Episode #445

- Claire and Ryan hurried to pull together a wedding. Claire insisted to Paula--and herself--that she isn't rushing into the marriage.
- With his trial approaching, Tim grew even more desperate to clear himself of the murder charges, but even Bill began to doubt his innocence.
- After their kiss, things grew awkward between Jason and Courtney. However, he worked up the nerve to ask her to be his date for the wedding, and she agreed.
- Sarah remained uneasy about her pregnancy, even after she and Matt announced it to the family.


The first streaks of dawn are still a good hour away, but Ryan Moriani awakens to find his fiancé sitting in the dark. She has her back to him, but he can see the soft light of a candle's flame peeking around her, drawing a soft silhouette in the dark room.

His head still against the pillow, Ryan opens his throat for the first raspy words of the day: "Couldn't sleep?"

Claire startles but does not turn to face him.

"There's so much to think about," she says.

"Everything is taken care of," Ryan says. "This is supposed to be a happy day, not a stressful one."

Claire does not respond, but Ryan can hear her breathing in the otherwise still room. He sits up in the bed.

"Isn't it strange? Fire?" She isn't asking him; she is posing a question to herself, to no one in particular.

Still groggy, Ryan gets out of bed and takes a few uneasy steps toward her.

"It's beautiful," she says, staring directly into the flickering flame. She never looks up at him, never takes her eyes off the flame.

"Claire. Are you all right?"

The candle's light bounces off her face, casting a warm glow and deepening shadows. She reaches out a finger and touches it to the dancing flame.


She pulls her hand back, slowly, maybe not even in response to him. Maybe she didn't even hear him.

"How can something so beautiful be so dangerous?" she wonders.

"What the hell are you talking about?" Ryan places a hand on her shoulder and tries to make her look at him, but she resists.

"Go back to bed," she says, intent upon the flame. "You need your rest. We have a long day ahead of us."

"Yes. Our wedding day."

He lowers his head toward hers, hoping that the tender moment will win her attention, but he has no luck.

"You're sure everything is okay?" he asks, backing away slowly.

Claire nods, and Ryan retreats to the bed. But even among the mound of sheets and blankets, there will be no more sleep for Ryan this morning. He spends the rest of his time in bed watching Claire, waiting for her to move. When she finally does, it is nearly dawn, and the candle has burned itself into a melted, drooping caricature of what it once was.


Diane Bishop leans toward the bathroom mirror, carefully applying the final touches to her makeup. She stands back to examine the finished product. Not bad at all. No matter how enticingly fabulous she might look, however, it will not make this day any easier to get through.

That is why, when she hears a not-so-stifled outburst from the bedroom, she takes it as her cue.

"Dammit!" Tim grunts. He stands before the full-length mirror in his suit, pulling his tie apart so that he can start over.

"You know, we don't have to do this if you don't want to," Diane says.

"Yes, we do." Tim goes quiet as he loops his tie into a proper knot.

"We don't have to. It's your ex-wife's wedding. To your brother. Not required."

Diane ducks into the closet to dig for the appropriate pair of shoes.

"For the kids," Tim calls out. "Claire and I splitting up -- it wasn't either of our fault, and it definitely wasn't Travis and Samantha's. I want them to know that things are going to stay normal."

"I think we passed normal about one back-from-the-dead and one long-lost son ago," Diane says as she wiggles into a pair of Jimmy Choos.

She steps out of the closet to find Tim all pulled together and ready to go.

"All set?" he asks, extending his arm for her to link up.

"I guess so." She reluctantly joins arms with him, but they do not even make it to the door before she stops in her tracks.

"You really want to do this?" she asks.

"I told you: yes. I take it you don't?"

"It's not really high on my list of ways to spend a weekend," she says with a heavy sigh, "but if you insist--"

"I do."

Diane stares at him, trying to find some opening, some way to get out of this. Not just for herself, but for him. She knows that he would never admit it to her, but today is going to kill him. She has never deluded herself into thinking that he is completely over Claire, but now that she has Tim, she refuses to see him continually hurt by his ex. Especially not when she could lose him so soon...

"For Samantha," he says, apparently feeling the need to talk her into it.

"Yeah, yeah, you're right." Diane tries to play off the moment.

But Tim's intensity only grows as he continues, "We need to show her that nothing's going to change. Things are going to be stable. That's what she needs."

Something about his insistence, logical though it is, chills Diane. She remembers Tim's account of what Nick said to Claire on the night of the bachelor auction--a not-so-subtle threat regarding Travis. How far was Tim willing to go to ensure a good life for his children?

She cannot think about it, not now, not with the day they have ahead of them. Time to put on her game face and get through this, for all of their sakes.

"At least we look damn good," she says, taking Tim's arm again and leading him out of the bedroom.


Brent Taylor holds open the restaurant's door so that his wife and sister, each carrying one of the twins, can enter, and then he follows them inside. Though the wedding is not for another few hours, the place is already prepared for it, thanks to Molly, Danielle, and Paula's work last night.

"Looks great," Brent comments as he takes it all in. He was skeptical about holding a wedding in the restaurant, no matter how last-minute a ceremony it might be, but they have done impressive work whipping it into shape.

The door opens again, and Camille Lemieux joins them in the entryway. They all exchange greetings.

"Thank you so much," Molly says to Camille as she sets Caleb down. "You're a miracle worker."

Camille waves off the praise with a flip of her hand. "It's my pleasure, truly. I've been a loyal customer of these businesses for years and years. Loaning me a few pieces to decorate for a wedding is the least they can do."

Molly hugs her boss and mentor. "I'm sure Claire and Ryan would love to have you stay for the wedding."

"I don't want to intrude," Camille says.

"No one would consider it intruding, believe me!" But Molly's smile is quick to fade, as something across the room catches her eye. She lets out a horrified gasp.

"What?" Danielle asks, ready to jump in and help as she gets Christian down to join his brother.

"The flowers! By the fireplace!" Molly points. "Look at them!"

Brent follows her finger and studies the floral arrangements. They might not be completely perky, but they look fine to him.

"I'm sure it'll be fine, Mol," he offers.

"No! They can't say their vows in front of a wilting hearth!"

Molly races over to address the problem, with Camille right behind her. Brent and Danielle stay behind with the boys.

"Pretty impressive for a quick wedding," Danielle says, taking in the decor again.

"It really is. You guys have done a great job. I'm sure Claire and Ryan will appreciate it." Despite his general distaste for Ryan Moriani, Brent knows that he is here to be supportive of Claire, and he has promised himself to keep his disdain for the groom out of the picture today.

She looks at the chairs set up for the wedding guests. "Do you think there will really be this many people?"

"I can't imagine they invited that many people," Brent says, but as soon as he finishes speaking, he realizes what this is really about. "Are you nervous about singing?"

Danielle shakes her head--not very convincingly.

"Danielle, it's okay to be nervous. You're going to do fine. You're a brilliant singer."

"I haven't performed for people in a long time. Not since before..." She glances around to be sure no one will overhear. "...I went to rehab."

"Then it'll be an important part of your recovery," he says. He is determined to keep her spirits up.

"I don't want to drag down the whole wedding," Danielle says, bending down to play with Caleb.

"You won't. You'll contribute something great to it." He joins her closer to the floor, and Christian gravitates toward him. "You're getting your life back on track, and this is just another step."

After a lengthy pause, she nods.

"You're right. It will be good for me."

"Definitely." Brent watches his wife and Camille over by the fireplace, straightening the flowers. "And how about after the wedding, you come clean with Molly? We've been putting it off for too long."

"Maybe it's time. I just hope she doesn't freak out about me being around the boys so much."

"You've done a terrific job! She'll be supportive, I promise."

Danielle nods again, trying to believe that, but her uncertainty is apparent.


"This really isn't necessary," Claire says as Paula Fisher leads her through the back door of the restaurant and into the staff changing room.

"There's no need for everyone to see you in your dress before the wedding," Paula insists. She drapes a towel over one of the folding chairs before helping Claire into it. There are a number of magazines spread out on the table, as well as a small television mounted onto the wall, but the place still looks rather bleak to Claire.

"Do you think we'll be ready to begin on time?" Claire asks.

"I hope so. There are a lot of people here already. Just try and relax."

"I'm trying my best."

Paula moves to slip out the door, then turns back. "There are two guests out here who would like to see you before the ceremony, though."

Excitement replaces Claire's anxiety as Paula ushers Travis and Samantha into the staff room. She wanted to spend last night with them, but it made more sense for them to be with Tim, in terms of logistics. She embraces both of them as Paula makes a quiet exit.

"Why are you hanging out in this room?" Samantha asks, surveying the place as though she might be ready to bust out the Windex at any second.

"Your Grandma thought it would be good for me not to go out there until the wedding starts. Not exactly glamorous, is it?"

Samantha shrugs and picks up one of the magazines.

"Are you and Ryan going to move?" Travis asks.

The question catches Claire off-guard, and the best response she can come up with is, "We hadn't really thought about it." She observes Travis for another moment and then adds, "Travis, we're not moving away, if that's what you're worried about."

He shakes his head. "I know."

"Then what are you wondering about?"

"Are you gonna move somewhere where I can have my own room?"

"Well, we haven't discussed it," she says, pulling Travis to her, "but we might. Maybe we can do over the guest room so that it's more like your room at Grandma's. Would you like that?"

"Okay, whatever." Typical twelve-year-old boy, pulling away as soon as anything gets too mushy.

"Hey, I want both of you to listen to me," Claire says. Almost miraculously, they both look her in the eye--an all-too-rare occurrence these days.

"I know this seems like a big change, but it doesn't have to be," she explains. "Your father and I love both of you, and you are the most important things in our lives. That will never, ever change."

"We know, Mom," Travis says, ready for a huge eye-roll.

"I mean it. Travis, all this means is that you'll have a dad and a stepdad. And Samantha, no matter what, you'll always be my daughter. Understood?"

They both nod, embarrassed but obviously reassured by her words, as Claire pulls them into a gigantic hug.


By the time Matt and Sarah Gray arrive, most of the family is already there for the wedding, as evidenced by the cars assembled outside. They cross the parking lot, with Tori twenty steps ahead of them at all times.

"We'd better watch out for this one," Sarah says to her husband as they walk. "She loves weddings a little too much."

Matt puts on his best protective-father face. "Well, she can go crazy over other people's all she wants, 'cause she's not having one of her own 'til she's thirty-five."

"Come on, you guys!" Tori urges them, stopping only momentarily to wave them along.

But Sarah stops Matt as another car pulls into the lot. As they wait for Jason to park, Matt looks around them, taking in the restaurant and the bay beyond it.

"You know, I see enough of this place on a daily basis," he says. "Maybe this family needs to find a new place for weddings."

"Just hope that no one gets locked in the freezer this time." Sarah can hardly believe that she is making a joke about Jennie Burkle's stunt that almost ruined her wedding day, but the incident seems to have gelled into a quirky, exciting story, its edges softened in the way that only time can accomplish.

"Crazy, isn't it?" Matt says. "There was a time when it seemed like we'd never get our act together, and now here we are, married and with another kid on the way." He touches a hand to Sarah's ever-expanding midsection, and the touch reassures her. As the weeks have passed and turned into months, her doubts about this pregnancy have grown dimmer. Things finally feel the way they should.

Jason steps out of his car, and Courtney Chase emerges from the passenger side. Sarah and Matt exchange a surprised look at this development.

"Are we the last ones to show up?" Jason asks as he and Courtney join Sarah, Matt and Tori.

"Looks like it," Matt says. They exchange greetings, hugs, and handshakes before falling into step as a group and approaching the restaurant's entrance. Tori is already waiting by the door.

"I didn't realize you'd be coming, Courtney," Sarah says. "It's good to see you."

"It's good to see you guys, too." Courtney casts a glance over at Jason, as if trying to communicate wordlessly with him. "I'm glad Jason invited me."

Sarah can't help but be a little nosy, after all her younger brother has been through with Courtney and Lauren.

"So you two are spending time together again?" she asks.

The awkwardness that springs from Courtney and Jason is so powerful that Sarah can feel it herself. They look at each other, shrug uncomfortably, laugh a little, neither of them sure what to say. Sarah realizes that she shouldn't have put them on the spot.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to--"

"No, it's fine," Courtney insists.

They arrive at the front door, which Tori is now holding open for them.

"Come on, everyone!" she says excitedly, ushering them inside.

Sarah and Matt step back to allow Jason and Courtney to go in first. Sarah notices Courtney take Jason's hand and, as they pass through the door, give it a barely perceptible squeeze.


As soon as Paula gets Claire settled in the back room, she returns to the restaurant's main dining room. Most of the family and the limited number of other invited guests have arrived and are finding their way to their seats. She spots Ryan, in his black suit, pacing back and forth in front of the fireplace, apparently a million miles away from here.

Resolving to be as calm as possible, she approaches her obviously worried son.

"Ryan," she says, offering a warm smile. "We're almost ready to begin."

"Good. Claire's all ready?"

"Mm-hmm. She's in the back with the kids--"

"And Mr. Heneblerp is here? The justice of the peace?"

"Yes. Ryan, everything is going as planned. There's no need to worry." She smooths out the shoulders of his suit. "This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life."

"It is!"

For a moment, she sees the briefest glimpse of joy in Ryan, but it is immediately replaced by that same anxiety that came before it.

"I never thought this day would come," Ryan says, "and now I just want to be sure that it actually happens. Nothing can go wrong."

"Nothing is going to go wrong!" she insists, but Ryan has started pacing again.

Catching up to him, Paula places her hands on Ryan's shoulders in order to stop him.

"Listen to me," she says, forcing him to look directly at her. "Stop acting crazy. This is your wedding day, and it is going to be wonderful. Look at all the work that Molly has done--it already is wonderful!"

"I know." Ryan inhales deeply and then lets the air out in a soft, slow stream. "I know that. But it's hard not to be nervous. This day--I've been thinking about it for so many years. I thought I was condemned to live life the way my father--Nick--did. Or even worse, the way Stan did."

"You're aren't like them."

"And this is the first time I've ever been able to believe that. Because of Claire, and because of your family. This day represents a clean break from the past, a chance to start fresh."

Paula does not know how to respond to that other than to lift a hand to his cheek. Her son, her eldest child... the one she thought she would never have in her life. Now here they are, on his wedding day, and despite all the ugly obstacles that have been thrown in their paths, things seem to be working out for the best.

"I don't want anything to go wrong," he says. "I'm grateful to have the chance."

"And we're glad to have you." The outside voice rattles Paula for an instant, until she realizes that it belongs to Bill. He approaches them carefully, as if worried about intruding, but Paula urges him closer with a wave of her hand.

"I know I haven't always been welcoming to you, Ryan," Bill says, "but you've been good to Claire, and you've been good to our family. I wasn't sure you had it in you--but I'm pleased to say that I was wrong."

Ryan's lips form a tight line as he silently accepts Bill's words. Finally, he sticks out his hand.

"Thank you, Bill." He clutches Bill's hand for a firm shake.

Bill surprises both of them by pulling Ryan closer and patting him on the back.

"Welcome to the family, Ryan."


Brian Hamilton steps aside to allow Katherine Fitch to take a seat, and then he follows suit. Brian feels a bit awkward being here at such an intimate family gathering, especially given his track record with the Fishers, but he is glad to do Katherine a favor by accompanying her.

As he settles into his seat, he catches sight of Diane and Sarah, gabbing together. These days, it is a rare occasion for him to see Diane outside of the office--not because they are at odds anymore, but because they have somehow drifted apart. Seeing her now makes him nostalgic for times that he never, ever expected he would long to relive: the times when Diane was scheming to get Tim, when Brian was dating Molly, and the two of them walked around on pins and needles together, trying not to topple their delicate house of cards.

"Brian? Brian!"

Katherine's voice rattles Brian from his mind's wandering.

He looks quickly over to her. "What? Sorry."

"I was saying, I've been thinking of taking a vacation to rejuvenate myself before the summer," Katherine says.

"That sounds like a good idea." But now Diane has noticed him, and she offers a wave. Brian responds with one of his own.

"Perhaps you'd care to join me," Katherine says.

The statement is enough to swing Brian's attention back solidly to her. As he turns, he notices Katherine's gaze fixed on Diane, though she pretends to look elsewhere as soon as she sees that Brian has noticed this.

"Join you?"

"On my trip. I'd love to have you along," she says. "It would be nice to escape from King's Bay for a bit. Just the two of us, you know."

Her face lights up with a giddiness that, on any other occasion, Brian would be glad to see her display. Right now, however, all he can do is wonder if he is reading this correctly--if Katherine is suggesting that the two of them take a romantic trip together.

"Weddings always do put me in such a romantic mood," she adds.

Brian's next words, no matter how hard he tries to say them, seem to be stuck in quicksand, harder and harder to extract with each moment that passes.

"Katherine, I-- this is--"

He gets another look at her face, so expectant, so pleased.

If he doesn't just come out and say it, this is going to get even worse.

"Katherine, I think maybe you have the wrong idea," he says. "About our relationship. Our friendship."

She sits up even straighter, and in an instant, the color and excitement drain from her face.

"I'm sorry if I gave you the wrong impression, but I'm not... this isn't romantic."

He waits several excruciating seconds for her to respond--to give some indication that she has heard and understood him, at least.

"Of course," she says at last, her voice clipped and proper. "Certainly. Do you take me for a fool?"

Brian continues to observe her, but Katherine hardly says another word as they sit there, waiting for the ceremony to begin, and he gets the impression that whatever relationship they have had--platonic or otherwise--has just taken a distinct turn for the uncomfortable.


Once Claire has spent a sufficient amount of time forcing the kids to make conversation, she sends them back out to the dining room. She figures that she could use a few minutes by herself before someone comes to get her for the ceremony. When there is a light knock at the door, she assumes that is her cue.

Instead, she finds Tim on the other side of the door.

"Hope I'm not interrupting any secret rituals," he says.

"No, not at all. Did they send you to bring me out there?" If so, the choice seems more than a little cruel, Claire thinks.

"Not exactly. Everyone seems to be pretending that I'm just another guest--less awkward that way, maybe." Tim stares at the floor for a long moment. "I wanted to talk to you, that's all."

Unsure how else to respond, Claire nods and moves aside. Tim takes a few tentative steps into the drab staff room.

"You've got some real five-star accomodations here, huh?"

"Samantha made sure to point that out, too. Tim, thanks for being here. I know it means a lot to Travis and Samantha, and whether you believe it or not, it means a lot to me, too."

"I had to come," he says.

"Like I said, we all appreciate it."

"Not just for Travis and Samantha, or even for you. For myself."

She doesn't know what to make of his words or his tone. He holds a steady gaze upon her, waiting for some reaction, and suddenly Claire feels like she has been tossed into a pressure cooker.

"I'm marrying Ryan," she blurts out. "I know this has to be awful for you, but--"

"It is awful for me," he interrupts. "That's the point. I'm not here to talk you out of marrying him, Claire. I'm here to force myself to move on."

"Oh." She feels like an idiot for assuming... whatever she had assumed.

"I'm always going to love you," Tim says. "If Nick hadn't kept me away for so long, who knows? We'd probably still be together. But that's not the way things are, and I have to accept that."

"Me, too."

Claire's breathing suddenly feels labored and heavy. She finds herself marveling that they are standing here--the man to whom she said her wedding vows, with whom she planned to spend her life, is now here saying his goodbyes before she marries someone else.

"Thank you, Tim," she manages to say.

The quiet moment is interrupted by the sound of loud footsteps outside. Both of them start.

"I guess that's my cue," Claire says, trying to lighten the moment again.

"Yeah." Tim turns for the door, but no sooner does he reach than a hand reaches in and grabs him roughly.

"Basement! Now!"

What happens next is a blur to Claire. Another hand--belonging to a man, a big man she has never seen before--grabs her and nearly rips off her arm dragging her out of the room. She screams, and the only response she gets is the barrel of a gun pressed against her spine.

"What's going on?" Tim asks as the other man pulls him along, several feet ahead of Claire.

Neither of the men offers any kind of response as they drag them away.


What is happening to Claire and Tim?
Will Ryan and Claire get to say their vows?
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