Episode #461

- In the wake of losing the baby, Sarah was closed off toward Matt and Tori.
- Diane confronted Tim about still being in love with Claire. He admitted that he is not sure whether he can ever love Diane as much as he does Claire. Tim left for a trip with Travis and Samantha to give himself and Diane time to think.
- Travis lashed out at Claire, blaming her for putting their family in danger from the Morianis.
- Trevor discovered that Alex has seen Seth several times and kept the encounters from him.
- Jason and Courtney discussed taking their renewed relationship slowly… and then had sex.


The document on his laptop screen looks exactly the same as it did twenty minutes ago, when Alex Marshall sat down and began staring at it. He had hoped that doing work would take his mind off his recent troubles with Trevor and Seth, and that his desire for distraction would result in an overly productive writing session. As it turns out: not so much. All he has managed to do is read the same two paragraphs over and over without being able to decide on a course of action.

He is grateful when he hears Jason Fisher's bedroom door open and, moments later, his roommate comes straggling out, his hair askew and his face puffy from sleep.

"I don't think I've ever seen you sleep this late," Alex says.

"I was out late."

In a daze, Jason plops down on the sofa and stares at the blank television.

"Are you hungover?" Alex asks. "I've got some Advil--"

"I'm not hungover. Just… worn out."

Alex rises from his seat at the dining room table and comes into the living area to have a better look at Jason. He mostly looks like hell, like a baby woken roughly from a nap and in too much of a stupor to do anything but stare blankly. Except for the goofy grin that keeps appearing on his face, only to disappear and then reappear seconds later.

"What's going on? Where were you last night?" Alex presses.

Jason pauses, seemingly trying to decide what or how much he should tell. Finally he speaks:

"I was with Courtney." That grin resurfaces. "I was with Courtney."

"Oh. Oh, my God. Really? You mean you guys--really?!"

"Really. I don't know what happened. We were standing in the office, talking about taking it slow, and then--bam!"

"You had office sex?" Alex sits down on the arm of the sofa. "I guess that means the taking-it-slow is not an issue anymore."

"I guess not," Jason says.

"So are you guys, like, back together now?"

"I don't know. Maybe? We need to talk." That spacey look sweeps over Jason again. "But maybe we need to do that again first."

"Gross," Alex says, making a face, though he really is happy for his friends. Jason was so miserable after he split up from Lauren, and his friendship with Courtney seems to have solidified through taking their final skating test together and now working side-by-side. "Maybe you should, like, have your office disinfected first."

"Yeah. That's a thought," Jason says distractedly, clearly thinking only of ways to dirty the place up again. He shakes his head, another step in his slow process of waking up today. "What are you up to? I didn't mean to interrupt your work."

"No, it's a good thing you did. I'm not getting anything accomplished." Alex slides from the arm onto the sofa and throws his head back. "Do you think there's some law out there that says only one of us can have relationship luck at any given time? Because just as things get good for you, they're completely in the toilet for me."

"Why? What happened?"

"I'm an idiot, that's what happened," Alex says as he pulls a throw pillow over his face.


Courtney Chase sits at the kitchen table with a plate of her mother's leftover lasagna, from the dinner that she missed. She has hardly touched the food, though, because she cannot stop thinking about last night…

Jason lowers his weight on top of her. The desk is hard and cold beneath her, but she doesn't care how uncomfortable it is. She pushes up, reveling in the feel of Jason's body against hers, and she gasps for breath between kisses...

"Courtney? Is everything all right?"

Her mother's voice yanks Courtney out of her memory. With a start, she nods at Helen and digs a fork into her lasagna.

"You seemed a million miles away just now," Helen says as she sets about emptying the dishwasher.

"It's nothing," Courtney says, automatically taking another bite of her food. As she chews, what happened last night with Jason replays in her mind some more. She hasn't gone more than five seconds today without thinking about it, thinking of how good it was and what it means for their future, and keeping it inside like this is becoming increasingly difficult.

"Hey, Mom," she says, and the recollections hit her again, so hard that they could be happening here and now…

Jason's fingers hike up her dress and pull down her panties all at once, a move so smooth that she could swear it was choreographed, except that she knows it wasn't. His hands feel so familiar that she wonders how years could have possibly passed since she last felt them…

"What is it?" Helen asks, paused over the dishwasher.

"Nothing. Nevermind." Courtney sets down her fork. Definitely not discussing this with her mother.

"I have to make a phone call," she says, hopping up from the table. "Be right back."

She goes out to the deck, where the early afternoon sun falls through the trees and the air has a surprisingly heavy feel. She pulls out her cell phone and scrolls down to Alex's number, but her finger pauses over the button before she hits Send. She can't call Alex about this. He lives with Jason. They're probably debriefing about it right now.

Tucking her phone away, she realizes just who she would talk to these days about anything of this magnitude: Jason. Except this is about him. She heard what Jason was saying last night, about their friendship and the possibility of ruining it and the need to take things slowly, but all she could think about then was how badly she wanted him. She was sure that everything would be fine, that they could make it work.

Now, however, in the harsh light of day, she realizes the gravity of the situation. He is not only her ex, but her best friend. And if whatever they have begun doesn't work out, she stands to lose that friend forever.


Her hair still wet from the shower, Claire Fisher descends the stairs. She sets down the pages that she printed off the internet and sets about putting on her shoes. Hearing Paula's movements in the kitchen, Claire announces:

"I'm heading out now!"

The update draws Paula into the living room.

"Where are you headed on your day off?" she asks. The dirty spots on her knees reveal that she has been working in the garden recently.

"I'm going to look at some places," Claire says as she picks up the printed sheets.

Paula gets a look at the pages. "Apartments?"

Instinctively, Claire pulls the pages toward her. She had hoped to avoid this conversation until she found something.

"It's time for me to find a new place, and I want to do it before Travis gets back from his trip."

"You know that isn't necessary, dear. You're more than welcome to stay here for as long as you need."

"And you know I appreciate that," Claire says, "but it isn't appropriate. I'm your son's ex-wife… and your other son's ex-fiancée."

"If this is because of what happened with you and Ryan…"

"It isn't." That is not exactly the truth, though Claire would prefer not to go any deeper into the matter. She has tried to avoid the topic of Ryan with the Fishers ever since the wedding-turned-nightmare; she suspects that their guilt over having trusted Ryan and not Tim is at least as great as her own and that is why they have been all too happy to oblige silently.

"You're family, that's what you are," Paula says. "The specifics aren't important. You know that."

"I do. And, like I said, I appreciate it. But I need to make my own home. I want my son to be able to have friends over to his mother's home without having to explain why I'm living with my ex-in-laws again. It's time to be a big girl now."

She can see that Paula wants to protest further but has the restraint not to do so. There has hardly ever been a period when someone--one of their own children or Claire--hasn't lived here with Paula and Bill. She is sure that, in many ways, they enjoy not having a completely empty nest, but after all that they have done for her, she owes them their home back.

Setting a cheerful expression on her face, Claire slings her purse over her shoulder.

"Good luck," Paula says.

"Thank you. For everything," Claire says as she lets herself out the front door.


The scent of the bagels has been working its magic on her for the entire car ride, and by the time Diane Bishop sets them on the kitchen table, she is more than ready to dive in and devour one. She retrieves the cream cheese from the refrigerator as Sarah Gray pours them cups of coffee.

"About time you returned one of my messages," Diane says as she hesitates over her bagel selection.

"I've been busy, between work and getting Tori ready for school to start. Sorry."

Finally settling on a jalapeno bagel, Diane accepts her cup of coffee from Sarah. "No need to apologize. You've been through a pretty crappy time lately. I just miss having someone to bitch to about things."

Sarah offers a weak smile. Diane studies her and attempts to gain some sense of what her friend is thinking, feeling. Sarah seems fine--all business, nothing out of the ordinary. But there is something robotic about it; Diane noticed it almost as soon as she stepped into the apartment today. She can understand that losing a baby, especially in the way that Sarah did, might do that to someone, but she has no idea how to cut through it.

"I'm fine. Just busy," Sarah says, as though it is a programmed response and some sensor detected that it was the proper thing to say.

They settle in at the table.

"Are you sure you're all right?" Diane asks, deciding to cast aside the subtlety.

Sarah nods. "Like I said, I'm fine. I'm trying to move forward. Would it be better if I stayed in bed all day crying and screaming?"

There is something flip, something nasty, about the response, something that tells Diane to back off. It is a side of Sarah that she has rarely, if ever, seen directed toward her, and it throws her for a loop. Sarah, on the other hand, proceeds as though nothing is amiss.

"Is it weird having Tim and Samantha out of town?" Sarah asks. "Your place must be really quiet."

"Yeah. Yeah, it is." Diane pauses to get her bearings, and also to decide whether she wants to get into her own personal issues with someone who won't open up to her at all. She decides that she needs to. "Tim didn't just take the kids on a trip out of the blue."

"What do you mean?"

"Before he decided to go--we had a fight. I barely even know how it started. But it turned into this whole thing about Claire and how he's always so damn worried about her." Part of her would prefer not to continue; she has not said this to anyone. However, she knows that keeping it to herself does not make it any less true. "I came out and asked him if he's still in love with her. If he can ever feel about me the same way he does about her."

Sarah's eyes widen, the first sign of surprise or intrigue that she has shown since Diane arrived. "Uh-oh."

"I had to know. And he was honest. I give him credit for that. He said that I know he'll always love her, which--I do know that, God help him--and he isn't sure that he and I can ever have that same thing."

"Do you even want that same thing?"

It is a question that Diane has often asked herself, and it surprises her to hear it addressed to her from somewhere besides her own brain.

"I'm not sure," is all she can come up with. "It sounds stupid to say that I don't want it… but it also sounds stupid to say that I do."

Sarah picks a piece off her bagel, captivated by Diane's story and situation. It is a drastic change from the way she was moments ago, when they were talking about her. She seems grateful to be absorbed in someone else's woes.

"I love Tim," Sarah says, "and it's great that you two are together, but I want both of you to be happy. So the question is, what do you do when he gets back? Is this kind of relationship enough for you?"

"That's a damn good question," Diane says as she takes a bite of her bagel.


"…so he said he'll get in touch with me whenever he's ready," Alex says as he finishes the tale of how Trevor found him hanging out with Seth and their subsequent argument.

"Wow." Jason is quiet, taking in all the information and processing it to the point where Alex wants to shake him and demand some kind of response--advice, the magical answer that will help Alex set things straight with Trevor.

Instead Jason trains a hard look on Alex.

"What about Seth?" he asks.

"What about him? What am I supposed to do, tell him he isn't allowed to be anywhere within a fifty-mile radius of King's Bay?"

"You could keep away from him, for starters."

"Yeah, but that's…" Impossible? Alex doesn't know how to finish the statement. "Seth came here because he needs a shoulder to lean on. A friendly shoulder."

"Maybe you need to direct him to a different one, then," Jason says.

Alex groans and picks up the pillow again. "I don't get why this has to be so complicated."

"Maybe you were onto something, and there is some rule where only one of us can have good luck with relationships at any one time."

"Your luck's been fine lately! Mine keeps sucking."

"My luck's been nonexistent 'til, like, last night."

"Well, that's better than bad. Trevor and I had that whole porn debacle," Alex says, and they both laugh at the mention, though he has no actual idea why. "You're hogging all the non-terrible luck."

"I have a feeling this theory collapses if we go back more than a few days," Jason says, and he stands and goes to the kitchen.

Alex reclines back into the sofa. The light moment with Jason stays with him; even a few seconds of casual laughter are an enormous relief after the heavy drama of recent days. Still, he knows that it is merely a distraction from his problems.

"Can I just do that? Tell Seth to get lost?" he asks as Jason returns with a bottle of water.

"Why can't you?"

Alex doesn't have an answer for that, but he tries anyway. "Because I need closure. You know how much that whole thing with Seth screwed me up. It was ten years ago, and it still affects me."

"I thought writing that book was closure. And then going to his wedding was going to be closure instead."

"And the wedding didn't turn out the way it was supposed to, so my closure is all… unclosed."

Another bout of silence strikes them. Alex tries to figure out what happens next. Should he give Trevor space, or should he go out of his way to prove himself? Will Seth come looking for him? If he sits here long enough, will the whole mess clear itself up?

"Question," Jason says suddenly. "Let's say Trevor isn't a factor."

"Trevor is a factor. That's why this is a problem to begin with."

"But say he's not. Say it's just you and Seth. He's not engaged anymore. Would you--if it didn't have any impact on things with Trevor, if they were in two totally different universes--want to be with Seth?"

Alex's first instinct is to say no, but he restrains that impulse and once again becomes buried under thoughts. Would being with Seth again give him closure? What does closure even look like, at this point? And if he is fully honest with himself, does he want the ending and the moving-on that closure necessitates?

But he cannot bring himself to vocalize any of these things, so all he manages is a weak shrug and an "I don't know."

Jason seems to know exactly what that means, and he places a supportive hand on Alex's shoulder.

"Maybe you need to figure that part out before you make promises to Trevor that you can't keep."


Should Alex stick with Trevor or explore things with Seth?
Will Jason and Courtney be able to make it work this time?
What will Diane decide to do about Tim?
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