produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #78 (Wednesday 11/7/01) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
January, 1936 - Evening


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - LOUNGE

The Grand Sunset RoomStephanie Lake"Well, of course you're scared of the truth," Stephanie Lake said coldly, "considering your entire existence is based on a lie!  I hate what you're doing to Mrs. Callison.  What the hell has she ever done to you?  I...I don't even know you anymore!  You've become bitter and cruel and...and I hope I never wind up like you!"

Shocked and mortified by her daughter's emotional attack, Annabelle Lake reached back and slapped her across the face.  "Don't you ever....ever talk to me like that again!  I am your mother!  Everything I've ever done in my entire life has been for you!  I've given up and sacrificed more for your well-being and safety than you'll ever know!  I...I..."  Her voice trailed off when she realized that she was about to say more than needed to be said.

Meanwhile, Stephanie stood in silence as tears began to stream down her face which still stung from the physical and emotional impact of her mother's slap.  Her body trembled with anger and pain, but, suddenly, her eyes were opened.  She'd been used and manipulated by her mother for years.  She'd had her love and loyalty taken and used against her.  Well, no more!  Stephanie was done!  As she seethed with anger, she spun on her heel and stormed toward the doors of the lounge.

"Stephanie!" Annabelle called out as her daughter walked away from her.  "Stephanie, you come back here this instant!  I am not done with you!"

"But I'm done with you," Stephanie muttered bitterly.  As she burst through the doors of the lounge and back out into the main ballroom, she had one purpose in mind.  She had to find Francis Callison.  There were a few things that she wanted...needed...to say.


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THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

The Grand Sunset Room"Oh, Burt, this is so exciting!" Janet Stokes exclaimed as she held onto his arm.  "I can't believe that you're really a Callison!  It must feel so strange to find out that you have an entire family that you didn't know about."

"Strange would be an understatement," Burt Lamont muttered uneasily as he cautiously eyed his newfound cousin Reginald Callison who was standing next to them with Janet's sister Jillian.  "This has taken quite a bit of getting used to.  Actually, I'm still not used to it."

"It'll take time, I'm sure," Jillian nodded before turning to her fiancÚ Reginald.  "Won't it, dear?"

"It's a lot for all of us to get used to," Reginald grumbled before Jillian shot him a cautionary look.

Jillian Stokes"It's times like this that force us to be thankful for our families," Jillian smiled warmly and then reached over to touch Janet lovingly on the shoulder.  "I don't know what I'd do without my sisters or my parents.  Even though Father isn't exceptionally happy with me, at the moment, I still love him with all of my heart."  A look of sadness spread over her face as she thought about her father's staunch opposition to her planned marriage to Reginald and about how he'd callously cut her out of his life.

As Burt listened to Jillian's warm words concerning the love of family, his thoughts grew dark and tormented.  Yes, he was happy to have finally found the family that had cast him aside all those years ago, but he couldn't help but think about the family he might have had--the child that he would never have been able to claim as his own--the child that had been carried and lost by Jillian and Janet's older sister Judith.

"Burt, are you all right?" Jillian asked with concern.  "I-I know this must be difficult for you, finding out that your mother kept the truth about your real father a secret from you for so many years."

"It's a tragedy," he muttered softly and looked away to hide the tears that he was trying to fight back, "when a father cannot or will not acknowledge his own child.  W-what kind...of man would do that?"

Janet Stokes"Oh, but, Burt," Janet replied softly, "you know it wasn't your father's fault.  He never knew about you.  He...he died before he had a chance to make things right."

Just like Burt's baby had died before he had a chance to make things right.

"I don't blame Landon...my father," he muttered before taking a deep breath for strength.  "The man I blame is his father.  My grandfather is the one who didn't want me.  He's the one who refused to accept me as a rightful member of this family."

"Now, wait a second!" Reginald spoke up angrily.

"Um, excuse me," Charles Callison interrupted with a smile that quickly faded once he saw the tension that had suddenly begun to build.  "May I speak with Burt...alone?"

"Of course, Father," Reginald replied with a weak nod and took Jillian and Janet by their arms and led them away.

Burt Lamont"Mr. Callison, what's this all about?" Burt asked with curiosity.  "Is there...something I've done wrong?"

"Oh, no, not at all," he laughed warmly as he laid his hand on Burt's shoulder.  "And, please, call me Charles or...or Uncle Charles.  You know, I've never had a nephew before."

"A-all right...Uncle Charles."  Burt blushed slightly.  He was finding all of the attention quite overwhelming.  "Well, then, what did you want to speak to me about?"

Charles Callison"Well..."  Charles eyed him carefully as he considered the best way to voice his suggestion.  After a long moment, he took a deep breath and spoke.  "Considering the fact that you are part of this family, my older brother's son, I wanted to ask you if...if you would considering taking on our family's name to honor him."

"W-what?" Burt stammered, both shocked and confused by the request.  "What do you mean?"

"What I'm trying to say is that I would very much like for you to take on Callison as your last name."  Charles reached over and gave his arm a slight squeeze.  "I want you to officially change your name of Burt Callison."

Reginald CallisonThe request nearly took Burt's breath and he took a couple of steps backwards in shock.  This was most definitely something he had not expected.  

Meanwhile, just a few feet away, Reginald had been close enough to overhear the entire exchange.  As his father's request rang in his ears, he found his face begin to flush with anger.  He did not approve of the wide open arms with which Burt was welcomed into the family nor of the extreme lengths to which his father was going to atone for past sins that may, or may not, have actually happened.  In fact, he opposed them greatly.  However, was there any way for him to fix things before his father set out to ruin the family name?


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - FOYER

The Grand Sunset Room"Mrs. Callison!  Mrs. Callison!" Stephanie called out as she attempted to catch up with Francis.  "Please, wait!"

Hearing her name, Francis stopped in her tracks as she reached the elevator.  Her eyes still clouded with tears, she turned to see who had been calling her.  First catching sight of the manager, she quickly called him over so she could retrieve her coat.

"Jasper!  Jasper, get my coat for me please," she ordered urgently.  "I've decided that I won't be staying, after all."

Jasper St. John"Yes, ma'am," Jasper St. John nodded politely, "but I was so hoping you'd stay.  With that Lake woman running the show, it's almost been like a three ringed circus.  Your presence has helped to add a touch of class and grace to an evening already marred with the smudgy fingerprints of that vile woman!"

"T-thank you for your kind words, Jasper," she smiled weakly, "but I really can't stay here any longer.  Please tell my mother and Dr. Rutherford that I've taken ill...nothing serious...and that I've gone up to the penthouse to retire for the evening."

"Yes, ma'am," he nodded again as he helped her on with her coat and then quickly breezed off in search of Francis' mother and date.

"Mrs. Callison, wait!" Stephanie again called out as she finally reached her.  "Please, you can't leave because..."

"Ah, Stephanie," Francis sighed with a scowl, "I see your mother has resorted to sending her own daughter to take care of her dirty work now.  Is there any limit to the depths to which that woman will sink?"

"No, Mrs. Callison, you don't understand!"

"Oh, I understand very well," Francis spat as she turned her back to Stephanie and repeatedly pressed the button for the elevator.  "They say that everyone has a purpose in life.  It's my guess that your mother's main purpose in life is to make my life a living hell!  Now, she's got you following along right in line."

"Would you please just listen to me?" Stephanie begged as she tried to fight back her own tears.  "I'm not here because Momma wants me to be!  I'm here on my own!"

"Hasn't your family done enough damage?" Francis questioned angrily as she kept pushing the button over and over, quickly growing impatient.  "You completely ruined my son's engagement party with your vile antics and your mother seems determined to turn this family affair into a side show featuring her prized daughter as the main attraction!"

Stephanie Lake"Would you just listen!" Stephanie snapped as she reached out to grab Francis' sleeve.

Feeling Stephanie's hand on her arm, Francis jerked herself backwards as her eyes filled with fire and hatred.  "Don't you ever touch me!" she spat.  "Don't you or your wicked mother ever come near me again!"

"My mother's wrong!" Stephanie said sternly as she tried to look Francis dead in the eyes.  "Everything that's happened...everything that's she's done has been wrong!"

"W-what?" Francis stammered as a look of confusion spread across her face.  "W-what are you talking about?  You...you sound like you're saying you don't agree with what your mother's doing."

"That's because I don't!"

"I...think you need to explain yourself."

"That's what I'm trying to do if you would just listen to me!"  Stephanie stopped and took several deep breaths to calm herself down as she waited to make sure that she had Francis' full attention.  "It all happened the night of the engagement party...the night you found Mr. Callison and my mother together."

"T-that was probably the worst night of my entire life," Francis muttered as she hung her head, the memory almost too painful to bear.  "That was the night my entire life feel apart."

"My mother has no business being with your husband!  He doesn't love her.  He loves you!  She's only gotten his mind so twisted and confused that he only thinks he loves her and it's been going on ever since that night!"

Francis Callison"I...I don't understand," Francis sighed as she gently rubbed her temple as if to help her process what she was being told.  "Why...are you telling me this?"

"That doesn't matter."  Stephanie's head dropped as she remembered the painful argument with her mother.  "What does matter is that if my mother hadn't done what she did that night, you and your husband would still be together.  None of the last few months would ever have happened."

"I'm certain that Annabelle pulled some vile tricks," Francis spoke up angrily, "but it was my husband's choice to betray our marriage!  It was his choice to destroy everything that we'd worked so hard for for so many years!"

"That's what I'm trying to say!"  Stephanie reached out for her again and grabbed her by the arms.  This time, Francis didn't pull away.  "It wasn't his choice!  In fact, he had no choice in the matter at all!  What you saw that night isn't really what you saw!  Even your husband doesn't realize what really happened!"

Francis stood in silence and stared Stephanie in the eyes.  What could she be talking about?  Why didn't Charles have a choice?  Exactly how far had Annabelle gone to wreck her marriage?  She wasn't entirely sure of the answers, but she was finally ready to listen to everything Stephanie had to say.