Episode #444

- Jason took Courtney out to dinner to celebrate her quitting her waitressing job. At the end of the night, they kissed.
- Claire agreed to marry Ryan as soon as possible.
- Tim enlisted Claire to help him find Nick and Lola's killer, but she told him that she could no longer compromise her relationship with Ryan by helping him. Devastated, Tim found himself pulling away from Diane and Samantha, as well.


Right back where they started.

That's how it feels to Jason Fisher, at any rate. After their kiss the other night, he could have sworn that things were about to change. Well, they have--they've reverted back to how they were months and months ago, when his friendship with Courtney was tentative and finding its footing. Gone is the comfortable interplay, the sense that they are on the verge of something big. Now all they have are awkward movements around the office and uncertain glances when each thinks the other isn't looking.

Courtney looks up from the work on her desk, and Jason realizes that he has been staring at her. He forces his eyes to go elsewhere, anywhere, though he is sure that she caught him watching her.

"I, uh, finished these order forms," Courtney says. Her voice sounds uncharacteristically loud in the quiet office, empty except for the two of them and Jason's new assistant, Sabrina Gage.

Courtney swiftly brings the order forms to him. Jason smiles and nods gratefully. Neither of them says a word. A moment later, Courtney shuffles back to her desk.

Jason catches himself watching again. This time, when he diverts his gaze, it lands upon Sabrina. He smiles at her, and she returns the gesture, but with an odd look--probably trying to get a handle on what the hell is going on here.

I wish I knew, Jason thinks as he commits to getting the slightest bit of work done today.

All he winds up doing is staring at the computer screen and trying to work through this thing in his mind. Courtney was into the kiss. He could tell. So why all the weirdness now? Maybe she just doesn't know how to act. Maybe he needs to take charge.

Or maybe she realized that she got caught up in the moment and is hoping not to ruin their newfound professional relationship.

He hears a chair scrape against the concrete floor. Courtney slips out of the office, throwing out a hurried "Be right back" when she notices that he has noticed. Jason watches the empty doorway even after she is gone; at least it's a change from the computer screen.

"Is everything all right?"

Sabrina's voice startles him. He knew she was there, and yet he was so caught up in thought that he felt like he was alone.

"What do you mean?" he asks, trying on his best boss-without-a-worry impersonation.

"Maybe it's none of my business," Sabrina says, lowering her voice and approaching his desk, "but things seem... weird today."

"Weird? What's weird? Nothing's weird." He shakes his head, far too enthusiastically. He might as well be holding up a sign that says, You don't know the half of it!

"You and Courtney just seem--strange. I don't know. Like I said, none of my business."

She shuffles awkwardly back to her desk.

"I promise, everything's fine," Jason says, able to be a little more confident in his delivery now... even if he doesn't believe a word coming out of his own mouth.


Bill Fisher studies the condo as Tim leads him inside. For all the time that Tim has been living here with Diane, Bill has never been over to visit. The thought sends a current of guilt through him; as much as he has tried to be supportive of Tim, maybe he could have done more.

Tim leads the way to the kitchen, where Bill sets down the foil-covered pan of food that he brought over for their dinner.

"You didn't have to do this," Tim says, though his gratitude is clear.

"It's my pleasure. I've been buried in ovens and beaters and graters all day, anyway. It was no trouble."

"I'm sure Diane will appreciate it. Samantha, too. She's always hounding us for dinner to be ready the second she gets home." Tim sighs. "I've been so preoccupied."

"That's understandable. How are you feeling?"

Tim wanders back over to the dining area, where index cards are spread over the table. Bill studies the words scribbled upon them.

"What's this?" he asks, his eyes jumping back and forth between the cards.

"I'm going to figure this out," Tim says.

Bill tries to make sense of the times and names on the cards. He can hear the desperation in Tim's voice.

"Dad, someone must have been at Nick's between when I left and when Katherine showed up."

"The problem is figuring out who." Bill wants to believe that Tim is telling the truth, but he isn't sure what to believe anymore.

"It's not that far-fetched that someone got into the house without the maid realizing it and shot Nick. He wasn't exactly Mr. Rogers."

Bill bites his lip. He doesn't want to discourage Tim, but he doesn't want to give him false hope, either.

"Are you sure there was enough time for that?" he asks carefully, gently, looking over the cards once more.

"There had to be. I didn't shoot Nick. Katherine didn't do it. The only other person in that house was Lola."

"Who is dead."

"Which doesn't mean anything, necessarily. What if she shot Nick, panicked, and covered it up, and then someone killed her to keep her quiet?"

Bill reaches out a hand to his son. "Tim, that doesn't make sense."

Tim pulls away from him. "It does. It will."

Bill remains quiet, poring over the cards some more, trying to see whatever it is that they are both missing.

"Dad, I only have a few weeks left. If this goes to trial--I can't even think about it."

"I don't want you to give up hope," Bill says, "but I want you to be prepared. You have to be."


At the kitchen table, countless papers surround Claire Fisher. She doesn't know what half of them are, but she is sure that they contain precious details that cannot be lost or forgotten. So she stacks them up in three piles and, when she is finished, hands one pile to Paula and the other to Molly.

"Now we can each go through this stuff and figure out what's what," Claire tells them as she leafs through her own stack.

"How did you wind up with so much?" Molly asks. "I thought you were going for a simple wedding."

"I am. I don't know how I've accumulated so much crap."

She finds a sheet of paper with contact information for various sites that she and Ryan considered for the wedding, though all of them were unable to help on short notice.

"This can go," Claire says as she sets the sheet aside. "Thank goodness Bill thought of using the restaurant. It's a life-saver."

"We know it isn't the most elegant place for a wedding," Paula says.

"No, it's perfect. That's all we want. Something intimate for family and a few close friends. Nothing elaborate..."

"And you've asked Danielle to sing?" Paula asks.

"She's happy to do it," Molly says. "She's excited."

"It's really nice of her. And she's so good."

"That girl can sing!" Molly admits.

Claire's eyes fall upon something that, until this moment, she had completely forgotten.

"What's wrong?" Molly asks, evidently noticing her sudden panic.

"The flowers. I never called the florist. I told her I'd call her before Tuesday, and I never did--" She is already racking her brain for alternatives. "Dammit. Where's the phone?"

Molly takes the sheet. "Let me handle it."

Claire is about to protest, but Molly's reassuring look convinces her to give up control of this one tiny aspect. "Everything we want is listed on there," she explains.

Molly moves away to use the phone, and Claire goes back to moving in hyper-speed.

"I just have this terrible feeling that something's going to go wrong," she mutters.

"Claire." Paula's voice is soothing, enough to get her to slow down for a moment.

"It's a wedding. This is supposed to be a joyous day. If you're making yourself this crazy trying to pull it together--"

"I have to."

"No, you don't. If you feel like you're rushing, you can always postpone it. Give yourself more time to feel comfortable."

Claire shakes her head. "I promised Ryan. I told him we'd do it as soon as we could."

Paula's lips tighten into a thin line. "I would hope that Ryan would understand how stressful this is."

"I'm sure he does." Claire sighs and sets down her stack of papers. "But I need to do this for him. For us."

A beep signals the phone being turned off. Molly crosses back over to the table. Claire can already tell that it is bad news.

"She said she won't be able to fill that kind of order so quickly," Molly explains apologetically.

Claire barely even reacts, at least on the outside. This is what she gets for trying to do this in such a whirlwind.

"Maybe you're right," she admits to Paula.

But Paula rises from her seat. "No. You and Ryan have been waiting a long time for this. We're all going to help you make it happen."

She takes her car keys off the peg where they hang.

"Where are you going?" Claire asks.

"We're going to the market. We'll pick out flowers and put together the arrangements ourselves."

"Do we have time for that?"

"Molly and I can do that while you organize the other details." Paula isn't going to budge, so Claire follows her lead and stands up. Molly does the same.

"We're going to make this an unabashedly beautiful and class-filled affair," Paula says as they head out of the house.


The day drags on. Jason tries to interpret everything that Courtney does as a sign; he realizes that he is overanalyzing and scolds himself; he tries to do work for fifteen seconds and then goes back to overanalyzing. So it comes as a great relief when he hears a knock on the open door and sees that they have a visitor.

"If it isn't my favorite business-advisor-financial... guy," Jason says as he rises from his chair to greet Ryan Moriani. The brothers shake hands, and Ryan waves hello to Courtney.

"Ryan, this is Sabrina Gage. We just hired her," Jason explains. Ryan and Sabrina exchange hellos.

"Looking good in here," Ryan says, surveying the room.

"Really? Because all I see are a bunch of crappy desks and metal filing cabinets and unfinished walls."

"I was trying to be nice."

"Oh." Jason motions to an empty chair. "What brings you by?"

"Actually, I need to speak to you," Ryan says, and in an instant, his whole demeanor has changed. There is something tense, uneasy, about him now. "Can we go out in the hall?"

Jason agrees and follows Ryan out of the unfinished office... to an unfinished hallway that overlooks the ice surface.

"How are things going?" Ryan asks.

"Work-wise? Everything's good. Great. Work is great."

Ryan eyes him suspiciously. "Does that mean something else is not great?"

"No-- nevermind." Jason shakes his head, hoping to shake free of his own personal drama for a few minutes, at the least. "So what's up?"

"I need to ask you something. A favor. Feel free to say no."

"I always feel free to say no," Jason answers with a dopey smile.

Again, Ryan looks him over. "Are there paint fumes in that office?"

"I'm just a little fidgety. This 9-to-5 thing takes some getting used to."

"All right, well, as I said, I'll understand if you say no," Ryan says, "because I realize what a strange position this would put you in."

In that moment, it hits Jason what Ryan is about to ask him. He tries not to let on, but he is already sorting it out mentally. Can he do this?

Ryan, for his part, stumbles as he tries to get it out: "I have no one else to ask, and-- that's not what I mean. I'd love to have you do it. I really appreciate the way you've given me a chance and trusted me enough to help you with this project."

Jason looks hard at the man in front of him. His brother. There was a time when he refused to acknowledge him as such; the only brother he had was Tim. And now here they are--

"Would you be my best man?" Ryan asks.

He smiles nervously, and Jason smiles nervously back at him. Can he be his best man? As difficult as it is to believe, he has no personal issues with it anymore. Somewhere along the line, he realized that he trusts Ryan, even likes him. But what about Tim? He knows the wedding is happening. God, he's even being a good sport and going, for the kids' sake. Would this be pushing him over the edge?

Ryan seems to sense his hesitation. "Like I said--"


"You'll do it?"

"Yeah. Ryan, it's your wedding day. You're a part of this family. It's only right."

Their right hands clasp together, but Jason is surprised when Ryan pulls him in closer, pats him on the back with his other hand. He tries to tell himself that being close with one brother does not mean throwing the other to the wolves... but he is not sure if he believes that.


Tim turns away from Bill, as if refusing even to look the possibility in the face.

"I am not going to prison for this," he insists. "I didn't kill Nick or Lola."

"I know you didn't," Bill says immediately, but there is a note of doubt inside him that he hopes does not carry into his voice. "But they have some strong evidence."

"It doesn't prove anything beyond reasonable doubt."

Bill nods, trying to give credence to that possibility, but then he adds, "They found the gun that killed Lola in your car."

"It was planted there."

"It had your fingerprints on it."

"What are you saying, Dad?" Tim doesn't wait for Bill to answer; he is like a pot of boiling water, ready to bubble over. "Even my own father believes that I'm capable of murder! How amazing is that?"

"I didn't say that. I worry, that's all."

"That I killed two people?"

"That you've been through a lot of terrible things. These aren't normal circumstances."

Tim stares down at the scattered cards, as though he is willing them to give him the answer. As difficult as it is, Bill watches him and tries to reconcile how they reached this point. A few short years ago, they were so grateful to have Tim alive and home with them; could he be so sick that it might be better if he'd never returned at all?

Bill banishes the thought. "We will figure this out," he promises his son.

A moment later, the front door opens. Tim quickly gathers the cards and slips them into his back pocket, and Bill tries to shift his mood accordingly as Diane and Samantha enter.

"How's my granddaughter?" he asks excitedly, scooping Samantha into his arms. "You're getting so big!"

"Too big to be picked up," Samantha says, though her smile makes it clear that she doesn't mind too much.

He sets her down and indicates the tray that he brought over.

"Thanks, Bill," Diane says. "We appreciate it."

"What is it?" Samantha asks.

Bill removes the foil covering. "Pasta."

"What's that green stuff?"

"It's pesto," Tim explains, his voice surprisingly calm. Bill would never know that, a minute ago, he was desperately clamoring for a way to save his own life.

"It looks weird," Samantha says.

"It's good. You will eat my pesto, and you will like it!" Bill says with a laugh.

"Okay, fine." Samantha helps Diane take out plates and cutlery.

Bill exchanges a look with Tim, and for an instant, he sees that same darkness return to Tim's face. He doesn't want to believe that it could be true--the son he raised is not a murderer. And yet he cannot shake the terrifying thought that there is no other answer.


He isn't sure what has gotten into him, but when Jason leaves Ryan and returns to the office, he goes directly for Courtney's desk.

"Question," he declares immediately, putting it out there so that there is no turning back.

For her part, Courtney appears just as uncomfortable as he's sure he does. It adds fuel to his theory--well, Ryan's theory, after he sprung the whole mess on him--that maybe she simply has no idea how to act because she has no idea what the kiss meant.

"Ryan and Claire's wedding. Next week," he says. "Do you want to go? As my date?"

There is a moment in which nothing happens. Mild surprise registers on Courtney's face, but that is it. Jason worries that he has crossed a line that he shouldn't have crossed.

"I'd love to," she says suddenly.

Just like that. "I'd love to." He didn't expect it to be so simple.

"Really? Because I thought you might feel weird about it, or--"

"Do you not want me to go?" she asks.

"No, no, no! I mean, yes, yes, yes. Come with me. Please."

"I already said I would."

"Then it's settled."

Courtney nods, but she never stops giving him that strange look, like she's trying to figure out what he is really up to.

"You seem weird," she says. "Are there paint fumes in here or something?"

"I'm fine. Totally fine." He notices Sabrina watching them. "Do you feel woozy or anything?"

"No, I feel okay," she says.

Jason sniffs the air just to be sure, then declares to Courtney, "See? No paint fumes. And I'm fine."

She laughs, and he returns to his desk, feeling momentarily less insane. That is, until he sits down, and another question hits him: Does she think this is a date? Or just two friends going to a wedding?

And it's back to staring at her, trying not to get caught, for the rest of the workday.


Wll the wedding come together as Claire hopes?
Will Jason and Courtney get their act together?
Is Bill right to doubt Tim's state of mind?
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