For Now and Forever
EPISODE #85 (Monday,
MANOR HILLS SANITARIUM
"What, Dr. Maynard? What?" Grace Davis began to feel a sense of panic and worry set in. What wasn't he telling her? What was wrong with her mother?
"It's your mother," Dr. Maynard sighed solemnly. "She's taken a very bad turn for the worse. That's why I was trying to phone your brother."
"A...turn for the worse?" Grace furrowed her brow as she tried to understand what he was saying. "What kind of turn for the worse?"
"She...might not make it through the night." The doctor lowered his head after the delivery of the news, deeply saddened. "I'm glad that you're here. It's good that she has her family here."
"C-can I see her?" she asked with nervous apprehension. "Can I see my mother?"
Dr. Maynard simply looked at her and nodded before extending his hand and reaching for the knob on the door of Louise Davis' room. As the door swung open, Grace stood very still and inhaled deeply as she prepared to see her mother for what could be the very last time.
SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY
As Sara Manchester sipped her hot tea, she sat on the sofa by the large front window and watched the snow as it continued to fall. She curled her legs underneath her and kept a silent watch. Her husband Dane had been gone for hours, presumably out running errands. However, he always seemed to be away more than he was at home. She'd grown slightly accustomed to his repeated absences, but tonight was different. A horrible snow storm had set in and there'd been not a word from Dane. She didn't like the idea of him out on the roads in such bad weather.
"Sara, dear, are you going to sit with your nose pressed against the glass all night long?" Joyce Preston asked her daughter as she walked into the room.
"I'm just having tea," Sara muttered softly, "and thinking."
"Thinking? What about?" Joyce sat down next to Sara on the sofa.
"Aunt Annabelle," Sara replied solemnly. "I just...can't believe that someone would want to kill her."
"Oh, I can believe it!" Joyce let out a laugh. "Annabelle Lake was one of the vilest people I've ever met. When your father and I were married, I couldn't stand her! She just never thought I was good enough for her precious brother."
"I know she did some horrible things, but no one deserves to die like that." Sara raked her fingers through her hair and took another sip of her tea before turning to again gaze out the window. "I...just can't help thinking about Stephanie and what she's got to be going through."
"I thought you two weren't getting along."
"We're not," Sara laughed. "Far from it, actually. Stephanie's a lot like her mother. But...I feel really bad for her because of her mother. Annabelle pushed Stephanie in a lot of directions that she really didn't want to go in." She paused, glanced out the window again, and returned her focus to her mother. "You know, it's ironic that just when I found my mother again, she lost hers."
"And I'm so glad that you've let me back into your life." Joyce reached over, took Sara's hand into hers, and gave it a squeeze. "I know I have so much time to make up for, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes."
"The only thing you have to do is be here."
"Well, it looks like you're out of tea," Joyce smiled as she nodded towards her daughter's cup. "Let me go into the kitchen and get you some more."
"T-thank you, Momma," Sara replied as Joyce took the cup from her hands and then headed out of the room leaving Sara alone to again stare out the window at the falling snow.
"Here, Helga, get my daughter some more tea," Joyce ordered as she flagged down the housekeeper who was walking through the front hall.
"Can't you get it yourself?" Helga asked with a growl.
"It's your job!" Joyce's found her jaw tightening from being forced to deal with the difficult maid.
"So, Mrs. Preston," Helga spat spitefully, "tell me, exactly what are you up to?"
"I don't have the slightest idea what you mean!" Joyce's hand flew up to her chest in mock indignation. "I'm not up to anything. All I want to do is rebuild my relationship with my daughter." She stood holding the cup with her outstretched hand. Realizing that Helga wasn't going to take it from her and follow her orders, she quickly snatched it back. "Fine! If you're not going to do your job, then I'll get Sara's tea myself!"
As Joyce stormed off in the direction of the kitchen, Helga turned and watched her. Despite her assertions to the contrary, Helga was certain that she was up to something and was determined to find out exactly what it was.
MANOR HILLS SANITARIUM
Grace stood in the doorway to her mother's room paralyzed with nervousness and apprehension. Her previous visits had been almost like a crap shoot. At best, her mother would only sit in silence without acknowledging her presence. At worst, her mother would crumble into a delirious fit that would frighten Grace.
"Go, on," Dr. Maynard urged as he gently placed his hand on her shoulder. "She needs to see you. She needs to know that her family is here."
Grace glanced back at the doctor, still filled with her own doubts.
"G-Grace?" Louise Davis called out in a weak voice. "Grace, I need you."
"M-Momma?" Grace stepped slowly into the room, allowing the doctor to close the door behind her. Alone with her mother, Grace carefully walked over to the chair that was by her bed and sat down.
"It's...okay, Momma," Grace said shakily as she took her mother's hand, "I'm here. I heard...I heard you calling for me and I came."
"M-my...baby was always...such a good...girl." Louise rolled her head over to look at her daughter. "Nurse, where's my daughter? I thought I told you to bring Grace to see me."
Grace felt a knot form in the pit of her stomach. As usual, her mother didn't even know who she was. However, it didn't really matter. Grace was there and she knew it was exactly where she was meant to be.
"She'll be here in a little bit," Grace smiled at her as she held onto her hand. "You just lie there and concentrate on getting better."
"W-won't be b-better."
"Yes, you will be." Grace squeezed her mother's hand for strength. "Everything's going to be fine."
Slowly, Louise opened her eyes and looked right at Grace. She appeared to be analyzing every curve of her face and every strand of hair on her head.
"G-Grace?" Louise muttered with a breathy gasp.
"Don't worry, she'll be here later." Grace fought to choke back her emotions. It was difficult for her to deny who she was and their relationship, but she realized that by doing so it would be much easier for her mother to comprehend and understand.
"N-no," Louise said in a whisper as she struggled to shake her head. "G-Grace...y-you're my Grace."
Grace immediately leaned back into her chair, shocked by what she'd heard. Did her mother recognize her? Did she really know who she was?
"Grace, it's you...my baby." Louise's voice was growing thinner and more raspy. "Oh, Grace. I've wanted to see you for so long."
"M-Momma," Grace sobbed as she buried her face into her mother's hand. "I'm...here. I'm here for you, Momma. I'm always here for you."
"My baby. My beautiful little girl." Louise looked up at her as tears began to streak her cheeks. "You've...grown up into such a beautiful young woman. You...look like I always...imagined that you would."
"Oh, Momma, I love you so much!"
"I...love you, too, baby. I'm so...so proud of you."
Suddenly, the tender moment was broken by cries of pain that tore from Louise's chest. She was clearly in intense pain and the sight of her mother's agony frightened Grace.
"Dr. Maynard! Dr. Maynard!" Grace called out as she raced to the door of the room. "Something's...something's wrong!"
"Miss Davis," he said gently, but urgently as he hurried into the room, "please step back. Let me see."
He worked for a few minutes with Louise, but Grace couldn't see what he was doing. Finally, her mother relaxed and lay very still.
"No, Miss Davis, but it doesn't look good." Dr. Maynard walked over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder in a display of comfort and support. "I'm afraid she doesn't have much time. I just wish that I could get in touch with your brother. He...he needs to be here."
"I-I'll get him!" Grace spoke up as she turned to head towards the door. "I'll go home and get him. I can't...let him not be here."
"Miss Davis, wait!" he called out as he hurried behind her down the hallway. "You really shouldn't be on the roads in this weather. Let's just wait and see if the phones come back up."
"No! There's no time!" she sobbed. "I have to get Douglas! Please...make her hold on until we come back. Please?"
"I...I'll do what I can," he muttered as he hung his head. "I'll do what I can."
Taking a deep breath of determination, Grace hurried down the stairs, out of the doors of the hospital, and out into the snowy night. She just had to get Douglas. If anything happened to their mother and he wasn't there, she'd never forgive herself.
KITTY'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM
"That was wonderful," Kitty Benedict sighed breathlessly as she lit a cigarette and rolled over in bed to face her lover. "You just never cease to amaze me."
"So they say," Dane Manchester laughed as he wrapped his arm around her and drew her close. "You were pretty outstanding, yourself."
"I aim to please," she smiled slyly and rested her head on his strong chest. "Dane, I never believed that things could be so wonderful between us. Do you know that I live for the few stolen nights that we share?"
"Oh, I do, too!" he exclaimed with a grin. Of course, he really didn't, but it was more than enough of a reason to get away from his wife for a night. Besides, Kitty was very attractive and quite the tigress in bed.
"I just wish that we could spend every night together like this." She took a long drag off of her cigarette and exhaled slowly. "We're so magical when we're together."
"If you say so," he muttered and then turned to look at the clock that sat on the nightstand. "Darling, I really hate to cut this wonderful evening short, but I do have to head home. The little wife is bound to be pacing the floors wondering where I am."
"I thought you said that she didn't matter?" She sat up, holding the sheet to cover herself, and watched him as he slipped from her bed and began to dress.
"She doesn't," he said as he slipped on his pants and pulled on his shirt. "But, she is my wife."
"Are you sure you need to drive in this weather?" After stubbing out her cigarette, she reached for her peignoir, slipped it on, got out of bed, and began to follow him around the darkened bedroom. "It's almost a blizzard out there. I'm sure that the roads are dangerous."
"Oh, they can't be that bad." He let out a slight chuckle and slipped on his socks and shoes. "I'll be fine."
Kitty stood with her arms folded across her chest and watched him maneuver around the room. As she bit her lip with apprehension, she began to wonder if she should say what was on her mind. Should she start pressing him for something more?
"Okay, what's that look for?" Dane asked as he walked over to her and placed a gently finger under her chin.
"Darling, if you're so unhappy in your marriage..." Her voice trailed off as she considered how she should voice her thoughts. "If you're so unhappy with your wife, why don't you divorce her?"
"Well, it's a little complicated," he sighed. "And, besides, there's really no reason to. I do whatever I want to. I see whomever I want to. It's too much trouble to go through. The only reason I can think of to get a divorce would be if I wanted to marry someone else." He let out a laugh at the thought. "And, trust me, another marriage is the last thing I want. I don't think I'm ever going to make that mistake again."
"Oh," Kitty muttered and hung her head. "I...I can see...your point." As she watched him slip on his coat, she thought about how charming and how handsome he was. He had a mischievous gleam in his eye and a wicked smile that affected her in ways that she couldn't describe. She found him very attractive. Of course, his sizable bank account was rather alluring, as well. "When can I see you again?"
"Soon," he nodded as he opened the door. "We'll get together again, soon."
After the door had closed behind him, Kitty sunk down onto the bed and let out a heavy sigh. Handsome, wealthy Dane Manchester was definitely someone she saw herself having a long, long relationship with. However, there was only one problem---his wife! As she lit another cigarette, Kitty began to wonder exactly what it would take to get him to leave his wife for good.
THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - LOUNGE
Reginald Callison carefully pulled open the doors to the deserted lounge. The ballroom that had been filled to capacity with partiers only a few weeks before was now empty and dark. He'd made certain that he'd gotten onto the elevator alone so that no one would see him ride it all the way to the top floor. It was imperative that no one knew he was there.
As he maneuvered around the darkened lounge, he shivered slightly. It felt unbelievably odd to be back in the room where Annabelle Lake had died. The police's final sweep of the room for evidence had been completed only the day before. That was the only reason he risked returning to the scene of the murder.
Had they found anything? Had they discovered what he'd struggled so hard to keep hidden? He immediately realized that if they had found it, all of his efforts would be for nothing. Reginald shuddered at the potential consequences.
He eyed the room carefully and quickly spotted the large potted plant in the corner of the room. It was exactly where it had been the night of the party. In fact, it appeared as if it hadn't been touched! Had the police not thought to check every corner for clues? Was it so far away from where the body had been found that they didn't see the correlation?
Reginald's face flooded with determination and he quickly walked over to the plant and reached down into the tiny space between the inner shell that held the plant and soil and the outer, more decorative, pot. With a smile of satisfaction, he pulled out a long silk scarf, only slightly dirty from its hiding place. Thank god that the police hadn't found it. That would have ruined everything!
Suddenly, the darkness of the room was flooded with light and he jumped to his feet, still holding the scarf in his hands.
"Hello?" came the voice from the doorway. "Who's in here?"
Reginald's eyes grew wide from shock. He wasn't alone and he'd been caught at the scene of the murder! How would he be able to logically explain exactly what he was doing? How in the world could he keep the truth hidden?
DOUGLAS'S CAR - SOMEWHERE ALONG ANDERSONVILLE, RD.
Grace squinted her eyes as she tried to see the road through the blinding snow. It seemed to be coming down even harder than it had been when she'd left home to drive to the sanitarium. In her anxiety, she fought the urge to speed up in order to make it home faster. She just couldn't forgive herself if she couldn't get to Douglas and get him back to the hospital in time.
She knew that their mother didn't have much time left in the world. Her condition had clearly been deteriorating rapidly. Along with her mental condition, she hadn't been in good physical health in years. She just had to get to Douglas in time.
Weighing her options, she pressed down on the accelerator. She had to hurry.
Suddenly, she felt the car lurch to the left. Ice! She'd hit a patch of ice! As the car skidded, she struggled to keep it under control and let out a sigh of relief as the car returned to the road and she continued on to her destination.
She leaned forward slightly, as if that simple action would help her see the road ahead. Unfortunately, it had already snowed so much that she wasn't sure were the road ended and the country side began. Then, in the distance, she saw the bright glow of headlights as they reflected off of the cloud of snow that poured out of the sky.
Another sudden jerk of the car startled her and she felt the vehicle again begin to skid. She'd hit another patch of ice! She fought and struggled to regain control of the car, but her efforts were futile and she immediately began to panic. As the car careened into the path of the oncoming headlights, a horrific scream tore from her chest.
TO BE CONTINUED
Grace's world becomes more complicated.
For Now and Forever
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