Episode #384

Previously ...
- Brian planned to propose to Kelsey, but while he waited for her to finish her shift at the store, he bore witness to a drug bust!
- Diane was critical of Brian's impending proposal, but she decided to focus her energy on snaring Tim.
- Nick met with Ryan to discuss "business," but Ryan panicked when Sarah and Diane saw them together.
- Katherine was humiliated in front of her friends when the police came to her home to arrest Nick for his role in Tim's kidnapping.
- In the wake of Nick's arrest and Ryan's apparent exoneration, Tim began to doubt his chances of a future with Claire.


Once he reaches the top of the stairs, Tim Fisher pauses to catch his breath. He has come a long way in his rehabilitation, but he still wears out easily. His daughter, however, seems unfazed by the trek up the stairs.

"Hold on a minute," he says before Samantha can get too far across the second floor of the lush condominium complex. Sam pauses and plants her hands on her hips, and the pose is enough to turn Tim's ragged breathing into a laugh. He catches up with her, and they head for Diane Bishop's unit.

She answers the door with visible excitement. As soon as she spots her daughter, Diane stoops down to embrace her.

"Hey, hon! How are you?"

"Good," Samantha says, neverthless flinching when Diane's lips kiss the tip of her nose. She scampers past her mother into the condo.

Diane stands up straight, and Tim takes notice of the way that her lean body and its impressive curves fill out the dark jeans and the bright pink, lightweight sweater.

"Thanks for bringing her over," she says. "I met up with Sarah downtown after work, so for me to drive out to your parents' to get her would've been a pain in the ass."

"Not a problem at all," Tim assures her. "It's good to see Sarah so happy, isn't it?"

"Yeah. Hopefully this time it'll take. That girl has had a rough couple of years."

"Did you guys get all giddy over girly wedding stuff?" Tim teases.

"Oh, yeah, because you know that's totally me." Diane steps back from the open door. "You wanna come in and have a drink before you drive back?"

"Just one," Tim agrees and follows her inside. The place never ceases to impress him; it is clean, sleek, professional, and yet still lively--all those things that make Diane herself so fascinating. It also fills him with regret that, at this point in his life, he doesn't have a home to call his own or much of anything to show for himself. All the forward progress he had made was undone when he disappeared, and the time since has been spent putting the pieces back together--very, very slowly.

"How's a vodka martini sound?" Diane asks from the kitchen.

"Like a plan," Tim responds. He busies himself by studying the artwork on the walls, all of which manages to be bold while maintaining an understated character. A minute later, Diane emerges with two martini glasses.

"Sam, what are you up to?" Tim calls out as he takes his drink from Diane.

"Trying to find all my Yu-Gi-Oh cards!" comes the response from the bedroom.

"I told her to put those things in a container, but she just leaves them all over the place," Diane grumbles. "Any more word on the Nick Moriani thing?"

Tim takes a seat at the breakfast nook that joins the kitchen and the living area. "Not really. He's out on bail, and I assume we'll have to wait forever for the charges to go somewhere. It's almost a relief to have some idea who had me taken away from King's Bay, but now I have so many questions that I want answered, and that won't happen until Nick gives a full confession or goes to trial."

"He put on a damn good show when we to talk to him. He was ready to sell Ryan down the river without a second thought."

"Yeah ..." Tim's response evaporates into a deep sigh. "Of course, it only helps Ryan's case with Claire."

Diane offers a sympathetic expression as she sips her martini. She appears to be on the verge of saying something but stops herself.

"What?" Tim asks, intrigued.

"No, nothing." Diane focuses on her drink for a long moment, then says, "Did you ever think that we'd be sitting here having martinis and talking like friends?"

"No." He rolls the thought around his head before repeating, through a laugh, "Not even close."

Silence settles over them, and Tim is aware of a sudden thickness--a palpable tension--in the room with them.

"You ever think it would be nice, you and me and Sam, being a family?" Diane asks.

Tim's first instinct is to say Yes, because of course the thought has crossed his mind, but he knows where this is headed.

"Diane, I'm--there is so much stuff going on with Claire, and I haven't even begun to deal with it."

He searches for some hint that he isn't totally off-base, that she was suggesting what he thinks she was suggesting; after the initial panic wears off, he fears that maybe he misinterpreted what she was saying and just stuck a big, presumptuous foot in his mouth. But the way that Diane glances away tells him that he was spot-on in his assumption.

"I should get home," he says, setting down the remaining three-quarters of his martini. He fumbles to remove his keys from his pocket. "Have fun with Sam this weekend."

Diane remains in her chair, martini glass clutched in her fingers, as Tim rises and lets himself out.


Brian Hamilton waits as patiently as he can for Kelsey Barker to finish talking to the police officer. The arrests have attracted a crowd outside the downtown boutique, and Brian stands inside the store, observing the crowd through the large front window.

From what he can discern, the man with the backwards baseball cap had an arrangement to pick up his "order" from the girl working behind the store's counter. The police obviously were waiting for the transaction to take place, because as soon as the guy walked out of the store, he was in cuffs, and the young woman wasn't far behind.

At long last, Kelsey parts with the officer and walks toward Brian. He hopes that she has gleaned more details of the incident so that Brian can confirm his theory and fill in the holes in the story. Besides, it will give him something to focus on during dinner and, with any luck, distract him from his nerves regarding what he has planned for afterward.

"What a nightmare," Kelsey groans. She interlocks her hands with his.

"I'm dying to know what's going on," he says, careful to keep his voice low. "I'm making myself crazy standing around and speculating. Maybe you can fill me in when we get out of here ..."

She tilts her head apologetically. "Brian, I'm sorry. I'm going to have to stick around here for a while to deal with this. Camille Lemieux is coming down, and since I was the manager on duty when it happened, I have to be here."

The possibility of his plan being derailed before even getting off the ground hadn't occurred to Brian until now.

"I had big plans for tonight," he says. "A surprise, even. This can't take that long."

"It'll take a while. I'm sorry, Brian. We can do it another night, right?"

"Of course," he forces himself to respond, but what little faith he had in his plan has been shattered by this turn of events.


The house is deathly quiet as Nick Moriani steps through the front door. Instead of being grateful for the peace and quiet, he worries about the silence: it makes him wonder if Katherine is lying in wait somewhere to spring out and exact some gory revenge upon him. As he strides carefully through the foyer and into the den, however, he finds her sitting benignly on one of the sofas, her attention on one of those old movies that she enjoys watching on television.

He stands at the entrance to the den for several seconds before Katherine turns an accusatory eye on him.

"Shouldn't you be out robbing an armored truck at gunpoint?" she snaps.

"How clever of you." He focuses on the television screen, where Cary Grant is engaged in melodramatic conversation with a woman. "I didn't expect you to be at home. Isn't that fundraiser being held tonight?"

Katherine's voice is chilly. "Yes, but as it turns out, I'm the one who isn't welcome this year. Miranda would prefer not to have any unsavory elements distracting from the cause, as I was told."

Nick continues watching the movie without absorbing any of it. He isn't sure if it is Katherine's haughtiness or the knowledge that he truly is the one who set all of this in motion, but his next words fly out of his mouth with a fury.

"No one is stopping you from divorcing me. I certainly don't harbor any illusions that this situation will repair itself."

"Nor do I," Katherine says, no longer looking at him. "Speaking of which: I suggest that you get to work packing your things."

He isn't sure that he has heard her correctly.

"You don't really think I'm going to continue living in the same house as you, do you?" Her fiery smirk mutates into a scowl. "You're liable to tie cinder blocks to my limbs and toss me in the bathtub in the middle of the night."

"Yes, Katherine, that's precisely what I run around doing all day. And in case you've forgotten, this is my house."

"We'd still be living in mine if you hadn't gotten it burned down!" She shakes her head and settles back into the sofa, as if wriggling free of the unpleasantness. "I'll allow you to spend tonight in the guest room, but I must insist that you find someplace else beginning tomorrow night."

"It's my house!"

She narrows her wild green eyes at him. "Nick, aren't you in enough trouble with these kidnapping charges? Do you really want me to have the police pursue all that business about my shooting and the fire? You're lucky that they haven't done more about that."

Nick's mouth is chalky as he struggles for a reply.

"Now, please, I'd like to enjoy what's left of this film," she says.

He hesitates before leaving the room, and when he does, it is with heavy feet and a heavy mind. As hard as he works to find some loophole, some scenario, that will allow him to turn this situation around on Katherine, he can only think of one ... and even for a woman whom he has come to despise, it is far too gruesome.


Diane hurries from the bedroom to the front door, taking care to pull Samantha's door closed behind her. She answers the door to find Brian a ragged mess: hair rumpled, shirtsleeves rolled up unevenly, facial features drooping.

"I need a damn drink," he tells her as he enters the condo.

She holds up her glass. "Gin and tonic?"

"Sure. Whatever." Brian drops onto the sofa and sinks into its thick cushions. "You would not believe the night I have had."

"Yeah, I'm having a real winner, too. Thank God Samantha was tired out from that pool party." She brings him a drink and takes a seat on the sofa as well. "What happened to you?"

"Well, I was planning to propose to my girlfriend tonight, but our plans were interrupted by a drug bust."

Diane busts out laughing. "Please tell me you bought a ring with angel dust hidden in the diamond or something. Cops bust in while you're down on one knee, hilarity ensues."

"Shut up."

She can tell that he finds the scenario funny, but he won't admit it while he is in a mood like this.

"It was at the Objection store," Brian explains. "I was waiting for her to get off work, and the cops were apparently waiting for this deal to go down, because as soon as it did, they were all over the two people."

"That is pretty good, as far as date-interruption stories go."

"Do you think it's a sign?"

She stops in mid-movement, her glass mere inches from her lips. "Huh?"

"A sign. That I shouldn't propose, or that it isn't going to work out. Or that she's going to say no." Brian searches her face frantically for an answer--the answer. "Do you?"

"I'm no Miss Cleo, but isn't it a teensy bit presumptuous to think that organized crime exists for the purpose of giving you hints about what to do with your life?"

"Shut up," he says again after a pause and a glare.

"You really are in a crappy mood," Diane says.

"What do you expect? I had this whole thing planned out to the last detail--"

"You? Neurotic? Never!"

Brian ignores the playful jab. "--and then something like this cuts in, and it makes me think: maybe this is a sign that I'm making a mistake. Maybe it's too early or it's not right."

"You know how I feel about this whole idea of you and Kelsey," Diane says, "but if it's what you really want, you've gotta be a lot stronger about going after it."

"I did go out and buy a ring and plan it all out--"

"And now you're sitting here wondering if the fact that you got interrupted means you should chuck the whole thing in the crapper. Think about that. How much sense does it make? Unless ..." She lingers over the thought for a moment. "Unless you realize that this is a bad idea, and this gives you an excuse to back out."


When Tim arrives back at his parents' house, still feeling strange about his uncomfortable encounter with Diane, he finds his younger brother sitting in the living room. Jason watches the TV with a bag of chips in his lap, as though he never moved out and is just spending another night in his own home.

"What are you doing here?" Tim asks as he sets down his keys and wallet.

Jason finishes munching on his mouthful of chips before responding, "I came by to see Mom, but she's been stuck on the phone for, like, half an hour."

"So you just make yourself at home, huh?" Tim kids. "What kind of place do you think this is?"

"A place with free food and better cable than where I live?"

"Point taken." Tim joins his brother on the couch. "How are things?"

"Fine. Good. Kind of low-key lately."

"Low-key is not a bad thing," Tim says. "Never take low-key for granted."

Jason gives him a quizzical look. "Should I take that to mean that things aren't going so hot with you?"

Tim reaches over and steals the bag of chips. He munches on them wordlessly for several seconds.

"'Not so hot' would be an improvement," he says. "I know I should be grateful to be alive at all--and I am--but this is ... it's not the life I left. I'm living with my parents, I can barely climb a flight of stairs, I have no job, and my wife ..."

Jason plunges a hand into the bag and pulls out a fistful of chips. He eats them one by one as he asks, "Things aren't getting any better?"

"No. For a while, it was a holding pattern, and that was bad enough. But now that Nick--not Ryan--has been named as the one who kept me hidden away, she seems to be softening toward Ryan." Tim exhales loudly, though it does little to relieve the pressure within him. "Since I came back, I've been so optimistic that we could work things out, but I'm really doubting it now."

"Don't do that to yourself."

"I don't have a choice, do I? It's something that I'll have to face at some point or another."

"I didn't like Ryan from the beginning. He'll never be my brother," Jason offers, since he knows that Tim could be right and assuring him to the contrary will not help.

Tim smiles gratefully. "Thanks, buddy. It's good to see that there's still someone who hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid."

"Nah. I'm fighting the good fight on that one."

Handing Jason the bag of chips, Tim sits back and appreciates the moment. He and Jason have always had a close sibling bond, but when he disappeared, Jason was still a young man, barely out of his teens. To be able to relate to him as an adult is a relatively new experience, one for which he is very appreciative.

"Hold on to what you've got with Lauren. Something that good is much rarer than you'd think," Tim says. "Have you guys talked about your future--getting more serious?"

"Not really. I mean, a little bit, but nothing definite."

"I'm telling you, if she's the one, don't let her get away. And definitely don't waste a minute of the time you have with her. It's too precious."


The extended cocktail hour has coated the condo--or, at least, Diane's view of it--in a depressing glow. As she sips her latest drink, she listens to Brian speculate on what the night's events might say about his potential future with Kelsey. Diane tunes in and out of what he's saying, but the bottom line is: not a good sign.

"How'd we get to be such losers?" she asks, partly to Brian and partly to herself.

"Losers? Plural?" Brian asks. "I'm the one getting slapped around like a ragdoll by fate."

"And I'm gonna be an old maid! I am an old maid!"

Brian cracks a wicked grin. "Diane Bishop, worried about being an old maid? Never thought I'd see the day."

"I know, I know," she says, embarrassed by the admission but still relieved to have spoken it aloud. "But Tim was here before, and I was starting to think that there might be a chance of ..." She drifts off and then redirects herself. "But he's still fixated on that idiot Claire. Maybe if I moped around and got terrorized more, I'd stand a chance."

"You really thought you had a chance?"

She fires a dangerous glare at him.

"That's not what I meant," he scrambles. "I just--I mean--I know that has to be disappointing."

"Yeah, well, that seems to be how it goes." She downs the remainder of her drink. "I should just throw in the towel. I'm a washed-up hag."

"You are not!"

"Look at me."

"Diane ..." Brian sets his glass on the coffee table. "You're gorgeous. You're driven. You're hilarious. And on top of that, you're a terrific mother."

"Shut up."

"I'm serious!" He leans in closer and finally manages to catch her eye. "Listen to me. Tim doesn't know what he's passing up. Don't give him another thought."

She forces an appreciative smile and runs a hand gently over her dark hair. For the first time in a long while, she studies Brian, really studies him. So often she sees him as a reliable recipient for her sarcastic remarks or a not-too-grudging assistant in her plans. Not that he isn't those things, but ... maybe those are the things that really count.

Suddenly she knows exactly what to do.

"If I was wrong about Tim," she says, not allowing herself any pause, "then maybe I was wrong about you, too. About us."

She reaches out a hand and places it on Brian's arm.


Has Diane finally come to her senses about Brian?
How messy will Katherine and Nick's divorce be?
Will Jason take Tim's advice about Lauren to heart?
Come over to the Footprints Forum to discuss this episode!

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