MANOR - FOYER
Stephanie Lake hurriedly
pulled on her coat as she raced down the stairs and towards the front
door. She just had to make it to the church in time. There were
important things that she'd put off for entirely too long.
Just as she reached the foot
of the stairs, the door swung open and in walked Dane
expecting their sudden meeting, Stephanie froze in her tracks. She'd
intended to stay as far away from him as she could during her stay at the manor,
but now she realized that that was going to be easier said than done.
"What the devil are
doing here?" he questioned with an angry glare.
she stammered, unsure of what to say. She'd been rather surprised, to say
the least, when Sara had informed her that Dane wasn't aware that she was moving
into the house. Stephanie had hoped that Sara would tell him before she
managed to run into him, but she clearly realized that that wouldn't be the
case. "I was just leaving."
"You better believe you
were just leaving!" he snapped as his jaw tightened. "After
everything you've done, I can't believe you're stupid enough to come within
fifty feet of Sara!"
done?" She eyed him incredulously.
How dare he! He was the
one who'd been intent on splitting up Reginald and
Jillian so that he could
reunite with Jillian. He was the one who'd forced her into continuing
with their nefarious schemes long after Stephanie had decided to give up on
Reginald! Yet he was still trying to make it seem like everything had been
her idea! It was almost as if he'd told the lie so many times that he'd
even started to believe it himself.
"Now, wait a
second!" Stephanie snapped as she glared at him angrily. "Don't
you even try to blame all of that on me. I admit that I did some pretty
rotten things, but you were up to your eyeballs, too! Don't even try to
act like you were an innocent victim in all of that mess!"
Stephanie," he sighed with a shake of his head. "Still sadly
deluded, I see. No one bought your story then and no one buys it
now." He smirked slightly. "I've still got Sara---and this
wonderful house, I might add---while you've wound up with nothing." He
glanced down and noticed the newspaper that was tucked under her arm.
it's...um...nothing..." she stammered as she tried to turn away so that he
couldn't see the headline.
However, he was much too swift
for her and he reached out and snatched it away. "Callison-Stokes
Wedding Set for Today," he read aloud. "Ah! So I see,
now. You're all in a huff because your dear, precious Reginald is going to
be lost to you forever."
"You don't know what
you're talking about," she muttered in a tone full of annoyance.
"Whatever I had with him was over a long time ago. I should have
realized that then. In fact, I would have realized that if it hadn't been
for Momma and...and you!"
"Poor Paddy," Dane
sighed with a shake of his head. "I guess he really is a
sucker. He thinks you've changed but you're still trying to blame everyone
else for your problems and mistakes. He'll be so disappointed."
"You leave Paddy out of
"I'm just glad that Sara
managed to see you for what you really are."
"You listen to me, Dane
Manchester," Stephanie began as her eyes narrowed menacingly, "you
might have Sara flimflammed. You might have conned her into thinking that
you're a great guy, but I know better! You better not do anything to hurt
her or I'll...I'll..."
He stared at her with cocky self-assuredness.
She paused for a moment, her
knowledge about his cheating on his college entrance exam right on the tip of
her tongue. However, she took a deep breath to calm herself and held back
that revelation. There was no need to show her trump card---at least not
"I'll make sure you
regret it," she replied calmly and then exhaled slowly. "Now, if
you'll excuse me, I have things to do." Without saying another word,
she spun around on her heel and stormed out the door, letting it slam loudly
With a wicked chuckle, Dane
shook his head and sighed. Patterson was really getting more than her bargained
for with that one! Silently, Dane wondered how long it would be before
Stephanie's prim and proper act began to wear off and Patterson was able to see
her for the lying, manipulative girl she was.
As he began to push thoughts
of Stephanie Lake out of his head, Dane glanced down at the newspaper that he
was still holding in his hands and eyed the picture of Jillian Stokes
carefully. He'd been so preoccupied with his newfound wealth and Sara's
nagging---not to mention his little fling with Kitty
Benedict---that he'd nearly
forgotten about Jillian's upcoming wedding. He hadn't even realized that
it was today!
Dane's eyes narrowed as he
focused on the picture and he let out a deep sigh. Poor
Jillian, marrying that dolt Reginald. Why couldn't she have listened to
reason all of those months ago? Why didn't she just dump that sap and come
back to him like he'd asked her to. As an intense looked covered his face,
Dane glanced down at his watch and noted the time. Maybe it wasn't too
late. Maybe he could still talk some sense into her.
Tucking the newspaper neatly
under his arm, he turned and headed for the door, never even bothering to let
his wife know that he'd returned home from his late night out.