THE DAVIS HOME - LIVING ROOM

23 Green St."Grace, aren't you going to say anything?" Trevor asked as he watched her closely.  "That really is what all of this is about, isn't it?"

"Oh, Trevor," she gasped.  "I'm...I'm so sorry.  You have to understand that it's not like you think.  I...I..."  She bit her lip as tears filled her eyes and she immediately looked away.  "How...did you find out?"  She paused and thought deeply.  "I know!  It was DaneDane told you!  I bet that rat just couldn't wait to..."

"Hold on," he sighed.  "It wasn't Dane.  I haven't said two words to that jerk since that day in the bookstore."

"Dane didn't say anything?"  She popped her head up and eyed him curiously.  "Well, if it wasn't Dane than..."

"It was Douglas," Trevor confessed.  "He...thought that I knew.  You really shouldn't be angry with him."

"Douglas?"  She furrowed her brow as she thought.  How could Douglas have told Trevor about what happened that night in the snow storm.  Her brother didn't know what really happened.  Unless...  No!  Douglas couldn't know!  He'd be so disappointed in her!  But that had to be it.  "Oh, Trevor, you have to believe me, I never meant for it to happen.  I really didn't want..."

"Honey, just calm down," he laughed.  "It's really not that big of a deal.  I admit that I...was a little shocked and upset that you hadn't told me about it when I first found out.  I've been waiting all this time for you to come to me with it yourself and..."

Grace Davis"Not that big of a deal?"  Grace looked at him intently as she tried to understand what he was saying.  "But I..."

"I know that you feel bad because you kept it from me because you didn't want me to worry and you were afraid that I'd be upset with you."  He reached out for a stunned and confused Grace and pulled her into his arms.  "And I admit that at first I was very upset with you.  I couldn't believe that you were foolish enough to go out on those roads like they were."

"T-those roads?"

"Yes.  I know how bad they were that night."  As he held her in his arms, he gently stroked her hair while she slowly began to calm down.  "But I finally realized that if I'd been in the same situation as you were, I would probably have done the same thing.  If I thought that my mother needed me, I don't care what the weather was like.  I'd be there."

"Y-yes, that's...exactly the way that I...felt."

"Just the thought of something happening to you on those roads just sends a chill down my spine."  A somber look covered Trevor's face as he thought about having to face a life without her.  "I don't know what I'd do if I were to lose you."

"I...know how you feel."

"Thank god you weren't hurt."  He pulled away just long enough to give her a tender kiss on the forehead.  "And, as difficult as this is for me to say, I'm kinda glad that Dane was there for you.  I know that if you'd had to go through that all alone you'd have been hysterical."

"I...I was," she nodded weakly and slowly pulled away from him.  "Dane...helped to calm me down.  He...was very...comforting."

"Well, maybe that jerk has his good points after all."

"Don't count on it," Grace thought to herself.

"I just wish that you'd have told me about it," Trevor sighed.

"Well, I...I would have, but..."  Her voice trailed off slightly as she looked away from him, unable to meet his eyes.  "But I was afraid of what you might think if you found out that I'd gone out on those roads and...well...that I'd wound up alone with Dane.  I know you don't like him and..."

Trevor Callison"And you used to have that big crush on him," Trevor reminded.  "I know that you got over that a long time ago, but I bet being in such an emotional situation with Dane brought a lot of those feelings back."

"Y-you could say that," she muttered awkwardly.

"It just reminded you of how foolish you felt when you finally realized exactly what kind of person Dane is.  I bet he even tried to charm you even though you were overcome with emotion because of your mother."

"Y-yes," she nodded.  "He...he was acting exactly like you would expect him to."

"And I know what kind of an effect that guy has on girls.  I don't necessarily understand it, but I know that some girls find themselves quite taken with him."  Trevor paused for a moment and rested his chin in his hand as he thought.  "I bet his kindness and support managed to stir up some of those old feelings."

"A...a little."

"Of course, as level headed as you can be, you managed to keep your wits about you."

Grace turned away from Trevor so that he couldn't see all of the color drain from her face.

"And you really didn't want to tell me about it because you were afraid that I might be jealous and that I might go after him."  He let out a hearty laugh.  "Don't worry.  I think you're more than capable of handling Dane on your own.  I'm sure that if he ever did try anything again, you'd quickly put him in his place."

"Oh, there's no doubt about that," she responded flatly.

"Grace, I love you and trust you.  Don't you ever doubt that."  He paused and smiled.  "And don't you ever worry me like that again!"

"Oh, Trevor, I'm so, so sorry," she sobbed and fell into his arms.  "Could you...ever forgive me?"

"Sweetheart, I've already forgiven you," he muttered softly as he held her, "because there's really nothing to forgive."

As Grace held onto Trevor tightly she felt her eyes flood with tears because she knew that if Trevor ever found out what really happened with Dane that night, his forgiveness would most certainly not be as forthcoming.  In fact, she knew full well that she would lose him forever.


THE CALLISON HOME - FRONT PORCH

2210 Elmwood Lane"Oh...oh, Charles," Francis gasped slightly as she pulled away from him.  "I...I..."

"Yes, darling?" Charles asked and looked lovingly at her.

When their eyes met, they shared a connection---a bond formed by a lifetime of love and memories.  In one, brief moment, every drop of joy that they'd ever experienced came rushing back.

That night at the school dance when they'd first met.  The long afternoons lying in the grass under the trees and reading poetry as they slowly fell in love.  Their glorious wedding.  The births of their children.  A lifetime of love and a lifetime of memories all in one look.

"C-Charles, I..." Francis stammered, overcome by her feelings and unsure what to say.

"No.  Don't say a word," he replied and then carefully brushed a lock of hair from her forehead.  "You and I have never had to say anything to one another.  We've always known what the other was thinking.  We share a bond and a connection that could never be broken."

"I...know that," she sighed softly before taking a deep breath, "but I...well...was afraid that it had been.  Annabelle came along and..."

Charles Callison"No more talk about her," he muttered as he again pulled his wife into his arms.  "We've been through too much because of her as it is."  He paused and took another deep breath as he took in the feeling of Francis wrapped in his arms.  "But no matter what she's done, no matter what horrible schemes and ploys she pulled, she never replaced you in my heart.  Darling, I love you.  I've always loved you.  Even when...we weren't together, even when I tried to force myself to move on for your sake, I still loved you."

"Oh, Charles."

"You have never been far from my thoughts.  Even when we weren't together, you were always there---in my head and in my heart."

"I...I feel the same way," she replied with a soft sigh.  "I tried to forget about you and what we shared.  I tried...to move on to protect myself from the pain; but I...well...could never forget how much I loved you."

"Darling, do you still love me?"  He briefly pulled away from her and looked intently into her eyes.  "Do you still carry me in your heart just like I always carry you?"

"Y-yes," she confessed and hung her head.  "Charles, I've always loved you.  That's something that...I could never forget or move past.  I still love you."

"You just don't know how wonderful that makes me feel," he smiled as he lifted his hand to brush a tear of joy from her cheek.  "I want our lives back.  I want my family back.  I want things to be like they were before...everything went so wrong."

Francis Callison"You have no idea how much I desperately want the same thing."

"Please tell me that you'll give me another change---give us and our marriage another chance."

"Charles, I am still your wife," Francis smiled warmly.  "I will always be your wife.  The vows I took said for better or for worse.  We've been through the worst.  I'm ready to finally have some better---with you."

"Darling, come home," he implored.  "Bring Maggie and move back in to our home.  Let's be a family again."

"Oh, Charles, I want that so much," she sighed and hugged him tightly.  "I want us to be a family again."

"I promise you, Francis, we'll get through this," he assured as he held her tightly in his arms.  "And I promise that I will stand by you no matter what.  I'll never leave you again."

"And I...I'll never leave you."

And then, wrapped in each other's arms as they stood on the porch on a chilly winter night, they were filled with a warmth that surpassed the seasons.  The clouds that had filled their days parted and a ray of hope for the future broke through.  They were certain that, no matter what, they could weather any storm as long as they had their love and devotion to guide them.


THE STOKES MANSION - FOYER

76 Mapleton Way"So, Dr. Rutherford, tell me a little about yourself?" Nelson asked as he rocked back and forth on his heels and inspected his romantic rival closely.  "I assume from what my wife has told me that you hold a position at Albanyville General?"

"That's correct," Fred nodded as he looked at Nelson suspiciously.  He was certain that Leticia's estranged husband was up to something.

"I could have sworn that I was under the impression that you were seeing Francis Callison romantically."  Nelson subtly cocked an eyebrow, feeling that he was onto Fred and his game.

"I don't know where you might have gotten that impression," Fred countered.  "True, Francis and I have become rather close, but it's only as friends.  She's been through quite a bit this past year and I find her to be a very dear and lovely woman, but..."  He paused and smiled slightly.  "But I find Leticia much more fascinating and appealing---romantically speaking, of course."

"Don't you mean to say that you find her money to be more appealing?"  Nelson shot Fred a hateful and accusatory glance.  "Isn't that the real reason you're intent on wining and dining my wife?"

Dr. Fred Rutherford"Soon to be ex-wife," Fred reminded firmly and folded his arms tightly across his chest.  He was quickly growing tired of Nelson's word games.  "And, no, that's not the reason I'm interested in Leticia.  I appreciate her for her.  Apparently that's something you can't---or aren't willing---to do.  She's tired of you, Nelson.  She's tired of your control and she's tired of your overbearing condescension."

"You have no idea what you're talking about!"

"I don't?" Fred chuckled.  "You see, Leticia feels comfortable enough to confide in me about her deepest fears and concerns.  You don't really care about her or her innermost thoughts."

"That's not true!"

"You might have been married to her for years, but you don't really know her."  Fred smirked with an air of victory.  "Not like I know her, at least."

"Rutherford, I should bounce you out of here on your ear!"  Nelson's hands drew into tight fists as his jaw clinched in anger.

"You do feel threatened, don't you, Nelson?" Fred asked smugly.  "It's written all over your face.  Well, I can assure you that if you truly cared enough about her to listen to her and accept her for the woman she is, you wouldn't have lost her."

"I haven't lost her!"  Not yet.

"Nelson, are you still here?" Leticia asked in annoyance as she slowly came down the stairs, dressed for her dinner date with Fred.  "Why do you keep doing this to yourself---to me?"

Nelson Stokes"Darling, I love you," Nelson explained as he looked up to watch her descend the staircase.  "I've always loved you.  You're my wife.  I just can't let the wonderful life we've shared together just slip through my fingers."  He paused as she reached the foot of the stairs and took in her elegant and stately beauty.  "Darling, you look breathtaking.  Why don't you make a change in plans and go out with me this evening?  You have no idea how honored I'd be to be seen in your company."

"N-Nelson, I...I don't know what to say," she blushed slighted, completely taken off guard by his comments.  "I'm...flattered, but..."

"But she already has plans with me," Fred spoke up as he reached out to take Leticia's hand so that he could direct her to his side.  "I do have to agree with Nelson, dear.  You look wonderful."

"Thank you, Fred," Leticia smiled as she bowed her head in genuine modesty.  "I've...really been looking forward to tonight."

"You see, Nelson," Fred smirked, "she's going out with me.  Why don't you save yourself a lot of trouble and frustration and just pack it in and head back to your lofty apartment in New York.  There's only room for one of us in her life."

"She's my wife!"

"That's only a temporary technicality," Fred reminded.  "She's divorcing you!  Or have you forgotten?"

"You're the one who's a temporary technicality!" Nelson spat.  "It's only matter of time before she sees you for the sleazy gigolo that you are and then your game will be over!"

"I've had about enough of this," Leticia spoke up sternly and threw up her hands to separate the two men in her life.  "Nelson, why do you have to keep doing this?  Why can't you be a man and accept the inevitable?  What we had is over!"

"It will never be over!"  Nelson's eyes blazed with anger and frustration.  "You're my wife!  You will always be my wife!"

Leticia Stokes"Nelson, please stop doing this to me!" Leticia begged as she tried to fight back her tears.  "Why can't you just let me go and let me by happy?"

"Look what you're doing to her?" Fred ordered sternly.  "Look!  I think it's time for you to leave."

"W-what?" Nelson stammered in shock.  "You're throwing me out?  Of my own wife's home?"

"I don't think that I stuttered!" Fred spat.  "You're not wanted here.  Now get out!"

"I am not leaving!"

"Oh, please, Nelson, just go!" Leticia sobbed.

"You heard the lady," Fred said firmly as he grabbed Nelson by the arm and began to drag him towards the door.  "Get out!"

Stunned and incredulous, Nelson came to a stop outside as the door slammed loudly behind him.  Fred had the gall and the audacity to throw him out!  As he spun around to glare at the closed door, his face burned with a mixture of rage and jealousy.  There was no way in hell he was going to let that low class doctor woo Leticia and scam her our of her money.  With steely determination, Nelson vowed that it would be a cold day in hell before he ever let that happen.

Meanwhile, inside, Fred took Leticia into his warm and supportive arms.  Although he was giving her tender support and reassurance, his own head was filled with intense thoughts.  He was quickly beginning to realize that Nelson Stokes would prove to be a much more formidable adversary than he'd once thought.  His effect on Leticia was clear evidence of that.  Maybe it wasn't going to be so easy to get his hands on the Stokes fortune as he'd once thought.  Maybe he had to step up his plans and take more drastic actions.



 


TOMORROW

A surprising alliance is revealed.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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