produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #106 (Monday, 4/1/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
February, 1936 - Evening


AN ABANDONED FACTORY - OFFICE
RIVERSIDE

The BossAn Abandoned Factory in Riverside"Sammy, get in here!" the man called out as he kept his eyes locked on Dr. Fred Rutherford.

"Yeah, boss?" Sammy Benedict said as he came rushing through the door.

"I'm done with Dr. Rutherford," he smiled.  "We've come to an understanding.  Now, get him outta here."

"Yes, boss," Sammy nodded and quickly grabbed Fred's arm and pulled him towards the door.

"One month, Rutherford!" he called out.

As the door slammed behind Sammy and Fred, the man returned the gun to its home in the top drawer and then lit a cigarette before rising to walk around the room.  Only a few brief moments had passed when another knock came at the door.  Immediately realizing who his next visitor was, he smiled broadly.

"It's about time you got here!" he called out.

"Well, I would have been here sooner, but I got detained," Joyce Preston smiled slyly as she sauntered into the room.  "You really shouldn't be calling the house.  Someone might overhear and..."

"Just as long as you're here," he smiled and then walked over to her to take her into his arms so that he could kiss her passionately.  "Just as long as you're here."


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THE CALLISON HOME - LIVING ROOM

2210 Elmwood LaneCharles Callison and his wife Francis sat in silence on the sofa wrapped in each other's arms.  Their meeting with their attorney Douglas Davis had long ended and their son Reginald had left to take his fiancée Jillian Stokes home.  Now alone in the house that they'd once shared with their family, Charles and Francis enjoyed the quiet reassurance that came from simply being together.

"Darling," Charles spoke up softly as he cradled her in his arms.

"Yes, dear?"

"You don't know how much these last few days have meant to me."  He paused and kissed her tenderly on the forehead.  "Having you here, in our home, it's almost felt like old times."

"Yes, it has, hasn't it?" she nodded with a smile.

"I know...that things aren't exactly like they were before."  He paused and took a deep breath.  "You're only just staying here temporarily until things calm down a bit, but I...well..."

"Yes?"  She pulled away from him and looked at him curiously.

"Well, it almost seems like things have never changed."  Charles rose from his seat and walked across the room to pick up a framed photograph of their wedding that sat on the mantle.  "But things have changed, haven't they?"

"I don't know if we can ever truly go back," Francis muttered solemnly as she hung her head.  "But we...could go forward, couldn't we?"

"Darling, I know that your staying here has only been a temporary arrangement until things settle down a bit."  He returned the photograph to its appropriate spot amongst the collection of other pictures of the Callison family.  "But...well...would you consider moving back in...permanently?"

"I...I don't know," she replied softly with a shake of her head.  "It may still be too soon to..."

Charles Callison"But I thought you said that you wanted us to be together?  I thought that you said that you still wanted to be my wife?"  He eyed her with confusion as he felt his hopes start to crumble.  "Darling, I want you here in this house with me.  I want you by my side every day and every night.  I don't want...this to be a temporary arrangement."

"Charles, I...don't know," she muttered and hung her head before going to join him across the room.  Once she was by his side, she gently ran her fingertips along his forehead and then pressed her palms against his cheeks to feel the full expression of his face.  "Darling, I do still love you.  I will always love you, but...well...we can't change what's happened.  I am still committed to being your wife, but..."

"But what?"  He pulled away from her and shook his head in confusion.  "We love one another and we want to be married to one another.  We both want things to be just like they were before.  Why...why are you so hesitant to come home for good?  Wouldn't that be the best first step to putting our lives back together?"

"I...I..." she stammered and looked away in pain.  Finally, after a few moments, she took a deep breath and turned to face him again.  "I don't want to rush into anything blindly.  I have every belief that we can get back everything that we've lost---or more accurately, given up---but all of the damage that's happened to us didn't exactly happen over night.  It can't be fixed in an instant, either."

"I...don't understand what you're trying to say."

"I'm trying to say that I just need time."  She slowly began to wring her hands as she tried to choose her words carefully.  She knew exactly how she felt, but was afraid that she might vocalize them in such a way that could derail her plans before they'd even had a chance to begin.  "Being together with you and having this family whole again are the two most important things in my life.  They are so important to me that I just don't want to jump blindly into anything.  I want to take things slowly.  I just don't want our eagerness to recapture what we've lost to result in more problems than it would solve.  I just need time."

"I...think I understand," he nodded and then rubbed his chin as he considered what she'd said before looking deeply into her eyes.  "Darling, I am committed to waiting for however long it takes.  If you need to take things slowly, then we'll take things slowly.  You and your well being are the most important things in my life."  He paused and reached out to take her into his arms.  "And it'll be easier because I'm certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that you will come to terms with everything that's happened and you'll come home to me.  We will be a family again."

Francis Callison"Oh, darling, you have to know that that's my fondest wish," she sighed and then kissed him tenderly.  "You and me and our children---just the way it was always meant to be."  Then, she pulled away from him and hung her head before speaking again.  "I...think that I need to go back to the penthouse for a few days."

"Are...you sure?"  He looked at her with concern.  "Don't you think that that place will be swarming with reporters?"

"Well, with mother standing watch, I don't really think that I have anything to worry about," Francis laughed.  "She'll definitely put them in their places."

"Okay," he nodded.  "You take as much time as you need to sort things out---however long it takes.  There's no time limit on my love for you.  I'll wait until the end of time if I have to."

"Darling, the next time I set foot into this house, I want it to be because I've got all my things with me," she smiled sweetly.  "I want it to be because I'm coming home for good and we're going to have a fresh start."

With a soft smile, Francis kissed her fingertips and then tenderly pressed them against Charles' lips before turning to walk out of the room.  Moments later, as he heard the soft click of the front door closing, he realized that she was gone.  However, he wasn't sad.  He knew that the next time he saw her walk through the door, it would be forever.

As he slowly began to pace around the living room, Francis' voice began to echo inside of his head.  "We're going to have a fresh start."  A fresh start?  He furrowed his brow slightly as the gears inside of his head began to turn.  A fresh start.  He smiled broadly as an idea popped into his head and he walked back to the mantle to pick up a photograph of his late father.

Reginald Roderick Callison had built the family home just before Landon's birth.  He'd intended for the home to be passed down from generation to generation---the Callison family home.  In fact, it had been the only house that Charles had ever lived in.  Now, however, as the idea of a real fresh start began to churn inside his mind, he began to think about how fulfilling his father's wish could also signify the fresh start that both he and Francis deeply desired.


AN ABANDONED FACTORY - OFFICE
RIVERSIDE

An Abandoned Factory in RiversideAfter their lips parted, Joyce smiled slyly and then paused to light a cigarette.

"So, how are things going on your end?" he asked as he returned to his seat behind the desk.  "Making any headway in your plans to get your rightful share of your husband's estate?"

"Well, there have been a few interesting developments," Joyce nodded as she sat down on the edge of the desk and crossed her arms across her chest.  "My husband's mistress and their bastard child showed up on our front doorstep."

"Oh, I'm sure you were shocked."

"More than I thought I would be," she nodded.  "That girl is a Negro!  This completely changes everything."

"And what are you going to do about it?"  He looked up at her and listened intently.

Joyce Preston"What can I do now?" she muttered with a shake of her head.  "I can't go back and change anything.  Just getting rid of her would cause too much suspicion.  Besides, I can still use her.  I can get her to use that baby of hers to play on Sara's sympathies."

"Well, well, well," he grinned broadly.  "Joyce, darling, you're just as devious as ever."

"I try."  She rose from her perch on the desk and slowly began to walk around the room.  "Once I can get what's rightfully mine, we can leave this pitiful town and run far, far away.  We can put the past behind us and finally have a new life together."

"Yes, we can," he nodded with a smile.  "All three of us."

Joyce paused and turned to eye him carefully.  She wasn't necessarily thrilled about that part of their plan, but realized that she had to take what she could get.  She could always take care of that loose end later.

"You know," she grinned slyly as she walked over to him and took a seat on his lap, "it's almost like old times.  You and me...together.  She never did deserve you, you know."

"I have to agree with you, there," he replied as his eyes clouded over.  "But lets not talk about that.  Let's not dwell on the past anymore.  That part of our lives is over."

"I just couldn't believe it when I ran into you in Chicago.  I have to admit that you were the last person in the world that I expected to see."

"Well, all things considered," he nodded, "that's understandable."  He paused again and looked up at her before kissing her passionately in the bend of her neck.  "So, what are you doing to help me achieve my goals?"

"What am I doing?"  She pulled away and looked at him curiously.  "I think I've already done more than enough!  I am the one who led you to Albanyville.  If it weren't for me then..."

The Boss"Yes, but I already had leads," he reminded.  "You just helped to fill in the blanks.  I had the clue and you pointed me in the right direction."

"And now everything is coming together."  Joyce grinned and rose from his lap to again walk around the room.

"You've helped me and now I'm helping you."  He leaned back in his seat as he watched her slow pacing.  "Together, we can have everything that we've ever wanted."

"Yes," she muttered and again approached him to kiss him passionately on the lips.  "Together."  After pulling away from him, she glanced down at her watch and noted the time.  She had to get home before she was missed.  Both Dane and Sara knew that she really didn't have any friends in Albanyville and she realized that they might become curious about her prolonged absence.  "I really need to get back.  I have...some things I need to go over with Sara."

"I bet you do," he replied.  "Just remember, it won't be long until we'll be together permanently."

"Permanently," she nodded with a grin and then quickly left the room.

Now alone, he reached into the top drawer of the desk and pushed his revolver aside so that he could grab the framed photograph that he kept there.  After pulling it out, he stared at it wistfully for a few moments as a tender, yet determined smile crossed his lips.

"It won't be long now, sweetheart," he muttered to the picture.  "We're finally going to be together and now there isn't anyone who can stand in our way."