Episode #338

Previously ...
- In Vermont, Brent met with a pair of federal agents. They vowed to figure out the connection between Salvatore Domingo, Tom Clayton, and Nick Moriani.
- Nick arrived home to find his wife furious. The police had informed Katherine that the fire at her mansion was set by the Esposito family, as an act of aggression toward Nick.
- Josh grew closer with Courtney, but he and Lauren clashed while working together at Willis Advertising.
- Alex confronted Dylan about the text message. Dylan denied having cheated on Alex with Leo, but he accused Alex of cheating on him with Trevor. When Alex left, Dylan realized he had to act fast ...


Nick Moriani stands in the foyer of his home, attempting to make sense of the disaster he just walked into. Empty air buzzes all around as he tries to make eye contact with his wife, but he cannot do it.

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

"Cut it out, Nick!" Katherine roars. "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 wants to interrupt, so that he doesn't have to hear it. She can't know; this can't be happening. There has to be a way--

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

"And why is that?"

His tone has caught her off-guard. When she speaks, she sputters. "They said--there's a man who's been arrested, in Chicago. He's involved with the Mafia, Nick! And he claims to have set the mansion on fire--because you owed him money."

He takes a step closer, reaching an open palm out to her. "Katherine, I can explain."

"I doubt that very much! I lost my home. My home! And as you may recall," she spits, "I was shot. I almost died! Am I supposed to believe that was completely random, as well?"

She steps backward, restoring the distance between them.

"I don't know," he says. "We may never know."

This is his chance.

"Did they explain the entire situation to you?" he asks. The line is cast. Now all she has to do is bite.

Please bite.

Instead, she purses her lips. Nick takes that as an invitation--an opening, at least--to proceed.

"I know who the man is," he says. "I had something to do with him, a long, long time ago. I had lost track of him. But a few years ago, he approached me about something ..."

"About what?"

He forces himself to hesitate. "I don't want to get into the specifics. It wasn't pleasant. But I refused to work with him, told him I didn't want any part of his operation. He seemed to think that I owed him from years before, but I refused."

Katherine's arms, which until now have been folded in front of her chest, lower to her sides.

"He must have intended the fire as some sort of warning," Nick says, speeding up his words. "These people, they lie, they steal, they do whatever is necessary to stay afloat. He must have some reason for mentioning the fire after all this time."

She stares back at him, her features drawn tightly together, her eyes cold.

"Katherine, you have to believe me."


Alex Marshall twists his key in the lock and shoves the front door open. He spent the entire drive home from Dylan's trying to subdue himself enough so that he wouldn't slam into another car or crash into a ditch. Now that he is off the road, all that pent-up emotion--the rage, the frustration, the guilt--is spilling out, and despite his usual non-violent tendencies, Alex now has an overwhelming urge to throw a chair through a window or something equally dramatic.

Instead, he settles for kicking his shoes across the room. One after the other, they sail off his feet and crash into an open area of wall.

At nearly the same instant the second shoe collides with the wall, Jason emerges from the short hallway leading to their bedrooms.

"Jeez, nice to see you, too," he says, stopping in his tracks. "Did I not do my dishes or something?"

"Sorry." Alex collapses onto the couch. "You would not believe the fight I just had with Dylan."

"Bad fight?"

"Horrible. Courtney asked him about the Leo thing--"

Jason props his elbows on the back of the couch. "Was it Leo Randstrom?"

Alex nods. "She said Dylan kind of avoided the issue when she brought it up, and I needed to know. I went to see him, and I--I asked."


"He denied it, of course. He said they'd hooked up before, but not since we got together."

Jason doesn't seem convinced.

"I can see how I might've read too much into that text message," Alex says.

"You believe him?" Jason asks.

Alex stares up at the ceiling, as if he expects some sort of explanation to be visible there. But all he can come up with is a weak, "I don't know."

"Hate to tell you, buddy, but it's kind of a big issue."

"It doesn't matter," Alex says. "It's not important whether he actually cheated on me or not. The way Dylan talked to me today ... that's not the kind of guy I want to be in a relationship with."

"Why, what'd he say?"

Alex shakes his head. "He turned the whole thing around on me. He tried to accuse me of cheating on him!"

"Huh?" Jason's face twists in a mix of confusion and amusement. "That's ... idiotic."

"And I felt guilty, 'cause he was talking about how I've been spending so much time with Trevor. But the more I think about, the more I realize he was playing games with my head, trying to make me the bad guy."

"Then maybe it's for the best that you got to see this side of him," Jason says.

"Yeah." Alex sits up slowly. "I can't believe he accused me of cheating!"

He can tell that, as usual, Jason is a step ahead of him.

"You're really done with him, then?"

"Totally, yeah. I can't do this anymore."

"You know, maybe I'm not the one you need to be having this conversation with," Jason says, a knowing grin spreading across his lips.

For an instant, Alex tries to pretend that he has no clue what Jason is suggesting, but he can't. He knows exactly what he has to do.


"Well?" Lauren Brooks asks, resting her hands impatiently on her hips and standing behind Josh Taylor while he leafs through the stack of prints she's just handed him.

They're all relatively similar--with slight variations in font or background coloring--but she's been working on the designs all week and is really looking forward to leaving Willis as soon as possible to meet Jay for dinner. She glances at the watch on her left wrist and then back at the young man crouched over the pages on the surface of his desk.

"Hang on," he says finally, almost whispering. He has three of the prints laid out next to one another and is staring intently at them. There's something about that stare--its silent magnetism, icy relentlessness--that Lauren's found disconcerting since she met Josh; but he hasn't ceased to amaze her at work when he's aimed his cool, penetrating gaze on any of their would-be Objection advertisements.

She walks around the desk and looks, upside-down, at the three images he's selected.

"These three all have something," he says, still looking down. "But they're all missing something else. It's weird."

"Yeah," she says absently and looks at the pictures again. As she stares at them next to each other, however, she starts to get the same vibe. He's right. "It's like every one of them has something the other needs to compliment it."

"Uh huh." He looks up, and she's startled by how close together their faces are. His lips curl into something resembling a lop-sided grin, and when he speaks the sardonic bounce has returned to his voice. "Exactly."

The smirk works its way under her skin in a matter of seconds, and Lauren averts her gaze back to the desk. "What do you think I should do with these, then?"

"I dunno. What do you think?" he asks, a tinge of annoyance creeping stealthily into his tone.

"I … agree with you, I guess," she says, this time looking him dead-on. "Let's just take a break from these for now and come back to them tomorrow."

"Y'know, you seem really anxious to get out of here," he says. "What's up? Hot date with 'J-dawg'?"

"Actually, yeah. We're meeting up for dinner."

"Cool. Where?"

"Not a clue yet."

He gathers the prints together and hands the stack to Lauren but holds onto it as she attempts to retrieve it. "Ever feel weird dating your best friend's ex?"

The question nearly knocks the wind out of her. And, almost immediately, she's more disturbed by how much it bothered her than what he actually asked.

"That's not--No, Josh, I don't," she says and presses her lips tightly together before she says anything she'll regret. She has to abide him on a daily basis, after all. But who the hell does he think he is?

She jerks assertively on the stack of prints, and he releases his grip with another cocksure smile.

"Just asking," he says. "Don't get yourself all riled up, Lauren. You'll ruin your appetite."

"Whatever," she says and storms off, checking her watch as she walks away.


"Here are your room keys, Miss Hilton," the bellhop says, eyeing his customer with a fair amount of skepticism. 'Melody Hilton,' the character portrayed by Molly Fisher, thanks the man.

Taking a deep breath, Molly stares at the room keys she holds in her hands. She can hardly believe she followed Brent clear across the country, or that she registered at the same hotel as him under an assumed name. She doesn't want him to know she tagged along. He'd try to get rid of her.

She knows she shouldn't be there, but she's sure there is something going on that he doesn't want her to know about. She's tired of secrets between her and the people she loves. They've finally come clean about their relationship to her parents and Sarah, and now some other obstacle is threatening to take its place. Well, not this time. She won't let it.

She gives the keys a squeeze of affirmation before carting her luggage up the stairs to her hotel room.

All Molly knows from reading Brent's PDA is that he's staying at this hotel, and that he's going to meet with some federal agents to discuss some clinic and these Domingo and Clayton characters. She wonders what sort of criminals they are, and what, if anything, this case has to do with anyone in King's Bay.

Every little thing about it has set warning signals off in her mind. Brent hasn't acted himself at all since he got that call. He booked his flight the minute he got off the phone. How can Molly not wonder what it all means? Especially when Brent has been so tight-lipped about the entire situation.

Molly stops outside her room and lets her luggage fall to the floor. She unlocks her room and pushes the door open with her hip while recollecting her bags. At that moment, a door just down the hall from her opens--and Brent emerges.

Molly takes a short breath. Even with his back to her, she can tell it's him. She doesn't want him to know she's here - not yet, anyway. Thankfully, he doesn't turn around, and Molly ducks into the room with her belongings, closing the door before anyone sees her.

I hate all this sneaking around, she thinks. But if Brent's not going to tell me the truth or give me the full story, then I'll have to figure it out for myself.

Every since she heard about this … clinic, Molly's mind has been running wild. Why? Why Vermont? She prays that Brent isn't seriously ill, or dying, or … something! Why won't he just give her a straight answer?

She sits at the edge of the too-firm bed in silence, regaining her mental composure. There has to be a reasonable explanation for all of this. She fishes around in her purse and pulls out the address she stole from Brent's PDA. The address of this clinic.

First thing tomorrow, she will stop by and find out exactly what this place is--and why her boyfriend is so interested in it.


Nick can feel his heartbeat resonating in his stomach, his throat, his ears. "You have to believe what I'm saying."

"I'm not some desperate housewife," Katherine says, "who's incapable of functioning on her own. I don't need this, Nick. I don't need--"

"I am telling you the truth."

Katherine drops her chin and narrows her eyes at Nick. Caution is still evident in her voice, but she has softened ever so slightly. "Then why didn't you say anything?"

"Because I couldn't. The police would want to know how I knew him, and they would dig up all the things that I had worked so hard to bury in the past." Nick makes another move toward her, and this time, she doesn't back away. He holds one of her hands between both of his.

"Katherine," he says, softening, "you know how much I love you."

She nods--and then, without warning, yanks her hand away from him.

"I don't know what to believe."

"What do you want me to do, then?" Nick asks, suddenly more aggressive, unable to contain his rage at her for not trusting him. "Get out? Leave? Because I will--"

"No." She shakes her head and makes another move toward him, but stops herself. "I need to rest. I'm tired, and ... this is so much to think about."

The last thing he wants to do is wait this out, but he has no choice.

"Fine," he says with a weak nod. Their stare lingers for a moment, but Katherine breaks it. She turns away from him and moves slowly up the stairs, as if she is carrying the weight of these revelations on her back.

She looks older than Nick remembers her ever having looked.

And then it hits him: the story he fed Katherine had more truth to it than even he realized. He was warned about this. He told Santoro that he didn't want any part of Esposito's business, that he wouldn't do them any "favors." And then, out of the blue, Esposito spills to the cops about the fire? It's too neat to be a coincidence.

This is a much larger problem than he realized, and he isn't sure there is a damn thing he can do to control it.


Alex takes a first tentative step onto the Brooks' driveway. Trevor's car is here; that means there is no reason to turn back now. He didn't receive an answer when he called, but he decided to come over anyway. He needs to speak with Trevor that badly.

And not just speak with him: see him, be near him, touch him. Something triggered within him this evening, while he was talking to Jason. Maybe it's because of his falling-out with Dylan--maybe he needed to feel free of that burden before he could fully acknowledge the way he feels about Trevor.

He draws a deep breath and forces himself to continue up the driveway. He has no idea what he's going to say when he sees Trevor, but it will come to him. Thankfully, there is no sign of Lauren's car, and he knows that Mr. and Mrs. Brooks are away on yet another cruise. He doesn't know if he could do this with other people around, certainly not with Lauren there.

He pauses at the front door. Am I really going to do this? Yes. Absolutely. He feels the slightest trace of guilt for running to Trevor so soon after his fallout with Dylan, but it's not as though he and Dylan have any sort of future. It's not as though Dylan was even nice--respectful--toward him.

Alex rings the doorbell and waits. He waits for a long time, thirty seconds, maybe more. He contemplates ringing it again, but that seems obnoxious. Maybe Trevor is busy, or taking a nap, or not actually there.

He's about to turn around when he hears movement inside the house. More waiting ... more sounds of movement. Finally the door pulls open, with excruciating slowness.

Trevor isn't wearing a shirt. "What are you doing here?" he asks, an aggressive edge to his voice.

Something about this is all wrong. Alex struggles for words. "I need to--I mean, I was hoping we could--"

"Oh, hello there."

The other voice comes from someplace behind Trevor. Alex recognizes it immediately, but it takes another second for his eyes to locate its source.

He looks up and sees Dylan standing on the stairs, wearing nothing but a white towel and a cocky grin.


What did Alex just walk into?
Is this the end of the Moriani marriage?
Is Molly in over her head?
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