2210 Elmwood Lane"Reginald Charles Callison, what the devil are you trying to say?" Charles exploded as he jumped up off of the sofa and approached his son.  "You sound almost like you think that your mother is guilty!"

""  Reginald took a deep breath and swallowed hard as he looked away to avoid his father's penetrating glare.  "I was just saying that anyone who knew Annabelle would know how she could drive a person to murder and...well..."

"I can't believe that I'm hearing this," Francis muttered awkwardly as she shook her head in disbelief.

"What you should be saying is that anyone who knows your mother would know that she would be incapable of harming anyone---including Annabelle!"  Charles' jaw clinched tightly as he slammed his fist down into his hand.

Jillian Stokes"Darling, you should be ashamed of yourself," Jillian muttered under her breath as she grabbed his arm out of concern.

"Look, I was there!  I was going to confront and threaten Annabelle myself, but I saw Mother coming out of the lounge.  I saw how out of sorts and upset she looked."  Reginald paused and took a deep breath.  "I tried to followed her to see if she was okay, but then I decided that I needed to have it out with Annabelle once and for all.  There wasn't time for anyone else to have done it!"

Francis Callison"Do you honestly think that I would commit murder and then just keep quiet while my own son was arrested as the prime suspect?" Francis questioned matter-of-factly.  "Reginald, how could you?"

Reginald CallisonReginald took another deep breath as he tried to sort out his words.  Nothing that he was saying was coming out quite the way that he'd intended.  "Mom," he spoke again, "isn't it possible that you and Annabelle got into a fight and she threatened you?  Isn't it possible that you thought you might be in mortal danger from that crazy, vindictive woman and then just lashed out at her without thinking?  Maybe it's just been so traumatic for you that you've blocked it from your memory."

"People just don't conveniently forget things like murder!" Francis argued as she felt her face flush with embarrassment and frustration.  "Annabelle Lake was very much alive when I left that room!  I did not kill her nor did I ever intend to kill her!"

"But, what I'm saying is..."

Douglas Davis"All right, all right," Douglas broke in as he waved his hands in an attempt to settle everyone down.  "This has all gotten a little out of hand."  He paused and waited for everyone to become quiet.  "Now, I don't agree with Reginald on this, but I can see how some people might view things exactly in the way he's explained things.  This is something we have to remember if this makes it to trial."

"A trial?" Francis gasped in shock.  "Oh, Douglas, I can't go on trial!  I just can't!"  Her hand flew up to her mouth as her eyes began to tear and her lower lip began to quiver.  "I didn't do it!  I didn't kill Annabelle!"

Charles Callison"Darling, it's all right," Charles said softly and sat down next to her to take her into his comforting arms.  "No one thinks you killed Annabelle.  No one!"  He quickly turned to shoot Reginald a sharp and threatening look.  "We are your family and we support and believe in you 100%---don't we, Reginald?"

"Yes, sir," Reginald muttered softly as he watched his mother's intense display of emotion.  However, he couldn't get his own suspicions out of his head.  He knew what he'd seen.  He knew that there couldn't have been any way anyone else could have gotten into that room.  At that moment, he became terribly frightened.  If he couldn't get past his own doubts about his mother's innocence, how could they ever expect a jury to?


Albanyville Police Department"Okay, so who's the stiff?" Russ asked rather nonchalantly as he tried to cover his own curiosity.

"Our boys haven't identified him yet," Larry replied as he slowly began to walk around the room with the slight hope that he would catch a glimpse of something important that might pave the way for a good story.  "There was no wallet on the guy or anything.  Only a receipt that I found for a dive down by the docks on your side of the river."

"So the victim is male?" Jim questioned as he tried to listen attentively to everything that Larry was saying.

"Yep," Larry nodded and paused to light a cigarette.  "Looks like you boys are starting to really slip.  You've got one murder you couldn't solve without my help..."  He paused to let out a snicker.  "And now you're sending your corpses over to us because you don't know how to deal with them."

"Is it our fault that the trash seems to drift towards Riverside?" Russ snapped.  "How did they find the body?  On one of their daily dredgings of the river?"

Larry Rawlings"Actually, it just washed up."  Larry paused and flashed a sly grin.  "Kinda like your department."

"Rawlings, I outta..."

"Settle down, Leeds," Jim ordered sternly as he threw up his hand to silence the angry officer before taking a deep breath.  "As if we don't have enough to worry about with the Lake case."

"Yeah, two murders in the span of a couple of months don't look too good for you boys."  Larry grinned again.

"Rawlings, no one said this was a murder," Jim reminded firmly.  He was beginning to grow more and more annoyed by the irritating reporter's presence.  "This could just be a simple drowning.  Whoever this guy is could have just fallen into the river and drowned."

"Or jumped from the North Bridge," Larry pointed out and rested his chin in his hand as he thought.  "Either way, it doesn't reflect well on your fair city."  He paused again and eyed them closely.  "You guys got any new information for me about the case against Francis Callison?"

Jim Fitzpatrick"You've gotten everything out of us that you're going to get!" Jim snapped.  "Now why don't you head back over the bridge to Riverside where I'm sure there's plenty of news for you to get your crummy little hands on."

"All right, all right," Larry replied as he threw up his hands and slowly backed out of the room.  "One of these days your boys are gonna appreciate me."

Russ Leeds"Don't count on it," Russ grumbled.  Once Larry had gone, Russ turned to look at Jim who was clearly deep in thought.  "You thinking about this drowning victim?"

"Yep," Jim nodded and rubbed his chin.  "I want you to get a list of anybody that's been reported missing in the last few days.  Maybe something will turn up that might link this guy and this receipt."  He pulled out the only clue---the cheap hotel receipt that Larry had produced.

"H-how did you get that?" Russ asked in shock.  "Rawlings had that and..."

"He's not as slick as he thinks he is," Jim smiled.  "I just slipped it out of his pocket while he was roaming around the room.  He was just too distracted with trying to scope out a story to pay attention."


54 Spring Lake Dr."So, who was that on the phone?" Dane Manchester asked as he stepped into the room just as Joyce was hanging up.

"Oh, it was" she stammered awkwardly as she tried to guess exactly how much, if any, of the conversation that he'd heard.  "It was just an old friend from New York calling to see how I was doing.  It's been ages since we last spoke and she just found out about poor Thornton.  She wanted to send her condolences."

"I see," he nodded, not quite sure he believed her.  "I never really took you for the type to have close female friends."

"Oh, you'd be surprised," Joyce smiled warmly.  "When Thornton and I were living in New York, there was a group of us ladies who'd get together every Thursday night for a lively game of bridge."

"Right," he muttered, still not sure if he believed her.

"So, Dane..." she began tentatively as she slowly walked over to him.  "Have you thought any more about what we discussed the other day---about Sara?"

Dane ManchesterHe quickly shot her a look of warning and the turned to look at Helga who was busy organizing the large collection of books along the far wall.  Of course, she had her ears tuned into the entire conversation, too.

"Helga, would you please go upstairs and get my jacket?" Dane asked curtly.  "You know, the blue one.  I think I'm going out and it looks too nice outside to wear my heavy winter one.  I swear, this Illinois weather is something else.  It was a blizzard just a few weeks ago and now it almost feels like spring."

Helga Grimm"Yes, sir," Helga nodded and hurried out of the room, but not before turning to eye Joyce suspiciously.

"Now, that's better," Dane sighed once Helga was gone.  "We really don't need to be discussing this with her hovering about."

"You're right," Joyce nodded in agreement.  "Anyway, have you given any further thought to separating Sara from her ill gotten gains?  You know that as long as she has all of that money, she'll never be the kind of wife you need and want."

"I'm beginning to see that," he muttered.  "She's gotten a little too full of herself and I'm tired of her trying to dictate my life."


"I mean, first she forces me to marry her knowing full well that it's the last thing that I want.  Then she goes behind my back to take this job for your husband when I explicitly forbid her to work.  Of course, we know what that led to!"

"My husband," Joyce replied icily.  "And she conned him into taking me out of his will so that he could replace me with you two.  Now, she thinks that you owe her.  Because of her, you have all of this!"  She spread her arms wide to gesture to the large expanse of the home that represented their wealth.

"And now she's moved that wretch of a cousin of hers in behind my back!"  Dane's teeth clinched as he thought about how he was forced to live in the same house as Stephanie Lake.  "I swear, I don't know how anyone as bright as Sara is supposed to be can be so stupid as far as Stephanie is concerned."

Joyce Preston"Oh, that daughter of mine is bright," she observed with a nod, "clever, too.  After all, she did manage to scheme her way into my husband's will and she has managed to put you right where she wants you---trapped in a marriage you didn't want and right under her thumb.  It's clear who wears the pants in this family."

Dane's jaw tightened upon hearing his mother-in-law's assessment of the situation.  Sara did seem to have all the control and that didn't set well with him at all.  In fact, she was making him look like a buffoon and a fool.

"It's time my wife was brought back into line," he muttered as his eyes took on an intense glare of determination.  "She's the one who wanted this marriage.  It's time she was forced to accept everything that goes along with it."

"I agree," Joyce smiled.  "And once Sara has taken on her rightful role as a dutiful wife, it shouldn't be any problem getting Stephanie bounced out on her ear.  I swear, from everything I've seen and heard, that girl is just like her mother!  I should have known that that rotten apple wouldn't fall far from the tree.  Of course, what do you expect from a girl who had Annabelle as a mother?"

"So, you think you can help me get my wife under control?"  He eyed her closely.

"She'll wind up obedient beyond your wildest dreams," she assured with a wicked grin, "and Stephanie will be out of your lives forever."

"I like that sound of that."  Dane smiled slyly and took a deep breath as he thought about how wonderful the idea sounded.  "Joyce, I think you have a deal."

"I was sure you'd see things my way."

"Here's your jacket," Helga spoke up as she walked into the room and handed it to Dane.

"Joyce, I have a few things to take care of in town," he said as he slipped his jacket on and headed for the door.  "We'll continue this discussion later."

"I'll be looking forward to it," she smiled and then went back to the sofa to continue with her leisurely reading.  

Once she'd heard the front door close, she grinned with glee.  It wouldn't be long before she finally got everything that was rightfully hers.  There was just one more little plan to set into motion.  Just then, the doorbell rang and filled the house with its regal chimes.  Joyce remained on the sofa and continued with her reading as the doorbell continued to ring.  Finally looking up from her magazine she made a disgusted face.

"Helga!  Would you get the damn door?" she barked angrily.  Why did she have so much trouble getting Helga to obey orders?  After a few more intrusive chimes, Joyce took a deep breath to ease her rising temper.  "Helga!  Get the door!"

"Yes, ma'am," Helga muttered with a smirk as she sat her feather duster down and began to do as requested.  "Anything for you.  After all, you are the---ahem---lady of the house."

After stepping out into the foyer, Helga rolled her eyes and let out a frustrated growl.  She simply couldn't stand Joyce Preston and was finding it harder and harder to deal with her.  Sure, Dane was nice enough, but she loathed Joyce and Sara.  And now that brat Stephanie had moved in?  The manor was becoming a veritable three ringed circus!  Helga wasn't sure how much more she could take.  Thank god it couldn't get any worse.

Naomi Jackson"Hello?" Helga muttered as she opened the door to find an unfamiliar face.  "Can I help you?"

Naomi Jackson smiled broadly as she shifted little Aubrey's weight in her arms.  "Yes, you can," she replied matter-of-factly and pushed her way into the house.  "I'm here to see Thornton Preston and I'm not leaving until I do!"



Naomi's plan is set into motion, but is she biting off more than she can chew?


produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions