Episode #318

Previously ...
- Sarah blamed Molly for the accident that left Matt hospitalized with a punctured lung, and Molly worried that she really was responsible somehow.
- Later, Brent and Molly wondered where Sarah got the pictures.
- Josh Taylor arrived at his brother Brent's apartment and announced that he will now be living in King's Bay.
- Ryan attempted to talk to Claire about their relationship. They kissed, but she ran off. He followed her to the cemetary, where she prayed to Tim about the situation.
- Unbeknowst to Ryan or Claire, Stan Lincoln lurked in the cemetary, watching them.


Winston Tower stands at the corner of two busy streets in downtown King's Bay, glorious in the glow of early springtime sun. On the eighteenth floor, Molly Fisher sits with a legal pad in her lap and a pen in her hand.

"I really feel like we're forgetting someone," she says. The pen hovers mere fractions of an inch above the page but has nothing to write.

Across the desk from her, Camille Lemieux lets out a sigh. "I'm sure there are plenty of people we are forgetting right now. This list will pass by approximately four million pairs of eyes before the invitations are sent out. We're only brainstorming."

Molly once again scans the list of names before her, the beginning of the official invitation list for the fashion show at which Objection's premiere line will debut. She still cannot believe that she is actually involved in the planning of something like this or that it is really going to happen.

Although it may not if she doesn't start focusing.

"It's on the tip of my tongue," she says, but it sounds like a feeble excuse.

She sets the pad and pen on Camille's desk. "I'm sorry. My head isn't exactly together today."

"I can tell," Camille says. She leans forward. "Is everything all right?"

Molly recognizes the tone; it's one that she appreciates greatly. Camille is telling her that it is okay to switch from business mode to personal mode.

"Sarah found out about Brent and me last night," Molly says, spitting it out in one quick rush.

"Oh dear. How did she take it?"

"Not well. She--I'm not even sure how she found out, other than that she saw pictures of us. But she came over to my apartment, furious, and screamed at me and smacked me, and then she took off in her car."

The accident replays itself in painful slow motion in Molly's head. If she had tried to stop Sarah from getting in the car and made an effort to calm her down ...

"Her boyfriend had followed her from her apartment," Molly says. "He had their daughter in the car. And Sarah was in such a hurry--"

Camille covers her mouth. "Oh my God, no!"

"Yeah. Luckily, Victoria is fine. And Matt will be okay, but he isn't in great shape right now."

"Oh, Molly, you shouldn't have come in today. If I'd known--"

"No, I'd rather be busy," Molly says. "I hardly slept last night. I couldn't stop thinking about it. At least work gives me something to focus on."

She sees Camille debating what to say next and picks up the pen to keep her hands busy.

"Her boyfriend is going to be okay, right?" Camille asks.

Molly twirls the pen between her fingers. "Yeah. Thank God. But this makes the entire situation with Sarah so much worse."

"She did have to find out sometime."

"I know, but ... we were hoping to tell her ourselves, when it felt like it was the right time. It seemed like it was getting to that point, too. But now she's even angrier, and--it's starting to feel like it will never be okay for Brent and me to be together."

She feels like a whiny child saying it like that, but it is true, and it is how she feels.

"I've been worried all along that it would always be a little strange," she continues, "like people would think it was tacky. But I was willing to deal with that. Being with him is worth that."

"And now you're afraid that it will be even worse than that?"

"Not just worse," Molly says. "Impossible. I don't see how my family would be okay with it after how it's affected Sarah, and especially after this whole mess."

She pauses, not wanting to say anything more, but the thought is so heavy on her brain that she has to vocalize it.

"I'm really worried that now it'll be up to me to do the 'right thing' and not be with him, and I don't know if I can do that."


The neighborhood is not the best in King's Bay. Located within a mile of the local university, it boasts a population almost evenly divided between college students and lower-class families. From his experience with the police department, Brent Taylor knows that there is not an enormous amount of crime in the neighborhood, but that doesn't make him feel too comfortable about his brother living here.

He follows Josh from the car and up what he fears might be rickety steps to the house's front door. It doesn't look like a bad place, actually, but it could have used a paint job a decade ago. A stack of disassembled cardboard boxes sits on the porch, awaiting recycling day, though the sheer amount of them makes Brent wonder if the last recycling day was several months ago.

"It's not the classiest place in the world," Josh says, as if reading his brother's mind, "but it's pretty tight. Got my own room and bathroom, high-speed internet, digital cable ... and Scotty says the neighbors don't care if we throw parties, which is cool."

Josh leads the way inside. It is much better than Brent feared, though the post-college furnishings aren't much of a step up from dorm room accomodations. Nevertheless, there is a large flatscreen television in one corner of the living room and a Playstation 2 hooked up to it. Clearly Scotty has his priorities.

Brent turns around and sees that Josh has disappeared.

"Where'd you go?" he calls out.

"I'm in the kitchen! Hang on a sec."

Stuffing his hands in his pockets, Brent surveys the room further. An impressive stretch of alcohol bottles--all different shapes, sizes, types--line a shelf that runs around the top of the room. An open bag of Doritos sits on the coffee table.

Against the far wall is a stack of boxes beside a closed door. Thinking that it must be Josh's room, Brent approaches it. He is about to open the door when a voice interrupts him.

"Hey, uh, leave that closed," it says, in a tone just nervous enough to make Brent want to open the door.

"Cat's in there," the young man in a hooded sweatshirt and basketball shorts explains. "You must be Josh's brother."

"Yeah. Brent Taylor." Brent extends his hand, and the young man quickly shakes it.

"Scotty Young." A pause, and then: "I'm sure we met when I was in high school."

"We must have, yeah," Brent says, though Josh always had so many friends coming and going that Brent could never tell who was who.

Josh reemerges from the kitchen, a bottle of Bud Light in his hand. "You want one?" he asks, tipping the bottle in Brent's direction.

"No, I'm fine."

"All right, then let's start grabbing stuff from the car."

Brent follows Josh back outside, with a last glance backward. He isn't entirely convinced that a cat is the only thing behind that door, but he isn't going to push the issue right now.

With a wave, Scotty ducks back into the kitchen. Brent returns the wave with a smile on his face, wondering once again if his brother really has it as together as he claims.


The phone rings in Diane Bishop's ear. She cradles the receiver between her ear and shoulder and flicks each of her manicured nails against the monogrammed pen on her desk.

One ring. Two. Three ... She prepares to hang up before the answering machine picks up. The call is an impulse anyway. She doesn't need to leave a message.

The fourth ring begins, but before Diane can end the call, she hears a click.


"Hi," she says. "Sarah."

"Yes?" There is a pause on the other end. "Diane?"

"Yeah. Listen--"

"I am not in the mood right now."

"Sarah! Please. I need to talk to you, about the e-mail and--"

"The pictures?"

Sarah sounds ragged, worn down, and suddenly every small hole in Diane's plan seems to grow larger and overtake the entire thing. If Sarah won't even listen to her, then this was all for nothing.

"Yeah," Diane says. "The pictures. I didn't know how else to let you know, but I had to tell you somehow. You deserve to know what's going on between your sister and Brent."

"I know, and I--I'm glad that I know. But do you have any idea what you set in motion by sending me those pictures?"

More possibilities than Diane can even contemplate race into her head. Brent dumped Molly? The Fishers disowned Molly? Sarah shot her?

"You didn't, like, shoot her or anything, right?" Diane asks.

"No! But I went to see her and confront her about it, and--Matt followed me, and he brought Victoria with him, and I went speeding away from Molly's place in my car ..."

"Oh God, you had an accident?"

"Yeah." Sarah seems to draw out her answer, as if to make it that much more uncomfortable for Diane. "And I'm fine, and Victoria is, too, thank God. But Matt is in the hospital, and he is not in good shape."

"Is he gonna be all right?"

"He should be. They can't be 100 percent sure yet." Another pause. Diane prepares for the worst. "Do you realize what you set in motion? Did you think about what sending me those pictures could've done?"

"Of course I did! Sarah, I was really worried about how you'd react. But I needed to let you know somehow, and I knew you'd never listen to me. This wasn't my ideal way of telling you."

"How'd you even get those pictures?" Sarah asks. Her tone is accusatory, as if she might uncover that Diane set the whole thing up and none of the aftermath is real.

"Brent lives in the same apartment complex as Brian. We just happened to see them together. I was shocked that they were going around behind your back."

"So was I," Sarah says. A sigh muffles the line for a moment. "I really thought they had more common sense than that. And then to find out they'd been having this relationship ..."

"It's completely tasteless." Time to swing this conversation around. "What'd Molly have to say for herself?"

"Not a lot, really. Just that she and Brent wanted to tell me themselves, and that she was sorry I had to find out this way--"

"That's crap! They should have told you a long time ago."

"I know. And then my parents had the nerve to stand up for Molly and treat her like Little Miss Innocent, like none of this was her fault."

"That really is disgusting," Diane says. She does mean it, even though right now, she is saying it as much for her own benefit as for Sarah's. "She needs to be stopped. Her antics have been absolutely toxic to your family."

"At least someone agrees with me," Sarah mumbles.

An awkward quiet falls over the line, and Diane scrambles to salvage the conversation.

"Listen, I just wanted to call and check in with you," she says. "I didn't expect you to be thrilled with me. But please, just know that I sent the pictures because I care about you and worry about you."

She can sense Sarah's hesitation.

"All right," comes the eventual answer.

"I'll give you a call sometime. I think we should get together and talk, have coffee, whatever."


"Bye, Sarah."

Diane clicks the phone off but clutches it in her hand. This is going to work. This has to work.


Although the refrigerator is nearly full, none of its contents look appealing to Claire Fisher at the moment. She knows that she needs to have some lunch, but nothing seems quite right.

About the food or life in general, she thinks as she closes the refrigerator.

She continues to consider her options, hoping that something will magically pop to mind and seem perfect. Footsteps sound on the stairs, and soon Paula Fisher joins her in the kitchen.

"We have some of that lobster pasta left over from the other night," Paula says.

Claire wonders how she knew exactly what was going on. "No, thanks, I'm fine. Just rummaging around."

Paula gives her a skeptical look but doesn't say anything. Instead she reopens the refrigerator and pours herself a glass of iced tea.

"Have you heard anything new about Matt's condition?" Claire asks. "I don't work again until tomorrow night."

"He seems to be doing fine, or as well as they expected he would be. I suppose we just have to hope that he recovers properly now."

"Yeah, he really should be okay. It's scary, though. And to think that Victoria could've been hurt, too ..."

"It's a miracle she wasn't," Paula says. She sits down at the table and opens up a magazine, but she continues looking at Claire. "And how about you, dear? Are you doing all right? I've been meaning to have a talk with you."

"About what?" Maybe Ryan put his mother up to this.

"Nothing in particular. We just haven't had much chance to talk one-on-one lately."

Paula sounds sincere enough. Of course she's sincere; she's Paula. Still, Claire cannot entirely shake the thought that Ryan has been discussing their relationship with her and that she might be intervening on his behalf. She would do it for any of her other children.

"I'm fine," Claire says. "Just busy lately. This PTA thing at Travis's school is taking up more time than I expected. Those people come up with more excuses to have auctions and bake sales and whatever else than I thought was possible."

Paula smiles. "Believe me, I know. But it's good to stick with it. They could use a voice of reason."

Claire hears the pause, the shift in conversation, and before she can head it off, Paula speaks again.

"And personally? I know that you and Ryan haven't been seeing each other."

She is sure that Paula means well, but she cannot have this conversation. It will probably get back to Ryan. Even if Paula wants to be her friend and her confidante, it isn't possible, not when she is so connected to Ryan.

"It's so hard," Claire says. "It's so--it's so strange to think that he's Tim's brother. I still can't make sense of that." And then, before Paula can respond: "I need to get going. I have to pick up Travis."

She hadn't intended to leave for another fifteen minutes or so, but it is a convenient escape. Paula might even realize the fib, but she doesn't say anything about it.

With a quick goodbye, Claire slips out of the kitchen and heads to the front door. She feels the air stuffed up in her lungs, ready to escape in relief once she gets out that door. But when she opens the door, the entire situation with Paula falls to the back of her mind.

It can't be ...

She reaches down and picks up the item. It is. It's her dress, the one she has been looking for. She was trying to figure out where she'd left it ...

But something is wrong with it. It doesn't look like a dress--

Because it isn't. Not anymore. It is cut, a jagged line at each of its edges, so that all it is now is a piece of shapeless fabric.

"What the hell?" she says to no one--maybe to herself, though she sure doesn't have an answer.

Giving it another once-over, she heads back toward the kitchen to see if Paula has any idea what this is about.


Ryan Moriani unlocks the front door of his father's house and steps inside. The foyer is still, but Ryan knows that Nick is here, somewhere in the depths of the very sizable house.

Seconds later, Nick appears at the top of the stairs.

"I was expecting you to have been here first thing in the morning," Nick says.

"I had a meeting." It is the truth, but it is also very convenient. When Nick called last night and said that he needed to see him, Ryan's curiosity made him want to come over as soon as possible. But he doesn't want Nick to have the satisfaction of thinking Ryan is at his beck-and-call.

"Of course. I wouldn't want to interrupt your busy schedule." Nick descends the stairs. "I was hoping you could shed some light on something for me."


Ryan eyes his father carefully. That face, always so straight, somehow concealed behind the silver mustache, betrays nothing. Ryan tries to recall if there might be something he left in the house that Nick could have found.

"This," Nick says, opening a drawer in the massive chest that stands beside the stairs. He pulls out what looks to Ryan like a clothing item.

Nick holds it up for him to see. It is torn at the edges, enough so that Ryan cannot what it is supposed to be. Nevertheless, there is something familiar about it.

"What is that?" he asks.

"You tell me!" Nick says. He hands Ryan the garment. "I found it sitting on the doorstep last night with a note that had your name on it."

Why does it look so familiar? "What did the note say?"

"Your name. That's it. Just a slip of paper that said 'Ryan' in sloppy handwriting." Nick removes the scrap from the same drawer.

"I don't know what's going on between you and Claire," Nick says, "but if this is some sort of game the two of you are playing--"

That's it. He does recognize it. It's one of Claire's dresses.

"I have no idea where this came from." Ryan studies the note, but it tells him nothing. "This isn't Claire's writing."

"I don't care whose it is, honestly. Just keep it away from my house. I don't need the aggravation, and I don't need Katherine getting suspicious about things that don't even involve me."

"All right, fine." Ryan clutches the ripped dress in one hand and sticks the note in his pocket. He opens the front door.

"Where are you off to in such a hurry?"

"I need to go see Claire," Ryan says.

"Ah. Of course."

He wants to tell Nick to shut up, that this is a much bigger deal than he realizes, but that is not an argument they need to get into now. He needs to find Claire, and they need to figure this out right now.


What is going on with the ripped dresses?
Will Diane be able to regain Sarah's friendship?
How concerned should Brent be about Josh?
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