THE MONROE HOME - KITCHEN

43 Landings Ct.Todd won’t eat that, you know,” Mrs. Oliver stated very matter-of-factly as she watched Stephanie Monroe making sandwiches for the little boy’s lunch.  “You know how particular that child is.”

“It’s just a ham sandwich.”  Stephanie did her best to ignore her housekeeper’s obvious attempt at interference.  “You told me yourself that he likes ham sandwiches.”

“Yes, but he likes the ham very thinly sliced.”  Mrs. Oliver peered over Stephanie’s shoulder at the pieces of ham and shook her head in disapproval.   “Mr. Saltzman at the market knows exactly how we get our meat cut.  I don’t know why he sent you home with that.”

“I didn’t get the ham from Mr. Saltzman,” Stephanie casually explained.  “I was running late coming home from the radio station yesterday, so I stopped in at the Costello’s Market instead.  He was running a nice special on cold cuts and….”

Mrs. Oliver“Costello’s?  Oh, we never go to Costello’s!  He always gives an inferior cut of meat – nothing like the quality from Mr. Saltzman.  I’d be very surprised if that sandwich is even edible.  Before you start doing these things on your own, you really should ask first.”

“I think I’m more than capable of going to the grocery.”  Stephanie spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on a slice of bread and then slammed the sandwich closed in frustration.  “And I’m more than capable of making a sandwich.” 

Mrs. Oliver pursed her lips and shook her head in disapproval.  “So you say, Stephanie, but don’t forget to cut the crusts off of the sandwich or Todd won’t….”

“Todd is just a little boy and he’ll eat whatever it is I give him to eat.  Honestly, Mrs. Oliver, I think you’ve given that child far too much authority around here.  That boy needs to understand exactly who is in charge.”  Stephanie walked over to the door leading into the living room and pushed it open enough so that she could call for Todd.  “Todd!  Lunch is ready!”

Almost before the door had a chance to swing back closed, Todd ran into the kitchen, nearly knocking Stephanie over in the process, and plopped himself down in his chair at the table.  Unfortunately, as soon as he saw the sandwich she’d prepared for him, he immediately turned up his nose in disgust.

Todd Monroe“I don’t like the crust,” he grumbled almost under his breath as he folded his arms defiantly across his chest and sunk down into his chair.  “Won’t eat it.”

“Todd!” Stephanie snapped angrily.  “You like ham sandwiches.  That is your lunch today.  You will eat it if you want lunch.”

He scrunched up his nose and began to poke at the sandwich with his finger almost as if he were afraid to touch it.

“I tried to tell you he wouldn’t eat it,” Mrs. Oliver leaned over and whispered to Stephanie.

Stephanie Lake Monroe“Todd!  Eat your lunch!” 

“No!”

“Young man, I believe we should watch our tone.”  Mrs. Oliver sat down in the chair next to the little boy and slid his plate in front of her.  “Now, what if we just trim the crusts off just like this…?”

He leaned forward in his chair and watched as she carefully cut all of the crust away until the sandwich looked just like he wanted it.  Before she’d barely even had a chance to remove the last crumb of crust, Todd grabbed the sandwich with both hands and began to devour it.  As Mrs. Oliver sat back and smiled at a job well-done, Stephanie glowered at her.  Once again, Mrs. Oliver had set out to deliberately make her feel incompetent and inferior in her own home and Stephanie didn’t like it – not one bit.


REGINALD & JILLIAN’S HOME – LIVING ROOM

2210 Elmwood Lane“You sit down right here and put your feet up while Mrs. Whitehead takes care of those dishes.”  Reginald fluffed up a cushion on the sofa for Jillian to rest her back on before helping Jillian slowly down into her seat.  “You’ve had quite a bit of excitement today and I want you to take it easy.”

“Darling, you didn’t have to usher everyone out of here so soon.  I was rather enjoying having everyone around.”

“I know our mothers mean well, but… I know how overbearing they can both be – mine especially.”  He sat down next to her and took her hand into his.  “And although I can’t quite put my finger on it, there’s something going on between your sisters.”

“There’s always something going on between Judith and Janet,” Jillian sighed.  “I’m sure Judith is merely stewing over how Burt and Janet ran off and eloped so impulsively.  You know how Judith has never approved of that relationship.”

“Judith clearly has the same opinion of Burt that I do.”

“Reginald, please?” she begged softly.  “If you really want me to relax and take is easy, don’t start in on Burt again.”

Reginald Callison“Don’t worry,” he laughed warmly.  “Your brother-in-law is absolutely the last person on my mind right now.  Unfortunately….”

Jillian furrowed her brow as she waited for her husband to continue his thought which didn’t sound like it was going to be a good one considering the tone of his voice.

“Yes?”

“I have to go down to the newspaper for a bit and take care of some business.”

“What about Rodney?  He’s your senior assistant editor.  Can’t he take care of whatever it is that needs to be done?  I was looking forward to having you all to myself for the rest of the afternoon.”

“I know,” he sighed, “but there are some jobs that only I can handle.  I promise I won’t take too long.  Besides, you’ve got Eudora here to look out for you now when I’m away.”  He flashed her a teasing grin. 

“Don’t remind me,” Jillian sighed as she watched her husband, who was already halfway towards the door and reaching for his briefcase.  “You just hurry home.” 

“I love you!” Reginald called back from the foyer, quickly followed by the sound of the front door opening and then an unexpected collage of voices.

“I hope you’re up for another visitor,” Maggie smiled as she stood in the doorway to the living room, a rather oversized arrangement of flowers in her arms.  “I brought these for you.  I hope you’re not overrun with them.”

“Oh, they’re lovely!” Jillian exclaimed.  “And I don’t think a home can ever be overrun with beautiful flowers.  Just set them over there on that table and I’ll have the new housekeeper put them in water in a bit.” 

“Mrs. Whitehead?  I heard Mother talking about her earlier.”

Jillian Stokes Callison“Yes,” Jillian sighed, “but I’ve spent far too much time talking about her today.  Why don’t you come sit down and tell me how you’ve been spending your summer.”  Anything to keep her mind off of the distressing news regarding her unborn child which she’d received that morning.

“Well, there’s really not much to tell.”  Maggie walked over to the sofa and sat down next to Jillian.  “To be honest, it’s all been kinda dull – except for your wedding and the baby and all….”

“Ah, yes.”  Jillian looked away in an attempt to disguise the discomfort which resulted from mentioning the baby before taking a deep breath to renew her strength and desire to shift the conversation towards more pleasant matters.  “You look like you’ve gotten some sun,” she observed when she looked at Maggie.  “Have you been spending time out at the lake this summer?”

“We were actually out there for a little while earlier.”

“We?”

Stanley and I and… well… Eliza and Randy.”  Maggie’s voice trailed off as she mentioned her best friend and her boyfriend.  “You know… just a bunch of us down at the lake.  No big deal.”

Jillian leaned cocked her head to the side and lifted an eyebrow as she evaluated what her young sister-in-law had said.  After several moments, she realized that what Maggie had said and how she’d said it didn’t exactly convey the same sentiment.

“I’ve got a feeling that there’s a little more to the story,” Jillian finally said.  “Did something happen out at the lake that you want to talk about?  Is something bothering you?”

Maggie sat in silence as she contemplated confiding in Jillian about all of her conflicting emotions concerning Randy and all of his anxieties and feelings of unworthiness due his background.

Maggie Callison“Why are boys so hard to understand?” she finally asked softly.  “Just as soon as I think I’ve got them figured out, they go and do something to completely confuse me again.”

“Any boy in particular or just boys in general?”

“Just… in general.”

“It’s hard to say,” Jillian sighed, “but between you and me, I’ll let you in on a little secret – they don’t get much easier to understand when you get older, either.”

“Great,” Maggie grumbled as she slumped back into the sofa.  “Just great.”


THE MONROE HOME – LIVING ROOM

43 Landings Ct.“I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to be done with a class,” Patterson Monroe said as he came barreling through the front door, a stack of textbooks in his arms.  “I don’t know how they expect us to concentration on applied biology in a room with such poor ventilation.  If I’d known we were going to have a heat wave like this one, I wouldn’t have decided to take summer classes this term.”

“I’m sorry, dear, but did you say something?” Stephanie asked as she rushed around the living room gathering up her own things.  “It’s been like a tug of war around here with Todd today.  I don’t know what’s gotten into him.  First I couldn’t get him to pick up his things and then lunch was a complete disaster and I can’t even begin to tell you how Mrs. Oliver just lets that little boy get away with….”

“Steph, honey, just slow down.”  He grabbed her gently by the shoulders to stop her as she walked past him.  “You’re going a mile a minute.”

“I know,” she sighed, “but it’s just that Todd’s had me about to pull my hair out all day today and now I’m running late for the radio station.  You know that Norma would just love to find some reason to criticize me to Mr. Lowell or some proof that I was being ‘unprofessional’ as she likes to put it.  I can barely even miss a line in rehearsal before she’s trying to convince Mr. Lowell that I have no business being part of the show.  She’s just upset that I’ve started to get more fan mail than she does.”

Patterson Monroe“Well, I was hoping I’d get a chance to talk to you about something.”  Patterson watched his wife as she continued rushing around the room.

“Paddy, can it wait?  I barely have time to think right now.”  Stephanie paused and bit her lip anxiously as she tried to remember where she’d set her purse.  “Now, what did I do with…?”

“Honey, can’t you stop for just a moment and listen to me?”

“Paddy, if you can’t tell me whatever it is you want to tell me while I’m getting ready, then it’s going to have to wait.”  Spotting the edge of her handbag poking out from underneath a sofa cushion, she quickly snatched it up and made everything she needed was still inside and not strewn about the room like Todd had such a habit of doing.  “I barely got Mrs. Oliver and Todd out the door and to the park in time for me to even start getting ready to head to the station.  Norma has it in for me.  I can’t be late and give Mr. Lowell a reason to fire me.”

“Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing,” he grumbled under his breath.

Stephanie Lake Monroe“I’m sorry, sweetheart.  Did you say something?”

Patterson stood firm, threw his shoulders back and inhaled deeply before speaking again.  He knew what he was about to say – something he felt needed to be said – wasn’t going to go over well, but he’d put it off for far too long.

“I said that maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if you were to lose your job on that radio show.”

His words stopped her dead in her tracks and she turned to look at him, not quite sure she heard him correctly.

“I… I’m sorry,” she reacted with a shake of her head, “I’m not… sure I understood you.  It almost sounded like you’d be happy if Mr. Lowell fired me.”

“I mean I wouldn’t be unhappy if you were fired,” he hurriedly attempted to clarify.  “I just mean that… well….  We’re married now and you’re having a baby.  Maybe it would be best if you quit this job at the radio station and stayed home.”

Stephanie stood very still, almost frozen in place, and blinked her eyes repeatedly as she tried to wrap her brain around what her husband had just said.  Once she’d managed to process what he’d clearly decided was a simple and logical request, she quickly realized that she didn’t like it – not at all – and couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing.



 


NEXT TIME

Patterson and Stephanie have different ideas about her future.




 


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

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