produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

EPISODE #90 (Friday, 2/22/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
January, 1936 - Afternoon


Stephanie LakeJoe's CafeIn the back corner of the cafe sat Helen Van Dyne and a very handsome mystery gentleman.  Stephanie Lake stared at them intently and felt herself growing deeply angry at the sight of a giggly Helen enjoying herself in the company of the man.  How dare Helen have so much fun after she'd worked so hard to ruin Stephanie's life?  As she began to seethe, Stephanie couldn't help but find the gentleman oddly familiar.  She was just sure that she'd seen him somewhere before.

"Um, excuse me," Stephanie spoke up as she grabbed the attention of a nearby waitress.  "That couple sitting at that back table..."

"Yes," the waitress asked as her eyes darted to Helen and her date.  "Cute couple."

"Who is he?"  Stephanie leaned in closer as if she were about to hear a very intriguing secret.

"Well, I'm not one to gossip," the waitress smiled slyly, "and I must add that I'm not one to pry, either, but..."  She glanced around for a moment as if she were checking out the security of the area and she was about to deliver top secret information.  "Well, I do manage to overhear things when I'm pouring coffee and serving food."

"I'm sure you do," Stephanie nodded, eager for the waitress to continue.  "Who is he?"

"Well..." the waitress' voice trailed off into a whisper, "his name is Mark Linford...."

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69A Bridgeside Terrace; Riverside"I wish you could stay longer," Kitty Benedict cooed as she slowly draped herself with her lush peignoir.  "We only got started."

"I wish that I could," Dane Manchester muttered with an impish smile, "but I do have other things I have to do today.  Actually, I've been here longer than I really should have."

"That wife of yours sure keeps you on a short leash."  She frowned intensely, not at all happy that she had to share the dashing Mr. Manchester with anyone.

Dane Manchester"For your information, I'm on nobody's leash!" he snapped angrily, "least of all my wife's!"

Kitty paused for a moment, slightly stung by his sharp reply.  "When...will I get to see you again?"

"Soon," he grinned, "very soon."

As Dane left her apartment, Kitty sunk down onto the couch and lit a cigarette.  Her random encounters with Dane were quickly beginning to grow old.  However, she knew that she'd gotten her foot in the door...exactly what she needed to do.  A loud knocking at the door pulled her from her thoughts.

Sammy Benedict"I'm coming!" she shouted as she pulled her peignoir tightly closed and headed for the door.  "Who....oh!" she gasped when she saw who was on the other side.  "What...are you doing here?"

"I take it that Manchester guy was here?" the man said as he eyed Kitty up and down.

"Yes," she mumbled.  "I wasn't...expecting you until later---for dinner."

"I'm early."

"I can see that!"  Kitty let out a deep breath and followed the man as he walked into the apartment and straight to the liquor cabinet.  "Sammy, what's the big deal with Dane, anyway?"

"Don't ask questions, Kit," Sammy Benedict, Kitty's older brother said with a throaty growl.  "You know that you've got a job to do."

Kitty Benedict"I just...don't understand it."  Kitty bit her lip as she tried to understand exactly the reasoning behind what was going on.  "I mean, I don't exactly mind getting so close to Dane, but...well...why?  Why is your boss so intent on using me to get close to Dane Manchester?"

"It's not Manchester, babe," Sonny muttered after taking a long swig of his drink.  "I don't know exactly how it all fits together, but it all has somethin' to do with his wife."

"Dane's wife?"

"Look, don't ask questions."  Sonny turned and walked over to the couch to sit down.  "Just do what you're supposed to do and there's going to be a nice fat roll of dough at the end."

"Oh, all right," Kitty muttered with a sigh as she sat down next to her brother on the sofa and silently began to wonder exactly what she'd gotten herself into.


The Gardens Restaurant"Well, dear, what did Dane say he had to do that was so important?" Joyce Preston asked as she sat at a table with her daughter Sara.

"I don't know," Sara Manchester grumbled as she glanced down at her watch.  "He just muttered something about having to be somewhere and left.  Honestly!  My own aunt's memorial service and he can't even stay for the entire thing."

"Well, this is Annabelle we're talking about," Joyce commented with a thin laugh.  "From what I've gathered, she and Dane didn't necessarily get along."

"Hardly!  Aunt Annabelle just couldn't stand Dane and always thought I could have picked a better husband."  Sara winced slightly when she realized that she'd brought up a topic of conversation that she really didn't want to have with her mother in light of recent discussions.

"My lord, I can't believe it," Joyce exclaimed with a dramatic and overly pronounced gasp, "I actually agree on something with that old barracuda!  I think Dane's beneath you, too!"

"Momma, don't start."

Joyce Preston"What, dear?" Joyce smiled innocently.  "I'm only saying these things because I'm your mother and I care."  About causing trouble.

"Well, if you care so much, can we please change the subject.  I really don't feel like discussing my marriage with you today."

"Okay," Joyce nodded, more than a little pleased with herself that she'd managed to strike a nerve.  Taking a deep breath, she decided to broach another topic.  "So...what's going on between you and Stephanie?"

At the sound of her cousin's name, Sara winced.  It was a reaction not lost on Joyce who quickly realized that there was yet another avenue to be explored.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Sara muttered as she tried to avoid the question.

"Now, don't give me that!  I've got eyes and ears!"  Joyce paused and took a sip of her wine.  "Remember, I was there!  I saw all of those nasty looks between the two of you...the ones you were giving when you thought she wasn't looking!"

Sara Manchester"Momma, I'm not discussing Dane and I'm not discussing Steph with you!"

"But you girls were always so close when you were little."  Joyce reached across the table and grasped her daughter's hand tightly.  "I just don't know what could have happened to change all of that."

"Let's just say that Stephanie doesn't know how to keep her nose out of my relationship with Dane," Sara snapped angrily.  "And you can take that as a little advice!"

As Joyce leaned back into her chair, she exhaled slowly in an attempt to fight off the quick retort that was wanting to jump off of the tip of her tongue.  No, a vicious argument with Sara would definitely not keep her in her daughter's good graces.  Joyce fully realized that that was exactly where she needed to be if she were going to be able to succeed in her plans.

Meanwhile, across the table, Sara again glanced down at her watch and began to franticly wonder what was keeping her husband.