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Shocking Circumstances

All characters, ect. are property of AMC & Rupert Holmes. No copyright infringement is intended.

     Betty looked around and drummed her fingers on the table.  She hated waiting, and this
was no different. Jeff was finally coming home, but to what type of reception? He’d hurt
Hilary badly, and the rest of the station was up in the air about how they felt about him.
And Betty? She just wondered if Jeff had learned the truth about Victor. She got up and
left the Green Room, heading out into the lobby with everyone else.
“Is he here yet?” she asked nervously.
“No, but when he gets here, he’ll have a lot of explaining to do,” Hilary replied.
“I don’t know whether to kill him or to kiss him when he comes through that door. I just
wish he’d get here soon. I don’t know if I can wait anymore.”
“All I know is that when he gets here, I’ll be out of a few choice roles. Then I
don’t know what I’ll do.”
“Scotty, I’ll take you any day,” Hillary caught herself thinking. “No. Jeff is who
I want, if he still wants me.”
As soon as she thought that, Jeff walked through the door. Hilary involuntarily
ran to him, embracing him with all her heart- then she backed away, letting the rest of the
group get to him. The usual “How are you?”s and “We missed you”s were exchanged,
but Betty found that all of that was stuck in her throat. All she could do was pat his
shoulder.
“What’s wrong, Betty? Cat got your tongue?” Jeff smiled. Betty smiled back.
“No. Just glad to see that you’re home.” They all walked back toward the Green
Room. “I just don’t know what to think about you anymore,” she thought as she looked
his way another time.

* * *

Everything was back to normal-to a degree. Bedside Manor was back, with more
bickering that usual, and Jeff had all of his old romantic leads. But Betty didn’t enjoy
writing the scripts between him and Hilary anymore. Their characters were becoming
more distant, just as she and Jeff were. Jeff was being written opposite Maple, which he
didn’t mind, and Hilary was being cast opposite Scott, which she didn’t mind much about
either.
It was strange how Hilary had been acting toward Jeff and Scott: the reverse of
how she had acted to them before all this had happened. She was civil to Scott, biting to
Jeff. Jeff had admitted that he’d married Pavla, but only after they had too much to
drink. “Like that made it any better,” Betty thought to herself after she heard him tell
Hilary that. Hilary had been so different since she heard that- so much more vulnerable
and sad. Almost more so than when she had heard that Jeff had married Pavla in the first
place. “I’ll have to talk to her before she goes,” Betty said as she headed into the control
room to watch Amazon Andy with C.J. “I hope that she can hold up with all this. I hope
that I can, too.”



* * *

Jeff walked quickly toward the writer’s room, from which he could hear Betty
clicking away at her typewriter. He knocked on the door.
“Come in,” Betty called.
Jeff opened the door and walked in. “Betty, I need to talk to you about
something.”
“Sure, Jeff. What is it?”
“Well, you’ve been kind of distant to me, and I know that it’s not all because of
that thing with Hilary and me. I think that you know what I know.”
“About what?”
“Victor. I know who he is now, and that he came back to see you.”
Betty looked at him in shock, the only words that could come out were “How?
What will you do?”
“I’m going to turn him in.”
“But he’s working for the Allies... Oh, I see.” Betty realized now what he was
saying. He was a Nazi sympathizer. “Jeff, how could you? Have you told Hilary what
you’re doing?”
“No.” Jeff was getting close. Suddenly he grabbed her. “Have you ever
experienced a murder firsthand? If you don’t want to see your own,” he put his hand
over her mouth, “you’ll keep your mouth shut.”

* * *

Betty was still shaking as she entered into her, Pruitt’s, office. “How am I going
to tell Hilary this? How can I, or should I, tell Scott?” she said aloud as she sat behind
the desk. Jeff seemed so intent on doing just what he had said. “Perhaps it’s just an after
effect of trauma that he suffered in England, that’s all. But Hilary won’t be able to
soothe him out of this. God, someone needs to soothe her after what she’s gone through.
I wonder if Scott has gotten to her yet. He seems more fond of her than ever.” Betty
sighed. Was she beginning to have feelings for Scott again? “No. I don’t love him. I
don’t... I don’t... I... do. Oh God, I do! But why? He’s so, so-”
Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. “Come in,” she said,
looking up.
“Betty.” It was Scott. “Could I talk to you for a sec?”
“Sure. What is it? Is it about what you’re going to do on air? I have some new
roles for you. They’re not as good as Jeff’s, but-”
“That’s not what I need to talk to you about. Jeff’s driving Hilary nuts, badgering
her and saying how much he and Pavla are ‘in love.’ She’s on the verge of a breakdown.
I don’t want her going home alone for a while. Since I have to do my yearly visit with
Aunt Agatha, I was wondering if you could do it? I know that you two aren’t always on
the best terms, but I’m really worried about her.”
“I am too. I’ll do it if she doesn’t mind. That’s sweet of you to care so much.
Keep it up and maybe you’ll change my mind about you.” Betty smiled.
Scott smiled back. “Really?”
“Notice I said ‘maybe,’ Scott.”
“Hey, it’s a start!”

* * *

Betty struggled with her suitcases as Hilary unlocked her apartment door. “This
beats the YWCA, does it?” she asked Betty.
Betty smiled back. “Yeah. I never knew what a nice apartment you had.” Betty
stepped into the living room. “Where should I put my things?” she asked.
“Um, go on and put them in my bedroom. I’ll sleep on the couch. With you
taking the time to come over here to keep me company, it’s the least I can do.”
Betty looked at the lines on the older woman’s face. Hilary had aged so much
since Jeff had gotten back home. “No. You need a good night’s sleep, and that couch
can’t give you that. I’ll sleep on it.”
“It doesn’t matter where I sleep, I can’t get a good night’s rest.”
“Well, neither can I. Hilary, I have something to tell you. I probably shouldn’t,
considering everything, but I just have to.”
“Go on, dear. What is it?” The tone in Hilary’s voice was so warm and inviting.
She rarely sounded like that to anyone. Betty couldn’t help it- she broke down sobbing in
Hilary’s arms.
“Victor’s alive. He’s a spy for the allies, Jonathan Arnold. Jeff’s found out
everything and has threatened to turn him in- to the Nazis. I think that Jeff has gone
crazy from all that he’s gone through. He- he threatened to kill me if I told anyone, but I
just had to tell you. Please don’t tell anyone else.”
Hilary sat there, unbelieving. Could all this be true? Yes. Betty was too upset to
be lying, and why would she be? She patted Betty’s back to comfort her, not knowing
what to say. All that could come out was “Don’t worry. I won’t breathe a word of this to
a soul, not even Scott. I don’t think that either of us will be getting any sleep tonight.
How about the couch for both of us?” They talked half of the night away, finally falling
asleep on the couch at three-thirty.
* * *

The next day at work was a day like no other. Hilary arrived at the station on
time, forced to by Betty. “Bedside Manor” was stiff between Jeff and her, but her and
Scott’s “Simmons” did spice things up- and for once Hilary enjoyed it.
“Scotty,” Hilary said after they were in the Green Room after the show, “that was
the most fun that I’ve ever had on air. Remind me to ‘keep you on the payroll’ at the
house!”
“At the rate I’m going, you’ll have to- if Pruitt doesn’t kick me off this one first. I
know he’s just waiting for an excuse to let me go. I’m sure he can’t stand me.”
“Well, at least the feeling’s mutual with the station- and probably his mother. I’m
sure that he’ll be gone as soon as-”
“As soon as what, Hilary?”
“As soon as ...he gets tired of fooling around with all of us. Speaking of fooling
around, I have to talk to you about Jeff.”
“Hilary, I like you and all, but-”
“No, not ‘fooling around’ meaning us, I meant that as a reference to- oh never mind. I
can’t go on working with him if he keeps acting like he has been. I can’t talk to him
about it, so could you?”
“Sure- anything for you, Hildy!”
Hilary was about to say “It’s Hilary!” like always, but thought better of it. “He’s
so cute when he says that.” she thought to herself. “But I think that he’s Betty’s
territory.” She left it at that.
* * *

“Betty?” Hilary called into the writer’s room.
“Hmm?” Betty replied, taking a sip of coffee and preparing to write today’s
episode of “Captain Amazon.”
“I think I’ve fixed our little problem.”
Betty nearly choked on her coffee. “You didn’t tell someone, did you? Did you
forget our conversation last night?” She was shocked that Hilary would do such a thing,
but it was Hilary.
Hilary looked offended. “No, of course not! I just mentioned Jeff’s attitude to
Scott, and-”
“Oh no, not him.” Betty buried her face in her hands.
"Who else would I tell, Mr. Eldridge? Betty, I trust Scott, and I know that you do,
too. We both know how he feels about you. He’ll talk to Jeff for me, and you’ll have
nothing to worry about.”
“You didn’t say that Jeff has been bothering me, did you?”
“No, but I’m sure that he knows Jeff’s ‘problem’ carries over to you. He only
wants the best for us.”
Betty heard the tone in Hilary’s voice and she looked up. “I know he does,” she
replied in the same tone. For once in their lives, there was a feeling of mutual thought
between them. They were on the same wavelength, and it scared them.
Hilary was the first to break the mood, as always. “What do you have in mind for
“Captain Amazon?” she asked, noting what Betty was working on.
“Not much. I can’t think today.”
“I know the feeling well.”
“But you’re not the one who has to write the scripts,” Betty sighed back.
“Thank God I’m not the one who has to listen to them,” Hilary shot back,
smiling.
“Ditto, with your acting.” The old mood was back, but this time with an element
of fun between the two.
* * *

After Hilary left the writer’s room, Betty got up and shut the door. She flipped on
the little radio that she kept on her desk, awaiting “Jonathan Arnold’s” next broadcast.
“Yah-hoo! This is Jonathan Arnold, broadcasting to you from the center of
down-town Berlin!”
Betty noticed something odd about the voice: it wasn’t Victor’s. “Oh my God,”
she whispered in shock. “Victor. Something’s happened to Victor. Jeff-” She got up
and ran to the Green Room. “Mr. Elderidge, where’s Jeff?” she asked the old man, who
was sitting on the couch, reading that day’s paper.
“I think that he’s on the air doing a Pirate’s game,” he said. “Why anyone would
want to listen to that, I don’t know.”
“How about Hilary?”
“No, I don’t think she likes baseball.”
“I mean, where is she?”
“In the ladies’ room, I think.”
“Thank you Mr. Elderidge.”
Betty left and headed toward the ladies’ room, running smack into Hilary, who
was leaving the ladies’ room. “Hilary, we need to talk.”
Hilary could see the strain on Betty’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“Come into the writer’s room. We need to talk in private.”
On the way there, they ran into Scott. “Betty, Betty, Betty-”
“Not now Scott. In a minute.” They went into the room, shutting the door behind
them.
“What’s wrong?” Hilary asked. “You look worried.”
“Remember when I told you that Jonathan Arnold is really Victor?”
“Yes.”
“Well, he isn’t any more.” She turned on the radio. “Notice something
different?”
Hilary listened. “His voice- it’s different.” The thought sunk in. “That’s not
Victor! Oh no, you don’t think that Jeff told them, do you?”
“I don’t know.” Betty rubbed her forehead. “All I do know is that if he did, we’ll
never see him again.”
“But you know,” Hilary said hopefully, trying to cheer Betty up, “maybe the
government thinks that he’s done enough, and have let him come home.”
“No, the war’s just begun. I think that they’ll need him a while longer. We have
to talk to Jeff. Now.”
* * *

On the way out of the writer’s room, Betty and Hilary ran into Gertie, who was
trying to find Betty. “Betty, your father’s on the phone. He says it’s important.”
“Sure thing, Gretie. Hilary, go on and talk to Jeff.”
Hilary went off in search of her ex-husband. She found him in the Green Room,
talking to Maple. “Jeff, you’re a married man,” she said dryly. “Have a little decency.
But then again,” she thought of Pavla, “go on and flirt. Maple, I need to borrow Jeff for a
minute.”
“Sure Hilary.” Maple returned to the Studio B to work on the script for “Sam
Dane: Private Eye.”
With Maple gone, Hilary finally sat down to talk to Jeff. “Jeff, did you happen to
leak information about Victor?”
Jeff looked at her in shock. “She told you?”
“Everything. If you don’t want to experience murder firsthand, you better have
kept your mouth shut. I can’t believe that you’d do something like that.”
“I would, but I haven’t yet. Why are you asking me this- did he go off the air?
It’s not because Berlin was bombed. It’s probably because he’s-”
“Coming home.” Betty finished his sentence for him. “That wasn’t my father on
the phone, that was Victor. He’s on his way here as we speak. He has a surprise for
Jeff.”
Jeff knew what Betty was saying, and that she was telling him this for a reason.
“You know you’re aiding a spy who threatened to kill a dear friend, don’t you?”
“Yes, but I’m also saving a friend’s tail. Go on. Hurry and they’ll miss you.”
Jeff left with a word of thanks for Betty, and a goodbye kiss for Hilary. “So long,
Mittens,” he said, then was gone.
Hilary touched her cheek where he had kissed her. “Goodbye, Pumpkin.” Her
face changed. “Come on, let’s go get everyone together and greet Victor.”
“What are we going to say about Jeff?”
Hilary thought for a minute. “How about that he stepped out for lunch. Never
mind about Jeff, what about Scott?”
“What about him?” Betty asked, innocently.
“You know perfectly well what I mean.”
“I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“I thought you’d already crossed it. Which side did you end up on?”
“The opposite from where I started.”


The End







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