AN ABANDONED FACTORY
RIVERSIDE

An Abandoned Factory in Riverside"Stephanie!  Stay away from him!" Patterson cried out as Stephanie knelt down next to her father.  "He's dangerous!"

"He's my father!" she snapped angrily before taking her father's hand into hers.  "Daddy, it's going to be all right.  We're going to get you to a hospital and you're going to be just fine.  I'm sorry, Daddy, I didn't mean to..."

"N-no," Stephen muttered weakly and then swallowed hard in an attempt to clear his throat.  "T-there's nothing for you...to be sorry for."

"D-daddy, don't say that..."

"Come...closer, P-princess."

"Stephanie, I don't think that's a good idea," Patterson spoke up as he kept his eyes locked on her, prepared for anything that might happen.  "You know what he's capable of.  You know that he..."

Patterson Monroe"I don't care!" she cried.  "He's my father!  Now...call an ambulance!  Do something!  Help him!"

"S-Stephanie," Stephen murmured, "I-I'm...sorry.  I only wanted to...have you b-back...again."

"I know, Daddy, I know."

"I only w-wanted to...protect you."

"I know that, Daddy," she sobbed, "but why did you have to do all of those things that you did?  Why did you have to...hurt those people?  Why couldn't you have just come to me?"

"It's...complicated."  Stephen winced from the pain of the gunshot wound and turned away from her in an attempt to hide it.  "Just know that...everything that I e-ever did I...did for you.  I l-love you...P-Princess.  Remember...that."

"Daddy, don't talk like that," she begged.  "Everything's going to be just fine.  Paddy's going to call the ambulance and we're going to get you to the hospital and you're going to be all right.  We'll be together, Daddy.  I promise.  Just...hold on."

"N-no.  It's...too l-late."

"No!" she cried out.  "You can't just come back to me and then..."

"Stephanie," Patterson spoke up softly as he hung up the phone, "the ambulance is on it's way, but I don't know if..."

"No!" she cried out again.  "They have to make it in time.  They just have to!"

Stephen Lake"P-please forgive...me," Stephen said softly, his voice growing even weaker than it had been before.  "Forgive me for...what I've done."

"Why, Daddy?  Why?" she sobbed as she rested his head in her lap and gently stroked his face in hopes of keeping him still and calm.  "Why did you have to kill Clark?  Why did you have to kill Momma?"

"W-what?" Patterson gasped in shock.  "He...killed Clark?"

"Shhh.  D-Daddy, I'm...sorry I don't understand.  I'm...sorry for what I did, but I...couldn't let you hurt Paddy.  I just couldn't."

"He...means a lot to you, d-doesn't he?"

"Y-yes, he does," she nodded as the tears streamed down her face, dropping to the floor to mix with her father's blood.  "He's very...special to me."

"All I've e-ever wanted was for you...to be happy," Stephen muttered.  "Be happy."

Stephanie Lake"Oh, Daddy, hold on," she cried.  "Hold on.  Can't you hear the sirens?  The doctors are coming and they're going to make you better.  They're going to fix you up and you'll be as good as new.  You can stay with me in Albanyville and it'll be just like it was when I was little.  You can read me bedtime stories and fairy tales about princes and princesses and big castles and white horses and..."

"Stephanie," Patterson spoke up tentatively as he stepped up behind her and reached down to put his hand on her shoulder.  "It's...too late."

"No!"

"Honey, he's...gone."

"No!  No, he's not dead!  He can't be dead!" she screamed.  "My Daddy can't be dead!"

"Stephanie, I'm...sorry."

"No!" she wailed as she held her father's cold, lifeless hand even tighter.  "I killed him!  I killed him!  I killed him!"


THE PROMENADE ROOM
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

New York City, NY"So, how are you feeling?" Dr. Fred Rutherford asked as he leaned across the table and took Leticia Stokes' hand.

"I'm...all right, I guess," she muttered softly and glanced down at the half-eaten meal that sat in front of her.  "I just can't...believe that Nelson's gone.  He was still so young and so vital."

"I know, I know," Fred sighed with a shake of his head.  "Anytime someone so full of life dies---especially in such a tragic manner---it's difficult to understand."  He paused and looked deeply at her.  "But you have to put it behind you.  You can't let yourself get wrapped up in thoughts about what could have been.  You have to allow yourself to move on with your life."

"I know that," she nodded.  "Actually, I think that by finally putting Nelson to rest, I'll be able to do that.  It's just been so...difficult."

"Just remember what I said before."  He paused so that he could take a sip of his wine.  "Remember your husband for who he was.  Don't try to canonize him and make him something he wasn't just because he's dead.  He was a difficult, difficult man.  You said yourself that your marriage was over a long time ago.  You were planning to divorce him."

"Yes, I was, but..."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"No, 'buts'!"

"Fred, darling, it's just not that easy to set aside so many years of marriage."  She took a sip of her wine and then took a deep breath.  "I know that things weren't right between us for quite some time, but...well...I guess that's all simply a mute point, now, isn't it?"

"You have to look towards the future."  Fred gave her hand a gentle, yet reassuring, squeeze.  "I've told you time and time again that I want to be a part of that future.  I love you, Leticia."

"And you have no idea how much hearing you say that means to me," she smiled warmly, "but I...well...I'm not sure if I can say it back to you, yet.  It might just be too soon."

"I hope that you'll give me a chance to change your mind."  Fred kept his eyes focused on her as if he were carefully searching for some kind of change in her demeanor or expression.  "I hope that you'll let me prove to you how much I love you."

"Oh, Fred, you've come to mean so much to me over these past few months," Leticia sighed and looked up at him.  Just then, a warm feeling rushed over her and she felt herself growing strangely giddy.  "Oh...my!  I...feel so..."

"Yes, darling?"  He examined her even more closely.  "Are you...all right?"

Leticia Stokes"I'm fine, dear," she laughed warmly.  "It's just that, well, I think that the wine is affecting me.  It's rather odd, actually."

"How so?"

"Well, I've only had two glasses with dinner and..."  Her voice trailed off and she paused to take a deep breath.  "And I'm starting to feel as silly as a school girl."  She leaned across the table and stared at him dreamily.  "Maybe it's not the wine.  Maybe it's just because I'm here with you."

"I would hope that's what it was," Fred smiled and then rose from his seat, still keeping her hand firmly in his.  "You would like to dance, darling?"

"Why, I'd...love to!"

As Fred led Leticia to the dance floor he subtly reached down and patted his jacket pocket, making sure that a certain vial was still safely tucked away.  He was pleased with his foresight in bringing along the concoction and had been quite relieved when she'd excused herself earlier to go to the ladies room.  It had given him more than enough opportunity to empty part of the contents of the vial into her glass.  Now that the contents of the vial were starting to take effect, Fred fought the urge to smile with glee.  He was certain that before the night was over, he would finally be able to convince the unsuspecting Mrs. Stokes to be his wife.


AN ABANDONED FACTORY
RIVERSIDE

An Abandoned Factory in Riverside"Stephanie," Patterson spoke up gently, "you have to let go of him."

"Where are they?" she sobbed.  "Where's the ambulance?  What's taking the doctors so long?  We can hear the sirens!  Why aren't they here yet?"

"Steph, it's too late!"  He reached down, grabbed hold of her hand, and tried to force her to release her grip on her father.  "He's gone.  There's nothing that you can do.  There's nothing that anybody can do."

"No!"  She let go of her father's hand and buried her face in her own, sobbing hysterically.  Finally, after several moments, she rose to her feet with Patterson's help.  "I...I killed him.  I killed my father."

"No, honey, you didn't kill him," he said reassuringly.  "That man wasn't your father.  The man you knew and loved as your father died a long time ago and you had nothing to do with that."

"Could somebody please tell me what the devil is going on here?" Detective Jim Fitzpatrick spoke up as he burst into the room.  He immediately saw Stephen Lake's lifeless body and let out a slow, weary exhale.  "Oh, god, don't tell me...."

"He's dead, Detective," Patterson responded almost matter-of-factly.  "And, in case you're wondering, that is Stephen Lake."

Jim Fitzpatrick"Have you completely lost your mind?" Jim snapped angrily.  "What the hell were you thinking by just showing up here alone?  You could have gotten yourself killed!  I told you that this was a matter for the police and..."

"And you didn't seem the least bit interested in finding her!" Patterson snapped.  "If I hadn't shown up when I did, he would have succeeded in taking her away from Albanyville and then no one would ever have seen either one of them again!"

"All right, all right," Jim sighed and he waved his hands as he tried to calm Patterson down.  More police officers were starting to flood into the room and they began to comb the office for clues and evidence.

"Excuse me.  Comin' through," a man spoke up as he pushed a stretcher into the room followed by a couple of doctors who were no longer really needed.  

Jim carefully placed his hand on Patterson's shoulder to guide him out of the way.  "Now, why don't you tell me exactly what happened here.  How did Lake wind up dead?"

"I...I shot him," Stephanie muttered vacantly as she kept her eyes focused onto on her father's body.  "I did it."

"He had a gun," Patterson tried to clarify and he put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her to him as if he were terrified of letting her go.  "He was...going to shoot me.  Stephanie grabbed the gun and they struggled.  It...went off accidentally."

"I...d-didn't...mean to do it!" she sobbed.

"It's okay, Steph," Patterson said softly and pulled her even tighter into his arms.  "We know it was an accident.  We know you didn't mean to do it."

"This is just great!" Jim grumbled in annoyance and reached up to massage his temple because of the intrusive headache that had started to appear.  "We wanted to take that man alive!  We wanted to question him about his wife's death."

Patterson Monroe"W-what?"  Patterson eyed the detective curiously, unsure about what he was saying.

"I have every reason to suspect that Mr. Lake was, in fact, the person responsible for his wife's murder---not Mrs. Callison!"  Jim shoved his hands deep into his pockets and shook his head in disgusted frustration.  "Now that he's dead, there's no way we can actually prove that for a fact."

"Y-yes, there is," Stephanie spoke up hesitantly.  "I can...tell you."

"What are you talking about?" Patterson asked as he turned her so that he could look her in the eyes.  "Do you mean that you know how your mother really died?"

"He...he told me," she muttered before taking a deep breath and turning back to face the detective.  "My father told me that...that he killed Momma.  He told me that he did it because...because she would keep us apart.  He wanted to...to..."

"It's okay, honey.  It's okay."  Patterson kept his arms around her as he tried to provide her with a sense of comfort and support.

"H-he wanted to protect me," she continued.  "Oh, Paddy!  He killed Clark, too!  He wanted to protect me from Clark and he...he..."

"Dear lord," Patterson gasped.

"Miss Lake, would you be willing to make an official statement about your father's confession?"

"Y-yes," she nodded weakly.  "T-the Callison family hasn't deserved anything that's...happened to them.  It's been all...my parents' fault."

"Well, then, let's get you down to the station so that we can get that statement."  Jim attempted to lead her out of the room, but Patterson stopped dead in his tracks and held her back.

"No!  She's not going," he spoke up firmly.  "She's been through a horrible ordeal and she needs to be checked out by a doctor."

"You're...right," Jim nodded reluctantly.  "Miss Lake's health and well being is what's most important.  There'll be plenty of time later for official statements.  There's...an ambulance waiting outside that can take Miss Lake to the hospital."  He paused as he watched Stephen Lake's body being wheeled out of the room.  "A...private ambulance."

"We'll be there in a moment," Patterson agreed and then watched the detective walk out of the room.  Taking Stephanie by the hand, he led her out into the hallway away from the other police officers who were busy looking over the scene.

"Oh, Paddy, I was so scared that he...he was going to hurt you," she sobbed as she fell into his arms.  "I just...don't know what I would have done if he...if he...."

"Now, now, don't think like that," he said softly as he held her tightly in his arms.  "I'm fine.  You're fine.  You're safe now.  I promised myself that I wouldn't rest until you were safe and sound, and you are."

Stephanie Lake"Paddy, I don't know what I'd do if I lost you."  She buried her face in his chest as tears began to roll down her cheeks.

"I...know what you mean," he sighed, relieved that the terrible nightmare was finally over.  "Every moment that you were missing seemed like an eternity.  I just...couldn't let myself think about what it would be like to be without you.  But I couldn't help but think about it and...well...it scared the devil out of me."

She pulled away from him slightly and gazed up into his eyes.

"Stephanie," he continued, "these last few weeks without have made me realize a lot of things---things that I think I've known for a long time, now, but just didn't want to admit to myself."

"What...things?"

"Stephanie, I..."  He paused and then swallowed hard before taking a deep breath.  "Stephanie, I love you.  I love you more than I ever thought possible.  I swore to myself that if...when...I found you that I wasn't going to let another moment pass without telling you how I feel."

"Oh, Paddy!" she sighed as she felt her heart begin to beat fast.  "Oh, Paddy, I..."

"No, don't say anything," he smiled and then pressed his index finger to her lips to silence her.  "Not yet.  You've been through enough.  I don't want you to say anything impetuously just because of the moment.  I want...you to be sure in your heart."

"But, Paddy, I..."

"There'll be plenty of time for that later."  He slowly began to lead her down the hallway and away from the room.  "We've got the rest of our lives to worry about that.  Everything's going to be all right."

As they neared the end of the hallway, Stephanie turned to look back over her shoulder in the direction of the room as a chill ran down her spine.  Could she really believe that everything was going to be all right?  Would anything ever be all right again?



 


TOMORROW

A shocking announcement puts a family in turmoil.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions