Episode #456

- Travis lashed out at Claire, blaming her for putting all their lives in danger.
- Josh and Lauren began a relationship while continuing to be partners at work.
- The doctor informed Brent and Molly that their best bet for coping with Brent's infection would be to amputate his leg. Molly refused to consider that option until Brent convinced her that it was not worth risking his life any further.


Sunlight filters through a morning mist and spills through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the hospital passageway. Molly Taylor leans against the opposite wall, staring out at the city while she holds her cell phone to her ear.

"He didn't want to waste any more time or risk it getting worse," she says into the phone, though she does not quite believe the words. Twenty four hours ago, things were looking wonderful; Brent was being released from the hospital, and his injuries looked as though they would heal just fine. But here she is, waiting for word on the surgery that will amputate his left leg.

"Perhaps they can save more of the leg, then," Paula says on the other end of the line.

"I hope so. I just wish there was something else they could do."

Paula's sigh crackles over the phone line. "Honey, if it was bad enough for them to mention amputation, let alone go ahead with it, then there can't have been much else they could do."

"I know. And I'm grateful that Brent is okay, otherwise. It's going to be so… different, that's all."

"He's still your husband. Nothing about that has changed."

"Mom, I know that. It's Brent I'm worried about." Molly switches the phone to her other ear as she tries to figure out how to articulate what is bothering her so much about this. "You know how he is. He always needs to have his hands in things. He doesn't sit back and let things happen around him. And now, if he can't be like that anymore…"

"He can," Paula says, "with a little time and a lot of work."

Molly wants to believe that. Every time she tells herself that she is making too big a deal of this--that they are doing amazing things with prosthetics, and that their day-to-day lives will not change much after the initial adjustment--she has to stop because the justifications sound too ridiculous. Her husband is losing his leg. This is a big deal.

Just then, she spots Brent's doctor round the corner and start toward her. With a quick goodbye to her mother and a reminder to tell the twins that she loves them, Molly hangs up the phone.

"Mrs. Taylor, I have some very good news," the doctor says.

Molly's spirits soar. She knew it. "You mean--you were able to save the leg? I knew there had to be a way. Brent insisted--"

"I'm afraid we weren't able to save the entire leg," the doctor interrupts. "But we did manage to control the infection enough to preserve the knee joint. Your husband's recovery will be much easier because of it."

"Oh. Thank you, Doctor. I'm glad to hear everything went well." Molly tries to smile, tries to convey that she really is grateful that the procedure turned out positively, but for some reason, it feels completely inauthentic.


Manila envelope in hand and ready for the mailroom, Diane Bishop navigates her way through the intricate arrangement of cubicles and desks. She is ready to give a quick wave as she passes Tim Fisher's spot, but when she sees him sitting there, staring at an empty spot on the cubicle wall, she stops in her tracks.

"Has someone been running around hypnotizing my employees?" she asks as she inserts herself into his field of vision.

Startled, Tim shakes off his stupor. "What? No." He feigns a tiny laugh, but she can tell that he is still not fully with it.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. I'm fine." He makes a show of looking productive: shuffling around some of the papers on his desk, refocusing on his computer. Diane is not fooled.

She leans against the L-shaped desk and folds her arms. "What's going on?"

"Nothing? What's that?" he asks, indicating the envelope.

"I'm sending back Alex Marshall's latest draft with notes."

"Oh." Tim moves a Post-it note from one spot on his desk to another.

Diane remains there, watching him, and finally Tim turns sharply to her.

"I told you, I'm fine," he says, dropping his volume several notches while turning up his intensity.

"And I told you, I'm a nosy bitch. What's got you so distracted?"

Tim tries to wave it off with a dismissive move of the hand, but Diane is fairly certain that she already knows the answer.

"It's this thing with Travis, isn't it?"

Tim makes a split-second show of denial before caving. His shoulders sink, and his elbows rise to the desktop.

"We have put that kid through so much," he says. "He has every right to be confused and angry."

"And he's at a shitty age for dealing with those things. You were probably right about getting him in to see a doctor."

Tim nods. "It has to help, right?" He pauses for a sigh and then goes on: "And the fact that he's taking it all out on Claire--that isn't fair. She's no more to blame for this than I am."

Diane struggles to conceal her disagreement… so she just lets him see it.

"She did go running back to Ryan," she says. "That was her choice. If the kid wants to be mad at her for it, he has a right."

"That's not fair. She did what she felt she had to do. After all the garbage Nick put us through, she deserved to do what made her happy."

Judging by the escalation in Tim's voice and the way his posture in the chair has become more rigid, Diane can tell this is headed nowhere good. Certainly not anywhere that a conversation in the middle of their workplace needs to be headed.

"Look, I know this whole thing isn't solely Claire's fault," she says, keeping her tone calm, "but she's made some crappy decisions. I have a right to think that, and so does Travis."


Josh Taylor stands by the counter in the break room. He feels his eyelids drooping as he tips the coffee pot. He focuses on the stream of coffee flowing into his cup, but it is not until he hears a voice behind him that he realizes just how transfixed he has become.

"Napping on your feet?" Lauren Brooks teases as she comes up beside him.

Josh shakes off his latest bout of hypnosis and sets down the pot before his cup overflows.

"It's gonna be rough getting through this day," he says.

"You know I would've stayed at the hospital with you."

"Wouldn't have made me any less tired, would it?" He empties a single-serving creamer into his coffee and stirs it. "Better for you to get some rest. At least this way one of us'll get some work done today."

"I'm pretty sure you could've had the day off if you told someone--" She lowers her voice. "--your brother was having his leg amputated."

Josh knows that she is most likely right, but the thought of sitting around that hospital all day makes him itch. He'd rather be occupied.

"I'm picking my dad up at the airport after work, and we'll go over there," he says. He takes a greedy gulp of the coffee. "If I can keep myself awake that long."

Lauren places her hand on his forearm and strokes it slowly. "You can do it. Just keep busy. Or, if that fails, take a nap under your desk."

"Like I could get five minutes of peace and quiet in this nuthouse."

Her hand creeps up his arm and settles on his shoulder.

"We'll do something fun this weekend," she says. "Something to take your mind off all this stuff."

Josh's lips turn up in a grin. "I like the sound of that."

Having Lauren here right now is enough to take his mind off his tiredness and what his brother is going through, at least temporarily, and for that he is grateful. He leans in toward her, and when their faces are only a few inches apart, he decides that he doesn't even care that they are at work.


He just smirks at her. She smiles back, and Josh moves in to kiss her. When their mouths touch, he isn't thinking about anything else but the two of them, right here and right now.

Until he hears the footsteps on the linoleum floor.

He and Lauren break apart immediately. They have never really discussed what would happen if someone at work knew that they were dating, but now he can tell that they share the same fears. Only it's too late.

Flora, the homely lady from Payroll, stares at them for a moment before moving for the refrigerator. Her stern glare, however, never strays from them.

"Sorry about that," Josh mutters.

Flora makes a disapproving noise as she opens the fridge.

Lauren takes a step back from Josh. "Flora, if you could keep this to yourself… we'd really appreciate it."

"Perhaps the two of you should have kept all of that to yourself," Flora counters as she grabs a Coke and exits the kitchen, that same scolding stare burning a hole through them.


A nurse leads Molly into Brent's room and then quietly slips out. Just like that, they are alone: Molly and Brent and this enormous thing that has happened to them, this thing that Molly still cannot believe is real.

She is disappointed to find that Brent is still asleep. In a few hours, his father will arrive in town, and Danielle and Josh will join them, and the time for the two of them to process this together will be scarce. She wouldn't dream of trying to wake him now, but she wishes that they could have this private time to establish their reactions.

Lying there, he looks exactly as he always has, aside from the few remaining marks of his injuries from the explosion. She is relieved to see that he appears to be sleeping soundly, though maybe that has more to do with the drugs than with his actual state of mind. But with the sheet pulled up to his chest, he looks like the same Brent as always.

Molly finds herself scanning the form underneath the sheet to pick out what has changed. She can see how, below the knee of his left leg, the sheet falls to the bed without anything to hold it up. Even in light of that evidence, though, she cannot quite comprehend that part of him is now missing. Or, rather, gone.

She takes a few careful steps toward the bed. She knows that she could look at it--touch it, even--and no one would see her do it. Brent would not have to see her acting so curious, and he wouldn't have to wonder whether she can deal with this.

Of course she can deal with it. Since the moment the doctor brought up amputation, that has never been an issue. She can deal with it, and she will, and they will handle this together.

Her hand settles over the sheet, ready to pull it back, but she can't do it. It seems too private, somehow. Like it isn't hers to peek at, like she needs to wait for Brent's approval to do so.

She lets go of the sheet and turns her focus back to his face. That same face she knows so well, that same face she fell in love with. He might be different in one way, but he is still here with her and their boys, and for that, they are so lucky.


Tim takes a deep breath, and Diane wonders if she has crossed a line.

"Of course you have a right to think whatever you want," he says, his voice still moderate but right on the edge of bubbling over. "So does Travis. But having a negative opinion and acting on it are two different things."

"He's a kid. You can't expect him to make a distinction like that."

Tim folds his hands in front of his face. Diane can see the wheels turning as he considers his next move. She has a good feeling what this is all about, but she sure as hell isn't going to be the one to bring it up.

"He can't keep taking this out on his mother," he says. "He's going to grow up blaming her for all this and hating her for it."

"He's been through a lot lately. He'll grow out of it."

"We don't know that. Claire doesn't deserve to be blamed for all of this. She's been as much a victim as I've been."

That does it. Diane has been trying her hardest to keep herself in check, but Tim's supreme concern for Claire has finally pushed her too hard.

"Why are you so worried about her?" she asks.

Tim's eyes light up, almost as if he has been waiting for a chance to defend Claire.

God forbid that woman take the blame for any of the messes she's helped create, Diane thinks.

"She thought I was dead," Tim counters, and Diane is sure that if they weren't in the middle of the office, he would be shouting. Diane knows that she would be. "She thought I was gone, and she let herself move on. That's all."

"Is that what you have to tell yourself? Because life without her is too damn hard otherwise?"

"That's not what I said."

"You don't have to."

Diane backs out of the cubicle and out of the argument. This isn't going anywhere good, especially considering that they are at work.

"Diane, don't make this a bigger deal than it needs to be."

"I wasn't going to," she says, "but you had to go and dredge it up all over again. Thanks a lot."

She is not sure where this leaves them, and she does not want to know right now. Without giving him the opportunity to respond, she leaves him and gets back to work.


Is Tim wrong to defend Claire to Diane?
Will Molly and Brent make it through this together?
Are Lauren and Josh about to be exposed at work?
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