Episode #337

Previously ...
- A visit from Brent, on police business, renewed Katherine's worries about Nick's financial dealings.
- Nick met with a representative of the Esposito crime family, who requested a favor of Nick. He shot down the idea.
- Sarah met with a new client, Julian St. John, who hired her to investigate his wife's possible infidelity.
- After a talk with Trevor, Alex decided to confront his troubles head-on. He asked Dylan for the truth about Leo and the text message.


Alex Marshall stands in the doorway of the apartment; he refuses to venture any further inside. Dylan Carrington stares back at him, trying to figure out why Alex just rebuffed his touch.

"The other day, you got a text message," Alex says, "and I thought it was my phone, so I checked it ... and there was a message from someone named Leo."

Now, despite his best efforts, Dylan cannot maintain the untroubled expression that has been so firmly planted on his face.

Alex breathes in sharply and then spits the question out quickly: "Is there something going on between you and this Leo guy?"

"Alex ..."

"Yes or no." Alex narrows his eyes. "It's not a difficult question."

Dylan folds his arms across his chest and lifts his chin. "No. There is nothing going on between Leo and me."

The unexpected complexity of Dylan's answer disturbs Alex. He expected to ask a question and receive an answer, be it good or bad. But now he realizes that Dylan's denial doesn't tell him exactly what he wants to know.

"And what about before? In the past?" Alex asks.

"In the past," Dylan echoes, simultaneously shaking his head. "Leo and I used to hook up, yeah. We'd run into each other at camps and competitions, have fun for a few days, and go our own ways."

Alex swallows hard. "Okay."

"He was gonna be in King's Bay, so he sent me a message," Dylan continues. "It's not like I did anything."

Dylan's explanation processes through Alex's mind. It's logical, it's reasonable ... and now Alex feels like a jerk for having been so presumptuous. He tries to muster an apology, but before he can, Dylan goes on.

"So are you, like, accusing me of cheating on you?" Dylan asks. His chin remains elevated, his jaw held tightly. "Glass houses, sweetheart."


Dylan smirks defiantly, perhaps even triumphantly. "Oh, please. You've been running after Trevor like a lovesick puppy for weeks."


"One, two, three, Canasta! I win!" exclaims an excited 50-something friend of Katherine's--Darlene--as she throws her cards onto the table in front of her and nearly leaps to her feet, stopping only to grab the glass of wine nearest her and pour the liquid down her throat as quickly as possible.

The other three women in the room exchange smirks and rolled eyes, the Moriani living room buzzing with the clank of glasses and the women's laughter and conversation.

Katherine grimaces half-seriously and levels her gaze on Darlene. "That's not how the game is played ..."

Another of the women, Tenille, looks up from her purse (where she's been digging unsuccessfully for her estrogen pills) and grins broadly. "Someone needs to keep Dar away from the Merlot!"

"I'm fine!" Darlene says, staring into her empty glass. "I just forget the rules of the game every once in a while."

"You forget everything when you're drunk," Tenille says and turns her attention back to her quest for pill-popping.

"All right," Katherine says and stands. "Let's take a break, and then we'll switch partners for the next round."

"Katherine, did you get an invitation to Miranda's fundraiser yet?" the fourth woman at the table, Marj, asks.

"It was in the mail yesterday morning," says Katherine as she heads to the kitchen to retrieve another bottle of wine and a fresh platter of crackers and cheese. "Are you attending?" Her question echoes in the hallway as she walks out of the living room.

"Yes, if I can find something appropriate to wear. Every time I've gone shopping lately, I can't find a single thing that doesn't cater to the twenty something crowd. It's such a chore to shop around here now. A woman of my distinction shouldn't have to settle!" Marj calls, raising her voice slightly.

"You should check out Objection, the new store downtown," Katherine says, still fumbling around the refrigerator for the cheese. "It's very contemporary, without being too tacky." She finds the Swiss and places a few more slices onto a dish, along with another box of crackers, and grabs the plate and a bottle of wine as she heads back to her friends.

"Thanks," Marj says as Katherine returns and refills her glass of wine.

"Hey!" Darlene says to no one. "I never got an invitation!" She makes a face, extends her empty glass for Katherine to refill.

Tenille gestures in her direction and shrugs. "You just got divorced, sweetie. Miranda knows you can't afford to give to charity at a time like this."

"Can, too ..."

A knock at the door interrupts their conversation.

"I'll get that!" Katherine says, setting the bottle down on the table and heading for the front door. "Excuse me, ladies."

She opens the door and finds a King's Bay police officer whom she does not recognize. Pangs of concern and suspicion flare in the forefront of her mind, but she remains silent for a beat, composing herself and quelling the nervous flare that's migrated to the pit of her stomach.

"Can I help you?" she asks, a moment longer than she'd have liked.

"Yes, are you Mrs. Katherine Moriani?"

"Indeed." She nods, leaning against the door slightly, as if bracing herself. For what, she's not sure.

"Then I'll get right to the point," the officer says and folds his arms across his chest. "You're familiar with Brent Taylor? Commander Taylor is out of town, but he asked me to come speak with you. We finally got a break in a longstanding case, and there's a very important development we need to inform you of. "

Katherine swallows hard.


At the kitchen table, Sarah Fisher's newest client is busy looking through the papers he brought along with him. She sets his requested cup of coffee in front of him, hoping the caffeine fix will satisfy him.

Julian St. John isn't exactly the friendliest man, but his distance and cool demeanor have lessened considerably as she's gotten to know him better. Still, he seems to be wavering about his decision to come to her. Sarah wants to see what's beneath the glossy exterior, and she hopes this more intimate setting will allow Julian to open up to her.

When Sarah sits beside him at the table, he slides several papers in front of her. She looks them over, looks back to him. "Now, these receipts … What are they?"

"This one is from a restaurant downtown. Margo told me she had lunch with a friend, but the bill is astronomical. It looks like they went all-out."

Sarah frowns. "That's not exactly compelling proof."

"I know. But all these small things have accumulated, and I can't help but be suspicious." He leans back and sighs. Sarah finally sees a break in the stifling confidence of the man in front of her. He searches through more of his so-called evidence. "Look at this one."

She gives it a skeptical once-over. "Hmm. Julian, I don't know if your attorney has discussed this in-depth with you, but the burden of proof in a situation like this is huge."

"I do realize that."

"I'm gonna need to follow your wife and look for anything that might give us more concrete proof, so I need you to give me some details …"

"Of course. You have to understand … this is very difficult for me." He recollects his receipts and other worthless pieces of evidence and sets them aside as he speaks to Sarah--intent on Sarah. "Watching a marriage fall apart is hard enough. Knowing--or wondering, even worse--if it's because your wife is carrying on with another man …"

His words drive too close to home. "I understand." Does she ever. "We can move entirely at your pace. But there is the very distinct possibility that what we find is going to be painful."

"His name is Gavin Sommers."

"The man you think your wife is having an affair with?"

"Yeah." Julian's expression could have been carved from stone. "He moved in down the street from us about a year ago. He had recently been divorced, and he became friendly with Margo. I suppose one thing has led to another …"

"We'll figure out what's going on. I'll do whatever I can," Sarah says earnestly.

"I appreciate it."

Sarah knows her work could mean the end for his relationship and his life as he knows it. But if Margo St. John has something to hide, then it is already over anyway. Julian wouldn't have come to her if he had faith in her and trusted their relationship.

"I'm sorry you have to go through this. But you're doing the right thing," she says, "for yourself, your wife, and your son. This is for the best."


His chest swelling with anxiety, Brian Hamilton carries an armful of clothing to the fitting rooms at the back of the store. He isn't especially concerned with how any of the items look on him, but nevertheless, he has spent an inordinate amount of time selecting them.

"Excuse me," he says, approaching the young woman standing at the entrance to the fitting rooms, "I'm looking to try these on, if I could."

"Sure." Recognition dawns on Kelsey Barker's face. "Oh, hi! How're you?"

"Uh, I'm doing okay. I was a little bored this afternoon, you know, so I figured I'd head downtown and look for something to do." He shifts his weight from one foot to the other, then back again. "You guys really have some nice stuff here."

"Well, if you want I can take those clothes from you, and you can knock them out of my hands again."

Panic flares inside Brian, but it subsides as soon as he sees the grin broadening on Kelsey's face. She really is cute. Something about the moment reminds him of why he came here in the first place, bolsters his confidence.

"Yeah," he says. "No, that's okay. I'm moving on to bigger, better disruptions now--you know, robberies, shoplifting ..."

"Shoplifting? So, that's why you're back."

"More or less."

Kelsey folds her arms in a pose of mock authority. "Am I going to have to throw you out of here?"

"You can if you want, but you're going to risk losing business for the store. I'm a fashion connoisseur, if you haven't already noticed."

"Um ..." She tips her head sideways and squints one eye.

He smiles, gathers his courage in his lungs, and then spits it all out in one hurried burst: "But--so, anyway, listen: would you be interested in continuing this conversation over coffee sometime? Or something. No big deal, just, you know, a chance to get to know each other a little better without any excessive amounts of clothing merchandise around."

Fortunately the idea doesn't appear to repulse her. There is no flash of horror in her eyes, no quick attempt to cover up her disgust.

"I don't know," Kelsey says slowly. "A café could be even worse. All that hot coffee and everything."

"Oh. Well, I mean …"

"Plus, I don't even know your name. And I don't go out with complete and total strangers."

That seems like a good sign. At least she's giving him a chance to offer more information about himself, rather than shutting him down. "Brian Hamilton. I work for a publishing company."

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Brian Hamilton," she says. "I'm Kelsey Barker. I work in a clothing store."

Brian chuckles. "There. Now you know as much--maybe even more--about me as I know about you. What do you say?"

Kelsey pauses to smile at a customer leaving one of the fitting rooms. When she turns back to Brian, she examines the pile of clothing resting over his forearm.

"Why don't I let you try these on, and then we'll talk about it, Brian." She leads the way to the room that was just vacated, and Brian follows.

"Are you using my offer in a lame attempt to cajole me into buying these clothes?" he asks.

Kelsey unlocks the door and holds it open for him. "Did you use the exact same clothes in a lame attempt to ask me out?"

"Fair enough," he says, unable to keep himself from grinning.


Dylan's comment, snotty as it is, penetrates deep inside Alex. When he came here, he suspected that Dylan had done something concrete; now they are swimming in far murkier waters.

"Nothing has happened between Trevor and me," Alex says, but he knows it is a weak defense.

"Whatever." With a wave of the hand, Dylan dismisses the rebuttal. He turns his back to Alex and takes several steps in the opposite direction. "It's bad enough that this relationship has been so damn one-sided. Now you have to go and accuse me of something that you're practically doing already?"

Alex takes a single step forward, placing him just inside the apartment. "That is not fair. You can't blame me for asking--"

Dylan whips around. "Yeah, actually, I can. I know what you're doing, Alex. You're trying to make me the guilty one, make me the one who ruined everything, so that you don't have to feel bad about your little crush."

Though his mouth opens to respond, Alex cannot find any words. Maybe Dylan is right; maybe Alex is just trying to justify his feelings for Trevor by reading far too much into that text message.

"I don't need this crap in my life," Dylan says.

"Fine. Look, I--" Alex backs out of the apartment. "Fine."

Dylan's gaze is unflinching. Finally Alex has to be the one to break it. He turns and, resisting the urge to shoot a final glance at this person who suddenly seems like a stranger to him, descends the stairs and leaves the building.

The door stands open, allowing Dylan's blank stare to travel into the hallway. His body tenses even more than it has in the last few minutes; something powerful builds inside him. His fingers curl around a glass that he left sitting on the desk, and he picks it up slowly.

He pulls his arm back, ready to fling the glass--but he stops the movement before the glass goes flying. No, destroying things isn't the way to deal with this. At least not destroying material things.

Dylan sets the glass back on the desk and grabs some shoes. He has to move fast if this is going to work.


Nick Moriani locks his car and walks toward the front door of his home. The encounter that he had with one of Esposito's men bounces around his mind, making his head feel like a pinball machine gone haywire. As he approaches the door, he tries to brush the disturbing dialogue he shared with Joseph Santoro back at the hotel. The last thing he needs is to arouse some sort of suspicion in Katherine by wearing his troubles all over his face.

Besides, it is her afternoon to have some of the ladies over for tea and cards, or whatever it is they do. He plans to stop in for a quick hello and then escape to his study before their gossip and mindless banter becomes too irritating.

But when he inserts his key into the lock, he is surprised to find that it is unnecessary. Katherine always locks the doors, even when she has company over. She's very concerned about security.

His heart rate increases as he turns the knob. When the door opens, enough so that he should be bombarded by sounds of merriment, all that meets his ears is silence. He pushes the door open--

--and there is Katherine, feet planted firmly in the middle of the foyer, arms held confidently at her sides.

"I thought you were having company," Nick says, straining his ears and eyes for some hint of activity in the house.

"They left."

The alarm that has been building on Nick's brain now jolts into full panic mode.

"What's going on?" he asks. Something, that's for damn sure. But how could Katherine have figured out whom he met with? He didn't tell anyone, didn't write it down, nothing.

"I asked my friends to leave," Katherine says, "because we had a visitor. Actually, it was mortifying--a police officer showed up at our door and announced that he needed to speak to me about my husband."

She spits the two words with fervent mistrust.

"The police?" Nick does his best to look astounded, even concerned. "What could they have--"

"Cut it out, Nick!" Katherine's voice tears through the air. "They felt it was important for me to know the reason my mansion was burned down, the reason I lost so many things I loved, the reason I lost my home."

He cannot move words to his lips quickly enough to interject.

"They felt I should know," Katherine goes on, "that the reason all that happened was because I married you."


Is it the end of the road for Nick?
What should Alex do now that he and Dylan have gone bust?
Does Brian have a shot at making things work with Kelsey?
Voice your thoughts in the Footprints Forum!

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