Episode #443

- Courtney came to work for Jason on his new arena project.
- Lauren was optimistic about things with Josh after he arranged a surprise date and they kissed.
- Danielle revealed to Brent that she spent time in rehab for a drinking problem; he urged her to tell Molly, as well, but Danielle was hesitant.
- Molly grew suspicious of Camille's possible role in Nick's death.


At a table in the center of the busy restaurant, Jason Fisher sits across from Courtney Chase. Going out to dinner to celebrate her last day of waitressing at 322 seemed like a great idea, but now that they are here, it feels awkward and forced.

Jason sips the expensive wine that he ordered for them and tries to think of something to say. He thought that Courtney's accomplishment would carry the conversation, but they haven't even made it to the main course and he's already run out of "Hey, at least it's not you serving the food!" comments.

"It'll be really nice to have you around the office full-time," he says from over the rim of his glass.

"Yeah. I'm excited." Courtney goes quiet for a second and then hastens to add, "Not just because I won't have to schlep around beer and cheese fries all day."

Jason smiles, but it is not enough to fill the awkward gap that stretches between them. He has no idea why this is happening. It doesn't happen at work; then again, they are constantly busy there.

He racks his brain for something, anything, to say. Just when he has it, though, his attention is yanked away by something he sees out of the corner of his eye.

"Oh, great," he mutters. He quickly tries to pretend that it is nothing to worry about, but Courtney turns to see what it is, and she spots Lauren Brooks and Josh Taylor entering the restaurant.

In the instant that he makes eye contact with Lauren, Jason is convinced that he has made a terrible mistake. But he clamps his mouth into a pleasant smile and waits as she and Josh approach their table.

"Hey," Lauren says, raising a hand halfway in greeting.

"Hi." After his last encounter with Lauren, during a chance run-in at the coffee shop, he had hoped that things would stop being weird. But here they are, and here it is--the weirdness, still very present.

"How are you guys?" Courtney asks, seemingly not troubled at all by the presence of her former best friend or her ex-boyfriend. Together.

"Good. We're good," Lauren says, glancing to Josh as though looking for his input. He nods along. "Work's been a little nuts, so we thought we'd have some fun and go out for a nice dinner."

"Same here, kind of," Jason manages to pipe in.

Josh looks at Jason and offers a wry grin. Jason isn't sure if it is intended to be snotty or if that is as close to civil as Josh gets. Either way, even looking at Josh embarrasses him; he acted like such an idiot, punching him out in the middle of Christmas dinner.

Genuine excitement lights up Lauren's expression. "Court, Alex said that you were quitting the restaurant..."

"Just did!" Courtney lifts her glass in a toast to herself. She and Lauren share a laugh.

"Congratulations," Lauren says. "Seriously. That must feel awesome."

"It does. Hey, that's a cute dress."

"Thanks!" Lauren looks down at herself, as if confirming that she is wearing what she remembers putting on. "You look really cute, too."


"We should get to our table, but it's been good seeing you guys."

"Yeah. You, too," Courtney and Jason both say, over each other but not quite at the same time.

Jason waits until Lauren and Josh are at their own table, across the room, before he speaks again:

"That was weird. You guys seemed... like friends again."

Courtney shrugs. "A lot of time has passed, I guess."

"I guess." He finds himself looking her over, taking in the sight of her, impressed by how easily and comfortably she dealt with what could have been a painful encounter.

"It's amazing, isn't it?" he finally asks, toying with his wine glass.


"All the drama. You and me, me and Lauren, you and Josh, the two of them. And now none of it seems like that big a deal."

"I hate to mention this," Courtney says, "but I think it might mean we're growing up."

"No! Not that!" Jason groans, and for the first time this evening, he finds himself relaxing, acting normal, which is all that he should have expected in the first place.


Molly Taylor pauses to look up at the house. It is a newer model, one of many in the subdivision, but the brick facade and asymmetrical design catch her eye in a way that the other houses they have seen have failed to do. Before she has the chance to do more than glance over it, however, the realtor ushers her and Brent inside the house.

"This is a favorite of mine," Brenda, their realtor, announces as she shows them through the foyer.

Molly and Brent exchange a look. At first glance, the house is quite impressive. Certainly better than what they have seen so far.

"What do you think of the cathedral ceiling?" Brenda asks, gesturing upward. "It's very dramatic."

Molly nods in agreement and sees Brent doing the same. Brenda leads them around the first floor of the house. The kitchen is a bit small for Molly's tastes, but after getting a sense of their options through today's search, she realizes that one negative cannot be a dealbreaker.

When they arrive in the family room, Molly feels as though she has been here before. The place is comfortable; she can see their family living here.

"Nice," Brent comments as he takes in the room.

Molly goes and poses next to the brick fireplace. "Well, hello! Welcome to my home!"

Brent laughs at her melodramatic posturing.

"What do you think?" Molly asks. "Can you see it?"

"If you keep doing that, the only thing I can see is me sleeping with my eyes open for the next few decades," he says in mock-terror.

Brenda directs them upstairs, where they find a room that would be suitable for the twins and another that could serve as a guest room--or, for the time being, Danielle's. The master suite is larger than Molly expected, especially as she wanders into the bathroom area.

"Brent, you've got to see this!" she calls out.

He follows a moment later. "Whoa. This is... kind of great."

"There's no 'kind of' about it. I could get used to this." She sits on the edge of the luxurious tub. "It's going to be amazing to be out of that cramped apartment, isn't it?"

"I can't wait."

Molly takes in the whole room--the new fixtures, the skylight, all of it. Out of nowhere, something that has been nagging at her all day bubbles to the surface.

"It seems so unfair," she says. "We're running around, looking at houses, planning for the future, and my brother is stuck wondering whether he'll even have one."

Brent nods sympathetically and sits down beside her.

"I guess we just have to have faith," he says, "that something will turn up to save him."

Molly's mind races back to the other day, at the office, when the mere mention of Nick Moriani sent Camille into a frenzy. She didn't want to think it then, and she doesn't want to now, but if Camille is somehow involved--if she knows what really happened that night...

"What?" Brent asks, noticing her distracted state.

She opens her mouth to speak, but saying the words is another matter entirely.

"Molly, what is it?" Brent presses.


Lauren thanks the waiter as he sets a bread basket in the center of their table. She reaches for a piece but makes no move to eat it; she is too caught up in watching Josh across the table and wondering how they reached this point.

"Thanks for behaving back there," Lauren says.

"What, you expect me to pick a fight every time you take me out in public?"

"No," she responds quickly, worried that she said the wrong thing until she sees him smile. "I just know that you aren't a big fan of Jason."

Josh shrugs. "I have better things to worry about. Besides--he was the one who started that."

"Yeah, yeah."

She breaks a small chunk off the piece of bread and pops it into her mouth. She chews slowly, trying to ascertain something that has been nagging at her for weeks. For his past, Josh sits as casual as ever, sipping his water and waiting for the waiter to bring their drinks.

"It was a good idea to go out tonight," she says. "Thanks for inviting me."

"Who the hell else would I invite?" he counters playfully. Lauren's spirits rise. Does that mean...?

"It was just nice back there, being friendly with Courtney and Jason again," she says. She casts a glance over at their table and finds them engaged in conversation. "Do you think they're..."

Another shrug, but this time, it's more of a blatant brush-off. "Does it matter?"

"I'm just curious."

"Why? Are you still into him?"

The accusation shocks Lauren into lifting out of her seat. "No!"

Catching herself, she sits back down and continues, "Josh, I'm over Jason. What we had was good for a while, and then it ended. I'm happy not to have destroyed our friendship, that's all."

Josh leans back in his seat, studying her, for a long moment.

"You sure about that?" he finally asks.

"Yes! I'm not jealous of them." She waits for him to relent, and when he doesn't, she adds, "Way to pick up on a hint. Even if it was a bad one."


"I was trying to ask--I mean, I want to know--what about us?"

"What about us?" Josh repeats, though she sees him suppressing a smirk now.

"Are we..." She has no idea why this is so difficult to ask.

"Hungry? Pakistani? What?"

"Together. Dating. You know."

She can tell that he is loving every second of this, even if each one is complete torture to her.

"Do you want to be?" he asks, at last.

"Yeah. Yes." She laughs, though she has no idea why. "I do."

"Good. Because I was wondering the same thing, but I didn't want to be the dorky guy who asks questions like that."

He leans across the table to give her a kiss, just in time for their drinks to arrive.


Sitting on the side of the tub, Molly balls her hands together. All she has to go on is a hint of weirdness from Camille--an outburst that, however justified, made her wonder how far her mentor would have gone to see Nick Moriani dead and buried.

She doesn't want to see Camille's life turned upside-down just because Molly wanted to believe that there might be something out there that can help Tim.

"Mol." Brent waits, patient but barely so. "What is it?"

When she does speak, it is slowly, as if she has to dredge up each word separately.

"Brent, there's... I think I have an idea of something--"

"Oh, there you are!" Brenda proclaims as she bursts into the bathroom. "Fabulous, isn't it? What do you think?"

Brent rises to his seat. He looks to Molly. "You like it?"

"Yeah. Very much."

"What do you say? We've seen a lot of houses, and..."

Molly lights up when she realizes what he is getting at.

"Do you think we should?" she asks, standing up.

"It has everything we need," he reasons.

Molly grasps his hands. "Let's do it."

"You'll take it?" Brenda asks. Her excitement is obvious.

"We'll take it," Brent confirms. He hugs Molly tightly, and she looks around the place with a new perspective now. This is it. Their house.

Brenda bustles out, talking to them and to herself in a flurry of excitement.

Brent and Molly follow behind. As they stroll out of the master suite, taking their time to drink in the design of what could be their new home, Brent turns back to her.

"Sorry to interrupt you. What were you going to say before?"

This time, Molly does not drag it out. She shakes her head and offers a simple smile.

"It was nothing," she assures him as they make their way down the stairs. She wishes she could believe the same, but for now, this will have to do.


In the parking lot, Jason walks Courtney to her car. They walk slowly, and Jason finds himself paying attention to the rhythm of their shoes against the pavement.

"Thanks for tonight," she says as they reach her car. "I had a really good time. And it's always nice to get out for a night."

"When did we get so old?" Jason says through a laugh, though it isn't really a joke. It is strange to think that going out to dinner constitutes a "night out" at this point in their lives.

"Besides, you deserve it," he adds. "You definitely did your time at the restaurant."

"You're telling me. So thanks for offering me the job, too."

"Look at us, like some mutual admiration society. We're the best people in the world!"

Courtney laughs at the crack, but Jason hurries to add, "I didn't tell you to stop complimenting me."

Another laugh, and this time, silence falls over them. Jason cannot help but be stricken by the sight of her. She is such an adult, a woman, that he finds it difficult to believe that this is the same girl with whom he used to ring the neighbors' doorbells and run away.

Except that he can believe it, because things between them are so comfortable, so familiar.

"Well, thanks again," Courtney says, and with one last smile, she opens the driver's door. "I'll see you at work."

"Yeah. Have a good night." Jason offers a miniature wave and sets his sights on his own car. He manages to turn around, even take a few steps in that direction, but some force greater than him stops him in his tracks.

"Court. Wait."

Her door, millimeters away from closing, opens up ever so slightly, and her dark hair and face peek out. "Yeah?"

He turns back. This time every step sounds like a heavy thud. Or maybe that's coming from inside his chest.

He tries to think of something to say but decides that words will only kill his momentum. Inside he leans down and touches his lips to hers.

For a moment, he feels nothing, just his lips pressing against something soft. And then she kisses him back.

When they finally pull apart, neither of them says anything for several seconds. So many seconds that it might be a minute or a week or a month.

"Where'd that come from?" Courtney finally asks, her head stuck halfway out the door of her car.

"That wasn't, like, way out of line, was it?"

Blessedly, she shakes her head. "Not at all."

"Good." He releases a giant sigh.

"So... goodnight, again. For real." She offers him a sweet smile as she closes the door.

Jason crosses the lot to his own car, but he doesn't even unlock the door until he has watched her pull out of her space and out of the lot. He might not be exactly sure what just happened, but he has no doubt that it was the right thing to do.


Will Jason and Courtney get back together?
Can Lauren and Josh make a relationship work?
Should Molly tell Brent of her suspicions about Camille?
Come on over to the Footprints Forum to discuss!

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