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

 

EPISODE #137 (Tuesday, 11/19/02) 
Same Day
June 1936 - Evening

RIGHT OUTSIDE THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE

"Oh, my gosh, Mags," Stanley Fitzpatrick gasped as she pulled away from their sudden kiss, "what was that for?"

"Because I wanted to," Maggie Callison said flatly.

"But...I...oh, gee."  He felt his face flush as he stammered and stuttered.  In the entire time they'd been dating, she'd never once kissed him and he was starting to feel like it was never going to happen.  But she did!  She did kiss him!  He just couldn't believe it.

"Stanley, are you just going to stand there with your mouth hanging open?"  She glared at him in annoyance.  "It wasn't that big a deal."

"Y-yes, it was."

"Honestly," she grumbled with a roll of her eyes, "you can be such a moron."

"Ah, gee, Mags!"  His shoulders slumped and he kicked at the ground.  "You kiss me and then you call me a moron.  What gives?"

Yes, Maggie thought to herself, what gives?  Why had she so impetuously kissed Stanley?  And furthermore, why was she so concerned about what Randy Lamont would think about it?

CALVIN'S HOME - LIVING ROOM

"Thanks for inviting me to dinner," Naomi Jackson said as sat on the sofa with her infant son, Aubrey, cradled in her arms.  "I was looking for an excuse to get out of that stuffy old castle tonight."

"I'm just glad that the Manchesters were kind enough to give you the night off."  Dr. Calvin Jackson poked his head in from the kitchen where he'd been busy preparing the night's dinner.

"I...oh...um...."  She winced slightly.  She often forgot that her "official" reason for living at Springhill Manor was that she was a maid for Dane and Sara Manchester, not that she was the mother of Sara's illegitimate step-brother.  Naomi was certain that if her brother knew the real reason behind her living arrangements, he'd be less than thrilled.

"The Manchesters are very nice people," she explained calmly as she shifted the weight of the baby from one arm to another.  "They're very understanding about family things."

"That's good," Calvin called out from the kitchen.  "Too many people just don't value the importance of family these days."  He walked into the living room, holding out a large wooden spoon filled with a sampling of dinner.  "Here, taste this," he said as he handed the spoon to her.  "I'm trying one of the recipes that Mamma mailed me from the Catskills."

"Hey, that's pretty good," she commented after taking a taste.  "With Mamma's help, you're turning into quite the cook."

"Well, a man's gotta eat, you know.  I can't have all my meals in that little diner around the corner."  He turned to walked back into the kitchen.  "I just hope I can get everything ready before Ruby gets here."

"I don't see why she's gotta join us," Naomi grumbled.  "I thought we were having a family dinner."

"As far as I'm concerned, Ruby is family."  He poked his head back in so that he could give a nod to emphasize his point.  "Mamma feels the same way.  Now, you listen to me, when Ruby gets here, I want you to be on your best behavior.  None of that backhanded talk you like to throw about, you hear me?"

"I don't understand what you see in that girl, anyway," she muttered half to herself.  "She's gonna be nothin' but trouble.  You mark my words."

Just then, a knock came at the door.  Full of anticipation, Calvin rushed back into the living room, drying his hands with a dishtowel, and headed for the door.

"Ruby, you made it," he smiled as he opened the door.

"I'm sorry I'm late," Ruby Thomas sighed warmly and stepped into the house.  "I had a few last minute things to take care of for Mrs. Stokes -- I mean Mrs. Rutherford -- before I could leave."  She stopped when she saw his sister sitting on the sofa.  "Hello, Naomi.  It's good to see you again."

"I bet it is," she mumbled under her breath.

"The only thing that matters is you made it."  Calvin wrapped his arms around her tightly and gave her a big hug.  "And dinner's just about ready, too."

As Calvin led Ruby into the living room, Naomi sat with her eyes locked on her brother's girlfriend.  He'd warned Naomi to be on her best behavior, but she smiled slyly with the knowledge that "best behavior" was a relative term.

THE STOKES MANSION - LIVING ROOM

"Judith!" Leticia Rutherford called out as she raced to her daughter's side.  She knelt down next to Judith, who had collapsed on the floor, and shook her.  "Judith, are you all right?  Judith!"

"O-oh...I...I...."  Judith Linford slowly opened her eyes and tried to focus on the sound of her mother's voice.  "What...what happened?"

"Dear, you fainted." Leticia explained as she, along with her other daughter Janet Stokes, tried to help Judith to her feet.  "What's wrong?  Do you feel ill?  Should I call a doctor?"

"No, I'm...fine."  Now standing shakily on her own two feet, she pushed both her mother and sister away.  "I just...need a drink of...water.  Mother, call Ruby and have her...."

"I'll get it," Janet spoke up quickly and hurried out of the room.

"Ruby's gone out for the night," Leticia explained as she tried to help her daughter over to a chair.  "She was on her way out when Jillian called."  She paused as she inspected Judith closely.  "Are you sure you're all right?  People don't just faint for no reason."

"I said that I'm fine!" she snapped angrily.  "I think that I should know better than anyone else if something's wrong with me!"

"Judith, here's some water," Janet spoke up as she hurried back into the room.  After handing the glass to her sister, she took a step back and looked at her intently without saying a word.

Judith took several long sips of water before becoming acutely aware that both her mother and sister were watching her closely.  "Would everyone just stop staring at me!" she snapped angrily.  "What do I have to do to convince you that I'm fine?  I just stood up too quickly, that's all."

"Maybe I should call a doctor," Leticia said softly and reached over to gently lay her hand on her daughter's forehead to check for a temperature, only to have Judith swat it away like an annoying fly.  "Let me call Fred at the hospital.  He can come right home and...."

"If you think I'm going to let that quack examine me, you're out of your mind!"

"Judith, Fred's a very respected doctor," Leticia pointed out sternly, "and he's your step-father."

"Don't remind me," Judith grumbled.

"Janet," Leticia whispered softly as she leaned over to her, "you keep your sister still and I'm going to call Fred.  Whether she likes it or not, she needs to be looked at."

"I'll...do my best," Janet muttered, her eyes darting to Judith.

Once Leticia had hurried out of the room, Janet stood in silence, not wanting to broach any sort of topic that might provoke Judith.

"I don't know why she's getting herself so excited," Judith finally spoke as she slowly felt the color returning to her cheeks.  "I told her I was fine."

"She's just worried about you, that's all," Janet explained.  "Mothers worry about their children."

"I wouldn't know," Judith shot back.  "Fate took my chance of being a mother away from me."

Janet winced because of her sister's words and because of the role that Janet knew she'd played in the loss of Judith's child.

"Of course, you know all about that, don't you, Janet?" she asked coolly, her eyes narrowing.  "After all you were there."

"How many times do I have to tell you that what you remembered is wrong?" Janet shouted angrily.  "I was there after you fell!  After!"

Janet's outburst caused Judith's eyes to grow wide with shock.  "For someone who keeps insisting that they don't know anything about my fall, you sure get quite upset when I bring it up."  She kept her eyes locked on her sister.  "Tell me, dear, why is that?  What is it about my baby that makes you, of all people, so upset?

"N-nothing!  I'm not...upset."

"Yes, you are."  Judith, feeling her strength returning, gripped the arms of the chair and slowly pushed herself to her feet.  "You're hiding something, Janet.  I'm sure of it!"

"No, I'm...."

"And I'm going to find out exactly what it is!"

Janet felt her heart begin to beat faster.  Suddenly, Judith lunged at her and grabbed her tightly by the wrist.

"Tell me!" Judith demanded.  "Tell me what you're hiding!  Tell me what happened the night I fell!"

Janet's eyes filled with fear and terror.  She couldn't tell Judith that she was the one responsible for the death of her baby.  Janet couldn't tell her that she'd gone temporarily out of her head and pushed her down the stairs.  She just couldn't!

RIGHT OUTSIDE THE WISHING WELL SODA SHOPPE

"I don't have any idea what you're talking about," Maggie muttered, unable to look at Stanley.

"Ah, c'mon, Mags!"  He reached out and grabbed hold of her arm, forcing her to look at him.  "We've been going out for months, now, and I can barely get you to let me hold your hand let alone kiss you."

"So?"

"So, not only did you kiss me tonight, but...well...you really kissed me."  He looked at her intently, still in shock over what had happened.

"Isn't it a perfectly natural thing for a girl to kiss her boyfriend?"  Even though she was asking Stanley the question, she wasn't looking at him.  She was trying to turn to look back over her shoulder and into The Well.

"Of course, it is," he agreed.  "But it's not normal for you."

"Stanley, why do you always have to question everything?" she snapped angrily.  "I kissed you because I wanted to kiss you.  Why are you making so much out of it?"

"I question everything because my pop's a cop!  It's in my blood to question everything!"

"Well, just drop it!"

"I swear," he grumbled with exasperation.  "Women!  I don't think I'm ever gonna figure you out."

"Good," Maggie mumbled as she finally managed to pull away from him long enough to look back into The Well.  Through the glass she saw Randy Lamont, still huddled up close to Eliza Campbell.  But he was looking right at her!

As Maggie's cheeks turned a deep crimson, she realized that Randy had a direct line of sight out the front glass of The Well and he'd seen everything.  Suddenly, Maggie realized that she might have made the biggest mistake of her young life.

CALVIN'S HOME - KITCHEN

"You've outdone yourself," Ruby said in between bites of dinner.  "Honey, you really are a wonderful cook."

"I had a little help," Calvin confessed modestly.

Ruby's eyes immediately went to Naomi.  Certainly she couldn't have....

"I owe any cooking skills I might have to Mamma," he explained before taking a sip of his tea.  "I always spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen and she insisted that I learn how to cook.  She sent me some new recipes in the mail today and I thought that I'd try one of them out."

"Well, you've clearly learned from the best."  Ruby reached out, took his hand, and smiled.  "To be honest, I'd thought for a minute that Naomi had been the one who'd helped you."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Naomi snapped as she glared at Ruby.

"I...I didn't mean anything bad by it," Ruby blushed and then quickly turned to look at Calvin, frightened that she'd said something wrong.  "I just assumed...."

"Well, don't you ever assume anything about me!  You hear?"

"Naomi, that'll be enough," Calvin spoke up as he shot his sister a look of warning.  "She only guessed that you were the one who'd helped because you're here.  Why do you have to assume that everything's always about you?"

"Because she's always trying to find some kind of fault with me!"

"With you?"  Ruby's eyes grew wide, not able to believe what she was hearing.  "You're the one who's always trying to find fault with me!"

"I don't really have to look hard for that, now do I?"  Naomi smugly leaned back into her chair.

"I said that will be enough!"  Calvin's eyes burned with anger and disappointment.  He'd prayed that they'd be able to have an enjoyable meal without incident, but clearly Naomi was determined to make sure that that didn't happen.

"Oh, sure!  Take her side!"  Naomi jumped up out of her seat in anger.  "Take her side like you always take her side!"

"I'm not taking sides!"   He banged his fists onto the table as if he were trying to drive the point home.  "There aren't any sides to take!"

"Please, Naomi.  I didn't mean anything by it."  Ruby looked up at her and bit her lip.  "Honestly."

"Now, could you please sit back down so that we can finish dinner in peace?"  Calvin gave his sister a stern look that she knew better than to ignore.

"Oh. all right," Naomi muttered in defeat and then again took her seat.

"Naomi, I'm...sorry if I said something to upset you," Ruby apologized softly.  "I didn't mean to.  I'd really like for us to be friends."  She paused and inhaled deeply.  "So...how's the baby?  He's been awfully quiet tonight."

"Aubrey's a good boy," Naomi explained with a hint of pride.  "He's never any trouble.  In fact, you almost forget that he's even around."

"If I had a baby, I don't think I'd ever be able to forget that he was around.  I don't care how good or quiet he was."  Ruby sighed wistfully at the prospect of motherhood someday.

"Are you trying to say that I ignore my baby?"  Naomi eyed her suspiciously.

"No, I wasn't," Ruby replied cautiously.  "I was just saying...."

"Naomi, just settle down."  Calvin glared at her.  She'd promised not to start any trouble.  "That's not what she was implying and you know it!"

"Oh, all right," Naomi muttered with a scowl.  After a few moments, she allowed herself to relax a little and her features began to slowly soften.  "So, Ruby, let's talk about you for a bit."

"Me?"

"Yes."  Naomi put her elbows up onto the table and leaned forward, resting her chin in her hands as she looked directly at Ruby.  "Tell me about your life working for the Stokes family.  Is it really as exciting as it sounds?"

"Exciting?"  Ruby furrowed her brow, not quite understanding what Naomi was asking.  "I wouldn't exactly call it exciting.  It is work, after all.  I mean, Mrs. Stokes -- err, Rutherford -- is a very nice and fair employer -- her husband and daughter can be a little over demanding, though -- but it is work.  I have my duties to perform and I try not to get involved in their personal matters."

"I see."  Naomi smiled slyly as she leaned back in her chair and sat up straight.  "I guess it's hard to find much excitement in mopping floors and scrubbing toilets."

Ruby winced slightly.  "I'm sure you understand.  You do many of the same duties for the Manchesters."

"My job is absolutely nothing like your job!" Naomi snapped.  "You're just a common maid!"

"And what's that supposed to mean?"  Ruby glared at her.  "You're a maid, too!  I don't know how you can act so high and mighty when you and I are exactly alike.  We have the same job and do the same chores and...."

"You and I are nothin' alike," Naomi laughed.  "I don't know whatever gave you that idea.  My job is much different from yours.  You're just a maid.  My job is much more than that."

"Naomi...." Calvin spoke up with a warning shake of his head.

"When are you going to realize that you're not good enough for Calvin?" Naomi continued, completely ignoring her brother's eyes.  "He deserves better than you."  She turned to address him.  "Whatever happened to that nurse you wrote me about last spring?  She sounded like just the perfect girl for you."

"She and I were just friends," he explained calmly, his eyes darting to Ruby.  "She got married last summer and moved to Huntington."

"Oh, Calvin," she sighed with disappointment, "why are you always letting the good ones get away?"

"I really don't have to sit here and listen to this."  Ruby threw her napkin down onto the table and jumped up out of her seat.  "I think I need to go home."

"Ruby, I'm sorry," Calvin said as he quickly followed her out of the kitchen, throwing his sister an angry look in the process.  "I sorry about Naomi and..."

"No, Calvin, you don't have anything to be sorry about," she explained as she headed for the door.  "It's that horrible sister of yours who should be sorry.  I don't know why she doesn't like me, but I'm surely not going to sit around and listen to her try to deliberately insult me and get under my skin."

"Maybe if I have a talk with her she'll..."

"A talk with her?"  Ruby laughed weakly.  "All you've been doing for months is talking to her.  She doesn't listen!"

"Ruby, I..."  He reached out to take her into his arms, but she threw up her hands, pushing him away.

"No, I really need to go."

As soon as the front door closed behind Ruby, and angry Calvin spun on his heel and stormed back into the kitchen.

"What the devil do you think you're doing?" he snapped angrily, a fire in his eyes.  "You promised me that you'd be on your best behavior!"

"I was!"  Naomi shook her head as if she didn't know what he were talking about.  "I was friendly and chatty and attentive and...."

"You set out to make Ruby feel uncomfortable and inferior ever since we sat down to dinner."

"Oh, I did not," Naomi laughed as if what he was accusing her of was the most preposterous thing in the entire world.

"Yes, you did!"

"It's not my fault that she's so thin skinned that every little thing I say upsets her," she grumbled as she folded her arms across her chest and then stuck out her bottom lip in a pout.  "Maybe she really isn't good enough for...."

"You listen to me," Calvin said firmly as he grabbed his sister's arm, dragging her to her feet, "don't you ever-- and I mean ever -- talk that way to Ruby again.  I love her very much and I will not have you treating her like this!"

"Oh, I see how it is!  You're taking some total stranger's side over your own sister!"

"She's not a stranger!"  Calvin inhaled deep as he tried to calm himself down before speaking again.  "Listen to me, if you can't treat Ruby with any kind of decency, then maybe you should stay away from her."

"Maybe you should follow your own advice.  Stay away from Ruby," Naomi advised sternly.  "That girl's trouble with a capital 'T.'  I'm certain of it!"

THE STOKES MANSION - LIVING ROOM

"That's strange," Leticia said as she hurried back into the room, interrupting the the tense conversation that Judith and Janet were having.

"What's strange, Mother?" Janet asked as she turned her attention away from her sister.  "Did you get hold of Fred?  Is he coming right home to take a look at Judith?"

"I don't want that man anywhere near me!" Judith snapped, her eyes still locked on Janet.

"Well, I guess that's irrelevant, now," Leticia muttered and then looked away nervously as she began to wring her hands.

"Mother, what is it?"  Janet asked and reached out to take her mother's hand.  "Is something wrong?  What did Fred say?"

"I...I didn't talk to him," she explained awkwardly, her eyes moving to Judith.  "The nurse at the hospital said that he wasn't there and hadn't been...."

"Wasn't there?"  Judith's eyes grew wide with shock.  "But I thought that you said he was a busy doctor who was dedicated to healing the sick and the infirm!  If he's not at the hospital, then where is he?"

"Gee, Judith, you're awfully concerned about Fred's whereabouts," Janet commented quickly.  "Just a minute ago you acted like you didn't even want to admit that he existed and now you're worried about where he is."

"It's not that I'm worried about him," she smiled slyly.  "It's just that if he's lied to Mother about where he was supposed to be, tonight, then I'm worried about her."

"I'm sure that Fred didn't lie about anything," Leticia said firmly as she glared at her eldest daughter.  "Maybe I just...misunderstood him."

"Yes," Judith muttered, "I'm sure that's all it is."

As they contemplated Fred Rutherford's whereabouts, they turned in the direction of the sound of the front door opening.  Moments later, the "missing" doctor walked into the room.

"Oh, Fred, there you are!" Leticia exclaimed as she rushed over to him, throwing her arms around him and hugging him tightly.

"Good evening, dear," he smiled warmly and kissed her on the cheek.  "I'm sorry I'm late, but I had a lot of things to get done at the hospital before I could leave."

Judith immediately arched an eyebrow in response to his explanation.  "That's odd," she began slowly.  "Mother just called the hospital for you and she was told that you weren't there and hadn't been there all night."

"W-what?"  Fred felt his heart jump up into his throat as his eyes darted to Judith.  "What...do you mean?  Of course, I was there."

"The nurse I talk to said that she hadn't seen you all night long and you hadn't signed in."  Leticia explained, never once moving her eyes from him.  "I thought that you'd said you were going to the hospital, but I guess I misunderstood you."

"I did tell you I was going to the hospital," he explained calmly.  "I was there all night."  He slowly began to pace around the room, hoping to allow himself some time to think of a good explanation.  "I bet it was that new nurse."

"New nurse?" Janet asked.

"Yes," he nodded.  "There's a new nurse on the second floor.  Just started this week, I think.  She doesn't know who everyone is yet.  So, maybe, she didn't know who you were asking for.  Maybe she got me confused with someone else."

"I...guess she could have," Leticia muttered, his story making sense.  "After all, it was the second floor nurses' station that my phone call connected to."

"See!  That must be it!"  He smiled broadly in relief as his eyes again moved to Judith.  "But why were you trying to get in touch with me?  Is something wrong?"

"Oh, yes!" Leticia exclaimed as she remembered the nature of her call.  "Judith collapsed earlier and I'm afraid that she's taking ill.  I just wanted to you come home and take a look at her to see if there's anything wrong."

"I'd be glad to."  Fred walked over to where Judith was sitting.

"If you so much as lay a hand on me, I'll break it," Judith hissed.  "I'm fine.  I don't need a doctor.  Even if I did, I'd make an appointment with Dr. Campbell.  Not this witch doctor!"

"Judith!" Leticia chastised sternly before rushing over to take her husband's hand.  "Oh, Fred, I'm sorry.  I just...don't know what comes over her sometimes."

"It's quite all right, dear," he smiled, his eyes still focused on Judith.  "Like you said, she's a little under the weather.  I'm sure she's acting like this because she's not feeling well."  He paused and took a deep breath.  "Well, darling, it's late and I'm very tired from work.  I think I'm going to head up to bed."

"I think I'm going to join you," Leticia said warmly and then followed her husband out of the room, leaving Judith and Janet alone.

"You should have let Fred take a look at you," Janet spoke up dryly.  "After all, you made him sound perfectly qualified."

"What do you mean by that?"

"What better patient for a witch doctor than a witch!"  And without another word, Janet stormed out of the room leaving Judith to seethe in anger.

"Oh, you can act as smug as you want, sister dear," Judith muttered to herself angrily, "but I'm certain that both you and the good doctor are hiding something.  And I'm going to find out exactly what you're up to."

TO BE CONTINUED

TOMORROW

The newlyweds return!

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

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions