SUNSET ROOM - FOYER
Callison? Are you all right?" Stephanie asked as she reached out to
him?" Francis covered her mouth with her hand as she tried to let
everything that Stephanie had told her sink in. "W-why? Why
would she do something so...so horrible?"
"Because she knew that it
was the only way she would ever get your husband to
Stephanie hung her head in embarrassment. "He...he loves you, Mrs.
Callison. He always has."
she hadn't drugged him...." Francis' voice trailed off as she thought
of all of the dark and painful months she'd had to endure after the engagement
party. She thought about the horrible words that she'd shared with her
husband and the horrible things that had been said about her because of the
separation--all because of Annabelle!
"If she hadn't drugged
him, I'm convinced that you and Mr. Callison would never have
separated." Stephanie kept her hand on Francis' shoulder as she tried
to show her as much support and understanding as she could. "If it
hadn't been for my mother, none of this would ever have happened."
"Why are you telling me
all of this?" Francis asked in confusion as she inspected Stephanie
closely. "Why are you betraying your own mother?"
story." Stephanie looked away as she fought back the tears that the
memory of her mother's horrible words brought. "But...I want to try
to make amends for everything I've done. I...know that I'm partly
responsible for everything that happened at Reginald and
party." Only partly responsible, of course. Dane Manchester had
had a much larger role, but that was neither here nor there at the moment.
"I just hope that maybe I can make up for some of that."
Stephanie." Francis lifted her hand to touch the young woman's
cheek. "Thank you so very much." However, her expression
soon turned darker as she stepped away and turned to face the entrance to the
"W-where are you
going?" Stephanie asked nervously.
"I'm going to go have a
few words with your mother." Francis began to seethe with
anger. "There are a few things that she and I need to get straight
and I need to tell her to stay away from my husband!"
As Francis stormed away,
Stephanie sank back against the wall and took several long breaths. She'd
done it. She'd finally told the truth about what horrible things her
mother had done. Why, then, didn't she feel so good about herself?
"I'm sorry, Momma,"
she muttered softly as she choked back a tear. "I'm so, so
Meanwhile, as Stephanie
watched Francis walking away, she had no idea that she, too, was being watched
from a distance....
"Oh, Stephanie," the
mysterious figure muttered, "I see that your mother's lies have done