produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #105 (Friday, 3/29/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
February, 1936 - Evening


THE STOKES MANSION - FOYER

76 Mapleton WayDr. Fred Rutherford"Nelson, please stop doing this to me!" Leticia Stokes begged as she tried to fight back her tears.  "Why can't you just let me go and let me by happy?"

"Look what you're doing to her?" Dr. Fred Rutherford ordered sternly.  "Look!  I think it's time for you to leave."

"W-what?" Nelson Stokes stammered in shock.  "You're throwing me out?  Of my own wife's home?"

"I don't think that I stuttered!" Fred spat.  "You're not wanted here.  Now get out!"

"I am not leaving!"

"Oh, please, Nelson, just go!" Leticia sobbed.

"You heard the lady," Fred said firmly as he grabbed Nelson by the arm and began to drag him towards the door.  "Get out!"

Stunned and incredulous, Nelson came to a stop outside as the door slammed loudly behind him.  Fred had the gall and the audacity to throw him out!  As he spin around to glare at the closed door, his face burned with a mixture of rage and jealousy.  There was no way in hell he was going to let that low class doctor woo Leticia and scam her our of her money.  With steely determination, Nelson vowed that it would be a cold day in hell before he ever let that happen.

Meanwhile, inside, Fred took Leticia into his warm and supportive arms.  Although he was giving her tender support and reassurance, his own head was filled with intense thoughts.  He was quickly beginning to realize that Nelson Stokes would prove to be a much more formidable adversary than he'd once thought.  His effect of Leticia was clear evidence of that.  Maybe it wasn't going to be so easy to get his hands on the Stokes fortune as he'd once thought.  Maybe he had to step up his plans and take more drastic actions.


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THE MONROE HOME - DINING ROOM

43 Landings Ct."You have no idea how much of a relief this is," Stephanie Lake sighed with a warm smile as she took the bowl of mashed potatoes.  "I was nearly ready to pull my hair out from being stuck at the Manor."

"I can't believe that you're actually living under the same roof as Dane," Patterson Monroe laughed and then scooped out a large spoonful of green beans.  "He's one of my best friends, but I know that he can be a little difficult."

"Difficult?  Dane?" she chuckled.  "Joan Crawford is difficult.  Dane Manchester is next to impossible!"

"You and Dane in the same house," he muttered with a shake of his head.  "The concept boggles my mind."

"I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of a nightmare and I can't wake up."  She paused and took a sip of her tea.  "The only good thing is that Sara and I are at least talking again."

"So, how is that going?"  Patterson paused and turned to momentarily address his younger brother Todd.  "Eat your carrots.  They're good for you."

"Don't like carrots," Todd grumbled.

Patterson Monroe"Well, how about your peas?"

"Don't like peas."

Patterson rolled his eyes slightly and took a deep breath.  "Well, you have to eat your vegetables.  They're good for you."

"Don't like veg'tables," Todd stated firmly and then folded his arms defiantly across his chest before sinking down into his seat to pout.  "Don't like veg'tables and don't like Fanny."

"Todd!" Patterson chastised sternly.  "That's not nice!"

"Young man, straighten up this instant," Mrs. Oliver ordered sternly as she walked in from the kitchen carrying a large serving tray.  "You'll eat everything on that plate and you'll like it!"

"Yes, ma'am," Todd muttered with a frown and then slowly picked up his fork.  With a look of utter disgust, he speared a carrot and plopped it into his mouth.  After several chews, he swallowed and made a horrible face.  "Yuck!"

"Steph, I'm sorry," Patterson apologized as he reached across the table and took her hand.  "I don't know what gets into him sometimes.  He's usually the most even tempered guy you'd ever want to meet, but when he's in one of his moods....  Well, I guess you can see what he's like."

Stephanie Lake"Yeah," she grumbled and then bit her lip as she eyed the little boy with apprehension.  "He seems to be in one of these moods whenever I'm around."

Mrs. Oliver"He's very smart for his age," Mrs. Oliver commented rather bluntly as she refilled Stephanie's glass.  "He's going to be the brightest boy in his class when he starts school in the fall."

"I bet you're really looking forward to first grade, aren't you, Todd?" Stephanie asked sweetly as she tried to make headway with the child.

"Hate school," he grumbled and then stuck out his bottom lip in a pout.  "I hate school and I hate..."

"Well, we can talk about that later," Patterson spoke up, instinctively cutting off the end of Todd's sentence.  "Right now you have to clean your plate because it's almost time for you to go to bed."

"Don't wanna go to bed."

"Todd, there are a lot of things in life that we might not want to do, but we have to do them anyway," Patterson said as he tired to reason with the child.  "Now, if you don't want to finish your dinner, then I'm going to have to put you to bed with an empty stomach.  I don't want to have to do that, but it's your choice."

"Todd," Stephanie spoke up in soft, even tones.  "If you'd like, I'll read you a bedtime story.  Do you like the one about Jack and the beanstalk?"

Todd Monroe"Don't wanna story!  'Specially from you!  I hate Fanny!" he shouted and then proceeded to pick a carrot from his plate and fling it at Stephanie.

"Todd!  That's enough!" Patterson scolded as he jumped to his feet and pulled his little brother from his chair.  "You're gong to bed this instant!  I've had all that I'm going to listen to for one night."

Just then, the doorbell rang and Mrs. Oliver immediately went to answer it.

"Well, well," Mrs. Oliver called out warmly.  "It looks like we have a visitor.  Todd, you'll never guess who it is."

Lorraine Davis"I hope I'm not interrupting anything?" Lorraine Davis' voice came from the front door..

"Rain!" Todd beamed and then bolted from his chair to run into the living room and into Lorraine's waiting arms.

"Great," Stephanie grumbled slightly as she sunk down into her seat.  This dinner was definitely not going quite like she'd hoped and it was immediately obvious that it was going downhill by the minute.


THE GARDENS RESTAURANT

The Gardens Restaurant"So, are you having a good time?" Fred asked as he leaned across the table and took Leticia's hand.

"I'm having a wonderful time," she smiled.  "I was...afraid that Nelson might have put a damper on the evening.  He can be so obstinate."

"Well, I can definitely understand his reluctance to let you go."  He flashed a charming grin.  "Any man with an ounce of common sense would be a fool to let a woman like you slip out of his life.  But...well...I guess that's his own fault for not appreciating you."

"You're much too kind," Leticia blushed and then lowered her head.  "Truthfully, though, Nelson has a good heart.  True, he's opinionated and irascible and difficult, but I know that it all comes out of a sense of love and devotion to his family."

"Those sound like very admirable qualities," Fred nodded, rather disappointed to hear her speak so highly of her husband.  "If he's so wonderful, than why are you divorcing him?  Why are you here with me instead of with him?"

"I...well..."  She fidgeted in her seat and looked away.  "As devoted as Nelson is---as loyal as he is to his family---he's also the type of man who has to control everything and everyone in his life.  In his mind, he's the only one who's right and everyone has has to automatically agree with him.  And I...well...don't always agree with him."

"I've seen those aspects of his personality."

Leticia Stokes"It just finally got to the point where I was feeling smothered," she continued with a sigh, "and unappreciated.  I stopped being a wife to Nelson a long time ago and became just another possession---another thing in his life that he had to control."  Taking a deep breath, she thought back to an earlier, happier time.  "Of course, it wasn't always like that.  In the beginning, he was charming and romantic and..."  She blushed.  "I really shouldn't be going on about him like this.  Nelson is part of my past.  I'm here with you, now."  Leticia looked up at Fred and smiled.  "Tell me about yourself.  Tell be about the real Fred Rutherford."

"I...um...well..." he stammered uncomfortably as he kept a pleasant smile plastered to his face.  "There's not much to tell, really.  Born to good parents, worked my way through medical school, came to Albanyville to take a position at General..."

"You must have some kind of social life."

"Not really," he replied softly.  "The hospital keeps me rather busy.  I haven't had much time for socializing or romance in a long, long time."  He paused and grinned flirtatiously.  "But I hope to change that."

"So, how's Francis doing?" Leticia asked as she changed the direction of the conversation.  Although Fred's obvious attention and romantic interest thrilled her greatly, it also made her more than a little uneasy.  It had been so long since she'd received that kind of attention from a man that she wasn't exactly sure how to act.  "I haven't had a chance to talk to her since before the wedding.  It's just dreadful what that family is having to go through."

"Yes, it is," he nodded, less than thrilled to have to discuss the other woman in his life.  "But...well...I haven't really had a chance to see much of her, either."

"Oh?"  She eyed him curiously.  "From the way you've talked before, you and Francis have become very good friends.  I would think that she'd need her friends around her at a time like this."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"She's been spending a great deal of time with her family," he muttered in response and fought to keep his annoyance about that hidden.  "They're what she needs right now.  I'm only a friend and it's a family crisis.  Family comes first."  He winced slightly as the last sentence came out of his mouth.  He really didn't need to remind Leticia of the importance of family when he was trying to separate her from her own.

"That's so true," Leticia nodded, not noticing the faint lines of worry that crossed his face and the sudden appearance of beads of nervous perspiration on his forehead.  "If you do have a chance to see her, tell her that I'm thinking about her and that I'm behind her 100%.  If she needs anything at all, all she has to do is call."

"I'm sure that she'll be very relieved to hear that," Fred nodded and then gave Leticia's hand a slight squeeze.  "But enough talk about Francis Callison.  I'm here with you, not her, and I want to talk about you."  He smiled warmly as he eyed her intently.  "Leticia, darling, I find you immensely fascinating.  I want to know everything there is to know about you.  I want to discover the woman that you really are underneath that facade of regalness and sophisticated beauty."

"Oh...well..." she blushed, more than a little flattered by his comments and his attention.  "There's not a lot to tell.  I was raised in Manhattan.  Two older brother---I was the only girl and the baby.  My father owned Wentworth Textiles."

"Ah, yes, I'm familiar with that company," Fred nodded, both shocked and pleased with that revelation.  "Didn't he sell the entire company to Hallowell Brands?"

"Yes," she nodded.  "And father had unbelievably good timing.  He sold everything lock, stock, and barrel right before the crash.  Our family was almost completely unaffected.  I loved that man dearly.  It was devastating for me when he died."

"A man that successful must have left you quite a bit of money."  Fred was struggling to chose his words carefully as he fished for information.  He couldn't appear too overly concerned about the true nature of her finances.

"Well, mother died many years ago while the girls were still little so everything was divided between me and my brothers."  She paused and smiled warmly.  "Let's just say that I won't be standing in line at a soup kitchen anytime soon."

"I understand," he nodded as he fought to suppress his glee.  A hefty divorce settlement from Nelson and her own fortune?  Leticia Stokes was looking more and more attractive by the minute!

Jasper St. John"Excuse me, Dr. Rutherford," restaurant maitre 'd Jasper St. John spoke up as he approached the table, "I hate to interrupt, but..."

"What is it, Jasper?" Fred asked with annoyance.  He was making such wonderful progress with Leticia that he didn't want anything to ruin the momentum.  "Can't you see that I'm trying to enjoy a quiet evening with this lovely lady?"

"Well..."  Jasper rolled his eyes.  "If you can halt your climb up the social ladder for just a moment, you've got a phone call."  His eyes then narrowed as he stared at him intently.  "You can use the house phone at the bar."

"Thank you, Jasper." Fred muttered as he shot him and angry look because of his comment.  He didn't need anyone placing ideas inside Leticia's head that might make her doubt his sincerity.  Jasper's offhanded comment was definitely something she didn't need to hear.  "Darling, if you'll excuse me," he muttered apologetically as he rose from his seat.  "I'm sure this will only take a minute."

"Oh, of course, dear," Leticia replied.  "Hurry back and maybe we can take a spin around the dance floor."

"I'd like that very much," he grinned.

As Fred walked across the restaurant and towards the bar, his head became filled with thoughts about who could possibly be calling him.  He hadn't really told anyone where he was going to be or...

"Hello?" he said as he picked up the receiver.  "Hello?"  Odd.  There was no one there.

"All right, Rutherford," came the voice of Sammy Benedict from behind him.  "The boss wants to see ya.  Just hang up da phone an come wit me."

"W-what?" Fred muttered in confusion as he turned around the face the hired thug.  "You can't be serious!  I'm...I'm in the middle of dinner.  I can't just walk out on her.  You can tell your boss that we'll meet later."

"He wants to meet now," Sammy said sternly and then discreetly pulled open his jacket to reveal the gun hidden underneath, "or else."

"I...see," Fred muttered as he began to feel drops of sweat starting to appear on his forehead.  "Just let me...tell my companion that I've...been called away."

Sammy Benedict"Just say that you've had an emergency at da hospital," Sammy suggested with a sly smile.  "Because if you don't come with me, that's where you'll end up---right before the morgue."

"I...u-understand," he nodded and then took a deep breath.  "I'll...I'll meet you by the door."

Sammy nodded his agreement and then quietly turned and walked away as Fred made a quick trip back to his table.

"Leticia, darling, I've got some bad news," he sighed as he approached her.  "That was the hospital on the phone.  I've...got an emergency.  I have to go."

"Oh, no!" she gasped with disappointment.  "And we were having such a lovely time.  Well, at least I was."  She smiled.

"Now, we can still have a wonderful evening," he explained as he subtly glanced towards the door where Sammy stood waiting.  "This shouldn't take very long and I can be right back.  That is if you'll wait for me."

"I think I can manage that," she grinned.  "I understand that a doctor's work is never done.  You go take care of your patient and I'll be here until you get back."

"You are just too wonderful for words," he smiled and then leaned in to kiss her tenderly on the cheek.  "I promise you that this won't take long."

After another smile, he turned to leave and his face took on a more anxious appearance.  Why in the world would the main man want to see him personally?  What could possibly be so important that he had to be pulled away so suddenly in the middle of dinner?  Fred wasn't sure of the answers to those questions, but the myriad of possibilities that flooded his head greatly worried him.  As he reached the door, he said a silent prayer that he actually would be able to return for dinner.