Episode #451

- Before the wedding, Katherine suggested to Brian that they take a romantic trip together. He gently explained that he is only interested in friendship with her, and Katherine became cool toward him.
- Ryan was forced to reveal that he was the one who shot and "killed" Nick. After Claire rejected him, Ryan feared that everything he had worked for with his new family had also been ruined.
- Travis and Samantha emerged from the explosion with minor injuries, but in the aftermath, they saw Nick's decapitated body sitting among the rubble.
- The doctors informed Matt that, in order for Sarah to have a chance at recovery, they would need his authorization to terminate her already-endangered pregnancy. Matt knew what he had to do.


The fluorescent lights buzz overhead, making the silence in the hallway seem even heftier. Arms folded, Matt stands before Paula and Bill outside Sarah's hospital room.

"There wasn't any other choice," Matt says. He knows that Sarah's parents need time to process the devastating news, but he is unable to handle the quiet any longer.

"You're sure of that? How can you be sure?" Paula asks. It sounds to Matt frighteningly like an accusation.

"The doctor--he said Sarah isn't strong enough for herself and the baby. And the baby's so weak already…"

No matter how many times he says it aloud or runs through the factual reasoning in his head, the situation seems like some surreal, cruel trick to Matt. How can anyone be asked to make a decision like this? He has wanted this child so much, but after thinking that he'd lost Sarah, he can't throw away this second chance--this miracle. Even if that means losing a child he already loves so much.

"You could have asked us first," Paula says through tears.

Matt has never heard his mother-in-law so hurt, so vitriolic. She speaks now from a raw place somewhere deep inside of her, and it rattles Matt even further.

"I'm asking you now," he says. "If you guys object to this--really object, like you can't accept it at all--I'll…" He doesn't know what he'll do. He wants to respect the wishes of Sarah's family, but at the same time, he can't handle losing his wife.

Bill's hand curls over Paula's shoulder.

"We have to do this," Bill says. "It's the only chance Sarah has to recover."

Paula remains stony and still for another moment, but when she finally breaks, a fresh wave of tears comes forth. Bill folds her into a hug, barely managing to hold back his own tears.

"I'm so sorry," Matt says.

When Paula turns back to him, she is the Paula he knows: level-headed, considerate, understanding, even in her grief. She nods, a slow and grudging acceptance, and Matt slips back into Sarah's room to speak with the doctor.


In the waiting area, Tim and Diane sit in a chilly silence. It isn't a silence borne of anger or resentment; they simply have no words left. Nothing they say seems sufficient or appropriate, in light of today's events and the news about Sarah's baby.

Samantha and Tori sit in nearby chairs, playing games on cell phones that they managed to swipe from the adults. They promised to keep an eye on Tori for Matt, until he has the chance to explain to her what is going on with Sarah and the baby. Whatever shock and panic the girls felt about what they went through has given way to a tired boredom, and for that, Tim is grateful. He doesn't think he has the energy to deal with anything more demanding tonight.

Still, his pulse surges when Claire leads Travis through the swinging doors.

"How is he?" Tim asks, on his feet before the doors even swing closed.

"He's fine," Claire explains. "Doctor Champlain looked him over. He got stitches in his arm and his back, but he'll be fine." She sounds like a zombie--not that Tim blames her. Hours after the explosion, she is roaming the hospital in her torn-up wedding dress, no doubt a reminder of what this day was supposed to be and how horribly wrong it went.

"You tired, buddy?" Tim asks, running a hand over Travis's buzzed hair.

Travis's only response is a one-shoulder shrug and an unblinking stare.

"Let's get you home," Tim says. "Do you want to sleep at Diane and my place, or at Grandma and Grandpa's? Your mom's going to stay there."

"No. I'll go with you."

Travis's response sounds robotic in its flatness. He doesn't even glance at Claire.

"All right. Tori's staying with us tonight, too," Tim says as he gathers his things and motions for Sam and Tori to start moving. Truth be told, he is just as tired as the kids seem to be, and with Brent awake and the sad decision regarding Sarah's baby made, there is little else to do here. "Say goodnight to your mom."

Travis is silent.

"Say goodnight to your mom," Tim repeats.


Claire shrinks away, as if she knew this was coming and cannot deal with it now. Tim opens his mouth, but Travis interrupts him:

"This is all her fault!"

Finally the boy looks at his mother, but his eyes are accusatory and full of contempt.


Brian knocks softly on the open door. Hearing no response, he takes a tentative step through the doorway. There is Katherine, lying awake in the bed and looking directly at him, with her lips drawn into a tight line and her face devoid of the humor and verve he has come to appreciate.

"How are you feeling?" he asks, venturing another few steps to place him squarely inside the room.

"I'd feel better if the staff here had some sense of etiquette. I can hardly take a nap with fools pestering me every ten minutes."

The sentiment is classic Katherine, but there remains something distant about her demeanor, as if she is making the joke but does not expect Brian to share in it. He cracks a grin anyway.

"I'm glad to see you're awake." His eyes drop to his shoes, covered in dirt and debris from the explosion. "I was really worried. You weren't coherent at all when we pulled you out of the rubble."

"It's only a concussion, if I'm to trust these people."


His concerns about her alleviated, they are now replaced by a creeping, stifling awkwardness. The same awkwardness that was present between them before they were all herded down to that basement. The blasts managed to critically wound several people, blow a man's head off, and destroy an entire building, but they could not eradicate a simple tension between friends?

"Can I get you anything?" he asks.

She shakes her head. "I'm quite all right."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm certain. What I'd really like is a nap, if you don't mind."

Without even waiting for him to exit, she closes her eyes. Brian watches her for another moment, relieved that her injuries are minor and content to pretend that things between them are normal. He replays their earlier conversation in his mind; he knows that he cannot change his feelings for her, cannot make himself feel anything more than friendship. But, now that he knows Katherine is all right, the sting of this loss hurts much more than any of the scrapes and bruises he suffered in the explosion.


With a ding, the elevator proclaims its arrival at Ryan's chosen floor. Coffee in hand, he steps out onto the floor. Though his watch indicates that the night has given way to the very early morning, the people bustling around the floor seem oblivious to the late hour. This is a place where time does not exist, except to measure how long a person has been waiting.

Ryan turns a corner and, instinctively, stops before bumping right into someone. Only after he has stopped does he realize that the other party in the near-collision is Paula.

"How's Sarah?" he asks.

"She isn't awake yet." Paula speaks slowly, as if reliving each syllable as she utters them. Ryan notices that her eyes are puffy and red, her face stained with recent tears.

"There's no news?"

Another moment of quiet passes, long enough to make Ryan doubt that he will receive any answer at all.

"The baby," Paula finally says. "They asked Matt--the doctor told him that they need to terminate her pregnancy."

The news digs into Ryan's guts and twists hard. This is all his fault. Not only has he lost Claire--not only has he lost the trust of the family that he only found within the last few years--but people are losing their lives. First Camille Lemieux, and now his own sister's child. His niece or nephew.

"There isn't anything else they can do?" he presses. Like that would absolve him.

Paula shakes her head.

"Paula, I am so sorry. For all of this. I never meant…" Of course he never meant for this to happen. All he wanted to do was keep Nick from harming his family and from ruining the life that Ryan has built for himself.

"That doesn't change the fact that it's happened," she says.

"I know. Nothing can. But I'm here, and all of you--you and your family, my family--you all saved my life. Do you know that? I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am."

"And you show your gratitude by letting your own brother be punished for a crime that you committed? He would have gone to jail, Ryan, for the rest of his life. You would have let him."

He cannot refute that. It never seemed so cut-and-dry to Ryan. At first, he was so afraid of coming clean and losing Claire. After Lola was killed, he thought maybe Tim really had snapped.

"I need to go find some coffee for Bill," she says, moving past him.

Ryan moves back toward the elevator. "I can get it."

"No, I'll get it." She pushes the elevator button and, after a final, pointed stare at Ryan, focuses all her attention on the closed elevator doors.

Ryan has no choice but to back away.

"I'll be in the waiting room," he says, "for as long as it takes."

His mother ignores him as she waits for the elevator.


"Travis! Cut it out!" Tim snaps at his son. "You don't talk to your mother like that."

"I wasn't talking to her," Travis says. Nor is he looking at Claire; instead he stares up at the ceiling, making it clear how hard he is trying to avoid his mother's gaze.

Samantha and Tori, eyes wide with shock at Travis's outburst, snicker. It only seems to encourage Travis.

"This whole thing is her fault," he says. "She had to have this stupid wedding. She almost got us all killed."

"Watch your mouth," Tim warns. He cannot blame his son for being angry or disturbed over what he has been through, but he cannot let him mouth off at Claire like this, either.

"Travis, I am so sorry," Claire says. "I know that might not mean much to you right now…"

Travis folds his arms, still refusing to look at her.

"Come on, Travis," Diane says, motioning for him to join her and the girls. Travis does not waste a moment in getting away from Claire and Tim. Tim silently indicates to Diane that he will be there in a minute.

"He's just out of sorts," Tim says once he is alone with Claire. "Once he gets some rest, he'll be more reasonable."

Claire shrugs. "Maybe. But he is right."

"This is not your fault."

"It isn't? Tim, I'm the one who couldn't leave well enough alone. We had our family back together after you came back, and I had to tear that apart to be with Ryan. I kept him and Nick involved in our lives."

"He would've been involved anyway. He's my brother," Tim counters. Still, hearing Claire admit that leaving him for Ryan was a mistake--it sends a rush of adrenaline through Tim's being.

"Do you know that when I saw Brent lying there, I couldn't even do anything to help him?" It is not so much a question as a statement of fact, a condemnation of herself. "Not a damn thing. I am a nurse! That is what I do."

"You were in shock."

"Maybe. Maybe I've been in shock for months, or years. I'm not even myself anymore."

Tim sees her, standing in front of him, breaking down, in the now-trashed dress that she was going to wear to marry Ryan. As bad as he feels for her, he cannot help but want to knock some sense into her; she should not be taking Travis's lashing-out so personally.

"You were the one who chose to be with Ryan," he says. "You had your reasons for that. That doesn't mean you put those bombs in that building or pushed that button."

Claire shakes her head. Maybe this is her way of grieving; maybe she needs to take responsibility for what happened in order to make peace with it. Tim doesn't know what else he can do for her.


While Tim talks with Claire, Diane waits with the three kids. She is more than ready to get out of here. Not only has this day been exhausting, physically and psychologically, but she hates nothing more than sitting around, unable to do anything. The few-and-far-between updates on Sarah's status have done nothing but frustrate her. If her best friend is in trouble, Diane would much rather be back there, doing something to help her, than sitting out here like some kind of incompetent.

Samantha and Tori harass Travis to show them his stitches, and Diane is about to warn them to leave him alone when he consents. Grateful for the moment of peace and quiet, she drops into one of the waiting room chairs to wait for Tim.

She is sitting there when Brian rounds the corner into the waiting area. Their eyes lock, and before Diane can read the situation, he is approaching her.

"How are you holding up?" he asks, standing in front of her.

"Other than being really freaking tired, I'm fine. How about you?"

"Same, pretty much."

With those formalities out of the way, Diane isn't sure where they go next. It has been so long since they had a conversation outside the office--not because of any grand falling-out, but because they have managed to drift apart in the last year. She supposes it has something to do with her relationship with Tim, though she would never admit that to Brian.

"How's your sugar mama?" she finally asks.

"Katherine is not my sugar mama," he says, but his sternness is tempered by a light laugh. "And she's doing all right. She's sleeping now."

"Good. It would've been sort of tacky to make a joke about her if she was dead."

Brian laughs again, and just like that, Diane can feel their old, familiar rhythm, a rhythm that has given way to brief workplace conversations and an unspoken agreement not to pry into each other's personal lives.

"You haven't even gotten her to drop you a hundred bucks here or there for special services?" she teases. "I have to say, I'm a little disappointed."

"That was always more your specialty. I just went along for the ride."

"Mm-hmm. Sure." She finds it difficult to believe that they are sitting here, joking, on the same day that they were held hostage and nearly blown to pieces by a supposedly dead man. "Can you believe what a ridiculous day this has been?"

"I keep expecting to wake up and realize it was a dream. Which might mean I have problems, because that's one hell of a disturbing dream, but still."

When the silence settles back over them, it is both comfortable and comforting. Diane keeps one eye on the kids as Brian resumes the conversation:

"I don't even know why we stopped talking."

Diane shakes her head. She is sure that it has plenty do with the one night that they spent together and how it wrecked Brian's relationship with Kelsey Barker, but she definitely has no intention of going there now.

"I really am glad to see that you're okay," Brian says.

"You, too," she says, and she means it.

"Life is too short. That's one thing I can't stop thinking about today," he says. "We're lucky to be alive. We shouldn't let the good things go to waste."

This is veering dangerously close to sappy, but just for tonight, Diane will allow it.

"No, we shouldn't," she agrees, but now her sights are firmly set upon Tim and Claire, talking in the corner like there is no one else in the room.


Should Diane be worried about Tim and Claire?
What effect will Matt's decision make upon his marriage?
Should Brian give Katherine a shot?
Can Ryan win back the Fishers' trust?
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