Callison Publications“Knock, knock,” Sara Manchester rapped lightly on the office door as she slowly pushed it open.

“Sara!” Trevor Callison exclaimed when he saw her.  He immediately jumped up from his seat and walked around to the front of his desk to greet her.  “Come on in!”

“Your secretary wasn’t at her desk.  I hope that’s okay?”

“It’s more than okay,” he laughed.  “In fact, I’m glad you’re here – anything to take my mind off of this… work.”

Sara paused and slowly looked around the office, visually examining all the various details.

“Not bad,” she muttered, quite impressed by the surroundings.  “Of course I never would’ve guessed that you would ever even think about giving up your desk down in the newsroom for this.” 

“It’s wasn’t exactly my idea,” he sighed, “but Father thinks that while I’m working strictly on Publishing business, then I should have an office up here and not a cramped corner desk down with the rest of the reporters for the Post.”

“And I see that you’re thrilled.”  She flashed him a playfully sarcastic grin.

“So, did you just come down her to check out my new accommodations or…?”

Sara Manchester“Unfortunately, this isn’t a social visit,” she sighed.  “I’m here to deliver those papers about Mr. Preston’s manuscripts that your father needed signed.”

“Ah.  Very good,” he nodded as she handed him the documents.  He examined them for several moments and then, pleased with what he’d seen, set them down on his desk.  “You know, I’m really glad that you’re going to agree to work with me on getting those novels ready for publication.  I’ve been going a little stir crazy ever since… well….”

“Since Grace left?”

Trevor exhaled slowly and nodded.  “As much as I’ve never been very interested in the publishing end of things, I’m actually glad that this is going to force me to focus on something else.  I haven’t really written anything substantial for the paper in months because every time I sit down to work on something, she’s the only thing I can think about.  There’re still just too many unanswered questions – Where is she?  Why did she leave town so suddenly?  Was it something that I did?”

“Trevor, you’ve got to stop doing this to yourself.  Whatever reason Grace had for leaving town like she did, they were her reasons.  You’ve got to start accepting the fact that there’s a very good chance that you’re never going to know what they are.”

Trevor Callison“I know.  It’s just that….”  His voice trailed off as he walked around behind his desk so that he could lean against it and gaze out the window.  “If I could just find her – find out where she’s gone – ask her what terrible thing happened to cause her to change her mind about us.”  He paused and exhaled slowly, his shoulders slumping under the weight of the strain he’d been under.  “Nothing.  Not a sign.  Not a trace.  It’s like she’s disappeared into thin air and only Douglas and Lorraine know where she’s gone and neither one of them are telling me anything.”

“Stop doing this to yourself!”  Sara came up behind him and placed her hand on his shoulder.  “I know you still care about Grace, but it’s not going to do anyone any good – especially you – if you keep dwelling on this.  If she doesn’t want you to know where she is and neither Douglas nor Lorraine are able to tell you, then there’s nothing you can do but accept things the way they are and move on.”

Trevor let out a slow, long sigh and hung his head before reaching up to cover Sara’s hand with his in a show of tender gratitude.

“I know you’re right,” he nodded, “but I don’t know whether I’ll ever be able to do that.  I simply don’t know.”


Spring Lake“I can’t believe you just went behind your mother’s back,” Maggie said as she toweled the water off of her shoulders and pulled off her swimming cap.  “You know she’s going to be furious with you when you get home.”

“I don’t care,” Eliza snapped and began to slather suntan oil on her arms.  “No matter what she says, she can’t keep me and Randy apart.”

“Hey, what are you two yammering about?” the aforementioned Randy Lamont, fresh out of the lake and dripping water, asked as he ran up to where the two girls were sitting.  “Why are you all the way up here and not down in the water with me and Stanley?”

“We’re gonna stay up here for a while and enjoy the sun,” Eliza smiled, but then scrunched up her nose when she realized exactly where Randy was standing.  “Honestly, Randy, you know how much you mean to me, but could you please move?  Not only are you blocking the sun, but you’re dripping water all over me!”

Randy Lamont“Oh, I’m getting water on you?”  He let out a sly chuckle and then began to vigorously shake so that all the water still clinging to his body began to fly all over both Maggie and Eliza.  Now I’m getting water on you!”

“Randy!  Stop it!” Maggie squealed and giggled while she covered her face with her hands and arms to shield herself from Randy’s antics.

“Yes, Randy.  Stop it!”  Eliza glared at both him and Maggie, less than amused that the two of them were having so much fun in each other’s company.  Knowing that the two of them would be in such close unsupervised company was, after all, the primary reason she refused to follow her mother’s orders to stay home and she wasn’t about to let them get too close to one another right under her own nose.

“I’m sorry, Maggie… Eliza…” he nodded sincerely.  “I was just having fun.  I didn’t mean to… well… make you mad or anything.”

“It’s okay, Randy,” Maggie smiled, oblivious to the pronounced disapproving scowl on her best friend’s face.  “Besides, I don’t think I’ve seen you have this much fun in a long time.  I guess that coming out to the lake was a good idea after all.”

Stanley Fitzpatrick“Aw, what’s everyone doing up here?” Stanley Fitzpatrick called out as he ran up from the edge of the lake.  “I thought we were goin’ to go swimming?”  Once he reached the blankets where Maggie and Eliza were lounging and Randy had knelt down between them, he immediately noticed the quiet tension that had started to develop.  “Gee, am I… interrupting something?”

“No, Stanley, you’re not interrupting anything,” Eliza spoke up as she flashed Maggie a stern glare and then quickly rose to her feet before putting her swimming cap back on.  “C’mon, Randy, Stanley’s right.  We came out here to go swimming.  We’re wasting time just hanging around up here.  Besides, Maggie told me earlier that she didn’t want to spend too much time out here today because she wanted to go see Jillian.  Isn’t that right, Maggie?”

“Well, yes, it is, but….”

“Then I think Randy and I should make the most out of what little time we have left here today by getting back into the water.”  Eliza grabbed a kneeling Randy by the hand and pulled him to his feet before turning towards Stanley.  “Since Maggie obviously wants to spend all of her time up here soaking up the sun, you can stay here and keep her company.”

“Aw!  But I want to swim!” Stanley cried out, clearly unhappy with what amounted to a direct order from Eliza.

“Then why don’t you go swimming with Eliza and I’ll stay here and keep Maggie company?”  Randy pushed Stanley between him and Eliza and nudged them in the direction of the lake.


Eliza CampbellEliza was clearly stunned by this unexpected turn of events, but before she could adequately protest, an overzealous Stanley grabbed her by the hand and began dragging her down the hill towards the water leaving Randy and Maggie very much alone – the last thing that Eliza wanted.

“I can’t believe that Mrs. Campbell actually let Eliza come out here today with me,” Randy muttered, mostly to himself, as he watched Stanley in the distance pick up Eliza – very much against her will – and toss her into the lake.

“She didn’t,” Maggie sighed.  “In fact, she explicitly forbade Eliza to come as soon as she found out that you were going to be here.  Obviously, Eliza didn’t exactly listen to her.  I… didn’t know that you and Mrs. Callison didn’t… get along.”

“I didn’t either actually,” he sighed and sat down on the blanket next to her.  “At least not until the Fourth of July when she made her feelings very clear – I’m a directionless, worthless bum who isn’t even fit for them to wipe their shoes on.”

“Mrs. Campbell said that?”

“Not in so many words, but that was pretty much what she meant.”  His shoulders slumped forward and he hung his head.  “Can’t say that I’m really surprised, though; I’m a Lamont after all.  Lamonts have never been as good as any of the Campbells….  And they’re definitely not as good as the Callisons.”

Maggie Callison“Randy!  How can you think that?”  She grabbed him by his arm, forcing him to look at her.  “You’re every bit as good enough as you want to be.  How can you even think you aren’t?  This is all just the… dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.  Don’t ever let Eliza’s mother or anyone else ever tell you that you aren’t good enough.”

Randy continued to sit on the blanket in silence, staring out at the lake where Stanley was intently involved in trying to dunk a very resistant Eliza under the water.  As he looked out on the water, he began to think about what Maggie had said.  Was a Lamont actually good enough to associate with the likes of the Campbells or the Callisons?  Sure, his brother Burt was fitting right in just like he’d always belong; but truth be told, Burt was really a Callison by blood anyway.  Randy?  A Lamont through and through.  And that meant that no matter what Maggie might say or even how he might actually feel, it did nothing to change the attitudes and opinions of anyone else – especially not the likes of Corinne Campbell.


2210 Elmwood Lane“Now you be careful and watch your step,” Reginald cautioned as he helped Jillian through the open door.  “I don’t want you tripping on a rug or anything and taking another nasty spill.”

“And I’ve got your bags.”  Leticia came in right behind them, setting Jillian’s things down by the front stairs before closing the door.  “I’ll just leave them right here for now and I’ll take them upstairs and put them away for you later.”

“Honestly, Mother, I wish you two would stop fussing over me.  I feel fine.”  Jillian pushed her husband’s hands away as she asserted her desire to be allowed to stand on her own.  “I’m not going to collapse into a heap simply because I’m walking in my own home.”

“Darling, you know what Dr. Campbell said – you’re supposed to take it easy.”  He again took her hand into his and began to lead her towards the living room.  “That means that my number one job in this home is to make sure that you don’t as much as lift a finger.”

Janet Stokes Linford“That makes it our job, too,” Jillian’s sister, Janet Lamont, spoke up as Reginald, Jillian, and Leticia entered the room.  “If you need anything at all, you make sure and telephone me.”

“Or me,” Jillian’s other sister, Judith Linford, cut in, making sure to step between Janet and Jillian.  “I know how much this baby means to you – to both of you – and if there’s anything I can do….”

Judith Stokes Linford“Girls, what are you doing here?”  Jillian pulled away from Reginald’s protective grasp and went to hug each of her sisters.  “You didn’t have to come all the way over here just to hold my hand.  I’m fine.”

“They’re here because I phoned them,” Leticia spoke up, coming to her youngest daughter’s side to help her sit down.  “It’s important that everyone around you does whatever needs to be done to make sure that you don’t get carried away with yourself.  I’ve already filled them in on everything Dr. Campbell said and I’m certain that between the four of us, you won’t have any shortage of family to look after you.”

“Mother, please.  That’s really not necessary.”

Leticia Stokes Rutherford“Nonsense!  I heard exactly what Dr. Campbell said and I know exactly how stubborn you can be.”  Leticia sat down on the sofa next to Jillian and clasped her daughter’s hand tightly.  “You’re going to feel fine.  You’re going to think that nothing is wrong with you at all and then you’re going to get some silly little notion in your head that you can do something that you really have no business doing in your condition.”

“You should listen to your mother,” Reginald grinned.  “She’s a very smart woman.  Besides, between me, your mother, and your sisters, we’ve got you more than outnumbered.”

Jillian’s eyes moved from her husband, to her mother, and then to her sisters as she slowly began to grow resigned to her unavoidable fate for the next several months.

“I’m surprised your mother hasn’t weighed in on this group effort,” she muttered.

Reginald Callison“Um….”  He paused and bit his lip, anxious over the next piece of news he had to deliver.  “Actually, she’s in the kitchen with….”

“Oh, Jillian, you’re home!” Francis Callison exclaimed as she carried a tea tray into the room followed by a woman with whom Jillian was not familiar.  “I wanted to have all of this set up and ready before you got here.  Reginald, darling, you should’ve phoned to let me know….”

“Francis, you really shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble.”  Although Jillian was smiling warmly at her mother-in-law, she couldn’t help but focus her eyes on the strange woman who was standing slightly off to the side while wondering who in the world she could be.

“It was no trouble at all.”  Francis sat down on the sofa next to Jillian on the opposite side of Leticia and then began to pour everyone a cup of tea.  “As soon as your mother phoned me to let me know that Dr. Campbell was letting you come home from the hospital today, I came right over to get things ready for you.”

Francis CallisonAfter several, long moments of awkward silence during which Francis finished serving tea, Jillian decided that she could no longer wait to address the obvious….

“I’m sorry,” she smiled as she looked up at the unfamiliar woman, “but clearly no one is going to make a proper introduction.  I don’t believe we’ve met.  I’m….”

“I’m quite familiar with who you are, Mrs. Callison,” the woman nodded curtly.  “Your mother-in-law has given me quite the thorough briefing on your condition as well as a tour of your home.”

“Be that as it may….”  Jillian exhaled slowly as she began to fully realize what was going on.  “I still don’t know who you are.”

Eudora Whitehead“Oh, forgive me, Mrs. Callison.  My name is Eudora Whitehead.  You may address me as ‘Mrs. Whitehead.’  I’m….”

“She’s your new housekeeper,” Francis interrupted, taking full control over the situation.  “As soon as Reginald told me about how difficult your condition was going to be, I knew that you were both going to need more help around the house than any of us could give you.  Mrs. Whitehead comes highly recommended with excellent references."

“I told all of you time and again that I don’t want a housekeeper!” Jillian snapped angrily.  “I want to be able to….”

“We know, dear, we know,” Leticia sighed.  “You want to do everything yourself, but you heard Dr. Campbell.  You have to take it easy and running a household all by yourself isn’t an easy job, even with Reginald helping.  Besides, none of us are able to be here with you as much as you’re going to need.”

“I never understood why anyone would want to make do without a housekeeper if they didn’t have to anyway,” Judith grumbled with a roll of her eyes.

“Of course you wouldn’t,” Janet muttered under her breath, “but I’m doing just fine on my own keeping house for Burt and Randy.”

“For now.”  Judith shot her younger sister an icy glare.

“Girls, please.”  Leticia knew that the last thing Jillian needed was her two sisters bickering with one another.  “We need to focus on what’s best for your sister right now.”

“And that’s Mrs. Whitehead,” Reginald spoke up.  “In addition to being a housekeeper, she has extensive nurse’s training.  Dr. Campbell even suggested her by name.”

Jillian Stokes Callison“Darling, I just don’t think….”

“And it’s not open for discussion.”  The look in her husband’s eyes told Jillian that he was serious and there was no chance to change his mind.  “Mrs. Whitehead will be here to take care of you and help you out around the house effective immediately.”

“Mrs. Callison, I’m certain that if we do our best, we should get along with minimal effort.”

With a look of steadfast determination, Jillian sat up tall in her seat on the sofa.  Of course, she understood everyone’s concerns – they were the same concerns about the welfare of both her and her baby that she had – but for a young woman as fiercely independent as Jillian tried to be, she was well aware that the constant hovering of not only her husband and family but also this new presence in their home was going to be something she was going to find very difficult to deal with.  As she inhaled deeply, she prepared to stand her ground.  She would accept Reginald’s constant hovering.  She would accept both her mother and mother-in-law’s constant concerned meddling.  She would also accept both Judith and Janet’s genuine attempts at assistance.  What she would not accept, however, was a stranger’s presence in her own home – and she was prepared to fight for what she wanted no matter what anyone else said.


Both Jillian and Stephanie are forced to deal with unwanted help.

produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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