- Alex told Jason--but not Trevor--that he had been invited to Seth's wedding, while Trevor learned that his agent had been unsuccessful in handling the blackmail situation. Alex decided to attend the wedding, while Trevor planned an impromptu trip back to New York.
- Jason received word that his bid to buy a majority ownership in the skating rink was accepted.
- Lauren and Josh bonded after going to a concert together.
- Brent proposed to Molly that Danielle move in to help them with the twins, and Molly reluctantly agreed.
JASON FISHER & ALEX MARSHALL'S APARTMENT
As he moves down the hallway, Jason Fisher's fingers fumble with the knot of his tie. No matter how hard he tries, though, he cannot get it right.
"Hey," he calls out as he approaches Alex Marshall's room. "I need you to--"
He stops when he discovers his friend standing over an open suitcase. A gray suit lies beside it on the bed, freshly pressed.
"What are you doing?" Jason asks.
A shot of guilt flashes across Alex's face, but he quickly tries to gloss over it.
"I decided to go to the wedding after all," he says, as if he were announcing his intention to run to the store for some milk.
"I thought we decided that was a bad idea."
Alex shrugs. "I could stand to get out of town for a few days. I figure, after the wedding, I can spend some time in Portland, writing and relaxing."
Jason tries to accept that explanation. Really, it is not his business, and Alex seems to know what he is doing.
"Can you help me get this right?" he asks, motioning toward his tie.
Alex studies it.
"It looks fine," he declares.
"You sure?" Jason steps in front of the mirror. "I don't know..."
"Seriously. It looks better than fine. You're just freaking out over your meeting."
Jason cannot even try to deny that. In fact, it feels good to have someone acknowledge it, because he has spent all day trying to be upbeat.
"You don't think they're gonna see right through me?"
"Nah. You look like a businessman," Alex says. "Besides, you'll have Ryan there to back you up."
"I hope it's that simple." Jason continues fiddling with his knot in the mirror. "Did you tell Trevor?"
Even from across the room, he can feel Alex tense up.
"Trevor's on his way to New York. And besides," he says, zipping up the suitcase, "there's no need to make him worry about something that's not even a big deal. Right?"
Jason nods, even if he is not sure that he agrees.
Lauren Brooks hangs one more snowflake ornament on the tree and steps back to observe her handiwork. She suspects that, to any casual observer, the tree looks no different than any of the ones from her and Trevor's youth. Knowing that she decorated it herself, however, makes it look funny to her, like the amateur efforts of a young kid.
"Looking good," Trevor comments as he maneuvers down the stairs with his a-little-too-wide duffel bag. "If you would've just waited until I got back, though, I would've helped."
"I want to surprise Mom and Dad when they get back from their cruise."
"If you say so."
Trevor peeks outside and then turns back to her.
"Not bad at all," he says, reviewing the tree again.
"You really think so?"
"Yeah. It looks great."
Trevor glances out the window once more. "Cab's here," he says as he picks up his bag.
"What's this trip for, anyway?" Lauren asks. "Another shoot?"
"Just some follow-up on what I did last time I went to New York."
He opens the door and steps outside. Lauren can see the cab idling by the curb.
"Okay. Good luck," she says, waving.
"Thanks." Trevor's face turns much grimmer than she would expect as he adds, "I'll need it."
When the door closes behind him, Lauren turns back to the tree. Soon their parents will be home for the holidays, Trevor will be back from his trip, and the drama of this whole year will, blessedly, be a thing of the past.
BRENT & MOLLY TAYLOR'S APARTMENT
Danielle Taylor sets down the final box and wipes her brow, which is damp with perspiration despite the chilly fall weather.
"Thanks for helping out," she says to her younger brother, as he pushes a stack of cardboard boxes against the wall.
"No problem," Josh says. "Dad was fast about shipping all this crap up here."
"Thankfully. I don't think I could live out of my suitcase for another few months."
She sits down on what will be her bed for the indefinite future -- a day-bed in the nursery of her brother and sister-in-law's apartment. It isn't going to be the most luxurious arrangement, but she knows that Brent and Molly will appreciate her help with the twins, and being with family is far more valuable to her right now than living a glamorous life.
"You need anything else?" Josh asks, checking the time on his cell phone.
"No, no, you're free to escape now." She grins and plays up the melodrama.
"I'd hang around if I could, but I told Lauren I was coming over, so being late would probably be a bad move."
"She seems like a good girl--woman, I guess." Danielle still is not sure of the dynamic between them, but when Josh introduced her to his coworker, she could see that there was more to it than a professional relationship.
"For real. Which means I've gotta convince her I'm not a total douche."
"Is that slang for 'jerk'?" she asks, only half-kidding. When Josh nods, she adds, "You might want to keep the feminine hygiene references to a minimum."
"I'll do my best, but no promises. Besides, if tampons come up, it's probably a sign my surprise didn't go over too well."
"Don't make me jinx it by talking about it." Josh starts for the door. "Good luck unpacking."
"Good luck... surprising," Danielle says as he heads on his way.
KING'S BAY ICE ARENA
As he and Ryan cross the parking lot, Jason hurriedly unknots his tie and undoes his top button. It does not provide instant relief from the jittery anxiety that has been working at him since before the meeting.
"You did fine in there," Ryan assures him as they walk.
"I'm going to take your word for it," Jason says, "because my only other option is to take a detour off a cliff on the way home."
"Don't do that, or I'm going to be stuck running your part of this thing, and I don't know a damn thing about figure skating."
"Neither do those guys! Did you see how shocked they were by the ideas I presented? Most of that stuff would be so obvious to anyone who knows skating."
"See? They need you as much as you need them."
Ryan aims his remote control at his car, and it unlocks with a beep.
"Seriously, thanks for helping me out," Jason says as they pause beside Ryan's Acura.
"Glad to help out. Not that I have a ton of job prospects." Ryan's expression darkens temporarily, but before Jason can jump in, he continues: "There's only so much I--or you--can do, though. You're going to need to start bringing other people aboard."
"People you can delegate to, or you'll lose your mind." Ryan opens the car door. "People who inspire you, who have the same vision as you do."
They say their goodbyes, and Ryan drives away. As Jason walks to his own car a few spots away, Ryan's advice rings in his ears. He has to keep himself from pulling out his phone and making a call this very second.
Josh stands on the porch, shifting his weight from one foot to the other and listening for some sound from inside. He tries to still his body, to keep himself from focusing on anything in particular; he hates that he is in this position, vulnerable to another person's reaction to him.
When the door opens, he pushes those thoughts aside and turns it on.
"Put on a jacket," he tells Lauren.
"What? I'm--I'm busy."
"Your Grey's Anatomy DVDs will still be here tomorrow."
"I'm not watching TV," she protests.
Josh stares her down until she cracks:
"I'm making a Christmas shopping list."
"See? Not urgent at all. We have that every year." He grabs her hand. "Come on."
Lauren releases her grip on the doorframe. "Where are we going?"
Josh shakes his head, but she persists.
"Josh! You have to tell me."
"All I'm telling you is to get a damn jacket." He holds his arms and stands his ground, relishing her mounting frustration.
"Fine," she finally says. As she disappears into the house, she calls out, "But don't even think about blindfolding me!"
A smirk crosses Josh's mouth, but just beneath it lurks an even stronger sense of worry. This has to go off the way that he is planning.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Alex is not sure if he should be grateful that he made such good time driving from King's Bay to Portland. On one hand, he has arrived in plenty of time for the wedding; on the other, he now has time to reconsider his decision to come here.
Can he really go inside that church and watch Seth marry Miriam? It is one thing to have moved on with his life, but it is another thing entirely to sit by and watch a part of his past be sealed forever. So, for the time being, he sits in his car in the church parking lot, trying to work up the nerve to go inside.
Before he fully realizes what he is doing, his hand reaches up and pulls the key from the ignition. The radio goes silent, leaving him boxed in with his thoughts.
As if defeated by some outside force, he opens the door and extracts himself from the car.
The chilly late autumn air offers a pleasant freshness, and his limbs appreciate the opportunity to stretch after several hours in the car. He watches a stream of guests entering the church and then grabs his wrapped present to join them.
Once he reaches the stony walkway that leads right into the open mouth of the church doors, however, he pauses again. Freezes, actually.
This is it. He is about to walk in there, sit down, and give his silent approval of the union taking place today.
But why should it matter? Why should he, of all the people here, matter? He is someone Seth knew years ago, someone with whom Seth has tried to bury the hatchet by inviting him to share in this day. And Alex has a completely separate life of his own: good friends, a promising career, Trevor.
He puts himself into motion again, but he makes it only a few steps closer to the doors before something stops him.
This time, it isn't something inside him. It is something much more tangible: a hand.
A hand belonging to Seth. Who stands half-hidden among the well manicured shrubbery.
"Alex," he says, his voice a heavy whisper. "I didn't think you would come."
Just like that, Alex feels like an idiot. Of course. It was a courtesy invitation, a gesture of goodwill. He was never supposed to show up. He can see the uneasiness in Seth's face to confirm it.
"I'm sorry. I guess I just thought--" He doesn't know what he thought. He shoves the gift into Seth's arms. "Congratulations."
He turns to leave, to get himself as far away from tihs as he can, but again the hand stops him cold.
"Wait," Seth says. "I'm glad you did. I--" He casts a wary glance at the church. "I'm freaking out. I need to talk or something."
And, suddenly, Alex is the one being dragged back toward the parking lot.
END OF EPISODE #434
Alex finally be able to make peace with his past?
What does Josh have planned for Lauren?
What phone call did Jason want to make?
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