SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY
you plan on playing Naomi and
Sara against one another?"
Dane asked as he
eyed Joyce suspiciously. "Who's to say that you won't play me for a
"Dane, I've made an honorable
agreement with you," she reminded. "And I always honor my
Those words made Dane chuckle with
amusement. "You've made an 'honorable' agreement with that girl,
too," he reminded. "But you're going to use her to get exactly
what you want. I'm not willing to be a stupid pawn in your
just leave Naomi to me," Joyce smiled slyly. "She's the real
pawn. You're my partner. As long as the two of us are working
together, then there's no way we can fail." She paused for a moment
and took a sip of her drink before returning her attention to him.
"And, besides, if you decide to back out of our little agreement, it would
make me very disappointed in you. In fact, I just might have to encourage
my daughter's little independent streak. You wouldn't want that now, would
"Joyce, you are a master
manipulator," he grumbled. "You know that I can't have Sara
doing anything that might reflect negatively on me or my father."
"How much is my daughter's
obedience and loyalty worth to you?" Joyce asked bluntly. "If
it's worth as much as I suspect, you're going to have no problem holding up your
end of our deal."
are you ready to go out to dinner?" Sara Manchester asked as she strolled
into the room, interrupting Dane and Joyce's conversation.
"Oh, yes, of course,"
Joyce smiled before giving Dane a brief, knowing nod. "It will give
us an opportunity to talk about your college plans after this semester is
"College plans?" Sara
repeated curiously. "I don't understand what you mean."
"Well, we'll have enough time
to talk about that over dinner," Joyce explained with a warm smile. "So, how's Naomi doing? Did you have a chance to talk to
her about the estate?"
"I didn't bring it up,"
Sara confessed. "I thought it would be best to build a sense of trust
between us first. She just left to go get some more of her things from her
"Ah, I see." Joyce
downed the rest of her drink and then carefully led Sara towards the door.
"We'll be back later, Dane."
he grumbled half under his breath. As he heard the front door close, he
made his own way over to the bar and stirred up his own drink. After his
discussion with Joyce, he sure needed one. The ice cubes had barely had a
chance to melt when he heard the front door open again.
"I don't know why you're still
nervous," Patterson Monroe laughed as he followed
Stephanie Lake into the
room. "You're going to be fine."
"Wonderful!" Dane muttered
with disgust. "Don't tell me that I've got to spend an evening alone
in the house with you! Maybe I can find Helga and we can play a game of
"Not likely," Stephanie
replied coolly. "I heard Aunt Joyce say earlier that she let Helga
have the night off so that she could go to the movies. And, believe me,
the last person I'd want to spend an evening with is you!"
"All right, you two, just calm
down," Patterson spoke up as he stepped between them. "Can't you
two just get along? Since you're living under the same roof, you can at
least be civil."
"Civil war is more like
it," she grumbled as she stuck out her bottom lip in defiance.
"Paddy, I can't believe that
you're spending all of your time with her. I gave you credit for being
smarter than that! You know everything that she's tried to do to Reginald
and Jillian and me!"
Dane, I remember everything you've tried to do to Reginald and Jillian, too, and
I'm still friends with you!" Patterson reminded pointedly. "I
guess that I'm just a sucker all the way around, huh?"
"You know what I mean,"
Dane sighed in annoyance. "I remember when you couldn't say anything
nice about her at all. Now, she's got you brainwashed into..."
"Dane, she's a different
"Would you both stop talking
about me like I'm not even in the room!" Stephanie spoke up angrily before
turning her attention to Dane. "My friendship with Paddy is none of
"He's my best friend so that
makes it my business!" Dane shot back.
"Well, Dane, for some best
friend, I sure haven't seen a lot of you lately," Patterson reminded.
"Seems to me that ever since you came into all of this money, you don't
have time for anyone, anymore. Is the lord of the manor too busy to come
down into the village and visit us commoners?"
"Paddy, you know that's not how
it is," Dane sighed as his tone quickly softened. "I've just
been...busy. Classes are getting tougher and I've been fighting to get my
grades back on track. They really started to slip last semester while I
was working at the printing plant. It's not going to be long before I have
to start applying to law school. I've got to make sure that I've got
everything in order and..."
"Dane, I know how important law
school is to you," Paddy nodded. "And I know that even without
working, you've been under a lot of strain."
"Lately, any strain that I've
been under has been because of her!" Dane shot an angry look at
she gasped in shock. "What have I done? Nothing! That's
"I'm forced to share my home
with you! Being within fifty feet of you is enough strain!" Dane
shouted back. "Honestly, how Paddy can even stand to breathe the same
air as you, I don't know."
"Dane, that's enough!"
Patterson snapped angrily. "I refuse to let you talk to her like
"I can't stand to see you ruin
your entire life because of that little witch," Dane said angrily.
"And that's exactly what you're doing. You're just too blinded by her
innocent act to see that." After pausing to take a deep breath, he
swallowed the rest of his drink in one gulp and turned to head for the
door. "I can't stand to be around you two, right now. It's
turning my stomach."
"I can't believe him!"
Stephanie shouted as they heard the front door slam. "Who the devil
does he think he is?"
"Just calm down,"
Patterson sighed and then pulled her into his comforting arms. "Don't
let Dane get to you. He can be a little pig headed. He'll come
around and see that you're not as horrible as he thinks you are."
"I don't care what Dane
Manchester thinks about me!" she snapped. "He can think that I'm
the devil incarnate for all I care!" Resting her head on Patterson's
shoulder, Stephanie took a deep breath and began to feel herself calm
down. The security of Patterson's arms had always seemed to have a
reassuring effect on her and now wasn't any different.
"I know that you don't care
about Dane," he muttered softly as he relished the feel of her in his arms,
"but...well...can't you at least try to get along with him. It would
make living here a whole lot easier if you two weren't fighting all the
"I hate it here," she
grumbled. "Even though it's been great to be around Sara, trying to
put everything that happened between us in the past, having to be here with Dane
just ruins it. I don't think I can stand to be here another minute!"
"Well, you're going to have to
be here for a little longer than that," Patterson reminded.
"You're not going to be able to afford to move out onto you own until
you've been working for a while and saved up enough money."
"Speaking of which, I better go
home and let you work on tomorrow's script." He pulled away from her
and headed for the door. "The harder you work, the sooner it will
"Another fight with Dane and it
might be sooner than you think," she laughed.
"Just keep yourself
focused," Patterson reminded. "It'll all come together and
you'll wonder how you ever doubted yourself."
After Patterson had left, Stephanie
flopped down on the sofa and took a deep breath before opening her script to
reread her lines for her next show. However, as she read the dialog of her
character's trials, she couldn't help but think of her own. With a
determined nod of her head, she decided that moving out of the house and away
from Dane had to be her top priority. After that, she could think about
finally showing Sara exactly what kind of a horrible man that she'd married.