produced/written by G. Matthew Smith



EPISODE #148 (Monday, 9/13/04) click here for a printable version of this episode
Same Day
July 4, 1936 - Evening

THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

Janet Stokes LamontThe Grand Sunset Room"You're nervous, aren't you?" Burt Lamont asked his new bride Janet Lamont.

"Just a little," she laughed, the butterflies inside her stomach doing somersaults.

"I know both our families are going to be a little surprised when we tell them we eloped to Davenport, but I think they'll understand."  He pulled her into his arms and held her tightly.  "They know how much we love one another."

"I know, but...."

"You're worried about what your mother's going to say," he nodded, fully believing that he knew the source of her anxiety.  "Listen, knowing her, she's going to be a bit upset that she's not going to get to throw another big wedding like she did for Jillian, but she'll realize that a big affair like that isn't what you wanted.  She might not completely like it at first, but she'll be fine."

"Yes," Janet sighed and looked away from him.  "My mother."

However, it wasn't the reaction of Janet's mother that she was ultimately worried about -- it was the reaction of her older sister Judith.  Janet was well aware of how opposed Judith was to her and Burt being in love, let alone the mere idea of them getting married.  After all, Judith had been in love with Burt first and had insisted that, if not for Janet, she and Burt truly stood a chance of recapturing that long-ago love.

And then there was the baby -- Judith's baby by Burt.  Of course, Judith had lost the baby after a tragic fall down a flight of stairs that Janet, temporarily out of her mind with rage and fury, had caused.  Thankfully, Judith's memory of the true events of that night were hazy at worst and non-existent at best, but that had been gradually changing over the past few months.  Slowly, Judith had been remembering bits and pieces of that night and had grown to have strong suspicions that Janet knew far more than she was admitting to.

No, it wasn't her mother's reaction that Janet feared -- it was Judith's.  And if the truth about that night ever came out, Janet wasn't sure whether the band of gold around her finger was strong enough to keep everything she'd struggled so hard for from falling apart.


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THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - TERRACE

The Grand Sunset RoomMaggie Callison stood at the railing of the terrace and looked out upon the nighttime skyline of Albanyville.  From where she was standing, at the top of one of the tallest buildings in town, she could see practically everything -- the Blue River, the twinkling lights of the town, even the city of Riverside in the distance.  But as the warm summer breeze blew against her face, her thoughts were not of the breathtaking view, but of things of a much more personal nature.

Randy Lamont had kissed her only a few days before and it had been everything that she could ever have dreamed that a kiss could be.  However, he hadn't spoken to her since and it was that fact that troubled her.  Perhaps it had all been a mistake.  After all, Randy was seeing Maggie's best friend Eliza Campbell -- quite seriously, in fact, to hear Eliza tell it.  Because of that, Maggie couldn't help but feel like an absolute heel.  But Randy's kiss had awakened feelings in her that she'd never realized had existed.  Oh, true, deep down they'd always been there and had been for quite a while, but Maggie had never let herself even think about them let alone act on them.  But now that they'd actually kissed....

"Mags!" came the boisterous voice of her date Stanley Fitzpatrick from the doorway behind her.  "What in the world are you doing out here?"

"Just...taking in the view," she muttered, not even bothering to turn around to face him.

Stanley Fitzpatrick"A geez, Mags, you really shoulda been inside!  There's so much money being thrown about in pledges for the new hospital ward that it's making my head spin.  Mrs. Linford pledged $10,000!  Can you believe that?"

"And my mother matched that pledge," Eliza announced, coming through the doors behind Stanley with Randy trailing along behind her.  "Isn't that so spectacular?  $10,000!  Randy, didn't you find that impressive?"

With the mention of Randy's name, Maggie spun around to face them, her eyes making immediate contact with his.  No words were spoken between them, but none were needed.

"Randy?  Did you hear what I said?"  Sensing something between him and Maggie, she quickly grabbed hold of his arm and held on tightly.

"Um...yes..." Randy stammered, pulling his eyes away from Maggie.  "It was impressive."

"And then your father matched those pledges, too!" Stanley announced.

"He did?"  Maggie's eyes grew wide.  She'd known that her father had already made a rather sizable donation to the new children's ward and hadn't expected him to make another one.

"Eliza, I never knew your parents had that much money," Stanley commented.

Eliza Campbell"Neither did I, actually," she confessed.  "But I guess that we're just as well-off as both the Callisons and Stokeses."

"I...guess."  Randy awkwardly looked down at his feet.  All of this talk about money and wealth was making him uncomfortable.

"Eliza!  Eliza!  Come here!" her mother Corinne Campbell called out through the open doorway.  "Artie from the Daily Post wants to take some picture of you, me, and your father!"

"Oh, alright," she grimaced, not exactly overly enthusiastic about having to leave Randy and Maggie to go deal with "picture-time."  "Now, you just stay here and I'll be back in a minute."  The stern look she threw at Stanley revealed to him that what she said was more of a direct order to him rather than a casual statement to the group.

After Eliza breezed back into the main ballroom, the remaining threesome stood in silence, neither Randy nor Maggie knowing quite what to say to each other and Stanley acutely aware of the obvious silence.

"Well, isn't anyone gonna say something?" Stanley finally asked.

Maggie Callison"You just did," Maggie muttered, turning her back to them so that she could face the Albanyville skyline yet again.

"That's not what I mean!"

"Stanley, I think I'm thirsty," she spoke up.  "Go inside and get me some punch."

"Maybe you should go with me."

"No, I want to stay out here and look at the stars."  And be alone with Randy.

Randy Lamont"But...."

"Stanley, please go get me some punch!" Maggie snapped.

"Oh, alright, Mags," Stanley relented with a slumping of his shoulders before he shuffled off back inside.

Now alone on the terrace, both Randy and Maggie stood in silence, neither one of them looking at the other.  Although they longed to reach out to each other, a difficult wall of silence existed between them.

Things had been so much simpler when they were just close friends.  They could talk.  They could laugh.  They could confide in one another.  The kiss had changed all of that.  Things were much different now and they both knew it.

And neither one of them knew quite what to do or say next.


THE GRAND SUNSET ROOM - MAIN BALLROOM

The Grand Sunset Room"All right, everyone, gather 'round!" Burt Lamont called out with a wave of his arms as he tried to corral the various members of both his and his wife Janet's families.  "Charles, Francis -- you, too, Dr. Rutherford."  As Reginald and Jillian Callison moved closer, Judith Linford came into Burt's line of sight.  "You, too, Judith," he said rather cordially.

"What is it, dear, what's going on?" Leticia Rutherford asked her daughter Janet.  "Burt's making it sound like you two have some sort of announcement to make."

"That's exactly what's going on," Janet Lamont beamed as she took her new husband's arm.  "We have a big announcement to make."

"An...announcement?"  A knot began to form in the pit of Judith's stomach as her eyes darted back and forth from Burt to Janet.  "What kind of...announcement?"

"Oh, waiter!" Burt grabbed the first tuxedo clad worker he could find.  "Please, a glass of champagne for everyone."

"My, my, Burt, this must be quite the announcement if you're handing out champagne."  Charles Callison turned to look at his wife with curiosity, but Francis could only shake her head.  She had no idea what was going on, either.

"Alright, then," Burt smiled as the last of the glasses were handed out.

Francis CallisonCharles CallisonPausing for a moment, he looked at each and every person gathered around -- his aunt and uncle Charles and Francis; cousins Reginald and Trevor; Janet's mother Leticia and Leticia's husband Fred; and Leticia's sisters Judith and Jillian.  His eyes lingered on Judith the longest out of anxiety concerning her reaction to the news.  The only people missing were his brother Randy and his other cousin Maggie.  Where could they be?  That question only hung inside his mind for a moment.  The moment was at hand and he couldn't take the time to find them.  It would break the momentum.  Of course, Randy already knew the news, but they'd have to fill Maggie in later.

"Burt, Janet, why all the suspense?" Jillian asked with excitement.  "Tell us!  Tell us the big news!"

Trevor CallisonBurt Lamont"Well...." Burt began slowly, glancing over to Janet who was on his arm.  "The night of your wedding to Reginald, I asked Janet to marry me."  A round of "ahs" and "ohs" sprang forth from the group.  "And she did the supreme joy of saying 'yes.'"

"That's wonderful!" Jillian exclaimed as she flew into her sister's arms, giving her a congratulatory kiss on the cheek.

Even though she was all smiles, Janet was aware that Judith's eyes were locked on her, burrowing a furious hole through her.

"Congratulations, Burt," Charles said, extending his hand to his nephew.  "This is fantastic news!"

"Wait!"  Burt threw up his hands, silencing everyone.  "That's not the announcement."

"Oh...don't...tell me...."  Judith felt her heart jump up into her throat.  She felt like she was going to be sick.  Surely, that simpleton Janet hadn't convinced Burt into....

"We eloped!" Janet blurted out, unable to wait for Burt to reveal the news.  "Just a few days ago.  We realized that we couldn't wait and went to Davenport."

Judith felt the color drain from her face.

Dr. Fred RutherfordLeticia Stokes Rutherford"Eloped?"  Leticia was in clear and obvious shock.  "But, Janet, certainly you wanted a big wedding!  I mean, it's tradition in this family that weddings are a huge event and we've got to plan and prepare and...."

"Just marrying your daughter was a huge enough event for me," Burt smiled.  "And, besides, Janet knew that you've just finished all the work for Reginald and Jillian's wedding and didn't want to force you into going to all that trouble again."

"Well, it's not like she would have been holding a gun to my head!"

"I know that, Mother," Janet laughed.  "But this is what I wanted -- just a simple wedding with me and Burt.  I can't tell you how deliriously happy I am."

"Well, I guess he's finally done it," Reginald mumbled under his breath, but not so much as to keep Jillian from overhearing.

Reginald CallisonJillian Stokes Callison"What?" she asked, turning to him.  "What do you mean by that?  Surely, you're happy for them."

"He's bent over backwards to ingratiate himself into this family and now he's managed to push himself into yours."

"Reginald!  He's your cousin!"  Jillian was stunned by his attitude.  "He's your flesh and blood.  And he loves Janet.  He hasn't pushed his way into any place he hasn't been wanted or rightfully belonged."

"Well, he might be a Callison by his shear good fortune of blood," he responded, a look of coldness covering his face, "but I guarantee you he doesn't belong.  He doesn't belong in this family and he never will.  And he most certainly doesn't belong in yours."

Meanwhile, just a few steps away, everyone was offering the newlyweds their congratulations.  Everyone except for one.

Janet Stokes LamontJudith Stokes Linford"Janet, I want a word with you."  Judith grabbed her sister's arm firmly and nearly drug her away from the group.  "What the hell do you think you're trying to do?"

"Judith, I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Oh, you most certainly do!"  Judith dug her nails into Janet's arm and gave it a solid twist, eliciting the painful wince that she'd intended.  "How did you do it?  How did you trick Burt into marrying you?"

"I didn't trick Burt into doing anything!"  Janet yanked her arm away, pushing Judith backward in the process.  "When are you going to accept that Burt loves me?  He doesn't love you.  He'll never love you!"

"You've brainwashed him!  That's what you've done!  You've filled his head with all sorts of nasty lies about me to turn him against me!"

"I've done nothing of the sort."  Janet stood up straight and tall, her confidence and security strengthened by the wedding band on her finger.  "I'm Burt's wife.  Not you and you never will be."

"We'll see about that," Judith muttered, angry yet momentarily defeated before turning on her heel and storming off.  "We'll just see about that."