Episode #453

- Nick detonated several bombs inside the Fisherman's Pier restaurant.
- Having received a call from Brian about Katherine being hospitalized, Andy returned to King's Bay to see his mother. Katherine was surprised to learn that Brian had gone to the trouble of contacting her estranged son for her.
- Nick revealed that Ryan, not Tim, had shot him. Claire blasted Ryan for allowing Tim to be charged with the crime.


There is a new energy in Brent Taylor's hospital room, with his release slated for later this afternoon. Brent sits up in the bed, with Christian on his lap, and Molly sits in a nearby chair holding Caleb. To Danielle, who is gathering the last of the twins' things and putting them back into the oversized travel bag that goes everywhere with them, the foursome looks like the perfect family. After what they have all been through, Brent and Molly seem even more appreciative than usual of this time with their children and each other.

Danielle finds herself watching them uneasily. It isn't that she resents the life that her brother and his family have, nor does she resent her role in it. She is more than grateful for the structure and sense of purpose that being the twins' nanny has brought to her life. However, that does not keep her from feeling like an outsider at times like these.

"I'm going to go the ladies' room," she announces, already on her way to the door.

"We'll just be hanging out and waiting for the doctor," Molly says.

Danielle exits the room and turns down the hallway. She has no particular need to use the restroom, but she needed a reason to leave that happy family scene. No matter how many times she tells herself that it is illogical to feel depressed or jealous, she cannot help it. All the things she has been through, all the experiences she has had, they have all added up to this: nothing concrete, no life of her own.

And then she sees it, right there in the middle of the hallway: a ghost from the past. Except this is not an apparition, nor is it a trick of the mind. It really is Andy Fitch, standing a few feet in front of her and apparently just as surprised to see her as she is to see him.

"Andy," she says, taking a few careful steps toward him. "What are you doing here? Did you come to see your mother?"

"I did."

"She's doing all right?"

"She's fine, yes. Stubborn as ever, I'm sure, but she's managed to put on a good show in honor of my being here," he says with that same relaxed, confident smile that she remembers.

"I'm glad to hear that."

Seeing Katherine Fitch at the wedding-gone-wrong was a supremely weird experience for Danielle; she had not planned on running into the woman and had, in fact, hoped to avoid it entirely. Even Brent's mentions of Katherine during the investigation into Nick's shooting were a bit much for Danielle to handle. But aside from a prolonged look between them at the wedding--not a malicious look, just one of surprise and cool acknowledgement--there was absolutely no interaction between them. As awful as Katherine was to her in the past, Danielle is relieved to hear that she made it out of the explosion safely.

"Are you here for the same reason?" Andy asks. "Is your brother all right? And Molly?"

"Brent was hurt, but he's being released today. Molly's fine. And so are the twins--I don't know if you even knew, but--"

"Don't worry, Molly is very diligent about sending updated photos with the Christmas cards." That smile again. Even after all these years, it puts Danielle at ease, or as close to it as she can get while standing here with the man she very nearly married and has not spoken to in years.

"I'm actually living here again, though," she says. It sounds abrupt and stupid to her ears, so, naturally, she continues talking: "I'm taking care of the twins for Brent and Molly. They're both so busy with work, and it's a pleasure to be around the boys."

"Mother hadn't mentioned that you were in King's Bay again… though I suppose that isn't too surprising. You're doing well, then?"

"Oh, great. Wonderful. How about you? Are you still in Seattle?"

"Yes. And it's terrific. Seattle is terrific, just great."

"Are you working there?"

"Architecture. I recently switched firms, but the work couldn't be better."

They stand there, staring at each other with those forced smiles, letting their proclamations of happiness hang in the air, as if giving them a few more seconds might make them take root and grow into something real.

Danielle cannot take it a second longer.

"To tell the truth, I'm a little out of sorts," she blurts out. "I'm kind of in a transition period. Things could be better."

She immediately regrets the outburst of honesty. She wanted him to think that she has her life together, but of course, she couldn't leave well enough alone.

She is surprised when Andy exhales with relief.

"Same here," he says. A quiet moment passes between them, a moment full of appreciation and curiosity.

"What do you say about a cup of coffee?" Andy proposes. "I'd actually like to hear about your life, if you don't mind sharing."

"You might regret that," Danielle says, "but I'd love to."


Brian Hamilton tries to relax as he makes his way through the hospital's corridors, but the tension will not leave his body. He hopes that the message he received from Katherine, asking him to come see her in the hospital before her release, is an indication that his gesture had the intended effect, but there is no telling where Katherine Fitch is involved.

When he turns into Katherine's room, he finds her on her feet, dressed in a jacket and slacks, with her back to the door as she organizes her things. Brian remains in the doorway without saying a word.

Katherine startles him by turning around.

"Oh, there you are!" she proclaims. There is something carefree about her tone that tells Brian that they are, in fact, back to normal.

He wonders if "normal" means that Katherine accepts that they will only be friends, or if she has decided to ignore their recent tiff and act as if they have a chance at something more.

"You're looking a lot better than yesterday," he ventures.

"Yes, well, no one has tried to blow me up in the last 24 hours, so things are looking up all over the place."

Brian smiles. That is the Katherine he remembers.

"You nearly missed me," she says, continuing to pack up her few things. "They're finally letting me out of this miserable place."

"Good." Brian glances around for some sign that Katherine's son is here; that was the implication he took from her message. "Andrew--is he--?"

"He's gone to track down the doctor and get my release papers in order." Katherine softens, something that Brian has rarely seen her do. "Thank you for calling him, and for convincing him to come see me."

"I knew how much you missed him. I thought you should have someone here."

"I appreciate it. Not many people would have gone to all that trouble for me--certainly not those tacky old biddies I used to spend my time with. You truly are a friend, Brian."

He knows that is the closest that they will get to Katherine apologizing for her earlier behavior, and that is fine with him.

"Friends?" he asks, extending a hand to her.

"Absolutely." Katherine takes his hand, then uses it to pull him closer to her. She wraps her arms around him. "You can't fault an old lady for trying to enjoy herself a little!"

"I guess not," Brian says with a laugh. "I'm glad things are okay between us. I haven't had any luck finding another dinner partner who likes criticizing food as much as I do. What do you say we pick out a place to disapprove of sometime this week?"

"I'd love to… but I'm afraid that won't be possible."

"Oh. Of course. You want to spend time with your son while he's here."

"No, because I won't be here much longer," she says. "I've decided to leave King's Bay."


Paula Fisher stands at the sink, washing dishes that, if she is completely honest about it, do not need anywhere near this much washing. However, the events that she and her family have endured recently--being held in the basement at gunpoint, watching Nick Moriani push the button to set off those bombs, waiting for hours and hours to learn about their loved ones' fates--all of it has left Paula unable to sit still.

In spite of the overcast weather, she managed to spend a few hours out in her garden, but even that grew stale. Now she has decided to give the dishwasher a rest and clean the plates and cutlery by hand. Anything is better than sitting around and thinking about what happened.

She hears the door open and close over the sound of running water. She dries off the current dish and is reaching for the next one when Bill walks into the kitchen.

"How did it go?" she asks, getting to work on the latest dish.

She can already tell the answer from the way Bill entered the kitchen. His body is slumped, his face slack. This is not merely residual trauma; this is a fresh grief.

"I said I'd go with you," Paula says. "I knew I shouldn't have let you go alone."

"No. It was better for me to do it by myself."

Bill takes a seat at the kitchen table. Paula continues washing and rinsing the dish, but her husband says nothing. Hastily, she finishes her current task and turns off the water.

"What did the inspector say? There had to be some things that could be salvaged."

Bill shakes his head. "Some pots and pans… a case of the franks we used for the kids' menu… a few of the tables."

"That's all?"

"Just about."

She dries her hands, but it is a mechanical action, something that she is barely aware of doing. She had wanted to accompany Bill to meet with the fire inspector, not that her presence would have changed anything. They all saw how the restaurant looked after the explosion. But now, seeing him so shellshocked, she wishes that she could have been there to help him absorb this blow.

"What happens next?" she asks, hoping to find some way to inspire him. That restaurant has been the centerpiece of so much of their lives. Bill worked for years and years to save money for this dream that seemed it might never come true. When it finally did, it felt as though they had finally made it: they had four wonderful children, a beautiful home, and Bill had achieved his dream.

Bill stares at the wall and shrugs. "He said there's far too much structural damage. Nothing can be done besides tear it down and start over."

"Then that's what we'll do." She moves behind him and places her hand on top of his shoulders, to let him know that he will always have her support. "We can build an even better restaurant."

"We can't."

"Of course we can. Bill, there's the insurance money, and I'm sure Jason would be willing to--"

"No. I mean I can't do it. That restaurant was--it was everything I'd worked for. It can't be replaced."

She knows what an illogical statement that is, but at the same time, she understands what he is saying. No new building can replace the dreams and memories that were housed in the old one. Now it is nothing but a memory itself, a tattered frame waiting to be torn down.

"We'll find a way," she promises him. "Once the shock wears off… we'll find a way. We have each other and our family, and everyone is okay. We can get past this."

Bill nods, but it seems like more of a courtesy to Paula than an actual show of faith in her words. She can feel the disconnect between his shoulders and her hands, as if there is a force field between them, creating an impossible-to-traverse gap.

She returns to washing dishes, and Bill remains at the table, silent as the water pours from the faucet. Paula knows that there is nothing she can say or do to make this any better.


Ryan Moriani cannot stop checking the clock. He does not know why; he has nothing to wait for, no appointments, nowhere to go. If he ignores time, it might as well cease to exist, since it has no meaning for him right now. So he continues to check it, hoping that the minutes will turn into hours and days, and maybe they will transform his disaster of a life into something else.

He has been sitting on his plush sofa for hours, alternating between checking the clock, halfheartedly watching television, and fiddling with his laptop, when he hears the key in the door. He sits up straight and sets his laptop aside. The door slides open, and there is Claire.

"I need to get some of my things," she says. Without pausing even to close the door, she heads for the bedroom.

Ryan cannot help but follow her.

"Is there any more news? How's Sarah?" he asks as he steps into the bedroom.

"She's awake." Claire's tone is clinical, so devoid of emotion that Ryan can hear the emotion anyway: pure fury and resentment, aimed squarely at him.

"Where are you going? My mother's?"

"Yes." That's all. A one-word confirmation while she continues to pack.

"Claire, I know you're still mad at me, and you have every right to be, but--"

She stops packing long enough to glare at him. "Thank you for the permission, Ryan."

She returns to shoving things into her suitcase. Ryan watches, helpless. He knows that he has no ground to stand on, but there has to be some way to convince her that what he did was done out of love, out of a desire to protect her and the kids and the rest of the Fishers from Nick.

"I never meant for Tim to be caught in the middle of that," he says. "I didn't know he had been at Nick's before me. And once Lola turned up dead, I thought--I don't know. I thought maybe he really had snapped."

"But you never thought you should give someone else the full story and let them put the pieces together?"

"I panicked. I couldn't lose you. Claire, I need you."

She ignores him. Desperate, he gets in her way, blocking her from the closet. She has no choice but to see him now.

"You saved me. You saved my life," he pleads. "I didn't think it was possible for me to be anything but what my fathers were--terrible men, incapable of loving anyone but themselves. And then I had another chance with you, and it was like… I had the chance to live, really live, for the first time. You are my chance, Claire. I can't lose you."

She slams the suitcase closed. "You already have."

He watches her zip up the suitcase.

"What about the rest of your things?" he asks.

"I'll come back for them sometime."

Suitcase in hand, she heads out of the bedroom. Ryan tails her.

"You can't leave," he begs, chasing her to the front door. "I need you!"

Without looking back, Claire crosses through the doorway and pulls the door closed behind her. It stands in front of Ryan, a steel divider that might as well be as tall and wide as the eye can see. He holds onto the door, hoping that she will come to her senses and reopen it, listen to what he has to say, but he knows that is not going to happen.

"I need you!" he shouts again, but the only response he receives is silence.


"I didn't plan on telling you, but now that I have, it's a relief," Danielle says as she concludes her tale. Andy sits across from her at a table in the hospital cafeteria, his eyes having grown increasingly wider--but never too much; he is nothing if not a gentleman--as she filled him in on her life, which somehow veered into telling him about her stay in rehab last year.

"I'm glad you could tell me," Andy finally says, setting down his coffee and leaning in toward her. "Being honest about it is a significant part of your recovery, I'd imagine."

"Yeah. I didn't want you to think I was pathetic, or that I hadn't been able to move on with my life…"

"Everyone goes through difficult times, Danielle."

"Even you? It sounds like Seattle has been good to you."

"Like I told you, I've been in a bit of a transition phase," he explains, sitting back in his chair and gazing off at some spot in the corner.

Danielle waits patiently for him to continue. Just as she begins to doubt that he will, he speaks up again.

"I dated a woman for several years," he says. The words roll out slowly, as if he is choosing which details to reveal just before releasing them from his lips. "I thought we were headed for marriage, but apparently she had other ideas."

"Andy, I'm sorry." It is not merely a statement of condolence. It is also an apology. Danielle often thinks back upon the way that she ran out of Andy on what was supposed to have been their wedding day, and the embarrassment over how she handled her emotions back then has never worn off.

"She's gone back to her ex-husband," he says dismissively, "so I suppose it was for the best. Better to know now and all that."

He hovers pensively over his coffee.

"What about you?" he asks suddenly. "Seeing anyone?"

"No. No, I've been single for a long time. After what happened with us… I was on the road, and then the record company terminated my contract, and that was when I started drinking heavily. I guess relationships haven't been much of a priority for me the last few years."

Danielle doesn't know how it happened, but now a strange lull plops down in the middle of their conversation. They made it through discussions of their own breakup and of her drinking problem just fine, but now that the topic has turned to relationships, neither of them knows what to say.

Andy looks up from the table and catches her eye. "As I said, everyone goes through difficult times. You'll come out of this even stronger than before."

"I'm going to cross my fingers that you're right," she says.

"It seems as though all the negative things happening with your career were what really made the drinking worse, so now that you've made peace with all that, I'm sure you'll be able to move forward." When she is slow in responding, Andy presses, "That was it, wasn't it? Having your contract terminated? Or was there something else?"

"There were a lot of things," she says. Worried that she has snapped at him, she hastens to add, "It's never just one thing."

"Of course not. Listen to me, Danielle. You're a wonderful woman, and despite what you think, you are a strong woman. Things might not have worked out between us, but if you can come to terms with the parts of the past that trouble you, you'll have a terrific future. I'm sure of it."

He sounds so confident that Danielle feels a swell of pride and determination. Andy is right: there is no reason for her to be mired in the past. If only she could confront those things head-on… but even if she can't, she can find ways in her day-to-day life to deal with them. She has to believe that.


In disbelief, Brian echoes Katherine: "You're leaving King's Bay?"

"It's what's best for me," she says matter-of-factly. "This town has been nothing but trouble for me for years. First my husband passed, and then I drove Andrew away, and then I married that lunatic Nick, which was nothing if not a disaster…"

"You might have a point there," Brian admits. "You're sure you aren't rushing into this decision, though?"

"I'm thankful for your friendship, Brian, but there is nothing left for me here. Andrew and I have been talking, and he'd like me to join him in Seattle. We're going to get my things from the hotel and leave tonight."

Part of Brian wants to protest. He really has enjoyed Katherine's company over the last several months, and the prospect of losing yet another friend is hardly appealing. But he knows that Katherine's reasoning is correct, so he offers a gracious smile.

"Let's be honest," Katherine adds, slipping back into that wry tone that Brian finds so amusing. "I've used up a good number of my years on this earth, and I've spent far too many of them without my son. If I have a second chance with him, I need to take it."

"Of course. You know I wish you nothing but the best."

"And I wish you the same. Brian, I've been fortunate to have you in my life. Anyone else would be, too."

"Let's not talk crazy here," he says.

"Oh, stop with the self-deprecating nonsense! You're a real catch, Brian. Don't forget that I paid good money for you at that auction, and if there's one thing Katherine Fitch does not do, it's spend money foolishly."

He isn't entirely certain that he believes what she is saying, but he appreciates the sentiment.

"Have yourself a good life, Katherine," he says, wishing that he weren't choking up. "And you'd better keep in touch."

"Absolutely. If you ever find yourself in Seattle on business, you had better let me know."

"You've got yourself a deal," Brian says, and this time, he is the one who hugs her.


Are you sad to see Katherine leave King's Bay?
Will Andy's advice inspire Danielle to take action in her life?
Will Bill open a new restaurant?
What will Ryan do now that he has lost Claire?
Come talk about this episode in the Footprints Forum!

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