MANSION - LIVING ROOM
swear that woman has lost her mind,"
Judith Stokes Linford grumbled as she
stood at the bar and mixed herself a martini. "How can she even think
about doing this to Daddy?"
"Doing what?" Mark Linford
asked as he glanced up from the evening edition of The Daily Post that he'd been
reading. "All I see is a woman still in the prime of her life trying
to live that life the best way she knows how."
"W-what?" she gasped and
spun around to face him. "Are you saying that you actually approve of
mother's involvement with this man? She's still married to my
separated," he reminded as he returned his focus to an article on the
police's investigation into the murder of Annabelle
parents are going to get a divorce. I think it's about time that you
"I will not!" she said
flatly. "I refuse to accept this. How can she do this to
him? How can she betray Daddy after he's done nothing but stand by her and
support her for all these years?"
"Well, I'm certain that she has
a different take on the situation than you do. It's much different being
that man's daughter than it is to be his wife."
"Are you trying to say that
Daddy has mistreated my mother?" Judith questioned angrily. "How
can you say such horrible things about him when he's the one responsible for any
kind of advancement that you've made in your career? Don't you think that
the least you owe him is your loyalty and support?"
"I'm not saying anything
negative about your father," Mark sighed. "All I'm saying is
that I'm certain that your mother sees things from a completely different point of
view than you do."
"Well, she's wrong!"
"Judith, right or wrong it's
really none of your business." He paused and took a sip of his own
cocktail. "This is your parents' marriage and it doesn't concern
I'd like to know how you came to that conclusion!" Judith folded her
arms tightly across her chest and glared at him. "They're my parents
and that makes their marriage my business! Somebody in this family has to
have some sense. Lord knows that it's not my mother!"
"Then, Judith, why don't you
explain to me exactly what I should do?" Leticia Stokes spoke up as she
stood in the doorway. "Why don't you tell me what you'd do in the
exact same situation?"
"I wouldn't be gallivanting all
over town on the arm of another man, that's for sure!" Judith snapped
angrily. "Mother, how dare you do this to Daddy! I can't
believe that you've become so heartless and cruel. How can you just rip
his heart out like you're doing? It's almost as if you're determined to
make him a complete laughing stock!"
"I'm trying to do no such
thing," Leticia replied calmly in spite of her daughter's wild
accusations. "Your father and I have problems that go back quite a
few years. I tried...to ignore them, but I finally got to a point where I
couldn't deny the truth. If you want me to be brutally honest, my marriage
to your father was over a long, long time ago."
"What has this man said to
you?" Judith questioned sternly. "What has he done to force you
to leave Daddy?"
"Fred hasn't done
anything!" Leticia insisted. "Well, anything except be the most
kind and gracious and attentive man that I think I've ever met. Those are
qualities that you're father lost a long time ago. Fred makes
me...well...feel good about myself and I enjoy myself whenever I'm with
"Oh, brother!" Judith
grumbled and rolled her eyes. "I'm beginning to think that you're
becoming just as loony as Janet! At least now we know exactly where she
gets it from!"
"Judith, my relationship with
your father and my relationship with Fred are really none of your business!"
"See, I told you," Mark
muttered with a smirk as he glanced up from the newspaper.
"So, you're having a
relationship with this man now?" Judith's jaw tightened because of that
I...I wouldn't exactly call it that," Leticia responded, "but
I...well...I would like to think that it's the beginning of one." She
paused as her expressions softened and she began to try to reason with her
daughter. "Look, Judith, I don't try to meddle in your marriage so I
don't think you have in place to meddle in mine. I'm sure that if I
put my mind to it, I could spot flaws in your marriage to Mark."
"Helen Keller could spot the
flaws in this marriage," Mark muttered under his breath, only to be heard
by Judith who quickly turned and shot him a sharp glare.
"My marriage to Mark is not the
point! We're talking about your marriage to Daddy!"
"Which is none of your
business!" Leticia felt her temper begin to rise as she grew more and
more frustrated. Why couldn't Judith just leave this alone?
"So, are you having an affair
with this man?" Judith questioned bluntly. "Are you cheating on
chastised. "Don't be vulgar! Not that it's any of your
business, no, we are not having an affair. And, please, his name is
Fred. I would appreciate it if you'd call him by name."
"Well, what are you intentions
concerning this man?" Judith spat. "Even if you're not having an
affair with him, surely there's some kind of romantic involvement going
Faced with her daughter's question,
Leticia paused and bit her lip as she considered the possibilities. She
hadn't really given much thought to exactly where her relationship with Fred
was going. Now that she had to actually think about what her plans for the
future were, she wasn't completely sure of what she was going to say.