Episode #391

Previously ...
- The truth came out about Ryan's efforts to expose Nick and Tim's attempt to frame Ryan. While Claire reached out to Ryan, Tim found reassurance in his bond with Diane.
- Amidst the preparations for Sarah and Matt's wedding, no one noticed Jennie lurking around the site.
- Sarah and Molly shared a close moment before the wedding. Once alone, Sarah went to check out a noise in the restaurant's kitchen--only to find herself shut in the freezer!


The wooden folding chairs have filled up with guests, creating both an aisle and a focal point for the upcoming ceremony. The guests chatter with excitement, heads turning every now and then to check for signs of the wedding beginning. Close by, the bay ripples lightly under the hand of the afternoon breeze.

The wedding party stands behind the small crowd, the women in black dresses and the men in black suits.

"This heat is killing me," Diane Bishop says to no one in particular. The others murmur their agreement, grateful that someone has voiced what they are all thinking.

"Sarah said she would be down in a minute," offers Molly Taylor. The bride's very pregnant sister looks especially flushed in the end-of-summer sun.

Mia Davich steps up. "I'll go get her. Maybe she's having hair problems or something."

"If she managed to ruin her hair," Diane says, "I'm going to strangle her."

"I'm sure everything is fine," Paula Fisher counters. "I'll go with you, Mia. I'm sure she just lost track of time." The two women depart, just as two of the bride's brothers approach the group.

"We ready to get this show on the road?" Jason Fisher asks. Tim stands beside him, quiet but equally interested.

"Mom and Mia just went to get Sarah," Molly says. "I'm sure we'll be ready to start any minute."


In the restaurant, in the kitchen, in the walk-in freezer, Sarah Fisher pounds the door one last time with her fists.

"Help me!" she shouts. "I'm locked in here!"

But she doesn't expect a response, and none comes. She folds her bare arms across her body, but they do little to shield her from the ever-intensifying cold.

"Dammit," she mutters, kicking a chunk of ice with the toe of her cream-colored shoe. The ice skitters across the floor.


Diane fans herself with her hand, with little success. The heat feels stifling now.

"Maybe black wasn't the best color choice for this shindig," she says to Tim, who stands beside her.

"I'm just happy I didn't have to rent a tux."

"Life is tough for you men, huh?"

Tim offers an exaggerated groan. "Impossible."

Diane surveys the scene: the guests alive with anticipation, the tranquil water nearby. The volume of her voice drops as she says, "I've got to admit, this is not a bad setup. I hope everything goes the way Sarah pictured it. It's about time she and Matt got their act together."

"I'm grateful I can be here to see it," Tim says. "The way she is with Matt--it's totally different from how she was with Brent."

"No kidding."

Hands in his pockets, Tim scans the wedding party. "Though it'd be nice if being around my own family didn't have to be so damn uncomfortable."

"They'll get over it." Diane's voice takes on an authoritative bent. "You were trying to protect your family. It's not like you were stabbing people and stashing their bodies in the bathtub."

"No, but thanks for the visual ... I feel like a creep, you know?"

"You shouldn't. You didn't trust Ryan--"

"So at least it was logical to try and coerce his father into selling him out?" Tim drops his head and pushes around a lump of sand with his shoe. "That's the thing: he's not as bad as I made him out to be. If he had tried to do the same thing to me ..."

"He's not exactly a role model, either."

"No, but he didn't have me kidnapped, he didn't rape Claire--and he helped put Nick in jail. Any way you slice it, I come out of this looking like the bad guy, and rightfully so."

"You're far from it," Diane says, gripping his hand.


After Paula and Mia go off in search of the bride, Claire navigates her way toward the makeshift altar. She goes to the seats where she left Travis and Samantha; she is surprised not only to find them actually sitting and not squabbling, but also to find Ryan beside them, fiddling idly with his Palm Pilot.

He looks up as Claire approaches. "Are we ready to get moving?"

"We're getting there," Claire says. "Sarah's on her way down."

Travis tugs at her arm. "Mom, this is boring!"

She offers a sympathetic look. "Just sit tight. The ceremony won't be too long, and once it's over, you know what comes next."

"Cake!" Sam cries out. Claire notices Ryan's inability to keep a smile off his face and feels the same sensation herself.

"I don't know if you need any more sugar, kiddo," Ryan says. His niece folds her arms in mock--well, maybe--protest.

Claire leans down to give each of the kids a peck on the forehead. "Can I trust you two to sit here and not make a commotion? Grandpa and Grandma will come sit with you when they can." The kids agree, though not without a devious gleam in each of their eyes that makes Claire the slightest bit nervous.

She and Ryan walk back down the aisle, toward where the rest of the wedding party is waiting. But Claire slows her step when she spots Tim, his hand clutched in Diane's.

"I, uh, I hope everything's okay with Sarah," she says, grasping for anything at all to say.

She can tell that she hasn't fooled Ryan. "It must be hard to see him now with someone else," he says.

Despite her best efforts to scoff, Claire feels her shoulders sag in defeat. Trying her best to come across as hopeful, she says, "Time always kills the pain, right?"

Ryan's response is slow in coming. "Right." He pauses, then continues: "It will only get easier from here on out."

Claire purses her lips. "I hope so."

"I know so," Ryan says, and she feels his hand on her bare shoulder. "Because we have each other, and nothing else matters."


Matt Gray stands back from the whole scene, content to soak it all in. There was a time--a long one, so long that it is hard to remember how it felt before then--when he believed that he would never have this. That he didn't deserve it. But, from the very beginning, Sarah awakened something in him that he thought was lost forever.

He is so caught up in retracing the path that led him to this point that, at first, he barely reacts to the face from the past.

"Aren't you at least going to act happy to see me?" Andrea Yang asks as she approaches him.

"Oh my God!" he exclaims as reality hits. "You made it!"

"I wouldn't have missed it for the world." Andrea's smile grows wider as she takes in the sight of Matt in his suit. "Oh, Matt, I'm so happy for both of you." He welcomes her embrace.

The peaceful moment is short-lived, however, as Mia hurries toward them.

She glances around as though afraid of being overheard. "We can't find Sarah anywhere."

A shot of panic surges through Matt's body. "What do you mean? Wasn't she getting ready in the restaurant?"

"Yeah, but she asked for a few minutes alone, and when we went back to get her, she was nowhere to be found."

Matt's head shakes in protest. "That doesn't make sense."

"She wouldn't run out on you," Andrea agrees.

"I know. Mia, I'll go back up there with you. She has to be somewhere around here."

He and Mia excuse themselves, reassuring a concerned Andrea as they go. They trek back to the restaurant, and Matt does his best not to rush. There is no reason to panic, he tells himself.

But all that goes out the window as they pass by the parking lot.

He nearly misses it, but the battered old car making a right turn out of the lot catches the corner of his eye.

"What is it?" Mia asks, having noticed his increased terror.

"That car," Matt tells her, pointing. "That's Jennie's car."


Jason holds open the restaurant door for Courtney Chase and then steps inside himself.

"Thanks for coming with me," he says. "My mom didn't want to worry everyone." When Paula called his cell phone a few minutes ago, it took a great deal of effort not to reveal to the rest of the wedding party that Sarah was nowhere to be found; he figured that choosing Courtney as an accomplice provided the least opportunity for hysteria to spread.

"I just hope Sarah's okay," Courtney says as they move through the dining room, which is decked out for the reception. The scene has a vaguely creepy feel to Jason: it is as if they've stepped into the ghost of a wedding that never was.

"All I know is that she wouldn't ditch out on this wedding. The last thing she's doing is having second thoughts."

Courtney's agreement is obvious. They move through the restaurant, calling Sarah's name a few times, to no avail.

"I really don't think she's hiding under a table or anything," Jason says. "My mom said that she and Mia looked all over ..."

"I'll check the bathrooms. Just to be sure." Courtney moves toward the far side of the building, while Jason remains in the middle of the room. He is unsure what to do next. He knows that Sarah wouldn't have run out on this wedding, but the restaurant feels empty--no way is she in the bathroom, putting last-minute touches on her makeup and totally oblivious to the hoard of people searching for her.

He wanders past the buffet tables, covered in clean, white tableclothes and a few chafing dishes, waiting for the rest of the food to be set out.

"Sarah!" he calls out, receiving no response. Something is definitely amiss.

That suspicion explodes into panic as soon as he steps into the kitchen. There is no sign of his sister, but a jumble of pots and pans lies on the floor. Jason approaches it warily, as if something might leap out from the heap at any moment. He scans the large, cluttered room for signs of life, but there are none.

He hears the sound of heels against the linoleum floor.

"No luck in the bathrooms," Courtney says as she walks into the kitchen. "Not that I thought--" She stops short when she spots the mess on the kitchen floor. "What happened here?"

"I don't know," Jason says, "but we've got to get out of here. I don't think Sarah left here on her own."


Will Jason and Courtney miss what's right under their noses?
What will Matt do now that he knows Jennie was there?
Can Ryan, Claire, Tim, and Diane keep going to the same functions?
Come on over to the Footprints Forum to talk about it all!

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