Episode #446

- Sarah and Matt finally seemed to be on the same page regarding her pregnancy.
- When Katherine suggested that they take a romantic trip together, Brian felt compelled to clarify that his interest in her is strictly platonic. Katherine tried to save face but was cool toward him.
- With his trial approaching, Tim tried to prove his theory that Ryan shot Nick, but Bill didn't see how it could make sense. Tim was desperate to prove his innocence.
- Guests arrived at the restaurant for Claire and Ryan's small wedding.
- Tim came to the wedding for the kids' sake and for his own. He and Claire shared a quiet moment before the ceremony but were interrupted by two men with guns who ordered them down to the basement.


One foot in front of the other. Slowly, carefully. That is how Claire Fisher descends the steps into the basement of the restaurant. Working as a nurse means that she only wears high heels on the rarest of occasions, so rarely that walking in them has become a task in itself. Naturally, then, she is wearing them now, at the most inconvenient time of all--when she has become a hostage.

A hostage. At her own wedding. It almost seems too ridiculous to accept as fact, though the gun poking into the back of her simple, off-white wedding dress makes a rather convincing case.

She can hear Tim walking behind her, with his very own armed guard directing him down the stairs. She keeps her eyes on her feet, taking the stairs one careful step at a time--until she hears the murmurs in the basement. Reflexively, she looks up, and immediately, she almost loses her footing.

They're all here. Everyone else. Gathered in the basement, with a third large man standing off to the side, gun at the ready.

"Mom! Dad!" Travis calls out.

Claire's first instinct is to make a face at him, warning him to keep quiet. These people--whoever they are--clearly aren't playing by the same rules as the rest of civilized society, and she doesn't want to think about what they would do to someone who stepped out of line. Even a child.

Somehow she makes it to the bottom of the stairs, and the gunman at her back forces her into the cluster of family and friends who wait, nervously, angrily.

"Thank God," Paula says through a heavy breath, hugging both Claire and Tim as they join the pack.

"What's going on?" Tim asks, keeping one eye on the three gunmen, who now huddle together to confer on something.

Claire hugs Travis and then Samantha, who suddenly have no problem being affectionate with her.

"These apes just stormed in and herded us all down here like a pack of cattle," Diane says in her usual too-loud, too-crass way. Claire wants desperately to shush her, to remind her that three armed and not-very-nice men are standing guard over them, but she doesn't want to give those men any ideas.

"We didn't know what had happened to the two of you," Paula says. "And Ryan."

Claire looks around frantically. She had just assumed--

"That's all of 'em, then," one of the guards, the one who escorted Tim down here, says.

He breaks away from the other two and hurries up the stairs. A moment later, Claire hears the definitive sound of the door being locked.

Claire scans the group again. They're all here, every one of their guests: even Katherine, Camille, Courtney, every last one of them. And yet, no Ryan.

She doesn't want to consider the implications of that.


As soon as he hears the door's lock click into place, Tim's mind goes into overdrive. He stands back from the group, from his own family and friends, as they worry about Ryan. Poor Ryan, so plagued and tortured by the past, always trying to be a better man.

Molly, clutching one of the twins to her chest, turns to Brent. "What could they want with him?" she asks.

Brent doesn't seem to have any more of an idea than the rest of them, but he ventures a guess anyway. "Maybe it has to do with Nick... someone out for revenge..."

Suddenly, Tim cannot hold any of it inside any longer.

"Are you all blind?" he cries out. And the outburst does the trick--it silences them all.

Only once every set of eyes in the room is firmly planted upon him does Tim feel the slightest hesitation. Maybe he's just spouting off here. But, no. He isn't. All the pieces fit together.

"Maybe it just has to do with Ryan," he says, his tone hostile. "Maybe this is all because of something he did. Or maybe he finally snapped!"

He expects someone to leap to Ryan's defense immediately. It's what they always do. Surprisingly, it does not happen this time. A heavy hush falls over the entire basement, as if the weight of Tim's accusation is settling over them and showing itself to be undeniable.

Inspired, Tim rails on: "Maybe he's gone off the deep end for good! It'd make sense, wouldn't it? He gets us all together, traps us down here--"


The protest, firm but not hysterical, comes from none other than Claire.

"Don't do this now," she pleads. She gestures toward Travis and Samantha, trying to remind Tim why he is here to begin with--to convince the kids that they can all be one big, happy, unconventional-to-the-point-of-insanity family.

But they can't.

"Open your eyes! All of you!" Tim tells them. "There's only one person not accounted for. The rest of are being held down here at gunpoint. Do the math."

He looks from person to person, challenging them to take him on. None of them do: not Paula, not Jason, none of them. He zeroes in on Bill.

"I told you, Dad. I told you he did this. He killed Nick, and he set me up for it."

"Tim!" Again the protest comes from Claire, but he isn't sure whether she is protesting the accusation itself or merely the manner in which he is presenting it.

Diane takes her place beside Tim, and the feeling of her hand on his arm fills him with confidence. Maybe the end of this nightmare truly could be in sight. If they can just prove what Ryan has done...

"Tim, now is not the time," Paula says, stepping forward. "We can't know anything until we know what's become of Ryan, where he is..."

Tim can tell that the various possibilities about her eldest son--whether he has been taken away from them for punishment of his own, or if he really did frame Tim for murder--have weakened Paula considerably. He draws a deep breath and makes a silent bargain with himself to back off, for now.

Only a few feet away, Molly holds Caleb tight. She hopes that none of them are in immediate physical danger, so long as they stay here and do as the armed men say, but it still reassures her to have her son close. Beside her, Camille holds Christian.

However, when Molly turns to get a look at her son, what she notices most is the ghostly white color of Camille's skin. The normally exuberant woman looks like a shadow of her regular self.

"Camille? Are you okay?" Molly asks.

She can see the harsh swallowing motion and the shake of the head as Camille tries to pull herself together, but none of it does much for her overall demeanor. She looks deeply troubled.

"We're going to get out of here," Molly reassures her, though she has no way of knowing that.

"Yes--I certainly hope so." Camille gasps the words between heavy breaths, and she never looks Molly in the eye. Instead, she is staring at Tim, who is now conferencing quietly with Diane.

Molly's mind leaps back to that day at the office, when Camille made it very clear how she felt about Nick Moriani's death. Is that why she is so nervous? Because Tim is pointing fingers at Ryan--but he should be pointing them at Camille?

Molly's mind tells her to pull Brent aside and share her suspicions, but at the moment, all she can do is hold her son and pray for the best.


Sarah keeps to the back of the crowd, her hand wrapped tightly around her daughter's. This is the quietest and stillest that Tori has been in years, Sarah is sure of it. Even so, a nervous energy pulses through the little girl, through her hand and into her mother's, and Sarah finds herself shaking her left leg as a way to keep it from building up and driving her insane.

"It's going to be okay," she says, out of nowhere.

Tori glances up at her, face scrunched up as if to accuse Sarah of making things worse.

Sarah can't take this. She turns to Matt, beside her.

"We have to do something," she whispers. She keeps one eye trained on the guard who is looking in her direction.

Matt manages to reply without even moving his mouth: "What are we supposed to do?"

"Maybe if I made a move--"

"No!" Matt snaps, and one of the guards turns at the miniature outburst. They go quiet and try to stare at other spots in the room before Matt whispers, "You're pregnant!"

Sarah doesn't see why that makes a difference; standing here, with a bunch of guys of guns staring them down like dogs who have caught sight of a juicy slab of meat, isn't exactly safe, either. But she doesn't exactly have the luxury of justifying that to Matt right now. Instead, she stays silent and lets her gaze roam the room. And that's when she spots it.

A door, on the other side of the cluttered basement. The guards must know that it is there, but they don't seem particularly aware of it at the moment... and that might be all they need.

She is careful not to stare at it for too long, and when she looks away, her eyes meet someone else's--Brent's.

He has seen the door, too. A moment of silent communication passes between them, and then, with a squeeze of Molly's arm, Brent slides over to Sarah and Matt.

She puts a hand over her face as she asks Brent, "Do you think we can--"

"Sarah, no." The protest comes not from Brent, but from Matt, over her other shoulder.

"We have to do something," she whispers. "I can distract them."


Sarah tries to ignore her husband, and she looks to Brent to back her up.

"He's right," Brent says through gritted teeth. He looks over at the guards, but this time, there is very distinct eye contact.

"What are you lookin' at?" the guard barks. He doesn't hesitate in taking several steps toward all of them, toward Brent specifically.

Brent doesn't respond. He grits his teeth and stares the man down. Nor does he show any sign of flinching or backing off.

Then, before they even see him begin the move, the guard is slamming his hand--his gun--into the side of Brent's head.

As cries fly up from the hostages and Brent crumbles to the floor, the guard backs away. Sarah risks the briefest glance at him, and the man's utter calmness scares her almost as much as the sight of Brent slumped on the basement floor.


As the family crowds around Brent, Katherine and Brian stand toward the back of the group. They have hardly spoken a word to each other since that awkward moment earlier when Katherine suggested they take a romantic trip together. Not that Brian expects lots of chit-chat while they are being held in a basement at gunpoint, but the tension between them is still highly palpable, despite their less-than-normal situation.

Amid reassurances that he is fine, Brent struggles to his feet. Nevertheless, Claire coaxes him into staying still so that she can check him out. Brian watches uncomfortably. He wants to believe that Brent is fine, that they will all be fine, but the entire situation is so bizarre that any rationalizations ring completely false.

"This is what I get for spending time around these people. They're so catastrophe-prone," Katherine mutters under her breath.

The unprompted statement surprises Brian, who wonders for a moment if he is even the intended recipient. He doesn't expect Katherine Fitch to announce that he hurt her feelings, but he can tell that is exactly what has happened--and the possibility of losing their newfound friendship troubles him more than he ever thought it would.

He decides to risk a response. Normally he would make a crack about glass houses and people who marry mobsters, but now is probably not the time for that.

"Why are we even here?" he asks quietly.

There is a blip before Katherine responds, as if she wasn't sure that she would garner a response from him and have to produce one of her own.

"Damned if I know," she says.

The fact that they seem to be having a conversation encourages Brian, and he blurts out, "Katherine, about before--"

That is all he gets out before she holds up a finger. "Not now."

"I just want to make sure--"

"I told you, I'm absolutely fine. Or I would be, if I weren't trapped in this godforsaken basement."

Another quiet moment. Brian decides that he cannot let the conversation die. He needs something to focus on besides the creepiness of the basement and the fact that a man was just clobbered with a pistol.

"Do you think it's random?" he asks, keeping his voice as low as he can. "Why would someone barge into a restaurant and take a bunch of people hostage?"

But Katherine has a faraway look in her eye as she studies the other people in the basement, one at a time, lingering over certain faces longer than others.

Finally she shakes her head. Her expression morphs from frustrated to alarmed.

"Look at who is here," she says.

So he does. The Fishers. Their significant others. And a few hangers-on, such as them.

"Not every single person," Katherine continues, "but most of them. What do we have in common?"

We? But as Brian looks again--at Claire, Paula and Bill, Camille--he thinks he knows what Katherine is suggesting.


After checking out Brent's head, Claire determines that he has a mild concussion. She does her best to get him to sit down on the floor, though he resists, too eager to get back into action. She kneels beside him, convincing him to stay put and assuring Molly that he is fine.

Claire stands and brushes the dust and dirt from her dress. This is not how today was supposed to be. It was supposed to mark a transition for all of them: a fresh beginning, an end to the heartache and the confusion. Now they are all trapped down here, with no idea what these men plan to do with them, and her fiance is nowhere to be found.

At once, the frustration and the anger and the guilt come rocketing out of her.

"What are you doing to us?" she cries at the guards. The hushed chatter of the other captives falls away, and Claire's voice rings, hollow and too large, through the basement.

Brent, sitting on the floor beside her, grasps her hand. "Claire--"

"Why are you doing this?" she shouts, with even more volume and even less control. The guards have no idea how to react. They remain at their posts, guns clasped tightly, waiting for her fit to subside.

A knock on the door changes the mood in the basement once again. The captives perk up. Could it be-- no, that would be too simple--

The guards proceed as though it is business as usual. One of them opens the door at the top of the stairs. The hostages crane their necks for a look at what is happening, but it is not until the door slams closed and footsteps click against the stairs that they have to accept that they are not being saved just yet. Nothing has changed.

Except it has. Because the person coming down the stairs is none other than Ryan.


Tim stands with his kids and with Diane, frozen in shock as Ryan makes his way down the stairs and into the basement. He was right: Ryan finally snapped. He trapped them all down here, and God only knows what he plans to do to them now.

"I knew it," he mutters to Diane.

"I wouldn't be so sure about that," she says.

Now Ryan has stopped, at the foot of the stairs, as he takes in the sight of his wedding guests--the family he has allegedly come to love--clustered in this dark, messy basement like a band of outlaws.

At Diane's urging, Tim gets a better look at his half-brother. His hair is askew, his black suit is uneven and dirty, and his left eye bears the beginnings of a major shiner.

"I'm so sorry," Ryan says to all of them. His voice is weak, broken, and suddenly Tim needs no other proof: Ryan is not the one who trapped them down here. Tim's heart sinks. As much as he didn't want his parents, his siblings, and Claire--and the kids, too--to have to face the fact that Ryan really is a common criminal and a murderer, he so desperately wanted it to be true so that he could have his life back. Nothing has changed. He really could go to prison for murder.

Claire approaches Ryan, but Tim notes the hesitance in her movements.

"What are you sorry for?" she asks. She seems to be waiting for some sign that this is the man she planned to marry, not some monster unmasking his true self.

"That today wound up this way." Ryan looks from one person to another, like a man speaking his last words. "All because of me."

Tim does not know how to feel or what to think. This is because of Ryan?

"Because of you?" Claire asks.

Ryan simply nods, but one of the guards is right behind him, gun pressed to his back.

"Tell 'em," the guard orders.

Ryan does nothing.

The gun moves to his head. Claire lets out a cry, somewhere between a heavy exhale and a shriek. Ryan drops his eyes to the floor.

"I'm so sorry," he mumbles.

"Tell 'em!" the guard barks.

For a long, torturous moment, nothing happens. The gun remains pressed against Ryan's head. The others wait for some explanation. Tim feels that his heart might tear through his chest from the anxiety.

"It was me," Ryan finally blurts out. "I did it."

Claire freezes, halfway between reaching out to Ryan and retreating. "Did what?"

No response. The gun's tip digs into Ryan's skin.

"I killed Nick!" he screams, his voice ragged with anguish and the beginnings of tears.

For Tim, the world stops moving. He can hear the people around him reacting, but he cannot move or make a sound. He feels Diane's hand squeeze his arm but does not react.

"I didn't mean to. I went to see him--after the auction--to make sure he left Travis alone. But he knew..."

"Knew what?" There is a new strength to Claire's voice, and it makes Tim proud. She is determined to figure this out now, to get them all out of here. And she might kill Ryan herself in the process.

"That I helped the police," Ryan says, but there is a pleading quality to it, as if he is begging to be heard and understood. "That I set him up in the Objection bust. He figured it out--I couldn't deny it--and he threatened us. You, me, the kids."

He reaches out for Claire, but she backs away.

"Claire, I did it to protect us!"

"And you would have let Tim go to prison for it?"

Claire's retort fills Tim up in a way that he didn't know was possible. After all this time, someone believes him, truly believes that he is innocent.

"What about Lola?" Tim calls out. He has to know. "You killed her, too? Just to plant the gun on me?"

Ryan shakes his head. "No. I don't know--I had nothing to do with that."

Ryan's gaze moves from Claire to sweep over the other Fishers. "You have to understand. I'm so sorry. I never meant for this to happen."

No one seems to know how to respond, so they don't. The basement is completely silent... until the squeal of a seldom-used door yawning catches their attention.

It is the door in the back. It has everyone's attention, even Ryan's.

Light spills in from outside as a figure appears in the doorway. It is a short figure, very short and squat...

The door closes slowly, and the figure moves into the basement. The silhouette transforms from a moving blob into identifiable parts: a wheelchair. Legs. A hunched body. And a face.

It is gaunt, tired, hardly recognizable. Aged twenty years in the space of one. But there is no mistaking who it is.

Nick Moriani.


Can Nick really be alive?
Did Ryan's confession surprise you?
Is Tim's luck about to change?
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