Episode #430

Previously ...
- After Sarah let it slip that something had happened with Molly, Brent tried to get a hold of his wife but was unsuccessful.
- Under pressure from Ryan, Claire signed the divorce papers.
- Jason announced his plans to buy a stake in the skating rink and revamp it, with Ryan's help as a business advisor.


As he munches on the onion ring appetizer that he ordered for him and Tim to share, Jason Fisher keeps one eye on the restaurant's entrance. He expects to see his brother any minute now, but he has felt that way for almost twenty minutes, with little success.

When Tim rushes into the restaurant, he looks frenzied, as if he has just been through an excruciating ordeal.

"Sorry," he says as he slides into the booth. "I'm really sorry."

"Everything okay?"

"Yeah, uh--" Tim glances down at his rumpled suit and runs a hand over his hair. "Work has been insane, that's all. And traffic was miserable."

"No worries. Here, I figured you'd want some of these." Jason slides the onion rings toward Tim.

For the first time since arriving, Tim seems to relax. His expression settles into an easy grin. "Thanks, kiddo."

He takes a bite and finishes chewing before he asks, "What's the big news? Mom said you had something huge going on. Are you taking the money from Shannon?"

Jason nods. "Yup. Can you believe that?"

"Guess I shouldn't feel so bad about being late, then. It's not like you have to be off making money."

"Actually, I'm not planning on taking it too easy. I'm gonna use the money to go into business."

"Good idea. What are you thinking of?"

"I want to invest in the rink. Buy out the majority ownership, really, and then renovate."

"That place could use it," Tim says as he grabs another onion ring. "You think you're up for that? Not to rain on your parade or anything, but all that business stuff--"

"That's the thing." Jason knew this moment would come; in fact, it is one of the main reasons that he asked Tim to meet him this evening. "I have someone helping me out. Sort of an advisor."

Jason pauses, and Tim catches the significance. He cocks his head.

"It's Ryan," Jason says, as he awaits Tim's reaction.


The corridor of the Intensive Care Unit is disturbingly quiet. Claire Fisher can hear each one of her footsteps echo off the walls as she makes her way down the corridor, and the result is decidedly eerie.

She has hardly been up here in recent weeks. By sheer luck, she has managed to avoid needing to come to this area as part of her job, and despite her intense curiosity, she has not found the strength to venture up here on her own. Until now.

But the curiosity has been acculumating, bit by bit. Knowing that Nick was up here, immobile, fighting for his life perhaps without even knowing it--it has become too much for Claire to take. She has to see for herself.

The guard posted outside Nick's room looks bored. He steps aside to let Claire into the room, though he seems almost desperate for her to make a scene or do something that would spice things up. He has been posted here for weeks, standing guard over a comatose body and a room that no one besides hospital staff has been stupid enough to visit.

The sight of Nick in the bed hits her with the same force that it did when she first saw him, weeks ago. He looks so powerless, so benign, lying there. To think that this is the same man who did so many horrible things to her and to her family--it hardly computes.

As reassuring as it is to see Nick in such a non-threatening state, though, she wants it to end. She approaches the bed slowly, carefully, and stands over him.

In the stillness of this room, her own breathing sounds unbelievably loud.

"Wake up, you bastard," she says. The words are little more than a whisper, croaking out of her throat.

"Wake up," she says again. Desperation wells in her chest, and her fists curl into tight balls. He has to wake up. If he does, he will be able to tell the police what happened that night, who shot him--

--and they will all be able to get on with their lives, free of this nagging doubt that someone they love might have been the one to do it.


In the hours since his phone call with Sarah, Brent Taylor has been able to think of nothing else but his wife and what could be going on with her. She is hiding something, that much is clear. Her behavior at dinner last night was enough of a hint, and Sarah all but confirmed it by telling Brent to confront Molly.

As he waits for the clock to tick away the remaining minutes of the workday, he tries to refocus his energy on more relevant matters. His questioning session with Lola Bouvier, scheduled for more than half-an-hour ago, seems like it will not happen today. He has yet to receive word of Lola's arrival at the precinct, and her tardiness--more like a failure to show, at this point--has the gears in his head spinning furiously. An indication of her guilt? It seems more likely than ever.

He exits his office and checks with the deparmental assistant, Millie.

"No word from Lola Bouvier yet?" he asks as he scans the phone log on her desk.

She shakes her head. "Nothing. Want me to give her a ring?"

"Would you try?"

He folds his arms and waits. Millie dials and holds the phone to her ear, but he can tell from her expression that this is a fruitless effort.

"Should I leave a message?" she whispers. Brent shakes his head.

"Thanks anyway," he says as she hangs up. He strolls over to the desk of Diaz, an enthusiastic detective who has been a major part of this investigation.

"Are you up for a field trip?" Brent asks.

Detective Diaz looks up. "Where are we headed?"

"We're going to go track down our new number one suspect."


For a long moment, Tim displays no reaction. He simply resumes chewing and drops his eyes to the table casually, as though Jason just informed him that he bought a new pair of shoes. When Tim looks back up, however, his expression is pained.

Jason feels the urgent need to apologize. "I'm sorry. I thought you should hear it from me, though."

"Yeah. Thanks."

They return to eating in silence. The air between them is thick with things unspoken, and after a minute or so, Jason can no longer stand it.

"Tim, it's a business arrangement. Better than trusting some stranger with all my dead-psychotic-hot-cocoa-heiress money, right?"

The attempt at a joke falls flat. It only seems to make the tension between them more palpable as it hangs there, unacknowledged.

"Is it?" Tim finally asks. "Better, I mean. Look at Ryan's track record. Look at what he did when Molly hired him at Objection!"

"He was working with the cops. And it helped put Nick in jail."

"I'm just saying. Maybe that isn't the kind of person you want handling your money."

Jason can see Tim's point, and he can't say that he hasn't considered that side of the equation himself. But he needs someone who understands these things, and if their mother and Claire can trust Ryan... if even their dad can accept him as part of the family... then maybe it is time for Jason to do so, too.

"Sorry I brought it up," he mutters.

The waitress arrives to take their orders, and they put on their most polite faces. They keep them on throughout the rest of their dinner, but Jason can feel the idea of Ryan lingering between them, creating an invisible barrier that can only be penetrated by the most trivial of small talk.


When Claire arrives home from the hospital, she finds Ryan Moriani bustling around the kitchen, hard at work.

"What's all this?" she asks as she sets down her purse and keys.

"I'm whipping up some dinner. Care for some wine?"

He pours her a glass of Chardonnay and hands it to her with a flourish.

Chuckling at his good mood, she accepts the wine and takes a seat at the kitchen counter. "What's got you so worked up?" she asks.

"Nothing. Just an idea I had."

"An idea?"

"Yeah..." He lets her hang there for a moment. "How was your day?"

"Good. Normal. Except... I went and saw Nick before I left."

Ryan stops stirring the pasta and focuses his full attention on her. "Any news?"

She shakes her head. "He doesn't look good. The whole situation doesn't look good. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish he would just wake up."

"He still could." Ryan searches her face for an answer. "Right?"

"He could. It's just becoming more unlikely with each day that he's unconscious."

This unpleasant reality takes control of the room. Ryan returns to cooking, and Claire sips her wine in silence. He drains the pasta, and as the steam rises from the sink, he turns back around. Only now, his demeanor is totally different.

"This is going to sound nuts," he says, excitement radiating from him, "but I don't think I can wait any longer."


"I got you something."

Claire waits. She forces herself to raise the glass to her lips again, just to cut the tension.

"The divorce is going to be final really soon," he says, reaching into his pocket, "and we've waited so long for this."

She sets down the glass. Her hands tremble.

Ryan pulls out the box and pops it open. The diamonds gleam back at Claire.

"Will you marry me?"


Brent spots the white sedan as soon as he turns onto the block where Nick Moriani's home is located. It sits in the driveway of Nick's house, plain as day. Brent feels his blood heating up in anticipation.

"She's there," Diaz observes from the passenger seat.

Brent pulls into the circular driveway and parks. As they walk to the house, Diaz wonders, "You think she just forgot?"

"I somehow doubt that."

"But if she were avoiding us, wouldn't she be hiding somewhere else?"

"Maybe she's too busy enjoying the spoils of having a boss who's been in a coma for weeks and weeks."

They step up to the front door, and Brent rings the doorbell. They wait several seconds, but even when he presses his ear to the door, he hears no movement inside. He rings again. Still nothing.

"Maybe she did take off," Diaz says. He walks around to the living room window and peeks inside.

"Holy crap," he mutters.

Immediately Brent is at his side, staring into the house. He cannot believe the sight that greets him.

In the middle of the living room floor, in a pool of blood, lies Lola Bouvier's motionless body.


How does Lola's death tie in to Nick's shooting?
Is it time for Claire and Ryan to live happily ever after?
Will Jason be forced to choose between his brothers?
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