Episode #328

Previously ...
- Alex went out with Dylan and some friends to the Mirage nightclub. They ran into Trevor. Dylan was interested to realize that Alex's new friend also happens to be gay.
- Though Sarah pleaded with Matt to forgive her, he refused and asked her to leave him alone.
- Stan Lincoln returned to King's Bay and hid out in the hospital parking garage, ready to go after Claire. When his first attempt was foiled, he hightailed it to the Fisher home and crept inside. But when he got upstairs, he encountered not Claire, but Paula!


Paula Fisher freezes over the bed. The fitted sheet hangs from one corner of the mattress, its other end clutched in her hand.

"Bill?" she calls out. He isn't supposed to be home from work yet, but there is always the chance that it was an off night at the restaurant.

As soon as his name passes through her lips, though, she becomes aware that it isn't him. The noise that she hears on the stairs and now in the hallway is not the sound of a man entering his own home after a long day at work. There is something entirely different about this noise--something frightening.

She whips around, the sheet still in her hand. Her breath catches in her chest and stifles the scream that is poised to burst out of her body.

The man before her stops in his tracks. His eyes settle on hers, and her mind processes the face. That same face she saw in the park after Sally Marshall was killed--that same face from so long ago, now weathered beyond its years.

He takes a step back, as if he is going to retreat, but he doesn't break their stare.

"Paula," he says slowly.

She stares him down. She cannot move; her legs don't seem capable of functioning, don't even seem attached to her body.

"What are you doing in my house?" Her voice sounds harsh and accusatory, and she is thankful for that. She is not going to let this man run rampant over her the way he has over her family.

He doesn't answer. How could he possibly answer? They both know what the honest response would be, anyway.

She reaches for the phone. She always carries it with her when she is doing work around the house, and right now, she is very thankful for that habit.

"Don't call the cops," Stan says. His eyes grow with what looks to be genuine horror. "Please."

"Why not? Stanley, you are in my house. You have--" She has to stop, remind herself not to agitate him too much. But she is having a difficult time reconciling this dangerous man with the man she fell for so many years ago.

He takes a step closer. "I have what?"

She looks directly at him, her gaze unflinching. "You've changed. You've changed so much."

"No, I haven't. You don't understand, Paula."

Hearing him speak her name is so strange, almost surreal. She moves backward, not wanting to be any closer to him than she has to be, but the bed is right there and her leg bumps into it. She barely stops herself from tumbling onto it.

"You're right, I don't," she says, working hard to keep the quiver out of her voice. "I don't think I could ever understand how you became the man you are today."


"Apparently 51% of late night television is infomercials," Brian Hamilton says, looking to Diane Bishop for agreement. She just rolls her eyes and snatches the remote control from his hand, flipping the channel to some figure skating competition on ESPN2.

"There, happy?"

"Ugh! Back to the infomercials! You know I hate this crap!" Brian whines, grating Diane's last nerve.

It isn't Brian's fault. Her foul mood started early thist morning and carried on relentlessly through the day. She'd invited Brian over in hopes of a relaxing evening after the hectic day she'd spent fixing some harebrained newcomer's mistakes at Vision. Unfortunately for Diane, the times she most needs to wind down generally coincide with the moments Samantha is the most riled up. And tonight is no exception. With Brian's help in wearing Samantha out, they finally managed to put the little spitfire to bed about a half hour ago.

"Maybe we should just call it a night," Brian says, noting Diane's irritability. Diane turns off the television.

"I want cartoons!" cries an angry little voice, as Samantha dashes into the living room in her pajamas.

"I thought you were asleep, you little hellion!" Diane admonishes, though her full lips curl into a smile.

"You told Uncle Bri-Bri you'd stay in bed this time!"

"I lied," Samantha says, proud of herself.

"She gets that from you, you know?" Brian says, earning Diane's evil eye.

Before the duo can argue anymore with the kindergartener, someone's knocking at the door. Diane has a good idea who it could be before she even opens the door. "Hi, honey," she says, her suspicions confirmed.

Sarah Fisher steps into the apartment with Victoria in tow. If her expression is any indication, her day might have gone even worse than Diane's. "Hey. Hi, Brian."

"How've you been?" he asks.

"How does it look like I've been?" she sighs. Neither of them need to answer that question. Sarah looks like she's about to snap. "Victoria! Quit playing in the curtains!"

Victoria's little hand lets go of the fabric she's been tugging at, and she stands still, afraid of being scolded for anything else she might do.

Diane wonders what's happened between Sarah and Matt since they last spoke that night when the fight occurred. Diane figures it hasn't gone well.

"Brian, can you watch Samantha and Tori for a minute so we can talk?" Diane asks. Samantha leads Victoria around the condo and to her room, showing off her newest toys. Brian follows after them.

The two of them alone, Diane turns her full attention to her friend. "Did you and Matt talk things out?"

"I tried," Sarah starts. Diane thinks Sarah looks exasperated and completely strung out and offers a seat at the table. "I went to Matt's and tried to apologize. I promised him I wasn't just using him to get back at Molly."

"Of course you're not. How could he think you were just using him?"

"Well, it was pretty stupid of me to spring a proposal on him at the fashion show," Sarah admits. "But I wasn't thinking things through. It was an impulsive mistake."

"He's the father of your child. He must know that you really love him."

"I told him that, but he wouldn't listen!" She chokes back a sob and looks to Diane helplessly. "I just want him back, Diane, but he won't even give me a chance! What am I supposed to do now?"

Diane leans forward in her chair, conspiratorially. "I'll tell you exactly what you need to do ..."


The sound of The Real World on television is momentarily overridden by a knock on the door. Jason Fisher sets his beer down on the coffee table and rises halfway from his seat before realizing that the move isn't necessary. But before he can open his mouth, Lauren Brooks calls out, "Come in!"

"What if you just told a serial killer or something to come into my apartment?" Jason asks teasingly as he settles back down beside her on the couch.

"Some serial killer." Lauren nods toward the doorway, where her brother is kicking off his shoes and then closing the door behind him.

"Better lock that," Lauren says to Trevor. "Apparently Charles Manson is on the loose, and Jason is very concerned."

Trevor locks the door but looks at her with confusion. She returns a look that tells him to forget it.

Kelsey Barker watches the scene with amusement. It's clear how comfortable all of them are together, and that makes her feel even more conspicuous. Someone else joining them is a bit of a relief, though, since it makes her feel less like a third wheel, hanging out with a couple. Not that she isn't grateful that Jason invited her to hang out with him and Lauren tonight.

"Trevor, this is Kelsey, my skating partner," Jason says, pointing from one to the other as he introduces them. "Kelsey, Trevor--Lauren's brother."

Kelsey raises one hand from behind her glass in a tiny wave. "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, too," Trevor says.

Lauren gets her brother's attention. "Hey, there's beer in the fridge. And there's some Coke, and Malibu on the counter."

Trevor disappears into the kitchen and returns with a beer.

"I thought you were gonna have some big late night," Lauren says as Trevor settles into a chair opposite the couch, next to the one in which Kelsey is sitting.

He shakes his head. "That plan lasted about fifteen minutes. I wasn't really feeling the whole club thing tonight." He takes a swig of his beer, glances momentarily at the TV, and then adds, "I did run into Alex and Dylan, though."

"Yeah, Alex said they were going out with some of Dylan's friends," Jason says. "He didn't sound too excited about it."

Trevor grins. "Didn't look too excited about it, either."

"Wait," Kelsey interrupts, "you mean Dylan ... Dylan who skates with Courtney?"

All three of the others nod. The strange tension that hits the air at the mention of Courtney's name doesn't go unnoticed by Kelsey.

"I know you guys used to date and skate together," she says, looking at Jason but hoping to invite input from Lauren and Trevor as well, "but I get the feeling there's a lot more of a story there."

The silence that follows makes her worry that she has asked an inappropriate question, but Lauren eventually answers, after sharing an uncertain look with Jason.

"Courtney and I used to be really good friends," she explains. "I'm not sure when we stopped being friends, exactly, but it's sort of fallen apart since Jason and I have been spending time together."

"We had kind of an ugly breakup," Jason fills in.

Kelsey looks to Trevor, awaiting his input, but he shrugs. "I'm on good terms with her now. Somehow."

Lauren echoes his look of amazement. "I wish we could get back to being friends, but I don't see it happening anytime soon. But it's like I had to choose between being close with Jason or being close with her."

"That sucks," Kelsey says, lifting her glass to her mouth.

None of them notice Trevor glance quickly at his sister and then guiltily away.


It sounds strange to hear the name aloud after all this time, especially coming from his own lips.

Alex Marshall tries not to show too much of what is going on inside him, of his descent down the slide of memory.

Trevor Brooks looks him straight in the eye. "Am I right in guessing that you haven't talked much to anyone about this?"

Alex moves the cup of coffee from one hand to the other. He uses the free one to indicate the papers spread all over the living room. "This is sorta my way of doing that."

"And it's turning into an awesome story. But there's obviously a lot more that you aren't saying in your writing."

The beginnings of a nod take hold of Alex's head, and it moves up and down, very slowly, almost deliberately. He takes a step closer.

"So what happened?" Trevor asks. "How did things actually work out?"

The sequence of events that follows is a blur, and yet somehow, it all seems to happen in slow motion. Alex moves for the couch, planning to take a seat, but he feels his feet tangling up, caught on something. They stop moving, but the rest of his body lurches forward.

Next thing he knows, he is sprawled across Trevor's lap. The mug is still in his grip, but it is turned at a troublesome angle, and Trevor's shirt now bears an fresh coating of brown.

"Oh God, I'm sorry," Alex says. The words seem to trip over each other, over his teeth and his tongue. "You--That has to be really hot. You should--"

As if reading his mind, Trevor calmly reaches down and pulls the shirt over his head. He tosses it aside.

Alex knows that he should stand up, get himself off Trevor, but his body doesn't seem to agree.

Trevor looks down at him. Another apology twists its way into Alex's mouth, but it never emerges.

Instead, he reaches a hand out tentatively. His fingertips graze the tanned skin of Trevor's bare chest. He can feel the heat of the coffee radiating from the skin.

His fingers grow more accustomed to the feel of Trevor, the peculiar balance between soft and firm, the tight muscles lying just beneath the skin that yields so easily to his touch.

He swallows hard and raises his eyes. Trevor is still looking at him. He moves forward in the chair, closer to Alex, and suddenly their faces are mere millimeters apart.

Alex can feel the weight of his breathing and wonders how his heart hasn't exploded yet.

He doesn't have time to figure it out, because the next thing he knows, Trevor's mouth is upon his. It takes only an instant for them to test the kiss out, and then their tongues are writhing together.

They stay like that for God knows how long--tongues and lips intertwining, fingers moving further and further over each other's bodies. Alex pulls himself up, kneels on the chair, his knee between Trevor's legs--


The night is pure July: heavy, warm, the type of night that has the potential to make blankets obsolete. That heaviness is the first thing Alex notices. The air isn't hot, just dense.

It takes him another moment to gather his bearings. The shadows around the room take on recognizable shapes, and his disorientation gives way to familiarity. Dylan's room. Dylan's bed.

Alex turns over and, instinctively, has to force a lump down his throat. Dylan lies beside him, sleeping soundly.

Oblivious to the dream Alex just had.

He has to turn back over; he can't look at Dylan right now. He throws the comforter off his body and clutches the pillow tightly under his head as he stares out the window.


Stan extends his hands toward Paula, as if he is going to strangle her or try to console her, maybe both.

"It's not how you think," he says.

"Then how is it?" She swallows hard, trying to force down the fear that is buzzing in her head. She knows this man is incredibly dangerous; he is a loose cannon of the highest order.

"They're lying. Ryan and Claire and--everyone. I'm not that kinda guy."

She purses her lips, suppressing the kind of response that might send him into a rage. She remembers that he had a temper, but three and a half decades ago, there was something alluring about it. He was fiery, passionate, wild. He represented everything that she didn't have in her pleasant little romance with Bill.

He certainly isn't that man anymore.

"Not everyone gets to get married and have perfect kids and play house," he says, the lines in his face hardening. "Life can be rough. You gotta do what you gotta do sometimes."

The space between them seems to shrink, and Paula is sucked into long-quiet memories of summer nights, the sticky heat of the downtown apartment building. She cried so many tears over what was happening with Bill, and Stanley's firm grip was there to help her along, to make her forget for hour after careless hour.

She tries to figure out how she could have been so stupid.

"How could you have found our son and not contacted me?" she asks. It is a random thought, one that has zipped in and out of her brain countless times since discussing this man with Ryan, and now it emerges like some sort of primal need.

"I wanted to see him. I wanted to know ... I dunno. You got married and had your other kids, and I figured I shouldn't bother you."

She tries to read the level of honesty in his words, but it is blurred by his raggedness. According to Ryan's account, she shouldn't trust a thing that Stanley says, considering how he went after their son's money ... and then did so many horrible things.

"And Claire," she says, almost breathlessly. She just needs to bring these things up, know that she and Stanley have mutually acknowledged them. She doesn't even expect a response out of him, much less something that will change her perspective on the things he has done.

He shakes his head vigorously. "I'm not some kinda monster, Paula."

She fingers the buttons on the phone.

"Don't," he says, but instead of coming at her to stop her, he moves backward. He catches something--a snag in the carpet, maybe just his heel against the ground--and crashes onto his backside.

"Don't call the cops," he pleads, planted on the ground. "Please. I swear I'll--"

She forces the lump down her throat. Part of her doesn't want it to end this way, has been hoping that eventually she could justify having had a child with a man who turned out like this. But she can't, and she knows that now.

Her thumb curls around the front of the phone and turns it on. She can hear the dialtone, distant, somewhere inside the handset.

She lifts the phone closer to her face.

"Paula!" he shouts.

She presses the three buttons. He scrambles to his feet.

He flashes her a look of disbelief, one final plea not to do this to him. She brings the phone to her ear.

An instant later, the call connects. She listens to the rumbling on the stairs and across the living room, and she attempts to gather the proper words.

Somehow, she knows it is the last time she will ever see Stan Lincoln.


What did you think of the encounter between Paula and Stan?
Is Diane going to put Sarah up to another foolish scheme?
Do Alex and Trevor have a fighting chance?
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