produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #146 (Monday, 8/30/04) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
July 1936 - Early Evening

THE LAMONT HOME - KITCHEN

Janet Stokes2312 Spring Lake Rd."Tonight?"  Burt Lamont's jaw hung open in shock.  "You want to elope tonight?"

"Yes, darling, tonight!"  Janet Stokes clasped her hands together in front of her as if she were saying a prayer to the heavens.  "It's not that far to Davenport and we can make it there in no time.  We've waited so long for this.  I just don't think I'd be able to bear it if I had to wait any longer."

"Well...."  Burt looked from Janet to his younger brother Randy Lamont who was standing silently off to the side.  "Randy, what do you think about all of this?  Do you think this is a good idea?"

"I've already told you that I'm giving you my blessing," Randy sighed.  "And I'm the one who told you about Davenport.  What more do you want from me?  To drag you to the altar myself?"

"My gosh, this is all so sudden."  Burt leaned up against the kitchen counter and rubbed his temple.  "I think my head's spinning."

"Oh, Burt, please say 'yes'," Janet begged as she grabbed hold of his arm.  "Let's do it.  Let's be wild an impetuous and run off and get married."

Burt paused and took several long breaths so that he could collect his thoughts.  Yes, it was sudden, but he was more than willing to marry Janet.  And this was clearly what she wanted.

"Randy, of course you'll come with us."

"I...I can't."  He looked away, unable to meet his brother's eyes.  "It's...it's not that I don't want to, but...well...after talking to Janet....  Well, not only did she make me realize some things about you two, she made me realize a few other things that I don't think she'd intended to."

"Things?" Janet looked at him with great curiosity.  "What things?"

"I...I really don't think I can go into it right now," he tried to explain.  "But it's definitely something that can't wait.  Just like you two have got to get married, I've got to take care of this.  I hope you understand.  I want to be there -- really I do -- but...."

"Well, if it's that important...."  Burt shook his head again, still slightly in shock.  "Tonight?"

"Tonight," Janet said again.

"Then...."  He paused.  "Randy, you drive Janet home so that she can get ready and I'll go upstairs and clean up and...."

"And?"

"Let's do it!" Burt grinned broadly, pulling Janet into his arms.  "Let's go get married!"


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THE STOKES MANSION - LIVING ROOM

76 Mapleton WayJudith Linford leaned back into her chair as the room filled with gentle music coming from the radio.  The room was dimly lit -- only one small light on -- which was just the way she wanted it.  She didn't want brightness.  She didn't want the warm glow.  She wanted the hypnotic shadows.  She wanted to set the mood for her to delve into the deep recesses of her mind.  She wanted to remember.

She lifted the martini to her lips and took a long sip as she replayed the events -- in order -- that she could remember from that fateful night so many months ago -- the night that she took a tragic fall down the stairs resulting in the loss of her unborn child.  A child she'd shared with Burt Lamont, the one man she loved more than practically anyone else other than her late father.

She clearly remembered standing at the foot of the stairs and looking up towards the second floor landing.  She remembered the feeling that she'd had at that moment -- a feeling that she had some goal, some destination,  something that she was intent on doing.  She remembered climbing the stairs -- slowly at first but then with a quickened pace.  Had she fallen on the way up the stairs?  Had she, in her drive and determination, been careless and missed a step?  No, that didn't seem right.

Judith was certain that she remembered reaching the top of the stairs -- remembered going to do something.  She took another long sip of her drink and closed her eyes and tried to clear her head of everything other than that night.  She remembered seeing Janet -- but was it before or after she fell?  Janet had sworn that she hadn't seen Judith until after the fall.  That it had been Judith's screams that had brought her running.  However, Judith didn't think that sounded quite right.

"I won't let you do this!  I won't let you ruin my life like you've always tried to ruin my life!"

Why...why did Judith suddenly remember that?  What was so important about an argument with Janet that made it pop into her mind so suddenly?  It couldn't have happened after the fall because even Janet had said that Judith had been barely conscious.  It must have been before the fall.  But...but when?

Leticia Stokes Rutherford"What in the world are you doing sitting in here in the dark?" Leticia Rutherford asked as she stood at the door of the living room.  She quickly walked over to the switch on the wall and flipped on the lights.  After several long moments of nothing but silence, she spoke again.  "Judith?  Are you all right?  Are you listening to me?"

"I...oh...what?" Judith asked absently.  She hadn't been paying attention.  She'd been so lost in her own thoughts that she hadn't even heard her mother come into the room.

"I asked you if you were all right."

"I'm sorry," Judith muttered and took another sip of her drink.  "I was...just thinking."

"Oh."  Leticia nodded slowly as if she understood what her daughter was talking about, but she didn't really.  Leticia was still certain that there was something amiss, but knew Judith well enough not to press the issue.  Besides, there was another reason that Leticia had come looking for her.  "Where was Janet headed off to in such a rush?"

"Janet?"  The name pulled Judith out of her fog and she immediately focused her full attention on her mother.  "What about Janet?"

"Well, she breezed in here in a big rush, went upstairs, changed clothes faster than I think I've ever seen her do it and then breezed back out like the house was on fire."  Leticia paused as she remembered the earlier activities of her middle daughter.  "I swear, she was all aglow like she was in the center of a million spotlights."

"Did she say where she was going?"

"Not a word."  Leticia shook her head in bewilderment.  "I tried to ask her, but she was moving so fast that I could barely get a word in.  I was wondering if she'd said anything to you."

"No, she didn't."  Judith downed the last drop of her martini and rose from her seat.  "Actually, I didn't even know she'd come home.  Like I told you, I was busy thinking."

"About?"

Judith Stokes Linford"Nothing, really," Judith lied.  "Just...different things."  She paused and glanced in the direction of the front door.  "Did Janet say anything?"

"The only thing I could get out of her was that she was going out of town and for me not to wait up or worry."  Leticia began to slowly walk around the room.  "She said she would probably be gone for a few days and that she'd explain everything as soon as she got back."  She stopped and looked at her daughter again and examined her closely.  "Darling, are you sure you're all right?  You don't look well."

"I'm fine," Judith muttered and then quickly spun around to face her mother.  "So, where's your sainted husband this evening?  It seems like he's hardly ever here.  I wonder why that is."

"Fred is working an overnight shift at the hospital this evening.  He's a doctor.  These things happen."

"Yes, I'm sure," Judith muttered dryly.  "Dr. Fred, always available to help the sick and the needy."

"Judith, I don't think I like your tone."  Leticia threw her shoulders back and took an authoritative stance.  "Fred is my husband and I'd appreciate it if you treat him with a certain level of respect."

"If I thought he deserved it, I'd give it," Judith snapped.  "But he's nothing more than a lowlife who's weaseled his way into our lives.  Honestly, Mother, how you can be so blind to that man...."

"I'm not listening to this."  Leticia pushed past her daughter and headed for the stairs.  "Here you are in my home -- our home -- the home I share with my husband and you persist in doing everything you can to hurt me."

"I'm not trying to hurt you, Mother.  I'm trying to help you.  I'm trying to help you see exactly what kind of louse you married."

"I've had enough of this," Leticia mumbled in irritation as she headed up the stairs.  "I'm not going to stand around and listen to any more of this!"

"Oh, go stick your head in the sand," Judith muttered under her breath.  "Do exactly what you always do -- turn a blind eye and ignore all of the flashing lights," she thought to herself.  "It's the exact same thing you did with Janet all those years ago and we all know where that got us.  But I'm not you.  I'm nothing like you.  I see things for exactly what they are and I face everything head on.  That husband of yours is up to something -- I know it!  And I'm going to find out exactly what it is whether you want to know about it or not."


THE CALLISON HOME - DINING ROOM

63 Mapleton Way"Honey, dinner was absolutely wonderful," Charles Callison complimented, wiping the corners of his mouth with his napkin.  "You and Hannah have really outdone yourselves tonight."

"I just wanted tonight to be perfect," Francis Callison smiled while Hannah came around and began clearing the dinner plates.  "What with everyone's lives going in so many different directions, it's not everyday that we can all get together for dinner, anymore.  Now, it's like an event."

"Mother, I promise you that we'll always make dinner as a family a priority," Jillian Callison spoke up.  "I'm so honored to be a part of this family and I want to make sure to uphold this family's traditions."

Francis Callison"Jillian, you're just like a second daughter to me," Francis beamed and reached across the table to take her daughter-in-law's hand.  "Now, if you'd like, I'll make sure to write down a copy of the recipes I used for dinner so that you can make them at home for Reginald."

"I'm sure Jillian would love that, Mom."  Reginald Callison briefly glanced in the direction of his wife and gave a subtle wink.  Jillian's cooking skills were practically legendary -- but not for the right reasons.  He was certain that her attempts to reproduce the success of the recipes would turn out to be interesting, to say the least.

Hannah Meadows"Coffee to go with the cake?" Hannah Meadows asked as she carried the tray into the room.

"I'd love some, Hannah.  Thank you," Trevor said and took a cup from her.

Trevor CallisonAs Francis took a sip from her own cup, she noticed the sly glances and secret chatter exchanged between Reginald and Jillian.

"All right, you two," Francis laughed, "what's going on?  You both look like the proverbial cats that ate the canary."

Maggie Callison"Oh, it's nothing," Reginald blushed.

"I think they've got a secret," Maggie Callison teased.

Charles Callison"Maggie!"  Charles shot his daughter a stern look.  "If that's the case, then it's their secret.  We've got no business...."

"Are you two up to something?" Francis asked, completely ignoring what her husband was trying to say.

Reginald Callison"More coffee, please, Hannah."  Trevor held out his cup for her.  "This is starting to get interesting."

"Francis, we've got no place prying into Reginald and Jillian's business."

Jillian Stokes Callison"It's okay, Dad," Reginald laughed and took his wife's hand.  "Actually, there is something that Jillian and I have been keeping to ourselves."

"We wanted to savor the news," Jillian continued, "but we'd planned on telling everyone tonight after dinner, so it's quite all right."

"News?"  Francis anxiously glanced from her son to his wife.  "What...kind of news?"

"Well...."  Jillian looked over at her husband.  "I know this is going to come as quite a shock to you -- we were rather surprised ourselves, to be honest."  She paused and took a long, deep breath.  "Reginald and I have an announcement to make."