THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - TERRACE

The Grand Sunset Room"You!" Judith shouted angrily, her hand extended and pointed directly at her sister Janet Lamont.  "You!"

Instinctively, Burt Lamont stepped in front of his wife.  He'd had more than enough dealings with Judith to know how she could be and he wasn't about to let her upset Janet.

"W-what?" Janet asked as she clung to Burt's arm tightly.  "What is it?"

Judith strode confidently out onto the terrace, her shoulders thrown back and her head held high.  Her eyes were ablaze with fury and the mere sight of her struck terror into Janet without her even really knowing why.

"What do you want, Judith?" Burt asked, still trying to shelter Janet from her.  Not even counting his own history with Judith, he was well aware of the animosity that had long existed between the two sisters.  "If you think I'm going to let you walk out here and deliberately try to upset Janet, then..."

"Upset Janet?  You're worried about Janet?"  Judith nearly spat the words.  "This little deceitful twit manages to pull the wool over your eyes -- all of our eyes -- and tricks you into running off to get married and you're worried about her?"

"Judith, please...."  Janet felt her hands begin to tremble.  There was something about the tone in her sister's voice that led her to believe that this wasn't one of Judith's traditional tirades.

Burt Lamont"If you think you're going to come out here and badmouth my wife, then...."

"Oh, yes, I forgot," Judith laughed.  "You've been deceived into thinking little Janet, here, is some sweet, demure flower, bending and swaying with the light of the spring sun."  She stopped and looked directly at Janet, practically burning a hole through her with her eyes.  "Well, I'm here to tell you that you don't know my darling sister nearly as well as you think you do!"

"Stop it, Judith!" Burt ordered as he reached out to place his free hand between her and Janet.  "Can't you see that you're upsetting her?  We're all having a wonderful night.  We're celebrating our marriage.  Why do you have to be petty like this and try to ruin things for us?"

"Petty?  You think I'm being petty?"  Judith's eyes grew wild and she felt every muscle in her body tighten.  "Why don't you ask your darling wife about being petty?  Go ahead!  Ask her!  She wrote the book on petty."

"That's it.  We've had enough of this."  He felt his blood begin to boil and his blood pressure rise.  He grasped Janet's hand firmly and pulled her past Judith and towards the doors.  "We're not going to stand here and let you spew your venom."

Janet Lamont"Burt!  There are things you have to know!  There's something very important I have to tell you!"

"No, Judith!"  Every muscle in Burt's body tightened.  All these months of Judith's near obsession over him and their past had gotten to him and he'd had enough.  "There's nothing you could say to me that would make me change the way I feel about Janet or the way I feel about you!"

"Burt!"  Judith's tone quickly changed to one of maddened desperation.  "Please!  You have to listen to me!"

"I said 'no!'"  He grabbed a stunned and frightened Janet's wrist even tighter and pulled her forward.  "C'mon, Janet.  We're going home -- as far away from your sister as we can get."

Instinctively, Judith reached out and grabbed Janet's other arm, practically trapping the petrified young woman between them.

"You've really got him brainwashed, don't you, sister dear?" Judith hissed quietly so that only Janet could hear.  "He hasn't got a clue."

"I...I don't know what you're talking about," Janet stammered awkwardly as she tried to pull herself out of her sister's grasp.

Judith Stokes Linford"The sweet and innocent act doesn't work anymore, Janet."  Judith leaned in closer.  "I know."  She paused for a moment to allow the words to sink in.  "I remember everything!  I know what you did -- to me and my baby.  Burt's baby."

"Janet, I don't know what she's saying to you, but don't listen to her," Burt spoke up, completely unaware of Judith's whispered hate-filled words.  "Because I'm certainly not."

Stunned and nearly paralyzed with fear, Janet wasn't certain what to do.  She looked towards Burt and then back towards Judith -- towards happiness and despair -- and she was trapped between them.  Finally, Judith's grip on Janet's arm loosened and Burt pulled her away and back into the main ballroom, leaving Judith to stand alone out on the terrace.

"You've got him fooled, don't you," Judith thought to herself as she watched Burt and Janet through the doors as they disappeared into the crowd of guests.  "Well, have it your way.  Enjoy your happiness -- however false it might be.  Enjoy your shallow victory.  It won't last.  Once I tell Burt the truth, it'll all be over.  You know that now, don't you?  You think you've had the last word, but you don't.  That honor will belong to me and when the time is right, I'm going to tell Burt everything about you if it's the last thing I do."


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

The Grand Sunset Room"Just look at them," Lorraine Davis muttered, her eyes fixed on Patterson and Stephanie Monroe as they talked with Dane and Sara Manchester across the room.  "Stephanie sure looks like she's on top of the world."

"As she should," her husband, Douglas Davis, commented.  "She and Paddy are having a baby.  Why shouldn't she be on top of the world?"

"I guess she's pretty much trapped Paddy into this marriage now.  There's no way he can get out of it."  She shook her head in disappointment.

"Lorraine, I don't think Paddy feels trapped by anything."  He took a long swig of his bourbon as he, too, watched the two other couples.  "He loves Stephanie.  That's pretty obvious.  I don't know why you can't see that."

"He's just too trusting.  He's too good of a human being."  Lorraine's shoulders slumped as she exhaled slowly.  "Anyone who knows Paddy knows that.  Stephanie knows that, too.  That's why she set out to sink her claws into him.  She saw him as an easy target.  Poor Paddy."

Douglas Davis"And what, pray tell, do you assume her reasons were?"  He folded his arms across his chest almost as if to dare Lorraine to come up with some logic behind her statements.

"Isn't it obvious?  After everything that Stephanie pulled, she knew her name wasn't worth one red cent in this town.  No one would have crossed the street to spit on her let alone talk to her -- well, no one but Paddy, but that's just the type of guy he is."  She shook her head again in disbelief.  "The Monroe name is well-respected in this town because of Paddy's father.  And then there's Paddy's trust fund...."

"Lorraine, honey, I think you're reading too much into all of this."  Douglas gently put his hands on her shoulders and turned her towards him and away from Patterson and Stephanie.  "I'll admit that Stephanie did some pretty nasty things to Reginald and Jillian, but she really seems to want to make up for all of that.  She's the one responsible for clearing Reginald's mother of killing Annabelle, remember?"

"Yes, I know that, but that's not the point.  It wasn't  just Reginald and Jillian, Douglas!  What about you?  What about how she used you to get to them?"

"That was a long time ago," he reminded.  "Besides, she couldn't have used me if I hadn't allowed her to.  I was so dumbstruck by her at the time that she could have told me the clouds were made of ice cream and I would've believed it."

Lorraine Davis"Darling, you're one of the strongest men that I've ever known."  She looked up into his eyes.  "If you could've been so easily swayed by the flutter of her eyelashes and her pitiful pout, what makes you think that someone like Paddy couldn't be even more so?"  She paused and looked past Douglas and towards Patterson and Stephanie again.  "And to think that poor Todd's the one caught in the middle of all of this."

"Honey, why can't you just leave all of this alone?  Why is it even any of your business what Patterson or Stephanie do?"

"Because it involves Todd, that's why!  You know how much that little boy means to me!"

"And we have a little boy of our own at home.  Why don't you let Paddy worry about his wife and family and we can worry about ours.  Besides," Douglas paused and chuckled as he followed Lorraine's gaze over towards the happy couple, "from what I hear, Paddy's pretty much de-clawed Stephanie.  Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen one person change so much, so quickly, as I've seen Stephanie change."

Lorraine grimaced and looked up at Douglas.  "I wouldn't be too sure about that," she muttered under her breath.  "I wouldn't be too sure."


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

The Grand Sunset Room"Where are Paddy and Steph going?" Dane Manchester asked his wife Sara.

"I think she's trying to find someone else to tell about the baby," she laughed as she took Dane's arm.  "I swear, she's absolutely glowing.  I'm so happy for them."  She paused and looked up at her husband.  "So...Dane...have you ever thought about us having children?"

"Thought about it?"  He cocked his head sideways as he considered the idea.  "Well, sure, I've thought about it, but...well...we've got plenty of time.  I'm not even in law school yet.  I think it's better if we wait."

"It's not like we can't afford it," she reminded.  "I mean, we've got the inheritance Mr. Preston left us.  I'm not working or going to school...."

"I said we should wait."  His tone was firm and solid.  "When it's time for us to have children, it'll happen.  Besides, I don't think either one of us is quite ready to be a parent yet."  He looked past Sara towards where Patterson and Stephanie were standing, talking to Sara's mother Joyce Preston.  "Of course, I don't really think Steph's ready to be a mother yet, either."

"Let's forget about Paddy and Steph."  Sara glanced upward as the orchestra began to play one of her favorite songs.  "I want to dance."

"Then dance, we shall."  Dane took her by the hand and led her to the dance floor where he wrapped his arms around her and began to twirl her around.  However, mid-twirl, he looked up and caught sight of Jasper St. John, maitre 'd of the Grand Sunset Room, heading directly towards them.

Jasper St. John"Mr. Manchester," Jasper spoke up, tapping him on the shoulder, "I hate to interrupt, but this was left for you."  He handed Dane an envelope.

"For me?"  Dane furrowed his brow as he examined the package that was now in his hands.  It was a plain envelope -- no writing on it other than his name.  "Who left this for me?"

"I don't know, sir," Jasper replied, his hand out-stretched.  "Ahem."

"Oh.  Oh, yes.  I'm sorry."  Dane dug into his pocket and pulled out a tip which he then pressed into Jasper's hand.

"Thank you, sir," Jasper nodded and then hurried away.

Sara Manchester"Dane, what is it?"

"I...I don't know." he muttered.  Then, almost instinctively, he turned away from her.  He didn't know what was inside the envelope, but something in his gut told him that it was something his wife didn't need to see.  With anxious hands, he ripped it open and pulled out a typed note and a photograph -- a photograph of him in a very compromising position with one Kitty Benedict, former lounge hostess.  The note simply read "Keep your affairs secret."

"Dane?"  Sara tried to look over his should so that she could see the contents of the envelope, but he turned just enough to keep the photo and note out of view as he shoved it back into the envelope and quickly tucked it away inside his jacket pocket.  "Dane, what is it?  What's in the envelope?"

Dane Manchester"N-nothing," he muttered nervously.  "Nothing for you to worry about.  Just some...notes a guy at school was supposed to give to me to help me study for a test for that class I'm taking this summer."  Putting on a happy face, he turned to her and smiled, taking her into his arms.  "But enough about that.  I thought you wanted to dance."

"Oh, I do!"

As Dane resumed spinning his wife around the dance floor -- she having already forgotten about the envelope, he unable to get it off of his mind -- neither one of them were aware that, across the room, Sara's mother Joyce was still standing and chatting with Patterson and Stephanie, but not paying the least bit of attention.  Joyce's entire focus was on her daughter and son-in-law and she was grinning ever so slyly.



 


NEXT TIME

Jillian is put through the wringer as she attempts to become a typical housewife.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions