MANSION - LIVING ROOM
can't believe that she's out with him again," Nelson Stokes grumbled as he
paced around the room. "Why can't she see him for the weasel that he
is? Why is she being so gullible about him?"
"Well, mother seems to feel
unappreciated and unloved---romantically speaking, of course," Jillian
Stokes spoke up as she sat on the sofa. "I know that...well...you two
have had a rather tense relationship over the years and you can be a
little overbearing and..."
"I know, I know," he
mumbled and hung his head. "I confess that I've made mistakes.
I...took her and what we had for granted. I realize that now."
"Maybe it's just too
late," Janet Stokes supposed as she sat next to Jillian. "Maybe
too much has happened between the two of you for her to just simply forgive and
"I refuse to believe
that!" he shouted angrily. "There has to be some way to make her
realize how much I still love her. I have to make her understand that I
want to make things right between us."
Dr. Rutherford fellow can clearly spot a vulnerable woman when he sees
one," Judith Linford commented as she walked into the room and joined the
conversation. "He's a sly one, I have to give him that. He
knows exactly what mother wants to hear and isn't hesitating to dish it
out. That foolish old woman is just gobbling it up!"
"I know that I've make
mistakes," Nelson confessed softly. "Not only with your mother,
but with all of you." He paused and turned to Jillian.
"You especially, dear. I've been so...bull headed that I...I've
pushed you away and I..."
eyed him curiously. What was he trying to say.
"I haven't been there when you
needed me," he sighed. "You love Reginald and I've...done
nothing but try to stand in the way of your happiness. I should have been
supporting you and loving you and rejoicing in your happiness instead
of...casting you aside like I did."
"Father, you only did what you
did because you care," Jillian responded as she quickly rose from her seat
and rushed to his side. "I can't agree with your opinions of Reginald
or with the way you handled things, but...well...I've always known it was
because you care."
I'm...so sorry," he muttered and then took his youngest daughter into his
arms. "If you want to marry Reginald, who am I to stand in your
way. This entire mess with your mother has forced me to rethink every
single one of my opinions and actions and I...well...realize that I might not
have been as correct in my thinking as I once thought."
sighed as she tried to fight back her tears of joy. "Do you...really
"Yes, dear," he smiled as
he held her in his arms. "And if he loves you every bit as much as
you say he does, then I couldn't be happier for you. I mean that."
"Oh, my," Jillian laughed
as she tried to wipe away her tears. "I feel...so foolish."
"And why's that?"
we are having...a wonderful family moment and I have to leave," she
explained. "Actually, I've got to go meet Reginald. He's taking
me out dancing. We're trying to get our minds off of...everything that's
going on with his family."
"Well, you go and have a
wonderful time." He looked down deeply into her eyes and
smiled. "Send him my best."
"What a touching moment,"
Judith sighed with only a faint note of sarcasm as Jillian hurried out of the
house. "I know that when you finally convince mother that she's
making a fool out of herself, it's going to be just as emotional."
"I can only hope that I can
convince her of my sincerity," he muttered as he again began to slowly pace
around the room. "Right now, she's not even listening to a word I've
said. Of course, I can't really blame her for that. I certainly
haven't been around lately when this family has needed me."
"Oh, Daddy, don't say
that!" Judith gasped. "You're a wonderful father!"
"If that were really true then
I would have been her for you when..." His voice trailed off and he
bit his lip. "When you lost the baby. I should have been on the
first plane out of New York, but I...was stuck in a meeting. I knew that
your mother was here and could handle things and I...didn't think that I was
"Daddy, I always need
you!" Judith exclaimed. "How could you think that I
wouldn't? Besides, you were tied up with business and couldn't get
away. I understood that. You did send all of those flowers. I
knew that even though you weren't here, I was still in your thoughts and in your
"The baby," Janet
muttered, more to herself than to anyone else.
"Janet, dear, did you say
something?" Judith asked curiously as she turned to eye her sister closely.
"N-no," Janet replied
awkward as her eyes grew vacant. "I...didn't say...anything."
baby! Judith's baby! You killed your own sister's baby! It's
your fault. Everyone was right about you. You're crazy. When
Burt finds out what you've done, he'll hate you. He'll wish that you were
"No!" Janet cried
out and then bolted from the room.
"Janet!" Nelson called out
as he prepared to chase after her. "Janet, darling, what's
"Oh, Daddy, just let her
be," Judith sighed as she grabbed her father's arm. "She's
always...having these little spells. They don't mean anything."
"But there's something wrong
with her!" he insisted. "This kind of behavior isn't
normal. Something's clearly not right inside her head."
"For Janet, this is
normal," Judith reminded. "She just gets like this for no reason
and then it passes and it's like nothing ever happened. Just let her
"This is all my fault," he
muttered wearily. "She clearly wasn't ready to come home from the
hospital. She's still...troubled. Even I can see that!"
Just as Nelson was about ignore
Judith's advice and chase after Janet, the telephone rang. He immediately
stopped and turned to answer.
"Hello," he spoke firmly
and deliberately into the receiver. "Yes, this is the Stokes'
residence. Who? What? W-Well, w-what happened? Is...she
all right? I...understand. Yes, of course. I'm...on my
"Daddy, what is it?"
Judith asked as she rushed to his side and grabbed his arm. "What's
wrong? You don't look well."
"That was...the hospital,"
Nelson muttered, slightly in shock. "It seems like...your
"What, Daddy, what?"
"There's been an
accident," he explained as he tried not to panic. "The nurse
wouldn't give me any details, but...your mother is in critical condition."
"Oh, no!" Judith
gasped. "Oh, Daddy, we've got to get to the hospital! We've got
"Wait!" he called out as
she rushed for the door. "We need to get Janet so that she
"Daddy, there's no time for
that," she tried to reason. "In the state she was in when she
ran out of here, she's not going to do anyone any good at the hospital.
We've got to go."
"All...right," he nodded
as he grabbed his coat and quickly followed her.
"Daddy, do you have my
keys?" Judith asked anxiously as she began rummaging through her
purse. "I can't find my keys!"
"I've got them right
here," he said calmly as he fought the urge to loose control.
"Remember, you've been letting me use your car while I've been in
"Oh...yes...I forgot," she
stammered in between deep breaths. "I'm...driving. We've got to
get to the hospital. Mother has to be all right!"
As they ran out the door, Nelson
said a prayer that Leticia would be okay. He just didn't know what he
would do if anything happened to her before he had a chance to make things right