produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

EPISODE #147 (Monday, 9/6/04) click here for a printable version of this episode
A Few Days Later
July 4, 1936 - Evening


Lorraine Davis23 Green St."How do I look?" Lorraine Davis asked as she spun around in front of the floor-length mirror for her mother, Edwina Blake, to see.  "I hope I didn't spend too much money on this dress."

"You look wonderful, dear," Edwina smiled.  "I'm sure that once Douglas sees you in that gown, he won't even think about the price tag.  Besides, it really wasn't that expensive.  You did get it on sale."

"Oh, I know," Lorraine sighed.  "And I know that Douglas's promotion means more money, but I don't want to over do it."  She paused and looked down at her watch and sighed again.  "What's keeping him, Momma?  What's taking him so long to get home?"

"Honey, he called you from the airport as soon as his plane landed.  He'll be here in just a few minutes.  I'm sure his cab has just gotten stuck in traffic or something."

"I just miss him so much.  I know it's only been a few weeks, but it seems like forever."  Lorraine walked over to the window and looked outside in hopes of seeing her husband's taxi pulling up.  To her relief, the taxi appeared in sight at just that moment.  "Oh, Momma!  There he is!  It's him!"

Without saying another word, Lorraine hurried out of the bedroom, down the hall, and down the stairs, reaching the front door just as Douglas came through it.

"Oh, Douglas, I've missed you," she said as she flew into his arms and kissed him lovingly.  "Now, I know there's not much time left for you to get ready for the party, but you've got to tell me everything.  How did your meeting with Mr. Macalister go?  Did you get him to sign on with Callison?  Tell me everything!"

"There's...not much to tell really," Douglas muttered and walked past her to set his suitcases down by the stairs.  "The meeting went well.  He didn't sign, though, but...."

"He didn't sign?"

"Almost, but not quite."  He paused and rubbed the back of his neck, tight with tension.  "He's coming to town in a few weeks to meet Charles personally and, if everything goes well, he'll sign."  He looked up at the clock on the wall.  "Look, if we're going to make it to that party on time, I need to hurry up and get ready.  I' down in a bit."

As Douglas disappeared up the stairs, Lorraine stood at the bottom and looked up at him.  Although she couldn't put her finger on it, something was odd about her husband.  He seemed different.  Something was wrong.  Suddenly, without real reason, Lorraine felt a sense of worry and dread flood over her.

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The Grand Sunset Room"I'm so nervous," Corinne Campbell muttered as she wrung her hands together.  "Everything has to come together just perfectly."

"There's nothing for you to worry about," her husband, Dr. Talbot Campbell, attempted to reassure.  "You and Francis have gone to great lengths to make sure that every detail is taken care of."

"But this is the largest benefit that the auxiliary has put together."  She took a deep breath to calm herself and surveyed the room to see the guests starting to arrive.

"Your husband's right, Corinne," Francis Callison spoke up.  "We've checked and double checked all the details.  Everything's going to be fine."

"Of course you're not nervous," Corinne muttered dryly.  "You're not the one who has their reputation on the line here."

"Excuse me?  I think this is going to be a reflection of all of the members of the auxiliary."

"Francis, dear, I don't want to diminish your role in helping to put tonight together, but I'm the chairwoman of the auxiliary.  Ultimately, it's going to be me who takes the blame if anything goes wrong."

Francis Callison"Likewise, I'm sure you're going to be the one who'll take all the credit when things turn out perfectly."  Francis shot her "friend" a cold look.  "Look, Corinne, we all had a hand in putting tonight together.  Any success or failure should be shared by all of us."

"No surprise to me that you're so casual about all of this," Corinne muttered with disdain.

"Ladies!  Ladies!" Talbot interrupted.  "I know that tensions are running a bit high out of nervousness, but let's not forget why we're here tonight or that this entire benefit is the result of the combined efforts of every woman in the hospital auxiliary.  None of you could have done all of this alone."

"Oh, Talbot, darling, you're right," Corinne cooed and then kissed him lovingly on the cheek.  "I guess it really is my nerves talking."

"Oh, look, there's Jillian's sister Judith."  Francis motioned across the room towards the elevator that had just opened to allow Judith Linford to step out into the ballroom.

"I should have known," Corinne grumbled in disgust.  "That woman can't keep her distance for more than fifteen minutes."

Corinne Campbell"You know, Corinne, I've often thought about inviting Judith to an auxiliary meeting.  She's just the type of influential woman our organization needs."

"I don't think so, Francis."  Corinne folded her arms across her chest defensively as her jaw tightened.  "The last thing our auxiliary needs is a woman like that."

"Oh, Corinne, don't be petty," Talbot chastised and then quickly motioned Judith over to them, annoying his wife even more.  "Judith, how good to see you here tonight."

Dr. Talbot Campbell"Talbot, I wouldn't have missed tonight for the world," Judith smiled and then made a point to smirk in Corinne's general direction before turning towards Francis.  "Mrs. Callison, you've done a splendid job pulling everything together."

"It was a joint effort, Judith, dear," Francis reminded.  "Each one of us contributed to tonight's success."

"Yes, Francis, that's true," Corinne nodded, stepping forward just enough to place herself between her husband and Judith.  "But as auxiliary chairwoman, I'm the hostess of this party and...."

"Have it your way, dear," Judith smiled with false sweetness, patted Corinne on the shoulder, and then returned her attention to Talbot.  "Do I look all right?  I wasn't sure exactly how formal this affair was going to be and I was worried that I was going to be overdressed."  She held out her arms and turned in order to show off her gown.

"Judith, you look magnificent," Talbot complimented.  "You're far from overdressed.  Why, I think that you could very well be the belle of the ball."

Corinne's head snapped around and she glared at her husband before making a not-so-subtle clearing of her throat.

"Yes, dear, you wanted something?"  He was clearly oblivious to the point that she was trying to make.

Judith Stokes Linford"So, Judith," Corinne's full focus turned to her rival, "did you find the valet parking to be adequate?  You didn't have any problems did you?"

"No, of course not," Judith laughed.  "Why would I?"

"Well, I don't think that there were any places marked for brooms."

"You didn't have any trouble, did you?"

"Well, now," Francis spoke up, grabbing hold of Judith's arm, "if I could get you alone, I'd like to go over a few things with you about the upcoming new addition to our families."

"Of course," Judith smiled in Corinne's direction.  "Isn't it wonderful news?"

As Francis led Judith away, Corinne's blood began to boil.  How dare Judith Linford show up at her party and attempt to make a fool out of her, cozying up to Talbot like that?  Well, Corinne wasn't going to stand for it.  Judith had definitely gotten under Corinne's skin.

Which was exactly what Judith had planned on doing.

"Judith, you shouldn't let Corinne get to you," Francis counseled while she led her across the room.  "I know she can be rather...well...abrasive, but...."

"Corinne Campbell get to me?"  Judith let out a bemused laughed.  "That woman couldn't get to me if she tried!  She's barely worth me giving any attention to -- no more noteworthy than a buzzing fly."

Francis exhaled in relief.  "Good.  Granted, I know that her heart's in the right place as far as this benefit is concerned, but her methods can often leave much to be desired."

Jillian Stokes Callison"Judith, you made it!" Jillian Callison exclaimed as she turned and threw open her arms so that she could hug her eldest sister.  "I'm so glad you're here."

"Me, too," Judith smiled.  "Now, when are we going to get together to plan for this new little bundle of joy that you're expecting?"  She struggled to maintain her smile, but the effort was definitely obvious to everyone present.

"Judith, are you all right?" Jillian asked with concern.

"Oh, it's nothing," Judith sighed.  "It's just that the irony isn't lost on me.  I thought I was going to be the one to have the first Stokes grandchild, but now...."

"Judith, I'm sorry."  Jillian bit her lip nervously.  "I was afraid that the news would make you upset and...."

"Nothing of the sort!  Don't you even feel the least bit bad for me.  This is happy news for all of us.  True, it does make me feel a bit melancholy, but that has nothing to do with you."

Reginald Callison"I'm glad you feel that way, Judith," Reginald Callison spoke up, putting his arm around his wife Jillian.  "We both want this baby to be a joyous occasion for both of our families."

"Is Corinne being her typical self?" Charles Callison whispered into his wife Francis's ear as he noticed that her attention was drawn back across the room to where Talbot and Corinne were standing.

"Of course," Francis sighed.  "To hear her tell it, this benefit is all about her.  To hell with the hard work that everyone else has put into it.  And I'm not just talking about myself, either.  Each and every single one of us worked together to make tonight possible so that we could raise money for the new children's ward, but Corinne wants to make it all out to be that she did everything single-handedly -- without breaking so much as a nail."

"Forget about Corinne Campbell."  Charles kissed her tenderly on the cheek.  "I know how much work you put into this and I'm certain her husband knows, too.  Dr. Campbell is a smart man.  He's not fooled by her airs."

Hearing Corinne's name mentioned, Judith leaned in and listened carefully.

"Look, there's Douglas and Lorraine!" Reginald spoke up, pointing across the room.

Charles Callison"Douglas!" Charles exclaimed as he greeted him with a handshake as the couple walked over to them.  "I see you've gotten back from your trip."

"Just barely," Lorraine laughed.  "I was worried we weren't going to make it."

"So, how did the meeting with Macalister go?"  Charles led Douglas away from the group so that they could discuss business.  "Did you convince him to sign with us?"

"Not...exactly," Douglas muttered.

"What?"  Charles's jaw dropped in surprise.  "But I...your phone calls sounded more favorable.  You sounded like you had the deal all but sealed."

"I did," Douglas sighed.  "Well, I thought I did."

"What went wrong?"

"N-nothing, really."  Douglas motioned for a waiter to bring him a drink.  "Macalister just...wants to meet you in person before he makes a final decision.  It was a good meeting.  He sounds very favorable.  I think he'll sign."

"Well, that's good," Charles nodded.  "Did he say when we should expect him?"

Douglas Davis"No, not...really."  Douglas looked away.  "But, like I said, he sounded favorable."

Meanwhile, not far away, Lorraine only half-listened to the conversation occurring between Reginald, Jillian, Francis, and Judith.  Her attention was fully focused on her husband as she tried to overhear what they were discussing.  Ever since Douglas had arrived home, she couldn't get the impression that something was wrong out of her head.  Concerned, she pulled herself away from the conversation and walked over to her husband.

"Douglas, are you all right?" she asked, drawing his attention away from Charles.

"Yes," he replied.   "Why would you think I wasn't?"

Lorraine Davis"Well, it's just that...."  Her voice trailed off, not quite sure how to express her concerns.  "You've seemed different since you got home.  It's like there's something on your mind."  She paused briefly to collect her thoughts.  "Did something happen in California?"

"Everything's fine," he muttered.  "I'm just a little...preoccupied with this deal, that's all."

"Are you sure?"  She touched him lightly on the shoulder, an expression of her concern.  "I mean, you haven't quite seemed yourself since you walked in the door."

"Honey, I've only been back for a few hours," he reminded.  "I'm just a little tired from my flight, that's all."  He stopped and quickly glanced around the room.  "Look, I see one of my department heads and I need to go talk to him about some business.  I'll catch up with you later."

And as Douglas quickly walked away, Lorraine couldn't get over her worries that something was, in fact, wrong with him.  He didn't seem himself.  Although she couldn't quite put her finger on what exactly about him worried her, it still continued to gnaw at her.