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

 

EPISODE #133 (Wednesday, 11/13/02)
A Few Days Later
June 1936 - Morning

THE CALLISON HOME - MAIN FOYER

"So, how's Jillian enjoying Hawaii?" Francis Callison asked as she held the telephone receiver to her ear.  "Good.  Was she surprised?  Wonderful!  I told you she would be."

"Darling, hand me my briefcase," Charles Callison said as he came down the stairs.  "I'm running late for the office."

"Honey, it's Reginald on the phone from Hawaii," she explained as she handed the briefcase to him.

"Did he call you or did you call him?"  He stood with has hands on his hips and eyed his wife suspiciously.  "I told you that the last thing those two lovebirds need on their honeymoon is an overeager mother calling them 'round the clock."

"I'll have you know that he phoned me," she smiled with a hint of smugness.  "Oh, yes dear?"  Her attention returned to the telephone conversation with her son.  "No, it's your father.  He thinks I'm being too meddlesome.  Now, you see, that's exactly what I told him!"

"Give them my best."  Charles leaned in and gave his wife a kiss on the cheek.  "And we'll talk to them after they get back."

"Okay, honey, I'm letting you go," she continued into the phone.  "I love you, too."  After hanging  up the telephone, she turned her full attention to her husband.  "I thought you said you were running late?"

"I'm just leaving."  He paused and eyed her with concern.  "Now, once those two come home and get settled into the house, I don't want you over there every moment of the day.  They need time alone to get used to married life."

"Me?"  Her hand flew up to her chest with mock surprise.  "You sound almost like you think I'm going to be one of those interfering mothers-in-law."

"Well, I know how you are about your children."  Charles grinned as he opening the door, nearly colliding with his own mother-in-law who was preparing to ring the doorbell on the other side.

"Now, how's that for a prompt greeting!" Mary Albany laughed as she walked into the house.

"Mother, come in!" Francis smiled.  "Let me have Hannah get you some coffee."

"Honey, I can't stay," Mary explained as she looked from Charles to her daughter.  "In fact, I've actually come to say 'good bye.'" 

CALVIN'S HOME - LIVING ROOM

"Mamma, I don't understand why you have to leave town," Dr. Calvin Jackson said as he sipped his coffee.  "Naomi and I are both here, now, and...."

"And you know that my place is with Miss Mary," Dorothea Jackson explained.  "I'm her traveling companion as well as her housekeeper.  It's not like we're never coming back."

"But..."

"No, buts!"

"Can't you at least put this trip off for a few more days?"  He took her hand into his and looked at her earnestly.  "Just so that I've got a little more time to get used to the idea of not having you around all the time."

"You just want to talk me into getting you stocked up with some of my cooking," she chided and then let out a sigh.  "We really can't.  Our train leaves in an hour.  I've got to go."

"Okay," he muttered with resignation.  "If you've got to go, I guess that there's not a lot I can do about it."  Overly concerned, he looked her dead in the eye.  "Now, I want you two to be careful.  Don't go getting into any trouble."

"Trouble?  Us?"  She let out a hearty laugh.  "Now, pray tell, what kind of trouble can two old women get into?"

"I see you've forgotten about what happened that time in Savannah."

"You listen to me, young man," she said firmly as she shook her finger in his face.  "You know good and well about what happened there."

"You two wound up in jail!"

"Now, I admit that I shouldn't have been speeding, but that policeman was way out of line."

"Miss Mary slugged him!"

"That man was being rude and fresh," she continued to explain calmly.  "Besides, we're going to the Catskills.  What kind of trouble could we possibly get into?"

Calvin was more than a tad skeptical as he considered what she was saying.  "I guess...you're right.  But...just try to stay out of trouble."

"I promise."  Dorothea smiled broadly and then put her arms around her son so that she could give him a big hug.  "Now, I want you to remember that while I'm gone, I'm expecting you to keep an eye on your sister.  If you think I find trouble, she's the one who actually goes looking for it."

"I can see where she gets it from," he grumbled.

"Ah!"  She shook her finger at him again.  "I'm certain that there's something going on with her that she's not being completely honest with us about.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but I've got this feeling...."

"And I know all about your feelings."  He took another sip of his coffee as he thought about his younger sister, Naomi.  His mother was right.  Naomi did have an irritating knack for not only causing trouble, but for landing herself right in the middle of it, as well.  "I promise.  I'll watch her like a hawk and if I find out that she's up to something that's not right, I'll call her on it."

"Good," Dorothea nodded.  "Now, I better get going.  I've still got a few things to take care of at the hotel before our train leaves."

"At least let me give you a ride."  He rose from the couch and put on his jacket.

"I've already got a cab waiting for me outside," Dorothea explained as she followed him to the door.  "I've got to meet Miss Mary at the hotel and then we're off to the train station.  Besides, don't you have to be at the hospital in a little bit?  I can't have you being late for your shift on my account."

"Yes, ma'am," he sighed.

"Calvin, I love you," she smiled and then kissed him on the cheek.  "You get more and more like your father every day."

"I love you, too, Mamma."

As he stood in the doorway, he watched his mother as she turned and headed down the walk and then stepped into the waiting cab.  As it pulled away and drove out of sight, he thought about his promise to her -- his promise to watch out for his sister.  He had no doubt that it would turn out to be a much harder job than it sounded.

THE CALLISON HOME - MAIN FOYER

"You're leaving?"  Francis's surprise was evident as she rushed to her mother's side.  "But I thought you and Dorothea didn't have to be in the Catskills for days!"

"We don't," Mary explained.  "Our train to the Catskills leaves in about an hour.  We thought that the scenery would be better that way."

"Oh, this isn't any good!"  Francis started to wring her hands and pace nervously around the room.  "Not any good at all!"

"Dear, I didn't know you disliked the train so much."  Mary cocked an eyebrow as she watched her daughter.  In spite of her comment, she knew that there was more behind Francis's reaction than her feelings concerning Mary's mode of transportation.

"It's not that, it's...well...I was planning a surprise going-away party for you and now...."

"It's not going to happen because we won't be here."  Mary smiled smugly.  "Honey, I'm sorry, but you know I wouldn't have wanted you to make a big fuss about this."

"Which is exactly why you're leaving sooner than you told us!"  Francis folded her arms across her chest and glared at her mother.  "How could you?"

"I tried to talk her out of it," Charles whispered into his mother-in-law's ear, "but you know how she is about these things."

"I know exactly how she is," Mary laughed, "which is why I changed my plans."

"Maggie!  Maggie!" Francis called out as she rushed to the foot of the stairs.  "Maggie, come down here!  You're grandmother's here and she's getting ready to leave!"

In minutes, Maggie Callison was bounding down the stairs.  "Nana!" she exclaimed warmly.  "You're leaving?  I mean, leaving leaving?"

"Yes, sweetheart.  Our train leaves in a little bit."  Mary took her granddaughter into her arms and hugged her tightly."

"I'm gonna miss you, Nana.  You're coming back to see us, aren't you?"

"Of course!" Mary laughed heartily.  "Like I could ever stay away from this family for very long."  As the large grandfather clock struck ten o'clock, she gasped, realizing that she was behind schedule.  "Oh dear.  I've really got to get moving.  My driver's waiting for me outside and I've still got to go back to the hotel to meet Dottie and then make it to the station to catch our train."

"Mary, let me walk you out," Charles spoke up as he took her arm.  "I'm running a little late for the office as well."

"I might as well walk out with both of you," Francis sighed as she glanced at the clock.  "I've got a planning meeting at the hospital for that fundraiser this morning."  She followed her husband and mother out the door, but paused and turned back to look at her daughter.  "Maggie, you stay out of trouble while we're gone."

"Trouble?" Maggie asked incredulously.  "What kind of trouble could I get into?"

"Dear, knowing you," Mary grinned, "the possibilities are endless."

Charles and Francis couldn't help but laugh at Mary's quip and then Francis turned to look at her mother wistfully.

"Mother, I'm going to miss you," she sighed.

"And I'll miss you, too.  All of you."

As the door closed behind him, Maggie walked back into the living room and plopped herself down on the sofa before reaching for the phone.  She knew the perfect way to spend a lazy summer day -- chattering away with her friends.

SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY

Naomi Jackson reclined leisurely on the sofa as she thumbed her way through one of Sara Manchester's movie magazines.  She plopped the last bit of an oatmeal cookie into her mother and casually lifted an eyebrow as she read about the latest off-camera activities of Marlene Dietrich.  Reaching down to pick up her glass of lemonade, she frowned when she realized that it was empty.

"Helga!  Helga!" she called out urgently.  "Helga, come here!"

"What is it?" Helga Grimm asked in annoyance as she stepped into the room.  She'd been busy dusting in the front hall and had been trying to ignore Naomi's presence -- not as if that were ever easy.  "What's wrong?"

"I'm out of lemonade," Naomi explained casually.  "Fetch me some."

"Fetch?"  Helga cocked an eyebrow and scowled.  "Did you say 'fetch?'"

"Well, yes."  Naomi looked at the housekeeper curiously, not quite sure what her problem was.  "My glass is empty and I need more to drink."

"I'm the housekeeper, not the family dog," Helga said dryly as she turned to walk out of the room.  "You're supposedly pretending to be the maid in case anyone asks what you're really doing here.  I suggest you put your role to good use and get it yourself!  The kitchen's that way."  She held out her hand and pointed down the hall.  "Not that you've ever set foot in it, of course."

"Why, you...."

"Helga, would you please leave us alone for a moment," Joyce Preston spoke up as she appeared in the doorway.  "There are a few things I'd like to discuss with Naomi."

"Gladly!"  Helga shot Naomi another angry look before pulling the large wooden doors of the library shut behind her as she left.

"Naomi, dear, we need to talk," Joyce began as she walked over to the sofa and sat down, causing Naomi to move from her reclined position.

"Am I about to get the money you promised me?" she asked as she quickly closed the magazine and tossed it aside.  "I've been stuck in this house for months and it doesn't seem like we're any closer to getting our hands on that inheritance than we were when I first moved in."

"Patience, dear.  Patience."  Joyce paused and smiled.  "We're both about to get everything that we want."

Meanwhile, out in the hallway, a sly and suspicious Helga had her ear pressed against the doors, trying to listen to every word.

CALLISON PUBLICATIONS - CHARLES'S OFFICE

"Agnes, I want that letter typed up and mailed out as soon as possible," Charles ordered as his new secretary, Agnes Martin, hurried towards the door.

"Yes, sir, Mr. Callison," she replied as she turned the knob to exit only to run right into Trevor Callison.  "Oh...um...Trevor -- I mean, Mr. Callison -- I'm...sorry."

"It's okay, Agnes," Trevor laughed.  "I should've watched where I was going."

As Agnes closed the door behind herself, Trevor walked over and sat down in one of the chairs in front of his father's desk.

"So, how's Agnes doing?"  Trevor asked, making conversation.

"Well, she's just getting started and she's a little nervous, but I think she'll do okay," Charles replied as he carefully went over the reports that were on his desk.  "Now, if I can just convince her that, even though she's got a business degree, she's got to start at the bottom, she'll do even better."

"She's not too keen on being a secretary?"

"She seems to have had it in her head that she could just wave a degree in front of me and start out at the top."  He let out a laugh as he recalled his first meeting with Agnes.  "I tried to explain to her that's not the way it works.  I think she's going to settle in just fine, though.  It's good to have a regular secretary again.  I've been through so many of them from the steno pool since Lorraine quit to have the baby."  Charles paused and looked up from his paper work.  "You know, son, you should have been at the house this morning.  Your grandmother decided to leave town a little early and came by to say good-bye."

"I know," Trevor laughed.  "She and Dorothea stopped by my apartment on the way to the train station."

"I should have guessed as much."  Charles went back to going over sales figures, but when he noticed that Trevor was being unusually quiet, he looked up at him again.  "Trevor, is something wrong?  You act like you've got something on your mind.  Is there something you'd like to talk about?"

"Well, Dad," Trevor began awkwardly, "actually, there is.  I...I want to talk to you about Grace."

"Son, I thought we discussed that already."  Charles leaned forward onto his desk as he spoke to him.  "If Grace has decided that she doesn't want to see you anymore, you should respect those wishes.  She's left town and if you keep obsessing about this, you're only going to end up making yourself sick over it."

"I'm already sick over it!"

"Trevor, leave this alone.  There are plenty of other girls out there to...."

"I don't want anyone else, Dad," he tried to explain.  "I love Grace.  I just can't...understand why she left so suddenly.  It just...doesn't make any sense."

Charles leaned back in his seat and sighed.  "A lot of things in life never make sense.  We just have to accept them and...."

"I will not accept this!"  Trevor paused and took a deep breath.  This was definitely not the way he'd intended on bringing up this topic with his father.  "Dad, I have to know what happened.  I have to know why she left."  He paused and looked down at the floor, unable to meet his father's intense stare.  "That's why...I need to ask you a favor."

"A favor?"  Charles eyed him curiously.  "What kind of favor?"

"I need to you to get in touch with your private detective in New York," Trevor explained.  "I want to hire him to find Grace."

ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR - MEETING ROOM

"Francis, I need you get that taken care of as soon as you can," Corinne Campbell said as she gathered up her things.  "The 4th of July Ball is only a few weeks away and there's still a lot of work to do."

"I'll get it done just as soon as I can."  Francis tucked the stack of papers under her arm and began to head for the door.

"Are you sure that you're going to have the time to get it done?"  Corinne eyed her suspiciously.  "I know you've had a lot going on lately what with your son's wedding and the move into that big new house of yours."

"Corinne, you know full well that the wedding was days ago and Charles and I have already finished our move.  If you don't think I can get this taken care of, why did you give it to me?"

"Simply because I don't have the time!"  Corinne glared at her, annoyed that the reason wasn't immediately obvious.  "Do you expect me to do all the work?  I've still got to talk to the florist and finalize the arrangements with them and contact the orchestra and...."

"I get the picture."  She nodded and sighed.  "I'll get everything taken care of.  Don't worry."

"Well, you better!" Corinne snapped.  "If this fundraiser doesn't go off perfectly, this auxiliary is going to be the laughing stock of the hospital and I refuse to go through that kind of embarrassment because of you."  She paused and glared at Francis again.  "Of course, after this past year, I'm sure you're used to being embarrassed in public."

Francis's jaw tightened and she opened her mouth to fire back a response, but immediately thought better of it.  She was in no mood to get into verbal altercation with Corinne today.

"I said I'd take care of it."  Without saying another word, Francis turned on her heel and stormed out into the hallway, nearly running right into Dr. Fred Rutherford in the process.

"Francis!" Fred exclaimed as he opened his arms wide so that he could give her a big hug.  "It seems like it's been ages!  Leticia and I barely got to say two words to you at the wedding because you were so tied up with the reception.  How are you doing?"

"I'm...fine," Francis stammered, unable to look at him.  She'd been working to avoid him for months and, for the most part, she'd been successful.  The last thing she'd wanted to be reminded of was her separation from Charles and her brief romantic involvement with Fred.

"Are you all right?"  He asked as he watched her closely.  "You're acting...a little strange."

"I'm fine," she muttered softly, still unable to look at him.

Not taking what she'd said as an acceptable or believable answer, Fred gently reached out and took her chin into his hand, turning her face so that he could look into her eyes.  The gesture caused Francis's breath to catch in her throat as her head began to spin with a thousand different conflicting thoughts and feelings.

Why did the mere sight of Fred still make her feel so strange?  Why did she really feel so uncomfortable around him?  She wasn't sure and it was the realization of those unanswered questions that suddenly made Francis feel more uncomfortable than before.

TO BE CONTINUED

TOMORROW

The walls of Springhill Manor have ears

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

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions