THE PAGE TURNER BOOKSTORE

The Page Turner Bookstore"Grace, are you all right?" Trevor asked as he eyed her curiously.  "This jerk isn't giving you any problems, is he?"

"Oh, Trevor, I...I..." Grace stammered, unsure of what to say.  How much had he overheard?  Did he suspect the truth about her and Dane?  "Trevor, I'm sorry!  I'm..."

"Calm down, Trevor," Dane muttered with a tone of disgust.  "Nothing's going on.  I don't know why you have to always assume the worst about  things."

"Because I know how you are, Dane," Trevor said coolly as he snapped his head around to face him.  "I haven't forgotten that mess at Reginald's engagement party.  You might have convinced some people that you didn't have anything to do with that, but I'm not fooled by your act."

Grace winced slightly, feeling very foolish and naive.

Dane Manchester"I'm not getting into that with you, Trevor, but it wasn't an act."  Dane clinched his teeth tightly.  "And I don't know what you've assumed is going on here, but this is a place of business.  I'm only here to purchase as book for some leisurely reading.  I saw Grace and, since I'm concerned about her considering her mother's passing, I just wanted to offer my condolences and see if she was doing all right.  Is there a problem with that?"

Trevor's eyes narrowed as he inspected Dane carefully.  Could he possibly be telling the truth?  Finally, he turned to look at Grace and waited for her confirmation or denial.

Trevor Callison"Is that what's going on?" Trevor asked with concern.

"Y-yes," she stammered as she awkwardly looked away.  She just couldn't bear to meet his eyes.  "Dane was just...offering his...sympathies."

"See, I told you," Dane smirked with a self-satisfied grin.  "Now, if you'll just let me finish paying for this book, I've got to make my afternoon class."  He handed Grace his money but she refused to look at him.  "You two lovebirds have a good day."  

And, with a nod of his head, he tucked the book---just a random one that had been laying on the counter---under his arm and walked out of the store.  Once outside, he held out the book and glanced at its cover---The Gardener's Guide to Perennials.  With a slight laugh he decided that he'd have to give the book to Helga.  Lord knew that he didn't have any need for it.

Meanwhile, inside, Trevor motioned for Grace to come around to the front of the counter where he took her into his arms.

"Oh, Grace, I'm sorry you have to be subjected to that scoundrel," he sighed as he gently stroked her hair.  "I know that seeing him must remind you of how horribly foolish you felt for having that silly crush on him."

"Y-yes, it does," she muttered as her breath caught in her throat.  "I don't...know what in the world I...could have been thinking."

"Well, guys like Dane Manchester always seem to know the exact words to sway an impressionable young girl into thinking exactly what they want them to think."  Trevor smiled and kissed her lovingly on the forehead.  "Now, I don't want you to worry about him.  Whenever he comes nosing around, you just remember how much I love you and respect you for who you are.  Dane's self-centered behavior has no effect on us at all."

As Grace felt Trevor's arms wrapped around her, she fought back the tears that wanted to break forth.  No matter what he said, Dane did have an effect on them.  She'd been taken in by his charms and she'd made a horrible and tragic mistake.  Silently, she feared what would happen if Trevor ever learned of her vulnerability and betrayal.  One thing was certain, however, she was now more convinced than ever that she certainly didn't deserve the love and devotion that Trevor willing gave to her.  She wasn't worthy of him and she was growing more and more frightened of what would happen when he realized the exact same thing.


JOE'S CAFE

Joe's CafeJillian Stokes hurriedly pushed through the front door of the cafe and let out a sigh of relief.  She'd managed to slip past a distracted Dane Manchester unnoticed as he walked down the street.  She'd managed to avoid him for months---she barely even saw him at Burt Lamont's ill-fated coming out party---and the last thing that she was in the mood for was an unpleasant run-in with her ex.  Thank goodness that he seemed to be too distracted by the book that he had to notice her presence.

She quickly spotted her fiancé Reginald Callison sitting at a nearby table and went to join him.

"Well, you don't look like you're in the best of moods," she spoke up with concern as she sat down.  "I take it that your meeting with Douglas didn't go well?"

"I don't know why Father keeps insisting that I need an attorney," he grumbled.  "All of their constant badgering is worthless.  I have nothing to say and the sooner that they realize that, the better off we'll all be."

Jillian Stokes"But, darling, we only want you to reveal what you know so that we can show the police that you didn't have anything to do with Annabelle's murder!"  She grasped his hand firmly, hoping against hope that she could convince him that revealing the truth would be the best thing for everyone.

"But there's nothing to tell," he replied stoically and swiftly pulled his hand away to lean back in his seat and cross his arms across his chest in a defensive stance.  "I've already said everything that I'm going to say on the matter."

"Reginald!  Our wedding is coming up!  Do you really want a murder investigation hanging over our heads?"  

Jillian's eyes pleaded with him to open up, but when his stony expression didn't change, she let out a weary sigh and slumped back, defeated, into her own seat.  He could be so stubborn!  Taking a deep breath, she decided to try another approach.

"Didn't Douglas say that Stephanie came to your office to see you about the murder investigation?"  

She winced slightly as she spoke the name of her one-time rival.  Jillian still hadn't quite gotten over the schemes that Stephanie Lake had pulled in her attempt to steal Reginald away.  No matter how much Patterson Monroe asserted Stephanie's changes, Jillian still wasn't sure that she could be trusted.  However, at this point, she was determined to search for answers anywhere they might be.  

"I could have sworn that I heard him say that Stephanie found some kind of witness to..."

Reginald Callison"I said drop it!" Reginald snapped as his eyes burned with anger.  "Why can't everyone just leave this alone?  You know how Stephanie is!  Why should any of us believe a word that comes out of her mouth?  Clearly she's making this witness up out of thin air so that she can get back in our good graces.  Sure, she might be spending lots of time with Paddy now, but that girl is obsessive.  Why should we think that she isn't up to some new sort of scheme to endear herself to me?"

"But, darling, what if she's telling the truth?"  She eyed him pleadingly and bit her lip.  "I know...that she can be a very convincing liar, but why would she lie about something that has to do with the murder of her own mother?  Of course, she's not the most honest of people, but I just can't believe that she's so selfish that she doesn't even care about what really happened to Annabelle!"

"You and Father and Douglas just need to leave this alone!"

"But it's only because we love you and we're worried about you!"

"Look, darling," he spoke up softly as he reached across the table to take her hand, "we're supposed to meet with your mother and my mother and Nana to finalize those last minute details for the wedding.  Can we please just forget about all of this for one afternoon?  Can't you just let it go so we can get through today and the wedding in peace?"

Jillian took a deep breath and nodded in defeated agreement.  However, she wasn't entirely sure how they would be able to get through their long awaited wedding considering the looming specter of a possible murder indictment.  Reginald might be able to ignore the true magnitude of the situation, but it was something that wasn't very far out of her mind and that utterly terrified her.

Larry RawlingsMeanwhile, sitting unnoticed just a table away, was Larry Rawlings, investigative reporter for The State Examiner.  As he struggled to listen carefully to every word of the conversation, he hurriedly jotted down what was being said nearly word for word.  What a juicy story this would make!  The social wedding of the year marred by murder and scandal.  He smiled gleefully at the thought of the resulting story.  However, his thoughts quickly turned to the revelation of the new witness that Stephanie Lake had discovered.  How accurate was this witness and what exactly did they know?  That was a new piece of information that Larry was certain needed further investigation.


ALBANYVILLE UNIVERSITY - STUDENT CENTER

Albanyville UniversityAs Stephanie Lake strolled into the center and shook off the chill of the winter air, she looked down at the paper she carried in her hands and winced.  A "D-"!  She thought she'd been so well prepared for that test, too.  She sighed in disgust and shook her head silently.  Maybe college was nothing more than a waste of her time, after all.  True, since her mother's untimely death, she couldn't really afford school---especially since she was having such a difficult time making grades.  Why should she continue to subject herself to such torture?

As she bit her lip, she thought about her encounter with radio producer Willis Lowell.  He'd told her that she had a perfect voice for radio and that she should think about a career as a radio actress.  The thought had seemed rather preposterous at the time because she wasn't an actress and had never had any desire to be one.  However, with the growing realization of the futility of college, maybe a career in radio was something she should explore.  Mr. Lowell did think she had a great voice.  Maybe she should give him a call.

As Stephanie walked through the student center, her eyes remained focused on the large, red "D-" that was scrawled across the top of her test.  Not paying attention to where she was going, she collided with another student.  Immediately popping her head up, she was dismayed to find out who it was.

"Stephanie, you really need to pay attention that was you're doing," Helen Van Dyne muttered snidely.  "You could have knocked me down!"

Stephanie Lake"And the problem with that would have been?" Stephanie smirked with disgusted sarcasm.  "I'm sorry I ran into you.  I can honestly say that running into was the last thing on my mind!"

"Well...apology accepted, such that it is."  Helen furrowed her brow as she took a step backward and eyed Stephanie cautiously.  Finally, after a few awkward moments, she took a deep breath and spoke again.  "I just...want to tell you how sorry I was when I...heard about your mother.  I know that we don't get along, but...well, even you shouldn't have to go through something like that."

"Oh, please!" Stephanie seethed as her eyes filled with anger.  "You can just save your false sympathies!  You and your attitude of what's 'proper' is nothing but a stupid act, anyway!  The last thing I want or need are your condolences!"

"What do you mean 'my attitude is a stupid act'?" Helen snapped.  "You're the one who seems to make it a habit of lying and scheming!  No one's even come close to forgetting everything you tried to do to Reginald and Jillian!"

"You know, Helen, your self-righteousness really gets under my skin!"  Stephanie clinched her teeth tightly as she tried to hold in her outrage.  "You want to talk about everything I did?  Well, what about what you did?  What about what you're still doing?"

"W-what are you talking about?" Helen asked with confusion and concern.

"I'm talking about Clark Saxon!  I know all about how you two plotted together to ruin me and my name!"

Helen Van Dyne"Well, honestly, you did a fine enough job ruining your name all on your own, in case you've forgotten."

"Then, if that's the case, what was the point in you having Clark try to woo and seduce me so that you two could tell everyone what a loose and wanton girl I am when you both know that's not the case at all?"  Stephanie glared at Helen as she waited for her to answer.

"I know no such thing about you, Steffi," Helen replied coolly.  "Remember, you're the one who threw yourself at Reginald!  He loves Jillian and they're going to be married!  I was just trying to make sure that you'd never do anything again that might hurt them.  What kind of girl tries to come between a devoted couple like that anyway?"

"You are such a hypocrite!" Stephanie snapped.  "You want to chastise me for something when you're involved in something much worse!"

"W-what are you...talking about?" Helen asked as her eyes filled with worry.

"You can stand there and play the role of devoted friend and judge until the cows come home, for all I care," Stephanie growled, "but I know the truth about you!"

"T-the truth?"

"Yes," Stephanie smiled slyly as a look of triumph filled her eyes.  "And if you think that I'm going to forget everything that you've done to me, you're sadly mistaken!"



 


TOMORROW

Calvin and Ruby realize the truth.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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