REGINALD & JILLIAN'S HOME - FOYER

2210 Elmwood LaneAs she struggled to hold all of the shopping bags and packages that filled her arms, Jillian pushed the front door open and stepped into the foyer.  Dropping everything to the floor, she let out a weary sigh.  It had seemed like she'd been on the go all day -- a stop here, a stop there -- and, as a result, she was nearly worn out.  However, she couldn't erase the joyous smile on her face.

"Well, there you are!" her husband Reginald said as he came into the foyer to greet her.  "I was beginning to wonder where you were."

"Reginald!" she exclaimed and then flew into his arms to give him a big kiss.  "What are you doing here?"

"I live here, remember?"

"But...you should still be at the office!  I wasn't expecting you home for another couple of hours."

"I took the rest of the day off.  I couldn't stand to be away from my new wife for a minute more."  His eyes moved to the pile of shopping bags that set by the door.  "Looks like you've been busy today."

Jillian Stokes Callison"Oh, those."  She blushed and bit her lip when she realized that he was talking about her purchases.  "I...um...had some time after the auxiliary meeting so I went to Lerner's and picked up a few things."

"A few?"  He laughed as he walked over and picked up a bag so that he could see what she'd bought.  "Did you buy some new things for the house?  Some curtains or some knickknacks or something?"

"No, not exactly."

Reginald set the bag on the credenza by the stairs and reached inside, pulling out a tiny pair of baby booties and a rattle.  After making a curious face, he sighed and shook his head.

"Jillian, honestly, I know how you like to buy things for little Mikey, but don't you think you're going to spoil him?  Surely, Douglas and Lorraine don't want you doing so much for...."

"Those aren't...for Mikey."  She bit her lip again as she clasped her hands tightly together in front of her.  She was about to burst with excitement.

"Well, who could they be for?  I mean, we don't know anyone else who has a baby."  He paused as an idea struck him.  "Is someone we know going to have a baby?"  As he sifted through the contents of another shopping bag -- discovering that it, too, contained only baby things -- he searched his brain for possible potential parents that they might know.  "Let's see...Dane and Sara?  No, you aren't close enough to Sara to go out of your way like this.  I know it's not either one of your sisters."  He paused again.  "Stephanie?  Are Paddy and Steph...?"

"No, it's not Paddy and Stephanie," Jillian laughed and then walked over to take his hand so that she could lead him into the living room.

"Then who?"

After sitting down on the sofa, she motioned for him to join her.  His face was still full of confusion, but Jillian's nearly glowed.

Reginald Callison"You know how I had both of us take those physicals before we got married?"

"Yes," he nodded.  "You said that you wanted to get the 'in sickness and in health' part taken care of."  He let out a small bemused laugh.  "So?"

"Well, after the meeting was over, I ran into Dr. Campbell," she began to carefully explain.  "It seems that he got back some test results that I didn't even realize that he'd had done."

"Test results?  Honey, you're not sick, are you?"

"No....not sick."  She looked at him tenderly and smiled again.  "Expecting.  We're the ones who're going to have a baby."

"W-what?  Do you mean...."  His jaw dropped.  This was definitely news he hadn't even considered.  "You're....I mean we're going to have a...a baby?"

"Yes," she nodded as she grinned from ear to ear.  "A baby.  Now, I know that we just got married and it's a little too soon but...."  She bit her lip and eyed him with concern.  "I hope you're not upset."

"Upset?  Why in the world would I be upset?"  He was still stunned, but the news was starting to sink in.  "My god, Jillian, we're going to have a baby!  This is the...best news I've ever heard in my entire life!"

Overcome by a sense of joy and happiness, he took his wife and expectant mother of his child into his arms and kissed her deeply.  This had truly turned into one of the best days of their lives.


ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR NURSES STATION

Albanyville General Hospital"Fay, take these files down to the lab for me," Talbot said as he handed them to Nurse Fay Rutledge.  "And make sure you bring back those test results for Mrs. Marceau."

"Yes, Dr. Campbell," Fay nodded and then quickly hurried off to do as he'd requested.

No sooner had the doors of elevator one closed behind her, the doors of elevator two opened so that Judith Linford could step out into the hallway.

"Talbot!" she called out as she tried to get his attention.  "Talbot, I need to talk to you."

"Yes, Judith, what is it?" he asked, both surprised with and curious about her visit.  "You're not feeling sick again, are you?  I talked to your mother the other day and she mentioned something about you having a fainting spell?"

"Oh,  no, that was nothing."  She hurried over to him and grabbed his arm, startling him with her urgency.  "This is much more important."

"Then...what is it?"  He gently took her by the arm and guided her towards his office so that they could have more privacy.

Judith Stokes Linford"I need to...talk to you about Fred Rutherford," she explained in a voice just above a whisper as if she were afraid that someone might overhear.  "I need to ask you a few things."

"About Dr. Rutherford?"  Talbot shut the door of his office behind them and then shook his head, not sure about the direction of the conversation.  "If you have a question, why don't you just ask him?  He's married to your mother and you live in the same house, after all."

"That's the problem!" she asserted.  "How she can be married to such a lowlife is beyond me.  I mean, Daddy must be turning over in his grave and...."

"Judith, I think that your mother's marriage is really something that's between them.  It really isn't any of your concern."

"None of my concern?"  Her eyes grew wide with surprise as if his comment was the most illogical thing in the world.  "She's my mother!  That makes it my concern."  Pausing to take a deep breath, she decided to use a different tactic and lowered her voice until it was nearly breathy and seductive.  "Talbot, dear, surely you can understand my position.  Family is so desperately important to me and...well...after we lost Daddy, it's come to mean even more to me."  Lowering her head slightly, she tried to take on her best 'little girl' quality -- the same quality she'd always used to get her way with her late father.  "Isn't there anything about him you could tell me?  He's such a mystery and...well...maybe if I knew more about him I could make an attempt to bridge the gap that's between us."

"Well...."  Talbot eyed her carefully.  Although he was firm in his belief that her mother's marriage was really none of her business, his heart went out to her.  How could he deny her request.  "From what I know, Fred's originally from Albanyville.  I know he moved away for several years to go to medical school and he worked for a time at a hospital in Boston, but he came home a few years ago and took a position here."

"Family?"

"None that I'm aware of.  At least, he's never mentioned any.  Anyway, he has an exemplary record.  His patients love him and he's got a wonderful bedside manner."

"I'm sure," she grumbled under her breath.

Dr. Talbot Campbell"I'm sorry?"

"N-nothing."  Although knowledge of her step-father's professional history was all good and well, it wasn't exactly what she was fishing for.  "What about...his social life?  Has he ever dated anyone seriously other than my mother?  Does he have...well...a former girlfriend or...."

"Judith, I don't make it a habit of prying into my staff's personal lives."  He lifted an eyebrow and gave her a cautionary glance that indicated that she was touching on a topic that he didn't care to discuss.  "What they do outside these walls is entirely their business.  I only care about the quality of the work."

"I understand that, Talbot.  Honestly, I do.  But..."

"No."

"Oh, but, Talbot, please?  If I just had some solid indication of his real character.  If I could find a way to disprove my suspicions of him...."  Or prove them, as the case may be.

"I understand you concerns, really, but I can't let myself fall into the habit of gossiping about my staff's personal lives.  Not when I'm in such a position of authority.  Those kinds of conversations are best left outside or in the nurses' lounge."  Or to his wife Corinne.  "Now, Judith, I hate to cut this short, but I've got a patient to check in on."

"I understand," she sighed with disappointment as he led her to the door. 

Donna AllisonHowever, when he opened his office door so that they could step out into the hallway, they both saw a sight that both of them found quite ironic, although neither one had expected it -- Dr. Fred Rutherford, himself, right outside the door involved in a conversation with a young nurse.

Dr. Fred RutherfordWithout making her presence known, Judith watched Fred and the nurse closely.  True, it wasn't an unusual occurrence to see a doctor and a nurse having a conversation in a hospital, but something about this seemed different.  Maybe it was how close they were standing to one another or their body language.

When Fred lifted his hand to touch the young nurse lightly on her cheek, Judith's head snapped around to face Talbot with look of self-satisfaction.  What she saw, however, was Talbot's own look of surprise and concern.  He clearly could tell that something was not as it should be between Fred and the nurse, as well.  Without saying a word, Judith's eyes dared him to casually explain this scene away.


SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY

54 Spring Lake Dr."Now, Sara, these are the trust fund documents that I had my attorney draw up," Joyce Preston said as she handed the stack of papers to her daughter.  "I'm sure that you'll see that the provisions made are more than fair for everyone."

"And this is going to give my baby what should be his?" Naomi Jackson asked pointedly.

"Naomi, just give me a chance to go over them."  Sara Manchester furrowed her brow and carefully read each line of the document.

Joyce's eyes darted from her daughter to Naomi.  She'd hoped that Sara would've just signed the document without reading it so thoroughly, but she couldn't say that she was surprised by her daughter's attention to detail.

"I'm sure that you'll find that everything's in order," Joyce spoke up and quickly reached over to flip to a later page.  "If you'll look at line 35, you'll see that I'll be administering the trust fund so that Naomi won't be tempted to squander away the money that's supposed to be for that precious baby."

"I'm not gonna squander it!" Naomi snapped.

"Why are you going to be administrator?"  Sara lifted her head and eyed her mother in confusion.  "This is mine and Dane's inheritance, after all.  Shouldn't we be the ones overseeing everything?"

Joyce Preston"Oh, but Sara, you've had to go through so much with this as it is.  This is my husband's estate, after all, and this baby is...well...his son."  Joyce's voice lowered as if she were embarrassed to admit her husband's indiscretion.

Suddenly, the large wooden doors of the library slid open and Dane Manchester stepped into the room.  The sight of his wife and mother-in-law huddled over a mysterious document as well as Naomi's presence immediately drew his concern.

"So, what are you two reading so carefully?" he asked and stepped further into the room, making sure to thoroughly see what was going on.

Sara Manchester"It's the trust fund agreement," Sara explained with a hint of hesitation in her voice.  She was well aware of Dane's opposition to the trust fund, but was determined to do what she thought was best for Naomi's child.

"Sara, I thought we discussed this.  I thought that we weren't going to do anything until we both reached an agreement about it!"

"Dane, this is the right thing to do and you know it!"  Sara clutched the document in her hands and quickly jumped to her feet.  "How can you in good conscience deny poor little Aubrey what should rightfully be his as Thornton Preston's son?"

"Yes, Dane, how can you?"  Joyce fought the urge to smile smugly as she looked up at him.  "I think Sara's right, as much as I hate to admit it."  She turned to glance at Naomi.  "But...well, I'm convinced now, too, that Naomi's telling the truth."

Dane Manchester"I'm sure you are," he muttered coldly and then stopped to take a deep breath before turning his full attention to his wife.  "If you're determined to do this -- determined to give away such a large chunk of our inheritance, then we should be the ones administering the trust fund.  We should be the ones who oversee everything."

"Dane, darling, you sound like you don't trust me!"  Joyce feigned a gasp of shock.  "I just want to be the administrator so that the burden of this tawdry mess is taken off of your hands."  She glanced at Naomi again.  "After all, this is my husband's mess and I should be the one to take care of it.  It shouldn't fall to either one of you."

"But it's our money that you want to give away."  He folded his arms tightly across his chest and glared at Joyce.  "If Sara's determined to do this, I'm only going to allow it if we're the ones in charge of it!"

Naomi Jackson"No!" Naomi shouted angrily, jumping to her feet.

"Do you have a problem with that?"  Taken aback, Dane inspected her closely.  "Why do you care who administers the trust fund as long as you get what you say rightfully belongs to your son?"

"Because I don't trust you, that's why!"  Naomi took a step closer to Joyce.  "If you had your way, me and my baby would be out livin' on the street without a penny to our names!  Mrs. Preston and your wife are the only one's who care anything about my baby and doin' what's right!"

Ruby Thomas"Um...excuse me," Helga Grimm spoke up as she stood in the doorway.  The conversation had become so intense that no one had heard the housekeeper enter.  "Naomi you have a visitor."  And, at that moment, Ruby stepped into the room having heard just enough of the conversation to realize that Naomi was most certainly up to much more than she'd even begun to suspect.



 


NEXT TIME

Janet begins to make progress.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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