THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM
- MAIN BALLROOM
I want a word with you," Mark Linford said sternly as he walked over to
"Hello, Mark," Janet
smiled sweetly. "I saw you from across the room earlier and I
intended on saying 'hello', but I just didn't have the chance." She
quickly looked around and let out a worried sigh. "I take it that you
couldn't convince Judith to come?"
"No, she felt more like
staying in tonight," Mark muttered as he kept his eyes focused on
Burt. "Staying home is all she feels like doing since...the
winced at the reference to Judith Linford's tumble down a flight of stairs that
resulted in the loss of the baby she'd been carrying...Burt's baby!
feel so horrible for her," Janet responded. "I just can't
imagine the pain she's going through. It must be so awful to loose a
"You have no idea what
your sister and I have been going through," Mark nodded, still focused on
Burt. "But, Janet, if you'll excuse us, I need to speak with Burt in
nodded as Mark led Burt off to a corner. As she watched them walk away,
she kept her eyes locked on them. What in the world would Mark have to
discuss with Burt? Unless.... Her! They were going to talk
about her! Janet was certain that she had to be the topic of their
conversation. Were they still dwelling on her disappearance
after...after... She furrowed her brow slightly as she thought. She
remembered running away but she couldn't remember why. What had been so
horrible as to cause her to run away from her family and the man that she loved?
shook her head in confusion. There were huge holes in her memory that she
just couldn't explain. She couldn't remember anything about the night she
disappeared or the night that Judith fell, even though she knew that she was in
the house at the time. She'd racked her brain trying to remember, but
she'd avoided telling anyone about her lapses in memory. Surely they'd
think she was loosing it again! Surely they'd want to put her back into
the hospital. Janet refused to let that happen and worked on her own to
fill in the blanks. Maybe Mark and Burt were going to talk about
her. Maybe they knew something that she couldn't remember. Desperate
for some clue, she carefully slipped over to near where they were standing and
began to listen....
"What's the meaning of
this?" Burt asked in a low whisper as he eyed Mark with trepidation.
"What's going on?"
"I've been meaning to
discuss this with you for some time, now, but I've put it off." Mark
chose his words carefully as he kept his eyes locked on Burt. After a few
moments, he took a deep breath and spoke again. "Burt, I know the
truth about Judith's baby."
Burt took a few steps backward, afraid of what was to come. Did Mark
really know the truth?
"Yes, I know that the
baby Judith lost was actually yours and not mine."
The revelation hung in the air
for a moment as Burt's jaw dropped in shock. Silently, Burt wondered how
he should react. Should he confess that he knew about the true paternity
of the child? Should he feign ignorance in the entire matter?
"I can tell from your
shocked expression that this comes as news to you." Mark lowered his
voice and inspected Burt closely. "Mainly, I want to insure that you
don't have any plans on renewing your sordid relationship with my wife
"Mark, I can assure you
that what Judith and I had is very much in the past. You can imagine how
stunned I am concerning Judith's baby." Burt didn't have to think of
how he should react; Mark willingly gave him an out. "However, I love
Janet very much. The last thing on earth that I'd ever want is to see her
"I like the sound of
that," Mark muttered slyly. "You see, now that you've
miraculously discovered that you're a Callison, your social standing has been
upped a bit. You're no longer quite so beneath her."
"Who my family is has
it?" Mark let out a thin laugh. "It means everything to
Judith. If you'd known all along who you really were, she would have run
away with you in an instant. However, we all thought you were some pitiful
bar hack. She should never have condescended to speak to you let
"Now, wait a
second!" Burt was quickly beginning to grow angry. "I am
still the exact same person as I've always been, Callison or not!"
"For once, I have to
agree with you. I guess it's that old question of nature versus
nurture." Mark paused and made sure to look Burt right in the eyes to
ensure that he understood him perfectly. "In any case, I want to you
leave Albanyville. I want you to stay as far away from Judith as you can
and never tell a soul the truth about that child. As far as anyone will
ever know, the baby that she lost was mine!"
"And...if I don't?"
"Then I'll be forced to
tell poor, sweet Janet all about your past with her sister and the dead bastard
child that you shared!"
Burt gasped in shock.
Surely Mark wouldn't do anything as horrendous as tell Janet the truth about the
baby! She'd suffered through so much in the past from the death of Gordon
Scott as well as the discovery of his long over affair with her sister.
Burt was certain that the shocking truth of Judith's baby would be too much for
her to bear.
Meanwhile, not far away, Janet
strained to hear what they were talking about. However, the music that was
coming from the orchestra was drowning out a great deal of the
conversation. From her vantage point behind a large fern, she could
clearly see that the discussion was an unpleasant one and she leaned in closer
so that she could make out what they were saying. What she managed to hear
A look of confusion covered
her face as she heard them discuss Judith's baby. What about the
baby? Was Burt offering his condolences about the loss of the child?
Why was Mark acting so angry? A large knot began to form in the pit of her
stomach as the color began to drain from her face.
In an instant, a collection of
random, jarring memories began to flash inside her head--the staircase at the
mansion...Judith's angry face...the sound of Judith's blood curdling
scream...the sight of her sister tumbling head over heals down the stairs...
Janet immediately began to
feel light headed and sick to her stomach. What did it all mean? Why
was she having these visions? Had she been there when Judith fell?
Had she seen it all? As a sense of panic began to set in, Janet ran
away. It began to feel like the walls were closing in on her and she had
As she pushed her way through
the crowd of guests, she searched for any place to hide. Hide? From
what? She wasn't sure, but she knew she had to get out of there. The
flashes of memory kept coming and they terrified her. Oh god, what had she
done? Looking for a place to be alone so that she could collect herself,
she saw the doors to the empty lounge and promptly ran for them.