produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #100 (Friday, 3/8/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
February, 1936 - Morning
REGINALD & JILLIAN'S WEDDING DAY


GOOD HOPE CHURCH - THE BRIDE'S DRESSING ROOM

Jillian StokesGood Hope Church"Jillian, it's time," came the voice of Mark Linford from the other side of the door.  "It's time to get you married."

"O-okay," Jillian Stokes sighed with a mixture of joy and sadness.  "Just give me...a few more minutes.  I'll...be right there."

"I'll be waiting for you in the vestibule," he called out.  "Let's hurry up and get this thing over with."

Mark was definitely not the most romantic of fellows, Jillian realized as she carefully worked to pin the long veil to her hair.  She'd much rather have her father walk her down the isle, but---considering the circumstances and her father's visit---she knew that that wasn't something that was likely to happen.  Mark would only be a poor substitute.

Her veil finally in place, Jillian walked towards the door, but paused in front of the floor length mirror for one last look.  Everything was perfect!  Taking a deep breath, she smiled and realized that, in spite of the unpleasant visits from Dane and her father, she wasn't going to allow anything to ruin her day.

"Let's go get married," she muttered to herself with a smile and turned to walk out of the room.  She was ill prepared for who she found on the other side of the door.  "Oh, god," she muttered with unhappy annoyance.

"I...I hope I'm not too late," Stephanie Lake said and then pushed her way into the room.

"I am not doing this!  I'm not letting you destroy my wedding day!" Jillian shouted angrily.

"Just...listen to me," Stephanie pleaded.  "I...I have to talk to you.  There are...a few things I'd like to say.  I can't let you marry Reginald."


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GOOD HOPE CHURCH - SANCTUARY

Good Hope Church"Mrs. Stokes, you've really out done yourself with this wedding," Burt Lamont whispered as he followed the Stokes family into their pew.  "It's absolutely beautiful."

"Well, only the best for my little girl," Leticia Stokes beamed proudly as she surveyed her surroundings.  The entire wedding had cost a pretty penny---money funded entirely by herself with no help from her husband---but every cent had been worth it.  "And wait until you see the dress!  It's...spectacular!"

"Mark, where's Jillian?" Judith Linford asked when she caught sight of her husband approaching them.  "Isn't she ready yet?"

"Almost," he muttered softly.  "You know how your sister can be.  She thinks she's got to look perfect."

"She better hurry up," Leticia sighed as she glanced down at her watch.  "The wedding is scheduled to start any minute.  We can't have a wedding without a bride!"

Mark Linford"I wish that my wedding hadn't had a bride," Mark muttered under his breath.

"I heard that!" Judith snapped angrily.  "If you think that this has all been a bed of roses for me, then you're sadly mistaken."

"If you both don't shut up," Leticia spoke up through clinched teeth, "then I'm going to chain you both together and leave you like that permanently!"

Judith Stokes LinfordThe thought of being stuck together forever made both Mark and Judith's eyes grow wide with fear.  Judith simply pursed her lips tightly, folded her hands neatly in her lap, and turned to keep her eyes straight ahead.  No way that she was going to be stuck with him for an eternity!

"I...um..." Mark stammered---he himself less than enthusiastic about that idea.   "I'll go back into the vestibule with Helen and Janet and wait for Jillian to get ready."

Janet StokesBurt turned to look back over his shoulder at Janet who was standing quietly in the vestibule with the small bouquet of flowers and waiting her her younger sister to make her appearance.  He smiled warmly at her.  The sight of her with the bouquet was sparking more than a few ideas inside his head.

"Judith, I just don't know why you didn't want to be one of Jillian's brides maids," Leticia whispered as she leaned over to her daughter.

"I'd prefer not to participate," Judith muttered.  "In my opinion, weddings should only be a spectator sport."

"Oh, honestly," Leticia sighed.

"Well, I can think of at least one instance were the idea of a wedding wouldn't have been such a bad idea."  Judith casually glanced over to Burt who met her gaze with an angry glare.  "But, alas, I got stuck with second prize---a booby prize at that!"

"Judith, that's no way to talk about Mark," Leticia chastised.  "He's your husband!"

"Yes, I know," she muttered dryly.  "And I so keep trying to forget."

"Well, your marriage can't be all bad.  You were carrying his..."  Leticia froze when she realized what she was about to say.  It was supposed to be a happy day.  No sense bringing up tragic memories of the child that Judith had lost.  The saddened and solemn look that clouded over Judith's face immediately told Leticia that it was too late.

"Yes, Mark's child," Judith muttered, almost icily, before turning to shoot Burt a mournful and pained look.

Burt LamontUncomfortable with the conversation, Burt began to tune them out as he let his eyes wander around the church.  He quickly caught sight of the Callison family who were seated on the groom's side of the isle and promptly grew uncomfortable.  How odd it was to actually be a part of that family, yet not be a part of that family at the same time.  While the rest of Burt's newfound family were joyously seated together, he was seated on the bride's side.  True, that was only because of Janet, but there was still a strange irony to the situation.  Even at a family event like a wedding, he still felt like he was regarded as an outsider.  Silently, he wondered if that would ever change.

Leticia Stokes"I just wish that your father were here," Leticia sighed to Judith as she hung her head.  "It's not right that Jillian is getting married without her father.  He should be here."

"Well, you know how Daddy is," Judith nodded.  "He's convinced that she's making a mistake.  I don't know if he can..."

"Is there room for one more?" came the voice from the isle.

"N-Nelson!" Leticia exclaimed as she jumped up and threw her arms around him.  "You...you came!"

"Why wouldn't I," he replied as he slid into the pew next to her.  "Our daughter is getting married.  Why wouldn't I want to be here?"

"But...well..."  She turned to glance back over her shoulder to where Mark was standing and waiting for Jillian.  "There's still time for you to...walk Jillian down the isle like a father should."

"I will do no such thing!" Nelson snapped angrily.  "Just because I'm here doesn't mean that I approve of this marriage.  I will not give my stamp of approval on this disaster by escorting Jillian down the isle and simply handing her over to him!"  He paused and took a deep breath to calm his temper.  "I'm here because I want to see my daughter on her wedding day.  I'm here because I want to see her make the biggest mistake of her entire life with my own eyes and....and I want to be here for her in case she comes to her senses."

"Oh, Nelson," Leticia muttered with a shake of her head, "when are you going to learn that you can't dictate and control everyone's life?  When are you going to realize that you most definitely don't always know best?"

"When someone can prove to me that I don't," he countered as he folded his arms tightly across his chest. 

Taking another deep breath, Nelson glanced down at his watch and furrowed his brow.  The wedding was supposed to start at any moment, but there didn't seem to be any indication that it was about to begin.  What in the world could be the delay?  Maybe Jillian had finally come to her sense.  He let out a weary sigh and silently prayed that that was the case.


GOOD HOPE CHURCH - THE BRIDE'S DRESSING ROOM

Good Hope Church"What do you mean you can't let me marry Reginald?" Jillian asked as she felt her face start to flush with anger.  "I don't think you have any say in the matter!  I knew that Paddy was wrong about you!  I knew that you hadn't changed.  You and Dane are still out to ruin our happiness!"

"Dane?"  Stephanie furrowed her brow slightly.  "What does Dane have to do with anything?  I'm not here because of Dane."

"Well...you're still here trying to cause trouble!" Jillian spat.  "There's nothing you could ever say that would keep me from marrying Reginald.  When are you just going to accept that you were nothing more than a mistake?  He wants nothing to do with you!  Besides, I thought you'd latched onto Paddy.  Isn't one man enough for you or do you have to try and have them all?"

"J-Jillian, I...I..."  Stephanie awkwardly looked away.  Jillian's sharp comments affected her deeply.  "I'm not here to try and cause trouble.  I..."

"You said that you couldn't let me marry Reginald!  I don't know what that sounds like to you, but to me..."

"M-maybe I should have finished my sentence," Stephanie sighed awkwardly, almost apologetically.  "What I was trying to say is that I couldn't let you marry Reginald without me talking to you first."  She paused, looked away to avoid Jillian's penetrating glare, and took a deep breath.

"There's nothing that you could say that I would even care to listen to!" Jillian spat.  "I have no desire to listen to any more of your horrible lies."

"T-that's not w-why I'm here," Stephanie stammered as she began to grow more and more uncomfortable.  "I...I..."

Jillian Stokes"Oh, just wait until I tell Paddy!  He'll see that you haven't changed!  He'll see that you're still the same awful, wicked girl you've always been!"

"If you would just shut up and let me talk!" Stephanie snapped angrily

Taken aback by her sudden outburst, Jillian bit her lip and looked away in discomfort.  "Just say whatever it is you have to say and get out!  That seems to be the only way I'm going to get rid of you."

"I...I'm sorry," Stephanie muttered.  "I just couldn't let you marry Reginald without telling you how sorry I am for...everything that I did to...destroy what you two have."

"W-what?"  Jillian's eyes grew wide with surprise.  Surely she couldn't have heard her correctly.  "What did you say?"

"I said that I'm sorry!" Stephanie repeated as her voice took on a more solid and confident tone.  "I had no business trying to come between the two of you.  It was...obvious, even then, that you two were very much in love and that whatever he and I might have had had been over for a long time."

"I...can't believe that I'm hearing this," Jillian muttered and shook her head in disbelief.  After a few moments, Jillian turned to stare at Stephanie and inspected her expressions and demeanor closely for evidence that there was something else behind the sudden apology---some nefarious scheme that was being set into motion.  "What are you really up to?"

"That's...it," Stephanie sighed as she hung her head.  "I just couldn't let you marry Reginald without finally putting all of the bad things to rest.  I couldn't let you marry him without telling you how...how sorry I am for everything that I've done."

"Why should I believe you?"  Jillian eyed her suspiciously.  That couldn't be all that there was.  There had to be more behind her apology.

"I guess, considering everything that's happened, you shouldn't," Stephanie confessed.  "But I am being honest with you.  There are no ulterior motives behind this.  I should have given up on Reginald a long time ago.  In fact, I had given up on him, but I let myself listen to Momma and Dane.  They convinced me that he loved me and that we would have been together if it weren't for you."  She paused and bit her lip.  "Only now I see that they really weren't thinking of me and my feelings and what was best for me.  They were only using me for their own selfish agendas."

"Um...well..."  Jillian continued to eye her former rival carefully as she tried to weigh her sincerity against everything that she already knew.  "If...you're really being honest with me, if you're really sorry for everything that's happened, then I...accept your apology."  Her eyes immediately took on a more stern look.  "Don't make me regret that."

"Oh, Jillian, you won't," Stephanie assured as she began to look as if a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders.  "And I...want to tell you that I don't think that Reginald had anything to do with Momma's death.  He just...couldn't have had anything to do with it.  I will never believe that he killed my mother."

"I don't believe it either," Jillian sighed, a little shocked that she found herself in agreement with Stephanie, of all people.  "And I never will."

Stephanie Lake"If I can do anything---anything at all---to help prove that he's innocent, please let me know."  Stephanie reached out and grabbed Jillian's hands urgently.  Jillian was appropriately taken aback, but she didn't act on her first instinct to pull away.  "You two are so happy together.  You two belong together.  I've...always known that, I guess, but I could just never admit it to myself."  She paused and hung her head.  "I've always been so jealous of you, Jillian.  Not just where Reginald is concerned, either.  You've always had a sophistication and style that I've always...well...wished could be mine."

"Stephanie, I...don't know what to say," Jillian blushed, quite uncomfortable with Stephanie's flattery.  "Thank you."

"Well, I've taken up entirely too much of your time," Stephanie sighed as she began to walk towards the door.  "I don't want to keep you from marrying Reginald."  She paused and turned around to look at Jillian again.  "I know that...that we'll never be friends or anything like that, but...well...I just hope that we can finally put the animosity in the past."

"I'd...like that," Jillian nodded, quite shocked that the words were coming out of her mouth.  "In fact..."  She bit her lip with apprehension and took a deep breath.  "Would you like to stay for the wedding?"

"Me?"  Stephanie's eyes grew wide with surprise.  This invitation was quiet unexpected and something that she'd never dreamed of.  "I...well..."  She winced and looked away.  "Thank you, but I really don't belong here.  Of all the people that deserve to be here celebrating your happiness, I'm not one of them.  I'm really happy for you, Jillian---honestly I am---but I just don't belong here."

And, with that, Stephanie quietly left a still stunned Jillian alone.  Of everything that Jillian had expected to happen on her wedding day, Stephanie's sudden and unexpected apology had not been one of them.  Taking a deep breath, she turned to glance at herself in the mirror again and smiled when she saw that her bridal glow had not diminished.  When she checked the time, she immediately saw that she was late and let out a sharp gasp.  She was late for her own wedding!  Surely Reginald was getting worried.  After taking one last look in the mirror, Jillian opened the door and prepared to go make her grand walk down the isle.