THE GARDENS RESTAURANT

The Gardens Restaurant"I...I don't know what to say," Leticia stammered awkwardly as she began to feel her heart race inside her chest.  "I...never expected to hear you say that.  Well, at least not yet."

"I didn't expect it either," Fred smiled warmly.  "It's just that...well...you have such a profound effect on me.  Knowing you has completely changed my life.  I go to bed at night with thoughts of you and they're still inside my head when I wake up in the morning."

"Fred, darling, I...often think the same things, myself," she confessed softly as she hung her head.  "But...we haven't really being seeing one another long enough to..."

"I know that it's sudden.  I know that it must come as a shock to you," he began to explain as he held onto her hand.  "It's been quite a shock for me, as well.  I thought that I was too old and too jaded by life to feel this way, but you---just being you---have made me realize that there's more to life than my work at the hospital.  You've brought a ray of sunshine into my life that seems to make every one of my days just a little brighter and...well...the birds chirp a little sweeter."

"You're going to make me blush," she laughed.

Dr. Fred Rutherford"Oh, please do!" he ginned impishly.  "You're so beautiful when you blush."

Leticia paused for a moment and considered what he'd said before taking a deep breath and speaking again.  "I'm flattered by all of this.  Really I am," she said as she tried to choose her words carefully.  "And...I don't think words can even begin to express the warm feeling inside me that hearing that causes, but..."

"There's always a 'but'," Fred sighed, obviously crestfallen.

"Darling, I just can't say it back," she tried to explain carefully.  "It's just...too soon.  I hope that you weren't expecting me to..."

"No, not at all," he replied softly.  "I wasn't expecting anything from you at all.  I didn't tell you I love you because I wanted to hear it back.  Now, don't get me wrong, it would thrill my soul to no end to hear those same words from you, but I only told you because it's true.  I just...didn't think that I could go another day without proclaiming what I feel in my heart."

"Oh, Fred, I truly wish that I could tell you that I love you, but...well...it's just too soon."  She lowered her head and took another deep breath.  "But I...do have my own confession to make."

"You do?"

"Yes," she nodded.  "These last few months that we've spent getting to know one another have been...one of the most joyous times of my life.  You make me feel things that I...well...thought that I was incapable of feeling ever again.  I gave up hope a long time ago of ever feeling this way again."

"Oh, Leticia..."

Leticia Stokes"Wait, please let me finish."  She looked deeply into his eyes and continued.  "Right now, I can't say that I love you, but I also can't say that I'm never going to say it.  If I were to tell you that I have no feelings for you, it would be a bold faced lie.  I do have feelings for you, but...I'm not sure that I can call it love.  It...might be, but...I'm not sure.  I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry for," he grinned.  "In fact, you've given me one of the greatest gifts that I could ever imagine."

"I have?"

"Yes," he nodded.  "You've given me the gift of hope.  Even though you can't openly return my love now, I have hope that, one day, you will be able to.  And I can assure you, that day will be the happiest day of my entire life."  He paused and looked down at the ring that he'd placed on her hand.  "I hope that you'll keep the ring even though...you don't exactly share my feelings right now.  Keep it and wear it as a symbol of hope---hope for the future."

"I...will," she smiled as she glanced down at the ring and saw it sparkle in the light.  "I'll wear it as a symbol of hope...for our future."

As Fred again took Leticia's hand into his, he smiled.  However, his smile was not brought upon by Leticia's emotional confession.  This smile was more of a smile of victory.  He almost had her right where he wanted her, but there was still something holding her back.  He could tell that she wanted to profess her love for him, but something was clearly stopping her and he was convinced that it was more than the excuse that she'd given.

Looking deeply into her eyes, he knew exactly what the real reason was---Nelson.  No matter how her husband had treated her or what growing feelings for Fred that Leticia might have, there was still a part of her that refused to let go of her husband whether she wanted to admit it or not.  Of course, if Nelson were completely out of the way, there would be nothing for her to hold onto but a ghost; and Fred was certain that Leticia was much too level headed and practical for that.


JOE'S CAFE

Joe's Cafe"Okay, read that line again," Patterson Monroe said as he carefully followed along in his script.  "The one about how Patience has never felt this way before."

"Oh, Paddy, I just don't know if I can do this!" Stephanie Lake cried as she flung her own script down onto the table and buried her face in her hands.

"Yes, you can," he insisted firmly.  "You've been on the air for a couple of days, now, and nothing catastrophic has happened.  You didn't mess up your lines.  I was listening.  You were very good."

"You're just saying that," she grumbled.  "I was horrible!"

"No, you weren't!" he laughed, amused by her overwhelming anxiety.  "Mr. Lowell, himself, told you that the switchboards at the station lit up as soon as the show went off the air.  Everyone was wanting to know who the new actress was in the role of Patience Hart."

"Well, yeah," she muttered as she slowly lifted her head so that she could look at her script again.  "They did...seem to like me."

Patterson Monroe"They didn't just like you, they loved you!"  He paused and reached across the table to take her hand.  "You're going to be so popular that that show isn't going to know what hit it.  I bet that in no time, the announcer's going to be saying 'And now, The Trials of Prudence starring Stephanie Lake!'"

"Norma would have a fit," she laughed as her spirits began to lift.  "She's the real star of the show.  She is playing Prudence, after all."

"Oh, Prudence shmudence," he chuckled.  "You can do it.  I have faith in you."

"You've always had faith in me, Paddy," she smiled.  "Even when I didn't have faith in myself.  Why is that?"

"Because you're worth believing in," he explained.  "Because I..."

"Yes?"

"B-because I know you can do it."  It wasn't exactly what he was about to say, but the sudden mid-stream change spared him from potential embarrassment.  After the few awkward moments that followed, Patterson realized that he needed to take the conversation in an entirely different direction.  "So, what are you going to do about school?"

Stephanie Lake"That's a lost cause," she sighed.  "Actually, I officially dropped out the same day that I got the part.  I just can't...pay for school and save up enough money to get out of Sara's house."

"I wish that you could've stayed in college.  You're really very smart."

"Me?" she laughed.  "I'm far from smart.  Sure, I've got some common sense---just some, mind you---but I'm no where near as book smart as you are.  You seem to get 'A's on everything.  I've got to fight for just 'D's.  No, I did the right thing."

"Well, just as long as you're happy with your choice."

"I'm very happy," Stephanie smiled.  "Unbelievably nervous, but very happy."

"Okay, then," Patterson sighed and then took a deep breath.  "Let's work on this scene some more.  I've got to make sure that you're in top form for tomorrow's show."

Stephen LakeMeanwhile, just a few tables away, someone sat, unnoticed, watching Patterson and Stephanie.  As his eyes narrowed, he focused entirely on her.

"Oh, my darling, Stephanie," he muttered softly to himself.  "It's been too long since we've been together.  All because of that damned mother of yours.  How dare she keep us apart!  Well, it won't be long now, princess.  Finally, after all this time, we'll be together just like we always should have been.  You just hold on.  Daddy's coming."


JUDITH'S CAR

1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster"Oh, please, dear lord, let her be all right," Nelson prayed as he took deep, labored breaths.  "Please let Leticia be okay."

"Daddy, just hold on," Judith said as she turned the wheel sharply to the right and pulled out onto the main highway.  "I'll get us to the hospital just as fast as I can."

"Darling, just be careful," he cautioned.  "These roads are still wet from the rain we've had for the last few days."

"Daddy, I know what I'm doing!" she snapped as she pressed down on the accelerator.  "I've got to get us to the hospital!"

"Judith, dear, slow down," he spoke up as the car whizzed along the highway.  "You're going too fast!"

"No, Daddy, we've got to get to Mother!"

Nelson Stokes"Be careful!"  He gripped onto the door handle as she squealed around a curve.  "Slow down!"

"Daddy!" she cried out as a sense of confusion and fear began to take over.  "Oh, Daddy, something's wrong!"

"Wrong?" he questioned anxiously.  "What do you mean?  What's wrong?"

"Oh, Daddy, I can't slow down!"  As she felt the car race forward, she repeatedly pressed down on the brake, but quickly found out that the car was not responding.  "Something's...wrong!"

"Judith, be careful!"

The car squealed around yet another curve.

"I'm trying!  The brakes aren't...working!"  She felt a sense of panic begin to overtake her as she struggled to maintain control of the vehicle.  "I can't...slow down!"

"Judith!" Nelson cried out as the car began to go even faster down a large hill.  "Judith, be careful!"

Judith Stokes Linford"Oh, Daddy, I'm trying!  I'm trying!"

Suddenly, she remembered a sharp, hairpin curve that was coming up in the road and she began to say a silent prayer that she could get the brakes to respond in time.  As the headlights cast their light out upon the darkened roadway, she pressed the brakes again.  Nothing.  Again.  Nothing.  Again.

"Daddy!" she cried out.  "I can't...stop!  We're not...going to make..... DADDY!"




ON MONDAY

A death in the family.





produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions