produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #83 (Tuesday 1/1/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
January, 1936 - Evening


THE STOKES MANSION - FOYER

76 Mapleton WayLeticia StokesLeticia Stokes hummed softly as she slipped on her coat and wrapped her scarf around her neck.  After grabbing her handbag and slipping on her gloves, she briskly walked towards the front door and opened it to face the crisp winter air.

"Talk about timing, Mrs. Stokes," Burt Lamont laughed as he stood in the doorway, his finger positioned to ring the doorbell.

"Oh, hello, Burt," she smiled warmly.  "Janet told me that you were stopping by to take her to dinner.  Come in."

"Is she ready?"

"She should be down in just a little bit.  Please forgive me for not staying, but I was just stepping out.  If you'd like, you can wait in the living room.  I'm sure she won't be long."

"Thank you," he nodded politely before walking through the foyer and into the living room as Leticia left.  He stood in silence and carefully surveyed the opulent surrounds of the Stokes home and shook his head.  Would he ever be  able to get used to such extravagance?  Would he ever be able to find his place in both the Callison and Stokes families?

"Hello, Burt," came the voice from behind him.

He immediately recognized it and spun around with a jolt.  "Hello, Judith."


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THE CAMPBELL HOME - LIVING ROOM

276 Spruce Lane"Maggie?  Heeellooo?" Eliza Campbell said and waved her hand in front of her best friend's face as they sat on the floor.  "Are you going to just sit there or are we gonna study for that English test?"

"Oh...um...what?"  Maggie Callison shook her head slightly as if to return her focus to matters at hand.  After realizing that she'd completely lost herself in thought, she let out a weary sigh.  "Sorry.  I...I can't concentrate with everything that's going on."

"Well, no wonder!"  Eliza let out a short laugh.  "I'm sure it's been crazy for your family ever since that woman got killed."

"You don't even know the half of it!"

"So..."

"Yes?"

Eliza Campbell"Did he do it?"  Eliza bit her lip and stared at Maggie intensely in anticipation of a good story.

"Of course not!" Maggie snapped angrily.  "Reginald couldn't hurt anyone!  I don't care if Annabelle was the most horrible person that ever drew breath, he still wouldn't kill her!"

"Okay, sorry!"  Eliza stuck her lip out into a pout and slouched back against the base of the sofa.  "So...well...are you gonna help me study, or what?"

"Are you girls getting a lot of work done?" Eliza's mother Corinne Campbell asked as she walked into the room.  "Darling, you better do well on that test.  Your grades for last term left much to be desired!"

"Yes, Mother," Eliza grumbled.

Maggie Callison"And, Maggie, you poor dear."  Corinne walked over and sat down on the sofa next to her.  "I just don't know how you can study with everything that's going on."  She glanced up at the grandfather clock in the corner and noted the time.  "Oh, it's time for the news!"  She quickly got up and walked over to the radio and switched it on.

"And in local news," the announce said in a dramatic, urgent tone, "Albanyville police are still investigating the shocking murder of local woman Annabelle Lake.  Although police are refusing to release a list of suspects, unconfirmed sources report that their prime suspect is Daily Post editor Reginald Callison.  When questioned, the police stated that no charges have officially been filed and the investigation is ongoing.  We will keep you posted to further developments.  This is WALB Radio News."

"This is just all so tragic!" Corinne exclaimed with a shake of her head.  "That poor woman."

"That poor woman?"  Maggie popped her head up and glared at Corinne.

Corinne Campbell"Well, yes!"  She shook her head in disbelief.  "First she has to put up with your mother's histrionics and then she's tragically killed by your brother who's apparently too tied to your mother's apron strings to think clearly and rationally."

"I beg your pardon!"  Maggie jumped up off of the floor as her temper began to flare.  "I'll have you know that my brother isn't guilty of anything!  He didn't do it!"

"Well, of course you think that," Corinne laughed thinly.  "You're only a child.  I'm not surprised that they keep these things from you.  If your parents were any kind of decent people, they certainly wouldn't want to burden you with all of this."

Maggie bit her lip to keep from opening her mouth as she felt her face begin to flush with anger.  How dare Eliza's mother make such assumptions about her family when she clearly didn't know anything about what had really happened?  Taking a deep breath, she balled her hands into fists and prepared to speak.


THE STOKES MANSION - LIVING ROOM

76 Mapleton Way"I...suppose you're here to see Janet," Judith muttered as she slowly walked around the room and stopped at the bar to pour herself a martini.

"Um, yes," Burt replied awkwardly.  "We're...going out to dinner."

"How nice."

"J-Judith..."  He paused for a moment as he tried to find the right words to approach the subject.  "H-how have you been doing since...since..."

"The accident?"  She turned to face him and took a lengthy sip from her drink.  "I would suppose that if I said 'as well as could be expected', it would sound rather cliché, wouldn't it?"

Burt Lamont"Not at all."  He watched her movements closely.  In spite of the horrible tragedy that she'd suffered, she still carried herself with a carriage and a grace that couldn't be rivaled.  She appeared calm and cool on the outside, but he knew her too well.  Burt knew that despite her appearance, she was a broken mess on the inside.  That duality of personality was one of the things that had forced him to fall in love with her.  Of course, that had all been so long ago.

"Truthfully, it's been more difficult than I could have ever imagined."  Judith turned away from him to hide the apparent vulnerability that she'd begun to feel.  "I...I never really wanted that child.  In the beginning, I was frightened by the entire idea of childbirth and childrearing.  However, I discovered that I wanted that baby more than I could ever have imagined.  Do you know why, Burt?"

"Judith, don't do this to yourself."  He wanted to reach out for her, to comfort her because of their secret shared loss, but he couldn't bring himself to make the effort.

"I wanted that child because it was yours."  She paused as she felt her lip begin to quiver and fought to keep her voice from cracking.  "It...was the only thing I had left of you.  It was the only thing I had to...hold on to."

"Judith, you have to accept this and move on.  You have to put this in the past.  Isolating yourself like you've been doing isn't going to change anything and it isn't going to bring the baby back."

Judith Stokes LinfordShe slowly turned to face him, full of heartache and pain.  "How can you be so cold?  How can you be so unfeeling?  My baby...our baby...is dead!  Of course, you didn't want this child!  It was merely a pothole in the road for your love affair with my sister!"

"You know that's not how it is," he said softly as he reached out for her only to find her quickly growing hysterical as she backed away.

"Isn't it?"  She let out a weak laugh.  "So, Burt, tell me; what does it feel like to mourn a child that no one knows exists?  How does it feel to be all alone in your grief?  Well, that is if you really have any grief.  You didn't have any interest in that child, anyway.  Do you lay awake at night, all alone, and think about our child that will never be?  Do you?"

"Judith, I can't tell you how badly I do hurt because of this!"

Janet Stokes"I guess this does make things a lot simpler for you, doesn't it?"  She eyed him carefully, making sure to pay attention to his every movement and gesture.  "Now, no one will ever have to know about the bastard child that you shared with your girlfriend's sister.  No one will have to know because the baby's dead!"

"W-what's going on?" came the voice from the doorway.  "What are you two arguing about?"

Burt quickly froze in place at the sound of the voice.  How long had she been standing there?  How much had she overheard?  He slowly turned to face her and nervously approached her, never once taking his eyes of the confused face of his girlfriend Janet Stokes.