"Jack! Jack! Are you alright?" Janet asked as she rushed to hold Jack up against the door. Jack looked a bit dazed so she began to slap him slightly. "Jack! Snap out of it!"
"Jack!" Stephanie said, rushing up. "You look so pale. You're scaring me!"
Jack recovered somewhat. "I'm scaring you?" As Stephanie nodded, he looked to Janet. "Janet, I need to see you in the kitchen." Without waiting for a response he pushed his roommate toward the kitchen. "I can't believe what I just saw out there. How could you stand there and let them do that?"
"Jack, just calm down…"
"Calm down? Calm down! My scared, pregnant sister just married a playboy twice her age after knowing him for 4 days and you're telling me to calm down!"
"Jack?" Stephanie said, pushing the swinging door open.
"I think it's time you two sat down and had that talk." Janet said, pulling the kitchen chairs out from under the table before quickly exiting.
"Janet's right, Jack. We do need to talk." Stephanie announced, taking a seat at the table.
"Well, I think it's a little late for that now." Jack replied, throwing a hand toward the living room as he also took a seat.
Stephanie frowned in confusion but continued. "Look, Jack, I know you're scared to death about this baby, but everything is going to be alright."
Jack rubbed his hand through his hair. "We can only hope so at this point." He looked at Stephanie's dress. "I can't believe you did this without Mom. What do you think she is going to say when she finds out?"
"Oh she already knows." Stephanie replied, fingering the dress and thinking about the play. "Actually, she's really excited about the whole thing!"
Jack looked even more distressed. "Excited? Mom?"
"Well yeah. I know it's a small detail but Mom has always encouraged me to strike out on my own and experience new things."
"Ha!" Jack fumed. "Mom always encouraged that in me too, but I don't think she meant for impromptu marriages and babies to be included in those experiences."
"Oh, I know Jack, but these things happen. I don't think Mom will look badly on you marrying Veronica once she knows the circumstances."
"That may be true but…." Jack stopped short as he absorbed what Stephanie had said. "Marry Veronica?"
"Well, yeah. You're going to marry Veronica and give you're baby a proper home, aren't you?" Stephanie asked.
Jack's eyes widened and he put his hands on Stephanie's shoulders. "Did Veronica say something to you about being pregnant?"
"No." Stephanie replied sheepishly. "I know I shouldn't have, but I overheard you and Jason talking last night about Veronica being pregnant."
Jack thought a moment. "We weren't talking about Veronica, we were talking about you!"
"Me!" Stephanie exclaimed.
"Yes." Now it was Jack's turn to be embarrassed. "I followed you and Larry to the restaurant the other night and I overheard you talking about the baby."
"What baby?" Stephanie asked as she thought. She then relaxed and smiled. "We were talking about the baby in the play!"
"What play?" Jack asked.
"The play I'm both directing and starring in for our community theater! Where have you been?"
"I don't know." Jack laughed slightly.. "So you're not pregnant?"
"No!" Stephanie replied. "And neither is Veronica?"
"No!" Jack laughed. He then stiffened again. "But what about this business with marrying Larry?"
"Larry and I aren't married! Larry just got back from the commercial shoot and happened to see me while I was trying on this wedding dress that Terri picked out for me to wear in the play!"
"What about Reverend Alden?"
"He came by to pick up the last of Chrissy's things."
"And the flowers?"
"For the wedding Janet's working on. She brought the work home because she was tired of being at the shop."
Jack just had to stop and laugh. "So there are no weddings or babies on either side! How in the world did this get blown so out of proportion?"
Stephanie hugged her brother.. "Well from what I have been told, it's a pretty common occurrence around here."
"I wish you could stay a few days longer!" Janet exclaimed as Stephanie stood by the front door with her bags a little over a week later.
"I've had a great time, Janet, but Tony is going to send out a search party if I don't get home and back to the theater. The play opens in less than 2 weeks."
"Well, I have to get to work. It's been great seeing you, Stephanie." Terri announced, giving her young friend a hug.
"You too, Terri. Hope to see you again soon." Stephanie replied.
"Me too. Have a safe trip." Terri waved as she went out the front door.
"What time does your bus leave?" Janet asked.
"At 2:30." Stephanie replied as Jack came out of his bedroom.
"Are you sure you don't want me to take you down to the bus station? I could open up the bistro a little late this evening."
"Jack, we've already discussed this. Larry doesn't have to work today and he is perfectly capable of driving me there."
"Well….okay." Jack replied, still reluctant about embracing the blossoming relationship between his best friend and his sister. He went over and gave her a tight hug. "See you on opening night?"
"I'd better!" Stephanie laughed, returning the hug.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye." Stephanie told Larry later at the bus station as the driver loaded her bags into the storage compartment.
"No, not goodbye. See you later." Larry replied, tracing her lip with his finger before kissing her.
"You're still coming to the play, right?" Stephanie asked.
"I wouldn't miss it for anything." Larry replied as he and Stephanie hugged. She then turned to board the bus and sat where she could see Larry. She waved goodbye to him as the bus rolled out of the station.
Larry stood and watched the bus until it was out of sight, ignoring everything around him including new buses pulling into the station.
"Larry Dallas!" He heard a voice exclaim. He turned and saw Greedy Gretchen exiting the bus that had just arrived in the spot recently vacated by Stephanie's bus.
Gretchen gave a loud laugh as she approached him. "What a coincidence! I was dying to go out on a date tonight but didn't think I'd have time to find one. Lucky I ran into you, I can always count on you for a good time."
Larry looked at Gretchen. She was a willing date, to explain it modestly, one whom had always been a favorite of his, but the last two weeks had changed things. "Not tonight, Gretchen."
"No money? No problem. We can do something that doesn't cost anything." She laughed suggestively.
"That's not it." Larry replied.
"Oh, you already have a date." Gretchen said, disappointed.
"No. It's just that I have to clean my apartment." Larry replied, thinking ahead. He envisioned all of the pictures hanging around his apartment, most of which consisted of scantily clad former dates, photos Stephanie had never seen because Larry had refused to bring her to his apartment. But she would visit next time, he promised himself, because he was going home that very night to take all of the pictures down and throw them away. A day had arrived that Larry himself never thought he would see: the day he fell in love.