produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #134 (Thursday, 11/14/02) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
June 1936 - Afternoon


ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR

Albanyville General HospitalFrancis Callison"Are you all right?"  Dr. Fred Rutherford  asked as he watched Francis Callison 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.  The feeling of his hand on her face startled her and she jerked away from him.

"What is it, Francis?" he asked her again.  "Why are you acting so uncomfortable around me?"

"I'm not...uncomfortable.  It's just that...."

"Does the sight of me make you think about what could have been between us?"  He examined her reactions carefully.  "Is that it?  Is there a part of you that thinks you might have made the wrong choice?"

As Fred silently waited for a response, Francis looked away from him as she searched for an answer that would explain exactly how she felt.


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SPRINGHILL MANOR - FOYER

54 Spring Lake Dr.Helga Grimm struggled to remain absolutely silent as she pressed her ear against the large wooden doors of the library.  Joyce Preston and Naomi Jackson were having what appeared to be a very important conversation and Helga was determined to find out what they were discussing.

Ever since Naomi had come into the house, everything had seemed in disarray.  In fact, Joyce and Naomi had shared private "chats" on more than one occasion.  Although Helga wasn't one to pry into the personal affairs of the Manchesters -- in fact, she couldn't stand either Sara or her mother -- she was more than a little curious about exactly what was going on.

Trying to stay very still, Helga listened carefully.  Unfortunately, the heavy wooden doors blocked out a great deal of the sound -- something she was certain they were built to do.  However, as she listened closer, she was certain that she heard the words "trust fund" and "baby."  In what context, she couldn't be sure, but....

"What are you doing?" Sara Manchester spoke up, having come up behind Helga without the housekeeper knowing.  "Eavesdropping?"

Helga Grimm"I...um...." Helga stammered, immediately knowing that she'd been caught.  "This door has been squeaking, lately, and I was just seeing if I could take care of it."

Sara stared at her, not believing a word of it.  "You were eavesdropping!  After all the grief you gave me over spying on Mr. Preston for Mr. Callison, you have the nerve to do the same thing!  Who's in there?  Who are you trying to spy on?"

"I'm not spying," Helga insisted firmly.  "I told you that...."

"I know.  I know," Sara sighed with a disbelieving shake of her head.  "The door is squeaky."  She paused for a moment, folded her arms across her chest, and stared at Helga.  Finally, after several moments of considering what the housekeeper had said, Sara spoke again.  "I'm going to forget about this if you promise never to spy on people in this house again.  This is my home and I expect anyone in my home to have a certain level of privacy."

"Yes, Mrs. Manchester," Helga nodded, trying to conceal her annoyance.

Sara Manchester"Now, I think it's time for you to go start dinner."

"Yes, ma'am."

As Helga headed off for the kitchen, Sara reached for the door knob to the library and prepared to enter.  However, a sudden rise in the tone of the conversation inside immediately caught her attention.  More accurately, it was the mention of her own name!

Hearing her name mentioned in such a tone struck her as odd.  Curious about the context of the conversation, Sara took a deep breath and carefully pressed her own ear against the door.


ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR

Albanyville General Hospital"I was just thinking about Leticia," Francis explained awkwardly, "and how we've gotten to see so little of one another since you two married."

"Does it bother you that I got married?"  Fred kept his eyes locked on her as if he were waiting for some sort of indication about her true feelings concerning his sudden marriage.  "I mean, so soon after you and I were...well...involved."

"Bother me?"  She furrowed her brow as she considered his choice of words.  "Well, no, I wouldn't exactly put it like that, but...."

"Yes?"

"I just have trouble...understanding how...."  She paused for a moment as she tried to choose her own words carefully.  "Well, you proposed marriage to me, but you eloped with Leticia only days later."

"You're not jealous, are you?" Fred laughed as he enjoyed the obvious fact that he'd been on Francis's mind.

"Oh, no.  Not at all." she replied quickly.  "I just find it all rather...well, odd, I guess you could say.  You professed your love for me and proposed marriage, but then...."

Dr. Fred Rutherford"But then you told me how much you loved your husband and turned down my marriage proposal," he reminded.  "Look, Francis, Leticia and I had gotten to be rather close during the time you and I were seeing one another.  Especially after her husband's death.  She seemed to need someone and my heart went out to her."

"Needing someone isn't a reason to get married."

"No, you're right," he agreed.  "But it was more than that.  I...didn't want to see that at the time because of you, but...well...when you ended our relationship, it made me realize some things and...."

"Well, well, well," Corinne Campbell spoke up as she stepped out of the conference room.  "What do we have here?"

"Hello, Corinne," Fred said coolly as he tried to ignore his boss's wife and keep his focus only on Francis.

"Doctor, are you trying to practice your bedside manner?"  Corinne's eyes darted from Fred to Francis and their awkward, uncomfortable demeanors immediately told her that she'd interrupted a very personal conversation.  "I thought that your marriage to Leticia Stokes might have put an end to all of that."  She looked at Francis and smiled smugly.  "I guess I was mistaken."

"Corinne, I don't know what you're thinking, but I can assure you that you're mistaken!" Francis insisted firmly as she took several steps away from Fred.  "He's an old friend whom I haven't seen much of lately and we're catching up."

Corinne Campbell"Old friend?"  Corinne cocked an eyebrow as she considered the choice of words.  "Well, if that's what they're calling it, these days...."

"Corinne, don't you have someplace to be?" Fred asked pointedly.  "Like a coven?"

"Well!" she snapped in offense.  "That was rather rude."  She threw her shoulders back defiantly and glared at both Fred and Francis.  "It seems to me like some people don't value the importance of marriage."

"I'm not going to stand here and listen to this from you," Fred spoke up as his jaw tightened.  "I don't care who your husband is.  Francis and I were having a private conversation that we would like to continue.  So, if you don't mind...."

"I see."  Corinne's eyes moved from Fred to Francis, yet again.  "Well, let me let you get back to your little...whatever you want to call it."  She paused and smiled with false warmth.  "You know I've never been one to pry."

And with those words, Corinne turned and quickly walked down the hallway, leaving Fred and Francis alone again.

Once Corinne was out of earshot, Fred glanced down at his watch and noted the time.  "Francis, dear, I'm due for a break in a little bit.  I could always take it early and we could grab a bite of lunch in the cafeteria.  Or, better yet, I could take you to The Gardens and we could...."

Francis Callison"I...I really can't," she spoke up nervously.  "I've got...a lot of things to do today.  I've got to go over to the old house and take care of some things.  There's a lot to do before Reginald and Jillian get back from their honeymoon."

"I understand," he smiled, not moving his eyes from her for even a second.  "Then we'll have to plan on you and Charles getting together with me and Leticia for dinner some evening."

"Yes," she agreed with a smile, "let's do that."

And, after another smile, Francis turned and walked away leaving Fred to follow her with his eyes until she'd turned the corner and disappeared out of sight.  Once she was gone, he smiled slyly to himself.  Was it just his imagination or was Francis more troubled by his marriage to Leticia than she'd tried to let on.  Perhaps the happily married Mrs. Callison didn't have the roguish doctor quite as out of her system as she tried to lead herself to believe.  It was that thought that quickly made the gears inside Fred's head begin to turn.