produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #115 (Friday, 4/19/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
March, 1936 - Afternoon


THE STOKES MANSION - LIVING ROOM

Leticia Stokes76 Mapleton Way"I hope that you'll let me bring you some kind of happiness.  I hope that you'll let me turn this tragic time into something good," Dr. Fred Rutherford said as he tried to select his words carefully.

"Good?"  Leticia Stokes eyed him with a mixture of shock and offense.  "What good could possibly come out of my husband's death?"

"I...um...well..." he blushed, immediately realizing that he'd chosen the wrong words.  "Maybe I should have phrased that differently.  I didn't necessarily mean to imply that his death was a  good thing, but..."  C'mon, Rutherford, take your foot out of your mouth.  "Well, I know you've been unhappy with Nelson for a long time.  His treatment of you brought you great pain and sorrow.  He's gone now.  It's time for you to move past that.  It's time for you to look towards a brighter tomorrow."  A little soapy, but it'll do.

"I...don't understand what you're trying to say."  She furrowed her brow slightly as she tried to grasp the meaning behind his words.  "Yes, the last few years of my life with Nelson were difficult, at best, but...well...I don't see how I can forget that."

"I'm not saying for you to forget," Fred smiled warmly as he held her hands and pulled her closer to him.  "All I'm saying is that now is the right time to finally close that chapter of your life and start a new one---a happier one."  He hesitated for a moment as he gazed down into his eyes.  "Let's both begin a new chapter.  While we're in New York, I want you to...marry me."


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KITTY'S APARTMENT - LIVING ROOM
RIVERSIDE

69A Bridgeside Terrace; Riverside"A'right, Kit, what's eatin' you?" Sammy Benedict asked before taking a long drag off of his cigarette.  "You been mopin' 'round this dump all day."

"I just don't...like what we're doing to Dane," Kitty Benedict sighed as she slumped back onto the couch.  "He's been so nice to me and...well..."

"Ah, Kit, don't tell me that you're startin' to have feelings for the chump!"  He shook his head in disbelief.  "I thought you understood that this was all just a job.  You just hold up your end of the plan.  By the time this is over, we're gonna be rollin' in the dough."

"I wished you'd tell me what all of this was about.  Why does your boss want us involved with Dane and his wife, anyway?"

Sammy Benedict"I told you not to ask any questions."  Sammy took another long drag.  "Let's just say that the boss is doin' a favor for a friend."

"A...friend?"  Kitty furrowed her brow as she tried to figure out what he was saying.  "But...well...why did we have to involve her?  What does she have to do with this?"

"Look, she's the ticket to the whole thing!" he replied.  "If it weren't for her, all we'd have goin' was your stupid affair.  That's just a small part of the plan.  She's the main thing."

"Well...where is she, anyway?"  Kitty rose from her seat and began to nervously pace around the room.  The further she got into this "plan" the less she seemed to like it.  Using Dane was one thing, but using someone so innocent was completely another.  "She was supposed to be here by now."

"Don't know," he shrugged.  "You know how she is.  She's always late.  I hope she ain't havin' second thoughts 'bout all this."

Kitty Benedict"I just don't understand how you could do this to your own..."  A knock at the door interrupted Kitty's sentence.

"Shhhh," Sammy said as he motioned for his sister to be quiet.  Cautiously, he inched over to the door and pressed his ear against it, hoping to hear some sort of tell-tale sound from the other side.  "Who is it?"

"It's me, you creep!" came the voice from the hallway.  "Let me in!"

After taking a deep breath to prepare himself for their expected guest, Sammy flung the door open and clinched his teeth tightly.  No matter what their plans were, he hated dealing with her.  She was definitely one mistake that was intent on coming back to haunt him again and again.

"Get in here!" he ordered as he grabbed her by the arm and drug her into the room.  "You didn't let nobody see you, did ya?"

"Of course, not," Naomi Jackson laughed coolly as he closed the door behind her.  "How stupid do you think I am?"

"Do you really want me to answer that?"  Sammy folded his arms across his chest and glared at Naomi and her baby whom she carried in her arms.  "I see ya brought the kid."

Naomi Jackson"Yes, I brought Aubrey.  He goes everywhere I go," Naomi grumbled.  "I can't have a moment alone, now, thanks to you!"

"I done told you, that ain't my kid!"

"I think I know who the father of my baby is!" Naomi shouted back.  "And it sure as hell ain't that old geezer."

Listening to Sammy and Naomi bicker, Kitty slumped down onto the couch and buried her face in her hands.  Every time they got together it was the same thing---fight, fight, fight.  Kitty knew it was going to be a long afternoon.


THE STOKES MANSION - LIVING ROOM

76 Mapleton Way"Fred, I...I..." Leticia stammered as she awkwardly looked away from him.  "This just isn't...the right time.  It's too soon.  My husband just died and you...you're asking me to marry you?"

"I..."  Fred let out a weary sigh.  Maybe his anxiety was forcing him to push his plans ahead too fast.  "I'm sorry.  You're right.  This really isn't...the time.  It's just that...well...is there ever really a perfect time to be in love?  Can we schedule love like we would schedule an appointment on the calendar?"

"No, of course not!"  As the shock of his proposal began to wear off, she took him by the hand and led him back over to the sofa so that they could sit down.  "But...well...he was my husband!"

"Leticia, darling, I know that."  He patted her hand gently.  "But you were separated from him.  You were planning to divorce him.  Are you trying to say that if he hadn't died, then you would have gotten back together with him?"

"N-no," she stammered.  "I...I would still have divorced him.  It's just that..."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"Sweetheart, don't let Nelson's death change how he really was."  Fred carefully lifted his hand to stroke her cheek.  "Don't turn him into some kind of saint just because he's dead.  He treated you horribly and you deserved better than that.  Just because he's dead doesn't change that."

"I...I know," Leticia muttered and hung her head.  "He was...horrible to me.  It's just that...well...now that he's gone I can't help but think about all of the lost chances---the missed opportunities to make things right between us."

"I understand that," he nodded.  "But it's too late for 'what ifs'.  Neither one of us could go back and change the past if we wanted to.  The only thing that I'm asking you to do is look towards the future---our future.  Don't let Nelson's death accomplish what he tried to do in life.  Don't let him still control you and manipulate you."

"I know you're right," she sighed deeply.  "I know that I have to move on with my life, but it's just...too soon."

Fred looked at her cautiously.  He was clearly making headway, but he still had to play his cards right.  "Maybe I shouldn't go to New York with you.  Maybe you need this time to be alone."

Leticia Stokes"No!" she insisted firmly.  "Oh, Fred, I need you.  I don't think that I...could make it through this without you.  You have to go to New York with me to put Nelson to rest.  Maybe then I...can consider what you're asking."

"Are you sure?"

"Darling, I'm very sure," she smiled as she looked up into his eyes.  "I need you, Fred.  In fact, I need you now more than ever."

As he pulled her into his arms and held her tightly, Fred smiled slyly.  He was playing her like a fiddle.  Leticia might be going to New York as a widow, but he was certain that he would be able to convince her to return to Albanyville as a new bride.