MANSION - FOYER
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
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.
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."
"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
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
"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..."
"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.
"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!"
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? 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..."
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.
"But, Mrs. Stokes,"
Ruby muttered with a quick and nervous glance over her shoulder,
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.