Episode #335

Previously ...
- Molly was troubled by Brent's behavior after a phone call that he claimed was about work. She peeked at his airline confirmation and saw that he is taking a trip to Vermont.
- Bill urged Matt to give Sarah another chance, in light of her announcement to Molly and Brent. However, Matt continued to express doubts about his relationship with Sarah.
- In the aftermath of Stan's death, Ryan was hostile toward both Claire and Paula.


Even at this early hour, the air is hotter and more intense than the typical Pacific Northwest weather. The heat has made its way inside Brent Taylor's apartment, despite the shades drawn over the windows and the fans working to cool the air. Nevertheless, Molly Fisher holds a warm cup of coffee in her hand as she stands over the kitchen counter, waiting for a pair of bagels to finish toasting.

Brent enters the kitchen, his gaze fixed on the toaster.

"Breakfast will be ready in a couple of minutes," Molly says. "You want another cup of coffee?"

"Um, yeah. I'll probably need the caffeine today."

Molly takes the mug, fills it, and adds his customary one packet of sugar. She hands it back to him, studying him carefully. Ever since he got that phone call, something has seemed off; she can even see it in the cautious way that his mouth approaches the coffee and the way that his eyes don't seem to know where to settle.

"Are you all packed?" she asks.

"Close. I'm going to wait until I'm done showering to pack toiletries and that sort of stuff." He hesitates, as if there are more words that he's holding back.

Molly rests one hand on the counter's edge and leans against it. "Brent, are you sure there's nothing to worry about?"

"There's nothing to worry about," he says, forcing a smile. It's the kind of response that seems programmed into him, some default setting that compels him to handle everything on his own, and now he delivers it in a monotonous, thoroughly unconvincing manner.

He looks again to the stubborn toaster, which has yet to relinquish their bagels, and then to the clock.

"I'm gonna jump in the shower now. Then I'll eat, get dressed, and get out of here."

"All right. I'll have something ready for you to eat."

He sets his coffee down on the counter and heads out of the room. Seconds later, Molly hears the bathroom door close, and the shower's dull rumble begins. She stands there for a long moment waiting for the bagels to emerge, but finally, her curiosity gets the better of her.

She hurries into the living room, to the desk in the corner where his computer sits. Beside it is his Palm Pilot, as usual. She grabs it and flips it open.

She saw him fiddling with it last night, and now she hopes it will give her some answers--or, even better, put her fears to rest.


Claire Fisher raises a spoonful of chicken noodle soup to her lips, pausing to blow on it--a habit she picked up years ago while feeding her children--before taking a bite. The soup is one of the better menu items at the cafeteria, and a small bowl of it is all she thinks she can keep down right now in light of everything that's transpired with Stan.

And Ryan. She takes a deep breath and then another bite as their conversation rushes back in waves. Something about his demeanor, his devastation in the wake of Stan's untimely end, isn't sitting right with her. These thoughts settle in for what feels like seconds but is most likely longer, as she climbs out of her contemplative hole to find her bowl empty and Paula Fisher sitting across from her. She blinks, swallows.

"Is everything all right?" Paula asks gently.

"Yeah, Paula. Hi. I'm sorry." Her words sputter out mechanically. "I didn't even notice you sitting there."

"I just got here. It's all right."

"Oh. Did you want to get a cup of coffee, or...?"

"No, no." Paula smiles reassuringly. "I'm quite all right. I came to talk to you, actually."

"Is everything all right?"

"I should ask you the same."

"Yeah, I'm okay. I mean, this has been a long couple of days--for you, too, I'm sure--is all. And ... well, it's been rough. You know."

"I do." The older woman is quiet for a beat. Then: "Have you spoken to Ryan?"

"I have," Claire says and stares into the empty bottom of her soup bowl. Paula parts her lips but doesn't speak. "He's having a hard time dealing with all of this."

"He is," Paula says. "I went to see him earlier this morning, and he was ... distant. Angry, almost, that I was there."

Claire doesn't say anything, but she nods, grimaces.

"I'm worried about him, Claire. I don't know why I thought that just being his mother would be enough to console him when I stopped by. He was very cutting. And clearly devastated."

"I know," Claire offers. Then, smugly and in spite of her better judgment: "Over that drunken rapist Stan Lincoln, of all people." She takes another deep breath and almost offers an apology but can't find it within her. Not after everything that man did.

"I understand," Paula says. "But I'm still worried. I can't understand how Ryan can push away the people who love him ..."

Claire nods weakly.


Studying the intensity etched into his son's dark features, Nick Moriani readies himself for the confrontation he's been awaiting. He knew Ryan would come to him after learning about Stan's murder. He knew Ryan would want answers ...

"You're responsible for this," Ryan says, the accusation playing out much as it has in Nick's mind. "You sent someone after my father, didn't you?"

"That man isn't your father, Ryan. I am."

It's always been easy for Nick to come up with lies and cover-ups; it's part of his very nature. Ryan knows him too well, though. This will be more of a challenge than he thought.

Stan was slime. It's hard to imagine anyone really caring one way or another what happened to him. But Ryan does care, and Nick sees that clearly.

"At any rate, as much as I would have loved to see Stan Lincoln take his last breath, I can't take credit for another man's work."

"A man you hired, no doubt ..."

"Ryan," Nick says, more forcefully. "I know you're confused and upset, but I'm not the one responsible for Stan's murder." Nick reaches out to his son, but Ryan backs away from his touch. "Stan Lincoln was nothing but an alcoholic slob. He probably tried to mug some other bar fly and ended up in over his head. There's a number of logical and likely explanations for what happened to him."

Ryan seems to be processing his father's words.

"You can't see it now, but once this all sinks in, you'll realize what a relief it is for you to finally be rid of that baggage--that part of your life that you wanted to forget. You wanted him to stay out of your life, and now you can have that. To feel any remorse for the man would be laughable."

Ryan's eyes dart back to his father's and narrow at the comment. Nick knows Ryan won't fully believe him, no matter what he says, but hopefully he's managed to plant some seed of doubt in Ryan's mind.

"If you're behind this, I will find out about it," Ryan says, backing down for the time being. He knows Nick's hiding something, but a part of him wants to believe his father is being truthful.

"My hands are clean." Nick's taken every precaution in eliminating Stan Lincoln. He finds it highly unlikely that this will be traced back to him--even by someone who knows his operation as well as Ryan.

Ryan leaves him alone in the living room without so much as a goodbye.

Nick allows himself a moment of relief once Ryan is gone. He doesn't like having to lie to one of the few people he's ever trusted, but Ryan isn't thinking clearly. He wouldn't understand why Nick has done what he's done. He did this for both of them.

Nick can't count the number of times he's seen his son tormented and agonizing over Stan's latest hijinks. The man was a loose cannon. Ryan might have conveniently forgotten all of the havoc he wreaked, but Nick remembers. It's the reason he doesn't feel sorry for what he's done. Ryan will be better off for this.

Then there's the threat Stan posed to Nick himself. Getting rid of Stan was worth the risk. With him out of the way, Nick's neck is no longer on the line. Now, the secrets Stan overheard will be buried along with his worthless corpse.


Sarah Fisher sits at the dining room table, nursing her morning cup of coffee. Across the room, one of Tori's favorite videos plays on the TV, but Sarah is oblivious to it. She waits for the knock on the door, the same way she has been awaiting it since she awoke from her restless sleep at 6 a.m.

When the knock comes, she is suddenly aware of the tension that has gripped her hands, her arms, her shoulders. It takes her a moment to rise to her feet.

"Daddy's here!" Tori shouts in that unnecessarily loud way that children have. She springs up from the floor into a run for the door.

"Let me get it," Sarah says, cutting the little girl off. "You're not supposed to answer the door, remember? You never know who it is."

Tori nods, but she appears to be about half a step away from rolling her eyes. Sarah thinks of reinforcing the seriousness of the rule but decides now is not the time. Instead, she opens the door.

"Hi," she says, perhaps too quickly.

Matt holds his lips together tightly. "Hi."

As though neither of them knows how to avoid it, their eyes lock. But before Sarah can figure out what to say, Matt kneels down.

"You ready to get goin'?" he asks Tori playfully.

"I don't have any stuffs," Tori answers, shrugging.

Sarah places a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "Your bag is all packed. Go grab it from your room."

Tori looks up at her, narrows her eyes, and places a finger to her lips. "Oh yeah!" she exclaims, hurrying from the room.

"She's wired today," Sarah says to Matt. "Be forewarned."

"Thanks for the heads-up." He stuffs his hands into the pockets of his cargo shorts. "I, uh, I talked to your dad. About you and Brent and Molly--"

"I meant what I said to them. I want them to do whatever they want. I'm ready to let go of it and move on."

"That's a big step."

"Yeah ..."

"I'm proud of you," he says abruptly.

Sarah looks to him hopefully, but the next thing out of his mouth is less than encouraging. "It's good for you to be focusing on stuff like that."

Suddenly she is overcome by the feeling that all the air has been sucked out of the room. It's as if Matt is unaffected by what she did.

"I wanted to prove to you that I'm over that entire situation," she says, but it feels like she is hanging off the edge of a cliff, her fingers struggling to maintain their grip. "I want to be with you."

Before Matt has the chance to respond--or maybe he doesn't plan to, Sarah can't tell--Tori comes running into the room, her backpack hanging over her shoulders.

"I'm all ready!" she announces.

"All right, kiddo, let's hit the road." Matt wears a smile that, five seconds ago, would have been the last thing Sarah would have expected to see on his face.

Sarah apprehends Tori for one final hug and kiss, and then the little girl goes scurrying out the door. Before he exits, Matt turns back to Sarah, the sober expression now back on his face.

"I'm not sure what to think anymore," he says.

Sarah struggles for a response, but there isn't one that she can muster. Matt leaves the apartment and closes the door behind himself.


Molly's mind races to stay several steps ahead of her. Aside from having some idea about how the Palm Pilot actually works, she is utterly without a clue as to what she is doing. She doesn't know where to look or what she's actually looking for--but she hopes that when she sees it, she'll recognize it.

Finally she reaches Brent's calendar, which she realizes should have been the first place she looked. Scrolling through the itinerary for his time in Vermont, she finds very little actually scheduled. The most promising option appears to be something labeled "Meet w/ Devereaux and Lockhart."


She sees a list of what she presumes are notes regarding the meeting. Time, place, and some other things. Salvatore Domingo. Tom Clayton. More people he's meeting with?

She is ready to go with that assumption until she sees the phrase Domingo's clinic. What?

Before she even has the chance to consider the ramifications of these notes, the sudden sound of the bathroom door opening throws her into a panic.

"Brent?" she calls out, knowing it's him, also knowing that it does little to make her appear innocent.

"I left my damn shampoo by my suitcase!" he shouts in response. The shower continues to run, louder now that the closed door isn't muffling it.

She hears him clamoring into the bedroom and then back to the bathroom, without so much as an inclination to enter the living room. Still, the scare is enough for Molly; she has closed the Palm, and now she places it back where she found it.

She hops onto the computer and pulls up Google. Maybe this won't work, but if it does ...

Thankfully, Brent stays in the bathroom for the duration of his shower. And he is still in there when she picks up the phone, dials the number listed on the computer screen, and says to the man who answers, "Hi, I need to book a flight for this evening."


Is Molly about to get herself involved in something she shouldn't?
How will Brent react?
What will it take for Sarah to convince Matt that they should be together?
And where is this business about Stan's death headed?
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