Episode #313

Previously ...
- Over Christmas dinner with Katherine, Nick lamented the growing distance between himself and Ryan. His wife assured him that she would not let the Fishers take away Ryan.
- Uncomfortable at both the Moriani and Fisher celebrations, Ryan spent Christmas alone in a depressed state.
- Dylan invited Alex to travel to Atlanta with him and Courtney for Nationals, but Alex declined, saying that he had too much work to do on his novel.
- Jason and Lauren decided to turn his trip to Whistler, British Columbia, for a skating audition into a weekend getaway.


Nick Moriani buttons his coat as he rises from his chair. The other investors swarm around the refreshments at the back of the room and gather in groups for chit-chat, but all Nick wants is to get out of here. He hardly got any sleep last night, and the idea of schmoozing right now is decidedly unappealing.

Before setting his sights on the exit, though, he looks toward the spot where Ryan was seated. Throughout the meeting, Nick was throwing discreet glances in his son's direction, hoping for some sign, perhaps some response, that might indicate softening on Ryan's part. He found none. Still, he hopes to catch Ryan on the way out.

He is about to make his move when Molly Fisher hurries up to Ryan and starts chatting away. Nick watches in annoyance as he contemplates his revised course of action.

Nosy bitch, he thinks, watching Ryan slipping into what appears to be a comfortable conversation with his half-sister.

"I was hoping I'd have a chance to speak with you," says a familiar voice from behind him.

Nick turns and forces something resembling a smile. "Hello, Camille."

"How were your holidays?" she asks.

"Fine. Perhaps not ideal, but fine." He cannot resist looking over at his son again.

Camille must notice, because the next statement out of her mouth is "This must be difficult for you." Her focus has settled upon Ryan and Molly, as well.

When Camille first phoned him after hearing the news of Ryan's parentage from Molly -- Nick suppresses a groan at the thought of how gruesomely and obnoxiously interconnected this all is -- he did his best to downplay his concern. He didn't want to appear to have lost control of the situation. But the intervening weeks have done a number on him, and now he is grateful for the empathetic ear.

"That family is no good for him," he says. "I don't trust them for a moment." He flashes back to all those encounters in which Claire threatened to send him and Ryan to jail, not that he'd ever mention that to Camille.

And God knows what Paula Fisher had to be thinking to have conceived a child with that Neanderthal Stan Lincoln.

"Molly's a lovely woman," Camille says. Her tone suggests that she cannot comprehend why Nick would be upset about his son being related to the Fishers.

Nick does his best to maintain an air of calmness. "I presume you haven't encountered the rest of the bunch."

"Well, Molly's sister is a bit hotheaded, from what I gather, but one overemotional member doesn't ruin a family."

"You never know," he says grimly.

Camille places a hand on his arm, and Nick doesn't refuse the touch.

"I understand why this is so upsetting to you," she says, "feeling as if you're losing your child to a group of strangers. But isn't it possible that Ryan can be a part of both families? Just because he bonds with them doesn't mean that he's going to care less for you."

"No, it does," Nick says, unable to break his gaze from his son and Molly. "It's already started to happen, and the Fishers will never accept him fully until he's broken all ties with me."

"You don't know that--"

"I do know that. And I will not allow it to happen."


"I'd just like to be doing something that would give me some sense of direction," Ryan says. He and Molly stand engaged in conversation, halfway across the room from Nick and Camille.

Molly nods understandingly. "Absolutely, yeah. As much as I wish I could stumble onto a fortune and never have to work again, there's something to be said for doing what you love and having goals to work toward."


More and more, he likes this woman. His sister. How bizarre. During their first few encounters, he detected an icy vibe from her, as if she was only being civilized because she had to. But now that they've had a few more chances to speak, he has found her to be genuinely likable.

"Not that I have any clue what to do," he continues, pausing to finish the last of his coffee. "I've floated resumes around and contacted a bunch of people who I thought might come through, but ... nothing."

"You know," Molly says, "I might be able to help you out. Or at least point you in the right direction."

Ryan notices Nick staring in his direction and has to force himself to process what Molly has said and to respond. "Really?"

"Yeah. I know there are still a few positions that need to be filled here."

"I don't know if fashion is really my thing ..."

"It's business stuff," she says with a casualness that makes him wonder if she has much idea how the business side of this works. "Financial guys and whatnot. Anyway, if you want, I can give you the number of the guy who's in charge of all that."

The offer is far more than Ryan expected, and he contemplates refusing out of some strange sense of manners, but some other manners tell him that would be even worse.

"I'd really appreciate that," he winds up saying.

Molly pulls a day planner from her purse and writes a name and phone number in neat, stylish cursive. She removes the sheet from the planner and hands it to him.

"His name is Julian St. John," she says. "Only thing is ... maybe don't mention that you know me. I don't think I've quite won him over yet."

"He really dislikes you that much?"

"That's the impression I get, yeah. Who knows, maybe it's some intimidation tactic. But anyway, give him a call and get your resume to him. You never know."

"Yeah," Ryan says, pocketing the slip of paper. "Thanks, Molly. You have no idea how much this means to me."


Jason Fisher closes the front door of his parents' house and pulls off his gloves. Bill is seated in one of the living room's armchairs, and Paula sits on the sofa, their attention focused until now on the afternoon news broadcast.

"What's with all the boys in the yard?" Jason asks as he rubs his hands together, savoring the warmth of the house.

"Some of Travis's friends from school," Paula explains as she rises to greet her son. "Claire's taking them out for milkshakes."

"It's like a zoo! I'm lucky I made it into the house."

Paula gives her son a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Your skis should be in the garage, no?"

"They are," Bill says, still seated. "I checked for you last night."

"Excellent! I can't wait to bust them out. The snow in Whistler is supposed to be awesome right now."

Paula folds her hands together and looks at him with typical overexaggerated motherly concern. "Please don't get hurt."

"I'll be fine, Mom. Besides, I'm not gonna ski 'til after the audition anyway. There's nothing to worry about."

She sighs, a combination of resignation and prayer.

"Is it just you and Lauren going up, then?" Bill asks.

Jason nods. He's been expecting this conversation, though having had time to prepare has made him no more certain of what he will actually say.

"So is this a, you know, romantic getaway?"

"I don't know."

He watches grins spread across both his parents' faces.

"No, seriously," he says. "I really don't know what's going on, exactly." As much as he wishes that he had a more concrete idea, it is the truth. He knows what he's thinking, and he thinks he knows what Lauren's thinking, but maybe he's completely wrong about that. For every bit of excitement he feels over the upcoming trip, he feels an equal amount of nervousness. What if he does the wrong thing or pushes too far? What if he and Lauren are on completely different pages as to where things between them are headed?

Paula places a comforting hand on his forearm. "Well, enjoy yourself, regardless."

"And don't lose your focus for the audition," Bill warns with more than a hint of teasing.

"I'm gonna go grab my skis," Jason says, making his escape before they can stir up things inside him any further.


"Ugh," Dylan Carrington groans, rolling his head around on the pillow that is wedged between his neck and the airplane chair.

"Yeah, I can't fall asleep either," Courtney Chase says. She waits another moment and then reaches forward to pull a magazine from the pocket on the seat in front of her. Dylan's excitement passes when he realizes that it is the same Cosmopolitan that she was perusing earlier.

Dylan stares out the window, into the swirling, indistinguishable masses of clouds, for a period of time that feels like it should be longer than it actually is. The thought strikes him that this flight is never going to end.

"This competition better turn out well," he says, looking back to Courtney, "or I'm gonna be pissed that we wasted all this time on planes."

"Yeah," Courtney murmurs, but she is too transfixed by the magazine to say anything more.

Forcing his head back into the pillow, Dylan's mind sinks deeper into the thoughts that have been pooling within it all day. If he is honest, he knows that he is not nearly as pissed at the flight itself as he is at his situation with Alex -- maybe even at Alex himself.

There's no reason Alex couldn't have come with them to Atlanta. He could have done his writing there, and Dylan would have loved having him there for moral support. Nationals is a big deal, and to have important people there with him ...

Abruptly Dylan turns to Courtney. "Did Alex tell you that I invited him to come with us?"

Looking a bit startled, Courtney says, "No ..."

"I asked him to come along, but he totally blew it off. He said he's too busy, which is complete bullshit."

"He is busy. He's getting really close to finishing his book--"

"He has a laptop, Court. It's not unheard of to bring it on a trip and do work away from home."

"He's just really focused right now," she says. "He's almost finished writing, and I think he just needs to be in lockdown for a few weeks to get there."

Dylan forces himself to hold his tongue. If that's the case, one more week wouldn't have killed Alex. Not to share something this important with Dylan.

"It's like he doesn't care. Like our relationship doesn't even matter to him," Dylan says.

"That's ridiculous. You know that he cares a lot about you."

"Could've fooled me."

"Don't be melodramatic, Dylan. Alex wants to be with you. Don't doubt that." Courtney shoots him a warning look and then returns to her magazine.

Lapsing back into silence, Dylan exhales deeply. He attempts to brush the thoughts from his mind and focus on the upcoming competition, but he catches sight of a headline in Courtney's magazine: "Is Your Relationship One-Sided?"

Despite his best efforts, he continues reading the subtitle: "When to Fight for Him and When to Throw in the Towel."


"It's my pleasure," Molly says as she watches Ryan slip Julian's contact information into his pocket. She means it; in the short time since Ryan was revealed to be her half-brother, she has come to sympathize with him far more than she ever expected she would. She could sense his discomfort on Christmas day, and it made her see him as more than the potentially shady character Brent keeps warning her about, as a human being in a horribly confusing situation.

Ryan goes quiet, and for a moment, Molly pegs it as normal conversational awkwardness. But then she notices the intensity of his gaze.

Turning to look over her shoulder, she spots Nick Moriani, engaged in conversation with Camille but clearly focused upon his adopted son.

Molly debates briefly whether she should say anything and decides that if they are going to be brother and sister, now is as good a time as any to start the opening-up process.

"Is everything all right between you and Nick?" she asks.

Ryan gives a sarcastic little sniff before answering, "Not quite."

"I'm sure this whole debacle hasn't been easy on your relationship with him."

Breaking his stare with Nick, Ryan looks back at her. "No, it hasn't. And I have the feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better."

"You don't know that," Molly says, at the same time considering that there might be things that she doesn't know that are complicating the situation. "It's an adjustment period. Maybe that's all."

"I'd like to think so. But my father--Nick--I don't think he sees it that way."

"What do you mean?"

"He views this as some sort of competition between your family and him. And I have to make a choice between the two."

Molly is reminded of all the things she has heard about Nick, from Brent and from Claire, and wonders just how seriously Nick is taking this.

"You're an adult," she says, hoping that this is the right advice to be giving. "You don't have to play by his rules."

"I know." He pauses. "At least, I'd like to think so."

"You don't. There's no reason that you can't be a part of both families. Stranger things have happened."

Ryan doesn't respond. Instead he glances back at Nick.

"There's no need to burn any bridges," Molly says. "Let him know that you want to get to know your mother's family, but you don't want to lose him from your life. You never know how he'll respond."

She can see Ryan turning the concept over in his head and wonders if the resolution can be as simple as that for any of them.


Can Ryan live harmoniously as both a Moriani and a Fisher?
Is Dylan about to kick Alex to the curb?
And what's in store for Jason and Lauren during their trip?
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