produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #118 (Wednesday, 5/1/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
March, 1936 - Afternoon


CALLISON PUBLICATIONS - DOUGLAS'S OFFICE

The Offices of Callison Publications & the Daily PostJim Fitzpatrick"I thought that you'd be able to understand how important this is," Detective Jim Fitzpatrick said as he took the envelope from Douglas Davis and then stared at it intently.  Written on it in Annabelle Lake's own handwriting were the words "To my darling daughter."  After taking a deep breath, he spoke again.  "Well, let's see what's in here."

Jim ripped the envelope open and discovered that it contained a letter.  As he furrowed his brow, he slipped it out and carefully unfolded it before inhaling deeply.  With a look of determination, he began to read...

 



To my daughter,

If you're reading this, Stephanie, then surely something horrible has happened.  I can only hope that this has been opened after I've led a long and fulfilling life.  However, in any case, there has been something weighing heavily on my mind for some time and I couldn't think about going to my grave without finally coming clean.  In short, I have a confession to make.


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THE DAILY POST - REGINALD'S OFFICE

The Offices of Callison Publications & the Daily Post"Well, June is out of the question," Jillian Stokes sighed as she sat on the edge of her fiancÚ Reginald Callison's desk and flipped through the pages of the calendar.  "That's when the trial starts.  Although it would be wonderful to be a June bride."

"I know that you're eager for us to reschedule the wedding," Reginald spoke up as he gently put his hand on her shoulder, "but maybe we should wait until after the trial.  We don't know how long it's going to last or what's going to happen."

"Maybe you're right," she nodded, clearly crestfallen that she would have to wait even longer for them to get married.  "But I...just can't help wanting something set in stone.  June would have been perfect.  School will be over and I'll have gotten my associate's degree in art history and..."

"Associate's degree?"  He furrowed his brow as he thought about what she'd said.  "I thought that you were going for your bachelor's degree."

"Well, I was," she replied, "but I realized that I'm not really going to need it to be a wife and a mother.  I already have enough credits and have taken all of the required classes.  An associate's degree is fine."

"A wife and...mother?"  A look of panic quickly covered Reginald's face as her words began to sink in.  "Jillian, you're not trying to tell me that you're...but it's too soon!"

"No, silly," she laughed warmly and then lightly stroked his cheek.  "I'm talking about when we do have a baby.  We are going to have one eventually, dear."

"Oh...um...right."  He paused and let out a sigh of relief much to Jillian's amusement.

Jillian Stokes"And that reminds me," she spoke up and quickly reached for the package that was on the edge of the desk.  "I really need to stop by Lorraine's and drop off this baby gift.  I feel horrible that I haven't been able to organize a proper baby shower.  I mean, what with everything that's been going on with your mother and then my father's..."  Her voice caught in her throat; the word nearly too much to say.

"I know, honey, I know," Reginald said soothingly as he came up behind her are tenderly rubbed her back.  "This is all going to be over eventually and then there's going to be nothing but clear skies ahead for all of us."

"Darling, I want to believe that.  Really I do."  She turned around and gazed lovingly into his eyes.  "But, I just can't get this feeling out of my head that..."

Suddenly, the office door swung open and Patterson Monroe hurried into the room.

"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," he spoke up.  "Your secretary told me to just come on in."

"You're not interrupting anything, Paddy," Reginald smiled as he quickly went to greet his friend.  "How have you been?  Considering everything that's been going on, I haven't had a chance to catch up with you, lately."

"I...know," Patterson stammered awkwardly.  "There's even more going on than you realize.  In fact, that's...why I'm here.  Reginald, this isn't exactly a social visit."

"Paddy, are you all right?" Jillian asked with concern.  "You look like something's troubling you.  What's the matter?"

"It's...Stephanie," Patterson confessed as he hung his head.  Jillian immediately winced at the mention of the name.  "She's...in trouble and I...need your help, Reginald."

"Paddy, you're my best friend and all, but I really don't think that I have any interest in anything that involves Stephanie Lake."  Reginald folded his arms tightly across his chest and quickly glanced in Jillian's direction, noticing her discomfort. "You know better than anyone else what she's done to us and I..."

"I know, I know," Patterson responded with a shake of his head.  "I really don't have any business coming to you with this, but you're the only person I know that I think can help me and...well...you are my friend and..."

"I...I think I need to go run that errand I was talking about," Jillian spoke up as she quickly slipped on her jacket and tucked the package underneath her arm before giving Reginald a quick peck on the cheek and heading for the door.  "Sweetheart, I'll talk to you later."

"I didn't mean to run her off," Patterson sighed after Jillian had hurried out of the office.  "I know that Stephanie did some pretty terrible things to both of you, but this is very important."

"Okay, Paddy, what is it," Reginald sighed reluctantly.  "What's Stephanie done, now, that's gotten you all upset?"

"Reginald, she's disappeared," Patterson confessed.

"What?"

"Or, probably more accurately, she's been kidnapped."

"Kidnapped?"  Reginald's eyes grew wide from shock.  "By whom?"

"Her father," Patterson replied flatly.

"But, I..."  Reginald's voice trailed off as his mind tried to process what he was hearing.  "But, I thought that Stephanie's father was dead."

"That's what everyone thought!"  Patterson shook his head, still in disbelief over what was happening, and sunk down into a chair.  "Until the police discovered evidence proving that he might really be alive."

"Evidence?"  Reginald eyed him curiously as his keen reporter's instincts took over.  "What evidence?"

Patterson Monroe"A cufflink at Dane and Sara's that she swears belongs to Stephen Lake."  Patterson paused briefly and bit his lip as he looked up at Reginald.  Should he tell him the rest?  Should he voice his own suspicions and risk raising Reginald's hopes?

"Go on, Paddy," Reginald urged as he moved closer, not wanting to miss a word.  "You act like there's something else---something you're not saying."

"There...is," he confessed.  "There's even more convincing proof that her father is alive."  He hesitated again, but forced himself to continue.  "Sara saw him."

"What?"

"Sara saw Stephen Lake with her own eyes.  It was..."  Patterson stopped, unsure about whether he should continue, but quickly realized that if he had any hope of convincing Reginald to help him, he had to explain his suspicions.  "Sara saw him at The Grand Sunset Room---the night that Annabelle was killed."

"Oh, my god," Reginald gasped as he slowly leaned back against his desk.  His keen reporter's mind immediately began to kick into gear and the connection between the two events became clear.  "You're not saying that the police think that Stephanie's father had anything to do with Annabelle's murder, are you?"

"Well, officially, the police aren't saying anything," Patterson confessed, "but the impression that I got from them is that they were considering the possibility.  I mean, don't you find it odd that Stephanie's father---a man that everyone thought was dead---miraculously returned to life and was spotted the exact same night that his wife was mysteriously murdered?  And now his daughter has suddenly disappeared?  This is too unbelievable to just be some giant coincidence."

"I agree," Reginald nodded and then carefully rubbed his chin as he considered the possibilities.  "But, really, even if Stephen Lake were there the night that Annabelle died, there's no way he could have done it.  Granted, he might very well be responsible for Stephanie's disappearance, but I don't see how he could have had anything to do with Annabelle's murder."

"Reginald!  It's obvious!"  Patterson eyed him with astonishment.  Surely Reginald, of all people, could see the connection.  "Stephen Lake killed his wife and then kidnapped his own daughter.  Think about it.  Everyone thought he was dead.  Nobody would ever have suspected him."

"Paddy, I understand that you're worried about Stephanie, but maybe that's clouding your judgment just a little.  Remember, I was there.  I saw my mother coming out of the lounge.  She says that she left Annabelle very much alive, but when I went into the lounge, Annabelle was dead.  That waitress that was there didn't see anybody else go in between the time that my mother left and I went in.  There's no way that he could have killed her."

"You...almost sound like you think that your mother actually did it."  Patterson eyed him with a mixture of suspicion and worry.  "Certainly, you don't..."

Reginald Callison"I don't know," Reginald confessed as he hung his head in embarrassment.  "Honestly, I don't know what to believe.  In my heart, I know that my mother couldn't have done such a horrible thing, but...well...I am a newspaper man.  I deal with facts and evidence and...well...I just can't get past the evidence that I've seen.  There is just no way that anyone else could have gotten into that lounge."

"But..."

"And as far as Stephanie goes, for all we know---and if her father really is alive---she just packed up and ran off with him.  Paddy, you know how she is.  She only thinks about herself.  The fact that you and Sara would be worried to death about her wouldn't even have entered her mind."

"But, what if?" Patterson questioned urgently as he tried to force Reginald to understand what he was saying.  "What if I'm right?  What if Stephen Lake really did kill his wife and kidnapped Stephanie?"

"Then that...would be a horrible, horrible thing," Reginald agreed as he tried to consider the possibilities.  "I mean, the fact that he faked his own death and then came back only to kill his wife is frightening enough to consider, but...well...that he kidnapped his own daughter?"

"If it is true, then Stephanie could be in serious danger," Patterson continued.  "If her father really did kill Annabelle, then that proves that he's capable of murder.  I honestly don't think that Stephanie would willingly run away with him if she knew that.  That means that he took her by force.  That means that she could be in real danger."

"That's a lot of assuming, Paddy."  Reginald slowly shook his head, still overwhelmed by Patterson's reasoning.  "Besides, I don't know what you expect me to do.  Unless I have some good, solid proof that Stephen Lake could have killed his wife, I can't even take that theory seriously.  There's no way he could have gotten into that room."

Patterson paused and furrowed his brow as he thought deeply.  Suddenly, his eyes grew wide with realization.

"No way he could have gotten into that room, huh?" Patterson smiled confidently.  "Come on, Reginald, I've got an idea.  And if it turns out that I'm right, you're going to thank me."


CALLISON PUBLICATIONS - DOUGLAS'S OFFICE

The Offices of Callison Publications & the Daily Post



To my daughter,

If you're reading this, Stephanie, then surely something horrible has happened.  I can only hope that this has been opened after I've led a long and fulfilling life.  However, in any case, there has been something weighing heavily on my mind for some time and I couldn't think about going to my grave without finally coming clean.  In short, I have a confession to make.

I'm sure that you remember how difficult times were when you were little.  Your father always seemed to be coming and going, always mixed up in some kind of foolish scheme to make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.  Of course, none of his plans ever seemed to pan out.  All his stupid dreams left us was broke.

Honestly, I put up with his "business ventures" for so long only because they seemed relatively harmless.  Well, other than the fact that as soon as we had a little bit of money and it seemed like we were going to get ourselves on a even financial keel, he'd simply take it all and lose it in some sort of silly scheme.  But, for all of his faults, you loved him.  No matter what flaws he had, he certainly was a charmer.  After all, he charmed me the first time I ever laid eyes on him.

I remember when you were just a little baby.  You'd by laying in your crib and screaming your lungs out.  If I couldn't do anything to calm you down, all he had to do was pick you up and smile at you and you'd turn into the most docile and sweet natured baby that anyone had ever seen.  He always had that affect on you and you always looked up to him and admired him.  In fact, that's probably the only good thing that I can say about your father.  That was the only reason that our marriage lasted as long as it did.

 

 

 

However, once he got mixed up with those mobsters, it was just too much for me to deal with.  I know that you don't like to talk about that time, much, but I know you remember it well.  All of those late night visitors to our little apartment looking for your father.  Of course, he would just conveniently never be home.  He knew he was in trouble and he knew that they were looking for him.  I remember clearly that one night they came looking for him and exactly how tightly you held onto me as they tore our apartment apart trying to find him.  I tried to shield you from so much, but I was beginning to realize that your father had gotten in way over his head and there was nothing I could do to shield you from that.

But then, a while later, they came back.  They were still looking for your father, of course, but I hadn't seen him for weeks and I told them exactly that, but they didn't believe me.  They were convinced that I was covering for him.  That's when they threatened you.  The told me that if I didn't give your father up to them, they would hurt you.  You're my baby, my little girl, and I couldn't let anything happen to you.  They told me that I had a choice to make---you or your father.  Let me assure you that there was no choice involved.  Of course, the more that I thought about it, more logical the entire idea began to sound.  Your father had been nothing but trouble for me since the day we'd met.  The only thing good that had ever come out of our relationship was you and now his actions were threatening to take away the only truly good thing that I had ever done with my life.  Certainly, I knew the risks, but I didn't have a choice.  I made them promise me that he would never be found.  You see, that way they'd never have anything that might connect me to what happened.

A few days later, your father showed up again being gifts (like that was supposed to make up for everything that had happened).  Apparently, he'd had a scheme of his actually pay off.  He brought you pretty dresses and he brought me an expensive ring.  He promised us that all of the bad times were over and that he was going to pay the mob back what he owed them.  To me, they were nothing but hollow promises.  Too much had already happened.  It was too little, too late.

I sent you to bed and told him that it wasn't safe for him to be there.  They'd been looking for him and they'd threatened me.  He almost seemed genuinely concerned.  Of course, I knew it was all an act.  I told him to leave, but asked him to meet me down by the lake.  Naturally, he was a little suspicious, but all I had to do was profess my undying love for him and my gratitude that all of our troubles were going to be over.  He bought the whole story hook, line, and sinker.  Once he'd left, I simply placed a single phone call.  I'd held up my end of the bargain.

 

 

 

A few days later, right on schedule, I placed a worried call to the police and reported him missing.  Shortly after that, they found a witness who said that he'd seen a man fitting Stephen's description on the docks the night we were supposed to meet.  Of course, I wasn't there.  They were.  Some simple minded fisherman told the police how he saw two men attack Stephen from behind and...well, I really shouldn't go into detail, should I?  The police wanted to investigate further.  It seems they suspected some kind of mob involvement, but considering that witness's statement and my unwillingness to press the issue, they simply dropped the matter.  They had too many other cases to work on to look for a lowlife who'd gotten mixed up with some gangsters.  And true to their word, your father's body was never found.  Shortly after I'd gotten him declared legally dead, I packed you up and moved you to Albanyville so that we could start over.  A new life without all of the problems your father had forced on us seemed like exactly what we'd needed.

Sure, it's been years since all of that happened, but I still think about it.  Sometimes, what I did troubles me.  Granted, I've done quite a few less than noble things in my day, but never anything quite as drastic as that.  But I didn't have a choice.  It was either him or you and I couldn't let anything happen to my baby.  Seeing how you've grown into a beautiful young woman, I know in my heart that I made the right choice.  However, no matter what some people might think, I do have a conscience.  I do have a heart.  I just couldn't bear the thought of dying without finally telling someone the truth about what I did.  I just only hope that you can forgive me.