For Now and Forever
EPISODE #140 (Friday,
REGINALD & JILLIAN'S HOME - FOYER
Reginald Callison hurried down the stairs, tightening his tie. He'd over slept and was worried that he was going to be late for work. However, a quick check of his watch proved that he still had enough time for a quick cup of coffee at Joe's Cafe before he had to be at the office.
As his foot hit the bottom step, he paused and looked around curiously. What was that smell? Coffee? Confused he followed the scent down the front hall and towards the kitchen. What he found utterly shocked him.
"Good morning, dear," his wife, Jillian, turned and smiled as she put the bread in the toaster. "I hope you've got time for breakfast."
"Breakfast?" He eyed her suspiciously and moved further into the room. There he saw an elaborately set table with their best china, polished silver, and delicate crystal. In the center of the table was a bouquet of fresh cut flowers. "When did you have the time to do this? When I got up to get ready for work, I left you sound asleep in bed!"
"You only thought I was sound asleep," she laughed as she wiped her hands on her apron before going over to kiss him tenderly. "I got up right after you did."
"So...what's this all about? You fixed breakfast?"
"Honey, I'm tired of you having to stop at Joe's on the way to the office for a bite to eat." She walked over to the coffee pot and poured him a cup. "I'm your wife and I should send you out of the house in the morning with a full stomach, ready to start your day."
"But you didn't have to go to so much trouble just for breakfast." He glanced at the elaborate table as he took the cup from her. "It's just breakfast."
"But I wanted it to be perfect!"
Reginald exhaled slowly and then took a sip of his coffee -- and then immediately made the worst face of his entire life.
"Ew...um...." He shuddered from the acrid taste.
"Is it all right?" she asked, looking at him with concern. "I followed the directions and...."
"Have you...um...had a cup of coffee, yet?" He tried to casually set his own cup aside, but his actions weren't lost on her.
"No, I've been so busy that I haven't had time." She looked down at the discarded cup of coffee and furrowed her brow. "What's wrong with it?"
"Nothing," he smiled warmly as he tried to hide his true feelings before picking up the cup and forcing down another sip. "It's wonderful."
"Oh, I'm so glad," she sighed with relief. "I was worried for a second."
Reginald set the cup down again and swallowed hard as he watched Jillian while she continued finishing breakfast. A sinking feeling in his gut -- one other than the settling coffee -- gave him an uncomfortable sense of foreboding about the meal at hand.
SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY
"I'm gettin' tired of this waitin'," Naomi Jackson grumbled as she held her infant son, Aubrey, in her arms and fed him his bottle. "I thought you said that I'd have my money by now?"
"Patience, Naomi. Patience." Joyce Preston hurried over to the large wooden doors of the library and pulled them tightly closed so that no one could overhear their conversation. "Instead of griping about your share of the money, you should be happy that Sara managed to talk Dane out of throwing you out of the house."
"Speaking of that, I thought you said he was on our side?" Naomi set the bottle down and leaned the baby over her shoulder so she could burp him. "Wasn't he supposed to be pushing Sara to draw up that trust fund."
"Apparently, I was mistaken about my son-in-law's loyalties." Joyce walked over to the sofa and sat down next to Naomi. "It seems that Dane has decided to stab me in the back."
"What?" The comment drew Naomi's full attention and she laid the baby down in the bassinet so that she could concentrate only on what Joyce was saying.
"Dane told Sara about our plan to use that trust fund to get our hands on her inheritance." The more Joyce thought about what she'd overheard between Dane and Sara, the angrier she became. "That little weasel told Sara everything!"
"Oh, my...." Naomi's jaw dropped in shock. "But...but...if she knows what we're doin', she's never gonna hand over that money. That means I've been wastin' my time just sittin' around here waitin' for you to come through with the money you promised me!"
"Calm down." Joyce took a deep breath and silently prayed for the strength to deal with Naomi. "Just because he told her what's going on doesn't necessarily mean that she believed him. After all, it's only his word against mine."
"And of course you told her that he was lying!"
"Well, not in so many words," Joyce smiled smugly. "Besides, neither one of them has any idea that I know what he told her. That means that if I set about to disprove Dane's claims without acting like I know what he's said, it makes me much more believable."
"And she'll just think he's lying to stir up trouble between the two of you!" Naomi nodded as she slowly began to understand Joyce's plan.
"Sara is just blissfully thrilled to have me back in her life. She's not about to throw away our 'wonderful' relationship just because Dane told her to." Joyce rose from the sofa and began to slowly pace around the room. "But we can't completely discount the influence he has on her. If he persists with his claims that you're a fraud and that we're only trying to get our hands on the money, he might start putting doubts in her head whether she wants them there or not."
"But...but..." Naomi's voice started to shake as her eyes filled with worry.
She was starting to see all of her plans and dreams for her share of the money slowly go up in smoke. She didn't have a real home, she didn't have a job, and she didn't have any money at all -- plus she had a kid to take care of. If she didn't get her hands on the money Joyce had promised her, she didn't know what she was going to do.
"Now, you just leave this to me," Joyce grinned. "I had a feeling that Dane couldn't be trusted, so I took out a little insurance policy."
"Yes," Joyce nodded. "It should keep him preoccupied for a while so I can make sure that Sara believes that my intentions are noble."
"How are you...."
"You let me worry about that." The look on Joyce's face immediately told Naomi that the gears inside her head were working overtime. "The less you know, the better. Let's just say that by the time I'm finished, the last thing on his mind will be some silly little trust fund."
REGINALD & JILLIAN'S HOME - KITCHEN
"Honey, you've barely touched your eggs," Jillian pointed out as she peered over his shoulder. "I thought that you liked them like that."
"I...um...like them over easy." Reginald speared the eggs with his fork and lifted them off the plate. "These are more like over...well...I'm not exactly sure what they're like."
"But I turned them over really easy." She pointed out as she tried to think about what she'd done wrong. "I was very gentle with them."
"Sweetheart, that's not...." He let out a sigh and hung his head.
"You better hurry up and finish your breakfast or you're going to be late for work." She began to scurry around the kitchen, straightening and cleaning as she went. When she realized that she hadn't had her own cup of coffee, yet, she reached for the pot -- still almost completely full -- and poured herself a cup.
"Um...maybe I should just skip breakfast," Reginald muttered as he glanced at his watch and then at the overdone bacon, burnt toast, and something that was supposed to pass as eggs. "I'm running a little late, already."
"I can't have you going into the office on an empty stomach!" She paused and took a sip of her coffee and then immediately made the worst face of her entire life. "Oh, my lord! This is horrible! Why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, you went to so much trouble I didn't want to hurt your feelings." He carefully covered his plate with his napkin and then rose from his chair so that he could walk over to her and take her into his arms. "Honey, I appreciate the effort, but...."
"But I can't cook." Her face showed her disappointment as she completed his sentence. She'd tried so hard to make everything perfect.
"Not everyone can be a master chef," he pointed out. "But...maybe you should reconsider hiring a housekeeper. I mean, at least you'd have some help around the house and...."
"No, Reginald!" she spoke up firmly. "I'm going to do this on my own."
"But all she'd be doing is helping. She could teach you a few things that you don't know and then...."
"No!" She folded her arms tightly across her chest in defiance. "So, I'm not the best cook in the world. I can learn on my own."
"I'm sure you could." He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. "But in the process, we're going to starve to death."
"Or have a table with our name on it at The Gardens," she grinned. As an idea struck her, she stepped out of her husband's embrace and slowly tapped her chin with her index finger as she thought. "You know, the university has a home economics department. I'm sure they've got a beginning cooking class during summer school."
"You're going to take a class?"
"Of course! Where's the best place to learn something? School!" Feeling a new sense of excitement, Jillian's face practically glowed with anticipation. "I'm sure if I talk to the Dean, he can squeeze me in. I'll just stop by the Registrar's office after my meeting and fill out the papers."
"Meeting? What meeting?"
"Oh, that ladies auxiliary your mother has dragged me to," Jillian grumbled. "Thank goodness Lorraine's been going with me. I'm afraid that I'd be bored to tears if it weren't for her."
"I still think you should reconsider hiring a housekeeper." Reginald eyed his wife with concern. "It's not that I think you can't do it; it's because you shouldn't have to. I don't want you slaving away here at home while I'm...."
"I'm doing it because I want to do it." She walked over to him and touched him gently on the cheek. "I'm your wife. It's my job to take care of you."
"All right," he muttered with a nervous nod and then glanced down at his watch. He still had enough time for a quick stop at Joe's to grab a doughnut and a real cup of coffee before his first editors' meeting. "I just hope you know what you're getting yourself into."
"You're turning into quite the horsewoman," Burt Lamont commented as he road his horse, Trouble, alongside his fiancée, Janet Stokes, who was on her own horse, Triumph. "Those lessons I've been giving you have paid off."
"I never knew how refreshing and relaxing being on a horse could be." She smiled as she road along the path with the sun beaming on her face. "It was a good idea to take the horses out early before it got too hot."
"Well, with the way this heat's been, it's not too smart doing anything during the heat of the day." He maneuvered Trouble up to the edge of the lake and stopped before climbing down so that he could lead him over for a drink. Janet immediately followed suit.
"I'd hoped that I'd have caught Randy at home this morning," she began carefully. "I can't believe that he was already up and out of the house so early."
"I told him you were coming over to ride last night," Burt explained cautiously, trying to put it in a way that wouldn't upset her.
"So he knew I was coming and left early so he wouldn't have to see me." She nodded with the realization that her suddenly strained relationship with his brother wasn't showing any signs of improving. "Oh, Burt, how can I get through to him? How can I make him see that I'm not a bad person just because my last name is Stokes?"
"I wish I knew," he sighed and sat down on a rock facing the lake. "I've been trying to reason with him for weeks now and he just won't listen."
"I can't believe that he's having such a hard time with this." Janet sat down on her own rock and rested her chin in her hand. "I thought that he liked me. We've always gotten along before. I mean, he's got plenty of reasons to disapprove of me. I don't exactly have the most immaculate history." She thought about her hospitalization for a mental break after her accidental murder of Gordon Scott. A murder, incidentally, that she could barely even remember. "Why has his attitude changed, now, all of a sudden."
"Randy's attitude has nothing to do with you," Burt pointed out. "It's more to do with the fact that Landon Callison's my real father. I could be marrying Ginger Rogers and he'd still have the same reaction. It's not you. He's just scared."
"Scared? Scared of what?"
"That you're going to take me away from him," he explained as he picked up a stone so that he could skip it across the surface of the lake. "Pa ran out on us and Ma died and then he found out that we didn't have the same father.... This has all been a lot for us to deal with. I'm all he's got left and I think he's terrified that with me actually being a Callison and getting married -- to anyone, not just you -- he's going to be left on his own."
"There's got to be someway to change his mind." She began to go over ideas in her head of how to win Burt's brother over to her side. "Somehow, we've got to make him realize that us being married doesn't change the relationship you have with him. After all, you're still as much his brother as you were before you found out about Landon."
"I know that and you know that, but Randy just can't see that, right now." Burt leaned back on his elbows and sighed. "He'll come around, eventually, but he's got to do it in his own time. That's one of the reasons I don't want to rush this wedding. It has nothing to do with you. We've just got to give him time to adjust and understand."
"But...what if he never adjusts? What if he never approves of us getting married?" Janet began to feel her heart flutter with panic and she grabbed hold of Burt's hand tightly as if she were petrified of losing him. "Does that mean we'll never be able to get married?"
Burt sat in silence, unsure of how to answer. However, his lack of a response told Janet everything she needed to know. As a look of worry and fear filled her eyes, she realized that she needed to figure out some way of winning Randy back over to her side. She had to convince him to support Burt's marriage to her before it was too late. There just had to be a way.
THE STOKES MANSION - FOYER
"Ruby! Where's my bag?" Dr. Fred Rutherford called out as he hurried down the stairs. "I need my bag! I'm late for the hospital!"
"Your bag is exactly where you left it last night," Ruby Thomas said as she walked up to the foot of the stairs and glared at him, "in your office."
"Well, don't just stand there, get it!" He barked angrily. "I don't have time to waste standing around waiting for you to get yourself in gear!"
As Ruby stormed off to retrieve Fred's medical bag, Leticia Rutherford walked in from the living room to see what the commotion was about.
"Darling, what's going on? What's wrong? Why were you shouting at Ruby?"
"That girl is utterly and totally incompetent," he grumbled before leaning down to kiss his wife on the cheek. "It's like pulling teeth to get her to do even the simplest task."
"I think you're being too hard on her." She reached up to brush a speck of lint off of he's doctor's jacket. "I've never had a single problem with her. She's always done wonderful work. In fact, I've got to say that she's one of the best maids I've ever had. I don't know what I'd do without her. She's come a long way from when she first started."
"Well, you might not have a problem with her, but...."
"Here you go, Dr. Rutherford," Ruby spoke up as she hurried back into the room, the doctor's bag in tow.
"It's about time!" he turned to her and snapped. "If it was so easy to find, why did it take you so long?"
"Fred!" Leticia chastised sternly, a look of shock in her eyes. After taking a deep breath, she lowered her voice so she could address him privately. "I don't think that this is the way to deal with the servants. We've always believed in treating our help with courtesy and respect. I don't care who they are."
"And that's part of the problem. You give them too much courtesy. They think they can get away with anything!"
"Fred, would you keep your voice down?" She grabbed his arm and pulled him off to the side. "Ruby's still in the room and she'll hear you."
"Actually, Mrs. Rutherford, I have some chores to take care of," Ruby spoke up as she again glared at Fred. "Let me leave you two alone so you can have some privacy."
"I want those shirts I gave you ironed before I get home!" Fred ordered as Ruby disappeared up the stairs and then turned his attention back to his wife. "Did you see that? Did you see the look she gave me? That girl needs to be taught some respect!"
"Yes, dear, I saw that look," Leticia nodded, "and if were in her shoes, I'd probably have given you the exact same look myself."
"You? In her shoes?" He let out a hearty laugh. "Don't lower yourself to her level, even in theory." As the grandfather clock in the corner struck the hour, Fred realized that he was running even later than before. "Look, we'll discuss this when I get home. I can't be late for my shift of Dr. Campbell will have my hide." Of course, he couldn't tell her that he'd left early on several shifts, already, to make clandestine rendezvous with nurse Donna Allison.
"All right ,dear," Leticia said and leaned in to give him a kiss good-bye. "Have a good day at work."
As Leticia walked back into the living room, Fred headed for the door. However, as soon as he opened it to leave, he collided with a delivery man who was standing right outside, preparing to ring the bell.
"Oh, I'm sorry," the young man said in embarrassment and surprise.
"Can I help you?"
"I'm just here to deliver a package to a Dr. Fred Rutherford." The delivery man pulled out the large envelope he'd had tucked under his arm. "You wouldn't happen to be him, would you?"
"Yes, that's me." Fred eyed the envelope curiously. He hadn't been expecting a delivery and wondered what it was.
"Well, then, if you'll sign here, I'll leave this with you and I'll be on my way." He held out a clipboard for Fred to take.
Fred hurriedly scribbled his signature on the designated line and shoved the clipboard back in the delivery man's hand along with a small tip and sent him on his way. Once the man had gotten back in his car and disappeared down the drive, Fred headed to his own car so that he could sit down and examine the mysterious envelope.
He ripped the envelope open and slipped out a small stack of papers that were completely unrecognizable. After he quickly scanned the documents, his eyes grew wide with shock and horror when he realized exactly what they were -- the file on him that Stephen Lake had!
Fred shook his head in confusion. He clearly remembered that Sammy Benedict had told him that he'd destroyed all of Lake's files. If so, how had this one survived? Fred wasn't sure, but a quick read of the enclosed letter told him more than he needed to know...
ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR MEETING ROOM
"It was so good to see you both here again today," Corinne Campbell smiled as she gathered up her things. "The auxiliary is always looking for new, quality members."
"That's exactly what I told Jillian," Francis Callison nodded. "And I think that this organization is a wonderful thing for a young wife to get involved in."
"Well, actually, we've only been coming to check things out." Jillian nodded to her best friend, Lorraine Davis. "I don't think either one of us is ready to actually become members, yet."
"That's understandable," Corinne commented. "Despite the wonderful work that we do for charity, we are a rather exclusive organization. Only the finest members of society and women with the most important husbands are even considered for membership. This is as much a chance for you to get to know us as it is for us to get to know you." She paused and smiled warmly. "Of course, with your mother-in-law's high recommendation, I'm sure you'll have no trouble getting the required votes for admission."
"Actually, we're not really sure that we...."
"And, Mrs. Davis, it's been a pleasure to have you sit in on our meetings, too. It's not often that we allow outsiders to attend."
"O-outsiders?" Lorraine stammered awkwardly as she quickly glanced in Jillian's direction.
"What Corinne meant to say," Francis spoke up, "is that membership is usually only available on recommendation only. We weren't expecting you to come with Jillian." She smiled sweetly in Lorraine's direction. "But I'm glad you came. I'd actually considered inviting you some time ago, but I didn't realize that you were interested."
"You know, Francis, dear, if Jillian and Mrs. Davis join our auxiliary, that will mean bonus points for you when it comes time to vote for member of the year."
"Well, I didn't invite Jillian to gain points or win an award," Francis explained. "I simply thought that the work we do would be a wonderful experience for her."
"Of course," Corinne nodded.
"When are we leaving?" Lorraine whispered to Jillian. "I don't...feel like I belong here."
"Nonsense," Jillian replied softly as she continued to smile and nod while half-listening to Corinne. "You belong here just as much as I do -- not that that's saying much."
"Francis, you did take care of those details for the 4th of July Ball, didn't you?" Corinne said as she turned to her. "Time's running out and we need to get everything finalized."
"I told you that I was taking care of it, Corinne. I've done everything that you asked me to."
The quartet of ladies slowly walked out of the conference room and into the hallway.
"That's good," Corinne nodded. "I have to confess that I was a little worried. You've had a lot on your plate, lately." Her attention was immediately drawn to the sight of her husband, Dr. Talbot Campbell, as he walked down the hallway in their direction. "Talbot, darling!" she called out. "I was hoping I'd be able to see you today."
"I'm sure you were," he muttered half under his breath. "Actually, I'm on my way to a meeting, but if you've got a moment."
"Yes, dear, of course," Corinne smiled. "I've always got time for my wonderful husband."
"I wasn't talking to you," Talbot said coolly. "I was talking to Jillian."
"Me?" Her eyes grew wide with surprise. "What do you want to talk to me about?"
"I've been trying to call you this morning, but you weren't home." He walked over and opened the door to the conference room and motioned for Jillian to step back inside. "I really need to talk to you in private."
"A-all right," she stammered awkwardly as she glanced to both Francis and Lorraine.
"I need to get home, anyway," Lorraine said softly. "There's only so much time I can stand to be away from Mikey."
After saying her farewells to both Francis and Lorraine, Jillian stepped into the room. Talbot followed close behind her -- saying nothing to his wife -- and closed the door.
"Dr. Campbell, what's this all about?" Jillian asked with concern. "What's so important that you've been trying to get in touch with me?"
"Do you remember those tests you had done before the wedding?"
"Yes," she nodded. "Both Reginald and I had complete physicals." She froze as her eyes filled with horror. "There's...nothing wrong with him, is there? He's not sick is he?"
"No, Jillian, your husband is the picture of perfect health."
"Then what..." Her hand flew up to her mouth when she realized that if he wasn't referring to Reginald, then he was referring to her. "Oh, my god," she gasped. "What's wrong? What did those tests show? Am I sick?"
"No, you're not sick," Talbot laughed. "And nothing's wrong with you. Granted, I'm sure that you'll think the timing isn't exactly the best, but...."
"Dr. Campbell, if I'm not sick, then what are you talking about?"
"Jillian, I have the pleasure of telling you...." He paused and took a deep breath, punctuated by a smile. "That you and your husband are going to have a baby."
TO BE CONTINUED
Much to Naomi's horror, Ruby gets an ear full.
For Now and Forever
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