Episode #417

Previously ...
- Katherine was arrested for shooting Nick.
- Both Brent and Claire noticed that Ryan had a bandage on his hand, which he claimed was needed after he cut his hand on a broken bottle.
- Lola told a police officer that there was another visitor to Nick's house earlier in the night: Tim.
- The police discovered that the gun found in Katherine's hands did not fire the bullet that shot Nick.


Heat rises from the freshly poured coffee, tendrils of steam curling through the air before they fade into nothingness. Diane Bishop blows on the coffee, then stirs in her sugar and blows again. She carries her cup over to the dining table and collapses in a heap into one of the chairs.

It takes several sips before her mind starts to loosen up. The warmth spreads through her head and her body, and finally she feels like herself.

"Morning," Tim Fisher says as he troops into the kitchen in a t-shirt and pajama pants. He sounds like Diane felt minutes ago.

"Hey," she says, reaching for the newspaper. "You sleep okay?"

"I kept waking up every hour or so. Figured I might as well get out of bed and pretend to be functional."

"Mm-hmm." Diane lifts her coffee cup to her lips and silently studies Tim while he pours his own coffee. She searches for some sign of the weirdness of last night. He slipped out so suddenly and, when he returned, acted like a zombie. Now he seems like regular old Tim, early morning edition.

She fans the paper out over the table and scans the front page. Just as Tim joins her at the table, she inhales sharply--making a noise that other people might call a gasp, if Diane Bishop were one to gasp.

"What?" Tim asks.

"Holy shit." She turns the newspaper around so that he can see it and points with one of her finely manicured nails. "Nick Moriani was shot last night."

Tim's whole body tightens immediately. For several seconds, he makes no movements whatsoever, except for his eyes. They scroll back and forth, scanning the article as if searching for something hidden between the lines of print.

"It says Katherine was arrested at the scene," he says, as though Diane didn't just read the short article herself.

"Guess he finally sent her over the edge."

"Yeah." He keeps looking over the article, and there is something decidedly off about his demeanor all of a sudden.

"Maybe you should call Brent later and see what details you can get," she suggests.

That gets Tim to look up from the paper. His stare is intense, strong enough to bore a hole through a person.

"No," he says. "We're going to stay out of this. As far away from it as we can."


The room comes into focus slowly, as Katherine Fitch opens her eyes and stares up at the ceiling for a long moment. Finally she reaches out a tentative hand and feels the bedding beside her. It is soft, fluffy--not at all industrial.

Reassured, she glances around. All the familiar trappings of her suite surround her: luxurious bedding, finely carved wood pieces, and an expansive window through which the morning sunlight pours into the room.

She breathes a deep sigh of relief. In the freshness of the morning, last night seems like some kind of horrible nightmare, albeit one that she remembers in vivid detail. Feeling the cool metal of the gun in her hand... being shoved into the back of the police car... being led through the vile halls of the police station and jail... now it all seems so far away, so surreal.

Slowly she climbs out of bed and goes to the door. Right outside, she finds her usual tray, bearing a bran muffin, a plate of fruit, coffee, and the morning newspaper. The tray has clearly been sitting here for some time; she slept much later this morning than she normally does. Normally she would make an immediate call to the front desk to refresh her meal, but this morning, she is far from irritated. She is simply grateful to see something so familiar, as it always is.

She brings the tray inside and focuses on the newspaper. There it is, right on the front page: confirmation that it all really happened. She reads the brief article twice; there is something unnerving about how it does not have the end of the story. Clearly the paper went to press before the police released Katherine, but the absence of that key part makes the whole thing more terrifying--as though the police might burst through the door at any moment and seize her again.

She forces herself to put the paper aside. That will not happen. She is free now. And Nick...

That bastard got what was coming to him. And if there is any justice in the universe, he will never wake up from this coma.


"Wait for me!" Diane calls out. Samantha stops right in front of the door, her hand poised at the doorknob.

"How many times do I have to tell you not to answer the door yourself?" Diane asks, though it's purely rhetorical. Samantha just shrugs and stands back as her mother opens the door herself.

"Hey, Diane," Brent says the moment the door is opened. "Is Tim around?"

Without even thinking, she nods. "Yeah. He just got out of the shower."

"Paula said he'd be here," Brent explains, possibly as a sort of apology which he then invalidates by entering without invitation. "Hey, Sam."

"Hi," Sam answers shyly. It's clear that this is as far as the conversation will go.

"What do you need Tim for?" Diane asks. Alarms have started to go off in her head now; it can't be a coincidence that the police commander shows up looking for Tim the morning after Nick Moriani was shot, when Tim exhibited such strange behavior last night and this morning.

"I need to have a chat with him." Brent casts a wary glance over at Samantha. "That's all."

Diane scrambles for some kind of excuse, but she is not quick enough. Tim emerges from the bedroom, his hair still wet from the shower.

"What's going on?" he asks, right before he spots Brent. Diane watches his reaction carefully. The way that he goes tight-lipped, even a little pale, speaks volumes.

Tim recovers quickly, though. "What's up? What are you doing up and about so early on a weekend?"

"Could I talk to you for a second?" Brent asks, not even bothering with small talk. "In private."

"Sure," Tim says. To Diane's eye, he looks concerned. He leads Brent back into the spare bedroom that serves as Diane's home office.

Samantha watches them very carefully, and she keeps staring at the office door after it has been closed.

"What's wrong?" she finally asks.

"Nothing. Nothing we can't take care of," Diane says, and she is determined to make that the truth.


The police officer standing outside Nick's door is an imposing figure, a barrel-chested bull of a man with a thick mustache and unsympathetic eyes. Ryan Moriani approaches with trepidation and stops several feet in front of the officer.

"I'm his son," Ryan says, hoping that will be all the conversation that is necessary.

The guard's expression doesn't change, doesn't even waver. "No visitors."

"I'm immediate family."

The officer folds his thick arms and shrugs. Ryan doesn't dare question him.

Instead he goes to the nurses' station, where he intends to have Claire paged. But before he can even make the request, she walks by, her focus on a chart in her hands.

"Hey!" he says, raising his voice just slightly to catch her attention.

She looks up and seems startled at first. "Oh, hi," she says, hurrying over to him.

The greeting barely registers with Ryan. "No visitors?" he asks, as though she is the one who made the rule.

"That's what the police said. Because they don't know who shot him, they don't want people drifting in and out--"

"I'm his son!"

"You haven't wanted anything to do with him for a long time."

"That is not fair," he counters. "Don't try and tell me that you weren't upset when your father died, even though--"

She interrupts by nodding, apparently realizing that he has a point.

"Of course," she says. "You have every reason to be worried."

A moment of quiet passes before Ryan asks, "How is he?"

"Still critical, still unconscious, last I checked." She looks him over. "Maybe we can get Brent on the phone to make an exception for you."

"Maybe." But a thought nags at Ryan's mind.

"How's your hand?" Claire asks, apparently out of nowhere.

Ryan glances down at the bandage, having momentarily forgotten about it. "Oh, it's fine. Just healing up."

He stares down the hallway, at where the guard stands unflinching. He isn't sure that he wants to know why the police haven't already made an exception for immediate family--which, if you don't count Katherine, is only Ryan himself. That cannot be a good sign.


As soon as Brent closes the office door, the room feels tight, even suffocating, to Tim. He paces over to the bed and sits, only to rise immediately and keep pacing.

"Do you have any idea what I came to discuss with you?" Brent asks. There is little trace of the brother-in-law and friend whom Tim knows so well--right now, Brent is all business.

Tim exhales heavily, and his shoulders drop. "Yeah. I do."

"Why'd you go over to Nick's house last night?"

Tim's hesitation is only momentary; as damning as this might be, he needs to tell Brent.

"Nick made a comment to Claire at the auction," he says. "About Travis. Something about him potentially getting caught in the middle of all this..." He swoops his hand around in lieu of finding a word to describe all that has gone on.

He sees some glimmer of reaction from Brent--as a family member, not a police official--before the cool professional demeanor takes control again.

"And you went over there to do what?" he asks.

"I don't know," Tim admits. "I..." He gets lost in thought, in recalling the heated encounter between himself and Nick. "To stand up for my son. To make it clear that, no matter what kind of crazy vendetta he has against my family, he's going to leave Travis out of it."

"How did you plan to do that?"

"I thought you arrested Katherine at the scene."

"She's been released, at least for the time being. What did you go over to Nick's to do?"

"Honestly? I didn't have a clue." Tim's nerves go into overdrive now, and he resumes pacing. "I also didn't have a gun."

"I'm not accusing you of anything," Brent says. "I'm trying to figure out what happened last night. That means getting all the information that I can."

Tim nods, tries to calm himself.

"What time would you say you went over there?" Brent asks.

"Around 11:00. I left here around 10:45 or so."

"And how long were you there?"

"Not long. Fifteen minutes? Twenty minutes?"

Tim tries to read Brent's reactions but cannot glean anything from them.

Several seconds of silence pass before Brent asks, "So what happened between you and Nick?"

"We talked." Tim catches Brent's expression. "Yelled. It got kind of ugly."

"How so?"

"He--he grabbed me and tried to force me out of the room, and I shoved him, and..." Tim tries to blink the full memory out of his mind's eye. "I decked him and left."

"You punched him?"

"Yeah. That's all. Then I came back here and went to bed. I didn't know anything had happened to Nick until I saw the paper this morning."

Brent nods, very slowly.

"Is he going to die?" Tim asks. He doesn't even know where the question comes from, but there it is.

"He's in critical condition. He hasn't woken up yet," Brent answers, poker-faced.

"Brent, I hate that bastard, but I punched him. That's it. I didn't shoot him."


Is Tim telling Brent the truth?
Is Claire right to be suspicious of Ryan?
Is Katherine out of the woods now?
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