- Trevor's trip to New York proved successful, as he returned home with a set of tapes swiped from Cliff's studio.
- Lauren and Trevor prepared for their parents' visit for Christmas. Trevor worried about how his parents' first interaction with Alex would be.
- Alex resisted Seth's advances and slept on the floor of the hotel room.
- Tim was dismayed to learn of Claire's engagement to Ryan. Fixated on the idea that Ryan had something to do with Nick and Lola's death, Tim asked Claire to dig into Ryan's alibi for the night Lola was shot.
She is not sure why she agreed to do it, but Claire Fisher finds herself moving through the Fishers' living room, headed straight for Ryan Moriani. Maybe because Tim seemed so hopeless, so desperate for a way out, that she felt compelled to help him. Or maybe because he was so hopeful that Ryan wouldn't have an alibi, and she wants to prove him wrong.
Wants to know for certain that he is wrong.
Whatever the reason, she arrives at Ryan's side with every intention of inquiring as to his whereabouts on the day that Lola Bouvier was killed--and, unfortunately, with little idea of how she will accomplish this.
Ryan is talking with Molly, and Claire stands quietly for a minute or more before she breaks into the conversation.
"Do you think you could excuse us for a minute?" she asks Molly, who obliges by slipping off to another sector of the party.
"What's going on?" Ryan asks, as though he expects a question about when a bill is due or whether they already sent back a Netflix DVD.
Now that she is on the spot, all that she can think of is to stall. "Can we go outside for a minute?"
Ryan leads the way. Claire tries desperately to think of a way to do this naturally, but all she has is the cover story that Tim suggested.
Then they are outside, and after a far-too-brief respite, it is her turn again.
Tim's story it is.
"The day you proposed to me," she begins, having to spit it out in bursts, "did you come by the hospital looking for me?"
Ryan turns his head to the left, his features tightening, as he always does when confused. "Not that I'm aware of."
"Oh. Because there had been someone at the desk asking for me, by name, and I thought maybe--"
"Someone came to the hospital looking for you?" His confusion vanishes, and in its placeis a mask of terror. "Why are you only telling me this now?"
Seeing how intense his concern is, Claire regrets worrying him with this lie. But if it will put all doubts to rest...
"I just remembered." Even though they are alone, she lowers her volume. "Tim saw the ring, and as I was telling him, it made me think about that day."
Her explanation does little to ease the tightness in Ryan's face.
"I wasn't at the hospital that day," he says.
"Are you sure? Where were you, then?"
Ryan studies her, as though he expects to find the solution if he searches hard enough. Claire tries her best not to appear too uncomfortable under his scrutiny, but she wishes that she had not chosen a story that would worry him so much.
"Ooh, Alex, you haven't tasted anything 'til you've tasted this!"
Trevor Brooks watches his mother scurry from the room. While she oohs and ahhs from inside the kitchen, Trevor turns to his boyfriend, seated beside him, and says, "This dessert is Mom's favorite part of Christmas."
"I think it's all of our favorite part," Lauren comments from across the table.
"It sure is," their father, Patrick, says as he pushes up the sleeves of his sweater for the ten thousandth time this evening. "Roz has made this cake every year that we've been together."
"It was my Nana's recipe," Rosalyn explains as she brings the cake into the dining room. Trevor has to admit that it looks as good as ever.
The doorbell rings. Before anyone else can even think of getting up, Patrick is on his feet.
"Save me a piece of that cake!" he calls as he hurries to the front door.
Roz cuts a slice of the cake, rich with chocolate and coconut, and passes it to Alex. "One bite and you'll know why we always called it Better Than Sex Cake."
"Mom!" Trevor and Lauren exclaim, almost but not quite simultaneously.
"Oh, hush, you two," Roz scolds as she cuts pieces for everyone else. "What do you think, Alex?"
Alex bobs his head enthusiastically and makes as clear a sound of approval as he can with a mouth full of cake.
The sight could not make Trevor happier. He was so worried about how his parents' first meeting with Alex would be, if there would be tangible awkwardness, but the holiday has been a spectacular success. Rosalyn and Patrick have been receptive and welcoming, and Alex seems to be legitimately enjoying himself.
After the year he has had, Trevor could not have asked for a better Christmas present.
"Hey, everyone, come take a look at this!" Patrick calls from the family room.
With a series of shrugs, the remaining four abandon their desserts momentarily--all except for Roz, who brings her plate along--and join Patrick in front of the TV.
"It was a DVD," he explains as he gets the machine going.
"I didn't think they delivered mail on the holiday," Lauren says, picking up the case. On the front is a simple note: Merry Christmas!
"It looks like someone dropped it off personally," Patrick says. He hits play, and they wait for the disc to get going.
Roz looks at the case over Lauren's shoulder. "Maybe we shouldn't play this. It could have a virus or one of those things."
"Mom--" Trevor starts, but the action explodes to life on the screen, interrupting him.
It takes him only a second to figure out what it is.
Two bodies, kissing, grinding against each other.
One of whom is him.
He lunges to grab the remote from his father, but everything seems to move in slow-motion. He turns, mid-lunge, as he hears a crash--
And sees his mother's plate hit the floor, spattering cake everywhere.
"It was probably nothing," Claire blurts out. "Don't worry about it."
"Hang on." Ryan ducks back into the house. Claire expects him to re-emerge with Brent, ready to have her guarded around the clock over an incident that never even occurred.
Instead, he returns with Jason.
"What's up?" Jason asks as Ryan leads him out to the porch.
"Claire and I are trying to remember a specific date," Ryan says. "Do you remember the day that we met at the coffee shop to sign all that paperwork? When you were trying to figure out how to tell Tim we'd be working together?"
Jason clinks around the ice cubes in his glass. "Yeah..."
"Do you have any idea if that was the same night my father's maid was killed?"
Claire's breath stops immediately. One second, the air is flowing fine, maybe a little heavy--and the next, dead stop. Why would Ryan bring that up?
The question sounds ridiculous, so out of context. He has to know what she is doing. Jason appears equally startled, though for different reasons.
Ryan looks directly at her as he explains to Jason, "We're trying to remember if it was the same night."
"Uh, I think so. I'm pretty sure, yeah."
"And we were together that afternoon, right?"
Jason glances at Claire. She wonders if he can tell how off-kilter she suddenly feels.
"All right. Thanks," Ryan says, cool as ever. He sends Jason back inside, and then it is just the two of them again, only now Claire feels like she's made of glass, like he can see right through her, make out every frantic word zipping through her head.
"That was the day you were wondering about, wasn't it?" he asks, inexplicably collected on the surface even though she can feel the tension pulsating off him.
"Same day. Yeah," she manages to get out. This was a very bad idea.
"Why would you worry me with a story like that?"
She does not bother trying to cover up. It would be useless.
"Did you think I wouldn't make the connection?" he asks, finding just the tone to make her feel not only traiterous, but also devastatingly foolish.
He opens the door. "For the record, I was with Jason, and then I came home and proposed to you, which I realize now was an idiotic thing to do because, no matter what, you're never really going to trust me. Are you?"
But he does not wait for an answer. He goes back inside, and the sound of the slamming door echoes around Claire as she shivers against the winter air.
When he comes back inside, Jason takes a moment to gather his thoughts. Unable to make sense of what just happened on the porch, he makes his way over to Tim, who sits on the couch distractedly watching the kids romp around.
"I think somebody spiked the eggnog," Jason says, taking a seat beside his brother. "With crazy."
"I haven't noticed anyone starting a fistfight, so I'd say it's an improvement over last Christmas."
"Touche." Jason nods his head toward the front door. "But something weird is going on out there."
Tim sees nothing but the closed door. "On the porch?"
"Ryan just dragged me out there to ask if I remembered some random day."
"He's with Claire?"
Jason sees the almost-crazed look that comes over Tim. It is one that he has come to know well since his brother returned to them.
"They were only talking," Jason says, hoping to calm Tim. "It was a little weird, that's all."
However, Tim's demeanor does not soften. "What day was it?"
"This random day Ryan and I met to go over stuff for the arena."
"Which also happened to be the day Nick Moriani's maid was killed."
The swiftness of Tim's response alarms him. How would Tim know--
"What are you up to?" He grabs Tim's arm, forcing him to remain on the couch.
But Tim yanks it away. "I'm trying to save my life, in case you hadn't noticed. Not all of us can say our biggest problem is whether to accept a multimillion-dollar inheritance from a dead lunatic."
Jason can see Tim's desperation. He wants just as desperately to help him. But the brother that he once knew has been replaced by this bitter, burdened man to whom Jason cannot truly relate.
"I want to help you," he says, "but going after Ryan is not the way to do it. He was with me that day, Tim."
"Can you account for his whereabouts at every single minute of the day?"
The question knocks Jason off-balance, but he maintains his stance. "And where were you? We met up for dinner that night, and you showed up looking like you'd been caught in a tornado."
"Because I'd been dealing with disasters all day at work!"
"And you can account for your whereabouts at every single minute?" Jason finishes his drink and stands. "I want to help you, Tim, but not if you're going into some witchhunt against Ryan."
He leaves Tim sitting there, hoping that he has made some kind of impact on him.
The television emits more grunts and moans than should be possible in such a short period of time. When his very first grab for the remote proves unsuccessful, Trevor throws his body in front of the TV. His fingers scramble for the right button to make this stop, but his functional memory feels like it has been wiped blank.
"What is this?" Roz demands. Clearly she hopes for an answer along the lines of "A bad joke."
However, the best Trevor can manage is--finally--to shut off the television.
"Trevor, where did that come from?" Patrick asks.
"Why would someone send that here?" Roz covers her face with her hands.
Even with the screen black and the air free of those sounds, Trevor still feels dirty. He turns back and sees them all staring at him, no doubt waiting for him to provide an explanation that will allow them to forget they ever saw that video.
His parents. His sister. Alex. All watching him as though they can still see him at his most disgusting, writhing around like some piece of trash.
"I made some mistakes," he says. "A long time ago."
"I'll say." Patrick rolls up his sleeves again. He cannot meet his son's gaze, cannot even look him in the face.
"I was young, and it was supposed to be a way into modeling. One thing led to another..." It all sounds impossibly dumb to Trevor now, and he wonders how he ever could have fallen for Cliff Burkett's manipulations.
"You never were the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but that's about as close to modeling as my cake is to French cuisine," Roz says, gesturing toward the mess at her feet.
Trevor moves for it; he has to do something. "Let me clean that up."
"No, I've got it." His mother beats him to it, and Trevor is again left standing there, feeling as naked as he was on that screen.
"I tried to stop it," he says, desperate for them to stop looking at him that way. "The guy who made the videos--he wanted money--but when I paid him, he just wanted more--"
"If you were being blackmailed, why didn't you go to the police?" Patrick asks.
"My agent thoguht it would only make things worse. So I went to New York, and I got the tapes from his place--"
Alex looks floored. "That's why you've been going to New York?"
Trevor knows that his silence is confirmation enough.
"You didn't think that maybe he had backup copies?" Lauren asks.
"I got the master tapes. I thought--" He doesn't know what he thought. He was so proud of himself for charming his way into Cliff's studio, for getting out of there with the tapes.
"I'm sorry you had to see this," he says. "I'm sorry I was stupid enough to ever do it." They blink back at him, too shellshocked to act.
Roz scoops up the mess of cake and broken plate as best she can. "I'm going to do the dishes."
"I'll help," Patrick offers, following her out.
"And I'll clean the rest of this up." Lauren bolts from the room, but not without one last disbelieving look at Trevor.
Now he is alone with Alex, the one who has seen him just as he was in the video, but he feels just as dirty and exposed.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Alex asks, though it sounds more like an indictment.
"I didn't think it would ever have to be an issue." Trevor realizes how deceitful that makes him sound and hurries to add, "I was ashamed. I didn't want you to think less of me."
"That's too bad," Alex says, moving for the door, "because now I do, anyway."
Then he is gone, and Trevor is all alone with the glow of the Christmas tree, a taunting reminder of the holiday he has ruined.
END OF EPISODE #439
Trevor be able to make amends with Alex and his family?
What will this mean for his career?
Has Claire pushed Ryan too far?
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