Episode #394

Previously ...
- Brian told Kelsey that he slept with Diane. Kelsey ended their relationship; later Brian found out that Diane would rather be with Tim.
- Despite Jennie's schemes, Sarah and Matt made it to the altar. Matt saw Jennie's car pulling out of the lot and alerted Brent, but they did not mention it to Sarah.
- Molly went into labor in the middle of the wedding. After a quick labor, she gave birth to twin boys.
- Sarah was depressed over her ruined wedding. However, Matt arranged a small ceremony in the hospital chapel, and they were finally married.


"Hands away from that cake!"

Claire Fisher hurries toward Travis and Samantha, who have been lingering around the untouched wedding cake for several minutes now. She fears that it is only a matter of time before they decide to sample the icing; she could see, from the moment they walked into the reception, that the multi-layered cake was going to be a source of temptation for the kids.

"Are we ever gonna be able to eat cake?!" Samantha cries out, as though the lack of wedding cake in her life is one of the larger injustices in the world.

Claire shakes her head and cuts off the inevitable next question. "Because Aunt Sarah said so." Sarah's only stipulation about opening up the reception was that her cake not be cut up and devoured, though Claire has no idea what she is going to do with the gigantic pastry. "Go dance or something, you two."

Travis twists up his face in protest.

"Tori looks like she's having a good time out there," Claire says. The kids' younger cousin has been on the dancefloor ever since the music started, dancing with everyone from her uncle to the other children in attendance.

"Can't we just have a little bite?" Sam asks, pinching her fingers together to show just how tiny a bite she is suggesting.

"How about we bake a cake tomorrow?" Claire suggests.

Samantha's expression makes it clear that tomorrow has nothing to do with tonight in her mind, and Travis backs up his sister with a similar look. Thankfully, Claire spots Tim, Ryan, and Jason walking into the restaurant at that moment.

"Daddy's back," Claire says, all too happy to deflect the kids' cake-induced pouting at someone else.

It does the trick. Travis and Samantha take off in Tim's direction. Claire follows, her arms folded, but she hangs back.

"How's Molly doing?" she asks Ryan when he approaches her.

"She looked exhausted, but really, really happy."

Out of the corner of her eye, Claire sees Tim talking to the DJ. Ryan watches, as well, though he appears less confused about it than Claire.

"What's he doing?" she asks as Tim takes the microphone from the DJ, but Ryan doesn't answer.

The DJ cuts off the music, and Tim holds the microphone to his mouth.

"In case word hasn't gotten around by now," Tim announces, "Molly and Brent welcomed twin boys into the world at 6:22 pm. They're all doing fine and resting right now."

Applause ripples through the party.

"But that's not all!" Tim continues. "It turns out that the groom, resourceful as he is, found a way to salvage this wedding day after all. Thanks to a little help from the hospital chaplain, I now present to you ... Mr. and Mrs. Matt Gray!"

Sarah and Matt step inside the restaurant, arm-in-arm, and the partygoers' surprise turns to more applause. They approach Tim, and Matt takes the microphone from him.

"We want to thank everyone for hanging around," Matt says, "though I guess the free food couldn't have hurt!" The crowd laughs. "Sarah and I are glad you're all here to celebrate with us--and now, I think it's time to cut that cake!"

A joyous exclamation comes from somewhere close to the front, and Claire has no question about whose voice it is.


The tranquility in the room is a relief to Molly Taylor. After the madness of the delivery room, she is so exhausted that she doesn't think she could handle a lot of noise and activity. Tired as she is, she is also sure that sleep is out of the question; she is too excited and too in shock for that.

Her husband sits beside her bed, and her parents stand over them. Paula and Bill each hold one of the twins in their arms, bonding with their grandsons for the first time.

"They're beautiful," Paula says, running a fingertip softly over the baby's lips.

"And really, really bald," Brent adds. "Which they should probably be grateful for, 'cause it'll keep their mom from giving them some geeky haircuts for a while."

Molly smacks him on the arm. "Hey!"

"I'm starving," Brent says. "Anyone else hungry?"

Molly shakes her head. She thought she would be hungrier after the ordeal of labor, but she has absolutely no appetite at the moment.

"I am," Bill says. "Do you want to run downstairs and get something?"

"Yeah." Brent looks to Paula. "Can we get you anything?"

"A cup of coffee would be nice."

Bill hands the baby in his arms to Molly, who snuggles the infant close to her.

"Be back in a few," Brent says as he and Bill leave the room.

Paula settles into the chair where Brent was sitting, and for a long moment, she and Molly are completely quiet as they hold the babies.

"This doesn't even seem real," Molly says finally, her focus intent upon her son. "I'm a mom. Can you believe that?"

"Yes." Paula laughs. "Well, no, I still can't believe that my babies are having babies."

"There's just so much to think about, you know? Even with all the reading and the classes and stuff--now that they're actually here, it's overwhelming. I don't know where to begin."

"It is scary. Believe me, I've been in that position. If you're patient, everything will come together, I promise." She reaches over and takes her daughter's hand. "And you know that you have me here to help."

Molly nods. "Of course."

Paula is unable to suppress a smile, and her throat tightens as she says, "I'm so happy for you, Molly. So happy and so proud of you."


As he moves through the wedding reception, Matt finds himself utterly content. After all this time, after all that they've been through, he and Sarah have finally gotten their act together. He can't wait to leave with Sarah for their honeymoon at the Washington coast, but for now, he is happy to be here, surrounded by their family and friends.

He finds his wife catching up with Andrea Yang, both of them still working on their pieces of wedding cake. Sarah takes Matt's arm as he comes up beside her.

"Did Andrea tell you what she's been up to?" Sarah asks him.

"Nope," Matt says. "We barely had a chance to talk before."

Sarah defers to Andrea, who announces, "I'm going into business. I'm opening a little tea shop and bakery of my own."

"Oh, wow. Where'd that come from?" Matt asks.

"It's time to do something new. Volunteering at the blood bank has been nice, but it's time to move on to something that's my own--something that will give me a sense of purpose." With a proper little laugh, Andrea adds, "What better sense of purpose than to serve desserts, no?"

"I'll eat to that!" Sarah says, popping a big bite of cake into her mouth.

They all laugh, and Andrea takes a sip of her cosmopolitan. A trail of the reddish liquid lingers on the corner of her lips, dripping down ever so slightly. As Sarah gestures for her to wipe it, Matt's cell phone rings.

He peeks at the screen, having every intention of ignoring the call, but when he sees who the caller is, he changes his mind.

"I've gotta take this," he tells the women. "I'll be back in a minute." He answers the call as he hurries outside: "Yeah, Brent? What's up?"

Brent's voice is only a step above a whisper. "Listen, I'm still at the hospital, but I stepped out to check my messages and had one that I thought you'd want to know about."

"What is it? Is it about Jennie?"

"Yeah ..." There is a sharp intake of breath on the other end of the line. "I don't think you need to worry about Jennie being a threat anymore."

"Why not? Did you guys find her?"

"In a manner of speaking, yes. Matt, we found Jennie's car in a ditch on the side of the 202 highway."

The air seems to close in tighter around Matt. "What do you mean?"

"She was in the car. From what the officers on the scene could tell, she lost control and spun off the road. The car flipped."

"Is she--"

"She was dead when they found her," Brent says grimly.

"My God." As much as Matt wanted Jennie out of his life, as far away from him and Sarah and Tori as possible, he never could have imagined this. His chest stings as he remembers the innocent waitress with whom he used to chat on breaks, the young woman who seemed so eager for affection of any kind.

"The same way her mother died," Matt mutters. "Wow."

"I hate to ruin your big day with news like this," Brent says, "but I thought you should know, especially so you can stop worrying about what she might do next."

"Yeah ... Thanks. I appreciate it." He is unsure what to say; his mind is too busy coming to grips with the news about Jennie. "Congrats again on the twins," he adds numbly.

"And congratulations to you and Sarah. You guys are going to be really happy."

The call concludes, but Matt stands outside the restaurant, staring off into the darkening sky, as he tries to accept what has happened. Even in death, that poor young woman was still alone.

Finally, after several minutes, he draws a deep breath, tucks his phone away, and heads back into the reception. Sarah spots him immediately and smiles broadly.

"Everything okay?" she asks as he rejoins her and Andrea.

"Yep," he says. "Everything's fine."


Pushing his empty cart, Brian Hamilton rounds the corner into the produce section and contemplates his first move. He loves grocery shopping at night: the store is less chaotic than in the daytime, so it affords his mind an opportunity to wander while he does something simple and non-stressful.

All that goes out the window, however, when he moves toward the lettuce.

There is nothing between him and Kelsey Barker besides a lot of open space. He feels naked without his shopping cart, having left it off to the side for the moment.

"Hey," he says, testing the waters.

"Hey." Kelsey's voice is not full of anger or rage, and Brian takes that as a good sign until he realizes that Kelsey, even at her worst, would never be one to show either of those emotions in an aggressive way.

"How are you?"

"I'm good." She turns immediately, very intent upon the stalks of asparagus piled up in front of her. She picks up one after another without ever seeming to see any of them.

"I've been wanting to call you," he says. "To see how you were ..." She isn't giving him much to work with, though he supposes he should be grateful that she hasn't started screaming and clued the other people in to what an idiot he is.

"Look, Kelsey, I am so, so sorry about--about how things turned out. You deserve better than that."

She sets down the asparagus but doesn't look at him. She seems on the verge of saying something but instead simply nods. A dense silence closes in on them.

"I was going to propose."

For the first time since they spotted each other, Kelsey looks directly at him.

"The night of the bust at Objection," he says, "I was going to propose to you. I had the ring and everything. And I was so nervous that when my plan got thrown off-track, I thought it had to be a sign, and I went and--got drunk ..." He drops his eyes. "I still have the ring."

He can see in her now the same softness, the optimism, that drew him to her initially. If they could just erase that one stupid night--

"I'm moving to Seattle."

"You're what?" He is sure that he hasn't heard her incorrectly, but he thinks that he must have. Moving?

"Objection is opening a new store there, and I've been talking to them about going there to manage it. There's nothing left for me in King's Bay."

As much as he would like to, Brian cannot offer a single word of honest protest.

That same uncomfortable silence returns, and before Brian can get a handle on it, Kelsey is moving past him.

"Good luck," he blurts out.

She stops and turns to look at him one last time. "Thanks. You, too."

Brian cannot even watch her walk away.


Jake Gray smiles to himself, as he stands with a drink at the wedding reception. A catchy rhythm surrounds the partygoers, but Jake's gaze is fixed on one playful pair on the dancefloor. When the song ends, they make their way over to him.

"Are you guys having fun out there?" he asks, taking a sip of his champagne.

"Tori's teaching me a little one-two step," Mia says, demonstrating the move in place with Tori at her side.

"You're a better dancer than Travis," Tori says. "But Mommy said she was gonna dance with me, too! When's she gonna be done talking to all those people?" she asks, pouting.

Jake shoots a look to Mia. Luckily, he spots Matt and Sarah walking toward them at that moment.

Sarah can't even wait long enough to get to their side before she shoots up her hand, showing them all her wedding ring.

"Can you believe it? We're really married! Not quite the way we had in mind, but we did it! Finally!"

"And Molly had her twins," Matt announces, reminding Sarah of the day's other big event.

Jake claps a hand on his brother's back. "I suppose the day wasn't a complete disaster after all."

"Are you kidding? It was perfect! Mostly, anyway," Sarah says, waving to some friends on the other side of the room. After all the stress and hardships -- she can't stop smiling.

"Mommy, you have to dance with me!" Tori reminds her, pulling on her arm.

"I will. Give me one second with your Uncle Jake, okay?"

"Uncle Jake and Aunt Mia, you mean," Mia says, taking Jake's hand. The two of them share a look, then a nod, as if making some silent agreement between each other.

"What--?" Matt begins, but Jake interrupts him.

"We've actually got a little surprise of our own," he says. "We would have told you sooner, but we didn't want to steal the spotlight ..."

"We're engaged, y'all!" Mia says to the three of them.

"Yay!" Tori says, performing an accelerated version of her earlier dance. She tugs on Sarah's hand once more, in a last-ditch effort to make her mother follow her lead.

"What? When did this happen?" Sarah asks, barely noticing Tori's antics as she shares a dumbfounded look with Matt.

"Not too long ago, actually," Jake answers. "In a way, we sort of have the two of you to thank. We started seeing each other after we came to King's Bay that first time -- when you asked me to see Matt, Sarah. We reconnected over this whole thing, and when we went back to Pennsylvania things ... progressed," he says, his lips curling into a smile.

Mia gives her fiancé a kiss on the cheek, while Matt and Sarah congratulate the two of them.

"You'll be my best man, right?" Jake asks his brother.

"Wouldn't miss it for the world."


Claire pulls Ryan's suit jacket more tightly around her arms. The interior of the loft is much cooler than she expected it to be, almost as cool as the autumn evening outside.

Without Claire having to say a word, Ryan breaks for the far side of the loft. "Let me close those windows."

She takes a seat on the leather sofa, the jacket still around her shoulders.

"It's really getting cold lately," Ryan says.

"It's the time for it."

"You want a drink?" he asks, already moving toward the bar set up in the corner of the living room.

"No, I'm okay, thanks." Claire watches as Ryan prepares a drink for himself. It has been so long since the two of them were together without the threat of interruption or intrusion; she finds herself lost, unsure of what to say or do, even though this evening, on the surface, is like so many that have come before.

"What an amazing day," Ryan says as he scoops ice into the glass. "Between Molly having the babies and Sarah finally getting to marry Matt ..."

"I felt kind of bad slipping out of there before everyone else," Claire says.

"Don't. Tim has the kids. Sarah's too busy basking in being married to even notice."

"That's probably true."

Ryan joins her on the sofa. "Besides, I'm grateful to have some time alone with you, finally."

Despite her strange feelings about the situation, Claire smiles. "Me, too."

After a long sip, Ryan sets his glass on the coffee table and turns toward her, crossing one of his legs over the other. "The way this day turned out for Sarah just goes to show: everything comes together with time."

"And with many more complications than anyone could predict," she adds.

"Well, yeah." Ryan falls quiet for an instant, then blurts out, "Are you okay? You seem ... off. Weird."

"I'm fine," she says immediately, but as soon as the words fall from her lips, her shoulders sink. "This is just so strange, that's all."

"What is?"

"Us being alone together." She sees the wounded expression on his face and hurries to add, "That's not what I meant! But being together, knowing that it's okay, that I'm not supposed to worry about Tim anymore--it barely seems real."

"That, I understand." Ryan reaches out and brushes her dark hair back behind her ear. "You know what I've learned from this whole song-and-dance?"

She awaits the answer silently.

"That we're the only ones who can make it real," he says. "All of this other stuff--it's on the outside. It won't touch us if we don't let it."

Claire marvels once again at the degree of his faith in them. And she leans toward him as he moves closer, kissing her.

Ryan pulls back. "Are you sure you're okay with this?"

"Yeah," she says. We're the only ones who can make it real. "I am."

And as Ryan shifts his weight toward her and then on top of her, the truth becomes clear to her. This is real. And nothing on the outside can take it away.


Will Claire and Ryan finally be able to move forward?
Did the news about Jennie shock you?
What will Brian do now that he and Kelsey are definitely through?
Come to the Footprints Forum to talk about this episode!

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