion
with you again," Leticia muttered with a wave of her hand and a shake of
her head as she prepared to walk past him. "I have plans this evening
and I need to finish getting ready."
"Plans?" He cocked
an eyebrow and looked at her curiously. "What kind of...plans?"
"Not that it's any of your
business, but I have a date!" she announced bluntly. "A date
that you're keeping me from."
stammered as his expression began to soften. "I'm sure an evening
out with the girls will be a nice thing to take your mind off of Jillian's disastrous
wedding. So, what do you have planned? A game of bridge? An
evening at the theatre?"
"It's not a night with the
girls," Leticia sighed with disbelief of his shortsightedness.
"I have an evening planned with a man."
"A...what?" Nelson's jaw
dropped with shock and he stared at her blankly as if he were certain that he hadn't
heard her correctly. "What kind of foolishness are you involved in,
"I don't think I was very
vague. I meant exactly what I said." She responded coldly.
"I have a date with a very nice gentleman---a gentleman that knows how to
treat a woman and treats me with more kindness and respect than you ever thought
about treating me!"
"I can't believe I'm
hearing this," he spat incredulously. "Leticia, you are still my
wife and you are always going to be my wife. I demand that you give up
this adulterous foolishness this instant!"
"You demand? You
demand?" Leticia spat. "You've been demanding of me for
decades! Well, your days of demanding anything from me are
over!" She paused and took several long, deep breaths to calm herself
just as the delicate chimes of the doorbell began to fill the house.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to answer the door!"
"Oh, now you're even doing the
maid's job, I see!"
"I gave Ruby the night
off," she replied as she stormed through the foyer and to the door.
As she flung it open, her expression soften slightly from the sight of Dr. Fred
Rutherford on the other side.
not late, am I?" Fred asked as he looked at Leticia curiously, immediately
sensing her tension. "If I am, I'm sorry. I got tied up at the
"No, you're not late," she
sighed. "I am. I still...have to finish getting ready.
Let me just...go upstairs and I'll..."
"Ah, now I see," Nelson
spoke up as he casually strolled into the foyer. "You've been running
around with this...this quack!"
"I understand, now," Fred
muttered to Leticia as he pulled her closer to his side. "Hello, Mr.
Stokes. I hadn't expected to see you again so soon."
"I bet you didn't!"
"And, as I'm sure you've
gathered, this beautiful lady and I have plans for this evening."
Fred glanced over at her and smiled warmly.
"Over my dead body!"
Nelson spat. "She's my wife and I refuse to allow her to be seen on
the arm of another man---especially the likes of you!"
"Nelson, you don't have a damn
thing to say about it!" She shot him a angry glance before
turning to look at Fred again. "Just let me go upstairs and finish
getting ready and then we'll be ready to go." She glanced at Nelson
again before returning her focus to Fred. "Darling, you will be alright down here, won't you?"
"Don't you worry," Fred
smiled. "I've handled much worse things than him in my life."
"Wanna bet?" Nelson
grumbled under his breath.
"Darling, I won't be
long." Leticia leaned in and gave Fred a warm kiss on the lips that
took him by surprise. He hadn't expected such a display from
her---especially in front of Nelson---but relished the evidence of the progress
he was making.
Meanwhile, across the room, Nelson's
eyes blazed with anger from the sight of the kiss. His wife was kissing
another man! She was intent on divorcing him for a simple doctor who was
so far beneath her that Nelson had to resist the urge to laugh at the preposterousness
of it all. As his eyes narrowed and he stared at them intently, Nelson
realized that he had to do everything in his power to save Leticia---not only
from the "good doctor", but from herself as well.