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

 

EPISODE #87 (Tuesday, 2/18/02)
Same Day
January, 1936 - Late Evening

THE STOKES MANSION - JANET'S BEDROOM

Janet Stokes tossed and turned in the throws of a horrible dream.  The faces of her sister Judith and boyfriend Burt repeatedly flashed inside her head.

"Oh, you must think I'm so rude.  I didn't formally introduce myself.  I'm Gordon Scott."

"Burt and I first met in New York, quite some time ago.  We were very close, once."

"Your little warped mind has got you living in some sort of fairy tale world where you're the precious princess and Burt is the knight in shining armor.  Well, this princess wasn't locked in the turret of a castle, she was locked in a nut house!"

As the images and voices continued to fill her head as she slept, she could only mutter one thing, over and over.

"N-no!"

THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - MAGGIE'S BEDROOM

"Oh, Randy is just the sweetest boy I think I've ever met!" Eliza Campbell exclaimed as she lay in bed.  "He's so cute and nice and..."

"Would you please just roll over and go to sleep?" Maggie Callison interrupted with a heavy sigh.  She'd invited her best friend over for a sleep-over, not to listen to her endless prattle about Randy Lamont.

"Gee, what's the matter?" Eliza asked with a curious look.  "You've been awfully crabby lately."

"It's this entire mess with my parents and Reginald," Maggie muttered.  "I just wish everything was like it was before...before I messed everything up."

"Hey, it's not your fault."  Eliza knew that Maggie felt intense guilt over being the one who'd exposed her father's affair to her mother.  In fact, she felt responsible for almost every bad thing that had happened since.  "Besides, I would think that talking about my boyfriend would take your mind off of everything."

"Randy is not your boyfriend!" Maggie snapped.  "He's just a friend.  Period!  He's friends with both of us!"

"Well, he might be friends with both of us, but he and I are a couple."  Eliza propped herself up in bed and rested her head in her hand.  "You saw us at the party.  We were dancing and he was holding me in his arms."  She let out a dreamy sigh.  "It was so romantic!"

"Well, if you call hanging all over Randy 'romantic'..."

"I'll have you know that Randy and I have gone out on several dates since the Fall Dance!"  Eliza was quickly growing annoyed.  Why did Maggie have to be so negative?  "We've gone out to eat and to the movies and..."

"Eliza, running into him at The Well doesn't count!"

"You know, maybe if you had a social life, you'd stay out of mine!"  Eliza clinched her teeth tightly.  "Randy and I are doing very well.  Now, you need to find a boyfriend for yourself."

"I don't want a boyfriend."

"And I'm supposed to believe that?"  Eliza let out a giggle.  "What about Stanley?  Whatever happened to him?  I thought you two were getting pretty serious."

"I've barely talked to him since he ditched me the night of the dance," Maggie sighed.  "What's the point, anyway?"

"The point?  Maggie!  You're the one that pushed and got me and Randy together."  Eliza sat up and turned on the small light by the bed causing Maggie to squint and rub her eyes.  "If it weren't for you, we never would have gotten together."

"Yeah, I know."  Maggie rolled her eyes and turned to look at Eliza with curiosity.  "What are you doing?"

"I'm calling Stanley, that's what!"  Eliza smiled slyly as she dialed the number.  "I'm so glad your mother put an extension in your room."

"She only did it so I wouldn't hog the living room gabbing while she was listening to her stories," Maggie sighed.  "And why are you calling Stanley?  Do you know what time it is?  He's probably in bed, which is where we should be!"

"We are in bed, silly," Eliza laughed and bit her lip as she waited for an answer.  "Besides, I just want you to talk to him.  Maybe there's still a chance for you to straighten out that mess from the dance."

"Look, I really don't want to..."  Maggie was interrupted when Eliza shoved the telephone receiver into her face.  She could faintly hear Stanley's voice on the other end asking who was calling.  With a defeated sigh, Maggie took the receiver and held it up to her ear.  "Hi, Stanley.  It's Maggie."  As she rolled her eyes again, she prayed that Eliza knew what she was doing.

THE STOKES MANSION - JANET'S BEDROOM

Janet tossed and turned, still locked in her disturbing dream...

"I can guarantee that there are things about Burt that you don't know; and I'm not sure you want to know!"

"Tell me!  What are you hiding from me?  What do I need to know about Burt!"

"Well, it probably has more to do with me than with Burt.  True, he was very much involved, but I'm the one who has to carry this secret."

"What the devil are you talking about!"

"I'm talking about this baby!"

"No," Janet moaned in her sleep.  "No."

"W-what are you talking about?"

"I...I know the truth!  Judith...told me."

"Janet, what did your sister tell you?  You know not to believe anything that she says!  You know that she's only trying to keep us apart.  She doesn't want anyone to be happy!"

"Why didn't you tell me you were married?"

"I...I..."

"Gordon, why didn't you tell me you and Judith were having an affair!"

"J-Judith...."  Janet thrashed about as she slept and dreamed.  "N-no!"

"Well, I do know that that knife is way too sharp to be on the table.  Anyone could have cut themselves with it.  Mr. St. John!  Miss Stokes has cut herself."

"Oh, dear!  I...I am so sorry, Mr. Lamont.  Please, let me take care of it.  It doesn't seem to be too bad, but you can never tell.  Just let me go into the back room and I'll get a bandage."

"And take this stupid knife with you!  It's way too sharp.  Anyone could cut themselves."

"Knife?  What knife?"

"N-no, Judith..." Janet called out in her sleep.  "The knife!"

DANE'S CAR - SOMEWHERE ALONG ANDERSONVILLE RD.

"N-no, Dane," Grace Davis muttered as she pushed him away.  "This isn't...right."

"And why not?" Dane Manchester asked with a playful grin.  "I'm very attracted to you and we both know that you have feelings for me and..."

"I'm in love with Trevor!"  She folded her arms across her chest and slid as close to the passenger side door as she could.  "And...and...I have to get home so I can get Douglas."

"Look, a car should be coming along any time."  He reached over and took her hand into his.  "And, as far as Trevor's concerned, you sure didn't kiss me like you were in love with someone else."

"Well..."  She flinched slightly, uncomfortable with the flurry of conflicting emotions that she was beginning to feel.  "I do love Trevor!  He's so good to me and..."

"And you two have absolutely nothing in common."  He let out a self-amused laughed and began to stare at her intently before reaching over to pull her closer.  "You and I, however, are quite a lot alike."

"Dane, we're nothing alike!"  She kept her arms folded across her chest as she tried to avoid meeting his mesmerizing gaze.  "You're from a well-to-do Chicago family and I'm from a poor, wrong side of the tracks one.  You and I have nothing in common!"

"The same reasoning could be applied to you and Trevor," he smiled smugly.  "I'm talking about us both feeling like black sheep.  We both know what it's like.  You never felt good enough for your parents.  You felt like everything bad that happened to them was your fault because you weren't good enough."

"How do you know anything about my parents?"  Grace turned to eye him closely.  How could he know her so well?  How could he verbalize her long held feelings so accurately?

"I'm a pretty good reader of people."    Of course, having eavesdropped on a phone conversation between her brother Douglas and Dr. Maynard while he was interning in Douglas' law office had helped clue him in.  He instinctively filled in the rest.  "I know exactly how you feel.  I've always had to live in the shadow of my brother Grant.  He was always the favored child, the one who was supposed to be the great success.  I've spent my entire life trying to catch up to him and prove to my parents that I was just as good has him.  That's one reason I'm going to be a lawyer.  It's exactly what they wanted him to do."  He winced slightly when he realized that he was revealing more truth than he'd intended to.  "Nothing I've ever done has been enough for them.  It was always Grant who was the perfect one."

"Oh, Dane," she sighed, he defenses weakening as her heart went out to him.  "I...I know exactly how you feel."

"I know you do, Grace."  His lips brushed against hers and s he felt her body shiver slightly, not from a chill in the air but from the intense feelings that he was stirring inside her.  "You and I have a connection like no one else."

"D-Dane, I..."  Her voice caught in her throat and she felt her heart begin to beat faster.  The tighter he held her in his arms, the fainter her thoughts of Trevor became.  Maybe Dane was right.  Maybe Trevor was wrong for her.

"Grace,  don't fight this attraction that we feel for one another.  Don't fight what could be such a magical and wonderful thing."

"Oh, Dane, I just don't know," she muttered before her voice trailed off into silence.  As the car grew unnervingly quiet, the only sound that Grace could hear was the shrill whipping of winter air outside her window mingled with the fast thumping of her heart.  "Dane, I....I...."

Her murmured protestations were silenced as Dane's lips again found hers and he kissed her like she was sure she'd never been kissed before.  In spite of everything she knew to be right---in spite of everything she felt for Trevor in her heart---she felt herself giving in to him.  When Dane's hand found its way inside her sweater, she didn't fight to push it away.

THE STOKES MANSION - JANET'S BEDROOM

As the blurry images from Janet's subconscious continued to flash inside her horrible dream, she began to thrash about violently.

"N-nooooo!" she cried out, unable to withstand the great mental anguish that was haunting her dreams.

Over and over, the images of Gordon Scott, Burt, and Judith raced through her mind.  Then, suddenly and without explanation, Judith's face started to twist and change.  Gradually, Judith's face was taking on a completely different appearance.  Judith's face was turning into....the face of Annabelle Lake?  Quickly, a flash of light replaced the image of Annabelle.  No, not a light, but a gleam!  The gleam of a moonbeam bouncing off the edge of a sharpened knife!

"N-nooooo!" Janet again cried out as she tore herself from her fitful sleep and bolted upright, wide awake.

Her breathing was quick and shallow as she tried to recall the images, now fuzzy and quickly vanishing from her consciousness, that had appeared in her dream.  Drenched with sweat, she looked down at her hands that were shaking like leaves.  The dream!  The horrible frightening nightmare!  What did it all mean?

Suddenly, Janet's fearful attempts at remembering were interrupted by the light wrapping on her door.

"Janet?" came her sister's Jillian's voice from the other side.  "Janet, are you all right?"

"I...I'm okay," Janet muttered weakly before taking a deep breath and swallowing hard in hopes of calming herself down.

As Jillian carefully pushed open the door, the darkened room was bathed in the bright light of the hallway.

"I...was heading to my room and I thought I heard you calling something out."  Jillian stood there, only a silhouette in the light, as she tried to peer into the darkness to see her sister.  "I just got home from Reginald's.  Are you...okay?"

"I...I'm fine," Janet said softly as she turned her face away in an attempt to hide the fear that she knew must be clearly visible.  "W-what are you doing home, anyway?  I thought...you said on the phone that you were staying the night at the Callisons because of the roads?"

"Well, I was going to," Jillian sighed as she walked into the room and sat down on the edge of Janet's bed, "but Reginald went out for something and didn't come back for hours!  I can tell you that I was worried sick!  Well, once he did get home, I decided that if the roads were good enough that he could be gallivanting around town in this weather, than I could make it back here."

"I...I'm glad that you...made it home okay."

"Reginald drove me."  Although Jillian was relating her evening with her fiancé, she kept her eyes firmly locked on her older sister.  The standoffishness in Janet's voice was not lost on Jillian.  "Are you...sure you're all right?"

"Yes," Janet muttered again.  "I'm fine.  I just...want to get some sleep."

"Okay, I'll let you get back to bed."  

As she bit her lip, still uncertain that everything was as fine as Janet had claimed, Jillian rose and walked slowly back to the door of the bedroom.  She turned to take one last look at Janet who was, now, snuggled back under her covers.  A look of worry covering her face, Jillian stepped out into the hallway and quietly shut the door behind her.  No matter what Janet had said, Jillian was certain that something was horribly wrong.  As Janet clutched her blankets tightly to her chest, she began to think exactly the same thing.

THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - MAGGIE'S BEDROOM

"Oh, well, no, Stanley, I don't still hold the Fall Dance against you," Maggie said sweetly as she tried her best to use her most polite voice.  "Well, if you were sick, you were sick.  It just couldn't be helped."  She quickly glanced over to Eliza who was sitting cross legged in the middle of the bed, her chin resting in her hands and her elbows propped up on her knees, carefully and eagerly listening to every word.  Maggie scowled with annoyance.  How dare Eliza force her into talking to Stanley!

"Go on!" Eliza said with an urgent whisper.  "Tell him you want to give him another chance!  Tell him you want to let him make up for not taking you to the dance!"

"Would you shut up!" Maggie snapped as her hand flew over the receive to shield Stanley from her aside to Eliza.  "I don't even want to talk to him let alone....   Yes, Stanley?  No, I'm still here.  Well, we lost the phones for a little while earlier, but everything's fine, now.  Yes, I know.  This silly Illinois weather."  She laughed warmly, the tone clearly in contrast to the angry look on her face.

"Oh, would you quit talking about the stupid weather!" Eliza grumbled with a shake of her head.  "Ask him!  Ask him to The Well!"

Maggie clinched her teeth and fired her best friend another angry look.

"Um...what?" Maggie muttered into the phone as she tried to divide her attention between her conversation with Stanley and Eliza's irritating cheerleading.  "Oh!  That.  That's just Eliza.  She's spending the night.  Um...well, yes, I know."

Although Eliza couldn't hear the remark that Stanley had made, the genuine giggle that it brought from Maggie made her both curious and exasperated.  "Maggie!  What did he say?"

"Nothing," Maggie quickly replied as she fought the urge to roll her eyes.

"Well...ask him!"

"Um...Stanley," Maggie began hesitantly.  "Well, I was just...well...wondering if, maybe, you'd like to join us at The Well after school sometime.  You know, get a soda or something.  Um...yes, that would be neat."

"What did he say?"

"O-okay, I understand."  As Maggie tried to listen to Stanley on the other end of the line, she waved her hand frantically in an attempt to shut Eliza up.  "Well, goodnight then.  Bye, Stanley."

"Maggie!  You've just got to tell me!  What did he say?"

"His dad came into the room and he had to hang up," Maggie sighed weakly as she carefully placed the receiver back onto its cradle."

"I mean about The Well!"

"Oh, he said he'd love to," Maggie grumbled.

"Well, you don't seem too happy about it!"  Eliza looked at her curiously, not quite sure what to make out of her mood.  Suddenly, the room flooded with light as the door opened.

"Girls, it's entirely too late for you two to be up gossiping," Maggie's mother Francis Callison said sternly as she poked her head into the room.  "Now get under those covers and get to sleep.  Just because school is cancelled for tomorrow doesn't mean you've got a license to stay up all night."

"Yes, Mother," Maggie sighed, both annoyed and thankful for the intrusion.

"Now, I want you both tucked in and off to sleep before I...."  Francis' demands were cut off by the delicate ringing of the door bell.  "Oh, now who in the world could that be at this hour?  Now, like I said, both of you get to sleep!"

As Francis shut the door behind her, she pulled her robe tightly closed and strode quickly to the front door.  "Y-yes?" she asked as she cautiously pulled the door open.

"Oh, Francis, I hope you'll forgive me for stopping by so late," Dr. Fred Rutherford said warmly as he stepped into the apartment, "but I just happened to be out and I just wanted to check on you."

"How sweet of you," she smiled as she led him into the living room.  "I hope you'll forgive my state of dress.  I wasn't exactly expecting company."

"Francis, darling, no apologies are needed.  Well, unless they're from me for showing up at an ungodly hour."

"Fred, you should never feel the need to apologize for coming over."  Francis motioned for Fred to sit down on the sofa.  "If you'd like, I can put a pot of coffee on.  Or maybe some hot tea?"

"Oh, no.  Don't go to any trouble on my account," he smiled with a twinkle in his eye.

"Well, at least let me get dressed so that I can be a little more presentable."  She tugged awkwardly at her robe in an attempt to cover the nightgown underneath.

"Francis, my dear, you've never looked more lovely."

"Fred, you say the most flattering things."  She let a smile cover her face as she slowly began to relax and went to join him on the sofa.  "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"

"Truthfully, I just wanted to see how you were doing,"  his voice grew softer and more serious, "considering Annabelle's death, and all."

"I can honestly tell you that this has all been quite a shock for us."  She looked away in discomfort.  She'd spent entirely too much time, lately, obsessing over Annabelle Lake and her tainted legacy.  "It's amazing that, even through death, that horrible woman can continue to disrupt our lives."

"I...heard about Reginald."  Fred spoke cautiously.  He knew that the subject of Charles and Annabelle was a sensitive one and needed to be handled delicately.  "I'm sure that there's no way any sane person could believe that he could possible be responsible for what happened to that woman."

"I would...like to think so, but...."  Francis inhaled deeply as she thought able the latest crisis to befall her family.  "Well, experience has taught me that you just can't second guess life and all of its surprises---both good and bad."

"That's...one of the reasons I came to see you."  He eyed her intently as he carefully began to formulate his words.  "I must admit that this visit isn't quite a selfless as I've led you to believe.  In fact, it might be considered rather self-serving."

"W-what do you mean?"

"Well....considering what happened at the party, it's pretty much common knowledge how Annabelle Lake managed to weasel herself in between you and your husband.  The drugging, I mean."  Of course, it was still a closely guarded secret, now known only to Fred himself, what role that he had, in fact, played in the drugging of Charles Callison.

"That she could stoop so low...could be so desperate!"  Francis shook her head vigorously, still amazed by the extremity of Annabelle's actions.

"Francis, I just wanted to know how...well...."  He reached out and grabbed her hand and gave it a tight squeeze.  "Since you now know that your husband's betrayal wasn't completely of his own choosing, how does that affect the state of your marriage?  Does knowing the truth change your feelings for him?  And, if so, where does that leave me and what's been developing between us?"

Francis stared at him blankly.  Those exact same questions had been bouncing around inside the back of her own head for some time.  However, they had never been put in such a succinct, verbal fashion.  Now faced with those questions and the requirement to answer them, she was left completely dumbfounded and utterly unsure of how she felt and of what to say.

TO BE CONTINUED

TOMORROW

Douglas receives and urgent call.  Can he get to Grace in time?

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

©2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions