produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

EPISODE #91 (Monday, 2/25/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
January, 1936 - Afternoon


The Gardens RestaurantJudith Stokes Linford"Hello, Judith," Joyce Preston spoke up calmly as she came face to face with a person from her past.

"J-Joyce!" Judith Linford exclaimed, more than a little taken aback.  "What...are you doing Albanyville?"

"Let's just say that it was a family emergency," Joyce replied icily.  "I could ask you the same question.  Did you run out of people's lives to ruin in New York?"

"Surely you're not going to hold that against me?" Judith smiled coyly as she quickly regained her composure.  "That was ages ago."

"There are some things you don't forget."

"Mother should be here in a moment."  Judith casually looked around for a glimpse of her.  "We were out shopping earlier but she had to run home.  We're meeting back here for lunch.  I'm sure she'd love to see you.  It has been ages."

"At least since the funeral," Joyce nearly spat.  "Speaking of which.  How's that sister of yours?  Is she still bouncing around inside that padded cell?"

"Actually, no," Judith replied, a suddenly plan formulating inside her head.  "In fact, she's here in Albanyville, too."

"Oh, really?"  Joyce felt her face flush with surprise.  Janet Stokes was in Albanyville?  This was shocking news.  "You'll just have to send my warmest regards."

"I'm sure she'd be thrilled to receive them," Judith didn't fight to hide the sarcasm in her voice.  "I'll be more than happy to pass them along to her.  In fact, I just can't wait to tell her that I saw Joyce Scott today!"

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76 Mapleton WayLeticia Stokes hurriedly pulled on her coat and gloves.  A quick glance at the clock on the wall proved what she already feared---she was late!  She'd only intended to run home to drop off the overabundance of packages that she and her daughter Judith had acquired during an afternoon of shopping before meeting Judith for lunch.  However, she'd gotten a little side-tracked.  Those pesky afternoon serials!  She'd only flipped on the radio for a moment and she hadn't been able to pull herself away from Mary Noble's latest crisis.  Now, Judith was surely sitting all alone at the restaurant waiting on her, growing more and more irate with every passing moment.

She reached for the door and prepared to rush off to meet her daughter when she found a very unexpected visitor on the other side.

"Hello, Leticia," Fred Rutherford smiled warmly.  "I...hope that I haven't come at a bad time."

"Um...well, yes and no," she blushed awkwardly.  "I'm supposed to be meeting Judith for lunch and I'm already a little behind schedule."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"Oh," he muttered, clearly crestfallen.  "I'm...sorry.  I really enjoyed the evening we spent chatting the other night.  I'd hoped that you'd be willing to do it again, this time in a more formal setting."

"Fred, that's awfully nice of you, but..."

"I'd hoped these might persuade you..."

With a swift movement, Fred pulled a large bouquet of flowers from behind his back and handed them to Leticia.  Her hand immediately flew up to her mouth in shock.  It had been so long since anyone had given her flowers!  She fought to hide her surprise, but quickly realized that she wasn't doing a very good job.

"Oh, Fred, I...I just don't know what to say," Leticia smiled as she took the bouquet from him and turned to walk into the living room.  Fred quickly followed.

"I'd hoped that you'd say 'yes' to my invitation."  Standing there nervously with his hat in his hand, he knew that he had to play his cards right.  There was just entirely too much at stake.  "Leticia, may I be completely honest with you?"

"Y-yes, Fred, of course," she replied as she put the flowers in a large vase on a side table and turned to face him.

"Ever since that night we ran into each other---the night we shared such a wonderful dinner---I haven't been able to think about anything else but you."  And her money, but he sure wasn't about to admit that!  "You are like no other woman that I've ever met before.  I'd hoped that you might feel the same sort of things about me, but..."

Leticia Stokes"Fred, it's just that..."  Her voice trailed off as she looked away in discomfort.  True, she did find him deeply attractive and incredibly charming, but the break up of her marriage was still fresh in her mind.  She just wasn't ready to embark on another romantic involvement so soon.  However...

"I know," he sighed with the appropriate tone of disappointment showing in his voice.  "You don't think that a woman of your stature should be seen socially with a mere doctor.  I...I know that we come from different worlds, but..."

"Oh, no, Fred!  It's not that at all!"

"It's...not?"  He eyed her curiously.  Was his charm beginning to work?  Was he about to reel in another catch?

"It's just that...well, you know that I'm married---separated, actually---and I just, well..."  Leticia felt her voice begin to crack slightly.  

Although she knew that it probably wasn't proper, it had been so long since she'd felt the stirrings of any kind of romance.  Nelson had never been the hearts and flowers type, after all.  She'd nearly resigned herself to that part of her life being over, but...well, if Helen Trent could find love and romance at 35 and beyond, then why couldn't she?  Drat that Francis Callison for introducing her to those afternoon serials!

"What, Leticia, what?  Tell me what you're feeling?"  Fred moved closer to her and reached out to touch her gently on the cheek.  Suddenly the moment was broken by the delicate chimes of the doorbell.

"We'll just let Ruby take care of that," Leticia blushed before pausing to take a deep breath.  "Fred, what I was trying to say is..."

Ruby Thomas"Mrs. Stokes?" Ruby Thomas, the Stokes maid, spoke up as she stood in the doorway to the living room.  "You have a...a visitor."

"Ruby, dear, just tell whoever it is that I have company and cannot be disturbed," Leticia smiled in an attempt to cover her feelings of awkwardness.

Nelson Stokes"But, Mrs. Stokes," Ruby muttered with a quick and nervous glance over her shoulder, "I...I..."

"Oh, blast this waiting!" the loud voice boomed in from the foyer.  "I will not stand here waiting like a guest!"

The voice was immediately recognizable to Leticia and her jaw dropped with shock.  As if on cue, her husband Nelson Stokes walked briskly into the room.


The Gardens Restaurant"So, Judith, are you still cavorting with every available, and not so available, man you can find?" Joyce asked pointedly with a clear note of disdain in her voice.

"Actually..."  Judith gave a slight smirk.  "I'm married now."

"Really?"  Joyce's eyes grew wide with shock.  "Poor fellow.  Well, I guess that I can't be too surprised.  Your dear daddy was always pressuring you to settle down.  How is the old coot anyway?"

"Daddy is doing just fine," Judith replied coldly, quite annoyed with the Joyce's condescending tone regarding her father.

"So, tell me..."  Joyce paused as her eyes narrowed and she took a deep breath.  "Has that sister of yours managed to kill off any more of her lovers?  Or was Gordon the only far?"

"Janet is of no concern to you!" Judith snapped as her jaw began to tighten.  "I admit that what happened was unfortunate, but Gordon was a horrible letch who was only out to take advantage of any impressionable young girl he could find."

"Now, Judith, you don't expect me to see you as impressionable, do you?"  Joyce let out a thin laugh.  "Have you and Janet managed to trade off on lovers again?  Or was my husband the only one?"

Judith Stokes LinfordJudith looked away with discomfort as thoughts of Burt Lamont quickly ran through her head.

"I still can't believe it," Joyce sighed.  "How could the woman that I thought was my best friend so callously betray me?  How could you have the gall and the audacity to carry on with my husband?"

"Joyce, we've all made mistakes in our lives," Judith sighed, weary that she was being forced to repeat a conversation that she had already had many times before.  "Gordon was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  That's why when I saw what was happening between him and Janet, I tried to do everything in my power to stop it.  Of course, she would never listen to me!  Oh, if she had I could have saved us all a lot of pain and heartache."

"Yes, and my husband would still be alive!"

"Oh, gee, Joyce, I think I hear Jasper calling for you," Judith laughed with a wicked grin.  "Bitter, party of one!"

Joyce Preston"You might be laughing now, Judith, dear," Joyce spat haughtily, "but I'll be the one who has the last laugh.  You Stokes girls ruined my life when you ripped my darling Gordon away from me and...."

"You know, I'm quite exhausted and I really don't feel like dealing with a harpy from the past," Judith sighed with a roll of her eyes.  "If you'll excuse me, I have a table waiting.  I'd ask you to join me, but I like breathing fresh air."  And with a clinch of her teeth and a sharp turn of her head, Judith angrily stormed away leaving Joyce alone to seethe.

"Oh, Judith," Joyce muttered with disgust to herself, "you and Janet are the cause of everything bad that's happened in my life.  If it weren't for you two tramps, my life wouldn't have become such a shambles.  I wouldn't have been left penniless when Gordon died and I wouldn't have had to marry that old codger Thornton."  She smiled slyly as she thought about a score that needed to be settled.  Maybe this was fate's way of telling her that now was the time.