THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

The Grand Sunset Room"I bet this is all very strange for you," Eliza Campbell muttered as she rested her head on Randy Lamont's shoulder while they danced.  "I...I just don't know what I'd do if I were in the same situation as you are.  Of course, I don't have any brothers or sisters, but if I did and I found out that one of them wasn't my whole brother or sister, I think I'd just die!"

"Well, that's pretty much the way I feel," Randy sighed as he held her in his arms.  The news that his father wasn't his brother Burt's father had come as a horrible shock to him.  Although Burt had said over and over that no matter who his father was, their relationship wouldn't change, Randy knew that that was highly unlikely.

As he looked around the room at all of the important people dressed to the nines in tuxedos and evening gowns, he felt horribly out of place.  This new world of his brother's was most definitely not one that they were raised in.  It was also a world that Randy was positive he didn't belong in.  Burt, however, was a different story.  He was a Callison and this was now his world.  How long would it be before he grew accustomed to it and everything that it had to offer and slowly forgot about the world he'd come from...Randy included.

Eliza Campbell"Are you okay?" Eliza asked as she lifted her head from his should and looked at him carefully.  "You're not sorry you came, are you?"

"No, I'm fine," he replied with a sigh.

"You know, if someone would have told me before the Fall Dance that we would still be going out, I don't think I would have believed them."  She let out a small giggle and returned her head to its resting place on his shoulder.

"Yeah, I can hardly believe it myself," he commented half-heartedly.

"After the dance, I was sure you'd never speak to me again," she continued with her ramble, "but I just knew that you had just as much fun with me as I had with you.  That's why I kept calling you."

"Un-huh."

"And to think that I would never have gotten up the nerve if it hadn't been for Maggie!"

Randy fought the urge to roll his eyes.  Why couldn't she just shut up and dance?  Was it that hard for her to stay quiet for any length of time?

Maggie CallisonAs they continued to sway to the music, he began to let his eyes wander around the room and see all of the guests dressed in their fancy attire.  Suddenly, he found a sight that nearly made his heart skip a beat.  There, standing all alone in a corner, was Maggie Callison--the person responsible for him and Eliza being together.  

Even though they continued to spin around the dance floor, Randy couldn't take his eyes off of her.  She looked stunning in her evening dress, far more adult than she really was.  And, though he found it hard to believe, it appeared like she was staring at them!  He squinted his eyes in disbelief, but when he opened them again, there she was looking straight at them.

"Randy!  Are you even listening to me?"  Eliza's voice drug his thoughts out of the clouds and back down to earth.  Apparently, she'd been chattering the entire time only he'd been far too distracted to notice.

"Um...yes, of course I'm listening," he lied.

Lifting her head off of his shoulder again, she quickly noticed that his attention was clearly focused on something else.  With a discreet turn of her head, she looked in the direction he was staring and quickly became livid.  He was too busy watching Maggie!

Randy Lamont"She looks so lonely over there by herself," he murmured softly.  "We really should go over and talk to her."

"No, we will not!" Eliza snapped as she tried to contain herself.  "This is supposed to be a magical night for us.  Isn't that what you said?  Why would we want to drag her into the middle of it?  It's going to be like the Fall Dance all over again!"

Randy gave a weak shrug of his shoulders and decided against speaking to Maggie.  He had promised Eliza a magical night, after all.  Of course, he'd only done it to stop her from harping on it.  He hadn't even wanted to come; it was all her idea.  Then again, that's the way things usually were.  In fact, their entire relationship, such that it was, was all her idea.  Somehow, he'd found himself along for the ride since he'd had nothing better to do.  Realizing how completely bored with the entire evening he was, he let out a weary sigh and prayed that it would all be over soon.


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

The Grand Sunset RoomFred Rutherford rocked back and forth awkwardly as he stood next to Mary Albany.  With a discrete glance, he looked over and watched her smile, nod, and wave at various guests with whom she was acquainted.  He fought to suppress a chuckle when he thought about how much she reminded him of a bulldog.  He really should have fought the urge harder.

"And what, may I ask, do you find so funny?" Mary questioned as she turned to face him with a scowl.  "You better be standing there counting your blessings that you're even allowed in the same room as my daughter."

"I really don't think you have much say in the matter, Mrs. Albany," he replied snidely.  "Your daughter is a grown woman and is quite capable of making decisions on her own...especially when it comes to which man she choices to spend her time with."

"Well, that remains to be seen," she said gruffly as she returned her focus to the party guests.  "If I were you, I wouldn't get too comfortable.  I have a feeling your role in my daughter's life will be short-lived."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"And what makes you say that?" he asked with a shocked laugh.  "I'll have you know that Francis and I have grown very close over these past few months.  In fact, I...I would really like to become an even bigger part of her life."

"I bet you would," Mary muttered with a slight roll of her eyes.  "Look, Freddie, let me put it to you in simple words that you might understand.  My daughter will forever be in love with her husband.  Charles has always been and always will be the most important man in her life other than her boys."

"Apparently, you don't know your daughter that well," Fred laughed.

"I know her a hell of a lot better than you do or ever will!"  She kept her eyes straight ahead and refused to even give him the courtesy of looking in his direction as she spoke.  "Francis will always love Charles.  You're just holding his place on her dance card until he grows up and gets over this foolishness with that woman."

"I really think you're...."  His voice trailed off as he bit his tongue.  He really didn't need to get into a heated argument with the mother of his planned future bride.  After taking a deep breath to settle himself down, he spoke again.  "Well, I guess we'll just have to see, won't we?"

Mary Albany"And you'll see that I'm right."  She fought the urge to smirk and betray the glee that she felt over getting his goat.  "I'm always right."

Fred made a slight clearing of his throat as he realized that this was most definitely a debate that needed to be tabled for a later date.  Suddenly, he caught sight of Annabelle, standing across the room in the doorway of the lounge, discreetly motioning for him to join her.  He let out a grateful sigh and lifted his head to heaven to say a silent prayer of thanks for the excuse to leave the warden's ever watchful eye.

"I think I'm going to go get a drink," he said with a smile as he turned to face her.  "Would you like for me to get you something?"

"I'm fine with the punch I have," she muttered.

After nodding curtly, he quickly walked away from Mary and headed towards the lounge with a sense of curiosity.  What could be so important that Annabelle would risk talking to him there, surrounded by the entire Callison family? 


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - FOYER

The Grand Sunset Room"W-what do you mean?" Francis asked, unsure of what Stephanie was saying.  "Why wouldn't Charles know what really happened?  He was there!  Granted, he was soused to the gills, but he knows that he slept with her!"

"That's not what I mean!" Stephanie tried to explain.  "I...I mean..."  Could she really do it?  Could she betray her own mother?  Could she reveal all of the horrible, wicked things that she'd done to destroy Francis' marriage?

"Would you just tell me what you're trying to say!" Francis ordered as she quickly grew anxious and agitated.

"Your husband wasn't in his right mind that night!" Stephanie finally spoke.  "He didn't know what he was doing!"

"He was drunk," Francis spat, "but he knew enough to climb into bed with her!"

"No, he didn't!"

Francis stared at her, unable to speak.  How couldn't he know what he was doing?  What in the world was she saying?

Stephanie Lake"I...I shouldn't be telling you this," Stephanie muttered as she looked down at the floor with embarrassment.  "This is my mother, after all, but...but I just can't bear to see you go through so much pain because of her.  It's just not right!"

"Just tell me!  Tell me what you're trying to say!"  The intensity of the moment finally got to Francis and the fragile, emotional wall she'd put up around herself to deal with the daughter of her hated rival finally broke and she dissolved into tears.

Stephanie, truly heartbroken and remorseful for the deep anguish her mother's schemes had caused, instinctively reached out for her and took the broken woman into her arms in an attempt to comfort her.

"M-Mrs. Callison," she muttered weakly.  "My...mother d-drugged...your husband."

"W-what?"  Francis quickly pulled away and stared at Stephanie blankly as her mind tried to process the unbelievable revelation she'd heard.  "Did you say drugged?  What do you mean?"

"Momma knew that your husband would never betray you if he was in his right mind.  She knew that his love for you was stronger than any of her charms or wiles."  As the truth began to spill forth from her lips, Stephanie couldn't have stopped it if she'd tried.  It was like a damn had suddenly burst and every horrible secret of her mother's came spilling out.  "She...she got some kind of drug.  I don't know what kind or how, but...."

Francis Callison"Y-yes?"

"But somehow, she slipped it to him during the engagement party.  She never did tell me all of the details, but I know that whatever that drug was, it put his head into a fog and he didn't know what he was doing."  She paused and took a deep, cleansing breath to punctuate the sense of release that she felt because of the intense burden that was being lifted from her shoulders.  "If it weren't for that drug...if it weren't for what happened that night...he would never have betrayed you.  He loved...loves...you too much for that.  Ever since that night, he's felt such intense guilt about what happened.  My mother has been using that guilt against him.  She's convinced him to rely on her and she's convinced him that you're better off without him.  He's only with her to spare you...because he loves you!"

"O-oh, my god," Francis stammered as she fell back against the wall.  Charles hadn't willfully turned his back on their vows and their marriage.  He hadn't sought out the warmth of another woman's arms because he'd grown tired of her.  He'd done it because of a cruel, heartless scheme perpetrated by a shallow, vengeful woman.  Charles had always loved her and still loved her.  Overcome with the sense of shock and disbelief that Stephanie's revelation had brought, Francis could only stand there with her mouth agape and eyes wide open.  "Oh, my god."



 


TOMORROW

As the truth behind her actions begins to spread, Annabelle becomes a hunted woman.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions