Episode #420

Previously ...
- Jason was summoned by a lawyer, who informed him and Courtney that Shannon Parish recently passed away inside the mental institution--and left millions of dollars to Jason.
- Both Claire and Brent took note of Ryan's bandaged hand, but he insisted that he had cut it on a glass bottle.
- Brent's focus on investigating Nick's shooting kept him away from home.
- The police became aware of a detail that they had previously overlooked at Nick's house: a smashed window, indicating that someone had broken into the house on the night of the shooting.


The summer heat beams down upon Courtney Chase as she steps out of the car. She takes a deep breath and then tails Jason Fisher up the front steps of his parents' home.

"Just take some time and think about it," she says, continuing the near-argument that they have been having ever since they left the attorney's office.

"There's nothing to think about," Jason says. He inserts his key in the door and opens it. Courtney follows him inside.

Paula Fisher's voice floats to them from the kitchen. "Hello?"

"Hey," Jason calls out. "It's me."

"And me!" Courtney adds. He glances back at her, his face full of desperation, and for a second Courtney considers relenting. No, no, no. She isn't going to let him make such a rash decision.

They head into the kitchen, where Paula and Bill are in the midst of lunch.

"To what do we owe this honor?" Paula asks.

"Nothing," Jason says.

Courtney shakes her head. "Big news."

"Have a seat, both of you." Paula gestures to the empty chairs at the kitchen table, while she rises from hers. "Can I get either of you something to eat?"

Courtney declines, but Jason nods. Paula assembles a sandwich for him.

"You met with the lawyer?" Bill asks.

"Yep." Jason exhales loudly, as if trying to force the weight of the news out of his body.

"Help me talk some sense into your son," Courtney says.

Paula, at the counter, asks, "What was it about? You aren't in some kind of trouble, are you?"

"No," Jason says. "It's much weirder than that." His parents stare, waiting for an explanation. All he gives them is, "Shannon died."

"What?" Paula and Bill ask, not quite simultaneously.

"Some heart condition no one knew she had," he explains. "A few weeks ago."

"So, what, her lawyer wanted to tell you about it?" Bill asks.

"Not exactly." Jason goes quiet, his hands pressed against his face.

"Shannon left Jason a... gift," Courtney explains. "A very valuable gift."

Paula hands Jason the sandwich and asks, "What do you mean?"

Courtney shoots Jason a look, urging him to go ahead and explain, but all he does is take a bite of the sandwich.

"Millions of dollars," she tells the Fishers. "Apparently her dad got rich off some hot cocoa company he founded, and Shannon inherited that money--"

"And she left it to you?" Bill asks, turning an eye on Jason. The elder Fisher seems torn between shock and laughter.

"All of it," Courtney says. "And Jason--"

"--is not taking it," Jason says, setting down the sandwich. "There's no way I can accept that money."


Claire Fisher sits on the floor in front of the open refrigerator, her legs folded underneath her. She removes one item after another from the shelves and examines them before deciding whether to toss them into the garbage bag beside her.

Ryan Moriani leans against the counter, observing what appears to be a highly scientific process.

"Are you sure I can't help?" he offers.

Claire shakes her head. "No way. The first rule of de-bachelor-izing a refrigerator is not to let said bachelor anywhere near the proceedings."

"Fair enough," Ryan says, holding up his hands as if to demonstrate his surrender. "I'm surprised it took you this long to get around to it."

Before Claire can respond, a loud knock sounds from the living room.

"I've got it," Ryan announces. He slips out of the kitchen and answers the door. "Hey, Brent."

Brent Taylor is all business, his face unexpressive. He looks tired to Ryan.

"Hi, Ryan. Do you have a few minutes?"

"Sure. Come on in." Ryan attempts to maintain his cool as he lets Brent into the loft. "How's it going?"

"I've been better," Brent says, "but this visit isn't about me. I need to ask you a few questions."

Ryan simply nods.

Claire peeks her head around the corner of the wall that divides the kitchen from the living area. "Hey, Brent!"

"Hi, Claire," he responds. His serious demeanor cracks only enough so as not to seem rude. Then he refocuses on Ryan. "Could we go into your office or something?"

"Of course." Ryan takes a deep breath and leads the way, but his heartbeat speeds up.

Brent takes it upon himself to close the office door.

"I need you to be honest with me, Ryan," he says. "Were you at Nick's house the night he was shot?"


Camille Lemieux pores over the flimsy local newspaper, her attention focused firmly amidst the waves of cheap black ink. An abrupt noise startles her, and she looks up to find Molly Taylor trying--not very successfully--to maneuver through the doorway of the office with an armload of file folders and sketchbooks.

"These are all your old sketches I could find from 1987," Molly announces over the stack.

Camille rises to help her, but Molly steers herself across the large office and deposits the load on the coffee table.

"You should have had Rhiannon get those for you," Camille says as she sits back down.

Molly shrugs. "I've had her making copies all day. I felt bad."

"She's an assistant. That's what she's for!" Camille insists with a laugh. How characteristic of Molly to feel guilty over asking someone to do their job.

The humor of the moment is lost as soon as Camille returns to her seat and sees the news item in front of her.

Molly, not seeming to notice, goes on: "You just want to look those over for inspiration?"

"Yes," Camille says slowly, half-reading again. "For inspiration."

After organizing the mound of materials into two neat stacks, Molly stands across the desk from Camille. She looks over the newspaper.

"I wonder if Nick will ever wake up," Molly says.

Camille glances up, then leans back in her desk chair and rolls her eyes toward the ceiling. "It would certainly make the investigation easier."

"Brent could use the break. He's been out by dawn every morning and doesn't get in until well after dinner."

Suddenly Camille notices the weariness in the younger designer. Molly has done an excellent job of not looking tired, but there is an exhausted quality to the way she holds her body, the way she moves.

"I just don't know if they're even getting anywhere," Molly says, "and part of me doesn't want them to. If it wasn't Katherine who shot him, then the chances are good that it's someone I know and care about..."

The possibility sweeps Camille away, back to a night not long ago--

"After all of the selfish, awful things you have done to so many people," Camille says, her tone so sharp but nowhere near sharp enough for its recipient, "you deserve so much worse than to spend the rest of your life rotting in prison."

"Don't pretend that you have any regard for Katherine or my son or anyone else. This is all about you and your little company."

"Don't confuse me with yourself," Camille fires back. "Not everyone is so selfish. You deserve to pay for ruining so many lives."

The only response that Nick Moriani gives her is a loud, crazed laugh, almost maniacal in its wildness.

Camille shudders at the memory of that night.

"What's wrong?" Molly asks.

"Oh, nothing. Nothing at all," Camille says. "It must be that Thai food that I had for lunch. It never does sit well."

"My mother is the same way. But you both keep on eating that stuff..."

"What can I say? We're both silly old ladies." Camille forces a laugh and flips the newspaper closed. "Now, would you help me go through these sketches?"


Jason's declaration silences his parents and Courtney. He eyes each of them, one at a time, to hammer his point home.

Instead Courtney addresses Paula and Bill: "I just think he should take some time to think it over."

Paula nods. She reaches over and places her hand on top of Jason's. "Courtney's right, dear. This is a big decision. There isn't any need to decide right this moment."

Jason jerks his hand away. "I'm not taking her blood money!"

For some reason, that makes Courtney burst into laughter.

"What are you laughing at?" he challenges. "She killed her parents! And she almost killed you!"

"The whole thing is just so ridiculous," she says. "Think about it: you're about to turn down millions of dollars. From Shannon. It's nuts."

"What happens to the money if you don't take it?" Bill asks.

"Defaults to the state," Jason says.

"Think of all the things that you could do with it. You're at such a crossroads in your life as it is," Paula jumps in.

"Yeah, but that's the thing! I don't want to build my whole life on Shannon Parish's death money."

"You could donate it to charity," Paula says.

The suggestion appears to take Jason by surprise; he does not come back with an automatic rebuttal.

"At least think about it," Paula continues. "I'm sure there are plenty of people and causes that wouldn't mind having that money, regardless of where it came from."

Jason responds with a slow nod before returning to his sandwich.


Claire tiptoes slowly down the hallway toward Ryan's closed office door. Each step is carefully placed on the hardwood floor to avoid creaking noises, and she manages to make it there without one burst of telltale noise.

She places her ear to do the door, careful not to press too hard against it. She can hear voices but cannot make out the words, until she hears one phrase--

"Brent, I don't own a gun."

Inside the room, Brent folds his arms and stares Ryan down. "I didn't say anything about a gun."

"It's what you were implying," Ryan says, returning the stare. "You think I shot Nick."

"I didn't say that."

Ryan paces across the room, traces his finger through a thin layer of dust on the bookshelf. "Well, I don't have a gun."

"No, but you know where Nick keeps his, don't you?"

"So does Katherine. That's how she got ahold of the one she had--"

"This isn't about Katherine. Or a gun, for that matter." Brent unfolds his arms. "Were you at Nick's house? Yes or no."

It's more than a question; it's a challenge.


Brent's gaze wanders toward Ryan's still-bandaged hand. Reflexively, Ryan moves it behind his back.

Claire strains to hear the conversation taking place on the other side of the door. She cannot make out many of the words, but the tone of the voices comes across clearly. It makes her even more desperate to know exactly what Brent wants with Ryan.

Suddenly the voices stop, and there is a rush of movement. She backs quickly away from the door but only makes it halfway back to the kitchen before the office door opens.

She tries her best to fake being casual and turns around as though surprised.

"Everything okay?" she asks Brent, who is coming down the hallway toward her.

He just makes an exasperated face and shakes his head. Moments later, he is at the front door.

"I'll see you later, Claire," he says before letting himself out.

The door closes hard behind him, and Claire is left in the hallway, staring at Ryan.

"This is bullshit," he says. "It's like a witchhunt."

She tries to nod in agreement, but she cannot stop looking at the bandage on his hand.


Is Claire's trust in Ryan fading?
What has Camille so rattled?
Will Jason accept the money or throw it all away?
Join us in the Footprints Forum to discuss!

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