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

 

EPISODE #141 (Monday, 3/3/03) 
Same Day
June 1936 - Afternoon

ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR MEETING ROOM

"Dr. Campbell, what's this all about?" Jillian Callison asked with concern.  "What's so important that you've been trying to get in touch with me?"

"Do you remember those tests you had done before the wedding?" Dr. Talbot Campbell asked as he closed the door behind them.

"Yes," she nodded.  "Both Reginald and I had complete physicals."  She froze as her eyes filled with horror.  "There's...nothing wrong with him, is there?  He's not sick is he?"

"No, Jillian, your husband is the picture of perfect health."

"Then what..."  Her hand flew up to her mouth when she realized that if he wasn't referring to Reginald, then he was referring to her.  "Oh, my god," she gasped.  "What's wrong?  What did those tests show?  Am I sick?"

"No, you're not sick," Talbot laughed.  "And nothing's wrong with you.  Granted, I'm sure that you'll think the timing isn't exactly the best, but...."

"Dr. Campbell, if I'm not sick, then what are you talking about?"

"Jillian, I have the pleasure of telling you...."  He paused and took a deep breath, punctuated by a smile.  "That you and your husband are going to have a baby." 

SPRINGHILL MANOR - KITCHEN ENTRANCE

As Ruby Thomas came up the back walk, she couldn't stop fuming.  The way Dr. Rutherford had treated her earlier had made her very upset.  With the intention of clearing her head, she'd gone out to run errands, but on the way into town, she decided that she needed to put the pent up energy that Dr. Rutherford's comments had caused to good use.  She needed to take care of something she'd been meaning to do for some time -- go out of her way to make friends with Naomi.

Taking a deep breath, she rapped lightly on the door to the servants' entrance and waited for an answer.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, the door swung open to reveal Helga Grimm on the other side.

"Can I help you?" Helga asked as she inspected Ruby carefully.  "We don't usually expect deliveries this time of day."

"I'm not making a delivery.  I'm here to see...a friend.  I hope that's okay?  I mean, if she's busy, I can come back.  I wouldn't want to get her in any trouble."

"Friend?"  Helga tilted her head as she tried to figure out who the young woman was referring to.  "Oh!  You must be a friend of Naomi's."

"Yes," Ruby nodded uncomfortably.  "May I...come in?"

"Very well," Helga sighed in annoyance and then stepped aside so that Ruby could walk through the back entrance, through the pantry, and into the kitchen.  "Is she expecting you?"

"Um...no.  I don't believe so."

Helga stood with her arms folded across her chest and then glanced in the direction of the hallway that lead to the front of the house.  "She doesn't get very many visitors, you know."

"I'm...sorry if I've come at a bad time."  Ruby hung her head as she grew increasingly worried about the timing of her visit and that she'd get Naomi in trouble -- something that wouldn't help in her quest to make peace with her boyfriend's sister in the least.

"Bad time?  Why would you say that?"

"Well, I'm sure that she's got a lot of duties to take care of.  I wouldn't want to pull her away from her work and get her in trouble with the Manchesters."

"Work?  Naomi?"  In spite of herself, Helga couldn't help but laugh.  "That girl wouldn't know work if it walked up and slapped her in the face."

"What?"  Ruby shook her head, not quite sure she was understanding what Helga was saying.  "Then how...does she manage to keep her job?  I'm a maid for the Stokes family who're just up the road a bit and I know what kind of work it is.  Surely, she can't...."

"Some maid," Helga grumbled under her breath.  "All she does is sit on her behind listening to those blasted serials on the radio."

Ruby stood silently, more confused than ever.  How could Naomi work as a maid, yet not do any work?  What kind of employers were the Manchesters if they let the hired help sit around and not do anything?  All of it had Ruby very confused.  However, she couldn't ignore the feeling that something wasn't right about the story that Naomi had fed both her and Calvin.

ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR CORRIDOR

Dr. Fred Rutherford walked down the hallway, not quite sure where he was going or what he was doing.  Instead of focusing on his afternoon rounds, his mind was consumed with thoughts about the mysterious envelope that he'd received earlier.  An envelope, incidentally, that revealed that a long-thought-destroyed file on him still existed and that someone was using that file to blackmail him.  But who?

As he walked, he nervously looked at each person he passed.  Could it be someone in the hospital?  Did one of them know things about him and wanted to use that knowledge to their advantage now that he was married to Leticia Stokes and had access to the Stokes fortune?  He shook his head.  No, that didn't make sense.  How would one of them know anything?  Furthermore, how could one of them have gotten their hands on that file?  After all, it had been destroyed by Sammy Benedict -- or so Fred had thought.

Sammy!  Maybe that's who'd sent the envelope.  Maybe he'd lied that he'd destroyed it and had actually kept it, planning on using it later.  That would explain why Sammy had been so willing to disregard Stephen Lake's orders to have him killed -- an action that Fred had found curious at the time, but hadn't been about to question.  Maybe....

"And you're not even going to say 'hello'?" Nurse Donna Allison asked as she stood in front of him, her clipboard held in her arms, tightly pressed to her chest.

"Oh...um...hello," he stammered, startled out of his consuming thoughts.  "I'm sorry.  I...didn't see you."

"Obviously," she laughed.  When he seemed reluctant to continue the conversation further, she eyed him carefully.  "Are you all right?  You seem...preoccupied with something?"

"Oh, no, I'm fine," he covered quickly, putting on a bright smile in hopes of hiding the worries that he was experiencing.  "Just thinking about a patient."

"Ah, I see."  She paused, even though she still wasn't sure that was all it was, and took a deep breath.  "Well, aren't you going to congratulate me?"

"Congratulate you?  For what?"

"The head nurse moved me up here to the third floor," she explained with a sly smile.  "Now, my station is right down the hall from your office."

"How convenient."  The smug grin on his face told her that he was as pleased with that development as she was.  However, it quickly faded when he glanced down at his watch.  "Look, can we continue this conversation later?  In private?"

"Of course."

"I've got to get caught up on my rounds," he muttered, pulling a file out from underneath his arm.  "I feel like I've been behind today since I walked in the door."

"I understand.  I'll...talk to you later."

As Fred hurried on down the hallway, determined to finish his rounds and keep his mind focused only on work, Donna's thoughts became just as filled with thoughts as Fred's was.  However, her thoughts were about Fred's odd behavior when she first saw him.  Something was definitely wrong.  Despite what he'd told her, she was sure of it and she was determined to find out exactly what it was.

REGINALD & JILLIAN'S HOME - FOYER

As she struggled to hold all of the shopping bags and packages that filled her arms, Jillian pushed the front door open and stepped into the foyer.  Dropping everything to the floor, she let out a weary sigh.  It had seemed like she'd been on the go all day -- a stop here, a stop there -- and, as a result, she was nearly worn out.  However, she couldn't erase the joyous smile on her face.

"Well, there you are!" her husband Reginald said as he came into the foyer to greet her.  "I was beginning to wonder where you were."

"Reginald!" she exclaimed and then flew into his arms to give him a big kiss.  "What are you doing here?"

"I live here, remember?"

"But...you should still be at the office!  I wasn't expecting you home for another couple of hours."

"I took the rest of the day off.  I could stand to be away from my new wife for a minute more."  His eyes moved to the pile of shopping bags that set by the door.  "Looks like you've been busy today."

"Oh, those."  She blushed and bit her lip when she realized that he was talking about her purchases.  "I...um...had some time after the auxiliary meeting so I went to Lerner's and picked up a few things."

"A few?"  He laughed as he walked over and picked up a bag so that he could see what she'd bought.  "Did you buy some new things for the house?  Some curtains or some knickknacks or something?"

"No, not exactly."

Reginald set the bag on the credenza by the stairs and reached inside, pulling out a tiny pair of baby booties and a rattle.  After making a curious face, he sighed and shook his head.

"Jillian, honestly, I know how you like to buy things for little Mikey, but don't you think you're going to spoil him?  Surely, Douglas and Lorraine don't want you doing so much for...."

"Those aren't...for Mikey."  She bit her lip again as she clasped her hands tightly together in front of her.  She was about to burst with excitement.

"Well, who could they be for?  I mean, we don't know anyone else who has a baby."  He paused as an idea struck him.  "Is someone we know going to have a baby?"  As he sifted through the contents of another shopping bag -- discovering that it, too, contained only baby things -- he searched his brain for possible potential parents that they might know.  "Let's see...Dane and Sara?  No, you aren't close enough to Sara to go out of your way like this.  I know it's not either one of your sisters."  He paused again.  "Stephanie?  Are Paddy and Steph...?"

"No, it's not Paddy and Stephanie," Jillian laughed and then walked over to take his hand so that she could lead him into the living room.

"Then who?"

After sitting down on the sofa, she motioned for him to join her.  His face was still full of confusion, but Jillian's nearly glowed.

"You know how I had both of us take those physicals before we got married?"

"Yes," he nodded.  "You said that you wanted to get the 'in sickness and in health' part taken care of."  He let out a small bemused laugh.  "So?"

"Well, after the meeting was over, I ran into Dr. Campbell," she began to carefully explain.  "It seems that he got back some test results that I didn't even realize that he'd had done."

"Test results?  Honey, you're not sick, are you?"

"No....not sick."  She looked at him tenderly and smiled again.  "Expecting.  We're the ones who're going to have a baby."

"W-what?  Do you mean...."  His jaw dropped.  This was definitely news he hadn't even considered.  "You're....I mean we're going to have a...a baby?"

"Yes," she nodded as she grinned from ear to ear.  "A baby.  Now, I know that we just got married and it's a little too soon but...."  She bit her lip and eyed him with concern.  "I hope you're not upset."

"Upset?  Why in the world would I be upset?"  He was still stunned, but the news was starting to sink in.  "My god, Jillian, we're going to have a baby!  This is the...best news I've ever heard in my entire life!"

Overcome by a sense of joy and happiness, he took his wife and expectant mother of his child into his arms and kissed her deeply.  This had truly turned into one of the best days of their lives.

ALBANYVILLE GENERAL HOSPITAL - THIRD FLOOR NURSES STATION

"Fay, take these files down to the lab for me," Talbot said as he handed them to Nurse Fay Rutledge.  "And make sure you bring back those test results for Mrs. Marceau."

"Yes, Dr. Campbell," Fay nodded and then quickly hurried off to do as he'd requested.

No sooner had the doors of elevator one closed behind her, the doors of elevator two opened so that Judith Linford could step out into the hallway.

"Talbot!" she called out as she tried to get his attention.  "Talbot, I need to talk to you."

"Yes, Judith, what is it?" he asked, both surprised with and curious about her visit.  "You're not feeling sick again, are you?  I talked to your mother the other day and she mentioned something about you having a fainting spell?"

"Oh,  no, that was nothing."  She hurried over to him and grabbed his arm, startling him with her urgency.  "This is much more important."

"Then...what is it?"  He gently took her by the arm and guided her towards his office so that they could have more privacy.

"I need to...talk to you about Fred Rutherford," she explained in a voice just above a whisper as if she were afraid that someone might overhear.  "I need to ask you a few things."

"About Dr. Rutherford?"  Talbot shut the door of his office behind them and then shook his head, not sure about the direction of the conversation.  "If you have a question, why don't you just ask him?  He's married to your mother and you live in the same house, after all."

"That's the problem!" she asserted.  "How she can be married to such a lowlife is beyond me.  I mean, Daddy must be turning over in his grave and...."

"Judith, I think that your mother's marriage is really something that's between them.  It really isn't any of your concern."

"None of my concern?"  Her eyes grew wide with surprise as if his comment was the most illogical thing in the world.  "She's my mother!  That makes it my concern."  Pausing to take a deep breath, she decided to use a different tactic and lowered her voice until it was nearly breathy and seductive.  "Talbot, dear, surely you can understand my position.  Family is so desperately important to me and...well...after we lost Daddy, it's come to mean even more to me."  Lowering her head slightly, she tried to take on her best 'little girl' quality -- the same quality she'd always used to get her way with her late father.  "Isn't there anything about him you could tell me?  He's such a mystery and...well...maybe if I knew more about him I could make an attempt to bridge the gap that's between us."

"Well...."  Talbot eyed her carefully.  Although he was firm in his belief that her mother's marriage was really none of her business, his heart went out to her.  How could he deny her request.  "From what I know, Fred's originally from Albanyville.  I know he moved away for several years to go to medical school and he worked for a time at a hospital in Boston, but he came home a few years ago and took a position here."

"Family?"

"None that I'm aware of.  At least, he's never mentioned any.  Anyway, he has an exemplary record.  His patients love him and he's got a wonderful bedside manner."

"I'm sure," she grumbled under her breath.

"I'm sorry?"

"N-nothing."  Although knowledge of her step-father's professional history was all good and well, it wasn't exactly what she was fishing for.  "What about...his social life?  Has he ever dated anyone seriously other than my mother?  Does he have...well...a former girlfriend or...."

"Judith, I don't make it a habit of prying into my staff's personal lives."  He lifted an eyebrow and gave her a cautionary glance that indicated that she was touching on a topic that he didn't care to discuss.  "What they do outside these walls is entirely their business.  I only care about the quality of the work."

"I understand that, Talbot.  Honestly, I do.  But..."

"No."

"Oh, but, Talbot, please?  If I just had some solid indication of his real character.  If I could find a way to disprove my suspicions of him...."  Or prove them, as the case may be.

"I understand you concerns, really, but I can't let myself fall into the habit of gossiping about my staff's personal lives.  Not when I'm in such a position of authority.  Those kinds of conversations are best left outside or in the nurses' lounge."  Or to his wife Corinne.  "Now, Judith, I hate to cut this short, but I've got a patient to check in on."

"I understand," she sighed with disappointment as he led her to the door. 

However, when he opened his office door so that they could step out into the hallway, they both saw a sight that both of them found quite ironic, although neither one had expected it -- Dr. Fred Rutherford, himself, right outside the door involved in a conversation with a young nurse.

Without making her presence known, Judith watched Fred and the nurse closely.  True, it wasn't an unusual occurrence to see a doctor and a nurse having a conversation in a hospital, but something about this seemed different.  Maybe it was how close they were standing to one another or their body language.

When Fred lifted his hand to touch the young nurse lightly on her cheek, Judith's head snapped around to face Talbot with look of self-satisfaction.  What she saw, however, was Talbot's own look of surprise and concern.  He clearly could tell that something was not as it should be between Fred and the nurse, as well.  Without saying a word, Judith's eyes dared him to casually explain this scene away.

SPRINGHILL MANOR - LIBRARY

"Now, Sara, these are the trust fund documents that I had my attorney draw up," Joyce Preston said as she handed the stack of papers to her daughter.  "I'm sure that you'll see that the provisions made are more than fair for everyone."

"And this is going to give my baby what should be his?" Naomi Jackson asked pointedly.

"Naomi, just give me a chance to go over them."  Sara Manchester furrowed her brow and carefully read each line of the document.

Joyce's eyes darted from her daughter to Naomi.  She'd hoped that Sara would've just signed the document without reading it so thoroughly, but she couldn't say that she was surprised by her daughter's attention to detail.

"I'm sure that you'll find that everything's in order," Joyce spoke up and quickly reached over to flip to a later page.  "If you'll look at line 35, you'll see that I'll be administering the trust fund so that Naomi won't be tempted to squander away the money that's supposed to be for that precious baby."

"I'm not gonna squander it!" Naomi snapped.

"Why are you going to be administrator?"  Sara lifted her head and eyed her mother in confusion.  "This is mine and Dane's inheritance, after all.  Shouldn't we be the ones overseeing everything?"

"Oh, but Sara, you've had to go through so much with this as it is.  This is my husband's estate, after all, and this baby is...well...his son."  Joyce's voice lowered as if she were embarrassed to admit her husband's indiscretion.

Suddenly, the large wooden doors of the library slid open and Dane Manchester stepped into the room.  The sight of his wife and mother-in-law huddled over a mysterious document as well as Naomi's presence immediately drew his concern.

"So, what are you two reading so carefully?" he asked and stepped further into the room, making sure to thoroughly see what was going on.

"It's the trust fund agreement," Sara explained with a hint of hesitation in her voice.  She was well aware of Dane's opposition to the trust fund, but was determined to do what she thought was best for Naomi's child.

"Sara, I thought we discussed this.  I thought that we weren't going to do anything until we both reached an agreement about it!"

"Dane, this is the right thing to do and you know it!"  Sara clutched the document in her hands and quickly jumped to her feet.  "How can you in good conscience deny poor little Aubrey what should rightfully be his as Thornton Preston's son?"

"Yes, Dane, how can you?"  Joyce fought the urge to smile smugly as she looked up at him.  "I think Sara's right, as much as I hate to admit it."  She turned to glance at Naomi.  "But...well, I'm convinced now, too, that Naomi's telling the truth."

"I'm sure you are," he muttered coldly and then stopped to take a deep breath before turning his full attention to his wife.  "If you determined to do this -- determined to give away such a large chunk of our inheritance, then we should be the ones administering the trust fund.  We should be the ones who oversee everything."

"Dane, darling, you sound like you don't trust me!"  Joyce feigned a gasp of shock.  "I just want to be the administrator so that the burden of this tawdry mess is taken off of your hands."  She glanced at Naomi again.  "After all, this is my husband's mess and I should be the one to take care of it.  It shouldn't fall to either one of you."

"But it's our money that you want to give away."  He folded his arms tightly across his chest and glared at Joyce.  "If Sara's determined to do this, I'm only going to allow it if we're the ones in charge of it!"

"No!" Naomi shouted angrily, jumping to her feet.

"Do you have a problem with that?"  Taken aback, Dane inspected her closely.  "Why do you care who administers the trust fund as long as you get what you say rightfully belongs to your son?"

"Because I don't trust you, that's why!"  Naomi took a step closer to Joyce.  "If you had your way, me and my baby would be out livin' on the street without a penny to our names!  Mrs. Preston and your wife are the only one's who care anything about my baby and doin' what's right!"

"Um...excuse me," Helga Grimm spoke up as she stood in the doorway.  The conversation had become so intense that no one had heard the housekeeper enter.  "Naomi you have a visitor."  And, at that moment, Ruby stepped into the room having heard just enough of the conversation to realize that Naomi was most certainly up to much more than she'd even begun to suspect.

TO BE CONTINUED

NEXT TIME

Janet begins to make progress.

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

2001- 2011 Classic Soap Productions