For Now and Forever
produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

 

EPISODE #121 (Wednesday, 6/5/02)
Same Day
March, 1936 - Evening

AN ABANDONED FACTORY
RIVERSIDE

"No, Daddy, don't!" Stephanie Lake, held tightly in her father's arms, cried out in a panic.  "Please, don't shoot him!  Oh, Paddy, run!"

"I'm not leaving you, Stephanie!"  Patterson Monroe slowly began to move closer as he searched for just the right moment to strike safely.  "And I'm not letting him get away with everything that he's done."

"Stop right there!" Stephen Lake ordered as he slowly pulled back the hammer of his gun.  "If you think that I won't shoot, you're a fool."

"D-daddy, p-please," she muttered tearfully.  "P-please...d-don't..."

"I will do anything that I have to do to keep you safe and us together," Stephen said firmly as he glanced down at her.  However, that one, brief moment proved to be just the opportunity that Patterson had been searching for.  Seizing the moment, Patterson lunged for Stephen.

In an instant, Stephanie saw her father's finger move on the trigger.

"No, Daddy, don't shot!" she cried out and instinctively reached out for the gun.

"Stephanie, let go!" her father ordered as he tried to wrest the gun from her grasp.  "Let go!"

"No, Daddy!" she cried as they began to struggle over the gun.  "You can't!  You can't!"

"Stephanie!"

Suddenly, a mind numbing shot rang out punctuated only by Stephanie's shrill screams.

"Daddy!  No!"

"Stephanie!" Patterson cried out as he leapt to her side, catching her as she fell.  "Stephanie, are you all right?"

"I...I think so," she muttered shakily, dazed by the events that were unfolding.  "I...I didn't mean for the gun to..."

"It's all right.  I've got you."  He held her tightly in his arms and carefully laid her head against his shoulder.  "You're safe now.  He's not going to hurt you."

"Oh, Paddy, I was...so frightened," she sobbed.  "I didn't think that I was going to..."  She froze mid-sentence when she caught sight of one of her hands, covered in blood.  "P-Paddy..." she murmured as she started to go into shock.  "P-Paddy!"

"Stephanie, I've got you.  Everything's going to be..."  He pulled away from her in order to look at her more closely and immediately saw the blood that covered her hands.  "Honey, are you all right?" he questioned urgently.  "Are you hurt?"

"I-I'm...fine," she stammered, her eyes focused only on her hands.  "I'm not hurt, but...I thought that...you...."  She swallowed hard and then made several quick gasps for air as she tried to fight back the tears that were stinging her eyes.

"I'm all right, Steph," he assured her and then pulled her tighter into his arms again.  "I wasn't hit.  I'm safe and you're safe and..."

"B-but..."

"There's nothing for you to worry about," Patterson reassured her.  "It's over.  I'm going to take you home and no one is ever going to hurt you again.  I promise you that."

"B-but...Paddy..."  Stephanie furrowed her brow and clung to him as she continued to stare down at her blood soaked hands.  "W-where did this...."

"P-princess..." came the weak voice of her father from the other side of the room.  "P-princess, come...here."

"Daddy?"  Her eyes grew wide with panic as a sense of realization flooded over her.  Although terrified of turning around to see her father, she forced herself to let go of Patterson.

"Stephanie, don't," Patterson spoke up softly as he tried to hold her firm in his arms.  "Don't do it."

"Paddy, I..."  She turned in the direction of her father's voice and let out a shrill scream.  "Daddy!  Oh, my god!  Daddy!"  Stephen Lake had been shot.  It was her own father's blood on Stephanie's hands.

"P-princess, come...here," Stephen muttered weakly as he lay on the floor in a pool of his own blood.  "I need...to talk...to...you."

"Oh, Daddy, I'm sorry," she cried out and then bolted from Patterson's comforting arms and to her father's side.  "Oh, Daddy, I'm so, so sorry."

"It's...all right," he muttered as he gazed up at her, his vision going in and out of focus.

"Paddy!  He's been shot!"

"I know, Steph," Patterson replied as he quickly rushed to her side and then grabbed her shoulders in an attempt to hold her back from her father.  "Let's just...get out of here.  Don't get to close to him."

"But...Paddy..."

"No!" Patterson said firmly.  "It's not safe.  He kidnapped you!"

"P-princess..." Stephen muttered softly and then tried to swallow.  "Princess, come...closer.  I...need to talk...to you."

"Oh, Daddy, I'm sorry!"

"Stephanie!  Stay away from him!"

"But, he's my father."  She looked back at Patterson pleadingly.

"Princess...p-please..."

"It's not safe," Patterson spoke up urgently.  "He might try to..."

"D-daddy," she stammered shakily and then looked away from him to glance at Patterson again before returning her attention to her father.  "Daddy, I'm here.  I'm sorry."

"Come...closer," Stephen said in a weak voice that was barely above a whisper.  "Kneel down...next to me."

"Stephanie!  Don't!"

As confusion about what to do flooded over her, Stephanie fought back her own feelings of panic and took a deep breath.  He was still her father no matter what horrible things he might have done.  He was her father and he needed her.  She again looked back at Patterson and shook her head as if to say "I'm sorry" and then slowly lowered herself to the floor before taking her father into her arms.

"Oh, Daddy, I'm...sorry.  I'm sorry!  I didn't mean to..."

"It's...all right," Stephen replied as then made a weak gasp for air.  "It's all right."  Just then, he slowly lifted his hand from the floor and reached out for her.

"Stephanie!" Patterson cried out.  "No!"

THE DAVIS HOME - GRACE'S BEDROOM

Grace Davis sat on the edge of her bed, holding a beautiful cherry music box, and let out a troubled sigh.  As she lifted the lid to the music box and allowed the delicate tune to start, she fought back the tears that wanted to break free.  The music box had been a gift from Trevor for her eighteenth birthday and hearing its graceful tune only brought back all of the feelings of anxiety and anticipation that the gift had originally brought her.

Of course, at the time they weren't actually a couple.  In fact, she tried to fight her own feelings for him tooth and nail.  However, Trevor had been persistent with his love and devotion for her and eventually manage to wear down her defenses.  Grace sighed with a weary heart when she realized exactly how much she did love Trevor.  It was that knowledge that made her own actions even more troubling to her.

If she loved Trevor as much as she thought she did, how could she have been so foolish---so trusting---where Dane Manchester was concerned?  How could she have been so naive?  How could she have allowed Dane to woo and charm her into doing things that....  She shook her head violently as if she were trying to block out any trace of memory of what she'd done.  Unfortunately, forgetting the past wouldn't be quite so easy.  True, she'd been vulnerable and emotional because of her mother's impending death, but she should have been able to thwart Dane's advances.  She knew what kind of man he was, but still....

Grace closed the lid of the music box and carefully set it aside before burying her face into her hands and sobbing.  How could she have betrayed Trevor like she had?  How could she have betrayed herself?  She'd been avoiding Trevor for what had seemed like months, now.  She just couldn't bear to look into his eyes because she was certain that he was able to see right through her.  Surely her guilt and embarrassment was written all over her face.  How could it not be?  Certainly he would have been able to take one look at her and know what she'd done!  She just couldn't bear to hurt him like that.  Unfortunately, she was well aware that there was no changing the past.  It was something that would torment her forever.

"Grace, are you coming down for dinner?" came the voice of her brother Douglas Davis from downstairs.

"I'm...coming," she called out weakly before taking a deep breath and wiping the tears from her eyes.  She just couldn't let him see that something was wrong with her.  She was certain that if Douglas knew what she'd done, he'd be horribly disappointed in her and that was yet another thing that she just couldn't bear.

As she reached out for the doorknob to her room, she paused for a moment so that she could take a deep breath and calm her ragged nerves.  She felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders, but she clearly knew that it was her own burden to bear.  What had happened between her and Dane during that snow storm had to remain her own little secret---her own secret storm that was churning inside of her.

"So, what's for dinner?" Grace smiled broadly as she bounded down the stairs.  Her overly exuberant manner immediately struck Douglas as odd considering the overtly dour and somber mood she'd been displaying over the past several weeks.

"It's...pot roast," he replied as he kept his eyes focused on her in an attempt to see exactly what had brought about the sudden change in her.  "I know it won't be as good as Lorraine's, but we've got to make due just one more night until she and the baby come home from the hospital."

"You should have let me fix dinner," she commented before sitting down at the kitchen table.  "Actually, I'm surprised that you're not at the hospital with Lorraine and the baby."

"Well, she needs her rest."  He took his own seat across from Grace and carefully scooped out a serving of pot roast.  "Which reminds me, I'm really going to be counting on you to help Lorraine out with the baby.  She's not going to be back up to full strength for several days and she's going to need all of the help that she can get."

"Oh, you can count on me," she grinned.  "I love babies.  They're so cute and precious."

"Just remember that when Mikey starts crying for his 2 am feeding," Douglas laughed.  "We'll see how cute and precious you think he is then."

Just then, their conversation was interrupted by the shrill ringing of the telephone.

"I'll get it," Douglas spoke up as he quickly rose form his seat.  "You eat.  I'm still a little worried about you after that spell you had at the hospital."

"I told you that I'm fine!" she insisted firmly.  "I just hadn't eaten that day.  That's all."

"Which is exactly why I want you to clean your entire plate."  He picked up the telephone receiver and placed it against his ear.  "Hello, Davis residence.  Yes.  Yes, she's here."  He covered the receiver with his hand and turned to speak to Grace.  "Honey, it's for you."

"I...um..." she stammered awkwardly as a sense of panic washed over her.  "If it's Trevor, tell him I'm not here!  Please, Douglas?  Just tell him I've gone...out or something and..."

"Grace, are you all right?" he asked with much concern.  "You've been acting really odd where Trevor's concerned.  You two aren't having...well, you know...problems, are you?"

"N-no," she replied softly.  "It's not that.  It's just that...well..."

"Don't worry," he sighed with a shake of his head.  "It's not Trevor, anyway.  Actually, I'm not sure who it is, but they asked to speak to you."

Grace furrowed her brow in confusion.  Who in the world could possibly be phoning her in the middle of dinner if it wasn't Trevor?  As she carefully laid her napkin down onto the table, she rose from her seat and hurried to the phone.

"Hello?" she said softly as she pressed the receiver to her ear.  "Yes, this is she.  Oh!  Hello!  Um...yes, I remember."  She subtly glanced in Douglas' direction to see if he was attempting to overhear her conversation and carefully turned away from him in an attempt to hide the nature of the call.  "But, I don't understand.  No, you...don't understand.  That's impossible!"  She looked back around to see if he'd heard her outburst, but was relieved to find that he was thoroughly involved in the evening edition of The Daily Post.  "I...um...yes, well, I guess that would make it possible, but...no!  It can't be.  Are you...sure?  I...I..."  She bit her lip in an attempt to keep it from quivering and made several short gasps for air.  "T-thank you for...telling me.  No, I'm fine.  No, I'm not sure...what I'm going to do.  Good bye."

Grace returned the receiver to its cradle and leaned forward against the counter to steady herself.  Of all of the news that she might have expected to hear, this had been the furthest thing from her mind.  Suddenly, it wasn't the weight of the world that seemed to be on her shoulders, it was the weight of the entire universe.

AN ABANDONED FACTORY
RIVERSIDE

"Stephanie!  Stay away from him!" Patterson cried out as Stephanie knelt down next to her father.  "He's dangerous!"

"He's my father!" she snapped angrily before taking her father's hand into hers.  "Daddy, it's going to be all right.  We're going to get you to a hospital and you're going to be just fine.  I'm sorry, Daddy, I didn't mean to..."

"N-no," Stephen muttered weakly and then swallowed hard in an attempt to clear his throat.  "T-there's nothing for you...to be sorry for."

"D-daddy, don't say that..."

"Come...closer, P-princess."

"Stephanie, I don't think that's a good idea," Patterson spoke up as he kept his eyes locked on her, prepared for anything that might happen.  "You know what he's capable of.  You know that he..."

"I don't care!" she cried.  "He's my father!  Now...call an ambulance!  Do something!  Help him!"

"S-Stephanie," Stephen murmured, "I-I'm...sorry.  I only wanted to...have you b-back...again."

"I know, Daddy, I know."

"I only w-wanted to...protect you."

"I know that, Daddy," she sobbed, "but why did you have to do all of those things that you did?  Why did you have to...hurt those people?  Why couldn't you have just come to me?"

"It's...complicated."  Stephen winced from the pain of the gunshot wound and turned away from her in an attempt to hide it.  "Just know that...everything that I e-ever did I...did for you.  I l-love you...P-Princess.  Remember...that."

"Daddy, don't talk like that," she begged.  "Everything's going to be just fine.  Paddy's going to call the ambulance and we're going to get you to the hospital and you're going to be all right.  We'll be together, Daddy.  I promise.  Just...hold on."

"N-no.  It's...too l-late."

"No!" she cried out.  "You can't just come back to me and then..."

"Stephanie," Patterson spoke up softly as he hung up the phone, "the ambulance is on it's way, but I don't know if..."

"No!" she cried out again.  "They have to make it in time.  They just have to!"

"P-please forgive...me," Stephen said softly, his voice growing even weaker than it had been before.  "Forgive me for...what I've done."

"Why, Daddy?  Why?" she sobbed as she rested his head in her lap and gently stroked his face in hopes of keeping him still and calm.  "Why did you have to kill Clark?  Why did you have to kill Momma?"

"W-what?" Patterson gasped in shock.  "He...killed Clark?"

"Shhh.  D-Daddy, I'm...sorry I don't understand.  I'm...sorry for what I did, but I...couldn't let you hurt Paddy.  I just couldn't."

"He...means a lot to you, d-doesn't he?"

"Y-yes, he does," she nodded as the tears streamed down her face, dropping to the floor to mix with her father's blood.  "He's very...special to me."

"All I've e-ever wanted was for you...to be happy," Stephen muttered.  "Be happy."

"Oh, Daddy, hold on," she cried.  "Hold on.  Can't you hear the sirens?  The doctors are coming and they're going to make you better.  They're going to fix you up and you'll be as good as new.  You can stay with me in Albanyville and it'll be just like it was when I was little.  You can read me bedtime stories and fairy tales about princes and princesses and big castles and white horses and..."

"Stephanie," Patterson spoke up tentatively as he stepped up behind her and reached down to put his hand on her shoulder.  "It's...too late."

"No!"

"Honey, he's...gone."

"No!  No, he's not dead!  He can't be dead!" she screamed.  "My Daddy can't be dead!"

"Stephanie, I'm...sorry."

"No!" she wailed as she held her father's cold, lifeless hand even tighter.  "I killed him!  I killed him!  I killed him!"

THE PROMENADE ROOM
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

"So, how are you feeling?" Dr. Fred Rutherford asked as he leaned across the table and took Leticia Stokes' hand.

"I'm...all right, I guess," she muttered softly and glanced down at the half-eaten meal that sat in front of her.  "I just can't...believe that Nelson's gone.  He was still so young and so vital."

"I know, I know," Fred sighed with a shake of his head.  "Anytime someone so full of life dies---especially in such a tragic manner---it's difficult to understand."  He paused and looked deeply at her.  "But you have to put it behind you.  You can't let yourself get wrapped up in thoughts about what could have been.  You have to allow yourself to move on with your life."

"I know that," she nodded.  "Actually, I think that by finally putting Nelson to rest, I'll be able to do that.  It's just been so...difficult."

"Just remember what I said before."  He paused so that he could take a sip of his wine.  "Remember your husband for who he was.  Don't trying to canonize him and make him something he wasn't just because he's dead.  He was a difficult, difficult man.  You said yourself that your marriage was over a long time ago.  You were planning to divorce him."

"Yes, I was, but..."

"No, 'buts'!"

"Fred, darling, it's just not that easy to set aside so many years of marriage."  She took a sip of her wine and then took a deep breath.  "I know that things weren't right between us for quite some time, but...well...I guess that's all simply a mute point, now, isn't it?"

"You have to look towards the future."  Fred gave her hand a gentle, yet reassuring, squeeze.  "I've told you time and time again that I want to be a part of that future.  I love you, Leticia."

"And you have no idea how much hearing you say that means to me," she smiled warmly, "but I...well...I'm not sure if I can say it back to you, yet.  It might just be too soon."

"I hope that you'll give me a chance to change your mind."  Fred kept his eyes focused on her as if he were carefully searching for some kind of change in her demeanor or expression.  "I hope that you'll let me prove to you how much I love you."

"Oh, Fred, you've come to mean so much to me over these past few months," Leticia sighed and looked up at him.  Just then, a warm feeling rushed over her and she felt herself growing strangely giddy.  "Oh...my!  I...feel so..."

"Yes, darling?"  He examined her even more closely.  "Are you...all right?"

"I'm fine, dear," she laughed warmly.  "It's just that, well, I think that the wine is affecting me.  It's rather odd, actually."

"How so?"

"Well, I've only had two glasses with dinner and..."  Her voice trailed off and she paused to take a deep breath.  "And I'm starting to feel as silly as a school girl."  She leaned across the table and stared at him dreamily.  "Maybe it's not the wine.  Maybe it's just because I'm here with you."

"I would hope that's what it was," Fred smiled and then rose from his seat, still keeping her hand firmly in his.  "You would like to dance, darling?"

"Why, I'd...love to!"

As Fred led Leticia to the dance floor he subtly reached down and patted his jacket pocket, making sure that a certain vial was still safely tucked away.  He was pleased with his foresight in bringing along the concoction and had been quite relieved when she'd excused herself earlier to go to the ladies room.  It had given him more than enough opportunity to empty part of the contents of the vial into her glass.  Now that the contents of the vial were starting to take effect, Fred fought the urge to smile with glee.  He was certain that before the night was over, he would finally be able to convince the unsuspecting Mrs. Stokes to be his wife.

AN ABANDONED FACTORY
RIVERSIDE

"Stephanie," Patterson spoke up gently, "you have to let go of him."

"Where are they?" she sobbed.  "Where's the ambulance?  What's taking the doctors so long?  We can hear the sirens!  Why aren't they here yet?"

"Steph, it's too late!"  He reached down, grabbed hold of her hand, and tried to force her to release her grip on her father.  "He's gone.  There's nothing that you can do.  There's nothing that anybody can do."

"No!"  She let go of her father's hand and buried her face in her own, sobbing hysterically.  Finally, after several moments, she rose to her feet with Patterson's help.  "I...I killed him.  I killed my father."

"No, honey, you didn't kill him," he said reassuringly.  "That man wasn't your father.  The man you knew and loved as your father died a long time ago and you had nothing to do with that."

"Could somebody please tell me what the devil is going on here?" Detective Jim Fitzpatrick spoke up as he burst into the room.  He immediately saw Stephen Lake's lifeless body and let out a slow, weary exhale.  "Oh, god, don't tell me...."

"He's dead, Detective," Patterson responded almost matter-of-factly.  "And, in case you're wondering, that is Stephen Lake."

"Have you completely lost your mind?" Jim snapped angrily.  "What the hell were you thinking by just showing up here alone?  You could have gotten yourself killed!  I told you that this was a matter for the police and..."

"And you didn't seem the least bit interested in finding her!" Patterson snapped.  "If I hadn't shown up when I did, he would have succeeded in taking her away from Albanyville and then no one would ever have seen either one of them again!"

"All right, all right," Jim sighed and he waved his hands as he tried to calm Patterson down.  More police officers were starting to flood into the room and they began to comb the office for clues and evidence.

"Excuse me.  Comin' through," a man spoke up as he pushed a stretcher into the room followed by a couple of doctors who were no longer really needed.  

Jim carefully placed his hand on Patterson's shoulder to guide him out of the way.  "Now, why don't you tell me exactly what happened here.  How did Lake wind up dead?"

"I...I shot him," Stephanie muttered vacantly as she kept her eyes focused onto on her father's body.  "I did it."

"He had a gun," Patterson tried to clarify and he put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her to him as if he were terrified of letting her go.  "He was...going to shoot me.  Stephanie grabbed the gun and they struggled.  It...went off accidentally."

"I...d-didn't...mean to do it!" she sobbed.

"It's okay, Steph," Patterson said softly and pulled her even tighter into his arms.  "We know it was an accident.  We know you didn't mean to do it."

"This is just great!" Jim grumbled in annoyance and reached up to massage his temple because of the intrusive headache that had started to appear.  "We wanted to take that man alive!  We wanted to question him about his wife's death."

"W-what?"  Patterson eyed the detective curiously, unsure about what he was saying.

"I have every reason to suspect that Mr. Lake was, in fact, the person responsible for his wife's murder---not Mrs. Callison!"  Jim shoved his hands deep into his pockets and shook his head in disgusted frustration.  "Now that he's dead, there's no way we can actually prove that for a fact."

"Y-yes, there is," Stephanie spoke up hesitantly.  "I can...tell you."

"What are you talking about?" Patterson asked as he turned her so that he could look her in the eyes.  "Do you mean that you know how your mother really died?"

"He...he told me," she muttered before taking a deep breath and turning back to face the detective.  "My father told me that...that he killed Momma.  He told me that he did it because...because she would keep us apart.  He wanted to...to..."

"It's okay, honey.  It's okay."  Patterson kept his arms around her as he tried to provide her with a sense of comfort and support.

"H-he wanted to protect me," she continued.  "Oh, Paddy!  He killed Clark, too!  He wanted to protect me from Clark and he...he..."

"Dear lord," Patterson gasped.

"Miss Lake, would you be willing to make an official statement about your father's confession?"

"Y-yes," she nodded weakly.  "T-the Callison family hasn't deserved anything that's...happened to them.  It's been all...my parents' fault."

"Well, then, let's get you down to the station so that we can get that statement."  Jim attempted to lead her out of the room, but Patterson stopped dead in his tracks and held her back.

"No!  She's not going," he spoke up firmly.  "She's been through a horrible ordeal and she needs to be checked out by a doctor."

"You're...right," Jim nodded reluctantly.  "Miss Lake's health and well being is what's most important.  There'll be plenty of time later for official statements.  There's...an ambulance waiting outside that can take Miss Lake to the hospital."  He paused as he watched Stephen Lake's body being wheeled out of the room.  "A...private ambulance."

"We'll be there in a moment," Patterson agreed and then watched the detective walk out of the room.  Taking Stephanie by the hand, he led her out into the hallway away from the other police officers who were busy looking over the scene.

"Oh, Paddy, I was so scared that he...he was going to hurt you," she sobbed as she fell into his arms.  "I just...don't know what I would have done if he...if he...."

"Now, now, don't think like that," he said softly as he held her tightly in his arms.  "I'm fine.  You're fine.  You're safe now.  I promised myself that I wouldn't rest until you were safe and sound, and you are."

"Paddy, I don't know what I'd do if I lost you."  She buried her face in his chest as tears began to roll down her cheeks.

"I...know what you mean," he sighed, relieved that the terrible nightmare was finally over.  "Every moment that you were missing seemed like an eternity.  I just...couldn't let myself think about what it would be like to be without you.  But I couldn't help but think about it and...well...it scared the devil out of me."

She pulled away from him slightly and gazed up into his eyes.

"Stephanie," he continued, "these last few weeks without have made me realize a lot of things---things that I think I've known for a long time, now, but just didn't want to admit to myself."

"What...things?"

"Stephanie, I..."  He paused and then swallowed hard before taking a deep breath.  "Stephanie, I love you.  I love you more than I ever thought possible.  I swore to myself that if...when...I found you that I wasn't going to let another moment pass without telling you how I feel."

"Oh, Paddy!" she sighed as she felt her heart begin to beat fast.  "Oh, Paddy, I..."

"No, don't say anything," he smiled and then pressed his index finger to her lips to silence her.  "Not yet.  You've been through enough.  I don't want you to say anything impetuously just because of the moment.  I want...you to be sure in your heart."

"But, Paddy, I..."

"There'll be plenty of time for that later."  He slowly began to lead her down the hallway and away from the room.  "We've got the rest of our lives to worry about that.  Everything's going to be all right."

As they neared the end of the hallway, Stephanie turned to look back over her shoulder in the direction of the room as a chill ran down her spine.  Could she really believe that everything was going to be all right?  Would anything ever be all right again?

TO BE CONTINUED

TOMORROW

A shocking announcement puts a family in turmoil.

For Now and Forever
produced/written by G. Matthew Smith

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions