REGINALD & JILLIAN’S
HOME – BEDROOM
Jillian, how you can even stand to be in the same room….”
“Well, it’s much less stressful to let
bygones be bygones.” Jillian
walked back and forth from the laundry basket that was setting on the bed to the
closet as she and Lorraine chatted. “Nothing
good can come from holding a grudge against Stephanie, after all, and as long as
she doesn’t start trying to meddle in either my life or my marriage, I see no
“I suppose you’re right,” Lorraine sighed
as she continued to help fold laundry. “I
guess that just proves that you’re a much better person than I could ever hope
Honey, you’re one of the kindest, most giving people I know!”
“You have no idea how much hearing you saying
something like that means to me.” Lorraine
lowered her head in embarrassment and blushed.
“I’ve… I’ve always looked up to you, Jillian – admired you and
your sense of style and grace.”
“Whatever Stephanie does or doesn’t do,
she’s Paddy’s problem, now.” Jillian
paused and pulled a dress out of the closet and held it up in front of her as
she examined herself in the mirror. “What
do you think? Should I wear this
tonight for dinner? I want to look
nice for Reginald when he comes home.”
have a feeling you could be wearing a potato sack and still look stunning.”
Lorraine cocked her head to the side, watching Jillian, as she thought
about what her friend had said earlier. “Do
you really think that Stephanie is just Paddy’s problem?
I mean… well… Todd’s involved, you know, and I… well, he means
the world to me – both of them do, actually.
I never had any brothers or sisters growing up.
I truly think that’s why Patterson and I never really worked out
romantically. I always thought of
both him and Todd as the brothers I never had.
In so many ways, I feel responsible for Todd – just as much as I feel
responsible for Mikey.”
“But Mikey’s your
baby,” Jillian reminded before she hung up the dress and walked over to set
down next to Lorraine on the bed. “It’s
not the same thing. Todd is Patterson’s
responsibility – Stephanie’s, too, now – not yours.”
“Oh, I know you’re right.
It’s the exact same thing that Douglas has been telling me over and
over. It’s just that….”
“It’s just nothing.”
Jillian grabbed Lorraine’s hands tightly to reinforce her point.
“I’m not saying you can’t be friendly or concerned.
I’m not saying you can’t be friends, but you have to let Patterson
handle Todd and Stephanie on his own. It’s
not your place.”
Jillian paused and watched Lorraine closely,
hoping that somehow her words of advice had managed to sink in.
Finally convinced that, if nothing else, she’d given her friend
something to think about, Jillian decided it was long past time to change the
“Now, enough about that,” Jillian patted
Lorraine’s hand before rising to her feet.
“You’ve still got to help me finish this laundry and get dinner ready
to go on the table before Reginald gets home.
I don’t know how I would’ve managed to have gotten through this
afternoon without you.”
“Which is why you really should get a
housekeeper,” Lorraine pointed out as she followed Jillian, who was carrying
the half-full laundry basket, out of the bedroom and down the hallway towards
the linen closet. “I’m not
saying she’d have to do everything for you, but you have to admit it would be
a big help to just have an extra pair of hands around the house and….”
She paused when she saw a curious look cross Jillian’s face.
“What… What is it? What’s
do you… smell that?” Jillian
scrunched up her nose and sniffed the air as she tried to identify the odd, yet
familiar, odor that had started to fill the house.
Then, at almost the exact same moment, both the young women’s eyes grew
wide with realization. “Oh, my
goodness! It’s dinner!” she
cried out as she hurried towards the stairs.
“We got so busy talking and putting away the laundry, we forgot all
about it being in the oven. It’s
“Now, Jillian, don’t panic.”
Lorraine chased along after Jillian – laundry basket still clutched in
her hands – who was headed towards the stairs.
“I’m sure it’s not nearly as bad as it seems.
We can fix it and then….”
“Oh, it’s no use.”
Jillian took to the stairs, nearly two at a time, in her haste to hurry
towards the kitchen and the waiting culinary catastrophe.
“I’ve ruined dinner – everything’s ruined!"
“Jillian, calm down.
I’m sure it’s not that bad. Honey,
slow down and be careful that you don’t….”
However, before Lorraine could complete her
urgent cries and before Jillian could even contemplate what was going on, it
happened. Later, Jillian wouldn’t
be able to recall whether it was one step or two that she’d missed in her
panic. The only thing she could
remember was losing her footing and tumbling head over heels while becoming
entangled in the laundry basket she’d been carrying.
Meanwhile, Lorraine could do nothing but look on in sheer horror and