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

 

EPISODE #94 (Thursday, 2/28/02)
Same Day
February, 1936 - Afternoon

ALBANYVILLE UNIVERSITY - STUDENT CENTER

"W-what are you talking about?" Helen Van Dyne asked with confusion and concern.

"I'm talking about Clark Saxon!" Stephanie Lake snapped.  "I know all about how you two plotted together to ruin me and my name!"

"Well, honestly, you did a fine enough job ruining your name all on your own, in case you've forgotten."

"Then, if that's the case, what was the point in you having Clark try to woo and seduce me so that you two could tell everyone what a loose and wanton girl I am when you both know that's not the case at all?"  Stephanie glared at Helen as she waited for her to answer.

"I know no such thing about you, Steffi," Helen replied coolly.  "Remember, you're the one who threw yourself at Reginald!  He loves Jillian and they're going to be married!  I was just trying to make sure that you'd never do anything again that might hurt them.  What kind of girl tries to come between a devoted couple like that anyway?"

"You are such a hypocrite!" Stephanie snapped.  "You want to chastise me for something when you're involved in something much worse!"

"W-what are you...talking about?" Helen asked as her eyes filled with worry.

"You can stand there and play the role of devoted friend and judge until the cows come home, for all I care," Stephanie growled, "but I know the truth about you!"

"T-the truth?"

"Yes," Stephanie smiled slyly as a look of triumph filled her eyes.  "And if you think that I'm going to forget everything that you've done to me, you're sadly mistaken!"

THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM

"So, that's it?" Reginald Callison asked as he glanced at his fiancée Jillian Stokes with slight uncertainty.  "Nothing left to do?  Everything's finally set in stone?"

"That's it!" Jillian smiled and then threw her arms around him.  "There's nothing left for us to do for our wedding but show up."

"And, Reginald, you better show up!" Jillian's mother Leticia Stokes said sternly as she shook her finger at him.  "If you stand my baby up at the alter, I will hunt you down!"

"Yes, ma'am," he muttered sheepishly and hung his head with mock dramatic exaggeration.  "But I can assure everyone that this is one wedding that I have no intention of missing," he smiled and pulled Jillian closer to kiss her lovingly on the cheek.  "I've waited too long to make this beautiful girl my wife to give up now."

"Oh, Jillian, it's going to be so wonderful to finally have you as an official part of the family," Francis Callison exclaimed as she came up behind her and put and gentle hand on her shoulder.  "After everything that's happened to us, this family needs this wedding.  It's going to be a bright spot in a dreadfully dark period...."

"Mother, can we not go into that now," Reginald grumbled and shot her a look of annoyance.  "We're having a lovely afternoon.  Let's not ruin it by thinking about...well, about that!"

"Francis, dear, Reginald's right," Mary Albany spoke up as she sat down beside her grandson on the sofa.  "This is a happy time for all of us.  There's no need to focus on the bad things when there are so many good things to celebrate."

"Mary, I agree 100%," Leticia nodded and then turned to address her maid who was sitting quietly in a chair off to the side.  "Ruby, would you bring me a cup of tea?"

"Yes, ma'am," Ruby Thomas nodded and then looked at her with a touch of curiosity.  "But...well...Mrs. Stokes, I don't know where anything is in the kitchen."

"Well, then, I'll have to come with you and show you," Mary laughed as she rose from her seat and motioned for Ruby to follow her.  "I do wish that my housekeeper Dorothea were here, but she went out to lunch with her son.  I think you two would get along wonderfully."

"So, do you think Father will come to the wedding?" Jillian asked as she turned to her mother.

"I wouldn't hold your breath," Leticia sighed.  "He's only in town to try to make a last minute attempt to keep you two from marrying.  This mess with...well...the current state of things..."  She looked around uncomfortably.  "He's only more convinced than ever that this entire wedding is a mistake."

"I just wish that there was some way I could convince him of how much Jillian and I love each other."  Reginald carefully rubbed his chin as he thought about what it would take to prove his worth to his future father-in-law.

"Unfortunately, I don't think that there's anything that you can do," Leticia shook her head.  "Nelson is just so stubborn and pig headed!  That's one of the reasons I...well, that our marriage is in the state that it's in."

"Darling, I'm sure that he'll come around in time," Francis smiled warmly.  "After all, Jillian will always be his little girl.  Your father will probably have the same reaction when the time comes for Maggie to get married."

"Oh, I'm sorry!" Dorothea Jackson spoke up awkwardly as she came through the front door and stepped into the living room.  "I forgot that everyone was meeting here to do the last minute details for the wedding."

"Momma, I'm sorry I kept you out so long," Dr. Calvin Jackson said as he came through the door behind her.

"Calvin, there's nothing to be sorry for," Francis laughed.  "We've had a wonderful time this afternoon and Leticia brought her maid along, so we haven't had to worry about a thing."

At that moment, as if on cue, Mary strolled back into the living room from the kitchen with Ruby following close behind while carrying the antique sterling silver tea service.  As Calvin and Ruby's eyes locked, they both let out a sharp gasp that was punctuated by the tea service crashing to the floor.

THE CAMPBELL HOME - LIVING ROOM

"Judith, are you sure you're all right?" Dr. Talbot Campbell asked as he handed her a cup of coffee.  "You look like there's something troubling you."

"I...well..."  Judith Linford winced slightly and looked away.  "I've never been able to hide anything from you, have I, Dr. Campbell.  What gave me away?"

"Well, let's see," he said softly as he sat down next to her on the sofa, "you showing up on my doorstep, for one.  In the entire time that you've been my patient, you've never been to my home.  What's so urgent that you couldn't come to my office?"

"Well, Dr. Campbell..."

"Judith, we're not in the office.  This isn't a professional visit, is it?"

"N-no, it's not."

"Then, please, call me Talbot."  He reached over and took her trembling hand into his.  "These past few months, I've grown to see you not just as a patient.  Judith, I've grown to care about you as a friend."  Talbot paused for a moment and his tone grew more concerned.  "Now, why don't you tell me what's troubling you?"

"I...well..."  Her voice trailed off and she quickly looked away.  She just couldn't bear to tell him the complete truth about her past with Burt Lamont and the true paternity of the child she had carried.  "I guess I'm still upset about the baby.  I know I'm being foolish, but..."

"No, you're not being foolish at all," Talbot smiled.  "It's natural for a woman in your situation to still be plagued by fears and concerns.  Does this have anything to do with wanting to try to have another child?  You do know that trying to have another baby won't mean that you loved the child you lost any less.  It might, however, help to lessen the emotional pain you've been suffering."

"I know, that, Talbot, but..."

"Well!" Corinne Campbell spoke up sternly as she came through the front door.  "I see you've started bringing you work home with you now, Talbot."

"Corinne, darling, it's not exactly like that."  He quickly rose from the sofa and went to greet his wife.  "Mrs. Linford was a little upset and needed to talk.  She's been under a great deal of emotional strain lately and..."

"Last time I checked, when a doctor made house calls, you went to their house, not the other way around."  Corinne stood with her hands on her hips and inspected Judith closely.  She was quick to note the other woman's sophisticated style and cool beauty that showed despite her shaken and emotional demeanor.

"Y-you're wife is right, Tal...Dr. Campbell," Judith muttered awkwardly.  "I really shouldn't have bothered you at home."

"It was really no bother," Talbot sighed with a slight shake of his head before turning to shoot Corinne an angry glance.  "If something's troubling you and you need to talk, you know that you can call me anytime.  I'm your doctor!  I'm supposed to care about what happens to you."

"I know that," Judith sighed and then quickly glanced up at Corinne who was glaring at her angrily, "but I...well...I shouldn't have bothered you at home.  I really...should be going."  She quickly rose to leave and headed for the door.

"I'm sure that my husband will be available to see you tomorrow at his office," Corinne said bluntly.  "Call and make an appointment."

As the door closed behind Judith, Talbot snapped his head around and shot his wife an angry look

"How could you act that way towards her?  Couldn't you see that she was very upset about something?"

"The only thing I saw was another woman in my own home with my husband!"

"Oh, Corinne," Talbot sighed and shook his head in disbelief, "Mrs. Stokes is a patient.  Why in the world are you acting like this?"

"Do you think I don't have ears?  Don't you think I know who that woman is?"  She pulled off her winter coat and hung it in the closet by the front door before walking over to the cocktail bar to pour herself a glass of sherry.  "One of the ladies from the auxiliary has a sister who lives in New York.  She's very familiar with Judith Linford!  Oh, the stories that she's told me!  You just wouldn't believe..."

"You bet I won't believe them," Talbot snapped.  "I don't know why you insist on attending those ladies auxiliary meetings, anyway.  All that group is is an excuse for a bunch of vipers to get together and see who can out lie each other."

"I beg your pardon?"  Corinne's eyes grew wide with shock.  "I would think that you, of all people, would support the auxiliary!  After all, you are the hospital's chief of staff.  The ladies auxiliary does a lot of wonderful things.  Why, just last month we held that big benefit for the children's ward and..."

"All right, all right," he sighed before taking a deep breath.  "I admit that the auxiliary does some good work for the hospital, but even you have to admit that those good deeds are nothing more than an excuse for a bunch of women with nothing better to do to sit around and gossip."

"I know no such thing!"

Talbot sighed again and closed his eyes as he tried to fight off a strong headache that was starting to appear.  There would be no winning this difference of opinion with his wife.  That fact was certain.

"Okay, okay," he relented as he threw up his hands in hopes of calming her down.  "Let's not do this.  Let's not argue anymore."  He paused for a moment and took a deep breath.  "In fact, I've got quite a bit of paperwork to do in my study," he muttered before starting to walk out of the room.  "Just call me when dinner's ready."

Left alone, Corinne took another sip of her drink and began to quietly seethe.  Judith Linford better be nothing more than a patient.  From all of the gossip that she'd heard from her friend in the auxiliary, she knew what a man-stealing viper that Judith could be.  As Corinne's jaw tightened, she silently vowed that she wouldn't be like Francis Callison.  There was no way that she was going to let some harpy ruin her marriage and steal her husband.  No way in hell.

THE SUNSET HOTEL - MARY'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM

"Ruby, dear, are you all right?" Leticia questioned in shock as she jumped up from the sofa, half out of concern and half out of embarrassment.  "Oh, Mrs. Albany, I am so, so sorry.  I've just never known her to be so clumsy."

"Leticia, it's quite okay," Mary replied and hurriedly ran into the kitchen to grab some towels.  "Ruby, you didn't burn yourself on the hot tea, did you?" she asked once she'd returned to the room.

"N-no, I'm...fine," Ruby muttered, her hands still shaking, as she fought to tear herself away from Calvin's curious stare.  "Oh, Calvin, I'm...I'm s-sorry.  I...I..."

"You know Calvin?"  Mary's eyes jumped from Ruby to Calvin and back again.  "Well, I guess it is a small world."

"Ruby, what...are you doing here?" Calvin asked as he quickly rushed to her side.

"Calvin, I'm...I'm..."  Ruby bit her lip and nervously looked away.  How in the world could she ever explain the truth to him?  How could she tell him that she'd been lying to him all of these months?

"Well, she's supposed to be working," Leticia spoke up with a sigh, "but, apparently, Judith was right to be a little concerned."

"Mother!" Jillian snapped angrily.

"All right, now," Dorothea finally said as she carefully watched the awkward looks that were being shared by Ruby and her son.  The true tension of the moment wasn't lost on her.  "I have a feeling that there's more going on here than we're aware of."  She walked over and took the towel from Mary and began to help clean up the mess.  "Now, young lady, why don't you tell me what's going on."  She turned and looked up at Calvin.  "Or maybe I should be asking you this question."

"Momma, I..."  He took a deep breath and silently hung his head.  "Momma, this is the girl I've been seeing.  This is Ruby Thomas."

"Well, it's about time I got to meet the lady that my son is so smitten with," Dorothea laughed and reached out to take Ruby's hand.  "Now that I've set eyes on you, I can see why.  You're quite a lovely young woman."

"T-thank you."  Ruby blushed slightly and bowed her head for a moment before looking up to meet Calvin's curious gaze.

"C-Calvin..." she spoke tentatively.

"Ruby, I..." he muttered, unsure of what to say.  He knew that he couldn't hide the truth any longer.  Also, there was something rather odd about what was going on.  There were more than a few questions bouncing around inside of his own head.

"Oh, Calvin, I'm sorry," Ruby finally began as she fought back tears.  "I...I haven't been honest with you.  I'm not from a well-to-do family.  I'm really...nobody.  I'm just a maid for the Stokes family.  With you being a doctor and all....and...and you being from such a prominent family, I...I..."

"Ruby, there's nothing for you to be sorry for," Calvin laughed as he gently placed his finger under her chin and lifted her head so that their eyes met.  "Actually, I'm the one who should be apologizing to you."

"W-what?"  She looked at him curiously.  "You're not mad at me?  You're not upset that I'm only a maid?"

Calvin grinned broadly as he shook his head in amusement.  "How can I be mad that you're a maid when my mother is just a housekeeper, too?"

"I am more than just a housekeeper!" Dorothea spoke up suddenly with a tone of mock offense.

The room quickly grew quiet as all eyes fell on Dorothea who immediately eased the tension by breaking out into laughter.  Within moments, everyone else followed suit, including Calvin and Ruby.

"Darling, I am so sorry," he sighed in between laughs.  "I thought that you...well...you know..."  He blushed.  "And I was so worried that you would think less of me if...well..."

"Yes," Ruby grinned.  "I was worried about the exact same thing."

"Gee, I feel so foolish."

"Me, too."

A great weight lifted from their shoulders, Calvin and Ruby fell into a kiss.

"Calvin, I promise that I'm never going to keep anything from you ever again," Ruby sighed as she rested her head on his shoulder.

"Oh, Ruby, I love you," he smiled warmly.

"I...I..." she stammered as she looked up into his eyes.  "I love you, too."

"See," Reginald whispered as he leaned over to Jillian, "we're getting married, Calvin and Ruby are in love.  All is right with the world.  This has to be a sign that happy days are straight ahead."

"I hope so," Jillian sighed, not extremely convinced by his observations.  "I hope so."

ALBANYVILLE UNIVERSITY - STUDENT CENTER

"What I've done to you?" Helen gasped in shock.  "Well, aren't you just determined to paint yourself as a martyr!  In case you've forgotten, you're the one who did all of those rotten and horrible things to Jillian and..."

"Oh, just shut up about Jillian!" Stephanie snapped angrily.  "I know I did some horrible things.  I admit that I was wrong!  But...but...what you tried to do to me was beyond rotten!"

"I don't have to stand here and listen to this," Helen muttered as she started to push past Stephanie and walk away.

"Not so fast!"  Stephanie reached out and grabbed Helen firmly by the arm and gave it a solid yank.  "I'm sure you'd be very interested in what I have to say about Mark Linford."

"W-what?"  Helen's jaw dropped as she froze in her tracks.  Surely Stephanie didn't know!  "What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about your little romantic rendezvous with Jillian's brother-in-law!"  Stephanie eyed Helen carefully as she watched her reactions.  Pleased that she now had her full attention, a sly smile of victory spread across her face.  "Yes, that's right.  I know all about your little affair.  What do you think Jillian would say if she knew that you were trying to ruin her sister's marriage?"

"You don't have any idea about what your saying!"

"Don't I?"  Stephanie paused and took a deep breath which gave her time to savor the moment.  "I know how important family is to Jillian.  I know how much her sisters mean to her.  I don't think that she'd be the least bit amused that her so-called 'best friend' is having a trashy affair with her sister's husband!"

"It's not like that!" Helen snapped before she caught herself.  She exhaled slowly when she realized that she'd said too much and tightened her jaw.  "Not that it's any of your business, but Mark and Judith only have a marriage of convenience.  It's all for appearances sake!  He doesn't love her!"

"And I suppose he loves you?"  Stephanie took a couple of steps back and folded her arms across her chest as she looked at Helen with astonishment.

"I...well..." Helen's voice trailed off.  "I don't know, but...but...it's none of your business!"

"Maybe not," Stephanie laughed wickedly, "but I'm sure that Jillian will think that it's plenty of her business!  I'm sure that Judith Linford will think that it's plenty of her business!"

"Stephanie, you wouldn't dare!"

"Oh, wouldn't I?"

And with those words, Stephanie fired off another evil look and quickly stormed away.  As she burst through the doors out into the crisp winter air, a smile spread across her face.  Boy, that felt good, she thought to herself, for the first time in what seems like months, I finally feel like I have some kind of control over my own life!  As she continued on her journey down the walk, she began to relish the self-confident feeling that had begun to wash over her.  Maybe the "poor pitiful me" state that she'd been in since the engagement party wasn't necessarily all it was cracked up to be.

Meanwhile, inside the student center, a nervous Helen was growing increasingly worried.  What if Stephanie followed through on her threat?  What if she did go to Jillian?  Even worse, what if she went to Judith!  Helen was more than a little aware of what a witch Mark's wife could be from stories she'd heard from both Mark and Jillian.  As she bit her lip nervously, she didn't see the shadowy form move up behind her.  Lost in her own thoughts, Helen was completely taken off guard as a mysterious hand grabbed her from behind and covered her mouth to muffle her resulting scream.

THE STOKES MANSION - FOYER

With an unsteady hand, Judith pushed open the front door and stepped into the foyer.  She was still quite shaken by her earlier conversation with Burt and her unpleasant encounter with Talbot's wife hadn't helped much, either.  Feeling more than a little out of sorts, she pulled off her coat and gloves and carried them over to the closet.  While standing at the door, she heard voices coming from the living room.  Curious, she stood very still and listened closely.  She immediately recognized the voices as Burt and Janet's.  When she heard her name mentioned, she quietly shut the closet door and carefully walked over to the doorway to the living room.  While keeping her presence hidden, she listened very closely.

"Janet, I just don't know how I can make this up to you," she heard Burt say.  "You have to believe that the last thing that I ever wanted to do what hurt you."

Hurt Janet?  What had Burt done?

"I...I know that," she heard Janet mutter softly.  "I don't think you kept this from me out of cruelty or spite, but I...I don't know if I..."

Judith furrowed her brow slightly.  Surely, they weren't talking about...  No, that was impossible!

"If I'd known from the beginning," Burt continued.  "If I'd known that you and Judith were sisters, things might have been different.  If she had told me about the baby as soon as she'd found out..."

"Oh, Burt," Janet sighed, "there's nothing we can do about any of that now.  We can't go back and change the past."

"I know, but..."  Burt let out a weary sigh.  "This doesn't change how I feel about you.  There has never been a question in my mind about that.  Even knowing about the baby didn't change my love for you."

The baby?  They couldn't be talking about her baby, could they?

"But, Burt, what about Judith?"

"Your sister is part of my past.  You have to believe that.  I'm not in love with her; I'm in love with you!  You're the only woman I love."

"But...but what about the baby?  What about your baby?  Didn't the baby mean anything to you?"

"Of course it did!"

She knew!  Janet knew about the baby!

"Then how can you..."

"Darling, just because I cared about the baby doesn't mean that I love you any less.  I don't have to love Judith to love that child."

He loved the baby!  He...

Judith winced slightly.  Even though Burt admitted to loving the baby that they'd lost, it hadn't changed his feelings for Janet.  Damn her!  How did she find out about the baby?  How did she know?  Why did she have to find out and spoil the one last hold she had over him?

Suddenly, Judith began to feel light headed.  She reached out for the wall to steady herself as her mind began to whirl with memories and images that she couldn't explain.

"Burt is the father of this child.  So, you see, no matter what you might do, he'll always be connected to me.  If you think you can keep us apart forever, you're sadly deluding yourself."

"No!  You can't do this to me!  I won't let you do this to me and Burt!  You're lying!  You are a lying, vengeful, jealous witch!"

"Oh, throw names around all you want to, Janet, but that doesn't change the truth.  I'm carrying Burt's child and that means everything!"

"That means nothing because you're lying!"

"Janet, you know Burt and I had an affair in New York!  You know that this is the truth.  I can tell by the look on your face that you know that what I'm telling you is true.  You don't want to accept it, but you know it's true!"

"No!  You're just trying to keep me and Burt apart!  Just like you tried to keep me and Gordon apart!  You're not happy unless everyone else is as miserable as you are!  Well, I'm not going to let you!"

Janet knew!  Janet knew the truth about the baby because...because...Judith, herself, had told her?  When?  When had this all happened?  Why couldn't she remember?  How long had Janet known and had kept it too herself?  How long had Janet been hiding the truth of her knowledge from Burt?

An unsteady Judith slowly stepped away from the wall that she had propped herself up against during her dizzy spell and tried to compose herself enough to enter the living room and Burt and Janet's conversation.  Just then, she was distracted by the delicate chimes that wafted through the house announcing a visitor at the front door.

Still slightly unsteady, she took a deep breath and carefully made her way across the foyer.  Pausing just long enough to massage her temple, her head still spinning, she opened the door.  She was not physically or emotionally prepared for who she found on the other side.

"Hello, Judith," Joyce Preston smiled snidely as she pushed past her and into the foyer, "I hope that you don't mind an impromptu visit from an old and dear friend."

TO BE CONTINUED

TOMORROW

Joyce and Janet come face to face.

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

©2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions