- Claire decided that it was time to move out of the Fishers' house and searched for an apartment of her own.
- After an argument with Diane about their future together, Tim took Travis and Samantha on a trip to New York. He and Claire hoped the trip would allow Travis to overcome his anger toward Claire.
- Ryan appealed to Jason for a second chance as a business partner and brother, but Jason coldly shut him down.
- Brent's overly positive outlook in the wake of having his lower leg amputated concerned Molly.
Claire Fisher holds her digital camera so that Bill can see the photos as she clicks through them.
"I know it's still pretty bare, but new furniture seemed like the way to go," she says as she shows Bill photographs of her new apartment. "I can pull a few things out of storage, but all those old things too many memories, too much baggage."
"It looks very nice," Bill says, though Claire is sure that, to him, it looks like any other barely furnished two bedroom apartment. To her, however, it is so much more: a place that is completely and fully her own; an opportunity for a fresh start after all the years of back-and-forth uncertainties.
"I just hope Travis likes it," she says. "He's been yanked around too much."
"I'm sure the trip has been good for him."
Claire wants to agree with Bill, though she is not sure that she can. Tim's decision to take Travis and Samantha to New York made perfect sense at the time. A little time away seemed like exactly what Travis needed to clear his head after what he has been through. But now, having not seen her son in a few weeks, Claire feels more distanced from him than ever. In a few minutes, he will walk through the door, and it will be up to her to make the necessary moves to mend their strained relationship.
"This will blow over," Bill assures her. "He's a teenager. This is what they do: try to separate themselves from us so that they can be their own people. It's messy, but it does work out in the end."
She knows that he speaks from experience, but that knowledge does little to ease her worries. The closeness between Claire and her son has been one of the few dependable things in her life. After they lost Tim, after Diane took custody of Samantha, even after Tim returned and their marriage fell apart Claire had Travis. As much as she was supposed to be his caretaker, he was the one who helped her keep it together--without even knowing what a substantial role he was playing.
Since the disaster at the wedding, though, all of that is in jeopardy. Travis makes her feel like a stranger intruding upon his life. She wants to believe that this trip has served its intended purpose and given her son some perspective, but that is a difficult leap of faith to make.
Suddenly, the doorbell rings, and the moment is here. Claire makes her best effort at putting on a comfortable smile, trying not to show any of her worry or desperation. Bill answers the door.
"Look who turned up!" Bill says to no one in particular. "It's my grandkids, the world travelers!"
"Grandpa " Samantha groans as Bill hugs her tightly.
"Have a good trip?" Bill asks Tim.
"Excellent trip. Right, guys?"
Samantha nods enthusiastically. Travis's head bobs up and down, too, but in the briefest manner possible. He avoids Claire's eye contact.
"I want to hear all about it," Claire says, determined to cut through this awkwardness. She opens her arms, and Samantha immediately steps up and embraces her. "It's good to see you, sweetie," she tells her stepdaughter.
"You, too, Travis," she says, but he just stands there, hands shoved in his pockets, staring at her as though he hopes that the force of his glare will make her disappear.
KING'S BAY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
Molly Taylor steps off the elevator with purpose, fully aware that she is racing the clock. Midday traffic was far more difficult than she expected, and she has an afternoon appointment for which she cannot be late; getting back to the office for it will be a challenge. Still, she needs to be here now.
She finds Brent as she has (almost) become accustomed to seeing him, sitting up in his hospital bed, the thin sheet pulled up over his legs even though there is no particular need for this.
"What are you doing here?" he asks, his face stretched with surprise at the sight of her.
"I didn't want to miss your fitting." She sets down her purse and gives him a kiss on the cheek. "Is everything all right?"
"Yeah. Everything's fine." Nevertheless, Brent looks her up and down, as though he does not quite trust her, as though awaiting some further twist to her arrival.
"Are you sure?" she asks, unable to ignore his strange demeanor. She had a feeling it would be like this. It is all the more reason why she has to be here.
"I didn't think you'd be able to get out of work, that's all."
"It was a little tricky, but I made it work. As long as I'm out of here by 2:30, I should have no problem making my next meeting."
"Okay. I just don't want you to miss anything important for this."
"This is important," she says, and her hand moves instinctively to his shoulder. It settles there, as it has a million times before, resting comfortably until Brent squirms away from her.
"I hope you're not going to get crazy later, if this throws off your whole day," he says.
"I will be fine. I promise. It's you I'm worried about."
He looks sharply at her. She might as well have accused him of mass murder.
"Why? Because you think I can't handle this?" he asks.
"No, because I think you can. If anyone can do this, it's you. But just because you don't need me here for this fitting doesn't mean I shouldn't be."
Brent doesn't respond. A moment ago, she might have been grateful not to have him arguing back, but this is an uneasy quiet, the quiet of a child who has been scolded and is formulating a counterattack.
"I don't want you to do this alone," she says. "I want to be here for you. But if you're scared, or embarrassed, or anything, you need to let me see that. Let me be a part of this with you."
"Dr. Khalil! Hi," Brent says abruptly, his focus shifting to the doorway. Molly turns to see the specialist join them in the room.
"This is my wife, Molly," Brent says, and as they all shake hands, Molly realizes that she might as well have never attempted to have that conversation with Brent. And they will not be able to have it anytime soon--not until he wants to have it, too.
KING'S BAY MALL
The mall swirls with back-to-school activity. As much of an annoyance as the crowds and the noise might normally be, Sarah Gray finds them strangely soothing today. There is a steady rhythm to it all, something normal and dependable, as it drowns out the noise in her own head.
At the moment, however, there is one annoyance she could do without.
"Tori, hurry up!" she calls to her daughter. Tori lingers by the window of a store that Sarah has explicitly told her is not going to be a part of their back-to-school shopping.
"Mom, come on," Tori calls over her shoulder. "This hoodie is cute!"
"I'm doing my best not to be a boring mom, but I am not paying $90 for something with pink skulls all over it."
Tori looks skyward and shakes her head, and a little grumble escapes her throat--a lament that her mother just doesn't understand what it's like to be thirteen. Sarah feels a surge of retroactive embarrassment as she remembers making the same gesture and the same noise toward her own mother, no doubt over something equally trivial.
She is about to demand that Tori come with her when something else catches her attention: a man approaching her.
She has not seen Ryan since before the explosion. She remembers him confessing to Nick's shooting, to letting Tim be charged with Nick and Lola's murders and then she didn't see him again. By the time she awoke at the hospital, the rest of the family had driven him away, and contacting him was not particularly high on Sarah's to-do list.
Now he has spotted her, and he is moving toward her. She considers bolting, but it seems so ridiculous
"I've been meaning to call you," Ryan says. "Sarah, I'm--I'm so sorry."
She simply shrugs. How is she supposed to respond to that?
"I didn't think it would be appropriate to drop by," he says.
"Probably not." She folds her arms across her chest and turns back to glance at Tori, who has slipped into the forbidden store and is combing through the racks.
"You have no idea how unbelievably sorry I am. I wanted to protect all of you from Nick--things got out of control. Believe me, I know how stupid it was, and I know that I can probably never make it up to you, but--"
"I understand." The words surprise even Sarah herself. She didn't plan to say them. Maybe it is the sight of Ryan before her, pleading and so full of remorse; maybe it is the incongruity of having this conversation in the middle of a crowded shopping mall. As soon as the words come out, she sees the change in Ryan's expression: a glimmer of hope emerges, tempered by disbelief.
"Do you mean that?" he asks.
"I understand why you did what you did. That things spiraled out of control, and you never intended for a lot of that stuff to happen. I know what it's like to want to hold onto someone so badly that you'd do anything to avoid losing them. I understand that."
"It was stupid. It was reckless and selfish."
"Yeah." Again Sarah checks behind her, wanting to be sure that Tori will not witness this encounter. "But you were going to let my brother--our brother--spend the rest of his life in jail, Ryan. Regardless of what Nick did, regardless of how my family and I have been affected, you had it in your power to save Tim's life, and you didn't."
"If you'll just give me a chance " Ryan looks so pathetic, and Sarah wonders why he would be in such a public place in his current emotional state. Then she remembers how she feels and that she is here, too.
"I understand. That doesn't mean I forgive you."
"Let's sit down and talk sometime," he says. "It can be on your terms. We can go as slowly as you'd like. You're my sister. I'd like to think that I haven't lost my entire family over one mistake that turned into a runaway train."
A long moment passes between them. Sarah wonders if, when she was fighting so hard to keep her marriage to Brent afloat, she could have done to Molly what Ryan did to Tim. She would like to think not, but she cannot be sure of that.
But that is hypothetical. Ryan was going to let Tim go to prison. He was going to live his life with Claire, be a father to Tim's son, be a part of Tim's family, while Tim rotted in prison. If not for Nick's master plan, Ryan would have done all that.
"I don't know if I can do that." She steps past him.
"I have to go get my daughter," she says, and without looking back at him, she follows Tori into the store.
The view out Diane Bishop's office window is like a portrait of downtown. Mid-sized buildings stand in the foreground, and behind them, the bay stretches out as far as the eye can see, the late summer sunlight giving its surface a mesmerizing sheen. Today the view has Diane's full attention; she finds herself unable to break her gaze away from it, though her mind is someplace else entirely
"Hello? Are you having a stroke or something?"
Brian Hamilton's voice shakes Diane from her stupor.
"I could arrange that, if it would make this day end any sooner," she says glumly.
"I took a look at Alex's draft, like you asked," Brian says, but that is as far as he gets. "What's with you?"
Diane shakes her head.
Brian sets his palms on the opposite side of her desk and leans toward her. "Does this have to do with Tim being gone?"
"He's not gone. He's in New York with the kids." She glances at the time on her computer screen, though it doesn't tell her anything that she didn't already know. "Actually, they could be back in King's Bay by now."
"You don't seem too thrilled about that."
"Should I be?"
Brian's face scrunches up in confusion. "Should you not be? Unless you've developed a sudden loathing toward Samantha, I'd say this has to do with Tim."
"You don't know what you're talking about." She stares him down, hoping to throw him off the track, but he doesn't budge. "Okay, fine. Things are a little strained."
"Why, because Claire is on the loose again?" Brian laughs but stops abruptly as he realizes that he has hit the mark. "Oh."
"I don't know where we stand, that's all. I trust Tim."
" but you don't know if you can spend forever wondering if he loves Claire more than he loves you."
There is a hint of smugness in Brian's expression. Clearly he is satisfied with himself: he knows that he has hit the target. Diane hates how desperate it makes her sound.
"I'm not some helpless lunatic who just needs a man to love her," she says.
"I didn't say you were. But if you aren't, why are you putting yourself in this position?"
She doesn't have an answer for that question.
"Nothing has changed," she says finally. "If anything, things should be better now that we have all this out in the open. I just want him to get home already so we can put this crap behind us and get on with our lives."
Brian appraises her silently; she can see his skepticism. She does her best not to let him see hers.
"Answer your mother," Tim says firmly.
Travis's face remains a brittle mask.
"Travis," Tim says, his teeth gritted now.
"It was fine," Travis says. "It was lots of fun."
"You liked New York?" Claire asks, grateful for the opening.
"Yeah. I wish I could've stayed there."
There is such venom in her son's voice, in the way he looks at her, that Claire wants to give up here and now. The trip didn't do any good, just as she knew it wouldn't. She has put him through too much, turning his life upside-down over and over again.
"Travis!" Tim barks. "Not okay. What did we talk about?"
"We didn't talk about anything. You talked."
"And I made it perfectly clear that you are to treat your mother with respect."
This is all wrong. Claire wants to step in and tell Tim to stop arguing with Travis on her behalf. It will only make him resent her more.
"Why should I respect someone who doesn't respect me?" Travis counters.
"Travis, that is enough," Bill says.
His grandfather's interference manages to silence Travis, but only momentarily.
"We got Dad back, and then you dumped him. You almost got us all killed because of Ryan's crazy-ass dad what's next?"
"I'm trying," Claire says. She doesn't know what else to say or how to approach him. If she could pause time, maybe she could figure it out, but this is all moving too quickly. The trip seems like it passed in an instant, and now they are back where they started, only worse, somehow.
"Your mother got a new apartment with a room for you," Bill offers. "It's a nice place."
"You're going to spend the night there tonight," Tim adds.
"So what, you guys planned this whole trip to 'fix' me or something?" Travis's eyes move over them, from Tim to Claire to Bill and back again. "Guess what? Didn't work. I'm not going to that place."
"Be nice," Samantha says. She glances guiltily at Claire, and she looks as though she is going to burst from embarrassment at her brother's display.
"Not you, too," Travis says to his sister, looking betrayed.
"You're going to spend the night at your mother's new place," Tim says. "I don't care if it's what you want. You're going, and you will be polite."
Travis appears ready to rage at all of them, but a stern glare from Bill keeps the teenager's lips sealed except to say, "Fine. Whatever."
"Then we'll get your things from the car," Tim says, "and we'll tell your grandpa and Mom all about New York."
"It was so cool," Samantha starts in on Bill as they move back out to the car.
Travis lingers behind in the living room with Claire. Silence hangs over them like a massive boulder, vast and threatening, ready to crush them.
"I'm sorry," she says. Maybe the simplest approach is best.
"Good." After another long, cold stare, Travis moves to the front door and leaves her standing there alone.
END OF EPISODE #462
Claire mend her relationship with her son?
Do Tim and Diane have a future together?
Is it possible for Ryan to win back the Fishers' trust?
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