- Jason announced his plan to use Shannon's money to buy a majority share in the skating arena.
- Sarah and Matt clashed over the possibility of adding another child to their family.
- Molly continued to hide the incident with Caleb from Brent.
- Brent found a gun in Tim's car. Tests showed that it was the same gun that shot Nick.
- Ryan decided to visit Nick in the hospital, but he was too late: when he arrived, he was told that Nick had died.
- Brent arrested Tim for Nick's murder.
What troubles Tim Fisher most about his surroundings is their absolute plainness. The courtroom is unimpressive, worn down by age; his family is gathered in one room, as they have so many times before; even his suit is familiar, one that he wears to work all the time. He expected this to be bigger, grander, more daunting. But its utter normality is the most frightening thing of all--because it means that he cannot deny that this is real, that it is happening.
His night in jail was the same way. For all his fear during the ride to the station and while he was being booked, his stay turned out to be little more than a crappy night of sleep and several hours of boredom. He keeps reminding himself that he should find some comfort in the normality of it all, but instead it feels terrifyingly real.
At his side is his attorney, a man he barely knows and is not sure that he wants to know, some high-priced hotshot whom Diane recruited.
Tim turns and scans the rows of benches jammed into the too-small courtroom. An overwhelming number of the faces belong to his family; he does not know who the other people are, and he does not think that he wants to know.
He makes momentary eye contact with his mother, and she offers a sad smile. Thinly veiled pity, that's what it really is. That is how they have all been looking at him--like they want to help him, like they feel terribly about what has happened, like they have already accepted that he did this.
The judge brings his gavel down with a hard bang, yanking Tim back to the proceedings at hand.
The old man focuses a stare on him; Tim is fairly certain that the judge has not even bothered with sympathy since sometime in the 1950s.
"Mr. Fisher, you are charged with two counts of first-degree murder, in the deaths of Nicholas Moriani and Lola Bouvier," the judge says. "How do you plead?"
"Not guilty," Tim hears himself say, though it suddenly feels more like a third-person experience. The judge nods gruffly and rolls off a bunch of formalities that Tim does not absorb. He sees his attorney nodding beside him and makes a note to ask about it all later.
The next thing he comprehends is, "Your bail is set at two hundred thousand dollars." Then comes another bang of the gavel, and everyone rises, and the courtroom begins to empty out. Tim does not move, but he can feel people closing in around him.
All of a sudden, Jason is beside him.
"I can pay it," his younger brother says. "I'll have the money transferred as soon as I can."
Tim nods and forces a grateful smile. He isn't sure that he wants to go home and face all these people treating him like he has snapped, like he isn't even himself anymore.
Matt Gray has his tie off before he and Sarah even get inside their apartment. Sarah watches with amusement: Matt looks so uncomfortable in his dress clothes that he cannot bear to keep them on a moment longer than necessary. In this instance, though, she feels similarly. A family member's arraignment doesn't even seem like the kind of thing that would require clothes you'd wear anywhere else.
"That was beyond bizarre," Sarah says as she walks over to check the answering machine.
"Tim looks like he's holding up okay," Matt offers. She can tell that he is saying it, whether he believes it or not, solely for her benefit, and something about that is very comforting right now.
"I guess. This is only the beginning, though."
Seeing the blinking light on the machine, she presses the button. The computerized voice informs them that they have one new message, and then Jake's voice comes to life from inside the box.
"Matt, Sarah, it's Jake," he says, somehow sounding as though he is an entire country away. "Mia and I have some really great news to share with you. Really exciting news. Give us a call as soon as you can."
A beep signifies the end of the message, but as far as Sarah is concerned, it might as well signify a change in the mood in the apartment, too. She can tell exactly what Matt is thinking--the same thing that she is: Mia and Jake have already succeeded in getting pregnant, just as they said they were hoping to do.
"You should give him a call before it gets too late," Sarah says, but before Matt can respond, she ducks out of the room to change into something more comfortable. She cannot even deal with that issue now, not with all that has been happening with Tim.
Claire Fisher pours the hot water into a mug, where a tea bag has been waiting for it, and brings the mug to Ryan Moriani. He accepts it graciously, though she senses that he is taking it primarily to placate her.
"It's okay to feel crappy right now," she says, hoping to break through the hard shell that has seemed to surround him ever since he learned of Nick's death.
"Thanks for your permission," he says, his voice heavy with sarcasm. In an instant, regret washes over his face. "I'm sorry. I'm just out of it."
"It's a lot to deal with. He was your father, in spite of--whatever he might have done."
"Go ahead. In spite of all the terrible things he did. It's not like his death wipes away the things he did while he was alive."
"You're still allowed to mourn for him."
Ryan spaces out for a moment. She wishes that she had some idea where his thoughts might be taking him.
"It was strange enough with Stan," he finally says. "But that was more biology. Mourning the fact that one of the people responsible for my existence was dead, regardless of who he'd been or what he'd done. But Nick..."
"Nick raised you."
"And I should have been there, at the hospital. I should have been there when he died."
"Ryan, it's more complicated than that."
"Maybe." He sets the mug down on the coffee table and stands. "Or maybe I'm just making excuses so that I don't feel guilty thinking that maybe it's a good thing he's dead."
He walks away, leaving Claire to stare at the steam emanating from the untouched tea.
When Brent Taylor arrives home, he finds his wife in the kitchen, feeding lunch to the twins. He feels a strange disconnect: can this woman, so on top of her responsibilities and such a good mother, really be hiding something important from him?
Molly smiles when she sees him. "I can heat up some of that leftover chicken if you're hungry," she says, coming over to give him a kiss.
"I'm not really hungry," Brent says. Molly returns to feeding Caleb and Christian, and Brent watches her silently. This is the first time alone that they have had in weeks, really. He has always been running out to do something pertaining to the Moriani investigation, or he hasn't arrived home until Molly is in bed, or... any other number of excuses.
He has been making excuses, he realizes for the first time. Making excuses so that he can avoid disturbing the pleasant balance of their home life--right now, the only balance in his life.
"We need to talk," he announces out of nowhere.
Molly looks up, and in the split-second before she can moderate her reaction, Brent knows that Sarah was right: Molly is hiding something. Something happened. He tries not to review the possibilities--the same ones that have plagued him around the clock for days and days now--mentally.
"Something's going on," he says. Maybe she will break open. Maybe she is tired of hiding it, too. Maybe he won't have to push and make this worse than it already is.
But she responds with full composure. "A lot is going on. Tim's being charged with two murders."
"That's not what I mean. Molly, I know..."
She turns to the sink, so that he cannot see her face, but he can guess what it looks like: terrified that she's been exposed. Shocked that he knows anything.
"What are you talking about?" she asks as she turns back around, her expression betraying none of those things.
"Sarah told me that something happened. Something I should ask you about."
"Oh, Sarah told you? I knew she would--" Molly catches herself. "Since when are you and Sarah such close friends?"
He doesn't even know how to answer that.
"This isn't about Sarah and me," he says finally.
"It isn't? First she's doing work for you that I'm sure someone in your department could have done, and now, what? You're discussing me behind my back with your ex-wife?"
"She's worried about you."
"I'm sure she's loving this. I knew she was going to do this."
"Do what?" Brent tries to move closer, but Molly backs away. "What does Sarah know? What aren't you telling me?"
Brent refuses to blink, refuses to look away. As strong as Molly's reaction has been, he knows that she is not at all comfortable lying. That's how he knew something was going on at all; her behavior has been off lately.
"It's nothing," she says. "It's being blown out of proportion. The other day, when we were putting the boys in the car--"
Terror shoots through Brent's body. "Did something happen to one of them?"
"No. No! Just... I got in the car to go to work, and I was in such a rush that I didn't realize..." She brings a hand to her mouth, as if she is shocked to discover the news all over again.
"I forgot to put Caleb in the car." She practically dives at him as soon as the words are out, and she grabs him by the shoulders. "I wasn't far away when I realized it, and when I got here, Sarah was here to drop off that file for you, and she had him..."
"You left him there? Outside?"
"It was an accident."
"I'm sure it was, but... if Sarah hadn't shown up..."
"I know." Molly's face contorts with anguish as the beginnings of tears glint in her eyes. "I'm so sorry. I was going to tell you, but there was no harm done, and--"
"You can't not tell me things like this!" He pulls away from her, and when she moves to grab onto him again, he backs further away.
"How could you not tell me about this?" He looks her over as he re-evaluates all their interactions since that day. Were there hints that he missed? "Molly, I know accidents happen. And I know you're really stressed right now. But to act like I wouldn't find out?"
She doesn't have a response.
"I'm going to go finish feeding the boys," he says. She doesn't follow him back to the kitchen.
Everyone in the Fisherman's Pier kitchen seems to move with the creeping quality of molasses, slow and dragging. Bill Fisher finds the lack of energy appropriate to his mood as he tosses together a meal that he has prepared countless times before.
Matt comes up beside him, drying his hands with a towel.
"How are you holding up?" Matt asks.
"Not too badly, considering," Bill says. "Though I might be in shock."
"Everything's gonna work out for Tim. This is probably just a huge misunderstanding."
Bill wishes that he could believe that, but after watching his son in that courtroom, he is not sure what is or is not possible anymore.
"Tim's been through a lot," he says, keeping his focus on the food. "Enough to make anybody snap."
"We'll have to wait and see." Bill sighs heavily and, finished with the plate, slides it onto the counter where it can be picked up.
"Can I ask you a question?" Matt says. "Totally unrelated to Tim."
Matt fiddles with the towel for another moment before setting it aside. "When you and Paula were--did you ever disagree about when was the right time to have another kid?"
"Are you and Sarah having problems?"
"I don't know if I'd call it problems." But then Matt's face falls. "Yeah. I guess."
Bill waits; he knows that pushing his son-in-law is the fastest way to bring a conversation to a dead stop.
"My brother and his wife are having a kid," Matt finally says. "We just found out. And it's something Sarah and I've been going back and forth on."
"What's the problem?"
"She doesn't think it's a good time. She's busy with work, and I understand that, I do." He pauses, as if to confirm that Bill does understand. "But I'm not that young, you know?"
"Absolutely." Bill clasps a hand on Matt's shoulder. "Take it from me, though: pushing and pushing to get your way isn't going to do any good in the long run."
"I don't think I'm pushing--"
"I'm sure it doesn't feel that way. Try and see it from Sarah's perspective, though."
He can see Matt turning that idea over in his head, so Bill moves to work on another plate.
Danielle Taylor sets the takeout box down on her brother's desk.
"I figured you'd be too busy to take time out for lunch," she says, "so I decided to bring it to you."
"I am not going to argue with that."
Brent opens the container and checks out the BLT and French fries awaiting him. Danielle takes a seat across from him and opens up her own lunch, a salad piled high with chicken and grilled vegetables.
"Have you managed to see everyone you wanted to see in town yet?" he asks before taking a big bite of his sandwich.
"Just about. But I have to say, there's something relaxing about being here."
"Are you thinking of staying?"
"Through the holidays, definitely. It's been a long time since you, Josh, and me were all in the same city for more than a few days."
Brent sets down his BLT. Danielle can see an idea forming on his lips, but he seems reluctant to release it.
"What's going on?" she prompts him.
"I don't know how busy you're planning to be for the next few weeks, but do you think you could maybe give Molly some help with the boys?"
"Of course. Is Molly going to be okay with that?"
"She'll probably say she isn't," Brent admits, "but she needs it. I'm doing what I can, but we're both so crazy with work, and... She didn't say anything to you, did you?"
"She's said lots of things to me."
"But nothing about..." For some reason, he has trouble vocalizing Molly's mistake with Caleb and her subsequent lie of omission, as though saying it aloud makes it too real. "Molly forgot Caleb on the sidewalk the other day when she was going to work. She turned around to get him as soon as she realized it, but Sarah had already shown up and found him."
"I know." He has to push all the terrifying possibilities from his mind by continuing. "I'm worried that she's in too deep, between work, trying to do so much with the twins..."
"Hey, don't worry. I'm more than happy to help out." Anticipating what is about to come next, she hastens to add, "And no, I won't tell her you put me up to it."
"Good. Thank you," Brent says, trying to convince his body to feel relieved.
Not wanting to wake Tim, Diane opens the door only a crack. She finds Tim in the same spot where he has spent most of his time since being released from jail: on his side of the bed, pillow clutched tightly to his head. But his eyes are wide open, and they find her as soon as she opens the door.
"Is Sam home yet?" Tim asks. His voice sounds creaky, unaccustomed to making casual conversation.
Diane shakes her head. "Are you gonna get up when she gets home?"
Tim doesn't answer. He simply continues staring. Diane makes a slow move toward the bed and sits down on her side of it.
"You can't keep doing this," she says, as softly as she can manage.
"What else am I supposed to do? I'm going on trial for murder. Two murders. I don't really feel like showing my face in public, sorry."
"So you're going to waste whatever time you have left?"
Tim's face suddenly seems to take on new life, as it twists up painfully. "Whatever time I have left? What, you've just accepted that I'm going to prison and that's that?"
"No!" She hasn't accepted it, even if she has tried. "But you're being so damn pessimistic. Tim, we'll find a way to deal with this. The lawyer said he can work on a plea bargain--"
"I'm not admitting to two murders."
"Do you want to miss your daughter's entire life? Or yours, for that matter?"
"Is any of that worth it if I'm branded a double murderer?"
She cannot answer that question. Suddenly, the gulf between them, a matter of inches on the bed, seems too wide to traverse.
Diane stands from the bed.
"I didn't do this," Tim says.
She doesn't know how to respond, so she quietly leaves the room.
Jason's cell phone explodes into a series of noisy, melodic beeps that drown out the car radio. Keeping one eye on the road, he reaches for the phone and sees Ryan's name on the screen.
"Jason. Hi. Are you busy?"
"Uh, no, not really. Just driving home from the rink."
"Good, because you might want to start, I don't know, shopping for office furniture."
Adrenaline shoots through Jason's body as he slows the car in front of a red light.
"They took the offer?"
"Without any problem," Ryan says. "To tell the truth, I think they're glad to take the money and hand over the headache."
"Thanks for helping me with this, Ryan." Jason taps his left foot on the car's floor as he waits for the light to turn green. "How are you, uh, holding up?"
"I'm fine." Ryan's pause makes it clear that there is more to the story, though, so Jason waits. In a matter of seconds, Ryan continues: "I'm not sure I know what to feel."
Jason can think of any number of things to say, but all of them lead back to Tim, and he thinks that would be the worst possible territory into which he could drive this conversation.
He finally settles on a quiet, "I'm really sorry."
But, as they end the call, the thing left unspoken--the fact that their brother is awaiting trial for Nick's murder--hangs awkwardly on the line, louder and more forceful than anything they actually say. As much as Jason knows that Ryan blames Tim for the death, and as much as Jason would like to stand up for Tim, he isn't sure that he can do that.
Tim steps aside to let Paula into the condo. He watches his mother searching the place, evaluating the decor and the environment.
"This is very nice," she says, and as far as Tim can tell, she means it. He knows that his family has never been particularly fond of Diane--not too long ago, he would have agreed with them wholeheartedly--but he can tell that his mother seems genuinely impressed by the place where he has been living.
"Thanks," Tim says. "Not that I deserve any credit for it."
Paula hands him a stack of Tupperware containers, which Tim gratefully accepts and places on the kitchen counter.
"I was fairly certain that you wouldn't be up to cooking," Paula says.
"Thank you. I'm sure Diane and Sam will appreciate it, too."
He sets about putting the containers away.
"How are you feeling?" she asks, standing at the edge of the kitchen as if afraid to come any nearer.
"Oh, I'm great." He sighs and decides not to get too sarcastic with her; that never turns out well. "Hanging in there."
"Diane says your attorney is excellent. I'm sure that he'll find a way to handle this."
"I hope so."
When Tim looks up from the refrigerator, however, he sees Paula's expression. It is the same one that he has seen in Diane, the same one that almost everyone wore in the courtroom while he was being arraigned.
Doubt. Sadness. Pity.
"You, too?" he says in disbelief.
Paula is speechless.
"You think I did this, too." Tim slams the refrigerator, harder than he intended to, and the force of it makes Paula step backward.
"I think you've been through more than anyone could handle," Paula says. "We can get you help, we can--"
"The only help I need is for someone to get those charges dropped!"
"Are you sure of that?"
Tim remains in the kitchen while Paula lets herself out, and it hits him how alone he really is.
Matt approaches the bed warily. Since the on-and-off argument about having another baby began, and especially since they received the news that Mia is expecting, all his and Sarah's normal household routines feel like awkward, forced dances. Neither of them seems to know all the steps, and both seem eternally afraid of stomping on the other's toes.
He climbs onto his side of the bed. Sarah, absorbed in a book, does not even acknowledge his arrival. Matt tries to lie down, but only a few restless seconds with his head pressed against the pillow prompt him to sit up again.
"I've been pushing you too hard," he says. The proclamation is abrupt enough to grab Sarah's full attention.
"About this baby thing. I've been pushing you too hard to see things my way."
Almost immediately, he sees the cool exterior melt away, and the Sarah he knows so well re-emerges.
"Do you really mean that?"
"Yeah. It's just such a big deal to me, and... I don't really understand why we can't both make sacrifices to make it happen."
"Because I'm not ready to sacrifice my work right now," she says.
Matt nods. He doesn't particularly like the answer, but he knows he has to accept it.
Sarah surprises him by moving closer to him, nuzzling her body against his.
"You're really okay waiting?" she asks.
"If you don't feel like you're ready, then I guess we have to."
They are quiet, finally peaceful for the first time in weeks and weeks, until Sarah breaks the silence:
"Do you ever think that it might've been a fluke, the way Tori turned out?"
"Crazy?" he says with a laugh, and Sarah joins in.
"No, the fact that she's turned out okay. We seem to have done a decent job, despite a lot of messes along the way."
"Because we're good parents."
"You really think so?" Sarah glances up at his face, as if she cannot believe that he does. "What if it's all been luck? What if we bring another kid into this world, and we think we know what we're doing, and all we do is totally ruin that kid's life?"
Matt sighs. He doesn't know how to assure her that will not happen.
"Doesn't it feel natural with Tori?" he asks.
"Sometimes. And sometimes I feel like I'm ten steps behind and all I can do is try my best to avoid disasters."
"Okay, yeah. I feel the same way."
"You really worry about that?" Matt asks after another moment of silence.
"Absolutely. I shouldn't even be a mother."
"Don't say that. If you were able to do this well once, you'll be able to do it again."
Sarah seems to accept that. As much as her worries have sparked similar doubts in Matt, he does not let them get to him. Being like this, so at peace with Sarah and with the life they have built, gives him faith that they can do anything.
The next morning, Matt awakens to find the bed empty beside him. In light of the way that he and Sarah fell asleep--so together, finally in-synch--he feels a surge of alarm. Did something go wrong during the night? Did she freak out and--
Then he hears movement in the bathroom. A moment later, Sarah appears in the doorway, smiling and happy.
"What's with you?" he asks groggily.
"Just brushed my teeth. I didn't think I should subject you to morning breath."
"That was nice of you."
"Well, I woke up in the middle of the night, and I was thinking..." Her voice trails off, and she begins to pull her nightgown up her body.
With nothing underneath.
Suddenly Matt feels a lot more awake.
"Maybe you're right," Sarah continues, pulling her nightgown off fully. "I just need to have faith that we won't screw this up."
"Screw what up?"
"The baby." She pauses long enough to toss the flimsy nightgown aside. "That we might or might not make right now."
And before Matt knows it, she is back in bed beside him, and the arguments of the past few weeks are nothing but a distant memory.
When he gets out of the shower, Brent finds Molly awake and bustling around the bedroom, getting her things ready for the day. He watches her silently for a long moment. She never looks at him, never acknowledges his presence, even though the sounds of the shower turning off and the bathroom door opening have clearly made her aware that he is here.
He finally cracks. "Can we stop doing this?"
Molly keeps her back to him. "Stop doing what?"
"Tiptoeing around each other like a couple of strangers."
"I don't really know how else to act," she says, disappearing into the closet.
"Like my wife. Like the woman I fell in love with."
"That's kind of difficult when I don't feel like you trust me at all." Her voice is disembodied, as she is still inside the closet, but her anger still comes across clearly.
"I do trust you! Everyone makes mistakes, Mol." He peeks his head into the walk-in closet. "I'm not holding what happened against you."
Finally Molly faces him. "But you'll take Sarah's word over mine."
Something inside Brent snaps; he is willing to take a lot from her, but she has crossed the line now.
"This has nothing to do with Sarah, so drop it. Drop it!" he says, doing his best to keep his volume in check. "This is about you keeping secrets from me."
"Like you wouldn't have been scared for me to find out if you'd done the same thing."
"Maybe I would've. But you're scared for me to find out that you're not perfect. That's what this is about. News flash, Molly: I know. I've known all along. And I am okay with that."
She stares at him for a second and then pushes past him, carrying her outfit back to the bed. Brent tails her.
"I didn't marry you because I thought you were perfect," he continues. "I married you because you're you. So drop the act."
Molly lays out her clothes and smooths them out. Brent figures that he has lost her, but she speaks suddenly:
"That isn't as easy as it sounds."
He does not know how to respond. How can a woman who has so much going for her be so insecure, both of herself and of his feelings for her?
"I had an idea," he says, deciding to try a different tack. "Danielle wants to hang around for a while, at least through the holidays. What if she were to move in and help out with the boys?"
Molly shakes her head. "I can handle my own kids."
"I'm not saying that you can't. They're my responsibility, too. But we're both busy with work, and Danielle is family--it wouldn't be like leaving them with a sitter."
He sees her softening, enough to give him hope, and an idea that has been gnawing at his mind suddenly throws itself into the fray.
"Besides," he says, "we might need the help if we're going to try and buy a house."
Molly lights up. "Really? You think--"
"It's time. But there's no way we can juggle all of this on our own."
There is still a wall separating them, keeping him from fully getting to Molly, but he sees it start to crumble. He can see Molly considering the possibilities, growing used to the idea...
"Okay," she says.
"Okay? You're willing to give it a shot with Danielle?"
"I think I have to," she says, and finally Brent sees the wall collapse into a pile of debris and nothing more.
Tim rests against the open door, leaning his weight on the framework of Diane's condo as though he cannot hold himself upright.
"Go get your stuff," he tells Travis, who is already halfway out of the room.
Claire stands a few feet away, in the living room, waiting for their son.
"Thanks for taking him," Tim says. "Having two of them around right now... I can't do it."
"I could take Sam if you want, too. I haven't spent much time with her lately."
Tim shakes his head. "Diane would kill me. Which might not be the worst thing in the world right now."
"Tim." Claire's head tilts to the left, the same way it always has when she is trying to get someone to see the error of their ways. "This is going to work out."
"I'm glad someone believes that."
Claire takes a few steps closer to him so that she can speak in a quieter voice.
"What's the point of going through the trial if you don't even believe that there's a way out of this?" she asks. "Why not just plead guilty and get it over with?"
Unable to look at her, Tim drops his eyes. He knows that she is right, but...
"You really don't think I did it?" he asks, his chin buried in his chest.
"If you'll tell me you didn't do it, then I'll believe you."
The strength of her conviction surprises Tim; he has spent days being treated like a guilty party who lacks the capacity to be held fully responsible for his actions.
"I didn't do it," he says, able to look her in the eye. "I didn't kill Nick or Lola."
"That's all I need to hear," Claire says. A hint of a smile shows on her face as Travis comes running into the room, ready to go.
END OF EPISODE #433
Tim be able to fight the murder charges?
Are Sarah and Matt back on track?
Have Molly and Brent fully addressed their issues?
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