THE GARDENS RESTAURANT - MAIN DINING ROOM

The Gardens RestaurantLeticia sat alone at her table and enjoyed her dinner.  Her mind whirled with thoughts about her daughter Jillian and soon-to-be son-in-law Reginald as well as her daughter Judith and the tragic loss of her child.  She was so consumed with her own thoughts that she didn't hear Fred Rutherford walk up behind her.

"Well, hello, Mrs. Stokes," Fred smiled broadly.

"Oh, Dr. Rutherford," Leticia blushed slightly as he moved around to the other side of the table to face her.  "My head was off in the clouds.  I didn't hear you walk up.  I'm so sorry."

"That's quite all right," he laughed with a nod of his head.  "I just came in for a bite of dinner and saw you sitting here all alone so I just thought I'd come over and say 'hello'."  Fred furrowed his brow and looked at her carefully.  "Well, I assume that you're alone."

"Yes, in fact, I am," she confessed.  "What with the girls always out, I often find myself dinning alone with Judith.  However, she's been so withdrawn that she's really not that much company so I like to go out for dinner.  I still might be alone, but at least I'm surrounded by other people in much cheerier moods."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"I can understand that."  He glanced down at the empty chair across from her.  "Would you mind if I joined you?  That way we could both enjoy dinner and neither one of us would have to dine alone."

"Actually, I think I would enjoy that very much."  She kept her eyes focused on him as he sat down and couldn't help but recognize his sophisticated manner and debonair style.  "But, if we're going to enjoy dinner together, you must call me Leticia.  Mrs. Stokes just sounds too formal."  

"All right, Leticia," he grinned coyly, "but you have to call me Fred."

She nodded her agreement and they both sat there for a few silent moments.  A sudden sense of awkwardness had set in and neither one of them was sure where to take the conversation next.  Finally, one of them spoke.

"So, Fred," Leticia began with a slight hesitation, "how is your relationship with Francis going?  I'm sure it has to be difficult for both of you considering everything that's happened with Annabelle Lake and Reginald."

"Yes, it has been quite difficult for Francis," Fred admitted, "but I think you've been misinformed.  Francis and I are only friends."

"I-I'm so sorry," she stammered as her face flushed with embarrassment.  "I was under the impression that you two were seeing one another socially."

"Well, Francis and I do go out on occasion."  He paused and motioned for the waiter who brought over his cocktail from his previous table.  "But it's more for friendly companionship than romance.  I consider her a dear friend.  Nothing more."

Leticia Stokes"I...I see."  She continued to eye him with much curiosity and fascination.  His manner and his demeanor very much peaked her interest.  "I could have sworn that you two were, shall we say, involved."

"Far from it, actually."  Fred let out a slight chuckle.  "In fact, Francis is really not my type."

"And why is that?"

"Well, she's more of a motherly, homebody type of woman.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course."  He took a sip of his cocktail, yet refused to take his eyes off of Leticia.  "However, I prefer a more refined woman...a woman with more of a sophisticated slant."  He looked deeply into her eyes to emphasize his point.  "In fact, I prefer a woman more like yourself."

Leticia felt her face flush and she immediately reached for her glass of wine and took a large sip.  She clearly found Fred quite charming and the more that she talked to him, the more intrigued she was getting.


THE CAMPBELL HOME - LIVING ROOM

276 Spruce Lane"Now, wait a second, Mrs. Campbell," Maggie spoke up as she felt her temper rising.  "I don't understand how you can..."

Her retort was immediately interrupted by the shrill ringing of the telephone.  With an annoyed sighed, Corinne threw up her hand to silence Maggie and quickly moved to answer it.

Corinne Campbell"Eliza, dear, it's for you," Corinne said with annoyance.  "Please don't be on for too long.  I don't want the line tied up.  I'm expecting your father to call."

"Yes, Mother," Eliza replied with a roll of her eyes as she took the receiver from her and watched her walk out of the room.  "Hello?  Oh, hi, Randy!  Nah, I'm just sitting here studying for that silly English test with...  I'm just studying.  Nothing important."  Eliza tried to cover her ear so that she could better hear Randy on the other end, but soon began to motion for Maggie to switch off the radio that had started broadcasting some kind of orchestral performance.  "Now, that's better.  I can hear you, now, Randy."

Eliza CampbellAs Eliza cooed and giggled in her conversation with Randy, Maggie merely sat on the floor and glared at her.

"Oh, I miss you so much when we're not together," Eliza sighed.  "I just wish we could spend every hour of every day together.  Oh, Randy, I just knew you felt the same way."  As she continued with her conversation, she slyly turned to glance over her shoulder to make sure that Maggie was listening to her every word.  Satisfied that Maggie was, Eliza returned her focus to the conversation.

Maggie CallisonMeanwhile, Maggie tried to tune out Eliza's idle prater so that she could concentrate on her studying.  Or, more accurately, so she would not hear Eliza's gooey professions of romantic devotion to Randy Lamont.  In spite of her best efforts to ignore what was going on, Maggie couldn't help but stare at Eliza and listen intently.  The more Eliza giggled and fawned over Randy, the redder Maggie felt her face turn.

Finally, unable to listen to any more, Maggie loudly stacked her books on top of each other and scooped them up off of the floor as she stood.  "Eliza, apparently you have no intention on even attempting to study," she snapped angrily.  "And I can't get any studying done with you giggling like an insane circus clown."  She hurriedly yanked on her coat and hat.  "I'm going home!"  And with those words, Maggie stormed out the door, letting it loudly slam behind her.

With a curious tilt of her head and a cock of her eyebrow, Eliza turned to watch her leave.  What in the world is wrong with her?


THE STOKES MANSION - LIVING ROOM

Burt Lamont76 Mapleton Way"Burt, what's going on?" Janet asked as she stood in the doorway.  "What are you and Judith arguing about?"

"I...um..." he stammered awkwardly before turning to glance at Judith who was making a half-hearted attempt to hide a sly smile.  "I was just checking on Judith to see how she was doing since the accident."

"Yes," Judith grinned as she walked over to him and touched him on the arm, making sure that Janet could clearly she her physical closeness.  "Burt was just being an absolute dear.  He's so caring and thoughtful like that.  Of course, I'm sure that none of that comes as news to you, Janet."

"Oh, no, of course not," Janet muttered as her eyes darted back and forth from Burt to Judith.  "He's the most kind and loving man I think I've ever known.  It's just like him to be so concerned about my sister."  

Although the reasoning seemed logical, she couldn't get over the odd feeling that something else was going on.  She could clearly see Burt's discomfort and Judith's smugness.  As a gnawing feeling began to fill her stomach, Janet began to grow nervous and anxious with the suspicion that they were keeping something from her.  Where they talking about her behind her back?  Where they discussing her past mental problems?  Did they suspect that she'd been experiencing lapses in memory that she could neither explain nor understand?

Judith Stokes LinfordJanet Stokes"You're very lucky to have Burt," Judith continued as she walked around the room.  "He's so strong and supportive."  She subtly turned to glance in Janet's direction in order to see her reactions.  Noting the cloud of discomfort that had settled over her younger sister, she smiled inwardly and continued.  "I'm not sure that anyone is worthy of the attention and devotion of someone as wonderful as Burt."

"Judith, that will be enough," Burt said sternly as his jaw tightened.  "There's no need for you to go on and on about this."

"Oh, come now, Burt," Judith laughed, "I'm sure that Janet, here, knows that she really doesn't deserve someone like you.  Don't you, Janet?"

"He did love me!  And he still loves me!  He's just with you out of pity!"

The color began to drain from Janet's face and she felt her hands begin to shake with nervousness.  Why?  Why was she suddenly having such intense feelings of panic?  Why was the mere sight of Burt and Judith talking making her so upset?

"Burt is only standing by your side out of pity!  After everything you've been through...of your own doing, I might add...he feels sorry for poor, poor, pitiful Janet!  Poor fragile Janet!  Poor nutty Janet!"

"Janet, are you all right?" Burt asked with concern as he slowly walked over to her.  "Honey, you're not looking very well.  Are you feeling all right?"

"Are you feeling all right?  Are you feeling all right?  Are you feeling all right?"

Suddenly, Janet felt her eyes flood with tears and she immediately turned and ran from the room, still unsure about exactly what was making her so upset.  Burt quickly turned to look at Judith with eyes full of confusion and worry, but she only shook her head and shrugged her shoulders.  Taking a deep breath, he ran after her in hopes of finding out what was going on.  Left alone in the room, Judith took a long sip of her cocktail and smiled deviously.



 


TOMORROW

Reginald and Jillian argue about his silence.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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