THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - FOYER

The Grand Sunset Room"The ballroom looks amazing!" Joyce Preston exclaimed as she stepped off of the elevator behind her daughter Sara Manchester and son-in-law Dane Manchester.  "The hospital really has done a fantastic job on tonight.  Why, it's almost as grand as Nigel's fundraiser."

"Momma, please," Sara grumbled, "can we not talk about that tonight?  I'd just as soon forget that night ever happened."

"Sara, that was a very important night for my father," Dane reminded.  "And, besides, I'm glad that my parents finally had a chance to meet you."

"Why?  So we can accept once and for all that they hate me?"

"They don't hate you, honey," he laughed, giving her a hug.  "They just want what's best for me, that's all.  They've always wanted that."

"And they obviously don't think I'm it!"

"Sara!" Trevor Callison waved at her as he left the side of his family and hurried across the room.  "Sara, I'm glad you're here.  I've been meaning to stop by the house to see you for days now."

"Trevor, what is it?" Sara asked, concerned by the tone in his voice.  "It sounds important."

"Well, yes, in a way."  Trevor turned to Dane.  "Could I borrow your wife for a few minutes to talk business?"

Dane Manchester"Business?  What kind of business?"  Dane eyed Trevor suspiciously.

"Oh, just some publishing stuff about Thornton Preston."

"Dane, it's okay," Sara smiled, slightly amused that her husband seemed a tad jealous.  "You and Momma go have a drink and I'll talk to Trevor for a bit and I'll join you in a few minutes."

"Okay," Dane muttered, his eyes locked on Trevor.  "But don't take too long."

As Dane and Joyce walked away, Trevor made sure that he had Sara's full attention.  "Now, I know this is a bit unusual considering that I really don't have much to do with the publishing part of the company.  I'm more of a journalist, after all."

"Well, what is it?  What about Mr. Preston?"

Trevor Callison"From what I understand, your step-father still had quite a large collection of unpublished manuscripts when he died," Trevor began to explain.  "And based on the terms of his contract with Callison Publications, we have the publishing rights to those manuscripts.  However, considering the way his estate was worked out, you have control of his unpublished works because of your inheritance."

"So...."

"To put it as simply as possible, we have the right to publish any of his unpublished works, but you have to be the one to allow the publication because you're the one in control of the estate.  And considering our friendship, my father wants me to convince you to publish those novels."

"Ah, I see," Sara smiled.  "Your father wants you to charm me into handing over the manuscripts.  Well, I don't think you'll have to do that much charming."

"So, you'll agree?"

Sara Manchester"Of course," she laughed.  "Actually, since I haven't been taking classes, I've been stuck in that house all day long for weeks, now, and I've been going over Mr. Preston's manuscripts.  Now, I'm not even close to being a literary critic, but I think quite a few of them are very good.  But even so, I don't think any of them are anywhere near close to being ready for publishing.  There's still a lot of editing and clean-up work to do on them.  I'm sure that's why he hadn't turned them over to your father himself before he died."

"Then, perhaps we can work on getting those books ready together?  Maybe set up a publishing schedule?  A new Thornton Preston novel every, say, six months or so?"

"I'd like that," Sara nodded.  "Like I said, I've really had nothing to occupy my time," other than refereeing Dane, her mother, and Naomi, "and I'm pretty bored out of my mind.  I'd like to work with you on this.  It'll give me something to do and I think it'll be a nice challenge."

"Great!" Trevor exclaimed, impetuously kissing her on the cheek.  "My dad's gonna be so relieved.  I think he was a little worried that you wouldn't agree to this.  What if I call you tomorrow and we'll set up a time where we can both get together and look at those manuscripts together?"

"Sounds good to me."

Joyce PrestonMeanwhile, not even five feet away, Joyce was doing her best to eavesdrop on the conversation while struggling to remain hidden behind a large potted plant.  She's made a flimsy excuse to leave Dane's side because she wanted to know what Trevor wanted to discuss with Sara.  Now that she knew, Joyce was livid.  They were going to publish Thornton's books -- books that Joyce knew she should've had the rights to, not her ungrateful daughter.  Now Sara was set to scam even more money out of Joyce's late husband -- money that by every right should have been Joyce's!  Well, Joyce wasn't about to see that happen and knew that she had to step up her plans with Naomi.


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - TERRACE

The Grand Sunset Room"Well, aren't you going to say something?" Maggie finally asked, turning to face Randy.  "Or are we just going to stand out here all night long in silence?"

"There's not much to say, actually," Randy muttered, refusing to look at her.

"Not much to say?"  Her eyes grew wide with disbelief.  "After what happened?  There's plenty to say!"

"I...I guess you're right," he agreed.  "I've...I've been meaning to talk to you about that."

"You have?"  She moved several steps closer to him.  "I...I haven't heard from you in days now.  I thought...that you'd at least call or...or come by the house."

"I wanted to.  Really I did."

"But...."

Randy Lamont"Maggie, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry I did what I did that night."  Randy looked down at his feet, unable to look her in the eyes.

"W-what?"  She felt her heart drop.  "What do you mean 'sorry?'"

"I should never have kissed you.  I was out of line.  It should never have happened."

"But...but...Randy!"

"No, Maggie," he sighed.  "You're with Stanley and I'm with Eliza and she's your best friend.  We're friends and I took advantage of that friendship and closeness.  I took advantage of you and I feel horrible about it."

"Randy, no!"  She grabbed him by his arm, prompting him to finally look up at her.  "You didn't take advantage of me.  I...I wanted that kiss.  To be honest, I've wanted it for a long time."

"You...did?"  He looked deeply into her eyes, slipping into the intensity of the moment, but quickly caught himself.  "But...it wasn't right.  It should never have happened.  I should never have done that to Eliza."

Maggie Callison"Oh, Randy, you don't love her!"

"Well...no, I don't," he confessed.

"Why are you even with her, then?"

"Look, Maggie, I know Eliza can be a handful and she can get on a person's nerves and she can be unbearable and annoying at times, but...well...deep down she's a really nice girl.  You know that.  If she weren't, I know you wouldn't be friends with her."

"True, but..."

"Do you want to see Eliza hurt?"

"Well, no, but...."

"And what about Stanley?  He worships the ground you walk on."  Randy took several steps backwards, putting distance between himself and Maggie.

"Unfortunately," she grumbled.

"Honestly, I don't know what this...this thing is between us.  Maybe it's just a really nice friendship that I've gotten jumbled up in my head because of Burt and Janet."  He paused and took a deep breath.  "Maybe...maybe we just shouldn't spend so much time together until I can sort all of this stuff out in my head.  Maybe we just shouldn't see one another."

"Randy, no."  Maggie reached out to grab his arm, but he stepped away again, putting himself just out of reach.

Eliza Campbell"There you two are!" Eliza said as she breezed through the doors leading from the main ballroom.  "What are you two still doing out here?"  Her eyes moved from Randy to Maggie.  She was quick to realize that she'd interrupted something -- just in time, she hoped.  "Oh, Randy, they're playing some wonderful music.  Please come inside and dance with me."

"I'm coming, Eliza."  Randy's eyes connected with Maggie's.  "I'm sorry," he mouthed to her silently before turning to follow Eliza back inside.

Now alone on the terrace, Maggie felt her knees begin to shake and she struggled to fight back her tears.  This wasn't the way it was supposed to happen.  This wasn't the way it was supposed to work out.  She's struggled for so long to fight and ignore how she really felt about Randy, but his kiss had ended all of that.  Despite what Randy had said, now that she'd been confronted by her true feelings for him, how could Maggie forget that they ever existed?


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

The Grand Sunset Room"Janet, I'm so happy for you and Burt," Jillian said as she hugged her older sister.  "I hope you two are as happy as Reginald and I are."

"You're not upset that we eloped?"  Janet bit her lower lip, nervous that the news of her sudden marriage wouldn't fit into her family's ideas of wedding planning.

"Upset?  Not at all!  Honey, if this is how you and Burt wanted to do it, then it's absolutely fine.  Besides, who cares what I think?"

"Do you think Mother's disappointed?"  Janet glanced over at Leticia who was talking and laughing with Charles, Francis, and Burt.

Jillian Stokes CallisonJanet Stokes Lamont"I'm sure she is.  You know how she is about these types of things."  Jillian's gaze followed Janet's just as Fred walked up behind their mother and put his hand on her shoulder.  "But considering how she came back from New York a few months ago with the news that she'd eloped with Fred, she really doesn't have much room to say anything."

Realizing that Jillian had a very valid point, both Jillian and Janet broke up into laughter.

Meanwhile, just a few steps away, Reginald walked over to Burt who was in mid-conversation with his new in-laws.

"Burt, if you have a moment, I'd like to have a word with you," Reginald said with a firmness that instantly let Burt know that what Reginald wanted to discuss was quite urgent.

"All right," Burt nodded before excusing himself from his present conversations.  He followed Reginald across the room, well out of earshot of anyone else in the family.  "Okay, Reginald, what is it?  You made this sound important."

"It's very important." Reginald responded, full of an almost businesslike seriousness.

"I...have a feeling that this isn't about congratulating me on my marriage."

"Far from it."  Reginald's eyes narrowed as he looked at Burt.  It was almost as if he were examining him under a microscope -- every hair, every fiber, every pore.  His gaze was intense and it made Burt very uncomfortable.

"I take it that you don't approve?"

Burt treaded lightly into the conversation.  For months he'd been aware of some sort of tension between him and Reginald.  Of course, nothing too overt had been said, but Burt had always gotten the feeling that Reginald didn't like him -- practically resented him.  Burt had found it odd because, at one point, they'd gotten along rather well.  In fact, they'd been darn near friendly.  But since the announcement that Burt was really the son of Reginald's long-dead uncle Landon, Reginald's demeanor towards Burt had been down right chilly.

"How did you do it?" Reginald began, his arms folded tightly cross his chest.  "How did you manage to so easily convince Janet into marrying you?"

Burt Lamont"I asked her," Burt replied flatly.  "Isn't that the customary way of doing things?  Down on one knee, ring held out....  Isn't that how you proposed to Jillian?"

"That's not what I'm talking about."

"Then perhaps you better fill me in."  Burt felt his blood pressure begin to rise.  He definitely didn't like the direction their conversation was headed and wasn't sure he liked what he was sure that his cousin was insinuating.

"This was all rather sudden, don't you think?"  Reginald began to slowly pace around Burt, practically walking a full circle around him.  "No one even knew the two of you were engaged.  But, then again, we all know how impressionable and vulnerable Janet can be.  I'm sure it wasn't hard for you to talk her into running off to Davenport."

"For your information, Janet's the one who convinced me to elope.  I wasn't sure it was the right thing to do because I know how much her mother would have wanted to throw another big wedding, but Janet insisted.  How could I have said 'no?'"

"Well, however you managed to pull it off, you really did it, didn't you?"

"Did what?"

Reginald Callison"You just waltzed into this town a nobody -- just some guy who picked up his downtrodden family and moved in to take care of a stable of horses."  Reginald stood still directly in front of Burt and stared at him.  "Then, suddenly, you're a Callison -- Landon's son.  And then you're wooing and romancing one of the heirs to the East Coast's largest textile companies.  Now that you've married Janet, you're a member of two of the most prominent families in this town.  You haven't just climbed the social ladder, you've run right up it!"

"How dare you try to insinuate that I'm using Janet!  Besides, I'm every bit a part of the Callison family as you are.  I'm a Callison by blood!  You've seen the documentation!  You've seen the reports and records that your own father's private detective found!"

"Documents and files and records can be altered and falsified to say whatever you want them to."  Reginald moved closer to Burt, getting practically nose to nose with him.  "I don't give a damn what those records say!  You're not part of this family and you never will be!"  He jabbed his finger into Burt's face to punctuate his point.

"Get out of my face!" Burt spat.  "I don't have to prove a damn thing to you!  Your father accepts me!  Janet loves me!  Those are the only things that matter."

"So," Reginald chuckled heartily with an air of amusement, "you've worked so hard to land yourself in a rather cushy spot, haven't you.  How much will it take?"

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me."  Reginald's jaw tightened.  "How much will it take?  I'm prepared to phone the bank first thing in the morning.  Exactly how much money will it take to send you packing out of this town and out of our lives for good?"



 


NEXT TIME

Fred is being watched.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions