Episode #389

Previously ...
- Josh complained to Lauren that Brent had questioned him about Scotty's drug-running.
- Camille vented her fears about the drug bust to Molly.
- With the publication of his first novel and the development of his relationship with Trevor, Alex had plenty of reason to enjoy life.
- Sarah worked feverishly to plan her impending wedding.
- Tim told Diane that he was willing to pursue a possible relationship with her, and they made a date for dinner. Afterward, however, his scheme to frame Ryan was exposed to his family.


As soon as Josh Taylor closes the microwave, the doorbell's chime fills the otherwise empty house. He quickly sets the microwave for three and a half minutes and hurries to the front door. The doorbell sounds again, more insistently.

When Josh opens the door, he waits for his brother to speak. Brent offers no greeting other than a stern stare.

"Itchy trigger finger?" Josh asks, but instead of reacting, Brent admits himself to the house.

Brent surveys the living room. "Not as much of a disaster as I expected," he observes.

"There's this kickass new thing you can use. I think it's called a vacuum. Took me a while to figure it out, but I think I've got it down now." Seeing that his attempts at lightening the mood aren't getting him anywhere, Josh switches gears. "All right, big bro. What's going on?"

"You know what's going on," Brent says. "This thing with Scotty--it's enormous."

"And you want to make sure that I've been keeping my nose clean--so to speak." He can't resist the crack, but Brent doesn't appear to appreciate it quite as much. "No, Brent, I'm not involved. I haven't done anything that's going to reflect badly on you."

"You had absolutely no idea of what Scotty was up to?"

"Nope." Despite his best efforts, Josh has to crack under his older brother's stare. "I didn't know he was, like, part of some narcotics empire. I knew he had stuff--"

"And you never touched it?"

Josh huffs and throws up his hands. When it becomes clear that Brent isn't going to accept that as his sole response, he growls, "Not everyone can be a freaking Boy Scout like you."

"Josh, this is serious. This is my career. And if you get connected to this--"

"I'm not going to get connected to it! I'm not connected to it! I swear. And in case you forgot, I have a career, too. One that I really care about. I'm not about to jeopardize that by smuggling cocaine in thongs or whatever."

Once again, Brent is silent, but his tight-lipped visage doesn't reveal much confidence in his sibling.

From the kitchen comes the urgent beeping of the microwave. Without another word, Josh exits to attend to it.


Outside, the sun has not finished sinking behind the horizon. Its dusty light creeps through the blinds into Alex Marshall's bedroom, where he and Trevor Brooks are already in bed--or, rather, on it. Their half-dressed forms lie amidst a tangle of sheets, pillows, and limbs as they lazily watch summer reruns on the television.

"It's so nice to be able to relax a little," Alex says. "I feel like I haven't had any downtime lately, with all this book stuff going on."

"Oh, your life is so hard, right?" Trevor teases.

"Yeah, I probably shouldn't complain that I'm busy being paid to do the one thing that I have always wanted to do ..."

"It should slow down pretty soon, shouldn't it?"

"I have no clue. Vision is putting a lot of effort into marketing this thing. I just go where they tell me to go."

Trevor yawns and stretches his arms as far above his head as they will reach. His lean, sculpted torso elongates before he lets himself fall backward, flat on the mattress.

"Do you have any idea what you want to do for your next book?" he asks.

Alex hesitates and then shakes his head. "I've kicked around a few ideas, but not really, no. I've been so busy with all the publicity stuff going on." After a deep breath, he adds, "I don't feel like I can be very creative when I'm so preoccupied."

"You haven't been writing at all?" Trevor takes the silence as a confirmation. "That's only gonna make it worse."

"I know. But I feel so unfocused."

"Do some really casual writing, then. Just write whatever, as long as you sit down and do it for, like, half an hour every day."

Alex knows that any counterargument he comes up with will be a weak one. "You're right, you're right. I'll make myself start writing on a schedule again. I need to."

"Good," Trevor says. "You can start first thing in the morning. But first, I've got one final distraction in mind ..."

Alex lets out an involuntary giggle at the feel of Trevor's fingers against his bare chest.


Tim Fisher sets down his plate on the table's glass top and settles into a chair. "Thanks for doing this," he says. "I really was not in the mood to go out."

"Hey, you put moo-shu chicken in front of me, I'm not complaining about much," Diane Bishop says. "Nothing's better than takeout sometimes."

His mouth full, Tim agrees with a nod. He finishes chewing. "Especially on crappy days."

"Sorry they found out about that thing with Nick. We probably should've thought up a better cover."

Tim envies her lack of high emotion about the situation. Since Ryan announced in front of Tim's family that Tim tried to bargain with Nick to finger Ryan for the kidnapping, since Tim had to see their shock and disappointment with his own eyes, he has felt off-kilter. He wanted to shout at them that it wasn't really him--that he only did something so underhanded out of desperation. But he did do it, and the story came out; now he doesn't know where he stands with any of them.

"I can't believe how everything got flipped around," he says, his thoughts driving back into the conversation. "All of a sudden, they all see Ryan as a hero and I'm a manipulator? That's not how it's supposed to be."

Diane's coolness stands in high contrast to Tim's near-hysteria. "It's all perception," she tells him.

"You're right. You are. But I'm not proud of what I did."

"You wanted to keep your family together. You did what you had to do."

"Yeah, but ..."

"Let me ask you a question: if it had worked--if Nick had come up with proof that Ryan had you kidnapped--would you still regret having gone to Nick like we did?"

Tim knows the answer, but it takes him a few seconds to admit it: "No. I suppose not."

"There you go. You can't second-guess yourself."

"It's hard not to when my family now sees me as some kind of villain." He takes a long sip of his beer. "Not to mention that this is probably the final nail in the coffin for Claire and me."

Diane shrugs one shoulder. "If she's going to hold it against you that you actually fought for her ..."

With a start, Tim sets down his bottle. "I'm sorry. This is not why I asked you to have dinner, so I could moan about Claire and Ryan."

"I don't mind," Diane says. "You need to get it off your chest. It's the only way you're going to get over it."

As he picks up his beer again, Tim wonders if that is even possible.


As they have been for much of the day, Sarah Fisher and her mother sit at the kitchen table. Sarah is grateful that they decided to use her parents' place for much of the wedding planning; she suspects that the magazines, sketches, and other materials would have devoured her apartment by now.

"I don't know how much more of this I've got in me for today," Sarah says as she sets aside what has to be the twentieth catering brochure that she has seen today.

Paula smiles, and her body relaxes, appearing to sink into the kitchen chair. "I'm glad that you said it first, because I feel the same way! I didn't want to disappoint you--"

"Mom, please! We've gotten so much accomplished. You've been such a big help ... I hope you know how much I appreciate it."

Placing her own hand over her daughter's, Paula says, "I do. And it's my pleasure. It's all worth it to see you so happy with Matt and Victoria."

"I still can't believe it's happening," Sarah says after a thoughtful pause. "There are these moments when I look around and wonder how I got so lucky. How this is actually my life."

"It is. And we are so, so happy for you."

Sarah begins to gather up the artifacts that cover the table.

"Have you spoken to Molly yet?" Paula asks. Seeing Sarah's puzzled pause, Paula adds, "She'll need to have a dress altered, since she's getting so big these days--"

Sarah stops abruptly. "Mom."


"I'm not--Molly isn't going to be my matron of honor. I already asked Diane."

"She did ask you to stand up for her at her wedding," Paula reminds her with gentle force.

"No, she asked Camille. She only offered to have me do it when we ... it was awkward. She couldn't not ask."

"But she did, and you should return the gesture. She's your only sister."

"But she's not my closest friend." Sarah pauses to emphasize her point. "Look, I'm asking her and Claire to be bridesmaids, along with Mia. She'll be in the wedding. Don't you think that's enough?"

Paula holds her lips together tightly; clearly she does not agree with Sarah's reasoning.

"It's my wedding, and I'm going to do it my way!" Sarah states firmly. She hurries to gather the rest of her things, shoveling them all back into the plastic bin that she used to cart them here.

"I wish you wouldn't be this way," Paula says, a note of pleading creeping into her voice.

Standing in the doorway, Sarah turns back. "Yeah, well, I am." Without giving her mother a chance to respond, she leaves.


Brent's entire body is stiff with exhaustion as he steps through the front door. This has been one of the most exhausting workdays in recent memory, especially on the heels of last night's late call about the Objection arrests. His encounter with Josh certainly didn't do much to ease his tension, either. As much as he would like to trust his younger brother's judgment, it feels like too great a leap of faith to make.

"Mol!" he calls out. "I'm home!"

"Hi," she answers, loudly but flatly. He finds her in the second bedroom, the nursery-in-progress. In the center of the room is a half-constructed crib. Molly sits beside it, unused pieces scattered around her.

"I told you we'd deal with those over the weekend," he says as he moves to join her.

Molly doesn't look up from the parts that she is screwing together. "I wanted to get started."

"You should've waited. You shouldn't be doing this alone." Her lack of response tells Brent not to force the issue, so he sits down beside her.

Still without looking up from her work, Molly asks, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"About what?" The question is more a formality than anything; he already knows the answer.

"Maybe the fact that my company's shop was being used as a checkpoint in a drug ring?"

Brent sighs. "It was so late when I got in last night, and I had to leave before you got up this--"

"You could've woken me up. This is certainly important enough!"

"You need all the rest you can get," he says. Seeing her reaction, he hastens to add, "I'm sorry. You had a right to know."

She sets down the screwdriver and looks at him for the first time. Brent decides to be grateful for the shift and to write off her mood as a result of the hormones.

"How was the office?" he asks. "Was everyone in a frenzy?"

"Basically. I think Camille managed to keep most of the investors from jumping ship, but we'll see how things go over the next few days." She draws her knees to her chest--or as close to it as her expanded belly will allow. "I don't know whether to think Ryan's a hero or an idiot."

"Little bit of both, I'd say. Seems like he's covered his bases well, though. Only a handful of people know what he did."

"I can only imagine how dangerous it would be if word got out." She goes quiet for a moment, then perks up suddenly. "There's still one thing that I don't understand, though."

"What's that?"

"Obviously Ryan didn't give Nick access to the company's operating procedures, which he would have needed to pull this thing together."

Brent nods slowly. It is a good point, and one that has not yet crossed his mind. "Maybe one of the store clerks we arrested?"

"Maybe," Molly says, but she seems unconvinced--and Brent doesn't blame her.


Who else will be affected by the Objection bust?
Is Brent right not to trust Josh?
Is it time for Tim to move on with Diane?
Should Sarah reconsider her choice of maid-of-honor?
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