Episode #385

Previously ...
- The animosity between Lauren and Josh began to subside.
- The police made two arrests at the Objection store, after a suspicious transaction that involved a bag of white powder and a playing card.
- Brian's plan to propose to Kelsey was derailed by the drug bust at Objection. Dejected over what he took as a sign from fate, Brian visited Diane, who was similarly upset over being rejected by Tim.
- Ryan met with Nick to talk business and was troubled when Sarah and Diane saw them together.


During the short trek from the kitchen to the living room, Brent Taylor cannot resist swiping a few kernels of popcorn off the top of the bowl. He is still chewing when he sets the bowl on the coffee table.

Molly takes note immediately. "Are you stealing popcorn?"

"Guilty as charged," Brent says while he finishes chewing. "But I was doing a public service."

"How do you figure?"

"Look at this bowl. It's overflowing. If I hadn't rescued those pieces, they would be all over the floor."

"I know someone wouldn't be too upset about that." Molly rubs the head of their pug, Rex, who is snuggled up tightly to her. "But I'll let you off with a warning this time."

"How benevolent of you." Brent dims the lights and joins his wife--and the dog--on the couch.

Molly munches busily on the popcorn. "I'm going to miss having an excuse to eat like this after the babies are born," she says.

"I think it'll be good for me," Brent says, patting his stomach, which feels thicker than it did a few months ago. "Too much sympathy eating."

He picks up the remote control, but before he has the chance to start their movie, his cell phone calls out its electronic chirp. He digs the phone from his pocket and groans as he looks at the caller ID. Nevertheless, he answers swiftly.

"Brent Taylor," he says before an official, no-nonsense voice launches straight into its explanation. "All right. Thanks for letting me know," Brent says as the call concludes.

Molly knows what this means; she has grown accustomed to being the police commander's wife. She awaits his explanation.

"I'm sorry," Brent says as he stands. "Something huge happened tonight."

"What was it?"

"I didn't get too many details, but there were some arrests made in a drug trafficking case that we've been watching for a while. I need to get down to the station--Mol, I'm sorry."

"It's fine. It's your job. Go. Rex will keep me company," she says. "Besides, it means more popcorn for me."

Brent stoops down for a kiss before making his hurried exit.


Brian Hamilton isn't sure that he heard what he thinks he heard.

"Wrong about what?" he questions, unwilling to jump to any conclusions without proper confirmation. He can't open himself to that, not now.

Diane Bishop looks him directly in the eye, and Brian becomes aware of a strange tension--one that wasn't there minutes ago--now filling her condominium.

"About you," she says, full lips accentuating every syllable. "About us." Her touch upon his arm sends a current of electricity through Brian's body. Try as he might, he cannot come up with a single thing to say.

"This is stupid, both of us sitting here depressed over people we--people who aren't worth our time," Diane says, moving her hand up Brian's arms. When her fingers graze over his shoulder and onto his chest, Brian thinks he might lose consciousness. This can't really be happening, especially not now.

"Why now?" he chokes out.

Diane continues moving her hand in slow but deliberate circles. "Why not?" Seeing the doubt and the reluctance in his face, she adds, "Isn't this what you've always wanted?"

The fleeting thoughts of Kelsey, of what this will mean tomorrow, are not enough to overpower all the years of wondering. It is too much for him to resist, and he doesn't protest as Diane's fingers undo his belt with expert grace.

He watches in awe, looking up only once he is ready to speak. "I have been waiting for this for so long," he says, surprised by how husky his voice sounds. Diane returns his grin for only an instant, but it is long enough for him to recognize something primal, something hungry, gleaming in her eye.

Brian raises a tentative hand, but it hovers in mid-air as though expecting her to vanish at any second. She takes his hand and guides it to her breast, and at the moment of contact, Brian understands that this is really happening. He doesn't know why, or how, but it is.

He raises his gaze again and moves his face closer to hers. They linger there, inches and then millimeters apart, before Brian closes the gap and crushes their mouths together.


The sky is growing dark outside the office building, and as Lauren Brooks walks through the lobby, she feels a pang of regret over another summer evening lost to work. The lobby is empty, save for a pair of people talking by the elevators; everyone else is long-gone, and she is one of the last of the Willis crew to leave tonight.

As she steps outside, the comfortable evening air--not too hot, but not cool, either--surrounds her. She starts on her way to the parking garage but slows when she spots Josh Taylor on the curb.

"What are you still doing here?" she asks.

Josh flips his cell phone closed with a groan. "My car's in the shop, so Scotty said he'd pick me up. But I can't get a hold of him."

Lauren swallows a comment about how this sort of thing seems to be par for the course with Josh and his buddy.

"I'll just call a cab," he says, opening the phone again.

"I can give you a ride," Lauren hears herself offer.

Josh responds with a skeptical look. "You sure?"

"Yeah. It's no trouble."

"Thanks, Lauren. That's really ... nice of you."

She leads the way into the garage and toward her car, wondering what possesses her to make offers like this when all she really wants is to go home, curl up in front of the TV, and rest for what is sure to be another marathon day of work tomorrow.

"These long days are killing me," Josh says as they walk. "I really hope they turn out to be worth it. I feel like all I do is work, eat, and sleep lately."

"Same here. I know it's all part of getting established, especially at a company like this, but I feel like I haven't even had time to enjoy this summer."

"That's 'cause you haven't! I feel the same way." They walk in silence through the nearly empty garage for a few seconds. "I'm actually glad I'm not dating anyone right now, beause I have no time."

Lauren spots her Volkswagen and aims the remote to unlock it. "Jason's really busy with skating and coaching all summer, or I'd feel even worse about my schedule."

"Is he still trying to pass that test? The one Courtney was working on?"

"Yeah. Actually ..." She hesitates, knowing that she is probably walking Josh into dangerous conversational territory. "Jason and Courtney are skating together again."

"Whoa. Really?" He raises an eyebrow but keeps his mouth shut--something that Lauren didn't expect and finds a major relief.

Lauren nods and feels compelled to explain, "Just for this test. They both want to pass it so they can move on with their lives."

"That'll be good," Josh says as he opens the passenger-side door. "For everyone." They settle into their seats, and he says, "Thanks for doing this. I have no clue where Scotty could be."

"It's no trouble," Lauren repeats. "Besides, we workaholics have got to stick together, right?"


Brent waits outside the interrogation room, peeking through the window every now and then to keep an eye on the proceedings. The two detectives, currently busy questioning a young man who looks vaguely familiar to Brent, are more than capable of handling the situation; still, Brent is itching for the details of the case.

When the detectives finally emerge, they approach Brent. He greets them as they apologize for calling him away from home.

"What exactly is going on?" he asks. "How did we make this bust--blind luck?"

"We had a tip," Detective Underwood explains. "Told us where to go, what to wait for, everything."

"And how'd we get so lucky?"

"It didn't exactly come free. The guy wanted immunity."

"It was someone involved with the operation?" Brent feels his adrenaline going into overdrive. He is sorry that he wasn't let in on this sooner, even though he knows that he cannot be involved in every development of every case.

The other detective, a black-haired woman named Clarkson, confirms this with a nod. "He claimed to have cut ties a few years back, but he said he'd been asked back in and would do it--pretend to do it--to bring the whole thing down."

As he absorbs this information, Brent strolls back toward the room. Looking through the window, he asks, "Who's this guy?"

"Pretty small-time dealer who's been getting his supply through this system," Underwood says. "A kid by the name of Scott Young."

The name takes a moment to register, but when Brent looks back into the room, he realizes that he knows why the face is familiar: he is Josh's roommate. Brent stifles the urge to announce this realization and makes a panicky mental note to talk to Josh about this.

"That's my wife's company's store, where the bust was made," Brent says. "Do we know how many people there were involved?"

"Two employees, from what we've gathered. The girl we arrested during the bust, and a guy we'll go after once everything gets processed."

Brent thanks them for the briefing and allows them to get back to dealing with the case. There are so many pieces to consider here ...

"Underwood," he calls out, turning around. "One more thing: do we know who's running this operation?"

The detective nods. "That's the best part."


Following the events of the evening--his meeting with Nick; the unplanned run-in with his sister and that damn Diane Bishop; other events about which he is still waiting to hear--Ryan Moriani's attempts at a quiet night at home have proven less than successful. So when his phone rings, he is grateful for the distraction, a feeling that multiplies when he sees who is calling.

"Hello?" he answers.

His adoptive father's voice charges sharply into his ear. "Have you heard?"

"Heard what?"

"There was a bust. At the store. The cops nailed some moron as soon as he walked out the door."

"Oh, shit." Ryan lets his shock linger on the line for a moment. "How bad is it?"

"I don't know yet," Nick says. "Depends on how much they tell the cops. But you might want to get ready to hit the road."

"I can't just pick up and leave. I--"

"Ryan, you might not have a choice."

The conversation lasts a few more minutes, as the men trade concerns and sketch tentative plans. Ryan leaves Nick with an order to keep him up-to-date on any developments.

As he hangs up the phone, Ryan finally allows himself to relax. He played that pitch-perfectly. If Nick were at all suspicious, trying to test him, then Ryan knows he passed with flying colors.

Hearing the man who raised him so panicked and so desperate almost gets to Ryan--almost. But after all that bastard has done, he has this coming. This is how it has to be.


What exactly is Ryan planning?
What will the drug bust mean for the residents of King's Bay?
Will Brian and Diane finally be happy together?
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